Monday, August 29, 2016

I had a super busy week last week and never got last week’s email out!  There was a bad storm in Duna where Brooke is last week so I did not receive her email till Wednesday.  I just decided to send both week’s emails together!  - Chris (Brooke’s mom) 

Brooke’s email -

AUGUST 29th, 2016 


Crazy!  I cannot believe I am on my fourth transfer!  As I said last week, my companion and I were given the opportunity to co-train here in Duna!  So on Wednesday we made our way up to Budapest and we were given our new missionary!  And we scored BIG TIME!  Hooper Nővér is so adorable and sweet and we all just clicked right away.  I will admit I was a little nervous to train because I felt like I didn’t know the language well enough.  But after one week, I feel a lot more comfortable and confident am really excited to improve more and more!  I think that I am the one who is getting the training because ever since we got Hooper Nővér, her “greenie fire” (“greenie” is a nickname for a brand new missionary) has rubbed off of bus!  We worked last transfer, but not this hard.  And it’s only been a week!  She is so positive and such a hard worker and has been a breath of fresh air for me.  
^^Brooke and her companions Brantley Nővér and Hooper Nővér

This week we talked to so many people.  And definitely did some creative finding!  On Saturday, it was a holiday here in Hungary, so nobody could meet so we had an entire day empty.  So we decided to tract on of the daunting 10-story apartment buildings with a whole bunch of apartments.  A lot of people were upset that we interrupted their day off, which was totally understandable.  The best part, though, was when we would brush off the harsh rejection and keep on going - that was when we found people.  One person let us in and we were able to talk about the Book of Mormon and the importance of families.  We also came across some very kind people. 
^^Erzsiber, a woman in the Branch in Duna.  I have so much love for this woman!

Each day, my testimony just continues to grow and grow when it comes to faith.  Only AFTER the trial of our faith are we able to see miracles that help to strengthen it.  As hard as it may sometimes be, it is most definitely worth it.  
^^ COOL STORY! so yesterday we were on the train going to budapest for zone training and this woman stops by us and is so excited to see the sisters. she is a member from a different city, Érd. So i ask if she would like to sit with us and then her and i get going and talk about a lot of stuff and before i knew it, the train ride was over and it had been an hour long conversation. i am nowhere near beginning to master the language, but i have come so far and would not be where I am today without the help of the Lord. The gift of tongues is a thing. And i love my people here in Hungary. 

Another story with finding this week, was actually with my ukulele!  President Szabadkai had challenged me to go out and play it and use it to help find people.  It took me a little while to gather up the courage.  This week we went to visit that one member I have talked about who is in the hospital.  So I brought my ukulele and ended up playing for a room full of old ladies.  Since I was able to do that, I figured I was ready to play for the world!  It was weird starting off.  We sat on a bench in the city center and I started playing hymns and singing them in Hungarian.  It was actually really entertaining to see who noticed us.  When people would slow down and look over, my companions would run over to them, with a Book of Mormon in hand.  We handed out quite a few books from our little experiment and the best was when we met Zsuszi.  She is a younger mom with two little kids and her little 5 year old daughter came running up to me and sat down and listened to a song.  Then after it was done, I handed the Ukulele to her and let her play for a little.  By then, my companions had started talking with Zsuzsi and she was so open and took a Book of Mormon!  Something felt so right with this family and I am so excited to see where things of with them!  
This week has been full of so many miracles and I look back and feel such appreciation for this opportunity I have to serve the people here.  And to able to serve with the people I am serving with.  



I love these people so much and can’t imagine being anywhere else. 
^^Stormy day in Duna! 

Tele vagyok szeretettel (I am full of love)

Szeretlek Titeket (I love you all)

Gertsch Nővér

AUGUST 24TH, 2016
^^Our friend Viktor in the branch got his mission call this week, to SCOTLAND IRELAND! so happy for him!!! 

Because we emailed so late last week, not too much happened since! It has actually been a rougher ending to the week.  EVERY SINGLE lesson we had set up was cancelled.  A couple of our investigators are not progressing and we havent been able to meet with others.  Although it was a hard week, we were ready to find!  And then all of a sudden, we got sick!  Being sick as a missionary is probably one of the hardest things ever!  As we sat in our apartment, I felt so guilty that I was spending my time inside, instead of out helping and finding others to teach.  But during one of my studies, I found a helpful scripture.  It was in Mosiah 4:27 and it said:

“And see that all these things are done in order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.  And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order”

After reading that, I felt comforted.  I am a human and being and getting sick just sometimes happens.  So it was real humbling realizing that and not getting so upset.  I think the most important part about this scripture, is that - even on top of not running faster than you have strength - is how much it focuses on diligence as well.  Laying in bed all day doesn’t make me think of diligence, but if I do all I can to get better as soon as possible and start moving when I can it will all be good again!  
Sorry this week was uneventful, but today is a new day!  This week is going to be a new week!  I have faith that it will be full of little miracles and I can’t wait to see what they are!
Sending all my love!

Sok szeretettel, 

Gertsch Nővér

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

4th Transfers? Here already?! Brooke Gertsch Update



This has felt like the longest week of my life! Not just because P-day is a day late, but because TRANSFERS ARE TOMORROW!  But before I get to that, I will just give a little rundown of this week!

^ Breakfast with our good friends, Linda and Zoltan

^ Zsofi is one of our investigators.  We love her!

We had a lot of fun.  We ordered pizza for the first time, met with so many amazing people and my companion and I just were having the hardest time trying to emotionally prepare ourselves for when we would have to get split up.  It was quite a rough week.  BUT I am so lucky to have such amazing people keeping me so strong.  Whether it be my friends here in the mission, or support from back home, every time I would freak out about transfers, I always calmed down and reassured myself that everything was going to be okay.  And that everything is going to happen for a reason.  One of the biggest lessons I have already learned (well, I am continuing to learn) on my mission is to TRUST GOD.  He knows what He is doing.  And he knows each and every one of us, down to the smallest detail.  I think everyone knows this about me already, but I hate change.  I hate the unknown.  It drives me crazy and it is so scary to me. So I have had lots of moments where I just have to take a stop back, take a deep breath, and let my fear go.  LOTS of moments.  

But after we got our call this morning, I felt nothing but peace and could feel Heavenly Father saying, “See, I told you so!  I know you.  No need to fear.”  

^ Walking home from church on a beautiful sunny day!

Which brings me to my transfer call!  The call is… that I will be staying in Duna (Dunaújváros) another transfer! With my companion, Brantley Nővér!  The best part is….That we were both called to be Trainers and we are going to be training a new missionary… together!!    We will travel to Budapest tomorrow to go meet and pick up our new companion who just arrived from the MTC!!  

We are so happy. So pumped and excited for this next transfer. So many prayers were answered and I trust Heavenly Father and President Szabadkai and I am going to try my best to make them proud and work as hard as I can!  Eeeek!!!  I get to be a “mom” here in the mission and cannot tell you enough how excited I am!!!

^ Fun map we found while tracting!

Much more to come next week!

Sok Szeretettel,

Gertsch Nővér

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Brooke Gertsch Update - Recognize the little moments!

Brooke’s email:

Last week, as I was talking (emailing) with my little sister, Courtney, we both challenged each other to recognize the little moments each day that made us happy.  At the beginning of my mission, I used to be really good at keeping track of them, but then I got lazy and stopped. But thanks to our challenge, I have so many moments, although they may be little, that I can remember and be happy all over again!  Also made it so easy to write home this week!  Each day there was something.


My district worked super hard to meet President Szabadkai’s challenge and we got it!  So as a reward, him and his wife took us out to dinner and a movie in Budapest!  I had never seen a movie in Hungarian, but I’m glad my first movie was “Finding Dory”! It was so cute and it was really cool to be able to understand most of it!


We had interviews with President!  They were for next transfer, which is coming up NEXT WEEK!  So crazy.  They went so well and I love our mission president so much.  We have the best one out there!  After meeting with him, I felt so much motivation to go out and work even harder.  And what I’ve been noticing, is when I go out with that motivation, expecting to find someone, we always do.  And today was the day that we found Zoltan!  As we were tracting, and talking to the people over the intercom, he was leaving to go to the market.  He was so kind to ask if we wanted to go inside the building and was holding the door open for us. As we explained that we were missionaries, he asked if we spoke English (then things got ten times easier, haha).  He turned out to have met the missionaries at English class a long time ago.  And then he started to talk about how much he appreciates us. Took me by surprise and almost got me crying!  As we sit there day after day talking to people through this intercom, or even knocking on their doors, and not having anyone interested it can easily get me down.  But Zoltan said so many things that reminded me of why I am here and I will forever be thankful for that.  He seemed so ready to hear our entire message, but he actually doesn’t even live in Duna! So that was a bummer.  
But I gave him a Book of Mormon and our testimonies attached and I have a feeling he might do something with it!  

I also have found that I am addicted to giving out Book of Mormons.  It has always been so hard for me, because I am scared of the possible rejection that comes with it, but if someone accepts one or wants one, it is the best feeling to hand over my favorite book and just want to give them a huge hug as well!  I was extremely happy that day!


