Monday, December 30, 2013

Kaposvár Week 7

Sziasztok mindenki!
Hello everyone!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas- I sure did! We had a great Christmas dinner at the Colledge's consisting of ham, mashed potatos, and lots of cake! Yummy! Super grateful for a super cool senior couple, gotta love the Colledges! 

Skype was a super fun time! Super weird seeing everybody after nine months (since when did Vincent's voice change?!) but I loved it! Following Christmas, a couple days later Elder Gould and I went out to M's house for lunch. She said that she made some fish for us. It was really good, and I asked her, jokingly, if she liked to fish. "Of course", she replied, "I was a professional sports fisherwoman." This, my friends, is why I love hanging out with this lady. She never ceases to amaze me. After our lunch, we went into her living room. Turns out it was her mother's birthday, who had recently just passed away. She asked us all if we could say a prayer "within ourselves" for her mother. She was sad, but there was a difference: she was hopeful. She knew that her mother still lived, just not with a body. A month or two ago, she would've been a wreck on this day, and now she just sat in her big Lazy boy chair and smiled. She knows it will be ok. 

Best feeling ever. (I know I say that a lot, but this one really was the best).

Now, let's talk about Sunday. Oh. My. Gosh. SUNDAY. 
First off, we have three investigators at church that day, including both our bapdates, that's awesome! After a short program with M, we make our way to the chapel, where there is a LOT of commotion. Turns out that 41 people showed up to church. You guys, that's INSANE. Not normal AT ALL for Kapos. That's huge! The room was PACKED. You think this is the end? Nope. So, there is this couple in the branch that are originally from Germany, and the husband only speaks German, so he can't really do a whole lot within the branch without his wife's help, and she speaks only German and English, so the guy needs his wife, and then a missionary to translate if he wants to speak to a Hungarian. You following me? Super crazy. Anyway, he wanted to bless the sacrament. So, he totally did it. In a thick German accent, he read the blessing in Hungarian. Incredible spirit. It was a super special moment for that family, who hadn't really been able to contribute much because of the language barrier. Awesome. Next thing, there was an actual baby blessing in the Kaposvár branch! A return missionary that now lives in the city did the blessing, and it was beautiful! Afterward, he came and sat by me and he just said over and over to his brand new baby boy: "We did it, buddy. We did it!" Super great Spirit! And THEN, there was a total of like 15 kids there because some of the families came back, and it was actually a LOUD Sacrament meeting! Weird to say, but I've been used to dead quiet meetings with just adults for the past little bit, and this past meeting actually reminded me of Utah! Good times.

So yeah, that was MY Sunday. Absolutely crazy! I loved it. 

Well, that's about it from my side of the woods. It's been like super warm lately, and all the Hungarian's are saying it's super weird. I'm ok with it. Transfers are less than two weeks. Ew...I wanna stay here, but we'll see what happens. 

I hope you have a great new year! Make awesome goals, and STICK with them! My goal is to read all the Standard Works by December 31st, 2014. I think I can do it! Motivating emails and letters will hope though ;) 

I love you all SO much! Have a great week! :D

Sok Szeretettel és Boldog Új Évet Kívánok nektek! 
Elder Giacalone

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Kaposvar Week 6 pics

Joe and Elder Gould wearing their scarves and p.j.'s sent from Nena

Christmas Tree with family picture ornaments

Justin Bieber toothbrush, white elephant gift

Branch Christmas Party

Joe and investigator "M"

Opening up the 12 days

Opening the chocolate covered pretzels...little happy!!!

Elder Gould and "M"

Monday, December 23, 2013

Kaposvár Week Six

...Mielőtt elfejlettem, azt szeretnék kívánni nektek egy csodálatos, áldott, békét Karácsonyt! :)
                          Hello everyone! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Yay!!

