Zuster Fox?

Zuster Fox?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas from Nederland!

Merry, Merry Christmas you wonderful people! Shockingly, this week has actually been much warmer than previous weeks (between10-13 degrees Celsius) leading up to Christmas. Unusual, but we aren't complaining :) Leeuwarden has been preparing for Christmas by stringing up beautiful lights everywhere in the centrum and we have been sharing Christmas messages and inviting everyone we see to our Christmas service. It's truly the most wonderful time of the year!
Klompen factory with the Romigs on pday!

Transfer week is Always a week of transitions! It was hard to say goodbye to Sister Jaramillo- she was wonderful and I learned so much from her! But she is safely home for Christmas, so that's good :) and Sister Kimmons is delightful! We have been having such a blast as companions so far.

On her second day here we had some referrals we needed to go look up of people who had ordered a DVD- there were three separate individuals, but they all lived way out in the same tiny village in the middle of nowhere, so finding them was an adventure. Our bus dropped us off in the middle of nothing but fields, and so we just followed our map and walked through sheep and canals for a couple of hours, talking to everyone we saw and knocking on every infrequent door we passed. It was miraculous though- we set up one appointment and found two other people who said we could return. So we enjoyed the Sunshine and the adventure!

Socks for Christmas from the Romig's :) the district!
I was decorated as a Christmas tree for FHE. 
This wood is used for klompen!

Goodbye Zr Jaramillo! :(

Another cool experience this week was when we took a copy of Preach My Gospel to a couple of recent converts and explained to them that we would study it with them and it would be a good way for them to review everything they had learned about the gospel. They loved it! The commented on the simplicity and good organization, and that it would help them focus their scripture studies more. Their enthusiasm helped me appreciate again the power of this wonderful tool for missionaries and members. Studying Preach My Gospel has been a great blessing to me and it is going to help these new members as well!
Cool Advertisement
I caught a cold that has been bothering me for the past couple of days, but I'm hoping to be over it by Christmas.
Our adventure in the farmlands of Friesland

Our little Christmas Corner in the Apt
Further, it has just been a wonderful week. I have been studying submissiveness as a Christlike attribute. I'm reminded what power there is in turning our will over to God's, and letting Him direct us with His infinite wisdom.

Love you all! Fijne Kerst, en een prettige nieuw jaar!

Liefs, Zuster McKinney Voss
Elders try haring for the first time

Monday, December 21, 2015

Another Baptism!

What a crazy, wonderful week! I'll start off with transfer news: I will indeed be remaining in Leeuwarden for my last transfer. Hard to believe that these next six weeks will really be my last in this wonderful place! The amazing wonderful Sister Kimmons will be my companion- I am super excited to work with her! And on Wednesday I will say goodbye to Sister Jaramillo and drop her off at the office to board her plane to Aruba the next day! Crazy. It has been such a pleasure to work with her. She is honest, sincere, kind, and hilarious. I will miss her!
Zuster J and I
This week started out with a tour of Leeuwarden last p-day from an awesome member here. We biked around with her and she showed us all the hidden secrets of this city's rich, beautiful architecture and history.
Cool castle/old prison
Leaning tower in leeuwarden. sometimes you just have to push!

Just as the general authorities of the church have been placing an increased emphasis on sabbath day observance as a key to success, peace, and happiness, we as missionaries have been focusing on church attendance as the "key indicator of all key indicators." Sister Jaramillo and I have had a couple of cool experiences this past couple weeks- on two separate occasions, we went to teach the first lesson to someone we had found, and concluded by explaining and bearing testimony of church as a special place where we can receive instruction, peace, and personal revelation. In both situation, the new investigator came to church the next Sunday! We are definitely seeing the blessings of that focus.

This week we also had our Christmas Zone Conference, in Rotterdam. Sister Goodman played piano while I played violin for all of the hymns, which was a lovely experience! It was wonderful to receive instruction from President and Sister Bunnell and the Assistants. We are looking forward to promoting the new Christmas campaign - A Savior is Born. I encourage everyone to check out the movie and the website!

We also had a zone service day working at organizing food at a foodbank (is that what we call it in English? a voedselbank) in Zwolle. It was great, and we also had a miracle meeting a wonderful girl there who is really searching for something in her life, and we became friends as we talked and she helped us serve. Blessings!
Zone service in this huge warehouse and miracle new friends.

The climax of the week however was definitely on Saturday, when the beautiful wonderful woman we have been teaching was baptized!!! She had already picked a date when I got here, and has been steadfastly preparing for her baptism as we have taught her all the lessons. She is a huge example to me of faith and obedience. For example, when she realized she wouldn't be able to get to church the normal way one Sunday, she reassured us, confirming that no matter what or how, she would make sure she was in church, because she needs it every Sunday. What a woman! Her baptismal service was peaceful and simple, and she was radiating her happiness. I know this step she has taken will be a great blessing to her and I am grateful to have been able to participate in her journey! She is a true friend and I am excited to keep working with and supporting her here in Leeuwarden.
Baptism in Leeuwarden!

I've had some experiences this week where I felt like I messed up or was disobedient and I let feelings of guilt and shame crush me... But I received some excellent advice from ever patient President Bunnell. Godly sorrow motivates us to change and improve. Guilt only tears us apart. God never wants us to feel unloved or hopeless- He is Always there to invite us to change, improve, and He will Always encourage and comfort us. As I applied that counsel and the Atonement, I felt great peace return, and I was once again singing as I biked down the Streets of Ljouwert! I have a great testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know He is our Savior, and through Him, we can truly be relieved of our burdens.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Love, Sister Voss
Exchanges with Sister Hopkin in Amsterdam!

Ollie Bollen, yum!
Zone Conference!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Bikes and Cars Don't Mix!

This week was a bit ridiculous. First, on Monday evening as we were biking through the rain and dark to get to a dinner appointment, I watched my sweet companion get hit by a car while crossing the street! It was pretty intense there, because we weren't sure how badly she was injured or what was wrong. Props to the Dutch people for instantly stopping to help.

The driver stopped and got out to assist, someone else called 911 (or rather, 112), people stopped on their bikes to make sure we were okay... we stood in the rain until an ambulance arrived and loaded her in. Mostly she just had shock and some hard core bruises, but they took her to the hospital anyway to check. I dragged our bikes to the side of the road and locked them, called President Bunnell and a lot of members to let them know, and collected our bags before hopping into the ambulance.

In a moment of peace in her hospital room I knelt by her bed and offered a quick prayer of gratitude that it wasn't worse and a plea that all would be okay- and our prayer was answered. We were really well taken care by the Heerenveen elders who came immediately to give her a blessing and wonderful members who came and drove us home from the hospital. Sister Jaramillo, in the meantime, is so incredible and strong... she was just talking to the doctors and missionaries about the church and who we are as missionaries! The first thing she said to me when she was coherent and in the hospital, when we still weren't sure what was wrong, was "don't worry Sister Voss, no matter what I'll be able to go out and work tomorrow."Talk about the right kind of attitude!

I had a hard time sleeping that night and was troubled by seeing her getting hit by the car- a bit traumatizing! So the next day I received a blessing from Elder Romig at District meeting, and it made a huge difference. I immediately felt comforted, and peaceful. I can testify that the power of the Priesthood is real! I haven't been bothered by those troubling thoughts anymore. Christ's voice is one of comfort and peace.

Verder deze week... I was on exchanges with Sister Bush! That was delightful. She is an amazing missionary and friend. We had a great time teaching, finding, and just working together in general.
All the sisters from our zone at Zwolle station, and a sweet old Dutch lady we invited to join in the picture!
This weekend involved a lot of traveling. On Friday, Zuster Jaramillo went to the temple with a previous companion, so I got to work with one of my favorite people, Sister Hopkin, in Amsterdam! We learned a lot and strengthened each other, saw some awesome little miracles, and I enjoyed soaking in the atmosphere of working in Amsterdam for the first time in my almost 18 months here. It was busy, exciting, but also fun, and full of wonderful, sincere people. Sister Hopkin and I ate traditional ollibollen and worked hard.
Amsterdam Centraal with Zr Jensen!

The next day, Sister Jaramillo needed to attend a baptism in Breda, and we went on split so that I could accompany another sister to a baptism she needed to be at in her previous city, Haarlem. So I went along for the ride, witnessed a beautiful baptism, and again, visited places I had never been to.
Haarlem and Amsterdam for my first time!

We also got to celebrate Sinterklaas this weekend! I finally understand the holiday. Sinterklaas comes in on a boat in the middle of November. While he is here, kids can leave out their shoes any night to receive little presents, but on the last night, December 5th, Sinterklaas and the zwarte pieten deliver sacks full of presents personally to the home. I watched two little kids nervously waiting all night, and then jump up thrilled on "pakjes avond"when Sint arrived! So cute.
Celebrating Sinterklaas!

We celebrated Sinterklaas with a little party with some awesome members on Friday, and it was way fun. Long live this Dutch holiday!

Sunday we were back in beloved Leeuwarden! We are seeing people progressing and truly taking the gospel seriously, which is a huge blessing.

Have a great week everyone!

Love, Sister McKinney Voss
Board games on the long train ride!
Found in Amsterdam Centraal...
Exchange with Zuster Bush!