Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Week 16 Update - Happy Easter!!!

Brooke’s contact info

mail:  1122 Budapest
    Hajnoczy, Jozsef utca 14

I have officially made it through Christmas, New Years, My Birthday, and now Easter away from home.  And it has been the most humbling experience.  It really gives me a different perspective on the day and reminded me as to what the day is really all about!  Maybe I’m growing up? Haha, but I did have about 5 chocolate bunnies/eggs so that felt like home!

TRANSFERS are like 2 weeks away!  I am kind of the worst when it comes to the unknown because it drives me CRAZY every time I think about it.  So I try my best not to think about it too much.  I can’t imagine leaving the beauty of Szeged but mostly the people I have become to know and love.  But it would be exciting to go.  So time will tell I guess!!!

EASTER DINNER was a big LOL because no one in our district had thought about going to the store to make something nice for Easter dinner … so we gathered all we had left which was a little bit of ham, carrots, rice, bread and we made Palacsintas (Hungarian Pancakes) and put our left overs in them!  It was the funniest, kind of saddest, little meal.  But hey - ONLY IN HUNGARY!!! I am so lucky to be surrounded by missionaries that make the best out of any situation.

So last P-day we went to the Szeged Zoo.  It was super fun!  I could seriously watch the Penguins all day.

But one thing that set this zoo apart from any other zoo I’ve been to, was the feeding time… we were “lucky" enough to be at the Lion cage… right at LUNCH TIME!  They had a nice little room to the side of the cage where they let them in to eat.  The next thing I know, the Lions were devouring these poor innocent rabbits!  Fur and all!!  Sorry, I know it’s disgusting, but it was National Geographic status.  SO CRAZY!  Talk about the Circle of Life.  Yeah so that was crazy.  And then when we started to pass by cages with dead baby chicks all over, I couldn’t keep myself composed so we left and got some ice cream.  Haha, I have decided I would rather be oblivious to the feeding animals at the zoo!  Lesson Learned!

(You can thank me later for NOT adding the photos of the Lion’s feeding session - You’re welcome! - Chris :))

This week, I wish I could say I have a super cool story where we met someone and were able to find people and bring them to church.  But I don’t.  And that doesn’t get me down!  Because I DO have numerous stories each day where we were able to help someone carry groceries, or stop someone and have a really solid conversation about God and Jesus Christ.  I don’t know if it is because the sun is starting to come out, but people are slowly becoming more smiley and friendly, and I never thought I would get to a place of such happiness so fast.  The language is starting to pick up, I am feeling so confident in who I am and what I am doing, and yeah, being a missionary is pretty dang cool.  I don’t really look at numbers and if they are low or not, because no matter what, I know that I am doing my absolute best to make sure that every person that I come across has a positive experience with missionaries and hopefully has a better day!

SENIOR COUPLE!  Elder & Sister Howell got to Szeged this weekend and they are so great.  They are from Southern California and their courage to try out their Hungarian to people on the streets is so inspiring!  Haha… they crack me up!  It’s nice to have “almost grandparents” here too.

   Brooke’s District in Szeged

SPRING is taking it’s sweet time, but slowly the flowers are starting bloom and there’s a whole lot of GREEN.  I’m obsessed!  I really am so blessed to be in such a beautiful place.


    I got Dusty’s package with the cutest cards from the kids and GOLDFISH & CHEEZ-ITS!  You can ask my companion, I pretty much cried like a baby.  I miss snacks from home!! (And my Aunt’s, Uncle’s and cousins too!!!) 

    we found a Thai restaurant there is Szeged and I got Padthai.  Super, super yummy and was the most hipster place I’ve seen in a long time! Haha - my kind of restaurant!

   One day were were tracting and came up to this Neni’s (grandma’s) house and after she declined our message, she started asking us where we were from and we had a nice little convo and she began picking flowers out of her garden and then gave them to us!  I LOVE THOUGHTFUL PEOPLE!  They make my world go around!

Speaking of the world… we may not have access to the news, but word has spread about what happened this past week in Brussels.  This world is a crazy world, man.  When things like this happen, I get a little (okay maybe a lot) scared as to what will happen next.  But what I am learning, is how important it is to cleave unto the Lord and His gospel because when we do that, not only can we be strengthened to get through hard times, but He can help soften our hearts and give us hope for better days.  I am so incredibly grateful to have found comfort through my Savior and I hope I can help others find it too.  He is always there.  He just leaves it up to us to build our faith in Him.  

A scripture we shared at the branch’s Easter part is one of my absolute favorite scriptures.  It’s in Moroni 7:42 and it says:

            “And what is it that ye shall hope for?  Behold, I say unto you, that ye shall have hope through the Atonement of Christ and the power of His resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal and this because of your faith in Him according to the promise.”

-Nagyon fontos hogy krisztus es o engestelese az alapunk legyen.  Es amilor hiszunk krisztusban, a hitunk abni fog nekunk erot es perspektiat hogy mindvegig kitarssunk.-
(It’s so important hat Christ and His atonement be our foundation.  And when we believe in Christ, our faith will give us strength and perspective, to help us endure to the end)

I love you all will all my heart!  I pray that you are all safe and happy!  I hope you all had a great Easter!

All my love, 


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Week 15 Update (Week 6 in Hungary)

Brooke’s contact info

mail:  1122 Budapest
    Hajnoczy, Jozsef utca 14

Since this last week was 2 days shorter because of the holiday, I feel like I don’t have too much to write about!  But you know me, I can always write about something!  So here ya go :D

This week we moved into the Elder’s old apartment … it has been an interesting experience turning an apartment taken over by boys into an apartment for sisters, but it is really cute and it has been fun to get a change in the scenery!  Our week has been full of transporting our stuff back and forth and cleaning, but it really made the time fly!  The work is still work.  But I am LOVING meeting all the people we meet an still continuing to feel Him putting people in our paths, whether it be for 3 minutes or a possible future relationship with them.  Saturday night we had to run to the store, and this lady stopped us from buying the apples we had picked out and marched us to the ones that were on sale, and we ended up talking for like 10 minutes about Christ ands how incredible He is.  Turns out she is not interested, but having that opportunity to share testimonies (in the grocery store.. haha) and get a huge hug from a stranger was not simply coincidence.  We hope to run into her lots more at the Spar! (I found out this is the name of the store - C)

**On the subject of the grocery store...I am going to try cooking more and try to eat less like a poor college student, so if anybody has some easy recipes, SEND THEM MY WAY! Koszonom szepan 

But, BY FAR the best part of my week was Klara.  The first few weeks after being in Szedged, we started to hear the branch members talking about a woman from the church that was really sick and has been in the hospital.  My comp and I both agreed we would visit her when we could, but a couple weeks went by and we had gotten so distracted and preoccupied that we forgot about Klara.  One day during planning, I brought up maybe visiting her, and then we made a set-in-stone plan to go see her.  I am so glad we did!  The experience of visiting her was one of those moments that solidified that I am where I am supposed to be and being blessed with opportunities that are shaping me to be a better person.
Back to Klara… I always gravitate and look for people in need and strive to make them feel better in the best way that I can.  So this kind of service was right up my alley!  For starters, the hospital in Hungary are very different.  VERY different.  And the rooms on her floor were 4-5 people per room.  We were only given 5 minutes to visit, but I think the nurses gave us a little more time, bless their hearts.  We walked into the room and, I kid you not, Klara was by far one of the most beautiful people I have ever seen!  We introduced ourselves as missionaries and she immediately perked up and we got talking.  My Hungarian is still very limited, so my companion did a lot of the talking, but it was funny, Klara and I only broke eye contact a few times.  Her smile and spirit made me feel so warm inside and I hope I was able to return some of that!  She is only in her 40’s and I am not quite sure what happened to her, but I know that she is so strong and has such a beautiful soul and I am so lucky to have met her!
We are going to keep visiting her too and I really look forward to that!  I don’t know why exactly, but this experience really touched me and humbled me and I have not been able to stop thinking about her!  It makes me excited though, because this is only the beginning!  I have so much more time to meet people as inspiring and touching as Klara.  Every day is always a waiting game to see if I will come across certain people and I am actually starting to wake up each morning, excited to see what each day brings!

Spring is starting to arrive here in Szeged and it is finally proving it’s name as the “Sunshine City” and I can’t wait to show you when the flowers blossom!  I am still impatient when it comes to the language, I know it comes with time, but I just want to be able to strike up a conversation with someone or comfort someone if they are sick in the hospital!  I’m hoping to study even harder and put myself out there more and see a difference.

I cannot tell you enough, how much I love you guys.  I feel your prayers and support each and every day!  I am always filled with incredible gratitude at the thought of what I have at home.  Got to go share the good news that you get to be with your favorite people forever before I get to go back with mine :D


Sok Szeretettel,
Gertsch Nover (Brooke)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Hello Happy in Szeged!


Having P-Day two days later was surprisingly easier for me that I originally thought!  I am feeling more and more comfortable with where I am and what I’m doing.  It is seriously crazy for me to look back at where I started and to remember how hard those first few weeks were for me, but now after 5 weeks, this city feels more and more like my temporary home!  I’m very glad to have moved on and can enjoy this incredible experience I have been so blessed to experience.  

There is not too much to write about this week, just a lot of tracting and walking, a lot of pastries, and a long list of tender mercies found in each day!

ANGUL ORA:  In English class, we did SPEED DATING and it was so funny!  It was really fun to see the people talking to each other in English and helping each other.

ZONE CONFERENCE:  This week we were back in Budapest!  Such a beautiful city.  

This time, we had Elder Leimer of the Seventy come and speak to us.  He gave me so much inspiration and motivation and it was much needed.  One thought he shared that touched me - and I have already applied to my work - is to have the perspective of God’s love with every interaction you have throughout the day.  It has been the most humbling and heart-warming change for me!  As a missionary it was a little different for me to develop a love for people I had never met before, but now as someone opens the door and I take (a metaphorical) step back and can see them as God sees them, I am so much more understanding and genuinely happy to meet them!  What Elder Leimer taught me is something I know I will apply in my life long after the mission.  
The amount of love God has for every person everywhere is so hard to comprehend, but as I try to love as He does, I feel it more that I ever have and it is what keeps me going throughout each week.  
I was also able to see my MTC companion, Kate!  I miss her and always love getting to see her!


  • I had to go to the bathroom really bad while we were going shopping at the mall, and I had to pay…. haha?  Something to get used to!
  • Our district got a referral for a guy that needed help cleaning his apartment and …. long story short - I may die from second hand smoke and I swear we could have been on the show “Hoarders”!!!  More details another time… haha!
  • I tried “Modartej” for the first time!  It is called “Bird’s milk” and may have made me lactose intolerant… TOTALLY WORTH IT!
  • I have begun cooking legit meals!  Making’ my momma proud!  It was about time I started eating more vegetables and less pastries, haha!  It’s really fun and if anyone has any recipes, I would love to make a book! #wifeme
  • Every morning I pray for happy people, like I’ve said in my past email, but this week - without fail - we have been put in the same path as several friendly people each day.  Just one the other day was a Neni (grandma) that we met while tracting.  After we told her we were missionaries, she put up a finger and then ran into her kitchen and gave us 2 apples.  Then we asked if she needed anything and if there was anything we could help her with, and she said “to come back another day and bring our bright smiles!” Oh and what made me love her even MORE was that throughout or entire conversation, she was standing there with nothing but pantyhose and no pants!  Total crackup!  But I live for the people that give me a story to tell!
  • said goodbye to King Elder and Bagley Elder this week.  Going to miss them and their energy and craziness and know that Hungary will miss them too!  Szeretlek Elderek!

And that is a close on my fifth week here in Hungary!  I feel so many changes both emotionally and spiritually and I’m liking how it feels!  Miss and love you all!  I pray of you ALWAYS and hope you have a great week!

Sok Szeretettel,


Answers to a few of Mom’s questions:

1.  What was the National Holiday that your P-day was moved back for?

Brooke - hahaha… to be honest… Im not exactly sure what the holiday was.  It was one of Hungary’s celebration of Independence from one of the wars they fought with another country.  A few people have tried explaining it to me but i get so lost because i have not learned any of that vocab.

2.  What was the holiday like?

Brooke - the National Holiday was cool!  It was celebrated for 3 days.  There was festival where they sold little trinkets and meat.  SO HUNGARIAN!  I loved it!  We hung out there for a long time handing out cards so we could dance to the music!  But everyone was out at the parks and walking around and in great moods, so I have loved the past few days!

3.  Have you become friends with any of the members of your branch?

Brooke - There is a girl named Kriszti that is a member and is super good at speaking English and we have basically become best friends.  We have a lot of the same interests and she and I would have been good friends outside the mission.  It is so cool to connect with someone you know you never would have met if you hadn’t have came on a mission!

