Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Mom (and the rest),

This week was amazing. Seriously though. Amazing. I`ll cut to the good
stuff real quick by saying that we had the privilege of baptizing and
confirming two of our Chinese investigators yesterday! Matsue Ward
just got a little bigger! It was awesome. That just capped off the end
to an amazing week though. This is the work of the Lord and I`m more
aware of that than ever.

The week started off with a short little four hour bus ride from
Yonago to Kobe. Yes, that was sarcastic. It was a long one, but on the
plus side, I was with Elder Jake Jensen, so we got to catch up for a
long time! We had District Leader Council down in Kobe on Tuesday and
it was an incredible meeting. I love President Welch. He could say
"jump", and without hesitation I would ask, "how far?". It`s been an
honor to serve with him. The focus on the meeting was definitely
helping missionaries. It was funny, Sister Welch made the comment that
the DL`s are like the "Mothers" of the mission. We`re the ones that
interact the most with the missionaries in the mission, so in a way,
we`re kind of like everyones Moms out here! President is really
focusing on "Love and Lift" right now among the leaders of the
mission. Those two things basically make up the role of a District
Leader. It was funny, I asked one of the Assistants before I left Kobe
last transfer what advice he had on being a good District Leader and
all he said was, "Just love people. And help them." I didn`t think so
at the time, but that`s some pretty good advice. That basically makes
up what I do all day everyday, love and lift!

Getting everything prepped for the baptism was a breeze. We cleaned
the baptismal font after a companionship exchange on Saturday and
filled it early Sunday morning. It was awesome, Chen (the guy I`m
standing next to in the picture), really wanted to look like a member
when he was baptized and asked us if we would help him pick out a new
suit! We went with him during the week and got him looking pretty
spiffy for the big day! It was a blast. He`s 20 years old right now,
and when we were at the suit store I couldn`t help but think, we might
be helping this guy get ready for his mission... It was so cool! The
baptisms themselves went perfectly. My companion baptized Brother Ko
in Japanese, and then baptized Brother Chen in English! He worked hard
and his practice paid off. During sacrament we had a member confirm
Brother Ko and I had the privilege of confirming Brother Chen! It was
an amazing experience. It was like I could feel an army of people on
the other side of the veil pulling for this guy. It was a blessing to
be a part of for sure. After church the Bishop interviewed both of
them and it looks like they will be receiving the Aaronic Priesthood
as soon as next week! We`ve already set up for them to go to the
Fukuoka temple with the ward in August so we couldn`t be happier. This
is all amazing yes, but there`s something I want you all to
understand. I played a very very small role in this. These were in no
way shape or form "Elder Giles`s baptisms". These two men were
prepared by the Spirit long before I got here, and I just had the
privilege of reaping the reward. None of us have the power within us
to convert a soul. Only the Spirit can do that and I can testify of
that for sure. I`ve seen it many times in my mission. I`m so grateful
to be doing what I`m doing and I love the work of the Lord. I love my

Oh, by the way. We got the transfer email, and yes, I`ll be staying in
the beautiful city of Matsue for my last transfer here! My companion,
however, will be transferring to Takatsuki (one of my areas) so we`ll
have a busy week this week. My new companion is another newer
missionary, Elder Jackson. I know him a little bit from when he first
came to the mission and stayed in Kobe, but other than that, I don`t
know a thing! It`s going to be great though! This transfer was a bit
of a ride, but transfers are a great way to start off fresh! It`s
scary to think how fast this last transfer went by, and now to think
that it will happen again in a short 6 weeks. I`m winding down, but I
won`t quit. I intend on working harder than I ever have before. I love
what I do and I don`t want to waste a minute of being a missionary. I
love you all and I hope you have a great week!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Tudo bem?

Hi Mom! Oh, Happy Fathers Day, Dad!

