Zuster Fox?

Zuster Fox?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas in Nederland!

Merry Monday before Christmas, iedereen (everyone)! We had a wonderful week- I'll attempt to condense it into a readable post.

First of all, it is the season of Christmas cards here! And Sister Dobler and I are finding the card traditions here very interesting. It's basically mandatory to give a card to everyone you know. That sounds exhausting, but fortunately, the cards don't have to be personal, at all! If it says "Prettige Kerstdagen en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar" then all I have to do is sign it "Warm regards, Zuster Voss" and make 50 exactly the same and just write someone's name on the outside and give them to everyone I know. I don't know. It seems kind of like a waste of paper to not make them at least a little more personal, wouldn't you think?
Pretty rainbow in Nederland
To be fair, I have received a few lovely, touching cards with personal notes inside. But we just thought it was interesting that they could also be so blank. Maybe I'm just imagining the extra thought and effort, but as I recall in America most people usually write at least a couple personal thoughts about their friendship or hopes for the family to have a wonderful season. Anyway, it's an interesting difference!

Zuster Dobler is absolutely fantastic. I was so nervous about training, but she quickly helped me feel at ease with her competence, already amazing Dutch, enthusiasm and chill nature. She's already getting along really well with our investigators and members here. I'm so grateful to get this transfer with her! She's still getting the hang of her bike- it's reminding me how much we use our bikes here and that I've gotten pretty bold about darting through spaces between cars and turning tight corners. But she's keeping up very well! Also, we just really get along. We were walking to our bus stop one night and just started belting Frozen songs together. It's interesting that we're official, professional representatives of Jesus Christ and also normal 19 year old girls. It's cool that we are doing important work, but also able to have fun with each other!
Attempted a companion selfie with the rainbow
One adventure from this past week occurred when our shower drain got clogged and out apartment flooded. Woohoo! So we spent an hour trying to sop out the water with towels and we've had fans blowing for a couple days straight now- we are hopeful that we might have semi dry floors for Christmas! Dad note: This is what I get to deal with at home as well - living with 4 girls and their long hair can be icky - TMI? Yeah, probably...

Last week we had a zone training in Apeldoorn. So far a trend I've noticed with zone trainings is that they're simuklatneously (I purposely left the spelling as it came from McKinney because I like how her English has slowly melded into Dutch/English) inspiring and chastening.
Elder Cook, Sister Bush and I at zone training- MTC group buddies, unite!
We learned about our new mission initiative to cut down on time waste and focus on having at least 20 hours a week from every companionship of active proselyting- teaching or finding. I've learned a lot of valuable things from my Mom over my life, including all the Gospel principles and such wonderful things, but I've also had a strong appreciation for efficiency instilled upon me since childhood. So this new push totally makes sense! It involves more efficient planning to cut down on travel time by focusing our efforts on certain areas, just being sensible. We've already seen a miracle as a result of implementing some of the ideas- on a night when we weren't sure if we could do anything else effective, we visited a less active family had a really cool lesson! It also has been making me feel a bit guilty if we ever can't use our time as efficiently as it seems we should- but I'm trying not to get too stressed out.

This week one of our 8 year old investigators taught us how to sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in Dutch. It's pretty literal in the part about the other reindeer making fun of him and the translation is simultaneously sad and hilarious. "Vroeger had hij geen vriendjes, eenzaam was hij elke dag, tot dat de keer de kerstman, Rudolph's rode neusje zag." Basically- "earlier he had no friends, he was lonely every day, until the time that Santa, saw his red nose." I feel like I need to feel more sympathy for Rudoph.

We had an awesome branch Christmas party this past Saturday! It was one of the finest Church events I have ever attended- fantastic food, excellent music selections, beautiful decorations. I personally had a blast, and it was also excellent for missionary work- I sat at a table between an investigator family, a less active family, and a non member friend invited by one of the members. Can't get much better than that. I think everyone enjoyed themselves and felt the Spirit of Christmas!
Our crazy Christmas decorations in our living room.
It seems like Christmas has approached so sneakily! I can' believe it's already this week. I'm so grateful for the chance I have this Christmas to be serving my Savior as we celebrate His birth, all over the world. I'm grateful for the opportunity every day to use his Atonement, that I can be cleansed from sin and forgiven because of Him. Truly, #Heisthegift! I hope you all back home have a wonderful, warm holiday season surrounded by family and friends, and focused on the reason for the season. I wish you all een fijne, prettige Kerst!

Liefs, Zuster McKinney Voss

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