Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy New Year!

Wow, what an amazing week!! Most meaningful, special Christmas ever. Skyping my family was obviously the huge highlight of this week!! I am so thankful everybody is doing so good. 

Christmas in Pakil was a lot of fun. Sister Cornaby and I had this system down for talking to people on the street. I would start talking to the little kids and giving them Christmas stickers and Sister Cornaby would talk to the adults and give them a pass-along card and offer to share a message. Everybody was so friendly and we were able to share a lot of messages about Jesus Christ! I love the Filipinos so much!! They are always so open to talk about their Savior and are the nicest, warmest people. We also exchanged a couple little gifts with Sister Gupit and Sister Guancia, it was so fun! I gave them some American money with their gift and they thought it was sooo cool, it was so cute! 
Christmas Dinner

Christmas Breakfast
We also had Christmas Zone Conference this week which was amazing. I love my mission president and his wife, President and Sister Mangum, sooo much. They are so wise and fun. I always learn so much from them. 
Zone Conference
We bought new dresses
I love my zone!

With Sister Mangum
My favorite gift this Christmas was the General Conference Liahona church magazine! I have reread each talk like 2 times already and wow, is it just me or was October General Conference the best thing ever? I encourage all of you to go back and read the talks or go over your notes from conference. I know the prophet and apostles are called of God. I know the revelation they receive is from our Heavenly Father, for all of us today! 

The scripture I ponderized (see general conf talks if you don't know what this is:)) this week was 2 Nephi 19:6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." I love this verse. I know Jesus Christ is all of those names and more. I love that He is referred to as the Prince of Peace. So much peace comes from centering our lives on Jesus Christ! I know that is true. 

I hope everybody has a happy, happy new year!! I am so excited for 2016 and the experiences, trials and growth I will have this year. I love you all!! Thank you for the support and prayers! 

Happy Holidays, 
Sister Giles 

My mom asked what grocery shopping was like, here are a few pics:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Maligayang Pasko!

Hello friends and family! Maligayang Pasko! Merry Christmas! I hope everybody is having a happy Christmas season! It's been a great week! 

Christmas Packages!

Zone Conference
 First, I am safe! A typhoon came through our mission but Pakil didn't get hit as bad as other areas. All the missionaries are safe, so thank you for the prayers! It has been really rainy and windy so I have actually felt cold! Feels like Christmas :) Sister Cornaby and I were so excited because we actually wore sweaters one night haha. We missed one day because the storm was too crazy but we were able to work and actually teach a lot of lessons this week! People were nice and let us into their homes because it was raining really hard. Typhoons are great for tracting and finding! But downside of the typhoon was I had 2 umbrellas break and some water came into our apartment and it was all over the floors, but it's all good. I feel lucky to be safe and healthy. 

Sweater Weather!
Typhoon Nona
I wish you could all meet these people. The Filipinos are honestly the best people ever. We are working with this sweet, fun 12 year old girl. We have seen so many miracles as we have taught her. Her whole extended family are less-active but 2 of her cousins have become fully active as we have taught her! They even went to the Manila temple with the branch this week!! And we have faith that some more members of her family will come back. It is amazing to see the Lord working miracles in these people's lives! We love the family so so much.

We are working with two other people who are both so amazing and really have a desire to be baptized. But they both come from very, very humble circumstances so it's hard for them to come to church and neither of them are married. In order to be baptized, they need to be married so please pray that these 2 sisters and their husbands will be able to save enough to get married and really have the desire to come to church this Sunday! 

I love love love all of the people we are teaching and meeting. They treat me like family even though I'm a tall, white American who struggles to talk to them haha.

I finished the Book of Mormon this week! I read it with a Christ focus and it was an experience I'll never forget. When I finished it was kind of sad like that feeling you get when you finish a really good book and you don't want it to ever end. But then the next day I started it over again and I have already learned so much!! The Book of Mormon is a book we can read over and over again and learn new things each time! I love it so much. I know the Book of Mormon is true. It testifies of Jesus Christ and is the keystone of our religion. The best gift you can give somebody is your testimony and a Book of Mormon. So don't be shy this Christmas to share what you love with others! I challenge all of you to either give a Book of Mormon to somebody you love or if you have never read the Book of Mormon, read it!! 

