Zuster Fox?

Zuster Fox?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Konings Dag

I love being a missionary!

Happy Saturday everyone- our p-day got moved across the whole mission this week, because Monday is a national holiday- Konings Dag, or King's Day! Everyone will be out on the streets, so we as missionaries in every city will have a booth where we will pass out copies of the Book of Mormon and just talk to as many people as we can. Thus today is our free day, temporarily like the rest of the world :)
A little bouquet that I gave away to an old lady

The work here in Den Haag is going fabulously. Our investigators with baptismal dates are all doing well- I love teaching with members. Ideally, we as missionaries wouldn't even be necessary- members would just teach friends themselves. But I love that we can all work together!

I learned a lot this week- firstly, about counting my blessings! We received a referral from one of our investigators for a family who speaks Spanish. I needed to call them and set up an appointment- I was nervous, but did some role plays, and felt like I could still speak well enough to accomplish the task. Then I called. We started speaking Spanish, and I just felt like I had a huge mental block- I stumbled over the words, kept lapsing into Dutch, and wasn't sure I was communicating effectively. Ultimately he was really nice, did understand me, and I understood him, but it was still an incredibly frustrating experience. I was really discouraged for the rest of the day- I learned Spanish for five years, and now I can barely stutter out an explanation of who we are? I was just a little disappointed. However, after a humbling prayer, Heavenly Father helped me see again from the right perspective. I have learned to speak Dutch better in the past 9 months than I spoke Spanish after five years. I am consistently told that I speak this language well. I still understand spoken and written Spanish- and if I need my Spanish skills again to do the Lord's work, He will bless me with what I need. I'm grateful for Dutch, and learning Spanish first definitely helped me pick up this language faster. being trilingual is still a goal for someday, but right now I'm focusing on the task set before me- preaching the gospel in the Dutch language :) I'm grateful for the privilege to be here!

We had an awesome dinner appointment with familie Jansen this week, and there were two suprise visitors- Elders Kartidirjo and Elkins, who both previously served in Den Haag, coming back to spend a last evening with ward members they loved before their missions end soon. That was fun!

A member here, Ethlyn's bike was locked to a pole in front of our house and the keys got lost, so Brother Scherf cut off the locks and I successfully managed to ghost ride it all the way to her house without crashing. I am now a pro, I would say. and Sister Bradley took pictures of me doing it while on her bike, so she is also a pro.
Lock cutting fireworks
In travel adventures of the week, Sister Bradley and I were riding on a train that was delayed by 15 minutes because they were trying to get a swan safely off the tracks. #onlyinNederland
Ghost riding extraordinaire photo cred Sis Bradley

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day and I picked and made a bouquet of little pretty wildflowers. I wanted to give it to someone but wasn't sure who, but as we were walking to our next lesson I saw a sweet old lady and offered them to her- she was like, "For me?" (but in Dutch- "mag ik die hebben?") and happily accepted them, so I hope that made her day! #thebesttwoyearsstatus
My sand temple!
Beach Catch up pictures.

Being a missionary is so wonderful. Sometimes I just feel high on the Holy Ghost, so to speak- blissfully happy, grateful, assured of my purpose and humbly thankful for all the blessings I receive. That's the ideal attitude :) It makes every day wonderful! Speaking of which, Alma 31:34-38 encapsulates the ideal missionary attitude. Every soul is precious, and every affliction can be swallowed up in the joy of the Lord. I know that's true!

Have a great week everybody!

liefs, Zuster McKinney Voss

Monday, April 20, 2015

Serving others is a pleasure

This past week marked the transition between transfers. For Sister Bradley and I, fortunately, we didn't need to move or change - but it was a chance to look back on the past six weeks at all the work we've done and consider how we can improve and go full steam ahead into the next transfer! Heavenly Father has blessed us to be able to find and teach a lot of people. We also have several people with scheduled baptismal dates, so we are looking forward to helping them be prepared and ready to make that important covenant with Heavenly Father.
Happy to have 6 more weeks together!

What actually happened this week? I will consult my daily planner and journal to try to figure it out. I hope in normal life I'll be able to recall better the events of the past week, but even a single day of missionary life feels like blur by the end of it! In the best way possible.

We had our last district meeting of the transfer, saying farewell to three missionaries from our group. We participated in ward council, which is always a cool opportunity to coordinate our missionary efforts with members in this area.

We did a lot of service this week, just for individual members, but it felt really good and like we made a big difference. We are here to serve however we can- and if that means cleaning and organizing and rearranging, we are happy to do it!

On Thursday I was on exchanges with Sister Riley. We had a lot of fun and saw some miracles! We taught the Restoration to a lady who was really prepared to hear it, and loved us- she loaded us up with frozen food before she let us leave the house! Later when contacting we taught a lesson on a doorstep- it's kind of a cool experience to have a gospel discussion with someone just at their door and end it with prayer.
Pics from last week's Kuekenhof adventure.

I'd say the craziesst day was Sunday. It should be a day of rest, right? Well, it is. But as a missionary, it can be kind of stressful! We had two of our new investigators who came to church for the first time, so we were concerned with making sure they understood the service and lessons, made connections with members, and overall felt comfortable. It worked out really well and they enjoyed it, but after ensuring that they had a good experience on top of doing our normal coordination with members, Sister Bradley and I were exhausted! Nevertheless, church is always spiritually refreshing and uplifting. I'm grateful for the chance every week to worship and partake of the sacrament.

This preparation day was really fun- there are free yoga classes held at the church building in Zoetermeer every Monday and Thursday, so we went to that - it makes me think of my Mom and her yoga prowess! Then we stayed in Zoetermeer and walked around the cute city center area, past the beautiful temple, shopping a bit with other missionaries, just having a relaxed, pleasant time. I'd say we are now ready for the next week!
Selfie with Elder Jardine and Conatti.
Eating at the surinamese restaurant in Zotermeer :)
Me at the temple today.
That was the week! Maybe not extremely exciting, but wonderful overall. I want to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon- I love reading from and studying it every day. I know it is the word of God! Het Boek van Mormon kan ons helpen of steeds dichter bij onze Verlosser jezus Christus te komen. Dit weet ik zeker. :)

Have a wonderful week! Love, McKinney

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spring in Den Haag (The Hague)!

Well, it has been another exciting week! In every aspect. Spring had definitely sprung here- we have been enjoying several days of beautiful, warmer Sunny weather!
With our bright colors, we blend right in with the flowers, right?
First big news: Sister Bradley and I will both be staying in Den Haag for the next six weeks! We have seen a lot of miracles and found a lot of people together over the past month and a half, and we are excited to continue to work together to help these people progress in the Gospel. Plus, we've just had a lot of fun together. It's going to be a awesome next six weeks!

In this time, I will hit my halfway mark, and she will have been out for a full year. We plan to throw a big party together to celebrate. Also, my district leader Elder Claflin will be staying as well, meaning that he will be my district leader for a sixth transfer in a row. that's pretty unusual and hilarious, because that's a long time!

We hosted many guests here in Den haag, a grand total of eight sisters over two days. It was temple conference, where over the course of two days all the missionaries in the mission (there are 150!) had the chance to go to the temple. Den haag is really central, so a lot of sisters who lived farther away needed to stay the night so they wouldn't have to travel so early. On Monday we hosted Apeldoorn and Assen- Sister Huber, Verdegem, Dobler and Jensen. It was so fun! Likewise on Tuesday evening when we had the pleasure of hanging out with the sisters of Breda and Maastricht- Sisters Robbins, Lemich, Whittington and Manning. Sleepovers are always exciting! Although six sisters trying to get ready with only one bathroom was a unique challenge haha. It was so fun to see beloved friends/old companions again, and to make new friends.

The highlight of temple conference, however, was definitely the temple! The Den Haag temple is so beautiful and pristine. There is such a pervading peace there. Going to the temple definitely restored my spiritual reserves and equipped me for the next six months before I can go again! Visiting the Lord's house is a special experience.
Sister Faasavalu and I walking back from the temple, aglow with the Spirit! :)
Zusters Bradley & Voss at the Temple
This is from last temple Conference, in October!
Afterwards, we got to visit Keukenhof! It is a renowned flower and tulip garden, with all sorts of varieties of tulips, gorgeous landscaping, and plenty of exciting activities. As a special treat we got to walk around for a few hours, explore, take pictures, and just soak it in. I was impressed by the brilliant array of colors and incredible varieties of flowers. It was so pleasant to relax a little bit in the company of other missionaries. There was even a cool miracle- Sister Riley and I started to talking to a couple of Dutch girls our age there who were asking about who we all were/what we were doing there (75 nicely dressed young adults with nametags attracts attention, apparently) and after a cool conversation, we exchanged contact information and have plans to meet up again! Furthermore, Sister Riley and I were afraid we'd miss the big group picture, but after sprinting across the park, we made it just in time. Tender Mercies!
Let the party begin!
Me on a bridge looking over various flowers
Selfie madness (but I'm not actually taking a selfie?)
With the Keukenhof windmill. I don't think I saw as many of these in Drenthe, but in Holland they are all over the place! (also maybe because Keukenhof is the ultimate tourist trap)
Flower pictures. We took a lot of these :) 
More flowers...
With President and Sister Robinson at Keukenhof!
On the water reflection image.
Sister Thomas and I 
The girls we met in Kuekenhof
We had a couple of other miracles too- we found four new investigators this week! Through our own efforts. It is such a blessing. The story of two of them is kind of interesting- we had a few minutes after a dinner appointment, so we rang a few doorbells in the neighborhood. We faced some initial rejection at first- especially a somewhat eerie experience where a man came out on his balcony to talk to us, and consistently, sneakily tried to disprove Gospel truths, or trick and trap me in my words. It didn't work, the Spirit was speaking, and I calmly bore testimony of Gospel truths without becoming perturbed or confused, it was just a weird experience. But then the bell right after was a man who invited us to come back and share the Book of Mormon with him later. We did come back, and he and his wife invited us warmly into their home, loved what we shared, welcomed us back and told us they have lots of friends they want us to visit as well. I sure am glad we decided to keep going after the one negative experience! "Ye shall not receive a witness until after the trial of your faith"right? anyway, they are such a cool couple, and we are excited to teach them!

The Lord's work is going forth in the Netherlands! It is so humbling and awe-inspiring to see His hand outstretched to the wonderful people here. I love them. I am so grateful to serve in this incredible country. There are such good, wonderful people here with pure deisres to come closer to God and know Him better. I am honored to have the privilege of serving the Lord and hope I can be humble enough to remain an effective instrument in His hands.

Because of the peace I felt at the tmple this week, I'd like to leave you with one of my favorite scriptures, John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
This is from this past week- our bikes on a beautiful spring day!
Cute Delft picture from sister bradley's camera - catch up picture.
There is such eternal potential for peace, and I know that it comes through our Savior, Jesus Christ. In the moments I need it most, when my heart feels just full of aunguish- His peace is there, and there is absolutely nothing like it that the world can offer. Come unto Christ and pray for His peace. It is such a blessing. :)

Have a wonderful week! I love you all!
Zuster McKinney Voss
The cake Elder Elkins and Elder Bosco made for my birthday, AMerican cake mix Elder elkin's family sent him. awesome! (this is from several weeks ago obviously)
Elder Connatti takes professional selfies. With him and Elder Davis :)
Elder Connatti, Sister Thomas and I standing in the middle of a pond!

Sister Bradley and I together at Brother Scherf's house with the delicious birthday strawberry cake pastry he provided.

Various photos with my 1st companion Sister Robbins!

Monday, April 6, 2015

He is Risen!

This week has been so fun and exciting! First of all, Happy Easter everyone! Or Vrolijke Paasen, iedereen :) Technically it's still Easter here, because they celebrate first Easter day and second Easter day, which is like the first except meaningless because Christ actually rose on Sunday. Maybe that sounds harsh... I really just don't understand yet the need for a second Christmas day and second Easter, but hey, the more celebration the better! In any case, Christ is risen, He lives currently as a resurrected being, and because of that your destiny and mine has been changed forever! I really liked President Uchtdorf's talk on the subject yesterday morning.
Tram Selfie with Z Bradley, Riley, & Faasavalu

Speaking of which, another reason this past week was fantastic is General Conference! It has meant more and more to me with each passing year, to the point that I am significantly less prone to dozing off even when random members of the Seventy are speaking. ;) But seriously, it is such an incredible opportunity to hear from living apostles and prophets. I still need to think about it, but there were many messages that touched me deeply.

One General Conference miracle was that two 9 year old girls we are teaching invited their friends to come to the high tea activity followed by viewing Women's Conference together. So there were four 8-10 year girls, which was kind of a handful- but their two friends loved it, and asked their mom afterwards if they can all start learning about the church! Through the missionary efforts of two sweet girls who aren't even members, this new opportunity has come up. We are excited to start working with this new family in the upcoming week, hopefully.

We also had another great lesson with our lost-now-found (he last investigated the church 8 years ago but we only just barely regained contact with him) investigator. We invited two members of the ward to join us in the lesson, and it is so cool to see how they related to the investigator and shared their own experiences with the Gospel. Multilple testimonies is so powerful!
Looking sassy on my bike!
We also got to have lunch with another member, a fabulous jovo ("jovo" = jonge volwassenaar, aka young adult, YSA) at the Den Haag Tower, the tallest tower in the city! we ate at a fancy restaurant at the top and enjoyed the view, and it was actually really affordable for how delicious it all was!
Den Haag Tower lunch!
The awesome view from the tower!
Sister Riley and I were able to go on exchanges this weekend! We saw miracles, even in just the short 24 hours we spent as companions. She came with me to go give a Book of Mormon to a potential investigator we had found, and the lady was open, invited us in, and we were able to teach the Restoration and invite them to church! It was such a cool experience- they are new investigators! It was fun to be on exchanges over Easter! Sister Riley made me a special bunny breakfast, and we took pictures amongst the bright daffodils of spring. It was a glorious sunny day, and it seemed like the whole world was rejoicing with us that Christ is Risen! Speaking of which, there's a fabulous, short video going around that perfectly encapsulates the full consequences of Christ's atonement and resurrection. It's called "Because He Lives" but if you want to watch it in Dutch, you can search "Omdat Hij Leeft." I encourage you to check it out! It's powerful and uplifting.
Easter morning breakfast my lovely sister training leader prepared.
Attractive teeth brushing memories captured...
Sister Riley and I paused on exchanges for these daffodil pictures!
Enjoying the beauty!!
The work is going forward here in Den Haag and in Nederland! I am so grateful. Being a missionary is such a special privilege- I love the opportunity to witness miracles. But just being alive right now is a special privilege. There is so much joy available to us through Christ. Seek Him! And enjoy spring and the renewal of life we can see all around us. Have a wonderful week everybody, and again- Happy Easter!
The April Fool's Day prabnk Sister Riley and I pulled on the Assistants to the President and our Zone Leaders- vandalizing their cars with "Just Married" signs ;)
Easter Egg Tree in the centrum!

Zuster Voss

P.S. Fun fact- "Easter bunny" = "Paas haas"
A birthday cake our ward mission leader bought me!
Frozen in Dutch - a present from members!
The birthday cake I made.