Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"I'm in the most beautiful country Momma!" Week 20 Update

Brooke’s email address:  brooke.gertsch@myldsmail.net 

Week 20 (I think I put the wrong week last week… - Chris)

"I'm in the most beautiful country Momma!" 

Okay, I am starting to understand what other missionaries have been warning me about how fast the time starts to go!!  Seriously felt like P-Day was like 2 days ago.  The idea of time never ceases to amaze me haha!

-This week, I had a lot of “oh my gosh, I’m in Hungary” moments and did my best to really soak in those moments and make them count!  On Tuesday and Wednesday, we went on splits again with the Sister Training Leaders, so we got to travel up to BUDAPEST!  I LOVE BUDAPEST!  It is so beautiful and was a much needed breath of fresh air and a change in the scenery!  We met with some great members and of course were fed extremely well!  By the end, I was excited to head home to my family and home back in Szeged!

The Parliament Building in Budapest

  The Szechenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest                        

- We met with a YSA (Young Single Adult), Gabor and his family this week and his dad is an expert fisherman and wanted to cook us a traditional Hungarian FISH SOUP.  He cooked it along the Tisza River so that was a glorious afternoon in the sunshine!!  I love sushi… and like Tilapia, and of course tuna fish (cooked) but other than that, I don’t really do fish!  And I had heard stories about how there were full-on fish heads and eyeballs in the soup, so it was a pleasant surprise to see none of that!  I have become so brave when it comes to eating and give the fish soup a thumbs up!  I can cross that off the list of things to try!

- On the topic of food, FAGYI, or ice cream, is my true love!  It can seriously lighten any day!  I do not have an ounce of regret as to how much Fagyi I consume, and will yet consume!

- A little tender mercy for the week was while we were tracting - We climbed up the 6 flights of stairs and I will admit, I did not have a huge amount of energy.  But we knocked on doors and took turns talking to people.  Halfway down the building, we met this girl and we got talking about how we were American and what we were doing here in Hungary.  Without hesitation, she asked us to come in and we had a totally solid conversation about the Book of Mormon and she took one and we are going to meet again next week.  We pray with all our hearts, each and every day, to find those that are ready to receive the gospel and have been prepared.  A lot of days, I am so impatient because they don’t run up to us and get in line!  And sometimes I get too excited too early and the people that I think may progress, end up not wanting anything to do with us.  BUT I will always stay hopeful and I will always stay positive!  I am in such an incredible country with the strongest and very influential church members and will patiently wait and work to find those that need the gospel.  

Teaching English Class - Teaching "Directions"

Thank you, always, for the love and support.  I am strengthened and able to do my best thanks to your prayers!  Sending my love to you all.

Have an amazing week!

Sok Szeretettel,

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Here's to growth! Brooke Gertsch - Week 15 Update

Brooke’s contact info - I know she would love to get updates on all of you as well!!! 

Gertsch Nover
1122 Budapest
Hajnoczy Jozsef utca 14

Another week here in the beautiful city of Szeged!  Honestly, I have never experienced such a beautiful spring in my life!  Here’s a quick rundown of this past week:
  • I said “szia” (see-ya) to one of my pairs of shoes this week.  We went to go find a less-active that lived way out in the middle of nowhere and walked so far, the sidewalks disappeared.  So we walked a long way on the side of the road.  Turns out the address was wrong so we headed back towards the city for another program we had scheduled.  As I was walking along the road, I took a step in this big, huge mud puddle, and my entire foot was covered in mud.  We didn’t have time to go home and change shoes (or buy a new pair for that matter) so we ran down to the shore of the river which was right next to us.  It was quite the sight to see.  Definitely not one of my most functional and proud moments, but made for a great story.

