Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16 Email!

Family,

My Birthday was great. The Beef Tidbits that the Thuesen's made were actually pretty good! haha they had streamers and balloons all set up in their house when I got there. Yeah, I picked up the cake, thank you! haha i'll send a picture of it.. there's a little typo, see if you can find it. (No one knows how to spell in Texas). 


 
Also, the day after my birthday I went over to Fred's house and they threw a party for me! They had a cake made for me and gave me a present and the whole family sung 'Happy Birthday' to me. It was great. I also went and say Manuel on my birthday, I took some pictures of it all and i'll send them to you.
 
 
 I opened my presents on my Birthday at night time. I'll send pictures of that also. Thank you guys so much for that stuff! haha it was great. I really like everything ya'll gave me.
 
  On Saturday morning, some families form our ward took us to this Pizza Parlor named "Big Lou's Pizza". Biggest pizza in Texas, and that's saying something. They have pizza there that is 6 feet long, each slice is 3 feet! haha so dumb. The pizza we got isn't that big but it's still ridiculous. I had 4 slices.
 
 
    We had a ward Christmas party a few days ago, and it was really fun. I love everyone in this ward, they all feel like family. It's going to be so weird when I finally leave this area..
 
  Manuel, his wife Porsche, and their son LaTrell finally accpeted baptismal dates! They are going to be baptized on January 4th! I am so excited! It's not like 100% that they will be baptized on that day, but now at least they have something to work towards!
   I've been doing a lot of thinking this past week, as I turned 20 years old. (I hit my quarter-life crisis) and I am so thankful that I am at where I am at. Life is made up of the small choices we make throughout the day, and it's those choices that create your future. I'm thankful that I am here in San Antonio Texas, even when it's really hard and stressful.. I'm thankful for it all. I realized how I love everyone who is in my life, or has been in my life. The people I have spent the most time with are the people who helped me the most, and I will never forget them.
 
Another stellar week, I hope all is well back home.
-Elder Giles

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December 9 Email!

Mi familia,
 
Hahaha it's in the single digits there? We haven't hit freezing yet, but we got pretty close a few times. I think the coldest it has been here is like 40, but with the humidity, it goes straight to the bone and feels like -17. No snow. It's actually finally starting to look like fall hahah I took a picture, i'll send it to you.



Well, this has been another stellar week. This week has gone by faster than any other week so far, it's crazy how fast it all goes by. Elder Condie and I are like best friends. We are always laughing because we have the same exact type of humor (imagine that: finally someone who laughs at what I laugh at), but we get work done. We have had a lot of success this last week too. We had a whole bunch of lessons, even though we were both sick. Fred Travis, the guy that got baptized a few months ago, has been working hard to get his family baptized before he leaves to the army in January. We have been over there a lot teaching them. He had a TWO hour lesson with them teaching the Plan Of Salvation, they all had a million questions, but I think we did a good job with answering them all. They loved it. They all came to church yesterday. Fred's mom, Shabazz, and his 6 siblings.
 
We were over at Manuel's house a few days ago, and after the lesson. He started telling us about how he got started in the rap game and more about his rap career. sidenote: he did a song with chamilloinaire a pretty famous rapper. Anyways, he has some nuts stories. After he showed us a music video of his, he freestyled for us. It was so sick! He went off for like 5 minutes, it was easily the best freestyle I have ever heard.. haha I know you guys don't care, but I thought it was sweet.
 
Apparently my birthday is coming up, haha we have like 6 dinners on that day, so that'll be nice.
 
I want to ask for one last thing for my birthday (from everyone in the family): On December 11, at some point during the day, find someone who is having a hard time and do something nice for them.
 
On my mission, I have continued to teach many people what prayer is and how to pray. I have always had prayer in my life, and I did take it more granted many years. These people are so thankful for prayers, and it makes me sick to think how I used to take it for granted. Whether it's in the trailer park praying in a circle with a family, or just on someone's porch, they always say something like, "thank you" or "I needed that" and you can see it just saying the prayer helps them. Jeremy once told me something that is very true and powerful, "if it matters to you, it matters to God." Don't ever hesitate to ask, or talk to God about anything. The power of prayer is very real, and I have seen in in my own life. God listens to each prayer, and answers each prayer.
 
-Elder Giles

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2 Email!

Family,
 
I hope ya'll had a great Thanksgiving. Our second counselor in the ward here took us to have Thanksgiving dinner with his family and some friends, it was really good. Then they gave us all of the leftovers haha so our fridge had been pretty full these last few days!
So far on my mission I have been able to see, Jeffrey R. Holland & Neal L. Anderson, and I shook hands with Elder Golden (of the seventy). It's so cool meeting those people, you can just tell they know so much more than you haha
 
This week has been really good and really stressful. I have a new companion now named Elder Condie, he's actually way cool. It's just hard because now I am the only one who knows the area, the investigators, or the members. I'm the designated driver now so I have to know how to get everywhere. I mean, I do know it all but it's been a little stressful.
 
