Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

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
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


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



 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

  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

 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.