Monday, January 25, 2016

3 months in Pakil!

This week was amazing! First- A was baptized!! It truly is a miracle and I am so thankful I was able to be here for it. It was one of the happiest, sweetest moments of my whole life. This is what it's all about. Seeing an investigator who you have cried with and prayed for and taught enter the waters of baptism is such a special feeling. And A's parents came to the baptism which was a huge miracle because they said they wouldn't come and they are really opposed to the church. But they came and brought a ton of food for a little party after! I have so much hope for their family. 

The same day as the baptism we had interviews with President Mangum. He is truly an inspired and amazing person. I love him and Sister Mangum so much! They both gave me advice and counsel that I really needed to hear. But wait it gets better. I also received a ton of Christmas cards and package the same day! AND the same day was my 3 month mark of being in Pakil! What an amazing, life-changing, difficult, HAPPY 3 months! 

My Tagalog has been improving a lot now that I have a Filipina companion and live with all Filipinas. I am talking a lot more in lessons and my confidence in speaking is growing a lot. Sister Raneses is like an energizer bunny haha I love her so much. We work, work, work and laugh and talk and sing. Missionary work is so fun with her. I am really lucky and learning a lot from her. 

Things in Pakil are really looking up. We have like 4-5 investigators attending church every week now and a couple less actives that are coming back! Just an overview of our friends right now so you can all pray for them :) R- an 18 year old who is so sharp and interested in the gospel. He asks great questions and will make a great missionary someday. Hopefully being baptized in Feb! C- Very religious nanay (mom) who is really interested in the Book of Mormon. We have the best lessons with her, she is a true investigator. She studies and researches, I love it. C- a 14 yr old who is so funny and has a strong testimony. She is really helping her less active family come back to church. We taught her the Word of Wisdom and she turned to her Grandpa in the middle of the lesson and said "Lolo are you listening to them? Stop smoking!" Haha. Alma- sweet, sweet young mom. She walks to church every Sunday with her 2 year old son and has the strongest desire to be baptized. 

My favorite part of being a missionary is teaching people about Jesus Christ and how through baptism, repentance, and taking the sacrament each week, they can become new and clean!! I know the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real and it can change lives. I love my Savior and I am thankful for the cleansing and strengthening power of the Atonement every single day. I love you all so much and I hope you have a great week!

Sister Giles

Monday, January 18, 2016

Bago Kasama!

Hello friends and family! 

If I'm being honest, this was a hard week. But still a happy week. I have a new kasama (companion)! Her name is Sister Raneses. I love her so much! She is a Filipina and is fun, hardworking, obedient and so good at helping me with Tagalog- what more can I ask for?! I have already learned a lot from her. Getting a new companion is really hard though. My stress level has been really high as we have adjusted, but all is well! I am excited for the experiences ahead. I live with 3 Filipinos now, so hopefully my Tagalog will get really good and I won't get too fat from all the rice we eat haha. 

We have a baptism for a sweet Sister coming up on the 23rd! I am so so so excited. It's been so fun to watch her grow these past couple months. We also have a couple more baptisms coming up in the next couple months! I wish I had time to tell you all everything about our investigators because they are truly some of the best people I have ever met.

I've been studying a paper this week titled, "The Fourth Missionary" and I've learned so much about change! The author talks about how people are always changing, whether for good or bad. It's so important that we have a vision of who we want to become and make the decisions and changes that will lead us towards our goal! In D&C 64:33 it says, "Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great." This verse can apply to a lot of things but I know that WE can be that something "which is great"! I have loved making a vision of the kind of missionary I want to be. It motivates me to make good little decisions that will lead me to my big goal. For me, I know that the small choices like being exactly obedient, showing a little more love to my kasama, washing the dishes, or talking to one more person on the street, are changing me and pushing me to be something great! I challenge all of you to have a personal inventory with yourself and make a vision of the person you want to become then act! Make the decisions that will change you for the good and make you something great. 

I know that God loves us and knows our full potential. I know He has a plan for each and every one of us. I love you all so so much! And I love being a missionary in Pakil!!


Sister Giles 

Which plate belongs to the American?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Transfers and so many miracles!

Wow, I don't even know where to start! This week was probably the best week of my mission so far. First- I'm staying in Pakil!! I am so so so so happy. I am going to miss Sister Cornaby so much but I've heard my new comp is a really fun and obedient Filipina so I know it will be great. Sis Cornaby and I have already shed some tears about saying bye on Thursday (that's a big deal for her, she never cries haha). 

