Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

Sunday, July 27, 2014

and here. we. GO!

Friends and Family!

I hope you`re all doing well! This week has been a little rough with a summer cold, but I should be getting better soon! Keep the prayers coming! The week was really tough because I had to try and rest as much as I could so I could get better. I hate having to stay in the apartment, but I think I hate being sick and in bed even more so I`ve got to do whatever I can to
get back to 100%!

Like I said, we weren`t able to get out and do a lot this week, but I will say, going to a Japanese health clinic was hilarious! You should have seen my companion hit his entire face on the TV mounted to the wall in the waiting room. The doctor didn`t seem to help much. He gave me some stuff to take for a cold that was the equivalent of sugar cubes. Oh well. My awesome companion was able to fish out some American cold medicine that I`ve been taking for the last few days. God bless America!

Now for a bit of sad news. I will be transferring to a new area, with a new companion, this week. I`m moving up in between Osaka and Kyoto to an area called Takatsuki! I cried two weeks ago at the realization that I would probably be transferring soon. Sakai is my home. The area has been so good to me. I feel like it blessed me so much more than I was able to bless it. Five transfers (7 1/2 Months) is a long time though. Its time to move on. I`m really excited to get to my new area and get to work. Sakai has
been really fun. I`ll be back here again someday, thats for sure.

We got to go to a really cool festival with our investigator on Friday night. It was a midsummer type of festival with fireworks and the whole bit. It was way cool! It reminded me a ton of the fireworks back home up at Eaglewood Golf Course. So fun. The only problem was we had to walk about a mile or so from the train station in a HUGE crowd of teenagers. It was sweet because everyone was wearing the traditional Japanese kimono. It looked way cool.

Last night we got to go over to a part members house for dinner with the
Sister missionaries. The family is awesome. The wife is a member and they have two little girls and a four month old baby boy. I swear they have the
most adorable family in the entire world. The husband has met with the missionaries on and off over the last eight years or so, he just says he doesn`t have enough faith to be baptized. He`ll come around. He comes to church every week and participates in all of the classes so I`m sure he`s close. Never give up on anyone! We just shared a short message on faith and read Alma 32:21, 26-28 with them. It was a great lesson because the husband said that those were his favorite scriptures because `he doesn`t have any
faith.` He wants it though, I can tell.

As far as everything else goes, its all good on this side of the world! Our Brazilian and Filipino investigators are doing great and I`m sure they`ll be baptized soon! I`m just so grateful I`ve been able to serve for the last little while in such a great area. Members like Bishop S and Brother K have been an absolute blessing to have gotten to know.

I know that this church is God`s church on the earth today. This work is real. We are sent to save the souls of men. I`m so grateful to have that honor. I`m also so blessed to have such a great family and awesome friends back home. I love you all! Know that you`re all in my thoughts and prayers. I`ve got to go baptize some people in Takatsuki!

Elder Jeffrey M. Giles

Sunday, July 20, 2014

汗= sweat

Hello friends and family!

  I think the rainy season has ended a little early this year on this side of the world because it is HOT! Its so weird walking down the same streets that just five short months ago had five inches of snow on them. It`s been a really crazy weather year for Japan I guess! I also heard through the grapevine that there was an Earthquake up in Tokyo the other day. Don`t worry. We`re fine down here in Osaka. I`m not sure I even felt anything at all! The only thing I`m feeling here is the insane heat of a Japanese summer! It gets crazy hot here, but I`d rather be in this than somewhere freezing cold thats for sure! I feel pretty blessed to get all 5 seasons. (winter, spring, rain, HOT, fall).

  Last Monday was really fun. We got to go up to the city for my birthday with one of our investigators and we had a blast. Downtown Osaka is really cool, but also really really worldly. I got to eat at a Burger King for the first time in probably over a year as well so that was way cool! Burger King in Japan was probably ten times better than the ones in the U.S.. Sad, but true. 

