Friday, November 21, 2014

MTC: "Fear not, little flock."

Zivijo vsi!!! 

This was a crazy, busy week, (I feel like I say this every week.. but they keep getting more and more busy!!!) and I am so excited to leave for Slovenia in three days! We leave Sunday night... or technically Monday morning at 3:30.. And will go from here to Chicago, then to Germany, and then to Croatia!! And then Elder Hughes and I will take a train together to Slovenia. This morning was the last time in the temple for a few months and it was a wonderful experience. I am so grateful for the temple and the opportunity to go every week. I love the spirit that is felt there. We are so blessed to have so many close to us! This week I Skyped with Ivan from Slovenia.. and as soon as he saw my name tag, he told me he has been talking with my Mom this past week!!! He explained everything about my visa to me... So THANK YOU to Mom for helping with that!! While I was Skyping him, I saw a little girl in the back ground... and got so excited because I haven't ever talked to a girl in Slovene before!! I said hi to her, and she came over and talked with us for a little. She was nine years old and plays the violin. I told her that I love to play the piano and she got so excited to play music together!! She had the cutest Slovene accent and I look forward to seeing her in person soon!

This week I have been studying and thinking about the Atonement. I was reading in D&C -

34-Therefore, fear not, little flock ; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

35-Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.

36-Look unto me in every thought ; doubt not, fear not.

37-Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen.

Isn't that the most comforting scripture?? It is such a wonderful promise that we have a Savior who loves us and can help us- ALWAYS. Christ died for us and suffered for us so that we may not be scared... So that we can learn to be brave! And so that we can know, that someone knows how we feel always. I love the story of the prodigal son. I love that when he is returning home, his father RUNS to him, and meets him.. And he falls at his feet and rejoices that he is home. I imagine that is how our Heavenly Father feels. We just have to make the step, and "return home", and then our Father in Heaven is anxiously waiting to run to our feet and help us. We just need to take that step. And that step is just simply praying and asking for help. 

It is sometimes easy to complain when things are hard, or when we don't understand completely why we have to go through certain things... but it is crucial to remember that Heavenly Father knows us and is aware of us. He has a plan and we need to trust in that. Elder Holland once said that "Sometimes we have to go through pain and sorrow, to come to more fully appreciate the atonement. To shed one of the tears that our Savior shed for us." I also like to think that sometimes Christ has us suffer, because he wants us to turn closer to Him. He wants us to pray and ask for help. Like I said previously, he is anxiously waiting to help, we just need to turn to Him. He wants to make our burden light and easier to carry. Sometimes things get placed upon us, that may seem "too big" or "too hard" but with Christ's help we can do all things. Through prayer and trusting in Him, those things that seem hard, soon will become easier! We just need to TRUST AND NOT BE AFRAID. That is one thing I am learning everyday as a missionary!! Learning a language is HARD- but each day it gets a little easier because I am turning to my Heavenly Father. I love this gospel with all my heart. I am so excited to serve the people in Slovenia and teach them this wonderful and hopeful message- That HE LIVES. I love my Savior and I am so grateful for someone who can truly help us with all things. He can take WEAK things, and make them STRONG. He can make us braver than we ever thought we could become. We are so blessed!!!

Love you all.. Next time you hear from me, I will be in SLOVENIA!!

Sestra Nydegger

Two friends from my Zone - Elder Brown (Slovakia) and Munchen (Bulgaria)

Happy B-Day Elder Hughes!

Last temple trip for a while.

New friend at MTC - Sister Stromberg.

Slovenia - here I come!

Travel plans.

MY AMAZING TEACHERS - thank you thank you 

My district 

the zone 

the real companions hahahaha

Thursday, November 13, 2014

MTC: "Christ-like love flowing from the righteous can CHANGE the world!"

Živijo prijatelji in družina!!!

Once again a busy and crazy week in the MTC.. I am doing my best each day to work hard and to learn everything that I am meant to learn while here in the MTC. I am also trying even harder each and everyday to focus on what Heavenly Father is trying to teach me and what He wants me to accomplish. I have made some goals of what I want to accomplish before I leave and I am working hard to achieve those goals.

