Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Crazy fun week!

Friends and Family! 

  This week has been awesome! We`ve had a blast but the icing on the cake was the opportunity to hear from an Apostle of the Lord. We had the privilege of hearing from Elder D. Todd Christofferson this past week as a mission and it was truly an awesome experience! I got to shake his hand, too. So. Cool. He had nothing but great things to say about Japan and our mission. That was to be expected seeing that we ARE the greatest mission in the World (haha). It was really cool to see him in more of a relaxed environment as well. I was glad to see what a great sense of humor and whit he has. We sometimes forget how nice it is to just laugh every once in a while, you know? He praised our President, President Z very well and made me very grateful, once again, to have had the opportunity to be with him for the first half of my mission. He also told us to accept our new President, President W with as much love and respect as we all show the Z`s. He felt like he should tell us that the Lord is accepting our sacrificed and very pleased with the efforts of this mission. I think we all felt extremely humbled and loved at that. What an awesome experience it was! 
  We just keep on slowly building our teaching pool up as we go. We have a man with a baptismal date coming up soon, but we`re really not sure if he`s going to be able to be baptized right now. He has a little bit of schizophrenia and all he wants to do is move to the US so he can get away from Japan. He believes our church is true and he really does desire Eternal Life but he feels like he shouldn`t be baptized until he goes to the US. It`s a bit of a tough situation but we`re working really hard on being able to see him brought into the fold. We have another investigator, I`ve sent a lot of pictures of the two of us, he`s the gangster looking kid and he`s going okay right now. He really doesn`t have a lot of desire of interest in religion but we`re just staying as close as we can with him and slowly trying to help him see how much the church can bless his life. We were able to go play soccer with him last week at this HUGE soccer facility called Japan Green. We thought we were just going to go and mess around a little bit with a soccer ball but when we got there we were a little surprised to see the quality of players and actual team jerseys. These guys were nuts! I was talking to our investigator about how everyone looks like they were way good and he pointed at one guy and said he was actually a professional soccer player. It was crazy! Needless to say we just watched from the sidelines, but it was still fun! He came to the third hour of church the next day which was even better. It was funny though because he showed up to church wearing a bright green Brazil soccer jersey and camo pants with a pair of crocs. Hey, we`ll accept anyone into this church right?
  One of the Ward members invited us to go to the driving range with him and a nonmember friend this last week and we had an awesome time! It was funny because I think at one point there were about ten people from the place just gathered around watching me hit balls. They would hand me their drivers and ask me to hit them and things like that! It was a good chance to get to talk to people and tell them what we were doing in Japan as well. I don`t know what it was, but for some reason I don`t think I`ve ever hit the ball that well in my life! I guess the Lord really does magnify our talents and abilities while in the mission field. The range was really cool because it was built into the side of a mountain and the net only went up about fifty feet or so. Over the net on on top of the hill was a 300 yard sign in front of a small group of trees. One guy asked me to hit his driver and I hit it just short of the sign a few times. It was a brand new driver with a REALLY expensive shaft on it but for some reason I just couldn`t hit it very well. Then a guy handed me a Titleist driver, 8 degree, from about twelve years ago or so and I sent two in a row on a line drive, screaming into the group of trees over the 300 yard sign. I just turned and shrugged at the guy and told him I liked `this one`. It was awesome!
  We`ve had a really good week and my trainee continues to do really well and learn rather quickly. One thing I`ve learned over the past week as how simple and plain this gospel really is. We went through 2 Nephi 31 with a few of our investigators and it really helped them see just how plain and straight forward this gospel really is. If we follow the steps of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End, we really CAN receive Eternal Life! We had a few great lessons on that and they were capped off with the simple testimonies of my companion and I that this really is the only way to return to our Heavenly Father. I love how simple it is. Five steps and an Eternity of happiness. I know this is true. I know that we have the opportunity to receive Eternal Life through the Gospel of our redeemer Jesus Christ! I love being a member of this church and having this knowledge!
  I love you all and hope you`re having an amazing week! Crazy to believe the school year is already just about over. Crazy how fast time goes by. I love you guys!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

Our investigator

My blistered thumb from golf.

Me and Elder B at mission meeting. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

50 Golf Balls and 2 Blisters

Friends and Family,

  I had an awesome week last week! After emailing last week we got to go to the driving range with a member and it was awesome! Man, it`s been a long time though. I straight up wiffed with a driver and felt like the biggest moron on this side of the globe... I guess it`s alright though, if I were still half way decent, that would mean I haven`t been out doing my job, right? It was awesome though! After about fifty balls and two blisters on my hands I finally got the feel back! I`ll shoot some cool pictures we got, I never thought I would be able to hit a golf ball on my mission in Japan, so I guess I can check that one off the list! 
  I took my `Son` (trainee) to Sushi for the first time this last week and it was great! He loved it and we had a great time. I`ve been trying to take him to try all the awesome food this country has and we`re not even half way through what I want to let him experience! That was the one thing I was missing during my training was being able to experience the culture a little bit. We just ate in the apartment all the time so all I ate was my instant rice and ramen! 
  We had Zone Conference up in the heart of Osaka last week and I got to see the tallest building in Japan up close. Its called the Harukas and it`s quite the architectural feat. I didn`t have the chance to get any pictures because we were hurrying to the conference so you might have to jump on Google for that one!
  Yesterday two of the kids from our ward had their baptisms and it was awesome to be able to see! I couldn`t help but think of Jack getting baptized a little while ago and how awesome it is to have all the people in my family now members of the church! One of the kids that was baptized was baptized by his dad who was a less active that has just recently been coming back to church so that was awesome!
  We got a new chinese investigator last week and he`s quite the guy! He came to Japan about a year ago so naturally our Japanese is about on the same level (gift of tongues is awesome). When I asked him if he`s ever thought that God is his Father that lives in Heaven he looked at me like I was painted green. He tried to tell me about all this stuff about Daoism and what he believed and I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about at all. He really wants to learn about why we believe what we believe and stuff like that so I`m excited to get to teach him. He know`s a little bit about Christianity so it shouldn`t be too difficult but pray for me to be able to teach simply for sure!
  I love you guys and am SO SO SO thankful for all the support and love from all of you. I couldn`t do this without it for sure. I`m loving life and learning more and more how to just let go and do what the Lord wants me to do. It`s amazing that even though I`m a Trainer right now, I think I`m learning more than my trainee is for sure. He stresses out a bit but overall he`s doing just fine. 
  I love you guys and hope you`re all having an amazing week! 

Elder Giles

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mothers Day!

Hello everyone! It was so great to talk to the family today. Both times that I`ve called home now, I have had this great feeling of peace and comfort that I`m exactly where I`m supposed to be right now in my life. It was great to hear everyones voices, even if I can`t even recognize Ryan anymore ;).
  So this last week I became a trainer. Its been awesome and we`re having a great time! My new missonary is Elder H from Hemet, California and he`s great! He has such a great desire to do this work and I`m way glad to have the chance to be training him right now! Oh, and he`s 6`6 and makes me look like a small child, but that`s ok! It`s a great tool for finding! 
  I don`t have hardly any time this week. We have a busy day planned, we`re going to a driving range with a member and I`m really excited! It`s the first time I`ll hit a golf ball on my mission so that should be pretty sweet!
  Going into the mission home to pick up my new missionary was awesome. President had some great training for the missionaries that were going to be training. He told us about the summers in his mission where it was 95 degrees outside with 95% humidity and he could never get dry. He served in Fukuoka, by the way. He was telling us about how because you were pretty much soaking wet all the time mold would actually start to grow on your body! How gross is that?? They called it the `creeping crud`. He said when he was an AP in the last part of his mission they had a new missionary come in and they told him about this mold that would grow on you in the heat. He told the new missionary that there was another missionary that got the `crud` so bad that he would need a skin graph and the new missionary was a perfect match for the other Elder. President said the look on that new missionary's face was priceless! I definitely won`t be doing anything like that to my new missionary, that`s for sure! I thought that was hilarious though.
  I can`t believe I hit 9 months last week. This really does just keep going by faster and faster. I love it here and I love what I`m doing! 
  The church is true and that`s pretty much all we need to know in this life. I love you guys!!!

