Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

Monday, February 23, 2015

Thats just the way it goes sometimes.

Hello Family!

This week has been crazy. It has changed my life forever for sure. I`ve learned so much about the power of prayer and our relationship with our Heavenly Father. It was a tough week, but we have those on missions and in life. You can`t escape that and its just something that you have to learn to live with sometimes.

We actually had a really cool experience today. We had a member invite us to go to lunch today to this way good Tempura Restaraunt with us and the Sisters. We went there and the place was waaayyy crouded and at first it didn`t look like we were all going to be able to sit together. Finally enough spots opened up and we were able to all sit on the same table. While we were eating a lady that works at the restaraunt came up to us and was trying to speak English and telling us that her kids really wanted to go on Foreign Exchanges around the world. The member we were with told her a little bit about the church and gave her a mormon.org pass along card. As we were talking one of the other workers, a man, was looking at us and her kind of curiously. I didn`t really think anything of it at first and then I saw the guys name tag. Mr. U. All of a sudden all the bells went off and I remembered this guy from when I was in Akashi a year and a half ago at the start of my mission! I asked him if he remembered me and he said yes! We talked for just a little bit, but he was really busy because he was working. After I left I called the Zone Leaders in Akashi right now and told him to find the teaching record for him that we made and call him again! It was super cool. The Lord really does lead us to his sheep.

I want to testify that prayer is very very real and it is in deed a two way communication with our Heavenly Father. He really is there and he know`s each one of us personally. I don`t think I can express even a fraction of what I feel when I pray, but I can tell you its incredible. The Lord knows all. He can heal all and he will comfort us amidst our trials. He wants us to feel peace and joy just as much as we want those things and he will give it to us if we ask sincerely and then act! Thats the secret. Its just like President Ezra Taft Benson says in Preach My Gospel, "..one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work!" Thats so true. Nothing will turn your day, your week, or your life around like just going out and serving the Lord by helping someone else. I testify that that is true! 

I ask for your prayers in my behalf this week. Please know that I am praying for you and I`m incredibly grateful for all the love and support. I really can feel the influence of all of you in my life and I couldn`t do this alone. Have a great week and go out and try and help someone! I`ll do the same. I`ll talk to you all next week! I love you!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

(The picture attached is a picture of the bridge in Akashi that we can see from our area! So cool!)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

"Deep water is what I am want to swim"

Friends and Family,

Its the beginning of another new week. Its a sunny day in the upper 50`s here in Kobe and I couldn`t be in a better place. I`m absolutely loving being in Kobe and working on getting the stuff for the Ipads up and running. The best part of last week was: I finished our new logo! Believe me, its a big weight off my shoulders to have that over and done with. Working with 233 missionaries on creating a logo that captures everything about our mission was definitely NOT the easiest thing I`ve ever done, but it was a blast the whole way. 

As for the other side of the work, Elder DS and I really haven`t had any time to go out and proselyte. We realized yesterday in church as well that we hardly know any of the members here in the Kobe Ward. Its tough here in Kobe for the missionary work because out of the 8 missionaries that are here there are: 2 Assistants, 2 Full Time Office Elders, 2 Tech Specialists, and 2 Sister Training Leaders. As for full time proselyting missionaries, there are none, BUT the Lord has his hand over Kobe and we`ll be using what time we have this week to visit members and find everyone that wants to be baptized up in this city.

We met a guy from Spain last night that really left an impression on my companion and I. He was very very opposed to Christianity and did so in a pretty mocking way. He saw my name tag, pointed to it, and said, "Oh, thats bad, thats very bad." He had no belief in God and persisted in asking us where God was and how many people we had "caught" that day. It was bad. The worst part about it was looking in his eyes. There was nothing there. It was so empty and hallow and hard to look at. It`s incredible to see how bright the light of the Gospel really is when you look into someones eyes that has nothing. I feel so sorry for him. We were walking around some of the busiest places in Kobe last night and I couldn`t help but just stop and look at all those people. So many of them have no idea who Jesus Christ is or what he has done for them. Its so sad. In a world of so much darkness, the light can appear so dim in places, but that light brings more peace and happiness than anything else in the world. I love this Gospel and the happiness and reassurance it has brought to my life. Without a knowledge of my Savior and Redeemer, I am nothing. Everything that I have is because of my loving Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. 

I love you all. I mean that when I say it. I`ll never be able to fully express my love and gratitude to all of you for the support and strength you`ve given me. Mission`s are hard, but loving friends and family make it all the better. I love you all! Have an awesome week wherever you are!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Here we go again...

Dear friends and family,

  This week has been awesome. This last weekend we had Stake Conference here in Kobe and I got to see all of the Ward members from my first area, Akashi. It was awesome! It was great to be able to still remember all of their names as well. They all couldn`t believe that I can now speak Japanese as well which was a really cool experience! I guess I`ve come a long way in over a year. One of the families that I absolutely loved that came had a big surprise! The Mom, who when I was there was Less Active, but has since been reactivated and now is an active, happy member of the church again! It was amazing. She thanked me for praying for her to be able to come back and apologized for not meeting me the first time around. It was a special experience for sure. 

  Some bad news from the week is that I, unfortunately, have kidney stones again... It looks like its something I`ll have to deal with in this life, but it could be so much worse. I was pretty discouraged at the hospital last week, but then I had the thought that I really am so blessed and I could have things in my life that are much worse. I feel blessed to have the health and strength that I have. I don`t view kidney problems as a setback, I view it as a reminder to eat better and live healthier. Please don`t worry, I`ll be fine!

  This week we`ll have a visit from Elder Koichi Aoyagi of the Seventy in our mission. He came to Stake Conference yesterday and the day before and spoke mainly on how it doesn`t matter what culture we`re apart of. American, Japanese, Brazilian, it really doesn`t matter because God`s culture is the same everywhere. It was a great reminder for the Japanese members to really get on board with the rest of the world in regards to Missionary Work as well. I`ll be honest, in my life, I`ve never really looked at missionary work as something that has a lot of revelance to me or anything like that, and now I realize what a mistake that is. Missionary work is essential and relevant to all of us, young and old. Looking back on my life there were plenty of opportunities that I don`t think I took full advantage of that I should have. The Lord places so many people in our lives that we can influence, we should constantly be looking for opportunities to help and serve. One thing that people have said they`ve learned from me out here is something really small I started doing back when I was a really young missionary. In Japan, everyone rides bikes and they`re always parked outside of stores, or on the streets, or in bike parking at apartments. I made it a point that I would never walk past a fallen bike without picking it up. I don`t mean to sound pompous or anything like that, I just think that there are so many little things we can do. As we walk with the Saviour and follow what he did and continues to do, we can all receive the blessings and help of Heaven we all need so much in our lives.

  It`s my testimony that Christ lives and God is our Eternal Heavenly Father. I know that this is their Kingdom on the Earth today and that only by the name of Jesus Christ can we enter the Kingdom of God after this time on Earth is over. I love this church and I love the truths and peace that the Gospel brings to my life. 

  I love you all and I hope you all have an awesome week! Like always, thank you for all the support and love that you send my way. I only have a little while left in Japan, but this has been the greatest experience of my life. Its here that I`ve come to know my Saviour and God. Kobe Japan will always be a special place in my heart. I wish you all the best and have a great week!


Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Still on the grind!

Friends and family,

  This week has been awesome. I had a little bit of a cold at the beginning of last week, I just can`t seem to catch a break this winter, but I`m feeling fine now and couldn`t be happier.
  I can basically some up my entire week with three words. Kobe Mission Portal. That's basically my life right now. Its way fun, but it gets really stressful sometimes. I`m officially the Elder in charge of design, so I`ve been watching a lot of Adobe Illustrator tutorials. I can check that off of my list of things I DEFINITELY thought I would be doing on my mission. One of the senior missionaries that has been helping me out a lot came in the other day and I expressed my frustration of having to learn a whole new program in order to make our designs work and he just pointed at the screen and said something like, yeah, but look at all the experience you`ll have when you take a graphic design class in college after your mission! I had to laugh. 

  My calling might not seem like much, but its something I really like doing. My companion makes it 100% better as well because he really is awesome. We were talking the other night about being perfectionists and how its something that both of us can work on overcoming while we`re here on our missions. We`re worlds apart on the map, but we have a lot of similar traits. We remembered a talk from the Ensign that both of us read last year called "Being Perfected in Christ" so we read that together and discussed what it really means to be perfect. In the scriptures we`re commanded to "be ye therefore perfect", and that can seem like a pretty impossible task until we realize what he`s really saying. We`re commanded to put forth every effort to do what is right. We`re expected to fall. Thats why this is a fallen world, but perfection only comes through constant growth, and growth only comes through failure. I love the simple truths the gospel teaches. 

  I`ll keep it nice and short this week. We`re presenting the website, the logo, and the some family history stuff tomorrow to the mission leaders, so we`ll have another busy week. I love you guys and am so grateful for the amazing influences that I`ve had throughout my life. The gospel is true. I know it and I only have 6 months left to let people here in Japan know that I know it. I love you all and I hope you have a great week!


Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles