Monday, July 27, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: Choose Ye This Day

Ahoj.. Hola.. Živijo.. Shalom.. Zdravo.. Ćiao.. Bonjour... Ni hoa... HELLO!!!! Those are just a few of the many languages I have heard this week while contacting. It seems like every Slovene we are trying to get in contact with, is out at sea... and every other person we talk to is from somewhere outside of Slovenia! We have had to adjust missionary work a little because of that, but it is still going great. :)

This week as a district we went out in the 102 degree sun and drew a big picture of the plan of salvation with chalk. We were all so sweaty, but very happy! We went to the biggest park in Ljubljana. it reminds me a lot of central park, and we drew almost a 50 foot načrt odrešitve for everyone to see! It was wonderful. People would walk by and ask what we were doing. Or we would stop people and asked if we could share with them what we were drawing. We had some amazing conversations. I was able to testify to many people of the perfect plan that our father in heaven has for us. 

Sister Kropushek and I had a goal for the transfer come true this week!!!!! I have been learning some Serbian from her and she is learning some Slovene. And we have finally gotten to the point where we can both understand each other when we are speaking our languages. So this week, we were contacting a lady sitting on a bench. And she said she was from Serbia, but was speaking Slovene. Sister Kropushek and I both got a smile on our face and I started teaching her the restoration in Slovene.. Sister Kropushek followed in Serbian.. and we fed off of each other!! It was PERFECT companionship unity in 2 different languages - finally!! We rewarded ourselves with some ice cream after :). 

Lately, I have been pondering a lot about how I can consecrate myself more on my mission. I want to truly give everything I have and I want to let my mission change me. In a letter I got from Dad last week, he reminded me of a talk from Elder Maxwell that I have been pondering lately. "Consecration is thus both a principle and a process, and it is not tied to a single moment. Instead, it is freely given.. drop by drop, until the cup of consecration brims and finally runs over." We first must appreciate our Savior, which will then lead to adoration. When we have adoration for Him, it will then lead to emulation. As we love the Lord, we will strive harder to be like him.

As I have been striving to do that this past week, I have been constantly reminded of the principle of agency. I am amazed how much of life is CHOOSING. We all choose to come here, but we are here to choose again which path we will follow, which road we will take. At the beginning of my mission, agency was one of the biggest trials for me. I struggled understanding why people would not accept this message, or why I could not just force them into the font to be baptize! But as I have learned more on my mission, I have come to realize that agency is one of the greatest tools we have in this life. We can CHOOSE to do what is right. We can CHOOSE to be happy. We can CHOOSE to sin and do wrong. We can CHOOSE to not be effective with our time.. We can CHOOSE who we will serve. Emily sent me a letter saying how on our mission, our choices and agency are the only things we have in this life that our Heavenly Father does not already have. He has our knowledge, our talents, our money. But the one gift we can give to him that he does not have control over is our agency and our WILL.

SO because of this.. I am striving to give even more. To do all that I can to give my will to Heavenly Father, to choose the right, to work harder, to pray more earnestly. And I am already seeing changes from it. I am so grateful for agency and the power we have to CHOOSE.
I love you all! I feel like the grinch sometimes on my mission.. The grinch's small heart grew 3 times its size!! I sometimes wonder if I even knew what it meant to LOVE before my mission... My love for the Balkan people grows more and more each day, my love for my amazing supportive family and friends, and more importantly.. my love for our Savior, Jesus Christ.


Thunderstorm during a service project.
Snails come big in Slovenia!

And the worms are a bit disgusting.

Neat caves!  Pictures do not do it justice.

Beautiful castle right above the caves.

Love our Ljub / Kranj district and making candy posters for birthdays!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: Miracles

Hi Everyone! 

GOOD LUCK TO ELDER WILSON!!! I love you Zac! I am praying for you this week. You are a great example to me. And I am so happy Sister G made it home! She looks great.. It makes my heart so happy, I am so thankful for missionaries!

So my new companion is Sister Kropušek. We will have about 2 weeks together, and then she heads home! She was serving in Serbia, but because of visa problems, had to leave the country. But it is really cool, her family is from Slovenia! Her great, great grandpa was Slovene. So we are doing a lot of work this week to try to find some of her family! But she is great, and I am enjoying working with her. She does not know Slovene, so that is a little difficult.. but we are making it work! We sorta just speak a whole bunch of what we call "Balkanese"... of Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, and Bosnian. It is nice though, because now when we get the excuse on the street that they only know Croatian or Serbian.. She will quickly respond in Croatian! There is no way out for people now ;) 

We had an amazing week with many miracles!! We contacted a man, and talked with him about what is important to him in his life. He responded in Bosnian.. and luckily I could understand what he was saying.. at least most of it... And he said he now lives in Germany! But has his papers here in Slovenia.. So he was doing a lot of visa work. But we told him about how we believe that we can live with our families for eternity! He agreed to give us his information so that missionaries can teach him now in Germany! 

We met again with [YYY] this week! She is reading from the Book of Mormon and she had such great questions about repentance. She was asking, how do we know we have been forgiven? What do we feel? I felt the spirit strongly as I testified to her about repentance. I am grateful for the Atonement, and that each week we have the opportunity to repent and be better.. and to KEEP TRYING! She came to church yesterday as well, and she loved the spirit she felt! All of the members were so loving and kind to her as well.  It was very happy :) 

Another miracle was while we were out tracting in 104 degree weather.. ooohhh wow it was HOT! No one is really out to contact because it was so hot, so we have to go to their homes. At least they are staying a little cooler inside so they are more comfortable when we invite them to learn about our Savior. But as we were sweating and knocking.. a family let us in for some water.... and only some water :) but it was a miracle and MUCH needed! 

We had a great conversation with a man on a bench this week. We talked to him about prayer. He thought it was very interesting, and asked me what I pray for. He then told me not to answer, but just to ponder. I am grateful he asked me that question, because it has made my thoughts and my prayers more meaningful. I am so grateful for prayer and the communication we can have with our Father in Heaven. 

On Wednesday we were out contacting, and a young girl walked passed us, but we quickly turned around and asked if we could talk with her for a minute. We started telling her about the restored gospel, and the spirit was directing the contact in a way that we soon realized was exactly what she needed to hear. She ended up talking about revelation and things our prophet has told us about today. I am grateful that our Heavenly Father loves us so much, to give us Prophets!! Someone who can lead and guide us. 

I am so grateful for this gospel. Each day as I testify of it to those around me, my testimony is strengthened of God's personal, individual LOVE for us! He loves us so much that He has given us the Book of Mormon, prayer, prophets, families.. and so much more! So that we can be happy right now in this life, and also in the life to come. 

Love, Sestra Nydegger 

A member was so happy when we took her Birthday Cake!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Kranj / Ljubliana, Slovenia: Trust in the Lord

Pozdravljeni moja družina! 

Well CHANGE AGAIN - WOHOOOOOO!!! I am now getting my 6th companion in one transfer! Maybe the Lord is trying to teach me the importance of being flexible and going with the flow or something.. It's a good quality to learn :) So long story short, today I will say goodbye to my trio and Kranj.. And I will be getting a new companion, who is coming up from Serbia! She has three weeks left on her mission, knows Croatian-Serbian, and will finish her mission here in Ljubljana with me. I am excited!! I have learned so much from the "older missionaries" and their experiences... And I know I will learn so much from my new companion in her last few weeks as well.

Sadly, I do not have much time today to tell you about all the amazing people we met this week, but I want to tell you about this last week! Because the year is now halfway over, we have been evaluating our mission goals that we made. At the beginning of the year we set a goal to have 60-100 baptisms in the Adriatic North Mission. And now with the year a little more than half way over, we have helped around 12 people thus far. So we had to make a new game plan this week to figure out how we can still achieve this goal!!!!! When we prayed as a mission, we felt that those numbers were correct.. And just because we are behind, does not mean that those numbers are no longer correct. We had a meeting with the zone leadership and all made personal goals and statistics for how we are going to accomplish this goal. The spirit was so strong during that meeting, and it was a testimony builder to me, that the Lord was aware and present, and if we now truly rely on Him, we can do this! 

President Gordon B. Hinkley said, "In the on-working of this great cause, increased faith is what we most need. Without it, the work would stagnate. With it, no one can stop its progress." As a mission we have committed to trust more deeply in the Lord, and cheerfully do all that is in our power to achieve this goal. And as it says in Doctrine and Covenants 123 verse 17, "stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." 

WITH THE LORD WE CAN DO ALL THINGS.. I feel like I have said this a lot lately in my emails, but it is so TRUE. I know that when we rely on the Lord, we cannot and will not fail. He is our "strength and our song! I will trust and not be afraid." 

I hope you have a happy week! THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS.. I feel them each and everyday. I am so grateful and I love you.
Love, Sister Nydegger 

(Isn't Slovenia perfect? This is what we were walking through last night while knocking) 

ALSO - Good luck to Sister Gochnour this week!!!!! I cannot believe she is about done with her mission. I feel sad that I cannot be there to welcome her home, but I am so grateful for her example and inspiring me to serve with all of my heart each and everyday! I LOVE YOU G!
Not sure what it is, but it works.
Scenery on the drive from Kranj to Ljubs.

Gandalf's Hors

Monday, July 6, 2015

Kranj / Ljubljana, Slovenia: Lift Up Your Eyes

Welll HELLO - It sounds like I am not the only one that is saying "WHAT A WEEK!" I love you Mom.. You are a trooper! And I am sure your crutches are looking super cute :) I am praying for you and that you have a quick recovery. You are strong! Well... WHAT A WEEK.. Where to start!!! The Lord is in charge of this work.. and when the Lord closes one door.. there is one waiting to be opened, according to His timeline of course :)
Now that I have two companions who are able to work, we have been working HARD... The trio is going so WELL.  A Lot of laughing and a lot of work! Each morning we get up and exercise and then head out at 10:30 in the 95-100 degree weather with the HOT humid sun.. I honestly feel so wet and so sweaty all the time.. but at least all the other people outside are also sweaty too ;) So it is okay. 

This week I have been working on memorizing John 4:35 - one of my favorite verses.. "LIFT UP YOUR EYES.. AND LOOK ON THE FIELDS; FOR THEY ARE WHITE ALREADY TO HARVEST." Whenever we are having a long day without anyone really listening, I repeat that scripture to myself and remind myself to keep looking up. And this week was a week where the Lord reminded me that the field is WHITE, already to harvest! 

 MIRACLES ARE ALL AROUND IF WE LOOK UP!! This week we went back to visit the mother and son who set up a return appointment last week. And when we got there, she had treats and everything prepared and was expecting us to really come back! We walked in and she said she invited her nieces and nephews to come join our lesson.. We were thrilled! We changed our plan and decided to do a family home evening-like thing with them. We started with an opening song where Sister Christensen and Sister Redding and I sang "Families can be together forever." And then we asked all 6 of the children, ranging from ages 4-16, why their families are important to them. We then played games and laughed and got to know each other better. We got the Mom's number and we are going to go back again hopefully this week! 

Also a man we met in the same area, we have been back twice to teach him... He is the strangest, smartest, most interesting man ever. I am constantly just laughing when we are with him! He can never remember the name 'Mormons'.. So he for some reason likes to call us the Mermaids.. because that somehow is close to "mormonites"...?? But when we went back after his first lesson when we met him on his doorstop, he had read the chapter from the Book of Mormon, that we invited him to read, TWICE!!! We were so surprised but figured we would keep going with it and keep teaching him! He understood it and had some strange.. yet good.. questions. He is a good friend now though! He went to the sea this week.. and called us yesterday because he got us a gift.. and when we arrived, he gave us these bottles of water with sea water in it.. since we are "his mermaids" ;) 

Another miracle!! After English Class on Thursday, we announced to everyone that we had our family history night on Friday. And most of the students did not think much of it, but one girl, [YYY] - a brand new student that day - asked me if we would have family history night in the church. I told her yes, and while I was looking at her, I felt a CLEAR prompting to ask her if she would like to see a tour of our church. I asked her if she had time, and she agreed. We showed her around and then we took her up to the chapel.. One of my favorite parts in all of Ljubljana :) We sat up there and talked about our religious beliefs.. She is catholic but does not agree with everything that her church teaches. We talked with her about sacrament and repentance, and how we can strengthen our relationship with God. She LOVED that!! We then talked about the restoration and the priesthood authority and how we have the restored gospel that Christ taught himself, on the earth again today. She was understanding everything so well and loved the idea of it all. We then talked about baptism with her and she committed to a baptismal date for August 22nd!! WOHOOOO!!!! Although we were all hot, and sweaty, the spirit was present. She felt it and so did we. She is so prepared and I am so excited to teach her!
After our church tour and once she left.. My companions and I literally fell to the ground hahaha not sure if it was the heat making us crazy or the spirit :) But we kept saying that miracles are there if we just lift up our head to look and see them!! We said a very earnest prayer of gratitude, and gave thanks to the Lord, and His divine help to give us promptings. I AM SO EXCITED TO TEACH HER..
And it gets even better!! We had the most amazing conversations with so many people this week through contacting.. A lot of them were tourists, and were not interested in meeting missionaries where they are from.. but we planted so many seeds for missionaries one day to harvest.. We met a very strict Atheist from Spain, who at the end of our conversation, said that maybe God could exist.. We talked with literally everyone.. We followed every prompting.. And inquired the Lord in every single thing! We truly gave our all each and everyday, that by the end of planning each night we could fall asleep on the ground!
Slovenia is about to burst with the gospel!!! I can feel it! As a country, we put three people on date for baptism this week!!!!!!!!!!! Miracles are all around us if we LOOK UP OUR EYES!
P.S JOE BOB HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!! I hope you have the happiest day this week. I love you and am so grateful for your friendship. I put something in the mail for you today, so that should get to you hopefully soon :)

Thanks for the cupcake mix mom!
My friend at the Ljub Zoo!

Great friends from Celje!
Reminds me of my sister Lily!

Can you tell what my favorite shoes are?