 Elder Condie is sweet though. A few nights ago we stayed up like all night talking and everything I told him, he said, "me too!" and everything he told me I said, "me too!" haha. I'm sure we would have hung out before our missions.
  
 The work is going great. We currently have 3 people with a baptismal date. One named Richard, will be getting baptized on December 21st. We finally got him to Church for the first time on Sunday. He said that it was the first time he has ever stepped into a church building.
   
So, we had a lesson with him on Saturday, quick back-story: he's 19 (younger than me), he is divorced with two kids. When we went over there for our lesson, he had two guys friends over and there were 3 girls there. All about my age. It was really interesting to see these people who are my age, just hanging like I used to be doing before my mission. They could all instantly tell that there was something different about Elder Condie and I. All of them have never been religious before, but they were so interested to hear what we had to say. I actually loved it, loved teaching people who are my age, people who I can relate with really well. The reason I am telling this is because something happened that was HUGE for me... growing up I always wanted to have a powerful testimony, a testimony that could make anyone feel it. During the lesson they were taking in all the information, but they were still being a little joking around and rowdy, (like any group of 19 year olds).. I started to bear my testimony, as soon as I started speaking it went dead silent in there and they all listened to what I was saying. The Spirit was so strong. When I was done, there was a few seconds of just silence and then Richard said... "those are some powerful words".
 
It's incredible to be able to share my testimony so often, to continue to help people find happiness.
 



 
I love you all so much!

Monday, November 25, 2013

November 25 Email!

Hey all!
So Transfers are this Thursday, Elder Miner is leaving and i'm staying here. I'm pretty excited that i'm staying here, I really didn't want to leave yet!
We had a Zone Conference this Tuesday and a 70 came and spake to us. His name is Elder Golden (side story: like 5 months before I got here, Elder Holland came to this misison and talked to us..) Anyways, Elder Golden had a way cool English accent. haha He literally talked for 4 hours, no exaggeration, just standing up there going from one tangent to the next, don't get me wrong, it was really good.. but long.

We taught a lesson to this preacher on Thursday. He started his own church, an he has quite a few people come to his church. We gave him a Book Of Mormon a few weeks ago and then we finally met with him on Thursday. When I explained to him what the Book of Mormon is and how it doesn't replace the Bible, and read him my favorite verses from the BoM. He really liked it and the Spirit was strong. At the end of the lesson he said, "it's true, it's gotta be" hahah SWEET. Hopefully we'll get him and his whole church to Sacrament Meeting on Sunday.

We taught this guy last night name Glen, He is the JACKED black guy who has been in the Army his whole life. We taught him in his "man cave" haha he told us some nuts stories about wars. Right now, he doesn't really believe in anything, he says that he hasn't said a prayer since "probably sometime in college". He's like 50 now. We had a really powerful lesson, he said that he was going to start praying and reading the Book Of Mormon!

We had this really weird cold front here. It's been like loew 40's the past few days... I have literally been frozen. The cold is so much worse when it's humid because it goes straight through all the clothes you are wearing and straight to the bones.

Well, San Antonio is where I am supposed to be. It is no coincidence that I am here. God lives and he is more involved in our lives than most people will ever realize.
I love you all so much! hopefully you haven't forgotten about me yet.
Love, Elder Giles
These some french toast i made out of eggo waffles..

Realest line I have ever heard

This is me at Glen's house

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 18 Email!

HEY!
There are so many great families here. I'll probably be here for at least one more month, but i'm already sad. I love everyone here so much.
So, this week has been a pretty good. Not too many huge things happened, but there were still some sweet experiences. We were teaching a lesson to this lady we met. It was the first time we met with her and so we were teaching her about the Book Of Mormon and Joseph Smith and all that good stuff. (She's catholic, like everyone else here).. After I recited the First Vision to her, she just sat there was a minute and started flipping through the Book Of Mormon, then with tears coming down her face she said, "It's true. It's all true".. hahah it totally caught me off guard, I sure wasn't really expecting that. But it was sweet!!

Manuel gave me a Lego man with $100. Oh, i'm not sure if I told ya'll. He loves Lego's. He has thousands of dollars worth of Lego's in his home, hahah i'll send you a picture of his front room table:

Fred's uncle, Jermiah, came to church yesterday. So there is a bunch of people living at Fred's house, like their whole extended family in house about the size of our basement...

I definitely haven't changed. This Gospel isn't meant to change people, it's meant to improve them, make them the best that they can be. It helps you overcome your weaknesses and helps you build up your strengths to make you the person you are meant to be. I haven't changes, but through many of prayers and diligence in doing everything I know I am supposed to.. I have seen some of my weaknesses become weak, and my strengths become strong. I am proud of you all, and I am trying my best to have you all be proud of me.

