Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December 29, 2014

Kinfolk,
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

I was showered and so blessed with many gifts and letters this season! I want to give a great big thank you to everyone who sent me something or wished me a Merry Christmas! From new watches and sweaters, to spam singles..I got it all. Thank y'all!

So it's finally snowing in Utah, huh? I'm glad to hear that. I's weird for me to now see pictures of snow haha it seems like such a weird thing to me. Texas has changed me a lot. I'm used to the heat and humidity now, I get cold if it's around 80 degrees....I don't know if i'm going to make it in Utah haha. 

Exchange:
I went on an exchange with Elder Henderson and Elder Montgomery this week. (Elder Montgomery and I had lived together in my first apartment, so we have already been friends for a while). Elder Henderson is from Nevada and we also have known each other for a few months and get a long extremely well..
The first part of the day, we were doing service for a family that lived in their area. The family was trying to break up there rock patio in the backyard, so they could replace it with a wood patio. We spent some time trying to break up the rocks and toss them in a big pile haha it was a lot of fun! The man then took us to Jack In The Box for lunch (boo-yah!)
Dinner that night made us an endless supply of Texas shaped waffles, and had us eat as many as we could. I came in second place with 6 1/2, and somehow Elder Henderson ate 10 1/2 waffles!! It was very impressive.
When we didn't have rides places, we walked around because their car is in the shop. We had some great lessons, and were able to teach their investigator named Brian, who is getting baptized on Thursday (New Year's Day). Brian is so awesome! He found the missionaries because he wanted to get closer to God, and now he is getting baptized!


Christmas Day:
To start off Christmas day, our whole zone met together at the Church (with all of their presents) and we opened our presents together. We went around 1 at a time and did that until all the presents were opened. It was so much fun to be there with a group of missionaries, and celebrate Christmas together.
We ate a lot of food that day. We had huge meals at the Vaupel's, Henson's, and Woodward's homes.
On Christmas day, we spent as much time as we could finding and teaching. We were able to have a great lesson with an investigator family, the Ramos'. We also met many new people who invites us back another time. It was definitely a much more productive Christmas than last year.

Christmas on the mission is certainly much different than Christmas back home. I feel like this Christmas will be on the ones I remember the longest. It was the most spiritual one I had, and even though I wasn't home I still felt everyone's love from all the letters and packages I have received. I can say that this has been my favorite Christmas so far.

Hunter Henson:
Hunter Henson is 11 years old. His mother is a member of the Church, and his father is very much against the Church. The parents have just recently finalized a long divorce. Hunter has been wanting to be baptized for so long! Now that the divorce is finalized he can be baptized, and he will be baptized this Saturday, the 3rd.
Hunter is such a good, intelligent kid. He is one of the sweetest people and has such a pure heart. He is also really funny and witty, haha Hunter and I have become good friends. The whole ward is super excited for him to be baptized!
Please keep Hunter in your prayers this week.



News:
This is Elder Nichols last week. He is flying home to Utah on Saturday (the day of the baptism). He is such a fantastic missionary, and I learned a lot from him. He will continue to make an impact back home in Fruit Heights. Tell him "hi" for me at his homecoming.
That means that Elder Loveridge and I will be in just a regular companionship now (just the two of us). Elder Loveridge, is such a spiritual power-house, he's a great companion.


My testimony is that the Grand Creator of the universe loves us with an incomprehensible Fatherly love, because He is our Father. That love was best shown by Him sending His Son. His Son is the Christ. He is the Great I Am, Jehovah, The God Of Israel and the only way back to the Father.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ is infinite. There is nothing that it can not cover. The deepest root of a person can be completely changed by the Atonement. That is where Agency comes into action. Agency isn't having the ability to do whatever you want, it's how much you want the Atonement to affect you.
The gospel is undeniably true. It draws any honest thinker to their knees, and any competent thinker to consider. The Holy Ghost convinces all who sincerely ask.


I love y'all, have a Happy New Year!

Love, Elder Giles

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas, y'all!

I want to start off by thanking everyone who has sent me Christmas letters or packages, all my family and friends and the Grove Creek 10th ward as well. It's been a lot of fun receiving a letter in the mail each day for the "12 days of Christmas". Even this morning, we got a knock at the door and it was "Cami", my mom's cousin, who lives in the area. She came by with her family and gave me a huge Round Rock donut! haha it was so nice!  It has been such a great Christmas time so far! With all the gifts we have been receiving, and we even got a Christmas tree for our apartment from a family in the ward. hahaha even without any snow, Texas sure has the Christmas spirit.... (I have a picture I will send of a sign that says "Merry Tex-mas y'all"....


SKYPE: We aren't exactly sure what time I will Skype y'all. It will be in the early afternoon though. I'll call early that day and tell you, so we can get it all figured out. I'm really excited to see all of your pretty faces again haha I can't believe it was so long ago that I Skype-d with y'all last. It feels like it was just a few weeks ago. It will be fun :)

Christmas Conference: On December 17th, we had our Mission-wide Christmas Conference, it's the only annual time that the whole mission meets together. It was so much fun! I was able to see missionaries that I haven't seen for a long time. I also took a picture with the missionaries that I came to Texas with. They are all doing so good!
In addition to taking a lot of pictures. President Slaughter talked to us a lot about the Atonement of Jesus Christ... oh man, he blew all of our minds.
They also do a Talent Show every Christmas Conference. Elder Shorts, Hilario, Tovar, and I were in a Mariachi band! hahaha we each made our own matching Mariachi jackets and played separate instruments. Mine was the maraca's. It was so much fun haha besides Elder Shorts, the two other Elders are both native from Mexico and they were singing in very strong accents haha I'll also send a picture of our outfits.
At Christmas Conference, they feed us the best barbecue ever! It was so much food!
On the way home we stopped at Gourdough's, in Austin. It is a burger restaurant, but instead of buns..... they use donuts.... hahahaah it was soooo good!

January 3rd: We have been teaching an 11 year-old named Hunter that really wants to be baptized. His mom is a great person, and is a member of the church, his dad is not. His parents have been going through a very long divorce for a long time now, and the father wouldn't let Hunter get baptized. As soon as the divorce as final, the mom would have full custody, so the dad was just try to prolong it as long as he can. Well, just recently the divorce was made completely final, and Hunter is so excited to get baptized! 
He will be getting baptized on January 3rd. He already has a very strong testimony, and for an eleven year-old he has a phenomenal understanding of the gospel. It was such a miracle that he is able to be baptized, and he is just so excited! Please continue to keep him in y'alls prayers and pray that everything will roll on smoothly towards his baptism.


My boy, Malik: Malik is still doing fantastic! He has such a strong testimony. He recently moved out of his friends house, and back with his mother, he told us yesterday that he knows he is supposed to share the gospel with her and the rest of his family. So cool!
He also taught the Sunday School class yesterday,and he did an incredible job! We are all so proud of Malik, he is just an incredible saint. There is a lot going on in his life right now though, so please keep him in y'alls prayers. He told me to tell you (my family) thank you for all the prayers on his behalf.


Christmas Gift:
Everyone loves to give presents around Christmas time. It's a great way to show that you care and love someone. Many people try to remember the true meaning of Christmas, and often think about what they can give Christ. That is a great question to ponder... however, He has already given us the answer. "And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offering shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings. And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit..." (3 Nephi 9:19-20)

If we really want to give some to Christ "...offer your whole souls as an offering unto him..." (Omni 1:26)

Obviously, offering our "whole souls", might seem like a big commitment, but the more we give to Christ the more we want to give.



Weekly Assignment: Spread Christmas cheer.


I love you all, more than I can explain in words. I wish that you all have a very happy, merry Christmas. Everything is going well with me, I am happy and the Lord is watching over me.

Talk to you soon :)
Love, Elder Giles

December 15, 2014

Kinfolk,

Thank you all so much for all of the Birthday cards and packages! This was a great week, and I loved everything that I got. 
Tuesday: Was Elder Scroggs last day (he was one of the Elders who I lived with). So we had to shower and get all ready to leave the apartment before 7 and take him to Austin. We got to Austin a few minutes early, so we all decided to go to Super Burrito... one last time. It was so good! As always. We dropped Elder Scroggs off with the rest of the missionaries going home that day, and then drove straight back to Round Rock to have our Zone Meeting. There were two zones of missionaries there, and we gave trainings for a few hours on how to best use this Christmas time in spreading the gospel. It's always good to have big mission meetings and seeing missionaries that you are good friends with.
We spent the rest of the day with Elder Warren in a "trio", since his companion went home. We had dinner with a YSA named John who made us bratwursts. haha dinner with YSA's are always an interesting time, you can never tell what they will make.
Elder Warren is Spanish called, so we spent some time in the Spanish area finding and teaching people. A lot of fun. Crazy day.

Birthday: The day before my Birthday, Elder Nichols and Elder Warren took me out for lunch. There is a really good Mexican restaurant here called, "Chuy's". We went there and ate A LOT of Mexican food, and then had some delicious Tres Leches for dessert.
My actual Birthday was on the day of Transfer Meeting. When we first drove up there were a lot of missionaries in the parking lot, just talking and hanging out, and when I got out of the van they all started to sing "Happy Birthday" to me! haha it was so awesome! Even during Transfer Meeting they made an announcement that it was my Birthday hahaha.
I also got another companion on my Birthday!! His name is Elder Loveridge. It has been so much because I have been training a new Zone Leader, and Elder Nichols and Elder Loveridge had already been companions like 6 months ago haha so they have a lot of stories together, it's a lot of fun!
The apartment that we live in is so crazy right now!! It went from 4 Elders, to 6!! There is now two trio's of Zone Leaders in the apartment hahaha it is crazy!
I have already known all the missionaries previously in the mission, so we are all good friends. Such a good Birthday!!

I also opened up all my presents and we ate that cake on my birthday. The cake was so big! haha and luckily they spelled everything right on it that time. A group of YSA's fed me dinner and made me a cake on my birthday, i'll send a picture of me blowing out the candles on that cake

We also had two great lessons on my birthday! Happy Birthday.


I love you all so much!!
Thank you for everything that came this week

-Love, Elder Giles

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014 Email!

Y'all,
Thank you so much for all the Happy Birthday wishes! I got a great letter in the mail from Grandpa and Grandma, with notes from everyone in the family! Thank you all very much, I loved it I'm very excited for my birthday cake this year! haha i'm not sure if you remember, but the cake that I got last year was spelled wrong. It said, "Happy Birtday Matt" haha so hopefully this store knows how to spell 'Birthday'.


A Hidden Talent:
This is so funny. So, in the Chisholm Trail ward (Young-Single Adults), we had a big ward Christmas Party/Family Home Evening on Monday Night. A lot of the ward came, and some people brought their non-member friends as well. They had a bunch of food: smoked brisket and beef and turkey! Oh, it was so good.
After all the eating was done, they had a "Variety Show", where people signed up to perform in front of the ward. Well, Elder Nichols and I singed up like a week previous, but could never figure out what we were going to do (mostly because we never talked about it). We did the only thing we know how...... freestyle rap.

Elder Nichols is really good at beatboxing, so he grabbed the mic and starting with a beat. The crowd would shout out a topic and I would rap about it for a few minutes. The first topic was "Jello Salad" and the next one was "A Bow-tie". The crowd got so into it!! It was so fun. I was pretty nervous at first, I was scared that I wasn't going to be able to rap that well... but once I got "in the zone", it all worked out pretty well.

haha I have some funny pictures from it I will send to y'all. You can't see the crowd in the pictures, there were probably like 60-75 people there. Loved it.




ill:
Unfortunately, the next day after our "performance", I felt pretty sick. I didn't feel well the majority of this week :(, but I am feeling a lot better now and I think I am just about all the way healed. It's really boring being a sick missionary. There is like nothing to do when you're sick. You can read your scriptures, or sleep, or walk around the apartment looking for stuff to do.... that's just about it. haha oh well. We went out on one of the nights and bought ourselves some 'Jack In The box'.... that helped quite a bit.

Back to SA-Town:
Went back to San Antonio again this week for 'Mission Leaders Council'. Again, we are the furthest Elders away from that meeting, so we have to wake up at 5 am to make it there on time. The meeting was great. President Slaughter talked a lot about the birth of Christ and the true need for a Savior. "You can't understand the Atonement, until you understand the Fall". It was such a great thing to learn about. I think we could all come to a better understanding of our need for a Savior, and as we do that it will make everything else we do for meaningful. 
On the way back from SA-Town, we stopped in Downtown Austin at our favorite taco shop. "Super Burrito". That place is some seriously greasy, Mexican food. It's some of the greatest food I've ever tasted haha it's everything I've ever dreamed off. We're actually going to be in Austin tomorrow morning, and i'll be getting myself some Super Burrito breakfast :)

A New Taste:
We had a family this week prepare us a dinner for my birthday. They kept telling us that it was going to be something new that we haven't has before. They were really mysterious about it, and refused to tell us what it was.
We arrive at the home. We walk into the kitchen and I see a bowl of mashed potatoes..... a bowl of corn.... a bowl of beans.... and a plate with some kind of meat on it. The mystery must have been the meat, but I couldn't tell what it was. It looked similar to roast beef.
The family served us up our plates, and gave us each a big ol' piece of meat.
I began the adventure, and took a big bite out of the meat. It tasted like beef, but only a little more squishy. After eating the majority of what was on out plate, they brought out this little plate with somethign on it. 
What was on it was the top of a tongue.
We had just eaten a 4 1/2 pound cow tongue. hahaha it was actually pretty good though! 

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Birthday Plans:
Transfer meeting is on my Birthday this year, so that is going to take up the most of the first of the day. Elder Nichols and I are staying together, and are getting another companion. TRIO! TRIO! TRIO! TRIO! Because Elder Nichols is going home half-way through this transfer, so we will be in a trio until he leaves, and then just the other companion and I.
We are having dinner that night with some Singles in the YSA ward who are coming together to make a Birthday feast for me! haha 
It's going to be a great week!!



I love you all so much!
Pray for Elder Nichols and I

Love, Elder Giles

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014 Email

Family,
 
I'm glad that ya'll had a great Thanksgiving, mine was very good as well and i'll talk more about it later in the E-mail.
So exciting that the girls are performing the Nutcracker this week. They are doing to do awesome, i'm excited to hear all about it.
Going to get a tree every year as a family is something i'm so glad we did. It was so fun buying a tree and then decorating it with all the "decorations" we have made or acquire over time haha we always have the best looking tree. Hands down. 
 
Exchanges:
I went on an exchange with a missionary named Elder Sant this week. Him and I know each other pretty well, we living close by each other a few months ago. We're good friends. The area he is in right now has been struggling lately with finding people to teach and staying busy. So, him and I decided to do everything we could and work as hard as we knew how that day to find a family to teach.
We hopped on our bikes and peddled away (my first time on a bike again since about 2 or 3 months ago). 
As we were riding our bikes down his street, we saw a couple who started jumping up and down waving at us. We both looked at each other, not knowing who these people are haha. Turns out that they are members from out of town visiting some family for Thanksgiving. The family they are visiting are inactive and have an unbaptized daughter. The couple told us how they had been praying to know hoe to help get these family active again, and then we rode our bikes right past them. Haaha awesome!! We went over and send up a lesson with that family.

At another point, we talked to a man who was busy packing up his car and seemed disinterested. I felt impressed to say, "Have you read the Book of Mormon?". He stopped, and looked at me and said "no, but I want to". So we taught him about the Book of Mormon, said a prayer with him and his family and set up another lesson with him. Awesome!
In the evening, we stopped by a man's house and he was telling us how he had a really busy, hard day. We offered to share a message that will help him fell better. He let us in. We then taught him and his family about the Restoration of the Gospel, and gave them a Book of Mormon. We also set up a return appointment with them.
The exchange was filled with miracles, and it was so fun to be working with Elder Sant.

Thanksgiving:
All the missionaries in our zone did service at a Catholic Church for a few hours. They were serving food to people who didn't have anywhere else to go. So, we scheduled it with the Catholic Church, and they really wanted us to come. We all showed up and helped serve food to these amazing people We had so much fun, and it was a humbling experience for all of us. At one point, I decided to just walk around and talk to certain people. I would set down next to these people who have had hard lives, you could just tell by looking into their eyes, and I would ask them what they are grateful for. I probably asked that question to 50 people, all different ages and walks of life, and almost every single one of them said, "my family".
These people who don't have many clothes, or much money, or even a place to spend the holidays, understand what is most important. I hope that it would never make me get to that point to always remember what is truly important.

This Thanksgiving, I was extremely grateful for my family. My family which I haven't physically been with in over 15 months, but feel like they are always near. I, like the hundreds of underprivileged people who had no where to go on Thanksgiving, am thankful for my family.


Recent Convert:
Malik Abdul is doing phenomenal! Just yesterday he get the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained to be a Priest. Only a week after getting confirmed, he got the Priesthood! He is doing do good! He is about to get a calling as well. He's just a powerhouse. I'm so proud of him.

I love ya'll!
Have a great week, and always be grateful
-Elder Giles

Monday, November 24, 2014

11/24/2014

Kinfolk,
 
Here's a little about my week:
Zone Meeting:
We had a combined Zone Meeting this week, with the Round Rock and Round Rock East zones. President Slaughter was there and gave an excellent training on 'Apostasy', and how it occurred. He also talked about this new initiative the Church is doing this Christmas season. It's unlike anything I have ever seen before. It is called, "He is The Gift". Helping people draw come closer to Christ and focus on him this Christmas season. They will be sending out millions of cards. Each missionary will be giving away at least 10 a day for over a month. On December 7th, The Church will be THE ONLY advertiser on YouTube's homepage..... all day long.... the only advertisements..
ALSO, The Church bought many of the billboards and mega screens in Times Square, those will be going off all day, every day until January.
This is crazy!!! The work is hastening so fast! The Gospel is flooding the earth!

Elder Nichols and I also gave some training's at the meeting. I prepared mine that morning haha, I've gotten pretty good at shooting from the hip.

Exchanges:
One of my best friends from the MTC, Elder Butterfield, is in this zone now! We haven't really seen each other since the MTC. This week we went on an exchange together, so he came to my area and we worked together for 24 hours. It was so much fun! haha we just instantly picked up where we left off in the MTC. 
We taught a lesson together to a college student in Georgetown, Texas. He is an agnostic, and doesn't really trust any religion. We started teaching him about the Restoration and we just blew his mind! hahaha he was loving everything we said, and he agreed with all of it! We gave him a copy of the Book Of Mormon, and he is going to start reading it. The Spirit was strong in the lesson, and he definitely felt it. We are teaching him again this week.
One of the lessons we taught was to Malik, where Elder Butterfield gave him his Baptismal Interview. I'll send a picture of the 3 of us together. It was such a fun day!

I also went on an exchange with Elder Hobbs. Elder Hobbs is getting towards the end of his mission. I went to his area with him. Half-way through our day it started to ran really bad, so the rest of our day we were just completely soaked! We had a lot of good times though. We just happened to find a lady in her garage cleaning some furniture. As we talked with her, we found out that her husband is an inactive member of the Church, and she is a non-member. However, just recently they were both talking about going back to Church.
That was the first day they moved into the house. It was a miracle! They are going to come back to Church, and i'm sure that she will get baptized.

Brother Abdul:
Ladies and Gentleman, we have a new member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His name is Malik Jamal Abdul-Khaliq.
From the first time we taught him until the day he got baptized was only 11 days! haha crazy, right?
Malik was just so prepared. He always shares his testimony on how the Lord has been preparing him his whole life for this moment.

He was baptized on November 22, at 3pm.
His good friend, who he is living with right now, baptized him. Also, a friend he met at work, who is a recently returned-missionary, confirmed him on Sunday and gave him the Gift of The Holy Ghost.

Malik's mother, who is an inactive Muslim, came to the baptism. She could feel The Spirit and seemed to really enjoy the baptism. Afterwords, she grabbed a copy of the Book of Mormon and some pamphlets that we had set out. Awesome!

As soon as the baptismal service ended, and everyone was standing up. Malik walked over to me and gave me a big hug. While we were hugging, it sounded like he was holding back tears when he said, "thank you". Just a simple "thank you", and everything up to that point was worth it. No trial on the mission is too hard, when you're standing next to the font with your new recent convert, and he is hugging you saying "thank you".


Malik and I have become really good friends. Every time we see each other he just comes up to me and gives me a hug.
 
I love y'all so much, and I am grateful for each one of you!
Love, Elder Giles

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17 Email!

Kinfolk,
Winter has arrived in Utah, I'm sure glad I'm not there. It has been pretty cold in Round Rock this week though, like 30's or 40's. It did not snow though, so that is good! I finally had to dig through my suitcases and pull out my jackets and sweaters from last winter. That was a weird experience. I couldn't believe it had been a year since I was in Heritage ward teaching Dion, and Manuel (PT) and all the other great people there. This year flew by!
I'm glad that y'all are getting some snow though, you'll have to send me a picture of it. I can't quite remember what snow looks like anymore haha
A Pair Of Thermals:
A week ago, Monday, we had a return appointment with a man we talked to a few days previous. We met him when we was walking outside of his house about yo get in his car. We were on the other side of the road, but started talking to to him and went over to introduce ourselves. He mentioned how he grew up Jehovah's Witness, but never actually believed it. He is 38 years old and has been looking for truth in religions for most of his life. When we told him what we do, he invited us back for Monday evening,
We knocked on the door, and he answered the door in nothing but a pair of thermals and working boots. He seemed quite comfortable, even though we were in a shirt and tie. This man is African American, probably about 6'3'' and looks like he works out quite a bit. He has one extremely lazy eye and a nice set of dreadlocks.
The lesson went very well. He understood everything we taught and was eager to read from the Book Of Mormon. He wanted to come to Church on Sunday but didn't make it because his flight got in later than he though. We have another lesson with him later this evening.
I'm curious to see if he is in his typical thermal and boots combination.

My Boy, Malik:
Malik is getting baptized this Saturday. It will be the fastest baptism I have ever been a part of, or even heard in this mission. From the first time we taught him until his baptism is 11 days.
We taught him for the first time this past Tuesday. The Spirit was so strong in the lesson, and we was loving everything we were saying! A few days after the lesson he told us that when we told him the "First Vision", he felt The Spirit stronger than he has ever felt it in his life. He knew that what he felt was The Spirit, and that Joseph Smith a true prophet of God.
I could tell that he was ready for baptism, by all the answers he was giving throughout the lesson. So at the end I said, "Malik, when do you want to be baptized?" ,"As soon as possible" ,"Okay, November 22", "Okay".
hahahaha it was so awesome!
This week we taught Malik: The Restoration, The Plan Of Salvation, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Law of Chastity, Word Of Wisdom, Law of Tithing, and the 10 commandments.
I have never met someone so prepared to receive the gospel before. He is so full of faith, and is an inspiration to the entire ward.
After we taught him the Plan Of Salvation (which was so powerful!!), Elder Nichols and I were back at our apartment planning for the next day when he sent us a text... I'll send you the picture I took of the text.


 
Malik At Church:
Yesterday was Malik's third time at Church. The first two times he pretty much just wore whatever, he didn't really have any "church clothes". However, he walked into Church yesterday in this nice black suit and purple tie. He was looking like a modern day Johnny Cash (except that Malik is black). It was so awesome to see him at Church, in a nice suit and how excited and comfortable he looked!
In the Sunday School class, the teacher called on him and asked him essentially, "how do you feel now that you are getting baptized?"
"In my life, I have been excited for a lot of things. When you are a child, you get excited so easily and there have been many things in my life that have made me feel excited. but.... I have never been more excited for anything, than how excited I am to get baptized"
Malik is just such a boss. I love how much faith he has! He is a miracle.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I love y'all!!

 
-Elder Giles

p.s. the other picture of of a Texas-sized doughnut we ate
 
 
 
Here is a lunch I made this week:
 

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10 Email!

Family,
Mission Leaders Council: Is a meeting that happens every month for all Zone Leaders in the mission, at a chapel in San Antonio. I've been going to it for a few months now, and before it was just a few minutes from our apartment. However, Round Rock is the very top of the mission. The drive is much, much further now. This past Thursday, we had to wake up at 5 am, to shower and get ready and drive to San Antonio. It was a long drive haha. M.L.C. is always so awesome though, we just learn from our Mission President all day, as he just fills us with knowledge and doctrine of the gospel. The previous MLC a member of the Seventy was with us.
After M.L.C. was over we began our long journey back home. We stopped in downtown Austin at a little Mexican restaurant called "Super Burrito". It reminded me of Rancherito's only a lot dirtier and greaser. So, obviously, I loved it! (even though I was feeling pretty sick the next day)
We didn't get home until around 8 pm, it was such a long day! I feel asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow that night

Sabbath Day: Because we cover two wards, we are in Church every Sunday from 8 am- 5 pm. The first Sunday was really rough haha I was not used to that long of Church, but I think I am already getting used to it, and love it! There are a lot of really great people in the wards here.
The Chisholm Trail ward (Young Single Ward) is considerably smaller than the adult ward. For example, this Sunday there were not enough speakers to take up the full hour. So, they just called me up to take up the last 15 minutes of Sacrament Meeting hahaha. It was really fun though, I actually love speaking now. I just talked about receiving answers and then following through with our answer. It was good.

We have an investigator in the Young Single Adult ward named 'Malik', who has come to Church twice now. He is just an absolute perfect investigator, he loves everything and want more! In Priesthood class he stood up to introduce himself and said "My name in Malik, and I will be converting here very shorty", and then sat down hahaha! SO COOL!!

The reason it is so amazing, is that it's an answer to prayers. Elder Nichols is getting towards the end of his mission, he has less than 2 months left. The area that we are in now, has been very slow for a while now. They haven't had a convert baptism in a very long time. I promised Elder Nichols that we would get him at least one more baptism before her goes home. WE have been praying really hard, and working just as hard for that miracle. The next thing we know, Malik is brought to Church by one of his friends. It seems as is he will be baptized before November is over!!
~miracle~


 

 * * * * * * * * * * *

Thank ya'll for all the love and support. You really do have an incredible on me. Please keep Elder Nichols and I in your prayers, also Malik.

Until next week
-Elder Giles

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3 Email!

Family.

This week was really crazy. I spent the first few days packing and saying goodbye to all of the amazing people that I had to go know in the Bulverde ward. It's a shame that I was only there for 2 transfers. I really did love it there, and there are so many amazing people. I took many pictures, i'll send you the one of me and Jose Gomez. He is one of the investigators that we were teaching. He is such an incredibly humble, kind man! He is a Mexican cowboy, and so I borrowed one of his 13 cowboy hats to take the picture haha.

Brother Bermea:
This will be just one example of the amazing people I have met on my mission, and the affect they are having and will have on me.
Brother Bermea only got baptized a little less than a year ago, and he is already about to get the Melchizedek Priesthood. He is a humble man, who doesn't have a steady job. He works here and there whenever he can find work. He always offers to feed us, and they had us over for dinner at the time. They live in a very humble double-wide trailer.
We went over there on my very last night in Bulverde to say goodbye and have one last lesson with him. While we were there talking, the topic came up on what makes a good father and he went on the explain...
"When a woman has a child, that is when she becomes a mother. But that's not when the man becomes a father. The man becomes a father when we wakes up in the middle of the night and sees his wife stumbling through the dark on her way to their crying child and he gets up, tells her to go lie down, and takes care of the baby. That's when he becomes a father"

A father is much more than just someone who has children, it's a man who would, and does, do everything for them.
I'm grateful to have such a father in my life.

New Area:
I got transferred on the day before Halloween, up to Round Rock, Texas (to the best of my knowledge there isn't a town here titled "leaf" BUT there are a bunch of leaves on the ground...)

***2410 Great Oaks Drive #702, Round Rock, Texas, 78681*****

That is my new address. I would love to get some letters this week :)

My new companion is Elder Nichols. Man, he is a BEAST. He is such an incredible missionary! He only has about 2 months left on his mission, and you can tell he is very experienced. He is a bigger guy, with a large build, but he is such a soft-hearted person. He loves everyone, and sincerely wants to help them all.
Elder Nichols is a phenomenal missionary, and I am so excited to serve along side him and learn from him!

In this new area, we cover two separate wards. One is the family ward, "Walsh Ranch" and we also cover the YSA ward "Chisholm Trail". For the YSA ward, our boundaries are two full stakes, so when we visit some of them we have to drive pretty far.
So far, I love working with the younger people who are closer to my age. I feel it is easier to be real and genuine with them, and it's easier to connect with them.





Unfortunately, this week we have a lot we have to do and I can't write much more in the E-mail. 
I love you all though, so much!

Please continue to pray for me as I start this new area with my new companion, your prayers mean more than you think.

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27 Email!

My People,

Thank you for all of the pictures this week. 

Elder Hamula:
A member from the Seventy came to visit our mission for a few days this week. It is so awesome!
His name is Elder Hamula. In preparation for his visit, he did a mission-wide fast the Sunday before to better prepared to learn from him and the Spirit when he spoke to us. We met with him in a very large meeting on Thursday. There, he spoke a lot about Revelation and the steps, and procedures to better recognize and follow revelation. To me, it all boiled down to 2 things: Learn to call & learn to listen.
We must learn how to properly call on the Lord and, just as important, we must learn how to listen to him when he speak back.
A few days later, he met with only the Zone Leaders in the mission, so a much smaller group. That was also incredible! He talked a lot about being an example to everyone. Referring to how people who watch you will act to what you do, he said, "As you are, so are they"
That applies to all of us. Grandparents, siblings, coworkers, friends, neighbors and so on.

It was so awesome to spend time with Elder Hamula and to learn from him. Also, just so you can picture him, he spoke in this last General Conference at the Sunday morning session, he spoke on the sacrament/atonement.


Conversion:
We have an investigator and her less-active husband who we have been meeting with for a while. They are both coming to Church most Sundays, and reading and doing most everything they should be doing. We decided to have a lesson with them this week about 'conversion'. We went through the story of Alma 23-24 and discussed what "weapons of war" they might have.
They were both sharing personal experiences and it was a spiritual lesson. At the end of the lesson, Lisa Segel looked at us right when the lesson was over and had tears in her eyes. She said, "When I woke up this morning, I just knew that I needed to hear something today, something that could really help me. This has helped me so much. Thank you"

That was an awesome lesson. I love teaching lessons when the Spirit is so strong and people always want to become better afterwards. That's what it is all about.

Bitter-Sweet:
Transfer calls came last night. Elder Shorts has been a Zone Leader in this Zone for a transfer longer than me, so we were both confident that he was going to be the one to leave. Strangely, however, he is staying and I am getting transferred. I am pretty sure I know where I am going haha it's not that hard to find out, but I will let you all know my new address next Monday
***DO NOT SEND ANYTHING TO THIS ADDRESS***
**WAIT UNTIL NEXT WEEK**

I'm excited for my next area, and to have my new companion. It will be so fun! I am also pretty sad to be leaving Bulverde after only 2 transfers. I really did love it here. The people are fantastic, and the ward is amazing. We didn't have any baptisms in the last 2 transfers, but we now have a handful of people who will be baptized in the next few weeks! Which is so exciting! But also sad that I won't be able to be a part of them :(

                                        * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I could go on and on, but I must close this E-mail so I can go play basketball.






I love ya'll!!
-Elder Giles

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20 Email!

La Familia,

Thank you for always sending me pictures of ya'll. It always looks you are staying busy and keeping happy!
Awesome that you went to Temple Square this week. I miss Temple Square a lot. I really wish that I would have went there more often. 

Frog Legs:
On Tuesday, we had a large meeting with missionaries from all around the area. It is always a good time to see everyone together. I gave a 'training' for over an hour haha it was so long! It was really fun though. We just talked about the history of 'Israel', starting with Abraham all the way to when Moses restored certain priesthood keys to Joseph Smith (D&C 110).
AFTERWARDS, a family in our ward took us to dinner at a restaurant called "Antler Cafe" in Bulverde. The menu looked delicious. Steaks, burgers, ribs and more! However, my eyes were drawn to something elder on the menu.
They were selling frog legs. I have never had frog legs before... so I ordered me some frog legs. They were pretty decent, i'll probably never do it again though ahah. I'll send ya'll a picture of them


James Richard:
On Saturday night, we drove up to Canyon Lake to have a baptismal interview with a man. His name is James Richard. He is around 50 years old. A classic Texan, he has always worked manual labor and now climbs telephone poles all day. Being raised baptist, he had a strong love for the Lord, and had always believed. He had struggles and problem in life, which soon dissipated when he found The Church.
He had smoked for 30 years, it was simply just past of his life. He wanted to stop, but never had a strong enough desire to. Once he was meeting with the missionaries, he felt that desire. One day he promised God that he would stop, and he hadn't smoked since that moment.
During our conversation, I asked him when he first believed that this was all true. I was half expecting him to say 'while I was praying' or 'It just made sense!'. Rather, his response was 'Here, at this building'. It was once he finally came to the Church that he found his testimony.
Sunday services are infinitely more than just sitting in pews, or watching the kids in front of us draw in their coloring books. Men like James Richard can receive revelation from God there. We should never go to Church expecting anything less than receiving personal revelation.


This Morning:
We are the closest missionaries to the Temple. Our apartment is only about a mile away. For working out this morning we all just decided to run to the Temple.
Big Mistake.
haha It is on the top of a huge hill! It was so hard running up! It took a lot longer than we expected, and it destroyed us. 
After we came home and showered, we met back up at the Temple. A lady in our ward works at the Temple to clean every Monday. She invited us to help clean this morning!
It was so awesome! We got a tour of every room in the Temple, and we were able to clean a lot of it. The Temple is always spotless, haah but it was fun cleaning it anyways.


Because of everything that we did this morning, we don't have too much time to E-mail!

I love ya'll!

Love, Elder Giles

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 13 Email!

Kinfolk,

Here's an update on my week:

Spanish Speaking Branch:
I went on an Exchange this week with Elder Vazquez in the Spanish Branch here. The Branch building is in Boerne, Texas. Elder Vazquez is a short Mexican who is from the center of Mexico. He is around 5'2'' and is so hilarious! hahaha he doesn't know English extremely well, so he always uses weird words and phrases. It's hilarious.
We spent the day on bicycles. Which I was excited about! I haven't ridden a bike for like 8 months.
Most of the day was in spanish, which was interesting because I do not know spanish. haha all I know is how to say simple things, but I can't have a conversation.
We met a man wearing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles boxers, so we knew he was nice. We taught him more about The Book Of Mormon and explained it's relationship to the Bible. It went very well.
Bikes, Spanish, Elder Vazquez, and TMNT... good day.
NFL Superstar:
Spending the day with a Priest in the ward, we decided to knock on a few doors. We knocked on a door and a man that looked like he just rolled out of bed answered. He told us that he wasn't interested in listening to us. As we were walking away he said, "Wait a minute. I have something for you."
What was it.. A bottle of water? Some money? Maybe a book?
Nay. What the man brought out was three large pictures of himself (one for each of us). Turns out, that he used to play for the Minnesota Vikings a while back, and was their starting quarterback. His name is Tommy Kramer.
He signed these pictures of himself and gave them to us.. haha after talking about football for a few minutes, he invited us inside. His entire house was a shrine to himself. His front room was only pictures of himself, and trophies he has. He had magazines laying out, turned to the page that it mentions him. I got the hint that he was very proud of his accomplishments.
He was a nice guy though, and I still have the autographed picture!

Miss Jonas:
On Friday night, we had a lesson planned with a family we were teaching. We were very excited for the lesson and even had another member family coming with us. An hour before the lesson, the mother called us and said that he is "joining" another Church, and not to come over. That was upsetting.
We had to call the member family and tell them that the lesson canceled. Elder Shorts and I were both pretty bummed out. So, instead of having that lesson, we went out to try and find other people to teach. Right before it got too dark, we decided to go visit one more street before we stopped for the night.
At the last house we visited, a very nice lady opened the door. She was really happy to see us, almost like she had been expecting us. She told us how her husband 'used' to be a member of the Church, and she has always been interested.
We went back the next day, and taught her about the Restoration of the gospel. The lesson went incredible, and it made perfect sense to her! We even stopped by later that night and met her inactive husband, who was super nice and told us that he "still knows the Book Of Mormon is true".
The husband had to work, but the next day Miss Jonas and her little son came to Church, and they loved it! The ward members were really friendly towards them and they felt comfortable. She will be baptized soon.
Looking back at it, I realized that if the first family wouldn't have canceled, than we would not have found Miss Jonas. They would not have came to Church, and who knows if the missionaries would have ever found them.
It was a true miracle.
ALSO, she is related to the Jonas Brothers. So yeah, she's awesome.
Please keep Stacy Jonas, and Albert Garcia in your daily prayers!

I love you all very much!
Love, Elder Giles

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6 Email!

Kinfolks,

"Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper." (2 Chr. 20:20)

That was my 3rd General Conference here in Texas. It was so incredible. I have really grown an unquenchable desire to listen to the Lord's oracles and follow the counsel the give. That same desire came come to any of us, by simply acting on their counsel to begin with (John 7:17)
I hope that we can all show our sustaining of Thomas S. Monson by following the counsel we have received, and sharing it with others.
Also, thank you for all the letters I have been getting. I love reading them over and over again. I am sorry that I can not write back as much as I would like. I do love receiving letters and am so grateful for everyone writing me :) thank you

*This picture is the missionary I was with in Kerrville and Fredericksburg this week*

Kerrville & Fredericksburg: This last Tuesday I traveled up to Kerrville and Fredericksburg. They are both really old, beautiful towns.  Fredericksburg is an old town that was originally settled by Germans, there is still a high German population there and the architecture looks like an old German town. It's incredible.
In Kerrville, we saw many miracles. We decided to stop at a random street and go meet people. As we were walking up to one of the first houses, a man inside stood up and ran to the door. His name is Steve. He is from Las Vegas, Nevada, but has recently moved to Kerrville. In the next few minutes of talking with him he talked about the many trials and addictions he is now battling with. We told him about the power of Christ and the sanctification that comes through The Holy Ghost. He was in tears for most of the conversation. We prayed at the end and he was crying the whole time. We gave him a Book Of Mormon, gave him the time for the Addiction Recovery Program and invited him to Church. As we were leaving I heard him say,  "I love you guys".
We has so many other amazing experiences in that city, but I will have to save the others to tell you face to face.
Emerson Family: A few days ago, Elder Shorts and I were about to leave a neighborhood. As we were hopping in the car, we saw a woman and her two young kids walk around corner. We promptly decided to talk to them before we left. Luckily.
She told us how she is "looking for a church" and was concerned about her family.... that's a perfect thing to say to missionaries. haha
A few days later we taught the family. A humble family. We taught the lesson in the garage as they were on a bench and Elder Shorts and I were on lawn chairs. The lesson was powerful and they all were excited to read The Book Of Mormon, and continue to learn more. Each of them committed to be baptized, and become a member of The Church.
Please keep the Emerson's in your prayers
General Conference: Sunday Morning Session was extra special for Elder Shorts and I. President Slaughter invited us over to his house. We went over there at 10 am, and they had a huge breakfast prepared. Large portions of eggs, bacon, and pancakes. It was so good! We then watched the first session with him and his family. It was a great experience. We really love and respect our Mission President and it was a great privilege to be able to watch General Conference with him.
I wish I could tell you all everything that happened this week, but it would take 7 days and I don't have that much time.
I love you all, and I am so proud of each of you!
Everything is going amazing here in Texas!
Love, Elder Giles

Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29 Email!

Ya'll,

Here's a re-cap of my week:

DeLeon Family: We found the DeLeon family when we were stopping by someone else who lives at their house, but ended up talking to Vanessa instead. Vanessa has two kids Joseph(12) and Roxanne (11). I was in another area the first time that we taught them the Restoration, but they loved it and accepted to be baptized.
I went over there a few days later with a Priest in the ward, Ross, and we taught them more about the Book Of Mormon and the importance of Church Attendance. It went very well. Joseph (12) has been taking The Book Of Mormon with him to school and reads it whenever he has free time! (What Deacons in the Church do that?!)
At the end of the lesson, I asked Vanessa to say the prayer. She has to ask a few questions on how to start and  end the prayer. She started by saying "Dear Heavenly Father.." and then there was silence for probably 10 seconds. I thought she forgot what to say next, but then I heard her crying. As soon as she started to pray, the Spirit hit her very strong! She went on to say a very powerful prayer. Pleading for forgiveness, thanking God for us and for her family, and asking God if the Book Of Mormon is true. The Spirit was very strong that night.
Derek Nixon: Derek Nixon is the definition of "bro" haha he is one of the coolest people I have ever met. He is now a movie producer, but when he was younger we has in a lot of movies. A pretty popular one was called "The Jerk Theory", he is the 2nd main character. ALSO, he was in a movie with Mary Kate & Ashley, and he kissed them.... needless to say, he's a pretty cool guy.
We went over a few days ago,and he was bragging about him movies, we started talking about the Book Of Mormon. He had a few questions, but we seemed to answer them all pretty well. Before we ever even asked him to read it, he just blurted out, "You know, I have seen this book so many times; all the hotels I go to. I have never wanted to read it before. Something is telling me to read it today, I will read this book in it's entirety". That something he felt was The Spirit. It is so amazing to watch how the Spirit works with people from all walks of life.
Meet The Mormons: We had a huge meeting with missionaries this week ( A 'Zone Conference' for those of you who know what's good). It was really awesome, I love being able to see all of the missionaries in the mission and talk with them. I think I know the majority of the missionaries in the mission, and they are all so sweet! Anyways, at this meeting we all got to watch a special screening of "Meet The Mormons". I'm sure you have all heard of that movie, if not shame on you. It is about 90 minutes long and it shows 6 different Mormon families from all across the globe. It's a great way for people to find out what we are actually about. It will be coming to theaters across the world, and 100% of all the proceeds will be going to the American Red Cross.
Go find the page on Facebook and like it, post it, twitter it, snapchat it, or whatever else people are using to waste time nowadays. Get the word out. This is the first full-length movie produced by the Church going to theaters.
We are preparing the world for the second coming of the Savior, more now than ever before.
Life-Long Dream: The top of our ward boundaries are up in the country of Texas. A few days ago Elder Shorts and I were cruising along passing by a bunch of deer (there are legions and legions of deer here), when I had a great idea.
We pulled off the road, and tried to lure the deer to come to us, with no avail. Luckily I remembered that I bought a huge bag of caramel corn from a Boy Scout just weeks earlier. I grabbed the new opened bag of caramel corn, and started tossing them on the ground by the car. (This is all happening as I'm sitting in the passenger seat with the door open). Slowly, and timidly, the deer started to feast on the abundance of caramel corn. One deer was more courageous than the others and was closest to me. I grabbed a big handful of corn and held it out. He gave it a good sniff, thought about it, and then started to eat the caramelized corn from my hand.
I was happy.

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I love ya'll very much!
Thank you all for writing me
Love, Elder Giles

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22 Email!

Hello Kinfolk,

Some updates from my week:

Donna: Donna, is the name of the woman I interview this past week for baptism. It was the first time that I met her, and she was so sweet! She lives in Kerrville, Texas and is married to a man from Ethiopia. She is around 40 or 50 years old, and is missing a few front teeth (nothing out of the ordinary). As we started to talk, she really opened up to me. She has had a hard life, and many trials and because of that she has tremendous faith. Her story was powerful, and her faith was pure. As we talked, I kept thinking about how humble she was. If a prideful person went through the same trials that she had, they would have been miserable and depressed. She, however, always trusted in The Lord. In some cases, she said, that was her only option. I have met many people on my mission who have taught me, and encouraged me by their examples and stories. She has shown me the importance of Humility. Humility is the soil for all the attributes of Christ. You can not become like Him, until you are humble enough to completely follow Him.
Sister Barbara: Elder Shorts and I were driving down a long road when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. What was it.. a bird?... a plane?.. It was a nun. A novice nun, actually, which means a nun in training. She is Coptic Orthodox (Egyptian Orthodox). As we pulled off the side of the road and I hopped out to talk to her, she looked a little nervous haha but once I introduced myself she was fine. Her name is Sister Barbara and she is so nice! She is a very caring person who loves God. She is giving her entire life to God, and doing what she believes He wants her to do. She deserves a lot of respect for the love and devotion she is giving to God. The world needs more people like Sister Barbara.
I did talk to her about the Book Of Mormon though, and she was very interested. We gave her a copy and she agreed to read it and pray to know if it is true. Awesome.
Old Friends: This past week was Transfer week. Even though Elder Shorts and I didn't get transferred, all Zone Leaders go to the meeting. I always love going to Transfer Meeting because you get to see your mission friends that you haven't seen for a while. I finally saw Elder Condie (my 2nd companion) again. We hadn't seen each other in over 7 months. It was so good to see him again haha. It's always good talking to old friends, because you tend to forget about stories until you're both together again. We just reminisced on Heritage Ward and all the hilarious experiences that we had. I also saw a lot of missionaries I have served around, and it was so good seeing everyone.
PRIESTS: The Priests in this ward are really good kids. They are maturing a lot, and they want more and more to come out with us. At first, they seemed like they didn't want to come out with us, but now they are fighting over who gets to come out first haha. One of the Priests, the one from last week's E-mail, bought Elder Shorts and I shirts that say "I'm on a mission from God." hahaha so cool! I'll send a picture of the shirts!!


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
As usual, I could go on and on. I'm going to be like those old men that just tell story after story. I am glad that I write in my journal everyday. Now, I know that I will never miss telling ya'll the stories when I'm back :)
Each week, I get so inspired from the E-mails I get from all my family and friends, and especially the Preach My Gospel responses. I'm so proud of each of you, and I love you so much.


I love ya'll!
Texas Rules!
Love, Elder Giles

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15 Email!

Kinfolk,


The weather has been pretty good in Utah this last week? It has been raining these last few days, but besides that it has stayed pretty hot. August is typically the hottest part of the summer, so I think it is finally starting to "cool down" again.
TRANSFERS: Elder Shorts and I are both staying in Bulverde. I am so glad that we are both staying, this really is a great area and we are just getting it warmed up! Plus, Elder Shorts and I get along great haha for some reason, it seems like some totally crazy thing happens to us every day. We get a long really well, I am so excited for this next transfer!
STORY TIME:
There are a lot of Priests in the ward here.. around 20. They are all at different steps of preparing for missions, or even wanting to go on a mission. So, we have been trying to get them to come out with us and show them how much fun a mission really is.
This last Thursday night I went out with a priest named Nakona. Right after I picked him up, we started driving down the road and I asked him, "Do you want to have a good night, or do you want to see miracles?", he said that he wanted to see miracles . We pulled off to the side of the road and prayed to The Lord for a chance to see miracles. As we went about of the night, we stopped by a family that we have been trying to meet with. We were finally able to set up an appointment with them and I was so stoked! I told him that it was a miracle for us, he said, "that ain't no miracle, I want to see a miracle" haha "okay" I said,"let's go get a miracle".
A few minutes later as we were driving down the road, we saw someone that he recognized, so I pulled off the road and we talked to him. It was one of Nakona's best friends named Trever. Trever was really interested in what Nakona believed and he said he wanted to learn more. We set up a time to teach him just a few days later.
Nakona said that it was a miracle that we found him, and we was so pumped up about sharing the gospel with is friend!
Well, about 10 minutes after that we were walking to our car when I saw someone on the sidewalk, so I went over to talk to him. His name is Sean. Sean also happened to be one of Nakona's friends. He, also, was very interested in The Church and wanted us to come over and teach his whole family.
Nakona was almost overwhelmed. Within moments, he saw two of his friends, who he always assumed wouldn't be interested, and they both wanted to learn more about The Church.
We taught Trever a few days later with Nakona there. He loved everything we said. He is now reading The Book Of Mormon and praying about it, he is also planning on coming to Church with Nakona.
We are teaching Sean, his mother, Nina, and his sister. They also are planning on coming to Church.
Nakona was so grateful for the miracles he saw. He says that he now wants to go out with us "all day, everyday" and the rest of the Priests are excited to come out as well!
It's an exciting time.
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


You are each loved by me :)
-Elder Giles