Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27 Email!

Everything that I say I mean with the most respect: To all my family and friends back home, I feel like I should write how I feel about this upcoming month.
February is a month that will always be remembered by me, because of the loss of a close friend that happened almost a year ago.
When I first heard the news of Syd's passing, I changed my Facebook picture, like everyone else, and I remember I wrote something like, "...I will live my life in such a way that will make you proud...".
The way I live my life has been, and will be, eternally more focused since that moment. I was never more committed to serve The Lord. I have been on my mission for about 5 months now, I have a select few pictures that I have on my wall that I look at every single day. Sydney and I are the center picture. When the mission gets hard: when anger, frustration, or homesickness kick in.. it's easy to remind myself why I will stay on my mission and try to completely forget about myself.
Sydney is, and will be missed by all of us, but let's all live our lives in a way that will make her proud.
There have been many times in my life when I felt like my testimony and faith was weak and I leaned on others faith to get me through.. if any of you reading this (whether you know me or not) feel like your faith is weak, listen to mine until you find yours again.
I know with all that I am, that I will see Sydney again. I give my solemn promise that we will all see and be with her again. Life is hard, I think we have all figured that out by now, but that's why we can't see God all the time. That's why we have to find our faith and use it. To prove to ourselves, our families, our friends and to God, who we really are.
It is my prayer that we will all try to live our lives in a way that will make her proud.
I love you all and pray for you
Turn to God, and let Him work miracles in your life
Love, Elder Giles


Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20 Email!

What's good?

Well, this morning was super sweet. Brother Pemberton (like the sickest guy i've ever met) ((he's a Master Sergeant in the Air Force)). He took us around the Base and gave us a tour of everything! We went into the Air Force hangers, these HUGE hangers that are just filled with all types of military vehicle, and we even climbed into the jets and helicopters!! Are you kidding me? haha it was unreal! so awesome.

Apparently, aside from being the only Basic Training base for the Air Force, Lackland Base is also the largest Military Dog Training Base in the Nation. He gave us a tour of that also, it was sweet!
Dogs and Helicopters... sounds like a solid day to me.
This week has been unreal. We got a bunch of new investigators and they are like all ready for baptism! haha We met this 17 year-old kid named Brian. He is such a good kid. He has a bit of a past, but who doesn't? He is so excited about the Gospel and getting baptized! He had two lessons with him this week, and he said that he was coming to Church. He couldn't end up getting a ride for Church though... but instead of just not showing up (like basically everyone else would do). He woke up at 7 am, to shower, put an extra pair of clothes in his backpack and RAN to church. It was like a 40 minute run. When he showed up he was all out of breath and covered in sweat, the first thing he said to me was, "Where's the bathroom at? I need to change."
This is what makes the mission all worth it. This is what makes all those days when I am covered in sweat and out of breath worth it. When you meet someone who never knew the Gospel, but because of me choosing to serve a mission, I was able to show him the Gospel. He was so excited and thankful for it, that he ran to church by himself just to make it on time. When I was 17, my dad had to carry me to the car kicking and screaming. I love Brian and everyone else I have met so far in my mission. I have been out a little less than 1/4 of my mission, and I have already learned so much. I am already eternally grateful for my mission. Now, I miss my family and friends SO much and I think about you all, all the time. but I want ya'll to know that I have never been closer to my Father in Heaven, and I have never felt this kind of happiness before. I sure was happy back home, when I think about spending time with my Mom, or having our Father and Son talks with my Dad, going to Beto's & the gym with Jeremy, hanging out with 'Da Sis' Amanda, and playing with my best friends, Hannah and Averie. But there is a specific type of happiness you feel while you are on a mission, and I am engulfed with it.
I love everything that has happened in my life, because it has made me who I am today.
-Elder Giles
p.s. Texas Rules!

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13 Email!


This week was unreal. Oh, it went by so fast!
Yeah, I met, shook hands with, and talked to Elder Bednar. He is such an amazing person.
I heard him speak three days in a row, because of the Missionary training he gave on Friday, and then my Stake Conference on Saturday and Sunday.
When he spoke on Friday, it was so spiritual. It was a room full only of full-time missionaries and then an Apostle and a member of the seventy. It was truly incredible, while we were all sitting there waiting for him to come in.. I could feel that he was in the room before I saw him. As soon as he walked in the Spirit was so strong. He spoke to us for about 3 hours, no script, no pre-deteremined talk, it was all by The Spirit. He let us ask him questions the whole time, then he would answer them so perfectly. It was so awesome. He is actually a really funny guy.. haha he was talking about how everyone thinks he is always so serious and all about doctrine because of how he is at General Conference, "no, duh, It's General Conference!" haha.
Out of the 7,000,000,000 people in the world, Jesus Christ has called 12 to be his Apostles, and I spent the last three days with one of them. Such a great experience.
 We got a new Elder in our apartment now. His name is Elder Montgomery, he's about 6'9 and he is from Georgia. He has a scholarship to play basketball at University of Utah after his mission.  So far he seems like a funny, and good guy.
Fred left this week to Basic Training in South Carolina, so I said goodbye to him. He'll do great though.
I love you all so much! I can feel all your prayers for me, so thank you for those! This work isn't easy, but it's the only thing I want to be doing.
I love you all
-Elder Giles

Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6 Email!

I had a great week, transfers are this Thursday. We got Transfer call last night... Elder Condie and I are both staying here this transfer hahaha! That means I've spent at least the first 6 months of my mission in this area. When I finally leave, my mission will be at least 1/4 done haha crazy! I'm way happy though. I really do love this area and all the people here.
The Baptism didn't go through this Saturday, he wanted to push it back one week so his family would all be there, so it it thsi Saturday instead!
It's nuts though, because Elder Bednar is speaking at our Stake Conference and doing Priesthood trainings at the Stake Center all night on Saturday, and the baptism is at the Stake Center. So.... he may or may not be at our baptism!! haha I would be so nervous! But that would be sweet! I'm going to see him this Friday, Saturday and Sunday! We'll probably become way close, like have our own handshake and stuff.
This week was good though. We had a lot of lessons and met a few new people.
We had a lesson with Austin Travis' best friend named Isaiah, and he said that he knew it was true, "I can just feel it". So now he wants to get baptized and he wants us to teach his family! It's so awesome, the Lord truly is hastening his work.
I got an E-mail form Carson with a picture of him and Marc at the MTC haha I am so proud of them! There is a certain joy you feel about missionary work, and those pictures of my friends on missions too is just like overwhelming joy! I am so grateful for my mission and all the many lessons I have learned so far!
I love all my friends and family so much, some of my best friends are the people I have met here in Texas and I am so grateful for that. To think that I might have gone anywhere else in the world makes me feel sick. I know that The Lord knows each of us personally, and don't ever doubt that. God loves us more than we can comprehend, even when we can't feel it or don't deserve, and that's why I am on a mission. I don't want anyone to ever think that they are not loved, I try to make it a point to mention in every lesson I teach, "God loves you".
I love ya'll!
Love, Elder Giles
My District.  Everyone has boots. Only in Texas.

December 30 Email!

Dear Family,

Yeah, it was great to talk to you on Christmas! I'm sorry the reception was pretty bad.. maybe next Christmas you'll be able to hear me.. haha After I talked to ya'll on the phone we went to the Malherbe's house and had lunch with them, then we went to the Pemberton's house and had dinner and spent most of the evening with them. Their son, Jamie Pemberton, just got back from his mission, about two weeks ago now, from the Dominican Republic. He's really cool and me and him juts ended up talking all night. He's actually moving down to Provo today, to go to BYU.

This last week was sweet. With Christmas and Christmas Eve it was hard to get lessons with people, but it was still really fun! We have another baptism this Saturday. His name is Austin Travis, and he is Fred Travis' brother! So i'm really excited for that! That whole family is going  to get baptized, it's just a matter of time. But now with Austin also getting baptized I bet it will speed up the rest of the family
This week should be interesting with New Year's Eve and New Year's.. everyone is going to be having a hangover all week long, so we'll see how that goes.
 I'll send ya'll a picture of what the weather looked like on Christmas Eve night, here in San Antonio. It's a little different than Utah haha
Christmas Eve Weather
What are ya'll plans for New Year's? It's so weird, I remember exactly what I was doing last New Year's Eve... It seems like just a few weeks ago. I can't believe it's been a WHOLE year. I can't believe I've been out here for 4 months already! You really do lose yourself while doing missionary work. I'm so thankful for my mission, for all the people I have met, and for all the many challenges. I know that they are all there to help me grow and become a better Priesthood holder, husband, and father.
 Have a safe week, I love you all
-Elder Giles
Opening Presents

December 23 Email!

Hey Fam,

Christmas morning we are going over to the Malherbe's house for breakfast and lunch (we're opening our presents with them at their house) and then we are going to the Pemberton's for dinner and the rest of the night. Brother Pemberton's son, James, just got back from his mission on Wednesday, he was in the Dominican Republic, and all he wants to do is come out to lessons with us haha so that's fine with me.

Here's some good news! Elder Bednar is coming to our mission in like a week! He's going to speak to all the missionaries and then he is speaking in Stake Conference for the San Antonio Stake, which is the stake I am in. So I am way excited about that. It's sweet when Apostles and General Authorities come to speak to only missionaries, because they are so much more real and always tend to speak about way more deep and powerful stuff. I'm pumped!
Not too much happened this week: but we did have Christmas Conference! Where all the missionaries in the mission get together, it's like the only time in the year that everyone is together, because it is such a huge mission. So I was able to see the missionaries I was in the MTC with for the first time since we left the MTC (two of them were up in Austin somewhere). That was really cool! I'll send a picture of me and Elder Lee, my MTC companion.
Recently I was studying in Alma chapter 24. You should all read it individually and as a family. I love it. It shows how much they trust the Lord, and once they were converted and forgiven of all their many sins, they never wanted to sin every again, even if it meant that they had to die. It is really powerful and that's the mindset we all should have. When we do align our will with God's will, and we are forgiven we need to 'lay down our weapons of war' and never pick them up again. The 5th principle of The Gospel is "Endure To The End'. Once we are forgiven, it is not Happily Ever After. Happily Ever After doesn't come until after we Endure To The End. We all have our own 'bloody weapons of war', once they have been made clean by the Atonement of Jesus Christ, let's bury them deep, and never dig them up.
Merry Christmas to all my family and friends! I'm going to miss opening presents with you all this Christmas, but I know that I am helping others. Helping others is the fastest way to feel happy yourself, and I have truly been happy out here in the great state of Texas. I am so grateful for my Savior and his sacrifice. Christmas is the time of love and peace. "Fear not. For, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.."
I love my family and each and every friend I have back home. I promise to remember you all this Christmas.
God Lives.
-Elder Giles
Elder Lee and I (with my homemade Christmas tie)