Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: "Weather is Changing"

Vreme se spreminja.. weather is changing.. This has literally been in maybe every conversation this week.. good old small talk about the weather when they no longer are interested in talking about the gospel yeah?? Anyway LIFE IS GOOD..  

At least the weather allows a new method for spreading the gospel!
So Sister Redding and I were feeling a little bored last p-day.. as the stormy weather changed our fun hiking plans so we decided it was time for some change.. So some little spontaneous spark in me decided to dye my hair.. Most random thing I have ever come to do, but I dyed my hair! It was dark for about three days, but now after a few washes it has faded almost back to normal. Since I am a missionary, I will pull out the inner missionary burning in me, and compare a gospel truth from this story.. Yesterday during sacrament meeting, I was pondering about how grateful I am that we have the opportunity each week to repent and become better. We are so blessed that even though we fall short and make mistakes, and that we are so far from perfect.. we can at least keep trying.. Each and every week. Just like my hair, we can sin and may feel bad, but zaradi evangeljia Jezusa Kristusa (or some good shampoo washes) we can become clean.. That was cheesy! but I really am so grateful for the sacrament each week. One thing that has helped me get more from the sacrament each week, is daily repentance.. Each night I kneel down and ask for help on the things that I did wrong.. I then look forward to the sacrament, to show our Heavenly Father that I am still trying. Hvaležna sem za zakrament! 

I have been thinking about the "worth of souls" a lot this week. There are so many prizes and titles in our world today that we sometimes forget the true meaning of worth. One thing I have really come to know on my mission is how much we are all worth in God's eyes. There is a quote I read this week that said something along the lines, that as we come to understand our worth, we will understand the worth of people around us more. It is so true. We have an investigator currently, who is someone who doesn't feel much worth in her home life. She always tells us how much she loves being with us, because we make her feel important. She feels like someone loves her when she is with us. I don't know how interested this girl is, and how much she will progress in the gospel - but I have learned an important lesson through getting to know her. We must always uplift those around us because we are ALL CHILDREN OF GOD. Because I know my worth, and because I know that I am a daughter of God, it is easier to me to look at those around me.. and recognize that they too are important and loved in God's eyes. We are not better because of a title, looks, popularity.. but we are all equal. We all need to be better at treating EVERYONE around us as a child of God.. someone with much worth. It is true that the worth of souls is GREAT in the sight of God. 

Inspired graffiti.
I have really felt that although it is so important to spend our time working with investigators that will progress towards keeping commitments or getting baptized.. I also really feel that it is also important that every person I meet.. every single contact.. or every person I talk to through the day - feels closer to Christ, and knows their worth because of me, whether or not they accept the gospel. As I have had this mindset, it has helped me recognize more who I am.. and the love our Savior and Heavenly Father has for each of us. 

My pal from the MTC - still in the same district!
Also.. ONE YEAR THIS LAST WEEK.. This has been one of the greatest years of my life. I am so grateful for the things I am experiencing.. Sometimes I feel like I never want this to end! Luckily, we trust in knowing that Heavenly Father does have a plan.. one that is better, and exactly what we need for growth and progression in this life. These are the things that are most important in life - I pray that I will remember these lessons za vekomaj!!!!!

Happy one year to me and this good old pal of mine.. stillllll in the same district hahaha 

I LOVE THIS PLACE.. we went for a fall drive through the Alps today :) LIFE IS GOOD!!!!!!! 


I love this PLACE.  sLOVEnia.

One-year celebration!  Massive chocolate chip cookie with vanilla gelato!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: This week FLU by

So yes.. My district and their witty puns are finally getting to me too... But this week did actually FLY by with the flu.. sadly. Sister Redding went to bed pretty early Monday night because she was not feeling well, and she ended up coming down with an awful flu bug. I did my best to take care of her, like a good companion should :) And somehow was blessed to not get it myself! So we were quarantined for the first four days of the week... and finally on Friday she had enough strength to still attend zone conference.

After zone conference, I was heading up to Maribor for exchanges with Sestra Rhodes.  We have been secretly wanting to serve together so we were PUMPED!! She has such a talent for languages and is so amazing at Slovene, so it was so nice to be corrected and to learn from her. Plus we realized we are almost the same human, except she is like 6'3 and I am 5'3. But we had a great time together. 

Abandoned castle while we were tracting!
On Saturday, we had a lesson in the morning with an investigator from Maribor. And after lunch, we had planned to go tracting until 8:30 that night. So we decided to pack some snacks so that we had energy to keep going for the whole day. Sister Dutton sent me a package, that I got this week... with beef jerky, which ended up being a little tender mercy... and not just for eating :) 

Most cottages in Slovenia have gates around them, with signs on them that say, "pozor hud pus!" - "beware of the dog." Half of the time, Slovene's have that sign.. and we soon see a dog the size of a rat, with a tiny little bark. Other times, they are wolves mixed with bears. So we always scope out the yard before we open the gate to see which kind of creature is on the other side. Anyhow, we got to this one gated fence and saw that sign on it, and saw just a tiny little dog. So we proceeded to enter, and before we knew it the dog slipped out and started running down the street to the neighbors house. Sister Rhodes and I looked at each other with fear in our eyes... realizing we had to go catch that dog, because we wanted to avoid at all cases being yelled at in Slovene. We got to the neighbors house and the dog just stopped and looked at us.. We slowly crept towards it and at the same time Sister Rhodes and I looked at each other and thought, BEEF JERKY! So we pulled out the beef jerky to bribe the dog.. and Sister Rhodes is also a dog whisper or something, she started whistling and the dog came right to her. We lead it back home into the gate, and shut it. We then tracted the house, no one answered.. So we snuck out again, being sure to not let the dog out. As we sat by the gate trying to decided where to go next.. all of a sudden we watched the little dog hop through the fence.. walk across the street.. and then hop back right into the yard......... turns out the dog could escape itself..... well at least it made for a fun story. 

Sunday we had District Conference, so we woke up early and from Maribor headed back down to Ljubljana. The spirit was so strong and I love the feelings of strength and faith as we meet together with all of the members in Slovenija. The missionaries had a musical number, where the spirit really filled the room. I saw my friends from Celje too!! Which one of my dear friends from Celje told me this week she is finally able to make a trip to the temple to receive her own endowment.. This will be her first time at the temple.. I WAS SO HAPPY I ALMOST CRIED!!!!! It was a great day. 

This morning as I was eating my oatmeal, I was listening to "I believe in Christ" by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. One of my favorite lines in the whole song, is "I believe in Christ, so come what may." I love that. With Christ on our side, the knowledge of the gospel, and our faith.. we can say "come what may" to all things. I love the knowledge this gospel brings. 

IMAM VAS RADA.. until next week!

Sestra Nydegger 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: Achieve for Him

Moji dragi živijo :))))) WHAT A WEEK.. Everyone is finally back from the sea because school is starting.. And I am now really learning that Ljubljana really is a CITY!!! There is so much traffic.. so many people.. it is crazy.. We sometimes stay on the same street for hours just because we are trying to talk with EVERYONE..... I didn't realize this many people could squeeze  into Ljubljana.. All in all, it is great.. more people to invite to hear about the gospel :) 

I think every week for the past few months I could have entitled my letters with MIRACLES... Once again, they are out there!! I really think it is now that I am choosing to find miracles, that I am recognizing they are ALWAYS there if we just lift up our eyes. 