Well, I love ya'll and I pray for each of you every day.
Love, Elder Giles

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11 Email!

Family, 
 
Yeah, Gladys Knight was awesome, that was really fun. We got a CD of her and her choir, and now that's all we listen to in the car. 

I was at our Bishop's house for dinner on Saturday night, all the Bishopric was there, and I was looking around and realized that I am really going to miss everyone here when I get transferred. I heard that a lot of missionaries get homesick for their first area. There is a family here named the Theusen's (haha yeah, like the name Jeremy used to call me) They are awesome. They are genuinely cool people and they always invite us over. I was telling Sister Theusen about how my birthday is in a month and she is making me my favorite dinner, I tried to explain to them what Beef Tidbits were.. but I just looked like an idiot.

We were having dinner at Air Force Village (that Air Force retirement home) a few nights ago. I was talking to Sister Potter, the sweetest, funniest old lady there ever was. She was asking me if I have a big enough blanket hahah I told her how I just had one that I found in the closet because I didn't bring one. She said that,"that's not gonna do" and how it's getting colder at night. So at church yesterday she brought me two big blankets haha.

Thanksgiving is coming up, missionaries try to see how many dinners they can have that day.. the record last year was 8. Wish me luck.
 
The work is hard, but more fulfilling than anything else I have ever done. I am so glad that I am here. This mission has already taught me so much about who I am, and the father and husband I am going to be. The thing that keeps me going is knowing that I will be with you all forever, and these people here don't know that. I'll be honest, sometimes it's hard. For example, last night at like 7:30 we were driving our bikes past The Base to get to our last appointment for the night. There was a group of about 6 kids my age just leaving a restaurant, they were laughing and having such a good time. It was late, it was dark, I was exhausted, I had a headache... for a second, I missed that. I missed hanging out with my friends and having a good time, until we got to our appointment. It was 3 guys that are my age. They all 'party' and don't want to change, one of the guys asked me, "why do you do this? what happened in your life that made you want to do this?" I answered that question for myself as I answered it for him. I bore testimony about trials and forgiveness, love and heartbreak, and the loss of a close friend. Every single person in the room was crying, it was one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had.
I love ya'll
 
Love, Elder Giles
 

Friday, November 8, 2013

November 4 Email!

HEY!

Halloween sounded like a lot of fun, the girls' costumes are the best! I can't believe they make that stuff themselves. Did we get a lot of Trick-or-treaters? It's sad here, no one really goes trick or treating because it's just to dangerous to have little kids walking around. We didn't have anyone knock on our door all night and every one I have talked to says that they don't let their kids go trick or treating. It's really sad. We had to come home at 6 pm on Halloween, so we just hungout at our apartment all night pretty much.

 I can't believe I kept forgetting to tell you guys about this.. so Gladys Knight is in charge of a choir (Saints Unified Voices) and they travel around the world to sing and bear testimony of The Church and they came to San Antonio last week. We've been handing out tickets for it to basically everyone we know for the past few weeks. We went to it on Friday with Fred Travis, his mom and her boyfriend. They really enjoyed it! It was in a huge Stake Center we have here. She sung a few songs and bore her testimony, it was awesome! The songs weren't like our traditional hymns... haha they were like Gospel Songs and all the people there were yelling, "Amen!" and 'Hallelujah!" haha I even shouted those a few times too...

It's been a great week. I had got to teach Manuel and his family The Plan of Salvation this week.. it was so amazing. Manuel was basically crying the whole time and when I taught him about the resurrection, he just got so excited. He said, "so all these tattoos, all these scars, everything wrong with my body will be fixed?" When I told him that that was true he said, "that's what's up!" hahaha
 
I am so grateful for all of the experiences I have had in my life up to this point, they are all there to help me help other people. I love how hard this mission is. I know that God is our Father in Heaven, and He loves us all more than we can comprehend. If we follow his simple commandments... 2 Nephi 5:27.
 
Here are some pictures he sent over!: 
 


My pumpkin.

Me, Manuel and Fred outside Manuel's trailer

This is Menuodo. It's cow stomach, and smells like death

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 28 Email!

Matt didn't have much time to write this week, so the email is short, but still good!
                  Tell all the ward that I say Hi! I sure do miss everyone from back home. The leaves haven't changed here at all yet.. they are still green. I'm not sure what's going on.
This was another great week.
We got a few people to Church, a lady named Gwendlyn Brooks and a lady and her kids named Kristta Frausto. Manuel and his family didn't make it to church yesterday.. because their dog died and they had a dog funeral.... hahaha so weird! Dion and his mom still come to Church every Sunday!

