Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

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!

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