Monday, October 26, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!"

Hi everybody!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am glad everyone had a good week.. it looks a lot warmer in Utah.. but the sun came up twice this week so we were SO HAPPY.. Thank you for your love and prayers, I sure am grateful. 

Last week, when Elder Charles was here.. He said something that I really thought was interesting. He asked us what we thought the strongest attribute of the Adriatic North Mission was.. We all went around and answered.. things such as our faith, great leaders, the holy ghost, the ability to take the gospel to the people in their native tongues and having 3 different languages in this mission, good food... lots of great things that we have in this mission. He then answered, and said that he believes the greatest attribute we have is opposition. I have thought about that a lot this last week.. We seemed to have a harder week, with a lot of opposition. And every time I would feel discouraged or doubtful, I would remember what he said. The greatest thing our mission has going for it, is opposition.. because opposition ALWAYS brings us closer to Christ.. Everyday when we walk out the door, we are faced with adversity.. we cannot avoid it. Trials, disappointments, sadness, feeling alone, sickness, heartache... the "ne hvala" finger, rejection, lessons that fall through, are all difficult parts of life and missions. But what is so amazing, is that they can lead to spiritual growth, refinement, and progress when we turn to the Lord. It is important HOW WE RESPOND TO ADVERSITY.. I remember someone once saying, are our trials stumbling blocks, or stepping stones? 

Although responses to adversity will vary, one response that should always been constant, is our trust in God. We read in the Book of Mormon that "whosoever shall put their trust in God, shall be supported in their trials, troubles, and afflictions, shall be lifted up in the last day." When we trust in God and in Jesus Christ, we are promised that blessing.. Because our Savior, Jesus Christ has experienced our pain, He knows how to help us. And if we look to him in faith, he will strengthen us to withstand ANY trial.. no matter how big or small. We learn that there must be opposition in ALL things.. and it is because opposition helps us to develop a depth of character that really can come in no other way. 

I am grateful for these times.. for struggles, for opposition, for sadness because we are promised that we can grow and become stronger for them.. I seem to always remember that once the hard day passes, but I really am working on remembering that in the moment of trials. It is helping me to become a better missionary. 

Although there were hard days and hard times this week, there were also great days and good times! On Saturday we got invited to do some service at a members house.. They live 45 minutes away on a mountain and it was BLUE SKY and warm weather so we were so excited to go help them do some yard work.. It ended up taking a lot of travel time and we both were feeling a little frustrated because we missed our bus and needed to take a train which would take longer. We decided to pray before we got on the train and we specifically asked for an opportunity to share the gospel while sitting on the train. The train started going and no one sat by us.. we were a little bummed, but after the first stop, a young man then got on and asked if he could sit there. He told us he was going to Celje.. so we would all be together on the bus for about 30 minutes. We started talking with him and we ended up teaching him the first lesson. He asked a great question, but our stop came up.. so we exchanged numbers and left him on a good cliff hanger so that we can get together again! The lord does hear our prayers.. 

I was sitting next to this man on a bus this week, and I was trying to talk with him.. And he was not too interested.. It was a lot of small talk, with short answers coming from him.. I ended up asking what his name was and he said Joše. When I told him I had a brother with the same name in America, he could not believe it! He soon started to warm up and smile and be my friend. I had a great opportunity to testify to him and to help him feel the spirit. He asked me the normal questions: how long I am here, how I learned Slovene, do I miss America... And then he said something that really hit me.. He said, "I bet one day when you are home, you will miss this place.. and the things you experienced." That really hit me for some reason.. Tears filled my eyes on that bus as I continued talking with him. I really am so so thankful for my mission.. and the things I am experiencing.. the hard days and the happy days.. I feel so blessed for these sweet tender lessons I am learning everyday. I am so so happy. 

D&C 6:34 - Therefore, fear not little flock.. DO GOOD. Let earth and hell combine against you, for it ye are built upon my rock, THEY CANNOT PREVAIL. 

It is so so true.. we have no reason to fear.. but to keep doing good. We are truly NEVER alone. Thank you sooo much for your prayers.. I feel them EVERY DAY. 

Love, Sestra Nydegger 

p.s One night this week we were tracting, and a man answered his door with 6 cats around him. We told him what we were doing, and he responded by saying, "I am more interested in my cats than I am in your message.." JOOOOJJJJ We got stood up for some cats!!

Visiting a member took us into Italia for a few minutes!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Spirit is the Key

Soooooo we are on day 13 of rain......... Which also means, 6 times sprayed by a bus while walking around trying to find people... one time slipping down the stairs.. going through 2 pairs of tights a day because they are soaked... and no longer needing to wash my hair because the rain does it anyways...  Maybe in 27 more days my companion and I will be commanded to start building an ark and command these people to start repenting!! (40 days and nights of a flood.. Noah's ark??) Just kidding... One of the funniest moments of this week... during companion study the phone rang - we answered and it was the elders screaming and shouting because there was a crack of blue sky!! Poor Elder Frandsen, is čist new here.. and didn't know blue sky existed..... I guess that is what a winter in Slovenia does to you! 

Enough about the weather - another great week of missionary work! The highlight of my week was zone conference. We had a visit from Elder Charles, from the quorum of the 70. He is currently doing an Adriatic mission tour right now, and gave all of the zones a conference training. One of the things that stood out most to me was Elder Charles attitude about the Holy Ghost. He started off by saying, "The Holy Ghost is my very, very best friend. I am so grateful for the influence of the Holy Ghost in my life." Then many times throughout his presentation, he would tell a story and say, "the Holy Ghost told me...." or "I felt the Holy Ghost and....." 

We did an activity with our zone where we role played as a companionship... But all we could do was ask questions. We did not answer the question they asked, but would respond with just asking another question. He told us to ponder and take time to "reach heavenward" for our inspired questions.. He said not to be scared of silences. Sister Robertson and I started and I just could not understand how I was supposed to know what to ask.. It just felt weird to me and was not making sense. I remembered how he said take time to reach heavenward to know what to ask. Once I stopped worrying about what question I would ask next, and really started listening.... Words started coming to my mind being prompted by the Holy Ghost.. Deep inspired questions started to come to mind when I would ponder and wait. It ended up being one of the most spiritual experiences I have had on my mission. I felt the power of the Holy Ghost so strongly. 

After he asked us to share what we learned from that experience.. I raised my hand and shared that that experience really touched me. All of my companions know that I really do not like silences. Whenever we are contacting, I always try to keep the conversation going, because I have felt that if it is silent, they would have the chance to walk away! But I explained that I learned that the silence is GOOD.. and often times is needed. That is when the Holy Ghost can testify to their hearts. We must constantly strive to take time and let the spirit come and testify.  We need to reach heavenward and speak with the power of the Holy Ghost.

Since the conference, Sister Robertson and I really strived to speak with the power of the Holy Ghost and to listen.. and to be worthy so that the Holy Ghost will be present with us. The past few days, there has been a different feeling. There have been numerous times when we are out talking with people, that we feel the need to go back and talk to the person on the bench.. We are striving to follow EVERY SINGLE PROMPTING. Taking the sacrament yesterday, meant more to me.. Hearing the words, "that they may ALWAYS have his spirit to be with them." When we are worthy, we can always have the gift of the Holy Ghost with us.. We are so lucky. The companionship of the Spirit is something I hope to always be able to have with me. 

I know that these things are true by the power of the Holy Ghost. I am grateful for the sacrament promise, that we can always have the Holy Ghost with us as we keep our sacred covenants. I am grateful for the Holy Ghost, who can guide us in ALL THINGS. It is true that THE SPIRIT IS KEY! 

Yesterday evening, we were hopping on a bus to go home.. And I sat down by someone and started talking with them. As I was talking with this lady, the spirit prompted me to ask what her name was. I did, and when she answered, I realized that she was a less-active in the Ljubljana branch... someone that we have actually been trying to figure out more information about. She told me that she switched religions, and would not like visits from the missionaries.. but agreed to maybe helping us with Slovene. We are hopeful to get together with her again soon... I am thankful for promptings of the spirit to help discern!

Also... Sister Robertson and I came to a conclusion this week... A mission is the BEST thing in the whole wide world...... but we seriously feel so CREEPY all the time!!!! People will say they are not interested, but we call again in a few weeks to ask them again...  We have a map in our apartment.. with names and addresses all around it.. You call people and when they don't answer, you use another phone number to call them.. You try going to people's apartments and when they don't answer the buzzer, you buzz their neighbor and ask to be let it.. You walk around a house multiple times trying to find the door, looking for signs of families in the window.. You see someone on the street that you once talked too and sprint to them to talk with them..  soooo creepy.. but sooo great. I love it. 


Zone trip to Ljubljana Castle

I guess street performers now have to have an animal head.  We are so confused....!

Slovenia district service activity.. we played soccer - missionaries against the members!!!!! None of the other sisters would play.. so it was just me..... but it was SUPER fun yet superrrrrrrrr hot.........

Monday, October 12, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: "I will give you hazelnuts"

Dober dan! As I lean over to my companion right now, and ask for a witty comment for how to start this email.. she says, "And it came to pass..another great week in Ljubljana." Missionary humor ehhh?? At least she thought it was funny. Anyway, a GREAT week here in Ljub! Sister Robertson and I are having a great time together.. It is really fun being with a companion who is close to the similar "mission age" as me.. we are having fun and working hard. 

Meet Sister Robertson!
Last Monday, before I said bye to Sister Redding, we decided it was time to achieve our last transfer goal we made together. I think I have explained before how she HATES running, but she made a goal at the beginning of the transfer to run a 5k with me.  She thought I forgot about that goal when our last day came around, but I told her I didn't and that we were running it! We called the Elders and they decided to join us #districtunityatitsfinest.. It ended up being super fun and we all did it! To reward ourselves after, we went and got horse burgers.. yummmmmm... Hahaha it was a good day.. 

Horse burgers!

We had an awesome member present lesson this week! It was so great. The member came and bore such a POWERFUL testimony. He said something that really stuck out to me.. He said, "I have not seen God.. But if he were to appear to me, it would not change anything. It is NOT something you SEE.. but something you feel." That really was powerful to me - the faith of these members here are so strong. I am grateful for them and their helps and efforts for missionary work. 

SO lately, I have been studying a lot about integrity. As I have done so, I have been thinking a lot about MOTIVES. What are our motives for things? In the promise at the end of the Book of Mormon, it says if we ask with REAL INTENT, we will receive an answer if these things are true. We have an investigator currently, who is not receiving an answer to her prayer. We sat down with her this week, and realized that her motives were off a little.. She does not necessarily DESIRE to know these things, so therefore is not getting an answer. She does not have correct motives.

I remember when Emily was getting set apart before her mission, our Stake President shared with her and our family the little poem-like thing and it is something I have constantly thought about on my mission. "Obedience is the price, faith is the power, love is the motive, the spirit is the key, and Christ is the reason." LOVE IS THE MOTIVE.. What if love was our only pure, true, real, motive? Sometimes it is so easy to be motivated by revenge, envy, greed, or looking good in the sight of others. But motives really do matter.. In the end, WHY we do things.. is much more important than what we do. I have found that it is easy to develop patterns and habits that we have previously developed - but we NEED to check our motives. Why am I out contacting and tracting doors? Why do we read our scriptures with our family? Why do we take the sacrament each week? The real intent of WHY we are here on this earth, is for our eternal purpose. 

The Savior is our example in EVERYTHING.. Not only in what we do, but why we do it. He lived a legacy of love and of true motives! There is a quote that says, "When others needs start to matter more than our own, when others successes are more exciting to us than our own, we experience the kind of love our Heavenly Father has for us." I want to strive to be that way.. 
I am grateful for that example. And I am grateful that the most important WHY behind everything we do, is love for our Savior and our Heavenly Father. I know that as we examine, and strengthen our motives.. we will be filled with an increased spirit and learning. 

HAVE A HAPPY WEEK EVERYONE!!!!!!! I love you all SOOOOO much.. 
Love, Sestra Nydegger

Lasagna for Elder Davis B-Day!
Our district singing!

Stuffed Bell Peppers are a favorite!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: Round 3!

AHHHHH ADRIATIC SOUTH MISSION?!?! I AM SO EXCITED FOR DYLAN.....  HE IS COMING TO THE GREATEST LAND IN THE WHOLE WORLD.. The Adriatic Land - WE WILL BE SO CLOSE :) I have met so many people down from that country and Dylan is seriously EXACTLY the kind of missionary they need. 

Welllllllll this week flew by. We found out about transfers - I am staying in the big city for at least another 2 months.. Sestra Redding will be leaving and Sister Robertson will come join me in Ljubljana. She has been out for two months more than I have. And I am excited to learn from her and work with her! 

I have been reflecting a lot on this transfer and the things I feel I have learned. I was talking with Sister Redding about what we did together. Both of us feel like we learned some valuable lessons this transfer. We learned that miracles are there, they just sometimes come in different ways.. maybe different than we expect. Four things I feel like I have learned this last transfer are... 

1. The importance of being personally converted - it is so important that we are LIVING the gospel. This transfer I have gained a deeper testimony of this gospel and the plan that the Lord does have. I have learned that I want to fully consecrate myself to the Lord and His gospel.. not just now - but for a lifetime. 

2. We can BECOME - The gospel is a message about constant progression.. I am so grateful that we can constantly choose to be better, to become more like our Savior. I am so grateful that we can STRIVE for perfection. We use the terms a lot when talking about people we are teaching, whether or not they are progressing... But progression is not only for investigators, but it is for everyone! I loved in conference they said, "Pray and ask God what is keeping you from progressing. He will answer."

3. Repentance - If we want to progress, we must constantly evaluate where we are and repent. My testimony has strengthened of the Atonement and that even though we are not perfect, we can know that we are on the right path as we constantly repent and, with faith, keep striving to keep the commandments. 

4. Patience - I have studied this a lot the past 2 months, and it is a quality I really hope to one day fully obtain. To be patient with the Lord.. He has a plan, and we need to work on aligning our plan with his. And also, as we use the Atonement each day, it is so important to remember that those around us are also trying to be better.. They too are TRYING to progress.  And we must be patient and help them with their progression as well. 

For this next transfer, I want to continue using these things I have come to learn so far... And learn even more. I am excited to ask our Heavenly Father what I need to do this next transfer to become more like Him, to become a better disciple and saint of Jesus Christ, to be more valiant, to strengthen my testimony more, to follow the spirit and inquire our Savior in ALL things that I do.. To be someone that the Lord can count on, to do the things HE wants me to do. 

This week we had a cute activity with the young women about self worth and inner beauty. They loved it and we all learned so much from each other. Right before the activity started, a lady walked into the church. She looked a little lost and confused, and asked if she could go to the chapel to pray. We told her that we would show her the chapel.. that it was very simple, and that if she would like to take some time to ponder there that was fine. As I was walking up the stairs with her, I asked her sort of who she was, where she lived, why she wanted to come to the church. She told me that she lived in a place about an hour and a half a way.. where missionaries about five years ago tried opening, but it ended up closing. She said missionaries stopped her on the street and told her that this gospel gives them peace in their lives. She told them she was not interested in religion, and they all went on their own way. And five years later, as she has been struggling with depression and anger, she was in Ljubljana and remembered that those missionaries she met and talked with so briefly on the street, said that they had something that brought them hope. And she found the address for our church and wanted to pray in the chapel to feel peace. We taught her how to pray, and that God loves her and has a plan for her. We asked her if she would be interested in learning more, and although she said no, I learned and felt power from that experience. Although she is not interested right now, that experience was an opportunity for her to grow closer to Christ, and I know it brought me closer to Christ. And that is WHAT MATTERS.  That gave me strength to see that these people we are constantly trying to invite as we talk to them on the streets, really does "plant a seed" that one day will grow, when they are ready to listen. 

We were able to watch one session of conference yesterday. They played the Saturday morning session, and then someone from the branch translated into a mic what they were saying. The girl I told you about last week, said that she would come to hear our prophets voice. She texted us on Sunday and said she would bring her boyfriend as well! I leaned over after and asked them what they thought, and her boyfriend said something that really hit me.. He laughed and with a new light in his eyes he said, "You know, it's sorta funny.. Something in them makes you feel the need to trust what they are saying." He then asked if he could join some of our lessons to learn more about what we believe. 

I am so grateful for our prophet, President Monson and his apostles. It is true, that there is "something about them that makes us feel the need to trust them." :) They are called of God! I am so grateful that the heavens and revelation are not closed... We are lead by a prophet of God who speaks and communicates with Him, for the things we EXACTLY need to hear today. We must study the talks, ponder them and APPLY them. Applying these feelings and things we learn, will then provide the growth. There is truth and power from our prophet and his apostles. I know my Savior lives, and I know that the fullness of the gospel - all the rights, powers, privledges - are on the earth today.. And we must share it with everyone. I love the gospel with all of my heart. I hold this testimony, so close to my heart. I KNOW IT.. I LIVE IT.. I LOVE IT. 

I love you all.. I am so happy. 
Love, Sister Nydegger