Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Curveball of the year

Friends and family!

  I hope you all had a Merry Christmas! Its definitely different over here in Japan, but the best part was being able to Skype home! That was so cool! I had a great time talking to my family. I can`t believe how much my little brothers are changing! I`m going to go home to two very different boys thats for sure. We had a great Christmas Conference as well and myself and the other Elders in the apartment did a skit and a song for the Talent Show, it was hilarious! 

  So I got some pretty surprising news on Saturday. The Assistants to the President called and asked me if I would transfer into the mission home in Kobe to be in charge of creating the new Missionary Portal for the upcoming Ipads. They asked if I had any experience with creating websites and stuff like that and told me I`d be leaving my area and starting today! Its going to be a different experience thats for sure. 

  We had a really cool experience going over to visit a former investigator to let her know I was transferring to Kobe. We dropped her about two months ago or so because she stopped coming to church and showing any interest because she volunteers at a hospital and she`s crazy busy this time of year. We`ve stopped by periodically over the last little while to invite her to church activities and stuff like that, but she`s been either not home or too busy. We got to talk to her for a little bit last night and gave her a short lesson on God. We told her what a blessing she would be as a member of the church because of her willingness to serve others and her talent with choir. We asked her very openly if she would join the church, and she didn`t say no! You have to start from somewhere. We explained a little about baptism and she said she would call our ward mission leader (her friend) and talk to him a little bit. It was way cool! The Lord knows who he needs in his church! 

  Well I don`t have a ton of time left today because I have to go. I love you all and I hope you have a happy new year! Hello 2015! My Goals for the year: Give it everything I have till I come home in August. Return with Honor. And get started on the next stage of my life! Its going to be a big year for sure. I`m so grateful for the gospel that I have in my life. I know the church is true. I know God lives and he has a plan for each of us, no matter how strange to us that plan may seem. I love you guys! Have a great week!

Elder Jeffrey M. Giles

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christ is the Reason, the Spirit is the key, and Joy is the Reward

Merry Christmas everyone!

Its an awesome time of year. I`m not really a fan of the cold, but I
don`t mind it the weeks before Christmas. Even though Christmas isn`t
nearly as big in Japan as it is back at home, you can feel the Christmas
spirit in the air every now and again. Its a great time to be a missionary
and a servant of God.

We`re doing well and I feel like we have nothing, but good things to
come. As I get close to ending my fourth transfer here in the area I`ve
been thinking a lot about what condition I want to leave it in when its my
time to leave. As a missionary that has come into areas that haven`t been
taken care of that well, and into brand new areas, I know how important
that is. Its like my Mom always taught me, `You leave things better than
you find them, if you borrow something, return it in better condition than
it was before, if you go somewhere with someone, act your best and they
might invite you back.` Its amazing the teachings of my parents that have
continued to teach me on my mission. I don`t know what will happen next
transfer, but I know I will be at absolute peace with whatever happens
because I know the Lord will place us where he needs us in whatever
position he needs in order to further his work.` This is a little
portion of my letter to the President this week that I wanted to share.
Christmas time in the mission is the best! P.S: I love you mom ;)

I could go on and on about how grateful I am this year to be celebrating
the birth of the Savior as a missionary in Japan. I can`t believe the
blessings and gifts in my life that he has given me. I thought as I read
the Book of Mormon this morning in Japanese what an incredibly powerful
gift he has given me to get me to the point where I can read and speak a
little bit of the Japanese language.

I think of the circumstances of the Saviors birth as a true example to
all of us how we should view this mortal life. He was born in a stable in
Bethlehem. I don`t know if everyone realizes the fact that a stable is
nothing more than a barn. A barn. Forget the fact that its the Savior and
Redeemer of the World for a second and think of that, a baby was born in a
barn! His mother was young. I`m not exactly sure, but I`ve heard she was
only around 16 or 17 years of age. I can imagine Joseph, humbly viewing
this child that has just been brought into the world feeling the pressures
of becoming a Father and providing for this Son he now has. The nativity is
so special. The family is the focus just as it should be. I can`t imagine
what kind of people Mary and Joseph were to qualify as the parents of
Christ, but along the lines of what the Angel Gabriel said to Mary at the
Annunciation, I`m sure they were some of the choicest of spirits.

I know the Savior lives and he stands on the right hand of God the
Father. He lived as an example of what we are to be and died that we might
live again. His birth is something special that we must never forget,
especially this time of year. We celebrate Christmas for a reason, and that
reason is Christ. I love my Savior and Redeemer.

I hope you all have a great Christmas! A special shout out to my little
Sister, Alex, as well for turning 18 last week! I love you Sis! I`ll talk
to you all soon! Have a great week.

Elder Giles

Where the heck is Hurricane?? Hahaha I laughed so hard at this gem. Who would have ever thought?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The only direction is up

Hello friends and family!

  This week flew by, I`m shuffling through my planner because it all feels like a blur right now! I`m sure I`ve stressed it enough by now, but time moves way to fast! The work is going great and my companion, Elder P, and I are having a great time. We had some great experiences this week and we`re really looking forward to working a lot more with the Ward for the next little while.

  We met with Bishop S here in Takatsuki yesterday to discuss how we could better work with the ward to reach a goal of baptizing by the end of the year. Its difficult right now because we really don`t have a Ward Mission Plan. Our Bishop's vision the whole time I`ve been here has been just focusing on finding young people. We met yesterday after having planned some things to talk about with the Sisters, too. I provided Bishop with a copy of the Ward Mission Plan from chapter 13 of Preach My Gospel to give him a little bit of a start on what sort of concrete plan he should be creating. Really right now what he`s worrying about the most is the members. We have to strengthen the members first and he emphasized that a lot and we agree. He asked us to visit the members and share our experiences and testimonies with them and gave us a few names of members he wants us to focus on first. Its not a lot, but it`s a start. This ward will pick up. These people's hearts will change and we will do everything in our power in order to make that happen. We will baptize here.

  I feel like I`m growing more in the Spirit every day. I was thinking yesterday as we were running around having a really busy day what an amazing gift it is to be able to learn how you feel and recognize the Spirit. It really is such a small feeling, but wow is it powerful when it comes. It teaches us so much during the day and if we aren`t ready to see and feel that for ourselves, well we`ll miss out on it as easy as that. 

  We had a Sister missionary that finished her mission a few weeks ago come back and visit Takatsuki because she served here a few months ago. Her Mom and Sister came to pick her up and they`ve been touring the mission for the last two weeks or so. We were able to have dinner with them at a member's house last night and we had a really powerful experience and testimony meeting. The mother of that sister missionary has an amazing story, from being called here over twenty years ago and then having her call changed last minute, to having all of her money stolen a few weeks before they come to Japan to pick up their missionary. She was so great and the Spirit was so powerful. A special shout out to the M family from Provo, Utah! 

  The Church is truer than ever. I love being a missionary this time of year and declaring good tidings of peace about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know that he lives and that he is the Son of God. This is God's work and we`re nothing but mouth pieces. I won`t sugar coat how hard this is, but it`s so worth it in the end. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I know its true and Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. Have a great week! I`ll see you soon!

Merry Christmas!!!

Elder Giles

Sunday, December 7, 2014

How do I know he loves me?

Friends and Family,

  This last week has been pretty challenging! I`ve had a viral infection in my stomach for the last few weeks and it hasn`t been fun at all! I keep just trying to push through and work, the doctor says its just got to work its way through the system and I`ll be back to normal in no time at all. I know the Lord is mindful of us, `wanderers in a strange land` -Ammon. 

  Other than a little trial of sickness, the week was really good! The work continues to hasten and its good to be a part of it. We taught an awesome lesson to one of our investigators last week that really got him curious in the Book of Mormon. He`s showed signs of really wanting to know about the Gospel, but up until now he really hasn`t put forth a lot of effort or true desire to learn. We met with him at a McDonalds and just started talking about his beliefs in God. We listened to him for a good little while as he told us the differences in the God we believe in and the God he believes in. He told us that he believes that God is a spirit that is in each of us, guiding and protecting our lives. I told him how cool I thought that was and showed him Moroni 7:16 and explained how we believe much the same way. God is our Father in Heaven and he sends us the Spirit and the Light of Christ, which is given to every man, to guide us and help us know right from wrong. We then took him to two of my favorite parts in the Book of Mormon where some investigators thought that God was a `Great Spirit` as well. We read from Alma 18 where Ammon teaches Lamoni and from Alma 22 where Aaron teaches Lamoni`s father. We connected it back to him and explained that God is a man, glorified and perfected and we are created in his image. He was pretty blown away by that. He said at the end that he thought it was so crazy that his beliefs and our beliefs could be so close. My companion challenged him to start reading from the beginning of the Book of Mormon and told him he was going to call and see how it has been going on Wednesday night. We`re super excited to see how he goes! 

  I`m realizing as I get older in the mission just how much I learn from week to week. I guess I haven`t really had the chance to kind of look back, but I can really see how much I`m changing. They`re absolutely right when they say that person that will change the most on your mission is YOU. Its so true. I`m learning so much every day. I`ve really come to know and walk with my Savior here in Japan. I`ve come to the knowledge of my Redeemer in Kobe. It will always be a special place in my heart. It will be so difficult to leave one day. I know it might seem sometimes like we`re not doing much, but what I`ve seen and learned on my mission is that we truly have no idea the impact we can have, especially as members of the church. God can do a lot through us, as weak as we are. There`s never a time to be discouraged because the Lord truly is mindful of all of his children! He loves each and every one of us and knows us by name. How do I know the Lord loves me? He makes me do hard things. I love you all! I hope you all have a great week! If you haven`t seen `He is the Gift` go check it out, its pretty cool. I love you guys!

Elder Giles

This is an area close to the train station in Takatsuki where we serve every week, planting flowers and stuff like that. They put Christmas lights up every year and we were recognized by the Mayor for helping out! It was way cool!