  I went on an exchange with one of my Zone Leaders last Tuesday which was really cool! It was so weird being with someone that knew more than I did for once. We had an awesome time up in his area. It was good to be able to catch up with Elder S after a while. He`s the guy I lived with in my first area that I got along with really well. We met with one of the guys they teach up there that speaks fluent English and had a great time. The guy was way cool. He was 19 or so and goes to college in Arizona. We just talked to him a little bit about God and he seemed really interested in coming to church to see what it was all about after that. It`s kind of a bummer because he goes back to Arizona next month for school so the Arizona Tucson Mission will be getting a pretty sweet referral! We were planning on meeting with another guy after that and splitting up with the first guy but he was pretty set on just hanging out with us so he decided to stay with us! The next guy we met was hilarious! He`s probably 300 lbs. and most likely part of the yakuza (Japanese mob). He wants to meet with the missionaries because I guess a little while ago one of his little girls asked him to tell her about God and he didn`t know what to say or talk about. He wants to learn about Heavenly Father so he can tell his little girl about him. Pretty cool right? We could only meet up with him for about ten minutes outside of one of the train stations but he said he had some questions about what he was reading in the Book of Mormon and asked if he could keep it for a little while longer. We were like, `yeah man go for it, the Book is yours. Read all you want.` He was way excited! It was a great exchange and I learned a lot from my good Zone Leader. 

  The week was a little slow after that until we got to teach one of our investigators on a surprise visit. He`s pretty new and we were only able to meet with him once or twice before our visit, but we were able to teach a pretty cool lesson on the Plan of Salvation. He thought the Plan of Salvation was pretty sweet because he`s always been really afraid of the concept of `Hell`. I think we gave him some reassurance that there was something a lot bigger and better than just a heaven and a hell. While I was teaching I just stopped and said, `Man, isn`t this cool? It`s so simple and all we have to do is keep God`s commandments and follow Jesus Christ!` He agreed and he`s now progressing pretty well in the gospel. 

  Sunday was awesome! The investigator we went up to Osaka with promised us he would come to church on Sunday if he had the day off. On Sunday morning we went over to his apartment to pick him up, but he wasn`t answering the door. We could here the TV on inside and my companion looks at me like, `This kid is coming to church today.` and he opens the door and just walks into his apartment! I was like, `alrighty then, I hope he doesn`t get really mad at us...` He was still asleep so we woke him up and he was able to come to church with us! It was way cool. He stayed for all three hours and then for a ward party afterwords. I was glad he stayed because I had to teach Sunday School yesterday so he got to learn a little bit about the Temple and Family History Work! 

  The church is still true. Toward the end of the week I got a pretty bad headache that won`t seem to go away. I think my neck just got a little tweaked from biking so much and sleeping on practically the floor. I`ll be fine, but I could use some prayers! I love you all and I`m so grateful for the love of a great family and awesome friends. Thank you so much for all the love and support! I love you!!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Big 2-0!

Friends and Family,

Well its official. My teenage years are done for the rest of forever! Let me tell you, turning twenty was pretty weird. All of a sudden it was like, "Well, I`m feeling pretty old now.`` It was a little bittersweet, but we can never postpone the inevitable. I also past the eleventh month mark last week and I`m really starting to feel that halfway feeling! Crazy to think
that only in a short year or so, my gig is up and I`ve got to come home. I probably sound like a broken record, but it`s still so weird to me how fast time goes out here. Looking back on the the days trying to remember what we did on what day is the hardest part of my mission (laughs).

We had the privilege of having interviews and training from President Welch last week and it was awesome! Let me give you somewhat of an idea of how great this man is. He walks into the room with his wife and the Assistants, puts his stuff down on the desk, takes his jacket off and turns to all of us and says, `I don`t really know what the tradition has been in
the past, and frankly I don`t really care, but it`s July, its a 90 degrees, and I`m incredibly warm.` Then he looks at all of the Elders sitting there with his eyebrows raised expecting us to do something. We were all looking at each other like, `uh...` when our Zone Leader stood up and cautiously started taking off his jacket. We all followed suit and President Welch was like, `Goooood, now we`re getting somewhere!` That`s just the kind of guy
he is! He then told us a story about when he was on a business trip in Thailand just after he received his call to be a Mission President. He said he went into a tailor and ordered thirty one white shirts, his reasoning: 'I would only have to go to the dry cleaners once a month!` He`s my kind ofguy.

His focus for the mission is awesome. He`s really emphasizing that we need to `Establish the Church` in Japan. That includes now five steps; Finding, Teaching, Baptizing, Retaining, and Rescuing. With the addition of retention and rescuing the less active now in play for all the missionaries I`m excited to be able to participate in ALL phases of the work. There`s a ton of work to be done in this country. Not only with finding new people but there are so many less actives here. President Welch told us when he
was here serving some thirty seven years ago or so they were baptizing two hundred to three hundred people a month. To put that number into perspective, right now we baptize about 20 or 30 a month. Thats all great and all but President Welch asked us, `Where are all those people we baptized? They sure aren`t sitting in sacrament meeting with us every week.
Go clean up the mess we made almost forty years ago!` I`m excited to get to work to say the least.

