Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

Sunday, March 30, 2014

New comp, new transfer, still just working here

Helloooooo friends and family!!

  Its been a great week and I`m glad to say that the weather here in Japan is beautiful! It`s finally spring time here and the Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom! Its awesome! It feels like a whole new country now that it`s spring time. I feel like I`ve finally reached the point where I can look at every single thing as a positive. Really, everything is a blessing whether its good or bad. Heavenly Father has an individual plan for every single one of us and once we figure that out, life just starts to become beautiful. 

      I`ll start out by saying that Brother K has officially been confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we couldn`t be happier for him. He was confirmed by the Bishop and after the ordinance, I don`t think I`ve ever seen him smile so much. It was an amazing opportunity and one that I`ll cherish forever. His After Baptism lessons will be a little tough without Yamaguchi Choro because he doesn`t understand our Japanese and we really don`t understand his but we`re doing everything we can to see him 100% converted to this gospel. 

      We were street contacting in one of the shopping areas on Saturday giving out English Class fliers and stuff and we stopped this family that had a lot of interest in the class. I was standing a little ways away while my companion talked to the parents when there little son and daughter came over and talked to me. He asked how old I was and I told him to guess and he said 28! I told him I was 19 and he was like, `You`re so young!` I said, `So are you!` I asked him what his name was and he said it was `G`.  A He said he was 8 and I almost broke down right there. It was like I was talking to J.  I was asking him what kind of sports he liked he said he like baseball. I asked him if he was going to be like Ichiro and he proceeded to tell me that that isn`t possible because Ichiro bats left handed and he bats right handed. He was so cute! He asked me how many years I`ve been in Japan and he was shocked when I told him I`ve been here for just over 5 months! He was like, `Pera Pera desu ka?` (are you fluent?) and I said not even close! I want to teach his family so bad. I haven`t had the chance to teach a family yet and I want to so bad!

      The church is still true. I won`t harp on that too much this week but I just feel so privileged to be doing this work. I had one of those, `dang`, moments last week looking down at my tag and seeing the Saviors name next to mine. I have the best job in the world. I really don`t want this work to end. I never thought I would say that even a month ago but I`m finally there. I think its the beautiful weather thats got me in such a great mood today. Oh the tender mercies of the Lord. I love this stuff.

      I`m doing great but I still have a long way to go with everything. I guess thats just a part of the beauty of life, you`re never quite there. The Lord can always expect a little more out of us. 

      I hope you all have a great week. I consider you all my family and I`m so blessed to have all of your love and support! I love you all!!!!!!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What more witness do we need?

My amazing family,

Wow. Our God is a God of miracles. What an amazing week it has been! To start off, we had a Baptism last Saturday. We baptized our 78 year old investigator, Brother K. It was such an awesome opportunity and I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to perform his baptism.

To start off last week our odds of seeing a baptism by March 23 were looking pretty bleak. Brother K was our only real shot at still seeing a baptism but just a few days earlier, we were contemplating whether or not we should keep him has an investigator. He really wasn`t progressing that quickly and we questioned his motives for meeting with us. He really likes my companion, Elder Y, so we wondered if that was the only real reason he still met with us and came to church every Sunday. Little by little, however, he was changing. When we first got here, he was happy to come to church on Sunday, but hated making appointments throughout the week. He started to become more willing to meet with us as he got more comfortable with Y Choro and I. He really started to take off when we met him on Tuesday. Instead of going with a set lesson plan we decided we were just going to talk. We covered just about every single lesson and met with him for about three or four hours. We did the same the next day and he finally agreed to be baptized. I couldn`t believe that I had just witnessed the changing of the heart a man, right in front of me! We were a little concerned about whether or not he would be able to keep the commandments, he liked to smoke and drink and we were worried if he could give it up in time for his baptism. We shared the commandments with him and he had no problem at all with keeping the word of wisdom. His health has been deteriorating over the last little while so he realized the temporal blessings that living that law would bring to his life. The only commandment he had a little trouble with was the law of tithing, he told us he didn`t think he could pay tithing because he`s retired and doesn`t ever receive any money to pay tithing on! We told him that was okay but asked him to pay tithing on any money he might receive in the future and he agreed. He passed his interview on Friday night and was baptized the next day. His daughter was a little bit of a problem because she was pretty opposed to the church. We stopped by and visited her and gave her a copy of `The Family: A Proclamation to the World` which we hope will soften her heart and help her to not change her view on her father. It was sad to see someone so opposed from the gospel after watching what it can do to change someones life.