  • I finally got to meet the sweetest soul who’s name is JANKA!  She and I had met on social media before I left home and then she wrote us in the MTC and we got to teach her on Skype in the MTC too.  There was a Young Adult Conference in Szeged this weekend, so she came down and we got to hang out!  She is pretty much the coolest!
  • I think I died and went to heaven.  After going to a dinner program with the Senior couple - Elder and Sister Howell - we were driving back and came upon this HUGE flower field.  A field of Cannola flowers.  They were nice enough to pull over so we could frolic in them and take some pics!  It was definitely an “I must be in Hungary” kind of moment!
  • This week I also felt the transition of being a “greenie” or new missionary to NOT being a new missionary because I am on my second transfer!  AH!  One moment in particular, was extremely painful and I wish I could take it back, but of course, you can’t.  My companion was talking to an investigator about the Book of Mormon and I could tell that she was wrapping the lesson up, so I started to plan what I was going to say for the prayer, because 9 times out of 10, they call on me because I’m more quiet out of the 2 of us.  As I am thinking of things to say in Hungarian, all of a sudden all eyes turn to me, and I frantically look at my companion and she whispers to me, “testify”, and not one word comes to my mind.  Bearing my testimony of the Book of Mormon and of Christ is one of the only things I know how to do!  But for some reason, I was given a stupor of thought and immediately regretted letting my mind unfocused, even if it was for a minute or two.  I wish I could say i recovered, but I didn’t and couldn’t believe that I let the person we were teaching, my companion, myself and Heavenly Father down by not testifying of truth at that moment.  It made me realize and recognize how many opportunities I am given to bear witness and that I need to step up my game and step out of my comfort zone and be brave.  At first, after that experience, I let myself get upset and question if I can do this.  But instantaneously, I get this thought rush through me of “you live and you learn.  LEARN FROM THIS BROOKE!”  And honestly, from that point on, it has rejuvenated me and motivated me to push my boundaries.  I’ve learned that I never want to regret not speaking to people, so I have started talking to people when we go tracting (something I was too scared to do before) and always share my testimony, even if it is short and simple.

“We had an American Breakfast for dinner last night with Elder & Sister Howell and the Elders.  I WAS SO HAPPY!!!”

I love being a missionary for countless reasons.  But one in particular, is that life is so crazy!  Some days you step in mud.  Some days, you miss home a whole lot.  Some days you get frustrated because the language doesn’t come as fast as you want it to.  But being here on a mission, I have never felt alone or weak, to the point of giving up. 

With all your love and support back home AND help from above, I can do hard things!!! I am learning A LOT about PATIENCE and PERSPECTIVE.  You can say that it is the right way to live, but until you actually put it to the test, that is when you learn a whole lot.  I can’t wait to learn even more in the next year

Here's to Growth!!

- Gertsch Nover  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

4 MONTHS ALREADY? Week 18 Update


Don’t get me wrong, I try my absolute best to “make the days count” instead of count the days.  But honestly, I cannot believe I have been gone for 126 days!  CRAZY!  And now we are at the end of the first transfer - in Hungary - and I have gained so much experience I would not have the opportunity to experience anywhere else!  

As I’ve said in my past emails, SPRING is definitely here in Szeged and I’m in love!! Flowers everywhere and so much green!  I don’t know why, but when the weather gets better, I get happier and so do others around me.  Apologies for all my flower pics - my camera doesn’t even do it justice!


We met with two amazing members - Kitti and Timi.  They are both Single Young Adults in our branch.  We met with them and had Rootbeer Floats.  Talk about missing home!  It’s nice having some foods that taste the same and the best people to drink it with.

  • Meeting the sweetest family - At the beginning of last week, we went out to a falu, or village, and got to meet with a family that lives far from Szeged.  I could say so much, but in short, they all have such a strong unity and it was amazing to see how strong there testimonies were.  Seriously, my testimony grows so much just from people like these that go through a lot and at the end of the day, still have a smile another face and a great relationship with God.

  • So yesterday, we were trying to look up less-active members and were having no luck.  We randomly decided to tract this one building, and no one answered, except this old lady, and she let us in!  That doesn’t happen too often!  haha, so we came in (and she was so cute scooting around with her little walker).  As we got to the living room, there was another little old lady and it turns out they are mother and daughter.  We were guessing that the mom was definitely in her 90’s and the daughter late 70’s or 80’s.  They were so adorable !  It took about 2 minutes before they began to tell their life stories and both their husbands died and they only have each other.  It gets more precious.  We asked if we could share a scripture and they absolutely loved it and love God.  We gave the mother a Book of Mormon and when we told her it was free and our gift to her, she began to cry and said that she has never received such a special gift and began stroking it!  If only everyone had that reaction to the Book of Mormon!  It really IS such an incredible gift, to have God’s words here on the earth through his Prophets.  but yeah, so we finished the little lesson with the neni’s (Grandmas) with a prayer and in the middle of my companion’s prayer, one of them jumped in and started adding on to her prayer!  We were smiling so hard.  It’s little things like that and people like them that make me so thankful to be where I am!


And the news as to what I will be doing in the next two months is….. WE ARE BOTH STAYING IN SZEGED!  My trainer and I are staying together and we are so happy that we don’t have to say any goodbyes to our friends and our home here! 
 9 more weeks in the Sunshine City!  I couldn’t be more happy!

