Monday, September 26, 2016

Maging Masunurin!!

Another great week in the beautiful land of the Philippines!! We had zone conference this week. I loveddd it! President Mangum taught from the Old Testament about Saul and David and Goliath. He is the funniest, most insightful man. I love learning from him and Sister Mangum. We talked a lot about how obedience trumps ALL. It is the first law of heaven and all blessings are predicated on our obedience! He also taught about how God cares about our HEARTS not about our outward appearance and actions alone. He said, "When I look in the mirror all I see is a short, fat, bald guy. But I am so happy to know the Lord only cares about what's inside!" Haha so true!! We should always be more focused on the inside than the out.
Pres and Sister Mangum are the best!
 The time has come for me to bid farewell to my companion, Sister Labisa. Oh, I will miss her! We have had a great 6 weeks. I have learned so much from her. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many humble, faithful Filipinas. My companion has truly taught me how to lead and follow like the Savior, how to prioritize the important things and how to have fun while still working hard :) 

One family that just has my heart here is the G family. They are a family of 10 kids under the age of 18 and they live in a small, wooden treehouse kind of thing smaller than my room at home. Brother is not a member but Sister G and many of her kids are. Filipina women like Sister G are truly my heroes. It's very common for the men here to get caught up in drinking, smoking and laziness (I promise I love them too, haha) but I have seen family after family led by the sweet and strong Filipina mothers! One day this week after visiting with the Gs and some other great investigators, my heart was feeling pretty heavy. It seemed like every single person we taught had heavy, heavy burdens and I was wanting to do more to help them. But as the Lord always does, He sent me a miracle to lift my spirits! We ran into a very faithful recent convert, Sister M, who was selling little rice cakes door to door with her 3 year old daughter. We knew she was struggling so we spent some time talking and she bore the sweetest testimony to us of the blessings of tithing and that even though her faith felt weak, she was going to pay her tithing next Sunday and she knew blessings would follow. I walked away with tears in my eyes because even though M and her small family are barely getting by, she is being blessed spiritually and temporally for her faith and obedience. 
Playing games at our ward party

American candy from my package from home was a big hit!

Setting up a boodle fight, all the food in the middle of the table on banana leaves that you eat with your hands, yum!
I love these people. I love their simple and powerful conversion. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the change it makes in people!! This is the true church. I love you all! Thank you for your constant support and prayers. I can feel them and I am so thankful for my cheering squad back home. Have a great week!!

Sister Giles   

Zone Conference

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Great Week!

Hello po! 

Great week here in Lipa. My brother Jack sent me a play by play of his day at school and asked what it was like to be a missionary. So here is a little play by play of our great week for Jack:

Tuesday-our apartment woke up with really sick stomachs (Philippines missionary life haha) but the work must go on!! So we went on with our plans and had exchanges with the sisters that live with us! I worked with Sister Beatson from New Zealand. She is so fun and crazy, we had a great day of work and lots of miracles! 

Wednesday-we had a great district meeting, great day of work. Stand out lesson with Sister J, a recent convert. She is SO STRONG! The cutest Nanay and she literally just reads the Book of Mormon all day and takes notes in this cute notebook. Super humble circumstances and just the most solid testimony. These Filipinos inspire me every day. 

Thursday-My comp was still feeling sick but she pushed through and we got so many lessons and talked to so many people!! The Lord really does strengthen us when we put our trust in Him and exercise faith and diligence! Stand out lesson- Sister C. a 28 yr old investigator. Her dad is a member but working through some Word of Wisdom issues. We had such a spiritual, strong lesson. C is the best. We had a little bit of a family council with her and her dad, taught about faith in Jesus Christ and the Atonement and committed them to change! Sister C is being such a good support to her dad right now and her testimony is just growing and growing as she reads the Book of Mormon, asks questions and attends church. Missionary work is FAMILY work and we love helping their family come closer to Jesus Christ. 

Friday- Highlight was lunch with the DJ Family. Such a loving family with the prettiest house and best food :) Ate some REAL spaghetti with REAL has been so long...and then another day of hitting the street!! Stand out lesson- Brother J. The coolest guy with the biggest desire to know the truth. Committed him to baptism on October 29 woohoooo!! He lives with a member family who is the biggest support to him. Members- invite your friends to hear the gospel!!! 

At the DJ Family's House, beautiful!

Our investigator, Brother J.
Saturday- we had a great day of work and a great ward activity about missionary work and got lots of referrals woohoo! 
A ward member who is great at the guitar, he's the best!
Sunday- had 6 investigators comes to church and I gave a talk about missionary work. Lipa Ward 1 is catching that missionary spirit...yay! 