One of my goals was to memorize the first vision in Slovene before I left the MTC. Thanks to Elder Hughes and my teachers I finally have it!!! My brain is very slow for memorizing things sometimes.. So I am so happy to finally have it memorized. As it has strengthened my language skill and slovene vocabulary, memorizing it also strengthened my testimony of Joseph Smith in numerous ways. This week in choir, we sang "Praise to the Man." It was so powerful. I love bearing my testimony to others through music. One of my favorite lines to sing as a missionary was... "WAKE UP THE WORLD." Joseph Smith was one of the most powerful missionaries, who died to prove that the Book of Mormon is true, and that His church truly was restored. As a missionary now,
it is my job to help wake up the world and teach them our simple message. I love the knowledge that I have of Joseph Smith and I look up to him and his bravery.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to skype with someone from Slovenia again! This time it was by myself. I was nervous but Heavenly Father is helping me to be brave!!! I am learning more Slovene each and everyday - Elder Hughes and I are trying to speak slovene always... at least the words we know. I skyped Alex who has been a member for a year today!!! He had such a wonderful light about him, and I couldn't help but smile as I talked with him about faith. I have so much love already for the people in Slovenia and I cannot wait to serve them.

This week I have been focusing on the Christ-like attribute, charity and love. One of the closing songs we sang the other night was "As I have loved you." I was overcome by the spirit and felt very inspired as I sang the words...

"By this shall men know, ye are my disciples."

Love. Love is how people can see the light of Christ in our eyes. People will see that we are examples and disciples of Christ if we show our love to them. I was studying charity for personal study yesterday, and I love how in Moroni 7 it says that charity suffereth long... charity is kind... charity envieth not, is not puffed up- but
is the PURE love of Christ. I love that scripture and I am striving to display those characteristics and be a better example of the pure love of Christ. Christ loves us, and that is how He hoped we would love each other. With PURE Christ-like love, CHARITY. After all, the greatest commandment is to "love one another" as Christ loves us. I love the quote by Shakespeare that says, "They do not love, those who don't share their love." We need to express love in word and in deed. We can do that by sending a note to a friend, or giving a hug to a family member, or expressing gratitude and telling people thank you... or by simply telling people that you love them. In 1st Corinthians 13:13, we learn that faith, hope, and charity are all qualities that we need, but the most important is charity. I challenge everyone to show a little more love to those around you. To pray, and ask for charity. To forgive others who have harmed or wronged you. To help those who are struggling or in need of comfort. Or to say positive things about others. I know that as we do this, we are filled with charity- and it will become easier to obey God's commandments and help those around us more. Charity helps us to be more patient... And charity, like faith- leads to action. I know that we will develop more Charity as we look for opportunities to serve and love those around us.

I wrote in my journal last night the following - I am serving a mission because of the Christ-like love I have felt from my Savior. I am serving a mission because of the joy it brings me to share this Christ-like love. I am serving a mission, to ultimately show my love to our Savior completely. I offer him my heart because I love him.

Hvalažen sem za Jezususa Kristusa en svoj odkupna daritev. Ljubim ga en mi radi biti misionarka!!!

I love you all.. so much!!! Be happy and find more reasons to show love to those around you!

Sestra Nydegger

family pics with the district 

District in blue outside temple.

Elder Hughes Skyping with Alex of Slovenia.

First snow storm at the MTC!

Look who happened to be at the temple ;) 

Our second to last temple trip in Provo.

Souer Back is now in France!

With Sister Steele.

Our trio companionship.

Friday, November 7, 2014

MTC: "What can Christ make of me?"

Zdravo family and friends!! I hope everyone had a wonderful and happy week! WELL - This week has been quite eventful and I am reminded everyday how lucky I am to be a missionary. I am also reminded how long I have been in the MTC... every single week when I see new people coming in and leaving..

On Tuesday we got to go on a field trip to BYU and go to their Tuesday devotional! Since we never get to leave the MTC grounds except for the temple, we treasured every second in the real world!! I saw a few friends which made me happy. Another exciting thing that happened is that I am now in a trio companionship! We received another sister in our zone yesterday who is going to Macedonia, and because Sister Hassell is going to Macedonia as well, she got put in our companionship. Her name is Sister Barch and is from Texas. So now I am REALLLLY solo... :) It is okay though I am loving learning this language and feel very grateful that the Lord has asked me to learn it! 

The highlight of my week was yesterday. We were sitting in class and a man came in and said that he was sorry because we were supposed to know this a few days ago so that we could prepare, but that we were Skyping with a man from Slovenia in five minutes. My heart started pounding and I was very nervous!! I said a quick prayer that I would feel peaceful and feel prepared. I got to teach with Elder Hughes - which by the way was SO FUN having someone to teach with!!!!! His name was Elvim and he lives in Ljubljana, and has been a member for 7 years now. He teaches the institute class there which has around 6 students! After getting to know him, I had a huge love for him and the people in Slovenia. Elder Hughes and I then testified to him about prayer. We both shared an experience when our prayers had been answered. I told him how I decided to serve a mission. Once Elder Hughes and I had finished, he paused and asked for us to look right in the camera for a few seconds. After we did that, he said with the biggest smile on his face, in such a humble way, "Wow. We need your testimonies here in Slovenia. We need your light. Thank you. Wow." Hearing that made me feel so happy and good inside. We asked him after how our Slovene was and he said it was "zelo dobro!!" He said our cases were a little off... but he could understand us and I could understand almost every word he spoke! At least I think.. Elder Hughes keeps telling me I was understanding things wrong hahaha so I have no clue. We then said "see you in two and a half weeks!!!" It is starting to feel real that I am really going to Slovenia!! I am so excited and already have such a love for these people. Speaking of, our flight plans come within the next week- YAY!!

This week I have been studying a lot about Christ's miracles. Our teacher asked us to ponder what the great miracles of all time were. As I have been pondering this and talking about it with my teacher, I think the greatest miracle is the power of CHANGE. In Matthew 4:18-20, it says that Christ was walking by the sea of Galilee, and saw two fishermen and simply said, "Follow me, and I will make you fisher of men." And then it says, "And they straightway left their nets and followed him." This is when Christ was talking to Peter, who was once just a poor fisherman. I think it is amazing that Christ could take a poor fisherman, and make him into one of the strongest apostles- who exercised much faith and confidence in Christ. Christ has the power to make us into someone that we never knew we could become. Christ took Moses, who was weak and not eloquent of speech, and made him someone strong of speech. Or in Mosiah 28:4 we learn about the "vilest sinners" of all time and how they later become the strongest missionaries ever known in Alma 31. Or how Christ took Emily's investigator Julia, who once did not know much about the gospel and now has a burning testimony. Or how Christ is taking me, a young 19 year old girl, and is helping me become a strong missionary with an unfailing testimony. He is helping me become who he wants me to be. That is the greatest miracle of all time. Christ can change us. With the atonement, we can always try again and be a little better. I love how later in the bible Christ goes to Peter, when he was one day fishing again, and asks him three different times, "Do you love me?" Peter responds and says "Yes." Christ then says, "Then Peter, why are you here, fishing again? I need disciples. I need someone to feed my sheep. I need someone to preach my gospel. I need someone to love me." He then says, "I need you to leave all this, and go and testify." I love that through the atonement Christ can help us. When we make mistakes, and sometimes forget our purpose, he reminds us. The Atonement allows us to become better. 

I am trying to be better at following that advice from our Savior to Peter and apply it to my life. I want to be his disciple. I want to be the person to feed his sheep. I want to be the missionary that loves my Savior so much, that I am willing to give up myself completely and become who he wants me to be. After reading that and studying this miracle of change, I wrote in my journal some goals of what I want to have accomplished when I come home. This is what I wrote... "When I am on my way home, I want to say that I have accomplished all that I was meant to accomplish. I want to say that I was the best instrument in God's hand that I could be. I want to say that I gave 100% of myself the whole time. I want to be known as the missionary that has an unshakable witness of Christ, firm in the testimony that I have. I want to be a true example in all that I do and say. I want to have the light of Christ in my eyes and have a special spirit. I want to be EXACTLY what God wants me to be."

I know that through Christ we can CHANGE. We can become amazing people through the Atonement of Christ. That is the greatest miracle of all time! I am grateful for a Savior who can make weak things, become strong. I am grateful for a Savior who has a plan for us and knows us better than we know ourselves. We truly have a message of HOPE and happiness... now we just need to SHARE it - missionary tag or not!! 

Have a wonderful week, go serve someone around you! 

Sestra Nydegger 

 Happy halloweeen!