Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2 Christmas Emails! Brooke Gertsch Mission Update 12/19 & 12/27/2016

Brooke’s email - brooke.gertsch@myldsmail.net

Mailing address:
1122 Budapest
Hajnóczy József utca 14

December 19th, 2016

This week was one of the best weeks of my mission.  First off, Hi… I LOVE GYŐR.  It is crazy beautiful and huge.  Everyday, we were just were just running all over the city and by bedtime, I jumped into bed and fell asleep within minutes.  



Also, I LOVE MY COMPANION!  Smith Nővér is 2 groups below me, but is so bold nd brave and funny and sweet and I just totally scored big time.  It has only been a week together and we have had so many laughs and seen so many miracles.  Also, Christmas in less than a week… mi csoda? I don’t want this season to end!  

^ My new companion, Smith Nővér

^ this is our district here in Győr! We got lost in a village our first week together

For one, we did a service project with the ward here - we went to a facility/home for adults with special needs and sang Christmas songs for them.  I have to say, I never wanted that night to end. Those people had such sweet spirits and as we sang “Csendes Ej” or "Silent Night", they all joined in and I could not keep it together.  The Spirit was so strong in the room and I never loved a group of strangers more than in that moment.  I truly believe that they are incredibly close to God and I just wanted to stay all day.  After we sang for them, they returned the favor and performed for us, one by one.  Can’t even really find the words to express how special that experience was.  It gave me so much perspective not only about what Christmas is all about, but how beautiful life is and what really matters.

There is also a whole lot of new people I met this week, but to save time I will just tell you about Tibor.  Tibor is one of our investigators.  He is so funny.  He speaks English, but I refused to say one word that wasn’t Hungarian.  I think it helped him understand things better.  He is a very logical person, so as we talked about the Plan of Salvation and the Spirit World he kept getting stuck on the little parts of it.  As hard as it is to try to help someone find faith in things they cannot see or make sense on their own, I feel blessed to try to help them find the truth in a simple, clear way.  It was only my first lesson with Tibor, but I know we are going to learn a lot from each other.

Well, this week felt like 3 in one!  Transfers were the best because I got to see all of my favorite people!  Hanging out the the MTC family was crazy because exactly a year ago, were were just starting our missions together! 

And each of my past companions has been such a blessing to me. 

I had to say a “see-you-soon” to my trainer, Guillian Nővér, who went home this week.  I seriously was blessed with with the best trainer and I owe a lot of the missionary I am today, to her.  She was such a great example and friend to me and I am so thankful for her.  And all the friends I have made on the mission.  Don’t know where I would be without them!

^My trainer, Guillian Nővér

That’s all for this week!  I hope you have an incredible Christmas and hug your family and friends while you are with them.  I have gained the strongest testimony that the people in your life is what it’s all about.  We have to always make sure they know how much they mean to us!  And after saying that, I love and miss you all.  You’re in my thoughts and prayers.


Gertsch Nővér

^The view out our bedroom window! 

December 27, 2016 

sadly, the library we are in does not upload pictures, so i will have to send more pictures next week! 

This year, I mist definitely had one of the most special christmases i will ever have. It was different. But so memorable and as hard as it was to be away from my loved ones, I wouldnt change this christmas for the world. It was quite the fun-filled week! We went caroling with a few members all over the city and visited some less-actives. Also went over to Budapest and had our Christmas conference as a zone. It was a perfect combination of remembering Christ while having fun with the other missionaries. We watched The Little Prince and that was such a treat. I had never seen the movie and I most definitely was the only one crying like a baby at the end. I also love President and Sister Szabadkai and appreciate all they did for us in making sure we were happy and felt loved! 

CHRISTMAS EVE. My companion and I actually spent the majority of the 24th running around delivering brownies to our investigators and less-active members. One of my christmas miracles was that every person we went to drop something off to was home and we were able to make sure that they felt some love this Christmas. After that, we came back to the branch house where one of my favorite members, Johanna, had made the missionaries a traditional, hungarian Christmas dinner of halász lej and töltött káposzta (fish soup and stuffed cabbage) She was the sweetest and it felt just like home! Minus the fish part...that was new haha. 

