Monday, May 23, 2016

"Just Do It"

Brooke's email address:

Week 23

This week, just like the last week, was extremely busy and now it is P-day and I have never wanted to sleep more in my LIFE!  We have been having so many cool, amazing, crazy experiences recently that have really solidified my surety that this is where I am supposed to be.  

Last week, I was actually getting really down on myself because I feel like I haven’t progressed enough with the language and still feel like I am a green instead of almost going into my third transfer.  It is extremely out of character for me to just throw myself out there and talk to people (especially strangers) when I am not confident in what I am saying!  I emailed Mason, a friend that is serving a mission too, and has had  similar experiences with having to learn a difficult foreign language.  He gave me SUCH AMAZING advice of studying and working with my companion and just realizing that I don’t have to be perfect but to “JUST DO IT”!  I don’t know - it was just really cool and motivating to get advice from someone that has gone through this and is going through it right now! So..Thanks Mace!!! His words “JUST DO IT” ran through my mind all week and 2 experiences in particular were successful thanks to that mindset.

ONE - We were in a program with this woman we tracted into and this was the 2nd time meeting with her.  The first time, she said that her mother needs to hear our message so we set up to meet again at the end of the week.  On Sunday, we came back and met with her and her mother.  That day, I was exhausted from trying to understand everything at church and was super scared to mess up the spirit that my companion had done such a great job bringing into the lesson!  But the “JUST DO IT” came into my mind during the lesson, and I began talking about the First Vision and recited Joseph Smith’s account and once I finished, I was about to keep talking about it and testify, but the mother ran out of the room crying! So much for “just doing it”!  (just kidding!!)  After a few minutes and after the daughter reassured us that she was just feeling it very deeply, the mother returned and you could see in her eyes that it hit home.  I felt so happy that I could have contributed to that special moment!

TWO - At church, I have been so scared to go talk to people on my own because I am so scared to ask someone how their week was, and get an answer back full of words I do not know!  So I usually walk around with my companion and have group conversations.  I play it safe!  haha!  But not this time!  As we were talking to some members, I saw - out of the corner of my eye- the less active woman we got to come back to church sitting by herself.  The thought came into my mind - “go say Hi and talk to her!”  At first, I chickened out and thought “ I can’t go have a conversation by myself! what if I don’t understand anything and it’s just painfully awkward?” But the “JUST DO IT” somehow took over and before I knew it, I was walking over towards her - ALL BY MYSELF and sat down with her.  And guess what?!  We had a great conversation about her week and her daughter and I understood everything!  Yes, it may have only been 5-6 minutes, but being on my own in a conversation for that long, is pretty new to me!  It was really exciting for me and made me even more motivated to keep working on the language so I can help more and more!  This whole “going outside of your comfort zone” is so hard for me.   I am so stubborn and afraid of failure!  But I am ready to start moving forward!  I have someone softly and patiently pushing me in that direction!

I just want to take a quick second to let you know that I have such a strong and firm testimony of prayer!  Throughout my mission, I have had experiences with prayer, pretty much multiple times a day.  Once I realized who’s at the other end of when I say my prayers and felt His presence and seen His hand in my life (magnified) I never hesitate to say a prayer!  I am starting to lose count as to how many prayers I say a day!  AM I a missionary yet?  Haha!  

