My name is Joe Giacalone. I've been called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for 2 years. This blog is about my experiences in Budapest, Hungary. I love my Savior and love to serve Him.
It's another great week here in the Kispest-lands! We destroyed all our goals we had set and now we're here again emailing. It feels like we were just here like yesterday! It's insane how fast time is flying.
Remember the lady that broke her back and let us in to her apartment like a few weeks ago? Yeah, so she's like super legit! She continues to astound us with her determination to learn and grow!
Great moments like week:
Coming back to a let-in a few days later to find out that she has read like fifty pages out of the Book of Mormon and had like a million questions. We answered her questions and taught her the Restoration. She sat there and soaked it all up and as we finished with a prayer and got up to leave, she grabbed my suit sleeve and said: "Find the others who are waiting for you, like me."
Having one of those moments when your bapdate is so set on baptism that he is willing to take any advice on how to quit smoking. I just sat back and soaked in the moment with so much gratitude in my heart to be able to teach him. He's awesome.
Splits with a good friend from the Buda side. Got to talk some things out with him about life and everything. At the end of the split he said :"Elder Giacalone, I just love you!" and gave me the biggest hug. I'm grateful for amazing missionaries to work with!
With transfers here, I am sadly losing Elder Spedding. He's off to the mystical land of Győr. I am getting Elder Zwingli! He's a couple groups beneath me, and I served around him during my little adventure out to Eger for a month. Haha. He's a good kid, I'm excited to work with him.
And...I guess I'll state the obvious: yes, I have started the last transfer of my mission here in Hungary. It's a weird feeling, with just nine weeks remaining out here. We have a LOT to do out here, and I intend to make the best of it! Here's to working till I drop dead!...literally.
The good news: I do not need to get eye surgery! But I have a stye...ugh. So not needed right now. Gotta love getting random bumps in your eyelid.
I had sushi for the first time last week! Our investigator took us to this really good Japanese restraunt and they had a moving little Sushi conveyer belt. You just sit by a little window thing and snag the sushi on a dish as it moves by. Soo much fun! I had octopus!
We had a baptism last week in the other companionship, it was so sick! It was another one of Heavenly Fathers children making his way back home. So cool, and really pretty.
We had Zone Training with the whole zone! We taught about being "Smarter Missionaries" and using our time wisely. We also divided the city of Budapest amongst the ten companionships here since the old lines were like five years old, and some companioships were closed down. I felt like someone after World War One carving up Europe amongst the winners, but this time it was the city of Budapest to Mormon Missionaries. Lol.
I was thinking about my mission a lot the other day last week, since just ten weeks are left, and we went to a program literally like three blocks south of the Parliament building (you know, the big one with spires). It was our second time meeting with her. and we had a beautiful program on the Plan of Salvation, and life after death especially. I got to bear testimony of eternal families, something that is so precious to me and something my mission has given me. As we were getting ready to leave she asked me something that hit pretty deep: "did you think your mission was a success?" I looked at my companion, and he just kind of raised his eyebrows and gave me the "this one is all you" kind of look.
At first I started by saying that I am by all means an imperfect missionary, that I am full of flaws and things I can work on, but then I saw in my minds eye faces of people that I love here in Hungary, faces from more than twenty-one months worth of work. Some were special investgators and some were my own companions!
I told that lady that my mission changed my life. I told her that life, and missions, aren't always what we expect, but honestly in the end it's not about what we expect-it's about doing God's work, and trusting that things will be ok if we follow Him.
I still have ten weeks left and who knows what is around the corner or what I am going to experience tomorrow, but I know that my mission is a successfull thing. It can be and will be for anyone, if you choose to make it.
I cannot believe I have been a missionary for 92 weeks...oh my.
Still an amazing time in the Pest-lands! I am so mad right now though because I CANNOT FIND THE USB PORT IN THIS COMPUTER BECAUSE THEY PUT IT IN UPSIDE DOWN.
My area is beautiful. I would show you pictures, but sadly I still cannot find the USB thing. So, you all just have to believe me.
Here are some happenings from the past week:
Whilst (I have found myself saying "whilst" a lot, its so fancy!) tracting, getting four (4) let-ins in like an hour. One of them had a broken back and told us to come back in an hour. So we came back an hour later and she sat us down in her tiny kitchen, shuffled over to her boiling pot and turned off the heat, turned around and with great difficulty sat down (broken backs suck) and said: "Boys, teach me about your church. I am ready now."
Sitting on a rock by the Duna and gazing up at Gellert Hegy (a big hill overlooking the river) and feeling a huge confirmation that Hungary really was the place where I needed to be and when. Gosh, I love this place and the people so much, and I do NOT want to leave!!!
Getting a call this morning from a member who said: "I have been thinking a lot about your investigator that came to church two weeks ago, and I have a very strong feeling that she will be baptized. I would like to come to a program with you so I can share my testimony of the Gospel..."
The throw-up from the New Years party last week is still frozen on the ground. Under a sheet of ice...Yum yum!
Honestly, the work here is on fire. We slayed our weekly goals last week, but this week looks a bit more slow. I guess it means we will just go tract out the beautiful city center in this great weather. I am so happy!
Also, apparently I have an eye infection. Cool....why could it not have waited for just another couple months?! LAME. It doesnt hurt or anything, so I am just going to get it fixed in America...
I literally dont have anything else. I love the work. I love Hungary. I love bringing people closer to Christ. I love my companion, and my past companions as well. Its weird with all my friends starting to go home, its starting to sink in that I have only a couple of months left!
Have a great week everyone. There is so much to be GRATEFUL for. This world is beautiful and life is GREAT.
I am in Budapest! Like, this is where I first landed in the country, and where I have been going for zone conferences, interviews and transfers. Except this time when I went up for transfers from Duna, I stayed in the city.
That was weird.
Anyway, so KISPEST. Seriously, this place is where it is at. Serving in the city is very different from anything I have ever experienced. People are everywhere. Everyone is bustling somewhere. Its loud. I just went from a small factory town to the biggest city in my mission. Its insane. For New Years, the city did some serious fireworks. It sounded like the bombs you hear on CNN describing the war in Iraq...freaking terrifying haha.
I am still a Zone Leader, and the Budapest Zone is divided into four areas, each comprimising districts from the city. Like unto the Capitol in the Hunger Games, the city of Budapest is divided into districts, and the missionaries here are giving districts to work in for their areas. The four areas are Buda (the left side of Budapest from the Danube River), Pest (the northern districts of the east side), Kispest (the southern districts of the east side of Budapest and the largest area, "Kispest" itself means "Little Pest") and then Érd, a suburb of Buda. So its been fun getting to know the city.
We travel by city trams, the Metro (or the subway) and buses. I mourn the loss of my car, but honsetly driving in this city is a nightmare and parking is just as bad. So, I am kind of grateful we do not have one. Plus, walking more is going to help me lose more weight before I go home! :)
Our investigators are so cool. So cool. I am getting to meet them more and more. The ward is legit. There was like 100 people at church on Sunday...like what the heck?! Thats huge!
We got to set a bapdate with "E" last week, and she has only been investigating for about a week! When I met with her, she had only been taught the Restoration, but she had prayed about it and knew that the message was true! I asked her if she had prayed about the Book of Mormon, and she said that she just knew it was true from what we said, and that when she met with us outside of English Class (how she originally came in contact with us) it wasnt random. She is so cool.
I don't know what else to say! I feel like as time goes by, I'm getting worse and worse at writing these things. Shout out to Sister Carle's blog, because I said I would do it.
Be happy people. For this New Year, be a little bit better. Remember that God loves His children, and don't forget how important you all are to Him.