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