Elder Giles

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Because I have been given much....

Friends and Family!

 I would first like to say congratulations to Jack on being baptized this week! I realized yesterday while we were studying that my little brother is now officially a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! I`m so happy for him. The pictures look awesome and he looks so happy! I`m sad that I wasn`t able to be there but I think I have a decent excuse. Sorry Jack Jack! I love you buddy!
 Well, the time has officially come. Starting this Thursday I will be training a new missionary! I`m so excited! I truly have been given so much in my mission so far. With two Japanese companions and a half Japanese companion that was really good at Japanese, I consider myself very blessed. My language ability is far from perfect and no where near fluency but I can get myself around. The real struggle this week will be trying to navigate the trains from the mission home in Kobe, back to our place in Sakai. It should be a wild ride! Two other Elders from my district in the MTC are also training this transfer so it should be really fun! I can`t say enough how lucky I feel. The Lords hand has been so present in my mission and I feel it has changed me so much. I don`t even remember what life was like before my mission. What? You mean I wasn`t actually born here in the Kobe Mission?? It`s been a great seven months.
  This week was a little tough. It pains me to say that we got a little bit stuck just going through the motions. The Spirit just hasn`t been present no matter how hard I`ve tried to invite it in. That`s going to be a major focus this week. No matter what we do this week, we absolutely NEED the spirit or this work just doesn`t go well. I studied a lot out of chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel this morning in personal study. How glad I am that they gave us an entire chapter on how to recognize and follow the spirit. I`d be lost without PMG. (I don`t know how you did it, Dad). 
  A family from the Ward took all four of us missionaries out to eat on Saturday night and we had a great time! The family is absolutely incredible. Hands down, the strongest converts I have ever met in my life. Brother and Sister M. Sister M was baptized when she was 19 after meeting with the sister missionaries for an extremely short two weeks. She had an incredibly difficult life growing up. She shared with us how her mother and step-mom would beat her and her Dad would make her work in his bar at night. She was contemplating suicide when the Sister missionaries found her and shared with her the Gospel. She was baptized and served a mission to Nagoya when she was 25. Brother M is an absolutely incredible story. He was a really really bad guy. When he was young he got into drugs and alcohol pretty bad. He was telling us how he got in really deep with the Japanese mafia as a drug dealer and almost killed himself on other illegal drugs. He said that he always loved Jesus Christ, even before he ever found the church. When he met the missionaries he believed everything they said was true. When they asked him to give up doing drugs he refused. The next day the cops showed up at his house and arrested him for possession and took him jail. In jail he said all the other guys would look at bad magazines and he would sit off to the side and read the Book of Mormon and Jesus the Christ. He was in jail for three months and after he got out, he was baptized. After his baptism he went less active and went back to drugs and alcohol for about ten years. When he met his wife she set him straight. She wouldn`t marry him unless he came back to church, quit all the illegal things he was doing, and would prepare to go to the temple. He agreed and they`ve been married for about ten years now and have a beautiful little daughter! They`re both Ward Missionaries and have so much fire for missionary work it`s awesome! I absolutely LOVE the M family! 
  Hearing conversion stories like that just fueled me even more. I want to find some people like that! The world needs more Brother and Sister M`s that`s for sure. I know I can find them. I just have to follow the spirit in order to do so. 
  I love you guys and I never get tired of saying how grateful I am for all of your examples and support. I feel so loved and blessed by all of you and I`m so grateful to be a missionary right now! There`s no way I`m stopping anytime soon. I just got started ;) I love you guys!!!!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

Just me

Y and I at the Tumulus

Sakai District