Monday, May 30, 2016

Pagbabago ay Mabuti!

Hellooo family and friends! 

What a great week. Yesterday I had to send my dear kasama, Sister Aquino home. Some tears were shed but I know she will be a great RM. 
My beautiful companion Sister Aquino

Saying Goodbye
On Thursday I'll be transferred to Lucena and I'll be training a new missionary. Woohoo! President called me on Monday and called me to train so I assumed I would be staying here in Tayabas because I've only been here one cycle. But then on Thursday during the "Train the Trainers" meeting, President Mangum was talking about preparing our areas for the new missionaries and he looked at me and said "Oh, this doesn't apply to Sister Giles because she'll be reopening an area." Sooo yeah I was shocked and sad because I love Tayabas, but all is well, I know Lucena is where the Lord needs me! And I'm so excited to train! It will be a great, growing experience. I promise to give my very best to my trainee! 
Playing the flour game for Family Home Evening with one of our favorite families.

Our "family" picture
I read a quote by Elder Christofferson this week that I loved. It says, "Real repentance, real change, may require repeated attempts, but there is something refining and holy is such striving. Repentance means not only abandoning sin, but also committing to obedience." I know that sometimes we can get really down on ourselves when we feel like we aren't changing or like we just keep going back to the same bad habits. But never give up on yourselves!! I have learned on my missionary how REAL the Atonement is. It can truly CLEANSE us and STRENGTHEN us to keep striving to be better! There is something refining and holy in striving. My favorite part of missionary work is seeing investigators and members lives changed because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have seen natures truly changed because of the power of the Atonement, especially my own! 
Riding a four seater tryke together
Missionary life is still the best life here in the Philippines. Keep striving mga kapatid! Remember Jesus Christ is always, always there, How grateful I am to be his representative!! Love you all!

I will be sad to leave a Tayabas "dollhouse" apartment!
Sister Giles 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Pinakamasaya ang buhay sa filipinas!

Hellooo family and friends. 
Kumusta kayo?! Wow, what a great week. Summer is in full bloom which means it's hot but the fruit is delicious. We have mangoes and pineapple and watermelon and more mangoes like everyday. Loveee it! It's Sister Aquino's last week so we are feeling a little sad but we are going to make this next week fun and full of hard work and miracles. Mamimiss ko siya, talaga. (I will miss her very much.) Best friends kami! 

One day this week, we were in Iyaas, a beautiful part of our area and had some fun experiences. I'll just list them so you can get a taste of my life here:

-saw a couple of guys in flip flops and no shirts butchering huge pigs on rocks and washing them in the river. they were also listening to "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift while doing so

Butchering a pig while listening to Taylor Swift,so awesome! 

-saw one of our fav members, Sister P, down the river washing her clothes so we went and washed with her. I'm improving my "filipino squat" while washing clothes
Helping wash clothes in the river!
-in the same river, saw multiple people taking baths

-tried to teach an old couple we found but the brother started rubbing my hands and staring at me very intently in the eyes soooo maybe we will try another day

-got challenged to a game of basketball with 3 little boys. They won.

-started walking up a big hill to the main road and a huge white cow and her 2 babies started running towards us so we started running up the hill and screaming. Don't worry, they stopped. I think they just liked seeing another white person.

So yeah, pinakamasaya ang buhay sa filipinas! (I have the happiest life in the Philippines!) We also found so many new investigators this week, we are so excited to go back and teach them! 
Pineapples growing at a member's home (also wearing my new crocs, thanks Grandma!)

I just want to share a really sweet experience I had at a Family Home Evening with the S family. Sister Aquino shared a great lesson on not worrying about riches here on earth, but just focusing on the riches in heaven we will have if we live faithfully. She comes from very humble circumstances and so does the family but hearing them all talk about how money isn't important to them and that their family and the gospel is all that really matters was just a really spiritually strong moment. My companion said, "it's ok if we don't live in mansions here because there are mansions prepared for us in heaven in we keep our covenants." And they all just agreed and bore their testimonies and the thankfulness and humbleness I felt from all of them was amazing! I am learning sooo much from theses amazing Filipino people. Truly, riches here on earth do not matter. Be thankful for everything you have and remember what's really important. I love you all so so much! Have a great week!

Sister Giles 

At zone conference in my new blue dress. I had it made here for about $7!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mga Himala Araw Araw

Helloooo everybody!

I hope you all had a great week. All is still well here in Tayabas with my bff Sister Aquino. 

This week was a week full of funny, weird experiences and lots of miracles. I'll share just a few. On Friday we were feeling a little sorry for ourselves after a lot of our lessons falling through and not much success in finding people to teach and then of course, it starts raining and we only have 1 broken umbrella. So we were walking to find someplace dry to rest and we see this nanay (older lady) just pull down her pants and go to the bathroom on the side of the road, haha! She just looked at us and started laughing and said "pasensya ate!" (patience, I'm old). Pretty normal thing to see here. 

Then another time this week we approached 2 people sitting on the side of the road and asked if we could share a short message with them. They were super nice and called their sister over who called over like 10 other people and all of a sudden there were literally like 50 people surrounding us. They were asking me questions and yelling "Americana, Americana!" So I just OYM'ed (Open Your Mouth) them all in my loudest Tagalog voice and invited them all to church and gave them all high fives. Its fun being white here! 

And miracle...J came to church!! He has been struggling a little bit this past week because he has some friends with anti-Mormon feelings and missionaries from other religions have been visiting him. He has just had so many questions.  On Thursday we had a great lesson with him and told him that the only way he would be able to know the church is true is by coming to church, reading the Book of Mormon and praying sincerely. And that is exactly what he is doing! Ah, I wish you all could meet him. He is probably the nicest person I've met in my life and he has such a pure heart. I love being a missionary!!! 

Also, A, a less active has been to church 4 Sundays in a row now!! She is great and has the cutest family. We love teaching her because she has a crazy family including the sassiest little 6 year old girl and then like 10 friends of her kids at her house all the time. They are such a close, accepting (loud) family. I love them. 

I love you all and hope you have a GREAT week full of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ :) Don't be afraid to open your mouths and share what you know! You never know how an invitation to church or a Book of Mormon could change somebody's life. 


Sister Giles 

Still gets me everyday how pretty this place is!! 
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Dropping our laundry off at a laundry shop- HUGE BLESSING! Handwashing is slow and hard so we are very thankful to only have to handwash a few of our clothes in this area. Sister Velasco and I switched outfits again and love to share clothes. I'll be sad when she leaves this month :( 

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Sunday, May 8, 2016

8 months and all is well, all is well!

Hello family and friends! 

Another week has come and gone...time is going by so fast! Shoutout to my amazing family. It was so fun skyping you this morning! Even if the connection was bad, at least I saw your beautiful faces :)

Sister Aquino took a picture of me during language study. A stressful hour but diligence + faith = miracles!
It was a great week!! Full of finding, again. But I wouldn't have it any other way! One miracle we saw this week happened yesterday after Sister Aquino and I finished a companionship fast. We were fasting and praying to find a prepared family here in Tayabas that has a real desire to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it happened! Last night at the end of a tiring afternoon of walking and teaching with not much success, we talked to this young couple with a little baby and shared a message with them about how the gospel blesses families. They were so receptive and said we were welcome to come back next week!! We are praying they have a real desire and can enter the waters of baptism as a family and eventually become an eternal family. I know praying and fasting with faith works!! I know Heavenly Father is aware of all of us and He wants to bless us.
Service for one of my favorite families

Life is still good here in Tayabas. I love this area! I also love the yema cake here. Tayabas is known for it's delicious yema cake sooo yeah I will probably gain weight but hey we are jogging every morning? Haha but I really love Filipino food! 

One of my favorite hymns on my mission is Come, Come Ye Saints. I love the lyrics, "Why should we think to earn a great reward, if we now shun the fight?" Whenever I feel stressed I sing it in my head or read the lyrics and I always feel the Spirit comfort me and tell me to keep going, keep being happy because all is well, all is well!! Keep pressing forward my fellow saints. I love you all so so much and hope you have a great week!

Sister Giles 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Happy May!!!

Hello family and friends! 

Happy Mother's Day Week!! Shoutout to my amazing mom for being the best example, supporter and friend. Also to my sweet Grandma and sisters!! I love you and admire the way you fulfill your divine motherly duties every day! And see you next week on skypeee!! Yay! 

Sister Aquino and I's favorite spot

Some of the funniest kids hang out here with us!

Wow- what a GREAT week! I can honestly say I am the happiest Sister Giles I have ever been. I love being a missionary with my amazing companion, Sister Aquino. We are PAGOD (tired) but sobrang masaya (happy). She meant it when she said she wanted to finish her mission strong so we are walking and talking and teaching and finding and laughing and singing a lot! No, life is not perfect and missionary work is still hard but it is also the BEST THING EVER! 

One of our new investigators J is the sweetest guy in his 30's who is really looking for the truth. He is so cool and the second I saw him I could just notice a bright light about him. He has the sweetest spirit and we have had some really powerful lessons with him. We were teaching the Plan of Salvation and I was teaching about life on earth and how Heavenly Father has laid out the plan of the gospel for us to follow here on earth. He just stopped me and said "I get it sisters. These things like faith, repentance and baptism is God's plan. This is the way to him!" And we could just see the Holy Ghost working on him and teaching him and it was amazing!! We are so excited to keep teaching him. 
At Stake Conference with some Young Adults from our ward.

Sister Velasquez and I switched clothes!

In my personal study the past couple weeks I have been reading the Book of Mormon with a focus on the condition of our hearts and I have learned so much! Whenever I read a phrase like "harden not your hearts" I mark a little pink heart next to it. I'm only on Jacob but my scriptures already have so many little hearts and I have learned that a hard heart is really the start of every sin and unhappy time. A soft heart is the key to receiving personal revelation and feeling the spirit! I have been trying to start my studies every morning with more humility and a softer heart and I have really noticed a difference. I feel the Spirit teaching and correcting me every day. I encourage all of you to soften your hearts before church meetings and scripture study so you can be more prepared and receptive to the Spirit. 

Zone P-Day at the beach! It was so fun playing games, but wow do I miss swimming!

I love you all so much and hope everybody has a great Mother's Day!! Love you mommmm!

Sister Giles 
Happy Birthday Sister Hawes!