Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Curveball of the year

Friends and family!

  I hope you all had a Merry Christmas! Its definitely different over here in Japan, but the best part was being able to Skype home! That was so cool! I had a great time talking to my family. I can`t believe how much my little brothers are changing! I`m going to go home to two very different boys thats for sure. We had a great Christmas Conference as well and myself and the other Elders in the apartment did a skit and a song for the Talent Show, it was hilarious! 

  So I got some pretty surprising news on Saturday. The Assistants to the President called and asked me if I would transfer into the mission home in Kobe to be in charge of creating the new Missionary Portal for the upcoming Ipads. They asked if I had any experience with creating websites and stuff like that and told me I`d be leaving my area and starting today! Its going to be a different experience thats for sure. 

  We had a really cool experience going over to visit a former investigator to let her know I was transferring to Kobe. We dropped her about two months ago or so because she stopped coming to church and showing any interest because she volunteers at a hospital and she`s crazy busy this time of year. We`ve stopped by periodically over the last little while to invite her to church activities and stuff like that, but she`s been either not home or too busy. We got to talk to her for a little bit last night and gave her a short lesson on God. We told her what a blessing she would be as a member of the church because of her willingness to serve others and her talent with choir. We asked her very openly if she would join the church, and she didn`t say no! You have to start from somewhere. We explained a little about baptism and she said she would call our ward mission leader (her friend) and talk to him a little bit. It was way cool! The Lord knows who he needs in his church! 

  Well I don`t have a ton of time left today because I have to go. I love you all and I hope you have a happy new year! Hello 2015! My Goals for the year: Give it everything I have till I come home in August. Return with Honor. And get started on the next stage of my life! Its going to be a big year for sure. I`m so grateful for the gospel that I have in my life. I know the church is true. I know God lives and he has a plan for each of us, no matter how strange to us that plan may seem. I love you guys! Have a great week!

Elder Jeffrey M. Giles



Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christ is the Reason, the Spirit is the key, and Joy is the Reward

Merry Christmas everyone!
メリ-クリスマス!

Its an awesome time of year. I`m not really a fan of the cold, but I
don`t mind it the weeks before Christmas. Even though Christmas isn`t
nearly as big in Japan as it is back at home, you can feel the Christmas
spirit in the air every now and again. Its a great time to be a missionary
and a servant of God.

We`re doing well and I feel like we have nothing, but good things to
come. As I get close to ending my fourth transfer here in the area I`ve
been thinking a lot about what condition I want to leave it in when its my
time to leave. As a missionary that has come into areas that haven`t been
taken care of that well, and into brand new areas, I know how important
that is. Its like my Mom always taught me, `You leave things better than
you find them, if you borrow something, return it in better condition than
it was before, if you go somewhere with someone, act your best and they
might invite you back.` Its amazing the teachings of my parents that have
continued to teach me on my mission. I don`t know what will happen next
transfer, but I know I will be at absolute peace with whatever happens
because I know the Lord will place us where he needs us in whatever
position he needs in order to further his work.` This is a little
portion of my letter to the President this week that I wanted to share.
Christmas time in the mission is the best! P.S: I love you mom ;)

I could go on and on about how grateful I am this year to be celebrating
the birth of the Savior as a missionary in Japan. I can`t believe the
blessings and gifts in my life that he has given me. I thought as I read
the Book of Mormon this morning in Japanese what an incredibly powerful
gift he has given me to get me to the point where I can read and speak a
little bit of the Japanese language.

I think of the circumstances of the Saviors birth as a true example to
all of us how we should view this mortal life. He was born in a stable in
Bethlehem. I don`t know if everyone realizes the fact that a stable is
nothing more than a barn. A barn. Forget the fact that its the Savior and
Redeemer of the World for a second and think of that, a baby was born in a
barn! His mother was young. I`m not exactly sure, but I`ve heard she was
only around 16 or 17 years of age. I can imagine Joseph, humbly viewing
this child that has just been brought into the world feeling the pressures
of becoming a Father and providing for this Son he now has. The nativity is
so special. The family is the focus just as it should be. I can`t imagine
what kind of people Mary and Joseph were to qualify as the parents of
Christ, but along the lines of what the Angel Gabriel said to Mary at the
Annunciation, I`m sure they were some of the choicest of spirits.

I know the Savior lives and he stands on the right hand of God the
Father. He lived as an example of what we are to be and died that we might
live again. His birth is something special that we must never forget,
especially this time of year. We celebrate Christmas for a reason, and that
reason is Christ. I love my Savior and Redeemer.

I hope you all have a great Christmas! A special shout out to my little
Sister, Alex, as well for turning 18 last week! I love you Sis! I`ll talk
to you all soon! Have a great week.

Elder Giles


Where the heck is Hurricane?? Hahaha I laughed so hard at this gem. Who would have ever thought?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The only direction is up

Hello friends and family!

  This week flew by, I`m shuffling through my planner because it all feels like a blur right now! I`m sure I`ve stressed it enough by now, but time moves way to fast! The work is going great and my companion, Elder P, and I are having a great time. We had some great experiences this week and we`re really looking forward to working a lot more with the Ward for the next little while.

  We met with Bishop S here in Takatsuki yesterday to discuss how we could better work with the ward to reach a goal of baptizing by the end of the year. Its difficult right now because we really don`t have a Ward Mission Plan. Our Bishop's vision the whole time I`ve been here has been just focusing on finding young people. We met yesterday after having planned some things to talk about with the Sisters, too. I provided Bishop with a copy of the Ward Mission Plan from chapter 13 of Preach My Gospel to give him a little bit of a start on what sort of concrete plan he should be creating. Really right now what he`s worrying about the most is the members. We have to strengthen the members first and he emphasized that a lot and we agree. He asked us to visit the members and share our experiences and testimonies with them and gave us a few names of members he wants us to focus on first. Its not a lot, but it`s a start. This ward will pick up. These people's hearts will change and we will do everything in our power in order to make that happen. We will baptize here.