I had full faith all along that if the Lord wanted us to see a Baptism, we would see a Baptism. I tried my hardest not to stress about the goal, and although difficult at times, I think I managed to do that pretty well. My trust in the Lord has been strengthened so much this last transfer. My testimony that this is his work is stronger than ever and I feel so blessed to wear his name on my chest every day.

Today was transfer mail day and I`ll be staying in Sakai but I get a new companion, Elder Y!, I guess I`m just a magnet for Japanese companions. Elder Y is half Japanese and from the U.S. so I won`t have the native aspect anymore. Elder Y, my most recent companion, is going down to Shikoku and I`ll miss him for sure. He`s an awesome missionary and has been a great companion for the last two transfers. We saw a lot of miracles together and it was great to build up a solid teaching pool with him after starting from 0 just two months ago! 

I can`t believe how fast time is flying by. It`s crazy to think that I got here the week after General Conference and it`s almost conference time again! I`m loving life and I can`t wait to listen to the Prophets share revelation directly from Heavenly Father!

I love you all and I hope you have a great week! 

Elder Giles

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy St. Patricks Day

Hellooooo Family!
I hope you`re all having an awesome week! We`ve been working our tails off this week but it`s been awesome! Time is flying by. I don`t have a lot of time today, one of our investigators needs a ride to his doctors appointment for his messed up feet so we asked one of the members to give him a ride and we`re going to go with him! A small sacrifice we`re willing to pay on our Preparation Day. I feel bad, we didn`t have time to clean this morning because we had to get our hair cut so we made the other Elders clean the whole apartment... Oops.
This week has been a blast. Last monday we went to Misaki Koen, which is a big Zoo about an hour or so south of us. It was a blast! I got some great pictures that I`ll attach to this email. The Zoo was way sweet! It felt a little bit like going to Wally World because no one was there but we got right up close to everything so that was cool. It was nice to relax for a little bit and have some fun for sure!
On Tuesday the mission had an All-Japanese Conference in Kobe so I got to go on exchanges with another Elder from our Zone. It was way sweet. Elder K is only a transfer older than me so our Japanese level is pretty much the same. We had an awesome/completely random day. We went to the park and the first guy we stopped talked to us for an hour. I mean talked TO us in the very literal sense because neither I nor Elder K could understand a thing he was saying. We just kept nodding our heads and saying, `Hai, hai, hai` it was great. We finally got him to wrap up his shpeel about one of the other Parks in Sakai and got his number. He agreed to come to church on Sunday but he ended up not showing up. We talked to a young familly after that about our English class and they seemed way interested so I hope they end up coming. I called the Dad the other night and he said they were planning on coming so I`m excited about that. We went up to the main center of the City after that and ran into this hilarious drunk guy. He was so funny. He just kept yelling and laughing and he was speaking such strong Kansai-Japanese neither of us could understand hardly anything he was saying. He kept trying to get the ladies that advertise the restaraunts to come over and talk to us and it was everything we could to tell him we weren`t interested. He was hilarious. The looks on everyones faces walking by watching this absolutely wasted guy yelling and laughing with these two white kids was priceless. He ended up not living in our area so we just gave him a pass along card and told him we had to go. After that we found this two kids our age hanging out in a park and talked to them for a little bit. They were way cool but really didn`t have any interest in the church or the gospel but they want to go to dinner sometime so there`s still hope! Their names were T and T which I thought was pretty great. It was such a fun exchange. Elder K is the man and it was great to go out with another American for once!
We found a great new investigator this week that just moved to Sakai. We talked to him on the street for a little bit and he agreed to come to the church for a tour and an introduction. We called him two nights later before we planned on meeting him and he told my companion how much he wanted to change his life and he has had interest in Christianity for a long time. We gave him a tour and our introduction message and he accepted everything really well. After our lesson he stayed at the church and helped us and a few of the ward members set up for another members wedding reception. It was awesome! He wanted to come to the wedding reception the next day so we met him an hour before and taught him about God. He believes pretty much everything we told him and accepted and is now reading the Book of Mormon! He came to church yesterday for all three hours and then one of the members volunteered to help him move the last of his things from Kobe to his new apartment in Sakai! He`s really solid. We went over to his apartment last night for a little bit and talked with him and helped him unpack his things, it was way fun. We`re planning on extending the invitation to be baptized during our next lesson for sometime in May or June. We really want him to become converted to this gospel before he gets baptized but we`re really excited about him!
It was great to have the opportunity to attend the wedding reception of one of the members of the Sakai Ward. He returned from the Fukuoka Mission about 6 or 7 months ago and is a really solid guy. Him and his wife were married in the Fukuoka Temple a week ago last Saturday. It was awesome to see a new couple, strong in the church, just sealed eternally in marriage. It really added to my testimony that families can be together forever! His wife served in the Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission so it was fun to talk to her about home for a little bit!
I`m exhausted. Missionary life is crazy but its a blast. I couldn`t help but think last week as we were road race cycling from one appointment to the other that I have the best job in the world. On top of how busy we are, I blew out the back tire on my bike last thursday so we had to walk to District Meeting in another area again. Awesome. Then I had to carry my bike about a mile or two the bike shop. It was a great time. I think every single person stopped me on the street to tell me where the bike shop was, it was great to see how many nice people are in the world, granted, it must have been a little strange to see a white guy in a pretty nice suit carrying his mountain bike on his back!
This week has been fun but we`re nowhere near stopping. This work is progressing rapidly and it`s great to be apart of it all! I love my job. I love being a missionary. I just want to help these people accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ that I know can make them happy. That shouldn`t be too much to ask, right? I love you all! I`m praying for my family back home every day. I miss you but this is where I`m supposed to be right now. I love you guys!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

Sunday, March 9, 2014

7 down, 17 to go

Hello friends, family, and everyone else!!

I hope you have all had a great week. I didn`t even realize it until I looked at the calendar on Friday but I`ve hit 7 months already! I can`t believe how fast my mission is clipping by. It`s crazy! All of the older missionaries say that they can`t believe how fast their missions have gone
by, everyone always says that but you really don`t know what it`s like until you experience it firsthand. I`m having a blast.

Last week the ward asked the missionaries to make an American Style meal for the entire ward for an after church party yesterday. That was a little
intimidating to four nineteen year olds but we worked hard! When we were trying to decide what we could make that would be easy to make in bulk for a lot of people I thought about what Dad eats for lunch usually so we made egg salad and BLT sandwiches! They were way good too, I was actually a little surprised! I think we used something like 100 eggs, 3 big things of Mayo, 5 packs of bacon, 25 tomatoes, and 30 loaves of bread! It was a blast. We bought most of the stuff last week on Preparation Day and then a
lady from the ward brought the rest of the stuff for us on Saturday to make them. We started on Saturday around 3 o`clock and one of our investigators came and helped us out. Have any of you had to boil and then de-shell 100 eggs? It was nuts. The other companionship had to leave at about 4:30 and our investigator left an hour later so it took Elder Y and I till 8:30 but we ended up making 120 beautiful sandwiches if I do say so myself!