Not too much happened today!  But I did attempt to make Rakott Krumpti, which is a traditional Hungarian dish and it TOTALLY WORKED OUT!  Can’t wait to show everyone when I get back!  Working on those wife skills, ya know!

“RAKOTT KRUMPLI (layered potatoes)” Brooke explained to me that this is the same dish that the Horrocks, a couple from our ward that the husband served his mission in Hungary, brought to her farewell open house and it is now one of her favorite Hungarian dishes!! 


There is a woman in the branch that had surgery this week, so we visited her and brought her this funny looking teddy bear/dog from a little store and when we walked in, she started bawling and grabbed it and held it like a baby the entire time we were there.  It was adorable!

"The view from the woman’s hospital room that we visited.  Who is in the most beautiful country right now? ME!”

Our friends from English class, Linda and Zoltan (a different guy then I was talking about before!) invited us to a barbecue! But on the way, they stopped by some sunflowers because they knew how much I wanted to see them. Unfortunately, they were pretty much dead.  But we took pictures and it was so sweet of them to think of me!  I felt so loved!


Today was “death day” where we could only speak Hungarian.  It was actually a whole lot of fun! It really shows how much you actually know.  We had another little miracle while tracting.  We had one last csengő, or doorbell to ring and when no one answered, we went to leave.  But just as we went to do that, this little néni comes shuffling out of her apartment and lets us in.  Her name is Margít.  And as we got talking with her, she could tell that we were not Hungarian  so when we told her we were Americans, she threw her hand up, totally shocked and almost fell completely backwards!  Good thing I worked at a senior assisted living center before and my quick reflexes kicked in!  Haha, she was so sweet and was so patient with us and our speaking abilities and we had such a nice conversation about God and our purpose here on earth. Margít told us she was Catholic but she took a Book of Mormon. Margít was definitely the highlight that evening.

“Our Elders, Robers Elder & Jensen Elder that use a Personal Progress book as their tracting book… haha” 


Fast and Testimony meetings always make me feel just so blessed to be here with these people.  They have the strongest testimonies and inspire me to be a better person.  Getting to look into their eyes and hear their stories and feel the power of The Spirit is like nothing I have ever experienced before.  

Sorry, I just started rambling and i couldn’t stop!  I just have learned so quickly that if we don’t get caught up up in the distractions all around us, and try our best to focus on the little moments, we can be so happy and our view on life can be so much clearer and I honestly believe that we are happier because Heavenly Father is please that we are recognizing His hand in our lives.  

“I found this note in my journal and it made me smile!  Momma, we have come so far!!! I am so proud of us!!!  We can most definitely do hard things!”

Have a happy week! I love you!  Szeretlek!


Sok szeretettel,

Gertsch Nővér

Monday, August 1, 2016


SZIASZTOK MINDENKINEK! (Hello to everyone!)

It is so hard to believe that August is here.  SO CRAZY! As fast as time DOES fly out here on the mission,this week was definitely a slower one.  A lot of people cancelled or couldn’t meet and we felt so stir-crazy just sitting in our apartment for extended periods of time!  WE did go out tracting and met some nice people, but all I can really say is that this week was slow.  I am so incredibly thankful for my companion though!  No matter if we don’t have a lot of work or not, we both are able to help each other stay positive and have fun with whatever we are doing!  She is quite the blessing to me! 

P-day at the park!  

Spelling out d-u-n-a (dunaújváros)

At the end of the week, we went on splits with the Sister Training Leaders in Budapest.  I was able to go out and work with Giullian Nővér (my trainer) again and it was so much fun!  I learned a little bit more Hungarian while we were apart and being together again was just like the good ‘ol days!  Spending time with the Sister Training Leaders and getting to serve in Budapest for 24 hours  made us gain a little more motivation to get back to Duna and get work done and find more people!  They are probably hiding in one f those big, scary ten-by-ten apartment buildings and this week we are going to meet them and help them be happier in life.

Splits with the Sister Training Leaders Sister Giullian and Sister Adams!  So great to be with Gillian Nővér again!!

I wish I had more to say, but I don’t!  Sometimes you are given the lows, so you can really appreciate the highs and that was exactly what last week was.  My companion and I are learning pretty quickly that people are not always going to just gall into our laps all the time.  Sometimes, a lot of the times, it’s work, but I have never felt so much strength in times when I could feel like giving up.  

(Found this Capri Sun - It made me super homesick!) 

Heavenly Father has always got my back.  I feel nothing but blessed.  

Well, I love you and hope all is well!  I pray for you everyday.  Thank you for all the love and support!

Sok Szeretettel,

Gertsch Nővér