Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

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
 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)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Priesthood Power

Friend and family (mostly Mom),

How are you all doing? I`m hoping you`re all having an awesome week.
General Conference was a blast! I`m actually really sad that it`s
over... I couldn`t shake the thought that that would be my last
General Conference as a full time missionary. It`s so crazy how fast
the time has gone. Just three conferences ago I was a brand new
missionary, first week in the field, not knowing which way was up or
down, and trying to understand SOMETHING these people were saying! Oh
how time is so fast.
This General Conference was especially powerful to me because for the
first time in my short twenty years on Earth, it was the first time
I`ve prepared a list of questions beforehand and prayed for those
questions and inquiries to be answered. Can I just tell you how
incredible the feeling is when you feel the Lord answer your prayers
through one of his chosen servants. I know this is probably incredibly
cliche, but I felt like each and every single one of the speakers from
the Conference were speaking directly to me. I was so grateful for the
Spirit that I felt.
This last week was SOOOO busy. We had transfers so Elder DS
and I were doing just about everything you can think two missionaries
could possibly do. We were picking things up from missionaries at
transfer points, taking calls, training new missionaries, meticulously
putting iPad screen protectors on, I mean you name it and we were
doing it. It was awesome! We`re absolutely fried, but I wouldn`t have
it any other way. This week is looking to be just as crazy because
we`ll be implementing the Area Book Planner Application for the
missionaries in the office starting tomorrow and basically to sum it
up, we`ll be putting the last two years worth of records on file in
our iPads. Woohoo. Its going to be a crazy week for sure. My fingers
are already sore just thinking about all that typing. I love what I
I wish I could pick my favorite talk from conference, but seriously I
loved them all so much I have no idea which one I liked the best. I
think there was one where he related the gospel to music. That
seriously blew my mind just a little bit! I thought it was so cool.
You can literally relate the Gospel with anything because it really is
the source of all good in the world. We all looked at each other after
the first day and thought, "we should really get married when we get
home, shouldn`t we?" The Brethren were very direct and the messages
were very focused on how important it is to get married and establish
strong families in the Gospel. Elder Holland`s talk really stirred me
as well. I loved the story he told of the two brothers on that
gut-wrenching climb in Southern Utah. It made me think of my own
little brothers and how much I want to be there if they fall. I hope
they are there for me too.
 Today we got to go to Akashi for Preparation Day and see some of my
first area. It was so nice to go back. It was raining pretty bad so we
didn`t get very good pictures, but I miss that area for sure! It`ll
always be a special place in my heart.
 I leave you with my testimony today that the Savior really does live
and His Gospel really does bring peace, comfort, and happiness into
our lives. I am so grateful to be a member of this church. I want to
do my part for the rest of my life in magnifying my callings and
helping others to see how amazing this Gospel can be for them. I know
this is the Church of Jesus Christ on the Earth today. By him the
worlds were created. God is our Father and he loves us. He loves all
of his children and he will answer each and every single one of our
prayers if we`ll only stop and listen for a little bit. I am grateful
for the blessings the Lord has given me in my life, and I am grateful
to have such an amazing group of supporters at home. I love you all
and I hope you all know that! Have a great week!

Elder Giles

Yakiniku with our Recent Convert!

I don`t know if you can tell, but this is a football game. In Japan.
I`ve never seen that until yesterday.... Crazy

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Another One from Kobe!

Hello friends and family!

Today is transfer day in the Japan Kobe Mission! It`s not a surprise
at all, but I`ll be staying here in Kobe with Elder DS for
another six weeks! I`m excited to continue getting through the phases
with the iPads and getting the chance to work in Kobe for another
little while. I know some of you are probably wondering whether or not
I had the chance to watch conference this weekend, but I haven`t yet!
Due to the time difference conference is shown the following weekend
here in Japan so I`ll be watching it THIS week haha! I`m super
excited. G.C. is like the Super Bowl for missionaries. Elder DS didn`t really understand how funny that statement was when I
told him last night.... Brazillians...

Last week was great. We were getting calls like crazy toward the
beginning of the week from missionaries that had questions about their
iPads, so that was an adventure. I think my most common suggestion to
them went something like this, "are you currently at the church
connected to wifi?" "Yes." "Okay, why don`t you try shutting the iPad
off and turning it on again, then give me a call if it still doesn`t
work." I actually didn`t get any calls back. I guess I`m the best IT
expert ever! Haha.

I had a companion exchange with a young missionary last week and we
had a great time. I got to go up to an area north of Kobe called
"Kitarokko" so it was fun to get out and see the world again!
Kitarokko is a beautiful area up in the mountains on the backside of
Kobe with a really strong ward. Lately they`ve had a ton of success up
there just because their ward is so awesome. It was great to go up
there and see and feel how great it is to truly work with a ward. We
taught a lesson to a lady in the morning that is really close to
baptism. We had a couple from the ward come with us so the lesson went
really well. We were able to give her a baptismal date for the tenth
of May so hopefully she`ll be able to get baptized soon! After that we
studied then went to visit a recently returned less active Sister
that`s working to go to the temple in a few weeks. We had a member
take us over to her place and we basically just gave her a short
review on the Restoration and Joseph Smith. It felt really good to
explain to her that it only took Joseph two months to translate the
Book of Mormon from start to finish and share our testimonies with her
that he is indeed a Prophet of God. It was a great companion exchange
and I learned a lot for sure!

The ward here in Kobe put on a awesome Easter Party on Saturday and we
had a great turn out of investigators and members! We had a guy that
comes to our English Class regularly bring his three daughters and
they had such a great time, he committed to come to church yesterday
for the first time! They had an Easter Egg Hunt for all the kids and
it reminded me so much of the ones we have up at Grandma B`s every
year. I love Easter and had a great time remembering the amazing gift
of the Atonement of Jesus Christ!

Well the Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom here and its as beautiful
as ever! I`ll send some pictures of the "Sakura Tunnel" we ran to one
morning. I`ll close with my testimony that Jesus Christ lives. I know
it is by and through him that we will all rise again. I know that he
has the power to make each of us strong and I know that this is His
church! Prayer is so powerful and I testify that we truly do
communicate with our Father in Heaven. He loves us all so much and I
feel so incredibly blessed to be serving him at this point of my life.
This is by far the most challenging thing that I`ve ever done, but I
wouldn`t trade it for anything else. A mission is priceless. I love
you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Jeff Giles