We had a great Zone Training Meeting last week from our Zone Leaders.
They really focused on helping us to have the faith to see baptisms and how
to personalize everything from the training plans we receive, to the
scriptures, to Preach My Gospel. Its awesome to have Zone Leaders that
really do love this work and recognize the revelation they receive for the members of the Zone. One thing that they talked about that really stuck out to me was they talked about how we are responsible and accountable for the
revelation we receive. If we don`t act on the things we receive from Heavenly Father, those things will be brought down on us later! I think for me at least, being a Junior companion right now, I get nervous and a little intimidated to share possible revelation to my companion every once in a while. That really motivated to be more bold and to come out of my faith bubble a lot! I know it has blessed our companionship for sure.

Another thing I loved from what they talked about was how to be `sweetly
bold`. In Japan especially it can be really difficult to be bold. The culture in this country is so based on how to not offend people and being as polite as possible but it can feel a little like beating around the bush when we`re trying to call someone to repentance. We were taught that if our investigators want to stop meeting with us because we talk about Jesus Christ and ask them to change to become more like him, they probably aren`t the ones we`re supposed to be meeting with right now! I absolutely loved
that. Now I`m not going to go around telling people they`re going to hell
(President told us not to do that...) but I`m definitley a lot more motivated to be bold! I had an experience along these lines a little bit a few weeks ago when we were street contacting at the train station. We
stopped a guy and talked to him for a little bit and then I said that we teach about Jesus Christ and asked if he had an image of Jesus Christ or new anything about who he was. The guy said he didn`t really know anything about Christ and my companion said something like, yeah thats ok its really not that important. I was furious. That night I told him to never do that again. We are hear to teach about Jesus Christ and find the elect of God. The elect will respond to Christ and his teachings if we introduce it. My
companion wasn`t being a bad missionary or anything like that, he would
just rather get people in an appropriate setting, like the church, before
we dive into the gospel. This was one example of how are cultures differ a
little bit but it was definitely an experience for me about being bold. I`m not afraid to testify and teach of my Savior regardless of where we are. They elect will hear his voice, and harden not their hearts.

I`m learning so much every day. I know that everything I learn on my mission will not only benefit the next 17 months, but the rest of my life.  I know this will make me a better husband and father in the future as well.  The bottom line is this gospel is rock solid. Some people won`t respond to what we say but thats ok. Their time will come. I love this gospel and I love this opportunity to share it with these people in this amazing country
of Japan!! I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