Last night we were housing a really really big apartment complex before we had to go home for the night. In Japan, usually instead of coming to the door, every house has a little box that you ring and it has a camera. Yes, I've been talking to camera`s my whole mission, it`s lovely. Anyway, we were going along asking people if they wanted to come unto Christ and what not and we got to this one house that my companion did. He gave our introduction but he couldn`t really understand what the lady said through the box so he just said, `Okay, have a great night!` We moved on to the
next house when we heard that door open and saw the lady poke her head out. I looked at my companion like, `Dude! What`d she say??` Poor guy still
doesn`t quite understand this bear of a language. We went back to the house
and she was SO incredibly nice. She was about thirty and has her first baby due in December! She was so impressed with how young we were coming to a new country all alone as volunteers and not being able to see our own families for so long. She even said she wanted us to be her kids! She was really sweet. We testified of the Gospel and I shared with her about how much this truly has blessed my life and the lives of my family members. She agreed to come to church next week and let us visit her again! She`s a great lady!

I`m still trying to go strong. I`m doing my best every day to share this gospel. It`s hard but I don`t want to do anything else for the next little while. Thank you again for all the birthday wishes! I have the best support system in the world. Know that I love you all and I pray for you every day!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

My companion on my Birthday.  An exchange with Elder S.

Japanese Shave Ice!

My birthday present from my companion!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Its raining. A lot. Very hard.

Hello friends and family!

Yes. As you can see by the subject of this email it is finally in the heart of Monsoon/Typhoon season and yes, rain in 90 degees with humidity IS like a luke warm, uncomfortable shower in dress clothes. It`s the best! It was the craziest thing this morning while we were studying. I looked out the window and the sky was just looking gray and boring and literally five minutes later, I look out again and it`s coming down like I`ve never seen rain before! And what`s even better is that another five minutes, or so, later, it stopped! Life on a little island I guess!

This week we got to have a special conference on the fourth of July to meet our new Mission President. It was awesome! No fireworks, which was a bummer, but I`m so excited about President W. Him and his wife are hilarious. They`re fantastic people and have a great sense of humor. Also, by way of announcement, they informed us that we would be getting our own Ipad Mini`s by the end of this year! I`m so excited about that! With the Ipads we will also have the chance to use Facebook which will do wonders for the work over here in Japan where everyone is on social media, all the time. Along with being incredible people, President and Sister W have such amazing testimonies of the Gospel. It truly is such an honor to be serving under such a great President and Mission `Mom`. 

This week we really turned things around. I`m finding that by simply trying to focus on the Spirit, I`m being a led a lot more in this work. We just went out and worked and were able to lock down four new investigators for the week! The first one was actually last Monday where we found a kid that loved Americans and English and agreed to come to the church right there. We played a little bit of basketball and then were able to share a short message with him! The next three were a little later in the week during our weekly planning session. We got a call from one of our Brazilian friends and he told us to come over to his place right then for a BBQ. We went over there and were able to answer a lot of questions about the church and share our testimonies about Prophets and the truthfulness of our message. It was great because they were like, `we don`t want to hear something your church told you guys to say, we want to know whats in your hearts,` and they sat down right there and heard what we had to say. We now have quite an international teaching pool with three Japanese, two Brazilians, and one Filipino investigator! Oh, by the way, we shared an awesome lesson on the Restoration with our Filipino investigator and he became a Progressor! He`s been so prepared and its awesome to see how well he accepts everything. I was thinking to myself after his lesson that the missionaries in the Philippines are so lucky to get to teach such awesome people! 

I had a pretty amazing experience when I had the chance to give my companion a blessing of comfort and counsel last week. He was just having a little bit of a rough day and came to me asking for a Priesthood Blessing. I`ve given a lot of blessing on my mission, but never one quite like the one I was able to give my companion. It was truly as if I were just reciting what the Lord was telling me to say in my head. I would hear it, and I would just say what I heard. I`ve never felt guided like that before. It was amazing! It was a really cool experience and I was very humbled at the chance to exercise the power of the Priesthood.

Well we have interviews this week with President W and I`m really really excited to get to talk to him for a little bit one on one. It was really cool because I was able to grab him for a second after Zone Conference last week and tell him that his uncle gave me my Patriarchal Blessing and was a Bishop in my home ward. He almost teared up telling me that Patriarch W is like a father to him. It was so cool!

I hope you all have a great week! I know I will because I`ll be turning the big 2-0 on Saturday! I`m pretty excited but completely blown away that I`m twenty now. I swear I just got my drivers license and started high school... Amazing how time flies. I love you all!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles