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.

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