Monday, March 30, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: Round 3!

Hi everyone!! I do not have much time today, but I will try to answer all of your questions... So TRANSFERS! Yes they are this week, and like my title says, Celje round three!! And Elder Davis and I will both be training in Celje. I am so excited. However I dont understand slovene yet sooooooo... faith??? HOWEVER I feel so blessed to be able to develop an even stronger relationship with the people here. I love this little branch and the amazing members in it. Yesterday we had an amazing sacrament meeting, and one of the member's gave an awesome talk. And he talked about how we are family in this branch.. I have one family on Floribunda Drive, Utah... and my second family here on 25 Peršonava, Celje :) I love Celje, and am happy that this will continue to be my home for the next few months.




darinka nasa clanica 

This week it rained for 4 days straight... It rained alllllll day and alllllll through the night.... which is sometimes difficult for finding, but we still did our best. And now Slovenia is sunny and SOOO green!!! Sister Brown would always tell me that I needed to wait for spring because the green would "burn my eyes.." And not to my dismay, she was not kidding!I am grateful for the opportunity that I had to serve with Sister Brown. She helped me grow in many ways. We were doing our last companionship inventory this week and we talked about how amazing this transfer was. We both grew and accomplished many of the goals that we hoped to achieve. She was so sweet and showed me how I accomplished all of my goals this transfer. She kept tract and showed me all the ways I grew and improved as a person. I am so grateful I got to serve with her - and for her example of humility. 



This morning Sister Brown and I woke up very early and got all packed up and we are now here in Croatia. She leaves tomorrow to go home. I will be here on exchanges for a few days, and then the new missionaries will get here tomorrow, and we will spend the next few days here in Croatia with them - and then on Thursday, President will assign us together and then we will take our train back to Celje. p.s. have I ever told you how great public transportation is here?! Our train went this morning all the way down to Macedonia.. Or our bus the other day was heading to Budapest.. They are the best.. We just always have to be careful to make sure we get off on the right stop, because if not we will end up somewhere quite unintended! 

With Easter being this Sunday, I have been studying a lot about Christ and his ministry on earth. Elder Holland said some profound words that I think summarize what I learned this week. "One of the great consolations of this Easter season, is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path, utterly alone - we do not have to do so." I finished the Book of Mormon again this week and I was writing in my journal about what I feel like I learned this time from reading it. My testimony was strengthened about Christ's tender mercies. I was thinking about how when you are writing an English paper, you make your thesis statement the last sentence of your first paragraph. And this sets up what the rest of your paper will be like. And like a thesis statement, at the end of the first chapter in the Book of Mormon, it says "behold, I will show unto you the tender mercies of the Lord." And that is what I really have become strengthened in. The tender mercies of the Lord are real. Because of him, we are never alone. Because of him, we can always be brave and do things that might seem hard. Because of him we can be clean from our mistakes and shortcomings. Because of him, we can live with our families and those we love forever. Because of him, we can find happiness and joy in this life. I am so grateful that because Christ suffered and died for us, we are never alone.

I love you - sorry this is so short.. But have a happy easter and general conference weekend!!!!!!

I am so grateful for the opporutinty I had to serve with sister brown. She has helped me so much with the language and has taught me much about faith. She is so faithful. 

Love, Sister Nydegger



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: Be anxiously engaged

HI FAMILY-ZRAVO IN ŽIVIJO! 

We had an awesome week and MISSIONARY WORK IS AMAZING!!! I felt so many times this week, the importance of missionary work. It is SO important! President and Sister Grant invited us to memorize all the articles of faith in Slovene, as well as the standard of truth. I had not ever heard of the standard of truth until I came on my mission, but it is such a powerful statement given by Joseph Smith. 

"The standard of truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the TRUTH OF GOD will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear; till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say, THE WORK IS DONE." 

I am so thankful to be here. How powerful is that? The word of God will go forth BOLDLY and NOBLY until everyone hears it. And nothing can stop the work from progressing. I am so grateful that I am apart of this work... and what is more amazing, is that everyone can do it. Missionary name tag or not. We had district conference this week with all the members here in Slovenia!  Elder Dryden from the Quorum of the Seventy came. The theme for the meeting was "strengthening the work of salvation." The Eastern European plan this year is for every member to find one person to share the gospel with... because then we would double in size!! So we are focusing a lot on every member being a missionary. 

We must all be ANXIOUSLY ENGAGED IN A GOOD CAUSE.... Not just the full time missionaries.. but all of us! In D&C 88:73 it says, "I will hasten my work in its time." And President Monson has recently said, "Now is the time for hastening!" The standard of truth has been erected, and it is now our time to share it! We must all serve with all of our might, mind, and strength and help accomplish this great work. 

Elder Neil L. Andersen says, "Names and faces will come to your mind. Words to speak will come the moment you need them, opportunity will be given to you, faith will overcome doubt. And the Lord will bless you." What a wonderful promise - I witness that promise every day. I have lots of conversations with people on the street.. and every time I open my mouth... words come out and the Spirit works through me, to help testify to people what they need to hear. 

In Ljubljana
This week we were contacting around town center before we had district meeting. It was SO SUNNY!!!!! The sun and warm weather made contacting ten times more fun :) Sister Brown and I were walking around and I saw a young teenage boy sitting on a bench with headphones on. He was smoking and on his phone. I felt very strongly that I needed to go talk to him... But I kept walking because I knew it would be an awkward encounter. I saw two old ladies and thought I would go contact them - they are much easier and more likely to listen, than teenagers.. and less scary to contact :) But the spirit then told me again, to go talk to the teenage boy. I walked over to him and he was confused to why I was trying to talk to him... He took his headphones out and was starring at me very strangely. I told him that we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He told me he did not understand my Slovene.. and started speaking English to me. I asked him where he finds happiness in this life, which opened up to a conversation about the restoration of the gospel. I asked if he had time right now for us to teach him, and he agreed. We talked with him for about 30 minutes about the Book of Mormon and the message of happiness we have to offer. He agreed to meet again this week to talk more, so we will see what happens :)

I walked off, feeling grateful that I listened to the promptings of the spirit. I also felt so HAPPY!!! Sharing the gospel is a commandment, and that is because God wants us to be happy!! And missionary work brings happiness. And as we open our mouths and let the spirit work through us, I testify that we will be strengthened and find greater happiness than we could ever imagine. 

At District Conference, for the intermediate hymn, we stood up all together to sing "O potrebujem te." (I need thee every hour) I am usually playing the piano, so it was so nice to sing and ponder on the words. I felt the spirit so strongly as I sang, looking around at all the amazing strong members here, in this beautiful country of Slovenia. Tears filled my eyes with gratitude for my mission... and gratitude for my Savior, Jesus Christ.  We truly need him every hour. I feel so grateful for Slovenia and the people here.

As we lose ourselves for the sake of our Savior, we find true joy. I am grateful that Heavenly Father gives us the power to do His work!! Let us be anxiously engaged and open our mouths!!

Imam te rada!!! Sestra Nydegger :) 



Sestra Brown's Birthday with Slovene Missionaries!




Making strudel with Darinka!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: Make a Difference!

Hi everyone - this was such an AMAZING week - I LOVE being a missionary. I am so happy. I cannot believe Sister Clyde is home!!! I am so grateful for all of my cousins out serving and the inspiration they give me. She emailed me a little ago and said something to me that really meant a lot to me. She told me how blessed I was to be in a place where the church is so new. She said I am so lucky that I can plant seeds and know that I will effect many people years from now!!! And she reminded me that I should be happy every time I have a conversation with someone on the street, to know that I helped plant a seed that will one day grow :)  That put a new perspective on my mission. I am grateful for her and her example. And also speaking of cousins - GOOD LUCK TO ELDER DIEDERICH COMING HOME THIS WEEK. Time goes so fast!!! Wow - YAY for slavic langauges -  Ti si čudovit misijionar!!! 

We had zone conference this week in Ljubljana which was amazing. Sister Brown and I taught the zone about church attendance. We were praying all week about what we should teach the zone and we were not receiving much clarity on what was needed. And then the day before zone conference we changed all of our plans and felt very strongly we needed to talk about how we can get more people to come to church! I am grateful for the power of receiving revelation. God does answer our prayers if we are willing to listen. We talked a lot about the barriers of why people do not come to church, and also why sacrament is so important. We then committed the zone to tell every single person about church this week. Every contact, member, less active - EVERYONE! And yesterday was the most AMAZING day! We had about 8 people, about 5 minutes before church started and were feeling a little bummed with all of our efforts of inviting people. But slowly more people started coming in - and somehow by the time church started had 31 people in our little room! (including 6 missionaries, 4 visitors, and 4 non-members, and the rest members!) That is the most they have ever had in Celje! We felt so blessed for our efforts of talking about church with everyone. And we had the most amazing sacrament meeting. It was the Lambert's (senior couple) farewell, and the spirit was so strong. CHURCH IS AMAZING!!

We had exchanges with the Maribor sister's this week. I went to Maribor to work with Sister Christensen. She is cute - all throughout the day she would ask me gospel related questions in Slovene. Our thoughts were very focused on the work. We did not have any lessons planned so we literally just contacted and tracted for 3 days straight, but it was so great. We had soooo many wonderful conversations with people about the gospel!


Maribor

Sister Christensen
​(Yes we got ice cream and it was freezing outside but it was SO good. Slovenia has the BEST desserts.)

This week I have been thinking a lot about the scripture, "How great is the worth of one soul." In the letter I received from Mary last week, she quoted Sister Dalton.. "We first need to believe we can make a difference, and then make a commitment and do it!!" It made me think of one of my favorite poems. 

"There once was a wise man, who would often go to the ocean to write. As he was walking along the shore one day, he saw a man picking up little objects and throwing them into the ocean. As he got closer, he saw the man was picking up starfish! He approached the man and said, "Good morning! May I ask what you are doing?" The other man paused, looked up and said, "Throwing starfish into the ocean." The man feeling confused responded, "May I ask why you are doing that?" The other man smiled and replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I do not throw them in, they will die." Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "Do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach... and starfish all along the shore!! You could not possibly make a difference because there are so many." At this point, the other man smiled, bent down, and picked up another starfish and threw it in the ocean. As it met the water, he looked at the man and said. "Well, I made a difference to that one."

No matter how big or small we all have the ability to make a difference! Every soul is truly great in the sight of God and we can help make a difference in everyone's life if we choose to do what Sister Dalton says - believe and then make a commitment and do it!

Mom reminded me of a quote last week by President Monson - "I believe one of the greatest lessons we are to learn of while on this earth, is to distinguish between what is important and what is not. And what is most important almost always involves the people around us - and the importance of small acts of kindness... remembering the one."

As Joseph Smith says, "Shall we not go in so great a cause?" Let us all strive to care more for the one and make a difference in this world. In Alma 26:24 there is a profound lesson we can all learn from it. "For they said unto us: Do ye supposed that ye can bring the Lamanites to the knowledge of truth?" Do you suppose that you can really make a difference in this world?? And then in verse 27.. "Bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give thee success." YES WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. YES - it may seem hard and sometimes seem impossible.. but with the Lord on our side, we can do all things :) 

Choose this day whom ye will serve, a make a difference to someone around you. That is what I am striving to do EVERYDAY!!! 

I LOVE YOU!!!! Be happy.. Let your light SHINE and make a difference!!! 

Sestra Nydegger

Supposedly the oldest grapevine in the world?!




Monday, March 9, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: Be faithful. Be hopeful. Be fearless. Be happy. Do what is right!

Zdravoooo! 

THANK YOU so much MOM for your package, and Nana for your package and Sister Konietz for your letter! I had a lot of fun this week reading everything from everyone. Thank you all!


Look how greasy my bag was.. the food tastes amazing here.. but you never really know what you are eating to be honest 

Our branch mission leader 


This week was maybe the FASTEST week of my mission! So many funny random awkward things happened that just caused it to fly by. Last Monday, we were walking home from tracting an apartment complex, when a man approached us. I realized that I had contacted him before but could not remember his name. I asked him how he was and told him I was sorry but I forgot his name, and then the most AWKWARD thing happened... he laughed and said something in Croatian/Slovene that I did not understand and PICKED ME UP WITH A BEAR HUG. Of course he did it with all nice and friendly intentions, but I have never felt so awkward. AH. Tuesday we woke up absolutely FREEZING and realized that our water heater - (that still does not work  - still have cold showers) - was completely off. Our water heater also heats the house. So we called our landlord and he tried to come fix it. It has been such a struggle all week because no one knows what is wrong with it. So today they are coming and installing a new one.. so MAYBE this week we will finally get warm showers!! At least from all of this, my Slovene vocabulary has extended and I can talk to anyone about water heaters, sinks, and leaking pipes now :) 

On Wednesday we were out contacting in town center and we ran into a former investigator. She has taken lessons from the missionaries for about 7 years but is not interested in progressing. We talked with her for a little and she asked us to come over to her house. We agreed that we would and followed her home. We got upstairs and it turned out she just wanted my help with fixing her computer. Luckily I was able to understand the problem with it, so I was happy to somehow help her out that day. We ended up talking with her for a little as we drank some herbal tea, and the doorbell rang. Two of her friends walked in and sat on the couch. They were staring at us strangely so I figured I would introduce myself and tell them why we are here. We soon realized that they were Bosnian, but have also lived in Macedonia. So they were speaking Bosnian, Macendonian, mixed with Slovenian.. It was such a struggle. They were not very happy that we Americans were here in Slovenia.. so we tried really hard to be extra nice and friendly with them, so that they would warm up to us. They started being more friendly and we invited them to English class, when the whole "nice friendly" conversation switched. I do not really know how it all happened, but to sum it up... it somehow turned into this huge argument of two Bosnians speaking some other language getting upset that we could not fully communicate with them. So then the former lady was trying to help us out by speaking Macedonian and then they kept asking us questions and we were responding in Slovene. IT WAS A MESS. My head hurt so badly..... Then it turned into Sister Brown and I sitting on the couch listening to them argue for about 15 minutes in some Slovak languages that we could not really understand.... They did agree to come to English class though so we will see what happens.

On Thursday we have a few potential investigators that had agreed to meet with us, but sadly none of them actually happened. So we decided that since we had all day we would try to go look for some of the inactives that we have not had contact with. There are about three of them that we do not know anything about, so we got on a train and went to their town to find them. We had a stop that we were supposed to get off at... and after about 2 hours of being on the train and not finding the stop, we realized we might have boarded the wrong train or something. We decided to get off at the next stop, and soon found the Austrian border ahead ................ Whoops. It was in the middle of nowhere.



We quickly took the next train back so that we would stay in our mission boundary and found the right stop that we somehow missed. We got off and started looking for the street we needed. With our map, we ended up walking for about 40 minutes in strong wind and finally found it. We got to the street and it turns out that the inactive had moved. We were laughing at how much effort we put in to finding her, to have her just not live there... We were also really hungry because we had not had lunch so we were so grateful when we found a bakery.

We walked into the bakery and the worker noticed our American accents and was very interested to why we were in this random town in the middle of Slovenia!!!! I explained to her we were looking for a friend. She asked for the girls name, and we told her to it.. and turns out she had a PHONE NUMBER for her!!!! It was a miracle. She gave it to us, and we called her! She was so surprised to find out how much of an effort we had made to find her.. She told us that she was not interested in the church right now and did not want to meet. But then that night, one of our members in the branch told us that she had called him - which is amazing!! Because she has not had contact with the church for many years now. I am happy that we were somehow able to plant a seed and let her know that we care about her. 

This weekend we had Mission Leadership Conference in Croatia... We drove down and for some reason got stuck at the border change for about 15 minutes. They were examining our visas and passports very thoroughly. It is always funny to watch their faces when they see four Americans who speak Slovene!! They think it is the coolest thing. MLC was great and we have lots of new ideas of how we can help our zone better improve. One thing I love, is President Grant's optimism. Our standard of excellence for our mission is now being changed, and instead of being so focused on numbers.. It is more of a "faithometer" and "smileometer" and "workinghardometer", as President Grant says :).   Because it is when we are happy and faithful hard working missionaries, we will see results of our efforts. 

We were singing the hymn "Do what is right" this week and I had a cool realization. One of my favorite things about Slovene, is that a lot of the words we have in English, do not have a direct translation to a word in Slovene. Or there are words in Slovene that do not have a direct meaning that can be described in English words. So it makes translating hymns and scriptures so wonderful and fun!!!! The third verse in English says, "Do what is right be faithful and fearless! Onward press onward, the goal is in sight. Blessings await you when doing what's right!" As we were singing it in Slovene, I loved the translation of what their hymn says. It says "Do what is right, always with a smile. To choose is at hand, will do what is right. Do what is right, never fear. God is standing near to you, trust in the new happiness and do what is right!"

I loved that!!! I love that in English it is saying be fearless and faithful.. And in Slovene it is talking about being happy!! It reminded me a lot of what President's counsel to us was. BE FAITHFUL. BE HOPEFUL. BE FEARLESS. BE HAPPY. DO WHAT IS RIGHT. 

To je to!!!! have a greatttttt dober teden! 

LOVE, SESTRA N

Beautiful Slovene country side.  Rivers are so blue!

Early morning jog in Croatia with my MTC friends!

Thanks for the straws - Max and Charlie!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: Put the umbrella down and let the blessings flow!

Hi!

This week we had exchanges with the Ljubljana sisters again and I got to go serve in Ljubljana with Sister Dutton. It rained for four days straight this week. We got to the Ljub train station on Tuesday, and then I was walking with Sestra Dutton to go get a bus - when I experienced the most cliche missionary rejection story... We were walking in the rain - and I said 'hi' to someone. The girl said 'hi' back, but quickly kept walking after glancing at our tags.  I tried to turn around and say another thing to her, but then a bus turned the corner, going right through a huge puddle... completely splashing the whole left side of me. Hahaha, I was wet and we could not stop laughing at how much that seemed to be like a movie or something. It is REAL! 

Sister Dutton and I had a lesson with their investigator at the Ljubljana church on Wednesday. And as we were walking out of the church, it was still pouring rain and we saw three teenage boys struggling trying to fix a bike. We watched them for a few minutes. I decided we should ask them if they were okay. I noticed that their bike chain had come off and they were struggling to get it back on. So I introduced myself and asked them if they needed help. The three boys looked at me and laughed because of my awful American accent. One of them looked down at my dress and nice sweater on, laughed and rolled his eyes as he said 'no.' Sestra Dutton and I still stood there and figured we would at least get them some paper towels so that they could clean their hands off. So we went back inside and got some paper towels and went back out, ten minutes later, and they were still struggling to get that chain on! I asked them once again if they wanted help and they laughed and ignored us. AFter five more minutes of watching them struggle, I sorta just moved my way in, and finally grabbed the bike and Sister Dutton and I knelt down in the rain and quickly put the chain back on the bike within 5 seconds. We then smiled and walked away. Those three boys just sat there quietly, as two young american girls, in skirts just got all dirty and fixed their bikes in about 5 seconds when they were struggling with it for about 15 minutes. Sestra Dutton and I walked away, with greasy hands and laughed as we thought of Elder Russell M. Nelson's talk called, "Ask the missionaries, they can help you!!"  SHOUT OUT TO DAD for always making me learn how to do those sorts of things and not doing it for me!!!!! 

Sestra Dutton and I are very similar and like blurting out songs when funny things or situations happen... As we were both walking in the rain, I looked over at Sestra Dutton just embracing the rain singing, "Let the rain fall down!!!" I laughed and decided to put my umbrella down as well and just enjoy the rain... It made me think of Elder Uchtdorf's talk in the women's conference, about the "umbrellas" that we sometimes put up as humans. He said, "Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings on us - but we sometimes put up umbrella's with doubts, questions, and sins." He goes on to say how Heavenly Father is just waiting to give us those blessings, but all we need to do is put away our umbrellas! So although it was physically raining that day and I decided to not hold up my umbrella, I was thinking about the other "umbrella" that I might sometimes put up. Some of those "umbrellas" include my pride. I tend to think a lot that I can do things by myself, but in reality - if I put my umbrella down and let Heavenly Father lead and guide me, I will receive the blessings that He has to offer me. Or another umbrella/barrier I have, is thinking that people will not understand me or listen to me as a missionary. So I keep my umbrella up and assume... when in reality, if I would put my umbrella down, and let the Lord work through me, I could find the blessings that the Lord offers me for just trying. So I am now really focusing on putting my umbrella away, and letting the Lord's blessings flow!


When I got back to Celje this week, we had a group finding activity with the Elders here. The four of us went to center for about 5 hours, dedicating all of our time just talking about the Book of Mormon with people. We wanted to see how many we could pass out!


We ended up having a really good activity. W were able to give out 4 copies of the Book of Mormon and we talked with so many people about what this book means to us. I had a cool experience as I was able to communicate with an Albanian, speaking Albanian mixed with broken Slovene. We somehow were able to understand each other and he gave me his number so that I can give him an Albanian Book of Mormon this week. Miracles really do happen!! GIFT OF TONGUES!!!!!!! Although the majority of the people I talked with, declined taking the book - I was grateful for the opportunity I had to testify to them of the power of this book. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon. I know that through reading it, we can gain a testimony of the gospel. Because I know the Book of Mormon is true, my testimony is strengthened in so many ways. The Book of Mormon proves that Joseph Smith was a prophet. It proves that we can receive modern day revelation from God. It proves that we can receive answers to our questions. And it proves that Christ lives! Because of the Book of Mormon, we have the fullness of the gospel.



THE CHURCH IS TRUE, THE BOOK IS BLUE!!! One of my favorite things about missionary work, well jk there are way to many things to say that this is my favorite haha(and you all know I struggle with saying my favorites) but one thing I love is how much I study from the Book of Mormon!!!! I feel so immersed in the stories and it is strengthening my testimony in so many ways. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon. I know that through reading it and pondering it and praying about it, we can all gain stronger testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the word of God. 

I love you all!!!!! Have a wonderful week. S. NYDEGGER 

Love all the Slovene statues!

Celje Castle was so beautiful after a rainstorm.