Monday, March 28, 2016


Hello friends and family!! 

I hope everybody had a great Easter remembering Tagapagligtas natin (the Savior). Alam ko na nabubuhay si Jesucristo! Ang Pagbabayad-sala and pagkabuhay na mag-uli ay totoo. (I know that Jesus Christ lives! The Atonement and Resurrection are true.) 
With Elder Richards a fellow Arizonan and friend from the MTC
It was such a great experience to be here in Pakil this Easter. There were sooo many parades and bands and floats and people! I am lucky my companion is really knowledgeable about the Catholic religion because she answered a lot of my questions about their Holy Week. Really cool to be around a totally different culture and belief. I am also feeling extra thankful to have a knowledge about the fully restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel so much peace and happiness because I know Jesus Christ died for our sins and sorrows and that He loves us and has outstretched hands to all of us! We just need to come unto Him and be healed.

View from our apartment window of one of the many parades 

The Holy Week is celebrated all week long

These men are carrying whips with fake blood and masked like the men who whipped Jesus
We had district conference this weekend and then interviews with President Mangum today so it has been a great couple of days. In conference, President Mangum quoted a talk by President Uchtdorf and taught that our Heavenly Father is constantly pouring down blessings on all of His children. But the reason we don't receive all of our blessings is because we put up "umbrellas" of fear, doubt or sin. Our Heavenly Father loves us sooo much. He wants us to receive all of our blessings!! So I encourage all of you to close your umbrellas! Stand in the rain and let God pour down blessings! 

He talked specifically about not keeping the commandments of keeping the Sabbath day holy and the law of tithing. In the Siniloan District there are 2858 members but only 488 attend church regularly. And only 4% pay a full tithe. It makes me soooo sad because I know that there are members here who are not receiving blessings because they have umbrellas up. I am feeling more motivated to help the members put down their umbrellas. And I am throwing away all of mine! I want to stand in the pouring rain and I want the members of Pakil to stand with me!  My challenge to all of you is to get rid of your umbrellas. Let Heavenly Father bless you! Trust Him! 

I love you all so so much. Have a happy week!

Sister Giles 

Laundry Day!
Blue Pepsi-sooo good!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Happy Spring!

A picture of a cutout of one of our pamphlets that a guy put in his tricycle. He said he doesn't want us to teach him but he loves our pamphlets and the pictures of Jesus Christ haha sweet guy. I have hope someday he will read the pamphlets too :) 
Hello friends and family! Happy Easter week!! I love this time of year. I hope all you in AZ are soaking up the spring break weather. It's the start of Holy Week here in Pakil so there are lots of bands and decorations and all kinds of commotion! I know this will be an Easter I'll never forget. I feel so blessed to be a full-time representative of Jesus Christ and to have the chance to testify that He lives!! I love being surrounded by people who love Jesus Christ and are happy to talk about Him. 

It was a fun week this week!! We had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders and I learned so much from Sister Sianava. She is from New Zealand and is half Tongan/Samoan. She's crazy and so much fun. Polynesians are the best.

I am officially the branch choir pianist! I had to brush up on my piano skills but I managed to get Nearer My God to Thee down pretty good. We have District Conference this Sunday and The Pakil Branch Choir will make its first debut. Also, those of you who know me well know that my singing abilities are close to zero and my confidence is singing is zero haha.  Brother Dino, the choir director, had me teach the alto and tenor parts of Nearer My God to Thee to the choir anddddd yeah it was rough but I managed to do it. I'm sure my family and the wardies are laughing picturing me doing that hahaha but we all had a good time. I am thankful my mother kept me in piano lessons for all those years and the wardies forced me to sing with them in sacrament meeting. Shoutout to the future missionaries: stay in piano lessons!! And listen to your mom and practice (Jack). 

Some Philippines Favorites: buko (coconut) salad and buko juice soooo masarap and the KIDS! I love the crazy bata of Pakil. We are known for giving stickers so whenever they see us they yell "Sisters!! Star!!" and follow us until I give them a sticker. They are wild but really lift my spirits. Tomorrow marks my official 1 year left! Crazy. Mabalis, talaga. 

Also, R is doing great! Thank you sooo much for the prayers. He was at church and we had some great lessons with him. He is so awesome and will make a great leader in the church here in the Philippines someday. 

I love you all so much and I hope you all have a great Easter. I am so thankful for our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the perfect life He lived and the perfect example we have to follow. I'm thankful that He suffered for our sins and sorrows and completed everything the Father asked Him to do. I know the Atonement is real. I know we can be cleansed and strengthened everyday. I know He rose again on that beautiful Easter morning and we all will live again!! I am thankful to be sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ here in the Philippines! Remember Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you all so, so much. Have a great Easter week! 

Sister Giles

At a 1st birthday party for baby Gailee. Filipinos know how to party! 

Monday, March 14, 2016

pag-ibig sa kapwa

Hello friends and family!! Another great week here in the San Pablo mission. This week was full of about 200 Tagalog mistakes, 4 people grabbing my arm and touching my skin because I'm white, and 1 albino Filipino who I thought was American. I started speaking English to but then he looked so scared and said "Filipino ako! Filipino ako!" Haha but then we started speaking Tagalog and all was well. I love being a missionary here in the land of the Philippines!

So sadly, R wasn't at church this week so his baptism is pushed back again. Because there are so many less actives in our mission, we are really focusing on making sure our investigators are super strong in their church attendance before we baptism them. So sweet R will have to wait until he is really ready. But I know that with some more time and some more teaching, R will become the strong latter-day saint he is meant to be! But please, please pray for him. 

The struggle of Pakil is definitely our church attendance. We have some great investigators but none of them are coming to church. What I've come to realize is that they just don't understand the importance of church or they are very, very Catholic. It's a little discouraging when we pass by the Catholic church on our way to church it's hopping with people (sometimes we see our investigators and in-actives) haha but I'm not giving up on them!! I have faith that someday the little Pakil chapel will be hopping with people too. Small and simple means. 

This week we had an amazing zone conference all about pag-ibig sa kapwa tao at Ang Pagbabayad-sala ni Jesucristo or charity and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I am feeling so spiritually strengthened!! I love, love, love President and Sister Mangum and I learned so much from them. Something I've really realized here on my mission is that without charity, we really are nothing! It is the 1st and 2nd great commandments to love God and to love one another. I know that the way we show love to our Heavenly Father and Savior is through obedience to the commandments. The commandments are there to bless us and save us!! Follow them! I encourage all of you to read John chapter 14 and ask yourself how you can better love God and your fellow men. I have learned many ways that I can improve and I am feeling more determined to love and serve the people around me. Also everybody go check out the new Easter video on!! I love you all so so much. Have a great week!! 

Sister Giles 

With President and Sister Mangum and former roommates at zone conference.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Becoming Filipina

Hi family and friends! I hope everybody is having a happy March. It was a great week here in the Philippines! It's starting to get hotttt. But 19 Arizona summers have prepared me well for a summer in the Philippines! Life is still an adventure here everyday. I have moments sometimes when I think "woah, maybe I'm a Filipina now" I really do feel at home here. Like when I crave rice or drink from a fresh coconut in the middle of the bundok haha I love life here!! 

This week was a lot of walking and finding and sweating but I loved it. We are struggling a little bit to find investigators that are really interested. The people here are so nice and are so willing to listen but when 9 am on Sunday rolls around they are all really busy haha. But I know a lot of faith, prayers and powerful lessons will help our investigators have a desire to come to church. 

Sadly, R wasn't able to be baptized this week but no worries- we have a new date set in April. He is a great, great kid and I know at the right time he will be able to be baptized! 

One miracle this week is that we found a brother who has been inactive for many years and we were able to teach a really great lesson to him and his wife. Their 7 year old son passed away a couple months ago and they are carrying a lot of sadness and confusion. We were able to share about the Plan of Salvation and remind the brother that God has a plan for him and his family and that his son is safe and so, so happy right now. I know that Heavenly Father led us to their family. I know that the Plan of Salvation is soooo real and that our lives didn't start when we were born and they don't end when we die. I am so happy to be a missionary and to be able to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with my favorite people in the whole world, Filipinos! 

I love you all! I love wearing this name tag and serving the people here. Life is so so good. Keep sharing the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And of course, pagdarasal, pagbabasa at pagsisimba. (Pray, read, go to church) Mahal kita!

Sister Giles 

Planting rice. The rice workers work so hard! And soooo pretty here, seriously. I am so lucky to be in Pakil for so long. It's well known as one of the prettiest areas. I still look around and everyday and just think, Wow I love it here!

Zone p-day eating rice and BBQ with our hands! Totally normal here, haha, it was fun.