Thursday, February 27, 2014

February 22, 2014

Santo vaca! This week has gone by so fast! I can't wait to leave on Monday morning!

The weather this week was a lot better than previously. It is still pretty cold in the mornings and throughout the day, but it is getting warmer so that's good. It was also super windy for some reason on Wednesday so that was the only day that was bad.

On Wednesday we got a new district in our zone: 4 Elders and 4 Sisters. I'm glad we got more elders this week because our zone was going to be lacking severely in elders once we leave. It is truly amazing to see the increase of sister missionaries, but we still need more elders to step up because we are getting out numbered!

The devotional on Sunday this past week was really cool! President Matthew Holland was there along with his father Elder Holland and Sister Holland (it was her birthday that day too). Elder Holland introduced his son at the beginning and then President Holland (who is the president of UVU) gave a very nice talk on some of the smaller details of Joseph Smith's trials early in life and later and also talked a lot about what trials his family faced before he was born. My favorite parts were when the UVU Institute choir came and sang an arrangement of "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" then a soloist sang the first four verses of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" and then at the end the institute choir combined with the MTC choir and sang "Praise to the Man." The life the Smith family was very difficult and they struggled and moved all over the east coast and surrounding areas to find work and ways to sustain themselves and even after Joseph Smith was born the trials kept coming for the family. It was very hard for Joseph in his early years because of his leg surgery and the constant moving around the country. However, there was always some stranger there to take care of Joseph in his times of dire need just like in the story of the good Samaritan. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and I know that because he had many trials in his life that he would be a humble and faithful leader of the Church.

Yesterday (Friday) we had an In-Field Orientation all day. It was alright. The beginning was kinda of boring but as the day progressed it got a little better and a little more interesting. It basically was a summary of all the things we have been learning in the MTC and then mainly focused on three things: to baptize, plan and set goals everyday/week, and the importance of the missionaries working with the members in order to teach and fellowship. Then that night we taught our last lesson with a less active and then taught each other about the Gospel of Jesus Christ with one chapter of the Book of Mormon. I was paired with Elder Jacobson and Elder Penaia and Elder Udall were paired together ( Elder Anderson was feeling sick so he went back early). I taught from 3 Nephi 37: 13-22 and Elder Jacobson taught from Mosiah chapter 3. I just want to bear my testimony that the Gospel blesses families and that because of the love of our Savior and Heavenly Father we can grow closer together. I know that Heavenly Father loves each and everyone of us and even though we cannot feel his love directly we can feel it through those we have love for such as our family. I am so thankful that I was raised in the Gospel because it is such a great blessing and I can't wait to share it with those in Argentina!

Elder Giles

Elder Giles with Elder Penaia, Prove Temple 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Thanks for all the letters and packages! I love the ties and thanks for sending me those cinnamon rolls too! They were good but Dad's are still better. Thanks for the valentine package as well and thanks for writing some notes to Elder Penaia too! He hasn't received any mail this whole time in the MTC so that's awesome that you wrote him notes, he really appreciates it (he has been getting emails though). Can you also thank Sisters Alisa and Corrine Barlow for me? If you didn't know, they sent me a package with some lifesavers and one of those nice wooden "Plan of Salvation" visuals in Spanish. I really appreciate it and I can't wait to use it on my mission! Thanks for everything!

My Birthday was pretty cool on Tuesday. My District sang happy birthday to me in the morning before class and at lunch our main teacher came to the cafeteria and gave me a German Chocolate Cake ( my district had told him about my birthday the day before)! Then we went to the usual Tuesday evening devotional and listened to Elder Zwick talk to us about Hastening the Work. One cool thing he did was he walked through the crowd and asked a few missionaries what their thoughts were on hastening the work. Then that night our District had a little "party" in which we ate some of the cake, and they gave me a birthday card that they all signed and a tie. All in all my birthday was probably the best you could have in the the MTC and I am very grateful for my District.

The weird thing about being here at the MTC is that now my favorite thing to do here is teach. I did not like teaching lessons or anything before coming to the MTC and I never did a very good job with it. But now all I want to do is teach people because that is the reason we learn Spanish so fast and because each lesson we feel the Spirit and the love from Heavenly Father. One of Elder Penaia's and my investigators this week in TRC (Teaching Resource Center) was Jorge. I'm pretty sure he is a non- member and he was one of the best investigators to teach. He had many questions for us as missionaries and the main thing that was hard for him to understand was how we could believe in what we believe such as: el Libro do Mormón, Joseph Smith, and the Godhead. It was a really cool experience teaching him because we got to bear our testimonies a lot, which invited the Spirit, and even though we really didn't teach a full lesson, we both felt like we increased his faith and brought him closer to Christ.

So I got my travel plans yesterday. I fly out of Salt Lake City to Atlanta, Georgia and then straight to Buenos Aires. Not too bad, I would say, but it will be a long 2 days because I get to Argentina in the morning around 8 so I will probably be put straight to work. Yea!
Some other news: Elder Penaia is getting a temporary reassignment because his visa is not ready for Argentina. Elder Anderson is getting permanently reassigned to a different mission because Argentina won't accept his visa. :( But he does have the comfort of knowing that he will be assigned to somewhere in South America

This Sunday's devotional is going to awesome! Elder Holland's son is coming to speak to us about Joseph Smith and share some cool stories about him. There is also going to be a professional choir there that will sing songs intermittently throughout the talk and then at the end ( I think), the MTC choir and the other choir will sing "Praise to the Man." It will be awesome to listen to the talk and sing in the choir!

I love you all and thanks again for the letters and packages!

Elder Giles

                                                        Elder Giles and his District!

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10th, 2014 (Lucas turns 19 tomorrow!)

Life at the MTC is alright. It snowed a few times this week but i think it is starting to get warmer, or I'm just used to the cold already (which is a bad thing). The food is still not that great and they rotate the same meals every 2 weeks which doesn't help. The only thing that they serve that is some what decent is their soup.

I haven't really talked about what we do for exercising that much. Elder Penaia and I love to play Volleyball so basically everyday we go to the volleyball "bubble" and dominate the game we play in. Elder Penaia is a very good front row hitter and has perfected the art of hitting the ball at people's faces. I haven't been able to run or exercise intensely because my companion is of the "not running" type.

This week we had our first investigator for TRC which is the Training Resource Center. This is a way for missionaries to teach people outside of the classroom and to experience/ practice more Spanish and lessons with real people. Our investigator this week was a member acting as a non-member so we practiced teaching doctrine and the restoration to him. Next week we might get a REAL investigator for TRC.
Spanish is coming along very well and I am loving learning it and teaching in Spanish.

I want to testify about the power of showing charity to help the lives of others. 2 weeks ago I could tell that my companion was having a hard time here at the MTC and was feeling discouraged and unsure about his role as a missionary, so I, trying to be the best companion that I could, wanted to do my best to cheer him up. I did my best in serving, loving, and helping him with Spanish throughout the week and letting him teach as much as possible in our lessons. Then last Sunday, Branch President Wilkins interviewed our district. In my interview he told me about the change in my companion from the last time he interviewed him. He said there was a huge change from discouragement to happiness and excitement for his mission. I am not trying to say that I was the cause of his change but I know it was through the Lord's blessing and guidance that I was able to help out my companion through charity. To help explain this principle, you should listen to the talk by Elder Bednar called "Characteristics of Christ." It is a very amazing talk.

One cool thing we did this week was hosting the new missionaries. Since I am in the west campus we wait for the buses to drop off the new Spanish speaking missionaries in front of the chapel there and then take the new missionaries to their residences and then to their classes. There is something fun and exciting about helping out the newbies. We are also assigned to host this week again, I'm so excited!
My District is awesome! We have become such great friends over these past few weeks!
Elder Penaia and I have been called as the new Zone Leaders!
I hope you all are doing well!

Elder Giles
E. Penaia, E. Giles and E. Leaupepe

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February 1st, 2014

The MTC is getting better and better the longer I´m here but I am also anxious to get to Argentina and start teaching the people! My Spanish is also getting better everyday and I know it´s through the help of the Lord that we are able to progress so fast!
It was just stating to get warmer this week but then it snowed/rained all day Wednesday and started today while we were at the temple. The snow on Wednesday was a calm and peaceful type of snow and it inspired my district to have a few short snow ball "fights."

This week was a very good week. On Tuesday we had a devotional by Elder Martino of the Seventy and he spoke to us about the importance of fellow shipping investigators. He said that an investigator is much more likely to be baptized when a member does the fellow shipping and the missionaries do the teaching. So I hope you guys can help out the missionaries a little more in our ward :D! Thursday was the coolest day ever. In our evening block we talked about how to teach and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost and how it influences conversion and the way we teach. So the teacher had us write down a few questions/statements that we wanted answered and that we were having trouble with in the MTC. He then gave us 7 mins to prepare to teach our companions as themselves and 7 mins for the lesson. We had to completely rely on the Holy Ghost to direct what we would need to teach our companion. I want to testify that the Holy Ghost is real and that he directed both of our lessons. The the power of the Holy Ghost was incredible and we both were crying and pouring our hearts out to each other. Another amazing thing was that Elder Penaia told me that what I taught him answered his personal question and I had no idea what that was before! So the Holy Ghost is real and can guide us and help us if we trust and ask for his help.

Today we went to another wonderful session at the Provo temple. I love going to the temple because it is a nice way to recharge/relax spiritually and mentally and be prepared for another hard week at the MTC.

All of my District except for Elder Jacobson is going to the same mission I am and Elder Jacobson is going to Bolivia. We are having a good time together and we are al super excited to get out and teach the gospel.
To answer some of you questions:

Hannah: Escuela es terrible y yo quiero ver ya misión! Spanish coming along very nicely for only having been learning it for 2 and a half weeks but I know that it is through the Lords help that I am able to accomplish so much.
Cassidy: Don't worry I will only be gone for like 2 years so be strong in the gospel and don't fight with clay! :D
Dad: The food here is alright. Maybe it's on par with the food at scout camp but I don't know. The only thing the do a good job with is their soups and pot roast.
Mom: Our apartments are pretty nice, which is probably the only advantage to living on the West campus, and I'm not sure if we can cook in our apartments but we can't because we don't have stuff to cook with and it's easier just to go to the cafeteria in the Raintree apartments.
Clay: I will send a picture. Love ya bro!

The MTC is hard and I am tired all the time, but it is helping my spiritual growth tremendously and I
can't thank the Lord enough.

Elder Giles