CHRISTMAS DAY. It was a very busy day, but to keep things short, here are a few of my highlights: in church, we sang 6 christmas hymns and i know i have said it before, but there is just something about hymns being sung in hungarian. its like my heart just bursts because i love these people singing around me. After church, we went and spent the afternoon with John, one of our investigators. He is currently sick and in the hospital. His only family is his daughter that lives in Canada, so he is alone here. She sent him presents and so when we got there, he had waited for us to open them with us and then gave both of us some treats from his package! It touched my heart to see someone that doesnt have a lot, absolutely insist on sharing. In a way, it kind of felt like we were John's family and he was ours. It was really hard to leave him, but we had to go and skype the family! We went over to another member, Barb's apartment and she made us dinner and then finally skyped. it had been a while haha. But it was so comforting to be able to see all of their smiling faces and to hear their voices. Saying goodbye was not an easy thing, but i am ALWAYS given the strength to keep going. I have been my entire mission. 

so yeah. i miss my family and friends and being away from them is really hard. But what has gotten me through is taking a step back and looking at all of these people i was and am able to meet here in Hungary. These relationships I have with them are more than worth a Christmas (or two) away from home. I continue to gain so much perspective as to what not only this holiday, but what life is all about. As a missionary, i have realized that i really have all i need to be happy. i have more than enough. There are people here that live and work just to be able to eat and stay warm in this freezing weather. I am so blessed to have the life that i do and all the blessings that God has given me. And i dont think I would have gained this perspective had it not been for the mission. I hope I hold onto it and never lose sight of whats most important! 

THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone that sent me yummy treats and some love this holiday season! I appreciate you more than you know. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and make sure to hug your loved ones, because when it comes down to it, they are what matters most. Have a great week and bring on the new year! WOOHOO! 

Sok szeretettel, 
Gertsch Nővér

(also mom if you could add the pic of us skyping that would be great :) )

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Transfer Day! Goodbye Duna - Hello Györ!

Brooke's contact info:

1122 Budapest
Hajnüóczy József utca 14

Geez Louise!  This P-day took forever to get here.  CHANGE as a missionary never gets easier.  You never get used to it.  In my mission, I have stayed in my 2 cities for almost 6 months each - so it is easy to say that I have gotten pretty comfortable.  I am so thankful for the chance I had to stay here in Dunaújváros.  I was able to make so many close relationships and this place will always hold a special place in my heart.  Duna was definitely the turning point in my mission and I wouldn’t trade my experiences here for anything.

This week was SO crazy.  I wanted to go into detail about all the things we did, but with transfer calls this morning, I cannot focus to save my life.  But here’s a bunch of pictures from the week!  There was a Christmas party, lots of “see you later’s” to my favorite people and my last week with my companion, Hooper Nover. 

^^ Branch Christmas party - A puppet show for the kids and then Mikulás (Santa Claus) made a special visit!! Mikulás came and brought presents for the kids:) it was SO cute. the kids had to sing a traditional song to Santa to get their presents.

^^ Pizza with Hooper Nővér

^^Czeilinger Éva. my heart. 

^^Flóra, a member, the sweetest. and her family, the Mészárosék

I cannot tell you enough how much I love Hungary and it’s culture, and it’s people OH SO MUCH!!!

I also celebrated my YEAR mark out here on my mission.  It feels like I have been out a long time… just not that long, haha!  

Time flies when your having fun, that’s for sure.  Looking back at a year ago, I can’t believe I was just starting this crazy adventure.  A year ago, I never imagined I would be where I am today.  I’m just such a different person.  In a good way.  So much more strength.  So much more perspective.  It may have been the hardest, but it has most definitely been the best year of my life. 

^^Gingerbread cookies at the Mészárosék, a family in the branch! 

Okay, enough with the sentimental stuff!  


I am sad to say I am leaving Dunaújváros, but I am extremely excited to be moving over to the beautiful city of GYÖR.  
Dreams really do come true.  
Stay tuned for some crazy, cool stories next week.

^^Mikulás (Santa Claus) came and put chocolate in our boots!!! (Hungarian tradition)

I hope you are all enjoying this holiday season and thank you SO MUCH to all who have been sending me Christmas Love!  I am so blessed and appreciate it more than you know!