  I feel like I`m growing more in the Spirit every day. I was thinking yesterday as we were running around having a really busy day what an amazing gift it is to be able to learn how you feel and recognize the Spirit. It really is such a small feeling, but wow is it powerful when it comes. It teaches us so much during the day and if we aren`t ready to see and feel that for ourselves, well we`ll miss out on it as easy as that. 

  We had a Sister missionary that finished her mission a few weeks ago come back and visit Takatsuki because she served here a few months ago. Her Mom and Sister came to pick her up and they`ve been touring the mission for the last two weeks or so. We were able to have dinner with them at a member's house last night and we had a really powerful experience and testimony meeting. The mother of that sister missionary has an amazing story, from being called here over twenty years ago and then having her call changed last minute, to having all of her money stolen a few weeks before they come to Japan to pick up their missionary. She was so great and the Spirit was so powerful. A special shout out to the M family from Provo, Utah! 

  The Church is truer than ever. I love being a missionary this time of year and declaring good tidings of peace about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know that he lives and that he is the Son of God. This is God's work and we`re nothing but mouth pieces. I won`t sugar coat how hard this is, but it`s so worth it in the end. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I know its true and Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. Have a great week! I`ll see you soon!

Merry Christmas!!!

Elder Giles


Sunday, December 7, 2014

How do I know he loves me?

Friends and Family,

  This last week has been pretty challenging! I`ve had a viral infection in my stomach for the last few weeks and it hasn`t been fun at all! I keep just trying to push through and work, the doctor says its just got to work its way through the system and I`ll be back to normal in no time at all. I know the Lord is mindful of us, `wanderers in a strange land` -Ammon. 

  Other than a little trial of sickness, the week was really good! The work continues to hasten and its good to be a part of it. We taught an awesome lesson to one of our investigators last week that really got him curious in the Book of Mormon. He`s showed signs of really wanting to know about the Gospel, but up until now he really hasn`t put forth a lot of effort or true desire to learn. We met with him at a McDonalds and just started talking about his beliefs in God. We listened to him for a good little while as he told us the differences in the God we believe in and the God he believes in. He told us that he believes that God is a spirit that is in each of us, guiding and protecting our lives. I told him how cool I thought that was and showed him Moroni 7:16 and explained how we believe much the same way. God is our Father in Heaven and he sends us the Spirit and the Light of Christ, which is given to every man, to guide us and help us know right from wrong. We then took him to two of my favorite parts in the Book of Mormon where some investigators thought that God was a `Great Spirit` as well. We read from Alma 18 where Ammon teaches Lamoni and from Alma 22 where Aaron teaches Lamoni`s father. We connected it back to him and explained that God is a man, glorified and perfected and we are created in his image. He was pretty blown away by that. He said at the end that he thought it was so crazy that his beliefs and our beliefs could be so close. My companion challenged him to start reading from the beginning of the Book of Mormon and told him he was going to call and see how it has been going on Wednesday night. We`re super excited to see how he goes! 

  I`m realizing as I get older in the mission just how much I learn from week to week. I guess I haven`t really had the chance to kind of look back, but I can really see how much I`m changing. They`re absolutely right when they say that person that will change the most on your mission is YOU. Its so true. I`m learning so much every day. I`ve really come to know and walk with my Savior here in Japan. I`ve come to the knowledge of my Redeemer in Kobe. It will always be a special place in my heart. It will be so difficult to leave one day. I know it might seem sometimes like we`re not doing much, but what I`ve seen and learned on my mission is that we truly have no idea the impact we can have, especially as members of the church. God can do a lot through us, as weak as we are. There`s never a time to be discouraged because the Lord truly is mindful of all of his children! He loves each and every one of us and knows us by name. How do I know the Lord loves me? He makes me do hard things. I love you all! I hope you all have a great week! If you haven`t seen `He is the Gift` go check it out, its pretty cool. I love you guys!

Elder Giles

This is an area close to the train station in Takatsuki where we serve every week, planting flowers and stuff like that. They put Christmas lights up every year and we were recognized by the Mayor for helping out! It was way cool!






Sunday, November 30, 2014

He`s There.

Hello friends and family!!

 This week has been a good one! We got to head into the mission home for a
trainer/trainee conference with President W and he gave us Thanksgiving
lunch! It was awesome! Looks like I`m going to be getting another transfer
here in Takatsuki with Elder P. Its going to be great. Things are
really starting to look up and I`m excited I`ll have the chance now to play
the Angel Gabriel in the upcoming Christmas Pageant! Needless to say I`m
excited to be here for another one.

 This last week was a good one. We got a lot of things done and were able
to get some teaching opportunities in there. It was great. We even found a
guy up at a park that was about to go on a hike and he invited us to go
with him! We got a great look at Settsukyo Koen and the surrounding city
from the top of the mountains. We told him what we were doing and why we
came to Japan and even though he`s not that interested in the Gospel right
now, we`ve got our foot in the door for sure. His name was M S and
he was a great guy.

 We`re teaching a guy from Illinois right now and things went awesome with
him last week. We focused the whole lesson on just sharing our testimonies
as well as the member that came with us. Things went great. We challenged
him to start reading the Book of Mormon again and to mark, just like we
are, the names and titles of the Savior. He agreed and we`ll follow up on
it this week. The guy will make a great member of the church. It was pretty
funny because he brought out his `Mormon File` when we were there and it
was full of articles and all sorts of things on the church. He`s definitely
studied a lot and claims to be a very spiritual man.