Even though I'm feeling a little homesick this Christmas season, I am so thankful to be on a mission in the Philippines testifying of Jesus Christ and His church every day! There is truly nowhere I'd rather be. I love you all and I wish you a merry, merry Christmas!! Family- I'll see you in 4 days!! :) 

Happy Holidays,
 Sister Giles

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 15!

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas! I'm hot and sweaty all the time. But there are so many cute decorations and lights everywhere that I am really feeling the Pasko spirit! It's a tradition here that if you go caroling at somebody's house they give you money or a little something so there are groups of kids running around and caroling allll the time. It's so so cute!! 

Pakil is doing pretty good!! Sister Cornaby and I are basically reopening again because none of our investigators are progressing:( but we have seen so many miracles as we have been finding and talking to anybody and everybody. There have been some really discouraging days when we feel kind of useless and like nobody cares about our message but we just keep working hard and miracles always happen. The other night we were trying to find some former investigators and it was almost time to go home and we were tired and discouraged because like none of our lessons went through that day and we had walked sooo much. But we asked this guy if he knew the person we were looking for and it was him! It was so funny his face was like who the heck are you and why are you looking for me haha but he ended up being so, so nice and he came to church!!! Missionaries taught him a while ago but now he seems so open to our message. We have such a good feeling about him. So please pray for Brother R! 

We had the opportunity to watch the Christmas Devotional last night! It was so so good!! If you haven't watched it, go to right now and watch it. I loved Sister Burton's talk about the Plan of Salvation. It truly is a plan of happiness. I am so thankful for the Christmas Season and the time we have to think more about our Savior. Because of Him, we will all live again. Because of Him, we can all have happiness and peace!! Take advantage of this Christmas Season to get to know your Savior, Jesus Christ. I love this gospel so so much. I love the Book of Mormon. I love all of you and I hope you have a great week!! Merry Pasko!

Sister Giles

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 14! I'm an official Philippines Missionary!

It was a great week!! I am so, so happy. So this week......I tried balot! (Developing duck embryo boiled and eaten in the shell)  Over 2 days I ate chicken intestines, chicken blood on a stick, and balot-twice. Don't worry mom, I feel really healthy still haha. 

We saw our friends Gary and Amhy on the side of the road buying food so we went to talk to them and they handed me chicken intestines on a stick and a stick of cooked solid blood. They weren't that bad actually! The blood just freaked me out and it was so hard to take the first bite. Then the next day we had an appointment with them and they had balot!! I was so nervous. I think they just love to see me try weird Filipino foods. I love Gary and Amhy so much. But back to the balot, it really wasn't that bad! The bird was freaky but I just didn't think about it when I was eating it. 

Fried chicken intestine on a stick and chicken blood on a stick!

Balot with Greg and Ahmy 

THEN, when we got home, the Filipino sisters we live with were so excited because they had  bought Sis Cornaby and me balot! Hahaha like what?! Of course it would happen the same night. Soooo I ate it again, but only part of it because the bird was a legit bird with like feathers and a beak so it wasn't safe to eat. But I survived! 

I love Pakil so, so much! It is still the most beautiful place in the world with the best people ever. This week was hard because none of our investigators are progressing and there are still so many less actives. It's easy to get discouraged and feel unsuccessful but I know it's so important to stay positive and trust in God's timing. 

I love being a missionary. Yeah, there are disappointments and hard times but there are also so many miracles! I see the hand of God multiple times every day and I'm so thankful for that. I love you all so much! Thank you for the support and prayers. Merry Pasko!! 

Sister Giles 

Address for Christmas Cards/letters (approx. $2.00 postage): 
Sister Abby Giles
Philippines San Pablo Mission
KM 73 National Highway, Brgy. San Juan
Alaminos, Laguna 4001

Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy, Happy Thanksgiving, Week 13!

Wow, another week down! Time is really going by fast. I'm half way through my training! It's amazing how much I've adjusted and how much I've learned these 6 weeks. I still have a longggg way to go. But I am so happy to be here!! I lay in bed at night and think "wow, is this really my life?" I am honestly so happy! 

Thanksgiving was fun here! We worked really hard all day and I tried not to think about home so I really wasn't homesick. We made a little Thanksgiving dinner and it was actually really good! No turkey or pie, but still masarap (delicious). It was fun to share an American holiday with the Filipino sisters! They loved it and made a Happy, Happy Thanksgiving sign for us.

Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!

We got to go to San Pablo for my training check up, it was great! We went to SM, this big mall and it was amazing! It felt like I was in America! There was Christmas music playing and it was so clean and big. And we ate at McDonalds! I will never again speak a bad word about that place. It was so good and such a comfort. 

At our training checkup in San Pablo
SM Mall in San Pablo
We are teaching a lot! Unfortunately, nobody is coming to church. But I have faith they will!! So please pray that the people of Pakil will have a desire to come to church. They are all very active Catholics so none of them want to change religions. They are so willing to listen and are so nice though! 

Beautiful Catholic Church in Pakil
We found this amazing sister this week. She shared with us how she has been praying her whole life but has never received answers from God. She has been really struggling and felt like God had forgotten her. I felt the gift of tongues so strongly in that lesson. I was able to understand her and I even taught her about the Holy Ghost and how to pray! I know God was helping me so that I could help her. It was a really sweet experience. Her eyes lit up and she was so willing to listen. I love being a missionary. I love meeting these amazing people and sharing the gospel with them! 

I love you all so much! Merry Christmas!! I hope you all have a great week! Remember that God is there and he hears and answers your prayers. Pray all the time about anything! I am so thankful for the power of prayer and the strength I feel each time I get on my knees to talk to my Heavenly Father.

Lots of love, 
Sister Giles 

With our friends Ahmy and Greg

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 12!! Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello friends and family! Happy Thanksgiving week!! It's going to be hard being away from home but I am SO thankful to be here! It will be a normal day for me but Sister Cornaby and I will try to celebrate a little bit! But really, I am so thankful for all of you, this opportunity I have to serve these Filipinos, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love the Philippines and I am so thankful to share the amazing message that Jesus Christ lives and His church is restored to the earth! 

Little kids love when we give them stickers
So we have a new apartment!! We moved in with Sister Guancia and Sister Gupit in the area next door, Paete. This apartment is newer and a lot cleaner, so I am happy! And it's so fun to live with 2 Filpinos. Moving and cleaning the old apartment was a lot of work. We were cleaning and opened this little closet and I'm not even kidding, like 1000 cockroaches ran out. And it smelt soooo bad. But I stayed strong and just started stepping on as many as I could haha it's a funny experience now looking back. Sister Guanica and Gupit said they will teach us how to make Filipino food! Right now they cook and I do the dishes haha. They have already taught me how to hand wash my clothes! Apparently I was doing it all wrong and they thought it was the funniest thing ever. And it's really helping my Tagalog! They try to speak English to me and I try to speak Tagalog. I can basically understand most of the conversations I hear now, it's exciting! Now I just need to get a lot better at speaking. But it's definitely coming with a lot of work and a lot of prayer. 

The Pakil Branch is doing great! Our less actives and investigators are all doing good. Unfortunately, none of our investigators came to church even though we committed a lot. But 2 less actives did!! We still have so much work to do here! But WOW Pakil still takes my breath away with how pretty it is! 

We are having some amazing, hard, hilarious experiences! Like earlier this week we were walking down the highway and this man came chasing after us yelling, "Mormons! Mormons!" I was a little scared haha but we stopped to talk to him and he was talking super fast and brought us back to his bahay and showed us his Book of Mormon and all these pamphlets that he had from missionaries years and years ago! He has been reading the Book of Mormon and wants us to teach him! I am so excited to go back and teach him. I love these people so much. 

I love you all so much. Thank you for your support and prayers! Have a happy, happy Thanksgiving!!! And hug your families and tell them you love them.

Sister Giles 
Super sketchy but fun bridge our district went on after district service
Our first baptism! Not really, just a sweet 15 year old who had to get rebaptized because her records were lost. It was fun to help plan though and the spirit was so strong it made me cry.
Sister Guanica showing me how to wash clothes the right way. We laugh a lot and get along really well!
My new desk in the new apartment
I love our new bright apartment