I love you all so much and hope you  have a great week!  Stay strong & healthy & safe.

Lots of Love from Hungary!!!


Ether 12:4
“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hello Spring! Week 17 Update

Hello from Szeged!

In all honesty, I was worried that this week, I would not have anything positive to write about.  I went a solid 4 days where all we got was rejection after rejection.  I am coming to the end of my first transfer, so this week I tried talking to more people and practiced with the language, too.  And it just so happened that as soon as I took a step out of my comfort zone, we began to get doors slammed in our faces (for the first time).  the first time -  I really tried my best to shake it off (my comp and I actually sang the Taylor Swift song haha).  But the second time, the man slammed it so hard that my heart dropped immediately down into my stomach.  I look back at those first few weeks when I thought getting no smiles back was hard!  I will be the first to admit that after that experience, I let myself get a little weaker.  I lost the drive and the energy, I usually have, and just kind of shut down.  i didn’t know what I was doing here, I felt like I wasn’t making a difference - just bothering people that were uninterested.  I started to focus on negative stuff and it is scary how fast the perspective can change when you let it.  The weather has been gorgeous this week and I hadn’t really even noticed because I was too busy being gloomy inside.  But here’s where the good stuff comes in-

Last week we had called a woman who was inactive in the church and she agreed to meet with us.  And after the long week I’d had, I was praying praying praying for a good moment to come around the corner.  And this lady was JUST THAT! When we came in and sat down, she immediately started to tell us about her life.  About why she left the church, about how she loves the Sister Missionaries … SCORE haha!  The entire time as she talked, I was overcome with such a strong sense of gratitude because although I still feel like I can’t speak much Hungarian, my understanding of what people are saying is growing each and every day.  As time passed, this woman continued to like, bear her testimony of how much she loves God and how important prayer is, and we could truly see that she has faith.  This woman was hurting so bad.  She is all alone, her family has nothing to do with her.  My heart broke as she continued to talk because you could totally tell that she just wanted to talk to someone! And we were so happy we could be that someone!!! As we went to share a spiritual thought, she opened to a random page in the scriptures and found a scripture on strength and freaked out and said, “That wasn’t me!”  we all started crying by that point.  She was so cute and continued to flip through the Book of Mormon to other pages and would find a scripture she (and I) needed to really hear.   It was such a testimony to me of the power of the Book of Mormon and how it is the word of God and can help anyone with any trial in their life.  I could go on and on about this experience!  Haha, she said she can totally see me doing something with writing in my future (? She may be a psychic?) It was just rejuvenating for me to go from wanting to be done, to watching someone’s spirit come out from hiding and to get her laughing and smiling again.  I don’t think I have felt the Spirit so strong while on my mission!  I know she may have needed us to come at that exact time, but I needed to go to her and learn from her, too!  It’s funny how that works!

Anyway, I LOVE this gospel and I LOVE being a missionary!  I am so thankful for the patience the Lord has for me when I crawl back in my shell and give up for a little.  But as soon as I start moving, He ALWAYS gives me opportunities to be strengthened.  And I know that does not just apply to me as a missionary, but to anyone throughout any walk of life.  He has felt every pain - whether it be the rejection of a door slammed in your face or feeling completely alone, and we don’t have to experience any of that on our own.  Aren’t we lucky?

 My heart is so full.

Then to end the weekend with 2 days of General Conference.  We actually watched the Saturday morning session at 6pm and then the Saturday afternoon on Sunday morning and so on.  So that was a different experience!  No PJ’s or pillows...but being here on a mission, I have never gotten so much out of a couple hours of listening to the leaders of the church!  Each talk  was full of so much relative inspiration for everyone and made me want to be such a better person in so many ways. 
Setting up for Conference at the Branch House 

I really really love this gospel.  Have I said that already?  I know I’ve already said that I love my Savior, but I could (and will) say that an endless amount of times.  Having the knowledge that I am never ever alone can get me through any difficult challenge.  And what’s really amazing is , that was what we were teaching that lady  I was talking about before.  I had no idea that by serving and teaching others, I would be the one learning as much, if not more, than the people we meet with!  

I hope you all had a wonderful week and enjoyed Conference too!  It was so much fun to watch the session live and to know my family was at home watching the same exact thing, as well as my friends out on missions too!  We are so lucky.  so, so lucky!  

Stay safe and happy!  

All my love,

Gertsch Nover