Monday, December 28, 2015

Maribor, Slovenia: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

HI EVERYONE - I loved talking with you all this week!! It is by far the greatest gift on Christmas. I am so grateful for you and for your love and support. I hope you all had a happy day!!!!! 

I am so grateful that I got to experience two Christmas's in Slovenia..  My first one I was about three months in, and my second one, about three months left. It is remarkable to see the differences between the first and the second. 

For Christmas eve, we went as a district and delivered oranges to many of the members here in Slovenia, and we went caroling to them. It was a HUGE full moon.. and up in Maribor, it is a lot like Avstrija with looooonnnnngggg fields.. It was so beautiful.

It was also a lot of fun to spread the Christmas spirit to many of them members! President also allowed us to go to Midnight Mass again. My first experience, I could not understand ANYTHING except "molimoooooo" (we pray)... And this year, not only could I understand.. but I also was able to appreciate the catholic church and the many true principles they have. I really have come to appreciate other religions and customs on my mission.. It really does make sense to me why we have so many churches on the earth - which leads me to find gratitude in Christ's restored church today. I am grateful that today on the earth we have the Church filled with all of the rights, truths, and powers that come directly from God.. so that we can make and keep commitments in His name. 

For Christmas my district decided to all do one of our families traditions together! So, I decided on Christmas PJ's!!!! We all felt like little kids again on Christmas, but we had a great time all together. 

Then the rest of the week was the normal missionary work! We did a lot of contacting and tracting, and decided to focus on PROGRESSION and why we make goals. One of my favorite things as a missionary is the goal mindset we have.. It helps us to constantly strive for improvement and to be better. I look forward to making goals for the upcoming year! 

Rada vas imam!!!!! Vesel božič in srečno novo leto!!!!!! 
LOVE, Sestra N 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Maribor, Slovenia: Slike!


I LOVE the feeling of Christmas time.. especially as a missionary. I feel so happy that I get to experience 2 Christmas's here in Slovenia, because they are some of the happiest times of my life. I love being able to focus solely on the birth of our Savior, without any worldly distractions. We witness so many miracles as we spread the good news of the Savior's birth. I think one of the greatest miracles I have seen, is the growth in my personal testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ, as we walk and testify of his birth. Each day this month, I have really been trying to focus on my Savior.. what he would do, what he would say, how he would act, how he would respond. I am so grateful for a perfect example of someone we can constantly strive to be. His invitation to us, is simply to follow him. To follow his teachings, to be more like him. To repent, to love, to forgive, to LIVE the gospel. It is sad to hear how many people do not believe in God, or who celebrate Christmas but don't believe in Christ.. Or those who celebrate Christmas, believe in God and Christ, but have no idea what that means to them personally. But luckily, that is why we can use this time to DISCOVER WHY we need a Savior. And that is why I love the spirit of Christmas time... It is a time to focus on the things that truly matter, to strengthen our testimony of Jesus Christ, and a time to start again and make new goals. It is a sweet spirit of hopefulness and joy, and I am grateful for that. 

This week we went to Croatia for a 2 day conference in Zagreb. It was an uplifting conference with many new things learned. My favorite part was Thursday night, when we went and caroled in groups of 15 missionaries. As the majority of us would sing Christmas songs in Croatian, 2 missionaries would contact the people around us. We had many people stop and listen and take pictures. It is simple things like that, that spread the Christmas spirit. After we caroled we went back to the mission home for a talent show. We ended by all 40 of us missionaries, singing "I believe in Christ." There is something beautiful about singing in our English native tongue, with 40 representatives of Christ, sharing our testimony with each other, through a powerful song like that. It was powerful as we all sung with all of our heart, those profound words, I BELIEVE. "He came to earth to do the will of the Father.. he is God's son. He healed the sick, the dead he raised.. He sets us free from Satan's grasp.." And because of him we can say "I believe in Christ, so come what may."

Sister Grant gave a sweet talk about what gifts we can give to the Savior. She invited us all to pray about it, and focus on one thing to give him this Christmas season.

For our branch christmas party, the four of us missionaries sang the song "In the bleak mid winter." It's final verse, is beautiful and sums up what we can give to Him. "What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would give a lamb. If I were a wise man, I would do my part. But what can I give him? I would give my heart." 

All of us can follow the example of our Savior in giving as He gave... and as we do so, we will see our own power grow as we become more like him.. And the greatest gift we can give this Christmas season is our heart. 

I love my Savior with everything I have, and I hope to give my heart to show him my love, as I invite people to learn more about him. 

Love, Sestra N 

We decorated the chapel / room for a Christmas Party!  We had 6 people (one friend of a member) and the Grants.

Maribor in the SUMMER!

Maribor NOW.

A random man wanted to work on his photography.  We obliged!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Maribor, Slovenia: Cold Shoulder

HI "čuj ti, v mariboru si!" 

Maribor. Slovene. is. a. complete. different. language. 

That could describe my whole week! 

We, again, don't have much time today because the libraries were all closed, so really quickly I will tell you some of the highlights of my week!

Maribor is beautiful.. It is a pretty city.. But the weather has dropped degrees MAJOR TIME and it is SO COLD. I guess you could say we "got the cold shoulder this week." pun intended... But really I honestly don't remember being this cold last winter, and it is difficult to get people to stop in the cold but we are making it work.....

We started free hot chocolate again and we do it for hours and we are actually seeing a lot of success from it! We have been using the senior couples computer, and showing the "Discover Why" video about Christmas, and we have gotten a lot of people to watch it. The sad thing is though, is the church did not get it translated into Slovene, so we have to show it in Croatian or English, but it is working. It is so fun to watch people's heart touched as we remind them the importance of Christmas, and invite them to figure out who their Savior is to them personally. 

This week I was invited to put together a Christmas concert for the follow up crew from the Paul Cardall concert. The coolest thing from that was that the Priest from the Catholic church was there, and after one of the songs 4 of us missionaries sang, he told us he was very touched.. And invited us to go sing in the Catholic Church. So this morning we took a train to Ljubljana and got to sing in one of the oldest churches in Slovenia! 

Also, we are doing this outside Maribor project where we get to leave our area.. It is basically an experiment for the Eastern European mission zone and we get to go tract outside of Maribor. We are currently tracting in this area, on the border of Hungary and Slovenia.. which language is sort of hard there, but what is SO AMAZING is that those people there have literally NEVER seen or heard of our church!!!! They have never met missionaries and are really kind when we knock. And they are ALL FAMILIES! It is incredible. Yesterday a couple let us in and we taught them and their 6 year old daughter.. they said we could come back in a month after the holidays so we are really excited about that. 

This week we get to go to Croatia for a Christmas conference for 2 days!!!!! I am super excited.. We get to meet up with the Bosnian zone so it will be a lot of fun. I love the feeling of Christmas! Yesterday I spoke in church, and I taught about why we celebrate Christmas. I invite you all to DISCOVER WHY you personally need a Savior.. use this time to focus on Christ and the importance of why we need a Savior. 

I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
z ljubeznijo, sestra najdeger 

Good bye Ljubljana!

Saying goodbye to my friend Urska!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Maribor, Slovenia: Next on the district...

HI EVERYONE - this will be super short today because of transfers... which speaking of, I packed my bags and next time on the district...... MARIBOR :) And guess who is my companion - I am back with my little baby, Sister Higgins! 

I love change because it always provides growth and is exactly what we need, but I was so sad to leave Ljubljana... I bore my testimony yesterday, and told them that my favorite part of missionary work is being able to feel the love that God has for them - I know that God loves that branch sooooo much because I felt it so strongly as I served there. I shared my testimony that I know when we follow the simple principles of the gospel - praying, reading the scriptures, attending the temple, sharing the gospel, going to church - that we will always find happiness in life... no matter how hard times may seem. 

I loved Ljubljana!!!! I loved the big city... I love the weird smells.. I love the crazy traffic.... I love the members... I love all of my friends and wonderful relationships I have made there..... I love the tourists.....I love the CHAPEL!!!!! The "cute yellow church next to the fire house"..... I love the big sunsets over the castle on the hill..... I love using BIKES..... I love constantly sprinting for buses.... I love meeting so many amazing, crazy, loving, (honestly I can use any adjective here) people on buses...I love all the street performers, who most of them I have sang or danced with before.....hahaha... But most importantly I LOVED SHARING THE GOSPEL WITH THE PEOPLE THERE.... And what is so great about missionary work, is it is the same wherever we go... Missionary tag or not.. It is all about inviting people to come to Christ - by words or actions.. 

SO because of that, I look forward to my time serving in Maribor!!!!!

Love, Sestra Nydegger

p.s I will send lots of cute pictures next week.. I took a bunch with the members and things there but don't have time today to send them. 

this is where we go contacting a lot.. this is our good friend Bianca with us! Also.. look at the swans.. cool huh?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: Never Be The Same


OK FIRST- thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

It sounds like everyone had a great Thanksgiving.. I am so grateful for all of you.. For thanksgiving, we got to get together with the Kranj and Ljubljana missionaries to all have a thanksgiving meal here.. And in Ljubljana, there is a cute American family in our branch who works at the embassy here, so they invited us over for a big dinner.. We all were laughing at the end when all of the missionaries plates were completely empty and scraped clean - compared to the kids who still had leftovers all around it.. #MISSIONARYLIFE. Once we finished dinner, we all went and had a little turkey bowl together and played some American football all together.. Once that finished, we continued on with work. Sister Vanwagoner and I really tried to focus on gratitude as we worked that day.. Showing gratitude to those we try to teach, and testifying of the things we are grateful for.. Thursday night as I was writing in my journal, I was thinking of all the things I am grateful for - turkey, mashed potatoes, American embassy food shops, fun missionaries, and football.. But my mind slowly started forgetting about those things.. And I started reflecting on the things that REALLY matter in life.. Which all reduces to the gospel. I am grateful for my family, because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.. I am so grateful for my mission, and the personal relationship I have developed with my Savior while out here.. I am grateful for challenges, and I am grateful that this gospel is all about PROGRESSING. 

Turkey Bowl with the Ringgers
Christmas lights in town center creates opportunity for street contacting!
But the HAPPIEST part of this week and the reason I am sooo grateful is for my sweet friend Urska. I seriously think the happiest day of my whole life happened this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The most beautiful part of this week was watching Urska be baptized - I have tears in my eyes writing about it right now... this is something that has forever changed me and I am truly so grateful for her and the opportunity I had to teach her. She is such an example to me..This week seemed to be the craziest week for Sister VanWagoner and I, and when doubts and everything would come into our head, I would call Urska to make sure she was doing ok.. I called her multiple times this week and every time she would say, "Satan is working hard.. but I won't let him get to me.. Don't worry Sister Nydegger." She is such an example to me of faith.. 

Clayton Christensen said, "every time you take someone figuratively by the hand and introduce him or her to the gospel of Jesus Christ, you feel how deeply our Savior loves you and loves the person whose hand is in yours." It is so true... Throughout teaching Urska, seeing the change take place in her as she faithfully turned her life to Christ, and watching her make a sacred covenant with our Heavenly Father, I felt so strongly the love that our Heavenly Father has for her.. which caused me to reflect how much he must love me and ALL OF US.. The love is indescribable. 

Saturday was a beautiful experience.. Everything was perfect and I was overwhelmed with the Spirit when I saw how many members came to support her. Finally seeing someone you love so much make such a special covenant with our Heavenly Father is the MOST REWARDING SIGHT TO SEE. I cannot even come close to describing it. I just kept thinking of that first contact we had with Urska.. and how far she has come in the last six months.

 My favorite part of the day, was after she was baptized, when she shared her testimony. She was just glowing - her countenance was filled with light. She bore a sweet simple testimony, and then said that she expresses herself better through music... And then Sister Duffy and I went up to sing with her, an EFY song which means so much to her - Never be the same. Sister Duffy, myself, and Urska struggled to sing, as we just cried.. as all three of us did what we love so much - sharing our testimony through music. 
"And I'll never be the same.. 
I have felt His love, 
and there is no looking back.
There's a fire that will remain, 
it is written on my soul, is a witness of my own.
My faith has taken root, and I've tasted the truth...
My heart's forever changed, and Ill never be the same."

I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ.. I am so grateful that it changes us to become who God wants us to be. I am so grateful for His love, and that as missionaries we get to feel part of that perfect love he has for everyone. I am so grateful for this special week on my mission, and I know I WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. 

I am soooooo happy.. Thank you for all your love and prayers - I FEEL THEM EVERY SINGLE DAY.

SERIOUSLY I AM SO HAPPY. I know I say this all the time, but I will say it over and over again. I have never felt so happy. I love this gospel so so much. I love missionary work so much. I love you guys and all and miss you, but not really cause I am just so happy!!!!! 



Last P-Day - I had the opportunity to go to an optical illusion museum in Zagreb!

Ljubljana, Slovenia: All is Well

Greetings from Croatia...............bok..again. This has been one of the craziest weeks, but ALL IS WELL. I apologize that this will be short today - but thank you so everyone who emailed me.. I always feel so grateful for the amazing friends and family I have in my life! I sure love you all...

So PLOT TWIST! President called me on Tuesday and came down to Ljubljana to have some interviews. He told me that on Wednesday there would be a mid-period transfer and I would be opening another sisters area, still in Ljubljana, but training a Croatian missionary - Sestra VanWagoner. So we now have 4 sisters in Ljubljana which is a lot of fun! So I packed up all my stuff and moved into a new apartment, more in town center.. And my Croatian companion got here on Wednesday. I was sad to say 'bye' to Sister Robertson because we were having such a great time together, but once again I am reassured that this is what the Lord wants and needs - and plus I still see her around :) Sestra VanWagoner is picking up Slovene fast.. and it is helping my Slovene, because I need to teach the simple basics.. it is a good review. But like I said, ALL IS WELL! And I am also soooo grateful that I still get to stay in Ljubljana for at least another 3 weeks. 

Also this week.. it is officially winter.. the snow has come! Which is making the holidays seem closer, which is fun.. but also makes for cold wet feet, red noses, and freezing hands.. but we are happy! It makes you appreciate the warmth more.. plus my new apartment has heated floors - we are lucky :)

​(sister VW and me, first snowfall of the year!) 

The greatest miracle of this week was yesterday. We were able to finish teaching Urska all of the lessons, and had set up her baptismal interview so that she could be baptized this Saturday, the 28th. When we woke up to snow on Saturday, she texted us to pray that there wouldn't be too much snow so that she could still make it to church on Sunday, and have her interview. Sunday morning she texted us and said that they received about a foot, and because she lives in the villages the roads were not plowed and she wouldn't be able to come to church. We were so sad, but recognized that God does have a plan for her. After church she called me and said that she knows "God says no sports on Sunday, but I had to shovel for three hours! But I am coming now." She drove down and had her interview and it all went well! She is scheduled for next Saturday and we all could not be more excited. It has been incredible for me to see the changes in her.. spiritually but also physically. She is sooo incredible. 

Sorry this is short - we have to run to the embassy and do Croatian/Slovenian visa stuff today and then drive back to Ljubljana tonight.. But HAVE THE BEST WEEK AND EAT LOTS OF YUMMY FOOD!!!! I love you all so much and I am so grateful and so happy that I have the gospel in my life. HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND KNOW THAT I AM SO THANKFUL FOR YOU.. 

Love, Sister Nydegger 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: SPREMEMBNA


Lately I have been studying a lot from the Doctrine and Covenants. Because we don't have it in Slovene, I really have sort of forgotten about it. But lately I have been taking some time out of my personal study to read from it.. And I am pleasantly shocked about how much is about missionary work! I don't know why I have never noticed it before, but almost all of it is about missionary work. I have been writing down all of the blessings that are promised from missionary work, and my companion and I have hung it up on our door as a good reminder. We are SO blessed as we open our mouths and teach people about the joy this gospel brings.

One of my favorite promises that often gives me so much strength, is that the Lord will stand by us.. He will be on our right hand and our left.. He will be in our midst! A cute member sent me this picture this week, which I really loved.. And my companion and I often reminded ourselves of it this week as we were out trying to talk to people.

He truly is ALWAYS with us! And angels are often around us. It is so true, I feel it every day. And what is SO great is that we get to do this with a name-tag, or without. We don't just have to be full-time missionaries to find missionary experiences. They are always around.. even if we have to be creative.. And from my experience, creativity sometimes is the only way for missionary work :) This week I am so grateful for member missionaries. 

We have been working with this sweet young lady for a long time now. Sister Redding and I found her about 5 months ago when I first got to Ljubljana. We were walking home one night, and decided to contact one last girl.. She was walking fast and had headphones in - which made for quite an awkward start at the beginning. But the conversation revolved around singing, something we both like to do.  She was interested to participate in our branch choir. Three weeks later, she called me and asked to meet with us. I invited her again to come to church and "branch choir". She came to all of it.  We had difficulty with schedules for a while, but about two months later, we met up again for another lesson.  She was still seeking for answers to her prayers. We had a lesson with a member so she could relate better.  The lesson addressed every single one of her concerns. We all felt the spirit very strongly. Because of this she is scheduled for baptism! This wonderful friend and investigator is noticing that when she keeps the commandments, it really does make her happier. 

It is so true.. I am so grateful for commandments. Even though they may sometimes seem hard, God does know that they will always make us happier. I am so grateful for these faithful members here, who are so excited about missionary work and always willing to help us out. And most importantly, I am so grateful that God truly can change us, refine us into who we need to become. I am so grateful for the power of CHANGE. 

