Friday, July 29, 2016

Thank You for the Butterflies!


Week of 7/18-7/24 (Happy Birthday Court!)

I never really know how to start these things, haha, as each week comes to an end and I go to write.  I feel like I always say how fast the time is flying and how much I loe where I am and what I’m doing.  But it’s okay that I repeat it, because it’s all true.  
As the weeks, even the days go by, I begin to feel more and more comfortable and confident in the work, in the language, in myself, and that is when I really love it and don’t want it to end.  


 This week - 2 thumbs up!  Remember the couple we found while tracking in the rain?  Well, we met with them this week and it went really, really, really good!  My comp and I were actually pretty nervous going into the lesson because we had not taught the “beginning” lesson in a really long time.  And we didn’t have older comps to do all the hard work for us.  This lesson was important because it would act as a foundation for investigators.  No pressure at all - haha.  To say the least, we studied and practiced as hard as we could before the lesson.  But this couple is so cute.  They are young and so friendly and as we had our lesson, they took out their pet turtle and it was running around the room!  Never been able to talk about that kind of a distraction before!  But back to the lesson… these two were probably the most patient people I have met on my mission so far and they helps us feel comfortable with trying to use our Hungarian! They were so receptive and interested in what we were teaching.  It all just felt really right.  I can't even really describe it in any other way!  It is also really cool to feel the growth in my abilities and in my testimony.  The stronger it gets, the easier it is to share it with anyone ad everyone.  

Another little story from the week was actually an amazing reminder to me that I really needed to hear.  We were almost done with tracting and walked up to one last building.  And before we could ring on osengő on the intercom, out comes the cute little néni.  We told her we were missionaries and like to talk about Jesus with people and she said, “good, follow me then!”  She led us over to this bench and we sat down and started talking.  Actually it was pretty much just her telling us her life story for an hour.  But it was so enjoyable because she just talked about how she has seen God help her in her life and how she always thanks Him for every little thing.  As we stat and just smiled and nodded she would point out the clouds and the butterflies and I felt so happy seeing this 87 year old woman just so content and thankful.  She was such a great example to me and really inspired me to appreciate the little things.  I am always so grateful for things God gives me, but sometimes I forget to thank Him, so thank you sweet, adorable Néni for that!  She said she was Catholic so she wasn’t interested in the Book of Mormon, but I asked if we could say a prayer with her before we left, and she was absolutely thrilled about it.  She also made me give thanks for the butterflies.  

(Okay quick story. we got ice cream on probably the most humid day i have ever experienced, and within a minute of walking, it just began to melt like CRAZY and i looked like a 3 year old with ice cream all over me haha)

Man do I just place!  And not even just this place but the people.  Yes, we face rejection on the daily, but each day we are also given at least one person that puts a smile on our face.  The people here have some of the biggest hearts and are the strongest people I have ever met.  I know I was sent here not only to help them and serve them, but to learn from them.  

(Józsi Bácsi :) He is a member and loves the missionaries. He took us out to lunch because it was my first week here in Duna!
Also he is just like Grandpa. so loving and friendly and made friends with the waiter, I love it haha. He also had a stroke so can’t use half of his body. one of my heroes for sure. )

(Dunaújváros. i think it is so beautiful here)

My heart is so full and Icould spend hours just thanking Heavenly Father for all He’s given me.  I love this gospel and the Magyar people! 

(we are currently trying to figure out how to get to these sunflower fields. they are all over. this was on the train ride to budapest. i was FREAKING OUT as you could imagine!!!)

(these are the markets! instead of going to a grocery store, you can buy fresh food here! so much fun)

Have a great week, sending all my love!

Sok Szeretettel, 

Gertsch Nővér

Friday, July 15, 2016


Brooke's email address:


Well, this week felt like 2 weeks in one.  SPOILER… I’m not in Szeged anymore!  I will get to that in a quick second.  