 I had an amazing experience with prayer this last week. I`ve had a lot of
issues with sicknesses of all kinds this last transfer and I`ve been having
some stomach problems for the last 10 days or so. I was getting a little
nervous and with the stress that comes from living in an apartment with 4
Elders of all different colors, I was feeling a little helpless. I decided
I would kneel and pray out loud somewhere I could be secluded and alone
(the closet in the backroom). I prayed and it felt so much like a
conversation. I explained that I was scared something more might be wrong
with my body, that I wasn`t really sure what I was supposed to do as a
missionary right now and that I was just plain tired spiritually. I felt
prompted to ask if he was listening. The first time I did the smallest of
feelings came. I could feel it even though it was the smallest of small
feelings deep down. I asked again out loud, `Father, can you hear me?` and
when I asked that, the full force of what I can only describe as the powers
of Heaven and the love of our Eternal Father. It was amazing, you guys.
I`ve never felt it like that. He`s there. It brought me to tears and
eventually to weeping. He lives! I know it! He knows where each of the
elect are in our area right now. He could lead us to them at any time he
wanted, but he loves us a little more than that. How do I know he loves me?
He makes me do hard things. I know that`s true.

 The weather is finally going to take a turn south for the winter this
week with a chance of snow tomorrow. It looks like the cold his finally
here to stay in the land of sushi and rice! We expect nothing short of
miracles this week. I`m excited to see what happens! I know this is true.
I`ll say it over and over again because I know just that. Its true! I love
it! By the way I`m in Mosiah 5 so you`ve all got some catching up to do! I
love you all!

Elder Giles









Sunday, November 23, 2014

The flickering light

My beloved family and friends,

  Another week down and again, I`m losing my sense of time out here. It goes so fast. I blink and its Wednesday morning, blink again and we`re at Sports Night on Saturday, one more time and its Preparation Day again. Time goes by and I think I get older every day. It`s just nice being somewhere I know I`m making a difference, no matter how small that difference is. 

  I`ve learned a powerful lesson on following promptings from the Lord. We were biking home last night, actually we were going to visit a former investigator first, and then head back. As we were biking through town I noticed an apartment complex with a flickering light. I thought to myself that it was a little strange, but I brushed off the feeling that we should go check it out. I turned at the last moment wanting to show my full trust in the Lord. My companion and I prayed and we both felt like we should tract the floor with the flickering light. We started housing but to no avail. No one was interested. I tried to make each door approach something a little different and a little more powerful than the last. As we went along I found myself doubting a little bit. I felt that we weren`t actually going to find anyone there. As we went along we knocked on a particular door, A 307, to be exact. I introduced us and asked if we could share a message about our Heavenly Father and the purpose of life. He said he didn`t really have time right then so I asked if we could visit some other time (being persistent). He said he was pretty busy, but Sunday`s were his day off. I asked if we could come back and visit the following Sunday and he declined again. I asked the guy if he might share with me what his name was and he told us he wasn`t going to give his name to someone he didn`t know. I promptly responded with a self introduction of my own, which he basically responded to with, `I don`t care who you are.` I tried to tell him that our message is of great importance and it would bless his life and he quickly spat back with `I`m sorry, I have a life.` to which I immaturely responded with, `I have a life, too.` I didn`t feel good at all about it. On the way home my companion asked if I was okay. I told him I was fine and that I recognized what the Lord was trying to teach me. I needed to learn how to keep my emotions in check in the face of adversary.  We`re not confronted with a lot here in Japan, but it was definitely a good lesson to learn anyway. Even though I`m almost a year and a half out, the Lord still teaches me every day. Thats another thing Elder P and I talked about after that incident, we`re never done learning. Learning is a principle of Eternity. There is no Eternity without learning. Interesting isn`t it? Now I understand why the Brethren exhort us so much to obtain as much education as possible while on the Earth. It`ll be a nice headstart on the other side. I know I was supposed to follow that prompting. I know the Lord is there and he knows and loves each of us.

  We had the chance to go up to Kyoto twice last week, once for Preparation Day fun and another for Zone Conference. I love it in Kyoto. At Zone Conference we had a special gift from Sister W. The previous week they were touring Kyoto with all the Mission Presidents and wives from the Asia North Area and she managed to get a copy of `Meet the Mormons` from the Area President! It was so cool! So our mission is now probably the only one in the world that has seen it. It was super cool. It`s funny because the last three movies I`ve seen are, `Meet the Mormons`, `Ephraims Rescue`, and `The Testaments` in Japanese. Oh the life of a missionary. 

  Thank you all so much for your continuing love and support. I love you all! I know the church is true. It has been in every part of my life, even when I didn`t think it mattered all that much. I know Christ lives and he is at the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles




Sunday, November 16, 2014

Goals and Accountability

Hello friends and family!

  I went back to the doctor on Thursday and it looks like I`m back to normal! The kidney stones have made their exit and I`m back to about 90% (still dealing with a cold). I`m so thankful for all of your prayers and the love and support though. Kidney stones are definitely one of the worst things I`ve had to go through, but the Lord lifted and carried me for sure!
  My District Leader, Elder H, gave me the chance to teach a little bit of our District Meeting on Friday which was an awesome experience! I chose to teach a little bit about goal setting and accountability. In preparation for it I was reading a little bit from one of Elder Richard G. Scotts` book, 21 Principles. I think its the third principle when he talks about something like `in order to reach a goal never before attained, you must do something never before done.` I`ve based my life off of that, but in that chapter he talks a lot about how creativity and goals are related. It made me think about my own goals and the goals I need to set and how creative they are. I feel like everyone basically has the same goals right now as a mission, personal goals that is. I feel like we can all be a little bit more creative. For example I set a goal to do 10,000 push ups and 25,000 crunches by the end of my mission. Thats 42 push ups a day and 104 crunches! You better believe I`ll be working toward that. I made some really effective proselyting and language goals as well that have been really really awesome. Actually as an apartment, myself, Elder H, Elder A and Elder P, last night set the goal for each of us to do a 100 push ups a day this week! It`s going to be awesome. With the Book of Mormon I committed myself to finish it TWICE by the set date of February 28, 2015. I calculated that I have to read 10 pages a day and it will happen. That has been an awesome goal and I`m actually able to apply more of what I`m learning from the Book of Mormon into my days. As far as accountability goes its all pretty much summed up in D&C 58 26:33. We are to do many things of our own free will and choice and to account to the Lord on those actions always! I think I learned more from preparing and teaching this part of District Meeting than the District did though. Its been an awesome week. I think in the past when I used to think about goals I would get a little nervous at the thought of having to stretch and grow. Its amazing how a mission can change a mind and prepare someone that much more for the future. I`ve found as well that if we`re constantly trying to work towards something like a goal, anything uninteresting or boring is erased. Sometimes, after a few hours of getting rejected on the streets or in an apartment, it gets pretty lame, but if you always have a goal in the back of your mind, you`re that much more motivated to get out and DO! There`s a video that was shown to us by one of the other Elders in the apartment a few weeks ago that I believe really applies to just about whatever we want to do in life. I`m sure its pretty popular in the States, but if you haven`t seen it, look up `Welcome to the Grind` on youtube. 
  Fam, I`m doing awesome. In setting my goals this week I had to figure out exactly how many days I have left as a missionary. This really kind of sucked, but it put into perspective just how much time, or lack there of, I have left in the service of the Lord. Its something like 276 days. Ahhhh. Holy cow my mission has gone so fast. I love it. I want to do this forever. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I know Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God. I know with 100% surety that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I love missionary work. I love being in Takatsuki and working with the amazing people I get to work with here. I love you all. Thank you all again for all of your prayers and thoughts. It means so so much! Have a great week!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles




Sunday, November 9, 2014

Teach Johnny Music

Friends and Fam,

  This week started out in a really interesting fashion. So last Monday I was on an exchange with my District Leader that lasted until Tueday night. It was the greatest. Working with Elder H is always the best. We laugh (a lot) we cry (like kids) and I think I learn more than I ever have before in my life. We had to go to a Ward Picnic in this way beautiful park called Banpaku Koen and it was probably one of the most beautiful places I`ve been on my mission. I guess it hosted the World Expo or something like that in 1970 and they`ve kept it up in tip top shape ever since then. It was so beautiful and I was so glad for the chance to unwind a little and enjoy a little bit of Japan. The picnic was a blast and we played a really funny game of duck duck goose. I didn`t know that was only an American thing because no one knew that we were talking about when they asked us for an idea for a game (trust me you run out of ideas for games over a year into your mission). It was great to see both young and old, parents and kids, playing a hilarious, and quite intense, game of Duck Duck Goose.
 
  Our companion exchange ended with one of the most spiritual times of my life. We like to have an exchange review at the end of the exchange and I`m pretty sure ours would have gone all night if it wasn`t for a follow up with one of the Sisters. One of the greatest lessons I learned from that didn`t come from anything Elder H said, but it came from a letter he received from his Mother while he was in the MTC almost two years ago. That lesson is the subject of this email, `Teach Johnny Music`. Teaching is the way the material is presented. It represents the questions asked and the actual hands on involvement from the teacher with the student. Johnny is the student. He`s the one being taught. And Music is the actual material, or the lesson being shared. Now if we look at it from a gospel perspective, `Teach` refers to the skills of the teacher. They way and manner the teacher (or missionary) is able to share the material he has to teach. `Johnny` is the investigator (student). He`s the one receiving everything and entering into a whole new world. And `Music` is the gospel, or the actual message and gospel truths themselves. Now the question is this, which one is the most important? Is it the actual manner of teaching? Is it Johnny? Or is it simply the message being conveyed. The answer is Johnny. The most important thing is the person being taught. It doesn`t matter how good of a teacher you are, or how well the message is conveyed or even how good the message is, its all about the person being taught. That ended up being the mission theme of Elder H`s older brother`s mission when he was an Assistant in the Australia Perth Mission. I absolutely loved that. The people are whats important! Nothing else! If every missionary and member could understand that perfectly, the Lords work would touch the lives of many, many people. 

  As a mission we received a challenge from President W to finish the Book of Mormon by February 28th. We were all provided with a brand new, clean paperback copy of the BofM and challenged to take three different colors and mark, 1) All references to Christ and his name 2) Anything said by Christ or people quoting him and 3) Anything to do with his attributes. If you want the exact details just look in the back of PMG chapter 5 under Mission President, it`s right there. My challenge to all of you is to do the same thing! I`m in 1 Nephi 18 right now and I plan on reading it twice by February 28, 2015! I love the Book of Mormon and I know it is true! It is of God and it was translated through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I love this work, I love being a trainer, and I love being a missionary! I love you all!

Elder Giles

We found a pretty sweet cemetery!

We`re signing up for Quiditch at BYU, Fall 2015.

Sister M teaches me ballet after English class.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Why hast thou forsaken me?

Friends and Family,

  My kidneys still hurt. Nothing has changed there, but I`m able to work and function just fine so it really isn`t that bad. I`ll share an experience from early Sunday morning that had a really big influence on my life. 

  So I went back to the doctor last week and the doctor was really confused because the medicine wasn`t able to break up the stones at all. He said it was a little worrisome and thought it might be a bigger problem with my kidneys. I`ve been going back and forth with the mission doctor as well up in Tokyo and he asked me to send him my CT scan from a few weeks ago so I`m sending that up to him tomorrow. Basically I`ve been feeling pretty much 100% but early Sunday morning was a really rough one. I woke up about three or four o`clock in the morning with pretty intense pain. I knew I had to do something about it so I grabbed the pain killers the doctor gave me and my water bottle and went into the other room, away from where my companion and the other missionaries were sleeping. Everything hurt in my body and I pretty much fell on my knees when I got to the room. It hurt to lay down, sit down, and stand and the only position where I could get any relief was on my knees. I was still in and out of consciousness because it was so early, but I distinctly remember being on my knees and having this overcoming feeling that this was like my own personal suffering in the Garden. I don`t mean to even try to compare what I`m going through with what the Savior went through in Gethsemane. I was on my knees and I asked Heavenly Father, `Why hast thou forsaken me?` It hurt so much. They say that kidney stones are  comparable to child birth. I don`t know, all I know is it hurt. I begged my Father in Heaven to take the pain from me. I just wanted it to be done. I had the strongest feeling of love as well. When it says in the New Testament that an Angel came down to strengthen the Savior in the midst of his pain, I felt something I know was similar. Someone was there to comfort me. Through an impression I remembered that I hadn`t taken the pain killers and I needed to do so in order to get relief. I took them and noticed that I was shivering from the cold of the hard wood floor. I put my sweatshirt on used another one as a pillow and the next thing I remember is waking up about five or five thirty in the morning and thinking I probably shouldn`t sleep there on the floor and that I should go climb back in to my futon. When the alarm went off at 6:25 I told my District Leader what had happened and he said that he thought I should go back to sleep and let Sister W know I was in some pain. I told him I`d be fine and that I was capable to work that day. I emailed Sister W and let her know what was going on. She basically told me to just do what I felt comfortable doing and that her and President were so so so sorry that this was happening. I`m so grateful to have such a loving Mission President and Mission Mom. I went on through the Sabbath with a little pain every now and then, but I was able to work just fine.