But yeah, all is good here. It's going well. I'm excited for this week, Halloween is crazy here. Texas takes it way too far. Every house here has like dead bodies and limbs everywhere, there aren't even any pumpkins, just blood and gore. haha it's pretty sweet.

Well, I love ya'll and miss you!
Have a great Halloween and be safe!

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21 Email!

Family,

It's getting colder here! It was like 70 degrees a few days ago and I was freezing! We painted a room for a guy this past week. His house got broken into and graffitied everywhere. So we painted the room and covered up all the graffiti. haha it was way fun. 


So 2 big things.

1- I'm pretty sure I am joining the Air Force when I get home

2-Manuel and his whole family came to church yesterday!!


 I spend a lot of time with the Air Force. There is a member in my ward here named Matthew Checketts and we are like best friends, he is really cool. He's a dentist in the Air Force. I think I want to do the same thing, either a dentist or a pediatrician. If I did join the Air Force I would be coming right back here. This is the only Air Force base for basic training in the world. Everyone who is and ever was in the Air Force came to this base for basic. So, yeah, It's super cool and I love going on base.

    Manuel, his wife Porsche, their children, Laazyade, LaTrell & Divaunte all came to church on Sunday. They didn't have any white shirts or ties, or even been in a church before. So they really were hesistant to come when we talked about it. But Manuel went out and bought everyone church clothes and when they came to church we tied their ties for them during Sacrament meeting. They really enjoyed Church. I was so happy when they came in. Honestly, it was one of the greatest feelings I have ever felt. From meeting him in the Trailor park looking so initmidating, to seeing him at church yesterday in his white shirt and tie.. I can't even express how amazing it feels. He is like one of my best friends, and he has told me that I am his "main homie." If I would have went anywhere else in the world, at any other time. I wouldn't have met Manuel and his family. I had to come to South San Antonio at this time. I thank The Lord for loving me so much to keep me home a little longer so that I could met the people He has prepared.

     This week has gone be ridiculously fast. I love it, and I am growing so much (still the same ol' me though)
I love you all!


Marc Harris: you're going to Mongolia? haha you've gotta be kiddin' me! Is that even a real place? When I read that you were going to Mongolia, I yelled as loud as I could, "Let's Go!" hahaha. I'm so proud of you! Be safe in Mongolia, and always remember.... E26. I love you, player. we're here. let's go. we're gone.

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14 Email!

Yo.
The Baptism went great. It was so cool being able to baptism someone. Honestly, like the greatest experience ever!
Before I got here there wasn't a baptism in this Area for the past 1 and 1/2. We've had two in the last 5 weeks since I got here. It's sweet! We also have 4 people who are planning on getting baptized on November 4th.
 
That sounds so fun with the whole family. Apparently, BYU beat Texas a while back, everyone here is still bitter about that. 

Yeah, conference was really awesome. We've been using a lot of the talks and notes we took from Conference on our lessons this past week.
 Last Monday, after E-mails, we went to the City and this place called El Mercado (I sent a postcard). It was sweet. It's like this mexican outdoor shop with tons of little stands and stuff haha. I bought this Luchadore mask, like Nacho Libre. It's pretty cool. This week has been good. It's gone by crazy fast. We got Transfer calls last night. Me and my companion are both staying in this area for atleast 6 more weeks! We were both stoked about that!
 
I love you all so much!
 
This is Elder Sadler in El Mercado

Me and Elder Jones under a MTC sign.(my cup of Horchata)

Elder Sadler, Miner, me, and Jones

Texas Sunset

Right before the baptism

Me and Dion!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

October 7 Email

Hey and stuff,
 
haha E26.. dang. That was a fun time. I actually like didn't take any pictures this week, but I will this next week and make sure to send pictures of my companion and the other Elders in my apartment. Transfers are like the 16th or something. I'm 99% sure that I am staying here. I might get a new companion though.
 
   That's so weird that you had snow. I am already used to not seeing snow. haha It's still like in the 90's everyday here. I guess it hasn't snowed here for years, and when it did snow it was like for 15 minutes haha. It's gonna be a blue Christmas. Mountains: it's still weird not seeing them. There aren't any here at all, you can just see forever.
 
  Yeah, General Conference was soo sick! haha I have never really taken notes before. I took 11 pages of notes. All the talks we so solid. Yeah, President Monson's talk about trials was awesome, "Good timber does not grow with ease, the stronger the winds the stronger the trees..."
 
  Jeffrey R Holland brought the house, as usual. As soon as he stood up, I could just hear in my mind Jeremy barking as loud as he could! haha. His whole talk was juts quote after quote, "Believe in Miracles. Hope is never lost.", "Our pursuit of Godliness will be tried again and again" & "One day the dawn Will break brightly" 
 
  Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talks were really awesome too. Dang, they were all sweet. We watched Conference at the Stake Center and some Mexican families came and made us food in between the sessions on both days. They are so nice. The food was straight delicious too. Tacos for days, empanadas, tostadas, and rice on rice on rice.
 
Oh yeah, i've gained 12 pounds so far, BUT rest asured, I look good. I have never been so jacked. Riding these dumb bikes made my legs way stronger and bigger, and me and my comp wake up extra early every morning to work out at the Gym here at our apartment complex. The gym is kinda garbage, but we make it work. Sometimes we have to get creative haha but we get good workouts.
   Remember Dion?
 
  So, he said that he wants me to baptize him. So I am baptizing him this Saturday! I am so pumped, it's gonna be awesome. He's such a cool kid. His family is like my second family out here. They live out in the country, like 20 minutes driving distance. They have tons of chickens, and pheasants, and geese and all types of birds haha. Everytime we go over there we leave with at least a dozen fresh eggs. 
 
  Also, a family who lives on Base who's in our ward is going to Orem this week. I gave them ya'll address and phone numbers, they might be calling you and wanting to say hi. Try to be normal. They are the Bush family. They have 10 kids and they are some of the greatest people you will ever meet. They are awesome.
 
    Still doing my thing, like it ain't no thing.
    Got a busy week ahead of us, I'm way excited for my first baptism! 
 
"Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith" -Dieter F, Uchtdorf
 
I represent SA-town, Texas is my playground, Ride these streets like Greyhound
 
I love you all
Love, Elder Giles

Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30 Email

Family,

Does Amanda think she is so tough now that she is 23? How did the party go? It sounds fun, pictures look great too. YES, I finally got the package this week haha. Thank you so much! I have been getting your letters, have you not been getting mine? I've written back to the family and the girls a few times..
 
      This week has gone by so fast, I can't believe it is already Monday again. The mission is insane how fast it goes. I gave a blessing to a woman last Monday night. She has been struggling a lot with family problems and stress and a whole mess of other things. It was so cool! The blessing was long, and very spiritual (my companion says) it's weird, as soon as I said "Amen", I couldn't really remember anything I said. Probably because it wasn't me talking haha but it was awesome!!
 
     We have been so busy. We didn't knock on any door this week that we didn't know who was behind it. We have been teaching a lot of people. We were on companionship exchanges a little over a week ago and I was with Elder Jones (funniest/weirdest person ever). We ran into this older couple (Julian and... his wife) and they were very eager to hear more. So we set up an appointment with them this week. When we got there he said how he was about to leave to help his son with something, but something told him to stay. That he had to listen to what we have to say and that we were going to change his life! This was before we even said anything about the lesson. The lesson went really well. We gave him a Book Of Mormon and  he left it open on the table, saying that he was going to read it as soon as we left.
 
    We met another young family, the same day we met Julian, and they have already taken all the lessons from the missionaries, but they weren't ready to get married so that couldn't get baptized. Well, they are married now. So we have met with them 4 days in a row and they are really interested. He is younger than me and has 2 kids.
 
    We met with Manuel twice this week. We shared a Mormon Message called "A Book Of Mormon Story" and then shared our testimonies. It was probably the most spiritual lesson I have been a part of so far. I took a picture with him so I can show ya'll hahah he's so cool! He used to own an old record store so his trailor is FULL of old rap cd's and old rap merchandise haha he's a homie for sure!
 
    All is well in Texas. It's been raining kinda... it's weird how it rains here. It will be so sunny and hot, then within seconds it is POURING rain, then it is sunny again. It feels like someone is turning the shower on and off again haha. I took a picture that helps explain the weather here.
 
   Well, I love Texas and I love my mission. God definitely knows me. So he has been helping me become more humble. It's never easy to see someone who is looking everywhere for the truth, but they won't listen to it when they find it. Being a missionary is the best thing ever! I am already so grateful for this experience. I have grown so much already. Manuel told me this week, " I just want to be like you. I want to be happy all the time." Well, let me show you how. haha.
 
It's tough, OH BOY is it tough. The heat is a beast, the humidity is ridiculous, the dogs are punks, most of the people are worst than the dogs, but I know that I am doing what I am supposed to. And it's worth it when I get to be a part of someone getting closer to Christ. I asked Manuel and his son, Latrell, to be baptized. They said yes.
 
I love you all so much!
Elder Giles

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23 Email

Howdy,
      I haven't got the package yet, but we have a zone P-day today, so I'll probably get it then haha sorry about that. Yeah, confirming him was awesome. Also, at his baptism his little brother came up to me and said that he wanted to get baptized, so we are now teaching his whole family. They are sweet. They are from Missouri and they have some think accents! Their grandma lives with them, hahah. Her accent is so think you can only pick up a few words here and there, so talking to her is a real challenge. It's like a riddle, you have to go off the clues you get from those few words and try to form together what she is saying... Most the time I reply, "I bet", and do a little laugh. It works.
      We get fed pretty good here. We have a dinner just about every night. I've had tacos like 5 times haha but they're actually all really good. One of the members here is Puerto Rican, and he owns his own Puerto Rican restaurant. So we went there this week and got a free buffet. It was actually really good!
      One of the people who are working towards baptism is a 10 year old kid named Deon. His parent are members, but just really Less-Active, but they want him to be baptized and he really wants to be baptized also. He's a cool ol' kid. 
They live out in the country though, it's like a 20 minute drive to their house. There are so many trees here (in some parts ((the Hood doesn't have any trees)). When you are on top of a hill, you can't see any houses, all you see is trees. The sky here is so cool! The clouds here are really cool looking and every sunset makes you stop and look at it for like 5 minutes.
      We've been doing a lot of teaching, we're actually doing so much that sometimes we have to go on member splits, where I go with a member and Elder Miner goes with another member, because we have to schedule two appointments at the same time.

      Did I tell ya'll about Manuel? The really big guy in the trailor park? Well we taught him and his 12 year old son, LaTrell, this week. It went awesome. I talked to him the next day and he said that he knows that he has to read The Book Of Mormon. We are meeting him again tomorrow. He is such a homie! He told me a lot about his life, he grew up in & out of foster care and he has been through A LOT in his life, but he loves talking to us.

      Did I tell ya'll about the Hepworths? They are the couple with the Herbie car? She talked to me a few days ago and said that they have kinda been having problems with their marriage. So we went over for dinner this week and after dinner we played a talk by Richard G. Scott about the importance of families and marriage. When we first started listening they were sitting on different pieces of furniture, but about halfway through Brother Hepworth stood up and walked over to her. He sat next to her and help her hand. They were both crying. It was awesome.

       I know there is a lot more that happened this week, but I can't think of what to say right now.

       Well, I pray for ya'll every night and I really miss you. I've been comforted though by helping others feel happiness in their lives. I've already told a few people how to pray, that never gets old. I don't know what I would do without prayer. One thing I love about Texas is the diversity of people here, from one door to the next you'll find a straight thug, then a nice old lady, a family of immigrants, or a group of rednecks. It's so amazing how they all find common ground when we help them learn about the Savior. These people seem like they're all different species from one another (some might actually be..) but Heavenly Father loves them all, and they all are looking for the truth. Whether they know it or not. When they pray, they pray to the same Father in Heaven, when they "feel good" it's the same Spirit. From Deon to Manuel, God placed me in their lives to help them come back to him. I've already learned so much about myself and my testimony by helping others find those things out for themsleves.

       Before my mission, I was worried about 'changing'. I'm not changing who I am at all, I still freestyle rap everywhere I go (I battled this little punk a few days ago hahaha), I still make the same dumb jokes and die laughing at the same dumb things. I still love the things I loved before. I just feel more confident. I know that the person I am is the person God needs me to be to help all these people come back to him.

      I love this Gospel, I love my mission, and I love ya'll!

 Love, Elder Matthew James Giles Sr.

Carson and Tano: I am so proud of you guys! I love you so much. When I read your E-mail about your mission calls it took me like 10 minutes because I was crying so hard haha. You guys are my brothers, we have been through so much together and now we get to go through so much together haha but this will be so worth it. Being a missionary is the single greatest feeling I have felt in my life so far. Nothing beats helping others become happy. I have taught people how to pray, I have taught addicts that they can receive strength through Jesus Christ, I have taught crying mothers that they can see their children again and live with them forever. I have never been so happy in my life. I am so proud of you, brothers. I love you so much, and I can't wait to kick it with you for the eternities.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 16 Email

Family,
      Each day seems to go by faster than the day before. I'm beginning to really love it here. This week has been really awesome. When I first got here to Texas my companion was already teaching this 20 year-old guy named Fred Travis. He's really cool. Me and him really hit it off. He wanted me to "confirm him". So, this past Saturday my companion baptized him, then on Sunday, I confirmed him a member and gave him the gift of The Holy Ghost. It was a really cool experience. At the baptism his whole family came up to me and basically said that they wanted to get baptized too... so we'll be teaching them now too.       There is an Air Force retirement home here, it's called Air Force village. We go there sometimes and talk to all those old people hahaha. They have a cafeteria there and it's way good though! . They have the weirdest stories and they love to tell them to us haha
   
   YEAH!! When I was on base on Sunday morning, after Sacrament metting, I was teaching a lesson to a group of about 20 Air Force Pilots when I got called out of the room. Trevor's family was there! hahaah it was so weird, I was way confused at first. That's amazing though! That I served on the Air Force base he was on, and I tought lessons to like all of his friends. He said that he was graduating though, so he won't be there anymore. So, if I would have served in this area at any other time other than this, I never would have saw them..
       It's crazy how much love I have for the people who live here. It's so sad to see all their trials and troubles. Just last night, Fred's mom called us and wanted us to give her a blessing. So he hustled down there as soon as we could and gave her a blessing. We talked about trials and why we have them. We ended up being there for like 2 hours. It was really spiritual, everyone was crying.
  
At the beginning of the week, I was having a hard time. Because I was scared of what I would miss during these two years, I was scared of what I didn't know. I was only worried about myself and how I felt.. There are so many people here who have never said a prayer, they feel like they have no hope, they feel completely alone. They don't know about Jesus Christ. They don't know what Jesus Christ did for them. They don't know that they don't have to feel hopeless, that they are never alone. I have never felt more joy, then when I can promise people that they are never alone, that Jesus Christ knows how they feel. 



Monday, September 9, 2013

TEXAS!!

     So, I got here on Wednesday. The flight was cool, the plane was smaller than I imagined though, it was pretty crowded. I got light headed when we first took off, but then I was fine. When we got to the airport President Slaughter and some other missionaries were there waiting to pick us up. We went to his house and had a small lunch, then they took us to downtown San Antonio to The Alamo. There we were told to go up to people and give them a Book Of Mormon hahah I was pretty scared. I gave one to this kid about my age though, we talked for a little bit and I told him about it. He said that he was going to read it.

             The next morning we had a big meeting in a Chapel and that's where we met our companions and found out where we are serving. Everyone (except me) was called to smaller cities. Then they called my name and said that my area was the south side of San Antonio City hahaha I was pumped! My trainor's name is Elder Miner, from Farmingtion, Utah. He's really nice and he's all about obedience to every rule in the mission.

          My Area: San Antonio South, we live in an apartment with 2 other Elders and we switch between bike and car everyday.There is a big Air Force Base here, (Lackland Air Force Base) and we get to go on base and teach people. We can't go tracting on base, but we go there on Sundays and teach lessons afterwards to the soldiers who want to know more about "Mormons". On Sunday we went on base and had a sacrament meeting with them. It was cool! Everyone there was in their Air Force Camo! After Sacrament meeting my companion & I taught the first lesson to about 8 soldiers who were interested. Also, there are some memebers who live on base and so we'll go in there to have dinner appointments with them. It's a huge Air Force Base! I talked to this one Pilot named Sergeant Richardson for like 2 hours haha he's a homie.

          So, the second part to my area (after the Air Force Base) is south San Antonio, or DA HooD. Whichever you prefer. All the houses here are......... not good. Really small and really bad shape. Everyone owns AT LEAST 2 pitbulls. Because the theft rate is so high, they need the dogs as security to their homes. So, I have met a lot of dogs. There's also a lot of stray dogs just wandering the streets. My first day here, my companion and I were walking down a street and we ran into this guy. His name is Lupe. I told him about our Church, he was really interested. We basically gave him the whole 1st lesson right there. I gave him a Book Of Mormon and he said that he would read it and pray about it. We have an appointment to go visit him this Friday.

     There is a pretty big trailer park here. We have an investigator who lives there, so last night we drove over there to see how he was doing. He didn't answer his door. So while we were walking back to our car, this ginormous man yelled over to us. This guy is big. But he was so nice, he was wondering what we were doing. He said that he believes in God but has never been religious. But lately, he has felt like, and been trying to get his family more religious. WELL, gave him a Book Of Mormon & we have an appointment with him on Thursday. When I told him that it was more scripture, that goes along with The Bible, he was really excited!

         It is so hot & humid here. I have never sweated so much in my life. The sweat literally drips off your face if you're outside for too long. Remember how I didn't like ice before my mission? Ice is my only friend out here. It's all I want.

      It's really cool being the person that helps others become happy. I taught a guy how to pray yesterday. He said that he has never prayed before in his life, after the prayer, he said, "that feels good". 

Write me lots!!

And here are some pictures that Elder Giles sent over!:






Friday, August 30, 2013

Second Email

Email number 2 from Elder Giles arrived today! It's so good to hear how well he's doing:


This week has gone by a lot faster than last week. My relationships with all the Elders in my district have grown so much! These are my best friends, unfortunately, most of them are going to Colombus. 
         
This past Sunday, my entire district (Elders and Sisters) crowded into the elevator, it was so crowded. All the Elders decided to jump so that the Sisters would get scared.. well, the elevator stopped and we were all stuck in there for an hour and a half. It got so hot in there, by the time we got out we were all covered in sweat hahaha. It was so funny, it was a real good experience too though. We all opened up and told some stories about ourselves. It made us all a lot closer. We didn't get in trouble or anything, no one cared for some reason.. they just thought it was funny.