4th of July was pretty dang fun.  We went to Burger King (so American, I know!) and had pulled-pork sandwiches and did a ropes course!  No fireworks, but it was still a super fun day.  Not going to lie, I have no upper body strength and watching me have to spend 20 minutes getting through the hard courses must have been really entertaining.  I have the bruises to prove I made it!

But on to MISSIONARY STUFF!  One of the harder weeks of my mission.  For one, we had a few of our investigators that we met with for so long, just decide they didn’t want to meet any more.  I had grown so attached to these people and really loved watching them feel the Spirit and become happier people.  Free Agency can be such a hard thing to be patient with.  
As upset and discouraged as I felt, my companion and I tried our best to find a new perspective and more motivation to find.  And then Friday morning came.  We were in the middle of studies when the phone rang and it was President Szabadkai.  There was a Sister that had to go home to have surgery, so the next monday (3 days later) I needed to be in Budapest to meet my new companion and then move from Szeged to their city, Duna Újváros.  So I had to pack up - still don’t know how I get everything in 3 suitcases, but I did - and had to say goodbye to my family and home in Szeged.  It was incredibly hard.  I was already stressing about having to leave in like 5 weeks and now I was leaving incredibly soon.  I do not like goodbyes and I had to say so many!  These people had been so welcoming and showed me so much love and compassion.  They have helped me grow in so many ways.  As I stood leading the music in Sacrament Meeting for the last time, I felt nothing but overwhelming gratitude.  I have had the opportunity to spend almost a third of my mission here in this beautiful city with these beautiful people.  As hard as change is , I thank my Szeged family for all the love and support and they will always hold a special place in my heart!  I am really excited to meet new people and love them just as much!  

I got to Duna yesterday and it is a lot smaller than Szeged, but it is charming and most definitely a new adventure!  My new companion is Brantley Nővér and she is so adorable and sweet.  She is actually a group below me, so I am now senior companion in my third transfer!  It was daunting at first but as we started working together we are realizing how much fun this is going to be and how much we are going to learn and grow!  So get ready to hear some crazy new stories in the weeks to come! 

Above: My Szeged companion on my right and my new companion on my left 

I seriously love being here and seeing what each day brings.  I’m so thankful for a Heavenly Father that knows what I need to improve but also always giving me the strength and perspective to keep going, even when it’s hard and scary.  I have absolutely loved Szedged and will miss it dearly and will be back to visit as soon as possible!  But I have such a good feeling about his new city and it’s only my first day here, haha!  I will have more to update on next week, so stay tuned!

Above: the cute pink kitchen in my new apartment 

Take care, I love you all a whole lot!

Sok szeretettel, 

Gertsch Nővér

Saying Goodbye:


Andi - my "Hungarian Grandma"

My great friend Kriszti

Dalma - the investigator that is waiting on her marriage papers to be translated to be baptized


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Week of June 27th - July 3rd

Brooke's email:

Week of June 27th - July 3rd

My twin sister gave me a book before I left for the mission which was full of her favorite quotes, lyrics, letters, pictures - just a whole lot of love and motivation!  This last week, I pulled it out, as I was missing her really bad (which is everyday, haha) But she had written down a story that I had read before, but for some reason when I read it this week, I felt as though it was speaking right at me.  How did she know that it was exactly what I needed?  I don’t know.  But I’m so thankful and I thought I would share the story because it’s something we can all remember.  It’s from Elder Hugh B Brown’s talk and this how Ali started it -  

“When you’re feeling like things aren’t going the way you played (cause we both know that you have a tendency to set too high of expectations)”  - Ali (Someone knows me way too well!)