All my love,

Gertsch Nővér 

Here are a few more pictures of my friends in Duna!!!

JANKA! Janka was the girl who wrote me exactly one year ago while I was still  in the MTC, getting me so excited to come to serve in Hungary!

Marika Sr. 

Marika Jr 

The Peterson's were the Senior Couple with us in the MTC.  

Monday, December 5, 2016

I am thankful for....

I figured that since Thanksgiving was a couple days ago, I would switch things up and simplify my email.  My companion and I sang the hymn “count your many blessing” all week long and I also came up with a list of things that I was thankful for.  But before I even get to the list, the thing I am most grateful for this year, is the opportunity I have to be a missionary , here in Hungary.  The gospel is without a doubt one of the biggest blessings in my life and is such a great source of peace and happiness.  I cannot even begin to describe the growth I have experienced within myself and I know that the testimony I have today would not have come any other way if it weren’t for the mission.

^Christmas Socks! and Yes, I wore them tracting and got lots of weird looks!  woohoo!

Of course, I am thankful for my family and friends at home.  I have seriously been blessed with the best.  I feel everyone’s love and support every day and don’t know where I would be without them.  As hard as it is being away for the holidays, getting to spend holidays with my Hungarian family is such a special memory and I am enjoying every minute I have with them!  

Here’s some more from the list:


  • how patient Hungarians are with us trying to speak Hungarian
  • when my companion surprises me and makes my bed
  • ZSOFI & Zsofi’s hugs. They are the very best!
^Zsofi - I love her so much!
  • Perspective.  Thank you mission 
  • fresh pékseg bread 
  • Hymns in Hungarian  And harmonizing with other missionaries
  • genuine people
  • The néni that sits in her window and blows kisses to us as we walk by
  • $1.00 Christmas socks we found at a Chinese store
  • President and Sister Szabadkai
  • Unconditional love
  • JÓZSI BÁCSI!  He took us out - again - to a nice restaurant where we had a 4 - course (very Hungarian) thanksgiving feast!  Everything Turkey!  I even had a piece of turkey throat in my soup! (see photos of our meal at the end of this email)  I love JÓZSI BÁCSI so darn much.  I will never be able to accurately express just how much I appreciate this man!
^Jozsi Bacsi - the kindest soul you will ever meet!
  • when people surprise us and try to speak english with us while tracting
  • notes from my little cousins 
  • Eva, a less active member we have been meeting with since I got to Duna.  She had not been to church in over 3 months and we finally got her to come on Sunday!  Seeing a change in her and to see how far she has come makes it ALL worth it!
  • the primary program they did at church yesterday!  I love my Duna family.  And I just want to be with the little kids all day.

Obviously that is just a few things, but if I kept going we would be here all day, haha!  It really just made me want to ALWAYS remember the blessing God has given me, not just around this time of year.  There is so much to be thankful for.  

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.  I send you all my love!  Take care and more to come next week.

Sok szeretettel, 

Gertsch Nővér 

Our Thanksgiving feast!  Turkey 4 ways! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Whole Bunch of Tender Mercies!

With the holidays right around the corner… Brooke would love some extra emails to help her though Christmas away from home!!
She would love a quick email or a Christmas card!!


Brooke Gertsch
1122 Budapest
Hajónczy József utca 14

November 8-14 (Week 46)

Going to start this one off by talking about a challenge given to us by Elder Alder, a member of the seventy who is from Germany.  He was at Stake Conference last weekend and asked all of us missionaries to bear our testimonies at least 3 times a day.  My comp and I accepted the challenge and immediately started to see a difference in ourselves as well as the work.  No matter what it was - teaching a lesson, talking to somebody on the street, or tracting - we were giving our testimonies of why we are here and about Christ and people could not reject it.  They may have not been interested or taken a book, but they listened - and I prayed my absolute hardest that they could feel God’s love from our words.  

Bowling on P-day

Little tracting story - 

We were in a 10-story building and had gotten through half the building.  We rang the doorbell and these obnoxious dogs started barking.  My comp and I are not the biggest fan of these because they almost always end in the person shutting the door super fast or us having to yell over the barking.  Nem Köszönöm!  I jokingly told my companion to say a little prayer and that this was going to be “THE ONE”.  (but we actually both DID say a little prayer) and this old man opens up the door and looks at us with big, wide eyes. we got to talking with him about God and then the Book of Mormon.  I immediately jumped on the challenge and bore my testimony of it’s truth and then he wanted to know more about our church.  My companion then bore her testimony and I firsthand saw a change in his demeanor, and his eyes softened.  All she said was that this book helped her and has made her happy and I really do believe that the Spirit was testifying to his man in that very moment.  He took a book and was so very kind.  I am not sure what will come from it all but that was a miracle for me. 
Lesson learned - Don’t let the barking scare you away!  And always bearing your testimony is such a good thing!

So, yeah, life is good.  We started teaching that girl, Léna this week!  I have never met a more prepared person on my mission.  Not only is she extremely accepting of it all, but she has such a desire to learn more and she is moving so quickly in the right direction!  I kid of feel like I knew her before this.  It’s weird, but it’s a feeling and I take it as a sign and am going to do all I can with the time that I have left to help her.

Also, the Sister Training Leaders came to Duna and we made little hedgehogs out of grapes and potatoes.  I love Schoendorfer Nővér so darn much.  Always a party!

AND a member, Józsi Bácsi took all of the missionaries out to a early lunch for “Thanksgiving”.  We had a whole lotta GOOSE and it was so good.  He is the kindest soul.  A holiday on my mission I know I will never forget!  

Well, that is all for this week.  It’s crazy how fast time is flying.  I really can’t decide how to feel about it!

NAGYON, NAGYON HÁLÁS VAGYOK. (I am very, very thankful)

Until next week!

fell asleep during study time

Sok Szeretettek, 

Gertsch Nővér 


November 15-21 (Week 47)
District Christmas Picture 

Another week down, and I seriously have no idea how I am sitting her writing this email yet again!  I experienced so many miracles this week, I know know if I can fit all into one letter.  All I can say is that when you keep on going and give the Lord all you’ve got, He is right there next to you helping you and blessing you with a whole bunch of tender mercies.

FINISHED READING THROUGH THE BOOK OF MORMON AGAIN!  Can I just say how much I love that book??  No matter what I am going through, I open it up and read exactly what I needed to hear and am comforted and strengthened.  Makes going out and sharing my testimony of it that much easier when when it helped me that very morning!  And as I was finishing the book of Moroni, I got to the part where it was taking about miracles.  And what I found, I had read plenty of times before, but it hit me as I read it again and everything clicked.  He said, “for it si by faith that miracles are wright”  And then Christ said: “if ye will have faith in me, ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.” 
OH FAITH… so incredibly basic, I know.  But i really do believe that it’s the answer. A while back, I was so confused as to why I was so ready and willing, but not really finding anyone to teach.  I thought I had so much faith.  I mean, I most definitely did, but it was being tried.  Ad I’m so thankful for the trying period because it has only strengthened my faith and I have began to witness so many miracles as a result.  Each day as we tract, we are finding people, or at least one person that will listen.  Sometimes all I have to do is smile at someone walking by and they stop, thinking we know each other from somewhere, and we get to have a conversation with them.  I feel the Lord’s hand working through me everyday.  

TEACHING LÉNA!!  We met with our new progressing investigator again this week.  We talked about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end and it was probably one of my favorite lessons.  She is so accepting of it all but still has a hard time believing in something she can’t see.  There were so many times during the lesson, where she would say something and it was exactly what I had experienced before my mission, so I was able to share my feelings and help her see things in a different light.  It’s a really cool feeling being able to connect like that.  Makes me realize that there are no coincidences in this work!  We also asked her about baptism and she said YES.  She didn’t choose a date yet, because she wants to learn a little bit more, but she said YES!  SO EXCITED FOR HER!!!

My lil BFF Hajni 

Well, with all of the success we have been finding, it’s so frustrating how quick Satan jumps into the situation with feelings of of inadequacy and fear. Haha, this whole mission thing is not so easy.  Sometimes it is so hard to push thought those feelings and keep going.  It’s such a rollercoaster and sometimes hard to keep up.  But a friend to here on the mission once told me “we didn’t come here to do to do the easy thing”.  Christ didn’t come to the Earth do do the easy thing.  What an example He is to me.  I’m so thankful for Him and for the opportunity I have to ride this rollercoaster.  

Hae a great Thanksgiving, missing you always and you are all in my thoughts and prayers!

Sok szerettettel, 

Gertsch Nővér
Cool building in Budapest

Benson Nővér 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Prayer is such a powerful thing!

Brooke’s email - brooke.gertsch@myldsmail.net 

Week of 10/24 - 10/30

Sziasztok everybody!!
Busy week.  We were in Budapest the beginning of the week for Zone Training and splits with the Sister Training Leaders.  LOVED spending time with other fellow missionaries and learned a lot from them.  While on splits, I got to teach the Plan of Salvation in a donut shop.  Haha.  Doesn’t get any cooler than that!  
^^ In Budapest for Zone Training 

^^ Happy Birthday to my favorite - Mason Nővér

We had this movie night, where we watched “Meet the Mormons” at the branch house and guess who showed up. GÁBOR! We were so happy he came and I love that movie so much and Gábor told me he felt something special while watching it.  So that is a step in the right direction!  Meeting with him again at the end of the week. 
Also, thought I would share a quick though I had from my personal study this week:

The grace of God is and always has been pretty hard for me to completely understand. How is it that time after time, we make mistakes and fall short, yet in the end, God is always willing and there to pick us back up?  It really just comes to show how unconditional His love is for us.  The actual definition of grace is - "the divine means of help or strength and enables those who receive it to do and be what they cannot do and cannot be on their own."  And that is SO applicable for me right now.  Here I am, just a 20 year old American girl, trying to speak Hungarian and talking to random strangers about this blue book (Book of Mormon) But each morning, I wake up with a new-found motivation and when the hard moments come, I am given so much strength and comfort.  I know for certain that I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for God’s hand, His grace, helping me every step of the way. 

ETHER 12:27 
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.  I give unto men weakness that that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will i make weak things become strong unto them.” 

^^Brooke in front of her apartment building

Sorry for the short email and delay.  P-day was a little different due to some holidays here.  More stories to follow next week!  I will be writing again in a couple of days!

Have a great week, sending you all my love!

Sok Szeretettel,

Gertsch Nővér


November 7th

^^The caption Brooke sent me for this photo is “HAPPY!!” 

Well, first and foremost - PRAYER IS SUCH A POWERFUL THING!  There had been so many slow weeks for my companion and I.  Lots of doors knocked on, lots of people not interested.  Through it all, I prayed for strength to keep going. To keep finding. To not lose hope!  God definitely answered that specific prayer and I have made it to where I am today thanks to Him.  Our friend Gábor was also another answered prayer as well.  Like I said in my last email, Gábor came to our movie night for “Meet the Mormons” and totally loved it.  We were worried before that he could possibly not be super serious because is always so busy.  But he made time to come to that and called us, asking to meet this week again.  So we met with him on Thursday and taught him the Plan of Salvation - my favorite!  And everything went so well and he really was so accepting of it all.  I could go on and on for days about the lesson, but all in all, he definitely feels like one of those people who has been prepared to hear the Gospel.  He just wants something to believe in and a reason for why he is here.  And lucky for us, we can share the gospel with him and help him find the answers he is looking for.  
^^ The Plan of Salvation 

Being a missionary is SO cool, I cannot even begin to tell you.  The answers to prayers doesn’t stop there.  A member in the branch had a friend they referred to the missionaries and it is their sweet  young girl in her 20’s and she lives in our area, so we are going to start teaching her as well!  Within a WEEK our work has picked up and I am so very thankful!  God is Good!  No… He’s not good, He’s the BEST!!! 
^^and this is what I mean whenever I talk about "csengő's” haha

Also… I was back in Budapest this weekend for Stake Conference and it was a lot of fun and a whole lot of Hungarian, haha!  I love this language.  And I love these people.  I love this chance I have to be serving and am growing in more ways than I thought possible.  

^^ Budapest 

I love you all very much and am thankful for you!

Sok Szeretettel,

Gertsch Nővér 

^^ Fall in Dunaujvaros