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