Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: "In the strength of the Lord"

Hiiiiiii živijo in dobro jutro družina!!!!!! 

This past week was the Slovene holiday PUST!!!! It lasts for a week long and is sort of like Halloween mixed with Groundhog's day.  People dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating all day long, and all week long. The funny thing though, is that it is not just the kids. All the kids, teenagers, parents... grandmas...grandpas - EVERYONE dresses up and lives their normal life, just in a costume. Hahaha I laughed a lot this week seeing little grandmas dressed up in full-on costumes. Pust also consists of soooooo many donuts. This week was a little bit of a struggle with healthy eating healthy. Oh well.. The point of the Pust is to "scare off winter" and they do that with these Kurant things running around with huge bells.. We went to Ptuj on Monday, where this holiday originated.. and there were about 50 of them running around.. a.k.a TERRIFYING. I uploaded a video to dropbox, so you can all see.

While we were walking around that town, eating donuts, we went up to the Ptuj castle and we found a kurant costume.. and of course I could not pass up the opportunity to try it all on.

Notice the name tag.. :) Obviously I had to make sure it was visible while I wore that costume for a few minutes..  Anyway, I could barely stand up the head piece was so heavy. Props to the Slovene's for running around in them, because there was no way I could do that!! And the happy thing is, that Pust did in fact scare off winter this week!! We are finally out of the negative degrees.  Happy. Except yesterday, it POURED all day long. I had my big puffy coat, raincoat underneath, and sweater on.. and also held my umbrella.. But because of the wind, somehow by the time we got to church.. the water had soaked down all the way to my sweater... I don't think I have ever been that wet from rain before!! 

So this past month we have been really focusing on the sacrament with the members here in Celje. Because our branch is so little, sacrament is over in about 2 minutes. And it becomes easy to forget why we take the sacrament each week. So lately I have been studying the sacrament so that I can appreciate it more. Every time I study about it, my mind tends to focus back to the Atonement. And when I normally think of the Atonement, I tend to think of the REDEEMING part - how we can repent and become clean through Christ. But as a missionary, I am really learning about the ENABLING power of the Atonement. In Mosiah 9:17 we read, "In the strength of the Lord..." Nephi was an example of one who knew what in the strength of the Lord meant. While he was being mocked by his brothers and tied up, he says - "O Lord, according to my faith, will thou deliver me and give me the strength that I may burst these bands." Nephi did not pray to have his circumstances changed. Rather he prayed for the strength to change his circumstances. He understood the enabling power of the Atonement. Alma and Amulek understood as well. When they were in prison, Alma prayed, "O Lord, give us strength according to our faith, which is in Christ, unto deliverance." Alma had confidence that in the strength of the Lord they could continue on. In the strength of the Lord we can do all things!!! And that is what we have power to do, through the enabling part of the Atonement. 

This week I felt the enabling power of the Atonement... This week was another difficult week for finding. The past two weeks, we have dedicated almost all of our time to FINDING and CONTACTING and yet we still havent relaly found one person who would be interested. On Saturday, after 2 of our lessons with members fell through, and we had tracted and contacted all day with no interest, I felt so tired and wanted to go take a nap or lay down. My feet were so tired from walking everywhere. I was tired of going up to people and trying so hard to speak their language to just have them walk away and not listen... I just felt DONE!!! As we kept walking looking for people to talk to, the quote of Elder Holland came to my mind. 

He says, "Missionaries, when you are spit upon, cast out, laughed at, mocked, rejected - you are standing SHOULDER to SHOULDER with the greatest missionary to walk this earth.. our Savior, Jesus Christ. You have every reason to stand tall." 

I still felt tired, but felt comfort from that quote. I decided that through the enabling power of the Atonement, I could still find strength to keep talking with people and keep walking. So even though this week, we still had 0s for all of our key indicators, and same for last week... I feel strength and power from the Lord to keep inviting and keep trying!! Because that is why I am here. I am here to INVITE and then the Lord will help with the rest :) 

The enabling power of the Atonement is REAL. It strengthens us at times when we feel as if we can not continue on. It strengthens us to do things that we could never do on our own. Our Heavenly Father knows us and loves us. He may not always remove the problems and trials that we face, but he will give us strength to continue on and find comfort in always moving forward. He can make us stronger and braver than we could ever imagine!!!!! I am witnessing it every day.

Thank you for being the greatest family and friends in the world!! 
I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a happy week!!! 

Sestra Nydegger

Tracting this week.. 

Me: "Zdravo mišionarski sva iz cerkev Jezusa Kristusa, in danes imava sporočilo ob Jezusu Kristusu.."
Old man: *stares for a while*.... "No one is home!!!" *door shut*.. 

Me: *We were wet from the rain* "Zdravo, kako ste danes?? Ali si kdaj slišala za Mormonovo Knjigo?"
Lady: "Sorry I would let you in, but you are all wet and will get us sick.."
Me: (in my head of course..) try being the one wet hahaha.

I love Ljubliana!

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