Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fuel to the fire

愛する家族 (beloved family)

  How is everyone doing? I`m doing great and working just as hard as ever! We had interviews with our Mission President this past week and it was absolutely amazing. I love President Z and his wife so much, they have truly changed my life and helped make me a better missionary and person. During the training portion of interviews President spent a lot of time stressing the urgency of this great work. It got me so fired up I was about ready to bust out of my chair, run down the stairs, and start proselyting right there. The thought that there are people who are `perishing in unbelief`, and `being kept from the truth only because they know not where to find it` drives me nuts! I want to find these people so bad! 
  I can`t believe that President Z goes home in less than two months now. He said during our interview that it feels like I just got here! I would have to agree. It`s going to be incredibly difficult to say goodbye to him for the rest of my mission. Our last interview was awesome. I couldn`t help but think that he has A LOT of expectations from me in my mission. That was a little intimidating. He talked to me a lot about not being able to do this work alone and being the best example for my companions. He really pushed me hard on my Japanese. He asked me if I`ve been studying as hard as I did when I was still in training and was very pleased when I said I`ve been studying 10x harder. He shared with me some things from his own mission to Japan some forty years ago that I loved and I want to emulate. He talked with me about how he was the one that his Mission President would send to an area to baptize a specific family and then move him. He talked about how his Japanese got really pretty good fairly quickly and how that was what made the difference when truly convincing the family that baptism was what they needed in their lives. He said that because he was really able to communicate well with them, their trust in him was so much stronger. He also said that it ticked off his companions when the family wanted President Z to baptize them. He said that he`d have to take the Dad of the family off to the side and explain that his companion really loved the family and to let him baptize them and then President Z would confirm everyone. I laughed right out loud! I want to be that type of missionary soooo bad! 
  The last thing he said to me before our interview was over was something along the lines of, `Just go, Giles 長老, and see if your companions can keep up with you. It was great. He expects a lot and I plan to fill those expectations.
 My companion and I are working hard. It`s still a struggle sometimes just getting him to talk to people but I think I`ve stressed the importance of being bold enough he`s finally starting to get it. Being afraid to speak is like fearing man more than fearing God and, well, that`s just not acceptable so we`re working on it! As long as we burst our own personal bubble of faith every day it will grow and the Lord will magnify our efforts and whatever ability we have! 
  Well thats about all I have from this week. My companion threw our frisbee onto a go-cart track while we were frisbee-proselyting at the park last week, so that was pretty unfortunate. We got a nice guy to go ask the track worker to get it for us and we were able to get it back though. Then we invited the guy and his family to our English class with his family and he said they would probably come! Last night we were walking down the street and this guy stopped us and started talking to us for a little while, he has been to the US a few times and really liked English. He took us to this little cafe and bought us some food and we talked about his family and stuff like that. He didn`t have a lot of interest in the church but he really wants me to teach him how to speak English and stuff like that! He also invited us to play tennis with him on Saturday so that should be pretty fun! It`s all about the tender mercies of the Lord, right? It was a good time!
  I love you all and I`m so grateful for all of your love and support. Preparation Day is the highlight of my week getting to hear from everyone! I love you guys!!!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Because of Him

My awesome family,

  I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter yesterday and you all could remember the Resurrection of the Savior at the tomb! We watched a great video during Priesthood yesterday called `Because of Him`, on YouTube and I loved it. It really is all because of the Savior that we can do anything. The miracle of resurrection makes it possible for us to receive Eternal Life and be able to live with our families forever. 
  We had a pretty good week this last week and it started with a companion exchange with me and my District Leader, Elder S. He came to Sakai and we had an awesome time! We went to the park to do some sports proselyting and taught some guys how to rip stick. It was hilarious! We saw them all standing there looking at the board all confused so we went over and tried to see if we could teach them how to do it. They were way pumped! It was way fun and we were a little bummed because none of them lived in our area. Oh well, the missionaries will find them again sooner or later, right? We were riding down by the river and I saw a guy sitting by himself playing the guitar. I stopped and told him he was way good and asked if we could sit with him for a little bit. He agreed and was really excited when I told him I play the guitar as well! We sat and played together for a little bit and talked about music. He agreed to play again sometime and I think we`ll try to get him to church to play something for sacrament meeting on fast sunday! Wouldn`t that be cool? 
  We went to a McDonalds to eat that night because we knew that was where all the high school kids would be. Sure enough, a group of about twenty of them were hanging out in there and we quickly made friends and ate with them. They were hilarious! All of them wanted pictures of us and I think some of them followed me on Twitter. Blessings of social media right? It was crazy because one of them actually knew who we were and brought up a picture from a few months ago of another set of missionaries that he ate dinner with! Apparently his brother is an investigator so he knew exactly who we were. It was awesome! 
  During dinner a little old man came up to me and asked me where I was from and things of that nature. He was a really sweet guy and he agreed to meet again so we could give him an introduction so our church. Elder Y and I met him a few days ago and he became a new investigator! He has been to a Catholic church before so he had a little bit of background and has some great beliefs. After the lesson he agreed to come to church and actually came the next day! We told him we would meet him at the train station near the church at 9:30 and walk to church from there. He was there when we got there and he said because it was Sunday the train schedule was a little different so he had been waiting there patiently since 7:30 that morning! It was crazy! I apologized for making him wait but he didn`t even seem to mind at all and stayed at church for all 3 hours. He`s a great guy and I`m really grateful for the opportunity to teach him. 
  I have my last interview with President Z this coming thursday before his mission ends and I can`t believe it`s already the last one. Time has been absolutely flying lately and I feel like the two of us just spoke not one week ago! I`m really excited for the interview though. He always has such great insights and revelation to share and I know it will help me in my mission so much. I love President Z and I know I will remember him and be grateful for him for the rest of my life!
  I have to go save some souls but I just want to say, again, how grateful I am for all of you! Each and every one of you has blessed my life so much and I`m so grateful for all of your examples. Being the oldest grandchild was never an easy responsibility and I just hope I can provide a good example to all the little ones looking up. I feel so blessed to be where I am and to be doing what I`m doing. I have the best job in the world right now! Oh, and I almost forgot, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love you all!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles  

