Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ai suru tomodachi to kazoku

After sitting here for a good two or three minutes trying to think of something witty to say, I`ve got nothing. I guess that`s just how it is sometimes. We said goodbye to President and Sister Z this last week, but I`m really excited to get to meet our new President this week. 

I had a lot of fun last week on an exchange with my District Leader last week. It was nice to have a Japanese companion again, only this time, I could actually talk with him in Japanese! It`s amazing what just a few short months of study and being surrounded by Japanese all the time can do for our language skills. He`s a great guy. He goes home in a few months so I thought he would be a lot like my trainer was, being an old Japanese missionary, but he was actually really chill and super funny. We were out just doing what missionaries do, you know, thrusting with our sicles and what not, the usual stuff, and it started to rain like I have never seen rain before. It came out of nowhere. I mean, its monsoon season and everything but it was seriously sunny one minute, and the next, torrential downpour. Now this would have been all fine and dandy... If either of us had any rain gear on. Needless to say it was as if we had found a swimming pool, jumped in, swam the length of the pool, and got out on the other side. It was awesome! We were riding down to one of the train stations and I turned and asked Elder K what he thought we should do. He was like, `GO HOME` in English! It was a blast. We went back to the apartment, dried off, had some dinner and then went through some trainings for the rest of the night. It was a great exchange!

So last week I shared a little about the Filipino guy that we contacted after praying about where to go. We met with him last night at his apartment and he became a new investigator! He`s so great. He already believes fully in God and had many great experience about Heavenly Father answering his prayers. We taught him `God is Our Loving Heavenly Father` and had a really really powerful lesson. It was amazing. I just hope he recognized the same spirit that I felt. I really feel for the guy. He`s engaged right now to a lady in the Philippines and he won`t go home until 2016. That`s got to be so rough! He told us last night that right before we came over he was skyping with his fiance, so that was pretty cool. I guess she has a lot of really good LDS friends so I hope we can influence her as well. We found a Tagalog Book of Mormon in the apartment and gave it to him. He asked a really interesting question when we gave him the Book. He said that he has a lot of questions about `Books like the Bible` because they are really old so people could have changed a lot of things written to conform to worldly views. I was like, uh, yeah! I told him we would explain more about the Book of Mormon next week so stay tuned on that.

We`ve really turned up our contacting quite a bit lately. We`re contacting a ton of people and are finding tons of really awesome guys. My friend Y is really coming along well, too. He came to the last hour of church yesterday and built some really good relationships with some of the members in the ward. I want him to become a member so bad! He`d be awesome. He`s going to be a great missionary too! Yesterday we brought him with us to visit our Brazilian friend and when we got there it didn`t look like he was home. We knocked on the door and called for him but no one was home. We were about to leave when Y just whips the door open and yells, `M!!!` It was hilarious! He`s going to have no trouble proselyting.

Well we`ve got to go. I`ve got a day full of sleeping planned out because I`m exhausted, but know that we`re still working hard! I love what I do and I know this is the Lord work. When we know that, there isn`t any reason to stress or worry. I love the gospel, and I love this beautiful nation of Japan (2 Nephi 10:21). Have an awesome week!

Elder Giles

Found a little bit of Maui!

God bless America. 

The lights. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

About to change!

Friends and family!!

  How is everyone doing? We`ve had an awesome week! A little slow still, but we`re doing all we can and doing our best to rely on the Lord. That`s all that he asks. I know its going to pick up soon we`ve found a lot of really good potentials that will hopefully become new investigators this week so I`m way pumped! Our Mission President will also be leaving us this week and our new President will be arriving as well. I`m really excited to see what will change and what will stay the same. We definitely have a unique mission with all the tools we have that have been given to us by President Zinke and I`m curious to see how it will all shake out. We wrote our last weekly emails to President Zinke this week and I could do nothing but express my thanks for him and his wife and the examples that they`ve had on my life. 

  Yesterday was Stake Conference and we had the awesome opportunity to watch a live video conference from Salt Lake City from Elder Christofferson to the people of Japan. Long time, no see right? It was so awesome! He expressed his love for all of the people in the church in Japan and even went on to say that the full time missionaries currently serving in Japan are some of the best in the world right now. I`m sure you can imagine what that does for all of our confidence over here in the far east. He really stressed how important it is to balance the three pillars of life, work/school, family, and church. Japanese people have a problem with working waaayyyyy to much and he shared a great example of a three legged stool. If the stool has one leg that is too long or too short it will be that much more difficult to balance. I feel that that example alone will bless the people here so much. 

  I had a really cool experience yesterday with prayer. After Stake Conference we went back to our apartment to study and prepare for the rest of the Sabbath. While we were doing our hour of language study my companion got up to get something from the other room. I found it really hard to focus on what I was doing and just started to stare out the window. I just kept thinking to myself, `where are they, where are these people that need this gospel so much?` I bowed my head in prayer and simply asked Heavenly Father where it was that we should go when our study was over and what we should do. I stayed like that for a little bit when all of the sudden I could see one of the intersections up in the city and I had the impression to just go there and wait. After our study we headed out find and went to the destination I had been shown to go. We got there and I shared with my companion what we were going to do. I`m sure he wasn`t too thrilled with the proposition to just wait, but I`m in charge now ;). We waited at the corner of that intersection and I stopped just about every single living thing that walked by. We were there for about twenty five minutes or so when a guy that didn`t look Japanese rode toward us. I stopped him and asked him where he was from. He said he was from the Philippines and his name was Conan! We talked for a little bit and he told us he`s working here right now on a three year contract with a company and he`s here with eight other Filipino guys and they all live in the same apartment building. We asked if we could come by and share a message and he told us to come by next Sunday night! We were really excited and are now hoping to have a few Filipino converts this transfer! 

  It was all really interesting because I was really trying to study and seek out specific revelation all week. I took this experience to be an answer to my prayers and study. I was surprised how simple it ended up being to receive revelation. It was all of the sudden a picture in my head of where to go. I loved it! 

  It's so weird to think that it`s almost been a year. It has gone by so fast but at the same time I feel like I`ve been here forever because I truly have changed so much. I can`t even hardly remember my life before my mission. Its the craziest thing! Having to go home one day is absolutely terrifying to me because I feel as if this is all I know. I hate when missionaries say `back to real life` because this is as real and as raw as it gets. Out in the mission field spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a great foundation to build the rest of my life on this mission has been. What an honor and blessing it is to serve the Lord. I just hope I never take that for granted. I love you all! I hope you all have a great week! 

Elder Giles

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fathers Day!

Friends and Family,

  I want to say first, Happy Fathers Day to all of the great Dad`s out there! I`m especially grateful for my own Father and the awesome example and influence on my life! I wouldn`t be the man I am today, or the missionary for that matter, were it not for my Dad. Also, congrats on the new calling, Dad! You`re going to be a great counselor in the Bishopric! 
  At church yesterday all of the Primary kids came to Elders Quorum to give presents to all the Dads. One of the little girls came up and gave me one and I said, ``It`s ok, I`m not a Dad yet!`` She didn`t seem to care so I guess they were for future fathers too!

  This week we tried something a little different than just going out on the street talking to people or knocking on doors. One night we had about 45 minutes until we had to go home so we just decided to pull out a couple chairs in front of the church and sing some hymns. We were hoping that someone, anyone, would stop by but everyone just continued going on like nothing out of the ordinary was happening. I had so much hope. I was hoping that even though no one stopped on the street, someone in one of the houses or apartment buildings close to the church would hear and think, ``That sounds familiar, why do I know this song?`` Even if no one responded right then and there, I know that no effort is wasted. 

  I`m trying so hard right now to just get anything going in this area. It`s so slow and we`ve had to exercise a lot of faith the last week or so by dropping investigators that weren`t showing true signs of interest. I`m not complaining. I know much better than that, but I`m just trying to do all that I can to see the blessings in the trials. 

  I was reading Elder Bednar`s talk from General Conference and it really caught my attention how he talks about the Book of Mormon Prophets not having their trials and afflictions taken from them, but they were given the STRENGTH to overcome them on their own. You would think with how much this mission focuses on the power of the Atonement that I wouldn`t need this smack in the face reminder of how this works but man, did I ever! I just need to start asking for the ability to lift the weight of my own burdens and not look so much to the Lord to take it from me. Simple isn`t it? 

  We`re working hard and just trying to keep on keeping on. The church is true no matter if people accept it or not. I know what I`m doing right now is making a difference. No time here is wasted when focus is on furthering the work of salvation. I want to baptize everyone. That`s all I want right now. 

I love you all! I`m sorry the letter isn`t as long as it usually is! I`ll attach a picture to make up for lack of content... I love you guys!

Elder Giles

Sunday, June 8, 2014

``I just work here``

Friends and Family,

  I hope you`re all having a great week! I want to say, first, Happy Birthday to Grandma and Grandpa Giles this last week! I`m so grateful to have a family calendar that conveniently has everyone`s birthday`s and Anniversary`s on it! I`m so blessed to have such a supportive family at home and I know all of your prayers have blessed me so much on my mission. I just hope I can be a good example and maybe shed some light onto what I`ve been experiencing during the best ten months of my life! This really has been awesome. I forgot this last week as well that it was my tenth month mark. It`s so weird to think I only have fourteen more to go.

  The Z's have been driving around the mission the last few days saying goodbye before they head out in a few short weeks and we welcome President W to Kobe. It was tough to say goodbye to the Z`s. A lot harder than I would have ever imagined! They really have blessed my life so much. I have learned so many things from them that I know will continue to help guide me as I move on to later stages in my life. I wanted to give them something in return of all the good things they have given me. I found a little statue of some sheep that I thought would be perfect for them. I gave it to them last week when they said goodbye and it brought tears to Sister Z's eyes! They loved it! President Z likes to build furniture and he told me that he was going to build a maple stand to put it on when they got home. I was way excited! I love the Z`s. 

  This week was definitely a building week for us. We`re currently trying to clear out our teaching pool to make room for more elect. We`ve been teaching a few people lately that just haven`t been progressing at all and it`s time to exercise our faith by giving them what they need to come unto Christ, or letting them go. I think that`s one of the toughest things about being out here in the field. You really do start to love these people, but sometimes you just have to let them go and find the ones that are prepared and ready. We had a baptism planned for yesterday that fell through, but we`re going on with the attitude that we will just go find another one. We`re working really hard and I know we will be lead to those that are currently perishing in unbelief and being kept from the truth only because they know not where to find it. 

  During our Weekly Planning Session I had the idea of something we could do to build our relationship with the members in the Ward. I thought that we could make a calendar and pass it around Priesthood and Relief Society and have them sign up for days that they would like us to come do service for them and share a spiritual message. Because the people in this country will never accept if we ask them if we can help them with anything, we thought this would be a good idea for them to invite us. In talking with the Bishop last week about this I said, ``Bishop, right now, sadly, we`re not teaching a lot of people or finding a lot of people that are interested in the Gospel. You`ve seen the quality of people that we are able to bring to our meetings on Sunday and we will absolutely agree with you that they are not those that will strengthen this ward. I feel like if we can help serve the members and share spiritual messages with them they will be more inclined to refer us to their friends and people that will build up and strengthen this ward.`` He was right on board. I`m excited to see what kind of effect this has on the area and the ward!

  I was asked to speak in sacrament meeting yesterday on the Word of Wisdom. I did pretty well with working on it throughout the week but I guess old habits still die hard because I still had to stay up late Saturday night and wake up early Sunday morning to get it finished in time for sacrament. I didn`t have time to get it checked for mistakes so I just did the best I could at translating it into Japanese and really just tried to focus on speaking by the Spirit. Apparently it was really good despite not having my Japanese mistakes corrected by someone who know`s more than I do so I took that as a sign that I`m improving in my language capability! One of the Sisters of the ward came up to us after Sacrament and asked us to come with her to visit one of her friends so the ward is starting to open up as well!