Cute little shed in the backyard of the man in the story below.
so long story short… my companion and I were referred to this old man that needed his lawn mowed.  So we took a member and while he trimmed the extremely long grass, my companion and I sat and tried to get a conversation going with the man about the gospel.  Our attempt failed and he actually went inside, so we got the hint that he wasn’t interested.  The grass was so long, the job actually took about 3 hours!  So during that time, we took my camera out and were just looking at the pictures on my old memory card.  I had taken my new one out, which had about 300 new pictures on it, and set it on my lap.  After the 3 hours, we got up and left.  That night, I went to go look at my camera and realized that my new memory card was missing!!  Immediately, my mind went back to sitting on that bench in the old man’s backyard.  My heart dropped and I wanted to run back and get it or try to find it right then and there!  Unfortunately, it was too late, but my companion promised we could go back after our programs the next day (which wasn’t till around 5pm).  If anyone knows me, I have a passion, you could say, for pictures.  And to think that I had just lost, or could have possibly have lost, all those pictures and memories from being here in Hungary made me want to cry!  I will admit, I did stay up a little extra worrying that it might rain or may have fallen some other place, etc….  
But from the moment I realized it was gone, I said a prayer.  Whenever my mind would start to worry about it, (which is more times that a normal person should) I would say a prayer. I had a constant prayer in my heart that my little card would be watched over and protected and that I would be able to find it!  it seems like such a silly thing to pray so hard about, I know.  But the next day, we went over to the exact place where I was sitting.  I saw NO sign of the memory card.  I looked all around the bench and started to get so sad that it was gone and that my prayers didn’t work.  The old man said he would call us if he saw it, so I got up from off my hands and knees and in that moment, I prayed SO HARD in my head- just begged - “PLEASE!” and then looked at these plants that were at my feet and stuck my hand in and felt around and YOU’LL NEVER GUESS WHAT WAS IN THE PLANTS!? a snail….
AND MY MEMORY CARD!!  I know my story is super cheesy and pathetic that I was so worried about pictures, but it has just been another experience that reaffirms that God is always there and is so aware of each and everyone of us and will answer our prayers, even if it is for the smallest thing! 

This week was SZEGEDI NAPOK - (Szeged days) which meant there were festivals every single day!  haha... it's a party over here!

  • I am so thankful for wise friends with good advice!
  • I am so thankful for courage and comfort we can receive from the Holy Ghost.
  • I am so thankful I found my memory card so you guys can still see all of my pictures from the past few months!
  • And most importantly, I am so incredibly thankful for my Father in Heaven and that I can always turn to Him, through prayer.

All my love, 

Gertsch Nővér

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The weeks just keep getting better & better!

Brooke’s email address:

WAIT!  The weeks just keep getting better & better!

This week was so jam-packed with work, I feel like I could sleep for an entire week straight.  But ain’t no missionary got time for that!  And being busy made the time fly by and it was so amazing to have a lot of people to meet with!  An answer to my prayers!

2 people, in particular, that we met with this week really strengthened my testimony.  Both are just so awesome and accept everything we talk about – you can tell that they have been prepared to meet with us.  One guy came to our English class and then asked if he could meet with us because he was curious as to what our religion is all about.  So we have started meeting with him and the lessons have been SO amazing because he really is wanting to figure out for himself if God is really there and that He will answer his prayers.  I think the coolest thing about his guy, is that, this week, he talked about how it’s hard for him to have a strong testimony because he thinks too much with his brain instead of his heart.  And at that moment, I wanted to jump up and yell “HEY ME TOO!”.  Sometimes being a rational thinker gets in the way of just going forward with faith, but I am slowly but surely learning and was able to share experiences that helped me and I just know that I am meeting with him for a reason!!

The second person comes with a pretty interesting story.  Last week, we tracted and found this one lady that let us in.  We talked for a while about how awesome religion is and how important God is in our lives and she seemed like a legit, potential investigator we set up to meet with her again and that was that!  We set aside an hour for tracting before we met the lady this week.  We decided to use that hour before our meeting with her to tract the neighboring building until it was time.  Nothing was too out of the ordinary while tracting, but as it got closer to the time of our appointment, I suggested that we leave so we could be on time.  My companion said that we should finish the 3 apartments left on the floor and then we would go.  So we did.  And I am so glad we did!  The first 2 people weren’t home but the 3rd was. The guy that lived at the 3rd apartment answered the door and we explained to him that we were missionaries, that we believe in the Book of Mormon, etc.  After we introduced ourselves and why we were at his door, he was like, “wait, are you serious? This book really makes you happier?”  It sounds cheesy but those were his exact words!  And then he went on to say that he needs Jesus in his life and wants to become a better person.  After that, he invited us to come in so we could talk more… but we were so sad to have to decline and head to our program, but we set up with him for the next day.  Then we ran to go to our lesson.  We tried calling up to her apartment but no one answered.  We waited a few more minutes and then tried again – same thing.  I took that as a sign and so did my companion and we ran back to the neighboring apartment building.  When the guy opened his door, he laughed and then said “come on in!”.  We had such a great discussion with him after that and I cannot even tell you how amazing it feels to see something click inside someone when they hear the right sentence and you can see that it touched their heart.  And I’m not sure if it is fate or whatnot that led us to his apartment at the perfect time and that our prior appointment just so happened to cancel that made it possible for us to go back and meet with him, but I would most definitely give all the credit to Heavenly Father and know that He is leading us to each door and each person.  What I have learned thus far, is as long as we wake up in the morning with a willing heart, walk out the door with a willing heart, and keep pushing through with a willing heart, that good things are going to happen!