My companion is a riot! It's so funny, because he doesn't try to be funny. For example, a few days ago I was writing in my journal at the end of the day. My companion was singing this really weird sounding song for like 10 minutes. Finally, I asked him what he was doing. He said, "oh, sorry. I sing russian folk songs when I get nervous" HAHAHA russian folk songs?? We really do get along great though

I'm really starting to love it here. I'm kinda sad that I'm leaving in a few days. We have to leave the MTC at 5:30 in the morning on Wednesday, so I have to wake up at like 4.

On sunday, there was an MTC devotional and Neil L Anderson was speaking. It was a really good talk, I was so excited to be a missionary after that. Also, the day before that I saw Jeffrey R Holland. I was in the front office with my companion because he lost his wallet so we were getting it from Lost & Found. While we were there, I heard everyone's radios go off saying that Elder Holland was coming. Then everyone stood up and put there hands behind their backs. I turned around and there he was. Walked straight through the lobby, outside, hopped in a car and left. I didn't say anything or do anything, but I saw him. So, that was sweet.
My entire district did a session together at The Temple this morning at 6:30. It was so cool when I walked in the Celestial room and saw all my friends there. It's how I imagine it will be after we die, with all of our friends and loved ones there waiting for us. The Temple rules! haha
I sent a letter a few days ago with a letter to Jeremy, Hannah & Averie (because I love them the most) I just sent the rest of the letters this morning though, to Mom, Dad and Amanda. You guys don't need to write me back individually. I just wanted to write you all an individual letter.

Next week, I'll be a Texan. Hootin' rootin' and all. I'm really excited to meet all the people there. I'm getting a little nervous for my flight though, I keep thinking about that Twilight Zone episode with that thing of the wing.
     I love ya'll
-Elder Giles


Matt & his district

Brother & Sister D. (from the ward)

Friday, August 23, 2013

First Email


We received our first email from Elder Giles today! He still has his wonderful sense of humor and is loving his experience in the MTC! Here are some excerpts from the email:


I know my way around the MTC and I really like it here. In my district here are the San Antonio missionaries and the Colombus, Ohio missionaries (the same mission that Seth is in! Seth could possibly be training one of these kids in a few day!). I thought that was pretty cool. There are 5 other people in my room. Elder Moss & Elder Butterfield, Elder Hill & Elder Paulsen (Colombus), and then Elder Lee, who is my companion.

I fly straight to San Antonio at 9:05 a.m. on September 4th. I know it's early, but I'll still try to call. If no one answers... I will come home from my mission. 

This is only my second full day here. To be honest the first day wasn't that bad at all, I think I was still just in the moment and too excited/nervous to feel anything else. Yesterday was a really good today, but I had a few times where I thought things like, "I wonder what Chumlee is up to?", "What am I doing here?", and  "I hope my friend, Craig Gottleib, is staying safe".

I got your package just a few minutes ago! Along with all the letters people have sent me so far (oh yeah, today is my P-Day). Thank you very much!! haha I was at dinner eating and my district leader brought all the mail to our district, I think I got the majority of everything he had. I love my family and friends so much!


The food here is waaaaay chill. haha the only bad thing about the food is that our district eats the first every meal, so I have breakfast at 7, lunch at like 11 and then dinner at 4:30. Dinner at 4:30? they must be out of their minds. I go to bed starving because my gut is used to digesting pounds of carne asada every night. Hopefully there is a Del Taco or Rancherito's close by in my first area, i'm not sure how much longer my stomach can hold out. 


I have learned a lot so far, more than I that I would within 2 days. I think I learn a lot because I actually care and want to know as much as I can. Like, in school, I didn't give a care how many times "pi" can get divided or what Newton's "theories" were. Pi sucks and Newton's ugly. I think of everything I have learned so far, the thing that has stuck with me the most is to not study up too much on the lesson or what you will say or stuff like that, but get as in-tune with The Spirit as you can, because The Spirit will guide you to know what to say when you need to say it, and The Spirit will ultimately let the convert know that what I am preaching is true.

All and all... I love it here. I love being a missionary and I love wearing the name of The Savior of the world over my heart. I am constantly overwhelmed with how powerful The Spirit is here. I don't care about the number of baptisms I have. I just want others to be able to feel The Spirit, to know that they have a Father in Heaven who is constantly watching over them, and that they can be with their families forever. I am so thankful for the testimony I have of these things. I hate being away from each of you. I love each one of you more than I can express, but I need to teach others that they can be with their families forever. Wish me luck as I search for those who are looking for truth, looking for peace and looking for happiness. I love you all

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

MTC

Elder Giles is now in the MTC! We will definitely miss him but are so excited for him. He is so happy to be there! In his talk on Sunday he said that, "Everyday in the mission will be like Christmas morning." He still had that attitude today and we are so happy and proud of him! Here are a bunch of pictures from his special day entering the MTC: