Tuesday, February 3, 2015

February 2, 2015

Loved ones,

This has been a week that has changed my life.
Many incredible things happened this week, but I will focus on the most prominent 

Elder Russell M. Nelson, of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited our mission this week.

The entire mission met together at a Stake Center in northern San Antonio, there we sat in reverence waiting for the Apostle to come in. As President Slaughter and his wife walked in, they were followed by Elder Nelson and two members of the Seventy (Elder Foster and Elder Wright). As they entered the entire mission arose, and the Spirit FILLED the room. Tears came to my eyes as I personally saw an Apostle of Jesus Christ. He ushered for all of us to be seated, and then wished to shake everyone's hands.
As missionary's went up, one by one, he would read their name tag and call them by name.
When I approached that Apostle, shook his hand, and heard him say my name.. I could feel the power of God in him. His entire body radiated light and love. 

There are billions of people on earth right now, there are 15,082,028 members of the Church, and only Twelve apostles. One of them was with me a couple of days ago. So incredible!

Elder Nelson is 90 years old. It was so spectacular to see someone completely filled with the grace of God. He was energetic, healthy, extremely witty and by far the most intelligent person in that entire building. Many 90 year-old people are losing memory, losing strength and losing knowledge. However, Elder Nelson was quoting and citing scriptures from all the Standard Works. He knows many languages (which he used to further explain definitions and answer questions).

Above all, however, is the authority that he holds. A true apostle of Jesus Christ.

He said many things that were so powerful, tears came to my eyes. He said one thing in specific, that has already changed my life and will be something that will continue to shape the choices I make. 

As a full-time missionary I have already had the greatest privilege to shake hands and exchange words with Two of the Lord's Apostles, Elder Bednar a year ago and Elder Nelson on Saturday. Both experiences have left a very profound mark on me.

These are the days! These are the days when there are LIVING prophets and apostles that walk the earth! 
If this work is not true, then they are just good men. But if this work is true, they hold the very same authority that Peter, James, John and other help anciently. They communicate with God, and direct His Kingdom on the earth today. They were and are chosen by God, and given His authority to speak in His name and do any and all things He demands.

I thank God, that I have that knowledge and am not ignorant of the most important thing on earth. 

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We were also very humbled just yesterday. As everyone was watching the Super Bowl, and enjoying that time with their families, Elder Nebeker and I were talking of Super Bowl memories and reminiscing while we were on our way to visit a family. Many people didn't answer the door, or have time for us because of the game. We planned to visit a family who fairly recently moved from Sri Lanka. Their names are ridiculously long, so we just call him "Chris". They let us right in. Their ability to speak English is still improving, but they can understand fairly well. Their apartment looked vacant; all we could see were their two little children, and a couch. They are living on food stamps. It looked as if their children didn't have any toys, all we had on us where pass-along cards, so we gave them to the children and they loved them.
I asked if they could read English, and would like a Book of Mormon in English, the mother nodded her head. I grabbed it out of my bag and handed it to her. She grabbed the book and hugged it against her chest.
We asked what they needed, or wanted (so the ward came help out, the Bishop wanted us to find out) and they just mentioned a few small things, all of which were for their children.

On our way out, we had a prayer and Chris said it. He started out "Dear Heavenly Father," and then spoke in his native language. I obviously didn't understand anything he said, but I know that God was listening and understood Chris perfectly. That was a powerful moment.
While the rest of the nation was enjoying the Super Bowl commercials and pounding down guacamole, this young family had no TV, or food. Their children had no toys. The only furniture they had was a couch. But they were so happy to see the missionaries, to get another Book of Mormon and to say a prayer.

I am grateful for the experiences that a loving Heavenly Father is giving me to learn and improve.

I love each of you, and pray that you will be safe this week!

Elder Giles

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