Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

Sunday, August 9, 2015

2 Timothy 4:7

Friends and Family,

This is it. The final email. I can`t believe this day is actually
here. This week, I will meet half of my family, and the following
week, I will be back home. It feels so surreal. We received transfer
emails today. My heart dropped a little bit when I saw, "Giles.... New
Area: Home.... New Companion: TBA.... New Position: YSA....". I`ve
watched a lot of missionaries return home over the last two years. I
always looked at those missionaries thinking, "holy cow, I`m glad
thats never going to be me." Well I guess reality had to come into
play a little bit because it`s here. I gave my last talk in Sacrament
meeting in Matsue yesterday and as I stood at the stand, the feeling
started to get real. It hit me right there. The end is here. What I`m
grateful for is there actually isn`t an end. All I`ll do is take off
the badge. I`ll be a missionary forever.
 I don`t even know what to put in this email. I feel like I`m still
in a little bit of shock. I don`t know if I`m ready to go through the
emotions that I know I`m going to be going through in the next few
days. I`ve come to realize that I hate goodbyes. I think it`s because
I know it`s never really "goodbye". We`ll all meet again eventually. I
just acted like it was a normal Sunday when we went to leave the
church yesterday. I`m terrible at saying goodbyes.
 Yesterday was a special Sunday for sure. We had an investigator get
confirmed in Sacrament Meeting and the blessing offered to her from
Brother N was one of the most amazing blessings I`ve ever heard. I
think it was more like a Patriarchal Blessing than a "here`s the gift
of the Holy Ghost" blessing. Awesome. I love this church. I love when
the Spirit comes into play and changes the hearts of all that are
present. Lots of members had tears in their eyes as we finished the
confirmation. It was an honor to be a part of, for sure.
 I leave you with a testimony gained over a very difficult, excited,
amazing, exhausting, faith building, character molding two years. I
know with the absolute surety of my heart that God is our father in
Heaven and that Jesus is the Christ. I know with all of my heart that
Joseph saw what he said he saw in the grove. I know the Book of Mormon
is the truest book on Earth and I know it`s the keystone of Christ`s
church on the Earth today. Take away the Book of Mormon and we have
nothing, we have the Book of Mormon, therefore we have everything. I
know God is pleased with my efforts here. I have done what I could to
serve the Master for the last twenty four months. "I have fought a
good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." And
now, I`m coming home. This is it. Thank you all so much. Know that I
love you. I thank each of you for your examples to me. I couldn`t ever
do this alone. I love you! In the sacred name of our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles


My final Zone Training Meeting. Returning Missionaries are seated.

The Japan Sea. Here`s to an amazing two years!

Sign of the times...

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Rededicated

Friends and Family!

 Holy cow. Two more weeks left. I can`t believe the end is almost
here. I`m so excited to see you all again! It`s a little bitter sweet
because I don`t feel like I`m ready to leave this great place and the
work that I`m doing. I`m looking forward to the last full week of my
mission for sure! Here goes nothing!

We were asked by President W during the recent Zone Conference
that we had to rededicate both our area and ourselves to missionary
work. We climbed up a mountain close to our apartment and it had to
have been one of the best experiences of my mission so far. The
rededication was amazing. We took time beforehand to write out the
prayers we were going to offer in advance. It brought tears to my eyes
it was so powerful. Rededicating the area was so special. I took the
prayer that I wrote out and put it up in our apartment so all the
missionaries can see it in the future. It didn`t even feel like
anything I had prepared. It felt simply like the Lord was speaking
through me. The personal rededication was so sacred. It was amazing. I
truly feel like I`m ready to return home now. I felt the pleasing
assurance from my Heavenly Father that my work is accepted by him. I
committed to him in that prayer that I would be forever faithful to
the gospel and the testimony that I have. I love this church and I
love being rededicated. It was something that I`ll never forget, for
sure!

 I went on a companion exchange with Elder B (brazilian) in my
District this week and it was amazing! My exchange with Elder B
had to have been one of the best ones I`ve ever been on. It seems like
every time I`m in Izumo miracles are seen and we just find and teach
like crazy! I love that place. It`s so special. I think we ended up
finding like four new investigators or something like that. It was all
Elder B though. My Portuguese isn`t exactly the greatest thing
in the world. I was able to say a simple prayer in half Portuguese and
half English at the end of all the lessons we taught, so I guess I did
my part! As we were walking towards the church we passed an apartment
that I felt like we should try and house. We knocked on the doors and
ended up housing into a Brazilian family that just moved into the area
the previous day and were busy unpacking. They invited us in and we
talked for close to an hour or so and taught them a lesson. They ended
up going to church in Izumo yesterday and committing to go next week
as well, so that was a big miracle, for sure! The coolest thing was
that Elder B said when I told him we should house that building,
he was thinking that it was going to be a waste of time because he`d
already been there and there was no one there. It was the Spirit
guiding us for sure!

Well here goes another week. I`m working hard and still trying to get
as much out of my mission as I can. I love you all. I`ll see you soon,
but I leave you with my testimony of this work. I love being a
missionary. I know God is at the head of this church. I know we are
guided every moment of our lives by the Spirit, whether we know it or
not. I know Jesus Christ performed the Atonement for us. I know that
through the Atonement we can receive forgiveness of sin and power to
do the impossible. I love you all and I`ll see you soon!

Love,

Elder Jeffrey M. Giles




Sunday, July 26, 2015

Reality Setting In

Morning Everyone!

I hope you`re all having a great day. I`m sitting here wondering how
it`s even possible I`m still functioning. I`m so tired, but I feel
good. It`s good to be a missionary. It`s good to soak up these last
few weeks as well. I had my final Zone Conference and final interview
with President W last week in Okayama and wow, I can`t believe the
end is actually here. It feels so weird. These last two years have
gone by so fast, but at the same time, it`s been the longest two years
ever! Ha. I guess that`s just how life goes sometimes. The bottom line
is I wouldn`t trade the experiences and miracles that I`ve seen on my
mission for anything. There`s been a lot of talk on what the biggest
thing I`ve learned on my mission is, and I think it`s got to be this
simple fact: there is a God in Heaven. He loves us and is very aware
of what we`re going through. I have conversed and spoken with my
Heavenly Father many times in the last two years of my life and I can
honestly say that he`s heard every single time. One of the members in
church yesterday about something that would happen in the Ward after
I`ve returned home. I told him that it was too bad I would be
transferring. He looked a little confused and surprised and was like,
"you`re transferring? Where are you going?" I responded with, "Salt
Lake City." That got a good laugh out of all of us. I just can`t
believe how weird it is that it`s almost over. My interview with
President W was incredible. I love that man. We both cried like
children and I can honestly say he`s one of the greatest men I have
ever had the opportunity to work with. After that interview though, I
think it`s safe to say that I`m prepared to transfer to my next area.

 Well, we were blessed with another baptism yesterday. The Lord`s
hand is so strong here in Matsue I love it! The daughter of a Less
Active, H M, was baptized by her recently returned to activity
Father and her Mom was baptized as well. This was one of those tender
mercy baptisms for sure. I seriously didn`t do a thing! I was merely
an instrument to teach M the lessons and prepare her to be
baptized. The Ward and the Spirit did the rest. It was so cool to
witness her Father, who just received the Aaronic Priesthood two weeks
ago, go down into the water and perform his wifes`, and his Daughters`
baptism. It was a special experience for sure and now they`re working
to go to the temple in a year to be sealed as a family. Hopefully in
that time their other children will make the same choice and enter the
waters of baptism so they too can join their family in the temple
soon! The work continues.

 During Zone Conference, President W issued us a new challenge to
read the Book of Mormon again by the end of November of this year.
This time, we`ll be marking and studying specifically the Doctrine of
Christ and how it can apply to us in our own lives. It`s so cool! I`m
only a few chapters into the Book of Mormon so far, but I`ve already
found so many things that have helped me out a ton. Nephi was a beast.
He also shared with us an experience from his own mission. He showed
us a chart of the number of baptisms per month in a three year period
while he was a young missionary and the numbers were crazy! They went
from getting about what we get, which is about 20 baptisms per month,
to over 200 in three years. He explained the reason for this jump in
success. His Mission President issued a challenge to all of his
missionaries that they were to rededicate their areas where they were
serving to missionary work, and also, they were to rededicate
themselves to the work. After they did that as a mission, miracles
happened for sure. Because of that, President W issued us the same
challenge. Next Sunday night, we will be finding somewhere special in
our areas to go, kneel down, and rededicate the area for missionary
work and for the finding of the elect of God. He boldly told us that
"they`re there. Go find them." and I know we will. I`m super excited
about this challenge and this final stage of my mission. I`ll only
have about ten days or so to be rededicated, but man, am I ready to
change and see some miracles in these my last days.

 I`ll close with my testimony of missionary work, my Father in
Heaven, Jesus Christ, and the Prophet Joseph Smith. My mission has
been far from easy. It has stretched me in ways that I never thought
it would. I have come to know myself better than ever before because
of these last two years. I love my mission. I have come to know the
God lives, he loves us, and we are really his children. I feel that
every day as I go out and work. I feel his love and I want so badly
for all of these people in this strange country to feel the same. I`ve
come to walk with my Savior. I know He lives! He descended below all
things, and now sits at the right hand of his Father. Without Jesus
Christ, I am nothing. My life would be incredibly challenging. He has
taken away my guilt and he has given my strength I never knew I had.
I`ve also come to respect and love the Prophet Joseph Smith more than
I ever have. I can`t imagine what he went through. I can`t imagine the
weight that was on his shoulders. I don`t even want to try to imagine
what the weight of an entire dispensation feels like. I know he saw
what he said he saw. He was a Prophet of God and through him, the Book
of Mormon was translated and stands of a witness of the Saviors
divinity. I know that this is the Kingdom of God on the Earth today.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true. I leave that
with you, as well as all of my love, in the name of Jesus Christ.
Amen!

I love you all! I hope you have an awesome week! I`ll see you soon!


Elder Jeff Giles



Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Higher Standard

Friends and Family,

I realized this week that I now have too many fingers to count the number of emails I`ll send to all of you before my mission comes to a close. If you think that I`m winding down, and settling in for college life and dating after my mission, you`re wrong. I`m planning on grinding to the last minute. I didn`t come here to fight for two years, and then take it easy for the last few weeks before it`s time to return. I came to serve the Lord, and that reason alone. Sure, I`m exited to come home and see you all, go to college, and date, but those things are in the back corners of my thought process right now. I have work yet to do. 
So we were on a companionship exchange, and we went to visit a member that was recently baptized, but has had some health problems and struggles with the Word of Wisdom that have kept him from coming to church recently. Every time we go over to his house he talks about how hard it is to go to the hospital all the time to get a problem with his leg figured out. He complains how much his leg bothers him and how difficult it is to walk to the church. When we went over to his house, his mood was worse than usual. He showed us all the medication that he had to take for the pain in his leg and just seemed flat frustrated with what was going on. On hearing what this man was saying, I remembered suddenly that the companion I was with at the time knew a lot about the human body and how massaging and physical therapy work to make us better. I looked over at my companion, and signaled that he should try and give him a massage. At first, he was skeptical, and so was I, but we asked the member if he would like to see if my companion could help his sore leg. It took some convincing, but the member agreed to let my companion see if he could help his leg. It was painful, and the member complained quite a bit, but when my companion was finished, all he could say was "本当に有難うございます” and "とても楽" which basically translates to, "thank you so much" and "it feels so good!" He sat there for a moment and my companion told him to try and stand. When the member stood up, he stood straight up faster than either of us had ever seen! We looked at each other in complete surprise and the member was full of joy and gratitude. That`s where the Spirit came in. My companion noticed a pack of cigarettes and a lighter on the table and asked the member if he`d been smoking recently. He said that he had, but he only smoked every three days or so, and he really was trying to quit. My companion told him how tobacco can be very harmful for our bodies, and might be a cause for the pain he was experiencing in his leg. The member agreed and said that he thought he could quit. I took the pack of cigarettes and opened it to see how many he had. There were 8 cigarettes in the pack and I proceded to take 2 of them out. I told the member that it would be difficult to just flat stop, but he could have these last 2, and after that, he was done. The member readily agreed. I asked him if I could take the cigarettes and he said yes. Because we followed the Spirit, and because my companion used the special gits and talents that he has been blessed with, the man was not only healed, but was able to experience a softened heart that lead him to commit to quit tobacco once and for all. Well, going to church yesterday we learned that the member actually continued to have a hard time, and actually got a little mad at us for taking his cigarettes. The member said not to worry and that he just needed to understand the doctrine of our church a little better. I thought of the scripture in 1 Nephi 16 when it says, "guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center". I know he`ll be back. He just needs some time for the Spirit to work on him, and for his body to heal.
I won`t lie, this last transfer has been the hardest one of my mission. I`ve had to deal with some pretty difficult circumstances and situations, but through all of this I`ve learned that God must have a lot more trust in me than I give myself credit for. It`s been a challenge, but nothing has helped me to grow like the last three weeks or so. I know my Father lives. I know Jesus Christ is His Son. I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true. These things I`ve come to know because of the trials I`ve had to overcome. I`ve had to earn a testimony, it hasn`t come easy, but I wouldn`t have wanted it any other way.
I love you all and I hope you all have a great week! We have a Baptism Sunday of a15 year old girl and her Mom. They will be getting baptized by their recently returned to activity Father and husband so we`re excited for that! It`s going to be a great Sunday for sure. I`ll see you all soon. I love you!


Elder Giles

Companionship exchange with Elder T.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

One year older and (hopefully) wiser, too

Friends and Family,

This week was an interesting one, for sure. I wish I could share some
of the details, but I can`t. It`s been a little difficult, but know
that I`m doing just fine and I`m working as hard as I possibly can to
help people my last little while in the mission. It`s so crazy that
I`m also 21 now... I actually forgot it was my birthday yesterday until
I saw an unopened envelope on my desk from Sister W that said,
"don`t open until July 12". Ha! It was a great birthday, for sure!
 Most of this week was spent, well, loving and lifting. That`s all
I`ll say about that. Being a District Leader and a Senior Companion to
a very very young missionary is a huge blessing for sure. It has
helped me to forget myself and just focus on the needs of either my
companion, or my District. Our investigators are doing really well
right now as well. We have a 15 year old girl that will be getting
baptized in two weeks with her Mom. Her parents have had some
difficulties, so long story short, the parents live over in Izumo
(about an hour away) and their daughter lives here in Matsue in an
institution. The Dad was baptized some twenty years ago or so, but has
been less active up until recently when a missionary invited him to
come play ping pong at the church for an activity. He went to that
activity for a few weeks, and then approached the missionaries and
said that he wanted to come back to church, and he wanted his family
to be baptized as well. It was a huge miracle for sure! So yeah, the
Sisters over in Izumo are teaching the Mom and we`re teaching the
daughter here in Matsue. She`s doing really really well. She comes to
church every week and plays with all the kids because we don`t have
any young women in the ward, but she just does what she can anyway.
It`s basically like she`s already a member. We taught her the
Commandments yesterday and she readily accepted all of them. She`ll be
getting interviewed by the Zone Leaders for baptism on Saturday with
her Mom, so miracles are happening for sure!
 We had to jump on the 3 hour bus down to Okayama again last week for
Zone Training Meeting. It was a blast though! We have two Brazilian
Elders who were sent up here to the District to try and start a
Portuguese branch in the area next to ours. One of them in the Son
(trainee) of the one and only Elder Brown, so he`s pretty solid!
They`re both really good guys though. I had fun learning some
Portuguese from them on the way down. Our ZTM was way good. As a Zone,
we`re focusing on "Becoming One through changing". That`s something
that I really really love. I`m so imperfect, and the only way I`m
going to be able to work with someone else is to change and become
more like the Savior. I had the chance to bear my testimony at the end
of the meeting, and I was overcome with gratitude for the two years of
missionary service I`ve been able to have. This really is the greatest
thing I have ever done. I wouldn`t want to be anywhere else, and I
know what I`ve done here has had eternal significance. I`ve come to
know my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ over the last twenty
three months and that`s something I`m incredibly grateful for.
 I`m sorry I don`t have a lot of time this week because I`ve got to
go celebrate my birthday right! Know that I love you all, and I pray
for you all the time. I hope you have a great week! Wish me luck and
I`ll see you in a little while!

Elder Giles



I`m 21!!!


Sunday, July 5, 2015

No More Counting

Friends and Family,

 This week has been a long one, which is a great thing! I`ll be just
fine if this last little while as a missionary goes by as sllooowwww
as can be! Haha it`s been a great week. Elder Takahashi transferred
out last week and I`ve got a new companion, Elder Jackson, now. He`s a
good guy. He`s from Arizona and came to Japan about 2 months ago. He`s
young, but he`s doing great! Transfer day was a tough one for sure.
This transfer we started transferring with bikes, so there was all
sorts of commotion over that. Usually transfers are done by about one
in the afternoon and everyone is on their way home, but it was a
little different this time. Because we were carrying bikes with us on
the trains, we had to go in smaller, more spread out groups, which
made transfers a LOONG day. To make a long story short, I basically
spent 9 hours in the Okayama train station helping people get where
they needed to be and waiting for missionaries to meet their
companions. It was a drag, but everyone got home safe and sound... I
think.
 The week ended in a great way. We were able to be a part of Brother
Jiken getting the Aaronic Priesthood. It`s amazing to watch him
progress in the Gospel. He worries because he doesn`t speak Japanese
that well, that he is a hinderance because we have to translate for
him all the time. I told him to not think like that, but understand
that it is a major blessing for me to be able to help him. I love the
guy. I want him to stay active and grow in the church forever. I feel
the big responsibility that I have. These people who I`ve helped come
into the church deserve a continuing example of faithfulness to the
Gospel in their lives. I intend to be that example for them. This is
just all part of enduring to the end.
 We had a really interesting experience with one of our Eternal
Investigators that I talked about a few weeks ago. Basically she`s
really lonely. She lives alone and doesn`t really have anyone in her
life so she likes it when the missionaries come over. We figured that
she hadn`t been keeping her commitments, so we went into the lesson
thinking that if she didn`t start showing signs of progression, we
were going to have to drop her. I followed up with her about prayer
and she told us that she hadn`t prayed, and probably wasn`t going to.
She went about talking to us like it was all a big joke. That set off
a fire inside. I asked her why she thought we gave her commandments
and why we were there in the first place trying to share the Gospel
with her. She talked about how missionaries in the past have tried to
get her to do the same things and how she doesn`t really have any
intention of doing anything we ask her to do that isn`t reading from
the Book of Mormon. We testified of the blessings of prayer and how we
can receive answers from God. That`s when the wheels just about came
off. She asked me in a strange way if I had ever REALLY received an
answer from God. I felt something well up inside so strong that I just
couldn`t contain it. It was one of the strongest testimonies I`ve ever
born. I witnessed that God was there. That he lives and that we are
his beloved children. I testified that unless we have a desire to act
on what we receive, we probably won`t get anything. I know that God
lives. He will answer his children IF they are ready. This women just
isn`t ready yet. We committed her one last time to pray for herself to
find out if these things were true. When she receives that answer,
she`ll come to church. I love bearing testimony. My testimony has
grown so much here and I was able to fully witness that when it was
put to the test. I can say with all that I have that I know this
Church is true and that Jesus Christ is our Savior. God does indeed
hear us and I`m incredibly grateful for that.
 That`s about it for me this week. I love you all and I hope you all
have a great week. Pray for my companion and I and I`ll see you all in
a little while! I love you!

Elder Giles


Happy 4th of July!



Sunday, June 28, 2015

BAPTISMS

Mom (and the rest),

This week was amazing. Seriously though. Amazing. I`ll cut to the good
stuff real quick by saying that we had the privilege of baptizing and
confirming two of our Chinese investigators yesterday! Matsue Ward
just got a little bigger! It was awesome. That just capped off the end
to an amazing week though. This is the work of the Lord and I`m more
aware of that than ever.

The week started off with a short little four hour bus ride from
Yonago to Kobe. Yes, that was sarcastic. It was a long one, but on the
plus side, I was with Elder Jake Jensen, so we got to catch up for a
long time! We had District Leader Council down in Kobe on Tuesday and
it was an incredible meeting. I love President Welch. He could say
"jump", and without hesitation I would ask, "how far?". It`s been an
honor to serve with him. The focus on the meeting was definitely
helping missionaries. It was funny, Sister Welch made the comment that
the DL`s are like the "Mothers" of the mission. We`re the ones that
interact the most with the missionaries in the mission, so in a way,
we`re kind of like everyones Moms out here! President is really
focusing on "Love and Lift" right now among the leaders of the
mission. Those two things basically make up the role of a District
Leader. It was funny, I asked one of the Assistants before I left Kobe
last transfer what advice he had on being a good District Leader and
all he said was, "Just love people. And help them." I didn`t think so
at the time, but that`s some pretty good advice. That basically makes
up what I do all day everyday, love and lift!

Getting everything prepped for the baptism was a breeze. We cleaned
the baptismal font after a companionship exchange on Saturday and
filled it early Sunday morning. It was awesome, Chen (the guy I`m
standing next to in the picture), really wanted to look like a member
when he was baptized and asked us if we would help him pick out a new
suit! We went with him during the week and got him looking pretty
spiffy for the big day! It was a blast. He`s 20 years old right now,
and when we were at the suit store I couldn`t help but think, we might
be helping this guy get ready for his mission... It was so cool! The
baptisms themselves went perfectly. My companion baptized Brother Ko
in Japanese, and then baptized Brother Chen in English! He worked hard
and his practice paid off. During sacrament we had a member confirm
Brother Ko and I had the privilege of confirming Brother Chen! It was
an amazing experience. It was like I could feel an army of people on
the other side of the veil pulling for this guy. It was a blessing to
be a part of for sure. After church the Bishop interviewed both of
them and it looks like they will be receiving the Aaronic Priesthood
as soon as next week! We`ve already set up for them to go to the
Fukuoka temple with the ward in August so we couldn`t be happier. This
is all amazing yes, but there`s something I want you all to
understand. I played a very very small role in this. These were in no
way shape or form "Elder Giles`s baptisms". These two men were
prepared by the Spirit long before I got here, and I just had the
privilege of reaping the reward. None of us have the power within us
to convert a soul. Only the Spirit can do that and I can testify of
that for sure. I`ve seen it many times in my mission. I`m so grateful
to be doing what I`m doing and I love the work of the Lord. I love my
mission.

Oh, by the way. We got the transfer email, and yes, I`ll be staying in
the beautiful city of Matsue for my last transfer here! My companion,
however, will be transferring to Takatsuki (one of my areas) so we`ll
have a busy week this week. My new companion is another newer
missionary, Elder Jackson. I know him a little bit from when he first
came to the mission and stayed in Kobe, but other than that, I don`t
know a thing! It`s going to be great though! This transfer was a bit
of a ride, but transfers are a great way to start off fresh! It`s
scary to think how fast this last transfer went by, and now to think
that it will happen again in a short 6 weeks. I`m winding down, but I
won`t quit. I intend on working harder than I ever have before. I love
what I do and I don`t want to waste a minute of being a missionary. I
love you all and I hope you have a great week!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles




Sunday, June 21, 2015

Tudo bem?

Hi Mom! Oh, Happy Fathers Day, Dad!

 This week was freaking awesome. I`m sure I sound like a broken
record after starting out every single one of my weekly emails for the
last two years with something about how awesome the last week was. Oh
well, I`ll be home soon anyway! We really did have an awesome week
though. Being a full purpose missionary that does just about
everything is a blast and we`re seeing miracles in Matsue for sure! I
have great news, by the way! Our two Chinese investigators (Chen and
Yo), passed their baptismal interviews last Saturday so we`ll be
baptizing them this Sunday before church! I`m so excited for them! We
were teaching Chen yesterday with one of the members that speaks
English, we were talking about the temple and the Priesthood and stuff
like that and the member voluteered to take Chen down to Fukuoka after
he gets the Priesthood to do baptisms before he goes back to mainland
China! We`re seriously seeing some major success with the Chinese
right now. They are amazing people. On top of that, my companion and
Elder W from our District were on a companionship exchange and
they got invited into a Chinese guys house who was really interested
in learning about the Gospel. These people are pure! It`s been
awesome. Fe cheng hao!
 That brings me to my companionship exchange with Elder S over
in Izumo last week. They have a very large population of Brazilians
over in Izumo because there`s a factory that hires them out of Brazil
and pays them better than what they would be receiving if they were in
Brazil. Anyway they have somewhere around 25 Brazilian investigators
right now, and almost all of them happen to live in this one apartment
complex. We decided to go over there and see if we could get any
lessons in with any of them and see how they were doing. Mind you, we
don`t speak Portuguese, and they speak little to no English or
Japanese. The Spirit is amazing. We tried a few of them, but found
out that most of them were at work or out doing something on their day
off. We noticed a guy pull into the parking lot riding a BMX bike with
Beats by Dre headphones on with an Oakley hat (not common here). We
met him on the stairs of the apartment complex and tried to talk with
him. From being with Elder DS for close to 5 months I was able
to get across to him that we were missionaries from The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I`m pretty sure he just understood
"Igreja" haha! We were trying to figure out how we were going to teach
this guy because he really seemed like he wanted to know what we were
doing (wouldn`t you if two white boys stopped you on the stairs of you
apartment?). Elder S remembered that he had wifi at one of his
other investigators apartments, so we asked the guy if he would come
with us. We stood outside of the investigators (who wasn`t home)
apartment and managed to get a little bit of a signal. We used google
translate to tell him who we are and stuff like that and he got really
happy. I called around the mission to find a Brazilian Elder who could
translate for us because Elder DS was busy in Kobe, and
managed to find one! We called him and he translated for us over the
phone! It was hilarious. Here we are, two white Americans standing
outside of a Brazilians apartment using Google translate and an Elder
on the phone on the other side of the mission to teach a guy that just
moved here from Brazil the Gospel. Long story short, they`re meeting
him on Friday, and he`s a new investigator! Don`t worry it gets
better. After that we went and taught one of the Brazilian families
they have and Elder DS translated for us! It was awesome.
After that we met the same guy that we taught before, but he was with
his younger brother. We talked with them for a little bit and the
little brother ended up coming to church the next day, skyping with
another one of the Brazilian Elders in the mission, and he`s now a new
investigator too! (takes a gasping breath) Pretty cool right?
 Everyone, this is the work of the Lord. I`ve seen things and been in
situations where I can honestly say the hand of the Lord was present.
He is ever at the head of this church. I love being a missionary and I
love the chance to be here in Matsue. It`s a great place and will hold
a special place in my heart forever. I love the gospel and I know it
has changed me for the better. I love you all so much and I hope you
have a great Father`s Day. I love you, Dad! Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Giles

My new Brazilian friends in Izumo. 

This guy can`t hear a single thing, we taught him by writing on a piece of paper in Japanese. He has all sorts of crazy Japanese history things in his house.



Monday, June 15, 2015

The Lord places people where he needs them

Friends and Family!!!

先週は最高でした!
I`m seriously concerned for life after my mission and having free time
because I`ve literally been going 100% all day every day for a long
time. I was laying in bed last night thinking about the future. It`s
crazy what a foreign concept regular member life is to me right now.
It really sparked my desire to use every minute of the time I have
left to serve the God that lends me daily breath.

So we have two Chinese investigators who are really really strong. One
of them has a baptismal date for this coming Sunday, and the other has
a baptismal date on my birthday. We were thinking about them last week
in our Weekly Planning Session and we figured it was going to be
difficult for the one getting baptized this Sunday to make that date
because we still need to teach the commandments and he needs to get
interviewed! Well the one that has a date on my birthday only has a
few of the commandments left and his interview and we felt like he
could be baptized a lot sooner. After looking at the calendar and
talking about it for a little bit, we decided it would be awesome if
they just got baptized on the same day, June 28th! Because they are
good friends, this will work out perfectly. After that we realized
that one of our other Part Member Family investigators also has a
baptismal date on the 28th of this month. We`ll be having a baptismal
service for three investigators that day! You should have seen the
Ward Council yesterday. Everyone is super excited! One of the Chinese
guys actually sadly goes back to China in August or September, and I
was thinking this week how amazing it was that he came to Japan, found
the church, will be baptized and confirmed a member, and return to
China. He`ll be here for a total of less than one year, but in that
time his life will have changed completely. I`m sure he was planning
on coming to Japan for school, but the Lord had bigger things in mind.
He wasn`t coming here for school, he was coming here to receive the
Restored gospel. We taught him about Tithing yesterday during Sunday
School and he readily accepted it. We were a little nervous in
teaching it because it`s such an important commandment, but when we
told him that we were planning on talking about something called
"tithing", he was like, "I already know about that." We thought, "well
great!" explained the blessings and doctrine behind it, shared a
scripture talking about how the windows of Heaven will be opened, and
committed him to pay his tithing after he is baptized and confirmed!
It was an awesome lesson completely run by the Spirit and an already
prepared heart.

We had an awesome District Meeting last week talking about how to
become "Full Purpose Missionaries". Seriously sometimes in Japan it
feels like all we do all day is go out and knock on doors or talk to
people on the street and it yields little fruit. We`re focusing more
now on the bigger picture of missionary work. Using technology,
visiting Less Active Members, visiting members from the Wards and
trying to strengthen them. It`s much more motivating to visit a
member, share a short message with their family, then pray with them
to find someone around where they live that is prepared to receive the
gospel, and then go out and find. We talked about how working in this
way now will prepare us much more for when we have to go home and
fulfill our missionary obligations in our own wards. I assigned a few
members of the District a few of the Great Missionaries from the
scriptures, like Alma, Aaron, Peter, and Paul, to study and prepare to
teach for a few minutes on what made them so great. The activity is
actually in PMG in chapter 1 under the "Companionship Study" (I don`t
just come up with this stuff). It was awesome and I felt like I
learned a ton. It was actually pretty great, during one of the Sisters
training on the Apostle Paul, she was talking about how he was going
from one place to another. I remembered how there was a map depicting
Paul`s Missionary Journey`s in the Bible so I decided to look that up.
I don`t think I ever realized how far Paul actually travelled! One of
the other Sister`s asked, "well are we sure he walked the whole way?"
I responded with, "would riding a donkey the whole way be much better
than walking?" Seriously, Paul was a beast and all he did was love
people. He`s a perfect example of a missionary that teaches people,
not lessons.

This week is very very busy for us. Between getting our investigators
prepared for their interviews and prepping for another District
meeting, I have to go to the next area over for a baptismal interview
tomorrow, and then a companion exchange with the Elder`s over there on
Friday followed by a Missionary Day for their ward where all the young
men will be going on splits with the Elders from our District to go
out and proselyte on Saturday! It should be fun! I had the chance to
speak in sacrament meeting yesterday about the importance of preparing
for a mission. It was the first time I just went up with a few notes
in English and tried my best to speak through the Spirit. I`m sure
absolutely none of the members could understand what I was saying, but
I just hope the Spirit testified for me. Anyway the church is still
true and I still love you all! I love being a missionary and I don`t
want my two years to come to an end! I hope you all have a great week!
I love you!

Elder Giles


Sunday, June 7, 2015

I Never Know What To Write In Here Anymore

Hello Friends and Family!

This week was a blast. It`s weird though, its the first week in a long
time that felt really long as it was happening, but still looking back
on it now, it feels weird that its Preparation Day again and I`m
sitting here writing this email. My conception of time is so messed
up, I love it! We had a really busy week full of a lot of good stuff
and I`m really excited to be working here in Matsue. It`s really an
awesome area and we`re going to see some crazy miracles here in the
coming weeks.
The week started off with a companion exchange with Elder W
from the District. He came over here and worked with me and my
companion went over to Izumo and worked with Elder S. We had a
pretty tough day here in Matsue. We had a lesson with one of our
eternal investigators that just speaks crazy weird Japanese and asks
all sorts of random questions. The lesson was pretty rocky because I
was understanding maybe 40% of what she was saying and poor Elder
Wiseman was pretty lost. Basically, here in Japan when that happens,
we just rely on the power of the Spirit and a simple testimony and it
tends to be really powerful. Its funny, it seems like the minute I try
to be really eloquent and learned sounding in Japanese, my language
ability leaves me. Its only when I speak simply and clearly do my
words come with ease and power. The gift of tongues is real. After
that we basically had a day of finding. We had an investigator in the
area book that I had never met before so we decided to go and visit
her and see if we couldn`t get a lesson in. The area book information
said she was a really nice old lady that just kept saying that she was
"living in happiness" and seemed to have interest. We didn`t think
much could go wrong with that so we went to visit her. After getting
to her neighborhood we finally found the house and knocked on the
door. As we were sitting there waiting this old lady came out from no
where behind us and started making noises I can only describe as a
barely audible "hissing". She kept crossing her arms in the shape of
an X and saying things I couldn`t understand. Very calmly I asked her,
"Ma`am, do you know how lives here?" She responded that they weren`t
home, but that we weren`t welcome here and that we should go home. She
said that "people of religion" come to that neighborhood all the time
and bother people and that we needed to get away from there. I
responded by telling her that we were visiting one of our friends as
missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we
were sent here to teach the gospel of happiness to all people, well,
that seemed to make her even more angry. We left and walked back to
our bikes and watched as she walked down the street and around the
corner. I looked at Elder W and said something along the lines
of, "I think she`s gone, there`s people in the house, lets go knock
again." We gingerly walked back to the front door and knocked. We
could here people in the house, but no one was coming to answer the
door. We stood there for a moment when a high school aged girl pulled
into the driveway on her bike. We said hello to her and asked her if
she happened to live with her Grandma. She responded that she did,
then pointed behind her and said, "she`s actually right there!" We
looked to see the SAME old lady storming up the driveway yelling all
sorts of obscenities at us. She walked right passed us into the house
and slammed the door. We gave a little chuckle and Elder W
handed the girl an English Class flyer and we told her to have a nice
day. Let me tell you, that woman was NOT living in happiness!
 We had to go down to Okayama for Zone Training Meeting last friday.
It was a long 3 hour bus ride both ways, but we had a great meeting.
One thing we`re working on is to become full purpose missionaries
right now. We`re no longer focusing on just one thing at a time, it`s
time to do it all. We`re working better than ever with the members of
the wards here and the time is short until the church is fully
established in this country. I`m grateful for the chance that I have
to be a missionary and to be serving in such an amazing place. I know
that this is the Lord`s church and that we all have the divine command
to take the gospel to all the inhabitants of the Earth. I love my job
and I wish I could do it forever.
 I hope you all have a great week, stay healthy, and enjoy the first
week of summer vacation! It`s getting hot here, and its time to cool
some people down in the font! Wish us luck and pray that we can
baptize! I love you all!

Elder Giles


Sunday, May 31, 2015

They say it doesn`t start until the last three months...

Friends and Family,

This week has flown by. It definitely had its ups and downs, but the
great news is that it just keeps getting better exponentially. I had
the opportunity to perform my first baptismal interview on Friday and
believe me, it was nerve racking for sure. We had interviews with
President W on Thursday and had a blast the short time we were
with the W's. It was funny, they`ve been out all week doing
interviews in the far areas of the mission so when Sister W saw me
she said, "I haven`t even had the chance to miss you yet because we
haven`t been back home since you left!" It was great. She`s the best
lady ever. We were basically just moving from appointment to
appointment and were able to get a lot done so I`m really happy and
excited about the pace of the work here in Matsue. I absolutely love
it here. The Ward is small, but everyone is like family. It`s a little
more country than I`m used to, but it turns out I kind of like it that
way.
The baptismal interview was definitely an experience I`ll never
forget. I`ve never felt the Spirit in that way before. It`s totally
different when the feelings and inspiration is directly related to
someone else instead of yourself for sure. The interview was tough and
I had to review a lot of the doctrine with the candidate, but I`ve
never felt the love of the Savior for someone like I did. I could see
what a blessing in this persons life his baptism would be, and the
church would bring nothing but positivity to a life in need of repair
and help. It was amazing, and definitely an experience I`ll never
forget. The Lord really does love each of His children.
We had two investigators at church yesterday, both with baptismal
dates! One of them is scheduled in three weeks, the other one is
scheduled on my birthday in July! We had to split with the members in
order to teach both of them during Sunday School. I taught the Word of
Wisdom and committed our investigator to live it. It had been a long
time since I`ve taught the Word of Wisdom in Japanese, but the good
news was he barely speaks any Japanese because he`s from China! I
explained the doctrine in Japanese for the sake of the member that was
teaching with me, and then typed it out in Google Translate and he
could figure it out! Thank goodness for technology!
I`m definitely still getting used to being a District Leader and
following up with missionaries every night. I have a decently big
district, but everyone is a really solid missionary so it makes my job
pretty easy. Its been a blast getting the chance to talk with
missionaries every night and follow up on how their lives are going.
Its been humbling to try and find things to help them because most of
the time I feel like they should be helping me! It`s super fun though
and I`m excited for District Meeting next week for sure.
 We have a crazy busy week this week with companion exchanges, and
taking a three hour bus ride down to Okayama for Zone Training Meeting
and staying the night on Thursday. We have lessons or appointments
planned for basically every day so it should be a lot of fun! I feel
like I have more things to do than ever, but I know God will always
provide a way to do the things that he commands. He`s commanded me to
do the work, and by all means I`ll do my best to do it. I love the
Lord, His church, and His gospel. We have a goal this transfer as a
companionship to focus on really LIVING the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We
know by doing so he will make our burdens light. I know that what we
teach is true and that the everlasting God is at the head of what
happens in this church and on this world. I`m grateful for that
knowledge. Yesterday before church I had the feeling to jump on
lds.org really quick to check for any updates. Of course the headline
news was that Elder L. Tom Perry of the Twelve had passed away after a
short bout with cancer. My heart ached at the loss of this beloved
Apostle whom I admire so much because he reminds me so much of my
Grandfather. I took comfort in the Plan of Salvation and the knowledge
that we have of what happens when we depart from this mortal life. I
love L. Tom Perry, and I know he continues his Apostolic Ministry on
the other side of the veil. If you have the chance, go watch
"Obedience to the Ten Commandments". Its one of my favorite videos in
the church. I love you all and I hope you feel how much I admire and
love each of you. Thank you for your sacrifice in allowing me to be
here doing what I need to do. I will never be able to pay back the
support that I`ve received during these short two years. Thank you. I
love you!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles






Sunday, May 24, 2015

MATSUE!

Hello friends and family!

This week was awesome! My new companion, Elder T, and I are
doing really well here in Matsue. It was so hard to say goodbye to
Kobe but I'm really happy to be here in Matsue. Right now I'm writing
this letter through the voice setting on the iPad so if it comes out a
little funny, it's not my fault it's the iPad. Matsue is a great area
and we're seeing a lot of success here so I'm really excited for the
last little bit of my mission! We had three people at church yesterday
so the work is really moving forward.
I'm going to send a picture, but last week my trainer came to the
Mission home and it was really good to see him. He was really weird
because for the first time I was able to have a conversation with him
in regular Japanese. He was incredibly surprised that I could speak as
well as I can! The gift of tongues is real. I owe a lot for the
missionary that I am today to my trainer Elder S. He taught me
what it means to really work hard, be obedient, and love being a
missionary. I just hope he gets married soon so we have more
missionaries like him in Japan... ;)
I forgot my keyboard and Kobe so this week I have to type my emails
on the screen and use this voice thing. I'm sure my companion hates
it, but I'm in charge so he has to deal with it... Just kidding! He's
awesome and I've had a great time with him so far. He's really working
hard to learn English, but I'm basically speaking Japanese all day.
It's awesome!
Being a district leader is really awesome. It's a lot similar to
being a tech staff missionary because my phone rings all day and I
have to help people solve their problems! I love getting to know
missionaries on a personal level though, and I have a great group of
missionaries in my district. Right now there are 10 of us so I'm
really really busy, but I wouldn't have it any other way! Being busy
is probably the greatest blessing a missionary could ask for. Nothing
good happens when nothing is going on.
We have part member family that we are teaching with the sisters in
the next area over and they are really really awesome. They came to
church yesterday and they're looking really solid to get baptized
soon. We taught them with the sisters after church yesterday and had a
really solid lesson on the word of wisdom. They committed to follow
the word of wisdom and the dad recommitted to follow the word of
wisdom again. Later that night the dad called us and said how much he
wanted his daughters to get baptized here in our ward. The Lord's hand
in his definitely present here in the Matsue Ward! Also, of the three
people that came to church yesterday two of them have plans to get
baptized in the next month or so. This place is seriously the best!
 We were riding our bikes home the other night and we stopped for
little bit to look at the beautiful lake and the sunset. It reminded
me so much of home. I'm not homesick or trunky or anything like that
but it was good to see that Home really is wherever you are. I only
have a little while longer and I don't plan on wasting a minute of the
time that I have left. I love being a missionary and this is the
greatest thing I've ever done in my life. I wouldn't want to be doing
anything else right now and I know this is exactly where the Lord
wants me to be. I'm excited to be where I am and I'm excited about the
positions that Ive been called to serve in.
 I love you all I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Giles


Sunday, May 17, 2015

I'll be sprinting to the finish for sure!

Friends and Family,

  Well, I've got some sobering news this week. The companionship of Elder Giles and Elder DS as Technical Specialists in Kobe has come to an end after five good months. I've been called another way. I'm going about as far as I can go, I'm going to be a trainer again, my companion is Japanese, and I'm a District Leader over the biggest District in the mission. It's going to be fun! 

  This last week was awesome. It was just a good solid week full of finding and teaching. We found a really solid investigator from Vietnam that has a lot of interest. He's a member of a church that worships the Virgin Mary, and believe me, that's a lot more of a background than most of the people we find around here. The hardest part about teaching him is one little thing called a language barrier. My companion and I taught him through Google Translate on his phone because he doesn't speak English or Japanese at all. It was really interesting, but we were able to get our message across. The guy we found last week is now progressing really well and reading the Book of Mormon. We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ because he feels like he isn't able to receive forgiveness from the mistakes that he has made. We had such a powerful lesson and he really felt the Spirit. I feel so sad that I have to transfer and leave all of these awesome people, but I will go and do the things that the Lord commands. 

  I don't have a lot of time today because I have to go and pack and get some things done in Kobe, but I just want to say how great it was to skype home last week. It was definitely a highlight and I loved being able to see the fam. I know that the Church is 100% true and that the Lord Jesus Christ is at the head. Wish me luck with transfers this week! I'm super excited and I couldn't ask for a better way to end my mission. I'll be sprinting to the finish for sure! I love you all so much!

Elder Giles



Sunday, May 10, 2015

MOTHERS DAY!!!

HI MOM!!!

 I`ll start this letter before our skype call, so I`ll save all the
Mothers Day-ish stuff for our face to face convo! I love you, Mom!
This week was awesome. It was just a solid week and I feel great. We
were able to get a lot of things done and it feels like we were on our
feet moving from appointment to appointment non-stop. Those are the
best type of weeks for sure.

 We started off the week with Mission Leadership Council and talked
mostly about how things were going with the iPads and what types of
things we need to improve on as a mission. Its crazy, you give a group
a missionaries iPads, and within a month we have some that find ways
to be disobedient and do things they`re not supposed to do. I guess
thats just something you have to expect and live with. We`re also
running into a few problems with the Area Book App we`re beta testing,
but thats something we were expecting from the beginning so its no big
deal at all. I think the hardest part of my job is getting non-stop
calls all day from missionaries who all tend to ask the exact same
questions.

  Well we just finished the skype call so this letter might be a
little short, but I`m so grateful for the chance to have talked with
all of you! It was so fun. Time is going to fly by so I know it won`t
be long at all before we see each other again. I could feel your love
and testimonies for sure.

  The week was good, we`re working hard and are as busy as ever.
Transfers are next week and I have no idea what`s going to happen to
me, but I`m fine whether I stay or leave. Either way I`m fine. I`ve
gotten to the point here on my mission where the Lord could send me
anywhere he wants and I would go willingly and happily. I was always
worried about where I would go earlier in my mission, but now I know
that the Lord simply puts us where he needs us.

  Well you just heard my testimony, so I`ll keep it short and sweet
today, but I know that this is the Lords church on the Earth today.
Christ is our Savior and the Book of Mormon is true. This is the
church that God needs us to be members of because we are the ones who
are to take the gospel to the people of the world. I love this church
and I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  Because its Mothers Day, I`d love to give a special shout out to my
own Mother, my Grandmother, my Sister (who will be a Mother someday),
and my awesome aunts. Being a Mom has got to be the hardest job in the
world. I shared the "Mothers Day Job Interview" video with a family we
were visited last night and it really hit me just how tough a Mom`s
job is. I love my Mom and what she has done for me. I love the women
of my family that have always been excellent examples for me in my
life. I love you all so much and I`m grateful for each and every one
of you! Have a great week and I`ll see you soon!

Elder Giles


Monday, May 4, 2015

Officially OLD!

Friends and Family,

 This week I will hit another month down, but I refuse to think how
long I have and just try to focus on the here and now. Every day is a
blessing from God and I want to treat every day like its the last. I
also want to wish my parents a Happy Anniversary! 25 years is a long
time, way to keep the Faith Mom and Dad! We were able to see the hand
of the Lord plenty of times last week and I'm grateful to have been
able to do the things I did.

 Last Monday was awesome! Himeji Castle was tons of fun and we
actually ended up running into a member from Akashi who took us around
and acted as our tour guide. It was awesome! I couldn't believe how
beautiful it was. They just finished restoring the white paint a few
weeks back and now the thing literally glows in the sunlight! I was
actually surprised how empty it was. The thing was literally a battle
fortress. There was nothing fancy about the interior at all, but the
build quality was amazing. I guess that's why it's the oldest and
biggest original castle in Japan! I can mark another World Heritage
Site off my list!

 I had a companion exchange with my District Leader, Elder S on
Friday and we tore it up here in Kobe! I've known Elder S for a
long time now, and it's always great to work with him. We talked about
having the mindset for miracles and the importance of planning from
the heart so you're excited to get out and do things during the day.
It's funny because even though he's my DL, I still end up telling him
more info about the mission and what not. It pays to have a front seat
with President W for most of the week! We went out to find during
the day and ended up teaching a guy from Sri Lanka that has interest
in learning about God and Jesus Christ! He was way cool and we hope to
meet him again this week. It was a big testimony builder for me that
this is the work of the Lord and he will guide us. I think the older I
get as a missionary the more I realize that no matter how good you
are, you won't be able to do a thing unless you're humble and know how
to follow the Spirit. I think it took me a while to learn also that
big, life changing miracles are pretty rare, and we need to be looking
for the small, but evident signs in our days that the Lord is guiding
us and with us at every turn. I learned a lot from Elder S about
how to be one that others can turn to for help and suggestions on how
to improve and we had a great day for sure!

 Nothing particularly spectacular happened last week, but we did get
to go up to Mount Rokko and Mount Maya with our investigator during
the week and do some hiking for a little bit. We were able to get to
know him a lot better than before and hopefully strengthen his faith
and his resolve to change. The mountains are a great place to feel the
Spirit! Today, we had a BBQ with one of our investigators, his family,
members from our Ward and Akashi Ward, and the Akashi Elders. It was a
blast and the members really came through big on Fellowshipping our
investigator and his family! The best thing was that it was actually
our investigator that set the whole thing up and invited the members
and the missionaries! He's getting really strong and will hopefully
take the plunge and exercise his faith soon. He has three adorable
daughters under 8 and will be a great addition to the Ward for sure.

 I don't mean to boast, but this entire email has been written with
my thumbs on the way home on the train and bus from Akashi, pretty
good right? I'm exemplifying being a missionary in the digital age ;).
 I have a conference call with the missionary department in Salt Lake
tomorrow to discuss music on our iPads so this week will be another
busy one. We have a few more meetings as well so we'll be off and
running for sure! Hopefully we'll be able to get music on our iPads as
well!

 I found an awesome scripture in John while studying last night that
really changed my perspective. John 12:35, "Then Jesus said unto them,
Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the
light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness
knoweth not whither he goeth." I stared at the first part of the
second sentence for at least ten minutes last night thinking about how
it sounds like a call to action for an old missionary. I only have a
little while left, and the light that comes from being a full-time
missionary will one day be over. I need to act now and walk with the
light I hold by doing whatever I can to invite others to come unto
Christ. I absolutely love that scripture!

 I`m running out of things to talk about so I better start winding
down. I love what I do and the chances that I have to be a disciple of
Jesus Christ in the Digital Age. My calling has been incredibly
humbling and I`ve learned more about myself than I ever have before in
my life and I wouldn`t trade it for anything. The church is true and
the gospel blesses families. The Book of Mormon has been something
that I`ve taken a little bit for granted lately, but I intend to get
back on track and see what I can learn from the truest book on Earth.
Its a powerful tool and I can definitely use it better in my day to
day life. I love the Book of Mormon and I know that it`s 100% true. I
love you all and couldn`t ask for a better support system. I hope you
all have an awesome week doing whatever it is you do... What do normal
people do again? Haha I love you guys!

Elder Jeff Giles


Top of Kobe!


Ramen after soccer on saturday.

I don`t think you can tell from the picture how much I fried my
face playing soccer in the sun.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Area Book Planner app is unleashed in Kobe!

Hello friends and family!!!

Well, as expected, last week flew by. We were here in Kobe on Tuesday
with the mission leaders, then Osaka on Wednesday, Takamatsu on
Thursday, Kobe on Friday, and Okayama on Saturday. It was a busy week
for sure. The conferences were a blast. Getting the chance to train
the mission on how to use the new Area Book Planner app was a blast.
It was funny because my role ended up being training on data privacy
and what we can and can`t say on our teaching records. We joked last
week that the IT staff of the Kobe Mission is a Doctor and a Lawyer.
Thats about right, isn`t it? It was great!
We had a great time riding with President and Sister Welch around the
mission again. They`re super fun people and we always learn a ton. I
think they have just about the coolest life of anyone I`ve ever heard.
Its awesome to hear about all the amazing places they`ve been and the
cool experiences they`ve had and yet their greatest love is for each
other and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They will always be powerful
examples in my life. We had a really cool experience coming home from
Osaka last week after the conferences. The Welch`s were planning on
going up to Kyoto to meet they`re friend Brother Lee Daniels (member
of my branch presidency in the MTC) so we took the train home with the
assistants. A couple stations away from our stop my companion said
that we should get off at a popular station for finding and see what
we could do with the time we had left in the day (about 3 hours). We
got off and I was feeling super tired from a long day of training, but
worked through it and did my best. We talked to as many people as we
could and then decided to grab some dinner before heading back to the
office to get prepared for the next day. I told my companion as we
were eating that I felt like we should get back home so we left
immediately. I didn`t think anything of it, but as we got off the
train at our stop, I noticed a guy that was definitely not Japanese
and had the feeling that THAT was why we came home. We started talking
to him and shortly found out that he was from Mexico! It was even
cooler because my companion started talking to him in Spanish and then
found out that the guy also speaks Portuguese so they switched over to
that (I was lost). It turns out the guy is just like my companion.
Speaks like 5 languages and traveled over to England and learned
English. He said that he had tons of time this week because he had
work off so we made an appointment. He actually asked us for OUR
number so it will be good for sure! That was awesome and everything
and we were feeling super pumped and then as we were walking home we
passed this random white guy who took about five steps past us, turned
around and quoted John 14:6. That isn`t your typical start to a
contact here in Japan. He was from England and talked to us about
Jesus for a good twenty minutes or so. We actually taught him a little
bit about Gospel Dispensations because he had a lot of knowledge about
the Bible. We were able to get his number and we`ll hopefully be
meeting with him soon. The Lord definitely guides His missionaries,
thats for sure! One more cool experience was two days ago on the bus
coming back to the office from downtown. There was this guy that
looked like he was from South America so my companion started talking
to him. He spoke fluent English and said that he was actually here
working for a car company and has been in Japan for close to ten
years. We asked him if he had ever seen the missionaries and he said
he had seen them a lot on bikes and stuff, but never really talked
with them. The best part was he said, "Its funny, I actually don`t
usually take the bus home, but today I just felt like I should." I was
thinking, "Funny how that works, isn`t it?" I don`t think I`ve ever
found so many foreigners! The Lord knows His sheep.
Well I better go brush up on my Espanol for the week... Haha just
kidding. I think my head would explode. This week was awesome though.
It was a week of experiences that just helped me see that this is what
being a missionary is all about. We find, teach, talk to people, and
just have an absolute riot doing it all. We`re going up to Himeji
Castle today so get ready for some pics of the biggest castle in
Japan! I`m way excited.
I close with my testimony and a little bit about what I`ve been
learning recently. This morning I felt like I should focus on the
Savior in my study so I opened up the plethora of information I now
have access to on my iPad. I read "The Living Christ" which is
something I`ve read before, but I think I appreciate it more every
time I read it. The Savior lives. There`s no other way of putting it.
I can`t deny it. I don`t think I could if I wanted to! Its through
faith in Him AND His Atonement that makes it possible for us to
overcome anything we face in this life. I love my Savior. I love
wearing his name. I love being a missionary. This Church is true. Its
the Kingdom of God on the Earth today and I wouldn`t have my life any
different.
 I love you all and I hope you have a great week! I`ll see you all soon!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles




Sunday, April 19, 2015

We`ll be coming around the mountain!

Goooooood Morning Friends and Family!

This Monday marks the start of an incredibly busy week for us! We`re
launching Phase 2 of our iPad rollout this week with the Area Book
Planner Application and I`m really really excited! The Area Book
Planner app is legit. Its crazy how much stuff we can do on our iPads.
The Lords work really is hastening. We had a staff meeting with
President W this morning to go over what we will be training and
how we will teach the missionaries the correct principles to use the
iPads and Area Book Planner more effectively. I think I learned more
in the two hours we were with him than I have in the last week! I
absolutely love my mission president.

We had a really cool experience in church yesterday with the Young
Men in our ward here in Kobe. There`s an American family in the ward
from Illinois and the Dad was back in the U.S. for work so the Mom
asked me during Sacrament Meeting if I would translate during Young
Mens for her Son, so I did. We have 5 or 6 young men and I don`t think
a single one of them really want to be there. I can perfectly relate
to them at that age... The Young Men`s President in the ward is a
really awesome guy that returned from his mission a year ago (He was
actually in the MTC with my Trainer, Elder S). The theme for
this month is the Restoration so he gave a great lesson explaining the
Restoration to all of us. He was a way good missionary, so of course
it was straight out of PMG in his own words. He was doing great and I
wasn`t really focusing on the young men in the room because I was
translating for the American boy. I looked around the room at one
point when the teacher asked everyone, "Why did the church need to be
restored?" and no one answered. It`s a question thats a little bit on
the difficult side, but I thought he might get an answer out of
someone there at least. All of the boys looked really uninterested and
bored so I asked if I could share my testimony about the Restoration.
I looked around the room at the boys and was filled with charity and
compassion because I saw a little bit of who I once was in all of
them. I saw the lack of real understanding and confusion that comes
from being 14 years old. I told them that when I was their age, I
really didn`t like to go to church either. I didn`t understand why it
was important or why we had to go in the first place. Of course my
testimony grew and I started to realize what was really important in
my life when I got a little older, but a particular experience in the
MTC set in stone my testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I told them
that I went to choir every week for my two months in the MTC and one
of the weeks, we sang "Praise to the Man" for Elder Richard G. Scott.
Never before did I realize that strongly that Joseph really was a
Prophet of God. "Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven; Earth
must atone for the blood of that man. Wake up the world for the
conflict of justice. Millions shall know  Brother Joseph again." I
bore my witness that Joseph was indeed chosen by God as the Prophet of
the Restoration and tears filled my eyes. Never before has Japanese
come that clearly, and it might not come that way ever again, but I
know that those boys felt the power of the Spirit through the words
the Lord put in my mouth. I love feeling like a mouthpiece for our
Father in Heaven.

We had one of our investigators come to church for the third week in
a row yesterday so wish us luck with him and his family! He brought
his daughters to our soccer activity on Saturday and really seems like
he`s getting to know the members really well and liking what we have
to offer as Latter Day Saints. Pray we can baptize!

I`ll leave my testimony this week as a thank you to my wonderful
Mother, it`s her birthday today (Monday). I love my Mom. I wouldn`t be
even close to the man I am today were it not for her sweet spirit and
example to me in my life. They say that behind every successful man is
a very patient and wonderful wife, well I would venture to say that
behind every successful missionary is a very loving, caring, and
extremely patient mother. There is no mistake that I learned how to
work hard and get things done from Mom (sorry Dad). She`s one of the
greatest examples I have in my life and I`m honored to be called her
son. I love you, Mom. Have an amazing birthday! I love you!

And I love you all, too! Have an awesome week!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles, Son of George and Sharie Giles
(love you guys)