Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

Sunday, September 28, 2014

.. as if it were great drops of blood.

Hello friends and family!

  This week was AWESOME! We had the opportunity to have a visit from Elder R of the Seventy (Asia North Area President), and it was fantastic. I think the purpose of the visit was just to check on the mission after getting a new Mission President and making sure we`re working efficiently. He had a ton of good things to say about us over here in Kobe. Right now our main goal is to Establish the Church and work well with the members. As of now really none of the members are doing anything as far as missionary work goes, but slowly and surely things are starting to change! The Takatsuki Bishop and Ward Mission Leader are awesome and are really looking forward to getting the work moving in the ward. 

  I`ll give a quick update on my good friend, S, for the week. As some of you might have thought, we should have seen a baptism yesterday. Unfortunately for reasons out of our control, mainly do to a crazy work schedule, S was unable to be baptized. Don`t worry, he will absolutely be getting baptized here in Takatsuki in the short term, it was just not the will of the Lord for him to enter the waters of baptism this weekend. He`s crazy busy trying to keep up on his work and supporting his wife in Hawaii while she has her baby (She will be born on October 24). He was able to come by the church on Saturday for basketball and he told us all about his trip to Hawaii. He said the craziest thing happened! When they first got to Hawaii they starting talking to this lady sitting next to them on their shuttle. Just so happens the lady was a member and offered to take S's wife to church with her and help her out while S went back to Japan. Craziest thing! The Lord saw that these people needed help and provided a sweet church member to take care of them. I was way touched! The church is true! 

  This week we taught probably one of the most powerful lessons, at least to me anyway, that I`ve ever experienced. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but we had a great example for teaching the Atonement. As we were studying I remembered a lesson I got at a Young Men's Camp called Apple 08` where my former Bishop, Bishop T, gave us an amazing lesson on the Atonement with his son. I`m sure you probably know of the `push up` example in regards to the Atonement, but pretty much it goes like this: One person volunteers to do push ups and one person offers the others in the room some sort of treat. He gives it to them but says that in order for them to eat it. The chosen person has to do ten push ups. He then asks that person if he would be willing to do push ups so this person can partake of the treat. This goes on until somebody refuses the treat because they don`t want the person doing the push ups to suffer any longer. Even though the person refuses the treat, the person still has to do the push ups because even if we don`t access the power of the Atonement in our own lives, Jesus still suffered for all of us. All in all I think I did somewhere between 100 and 150 pushups. It was crazy! It was so powerful. We had most everyone crying that was present and the Spirit of the Lord could be felt so powerfully. This lesson was taught to our investigator, K, the one we found while doing service a few weeks ago and he accepted an invitation to be baptized! It was way powerful. 

  Those were just a few cool things that happened this last week! We`re truly seeing miracles over here on this side of the world and I feel so blessed to be a part of it! Thank you so much for all the love and support! I love you all so much!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

​The Rising Sun at 5:30 AM!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hashira means pole

Hey everyone!

  We had a pretty good week this week! Just another seven days fully enveloped in the service of God. Nothing special.... Not! This week was awesome and I was able to learn a lot.

  I`ll start off by saying that, yes, I hit a pole this week. We went to our investigators play on Saturday night and we were really hurrying to get home after because we were really close on time. We flew through an intersection trying to take a new short cut and I missed the road we were supposed to turn right on. I looked back to double check whether or not it was the road and then BAM. I managed to smash into one of the telephone poles placed conveniently on the side of the road. It was the craziest thing. One minute I`m cruising along just fine and the next I`m staring down a concrete telephone pole. It was even crazier because I wasn`t hurt at all. There was a guy riding toward us in the opposite direction on his phone and I heard him say when I was on the ground, `Oh crap, this foreigner just ate it in front of me.` It was pretty funny. My District Leader, Elder H, was right behind me when it happened and he was like, `You good?` I said, `Yep.`  and got up and kept riding. It was hilarious! A little while later he was like, `Dude you really took that like a man!` It was a proud moment. I`m not hurt at all. I don`t have a single bruise and I`m not even stiff. I feel like the Lord was trying to send a message. Last week I don`t think my mind was as engaged in the work as it should have been. I just straight up wasn`t focused. I think hitting that pole was a great reminder of what I`m really here to do. That night I had the impression to read my Patriarchal Blessing and see what the Lord was really trying to teach me. The answer I received was that I am to be an example. The Lord expects a high standard of me and he had to knock me off my bike in order for me to truly understand that. This was just a little experience, but oh, how I learned so very much. 

  The kid that we found through doing service at the park last week came to church again for the second time! He stayed for all three hours and for another two and a half hours after. I have no doubt he`ll be baptized soon! We had the chance to go to a play him and his group of friends were putting on and it was a blast. During the play he talked a lot about what he thinks the purpose of life is. He did and example using the Japanese character of life, 命. Theres actually three characters that make up that one and they are, person, one, and a word meaning concrete or something like that. He gave a great example that we`ll be able to use so well to connect to the Gospel! We talked to him a lot of `Eternal Life` during church and after we asked him what he wanted most out of his life was, and do you know what he said? ` I want Eternal Life!` It was awesome. He`s so prepared. I`m looking forward to teaching and hopefully baptizing him soon as well!

  This work is awesome. I love what I do here. This is very literally the work of God. I know this church is true and I know that God lives! I love all of you. I really do. I`ve taken the relationships I`ve had in my life for granted and I really want you to know how much I treasure each and every one of you. You`ve all impacted me in some way in my life and I`m so blessed because of that! I love you all! Have an awesome week!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

Hymns outside the train station, anyone?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

In the Service of my God

Friends and family on the other side of the world, Hello everyone! This week has been really good! S returned from Hawaii last week, but unfortunately wasn`t able to meet with us because he got the flu. Those darned airplanes... He wasn`t able to come to church so we`re going to be crunched a little bit for time with his baptism in two weeks! Its a good thing this is the work of the Lord, or I would be really, really stressed out right now!

  We had an awesome experience while we were doing service with one of our investigators up at the Park. We go up there every week and its an awesome chance to do some service and get the `Helping Hands` logo out there! Last week it got us a new investigator (by the way, he came to our music night on Saturday) and guess what? It got us another new investigator this week too! We were turning up some soil to plant a garden and this guy comes out of nowhere and starts talking to my companion. At first I thought he was some weirdo because people usually are nowhere near that friendly in this country to foreigners! He was having a great conversation with my companion and they set up an appointment to meet up the next week.  After they exchanged phone numbers and emails he kept hanging around asking us why we were digging up the dirt with a church vest on. I explained that we were volunteer missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we do service like this all the time, its part of what our church does! He thought that was way cool. I asked him if he`d ever been to a Christian church before and if he thought he could come the next day. He said he hadn`t but that he would try to make it on Sunday at 10:30! He left and we went back to work. After about an hour or so he came back with his friend and brought us all Cokes! He said he thought we looked like we needed a drink and he wanted to help us out! I was way grateful. His friend was hilarious! He`s a professional DJ and they gave us all free tickets to a performance of theirs this week! The tickets were thirty dollars a piece and he just gave them to us! We talked for a while and it turns out we have a ton in common. He likes to play basketball and rides a little bit of motocross! I asked if he wanted to come by the church later that day with his DJ friend for a tour and to play some basketball and he said that he would! We met them a little while later and took them to the church. We were able to give them a quick tour of the building and then take them into the chapel and taught them a little bit about what goes down at our Meetings on Sunday. They thought it was way cool and said they would come the next day! We played some basketball after that. Turns out our new friend is a straight up baller and a half and coached Junior high ball for a little while after high school (he`s only 19). The best part about this was he actually came to all three hours of church yesterday! It was so cool! We actually had one of the Japanese missionaries that returned last week come to our ward with is Mom before he went home so he was able to fellowship and friendship our new friend really well! The Lord's hand was definitely present yesterday. It was so cool!

  Well there you go. Those `Helping Hands` vests really do bring miracles! This church is true! I love what I do. I`ll see you guys in.... oh wait that doesn`t rhyme anymore... Oh well! 11 months it is! I love all of you and I`m so grateful for all the love and support that you all show me. I`m the luckiest Elder in the church! I love you all!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

This is K, our new investigator.

Monday, September 8, 2014

How is that sore?

Whats up everybody! 

  First off, it will be my opportunity to spend another transfer in Takatsuki with my companion, Elder F. We`re pretty excited and we know that we are staying for S for sure! As you can probably tell from the subject of this email, I`m beat! We had a pretty physically active week last week and it was waaayyyyyy too fun. I think what was even funnier was that I tried to put on my jeans for a service project last week and they wouldn`t fit around my legs. It was kind of a bummer but at least I didn`t have to wear jeans in the sweltering heat of 日本! 

  We had the chance to go help out a member in his garden last Tuesday. This member, Brother N, is just awesome. He speaks just about fluent English so thats way nice, but he`s just an overall bubbly person in general, he`s hilarious! He was really grateful for our help because his wife is pretty sick right now. She`s got something that keeps her from really being able to move around at all. He took us to his huge garden that he maintains with a few other partners. We were going to be tilling the earth and building up raised beds for their new vegetables to be had next year. I think thats right, I`m not much of a gardener. Needless to say after about an hour and two raised beds later I was just about ready to keel over. Brother N came over to check my progress and says something like, you are very talented Elder Giles! It was a proud moment! Go to Japan, learn how to till the Earth, till the Earth in the spiritual sense, and change some lives. I loved being able to just work out in the fields for a little bit. It was nice to kind of be able to break the daily grind and mix it up a little bit. I just hope we did well enough to be invited back this week! 

  As a District we go up to a park in Takatsuki every Saturday to volunteer with one of our investigators and her friends. At first it was just my companion and I going up every week, but we were able to get our whole district involved and really make an impact on the city every day. We just do simple stuff like weeding and pooring soil for new garden beds and stuff like that, but it`s really fun and our investigator has really started to love the church because of the service that we provide. We even got our yellow `Helping Hands` vests to wear while we do it this last week! While we were pulling some weeds along the sidewalk this way nice High School kid walked by on his way to a school festival and saw what we were doing. He said to our investigator that he thought it was way cool that these young people would get out and serve like that. He had to go before I had the chance to talk to him and I was a little bummed about it! After we were done serving our investigator asked us if we wanted to go check out the school festival that was being held nearby. We agreed and went over to see what was going on. Right as we walked into the festival that same kid came up and gave us a hug! It was way funny! He showed us around and we got to talk to him and get to know him really well. When we were on our way out we got the kids number and told him we would call him to meet up soon. We`re meeting with him in about 4 hours or so! That just goes to show how important it is to get out and serve. There are people all around us that see us and wonder why it is we do the things we do and we can have all sorts of experiences like that through serving our neighbors! It was really cool. The kids name is S, by the way. 

  We also happen to have a really fitness crazy Zone Leader right now that thought it would be good for the Zone to have a little exercise activity before our Zone Training Meeting. He`s way solid and showed us plenty of good things to do in the mornings for exercise. One of the things he really likes to do is burpees. For those of you who don`t know what a burpee is, you do a push up, jump to your feet, jump and clap your hands over your head, and go back down to a push up. Its crazy! At the end of the exercise activity he asked me if I wanted to see if I could go for five minutes with him. I agreed (not really sure why), and we cranked it out for five intense minutes. Long story short I couldn`t lift my hands above my head the next morning, but it was way awesome! 

  I`m having a great time here. I hit my 13th month mark yesterday and I can`t believe how fast time is flying by. I know this church is true. I testify that this gospel can change the hearts of anyone if they`ll allow it. This has changed my life. This is the greatest thing I`ve ever done. I love my job. I love being a missionary! がんばれ日本! I love you guys!!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

Osaka North Zone! On my right is my MTC comp, Elder D (he hasn`t changed at all!) and on his right is our fitness nut ZL, Elder D.