  I`m so grateful for a loving Savior and for the chance to be made perfect through him. I know he lives. Our Father in Heaven knows us all perfectly. He knows what we`re going through and how to help us. I love this Gospel. I can`t imagine going through life without the knowledge I have of a loving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. 

  I love you all so much! I`m just fine and I can feel your love every day. Thank you so much for supporting me. I love you guys. Have a great week!

Elder Giles   


Sunday, October 26, 2014

One Bird, Two Stones

Friends and family,

  This week has been a crazy one thats for sure. I`ll just say that I am really, really, really grateful for the power of the Priesthood and prayer. I also became a trainer for the second time and it's been great! My new companion is Elder P from Provo, Utah. He`s awesome. His parents are from Puerto Rico and he speaks fluent Spanish (we`re working on the Japanese). He`s a beast though. He played football, lacrosse, and wrestling at Timpview in high school and served in the Army reserve for a few years before the mission. He`s awesome. I can`t tell you all how much I love this guy! I`m really grateful for the chance to be his trainer. 

  So last Sunday I had a pretty scary situation and I had to go to the Emergency Room because something felt really wrong with my back. Basically we were riding our bikes to go visit a Less Active member with the Sisters and I all of a sudden had the worst pain ever in my back. It was like I had a searing pain in just to the left of my spine in my lower back and I didn`t know what it was. All the neighbors in the area came out to see if I was okay and a member came and called an ambulance. Before the ambulance came the member said to me that I needed a Priesthood Blessing right there on the street. He kneeled down next to where I was laying and he and my companion gave me one of the most powerful Priesthood blessings I have ever received. I went to the ER and they x-rayed my back to see if everything was okay and the x-rays came out fine, my back was in good shape. After a while my back started to calm down and they decided that it was nothing more than a really bad pinched nerve. Well I thought it would be fine after that, but I kept having really weird pains throughout the week and at one point on Thursday I called Sister W and told her something was still wrong. She said to go to the hospital and get it checked again so we ran up to the hospital Thursday morning. They thought that it could have been a hernia so they had me take a test that showed my red blood cells were higher than they should have been. They had me do a CT scan which showed that I had two small kidney stones! That was the reason my back hurt so bad on Sunday night. They`re pretty small stones so they should dissolve by the end of the week, but man, these hurt pretty bad... I know the Lord is mindful of the situation though because I`m not really in a lot of pain, and haven`t been since Thursday morning. He`s sustaining me right now for sure! It's funny, everytime the Lord allows me to feel pain, it`s a reminder that Christ felt that once. He knows what it's like and he can empathize with us. Granted, his pain was a lot worse than a few kidney stones, but I know he`s helping me all the same. I know my Savior lives!
 
  So that was a fun experience. We also had our Stake Conference here this weekend and President W was able to attend and speak. It was amazing. Even in Japanese that man is extremely powerful, and I`ll say, he has some pretty freaking good Japanese. He told the wards basically what our job is in relation to helping them fulfill their callings. Our mission goal is to find out the goals of the wards and stakes and work with them to achieve those! I can`t wait until the wards here actually apply the great things he spoke about this weekend. 

  Well I`m onto another week in the service of my God as a trainer. I`m loving my mission more than ever and I love it more and more every day! I love you all and I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Giles

This is my #2 Son!

​Elder B and I back as trainers for the second time! Love this guy. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

NEW MISSIONARY

Hello friends and family!!!

So its transfer week this week and we got the transfer spreadsheet this
morning in the weekly email. I`ll be staying in Takatsuki for a little
while longer and I was called as a trainer again! I`m SUPER excited. Its
going to be a blast. I think I`m most excited because Elder B, who`s on
the other side of the mission right now, is also a trainer again so we get
to meet up at the mission home on Friday! Pictures to come, folks! 

When I was called as a trainer a few transfers ago, I was way excited, but I think I surpassed that today when I got the news again. I`m much more prepared to train now! The only scary thing now is the fact that this week, I`ll begin
my tenth transfer. I`m officially an old missionary!

This last week Elder F and I pretty much knew that it was going to be our last full week together so we had an awesome time. The eight missionaries in our district practiced `I know that my redeemer lives` all week to sing in Sacrament meeting in both the Ibaraki and Takatsuki Wards because one of the Sisters, Sister D, is going home tomorrow. It was so cool! The song was super powerful and I think we had just about everyone in tears. The funny part was that no one really knew
about singing in choirs and stuff so I had to coach and lead everyone all
week. Talk about a flash back to junior high choir!

We had interviews with President W 
this last thursday and it was awesome! I absolutely love talking to that man. It was fun being able to talk to Sister W as well. Turns out her maiden name in N and her
family lives in Charleston, Utah (my Dad's hometown)! We`re probably related somewhere! My interview with President W was a blast. We talked about just about everything and he told me that I had to stay for the struggling ward I`m in
right now and that my companion would be transferring.  
He gave me a great compliment when he said that I am the
least of his worries in the mission right now. That was extremely humbling
and made me want to be that much better and actually deserve those kind of
compliments.