The above picture is a rose made by our friend Mark.  He makes these by hand! ISN'T IT SO BEAUTIFUL?!  He made one for both me and my companion.  


  • An old man tried to pay us after we gave him a Book of Mormon!  After he refused to take the money back and closed the door, we slipped the money back under his door!  Haha! 
  • We met with a few members and they fed us! And when I say fed us, I mean they FED US!  (sending pics! – Pictures are of Stuffed Cabbage, a traditional Hungarian dish!

  • We were invited by an investigator (the Catholic man) to an Organ performance in the beautiful temple in the Belváros, or City Center.  It was so incredible and the whole time I was just waiting for the Phantom of the Opera to come down on a chandelier or something.  Haha!  Unfortunately, he didn’t…. but still, such an amazing experience! 

  • My companion and I went out tracting without jackets and then got totally drenched from a rainstorm! Sadly, I forgot my camera so we could not document it, but it was hilarious and all the Nénís were so worried about us freezing to death!
  • AND WE MADE SMORES with Timmi & Kitti!  Almost like home but just as fun!! 

And that is all I’ve got for this week!  It has been such a rollercoaster of ups and downs being out here on a mission.  Right now I would say I am on an extremely high “up” and I know that there will still be downs in the future. But this is the craziest, most unpredictable thing I have ever experienced in my many years (haha) but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. 

Anyway, I love you all!  So much… with all my heart!  I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for you.  I know I say it all the time, but I really mean it! 

Have an incredible week!

All my love,

Sok Szeretettel,

Gertsch Nővér

Monday, May 9, 2016

Best Week of My Mission So Far - Week 21 Update

Brooke's email:

Okay Yes, partly because I got to Skype my favorite people yesterday for Mother’s Day.  But I also was blessed with such an amazing week full of countless amazing experiences.  There wasn’t a day that went by where we didn’t feel God’s hand leading us to knock on certain doors or visiting specific less-active members.  I have such a testimony that if you push through and endure the hard times, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!  Great things come to those who wait!  And I know that the good times will not last forever and you will have to go through another tunnel, but that’s when you live in the now and enjoy today!  And yes, I am just full of cliche’s but they are definitely cliche’s that just so happen to be true!  

Anyway, so this week was solid. Every lesson we had went really good, we had a lot of people let us in from tracting, and just enjoyed ourselves and were happy while out working.  I think, actually I KNOW,  that’s the secret to it all; TO BE HAPPY.  And to be WILLING.  If you are both of those things, the Spirit will be with you and you will be able to accomplish great things!

Okay so a spiritual experience I had this week was when we had a program with this very Catholic man.  I don’t know if I have talked about him before, but every time when we would meet, he does the reading we ask him to read in the Book of Mormon, but then when it comes to discussing it, he goes into debate mode.  So when this week came around, I was very hesitant and confused as to why we were continuing to meet with him if he was not going to progress.  So I prayed about it and hoped we would figure out what to do once we met… Boy was my prayer answered!  So we went in planning to talk about Family History work because he is very interested in history and stuff.  
First, we had to go over Heavenly Father’s plan and about the family (it’s my absolute favorite thing to talk about because I have the strongest testimony about it!) The Senior Couple, The Howell’s, had also accompanied us and found a great Mormon Message video to go along with the lesson.  I had not watched it beforehand, which probably would have been a good idea!  It was a simple video, with a little girl singing “Families Can Be Together Forever” and the Spirit just hit me like a huge wave and I started bawling like a baby!  Because my family is the most important thing to me on this planet.  And I always feel so incredibly blessed when I think about each and every person I get to call family.  My companion nudged me and told me to go from there and I tried my absolute best to pull myself together, but it was no use.  Once the video was over, I shared a simple testimony about families and how lucky we are to have the chance to live with them forever and be able to do work for those who have already left this life.  The greatest part, was that I was not the only one crying like a baby!  The man we were teaching also had tears in his eyes, and in that moment I honestly believed we connected over our love for our families.  The Spirit was so strong during the lesson and I did not want it to end!  But I guess he really felt something too, because he came to church yesterday!!!  It’s the littlest things that can affect you in the long run.  I know that for a fact!  

