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