Monday, November 30, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: Never Be The Same


OK FIRST- thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

It sounds like everyone had a great Thanksgiving.. I am so grateful for all of you.. For thanksgiving, we got to get together with the Kranj and Ljubljana missionaries to all have a thanksgiving meal here.. And in Ljubljana, there is a cute American family in our branch who works at the embassy here, so they invited us over for a big dinner.. We all were laughing at the end when all of the missionaries plates were completely empty and scraped clean - compared to the kids who still had leftovers all around it.. #MISSIONARYLIFE. Once we finished dinner, we all went and had a little turkey bowl together and played some American football all together.. Once that finished, we continued on with work. Sister Vanwagoner and I really tried to focus on gratitude as we worked that day.. Showing gratitude to those we try to teach, and testifying of the things we are grateful for.. Thursday night as I was writing in my journal, I was thinking of all the things I am grateful for - turkey, mashed potatoes, American embassy food shops, fun missionaries, and football.. But my mind slowly started forgetting about those things.. And I started reflecting on the things that REALLY matter in life.. Which all reduces to the gospel. I am grateful for my family, because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.. I am so grateful for my mission, and the personal relationship I have developed with my Savior while out here.. I am grateful for challenges, and I am grateful that this gospel is all about PROGRESSING. 

Turkey Bowl with the Ringgers
Christmas lights in town center creates opportunity for street contacting!
But the HAPPIEST part of this week and the reason I am sooo grateful is for my sweet friend Urska. I seriously think the happiest day of my whole life happened this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The most beautiful part of this week was watching Urska be baptized - I have tears in my eyes writing about it right now... this is something that has forever changed me and I am truly so grateful for her and the opportunity I had to teach her. She is such an example to me..This week seemed to be the craziest week for Sister VanWagoner and I, and when doubts and everything would come into our head, I would call Urska to make sure she was doing ok.. I called her multiple times this week and every time she would say, "Satan is working hard.. but I won't let him get to me.. Don't worry Sister Nydegger." She is such an example to me of faith.. 

Clayton Christensen said, "every time you take someone figuratively by the hand and introduce him or her to the gospel of Jesus Christ, you feel how deeply our Savior loves you and loves the person whose hand is in yours." It is so true... Throughout teaching Urska, seeing the change take place in her as she faithfully turned her life to Christ, and watching her make a sacred covenant with our Heavenly Father, I felt so strongly the love that our Heavenly Father has for her.. which caused me to reflect how much he must love me and ALL OF US.. The love is indescribable. 

Saturday was a beautiful experience.. Everything was perfect and I was overwhelmed with the Spirit when I saw how many members came to support her. Finally seeing someone you love so much make such a special covenant with our Heavenly Father is the MOST REWARDING SIGHT TO SEE. I cannot even come close to describing it. I just kept thinking of that first contact we had with Urska.. and how far she has come in the last six months.

 My favorite part of the day, was after she was baptized, when she shared her testimony. She was just glowing - her countenance was filled with light. She bore a sweet simple testimony, and then said that she expresses herself better through music... And then Sister Duffy and I went up to sing with her, an EFY song which means so much to her - Never be the same. Sister Duffy, myself, and Urska struggled to sing, as we just cried.. as all three of us did what we love so much - sharing our testimony through music. 
"And I'll never be the same.. 
I have felt His love, 
and there is no looking back.
There's a fire that will remain, 
it is written on my soul, is a witness of my own.
My faith has taken root, and I've tasted the truth...
My heart's forever changed, and Ill never be the same."

I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ.. I am so grateful that it changes us to become who God wants us to be. I am so grateful for His love, and that as missionaries we get to feel part of that perfect love he has for everyone. I am so grateful for this special week on my mission, and I know I WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. 

I am soooooo happy.. Thank you for all your love and prayers - I FEEL THEM EVERY SINGLE DAY.

SERIOUSLY I AM SO HAPPY. I know I say this all the time, but I will say it over and over again. I have never felt so happy. I love this gospel so so much. I love missionary work so much. I love you guys and all and miss you, but not really cause I am just so happy!!!!! 



Last P-Day - I had the opportunity to go to an optical illusion museum in Zagreb!

Ljubljana, Slovenia: All is Well

Greetings from Croatia...............bok..again. This has been one of the craziest weeks, but ALL IS WELL. I apologize that this will be short today - but thank you so everyone who emailed me.. I always feel so grateful for the amazing friends and family I have in my life! I sure love you all...

So PLOT TWIST! President called me on Tuesday and came down to Ljubljana to have some interviews. He told me that on Wednesday there would be a mid-period transfer and I would be opening another sisters area, still in Ljubljana, but training a Croatian missionary - Sestra VanWagoner. So we now have 4 sisters in Ljubljana which is a lot of fun! So I packed up all my stuff and moved into a new apartment, more in town center.. And my Croatian companion got here on Wednesday. I was sad to say 'bye' to Sister Robertson because we were having such a great time together, but once again I am reassured that this is what the Lord wants and needs - and plus I still see her around :) Sestra VanWagoner is picking up Slovene fast.. and it is helping my Slovene, because I need to teach the simple basics.. it is a good review. But like I said, ALL IS WELL! And I am also soooo grateful that I still get to stay in Ljubljana for at least another 3 weeks. 

Also this week.. it is officially winter.. the snow has come! Which is making the holidays seem closer, which is fun.. but also makes for cold wet feet, red noses, and freezing hands.. but we are happy! It makes you appreciate the warmth more.. plus my new apartment has heated floors - we are lucky :)

​(sister VW and me, first snowfall of the year!) 

The greatest miracle of this week was yesterday. We were able to finish teaching Urska all of the lessons, and had set up her baptismal interview so that she could be baptized this Saturday, the 28th. When we woke up to snow on Saturday, she texted us to pray that there wouldn't be too much snow so that she could still make it to church on Sunday, and have her interview. Sunday morning she texted us and said that they received about a foot, and because she lives in the villages the roads were not plowed and she wouldn't be able to come to church. We were so sad, but recognized that God does have a plan for her. After church she called me and said that she knows "God says no sports on Sunday, but I had to shovel for three hours! But I am coming now." She drove down and had her interview and it all went well! She is scheduled for next Saturday and we all could not be more excited. It has been incredible for me to see the changes in her.. spiritually but also physically. She is sooo incredible. 

Sorry this is short - we have to run to the embassy and do Croatian/Slovenian visa stuff today and then drive back to Ljubljana tonight.. But HAVE THE BEST WEEK AND EAT LOTS OF YUMMY FOOD!!!! I love you all so much and I am so grateful and so happy that I have the gospel in my life. HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND KNOW THAT I AM SO THANKFUL FOR YOU.. 

Love, Sister Nydegger 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: SPREMEMBNA


Lately I have been studying a lot from the Doctrine and Covenants. Because we don't have it in Slovene, I really have sort of forgotten about it. But lately I have been taking some time out of my personal study to read from it.. And I am pleasantly shocked about how much is about missionary work! I don't know why I have never noticed it before, but almost all of it is about missionary work. I have been writing down all of the blessings that are promised from missionary work, and my companion and I have hung it up on our door as a good reminder. We are SO blessed as we open our mouths and teach people about the joy this gospel brings.

One of my favorite promises that often gives me so much strength, is that the Lord will stand by us.. He will be on our right hand and our left.. He will be in our midst! A cute member sent me this picture this week, which I really loved.. And my companion and I often reminded ourselves of it this week as we were out trying to talk to people.

He truly is ALWAYS with us! And angels are often around us. It is so true, I feel it every day. And what is SO great is that we get to do this with a name-tag, or without. We don't just have to be full-time missionaries to find missionary experiences. They are always around.. even if we have to be creative.. And from my experience, creativity sometimes is the only way for missionary work :) This week I am so grateful for member missionaries. 

We have been working with this sweet young lady for a long time now. Sister Redding and I found her about 5 months ago when I first got to Ljubljana. We were walking home one night, and decided to contact one last girl.. She was walking fast and had headphones in - which made for quite an awkward start at the beginning. But the conversation revolved around singing, something we both like to do.  She was interested to participate in our branch choir. Three weeks later, she called me and asked to meet with us. I invited her again to come to church and "branch choir". She came to all of it.  We had difficulty with schedules for a while, but about two months later, we met up again for another lesson.  She was still seeking for answers to her prayers. We had a lesson with a member so she could relate better.  The lesson addressed every single one of her concerns. We all felt the spirit very strongly. Because of this she is scheduled for baptism! This wonderful friend and investigator is noticing that when she keeps the commandments, it really does make her happier. 

It is so true.. I am so grateful for commandments. Even though they may sometimes seem hard, God does know that they will always make us happier. I am so grateful for these faithful members here, who are so excited about missionary work and always willing to help us out. And most importantly, I am so grateful that God truly can change us, refine us into who we need to become. I am so grateful for the power of CHANGE. 

We also had the opportunity this week to sing at a funeral. One of the members mother had passed away this week, and he asked us to sing at the funeral. It was so interesting to see this member's perspective, and the peace he felt during this hard time. He kept saying over and over how he felt so much peace. It is so true that through the gospel we feel peace.. We know who we are, we know where we are going. We know that we can live with our families forever, and that we can return to live with God again. At the funeral, the missionaries sang "where can I turn for peace?" It was amazing how that song brought such a spirit in, on such a cold foggy morning. I am so grateful that our Savior always understands.. And I am so grateful for the unfailing love that he has for us. 

Some of the members in our branch!

This cute girl - Maja - will come and stay with us this summer!
Have the happiest week - and go do some missionary work! BE CREATIVE.. there are always opportunities out there. Thank you for your prayers - I am soooo grateful. 

Love, Sister Nydegger 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: "I'll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine"

Prijatelji in družini kak ste.... 

OKAY SO I forgot to look at my journal this morning and I honestly cannot remember what happened this week... I am so sorry.. But all I can think about is how my MIND IS BLOWN.. To all of my Princess Bride fans out there - yesterday we were contacting around the river and all of a sudden, Sister Robertson and I saw this HUGE thing swimming around.. It comes out on to the land and it literally one of those rat like things off of Princess Bride!! It is a rat, but literally the size of a dog.. IT IS THE NASTIEST THING OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!!! I tried to get a picture, but my camera died.. but honestly the grossest thing of my life I have ever seen. 

sooooo this week we were on the bus, on our way to center to contact.. I was sitting near the front of the bus, when this sweet old lady, a nun hopped on the bus. Little side story here.. the buses are a little crazy and if you are not sitting down, you need to be holding onto a rail for your life, or else you will fall right to the ground when the bus stops and goes.. I sadly speak from experience.... But because I was sitting near the front, and I could tell she was not as mobile, I got up and offered her my seat, and I would just stand and hold on to the rail. In the loudest Slovene, she says "God bless you for your kindness.. how sweet you are!" I smiled and stood up.. As the bus was driving, she reminded me of a child at Disneyland for the first time.. Just smiling at everyone and everything that would pass by! We would pass a building and in loud Slovene would yell, "Wow HOW BEAUTIFUL" Because of her expressions, it caused almost everyone on the bus, to be watching her and listening to her.. She soon asked me where a certain building was, which I didn't know, but a man in the back of the bus did, so he called up to her and explained where it was.. Every single time the bus would come to a stop, she would stand up and the whole bus would yell "Not here.. not yet.. not this stop Sister!" Finally her stop came, and every single person on the bus was telling her, "it is time to get off." She steps off, goes the complete wrong direction and yells again, "Wow HOW BEAUTIFUL!" My companion and I were laughing so hard at this all day.. one, because how many times I have felt so clueless like that sweet nun and just thinking Slovenia is so beautiful.. #SESTRAS FOR LIFE!!!! But also because she probably made her way into the Alps by now and is running through the hills singing "THE HILLLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF MUSIC...." 

Other than that I really cannot remember what happened this week.. Next week I will be better.. 

OH we did have zone conference this week.. And the closing song, we all sang together "Od šel bom tja kamor zeliš." Zone conference was set up in a circle this time, and as we all sang "I'll go where you want me to go" for the closing song, tears filled me eyes and I ended up just looking around at all of the missionaries singing, and I started pondering the beautiful words.. I really do know that as we go where the Lord wants us to go, and as we say what the Lord wants us to say, we will become who the Lord wants us to be. That is one of the simplest truths I have really truly learned on my mission. I feel like I could give thousands of reasons on how I know that is true, but I can some it up by saying, that the happiest we will EVER be, the happiest we will truly ever feel, is when we do what the Lord wants us to do..  I know that with all of my heart..

I love you all soo much - Till next week :) 
LOVE, Sister Nydegger

It may not be on the mountain height
Or over the stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle’s front
My Lord will have need of me.
But if, by a still, small voice he calls
To paths that I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine:
I’ll go where you want me to go.

Perhaps today there are loving words
Which Jesus would have me speak;
There may be now in the paths of sin
Some wand’rer whom I should seek.
O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide,
Tho dark and rugged the way,
My voice shall echo the message sweet:
I’ll say what you want me to say.

There’s surely somewhere a lowly place
In earth’s harvest fields so wide
Where I may labor through life’s short day
For Jesus, the Crucified.

So trusting my all to thy tender care,
And knowing thou lovest me,
I’ll do thy will with a heart sincere:
I’ll be what you want me to be.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Ljubljana, Slovenia: What desireth thou?

HI :) SUN IS SHINING.. Which always makes for a HAPPY MONDAY! OK WELL - so many great things this week!!! I could title this email, 30 years, "put some elbow grease into it", exchanges, "what desireth thou?", pumpkins and more pumpkins, dan mrtvih, day of the dead, "what if".. Basically so many great things happened this week and I will try to explain it all zelo na hitro :))))))))))) 

I had exchanges with Sister Duffy this week.. This is only her second transfer, but she is such a go-getter and it was so great to work with her for a little. Our lesson fell through, which left us to an exchange of just contacting together.. but nonetheless, we still did it and saw such great miracles. We committed a girl from Moscow to order her own Mormon's book and to meet with the missionaries in Russia! While contacting, we also wrote down the names of those who committed to do something - whether it was praying as a family, looking at, pondering the things we taught them - we wrote down their names if they said they would do something. Which was super cool, because then at night we knelt down together as a companionship and prayed for those people by name. And we found a new investigator from it! 

On Saturday, there was a picnic with all the members in Slovenia...  On October 31st 1985 President Monson dedicated the land of Yugoslavia - and to commemorate that day of 30 years ago, we had a picnic and had different activites.  They broadcasted President Grant reading the dedicatory prayer given thirty years ago, by Elder Monson at the time. Since then, Yugoslavia has been divided into 7 different countries, 5 of which are in the Adriatic North Mission. My favorite line from the blessing is when President Monson said, "...that one day WARDS and STAKES may grace this land and that the Church may be a moving force in all that takes place. We remember Thy words to the prophet Joseph Smith, "Be not weary in well doing, for out of that which is small, becomes that which is great." And though we be small in number, now we recognize that with Thy help we may become great in number." I LOVE THAT - one day there will be stakes and wards here... and even though we may be small, with the Lord we can do ALL things and nothing can stop this work from progressing. He also talked a lot about the missionaries that will serve here, and something really stood out to me.. He said to "bless the missionaries to be men and women of faith and courage.. that they may be powerful in bearing their testimonies and that they may love the people." I really loved that and felt inspired to be more faithful and more courageous and to do hard things. The rest of the picnic was so so great as well.. It is so fun to see all my friends from Celje!! I am so grateful for all these relationships.. We had a soccer tournament, a Slovene BBQ aka waaaay toooo much GOOD meat, roasted chestnuts, and we did a service project for the refugees - we wore some German "helping hand" vests and made little kits with toothpaste, towels, soap, and shampoo.. which will be delivered to some of them soon. It was fun to see the members feel the joy that comes from SERVICE.

I am about out of time but really quickly to explain the last few things.. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! Last Monday, we missionaries got together and made some American pumpkin pie that did not work out hahaha and carved pumpkins together.. And then on Friday we had a young women's activity and did a little service activity and also carved pumpkins that were grown from their own Slovene gardens.. SO COOl! And also.. I was reading this week in 3rd Nephi 28.. I invite you all to read verse 1.. When Christ asks the disciples "what desireth thou?" If Christ asked us this question, what would we respond? Something really cool to think about! I would love to hear your answers.. 

With the Ljubljana Young Women!  I love them.
HAVE THE HAPPIEST WEEK.. love you all sooooo much, thanks for cheering me on!

"Day of the Dead" pictures below.