Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hello Kyoto!

Friends and family I hope everyone is having a great week so far! 

 Last week as you all know we went up to Kyoto! It was amazing. I fell in love with that beautiful place. It was so cool when we got up on the Mountain just looking down at the city and thinking that it used to be the capital of the Japanese empire! We went up to this place called Kiyomizu and it was way pretty. We went up there because there`s a ring shop right outside the temple that engraves whatever you want unto them. It`s become a tradition in the mission to get a ring and carve our old mission motto, `True Disciples`, in Japanese into it. Because everyone has that I wanted to go with something a little different and a little more meaningful to me. I was thinking what I wanted my ring to say when I remembered something from the beginning of my mission that has become more and more meaningful to me over my mission. The cliche term, `Blood, Sweat, and Tears` as become so powerful to me because it envelopes everything we do as missionaries. Blood is symbolic of sacrifice, or the power of the Atonement in our lives. The enabling power that gets me up and out of bed and doing what I`m supposed to do every day. Sweat is symbolic of hard work. Believe me, we sweat a lot in the summer heat of Japan. We get out everyday anyway, though. We do it because we love the Savior and we know this is his work. Tears is symbolic of pain and joy. This one literally brings tears to my eyes. We feel so much pain as missionaries. With all the pain comes the most amazing joys I`ve ever experienced. This work is so powerful. It brings so many different emotions and the rewards are immense. On my ring is engraved: 血汗涙(chi ase namida). Thats my daily reminder of what this work is all about. 

  We had a really fun week this week. We were able to meet with S before we played basketball on Saturday and review some things before he went to Hawaii last night. We were going over some of the commandments with him and we really explained how the commandments aren`t necessarily rules, but are in place to protect us from harm and other evils. He really seemed to understand when we put it that way. I was talking to him about his past and things like that and I mentioned that his first wife really wanted to get an abortion with their daughter because they were both so young and so busy. S told me how he refused and said to his wife that he would do whatever it takes to raise that little girl right. That almost brought tears to my eyes, especially when I told him the results of that decision and him having a beautiful little girl right now. He recognizes that the good in his life comes from God and thats incredible. I just love this guy so much. We sent him a really long email yesterday with a lot of Book of Mormon homework for him to read on the plane. What better way to spend a long plane ride, right? His actual quote to me went something like this, `When I come home lets get me baptized!` He`s the man! 

  We`re having a blast here and seeing all kinds of miracles and successes. I`ve said it a lot and I`ll probably keep saying it for the rest of my life, but I know that this is the work of the Lord! Nothing we`ve done here is as a result of any power of skill that either myself or my companion have. I`m so blessed to have had such an amazing opportunity to be a member of this church. I testify that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lords true church on the Earth today. I love what I do. I love being a missionary, and I love Japan! Have an amazing week everyone! I love you all!

Elder Jeffrey M. Giles

Sunday, August 24, 2014

90% Mental

Hello everyone! 

  My apologies for what I hope won`t be too short of a letter this week. We`re going to Kyoto this week as a District to see some awesome sights and the capital of ancient Japan! I`m way excited so I have to pound this out as quick as possible. Pretty much this is what happened this week: relied on the Lord and almost doubled our teaching pool for the second straight week. This is how.

  I`ve come to the realization that this work is truly 90% mental. What we truly believe we can do is what happens in this work. I think sometimes we outwardly show that we want to see success, but we`re not willing to put in what is necessary to see that success, at least on the inside. I`ve seen that so much on my mission. Its really hard as a missionary that doesn`t speak the language very well to stay motivated and do all that is necessary to see success. I don`t think anyone can explain why sometimes, deep down, we really don`t want to see the success that the Lord knows we can achieve. It`s got to be the adversary pulling us down through the thoughts of our heart. 

  We unfortunately weren`t able to meet with S this week. His schedule got really hectic and he`s stressing with getting his family moved to Hawaii. We did find out though that he will be coming back to Japan in September because of a work commitment so we were able to set a new baptismal date for September 21! I don`t think I`ve ever met anyone so prepared. He was coming to church yesterday and got called into work on the way (Satan is crafty). He called us to let us know and we talked a little bit about what he needs to do in order to get baptized. He said, `from what I understand I have to come to church at least two more times, hear the lessons again, and then I can get baptized?` I was like, `yeah man thats pretty much it!` He`s way ready. His daughter unfortunately won`t be able to be baptized with him because she`s going to China with her Mom for a year or two. That broke my heart. She really doesn`t want to go to China at all and I can tell how much she loves her Dad. All things are done in the wisdom of him that knoweth all things, though. I`ve just got to trust that thats the case with M. 

  I`m sorry its so short today. I promise I`ll make up for it next week with tons of pictures from Kyoto! I love you all! Have a great week. The church is true and Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World! Godspeed the right!

Elder Giles

Our investigator drew this for me yesterday!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Did that just happen?

Family, friends, and whoever else reads this (more friends ;))

  We had an incredible week this week! I`ll start with a really funny experience from last Tuesday or so while we were out on the streets. I was contacting this guy just trying to build some trust and a good relationship and he asked me if I`m originally from Japan. I told him I was from the US and I came to Japan about ten months or so ago and he was shocked! He was like, `how do you speak Japanese so well??` It was awesome! I`m sure he was just trying to be nice. I`m still pretty bad, but I`m definitely improving every day! This language is a mountain and a half! That gave me a lot more motivation to study harder and develop my language ability even quicker. It`s crazy to think I`m over my year mark and still in the beginning stages of learning Japanese. Usually when you think of a missionaries second year in the field you would think they`ve got everything down pat and its just smooth sailing until they go home. Yeah. That is not the case. I`m still working my tail off every day!

  We have had an awesome week as far as proselyting goes as well. I`ll start out with the miracle we were able to see just a few days ago. So we have a guy that comes to our weekly basketball night with his family.  He was an investigator years ago, but has since fallin away a little bit, he still keeps in touch with the missionaries, but no one was really stepping up and teaching him anything or inviting him to church. We were up in the city and my bike got a flat tire. We were walking with our bikes up the street when a car pulled over with a couple kids yelling out the window. It was our investigator and his kids on their way to the park for the day! He asked us if we needed any help and we said no, but we would come see him at the park after I got my tire fixed. We went and met him and his kids a little while later and had a great talk with him at the park about his life story. His dad is Chinese, his mom in Korean/Hawaiian, he was born in Canada, grew up in England, married a Japanese lady after college, divorced her after his daughters birth, married another Japanese lady, and now lives here in Takatsuki as an English teacher at a college up in Kyoto. Crazy life, right? He talked about the profound influence he had from one of his college teachers that was a Mormon. He has always wanted to join the church he`s just always been a little hesitant to join because of his family situation. We asked him if we could give him and his family a full tour of the church after we played basketball on Saturday and he agreed. He doesn`t really speak a lot of Japanese and his wife doesn`t really speak that much English so its a miracle they are even married, but anyway, she`s extremely pregnant right now and he is really worried about the safety of the baby. During the tour of the church on Saturday he asked if there was a special prayer we could offer his wife and unborn child because `Missionary prayers are more powerful than anyone elses`. We told him that because we hold the Holy Priesthood of God we could offer his wife a blessing of comfort and counsel. He asked us to do so, so we were able to give his wife a priesthood blessing. While we were showing him the baptismal font in the church I was teaching him and his children a little bit about baptism and what baptism means. I asked him if he remembered the things he has been taught about baptism and he said that he did. I asked him if he wanted to be baptized and he said yes! The only problem is that because he wants his wife and his baby to be as safe as possible they are moving to Hawaii temporarily in two weeks because apparently Japan isn`t very good for newborns. I said that if we could teach him again he could get baptized in Hawaii from the missionaries over there and he said, `or I could just get baptized here.` I was like, `well ok then!` So he will hopefully be baptized before he leaves in the coming week or so! The best part is that he wants his ten year old daughter to be baptized as well! What a crazy cool miracle. I was so humbled. The Lord really does prepare the hearts of man. This was an amazing thing, but we aren`t done thats for sure! We have a lot of things to plan and get done before he`s ready to enter into the covenant! I just hope I can keep up!

  I know this church is true. This is the work of God and he`s in charge. I am literally the dust of the Earth and without him, I am nothing. I`m so glad to be here. I know I was sent to Japan for a reason. I know the Lord has a plan for every single one of his children! I love this church, I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer! I love you all!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles
Dinner with a member! President I and family!

Me and my DL, Elder H.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

2 Nephi 27:1-2

Hey friends and family!

 I`ll give everyone a quick update on the Typhoon that ripped through here
yesterday afternoon. It was something else, let me tell you. I am happy to
say, however, that no one in my range of knowledge was killed or hurt.
Apparently it did take a few lives though. I think its safe to say that
I`ve never seen rain like that. It was POURING outside. There`s a pretty
big river that runs through Takatsuki and Ibaraki that was about thirty
feet higher than it usually is so that was absolutely insane! What is
usually a quiet, slow moving river, was turned into a HUGE white water
rapid torrent of a river. I wish the pictures I got could capture just how
much water we had yesterday. It was really pretty scary in church yesterday
because all of a sudden everyones typhoon alarms started going off. We had to
cancel a church party after and everyone just kind of sat around for a
little while waiting for everything to die down. The best thing was seeing
the missionaries just cruising through it on our bikes like it was no ones
business. We went back to our apartment afterwords for lunch and some study
and things like that and a few fire trucks came by with megaphones telling
everyone everything was going to be fine and the river wasn`t going to
flood all of our houses. It was a little scary because our apartment sits
below the big man-made bank of the river so if that was going to go, we
were probably done for. I just know that God has his hand over this place.
Not once did I feel panic or even worry. It was a really humbling

