Zuster Fox?

Zuster Fox?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pluk De Dag!

Every week feels so long and full that by the end, Sister Dobler and I look at our planners and journals and say incredulously about things we did on Tuesday, "Wait, that happened this week?!". So by the end I really can't remember exactly everything. This is why I've been strict with myself about daily journal writing. So far in the six months I haven't missed a day... But I'd better knock on wood. There's still a year to go full of spiritual and crazy experiences!
Windmill in Groningen

What I thought was cool about this past week is that we spent a lot of time on teaching appointments with less-active members or new converts. Our goal as missionaries is to facilitate real growth in the church, by finding new converts who will remain active, or guiding less active members back into activity and supporting already active members. So it's really cool to work with people who are trying to make the church a bigger part of their lives again, helping them prepare to receive temple blessings, rebuild and strengthen their faith. It's also a reminder to me how precarious each of our individual testimonies is. If we aren't building, strengthening, studying, praying every day, it's only too easy to forget that we ever had a testimony in the first place. (Not to be too over dramatic or anything. We get told that relatively frequently- "oh, you Americans are so dramatic!")

We biked a lot this week. I know I'm a seasoned sister missionary, but at the end of a couple of intense days I had sore legs! However, It's also helping me stay trim and healthy, I'm sure. Silver linings. Other than that, nothing else in particular sticks out from the past week. We did have one cool experience - a couple weeks ago we started talking to this guy on a bus, and gave him a Book of Mormon and our number, but didn't have any of his information. This past week, we saw him again! He had read all of the introductory pages in it and started comparing it to the King James Bible, he told us- we had a great conversation with him about what the Book of Mormon is and why it's special, and this time he gave us his phone number! Kind of a miracle that we saw him again, that he had read and was so positive. So that was really cool!
Sister Dobler and I looking bright and ready for spring on Sunday! We had to dress nicely- we sang in a musical number in sacrament meeting!
Also, this is the week of spring vacation for the schools here, so there was almost nobody in church! It was a very cozy, small gathering- but then for the last hour, four Americans walked in! One of them had served as a missionary in this branch 17 years ago, and was back with his wife and in-laws to visit. It was fun to talk to them, because except for other missionaries, we don't really ever see other Americans... they were super nice! Also, we had brought chocolate chip cookies, (Sister Dobler has a killer delicious recipe for them) for the ward potluck, so it was fun to share that with everyone.

Today we had quite an adventure! The Loorbach family in our branch took us to a really fascinating old fortress in Groningen, not very far away, called Vesting Bourtange. It's in a really cool star shape, rippling out in layers of wall, water, wall water- the city inside is well protected! The city was quaint and fun to walk around- people still live there, it is the home of the smallest synagogue in the Netherlands, and there was a big wind mill. The city was in its prime in 1742. I don't know who the city was being defended against- but if it was Germany, it's funny that our route home ironically took us briefly through Germany, just a few kilometers away. Oh, Europe, where you could casually wander into another country and not realize it. In any case, that was an exciting excursion!
German Border Crossing

Sister missionaries can defend the fortress against anything!

Pretty Bridge.

The law finally caught up with me in the form of this strange horse-chain-punishment thing

This was an outhouse thing where you could do your business directly into the canal. Classy!
And now we are preparing for the last full week of the transfer. It's funny that my life is kind of measured in periods of six weeks now- that's really not that long! The Dutch equivalent of Carpe Diem is "pluk de dag." Seize the day! Time is the greatest unrenewable resource. This is the the time that Heavenly Father has given us to be on the earth, and each day is full of unlimited potential and incredible opportunities. I'm grateful to be alive at this time and grateful for the purpose that guides my life. I know that we are all children of a loving Father in Heaven, and that we are blessed for all of the good we do while we're here. That inspires and encourages me every day.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Zuster McKinney Voss
Canon's eye view of the beautiful surrounding countryside
Proof I'm in the Netherlands.

We ate sandwiches with horse meat. Moral quandary... Not sure it was good enough that I'd ever try it again. But interesting!
A weather vane in Dutch- Noord, Zuid, Oost, West

The lovely view!

Forward, troops of Zion!

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