I hope that everyone has a great holiday with lots of fun things received and given. I love this time of year! We had a great week and did lots and lots of work, and we are starting to see some really cool things start to happen with people.
Fun things:

The water in our apartment was out for 24 hours last Monday! I forgot to write about it because I was stressing about it. SUPER DUMB. But, it's all good now! We had to live out of the Branch House for a few hours, but we were busy that day and it didn't cause that big of a deal.
We were able to go up to Budapest as a zone this past week on Friday to celebrate Christmas with President Smith and his wife! Super fun time! We had a couple trainings given by the Assistants to the President (APs), our Zone leaders (ZLs) and the Sister Training Leaders (STLs). Then, Sister Smith read to us a Book of Mormon picture book about a Nephite family and the star that appeared in the sky-super cool! Then, President Smith talked to us about how well the mission did this past year and how we are to strive to become a "better YOU". Then we played some games and had a white elephant gift exchange. I received a Justin Bieber toothbrush that plays a couple of his songs while you brush! IT'S THE BEST MOTIVATION TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH EVER.
I also got my packages while I was up there! My grandparents sent me a package containing "The 12 Days of Christmas" in it, and I was supposed to open one every day until Christmas day. Well, I received it on December we had some catching up to do! BUT-my gifts are incredible! I have truely been blessed so much by my family! I have a big, green, paper Christmas tree up on my wall now with ornaments from all of my family members (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc) and it's so great! I can't really describe how I feel, other than LOVED. I also got several other things, and I love everything I got! Thank you, thank you also to you who sent me letters and cards! I love reading about your holiday adventures, and I hope to write you all back soon!
The Branch had a Christmas party last Saturday at the Branch House. There were so many investigators there and less-actives: I think there were more of those there than actual active members! It was super fun! We played some games and ate a really yummy dinner! I also finally got to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, and it was super good! Albeit it was in Hungarian, I got the gist(spelling?) of it!
Funny yet kind of random story: so our train ride from Buda was like three hours long, and during that time I just sat and chatted with Neely. However, there was this cool kid sitting one row up and across the aisle from us, and he was playing on his laptop. We had a pretty clear view of everything he was watching, we just couldn't hear because he had earplugs in and there was no audio. Suddenly, I notice that he is watching a movie...then I notice lots of movement...and Brad Pitt is there....and...yep...he was TOTALLY watching World War Z. So, Neely and I got to watch parts of World War Z (kind of), and we just guessed what they were saying. Absolutely hilarious, and now my craving to know what it's all about has been satisfied! Haha!
Well, I think it's finally starting to sink in that I'm in Hungary, speaking Hungarian. I remember when I received my call, more than a year ago now, and how giddy I was with excitement. I had to teach Priesthood on Sunday, and I was a little nervous when I found out that the Stake Young Men's President from Pest was going to be there. Mostly, I was just insecure (don't know what for...) about my language. But, you know, God doesn't let us fail, not when our cause is righteous and valiant. Sure enough, my Hungarian was great the entire lesson, and it's starting to stay that way now as I use it more and more. Everytime I talk to Hungarians about how I willingly come here and learn this crazy language, they always say "You know, it IS the 3rd hardest language in the world, right?!" At first, it was intimidating. Now, I realize that with Christ's support, everything is possible. Even if it's intimidating at first.

Nem Szabad Feladni...remember? (don't ever give up)
I am so grateful for my Savior. I love Him, and I know He loves me. Oh, how I love putting my badge on each morning and knowing that I represent my Savior, your Savior, and everyone who has ever, or will be, on the Earth's Savior.
And I get to say this everyday for two years :) Life is great!
I love you all! Isten aldd meg a magyart!
Sok SOK Szeretettel,
Giacalone Elder

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Kaposvar Week 5 pics

Pepper eating night! HOT STUFF THEM PEPPERS

All decked out for winter tracting!

The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch! *Monty Python reference*

Baby Jesus and I

Christmas village in Kapos! All the main cities in Hungary make these

All lit up for Christmas!