Well yeah. Thats basically it for me this week. I`m a trainer again, my
companion is transferring to Hiroshima, and its getting colder. I`ve actually
had to break out the sweaters a few times this last week! I`m loving life.
I`m loving my area and I`m loving the gospel! I love you all! Have a great
week!

Elder Giles



Monday, October 13, 2014

Master, the tempest is raging!

Friends, family, future coworkers and associates, and hopefully my future spouse (that should cover just about everyone)

  This week was really good! Right now we`re focusing most of our efforts on visiting and strengthening up the ward. We`re doing a ton with the Sisters in our area, Sister M and Sister M (they`re awesome!). The four of us visited a few less actives and some members this week and had a few really cool experiences!

  The first member we decided to visit was an older woman in the ward. She`s one of the sweetest people I know and has a great energy level. We went by her house to say hello, sing a hymn, and share a short message with her, but when we arrived, we were pleased to find out her nonmember younger sister was there visiting from Akashi (my first area). She welcomed us in and gave us some really good Japanese treats like she always does. Her sister was really nice and was asking all sorts of questions like what the U.S. and New Zealand are like (Sister M is a Kiwi), and why we came on missions and stuff like that. We sang Nearer My God to Thee and the Sisters shared a short scripture. I think it was 1 Nephi 11:17. After they shared the scripture they shared their testimonies that God is Our Father in Heaven and he truly does love his children. It was a great message and the Spirit could be felt for sure. Well that was all fine and dandy until Sunday we found out from the member that right before we came over that day, her and her sister were talking about God and the sister had a question that the member couldn`t answer about our Heavenly Father that the Sisters were able to answer for her in their message! It was so cool. I`m so glad to be working with such wonderful, in tune Sister missionaries. 

  We also had the chance to go over to a potential investigators house for dinner with her and her two children. The woman lived in Cache Valley for a year and England for seven so her and her kids speak fluent english (phew). We had dinner with them and talked about our families and about the fact that we wanted to help people so we joined the ranks and entered the mission field and stuff like that. It was awesome because she actually made us a straight up American style meal of chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy! In Japanese that would be `natsukashi` or `nostalgic`. They weren`t able to become new investigators, but they asked us to come back for dinner every Tuesday from now on! Hopefully we`ll be able to soften and touch their hearts with the message of the restoration. 

  I`ve come to realize on my mission that it isn`t the huge miracles and defining, once in a lifetime moments that make your mission amazing. It`s the little things every single day. A smile and wave from a little kid, a random act of kindness from an `obachan`, or a chance to share a testimony to a college kid in front of the train station. It all piles up to make for an amazing experience. This week was my one year mark in Japan. I know, right? I`m coming home in like ten months or something like that. I can`t believe what an amazing experience my mission has been. I love this stuff. I love my mission!

  We were able to watch conference as well. Yes, it was amazing. Yes, I loved all five sessions. I think my favorite talk was by one of the new recently called Seventy, Elder Jorg Klebingat. His message was awesome. I loved the six principles he shared with us and how they can help us live better lives. I love our Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson as well. I know he is a Prophet of God, the worthy successor to Joseph Smith, and the leader of our church. I sustain him fully and try to live by every word that comes from his mouth! I love the Prophet!

  I hope you all have an awesome week. Yes, there`s quite the typhoon coming, but we should be fine. Christ calmed the tempest, right? No problem! I love you all! Have an awesome week!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles




Sunday, October 5, 2014

`Walk With Me`

Friends and family,
 
  We had another great week here in the Land of the Dropping Tempurature. The other companionship in the apartment was surprised on Tuesday with a call from the Assistants saying that the junior companion, Elder G, was going to be transferred early to switch with another Elder on the other side of the mission. It was extremely sad because the four of us, myself, Elder F, Elder H, and Elder G have become really close over the last two transfers. It was really tough to say goodbye! The new Elder that came into the apartment is Elder A and we love him already. His parents are from Nigeria, but he`s grown up in Sweden and speaks fluent American English. Its awesome! He`s a really funny guy and all of us get along really well.
  This week at our Zone Training Meeting our new Mission Theme was released! We`re all super excited to focus on `Walk with Me` as our theme for the rest of our missions! I will admit. I was a little surprised and bummed when I first saw it, but the more we talked about it and pondered what it truly meant, the better and better it became. The Savior doesn`t ask us to run or jog with him. He simply asks us to walk. I love that. Every time I think of it the most peaceful feeling comes over me and I just feel like everythings going to be okay right now. I love our new theme and I know the little adjustment will make a big change with what we`re doing here in Japan.
  The area and ward I`m in right now is very interesting. The feeling we get when we attend our meeting is not a very good one so the missionaries took advantage of testimony meeting to bring the spirit into our sacrament. All the members are awesome, but no one really does anything and no one really even associates with each other. Its really strange. Right now we and the Sisters are working really close to try whatever we can do to strengthen and build the testimonies of the members. Right now the idea we`re going on is to visit every member that comes to church, try to share a message, and sing a hymn. Thats just the start because there`s something like 400-500 Less Actives in the area and we haven`t even scratched the surface. Nevertheless I know the Lord's hand is over this land. I had the impression during sacrament that if the Savior wanted to, he could walk through the doors of the chapel into our meeting. He`s real. He lives and I know it.
  I love this Gospel. I know the church is true and Jesus Christ is at the head. President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's chosen Prophet on the Earth today and I sustain him as such. I can`t wait to have the chance to see General Conference this weekend! I know, I know, I`m a week behind, but don`t spoil it for me! I`m too excited! I love you all. I really do. The love and support from each of you is so incredible. It gets me out of bed at 5:30 every morning. Yes that's not a typo, Mom. 5:30. I hope you all have a fantastic week! I love you guys!
 
Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles


Sunday, September 28, 2014

.. as if it were great drops of blood.

Hello friends and family!

