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?

Sopron Week 8

Well, I cannot believe how fast the weeks go. They seem to be cruising by, and somedays are just a blur. It is absolutely great to be in the service of the Lord. I truly have been feeling blessed as I have been out here. 

This week, I got sick. Again. Ugh. Yeah, I'm done with all of it. It got to the point where we had to call Sister Smith and she got a doctor from Germany to call me. He had me give myself a physical, which was awkward but also pretty interesting. He decided that it wasn't anything totally serious, and that I was to just get some rest and watch what I eat. I've been feeling a ton better, and I feel like I'm back to my old self! It's been amazing to see how fast I was able to rebound, and I know that Heavenly Father was there in that whole ordeal. For that, I am grateful. 

We also were able to go with the Browns out to the Pan-European Picnic place out by the border of Austria. It has such a cool history there, and for those of you who know me, I love me some good Cold War drama :) In the late 1980's, a bunch of people from East Germany gathered there to like silently protest and petition to get let into Austria. The whole point of the "picnic" was to go and take a piece of the wall with you. Thanks to the calm down in the Cold War, the border actually did open up and people were able to get to the west! A few months later, the rest of the wall came down. A lot of people attribute that to the picnic by Sopron. So cool. Now, it's like an international monument park, and it's absolutely beautiful. They have a big "freedom bell" out there that you can ring, and I rang it :)

We also were able to go on a hike with one of the other Elder's investigators. We went up into the hills above Sopron and went up to this old tower that over looks the city. It was so quiet up at the top of the tower and the air was so clean. I had never experienced something like that ever before. It was incredible! We were able to meet with a few people this week as well, and I spoke in church! Yes, my first full length sacrament meeting talk. It went pretty well! I talked on the Holy Ghost and how we can recognize it in our lives. All in Hungarian, peeps. Fun part? I had only four (4) Hungarian words actually on my paper. The rest was in English and I just translated it as I went. I don't want to brag, but fetch, I'm speaking Hungarian! :)

I hope you all have a splendid week! Hey, Halloween is next week! Here, they have "Day of the Dead", in which they just light up their loved one's graves. It looks pretty cool at night. But they don't have Halloween :( 

Make sure you all say prayers, because there is real power behind it. 

Sok Szeretettel,
Elder Giacalone

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pics Week 7

We found a zombie apocalypse ad on a college campus. Heck. Yes.

Eight hours of train rides. Done

Sopron's soccer, or football, field

waiting outside President's office in Budapest...

Me and my new jacket outside Sopron Stadium :)

Sopron Week 7

Hello everyone! Nagyon szeretetem azt az általanos konferenciát. Nagyon jó volt! I hope you are all doing well.
We have had a somewhat weird week. To start off, we had interviews in Budapest, which is a four hour train ride both ways. Sopron is out in the boondocks on Hungary out by Austria, so it takes a while to get to Budapest. So most of our day was spent on a train. Interviews was great, I'm so grateful for a mission president that is concerned about us and our welfare. He's a great man. By the time we got home, it was almost 9:00, and we pretty much just went home. Then, the next day, we had zone training in Gyor, so another day of trains! So pretty much, our work got slaughtered for the week. 

Then, the unthinkable happened: I got SICK. SO sick. Like, I haven't been this sick in a year or two. I was down for the count all day on Saturday and a good chunk of yesterday, Sunday. It was rough, to say the least. I just sat in my bed all day, and the other elders rotated shifts so someone could be babysitting me while the other two went to programs. I felt pretty useless. I did have a lot of time to kind of sit and ponder a bit, and I did think of how precious my time here in Hungary is and how quickly my time flies by. Heck, my 1/4 mark is this week! Really quite terrifying. I resolved to make good use of my time wherever I am. I'll make it work!

So between being on trains and being sick, that is where most of my time fell this past week. Not a whole lot to talk about. An old missionary is here in Sopron visiting, so that's been cool to talk with him and get advice. It's cool to talk to someone "from the other side". Haha. 

I'm so grateful for the prayers and support from people back at home for my dad and my family! Thank you all so much! I truly appreciate it. It was a little frustrating being several thousand miles away and not being able to do anything really, but I knew that I could pray. And Heavenly Father answered. I'm aware of tons of people who helped my family during that stressful time. Also, I never felt overwhelmed or incredibly stressed about dad. I know that was a blessing from God. You have no idea how much of a relief it was to hear that my dad was taken care of, and so was my mom and brothers, by His angels here on earth.

So once again, thank you. :)

I hope you all have a spankin' good week! :) 

Sok Szeretettel,
Elder Giacalone

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pics, Week 6

Elder Brown forgot his tag, so I loaned him one of mine!

Our district, plus Laura, watching conference!
Tis the season of WINE Kid never smiles...just kidding!

Me and a tv we found while streeting!

We went to McDonald's and they gave me a "Kis Fanta"

We have a tv in our apartment...awkward

Sopron Week 6

Hello everyone! I hope you all are doing great. I'm doing fine and absolutley loving the work out here in the grand city of Sopron! We have had an interesting week with conference and what not, but it was good nonetheless and the work went well. 

First of all, conference was FANTASTIC. I absolutlely loved every single talk. It was great to hear from prophets of God bear testimony to us about precious truths. I really felt the Spirit as they talked and I even received some personal revelation to some questions I have been thinking about.

Conference is just cool like that, you know? Also, this week had a theme of the power of the Book of Mormon. 

We met with some pretty cool people this week! So two weeks ago in English Class I gave the spiritual thought out of the Book of Mormon about charity. As I finished, one of the ladies in the back, who had been coming for several times by now, had her eyes right on me as I spoke and kept rubbing her arms. After the prayer, I felt like I should ask her one more time (we had tried before to get her to meet with us, but she always said no) to meet with us. Right as the sentence exited my mouth, she said "I want to meet with you. I want to know what this book is about that you read out of. I want to know who God is to me."

Well, hot dang! I can do that! 

We scheduled and set up for the week after, which was this past week. As we met, I asked her if she had read out the Book of Mormon at all. She said that she hadn't been able to put it down in the past few days, at all! She had even cooked palacsintas while reading it. She was so confused with how she was feeling, and when we bore testimony of the Book of Mormon and of Heavenly Father's love for us, she bowed her head and rubbed her arms, again. I asked, jokingly, why she kept doing that. She replied that she was getting goosebumps and that she was feeling something. It was fantastic explaining what that was! The Spirit was so strong in the meeting, and it made up for the lack of other programs we had that week, in my opinion. 

Also, I went on splits with Elder Neely! We streeted, met with an RCLA (and we were totally fine with the language, too!), and then got dinner at McDonald's. Also, he has introduced me to fruit tea, and I fear that I am becoming addicted to it! It's so yummy, and we would sip it during our personal study like we were fancy diplomats or something ;) 

We also met with a kid a year or two younger than us. We had given him a Book of Mormon while tabling, and we set up with him at the Brown's house. He told us that he was a Quaker, which was super cool! I totally thought they were only on the East Coast of the US, but apparently they are here in Hungary too! He had some good questions about the Book of Mormon, but the Spirit was there, and by the end he was intent on receiving an answer to it! 

The book itself is doing the work out here, and we just are here! Amazing! 

I KNOW the Book of Mormon is from God! I love it! Sometimes I feel that I have learned everything I need from it, but then it proves me wrong and shows me something I have missed. I have been trying to make it more central in my life and especially in my studies. I'll say it again:

I love this book. 

I know it is true!

I love all of you, have a great week! :)
Sok Szeretettel,
Elder Giacalone