Monday, January 25, 2016

Maribor, Slovenia: A Day in the Life of a Missionary

Many have asked what my days are like, so I thought I would give you a description with pictures.  A DAY IN THE LIFE OF SESTRA NYDEGGER... 

I love it. I love being a missionary and I love the schedule we live.. I advise you guys one day to go try contacting when you are bored.. it is SO MUCH FUN... We constantly pray, we study the scriptures, we pray some more, and we feel the pure joy and happiness that comes as we share the gospel. 

Also, this week they had a worldwide broadcast for all of the missionaries. They had not held one for 10 years, but it was so incredible. My favorite part was standing up and singing "Hark all ye Nations" and knowing that 75,000 other missionaries around the world right then were all singing at the exact same time. I feel so blessed every day that the Lord allowed me to be apart of his army.. I love missionary work. 

Sestra Nydegger 

6.25am - alarm goes off.. first one to turn it off wins for the day - (great incentive to get out of bed fast hahaha) 

we pray...... (shout out to the awesome self timers on cameras...)
We brush our teeth


Breakfast is usually a grapefruit, eggs and bread.

We then get ready for the day.

Individual Study for an hour

Companionship study and ROLE PLAYSSSSSSS  - (this pic shouldbe in PMG)

Slovene study for 1/2 hour.

10:29 OUT THE DOOR......

we walk and we talk to people!!!!! 
and contact some more. (thx to the elders for creeping and taking these pics during their lunch hour haha)

Lunch time is great...

For pounding carbs at a Pekarna!  YUMMY!

And we contact some more.... prayers in our heart again......

we walk
we talk
we smile and say hello
we hope someone listens hahaha

ANd then a member calls us and asks for help translating... so we drop everything and change our plans and go run to her house...
she feeds us some tea...

and then we contact again...

We usually run home for a quick dinner... grab some warmer clothes cause it gets cold... i pack a snack... 

And then go to our evening appointment...

but they didn't answer the door.....
sooooo change of plans...
more knocking .......

We then catch a bus to go home.  Often times on the same bus as Elders.

We write in our journals

We plan out the next day.

we pray again.......

Brush our teeth and wash our faces.

we have a dance party and celebrate the awesome day we had... (shout out to bumpin EFY tunes)

nightly prayers.....

10:30.. lights out
"hey sestra higgins what was your M.O.D (miracle of the day...)???
"ok cool. mine was....."
"ok cool."

to be continued the next day........

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Maribor, Slovenia: He Loves Us Perfectly

Hi everyone! I hope everyone is doing well and is happy :)  This week I constantly found myself pondering the PERFECT love that God has for us. We had a good week, with struggles and joys but every night I kept pondering about how perfect and great God's love is for us. And how grateful I am for the knowledge that he loves us so much, and knows us personally. I love that it is not just a broad love that he has for all his children, but it is an enabling, personal love just for us. 

We had zone conference in Ljubljana this weekend.. my favorite part was at the end of the conference, President Grant got up and said that he felt prompted that we should read John 14 together. The very first verse really hit me.. "Let your heart be not troubled, but believe in God." Sometimes it is easy to loose our focus, feel discouraged and forget our potential.. it is easy to have troubled hearts. But as it continues on in the chapter, "I will not leave you comfortless.. I will come to you." How grateful I am for that knowledge. God is always waiting for open arms, for us to turn to him. 

After the conference, we still didn't have a train for a few hours, and I found out one of the investigators from Ljubljana who Sister Redding and I first started teaching, was coming to the church for a lesson. The Ljubljana sisters asked for us to join in and help. It was so great to talk with her again and to see how she is progressing.. slowly, but surely. She opened up with us and shared how she is really struggling with something right now. As we listened, and continued trying to teach her, I felt the strongest prompting to share with her a personal struggle I have had on my mission. I told her, I did not know why I needed to share this, but that the spirit was telling me to. As I started, tears filled my eyes as I literally felt my Savior by my side saying, "Katie.. this is why. You overcame this struggle, so that you can testify to her right now. This is why." She was very touched and we were able to relate in a way and she received new insight on what she needs to do. Sister Higgins also shared a strong testimony - she is so great at testifying - about how when we first come to feel how great our Heavenly Father's love is for us, we will be able to find greater love for people around us. 

As we were sitting on our train late that night, I kept pondering what had just happened. I know that God gives us trials and struggles because he has a greater plan. He knows us.. and he knows exactly what we need. And that specific struggle that I shared with her, was something that not only I have seen growth and change in myself because of it, but I also saw exactly how I could be an instrument in God's hand, to help one of his daughters.. because of what I went through. It reiterated the fact to me, that God's plan is perfect. And it is because he LOVES us. If only we could all be better at recognizing the growth and refinement in the middle of the hard-times, instead of after - it is something we must all strive to do. 

It is funny because I remember giving my farewell talk about charity and thinking I knew a lot about it before I came on my mission.. but I am learning now that I don't know if we will ever be able to completely comprehend how great our Savior's love us, while on this earth. But I am grateful that I can continue to grow and discover more about one of the greatest needs on this earth, Christ-like love. As Elder Uchtdorf once said, "though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, he loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God's love encompasses us completely. God's love is simply always there." I know that is true, and add my simple testimony that he loves us, more than we can comprehend. I love telling people that everyday, because it helps me come to understand and feel the love that God has a little bit better.

I am happy, growing, and changing.. And very grateful. I love this gospel with all my heart, and I will forever be grateful for this time that I get to serve and teach the people here in Slovenia, who I love with all my heart... about something that I know gives us the MOST joys, happiness, and comfort in this life. 

Have a good week - ALL IS WELL. 
LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU - Sestra Nydegger 

late night area book work

Monday, January 11, 2016

Maribor, Slovenia: Woohoo!

It's cold... especially when we walk around in this all day hahaha

zone conference was this week - these are the Slovene sisters currently.. I've served with all of them except Sestra Elmore who is being trained right now

WOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH CONGRATS EMILY AND LANDON!!!!!!!!! I AM SO EXCITED FOR BOTH OF YOU!!!!! I met two people this week from Madrid and tried to impress them with the spanish I once knew.. but sadly did not work too well.. but it made me think of the two of you! Congratulations.. 

Well, we had a good week here in Slovenia!!! For some reason I feel like our week consisted of a lot more people out running.. (thank you New Years) and multiple responses when  contacting, along the lines of "don't. even. try." (we literally had THREE different people say that to us in deep serious slow voices while glaring at us)  and a broken water heater spurting out nasty smells in our house.................... but hey we keep going!

On Tuesday we had the opportunity to help out at a funeral for an older Slovene lady, who was living in Austria now.. they wanted a Slovene funeral though as well, so we agreed to help. It was in a tiny old church at the top of a hill. They asked Elder Davis and I to speak.. he spoke about the plan of Salvation, and I spoke about eternal families. Besides the fact that it was already -9 degrees that day, it did not help to be sitting in a church without any heat for a few hours - I could see my breath while speaking, and I made the mistake of taking off my scarf and hat and leaving it in the car - but nonetheless it ended up being a really great experience. They had a catholic "choir" come participate for a musical number. The opening song was I am a Child of God, and as I was conducting the music, and listening to the choir help sing, I was overcome with the spirit so strongly. My heart started to ache looking out at all of the people aching and mourning for the lost of their sweet friend. It made me come to feel so grateful for the knowledge that we have that "the grave hath no victory." As I sat there looking at all of these people, I was wishing so badly I could just give them the knowledge that I have, that familes are forever.. that these relationships don't end. 

Elder Davis gave an awesome talk, and simply taught the Plan of Salvation... explaining why we are here, and what our purpose is. I got up and explained that as a missionary I live away from my family for 18 months, to teach people about how they can live with their families for eternity.. (cheesy but true) I felt so much power and truth when I was speaking, and it was a testimony builder to me that families really are eternal. Elder Eyring once said, "Just as Jesus used a child in His mortal ministry as an example for the people of the pure love they must and could have to be like him, He has offered us the family as an example of an ideal setting in which we can learn how to love as He loves. That is because the greatest joys and the greatest sorrows we experience are in family relationships. The joys come from putting the welfare of others above our own. That is what LOVE is." I am so grateful for my family.. I am grateful for the example you have all taught me on what LOVE really is. And I am SO thankful that because of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, we can live with our families forever. 

While we both were speaking, we noticed one younger man who was really showing interest in the things we were saying. Elder Davis and I were making bets whether or not he was a member.. we figured he wasn't because neither of us recognized him, but the light of Christ was SO apparent in him. After at the lunch in, we quickly went and sat down by him and long story short.. we worked our missionary magic and now the Elders are teaching him and his girlfriend! We are all really hopeful they will progress!

Also this week I had exchanges with Sister Robertson, BACK HOME IN CELJE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just for 2 days but ahhhh I was just glowing and so excited to be back there. I loved walking in the little tiny town and seeing so many of my good friends from there again. An old friend from english class came up to me, and enveloped me in the biggest hug and said "I knew you were back in Celje! My friend told me that she talked with missionaries last night and that "one had really big pretty teeth and a huge smile" and I just KNEW it was you!" I was laughing so hard that I am remembered in Celje for my teeth.. shout out to all my previous dentists and orthodontists hahaha but Sister Robertson and I saw sooo many great miracles as we walked around and talked with people.. we saw people really pondering the things we taught them in quick conversations, and that is one of the coolest things for me to see. 

I love you all! I love being a missionary and I love the people I meet everyday. There is something so special about always having the mindset of bringing someone closer to christ in every conversation, and I love it. It is bringing me closer to Christ than I ever thought possible. Have the best week. 
Z ljubeznijo, Sestra Nydegger 

Men in Black? or elders?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Maribor, Slovenia: The Voice of the Spirit

Zdravo in dobro jutro!!! It sounds like everyone had a fun new year.. I could not find any lobsters here in Slovenia, but we still did have a good day :) This new years eve was something I will never ever forget. As I knelt down that night to pray, the thought came to me about how a year ago, I was in our little Celje apartment. I remember I knelt down and prayed with such excitement, knowing that 2015 would be the one year in my life, where I am in complete service to my Savior. I remember sitting there so excited to see what would happen this next year. And I remember telling Heavenly Father I was ready to give my all, so that I could always remember 2015 as my year as a full time representative of Christ. This year as I was praying and pondering about a year ago, tears filled my eyes as I thought of how grateful I am for the year 2015. I thought of everything I have experienced... All of the friendships I have made.. The new culture and language I have learned and adapted to.. The heartbreaks and joys I have felt.. The personal struggles.. the testimony I have gained.. the person I have become. As I sat there thinking about this last year, I started to feel sad thinking about this year coming to an end. I was not quite ready for this year to be over. I felt surprised how fast it came and went.. but the spirit soon reminded me that what is so great about the gospel, is that we know we can progress for eternity - and that is what gives me hope.. knowing that I will still experience greater happiness and greater growth in this next year as well. But still to say, I will never forget the year 2015.. one of the greatest years for my life. 

Anywhoooo this week was great!! Truthfully a rollar coaster of emotions.. Some random things that happened..

I bought some classy Slovene leather gloves, my hands have never been soo warm....

I have nooo idea what follow up lessons are.. hahaha urgghh this week we went tracting and met a family of four kids (IN SLOVENIA THIS IS A MIRACLE) and we taught them a few gospel principles and they said we could come back in a few days.. we went back.. and we sat down, started talking about what they believe. They told us they were Muslims but really loved God and somehow the conversation completely switched and the lady asked me to help her DYE HER HAIR??? Me, thinking.. ok sure we will help, and just still try to teach at the same time... long story short.. It ended up with me combing out knots of long long black hair.. and putting bleach blonde dye in her hair.. she wanted two bottles to go in.. I kept telling her I think that this was a little too intense and that it would ruin her hair, but she insisted that I kept going... they ended up saying they weren't too interested to learn more.. THANKFULLY because I dont know if I could go back and see what happened to her hair..... but hopefully one day when missionaries knock on their door again, they will remember the service she received from missionaries in the past, so that one day they can accept the gospel. 

I did handstands during our lunch hour to see if I could still do them.. after failing the first time, decided to try again.. and was able to stay up for 20 seconds.. which gave me too much confidence and when I tried the third time, I feel completely over and may or may not have broken an apartment chair.. 

I live in the land of FROZEN.... The fountains are freezing and it looks so cooooool. It has been awfully windy and cold lately, finally feels more like winter..

Sometimes we do group contacting with the Elders in center and we have made a friend with a cute chinese little 6 year old girl, who is also trying to learn slovene... and she hangs out with us and will walk around right next to us, trying to pass out cards.. she thinks it is a big game.... doesnt quite understand missionary work.. 

President Grant let us skype in for Urška's boyfriends baptism!!!!!!!! It was sooo incredible to see how much he has changed... And Urška was just glowing with excitement.. It was a reminder to me of how the gospel really does change us... visably and spiritually. It is incredible and I felt the spirit soo strongly watching it. What was also so cool, was seeing on the other screen, so many of the members in Ljubljana gathered together with the missionaries there, to support him and watch him be baptized. His parents watched in Ljubljana as well too, which was so cool! 

They were both just glowing!!!! 

This week I have really been praying to recognize promptings better. In every single prayer this week, I prayed to recognize the Lord's voice throughout the day. Yesterday, we were walking home after a meeting... It was snowing and cold, so hardly anyone was out. And Sister Higgins and I were planning on just walking home to go do area book work, or call formers because we still had an hour left of proselyting. As we were about to turn up our street, the thought came to me, "How is this showing God you have faith people are prepared, if you are just resorting to go inside?" We kept walking towards home and I finally turned to Sister Higgins told her that I felt we should just try to walk around center a few more times... to show God that we do have faith for someone to be put in our path.  As we started walking we ran into a couple and they agreed to let us teach them on the street for about 10 minutes right then, so we taught them about how we are different. As we were teaching them about that, I felt so strongly that what we were saying was not even close to what THEY personally needed right now... We ended up talking about how we can find out that God exists and they both opened up saying how they were baptized in the catholic church but still dont know if God exists.. We continued walking and ran into 2 boys who were the same age as us. Again we started talking about prophets and they were not showing any interest in talking to us,  but as we listened to the spirit, I felt prompted to tell them that I am the exact same age and I know exactly why I am here on this earth, what my purpose is, and what I want to accomplish in the future. They both ended up saying, that was really interesting because they still feel a little lost with the future. Sister Higgins and I then shared a strong testimony about how we can know our purpose and have faith towards the future. It was really cool to see them touched by that.. 

Sorry this is so long.. I just want to end with that there are so many voices in the world that compete for our attention.. But the most important voice we can EVER come to recognize is the voice of the spirit. We must heed to that voice and listen, and then follow the quiet, peaceful, subtle promptings we feel. It is so easy to drown out spiritual impressions if we are not careful, and that is why we are told to SEEK after the spirit. I hope to always be worthy to hear the voice of the spirit, because when we do that, we can be sure that we are in align with what God desires.. 

Have a wonderful week! I sure love you all. 
Love, Sister Nydegger