We also had the opportunity this week to sing at a funeral. One of the members mother had passed away this week, and he asked us to sing at the funeral. It was so interesting to see this member's perspective, and the peace he felt during this hard time. He kept saying over and over how he felt so much peace. It is so true that through the gospel we feel peace.. We know who we are, we know where we are going. We know that we can live with our families forever, and that we can return to live with God again. At the funeral, the missionaries sang "where can I turn for peace?" It was amazing how that song brought such a spirit in, on such a cold foggy morning. I am so grateful that our Savior always understands.. And I am so grateful for the unfailing love that he has for us. 

Some of the members in our branch!

This cute girl - Maja - will come and stay with us this summer!
Have the happiest week - and go do some missionary work! BE CREATIVE.. there are always opportunities out there. Thank you for your prayers - I am soooo grateful. 

Love, Sister Nydegger 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: "I'll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine"

Prijatelji in družini kak ste.... 

OKAY SO I forgot to look at my journal this morning and I honestly cannot remember what happened this week... I am so sorry.. But all I can think about is how my MIND IS BLOWN.. To all of my Princess Bride fans out there - yesterday we were contacting around the river and all of a sudden, Sister Robertson and I saw this HUGE thing swimming around.. It comes out on to the land and it literally one of those rat like things off of Princess Bride!! It is a rat, but literally the size of a dog.. IT IS THE NASTIEST THING OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!!! I tried to get a picture, but my camera died.. but honestly the grossest thing of my life I have ever seen. 

sooooo this week we were on the bus, on our way to center to contact.. I was sitting near the front of the bus, when this sweet old lady, a nun hopped on the bus. Little side story here.. the buses are a little crazy and if you are not sitting down, you need to be holding onto a rail for your life, or else you will fall right to the ground when the bus stops and goes.. I sadly speak from experience.... But because I was sitting near the front, and I could tell she was not as mobile, I got up and offered her my seat, and I would just stand and hold on to the rail. In the loudest Slovene, she says "God bless you for your kindness.. how sweet you are!" I smiled and stood up.. As the bus was driving, she reminded me of a child at Disneyland for the first time.. Just smiling at everyone and everything that would pass by! We would pass a building and in loud Slovene would yell, "Wow HOW BEAUTIFUL" Because of her expressions, it caused almost everyone on the bus, to be watching her and listening to her.. She soon asked me where a certain building was, which I didn't know, but a man in the back of the bus did, so he called up to her and explained where it was.. Every single time the bus would come to a stop, she would stand up and the whole bus would yell "Not here.. not yet.. not this stop Sister!" Finally her stop came, and every single person on the bus was telling her, "it is time to get off." She steps off, goes the complete wrong direction and yells again, "Wow HOW BEAUTIFUL!" My companion and I were laughing so hard at this all day.. one, because how many times I have felt so clueless like that sweet nun and just thinking Slovenia is so beautiful.. #SESTRAS FOR LIFE!!!! But also because she probably made her way into the Alps by now and is running through the hills singing "THE HILLLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF MUSIC...." 

Other than that I really cannot remember what happened this week.. Next week I will be better.. 

OH we did have zone conference this week.. And the closing song, we all sang together "Od šel bom tja kamor zeliš." Zone conference was set up in a circle this time, and as we all sang "I'll go where you want me to go" for the closing song, tears filled me eyes and I ended up just looking around at all of the missionaries singing, and I started pondering the beautiful words.. I really do know that as we go where the Lord wants us to go, and as we say what the Lord wants us to say, we will become who the Lord wants us to be. That is one of the simplest truths I have really truly learned on my mission. I feel like I could give thousands of reasons on how I know that is true, but I can some it up by saying, that the happiest we will EVER be, the happiest we will truly ever feel, is when we do what the Lord wants us to do..  I know that with all of my heart..

I love you all soo much - Till next week :) 
LOVE, Sister Nydegger

It may not be on the mountain height
Or over the stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle’s front
My Lord will have need of me.
But if, by a still, small voice he calls
To paths that I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine:
I’ll go where you want me to go.

Perhaps today there are loving words
Which Jesus would have me speak;
There may be now in the paths of sin
Some wand’rer whom I should seek.
O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide,
Tho dark and rugged the way,
My voice shall echo the message sweet:
I’ll say what you want me to say.

There’s surely somewhere a lowly place
In earth’s harvest fields so wide
Where I may labor through life’s short day
For Jesus, the Crucified.

So trusting my all to thy tender care,
And knowing thou lovest me,
I’ll do thy will with a heart sincere:
I’ll be what you want me to be.