Kaposvár Week 5

Hello everyone! I hope you all are having fantastic weeks in this fantastic month in this fantastic year. That was one of my cheeziest opening lines I think I have ever done. Super lame. Anyway, I'm super happy, because we have had a fun and great week!
It's been interesting settling back into a "normal" companionship. We both have had to change our tracting and teaching methods from tripanionship way, to normal. I absolutely loved having Elder Quinton around! He was a great influence and he was able to help me lots with the language. He's a zone leader now in Budapest, and he will do great!
This week has been a good one in terms of teaching. Both of our baptismal dates are doing great, both solid. One of them is still struggling with smoking, and we are concerned about how well she will be by the time her date comes around. She says she will quit with the "help of God", and she is the most determined Hungarian I have ever met. With just two of us now teaching, my participation levels have skyrocketed! I even led a few programs last week, pretty fun! My Hungarian is doing great!

This Friday we will all be heading up to Buda for our Christmas Zone Conference with President and Sister Smith. We were all instructed to buy a white elephant gift. I bought air freshener? I don't know...

We also met with this really cool guy named Jozsef (my name :D ), and his story is interesting. Pretty much he has no faith, doesn't belief in God, and hates life. He is "done". However, over the past few weeks as we have been meeting with him and just talking with him (he gets lost if we talk about the "big three" lessons...kind of have to take it slow), there is something growing in his eyes. It's hard to explain. As we pray and talk about who God is to us, that He is our Heavenly Father, that He loves us so, so much, and that He wants us to be happy, he normally just stares at the ground. Just kind of zones out. Now, I've never really gotten emotional in a program before because, you know, being a missionary is a professional thing. You gotta act the part. But, as we bore testimony of Christ, he (Jozsef) looked down and just smiled. I got tears in my eyes as he just sat there and smiled. I started smiling! We all just sat there in silence and, well, smiled. :) The Spirit was so strong!
I hope you all have a FANTASTIC Christmas! I know that because of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we will all be smiling in the end. These past 8 months, I've discovered how ugly life can be for others, but within those ugly parts are the truly happy, and shining parts. And that's all that matters. It's all because of the Gospel. I love Christ. It's my honor to serve Him right now, and I know the best is yet to come :)
Boldog Karácsonyt Kívánok!

Sok Szeretettel,
Elder Giacalone

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kaposvar Week 4 pics

Our District found Miklaus! Woop!!!

One Direction in Hungary!

Selfie in the elevator. My hat is bunny fur!

Found a swing-set in a ten-story complex. Decided to party!

It's a picture of us tracting at a late 4:00 PM...look how light it is! ummm, no!

Sunset in Kaposvá pretty :)

Kaposvar Week 4

Super weird how fast the weeks are going. I am certain that this past week was one of the fastest ones I have had on my mission. So much happened and we even had a transfer thrown in there to stir things up a bit.
We had some really cool experiences this week regarding some programs with our investigators. We set up a few new bapdates with some solid people. It was so good! One of them is this lady who has smoked for like 50 years, has no family, and until recently wasn't very interested in meeting with the missionaries. As we have met with her though, she said how she has felt a longing at church. For example, she said that while she was shopping she felt like she needed to be at church. She couldn't get these thoughts off her mind throughout the week. When we met with her we brought the newest church member with us as her first ever member-present program. She was nervous, but our investigator started asking her why she was baptized. She said that she knew that it was what she needed to do. Our investigator looked at her for a bit, and just thought. Elder Quinton then brought up what we had planned to teach her that day. We met with her again on Sunday before church. As we talked about the Word of Wisdom with her, she said "I will, with God's help, quit." It was so powerful! Then, when we asked her about a bapdate, she simply said: "I know what date it will be. It came to me. February 17th." And that people, is how it goes! Absolutely incredible. The Spirit was so strong! 

Regarding transfers, I'll be staying here with good ole' Elder Gould. We became super tight during our fun little time in a threesome with Elder Quinton, and now we are excited to take on the task of teaching our investigators. We have only been here for less than a month, so we are still a little unsure of the city, so today we have planned to "get lost" and see if we can find our way home...wish us luck! Haha! 