  This week was AWESOME! We had the opportunity to have a visit from Elder R of the Seventy (Asia North Area President), and it was fantastic. I think the purpose of the visit was just to check on the mission after getting a new Mission President and making sure we`re working efficiently. He had a ton of good things to say about us over here in Kobe. Right now our main goal is to Establish the Church and work well with the members. As of now really none of the members are doing anything as far as missionary work goes, but slowly and surely things are starting to change! The Takatsuki Bishop and Ward Mission Leader are awesome and are really looking forward to getting the work moving in the ward. 

  I`ll give a quick update on my good friend, S, for the week. As some of you might have thought, we should have seen a baptism yesterday. Unfortunately for reasons out of our control, mainly do to a crazy work schedule, S was unable to be baptized. Don`t worry, he will absolutely be getting baptized here in Takatsuki in the short term, it was just not the will of the Lord for him to enter the waters of baptism this weekend. He`s crazy busy trying to keep up on his work and supporting his wife in Hawaii while she has her baby (She will be born on October 24). He was able to come by the church on Saturday for basketball and he told us all about his trip to Hawaii. He said the craziest thing happened! When they first got to Hawaii they starting talking to this lady sitting next to them on their shuttle. Just so happens the lady was a member and offered to take S's wife to church with her and help her out while S went back to Japan. Craziest thing! The Lord saw that these people needed help and provided a sweet church member to take care of them. I was way touched! The church is true! 

  This week we taught probably one of the most powerful lessons, at least to me anyway, that I`ve ever experienced. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but we had a great example for teaching the Atonement. As we were studying I remembered a lesson I got at a Young Men's Camp called Apple 08` where my former Bishop, Bishop T, gave us an amazing lesson on the Atonement with his son. I`m sure you probably know of the `push up` example in regards to the Atonement, but pretty much it goes like this: One person volunteers to do push ups and one person offers the others in the room some sort of treat. He gives it to them but says that in order for them to eat it. The chosen person has to do ten push ups. He then asks that person if he would be willing to do push ups so this person can partake of the treat. This goes on until somebody refuses the treat because they don`t want the person doing the push ups to suffer any longer. Even though the person refuses the treat, the person still has to do the push ups because even if we don`t access the power of the Atonement in our own lives, Jesus still suffered for all of us. All in all I think I did somewhere between 100 and 150 pushups. It was crazy! It was so powerful. We had most everyone crying that was present and the Spirit of the Lord could be felt so powerfully. This lesson was taught to our investigator, K, the one we found while doing service a few weeks ago and he accepted an invitation to be baptized! It was way powerful. 

  Those were just a few cool things that happened this last week! We`re truly seeing miracles over here on this side of the world and I feel so blessed to be a part of it! Thank you so much for all the love and support! I love you all so much!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

​The Rising Sun at 5:30 AM!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hashira means pole

Hey everyone!

  We had a pretty good week this week! Just another seven days fully enveloped in the service of God. Nothing special.... Not! This week was awesome and I was able to learn a lot.

  I`ll start off by saying that, yes, I hit a pole this week. We went to our investigators play on Saturday night and we were really hurrying to get home after because we were really close on time. We flew through an intersection trying to take a new short cut and I missed the road we were supposed to turn right on. I looked back to double check whether or not it was the road and then BAM. I managed to smash into one of the telephone poles placed conveniently on the side of the road. It was the craziest thing. One minute I`m cruising along just fine and the next I`m staring down a concrete telephone pole. It was even crazier because I wasn`t hurt at all. There was a guy riding toward us in the opposite direction on his phone and I heard him say when I was on the ground, `Oh crap, this foreigner just ate it in front of me.` It was pretty funny. My District Leader, Elder H, was right behind me when it happened and he was like, `You good?` I said, `Yep.`  and got up and kept riding. It was hilarious! A little while later he was like, `Dude you really took that like a man!` It was a proud moment. I`m not hurt at all. I don`t have a single bruise and I`m not even stiff. I feel like the Lord was trying to send a message. Last week I don`t think my mind was as engaged in the work as it should have been. I just straight up wasn`t focused. I think hitting that pole was a great reminder of what I`m really here to do. That night I had the impression to read my Patriarchal Blessing and see what the Lord was really trying to teach me. The answer I received was that I am to be an example. The Lord expects a high standard of me and he had to knock me off my bike in order for me to truly understand that. This was just a little experience, but oh, how I learned so very much. 

  The kid that we found through doing service at the park last week came to church again for the second time! He stayed for all three hours and for another two and a half hours after. I have no doubt he`ll be baptized soon! We had the chance to go to a play him and his group of friends were putting on and it was a blast. During the play he talked a lot about what he thinks the purpose of life is. He did and example using the Japanese character of life, 命. Theres actually three characters that make up that one and they are, person, one, and a word meaning concrete or something like that. He gave a great example that we`ll be able to use so well to connect to the Gospel! We talked to him a lot of `Eternal Life` during church and after we asked him what he wanted most out of his life was, and do you know what he said? ` I want Eternal Life!` It was awesome. He`s so prepared. I`m looking forward to teaching and hopefully baptizing him soon as well!

  This work is awesome. I love what I do here. This is very literally the work of God. I know this church is true and I know that God lives! I love all of you. I really do. I`ve taken the relationships I`ve had in my life for granted and I really want you to know how much I treasure each and every one of you. You`ve all impacted me in some way in my life and I`m so blessed because of that! I love you all! Have an awesome week!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles


Hymns outside the train station, anyone?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

In the Service of my God

Friends and family on the other side of the world, Hello everyone! This week has been really good! S returned from Hawaii last week, but unfortunately wasn`t able to meet with us because he got the flu. Those darned airplanes... He wasn`t able to come to church so we`re going to be crunched a little bit for time with his baptism in two weeks! Its a good thing this is the work of the Lord, or I would be really, really stressed out right now!