Some Osaka street graffiti

And some high school girls that really wanted a pic with us.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

`Dieter, don`t even think about it.`

Helllllllllllllllllooooooooooo Family :)

  I loved General Conference this past week! It`s a little sad that I had to wait a week to watch it and enjoy it with the rest of you but it was great none the least. 
  I was so impressed with all of the talks and the simplicity that almost every speaker contained. The talks were great and it was great to hear everyone testify of the Savior and his Atonement. President Monson`s underlying theme of showing love and kindness so great as well. I don`t think I could pick a favorite talk but I really liked the one about the Olympic Athletes. I can`t remember at the moment who the speaker was but I loved the idea he shared about this being our `Four Minutes`. We prepared for a loooong time to come to this world and we have eternity after this life but this is the time that determines our success and happiness. I couldn`t help but think that if this life is like a four minutes halfpipe run then this time that I have to be a missionary must be like my `switch cab 1080` in the middle of the run. The significance of my mission as it relates to the rest of my life. I know I`ll take experience and knowledge that I`m learning RIGHT NOW and use them for the rest of my life. It`s crazy to think my life as a missionary is already 1/3 done and I`m so motivated to give it everything I possibly can for the next 2/3 in the Land of the Rising Sun. 
  A lot of what I got out of conference was how we, as individuals, need to strengthen our own testimonies of the gospel and how we can better the lives of those around us. I couldn`t help but think how scary it will be to raise children of my own in this time. Like what Neil A. Anderson said, `The world will not glide easily to the second coming of the Savior.` I have a long time before I will even think about having kids but it was just a great reminder of how we can all prepare ourselves now because the world will get a lot worse, before it gets better. 
  As I get older as a missionary (and as a man, I guess) I`m more and more motivated to put everything I possibly can into this work. I shared at District Meeting this last week something that my trainer, Elder Shinohara, said to me at the start of our second transfer together. He looked me in the eye and flat out told me, `We`re going to work until we die.` As a second transfer missionary, still in training, this was extremely terrifying. I didn`t understand how someone could work so hard or even have the motivation to work that hard. Now I understand more about what he was really saying. Although for him he probably was talking about working to the point where when you can`t walk anymore so you drag yourself with your hands along the ground, I feel like I understand what he was talking about. This work is about inviting others to come unto Christ. I want to give everything for my Savior because he gave it all for me. He suffered, bled, and died and all he asks is for me to serve him. That should be enough motivation to give your 110% out here. Don`t worry Mom, I won`t kill myself. There are Angels around us out here, remember? But I want to be like my trainer and work until I die. Elder Shinohara was a True Disciple of Jesus Christ, and I find myself more thankful for his amazing example every day. 
  I love you all and I`m so thankful for the prayers and support that come my way. I know I`m on the other side of the world right now but I can feel of your love and support so well. I love you all and words can`t begin to describe how thankful I am for everyone at home! I love you all!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

Sunday, April 6, 2014

1/3 through my mission!


  I hope you are all having a great start to your week and enjoyed General Conference these past few days. Unfortunately I have to wait another week because they have to translate it into Japanese but I can`t wait! I`ve never been more excited for General Conference in my life! It`s crazy because my first week in the mission field was the week after conference. It`s been a whole 6 months! I can`t believe how fast this is going. It only gets faster as I get older and more experienced as well. 

  This week the work was pretty slow. Not a lot was happening, nor has really anything happened since our Baptism a few weeks ago. We`re working really hard though and we know that sometimes the Lord just gives us trials like these to test our faithfulness and our patience. I was getting a little bit stressed this last week when the thought occurred to me that Jesus Christ is still the Son of God. He still saved us from sin and death. Why would we possibly need to stress about anything? Obviously there`s the good stress that comes from a desire to help these people come unto Christ but other than that, what have we to worry? We`ve already won we just need to try our best to follow the example set by our Savior. What a blessing it has been on my mission to learn that simple lesson. Trials will come and go but it doesn`t change the big picture. We literally hold the greatest happiness in our hands and have unlimited access to it whenever we want. The Atonement is truly a remarkable thing. 

  We were on the street the other day when a young man stopped us and asked if we were the missionaries. This doesn`t happen often so we were a little surprised. We were also surprised because he spoke some pretty good English. He said he stayed with a family down in St. George for three months a little while ago and they happened to be LDS. He said he loved the missionaries because they were always, `really great guys`, so we were really excited to have met him. He came to our Sports Day at the church on Saturday and we had a good time. He said he went to church when he was in Utah but I don`t think he really could understand it so I`m excited to see how well he accepts the gospel. 

  That was pretty much our week last week but we`re working hard. I love Elder Y and we`ve had a great time so far. It`s so nice to have a companion that also happens to be a really good friend. There`s no battling for higher ground we just try and do what the Lord wants us to do and we do it together. It`s been awesome! 

  I love you all and I love getting your letters and pictures. It`s awesome to see everyone every week, I still feel like I`m involved in the daily life, just from 5000 miles away. I love you all. I`m ever so grateful for the love and support that I receive on a weekly basis. I`m sorry but I forgot my camera this week so I`ll send a lot of pictures next week! I love you all!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles