Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: God is the Gardner

hi fam! 

This is going to be short today because we are heading to the Adriatic Sea in about thirty minutes!! But I will quickly try to tell you about our week. We had zone conference on Tuesday, which was absolutely amazing. We did a thing with our zone where we just all asked questions to President Grant, and then let a topic of discussion follow. Some of the questions ranged from "where is kolob?" to "how can we not get offended?" It was one of the most spiritual meetings I have ever attended and I received a lot of personal revelation. 

Tuesday was the only day it did not POUR this week. Sister Higgins and I are just getting used to being wet. The river that we usually contact by all day, actually flooded over on the sidewalk because of so much rain, so we spent a lot of time tracting this week.  Although rain and gray skies sometimes can put a damper on attitudes, we are reminding each other we cannot control the weather - so might as well be happy in it! Happiness is a choice.

So grateful for my rainboots!
I was listening to a talk yesterday while I was getting ready for church, by Elder Hugh B. Brown. He shares a story of a currant bush, which was 6 feet tall, but no longer growing berries. Because he was the farmer, he decided to prune the bush back.. As he did, he noticed the bush was crying. The currant bush says, "How could you do this to me? I was making wonderful growth, and now you cut me down. How could you do this? I thought you were the gardener!" Elder Brown says, "Look.. I am the gardener.. And I know what I want you to be.. And someday when you are big and with fruit, you will say -"thank you for loving me enough to cut me down.""

That story meant a lot to me. We all must adopt the mindset of willingly accepting and even seeking corrections. All of us can meet God's high expectations, if we pray and seek for his love-inspired correction. There are going to be many times in life when we will sometimes feel like that currant bush. We are going to experience disappointment, heartbreak, defeat, anger, sadness. We may be tested and it may seem unfair sometimes. But we must continue to remember that God is the gardener here. He knows what he wants us to be. We must continue to submit ourselves to his will. And then be worthy of his blessings, so that we can receive his blessings. 

I have been pondering on that talk for the past day and wondering if I willingly accept correction. On my mission I have really strived to do what Heavenly Father wants me to do. I am learning that in order to do that, I must strive to seek corrections. We must seek his guidance, and trust that HE KNOWS.  One of my favorite parts of the gospel right now, is WEAK THINGS BECOMING STRONG. God will cut us and trim us down, but it is only because he loves us. 

Yesterday while tracting, a happy man opened his door and let us talk with him for a little. We started right away with a gospel conversation but it slowly started to fade.. So I asked him what he likes to do. And he told us to follow him. We followed him into his backyard and he showed us this 20 foot huge cherry tree!! He told us that was his hobby and told us to climb it and get some cherries. We thought he was kidding, but soon realized he was not.. so in skirt and all we climbed up a long ladder up that tree and started picking some cherries. I am grateful for happy people like him, that desire to share their joy with people around them. 

Cherries for breakfast!
Well we will have lots of fun pictures next week of our adventure today by the sea. So excited! 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD this week!! And to Cari, Nik, and to everyone else that has a birthday on the 31st :).  

Love, Sister N 

guys.. I am telling you.. this is EUROPES SECRET!!! Why slovenia is not the most popular place in the whole world is sooooooo strange to me. 

morning hikes :) 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: tokar želiš, dobiš!

OK FIRST... someone asked me this week if we see more dogs or cats roaming the streets... well to answer that question I took some pictures this week......

LOL - 12 cats in that picture!!!!!!!!! I still dont love cats, but it's ok..... they do their own thing, I do mine...........



Last Monday we had the funnest P-DAY!! We went as a district and the Ljubljana sisters joined us, up into the Slovenian mountains. We hiked to the highest peak in Celje and then rented bikes and did mountain biking through the mountains... THE WORLD IS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL PLACE!!

After our long, tiring day in the heat, yet so much fun - I got on the train with Sister Dutton for an exchange in Ljubljana! Sister Higgins got to work here with Sister Erdmann for a few days. I always feel a little out of place whenever I go to the Ljubljana city!!! It is SO big.. I was laughing with Sister Dutton how you can actually stay out til 9:00 contacting, because people are always out in Ljub! 

On Wednesday night I got back to Celje and we had a relief society activity. We joined the four women and had a personality test. We sadly could not participate because I literally did not understand one word out of the 50 Slovene words describing emotions... but the women all loved it and we had a good time all being together. 

I am trying to remember what happened on ThursdayFriday, and Saturday.. but all that keeps coming to my mind is RAIN. It rains.. and rains.. and rains here. And it was thundering and lightening all night and day! 

On Sunday, I gave a 15 minute talk in Sacrament Meeting. I spoke about one of my favorite topics.. CHRIST-LIKE LOVE. I got pretty emotional for the first time on my mission, as I looked out at these strong members and testified of my love for them, and God's love that I feel for them. And also the love they have showed me. I told them all my first memories of when I entered this branch about 6 months ago.. and how I was nervous, but they all showed me so much love. More love than I would have ever expected on my mission. A cute member got up after me and had a talk.. and she spoke on the law of chastity, but at the end she bore her testimony and said that she remembers when I first got to Celje and how no one could really understand me, but that she remembers very strongly always feeling my love. It is hard for me to express in words what I feel, but I am so grateful for this branch here. I love them with all my heart. 

This week I had another tender mercy from the Lord reminding me that he does hear our prayers. I have not really ever received a referral on my mission and because they do not come frequently, we tend to forget about them when setting goals. But last week during weekly planning, Sister Higgins and I felt that we could receive 2 referrals this week. But we made plan that we would do EVERYTHING in our part to find one. We said we would ask every single person.. member.. contact.. neighbor.. EVERYONE for a referral. So we did! We contacted every single day this week and asked every single person we talked to. Every prayer we said together we asked to recognize someone that would have a referral for us. Sunday came around and we still did not have any luck finding a referral. After church we decided to walk far out for tracting.. we were tracting for 4 hours, and within our last hour of tracting, we had three people say that they were not interested, but that we should try calling "their friend.. or their neighbor who needs hope..or that we could knock on the person's door at the end of the street and they would listen" WE WERE THRILLED!!! THREE REFERRALS. They were not necessarily the kind of referrals we were looking for, but it was someone telling us of someone else that would be interested. It was a reminder to me that the Lord does answer our prayers when we show him our desires, and do everything on our part! 

As it says in Psalms 37:4 "Delight thyself also in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart." 

Some funny things from this week...

Me: So do you believe in God or what do you believe?
Lady: I am not interested in this, thank you!
Me: Okay, that is alright. Do you know someone who would be interested?
Lady: Um.... yes... her name is Sandra.. she sometimes walks around center... good luck finding her!
(since when did referrals become this game........)

Sister Higgins: Hi we are missionaries and we like to talk with people about what we believe. What do you believe?
15 year old girl: Umm, well I think some sort of energy exists.. super natural beings and fairies.. 
Sister Higgins: fairies?? well.. alright.... umm we believe in God!! 

You seriously get the greatest conversations with people when all you do is just talk about the gospel!! I LOVE IT. 

Hahaha I LOVE YOU GUYS HAVE A GOOD HAPPY WEEK!!! Thanks for your love and cheering me one - you are wonderful!!!!!


Caught without an umbrella!
So happy to have it stop raining on Sunday!

Spotted the Elders once when we were tracting - carrying an ironing board and iron!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: I LOVE YOU GUYS

HIIIIIII FAMILY!! First off, I just want you to know how much I love you. You make me so so happy and I loved talking with you yesterday. Thank you for being my biggest cheerleaders and for making me smile. I LOVE YOU!!! Especially you, Mom... I hope you had the best mother's day ever. 

We had a great week!! The week started off with going to Kranj, Slovenia for return and report. It is a meeting where we get together with all the trainers and trainees and "return and report" on our labors from the first month together. It was a great meeting and I am constantly learning so much from the trainees and the other missionaries around me. There is so much strength and determination in the collective testimony. Their "greeny power" inspires me to keep working hard and giving it my all. Once we finished up at the meeting, President Grant said, "Okay now we are all going to Lake Bled together, get in the cars, I will buy the Bled cake!!" We all thought he was kidding... but when we realized he wasn't, we made our way over and had a fun afternoon and night with everyone! 

A highlight of our week was our concert!! We have been wanting to do a concert for a while now because there is a lot of musical talent here in Celje. So we put together some musical numbers and asked some people to help us with it.. and then literally invited EVERYONE we know. Every single contact we had that week, we told them about our concert. Friday came around and about 10 minutes before there were only about 6 people there. We all were trying to still be positive about it and kept laughing. We went upstairs to make sure that the desserts and everything was set up and we said a prayer as a district, hoping that everything would run smoothly. After we went back downstairs, it was a MIRACLE!!! Our little small chapel/room was being filled in with people. We ended up having 48 people there! Only 9 of them were members.. It was AMAZING!!! I am grateful for the power of music and how the spirit is welcomed in through songs. 

Yesterday during church, the 2nd hour lesson was on Christ's mortal ministry. Our teacher said something that I thought was such a beautiful message for all of us. He talked about how Christ was always focused on his mission. His first recorded words in the bible are, "Here I am.. send me." Throughout his ministry, he said, "I must go about my Father's work." And then his final words before he died was, "It is finished." Even though he had trials and hard times, he continued on with his mission the whole time. He was focused on his purpose and what HE was entitled to do. What is our purpose on this earth? Why are we here, and are we constantly focusing on our purpose?

I am so so HAPPY about Jane's call!! Mexico will be perfect for her and I know she will love it. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO EMILY THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!! I love you, Emily. Thank you for inspiring me to serve a mission and being an example to me of Christ-like love. I LOVE YOU!


My District - I love them!

My MTC friends - I love them too!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: ... faith precedes the miracle ...

Hi people I love!!! We had a wonderful rainy week here in Celje - the Lord is BLESSING us so much as we continue working hard.  I am striving to work on the attribute of diligence this week.


One thing that amazes me is how our church is purely built on faith. From the beginning of time, this church has moved forward with faith. I am grateful for the faith that Joseph Smith had, to go and ask, in a grove of trees. And the faith of Brigham Young, bringing a large group of people to Salt Lake, when he had never seen it in real life - only in a vision. Or the faith of missionaries who volunteer to go serve the Lord.. not knowing beforehand where the Lord desires for them to go. Or the faith of investigators, who first must act on faith, to then receive an answer. Or the faith of those who are going through troubling times, needing faith to rely on the Lord and trust that he knows and understands. Our eternal journey is steps of faith. We take one step at a time and as President Hinckley says, "...in doing so, we reach toward the unknown, but faith lights the way. If we cultivate that faith.. we will never walk in darkness." What a beautiful promise! 

As missionaries, we do what we are asked to do, because of our faith. We go on and serve with faith in our hearts!  This week was a sweet memory for me, as I remembered that one year ago I opened my call. Or should I say, when I learned that Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, and Montenegro existed! ;) Sister Higgins and I laughed on Wednesday as we re-enacted opening my call.. but this time everyone clapping and cheering and feeling so excited - because we actually knew where it was! I soon realized how amazing it is.. and how HAPPY I am that I am serving a mission. I remember that exactly a year ago, I laid in bed that night, looking up information about my mission.. And finding videos of people speaking Croatian and Slovene on the computer.. and crying with FEAR... but also with excitement.. But I have to admit, sort of wondering what I signed up for!! I remember I looked in my scriptures and felt like Nephi saying, "I was (or in my case, "I will be") led by the spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I must do." And now here I am a year later and this is such a part of me! This is who I am becoming, or what I am learning. My mission has a huge part in my heart now, and I am eternally grateful that the Lord inspired me to feel the desire to serve. Each day the people here take a bigger place in my heart, and I am so grateful. 

Wonderful Darinka being patient as she teaches me to dance!

My friend Franjk!
 Each day we go with the authority of God, by the power of faith and teach, planting a seed of faith here.. and another there.. which will help people grow in their own faith. Faith is the basis of testimony.. and faith is what will move forward the work of the Lord. 

One of the greatest acts of faith that I saw this week, came from our sweet investigator, Alja. Sister Brown and I found her our first week together tracting - almost four months ago. She told us that she was Catholic when we tracted into her.. but we asked if we could come in and share a message. We told her about the restoration, and she said that she would pray about the things we taught her. We continued going over once a week.. and slowly teaching her. Last week we had such a wonderful lesson with her about prayer, and this week she texted us and asked if she could meet us in town center, instead of us coming to her house. We were thrilled and quickly said 'yes'!! We had the idea of bringing her to the church building, so that she could be more familiar with it. Because we did not plan for her lesson in the morning, Sister Higgins and I knew that we would have to rely on the spirit to know what she needed to hear. After showing her where we have church, we asked her if she had been praying, and she said 'YES'!! And she feels that the Book of Mormon is really "benefiting her." As I was listening, I felt prompted to ask her to be baptized - which is a little scary, even though we have the commitment memorized in Slovene because we say it as a companionship every morning.. but I quickly remembered that FEAR is the opposite of FAITH. So as I looked at her and asked if she would follow the example of Jesus Christ, by being baptized... she responded with YES!! She committed to a date of being baptized on MAY 30th!!!!!! We are so excited to watch her and help her progress to make this eternal covenant with Heavenly Father. 

Other than our one lesson, all we had this week was contacting and tracting - YAY lots of finding!!! I had a sad realization this week.. Sister Higgins thinks it is funny.. But for some reason Slovene is completely taking over my brain. I am so used to so many different dialects of Slovene.. that when I talk to people, I am trying so hard to just hear simple basic roots of Slovene because there are so many different dialects. And this week, I was talking to someone speaking Chinese.. and how sad is it that I did not even realize it! I was speaking Slovene to them.. and thought they were speaking it back.. so I asked them to repeat what they said because I did not understand them.. And then they clearly said something back that I did not understand.. so we both walked on our ways.. and Sister Higgins says, "They were speaking Chinese!!" WHAT?? How sad that I did not even realize it because my brain is so focused to try to hear Slovene words.. the same thing happened with someone speaking French! All I can say is.. "You know you are speaking a small language with so many dialects when"... 

Well ALL IS WELL.. We are happy, faithful, missionaries here in Slovenia.. I LOVE YOU and cannot wait to see your faces in 6 days!!!!!!!!!!! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY MOM... I am so so grateful for you.. words will never express my love and gratitude for you. SEE YOU SOON :) 


Talk to you in 7 days!