Another cool thing: my relationship with the Hungarian language has probably just now entered the "friend" area :) I was at a feeding program with this super cool couple out in the suburbs of the city. There was a time after dinner where we were sitting with me next to the wife and my other two companions off to the side with the husband chatting. I didn't want her to feel left out of the convo, so I started asking about her life. It was like uncapping a fire hydrant! So much Hungarian started flowing at me, and at first I felt a little overwhelmed. She was probably one of the fastest speakers that I can think of, too! Then, it just clicked. I can't think of another way to put it, I just stopped worrying and focused on her and what she was saying. And it clicked. I understood all her childhood dreams, the fact that she doesn't like her car insurance, or the fact that she thinks her family watches too much television. I caught it all. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but it was definitely a gift of tongues moment, and I loved it! If only they can happen like that all the time! 

Christmas time is really here now! I love this time and the city is so pretty at night, with the lights on and everything. The Tesco here is always packed full of people shopping and getting food for the holidays. I love it! People have been asking me if I have been homesick or what not, with the holidays. Honestly, I have been so busy I haven't had time to think about it! The Colledges do a pretty darn good job too of making sure that we all feel at home and are happy :) For example, on Tuesday, Sister Colledge made us all AMERICAN PANCAKES with AMERICAN BATTER and MAPLE SYRUP. Wow. So good. 

I hope you all have a smashin' week! Do good things, help others, and love your friends. Shout out to my second companion, Elder Loveday (who just went home!), you are soooo dead!!! ;) Haha!
I love you all! God loves you more, though. 

Sok Szeretettel,
Giacalone elder

Monday, December 2, 2013

Kaposvar Pics Week Three

Found Mountain Dew in a little store. Score!!!

Christmas tree lighting in the main square! So many people were there!

Kaposvar Week Three

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic week. Super fun week here in good 'ole Kapos. The city is still kind of foreign to me, but I am rapidly learning to love the people and the branch, and I hope that I can be here for a little while longer.

This week, I was able to tick another dash on my cities that I have been in Hungary: I was able to go to Dunaújváros (literally translates as "New City by the Duna") on splits with my zone leader, Elder Nelson! I had a really good time with him in Duna, which is mostly a factory city right on the Duna river, or the Danube. The city itself is just full, FULL of ten-stories. So, maybe not an eye-pleasing city, but the branch is strong and almost a ward! Yay!

We had a good Thanksgiving this week! We all went to the Colledge's for dinner and Sister Colledge made us chicken and mashed potatos. Super fun time! We talked and savored our Dr. Pepper that I had found in Tesco. I absolutely loved that night!

We had our baptism on Saturday! Emese had a fantastic baptism. Elder Quinton baptized her in a swimming pool at a high school. They just kind of do it where they can here! She bore her testimony on Sunday and said originally how when she met with the missionaries she wasn't that interested in the Gospel, just in English. But, she said that she was "missing something" in her life, and the Gospel was that certain something. So cool :)

Also, I FOUND MOUNTAIN DEW. Praises to the Angels above! Gould said he found it in a small ghetto little store on the corner of main street, and sure enough, hidden in the corner...there she was. I partook of it this morning, and it was worth all 210 forint, about $1. Was it worth it? Of course. So. So. So. Good.

I am so excited for this month! We have possibly one more baptism coming up, transfers are next week (boo), we have a Christmas Zone Conference on the 20th, and of course: CHRISTMAS! I think that this Christmas, being my first away from home, will be super special. I cannot wait to see how it turns out! I feel really comfortable speaking Hungarian nowadays, and it's weird to think it's been a daily thing for like eight months now! I absolutely love speaking this beautiful language!

I hope that everyone has a super great week! I love you all! The Gospel really does fill those "missing" pieces in our lives. It's so perfect and simple. I cannot wait to celebrate the birth of our Savior this month. He is not only my Savior, but he is YOURS. Do not ever forget it!

Have a fun week! Love y'all to pieces.

Isten aldd meg mindenkit!
Sok Szeretettel,
Giacalone elder

Monday, November 25, 2013

Kaposvar Week Two Pics

Hipster symbols...everywhere. What do they mean?

