Monday, February 22, 2016

4th Transfer in the Home I Love-Pakil!!

Hello friends and family!

It was a great week. I'm staying in Pakil with Sister Raneses this next transfer. I am so happy! And this transfer is 8 weeks because the MTC schedule is changing. So another 8 weeks in beautiful Pakil- yay! 

This week we celebrated Sister Raneses's 3rd birthday in the church! She was baptized 3 years ago on the 16th. Let me just brag about my kasama (companion) for a sec. She is sooo knowledgeable in the church and so so magaling (good) for only being a member for 3 years, and she is the only member in her immediate family. I learn so much from her when she shares what she's been studying in the Book of Mormon and Bible with me. It's amazing how so many Filipino missionaries are converts but they have a better knowledge of the scriptures than me! I am thankful to be surrounded by people of such great determination and faith! 

Celebrating with Sister Raneses

Yesterday I gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting about conversion. In Tagalog! Haha kind of scary but it went well. I am so thankful for the gift of tongues and the progress I've made these past 6 weeks in my Tagalog. I still have so much to learn but I am feeling more and more confident and comfortable every day.

The Pakil Branch is still doing great. Our attendance is so much higher and the leaders are really stepping up. We had a combined lesson yesterday about keeping the Sabbath Day Holy and they asked me what Sacrament meeting was like in my home ward and for suggestions on what to improve. I was able to encourage them to not eat snacks/meals during the Sacrament and to put their phones away and try to keep their kids quiet and busy haha. A lot of the same struggles the Northridge ward has hahaha! Honestly, I am thankful I was raised in a strong ward because now I can help build up the little (but powerful) Pakil Branch! Ah, I just love it here. 

Sadly, R's baptism had to be moved back to March 5 because he has been really busy lately and we still have to finish teaching some things and help him become more prepared. But he is sooo awesome and we have faith that everything will work out the way it should. But please pray for R to be able to push forward and stay strong! A lot of the less actives we have been visiting came to church yesterday too! Miracles and miracles every day!! 

With R, our investigator

I love you all so much!! Thank you for your prayers and support. Keep being examples of the believers wherever in the world you are! I know Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know because of Him, we can have joy!! Each and every day. Even through the hard times. Keep reading the Book of Mormon, saying meaningful prayers, and going to church. It's the little things. Love love love you all!!

Sister Giles 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Filipina Updates

Kumusta kayo?! I hope everybody had a happy valentines! This week was great. 

First, the investigator who loved the gospel but her boyfriend said he wouldn't marry her if she joined, came to church yesterday!! Valentine's Day miracle! We have been praying that her boyfriend's heart would be softened and she would be able to have the faith that she needs to keep investigating the church and she is! I will keep you all updated, but please pray for this sister and her family. She is so special to us. 

Also a few months ago we surprised a man when we asked him if he knew someone named R and it was R himself. He is now getting baptized on the 27th and he is so ready. He is facing some challenges right now as his baptism gets closer, so please pray for him also that he will be able to stay strong and keep pressing forward with faith! 

We also had some of our less active families come to church yesterday so I had a happy, happy valentines. Lots of miracles and growth happening in Pakil and I am so happy to be here. 

We also had the chance to watch the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast this week and WOW it was great! I learned so much. I loved how the leaders of the church taught that as missionaries, we are disciples of Jesus Christ. We should be constantly teaching about Jesus Christ and His doctrine. I am blessed to be in the Philippines where people here love Jesus Christ and talking about Him. I LOVE wearing the name of Jesus Christ on my chest and teaching His Gospel. I know this is His church. I love you all so so much and hope you have a great week!! Read the Book of Mormon and remember our Savior! He loves you and wants you to come closer to Him. 

Sister Giles 

Treating ourselves to a nice lunch!

In Santa Cruz on exchanges at a well where everyone gets their water.

Salon Selfie

With one of my best friends, Sister Guanica

My companion getting her hair done.
The hairdresser asked if he could give me makeover so I looked like Miss Universe, ha, ha!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day from the Philippines!!

