Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Digital Age of Missionary Work is here!

Friends and Family,

I think last week was by far the busiest I`ve ever been on my
mission. I`ll give you a short recap. Monday was Preparation Day.
Tuesday was Mission Leadership Council where we passed out iPads to
the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders. Wednesday we went with
President and Sister W and the Assistants to Okayama and Shikoku.
Thursday was Kyoto. Friday was here in Kobe, and Saturday was Wakayama
and Osaka. I`ve had just about all of President W's back seat than
I can handle! It was super fun though.

It was crazy to see how much the work is really going to change for
the better with the use of digital devices in our mission. Everyone is
extremely excited and after great training from our Mission President
as well as Elder Nelson and President Ringwood a week ago, we are
ready to move forward. Elder DS and I have been on the phones
basically non-stop helping people get their iPads up and running. I
don`t think I`ve ever been this tired haha! 

Being in the service of
others always seems to have its perks and blessings, though. I love
what I do! I think the biggest thing I`ve learned from the last week
has been watching President and Sister W interact with each other.
I hope I can have a relationship with my spouse like they have! They
spoiled us way to much taking us out to eat multiple times during the
week while we were out and about. It was awesome and I`ve been very
well taken care of. I think the hardest part so far has been trying to
help missionaries that have never even used an iPad get used to using
one. I never thought I would have to explain how to "select"
something, copy it, and paste it somewhere. It was funny, President
W just told us, "welcome to IT!" He`s an awesome guy.

There`s a family in the ward from the U.S. that lives here and they
had their extended family come over and visit for Spring Break this
week. They invited us over for dinner with all of them last night and
we had a great time. The extended family that was visiting has 4 boys,
the oldest three are 17, 16, and 15! I think they call them "Irish
Triplets". We had an awesome time and I couldn`t believe how weird it
was to be around a bunch of Americans! It was really cool because the
Dad pulled us off to the side for a little bit and asked us if for our
message we wouldn`t mind sharing our own personal conversion stories
and how we developed a testimony for ourself, which we gladly obliged.
Apparently the three older boys aren`t very excited about the church
or going on missions right now, but I feel like we maybe changed that
a little bit for sure! As I shared my story I noticed three things
that I never really noticed before. My conversion was based on three
very simple things. 1) Prayer 2) Scripture Study 3) Going to church on
Sunday. We call these the "Three Pillars of a Testimony" in our
mission, and it was cool to see that I actually had to go through that
development as well! The Spirit was strong and we challenged all that
were present to start preparing for their missions now. It`s never too
early to prepare to serve the Lord, that`s for sure.

I have a testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know
that God is Our Loving Heavenly Father and that Jesus Christ is our
Savior and Redeemer. Any challenge or trial we face is a test to see
if we are capable of more blessings from our heavenly Father and I`ve
really come to realize that on my mission. If we truly want to
understand doctrine, we have to get out and teach it. I`ve really
learned that this week from President W. I love you all! Have a
great week!

Elder Jeffrey M. Giles

Sunday, March 22, 2015

OFFICIALLY Digital Desciples of Christ

Mom (and everyone else ;)),

This week was awesome! We were insanely busy all week and the hard
work is starting to pay off. We had a visit last Friday from Elder
Russell M. Nelson and President Michael T. Ringwood to our mission to
kick off the use of digital devices in the Kobe Mission! The day after
the conference, President W trained us and gave us our Ipads so
we`re now locked and loaded! These really are going to change so many
things. This is a tool that will make us much more efficient and
effective and we`re so glad to finally be under way. The full release
starts tomorrow with the Mission Leadership Council (which will be
trained by Elder Sand I) and then the rest of the mission
follows shortly after that! We have to get all of the devices out to
everyone before we can get started on the next phase, which will be 
OFFICIALLY Digital Desciples of Christ
using the Area Book Planner Application and once thats over the third
phase will be using Social Media. Its been a while, Facebook, I`m not
sure how I feel about you yet... haha! Its going to be fun, thats for
Now I`ll get into the good stuff. The opportunity to learn from one
of the Quorum of the Twelve members was amazing. I absolutely love
Elder Nelson. I don`t even know where to start from all the great
things I learned. I think we were all really surprised, because he
really didn`t talk about the use of these mobile devices or obedience
or anything like that. He really stressed how important it is for us
to learn correct principles to govern the rest of our lives out here,
and then marry someone that loves the Lord more than they love us. I
think the exact quote was something like, "it might seem to be a risky
bet, to marry someone that loves the Lord more than they love you, but
I promise, it`s a very SAFE bet!" He was awesome. I was sitting on the
second row so I had a the best seat in house to observe and Apostle. I
learned something from him while he wasn`t even speaking! While
President Ringwood was speaking to us, I happened to look over at
Elder Nelson while he was sitting on the stand and I couldn`t believe
how close he was paying attention to what President Ringwood (who also
happens to be his Son-In-Law) was saying. He had his scriptures out
and was following along to every reference he took us to, marking
verses, searching other references, and the whole time he was sitting
on the edge of his seat almost craning his neck to get as much out of
what President Ringwood was saying as he could. Watching an Apostle of
the Lord striving so hard to receive revelation from someone who was
his junior and much younger than him, not to mention his Son-In-Law,
was an awesome example of humility.
 The conference changed my life for sure. We`re entering a new age
and I feel so incredibly blessed to be a part of it. The Lord has
given me so much in my life and sometimes I feel that I`ve done hardly
anything to deserve all the blessings he`s given me. I love my Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ more than anything in the world and I love
serving as his disciple. He is my friend, my Brother, and I`ll always
walk with him. The world is headed in a place I fear isn`t righteous
or holy, and I know the Lord needs strong members in his church to be
lights and beacons of hope to the world. I intend to be one of those
for the rest of my days. I know this is His church. I know that the
Prophet Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. I know our Heavenly Father
knows and loves us as his own.
 I love you guys! I hope you all have a great week! I was so busy, I
didn`t have time to take hardly any picture, but I`ll see what I can
do this week! Hopefully I`ll have some time between calls from
missionaries who don`t know how to use an Ipad... Onward Christian

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles


Monday, March 16, 2015

Let`s get rolling!!!!

Hello Friends and Family!!!

So I had a good paragraph of this email written about four hours ago and I accidentally  deleted it, so instead of being persistent and starting over back then, I procrastinated and am starting again now. My apologies for the lateness of the hour.

This last week was a lot of fun. We`re basically done with all the things we have to do for the release of the iPads, so things have been fairly quiet around here for the most part. We had another meeting with President W this morning. I can`t release any details about what`s going to happen, but I`m super excited for the coming week! Its actually going to be an extremely special week because Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve and President Ringwood of the Asia North Area Presidency will be visiting the Kobe Mission this Friday. We actually got to go to a satalite broadcast from Tokyo last night where Elder Nelson spoke and it was awesome! He was really pushing the members to participate in missionary work. It was an awesome night. Actually President W told us this morning that he spoke with the Stake President of the Kobe Stake after the broadcast and he said that he has never seen members and missionaries working together like we are now. It was awesome! Huge compliment. We`re really focusing on working with members right now and its definitely having a big impact on our work. We made two appointments in church to visit members and we`re super excited! One of the familes is from the Philippines so that message will be in English. Super stoked. I also gave training during our Missionary Coordination Meeting where I shared a little bit about the restoration, then did an activity where everyone thought of an idea of a newspaper headlines for the Restoration. We had some great ideas like, "Truth. Restored.", "One Morning in New York", and "God STILL Speaks!". After we did that I had the members take a picture with all of us, then post a status update on Facebook with the photo and an explanation of what they learned from that message. It was awesome! We`re really getting people excited about using social media to share the gospel with their friends. It will lead to some miracles for sure!

I had a really cool experience yesterday after church. We were helping the relief society clean up after a ward lunch after church and the Bishop came up and asked me if I would mind helping him with some translating. There`s an American family in the ward right now and their oldest son just turned twelve so he was getting his Aaronic Priesthood interview and they needed someone to translate because he doesn`t speak Japanese and the Bishop doesn`t really speak English. It was an awesome experience being able to relay an interview by a man of God. I felt the confirming witness that the Priesthood has been restored and it really is the power of God delegated to man to act in his name. It was something I`ll never forget.

Elder DS and I had another really cool experience when we were walking home from finding at the train station the other night. We were talking about the Prophet Joseph Smith and what an amazing man and servant of the Lord he was and how we cannot even begin to imagine what he had to go through. It was a very very special time for me because it was the second time in my life that the Spirit has really brought deep emotions to my soul and I`ve truly felt that he was and is a Prophet of the Most High. We, as members, get a lot of flack and grief about the Prophet Joseph, but I`m 100% confident in my knowledge that he was indeed called of God. I know that he saw what he said he saw. I know he translated the Nephite record by the power of God and that record is available to us today. I had the chance to finish the Book of Mormon, along with our Book of Mormon challenge, last week and it was amazing. I love the Book of Mormon. The last few chapters will always be some of my favorite. I love the Book of Mormon with everything that I have and I know that its true.

Well until next week! I love you guys. I`m grateful for a loving family that I receive an endless ammount of support and encouragement from. I wouldn`t be the man, or the missionary for that matter, that I am today were it not for the influences I`ve had thus far in my life. I will never be able to thank you all for the blessings you`ve been in my life. Thank you. I love you! I`ll see you soon!

Elder Jeffrey M. Giles

Monday, March 9, 2015

So close I can almost feel it!

Hello friends and family!

This last week has been just awesome. I`m not counting anymore, but.. I`ve passed 19 months out here and its only about to get faster because we are ever so close to launching digital missionary work over here! President W called an emergency office staff meeting last friday after a Zone Train Meeting and I wish I could share the details, but I`ve been sworn to secrecy and I`m not risking anything haha! Needless to say, we are very very close to something big.

Last week we taught a lot. Thats great and all, but none of them were actually our investigators. My companion actually got to help some of the sister missionaries in my first area, Akashi, teach one of their Brazilian investigators over skype. It was way cool! The poor guy was so whiped out after translating back and forth from Portugese to English he just about fell over. We got to teach another lesson with the Sisters here in Kobe. We met with this guy from Iran who has a lot of curiosity about Christianity. He`s so solid. I basically consider him one of our investigators too because the Sister`s and I have taught every single lesson we`ve had with him. Its a bummer because he went back to Iran for the next month and a half so we won`t see him for a while, but the sisters printed out a couple conference talks and gave him a list of solid scriptures to read on the plane so we`ll see him when he comes back! I had a really cool experience with him in the lesson. Last week I got a letter in the mail from my friend serving in Tennessee and she shared with me one of her favorite scriptures, Alma 38:2-3. She explained that she loved to put her name in those verses when she was feeling down so as soon as I read that I looked up the verses. I just about cried because of the spirit that I felt. It really hit me how much Heavenly Father accepts the work that I`m doing here. I think its safe to say my own worst enemy is well, me, and those verses helped me to realize that I shouldn`t beat myself up so much out here! Well in the lesson with our Iranian we were talking about how likening the scriptures unto ourselves and I shared that little piece of revelation with him. It really helped him see how we read the scriptures and how they can be so important for us in our lives. I absolutely love the Book of Mormon! 

It's raining today. I think it has rained on Preparation Day for the last month. Anyway, we`re getting so close to finishing the website for the mission and we`re getting really excited. Apparently President W was on the phone with the director of the MTC, President H, and they were going over some of the things for the website. President H asked if he could see what we had so far on the portal so President W gave him the address. He typed it in and said, "well that can`t be right that looks terrible!" President W says, "Oh that's the wrong one. Try this one." (Silence). President H, "Oh that looks awesome!" We were honored. We`re going to be really busy for the next little while and I`m so excited. My role in all of this is training the Zone Leaders and District Leaders so they can go out and train their missionaries. Talk about a pretty big assignment, right? It's so cool and I`m as humbled as ever to be here. 

The church is still 100% true. Joseph Smith was and is a Prophet of God. I know that's true. We really do have a Father in Heaven that loves us perfectly as well as a Savior in Jesus Christ. This is all true. God speaks and He`s willing to bless us if we`ll just put in what effort we have. I`ve seen His hand in my life and I will never be able to deny He`s there. This is His work and I am nothing but a servant. I love you all and I hope you have a great week.

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Friends and family,

I`ve learned a lot about humility on my mission. A lot. Being in a country where you can`t really communicate with people is the weirdest thing ever. I`ve been here for a year and half, and I`m able to communicate a lot better than I could when I first got here, but man, its still hard. We were going up an escalator in a train station one day last week and I remember thinking, "It`s going to be so weird to go home and be able to understand everything that everyone says." These two years really are incredible.

This week was a little bit on the long side. I don`t have a lot to do on my side of the table right now. My companion just programs away on the iPad while I study Japanese or teach the Recent Convert that hangs around the office. Its a simple life. We`re in a little bit of a limbo right now because we won`t know anything further about iPads until March 17 when President W goes to Tokyo for training. Until then, we`ll be sitting tight!

We went to the Bishops house on Saturday night for dinner and we had a really cool experience. The Bishop is about 34 and has a really awesome young family. We had an awesome dinner and then shared a message about Family History. I didn`t think anything of it, actually I was a little bummed because my Japanese was coming out really bad, but in Sacrament Meeting yesterday Bishop shared the experience and talked about how he felt a really sacred, holy feeling while I was sharing my testimony about Family History. It was really cool and then after the church, his wife came up to me really excited and told me that their nine year old son shared about the experience in Primary and all the kids thought that it was really cool! 

Last night we had another dinner at a different members house and had a really different experience. The family we visited was really struggling. The husband is the only member, he`s the nicest guy ever, but he has two really unruly twelve year old twin boys that must give him a run for his money. I felt really bad for him because the kids were really disrespectful. It`s a little strange because him and his wife look old enough to be Grandparents, but their kids are only 12. I really felt for this family. They need the gospel more than anyone right now. We`re making plans to visit them again and do something nice for them. 

The Church is true and I feel blessed to have another week in the service of my fellow man. Sometimes I get frustrated with how things go here, but everything always turns out okay. Its like my sister in Kauai said, "If you don`t like the weather in Kauai, just wait a little while and it will change." Thats a very true principle not only for Kauai, but for the rest of us as well. God really does have his hand in all of our lives. How, I don`t quite understand yet, but I know that he does. I love you all and I hope you have a great week!

Elder Giles