Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ljubljana, Slovenia: Srecna veliko noc!

Lep pozdrav!

JOE GOT HIS MISSION CALL!!!!!??!!?! AHHHH CONGRATS TO SOON TO BE ELDER NYDEGGER!!!!! I am so excited for you Joe.. Brazil will be such an incredible mission - I have to admit, I am a little envious of the shoes you are in.. The adventures that are ahead of you the next few years are life-changing, and I would be lying if I said that I was not wishing I could be in that position again! After I heard on Wednesday, that you received your call, I pulled out my call letter.. and re-read those words which are so sacred and special to me. I love in the last paragraph when it says, "greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord in this labor of love among his children." I know that is true with my whole heart.. Many times when I receive blessings I am constantly told that the happiest I will ever be, is when I am serving those around me - and I know it is true - I have felt it. And I love that it is a LABOR OF LOVE. It all revolves around the fact that Heavenly Father is our loving father, and as missionaries we truly do proclaim that love; through bringing someone to the knowledge of a Savior, of repentance, of relief, of HOPE - and it truly is the happiest I have ever been. 

Well we had a great week!! I had exchanges in Celje - which was so great and also so sad, but I am grateful that I was able to come and say goodbye to my dear friends there. I sure love these people with my whole heart! And I had the amazing experience to work with Sestra Arsenjuk. She is from Slovenija and is currently doing a mini mission in hopes that maybe she will go on her own mission in a few years - and I LOVED WORKING WITH HER!!!!! It was so fun to have a native companion for a few days.. I learned so much from her example.. It was incredible to see her being a missionary in her homeland.. boldly testifying to her peers in her native language - she taught me much about being brave. 

This week I feel like I was reminded once again about how this is THE LORD'S work - he is in charge. Sister Arsenjuk and I made the goal to find one new really sincere investigator during our time together.. And for the three days we were together, that is basically all we did! We walked around and talked to EVERYONE we could. Well the night before our exchange was over, we were walking home. We knew we tried our best, and found peace in not reaching our goal because we did everything we could. We walked home, and we turned into our alley way right where our door is. Right when we turned I heard someone yelling from behind "excuse me, excuse me!! Are you the people from America who talk to people about Christ?" I laughed and told him yes, but I actually had a slovenjka as a companion! We did some small chat and he eventually told us that he wanted to know where the thought of God existing all began. We taught him for a few minutes on the street, and then exchanged numbers and he is going to meet with the Celje Sisters again this week. It was such a simple reminder to me, that although we had tried all day to find a new investigator, Heavenly Father ended up bringing someone into our paths - without us really doing anything. HE IS AT THE HELM OF THIS WORK. 

When we were setting goals for March about a month ago, as a zone we made a goal for 1-2 baptisms, even though none of us really had anyone even close for baptism. We even did a fast with all of the members in Slovenia to somehow still baptize someone this month. At zone conference this week, we talked about how we did not achieve that goal and what we needed to do to try to achieve it next month.  . BUT ONCE AGAIN God is at the helm!!!!! During zone conference, the Maribor Elders received a text from someone asking to meet. And it turns out she is from Slovenia, but was living in Germany for the last little while.. where she met the missionaries there, investigated for 8 months, and passed her baptismal interview.. but in an emergency had to come back to Slovenia. And she called up the elders right away, asking if she could still be baptized here in Slovenia. They met with her and got in contact with the German missionaries, and she will be baptized this week in Maribor!!!!! It really shows that no matter what we do, Heavenly Father will provide a way - he is in charge, and we are just instruments in his hands.

Well, I am out of time and still have so many things I wish I could tell you but I will just end with an incredible scripture from Alma 26, which seems to describe how I have been feeling lately.. - "I cannot say at least the smallest part which I feel." So much gratitude.. and I am not quite sure how to express it. 

Church is true, the book is blueeeeeee!!!!
LOVE YOU all so so much. 
Sestra Nydegger 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ljubljana, Slovenia: Here comes the sun!

Zdravo! Thank you all so so much for emailing me - I cannot express how much your emails mean each and every week! I always am overwhelmed with the love and support I feel - I sure love you and am so grateful for you. 

We had a great week! The highlight of the week was on Saturday, FINALLY the sun came out!! After 4 long months of grey skies, and who knows how many days of snow and rain - the sun came through this week.. I am so grateful for sun and the energy and vibe it brings to people.. It is finally starting to feel like spring :)

Okay a few things that happened this week -

We had MLC on Monday and Tuesday in Zagreb.. We had to go with a bus, but thankfully the public transportation here is incredible.. and we somehow lucked out with the top of the double decker seats, right in the windshield - so we had a beautiful drive for 3 hours from Slovenia to Croatia.... MLC was wonderful - my favorite part was singing "called to serve". That song STILL just gets me so excited about missionary work every time I sing it - far and wide HIS LOVE proclaims - love truly is the motive behind missionary work. 

Our investigator I told you about last week, is doing well.. he is still meeting with us :) This week he finally opened up and told us that he believes about 99% of what our religion is. I asked him what was the 1%.. He said the fact that we believe someone atoned for our sins. It is such a strange thing, but he feels like it takes away our free agency to act. Because of this concern, Sister Duffy and I have been studying the atonement as much as possible in all of our free time. This past week, my mind reverted back to a journal entry I wrote about a year ago. I was wondering if there was a difference between having a relationship with Heavenly Father, and also a different relationship with Jesus Christ.. I decided that I wanted to strengthen a specific relationship with my Heavenly Father, but also a specific relationship with my Savior. It took some time, but it is something that I treasure so deeply now with much gratitude! My Heavenly Father is my loving father in Heaven.. and Christ is my older brother - I almost imagine it, someone who really sees on the same eye to eye level as me.. It is sometimes hard to completely understand the atonement.. But I do know, that because of our Savior, when we have feelings of darkness, guilt, loneliness, or sadness, HE can heal us. Through his atonement, our nature can be changed. Because of our Savior, who atoned for us, Heavenly Father sees us as glorious beings, who are capable of becoming. Christ is absolutely EVERYTHING to our gospel.. He is a living Savior, who invites us simply to come unto Him, and be transformed and born again. And as a missionary, we simply invite people to learn of Him. I love testifying of my Savior to people.. I had someone ask me if I knew what I was offering as a missionary.. I liked that question.. My answer changes from time to time, as my knowledge grows more about the gospel - but one that has stayed constant, is the offering of a SAVIOR. 

This week for district meeting, our district leader just ended up inviting us to share our testimonies for the lesson portion. This meant SO much to me.. It's funny because I testify all day, and I share my testimony almost every fast Sunday, but it was so different this time. I don't think I have shared my ENGLISH testimony in a setting like that for such a long time. And as I shared the simple truths I know from certain experiences, the spirit overcame me. I was reminded of how THANKFUL I am for my testimony. It means so much to me! My testimony means everything to me, and I am so thankful for times that I can share it with those around me - that is one of my favorite things about missionary work. 

Urška left for Ireland today, so I had to say 'bye' to her yesterday, which was really sad.. She bore the sweetest testimony in church yesterday.. She said her GREATEST desire in life now - after truly searching for her purpose for 10 years, is to become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ - she is such an incredible example to me of change.. I sure am grateful that I had the opportunity to learn from her. Next time I will see her, will be in JANUARY in SALT LAKE getting sealed!!!!!! 

Wellllll I feel like I tell you this a lot, but I figure I will tell you again just to make it clear - I AM SOOOOOOOOOOO HAPPY. I cannot ever express how much joy missionary work brings!! The joy that comes as you forget yourself in the service of others.. I AM SO THANKFUL FOR THIS TIME! And I really love the people here so so much... it just keeps growing every day. 

LOVE, vaša sestrica :)

My favorite snack...

Apartment view

Monday, March 14, 2016

Ljubljana, Slovenia: nimam časa

Happy Monday everyone!

I love the mindset of missionary work - even after being a missionary for many months I still feel like I am learning the same simple lessons every single day.. It sometimes is frustrating, but I am remembering to be patient with myself. But I am so thankful for the simple lessons that we can learn as we humbly turn to the Lord. 

We don't have much time today - we are about to leave for a train to Croatia for MLC, but we did have a really great week. Lots of contacting and tracting, and a solid THREE REALLY GOOD LESSONS with investigators who are progressing!! 

Also, I had exchanges with Sister Redding, which was so great to work and laugh with her again.. 

We have an AWESOME new investigator who was found through contacting.. who we met with a few times this week. He has so many questions, and somehow our simple answers seem to resolve his concerns and he just BELIEVES. After our first lesson with him, we committed him to pray and ask if the restoration was true.. Our next lesson with him, we followed up and he said so simply as he shrugged his shoulders, "Yeah I prayed and the Holy Spirit told me it was true." IT WAS SO COOL! I don't think I have ever had an investigator say that before after just praying once.. he just so simply believes it is incredible. After we taught the plan of salvation he said -"So the only way I can be saved to live with God again.... is through baptism? Why are there not more missionaries like you then shouting and telling people that they will be in so much trouble unless they get baptized!" We laughed and told him that IS our purpose. He responded and suggested that maybe we start making billboards that say "get baptized or you'll be......." He is a little funny and a little strange, but is such a believer. If he will come to church, we are confident he will progress towards baptism. 

We celebrated the relief society anniversary this week with all of the Slovene women which was SO FUN - I am grateful for the strength of these strong sisters. 

This week I have been feeling especially so grateful for the atonement - I find myself still seeing so many weaknesses, but I am so grateful for an encouraging Heavenly Father. We had a lesson with a 15 year old girl we are teaching, who has been praying for a while and told us that she doesn't want to keep praying and asking, because she has not got an answer and she doesn't want to bother Heavenly Father.. It made me think of how even when we keep asking for the same things over and over and over again, or when we think we know better and don't humbly rely on HIS plan, or when we keep making the same mistakes over and over again and keep asking for forgiveness - he STILL loves us with a perfect love. And because of the atonement, we can be healed. Throughout this week the following words keep popping up in my head over and over again - "a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying." I am so thankful that we can constantly keep trying.. I am so thankful that because our Savior gave his all, MY ALL can somehow mean enough to Heavenly Father.. 

Talk to you soon!!!! Have a happy week - and soak in the sun, because *spongebob voice - 4 months later* we still are stuck in grey skies over here..  

Love you all - thank you for your prayers and love, I sure feel them..

z ljubeznijo, Sestra Nydegger 

Librarians help us so much with computers and printing etc, and overtime they help us I tell them, I have a gift for you in return!!! And finally today we went and gave each one of them one our favorite books :)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Ljubljana, Slovenia: A mighty change of heart

Lep pozdrav!!

This week the lady at the cash register at the grocery store, asked me why I ask her how she is doing every week.. she asked if I genuinely care to know, or if it is just a way we say hello in America.. I laughed and told her I genuinely want to know! She responded and said that she was 'ok', and reminded me that they don't really do that here in Slovenia... - that should tell you a lot about the people here - whooooo I do love with my whole heart :) 

This week Sister Duffy and I discovered a new way to use our talents as we serve! Due to the weather we have been doing a lot of tracting.. Usually when we tract, right after we say we are missionaries, the door gets shut too fast before we can say anything. After tracting for a few hours one day, with a lot of shut doors, I sarcastically suggested to Sister Duffy that we should just start singing "God be with you till we meet again" as they shut the door, hoping they will have another chance to accept this one day - whether it is on earth or when we all meet at Christ's feet..  We kept going and then a little desperate, we thought let's just try singing for them! The next door and older man answered and we started singing "I am a child of God".. i got the giggles while doing it, which left Sister Duffy to singing a solo - but she has a voice of an angel so it worked. Turns out he couldn't really hear us anyway, so it was ok.. but the next door a young couple answered.. and we said we are missionaries and he quickly started saying that nothing we will say will make him join our church and that it was no use of our time.. as he started shutting the door, we said we just want to sing a song for you guys today! He laughed and was a little confused, but said we could. So we starting singing.. and it brought the spirit INSTANTLY... The wife got tears in her eyes and could not stop smiling. We ended up talking with them for about 15 minutes about what we do as missionaries, and they thought it was so amazing that we are so faithful. They took a pass-along card and thanked us for helping them feel good. 

We have continued on doing it since - we really just say, "hi we are missionaries and can we sing something for you today?" - it sounds sooooo silly but every.single.time, not only does it help them keep the door open a little longer, but it brings the spirit.. and it is so amazing to watch the person standing in the door FEEL IT. One of the greatest things I love most about serving these people here, is that they are closed off at first.. and then the more you try to speak with them, eventually something switches and you can tell they feel the spirit. Their eyes widen a little more, and they smile. You see the light of Christ in their eyes. And those are little moments that I do know, bring them closer to our Savior - and that is our purpose as missionaries. 

Typical apartment block that we track out.

I love that this gospel really does change us.. whether it is for 2 minutes as someone is brought a little closer to Christ through a simple conversation, or if it is someone changing their habits and their life completely to be baptized, or whether it is a missionary trying to become a little more converted to the gospel - the gospel helps us to have a mighty change of heart. I was reading in Ezekiel this week, and I love the scripture that says, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." 

I love the conversion aspect of the gospel - the fact that all of us can experience a mighty change of heart. It starts with baptism.. When we are baptized, we make the step for the lifelong process of true conversion. And I love that the more we are converted, the stronger relationship we gain with our Heavenly Father and Savior. And the more we become willing to be changed by coming closer to Christ, we truly do learn of his power to heal us.. to make up for our weaknesses and short comings. 

ALL IS WELL... I am doing ok!! Time seems to be slipping out of my hands, more than I can grasp.. wooooooooooof - that scares me. BUT FAITH BEFORE FEAR!!! Sorry this email is all over the place I am out of time 



Post meeting treat!

I can't wait to leave this coat and umbrella behind!

Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Spirit is the Key.


I love hearing from you all.. It sounds like everyone had an eventful week, we sure did here as well! 

I went on exchanges with a sister who has been out for 3 weeks, and we truly saw miracles. Sister Hilden went to skyline highschool, so we had a fun time talking about the good old highschool rivalry days. I think the greatest thing for me, was to go back and think of where I was almost 17 months ago.. to watch her and learn from her example.. Just to go back to the basics!! The basics of such simplicity in language.. or seeing her not quite adapted to this culture, and her saying as loud and bubbly as she possibly could to every single person, hello!!!! Despite the grey skies and reserved people. She really was a great example to me - but like I said, we did see miracles :) And they were miracles that came from following the spirit. 

On Thursday we had been out contacting in the morning for a few hours and it was rainy and cold, and we both were very hungry so we started heading home for lunch. As we were walking home through center, we were walking pretty fast because we both were really hungry and excited to make a yummy lunch.. As we were walking, this one girl really stood out to me, and I smiled at her and then we kept walking. As we turned the corner, in my head I started thinking "oh I should have talked with her..." and then faced the little inner battle in my head if that was a prompting or not. After telling myself over and over that it probably was not a prompting and I am thinking too hard and I am just hungry... we continued walking. But her face could not go out of my mind, and I realized that it obviously was a prompting and it was dumb of me to be pushing it away - ***HELLO?????? stop thinking about food sister nydegger!!!!***** - anyways, I told Sister Hilden.. and we quickly turned around. We ended up having to run, and finally saw her turning around a different corner. We chased her down and stopped her. And at first she was very disturbed that we stopped her from behind and asked us to get to the point of what we wanted.. I ended up telling her that we were not sure why, but we felt so strongly that we needed to come and talk to her. Her face lit up, she smiled - she felt loved. We testified to her of prayer and of our loving Heavenly Father.. she smiled and we got to know her a little better. We told her what we do as missionaries, and asked if we could exchange numbers and meet again. She said she was not interested, but thanked us anyway. 

