Friday, November 28, 2014

Dunaújváros Week Thirteen (Week 85)

Well, transfers were a pleasant suprise!

I'm staying zone leader in Dunaújváros with Elder Raymond! We're excited to be staying together and spending Christmas with each other. We have been eyeing a little fake Christmas tree in Tesco now for the past few weeks for like ten bucks...we might have to buy her! ;) Oh! And Elder Richards is training a new missionary this transfer! It's always good to be around a greenie :)

So, literally, right as I sat down to email, a guy came running back into the library, ran straight up to where we (missionaries) were emailing and said: "I have no idea why I came back, but I felt like I needed to talk to you guys! Please, tell me about yourselves!" Elder Raymond chatted with him about some of our basic beliefs, and he wants to meet with us. He said that he "just feels good" talking to us. Holy cow people, we just got an investigator whilst emailing! So. Freaking. Awesome! 

Awkward moment of the week when our investigators invited us to go to the midnight premiere of "Mockingjay Pt. One" in the movie theater...

We went to Veszprém last week on splits! I really enjoy going to the cities in our zone and working with the elders there. It was fun going there because they had their Angol Ora on the same day, so we got to meet investigators and members. They said that it would be cool if I finished my mission in their city...we'll see!

Last week, for our mission-wide study of "Christ-like Attributes" before Christmas, we studied "Virtue". I learned that it's more of a mental attribute, and all about controlling what you think. Christ told the congregation around him that when the woman touched his robe, virtue had gone out of Him. Pretty important attritube, that virtue. 

We had a massive Thanksgiving dinner at a member's house last week. The wife even found a freaking turkey-here in Dunaújváros! We were full afterwards, and then gave a spiritual thought on being grateful in all circumstances.

Well, that's about it. Just loving life and soaking this experience in. This week marks the beginning of my 10th of 11 transfers....well, that's just scary.

Sok Szeretettel,

Elder Giacalone

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dunaujvaros Week Twelve (Week 84)

Time is going by so fast all of a sudden! I feel like I just started to figure out how to do this "missionary" thing, and now I have four months left! 


I'm freaking out a bit.

Anyway, so many awesome things happened last week, I will try to summarize everything! 

Last week, we had our zone training in here in good old Duna. Our zone is incredible. There were some parts of our training that Elder Raymond and I had designated as "ask them a question" or something just to kill some time, but the elders and sisters would boldly bear testimony and just make incredible comments about things going on in their lives related to the training, and we would just stare at them in awe. Truely, I was the learner on that day. Our zone is the best.

I've started the "D&C countdown"! Well, actually I started it last week. It's where you read a section from the Doctrine and Convenants everyday until you "kick the bucket". I'm on 134 today, and tomorrow is 133. If you want to follow along with me, by all means do it! 

On Sunday, the Hungary Budapest Stake had it's Stake Conference at the Stake Center in Pest at Tihany Tér. The old stake presidency was released after more than eight years of service! The old Stake President bore a powerful testimony and amidst tears said how much he loved this stake. President Smith would always say the joke of how he was "Hungary's best stake president", considering he was Hungary's only and first ever stake president. The new Stake President was actually the Bishop of the Buda ward, and he's an American living in Hungary with his family. I'd never seen him or met him before this, but he struck me as one really in-tune with the Spirit. He told the congregation (which was upwards of 700 people) to not look at him as "amerikai", instead as someone that loves them and wants to help.

Holy crud, people. Hungarian members are LEGIT

Elder Donalson from the Seventy and President Kearon from the Area Presidency were also there and gave talks that were about receiving answers to prayers and pressing through adversity. They both had AMAZING accents! Hooray for foreigners! President Keaton said something that really struck me: "The Atonement makes something beautiful out of our sins." Thinking of that made me want to utilize the Atonement more in my life. 

It reminded me of someone taking a broken mirror and making it into a beautiful glass sculpture. 

Or that one time when my cousin Jessica and I would try and find all the stolen Bertie Botts Every Flavored Beans on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets PC game. 

Anyway, you get the point. 

In closing, we got a referral for a new investigator that is literally the most prepared person I've ever met. She said that we are to "teach her everything we know, and everything she needs to know" about the church. She already has friends in the branch, she just needs teachers. We told her that's kind of "our thing". 

Keep on trucking everyone, cause life is beautiful. 

Peace, love, and hippy-hugs everyone.

Sok Szeretettel,
Elder Giacalone

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dunaújváros Week Eleven (Week 83)

Oh my goodness this past week was EXHAUSTING.

So, we ended driving around this beautiful country like four days in a row. It totally killed our work for the week, but it was worth it. On Wednesday, we had our monthly Mission Leadership Coucil up in Budapest with President and Sister Smith and the AP's. We talked about getting investigators out to church and other problems/opportunities with the mission. It's always pretty interesting to hear the insight of everyone involve, because literally everyone has a different opinion about every topic discussed. I actually really like that concept, though. 

On Thursday, we drove back  up to Budapest (yet again) for our quarterly interviews with President. I think it was my favorite interview to date. I really like talking with President Smith, and the fact that I've known him for more than 19 months makes every time talking to him feel like I'm talking to a close friend. He's a good guy! There was one scary part when he told me how I only have one more interview left with him before my exit interview on April 1st. Talk about freakyyyyy. 

And then we went on splits to a city called Székesfehérvár. We spent the day there, spent the night, and then stayed for their District Meeting. I got to spend the day with my old companion, Elder Barbour. He's still super fun to be around, I love that kid! I've really had some awesome companions on my mission, and I can't wait to hangout with all of them post-mish! 

BUT SERIOUSLY SO MUCH DRIVING. Also, in Hungary, tractors and bulldozers drive on highways, so unless you can pass them, you just kind of....follow them. For MILES. #thestruggleisreal

I had a cool experience driving back from Budapest on one of these occasions. Part of the journey through the winds and bends of downtown Buda takes us down by the Danube River, or the "Duna" in Hungarian. Even though it was only like 5:30 in the evening, because of the time change it was dark already. The city looked fantastic from where we were driving. Parliament was blazing bright with lights, and the bridges were all decked out in flood lights and cars driving on them. The Duna was black but looked like some giant snake moving through Budapest. All around us were people moving on mopeds and bikes and scooters and just being the little hipsters that they are. 

Holy crud that paragrah sounded so awesome. Sometimes I can write good things ;)

Anyway, right then I said to Elder Raymond: "This is where I need to be!" And I FELT it, too! I love Hungary, and I don't know what I would be without knowing it! 

So, workwise, this week was kind of not the best for us. We still worked hard, but our time was swallowed up with other things. Happens sometimes. We are really, really pushing ourselves this week, though. I'm excited to see what happens! 

Pray for the Hungarians! They are such interesting folks.


Peace and Blessings y'all. 

Sok Szeretettel,
Elder Giacalone

Duna Pics

Fall in Duna

Day of the Dead

Dunaújváros Week Ten (Week 82)

This past week was incredible, exhausting, and above all: nostalgic! Haha!

Here's some fun things that happened this past week. Here we go!

1) Met with a new lady that we tabled. She invited us into her house and we chatted. She has lived in like six countries outside of Hungary, and she said that in every single one of them she saw the Mormon missionaries walking around. She never talked to them, but she felt like she should have. So, as she was walking the street of Dunaújváros in this great country of Hungary, she saw my companion and I tabling, and she said that she "knew that one of us would come talk to her". It sure happened! 

2)  President and Sister Smith showed up, along with the office couple,the Bagozzis, to church on Sunday! It was a pleasant surprise, we hadn't planned on them coming. They came to our new member/investigator classas well, that was a treat! They bore their testimonies in Hungarian in sacrament meeting as well! So that was pretty cool! It was awesome to be with them in a teaching situation like that. 

3) Holy crud: I went back to Kaposvár last week on splits with the elders there. I was there exactly a year ago from right now. Talk about trip down memory lane! I visited "M", who is now a counselor in the Relief Society Presidency! She was quitting smoking when I was there! I also met with "E", whom I baptized last February in Kecskemét. She said that she was planning on serving a mission this next year! Sooooo cooool. I also got to see a family that I helped teach, and the daughter is preparing to serve a mission as well, and now her mom is taking the lessons! "E"'s mom is meeting with the elders as well! I was so happy. Like, this happiness is....different. It comes from knowing that these people will be my friends for a very, very long time. :)

4) Hungary had it's "Day of the Dead". It was my last one :( The graveyard here was lit up with thousands of glittering candles, each placed carefully on the grave of a deceased loved one. There was a really creepy fog that rolled in and made picture-taking really hard, but it also made it super pretty! 

That was my week! This past week we watched "Finding Faith in Christ" with an RCLA. He's been struggling lately with a few things, and we've been working with him on them. There's a part in the film where it shows the woman touch Christ's hem and get healed. Everyone knows the story, and by her faith she was completely healed. What I really got out of it this time though was that sometimes we seem so insignificant as one person: Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have an untold number of us to worry about, but in this story we can learn that they will always pay attention to the one that is in need of help, even in they're  in a city full of crowded people with thousands of problems. Christ's attention is infinite, and He knows us all one by one. 

I love that. 

I love you all! Have a great week! 

Sok Szeretettel,
Elder Giacalone