 Other than the Typhoon we had a few good experiences throughout the week.
We had a Zone Training Meeting on friday over in another area which was way
fun. They announced that we will pretty much be stopping most of the things
we used to do before President W got here and we will be focusing a lot
more on teaching by the Spirit. I think it`s awesome. With our old system,
I never really felt comfortable teaching that was and it often times got a
little robotic. In order to give an example of teaching by the spirit, we
were called on for a role play in front of the whole Zone right there on
the spot. I was enthralled. The whole time the Zone Leaders were talking
about the role play, my Zone Leader, who I went on an exchange with and
mentioned in a letter back in the middle of March, stared at me the whole
time. I should have learned in school to never look the teacher in the eye
when there's the chance they could call for a volunteer... Needless to say I
gave my best! It was actually really nerve racking because the Assistants
to the President also happened to make an appearance so I knew it was time
to step it up. The role play went great! We gave an awesome overview of the
Gospel of Jesus Christ and extended a baptismal invitation. We were praised
on our companionship unity even though we had literally no preparation at
all. I`m just really glad I just came from training a new missionary and
had to role play just about all day everyday ;). I really felt the spirit
while we were teaching. While I was talking about how repentance and
baptism relate I swear it all just opened up for a split second and I saw
what amazing blessings this gospel can bring. It brought tears to my eyes
and I felt so humbled to have had the amazing opportunity of being a member
of this church for the whole of my life. This church is true.

 We were also able to visit a really solid member family for lunch last
week and to my surprise, they fed us steak! Do you know how long its been
since I`ve had steak?? A while. It was way nice! We shared a message and
related it to the importance of hometeaching and were able to set up
appointments to go hometeaching with the member. We were really excited! I
haven`t had the chance to do really any hometeaching yet on my mission, but
it should be a really awesome chance to strengthen this struggling ward.
The dynamic is starting to change, but this ward still needs a lot of love,
and a lot of help. I`m doing all I know how to do.

 This week should be really fun because we have Zone Conference in Kyoto!
I`ve never had the chance to go to Kyoto so you better believe I`ll be
taking a lot of pictures! I think we`re going to try to go up there on
Preparation Day next Monday as well so it`s going to be a really fun week!
I love you all and I`m so grateful for each and every single one of you
thats reading this! Stay safe and have a great week everyone! I love you!

Elder Giles

See that handrailing right of my hand? Yeah, thats about fifteen feet
above the normal flowing river. Sweet, huh?

To give you an idea, those trees are usually 20 feet high or so, and
theres a walking path on either side of the river.

​How awesome is this shirt?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

大阪の北 North of Osaka!

Hello friends and family! 

  Well just like you read last week, I`ve transferred to a new area. I`m really excited to be in a fresh new place though! It was a lot harder to leave Sakai than I thought it would be. Saying goodbye to my good friend, Yuki, was really really tough, but I know he`ll be just fine and I`ll see him again soon. I really did love the people in that area. What a blessing it was to serve there. I`m figuring out more and more as I get older how much the Lord really does bless us every day. Not a single thing we have is ours. I think thats why I love Mosiah 2:21 so much. Not one thing that happens throughout the day is because of any power that I have. The Lord gives it all to me. For that I am humbled and grateful.

  When I got here I was greeted with a little bit of a luke warm feeling from the Ward and the Bishop. There just isn`t a lot happening here right now and I think the Ward is going through a really hard time with members going inactive. My companion didn`t seem to enthusiastic about the way things are going here either. Needless to say I know there is a reason I was sent here. The Ward really needs something and I`m really excited to receive revelation about what that is. The Elders in our mission just got the green light to include less actives in our numbers so I`m really excited about that. Its time to go to work and save some souls and Establish a Church. 

  I really love where I am right now though because of the awesome church building we have. Its seriously bigger than my chapel back in North Salt Lake. It has a full court basketball court, too, so we can have a basketball activity every week! We share the building with the Ibaraki Ward as well and all of their members are really strong and really active so I`m really excited about getting to know some of them as well. Overall I think this is going to be a really, really interesting transfer. It will definitely be a test of what I`m made of thats for sure. As if training didn`t do that enough :). 

  My new companion is a really good guy. He`s Elder F from Eden, Utah and I was his Zone Leader in the MTC a year ago! It`s really funny talking about that with him. We get along fine and I`m really excited to get to work with him for a little while. We`ve definitely got our hands full here, but we`ve been instructed by the Brethren to balance everything as missionaries so thats really what I plan on doing. Finding, teaching, baptizing, retaining, and rescuing. I can`t wait to build up a ward!

  I should have more to talk about next week. I get to go up to Kyoto pretty soon and I`m really excited about that! I`ve wanted to go to Kyoto ever since I got to Japan and I`m finally sooo close! I know this church is true. This truly is God`s church on the Earth today. I`m so grateful to be apart of the work I`m engaged in now. I love you all and I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

Y gave me an Argentina soccer jersey!

Marcello, my brazilian investigator in Sakai

My english class students in Sakai!

My son and I doing service for a member on my last day.

The Sakai missionaries at the home of the Komatsu family on our last day!