  I`ve grown to love this area and this ward so much. I said in my talk yesterday that even though I`m from Utah and I can`t really communicate that well with all of the members, I still felt like it was my home ward. I guess being in the same area for a long time isn`t that bad after all. I love Sakai! 

  I`ve learned this week that the work will progess whether we like it or not. This is the work of God. We win in the end and that`s what`s important. I feel so privileged to be on the front lines of the battle with Satan and I`m just trying to do what I can every day to help people to come unto Christ. I love this church. I know it`s true. I just work here and I`ll do it until I drop. I love you all!  

Elder Giles

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Japan Kobe Portuguese Speaking

Friends and Family!

  I`ve been having a great time this past week and Elder H and I are working harder than ever! We`ve had a fun week. I love having fun in the service of The Lord. Two years ago I don`t think I would have believed that was possible, but it is! 
  It`s crazy to think that the school year just ended. I`ve officially been out an entire school year and I can`t believe it! I`m getting closer and closer to the half way mark and I know it only gets better from here on out! I think its safe to say that the mission has exceeded all of my expectations. Both the good and bad. I never thought that it would be as hard as it is at times, but at the same time, I never thought I would experience the joys that I`ve had in the last ten months of my life. 
  We had an interesting experience while out streeting this week while my bike was in the shop. Yes, my bike broke. I promise I didn`t do it. It`s just a cheap-Japanese made bicycle. Anyway, we were walking around and saw a white guy walking towards us coming out of the train station. We introduced ourselves with friendly conversation. He said he was from England but he has lived here for a while and married a Japanese lady and now has an eight year old daughter. He said he knew we were Latter-Day Saints and proceeded to tell us he was an Athiest. He tried to tell us all these things about Joseph Smith being a liar and how could the Book of Mormon be scripture if a man wrote it from his own thoughts and things like that. He was a rather sad man... He said that religion and belief in God just slam the door to deeper thinking and knowledge and I couldn`t help but think he was dead wrong. I told him how I came to know this was true for myself and he just brushed it off as me thinking I just had a good feeling and now base my entire belief off of that. I was mad but I wouldn`t let that show. It took everything I had not to just explode and call upon all the powers of Heaven but the thought of Joseph Smith being tarred and feathered and then showing up to Sacrament the next day with members of the mob in the congregation brought those feelings to an abrupt halt. I simply said that I know that this church is true. I can`t explain everything. I`ve never seen God, but I know with everything I have that this church is Heavenly Fathers truth on the Earth today. 
  What this experience did for me was strengthen my love and respect for the Prophet Joseph Smith. Let me say clearly that I believe with every ounce of what I am that he is a Prophet of God. This church was restored by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ through him and because of that, we have the keys necessary to have the Church of Jesus Christ on the Earth today. I love the Prophet Joseph. I can`t even sing `Praise to the Man` anymore because I just start crying. Because of this I know I can teach the Restoration with so much more power and testimony. I love it. It`s our message to the world. The Gospel is the way to happiness, and it really is as simple as that! 
  We were able to go with one of the other area's investigators to a Brazilian Jiujitsu place this last week and it was a blast! It was just a stretch and work out thing and then we were able to watch some of the other guys actually do it. It was crazy! We were able to meet some awesome Brazilians too so I was pretty excited about that! The next night we were housing and ran into another Brazilian guy that happened to be having a BBQ on the roof of the apartment building he was living in and invited us up for dinner. They made us a freaking amazing meal of Brazilian sausage and Kobe beef and I don`t think I`ve met a nicer group of people in my life. I now see why I wasn`t called to Brazil on my mission. I would have loved the people WAY to much, seen WAY to much success, and in the process, became prideful and unable to rely on The Lord. Okay, maybe thats a little too far, but it was awesome for sure! 
  The mission is awesome. People should try this more ofter. It`s a blast! I`m having a great time and I`m so grateful for all of your love and support! I love you all!!!!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles