Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dunaújváros Weeks Seventeen/Eighteen (Weeks 89/90)

So, last week we couldn't email because the email place was closed and we had no time it was sad.

HOLY COW SKYPING MY FAMILY FOR THE LAST TIME WAS TRIPPY. We went to an amazing member's house and Skyped/had Christmas dinner with her. Actually, the branch made a list for someone to feed the elders from the 24th until TODAY. They're awesome! All the members here are super great...I'm going to miss them...

Yes...I'm leaving! The call came this morning and everyone was suprised. I'm leaving and Raymond is getting someone else. Richards is staying as well with Elder Fronk. Where am I going, you may ask? The one zone I've never been to, the city where it all started, and where it will all end...

...BUDAPEST. The capital! I'm going to stay Zone Leader but over the Budapest Zone! My new companion is Elder Spedding! I don't really know him that well, but I'm excited! I will be serving in the Kispest area of the city, which I'm equally lost about. But, I'm excited! They don't have a car, instead I'm going to be walking again! Hooray for losing weight! Haha! 

The weather is freezing outside: it's like 20 degrees with a massive windchill. Just so you all know. 

I don't know what else to say! 

The holidays were great! I loved every second! This year it didn't feel as strange as it did last year, it felt a lot more like Christmas. I tried to focus a lot more on the WHY of Christmas: WHY is it important that we celebrate it, WHY was Jesus Christ born, WHY am I here as a missionary in a random country in sketch Eastern Europe in the freezing cold knocking on doors in a ten-story where sometimes we see really disgusting things in elevators? I focused a lot on questions like these, and I got a pretty big answer as I've been studying. You know, missionaries don't know a whole lot, but God knows everything, and He likes helping us out when situations like these arise. 

And I'm really glad that He helps us out. I'm really glad that He answered some of my questions in random ways throughout this holiday season. I know that He is always willing to grant us knowledge if we do our part. 

Here's to my new adventure in the CAPITAL!

Sok Szeretettel,
Elder Giacalone

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dunaújváros Week Sixteen (Week 88)


In the city center here they have put up a concert stage and these little kiosk things that sell beer, wine, apple cider, fresh bread, and CHOCOLATE. Minus the first two items being sold, it's a dream place! Granted it is in a giant Communist built main square that reminds me of in the Hunger Games when everyone's lined up for the drawing thing and then Katniss is like "I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE". 

Anyway, it's like that, if that helped any of you. Shnowfer. Lol. 

We had Christmas Zone Conference yesterday in Budapest with President and Sister Smith. Elder Raymond and I gave a training on the Christlike Attribute of "Hope". It was super great, we ended up ditching like half our notes and doing things completely different. I don't encourage that tactic, but it worked out great for us and the Spirit was strong. President Smith talked about getting rid of that one thing that is holding you back from being the missionary the Lord wants you to be, stuff like doubt, disobedience and fear. Just get rid of it! I really liked it. As usual they had the missionaries going home soon give their departing testimonies. I know this might sound weird, but I usually write down parts from them in my journal, just because they are usually about enduring to the end and building your testimony. As I was doing it, suddenly I realized that in the next Zone Conference, in three months,  I will be giving my departing testimony. Holy barnacles, Mermaid Man. What happened to the time? 

We've been super busy meeting with new people and tracting this city out. 
Miracles/Tender Mercies: 
  • teaching a lady the Restoration and her saying "this is...familiar. Not from this (the pamphlet she was holding) (points to her heart).
  • program with an investigator and a member-present, and the investigator kind of begins Bible-bashing with our member. We prepare ourselves for the worst, but in the end she kind of sighs, shrugs her and says: "The boys (us) told me that one of the things in that you can change. I don't quite believe in God yet, but I believe in change, and that's what I want to do." 
  • sitting in Zone Conference and getting some serious answers to questions I've been struggling with lately. 
  • bringing "Gino", my new elf friend/doll from my grandma, to church with me on Sunday and the members freaking out over him. "THE DOLL IS SO CUTE PLEASE LET ME HOLD HIM!!" Score.
...and lots of others! We've had a great week. I've felt so blessed. Lots of "don't-forget-this-feeling-ever" moments. Lots of reading about Christ's life in the BoM and the Bible. I hope that we all can learn a little bit more about Him and His life, because He already knows everything about you, why don't you learn a little bit more about Him

Have a great holiday season! :)

Sok Szeretettel,
Elder Giacalone

Friday, December 12, 2014

Dunaújváros Week Fifteen (Week 87)

....and this time two years ago: I opened up a thick, white envelope in my living room, surrounded by friends and family members, who were all starting wide-eyed and silent. I was as nervous as it gets. When I read "You are assigned to labor in the Hungary Budapest Mission", I felt my body like...tingle. It was a strange sensation. But, I knew in my heart that this is where I was supposed to go. It was a long four months of waiting afterwards until I could go, but then I "crossed 900 E." in Provo, UT, took a deep breath, and...well, the rest is history. Here's to TWO YEARS of Hungary being a part of my life!  

We had a good week! We were in Budapest for Mission Leader Council with President and Sister Smith and the APs. We talked about goals for 2015, especially the Baptism Goal. Our goal this year wasn't reached, and so we debated about a new goal. President had us vote once, and the numbers were all over the place. He then stopped the debate, had my companion say a prayer for help on the matter from Heavenly Father, and then had us think hard of what we thought this mission could do. President then had us vote again. Still no common answer, but the Spirit was strong, and the range between the numbers dropped a ton. He (President) then looked at the board in silence for a good minute. We all just stared at him. He turned and said that 180 (a few off of the average) would be good. When he asked for a sustaining vote, everyone raised their hands. It was so incredible. We went from debating and almost breaking into different voting groups (you all know I'm all over the analyzing of the voting blocks ;) ) to coming together and supporting one number. It was super cool! I know that that number seems small to other missions around the world, but that's above average for our mission. It'll push us, but we can do it!  

Mikolás came! That is, Hungarian Santa! He comes on December 6th and gives the good kids chocolate in their shoes and a bundle of golden sticks to the naughty kids. I have no idea what ever happened to just "coal" in shoes, the Hungarians have to be a little more elaborate, which is super fun. Mikolás gave Elder Raymond a massive Milka Oreo Bar. He must've been a good boy!

Have you all visited It's SO cool! Our mission is using this thing like crazy, and "He Is The Gift", or in Hungarian "Ő az Ajándék!" it's freaking awesome guys! We have these little pass-along cards that get to hand out, and this amazing video online that talks about Christ's birth. It's such a blessing to be able to use this stuff, it makes teaching a lot easier. :) 

Cool moment: I don't remember if I talked about this or not, but we tracted into a guy a week or two ago and gave him the survey. We asked him if he could ask God any question, what would it be? He thought a moment, and then said he would ask Him nothing. That was surprise. We asked why. He said: "Because I don't want to mess up anything in my life that He has planned for me, but I guess when this is all said in done...I want to know if He's proud of me." We were able to tell him that yes, He is so, so very proud of him and that He wants him to be happy. It was a cool moment. The work is kind of going a little hard right now, lots of people leaving the city for the holidays, but moments like these I'll cherish for a life time. It's hard to explain the things I felt when he said that, but I KNOW that Heavenly Father is proud of His children. We're not perfect, and He knows that, but when we succeed with simple things in life, He's excited for us and just like an earthly parent, He's very, very proud of us. 

More importantly, He's proud of you. :)

Well, I typed a novel again. It's just getting worse and worse! Have a great week everyone! Lots of love from the city by the Duna.

Sok Szeretettel,
Elder Giacalone

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dunaújváros Week Fourteen (Week 86)

Chinese food in Hungary

Driving for Dayyzzzzzzz

Dunaújváros Week Fourteen (Week 86)

So I just want to start things off by saying that yesterday in Ward Council there was a noticable argument/discussion amongst the ward leaders as to who would feed the missionaries Christmas dinner. A compromise was reached where a list was to be passed around next Sunday with time slots, and we are to go from house to house eating my own body weight in food.


I bought a Glade Candle that is entitled "Warm Spice", and we bought a little dinky Christmas tree with some ornaments and we have Christmas music and we are going to make pancakes and I LOVE CHRISTMAS SO MUCH.

So, we had a good week. We had to kind of do an "emergency baptismal interview" in Székesfehérvár last night. I drove through a hurricane's worth amount of rain and freezing wind to pass off one of the classiest investigators in Székes to enter the waters of baptism. He bumped up his bapdate to this Wednesday, so that's why we had to drive out there. Fun times! 

On Sunday, the Primary Program was held during sacrament meeting. Granted there are three primary kids, it was still incredible. Each bore a small testimony and they sang songs. It seemed pretty simple, but there wasn't a dry eye in the whole room when they sang "Család együtt élhet örökké", or "Families Can Be Together Forever".  

Transfers were sad! I hated saying goodbye to Elder Peterson and Sister Moffatt, shout-outs to them back in good ole' America! Also, people have now started referring to me and the rest of my group as really old missionaries, and some have even started asking me "What I've Learned From My Mission"...umm...what? I've got four months left!....from today! :/

Elder Richard's new missionary is such a nice guy. His name is Elder Fronk, and he's like an ARTIST. He draws animals so well! I wonder if he can draw cotton-headed ninny-muggins...#elf 

Remember the guy that met with us in the library last week? So we met with him again, and he's like golden. He wants to change his life and teaching him the Restoration was so easy, he soaked it all up. At the end, he got up to leave and we asked if before he left we could say a closing prayer, and he quickly sat back down and said, with a smile, "Of course! I need to get used to doing this anyways!" HE'S SO COOL THOUGH 

Welp! Off to go save some souls. It's like perpetually grey outside. Still don't know if it's spelled "gray" or "grey". 

Whatever. Haha. :)

Love you all! Have a great week! 

Sok Szeretettel,
Elder Giacalone