Hello friends and family! I hope everybody is having a happy February and has a great Valentine's Day. I love all of you so, so much. 

This has been a great week! First, update on our recent convert. She is doing amazing! Her testimony is stronger each time we visit her and she already has goals for a mission and temple marriage. Her strength is incredible, especially because her family really doesn't support her. I was reading in Alma this week about Alma and the Sons of Mosiah and I love how they explain missionary work. There really is no happier work. In their words- how great is my joy!!  Knowing that I have helped one child of God onto the path of eternal life makes me so happy! And I am thankful to have more time here to help many, many more. Time is going by too fast. 

Yesterday at church during the Sacrament, a nanay in the branch started having troubles with her heart and fell out of her chair so members had to carry her out. It was really scary and I could feel how worried everybody was. The branch continued with Sacrament Meeting and we had a really powerful testimony meeting.  Then at the very end, nanay slowly walked back in with the help of 2 brothers and then she let go of them and walked straight to the pulpit to bear her testimony!! It was an amazing thing to watch! She bore a powerful testimony and the spirit was so strong. I love the Filipino saints. Even though they may be few, especially here in Pakil, they are strong in the faith. 

My Tagalog has been improving a lot lately with the help of my companion and roommates. We made a rule that if I speak English in the apartment, I have to put a peso in a container and at the end of the month we will buy a treat with the money hahaha it's helping though! I speak slowly and still mess up a lot but they are patient with me.

Each day is still full of crazy new experiences here. Like this week we were teaching in the bundok (really rural part) and a mostly naked drunk man covered in mud was running away from a group of people chasing after him, it was pretty funny. Everybody was laughing and trying to catch him. I'm not quite sure what happened but I said a little prayer that he made it home safely.

Each week there are a lot of ups and downs but each Monday when I sit down to email I just feel so thankful. Thankful for the good times and the bad times. And so thankful for the support of my family and friends! I am truly so happy. I'm excited for another great week. We get to watch the worldwide missionary broadcast this Wednesday and I am so excited! I love you all! Happy Valentine's!

Sister Giles 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Happy February!

Happy Monday and Happy February!

Tomorrow marks my 5 months. Only 13 left! Ah! It's going by so fast. It's amazing how different I feel and how much I have learned since September 2nd when I entered the MTC. I had no idea how hard this would be or how HAPPY I would be!

This week was great! Today we had zone pday and went to Japanese Gardens and played games and had lunch. I still get so amazed by the beauty of the Philippines every day! I just look out the window of the jeepneys and feel the wind on my face and just want to yell thank you! I feel so lucky to be here in the Philippines. I know that missionary work here is soooo important right now. President Mangum told us at the last zone conference that the seventy shared with the mission presidents in the Philippines that we have the ideal situation right now for baptizing many, many people. And that the Philippines will play a vital role in the second coming. How amazing is that?! I know I am called here to serve in the San Pablo mission right now for a purpose. This work is so much bigger than we can even imagine.

Riding in a Jeepney

Japanese Gardens

 I still have funny experiences every day being an American here. Like one day this week a teenage girl saw me and literally started screaming "you are so beautiful!" and ran up to me and started feeling my skin and taking pictures of me hahaha it was a self confidence booster but a little bit creepy. I love Filipinos so much. They are all so nice to me.

One of our investigators is struggling this week. She is so awesome and has met with missionaries a lot before but she said this time she knows the church is true and wants to be baptized. But she and her asawa (boyfriend) are planning on getting married soon and he told her he wouldn't marry her if she becomes Mormon. They have the cutest little girl and so she is so conflicted about what to do. We are trying our best to help her but please pray for her that she will be able to know God's plan for her and her family. 

I love you all so much and want to remind you how much our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of you. I know that no matter what we have done, are doing, or will do, nothing will diminish the love of our Heavenly Father. We are all brothers and sisters and we need to treat each other like that! I am reading the Book of Mormon with a focus on charity and I have come to really know that without charity, we have nothing!! So love one another. Forgive each other! I know this church is true. I am so happy to be a part of this amazing work!! Have a great week!!


Sister Giles