Monday, October 27, 2014


This week... oh my heavens. #ALLTHEMIRACLES
So let's see... this letter might just become a really long stream of consciousness. I apologize in advance.


Saying goodbye to our district was very hard. We've all grown so much on this journey and I've literally been with them every day for 2 months. It's still weird waking up in the morning and not singing in Chinese or reciting the missionary purpose together or blowing bubbles in our classroom... Luckily I'll see most of them again at BYU or in Taiwan, but it's still been a difficult separation. haha

Also saying goodbye to our teachers was very sad. They both have been so inspirational to me and I hope that one day I can be like them.
He Leoshi (our teacher) We like to call her Mulan:)
Wong Laoshi (our other teacher) When I didn't understand something in Chinese I would always put my hands on my hips, so when he had to pose for this picture this is what he did:)haha
Ok Georgia:

So Sister Cardon and Sister Facer were both in my flight group so that was nice to be able to speak a little bit of Zhongwen together and bond. None of us were very experienced flyers but we had 2 elders with us who just took such good care of us! Seriously they just made things so much easier. I love them.

On the plane rides (We had two:1 to Denver and then 1 to Hartsfield Georgia) none of us sat next to each other. I don't know if the church did that on purpose... but it was a wise choice :) haha. So our district set some goals to accomplish on our various plane rides and one of them was to place a Book of Mormon. On the flight from Salt Lake do Denver I sat by this man who was a very young father. I found out he was a member and we talked a bit at the beginning of our flight, but then he fell asleep. I had bought this super cute little BOM from the Bookstore before I left and I just had the feeling that I needed to give it to him. I couldn't figure out why... he was a returned missionary and obviously a member of the church, but the feeling didn't leave. So I thought about it a lot, got my speech all prepared and then as I turned to talk to him I realized he was asleep... # awkward. But this was good because it gave me more time to ponder! haha So I thought about it long and hard. I talked myself into and out of giving him this little BOM about 50 times, but then as we were making our descent I decided I should just go for it. So I turned to him and I told him that I had set a goal to pass out a BOM on my first flight. He smiled knowingly. I then told him that I knew that he was a member, but that I also knew his daughter probably wasn't. I gave him this cute little BOM and asked him if he would share it with his new daughter. I told him that I knew that she would come to know her Heavenly Father's love through her earthly father's love. He took the BOM and thanked me.

On our next flight I sat next to 2 VERY southern people. It was awesome. The man on my right was a home-grown Alabama boy and the woman on my left had lived in Georgia her whole life. This was my first experience with the Southern drawl and I LOVE IT!! :) haha They were both very interested in why I was here and the fact that I spoke Chinese. We got to the topic of religion and I think they're both methodists, but I had SO many opportunities to share truth with them. I also asked them both if they would write their names next to their favorite scriptures in my bible. That's something that I will always cherish. I didn't have any BOM to give them though and that made me sad. They were both very nice and wished me well as we parted. Then we got picked up by our (very tall) president. He's awesome. It was like he had ADHD in the airport. He was talking to EVERYONE. He would start explaining to us something and then all of a sudden he would see someone and he would run over there and give them a pamphlet. Then he would come back and say "Brothers and Sisters we've just witnessed a miracle. My fried Joe over there thought that we worshiped John Smith and I was able to clear that up for him." This literally happened 50 times. haha It was awesome :) So then the AP's gave us each a Book of Mormon and told us that in this mission they ALWAYS carry a BOM with them. Which I thought was super cool. I immediately began looking for my friend Neal (Who I had sat next to on the plane). He wasn't anywhere near baggage claim. I told everyone around me to be looking for a very tall Southern man with a big beard and a bright orange hunting hat. We waited for a long time and in my tired state I was about to give up on Neal. But then I saw him a ways away from our group. I could see that he was in a hurry, but I had promised God that I would try, so I ran over to him and told him that this is the Book I had been talking about. He thanked me and I promised him that it would bless his life. Then he disappeared into the airport.

Pres. & Sister Harding
So after we left the airport we went straight to a church and had a small orientation meeting. I met the Danklef's from Pleasant Grove and it was so nice to see a familiar face! :) They're very sweet. We then had a bunch of meetings and received a bunch of binders and forms and we had to sign all this stuff and honestly it's just a blur :) haha. So after the meetings we got to watch Meet the Mormons! It was awesome! EVERYONE MUST WATCH IT. EVERYONE. haha. Very inspiring. Then we went out to the parking lot and got our luggage. Sister Campbell was there and said that there would be blueberry pancakes at her house and so naturally I followed her :) haha Sister Augusto also followed. She and I had been bonding a lot over our meetings and dinner. She is absolutely hysterical. haha

Sister Augusto is from Mozambique Africa. A friend from my high school Noah Shumway actually served in her ward on his mission in Mozambique! She is absolutely amazing and so strong in this gospel! Her father is a baptist preacher in Mozambique and she told me that she thinks that may be why she's in Georgia, to learn how to teach Baptists :) She's the best. She was my companion for less than 24 hours but I will NEVER forget her. She built my confidence and was a true friend for that short amount of time. That's what being a follower of Jesus Christ is all about.
Sister Augusto & Sister Giles:) Matching!!!
So that next morning we went to transfer meetings. This is where I met my companion Sister Echols. She's from Orem Utah and we actually played soccer against each other in High School. We were once again running around and everything is a blur... but I met a lot of awesome people. I love missionaries. It was amazing to feel the strength and power as many missionaries who have now finished their missions bore testimony of the truth of this gospel. It's the truest.
Our trio: Sister Echols, Sister Hawkins & me
So I am in a trio with Sister Echols and Sister Hawkins. Sister Hawkins is also a Visa waiter heading to Brazil on Tuesday. She's only going to be with us for a week. They are both amazing. They've both been on their missions for about a year and let me tell you... that has been such a big blessing. I feel like I have no idea what's going on a lot of the time (as you can probably tell from this email), but they are so encouraging and very knowledgeable about the things I don't understand :) haha And they're very patient with me and all my questions. We get along great :) I love them both and it's really going to be sad when Sister Hawkins leaves tomorrow.
We are a little crazy sometimes!!
So in our trio we speak 4 different languages. Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, and English. It was awesome as we had our first companion study together and we sang Come come ye saints in Portuguese Spanish and Chinese. This is a world-wide church! Wahoo! The gospel is the very best! I've been learning a bit of Spanish since there are a lot of Hispanics in our area and Sister Hawkins gets to talk to them a lot.

So speaking of languages, let me tell you about the Chinese miracle. so I had set a goal to speak Chinese every day on my mission with someone. And so far I have been able to do that. Sometimes the only people I get to speak Chinese with are my companions, but I've been practicing every day. So yesterday I was very determined to speak to a Chinese native. I promised the Lord that if he placed someone in my path who spoke Chinese, I would talk to them. Here's a list of my failures:

1. There was a man at the gas station. I saw that he was Asian and Sister Hawkins came with me to go talk to him. I asked him if he spoke Chinese and he said "I'm very busy. I'm very busy" Then I asked him in Chinese if he spoke Chinese and he said "What?? no no no." We found out he was Vietnamese and then left the premesis.

2. We were at Pep Boys and there was an Asian couple sitting there speaking very fast. I couldn't tell what language it was, but I knew what I had promised the Lord. So I approached the woman and asked her if she could speak Chinese. She was very confused and told me that she was from Korea.

3. We went to the international groccery store while our car was at pep boys and I saw this woman shopping in the Chinese food aisle. I knew she HAD to be Chinese, so I walked past her and said "Ni hao!". She completely ignored me. Then my companion walked by and said "Hi there!" And she said "Oh hi!"

I was very discouraged at this point and I wasn't feeling up to embarrassing myself yet again. But we walked past the Chinese food aisle again and there were these two young women who looked like they were about 20 years old. My companions saw them and told me to go talk to them. I told them I was too scared. But Sister Hawkins pressed forward and almost bumped right into them. So I asked them if they spoke Chinese in Zhongwen. They looked surprise and said yes. OH the joyous singing that was happening in my head. We sat there for about 20 minutes talking about where they were from and what they were doing here in Georgia. It was amazing to be able to speak with them and understand! It also helped that they knew English :) haha So towards the end of our conversation I knew I needed to give them a BOM. I didn't have one in characters but I asked them if they could read English. They said yes and I asked them if they would accept this. They were very hesitant at first and she said that she would read it, but she didn't think it would change her mind. I promised her that if she read it would help her with her homework. Which was odd, but it's something we promised a lot of our investigators at the MTC when they said they didn't have time for the BOM. As I held out the BOM to her, a woman walked by and said "Hey... Y'all are mormons?" We said yes and she said "Me too!" Then Sister Hawkins proceeded to talk to her in Spanish. It was the coolest thing in the whole world!
My little Chinese miracle
I testify that this is Jesus Christ's church on the earth. He loves each of his children individually. He knows our names and everything about us. He loves us and will help us through every trial we have.

Georgia is a wonderful place. Southern hospitality is a very real thing and a very cool thing. People love Jesus Christ around here :) I've been finding myself slipping into a bit of a Southern accent sometimes and using the word Y'all. haha. It's going to be interesting to see how my Chinese sounds with a southern accent, but I know God will make it work :) 

Thank you all once again for all of the love and support. It has meant so much to me. Here is my address. It's probably a better idea to send things to me directly since I'll only be here for a transfer and I don't really know how mail works here :) haha

Madison Elyce Giles
4306 N Shallowford Rd. #1403
Atlanta, GA 30314

I know this church is true. God lives and He loves us. 
Gu Jiemei

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