4.  When are transfers?  Do you think you will get transferred or stay in Szeged?

Brooke - Transfers are in the second week of April so in about a month.  Everyone usually stays two transfers in the area they started in, so I think I will stay in Szeged another 2 months! I hope! I actually do want to stay in Szeged.  

I have finally just gotten everything down and where to go and the people in the branch, I feel like it would be hard to start over again.  But its a waiting game.. you know me and the unknown...Best friends! 
The Senior Couple comes this weekend so we are moving apartments but the one we are moving to is smaller and very cute!! It will be fun to get a change in the scenery and have a different experience.  

Brooke’s contact info:

Mailing address:  

Sister Brooke Gertsch
1122 Budapest
Hajnoczy Jozsef utca 14

Monday, March 7, 2016

Best Friends, Big meals, Budapest & a Baptism!

Week 13 Update

Boy oh Boy, what week!  To start off - this Wednesday I will have been on my mission for 3 whole months! And one month here in this amazing country.  Things are picking up and I am starting to feel extremely confident that this all going to be great! 
Pozitiv vagyok! (I’m positive!)

My Mom challenged me a little while back to try to realize the TENDER MERCIES from the Lord each week, and now that I have started, the list just keeps getting longer & longer! I wake up so excited to see the little happy moments He’ll give to me that day.  I highly recommend doing it if you don’t already, because it strengthens your appreciation for Christ and also strengthens your confidence that He knows you, personally.  

The little things add up! Here’s a couple:

  • Another little friend came and followed us while tracking and no matter how many people refused to listen to us, I could turn around and our little puppy friend would be sitting there! I miss my Shasta baby (God definitely knows that animals make me happy!)
  • Last P-day, a member asked us to come to her line-dancing class that she teaches, and it was so much fun! Country music reminded me of home! Never thought I would say that I line-danced in Hungary! HaHa! Oh, and they played Gallaway Girl, the song we learned for Ireland in Morningstar and I most definitely was looking around for Ali and Mason and Noah! Who knows why they chose that song to dance to, but i like to imagine someone knew it would make me super happy!
  • So, I basically found my Hungarian Ali.  Nobody will ever replace you Al, but we both were taking about how much we love to sing, and then decided to try singing a song and it was so cool how well our voices bled together!  We are basically going to just hang out lots and sing and I have learned that music can really bring people closer together.  I think we are going to sing in church in the next week or two! Whoop Whoop!  But yeah.  I’m really thankful for my new friend Vikki and music!


    Wednesday was the best day!!!  It was the day when all the new missionaries returned to Budapest for training.  And we had the BEST reunion as an MTC family!  It was so cool to see that nothing has really changed except experience.  We are all serving all over Hungary, so we have so many different stories, but a lot, if not most, of the same emotions. I had missed my best friends so much!  I am so proud of them & looking forward to when I can see them again! 

    After the training, we went of splits with the Sister Training Leaders.  That day, I know for a FACT, that I have never eaten so much food before in my life!  We went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant around 2pm.  Then the Sister Training Leader, Sister Hafen, took me to a program (discussion/lesson)  at someone’s home.  There, I had a four-course meal (keep in mind it is only 4pm… 2 hours after our Mexican lunch!)  and afterwards, I was in a food coma.  We tracted and then we went to ANOTHER program and I couldn’t even finish the fruit soup I was so full.  I made it through the second course, but then she brought out these yummy cinnamon rolls filled with jelly - on a normal day I would have had 3 - but the thought of eating anything made me feel so sick!  My stomach almost exploded, I kid you not!!! The day after I took a break from food and stuck with water and I have lived to tell the tale!  Now I can say I’ve (attempted) to eat 3 dinners in one day!  Only in Hungary! :) 
    **cool sidenote** - In the MTC, my teacher Robinson Testver told us about this woman that read the Book of Mormon in like a week and he baptized her and showed us a picture of her.  And who was the woman the Sister Training Leaders took us to have dinner with?  The same one Robinson Testver had baptized!  So cool and amazing to be living in the stories they told us in the MTC!

    I experienced my first baptism here in the field this week!  That was such a special day and really reminded me why I am here.  I had met Kitti my first week and she is really the sweetest and kindest soul.  I am so happy for her and have been able to experience the joy this gospel brings to people just by her smile & the twinkle in her eye!

    I am starting to feel the Spirit of this work.  On Sunday I had fasted & prayed hard to be able to help people, to help someone, or even just feel like I am impacting someone’s life.  I was hoping to receive an answer or confirmation within the next week, but I had no idea it would be in that same morning!  For the past month, we had been meeting with this woman, Tunde, who had become less-active and was going through some hard times.  I LOVED meeting with her, and every week she would patiently listen as I should try to share spiritual thoughts.  She hadn’t been to church in over 6 months, so we would meet with her in the hopes that she would feel the Spirit and be reminded of how great it feels.  Then today, as we began to sing the opening song in Sacrament meeting, I looked up and Tunde was sitting up a the front surrounded by other women in the branch!  In that moment, I just wanted to jump up out of my seat and give her the biggest squeeze!  We hadn’t  asked her to come or anything.  She came on her own and I am so proud and happy and thankful and just love this work! Helping others find and strengthen their faith is helping me to find and strengthen mine.

    So that was pretty much my week!  Fun adventures mixed with spiritual moments and opportunities to grow!  I am so thankful to be a missionary.  Lately, Ive been having a lot of moments where I sit back and think - “WOW - I’m in Hungary!!!” #blessedbeyondbelief!  I feel the real Brooke coming out of hiding and I’m really happy about that because now I can start moving forward... Bein’ happy!!! 

    Read Alma Chapter 5!  I love you more than you can comprehend!  You are all in my thoughts & prayers! 

    Sok Szeretettel, 

    Gertsch Nover - “B"
    The Parliament in Budapest 

    This was not apart of Brooke’s main email home but I decided to add this to the email for anyone who would be interested in reading them.  Each week I send her a list of questions and hope for answers!  I feel like they really help get insight to what her life is like while on her mission in Hungary.  I won’t add all the questions and answers but I will add the few that I think people would be interested in!  - Chris (Brooke's Mom)

    Q - What is your favorite thing about your mission so far?

    A - The favorite thing about my mission so far…. 
    That would have to be the change i have already began to feel inside! I am not saying my prayers or reading my scriptures because I know its what you and Dad want me to do or because Ali does it or anything like that. Something switched inside and I have not gone a day without reading and praying and have never felt so close to Heavenly Father and the Spirit and I know that that is the reason why I am able to get through the pain of homesickness and disconnect from home! I was so lazy before and did not have the desire to stay awake for more than 3 minutes once I got in bed to pray. and now I am taking around like 10-15 minutes just pouring my heart out to Him and it is probably the best part of the day.
    Oh and being in Europe is super cool too;)

    Q - What has been the hardest thing about your mission so far?

    A - Hardest thing about my mission so far, is that with all of this change I am experiencing, having the strongest testimony ever, Most days, I feel like no one will even give us the time of day. I can see it in their eyes, and when they don’t smile back, that they hurt inside and that life is not treating them nice at all, and I just want to give them a huge hug, tell them that there is someone that loves them SO much and to help them get on the happy path, but the hardest thing for me, is that I cant control them! This is their life and they have to be willing to let two young women into their homes and i can see how that can be awkward and stuff! Not knowing the language is hard too. but I don’t ever let that get me too down. Because I look back at when I was in the MTC and have seen such growth! I know it just takes time. 

    Q -  How many branches are there?  Pres. Szabakai put a picture of the branch house in Sveged on Facebook but it looks different from the picture you sent home. It must have been the building that he did the interviews in last weekend.  I am guessing there is more than one branch house in the city?  

    A - No that is the same branch house! there is only one branch house in each city. kind of crazy to think about Utah and even California! The Szeged branch i think has around 30-40 people? Its nice, like a little family:) this week, my trainer is helping me with learning how to small talk because i cannot do that for the life of me and I want to be nice and talk to people at church more haha!!!

    Q- What is the thing that is the most different about a mission than you thought it would be before getting there?

    A - The most different thing about the mission, was definitely the rejection. It was super hard to go from the MTC to real life too. Having so many friends, so many close close friends, to one companion every minute of every day was way weird.  It’s actually really hard for me.  Missing Ali like CRAZY.  i just miss being crazy and joking around and having fun.