Because we don't have a senior couple here in Ljubljana or Kranj, we all do district meeting together and we are technically one big district. It is fun :) But last week, once we finished our district meeting with a sincere, kneeling prayer.. Our district leader said he felt inspired for us to find people to baptize. As a district we all made a goal with faith to put 4 people on baptismal date this week! (1 per companionship) This was a goal that was really stretching us, because none of us had any progressing investigators at the moment. With faith and hope we prayed and told the Lord we would work hard to achieve this goal. About an hour after district meeting we got a text from the Kranj Elders saying that "on the bus ride home, the Kranj sisters sat by someone they recognized they met in the previous week. They started talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ with her - faith, repentance, baptism, holy ghost, enduring to the end. As they talked with her, they asked her if she would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized in October. SHE ACCEPTED!" Just one hour after setting our goal, we saw it being fulfilled. The next day, Sister Redding and I were meeting again with the investigator who has been coming to church for 9 years (I told you about him last week.) As we followed up and asked him if he prayed to feel God's love, he said he did.. He felt so warm and so peaceful as he prayed alone, for the first time. We told him boldly, that the reason we are meeting with him is because our purpose as missionaries is to teach and to baptize. I told him that I knew that baptism was the MOST important thing he could be doing with his life right now. We extended a baptismal invitation, and he accepted!!!! 9 years of investigating, and he has never had a baptismal date before... We were so thrilled. 2 days later, the Kranj Elders called us.. And they said that they saw someone on the street, who they met about a month ago, through chalking the Plan of Salvation.. (CHECK OUT THE LINK AT THE END OF THE EMAIL..) They talked with him for a little and the extended the baptismal invitation, and he also accepted! The Ljubljana Elders are still faithfully trying to find someone before tomorrow's district meeting to put on baptismal date, and we KNOW that if it is the Lord's will, they will find someone. The Lord wants us to find success.. He wants us to see our goals being fulfilled. I know that as we make faithful goals, the Lord will help us if it is according to his timing. MIRACLES MIRACLES MIRACLES!!!!!!

On Tuesday night, Sister Redding and I were walking around talking with people.. And right as the sun went down, we started heading towards home. As we did so, there were these 2 people who pointed to us and started SPRINTING towards us.. I was a little nervous as not know what was going on.. It was dark and I could not see well - so I grabbed Sister Redding's arm, when I heard in LOUD.. AMERICAN.. ENGLISH.. "ARE YOU MORMON MISSIONARIES?!?!?!!!!!" These two people could not believe their eyes!!!! I laughed and told them yes and they could NOT believe that there were actually missionaries in Slovenia and in the Balkans! I could not stop laughing.. I think it was the first time on my mission, someone actually knew who the "sisters" were and we were ACTUALLY recognized! They were sweet members from southern New Jersey.. We felt so famous.. They were taking selfies with us, kept hugging us, and could not believe that we were missionaries in Slovenia.. It was funny and it made mine and Sister Redding's day. 

ALL IN ALL.. A wonderful week. Prayer is so key. I am working really hard right now to pray more earnestly. I think one of the greatest things we can learn in this life, is how to recognize the Lord's voice. We NEED to come to know his voice. I love in 3rd Nephi 33:3, how Nephi prayers so earnestly. As I was reading that scripture this week, I found I had written next to it in the MTC, "When was the last time you prayed like Nephi?" Nephi says that he prays for his people continually day by day.. His eyes water in his pillow each night as he prays for them. And then so confidently he says, "I KNOW THAT HE WILL HEAR MY CRY." When was the last time you prayed like Nephi? When you poured out your heart and soul to our Heavenly Father? 

"You cannot achieve FOR Him, WITHOUT Him. Go to Him first." When we align our will with the Father's, when we seek to do what HE wants, we then will achieve for Him. And we do that through PRAYER. 

I am happy, healthy, and doing so well. I love these precious lessons I am learning each day - we are SO blessed :) 

p.s EVERYONE WATCH THIS!!! The Kranj elders made this video.. I think I have been telling you about how we are all trying chalk as a form of proselyting - gotta be CREATIVE and NEW.. Anyways Elder Rice is AMAZING at chalking - he is so talented with it... so the Kranj Elders made a video of all of it.. SO COOOOL

We were all so bad that I won with an 89!

Oven fresh bread!

She didn't accept our discussion invitation, but she gave fresh produce!

Cutest cottage ever.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: Goodness is everywhere

Živijo vsi! I can't believe it is the start of September already... We are already feeling the crisp fall air.. I don't know if I am quite ready for the cold, sweaters and tights, dark nights, and 5 months of grey skies again - but it will be okay :) I am excited for the leaves to start changing.. Slovenia could be literally described in one word, GREEN.. So I am sure fall will be absolutely BEAUTIFUL! 

Had to pull out our coats and put on tights!
The first principle and first lesson we teach with people everyday is that GOD IS OUR LOVING HEAVENLY FATHER... And I feel like I was constantly thinking about that this week. That he is our LITERAL father.. we are His children, He knows us by name. So many people have such a misconception of him. They think he is just some sort of energy, or spirit or just in the air. He is the Father of our spirits, the power of ALL.. Sooo much more than just an energy - it is so sad. I was asked the question this week "How could God be so loving, if we hear sometimes that he is angry in the bible?" I pondered that question and studied more about God this week. I feel like my relationship strengthens with him each day. One of my favorite passages about God is in Moses chapter 7. Enoch sees Satan, and hears him laugh with chains in his hands - I imagine that must be so scary and such an evil laugh. And then in the later verses it says that God saw this and he WEPT. I think that is such a beautiful passage, that God weeps. The Lord goes on to say that he weeps because we are the workmanship of his own hands.. He gave us our knowledge, agency, and commandments. He weeps when we struggle and sin, and he rejoices when we are happy and repent. 

The past 2 days I have had multiple experiences where I have felt the truthfulness and the importance of the knowledge that God is our loving Heavenly Father. Yesterday, we taught relief society and the young women on Christ-like attributes. The very first one is faith. When we have faith in God and in His Son, we will strive to become like them. But we FIRST need to know that God is. Last night, we also met with an investigator who has now been investigating for 9 years! He agreed for a lesson. And we went into the lesson hoping to talk about baptism and find out what is holding him back. The spirit guided the lesson though in a complete different way - as we found out that he does not even know if God exists. We were all shocked and asked how he has been coming to church for 9 years without knowing if God exists. He said that it is because he WANTS to know if God is there, so he keeps coming... and he feels good when he comes, but he needs help in getting his answer. We told him we are here to guide him to know that God does exist. We look forward to meeting with him more. We ended with a prayer and as we sat there and this investigator asked so sincerely if God was there, the spirit filled the room immensely. He then asked me to play the piano for him as he read the lyrics of hymns about God. I was so grateful to be able to use my talents to testify to him of the power and love of God. 

This week was a harder week. Saturday came around and I personally felt like we had not accomplished much this week. I was feeling discouraged and Saturday morning I knelt in prayer asking for help.. for love.. for peace because I felt discouraged - and doubts and discouragement at the start of your day, will for sure put you down a rough path for the day! I prayed and then we went out and worked. We knocked doors for a while.. we contacted in the rain.. we tried and kept trying. That night we were doing family history with a member here... And as we were pushing her home in her wheelchair that night, it started POURING. It came down so fast and luckily we had jackets, but no umbrellas. We took her home and as Sister Redding and I were walking home in the pouring rain, I felt so much peace. I felt so happy to be here. I felt so grateful for my life. I felt that God was there, he was aware and he was proud of my efforts. I pondered on all of those feelings as we walked home in the rain, and just felt so strongly that GOD IS HERE. He is so aware of us. D&C 88:84 has always been one of my favorite scriptures.. He is on our right hand and our left.. to bare us up. I love that even after a hard day, somehow you still feel happy and peaceful walking home at night. It is so true that God's gift or blessing that He gives to those who testify of him each day... is NOT freedom of hard work.. Is NOT freedom of sorrow.. or stretching.. But it is the surety that EVERY OUNCE OF EFFORT spent in HIS NAME is an investment of JOY. I am so happy. It's a different kind of happy - and I've never been happier. 

Tracting in the rain!  Please let us in.
I am so grateful. I am grateful for little things that make you happy. I am grateful for yummy ice cream :) I am grateful for members who help us and are so kind as we try to speak their language. I am grateful for languages, and the ability to communicate with God's children in their native tongues. I am grateful for FASTING and for the power of TRUE pure prayer. I am grateful for testimonies, and how we grow from hearing each others. I am grateful for talents that we get to use and share every day. I am grateful for my sweet companion who gets up and goes running with me every morning even though she does not like running. I am grateful for blue skies! I am grateful for miracles - God is aware. I am grateful for rainstorms that we get caught in, and yet somehow we are still happy and smiling. 

God is our LOVING Heavenly Father. 

Love, Sister Nydegger

Thanks for the package Grace!

Nasty slugs!

Celje sisters came down for the Paul Cardall concert.