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