Emailing with Neely. Got my slippers on, Pepsi, and a good snow falling. Life is good!

Bus ride to Pécs. Brown is happy, Neely is asleep. Cute

Strange symbols all over Kaposvár.

Missionary Ornament on the Giacalone memory tree, thanks Mom and Dad!!!

Kaposvár Week Two

Hello everyone! Abban remélem, hogy jó volt a hetetek. Annyira jó volt a hét nekem. Azért, halás vagyok.
Where to begin? This week has been super crazy. Our work load here in Kapos is going through the roof! I cannot recall a day where we found for hours on end, because we have been running throughout this city going to other programs! During this fun bunch of shenanigans that we did, I rolled my ankle. Not fun! But, I'm totally fine now. No worries. God really does want His missionaries up and running :)
We went to the city of Pécs for zone meeting last week (Kaposvár and Pécs are in the same zone here) and it is absolutely gorgeous! We rode buses down there, and it was probably the longest bus ride of my life. But, we got to see the city, and it is known as one of the prettiest cities in Hungary. And yes, it really is!
Being in a threesome can be crazy sometimes: not a whole lot of room to put three beds in our tiny bedroom, having to kind of spread out a bit more for studies in the morning, and finding is an adventure as well. But, there is something special about it. I know it. When we teach, I can speak clearly and focus on what I want to say in Hungarian. Both Elder Quinton and Gould are fantastic Hungarian speakers, and they always stop in programs to make sure that I know what is going on. I love them for that :)
We have had some great programs this past week. We have a baptism on Saturday with this girl named Emese. She is absolutely stellar and Elder Quinton will be baptizing her. I am giving the opening prayer :D We have met with some new people, and it's amazing how the Spirit works sometimes. We tracted down a street where it had just been shut doors and nothing happening, when we tracted one house with a lady who said that she had been reading stuff about the Church on and that she wanted to meet. But in January after the holidays. Hey, we'll take it! Also, we tracted into this cool 30 year old guy who is a computer dude and is totally loaded. He said "No" when we rang his bell, but later as we were exiting his building, he saw us as he was getting his mail at the base of the stairs and said he changed his mind and wanted to meet right now. Seriously, sometimes I wonder if I'm doing a whole ton of work. There are days when I feel like I'm doing everything and nothing happens, then there are days like that where the people literally let you in or want you to come back. I love those!
Well, that's about it. For Thanksgiving this week, we will be eating dinner at the Colledge's apartment, the senior couple here in Kaposvár. We will be having chicken of some sort, since turkey here is not necessarily all in one piece like in America, and yummy pies. I am way excited :) Super pumped! Also, in Sunday school, funny things happen: so, the Branch was talking about the Nauvoo temple and about baptisms for the dead. One of the members, I think she is actually the Relief Society President, asked what age we will look like when we are resurrected, or what age specifically we will be body-wise. One of the members said a specific year, like 19 or something. I was sure that wasn't right, but I wasn't sure what to say! Then they all just looked at me for the deciding answer. I said "We will be...perfect. So don't worry about it!" They took it! Whew. That whole experience made me feel like an old bishop or something.
There is an older néni here in the branch that was teaching that lesson. She is so humble and kind, and she is one of the few endowed members in the branch. She said how she wishes she could go back to the temple, where she was sealed to her deceased husband. I felt such a great spirit as she talked about her one precious visit to the temple and the massive impact it had on her. I also know that families are really forever, and that death isn't the end. I'm so grateful for this knowledge, and I am grateful to be a part of this work to share it with others that really need to know it.
I love you all! Have a fantastic week. Eat lots of yummy food on Thanksgiving! :D
Sok Szeretettel,
Giacalone elder

Monday, November 18, 2013

Kaposvar Week One

Tracting Gypsy homes in Kaposvar!

Elder Quinton!!! My companion!!!

Elder Gould!!!  My other companion!!

Me, Elder Godderidge and Elder Neely!!!

Elder Giacalone!!!


Elder Neely and his companion, Elder Brown

Kaposvar Week One

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic week! I had a great, somewhat confusing, exciting, and odd week!

So, here I am! E-mailing from the city of Kaposvár! This city is so old and rustic, much different style and taste than Sopron had, but it's really interesting! The city is in the Southern part of Hungary, about a three hour train ride from Budapest. To the north is Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Hungary and in Central Europe! There are actually some members that live out there, and we hope to go out sometime and see how they are doing. The branch is pretty tight, little bit bigger than Sopron, and just as sassy! Lol.

Here in the city we have the Colledges, the Senior couple for this area. They also go to the city of Pécs on Fridays, but Elder Colledge is the branch president here in Kapos so they remain here for most of the time. They are super, super cool people. Sister Colledge says she is here for the "TLC" aspect of missionary service, and they welcome the missionaries over whenever we need help. In fact, the first night Neely and I got off the train ride (quite the adventure, since we didn't really know where we were going) and wandered around the train station for a bit until the Colledges showed up to help us. Then, they realized we hadn't had dinner or anything, so they took us out to McDonald's! Yay! Love them.

Kaposvár is also now a new part of the Budapest Stake, so now it comes under the "stake umbrella". In my opinion, I think they will soon split the stake into two seperate ones, since it is pretty big now. The Stake President and his family showed up on Sunday to visit the branch. They are super legit and they all speak fluent English, even the kids! They live in the Budapest area, though, so we won't really see them unless we serve around there. It was really awesome having them there because they have young kids with them, and I haven't heard kids crying or giggling in a sacrament meeting since I was back in Utah! SUPER cool!

Fun story time! So, originally I was assigned to serve with Elder Quinton. He is from the Seattle area and is a super cool guy! Then, on our first full day together we get a call from President saying that we will be getting a THIRD companion: Elder Gould! Yep, I'm in a tripanionship! It's super weird, but it's very effective. Our programs are spectacular, since both of my senior comps are fantastic Hungarian speakers! I am learning so much from them!

We had an awesome program with a lady out in the boondocks, and she told us that she had been through a lot of hard times recently. Her mother had passed away and she didn't have a whole of children nearby. As we all started bearing testimony of God's love for us and for the rest of His children, the best Spirit filled the room, and you couldn't help but smile! During that one moment I truly felt that this is why I came on my mission: to help people know of this goodness! The Gospel truly is the "good news", and it is my honor to share it with others. I love it!

I am so excited to be in this new area. There is plenty of challenges facing the branch, but they are so excited to be a part of the Stake now. It strengthens the branches and helps them grow. The church is really growing here in Hungary, and sometimes I just step back and watch it surge! I'm so happy to be here!

I hope you all have a splendid week! Remember who y'all are! ;)

Sok Szeretettel,
Elder Giacalone

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pics week 11

With one of our favorite investigators, Linda and Elder Becker

Transfer 4

With our English Class

I. LOVE. CHOCOLATE.'s a cereal with chocolate on the inside!

Beautiful Sopron!!!

Sopron Week 11

Hello everyone! Happy transfers! :)

Yes! Transfers were this past week and lots of people got changed and everything pretty much went way crazy. So regarding me, I will be leaving Sopron! I am a little sad, and wanted to stay here for the holidays, but I know that my next area will be fantastic and it is where I need to be. Speaking of which, my next area will be the city of Kaposvár! It is in the South West zone, so I won't have to worry about speaking German for the time being! Well, at least I hope so! Haha. So yeah, going down south! Yeehaw! (Disclaimer: Hungarians aren't like southerners in the United States. I just thought it was funny.) 

Well, this past week has been crazy! We worked pretty hard, and we both felt that one of us would be leaving, so we made sure that we worked. Almost forgot to mention this fun tidbit: Elder Neely is coming with me down to Kapsovár :) We just can't get enough of each other! It's gonna be great, and I am super excited to head on down there for whatever, or whoever, is waiting for us. And Elder de Vries will be training, and Elder Becker will be getting my old MTC friend, Elder Godderidge. Craziness! Anyway, we went with the Brown's to a lot of places. They have been trying to get involved more with the work, which can be hard for senior couples, but they are doing fantastic! I know they will do great after I am gone. But, out of all places to go with Elder Brown, we went to the University of Western Hungary! It was actually pretty cool, and we got to talk to some of the students there and they are super cool. 

