Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2 Christmas Emails! Brooke Gertsch Mission Update 12/19 & 12/27/2016

Brooke’s email - brooke.gertsch@myldsmail.net

Mailing address:
1122 Budapest
Hajnóczy József utca 14

December 19th, 2016

This week was one of the best weeks of my mission.  First off, Hi… I LOVE GYŐR.  It is crazy beautiful and huge.  Everyday, we were just were just running all over the city and by bedtime, I jumped into bed and fell asleep within minutes.  



Also, I LOVE MY COMPANION!  Smith Nővér is 2 groups below me, but is so bold nd brave and funny and sweet and I just totally scored big time.  It has only been a week together and we have had so many laughs and seen so many miracles.  Also, Christmas in less than a week… mi csoda? I don’t want this season to end!  

^ My new companion, Smith Nővér

^ this is our district here in Győr! We got lost in a village our first week together

For one, we did a service project with the ward here - we went to a facility/home for adults with special needs and sang Christmas songs for them.  I have to say, I never wanted that night to end. Those people had such sweet spirits and as we sang “Csendes Ej” or "Silent Night", they all joined in and I could not keep it together.  The Spirit was so strong in the room and I never loved a group of strangers more than in that moment.  I truly believe that they are incredibly close to God and I just wanted to stay all day.  After we sang for them, they returned the favor and performed for us, one by one.  Can’t even really find the words to express how special that experience was.  It gave me so much perspective not only about what Christmas is all about, but how beautiful life is and what really matters.

There is also a whole lot of new people I met this week, but to save time I will just tell you about Tibor.  Tibor is one of our investigators.  He is so funny.  He speaks English, but I refused to say one word that wasn’t Hungarian.  I think it helped him understand things better.  He is a very logical person, so as we talked about the Plan of Salvation and the Spirit World he kept getting stuck on the little parts of it.  As hard as it is to try to help someone find faith in things they cannot see or make sense on their own, I feel blessed to try to help them find the truth in a simple, clear way.  It was only my first lesson with Tibor, but I know we are going to learn a lot from each other.

Well, this week felt like 3 in one!  Transfers were the best because I got to see all of my favorite people!  Hanging out the the MTC family was crazy because exactly a year ago, were were just starting our missions together! 

And each of my past companions has been such a blessing to me. 

I had to say a “see-you-soon” to my trainer, Guillian Nővér, who went home this week.  I seriously was blessed with with the best trainer and I owe a lot of the missionary I am today, to her.  She was such a great example and friend to me and I am so thankful for her.  And all the friends I have made on the mission.  Don’t know where I would be without them!

^My trainer, Guillian Nővér

That’s all for this week!  I hope you have an incredible Christmas and hug your family and friends while you are with them.  I have gained the strongest testimony that the people in your life is what it’s all about.  We have to always make sure they know how much they mean to us!  And after saying that, I love and miss you all.  You’re in my thoughts and prayers.


Gertsch Nővér

^The view out our bedroom window! 

December 27, 2016 

sadly, the library we are in does not upload pictures, so i will have to send more pictures next week! 

This year, I mist definitely had one of the most special christmases i will ever have. It was different. But so memorable and as hard as it was to be away from my loved ones, I wouldnt change this christmas for the world. It was quite the fun-filled week! We went caroling with a few members all over the city and visited some less-actives. Also went over to Budapest and had our Christmas conference as a zone. It was a perfect combination of remembering Christ while having fun with the other missionaries. We watched The Little Prince and that was such a treat. I had never seen the movie and I most definitely was the only one crying like a baby at the end. I also love President and Sister Szabadkai and appreciate all they did for us in making sure we were happy and felt loved! 

CHRISTMAS EVE. My companion and I actually spent the majority of the 24th running around delivering brownies to our investigators and less-active members. One of my christmas miracles was that every person we went to drop something off to was home and we were able to make sure that they felt some love this Christmas. After that, we came back to the branch house where one of my favorite members, Johanna, had made the missionaries a traditional, hungarian Christmas dinner of halász lej and töltött káposzta (fish soup and stuffed cabbage) She was the sweetest and it felt just like home! Minus the fish part...that was new haha. 

CHRISTMAS DAY. It was a very busy day, but to keep things short, here are a few of my highlights: in church, we sang 6 christmas hymns and i know i have said it before, but there is just something about hymns being sung in hungarian. its like my heart just bursts because i love these people singing around me. After church, we went and spent the afternoon with John, one of our investigators. He is currently sick and in the hospital. His only family is his daughter that lives in Canada, so he is alone here. She sent him presents and so when we got there, he had waited for us to open them with us and then gave both of us some treats from his package! It touched my heart to see someone that doesnt have a lot, absolutely insist on sharing. In a way, it kind of felt like we were John's family and he was ours. It was really hard to leave him, but we had to go and skype the family! We went over to another member, Barb's apartment and she made us dinner and then finally skyped. it had been a while haha. But it was so comforting to be able to see all of their smiling faces and to hear their voices. Saying goodbye was not an easy thing, but i am ALWAYS given the strength to keep going. I have been my entire mission. 

so yeah. i miss my family and friends and being away from them is really hard. But what has gotten me through is taking a step back and looking at all of these people i was and am able to meet here in Hungary. These relationships I have with them are more than worth a Christmas (or two) away from home. I continue to gain so much perspective as to what not only this holiday, but what life is all about. As a missionary, i have realized that i really have all i need to be happy. i have more than enough. There are people here that live and work just to be able to eat and stay warm in this freezing weather. I am so blessed to have the life that i do and all the blessings that God has given me. And i dont think I would have gained this perspective had it not been for the mission. I hope I hold onto it and never lose sight of whats most important! 

THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone that sent me yummy treats and some love this holiday season! I appreciate you more than you know. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and make sure to hug your loved ones, because when it comes down to it, they are what matters most. Have a great week and bring on the new year! WOOHOO! 

Sok szeretettel, 
Gertsch Nővér

(also mom if you could add the pic of us skyping that would be great :) )

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Transfer Day! Goodbye Duna - Hello Györ!

Brooke's contact info:

1122 Budapest
Hajnüóczy József utca 14

Geez Louise!  This P-day took forever to get here.  CHANGE as a missionary never gets easier.  You never get used to it.  In my mission, I have stayed in my 2 cities for almost 6 months each - so it is easy to say that I have gotten pretty comfortable.  I am so thankful for the chance I had to stay here in Dunaújváros.  I was able to make so many close relationships and this place will always hold a special place in my heart.  Duna was definitely the turning point in my mission and I wouldn’t trade my experiences here for anything.

This week was SO crazy.  I wanted to go into detail about all the things we did, but with transfer calls this morning, I cannot focus to save my life.  But here’s a bunch of pictures from the week!  There was a Christmas party, lots of “see you later’s” to my favorite people and my last week with my companion, Hooper Nover. 

^^ Branch Christmas party - A puppet show for the kids and then Mikulás (Santa Claus) made a special visit!! Mikulás came and brought presents for the kids:) it was SO cute. the kids had to sing a traditional song to Santa to get their presents.

^^ Pizza with Hooper Nővér

^^Czeilinger Éva. my heart. 

^^Flóra, a member, the sweetest. and her family, the Mészárosék

I cannot tell you enough how much I love Hungary and it’s culture, and it’s people OH SO MUCH!!!

I also celebrated my YEAR mark out here on my mission.  It feels like I have been out a long time… just not that long, haha!  

Time flies when your having fun, that’s for sure.  Looking back at a year ago, I can’t believe I was just starting this crazy adventure.  A year ago, I never imagined I would be where I am today.  I’m just such a different person.  In a good way.  So much more strength.  So much more perspective.  It may have been the hardest, but it has most definitely been the best year of my life. 

^^Gingerbread cookies at the Mészárosék, a family in the branch! 

Okay, enough with the sentimental stuff!  


I am sad to say I am leaving Dunaújváros, but I am extremely excited to be moving over to the beautiful city of GYÖR.  
Dreams really do come true.  
Stay tuned for some crazy, cool stories next week.

^^Mikulás (Santa Claus) came and put chocolate in our boots!!! (Hungarian tradition)

I hope you are all enjoying this holiday season and thank you SO MUCH to all who have been sending me Christmas Love!  I am so blessed and appreciate it more than you know!

All my love,

Gertsch Nővér 

Here are a few more pictures of my friends in Duna!!!

JANKA! Janka was the girl who wrote me exactly one year ago while I was still  in the MTC, getting me so excited to come to serve in Hungary!

Marika Sr. 

Marika Jr 

The Peterson's were the Senior Couple with us in the MTC.  

Monday, December 5, 2016

I am thankful for....

I figured that since Thanksgiving was a couple days ago, I would switch things up and simplify my email.  My companion and I sang the hymn “count your many blessing” all week long and I also came up with a list of things that I was thankful for.  But before I even get to the list, the thing I am most grateful for this year, is the opportunity I have to be a missionary , here in Hungary.  The gospel is without a doubt one of the biggest blessings in my life and is such a great source of peace and happiness.  I cannot even begin to describe the growth I have experienced within myself and I know that the testimony I have today would not have come any other way if it weren’t for the mission.

^Christmas Socks! and Yes, I wore them tracting and got lots of weird looks!  woohoo!

Of course, I am thankful for my family and friends at home.  I have seriously been blessed with the best.  I feel everyone’s love and support every day and don’t know where I would be without them.  As hard as it is being away for the holidays, getting to spend holidays with my Hungarian family is such a special memory and I am enjoying every minute I have with them!  

Here’s some more from the list:


  • how patient Hungarians are with us trying to speak Hungarian
  • when my companion surprises me and makes my bed
  • ZSOFI & Zsofi’s hugs. They are the very best!
^Zsofi - I love her so much!
  • Perspective.  Thank you mission 
  • fresh pékseg bread 
  • Hymns in Hungarian  And harmonizing with other missionaries
  • genuine people
  • The néni that sits in her window and blows kisses to us as we walk by
  • $1.00 Christmas socks we found at a Chinese store
  • President and Sister Szabadkai
  • Unconditional love
  • JÓZSI BÁCSI!  He took us out - again - to a nice restaurant where we had a 4 - course (very Hungarian) thanksgiving feast!  Everything Turkey!  I even had a piece of turkey throat in my soup! (see photos of our meal at the end of this email)  I love JÓZSI BÁCSI so darn much.  I will never be able to accurately express just how much I appreciate this man!
^Jozsi Bacsi - the kindest soul you will ever meet!
  • when people surprise us and try to speak english with us while tracting
  • notes from my little cousins 
  • Eva, a less active member we have been meeting with since I got to Duna.  She had not been to church in over 3 months and we finally got her to come on Sunday!  Seeing a change in her and to see how far she has come makes it ALL worth it!
  • the primary program they did at church yesterday!  I love my Duna family.  And I just want to be with the little kids all day.

Obviously that is just a few things, but if I kept going we would be here all day, haha!  It really just made me want to ALWAYS remember the blessing God has given me, not just around this time of year.  There is so much to be thankful for.  

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.  I send you all my love!  Take care and more to come next week.

Sok szeretettel, 

Gertsch Nővér 

Our Thanksgiving feast!  Turkey 4 ways!