Sunday, March 2, 2014


  THIS WEEK HAS BEEN PRETTY AWESOME! ON WEDNESDAY WE WENT TO ANOTHER AREA, IBARAKI, TO HAVE A ZONE CONFERENCE WITH ONE OF THE AREA SEVENTY PRESIDENCY MEMBERS, ELDER SCOTT D. WHITING. IT WAS SUCH AN AWESOME EXPERIENCE AND WE LEARNED A LOT OF GREAT THINGS FROM HIM. I GOT TO SEE ELDER B AT THE CONFERENCE TOO AND IT WAS GREAT! IT WAS SO GOOD TO SEE HIM DOING WELL. HIS COMPANION WAS IN MY DISTRICT IN THE MTC AND IT SOUNDS LIKE THEY`RE HAVING A LOT OF SUCCESS. ELDER WHITING WAS FANTASTIC. HE TALKED ABOUT THE POWER AND AUTHORITY OF OUR CALLING AS MISSIONARIES. HE TOLD US THAT WHEN WE ARE SET APART, AND ESPECIALLY WHEN WE GET OUR MINISTERIAL CERTIFICATE, WE RECEIVE THE AUTHORITY OF OUR CALLING, BUT ITS UP TO US TO RECEIVE THE POWER THAT GOES ALONG WITH THAT AUTHORITY. HE RELATED A LOT FROM THE BOOK OF MORMON ON HOW WE CAN BEST ACHIEVE THE POWER THAT WE NEED TO DO THIS WORK, WE TALKED A LOT ABOUT THE ATTRIBUTES OF NEPHI AND HOW HE RECEIVED THE POWER THAT HE HAD. NEPHI WAS OBEDIENT, FAITHFUL, DILLIGENT, HUMBLE, AND HAD SO MUCH FAITH. ALL THE MEANS OF A TRUE DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST. IN ORDER FOR US MISSIONARIES TO RECEIVE POWER, FIRST AND FOREMOST WE MUST BE STRICTLY OBEDIENT TO MISSION RULES. THE BEST THING THAT I GOT OUT OF WHAT HE SAID WAS WHEN HE TALKED ABOUT HOW MUCH OUR ATTITUDE EFFECTS THIS WORK. Oh thank goodness I just figured out how to get off caps lock! Anyway, back to what I was talking about. He said that if we can work dilligently, with a great attitude, while being obedient, we are entitled to receive blessings because of our authority. Pretty cool how that all fits together right? Then he compared between the attitude of Nephi and the attitude of Laman in 1 Nephi 17:2 and 17:20. Laman and Lemuel did everything that Nephi did. They were just as obediant as Nephi was but it was their ATTITUDE and faithfulness that made the difference. I know this was revelation for me. I`ll admit sometimes I have a little bit of a bad attitude. It can be difficult sometimes to be with a Japanese companion and we tend to but heads every once in a while but I`m really working hard on bettering my attitude, loving him, and taking advantage of this amazing opportunity of having a native speaker as my companion! Elder Whiting talked to us about the Atonement as well. He talked about how most of us just think of the Atonement as covering for our sins but there`s so much more to be had of it. He talked about when he was with Elder Bednar in the Salt Lake Temple and he asked him, `Elder Bednar, how can you possibly do all of this?` and Elder Bednar responded with something like, `I can do nothing save it be for the grace of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. For without his grace I could not do this.` I don`t really think I`ve ever thought about the grace of the Atonement. It`s that grace that changes the hearts of men. He talked about how sometimes we say think like, `I can`t change, thats just the way I am, I`ve always been like that, my family is like that, thats just how it is so I can`t change.` Elder Whiting said that that`s like saying the Atonement didn`t cover that part for me. Like Christ didn`t suffer enough for that. What a terrible thought right? Through the grace and power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can do all things. We can change. I recognize the changes in my life that I have to make right now in order to be the missionary that I want to become and the Lord know`s I can become. I can feel that power working in my life. I`m becoming a lot more patient, submissive, and I don`t really get high strung anymore. The stresses of daily life are becoming easier as I pray and ask for the Grace to help me to change.
  Isn`t this Gospel wonderful? I have a testimony that no matter what we are like, if we want to, throught the Atonement we can change ourselves, we can improve. It hit me after that this is what we are here in Japan to share with these people, the power of the Atonement. Everything else that we share is merely an appendage to that. I love it! My understanding of this gospel is growing so much!
 Another thing that Elder Whiting shared that I though was kind of funny was his input on one of the reasons 18, 19, and 20 year old boys serve missions. He said as import as these two years are, they are more concerned with the type of Fathers and Mothers we will become after our missions. He said the Sisters are amazing for serving and choose to do so out of love for the gospel but sometimes the Elder`s have another, slightly different reason. Before our missions boys tend to mess around and screw up here and there but we all repent and thats why we are able to serve. He talked to us about Alma and the Son`s of Mosiah and how they were TERRIBLE before their missions but what what did they do? They got it together and served their Lord and Savior for 14 years! He said, `See Elder`s you`re here to redeem yourselves too, in order for you all to take one of the Lords precious daughters for all eternity one day you have to redeem yourself and prove yourself capable. That`s one of the reason`s your`re here!` I thought it was great. I felt like a little bit of a shmuck after but hey, thats ok! I`m just a mortal!
  It was an awesome blessing to here from a General Authority this week. He was so great and I loved everything he said. He even said the we might just have the best Mission President in the church right now and I would have to agree. President Zinke is an amazing man. I know he will have a great impact on my life and one day I will tell my own kids about my awesome mission president. I can`t believe its already March. Time is flying by! It`s crazy that Jack is almost 8 as well! HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACK!
  I hope you all have an awesome week! I love you all and I pray for all of you every day! Pray that we will see a Baptism by March 23! We really need it! I love you all!
Elder Giles