  We had an awesome experience while we were doing service with one of our investigators up at the Park. We go up there every week and its an awesome chance to do some service and get the `Helping Hands` logo out there! Last week it got us a new investigator (by the way, he came to our music night on Saturday) and guess what? It got us another new investigator this week too! We were turning up some soil to plant a garden and this guy comes out of nowhere and starts talking to my companion. At first I thought he was some weirdo because people usually are nowhere near that friendly in this country to foreigners! He was having a great conversation with my companion and they set up an appointment to meet up the next week.  After they exchanged phone numbers and emails he kept hanging around asking us why we were digging up the dirt with a church vest on. I explained that we were volunteer missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we do service like this all the time, its part of what our church does! He thought that was way cool. I asked him if he`d ever been to a Christian church before and if he thought he could come the next day. He said he hadn`t but that he would try to make it on Sunday at 10:30! He left and we went back to work. After about an hour or so he came back with his friend and brought us all Cokes! He said he thought we looked like we needed a drink and he wanted to help us out! I was way grateful. His friend was hilarious! He`s a professional DJ and they gave us all free tickets to a performance of theirs this week! The tickets were thirty dollars a piece and he just gave them to us! We talked for a while and it turns out we have a ton in common. He likes to play basketball and rides a little bit of motocross! I asked if he wanted to come by the church later that day with his DJ friend for a tour and to play some basketball and he said that he would! We met them a little while later and took them to the church. We were able to give them a quick tour of the building and then take them into the chapel and taught them a little bit about what goes down at our Meetings on Sunday. They thought it was way cool and said they would come the next day! We played some basketball after that. Turns out our new friend is a straight up baller and a half and coached Junior high ball for a little while after high school (he`s only 19). The best part about this was he actually came to all three hours of church yesterday! It was so cool! We actually had one of the Japanese missionaries that returned last week come to our ward with is Mom before he went home so he was able to fellowship and friendship our new friend really well! The Lord's hand was definitely present yesterday. It was so cool!

  Well there you go. Those `Helping Hands` vests really do bring miracles! This church is true! I love what I do. I`ll see you guys in.... oh wait that doesn`t rhyme anymore... Oh well! 11 months it is! I love all of you and I`m so grateful for all the love and support that you all show me. I`m the luckiest Elder in the church! I love you all!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

This is K, our new investigator.

Monday, September 8, 2014

How is that sore?

Whats up everybody! 

  First off, it will be my opportunity to spend another transfer in Takatsuki with my companion, Elder F. We`re pretty excited and we know that we are staying for S for sure! As you can probably tell from the subject of this email, I`m beat! We had a pretty physically active week last week and it was waaayyyyyy too fun. I think what was even funnier was that I tried to put on my jeans for a service project last week and they wouldn`t fit around my legs. It was kind of a bummer but at least I didn`t have to wear jeans in the sweltering heat of 日本! 

  We had the chance to go help out a member in his garden last Tuesday. This member, Brother N, is just awesome. He speaks just about fluent English so thats way nice, but he`s just an overall bubbly person in general, he`s hilarious! He was really grateful for our help because his wife is pretty sick right now. She`s got something that keeps her from really being able to move around at all. He took us to his huge garden that he maintains with a few other partners. We were going to be tilling the earth and building up raised beds for their new vegetables to be had next year. I think thats right, I`m not much of a gardener. Needless to say after about an hour and two raised beds later I was just about ready to keel over. Brother N came over to check my progress and says something like, you are very talented Elder Giles! It was a proud moment! Go to Japan, learn how to till the Earth, till the Earth in the spiritual sense, and change some lives. I loved being able to just work out in the fields for a little bit. It was nice to kind of be able to break the daily grind and mix it up a little bit. I just hope we did well enough to be invited back this week! 

  As a District we go up to a park in Takatsuki every Saturday to volunteer with one of our investigators and her friends. At first it was just my companion and I going up every week, but we were able to get our whole district involved and really make an impact on the city every day. We just do simple stuff like weeding and pooring soil for new garden beds and stuff like that, but it`s really fun and our investigator has really started to love the church because of the service that we provide. We even got our yellow `Helping Hands` vests to wear while we do it this last week! While we were pulling some weeds along the sidewalk this way nice High School kid walked by on his way to a school festival and saw what we were doing. He said to our investigator that he thought it was way cool that these young people would get out and serve like that. He had to go before I had the chance to talk to him and I was a little bummed about it! After we were done serving our investigator asked us if we wanted to go check out the school festival that was being held nearby. We agreed and went over to see what was going on. Right as we walked into the festival that same kid came up and gave us a hug! It was way funny! He showed us around and we got to talk to him and get to know him really well. When we were on our way out we got the kids number and told him we would call him to meet up soon. We`re meeting with him in about 4 hours or so! That just goes to show how important it is to get out and serve. There are people all around us that see us and wonder why it is we do the things we do and we can have all sorts of experiences like that through serving our neighbors! It was really cool. The kids name is S, by the way. 

  We also happen to have a really fitness crazy Zone Leader right now that thought it would be good for the Zone to have a little exercise activity before our Zone Training Meeting. He`s way solid and showed us plenty of good things to do in the mornings for exercise. One of the things he really likes to do is burpees. For those of you who don`t know what a burpee is, you do a push up, jump to your feet, jump and clap your hands over your head, and go back down to a push up. Its crazy! At the end of the exercise activity he asked me if I wanted to see if I could go for five minutes with him. I agreed (not really sure why), and we cranked it out for five intense minutes. Long story short I couldn`t lift my hands above my head the next morning, but it was way awesome! 

  I`m having a great time here. I hit my 13th month mark yesterday and I can`t believe how fast time is flying by. I know this church is true. I testify that this gospel can change the hearts of anyone if they`ll allow it. This has changed my life. This is the greatest thing I`ve ever done. I love my job. I love being a missionary! がんばれ日本! I love you guys!!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles


Osaka North Zone! On my right is my MTC comp, Elder D (he hasn`t changed at all!) and on his right is our fitness nut ZL, Elder D.