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.