We tried talking with her for a little bit longer and ended up explaining the differences between our churches.. she told us it was cold out and asked if we could go to a cafe and sit and talk. We agreed! As we were there we ended up staying with her for an hour and taught her about the restoration, which then lead to the plan of salvation. She explained that what we told her, very well could be true.. but that she did not think it was fair that God allows some people to suffer while they are on the earth. Sister Hilden felt in the morning, during studies to study Alma 14 - which makes sense now :) -and she started to tell her the story in the Book of Mormon, when Alma and Amulek watched people they loved suffer because of their beliefs. We ended up reading with her the story, and when it says "The Lord recievth them in glory" she just smiled.. She said it FINALLY made sense. They will stand blameles before God. She understood. We showed her the promise at the end of the Book of Mormon, that she can know these things are true if she prays. We told her that the copy was for her, and she could not believe it. She insisted to pay us for it. We gave it to her, and she ended up giving us her number and hopefully will meet with the sisters again. As we left she promised that she would read the whole book of mormon.. and could not stop thanking us. 

Sister Duffy and I had a lesson this week with one of our investigators and we taught her about the plan of salvation. It was in a cafe, and I just felt the whole time that there were so many distractions and I just did not feel the best while teaching it. But once we finished, we asked her if that made sense and if she understood. With such sincerity she just said, "It's clear. I understand. It makes perfect sense." The spirit then spoke to me, and reminded me that it is not ME who teaches, but the spirit will touch their hearts. It made me start to ponder and think about how if someone taught me the plan of salvation for the first time, I would probably have so many questions and doubt things and ask how they knew those things. But to see an investigator say she completely understands, and that it was clear and made sense - it reminded me that the spirit will touch them and convert them. And the spirit was completely present to her in that cafe lesson.. I am so grateful for that reminder. We truly cannot teach alone.. the spirit is key. 

On Sunday we woke up and had SO much to do.. We had to make treats for the elder's baptism, make lunch for a meeting, I wanted to catch up in my journal, but also had to write a talk about the Holy Ghost - all before 9:30! And meanwhile one of our investigators dropped us Saturday night and my mind kept thinking about that.. and it was a crazy morning. I was being selfish and thinking of myself and everything I had to do.. Once the sacrament started, I was so grateful for time to just to pause and think for a little.. to slow down.. and I felt the spirit so strongly. It opened my eyes to the crazy morning, and I remembered that I somehow forgot to say my personal prayer that morning. No wonder I felt like I had so much on my plate.. I felt so sad that I forgot, seeing that I really have developed that great and important habit on my mission. Meanwhile, the district president got up and gave a talk. He started off by giving an analogy of coming home from school and how the first thing we would do is take off our heavy backpacks. He looked at the congregation and told everyone to take off their backpacks and give their load to their Savior right now at church. I looked around and saw many members crying or with pain in their eyes. I realized how many of them were facing hard times and personal struggles. And I could not even realize that this morning as I greeted everyone because I was so caught up in myself and my simple struggles. It really touched me and after the meeting I really tried to forget about myself and show a little bit more love and support. I felt happy.. and I felt peace. No wonder we are often told to forget ourselves - it brings greater peace into our lives. Although that was a little painful to learn, I am grateful for the reminder of FORGETTING OURSELVES IN THE SERVICE OF OTHERS. 

I am so thankful that the spirit can speak to us personally - I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is SO patient with me. I am so grateful that we can constantly listen to the spirit - I know that He is always trying to speak to us.. sometimes we just have to slow down a little bit. 

ALL IS WELL - despite this cold rainy weather.. we are happy! We attended a slovene work out class this week... which was very humbling...  for slovene seeing we don't know any exercising terms in slovene.. and also for body strength seeing how out of shape we are hahaha but it was SO MUCH FUN. 
Čao!!!! Sestra Nydegger 

found some company out tracting... 

Urska graduated!!!

 exchanges with Sestra Hilden