I finished the Book of Mormon recently and started it over, always a great experience. I know with my whole heart, mind and soul that Book if true! I was reading in 1 Nephi 21:15-16 the other day, beautiful verses. It says there that just as a woman never forgets her child, the Lord never forgets us. I know that is true. We are truly "graven on the palms of His hands". I know the Savior died for all of us, individually! He NEVER forgets us, even if we forget Him. I love you all so much! Read the Book of Mormon and come closer to your Savior! Have a great week!!

Sister Giles 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Rambutan and Reverence

Helloooo kumusta kayo?? So rambutan is a really good Filipino fruit and it's all cute and pink and spiky and one of my favorites lately! Fresh fruit all the time..the best! 
Delicious Rambutan!
We had a really good zone training these week and one of the things we talked about was reverence and the importance of showing respect for the Holy Ghost through our words and actions. I have really learned this week that reverence=revelation. I think sometimes we can get lazy through the normal missionary routine and forget to have respect for our Heavenly Father and the calling He has given us as missionaries! And all of you back home..remember to show personal reverence at church, in your scripture study, prayers, etc. I know your personal revelation will increase as you do so :) Ask I driving the Spirit away or inviting Him into my life to guide me, protect me and comfort me through my words and actions? I also heard this great quote at MLC I want to share with all of you, "You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of success is found in your daily routine." Think about it. And remember CHANGE is possible every single day through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
I don't think I will ever get over the beauty of this place!
My companion and I have focused a lot this week on teaching about repentance and the Atonement. I am just so, so thankful for this calling I have to share the beautiful message of the Atonement every day. I have truly come to know my Savior here in the Philippines. I love Him and I know He has sacrificed for all of our sins and weaknesses. I know through Him we can find JOY and a new life!! We have a great investigator, Sister E, who has been investigating the church for many months now and has truly been applying the Atonement in her life. She lives in a hard area where there are a lot of temptations, drugs and poverty. But she has the best attitude and she bore her testimony so strongly to us of her Savior, Jesus Christ. She said even though she can't change her circumstances right now, she can change HERSELF with the help of Jesus Christ. She is truly a light to the people in her neighborhood. I am truly inspired by these people every day. We are now teaching Sister E's son because his heart has been softened through many prayers and a great mother helping him and loving him :) I think my whole heart will stay here my whole life. Another great week and I'm excited for another great one ahead!! Mahal na mahal ko kayo!

Sister Giles
Apartment hunting for the new senior couple

A really fun P-Day

Playing games

In this beautiful park/zoo

Monday, September 5, 2016

Happy 1 Year and Merry Christmas! year down!! So crazy. Best year of my life. And it's about to be the best 6 months of my life!! I am loving my mission here in the Philippines. Sister Labisa and I are doing great here in Lipa. And since it's September it is officially Christmas time here, I loveee it! On September 1st the Christmas music started and decorations are being put out. 

On my year mark Sister Labisa and I went to MLC (missionary leadership council) in San Pablo and it was an amazing meeting!! President and Sister Mangum are so inspired. I feel so thankful to have this calling. The STL's and ZL's bought me a cake after to celebrate one year. :) It was my first MLC and Sister Labisa's last. She goes home soon so we are doing lots of English practice so she can pass her English test before she leaves. It is so fun haha we do lots of "English Class". 

This area is great! We are being fed a lot by really wealthy members and we have some amazingggg investigators!! One of them, Brother J, is the smartest investigator ever. He is 27 and asks a lot of questions. I've never met somebody who is seeking for the truth as much as he is. We were teaching him about prophets this week and he was having a hard time understanding why we need a prophet. I had a really amazing experience testifying to him that I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and that we have a true, living prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I have come to not just believe it but know it here on my mission. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true and original church established by Jesus Christ! I am so thankful to know we have a true prophet leading us today! I encouraged him to read a talk by President Monson, apply his teachings into his life and then wait for the result. I encourage all of you to do the same! Like it says in the Bible, by their fruits we shall know them. 
In our new apartment, j/k a member's beautiful home!

I love the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ!! I love my mission and I love these Filipino people so, so much! Even if I was pooped on by a couple lizards, lost power and water about 3 times this week, woke up sweating and had to take a shower outside...there is no place I'd rather be :) have a great week!!! mahal ko kayooo!

Sister Giles 
I eat "full Filipino" all the time now, it's great!

At the park for p-day

I miss swimming so, so much, but only 6 more months...