Monday, August 31, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: Progression to Become


Mom sent me a little quote this week that I feel goes along with exactly what I wanted to write you guys today-- It says, "As you draw nearer to the Lord, he will guide you to become the BEST version of yourself." It takes humility though. I sometimes find myself becoming upset because I am so far from PERFECT. I try so hard to do what is right, but it is so easy to fall short. I find myself each night on my knees, pleading like Nephi. "What a wretched man am I.." It is so important that we are constantly striving to repent, so that we can BECOME. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is SO patient with me. Last night, I was listening to a talk and felt impressed on so many things I can do better. I do love seeing my weaknesses though, because it is time that I can choose to rely on the Lord and make them a strength, so that I can become who HE wants me to be. And the closer I grow to my Savior, the more in tune I am with the spirit to know what I can do better. I am growing closer to him on my mission each and everyday. And the more I grow closer to him, the more I want to share about him to the people around me! We truly have a message of GOOD NEWS. 

This has lead me to think a lot this week about how important PROGRESSION is. We meet so many people on the street who will sometimes listen to us, but it is hard to set up follow-up appointments again. Which is not helping them progress. We are working hard as a zone and as a mission to help these people PROGRESS towards baptism... and progress to make eternal covenants with God. I am so grateful for progression, and for the ability we have to BECOME. 

On my mission, I have grown to learn what it truly means to LIVE THE GOSPEL. There is a difference between knowing the gospel, having a testimony and actually living the gospel. As we live the gospel we can always know how to progress as humans. One way I have found that I can personally progress through living the gospel, is REAL scripture study. Before my mission, I knew it was important to read the scriptures each day.. I understood that it was a commandment, but I did not know how to live that commandment. I would often times be laying down in bed at night, grab my phone, read one verse and call it good! This is what we would call, "the gospel in my head." I knew it was important, so I would do it. But as a missionary, I have learned the importance of needing the gospel in my heart. Reading one verse each night to "pass off scripture reading" is not why God gave us the commandment. But daily scripture study is a commandment from God, because through it we can progress. I love how real the scriptures are - scriptures always speak exactly to our condition. I love how relateable the Book of Mormon is to our exact needs. Scripture reading is just one example, but we must constantly strive to keep the gospel not only in our head, but also in our hearts, so that we can BECOME. 

Anyway, we had a wonderful, yet STRANGE week.. Lots of just weird things happening, but all in all - all is well!!! Yesterday I am sitting in sacrament meeting after a beautiful peaceful administration of the sacrament.. And the 1st counselor in the branch presidency gets up, announces who is speaking and then says, "then we will have a solo singing musical number from Sister Nydegger." WHAT??????????????????? Or this week we were contacting and an old grandpa stops and asks me why I have a weird accent.. I told him I was from America, and with wide eyes and the Slovenian country pride, asks what I think about the beautiful Slovenian country.. I tell him it is beautiful and I love it! And he leans in to whisper something and says, "It is beautiful just like you!" He then goes in for a kiss and I quickly turned my head in fear, which thankfully he only got a kiss on the cheek.. ahhh.....MISSIONARY LIFE IS SO FUN... It brings so much laughing with all of the awkward things we do!! We were walking home on Friday and I saw a man in a wheel chair trying to wheel himself home, while carrying a bag in his hand. I could tell he was struggling, as the bag would rip a little every time it hit his wheel.. so I ran up to him and I don't really know what happened - I must have scared him or something because he took his bag and quickly guarded it with his whole body, and put his head down to not even look at me.. I tried to say something to him, but as soon as I turned my head he then rolled off as fast as possible... Sister Redding and I just looked at each other.. not quite sure what to say.. Sometimes being a "good-nice-person-trying-to-help-those-around-you" is so awkward.. but fun :) 

This week we also went to visit a cute family in the branch here. After visiting with them for a while, I was reminded of how impressed I am with the faith these members have. I am working among such strong faithful members. I hope to one day be as faithful as them.  This family lives about 50 minutes away and drives to church each Sunday. We got to their house, and she asked us if we could help her try to start learning English. She said that she was praying and felt so strongly that she needs to learn English, so that she can understand the things in the temple better. So now, she is trying to learn English. They also had a book at their house with pictures of the Salt Lake temple grounds. I quickly opened the book and explained pictures of my home to them. There was a picture of Dad's work building in the book, and I showed that that was where my Dad worked! With big eyes, she said, "Around that many members of the church??" I said yes, there are lots of church members there.. And with the biggest smile she said, "Oh your family must be so blessed with so many blessings because he works with so many members of the church." The members here find so many reasons to be grateful, and are so faithful -  faithful in the little things. I love them with all of my heart.

The past few days we have been trying to do street boarding with the starešini in center... While we were doing it all day on Saturday, there was a man next to us playing his guitar all day long as well. When we were cleaning up our stands, I walked over to him to tell him he had a great talent and that I enjoyed listening to him play all day. He quickly heard my american accent, and asked where I was from and how I knew Slovene! I told him I was from America, and of course he asks, "Do you know Country Road??" (All Slovenes LOVE that song.) I laughed and told him yes of course, and before I knew it, he handed me a microphone and expected me to start singing with him. I did, and Starešina Lewis came and joined me.. People walking by would clap and listen, and kept taking pictures of us and filming us singing Country Roads.. We felt famous :) I ended up singing a few other songs with him, and after I testified to him that God gives us talents because he loves us and that I was grateful he choose to share his talent that day. 

country road... take me home... to the place...

I love my mission.. and I love the people here. I love my Savior and I am so grateful for this opportunity I have to be a missionary. 

Drži se :)
Imam vas rada....
Z ljubeznijo, Sestra N

Finally retired these shoes after A LOT of miles.

My friend Ursa!  She is in charge of Family History Work.  I love her.

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