Monday, January 26, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: Round 2!

Hi Fam! POZDRAV from a little cafe in Croatia.. or as the Croatians say.. Bok!! I am currently on exchanges with some of the sisters here in Zagreb. I got to drive a car today- which was SO fun. It is strange how much you can miss something as simple as driving a car on a mission. But you do... and it was great to drive today :) It took about 2 hours and now I am here until Tuesday night!! TRANSFERS!! So this week we found out that I am staying in Celje, to be a sister training leader with Sestra Brown. I love Celje and the strong, humble, amazing members here. I feel so grateful to be staying. 


Zagreb!
This week was a busy, hard-working week! We got Sister Cuthbert all packed up and she is now on her way home. I am grateful for the things I learned from Sister Cuthbert and the training that she gave me. Because we have 9 week transfers here, President has us do the 12 week training program in 9 weeks. So I am officially no longer a greenie - WOOHOOO!   And now I cannot wait to keep working hard with Sister Brown. This is Sestra Brown's last transfer as well... so I will be sending home another comp! I am excited to work with her and learn from her :). 

On Sunday we had the first ever primary program in Slovenia!! We have two wonderful strong members in our primary- Ana and Zak. Over the last month and a half, Sestra Cuthbert and I have been going into primary with them each Sunday and helping them with the songs and learning some parts that they can say. With Sister Lambert's help (senior couple) we got a primary program together and worked hard so that it could be performed this Sunday!! I got up with the two kids and played sat on the ground and played a little keyboard and sang the 5 Slovene primary songs with them- followed with their simple testimonies. I love the sweet special spirit you feel from the simple testimonies of children. Their happy, hopeful testimonies, bring hope to those who hear them. 

Cute Olga - spoke in church from a scroll!  I'm teaching her the piano.

Milica - peace out!
This week I have been thinking a lot about children.. (maybe it is because I am child deprived and miss my siblings..:)) But I have been pondering about children and the importance of them. We are commanded multiple times in the scriptures to "become like a little child." I have thought about that a lot this last week and what it means to become like a little child. I think it means to be submissive, to be hopeful, to have dreams, to be happy and find joy in simple things, and to rely on the Lord. When children are first born, they always want their mother. They rely on their mother for EVERYTHING. I think that is how Heavenly Father wants it for us, as HIS children. He wants us to be submissive to His will. To be hopeful and find peace through the Atonement. He wants us to be like a child and rely on him, and constantly yearn for him and the spirit of the gospel. 

Cutest boy that lives below me!
One of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon is 3rd Nephi chapter 17 when Christ blesses the children. In verse 21 we read that He took them one-by-one and blessed them. He prayed for them. And he wept because he was overcome with JOY. Christ was ministering to around 2,500 men and women.. I imagine that it must have taken quite some time to sit there and bless them all one by one. It shows just how important the children are in his sight. It reminds me of how much our Heavenly Father loves us. One of the simplest truths I testify to people all day as we contact, is that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and we are His children. That is such a hopeful thought. As I testify about that principle to people, I love to watch them ponder that thought - that they are loved and important in someone's eyes. Just like when Christ wept when he was with the Nephites, our Heavenly Father weeps for us too. He weeps when we suffer and rejoices when we do what is right. He knows and loves us more than we can ever imagine. 

One morning this last week after I had exercised, I opened the window and was looking at the beautiful country of Slovenia. I was looking over the foggy mountains, and watching the sun rise over the castle, and I felt so much peace. I felt so much love from my Heavenly Father- that he is pleased with my efforts. I know that He knows me. He knows my wants and desires. He knows my heart and my weaknesses. Because he loves me, he is helping me to become humble so that I can learn more and become stronger in his eyes. As I sat there pondering that thought, looking over the beautiful mountains, I felt so much gratitude for the love that he has for us. 




He knows us by name, and loves us - what a beautiful thought. I am so grateful for the love He offers us. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have, that I am a daughter of God. We are his children. I love you all. Strive to recognize and feel God's love He has to offer. I know that you will be happier- more than you could ever image. I am so happy. 

I love you..  Sestra Nydegger <3 

Cute Albanian family that lives by me.  They made me these cute slippers!

Came across this beautiful cemetery when tracting in the mountains. 

when you accidently match with your umbrellaaaaa haaaaloooooooo 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: Forget to be Selfish!




DEAR FAMILY.. 

WELL.. where to start!! This week we had zone conference and while we were there, President Grant told us that Elder Dearinger would be leaving us to go serve in Croatia! A missionary went home and because of trios and everything, President decided it would be best to send him to Croatia. We were all very shocked and caught off guard!! Things are now different in Celje but it is okay :) So that night he packed his bags and left for Croatia.. And now Elder Davis is with a new companion, and they are currently going back and forth between serving in Ljubljana and Celje.. So now my district pretty much consists of myself and Sestra Cuthbert.. Which is different but it is okay! We have transfers this week and now we have no idea what will happen with Celje!! We will find out this Thursday :)

Each sign has an inside meaning!










This week I learned the valuable lesson of FORGETTING MYSELF.. We often hear the profound words that as we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover ourselves and find happiness. I am truly seeing that become true more and more on my mission!!

We planned each day this week with a significant amount of finding time- whether it was tracting or contacting. After a few days of not finding anyone and lots of doors being shut on us, I started to feel a little discouraged. Without realizing it, I had let selfish thoughts come to my mind about how badly I wanted to find someone to teach. I was focusing too much on myself and not on the importance of service and helping those around us. Saturday morning came around and I was studying a talk by President Uchtdorf and read the quote.. "THOSE WHO BRING SUNSHINE TO THE LIVES OF OTHERS, CANNOT KEEP IT FROM THEMSELVES." The impression then came to my mind that I needed to go serve someone. I needed to completely forget about myself and do something to make someone else happy :) 

So Sister Cuthbert and I went to the store and bought bright yellow flowers, and went to an Old Folks home to pass out out those flowers and sing hymns to the older ladies there.



One of my favorite feelings in this world is watching someone become filled with gratitude, as you do something kind for them. I love watching them smile and the light of Christ glow in their eyes as you serve them. It makes your heart happy and somehow in the process of making someone else feel loved and important- your personal cares and concerns go away, and you feel happy yourself :) That is the beauty of service!! 

This week I also decided to start another journal.  I write of something I am grateful for each day. I am writing down one thing a day that made me happy!! Sometimes it is easy to become so focused on things in the world that we forget to see the beauty and joy that comes each day. Some of those things this week included..

-Getting a letter from a dear friend!! She wrote me a sweet letter and reminded me the importance of exercising more faith with finding.. and having more faith in the Lord. I am grateful for her and her friendship and love. 

-The palačinke man who gave me cream on my crepe- for free!! 



-Walking home next to the river, one night after a long rainy day of tracting.. and seeing the light shine on the wet pavement.. No one was really out, so we just walked in quiet, and it was beautiful. It reminded me that the world is a beautiful, peaceful place.. even after long rainy days!

-When we were tracting, a lady SMILED and said she was not interested.. but then gave us HUGS!!!! 

-On Sunday, one of the members brought me some fresh blueberry cake and said that he loved my piano playing :) 

I know that if we search to find things to be grateful for and look for the little things in life that make us happy, we will be filled with greater love and joy. I am grateful for all the little things in life that make me smile. Most importantly, each day I am grateful for my Savior. And grateful for his HAND and help that I see everyday as a missionary. I am grateful for my family and my friends and the light and joy they bring into my life. I am grateful for agency. And that through agency we can choose to be happy. We can choose to serve, help, and love those around us. We can choose to use everyday for good!! I am grateful for trials and hard experiences, so that we can become stronger- and learn more. I am grateful for Joseph Smith and the restored gospel. I am so grateful for what took place on that beautiful spring morning, when Joseph asked that simple question. Because of what happened that day, I am here now - a missionary - entitled to teach with the power and authority of God. I am grateful for the message of hope that we have to offer to the world!! 

Love, Sestra Nydegger

Slovene Halloween this week!  Chicken on my head.


The rain melted all the snow.  It is beautiful!


FUNNY STORIES OF TRACTING THIS WEEK.. 

Sister Cuthbert- "Hi we are missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have a message about Jesus Christ."
Old man- ".....Shut my gate!!! .... or else... or else.. all of my dogs will get out!!" 
*door shut.. and NO dogs in site hahaha

Me- "Zdravo! Misijionarki sva in imava brezplačen pamplet danes!"
Lady- "I don't speak English..."
Me- "Um.."
*Door shut.. I need to work on my Slovene accent apparently :) 

Us- "Hi we are missionaries!! And we have a message about the restored gospel and how we can find happiness in this life."
Lady- just staring at us..
Us- "Do you have five minutes that we could tell you more?"
Lady- "Um.. no.. I hurt my hand yesterday so you can't come in!! Hvala in lep dan!"
*door shut.. I guess she can't talk because her hand is hurting.. I hope that hand gets better!!!


HAVE A GOOD WEEK BYE BYE LOVE YOU

Monday, January 12, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: Have a Vision.

HI WE HAVE NO TIME TODAY... We decided to be a little adventurous (or call it crazy) today, and woke up at 4am and took a train and spent the day at Lake Bled. We met up with the Kranj and Ljubljana elders and sisters and had a wonderful time. And I know I say this every week, but I am living in the most BEAUTIFUL country!!! I love it here. Ahhh HEAVEN! 

Lake Bled at sunrise.









This week I went on exchanges with Sestra Dutton. She has been out one transfer more than me, so we had a lot of fun trying to communicate and get our way around Celje. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had to go on exchanges with her and for the things she taught me. Because we don't currently have any investigators- Sister Dutton and I decided to contact and tract ALL day long. At first it was just funny.. because LITERALLY no one would listen to us. But we decided instead of giving up because of discouragement, to keep pressing forward and keep the faith. We hiked up the snowy roads by the Celje Castle, because there are more homes there. While we tried many doors with people not wanting to hear our message, we kept going. We knocked on one door and a little lady answered and grabbed our arms and said "AHHH- Misijionari, pridi!!! Čaj, čaj!!" She welcomed us in and immediately started making us tea. We were both feeling so excited because after trying ALL day, we finally got in a house!! And getting into any house here is GOOD news! As we sat and talked with her for a little, her husband entered the room. He sat down and we asked them how they knew the missionaries. This man took the missionary lessons about 15 years ago. The missionaries also taught him English. He told us that he found our beliefs very beautiful and interesting... but did not want to change his life. Even though it is hard to hear that, we need to respect those feelings and continue sharing our love, so we decided to stay and talk with him a little more. 

He has one of the most beautiful inspiring stories I have ever heard. He has four kids and about 30 years ago, he got in a paragliding accident. He was a paraglider his whole life.. and when he got in this accident, he was told that he would be paralyzed waist down for the rest of his life. One of his daughters is mentally handicap, and when he was in a coma for 14 days, he remembers his daughter coming up and stroking his hand. While he was laying there, unable to move.. he told himself that he would NOT let this accident define him. He had a vision of where he wanted his life and how he saw his life in the future. When he was coming out of the hospital, after a long time of therapy, many doctors told him that he would never regain strength and that his life would be very hard. Many people would tell him that, but he said that he had a vision and he had to be a father who could take care of his daughter. He tried going to physical therapy, but the people there would tell him the same thing. That it was not worth trying. But because of his vision in life, he did not give up. And now 26 years later- He is in his 60s and paragliding once again. He has full movement of his body, and is now a successful photographer, winning many awards- all because he had a VISION. 

As we were getting ready to leave his house, I told him that he was such an inspiration to me. The importance of having a VISION is so important in this world today. And even more crucial as a missionary. Even though, people might not listen to us... and they say they don't need our message, I need a vision. Because with hope and faith... those visions can help motivate us to do more what Christ would have us do- according to his timing. I walked out of that door and decided that I need a vision of my mission and the people here in Slovenia. I need to find faith in people that I invite to hear our message. It is very easy for me to sometimes assume that people won't be interested, after trying and trying and being rejected. But I know that if I can keep a vision with every single person I talk to, I will start to see success within the Lord's timing and His ways. And now even though my friend I met that day says he is not interested in our message.. I can smile and say, "Well- I have a vision!" ..And continue on with FAITH and HOPE. Sister Dutton and I walked out with a new outlook of faith and having a vision. I am grateful for this man and for what he taught me. He also gave me a book of his story and his photography in it.. And although I cannot understand all the Slovene words right now, I have a vision and will be able to read and understand it all soon- with the Lord's help :) 

And I am so happy to say that this vision has helped me even more this week!! Sestra Dutton and I were able to get into another persons door while tracting... 2 in one day which is AMAZING! They didn't want us to teach a lesson, but they loved hearing about America and feeding us Slovene food. I also testified to them of why I came on a mission and what the gospel means to me. This family also had a huge farm with 12 cows and wanted us to try milking them.. but we said we would come back another day :) We also met a lady on the street this week who actually listened to us instead of walking away when we said we were missionaries!! And we invited her to come to church.. And she came!! And last night we taught her the restoration.. And she told us that she is already orthodox and does not want to change.. but with the vision that we have, we are hopeful and ready to keep relying on the Lord and hopefully watch this lady become a progressing investigator!!

With Sestra Dutton on the farm!

... And this is all because I have a VISION!! 

LOVE YOU ALL WITH ALL MY HEART.. THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE AND SUPPORT. I FEEL IT EACH AND EVERY DAY- LOVE YOU.. I am happy. 

Sestra Nydegger 

MK is a gang here.  I think they want the Book of Mormon!

Tried out this Igloo!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: Black Sausage

Cheers to the New Year!





POZDRAVLJENI VSE- HELLO EVERYONE-

I hope everyone had a HAPPY week and is sharing some kindness with those around you. :) Slovenia is still beautiful.. still has amazing food.. and I am learning to love the people here more and more each day. As I was looking in my journal this morning, while thinking about what I wanted to share with you this week- I found that this week was an interesting week. We did not have one lesson go through this week. We did not find any new investigators. We went to visit people and they were not home or had no time... This week was filled with harder days!! But I would not use "hard" as a negative word when describing this last week. "Hard" is more of a motivational word as a missionary. Because we were not having a lot of success and the days were hard, it challenged us to work even harder and try more. And even though we are not seeing results right now, I am reminding myself that temporary efforts will eventually produce eternal results according to the Lord's timing.  

We have two quotes by Elder Holland that are hanging up on our fridge that I LOVE. They are good reminders to read every morning as I start my day!! Elder Holland says, "We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that FAITH is always pointed toward the FUTURE." And the second one is, "Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon, some come later, and some don't come until Heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, THEY COME. It will be all right in the end. Trust in God and believe in good things to come." 

Those are two powerful quotes and they remind me of the theme of FINDING JOY in the journey!! I am such a believer that this is what life is about. And my Heavenly Father is helping me each week to be happy and find joy, even on those hard days... or hard weeks... when no one listens to you, and your feet are cold and tired from walking all day, and when the snow melts and turns to ice and you slip at least twice a day- but somehow are still HAPPY and still smiling anyway- I am learning to accept that gift of JOY as a blessing from our Heavenly Father. 

It is our choice to choose and find joy and be happy! We can choose to be frustrated when things don't go the way we want, or we can choose to get upset at people who have hurt our feelings.. BUT thankfully we can ALSO choose to be happy and that is what I am deciding to do!! Everything that we experience here on this earth, we have the choice to be happy. Everything is all part of the journey, and although it requires patience and faith, it is SO much better to choose JOY. Elder Uchtdorf has said that "Our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble, but by the number of times we rise up, dust ourselves off, and move forward." So this is the year 2015 that I will be a missionary for the WHOLE year, I am going to make it a goal to always rise up, dust myself off and MOVE forward, finding joy in this journey!!!

Anyway... this week did consist of a LOT of food!!! We had two meals with members this week which we were very grateful for because that does not happen often! After P-DAY last week, we went over to a members house for dinner. We were invited over for a traditional Slovene meal which is always fun. They fed us sour kraut, which is like a cabbage with vinegar that sits in a barrel for a month or so.. And sour turn-ups. And then pig blood intestine black sausage that the lady had just killed and brought from her farm............ so....yeah.. It was good though! Just try not to think about it when eating it. And then we had lunch with our ward mission leader. And it was a 6 course meal. We thought he was kidding when he said that, but he was not. It started with a mushroom soup which was very yummy.. And then a lot of different courses consisting of salad, potatoes, meats, and more. He just kept coming out with more and more... I will be forever full from that meal. 

Yesterday during fast and testimony meeting, it had been quiet for a few minutes and my heart started pounding, and I felt very prompted to bear my testimony. I felt very nervous.. but was reminded of a quote that I had read earlier this week. "With a prayer in your heart, get  up and preach.. And if they understand you- praise to God; If they don't, keep on preaching and the Lord will according to promise, come to your relief." So I got up and bore my testimony about our Savior and the importance of the atonement. After that meeting, many of the members came up to me and said that they felt the Spirit so strongly while I was testifying. And that I am starting to speak faster and that my Slovene has improved. I know that is because the Lord is helping me and is coming to my relief!!! 

Anyway- I love you all and am grateful for your influence in my life!! I am grateful for my testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Keep on smiling and finding joy! Nobody ever said it would be easy, but they did said that it would be worth it :) 

LOVE YOU.. SESTRA N

We thought it said FIND the lost black sheep.... but later learned it said SLAUGHTER the black sheep!

I bought a POM POM.  Everybody wears them.


Churches everywhere..... FAIRY TALE
 

Beautiful sunset while tracting!