 This week was freaking awesome. I`m sure I sound like a broken
record after starting out every single one of my weekly emails for the
last two years with something about how awesome the last week was. Oh
well, I`ll be home soon anyway! We really did have an awesome week
though. Being a full purpose missionary that does just about
everything is a blast and we`re seeing miracles in Matsue for sure! I
have great news, by the way! Our two Chinese investigators (Chen and
Yo), passed their baptismal interviews last Saturday so we`ll be
baptizing them this Sunday before church! I`m so excited for them! We
were teaching Chen yesterday with one of the members that speaks
English, we were talking about the temple and the Priesthood and stuff
like that and the member voluteered to take Chen down to Fukuoka after
he gets the Priesthood to do baptisms before he goes back to mainland
China! We`re seriously seeing some major success with the Chinese
right now. They are amazing people. On top of that, my companion and
Elder W from our District were on a companionship exchange and
they got invited into a Chinese guys house who was really interested
in learning about the Gospel. These people are pure! It`s been
awesome. Fe cheng hao!
 That brings me to my companionship exchange with Elder S over
in Izumo last week. They have a very large population of Brazilians
over in Izumo because there`s a factory that hires them out of Brazil
and pays them better than what they would be receiving if they were in
Brazil. Anyway they have somewhere around 25 Brazilian investigators
right now, and almost all of them happen to live in this one apartment
complex. We decided to go over there and see if we could get any
lessons in with any of them and see how they were doing. Mind you, we
don`t speak Portuguese, and they speak little to no English or
Japanese. The Spirit is amazing. We tried a few of them, but found
out that most of them were at work or out doing something on their day
off. We noticed a guy pull into the parking lot riding a BMX bike with
Beats by Dre headphones on with an Oakley hat (not common here). We
met him on the stairs of the apartment complex and tried to talk with
him. From being with Elder DS for close to 5 months I was able
to get across to him that we were missionaries from The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I`m pretty sure he just understood
"Igreja" haha! We were trying to figure out how we were going to teach
this guy because he really seemed like he wanted to know what we were
doing (wouldn`t you if two white boys stopped you on the stairs of you
apartment?). Elder S remembered that he had wifi at one of his
other investigators apartments, so we asked the guy if he would come
with us. We stood outside of the investigators (who wasn`t home)
apartment and managed to get a little bit of a signal. We used google
translate to tell him who we are and stuff like that and he got really
happy. I called around the mission to find a Brazilian Elder who could
translate for us because Elder DS was busy in Kobe, and
managed to find one! We called him and he translated for us over the
phone! It was hilarious. Here we are, two white Americans standing
outside of a Brazilians apartment using Google translate and an Elder
on the phone on the other side of the mission to teach a guy that just
moved here from Brazil the Gospel. Long story short, they`re meeting
him on Friday, and he`s a new investigator! Don`t worry it gets
better. After that we went and taught one of the Brazilian families
they have and Elder DS translated for us! It was awesome.
After that we met the same guy that we taught before, but he was with
his younger brother. We talked with them for a little bit and the
little brother ended up coming to church the next day, skyping with
another one of the Brazilian Elders in the mission, and he`s now a new
investigator too! (takes a gasping breath) Pretty cool right?
 Everyone, this is the work of the Lord. I`ve seen things and been in
situations where I can honestly say the hand of the Lord was present.
He is ever at the head of this church. I love being a missionary and I
love the chance to be here in Matsue. It`s a great place and will hold
a special place in my heart forever. I love the gospel and I know it
has changed me for the better. I love you all so much and I hope you
have a great Father`s Day. I love you, Dad! Have a great week!


Elder Giles

My new Brazilian friends in Izumo. 

This guy can`t hear a single thing, we taught him by writing on a piece of paper in Japanese. He has all sorts of crazy Japanese history things in his house.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Lord places people where he needs them

Friends and Family!!!

I`m seriously concerned for life after my mission and having free time
because I`ve literally been going 100% all day every day for a long
time. I was laying in bed last night thinking about the future. It`s
crazy what a foreign concept regular member life is to me right now.
It really sparked my desire to use every minute of the time I have
left to serve the God that lends me daily breath.

So we have two Chinese investigators who are really really strong. One
of them has a baptismal date for this coming Sunday, and the other has
a baptismal date on my birthday. We were thinking about them last week
in our Weekly Planning Session and we figured it was going to be
difficult for the one getting baptized this Sunday to make that date
because we still need to teach the commandments and he needs to get
interviewed! Well the one that has a date on my birthday only has a
few of the commandments left and his interview and we felt like he
could be baptized a lot sooner. After looking at the calendar and
talking about it for a little bit, we decided it would be awesome if
they just got baptized on the same day, June 28th! Because they are
good friends, this will work out perfectly. After that we realized
that one of our other Part Member Family investigators also has a
baptismal date on the 28th of this month. We`ll be having a baptismal
service for three investigators that day! You should have seen the
Ward Council yesterday. Everyone is super excited! One of the Chinese
guys actually sadly goes back to China in August or September, and I
was thinking this week how amazing it was that he came to Japan, found
the church, will be baptized and confirmed a member, and return to
China. He`ll be here for a total of less than one year, but in that
time his life will have changed completely. I`m sure he was planning
on coming to Japan for school, but the Lord had bigger things in mind.
He wasn`t coming here for school, he was coming here to receive the
Restored gospel. We taught him about Tithing yesterday during Sunday
School and he readily accepted it. We were a little nervous in
teaching it because it`s such an important commandment, but when we
told him that we were planning on talking about something called
"tithing", he was like, "I already know about that." We thought, "well
great!" explained the blessings and doctrine behind it, shared a
scripture talking about how the windows of Heaven will be opened, and
committed him to pay his tithing after he is baptized and confirmed!
It was an awesome lesson completely run by the Spirit and an already
prepared heart.

We had an awesome District Meeting last week talking about how to
become "Full Purpose Missionaries". Seriously sometimes in Japan it
feels like all we do all day is go out and knock on doors or talk to
people on the street and it yields little fruit. We`re focusing more
now on the bigger picture of missionary work. Using technology,
visiting Less Active Members, visiting members from the Wards and
trying to strengthen them. It`s much more motivating to visit a
member, share a short message with their family, then pray with them
to find someone around where they live that is prepared to receive the
gospel, and then go out and find. We talked about how working in this
way now will prepare us much more for when we have to go home and
fulfill our missionary obligations in our own wards. I assigned a few
members of the District a few of the Great Missionaries from the
scriptures, like Alma, Aaron, Peter, and Paul, to study and prepare to
teach for a few minutes on what made them so great. The activity is
actually in PMG in chapter 1 under the "Companionship Study" (I don`t
just come up with this stuff). It was awesome and I felt like I
learned a ton. It was actually pretty great, during one of the Sisters
training on the Apostle Paul, she was talking about how he was going
from one place to another. I remembered how there was a map depicting
Paul`s Missionary Journey`s in the Bible so I decided to look that up.
I don`t think I ever realized how far Paul actually travelled! One of
the other Sister`s asked, "well are we sure he walked the whole way?"
I responded with, "would riding a donkey the whole way be much better
than walking?" Seriously, Paul was a beast and all he did was love
people. He`s a perfect example of a missionary that teaches people,
not lessons.

This week is very very busy for us. Between getting our investigators
prepared for their interviews and prepping for another District
meeting, I have to go to the next area over for a baptismal interview
tomorrow, and then a companion exchange with the Elder`s over there on
Friday followed by a Missionary Day for their ward where all the young
men will be going on splits with the Elders from our District to go
out and proselyte on Saturday! It should be fun! I had the chance to
speak in sacrament meeting yesterday about the importance of preparing
for a mission. It was the first time I just went up with a few notes
in English and tried my best to speak through the Spirit. I`m sure
absolutely none of the members could understand what I was saying, but
I just hope the Spirit testified for me. Anyway the church is still
true and I still love you all! I love being a missionary and I don`t
want my two years to come to an end! I hope you all have a great week!
I love you!