I wish I had time to write about all of the experiences we have had this week. But I am so thankful to be staying here in Pakil. I know I have a big responsibility to apply all the things I've learned these past 12 weeks and keep the momentum going.

A local swimming pool where the kids were practicing the butterfly stroke!

One morning for exercise Sister Cornaby and I woke up early to hike this mountain in Pakil with one of our members, Jona. I had a moment of just pure joy when we were at the top looking over this beautiful area that I love so much, my amazing kasama (companion), and sweet Jona who was inactive and shy when we first got to Pakil but now is fully active and is preparing for a mission. Missionary work is truly the happiest, hardest, most important thing ever. Gosh, I just love being Sister Giles!
Our view of Pakil

Yesterday, we had so many less actives and investigators at church!! Huge miracle! It was our last Sunday together so Sister Cornaby and I were so thankful to see so many people. We are finally starting to see the fruits of our labors. After talking to literally hundreds of people each week, inviting and inviting some more, teaching tons of lessons and just working so hard even though we weren't seeing much progress- the miracles are coming! 

Matching kasama shirts

P-Day hike to a beautiful waterfall

One of the biggest miracles this week is that our investigator, Aela, is getting baptized!! She is a 15 year old who has been really active in the church the last couple months and really has a desire to be baptized. But her parents have always told her when she's 18 she can be baptized. But she told us for her 16th birthday wish she was going to ask her dad again. Sister Cornaby and I have been fasting and praying for her and her parents and they said yes!!! The day we went to teach her and she told us, she started crying because she was so happy then we started crying and we were all hugging and crying some more. It was truly one of the happiest moments of my life. She is the most prepared person ever. Her extended family are active members and she has a great support system. She studies the Book of Mormon every day and asks us questions, she is almost done with Personal Progress, and she reads the Seminary at home manual even though she isn't even enrolled in Seminary. She is beyond excited to finally be baptized and I am so so so thankful I will be here for it. 

Sad that Sister Cornaby is being transferred.

I love you all and I know with all my heart that this church is true. I have truly seen the gospel change lives! I wish I had time to write more but I love you all so much. Thank you for the nice emails and support! 

Sister Giles 

Monday, January 4, 2016

It was a happy, happy New Year!

Hello friends and family!

New Year's in the Philippines was so fun!! Definitely my favorite. On New Year's Eve we went to bed at 10:30 because we are obedient missionaries, and then woke up at 11:50, ate some food, counted down till midnight and all that fun stuff then went back to bed haha. Sister Guancia and Sister Gupit were so cute and made a big meal and decorated. We had a lot of fun!! Filipinos love New Year's and everybody was so friendly and offering us food.

New Year's Eve Celebration

Transfers are next week so Sister Cornaby and I are getting sad :( We have become best friends and it's going to be so hard to get a new companion! But I know I will love my next comp just as much. I really hope I stay in Pakil. It feels like my second home and I really don't want to leave our investigators and members! But come what may and love it! One of our sweet investigators almost started crying when we told her one of us was going to get transferred next week. And she said the cutest prayer and said "Heavenly Father, Sister Giles isn't done with her training so she needs to stay in Pakil forever" haha I love her so much.

FHE with one of our favorite families!
We had a miracle yesterday!! One of our new investigators came to church! Sister Cornaby and I picked her up before church (normally our investigators say: "sorry sisters, next time na lang") but she was all ready in a dress with her cute 1-year old son in a new outfit! They are very poor so I know it was a huge sacrifice for them. I don't think I've ever smiled so big!! And she had a really good experience at church. 

Delicious dinner prepared by a sweet Branch member

I just want to share quickly that Heavenly Father is aware of each and every one of you! I know that He knows us individually and loves us more than we can comprehend. Lately, I feel like I have been seeing so many of my weaknesses and like I have sooo far to go before I become a good missionary. But I know that Heavenly Father loves and me and is proud of me. 

A New Year in this beautiful country!

There's a quote by Elder Callister that I really like that says something like, "God doesn't expect immediate perfection, but He does expect immediate progress." So at the start of 2016, remember that all God asks of us is improvement! I am going to strive hard to improve each day and I hope all of you will too! I love love love you all! Thank you for all the support and love. Happy New Year!


Sister Giles