The Currant Bush 

One day a farmer, while tending to his crops, came across a current bush.  It had grown up over 6 feet high.  There were no blossoms and no currants.  The farmer knew what was to be done, so he got his pruning shears and clipped it back until there was nothing left but stumps.  Just as he began to turn away, he thought to have seen on top of each stump what appeared to be a tear and thought the currant bush was crying.  He smiled kindly to himself and asked the bush, “what are you crying about?” And as he said this he thought he heard the bush say, “How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth.  I was almost as big as the shade and fruit trees and now you’ve gone and cut me down!  I thought you loved me, now every plant will look down on me because I didn’t make what I should have made.  How could you do that to me?  I thought you were the gardener here?”  
And the gardener, after hearing the sorrow of the currant bush, kindly knelt down beside it and simply said, “look little currant bush - I AM the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be.  I didn’t intend for you to be a fruit or a shade tree.  I want you to be a currant bush, and someday, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down’.”  
Years passed and the gardener because a commander in the army.  He was vey proud of his position but there was an opportunity to become a General.  He was fully qualified for the job and even had seniority.  He had been working long and hard for the position for over 10 years, but the position was given to another.  He was crushed.  As he went to leave to return to his old post, he came across his personal file and right across the bottom of it was written “THIS MAN IS A MORMON”. So with a broken heart and bitterness in his soul, he boarded a train home and every click of the wheels on the rails seemed to say, “You’re a failure.”  When he got back to his tent, he was so bitter that he threw his clenched fists in the air and shook them at Heaven.  He proceeded to say, “How could you do this to me God?  I have done all I could do to measure up.  There is nothing more that I could have done - that I should have done - that I haven’t done!  How could you do this to me?”  Then a voice in his mind, his own voice, said softly to him, “I’m the gardener here.  I know what I want you to be.” 
And the man fell on his knees by his cot and began to ask for forgiveness , for his ungratefulness and bitterness  And as he knelt there, praying for forgiveness, he heard children at mutual across the street begin to sing a hymn:

“But if by a still, small voice He calls, to paths that I do not know, 
I’ll answer, dear Lord, which my hand in thine:
I’ll go where you want me to go.”

Years passed by and the man lived his life, though it be humble. To this day, 50 years later, he still looks up at heaven and says “Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.” 

Many of us will go through life and experience difficult things: disappointment, heartbreak, grief, defeat.  You are going to be tested and tried.  I want you to know that if you don’t get what you thing you ought to get or when things don’t go the way that you planned, remember: God is the gardener here.  He knows what He wants you to be.  submit yourself to His will.  Be worthy of His blessings and you will receive His blessings 
- Elder Hugh B. Brown

Apologies for the length of the story, I just love every single line of it.  At the beginning of this transfer, I felt so great.  I was stepping out of my comfort zone and were were working really hard.  I was ready to keep progressing and keep working, but we have kind of hit a plateau.  This week, we had a lot of open days, so we set out to find people - Find those people that need the gospel!  But we were coming up with nothing! (Although, we did find this beautiful swamp that made me feel like I was in Florida or something! Oh and a baby bird!!) 

I felt like the man in the story.  If I am doing everything I can, why aren’t people being put in my path?  Why isn’t it getting easier?  After reading the story I felt nothing but peace knowing that Heavenly Father is the gardener.  He knows what’s best and He is the one in charge.  So all I can do is continue to be willing and do the best that I can and He will do the rest.  I felt guilty for being so selfish and definitely need Him to forgive me on that one!

With all my focus on what I felt is missing, I was distracted a little bit and could not focus on the positive things that happened with our investigators like how they are coming so close to Christ!  You can feel in every session.  And this cute old néne let us in while tracting - and quick Hungarian tip for ya - I thought she asked me “Egészséges vagtok?”, which is “Are you guys healthy?”  So I replied, “Of course! Always!”  BUT what she actually said was “Éhesek vagytok?” which means “Are you guys hungry?”  And then I got a worried look from my comp as she brought out a platter of RAW PIG FAT and watched us as we ate all of our serving.
Lesson learned - PAY CLOSE ATTENTION and I need to study Hungarian a whole lot more!  Haha… just a day in the life of me!  I can live to tell the tale and have to say I did not eat for the rest of the day!

Well on that note, thanks for bearing with me and my super long-winded email this week! A big shout out to my best friend for helping lift my spirit even though you probably didn’t know it!  

I hope you have a great week! You are always in my thoughts and prayers.

Love you with all my heart


Gertsch Növér

1 Nephi 3:7
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. 

Alma 36:3 
And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trial, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.