We also went (with the Browns...haha) to an older lady that lives out in a village called Harka just a few minutes to the south-east of Sopron. We sipped tea with her (herbal, don't freak out) like fancy people and she talked about how pretty much she hates her family and wants Hungary to be big again. Oh, the joy of nénis. So much fun. We also had a fun Angol Ora last week. One of the people there was asked to say the closing prayer and as she did it she started crying because she didn't want us to leave! Super cool...but also awkward. Haha. Then we went to a Chinese restaurant and I TOTALLY had that octopus-squid stuff that we eat at Grandma's house all the time. Representing the family in Hungary! Waddup. Also, I tried this gigantic crustacean monster thing, it was like six inches big, and I totally ate it like a Southern person in the bayou! Really, really fun night with our district. 

Also, going back to our fancy lady out in Harka, she told me to tell dad that he "needs to eat one kilo of cherries a day and his cancer will go away." Have fun, dad! ;) 

Super excited for these next few days. I cannot wait to see what happens and where I am going. This was totally out of the blue, but then again, are transfers ever really predictable? I cannot wait to share this message with the people of Kaposvár. Sopron: I came, I saw, I worked hard, and we did so much work. We took a companionship that was getting close to nothing in terms of work done, and we turned it around. I got a super modern and fancy apartment, and I learned how to be a better missionary. I had some rough spots, but nothing that was never too hard or unconquerable. I know that Sopron is in store for some big, big things. But then again, Hungary is on the verge of blowing up into a miracle mission. 

Just wait and see :) 

Have a fantastic week everyone. Do good. Remember Christ in all you do, and remember: He loves you! Even when you don't feel like He does. He always will.

Sok Szeretettel,
Elder Giacalone

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pics Week 10 Sopron

Graves with candles for "All Saints Day"

One of my English Club members and me

Me attacking Neely with a giant sword. No big deal

Graves all lit up for "All Saints Day" 

Hanging out in English Class

Street Art...So cool!

Sopron Week 10

Hello everybody! Another week that just flew by, and we have been busy, busy, busy!

The weather finally decided to start feeling like late fall/early winter, and we have busted out our winter jackets! It hasn't snowed or anything yet, but it is pretty chilly and always cloudy. The Hungarians just finished celebrating "Day of the Dead". On November 1st, they all go out to the cemeteries to visit loved ones and place candles on their tombs or graves. At night, it looks like the graveyard is glowing! It's absolutley eerie and scary, but also beautiful. 

We also headed up to Budapest this past week to go and listen to President Teixeira, the Area President of Europe! He and his wife were able to share loads of helpful information with us regarding missionary work, whether it be finding ideas or ways we can strengthen our investigators. I really enjoyed it! The only part I didn't enjoy was that it took the entire day traveling up to Budapest and back...trains...the bane of my existence. 

We continue to have great experiences with our investigators. One of them went to church a couple weeks ago and absolutely didn't like it. She said she felt cold and not welcome. This week was a great surprise when she showed up fifteen minutes early and was able to meet some members of the branch and get aquainted with them. It was a Fast Sunday, and we were able to hear some great testimonies from some of the solid members of the branch. Then, she surprised all of us by going up to the pulpit herself and sharing her testimony! She said she didn't know much about the church, but she felt something here. It wasn't just peace, she said, but something from Heavenly Father. She knew that. I was translating for Sister Brown that day, and I literally just couldn't keep going on because I was blown away! Sister Brown was just like "What's going on?! Tell me!" I believe that church can change us for the better, and that miracles can happen when we are gathered in the name of Jesus Christ. That, I'm certain about. 

We are excited to meet with some new people this week that we have tracted and streeted into. It's weird to think that the transfer ends next week. I have grown so much these past two months, and I cannot believe that time has gone the way it has. I really hope I stay in Sopron for the holidays. I love this small branch and the members here, and I love Sister Brown's cooking! What can I say? It's fantastic! But, "come what may and love it", right? If I leave, then I leave, even though I might be a little upset. 

I'm so grateful for the upsurge of the work here in Sopron, not only in our companionship, but also in the other elder's companionship. They're doing fantastic! The Lord is truely hastening His work, and sometimes it seems that we literally just walk right into those that need to hear what we have to offer. So cool!

I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon. It's a fantastic book, and there is power within it. It can protect us and guide us. I love that book. It's truely from God.

Love you all! I hope you have a fantastic week! :)

Sok Szeretettel,
Elder Giacalone

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pics of Sopron week 9

I found Dr. Pepper!!! Life is good!

We went bobsledding!

1956 Revolution

Shoveling cow poop for a service project

Sopron Week 9

Hello everyone! Azt remélem, hogy minden jó nektek! Olányira halas vagyok ezert a hétért! 

We had a great week! We were able to hit mission standard again for the week, which was great! We thought we weren't going to get it because at first, no one showed up to church! But, to our surprise, one of our "not as progressing" investigators showed up late! We were so excited for her, and she was happy to be there. 

So, I had my first really big "service" opportunity this past week. There is a lady that lives out in the boondocks of Sopron that like purchased four tons of cow manure for her garden. So, we went out to help her, along with the Browns and the other elders. We spent about three hours shoveling poop. It was nasty. I mean, when you would shovel a good chunk out, it was all STEAMY. Ewwwwww it was so gross! I had my pitchfork in hand and a wheel barrow, and I couldn't help but think of Monty Python: "There's some lovely filth over here!" So great. I felt like a true Hungarian. 

Thank you all so much for the prayers for my health, I am feeling so much better now! I am able to eat regular food again, and I am doing great! Back out to work! 

We also went bobsledding last week! They have this really cool track out in the forest around Sopron and for like $2 you can go down it! And you can get going like super fast! In the picture that I included you can see a bit of Neely in the background, coming in fast RIGHT BEHIND ME. That was scary, he's crazy! Haha! He's a great kid. It was really relaxing to take the lift up into the mountains and just hangout with my elders here. We had a great time!

So Halloween is this week! Here in Hungary they have "Minden Szentek Nap", or All Saints Day. During that day, which is November 1st, they all go to their cemeteries and decorate the graves of their family members. At night, they light candles, so all of the cemeteries are glowing practically. It's pretty creepy, but really cool at the same time! 

We had a pretty cool experience this week: so we finally set up with a guy that I had been trying to call for like a month now. We met him at his work place, which was like some sewing place or what not, kind of like a hole in the wall type store. He works with this really nice lady that designs. As we began talking with him, I noticed that she was listening as we talked about the Book of Mormon. So, we did something a bit unusual: I split off and began talking to her about the Book of Mormon, while my companion continued to talk to our original investigator about Joseph Smith. What ended up happening was that two Books of Mormon were placed, and we should be meeting with not only our original guy, but also his co-worker this Saturday. Absolutely crazy! 

God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes we just need to follow him and trust in him. He knows best. It may seem totally out of place or inappopriate for the time, but He truely knows best. I've learned that once we follow him, it's like a broken pipe being pushed back together, and water can flow freely through it. I encourage you all to maybe push your "broken pipes" that are keeping you from the flowing waters of God's love. 

Trust me. It's worth it. 

Have a great week, everyone :) 

Sok Szeretettel,
Giacalone elder 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pics Week 8

Going on a hike

Old tower that we went to the top of to see all of Sopron

Out by the border by Austria!

Dramatic shot of the Browns out by a section of the wall

Part of the Iron Curtain. So sick!

Me and the Freedom Bell

Hungarian side of the border

A colorful park by our hike

Me and an old park ranger

Neely. What are you doing?