Elder Giles

Sunday, June 7, 2015

I Never Know What To Write In Here Anymore

Hello Friends and Family!

This week was a blast. It`s weird though, its the first week in a long
time that felt really long as it was happening, but still looking back
on it now, it feels weird that its Preparation Day again and I`m
sitting here writing this email. My conception of time is so messed
up, I love it! We had a really busy week full of a lot of good stuff
and I`m really excited to be working here in Matsue. It`s really an
awesome area and we`re going to see some crazy miracles here in the
coming weeks.
The week started off with a companion exchange with Elder W
from the District. He came over here and worked with me and my
companion went over to Izumo and worked with Elder S. We had a
pretty tough day here in Matsue. We had a lesson with one of our
eternal investigators that just speaks crazy weird Japanese and asks
all sorts of random questions. The lesson was pretty rocky because I
was understanding maybe 40% of what she was saying and poor Elder
Wiseman was pretty lost. Basically, here in Japan when that happens,
we just rely on the power of the Spirit and a simple testimony and it
tends to be really powerful. Its funny, it seems like the minute I try
to be really eloquent and learned sounding in Japanese, my language
ability leaves me. Its only when I speak simply and clearly do my
words come with ease and power. The gift of tongues is real. After
that we basically had a day of finding. We had an investigator in the
area book that I had never met before so we decided to go and visit
her and see if we couldn`t get a lesson in. The area book information
said she was a really nice old lady that just kept saying that she was
"living in happiness" and seemed to have interest. We didn`t think
much could go wrong with that so we went to visit her. After getting
to her neighborhood we finally found the house and knocked on the
door. As we were sitting there waiting this old lady came out from no
where behind us and started making noises I can only describe as a
barely audible "hissing". She kept crossing her arms in the shape of
an X and saying things I couldn`t understand. Very calmly I asked her,
"Ma`am, do you know how lives here?" She responded that they weren`t
home, but that we weren`t welcome here and that we should go home. She
said that "people of religion" come to that neighborhood all the time
and bother people and that we needed to get away from there. I
responded by telling her that we were visiting one of our friends as
missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we
were sent here to teach the gospel of happiness to all people, well,
that seemed to make her even more angry. We left and walked back to
our bikes and watched as she walked down the street and around the
corner. I looked at Elder W and said something along the lines
of, "I think she`s gone, there`s people in the house, lets go knock
again." We gingerly walked back to the front door and knocked. We
could here people in the house, but no one was coming to answer the
door. We stood there for a moment when a high school aged girl pulled
into the driveway on her bike. We said hello to her and asked her if
she happened to live with her Grandma. She responded that she did,
then pointed behind her and said, "she`s actually right there!" We
looked to see the SAME old lady storming up the driveway yelling all
sorts of obscenities at us. She walked right passed us into the house
and slammed the door. We gave a little chuckle and Elder W
handed the girl an English Class flyer and we told her to have a nice
day. Let me tell you, that woman was NOT living in happiness!
 We had to go down to Okayama for Zone Training Meeting last friday.
It was a long 3 hour bus ride both ways, but we had a great meeting.
One thing we`re working on is to become full purpose missionaries
right now. We`re no longer focusing on just one thing at a time, it`s
time to do it all. We`re working better than ever with the members of
the wards here and the time is short until the church is fully
established in this country. I`m grateful for the chance that I have
to be a missionary and to be serving in such an amazing place. I know
that this is the Lord`s church and that we all have the divine command
to take the gospel to all the inhabitants of the Earth. I love my job
and I wish I could do it forever.
 I hope you all have a great week, stay healthy, and enjoy the first
week of summer vacation! It`s getting hot here, and its time to cool
some people down in the font! Wish us luck and pray that we can
baptize! I love you all!

Elder Giles