With the talk of families, I got to Skype my family and I was so shocked at how strong I was when I had to end the calls.  Being away from them has been the hardest thing for me, but sacrificing only 13 more months to go serve the Lord and help the people in Hungary is well worth the wait!  

Love you all, and hug your family and never take them for granted!  They are the best gift God has given us.

Love you Lots!

Gertsch Nover 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be Alright!

Brooke’s contact info:

1122 Budapest
Hajnoczy Jozsef utca 14

WEEK 20 (I was wrong on the week last week... Chris)


The month of May has finally arrived.  It’s crazy that I only have 1 more month until my 6th month mark!  Time needs to slow down a little bit.  Our days are starting to pickup, full of appointments and tracting, and by the end of the day, I feel like I am just laying down to go to sleep the night before!  And then my night of sleep feels only like 30 minutes. So I have come to the conclusion that TIME is so hard to wrap your head around!  I am in the groove of the mission schedule and the mission life and the aspect of time is really throwing me off!  Like today is already P-Day again, and I don’t feel like I have too much to write about!  This week was quick and fun and here’s what went down!


I got to see my best friend, Mason Nover once again!  We have been so blessed to be in the same Zone so that we can see each other throughout the transfer.  Stringham Elder was also transferred into our Zone so we were able to see him too. ( He was in the MTC fam-bam as well!!) 
The training went so well and I love getting a recharge and a refocus on the work.


My amazing companion turned 20 this week, so we got pekseg (pastries) and put our make-shift candle in it and sang!  This picture is like our life summed up in a snapshot! We also went to pizza and accidentally ordered one of the biggest pizza’s I have ever seen (50cm) Don’t worry Mom… I’m not going hungry! haha


that was quite the experience, very different than at home!  Instead of planting flowers at the temple or the Middle school or fixing up the Folsom Zoo, we went in the forest along the Tisza River picking up trash.  Never have I ever seen so much alcohol!  Yes, I lived in a bubble!  But we just filled bag after bag with 1.5 liter bottles that stunk of alcohol - my least favorite smell I have come upon after being here.  Anyway, it was such a surreal moment, being in this beautiful green forest, in Hungary, with fun people, doing service.  Those moments are coming around so often and I am trying my best to engrave these in my memory!  Sister Howell also taught us how to whistle with a blade of grass, so I can now add that to my list of skills!  It’s cool to think of all my loved ones, at home, and on missions all over the world, doing Mormon Helping Hands and other service!  This church is so great!


So this week we had a lesson with an investigator.  It was probably the best lesson on my mission so far.  She is basically already a member, just waiting for paperwork, so we decided to go back to the basics and talk about how we are all God’s children and how important each one of us are to HIm.  My companion brought this book called “ertekes vagy”, and in English, it’s called, “You Are Special”.  I totally remember growing up reading the book and having my mom read it to me, so it was definitely a walk down memory lane… in another country!!  haha.  The woman we were teaching offered to read it to us so we sat in front of her, like it was story time back in Kindergarten.  Her voice was so mother-like and soft and almost made me fall asleep.  I was so at home!  Highlight of my week.  Made me miss home, but if I was at home, how could I be meeting such amazing people and having these once-in-a-lifetime experiences?  

Márk and Klaudia, my little friends! we go and read with them every week. their parents are not members, but their grandma asks us to come help them each week! i love them so much. 

Well, those were the big events in my week.  The work is slowly picking up.  I am still working on my patience with the pace of it, but I know I am where I’m supposed to be and am waiting willingly for someone to be put in my path that I can help!  My wise momma once told me, “Trust in God’ plan.  He knows what He is doing.  Every single thing that is going on in every person’s life - especially if they are trying to choose the right - is a part of His plan and it will all make sense at some point.”  That is something that I LIVE BY because as hard as it is to hand over the steering wheel to someone else and just go with the flow, we aren’t just handing it over to anybody.  Heavenly Father knows us better than we even know ourselves and if we are living by His standards and do our part, just as the Bob Marley song says “every little thing is gonna be alright!”  

Have a great week, sending all my love from Hungary to you!  Thanks for being you and keeping me strong!  Wouldn’t know where I would be without your love and support!

Sok Szeretettel, 

Gertsch Nover