Zuster Fox?

Zuster Fox?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Double Baptism

What a jam packed, wonderful week! I will start out with the most pressing news: transfer information! I will be staying in Den Haag for another six weeks, but my dear companion Sister Bradley will be leaving for Lelystad on Wednesday, and Sister Hopkin will be coming to take her place. Exciting, yet sad! we will miss Sister Bradley!
Me with baby swans in Zoetermeer. I've seen more cygnets than ducklings this spring. #europe
Some incredible things happened this week. Firstly, we had a baptism! In a crazy turn of events, it occurred in Breda... I will explain. Almost five weeks ago, Sister Bradley contacted a man named R just on the street while on exchanges with Sister Faasavalu. He is currently living in Breda, but spends the week in Den Haag because he works/is trying to move here. he is super enthusiastic and we have been teaching him here the whole transfer- meanwhile, he loves the gospel so much he has introduced it to multiple friends, and one that he brought to church in Breda has been taking lessons from the sisters there (Robbins and Faasavalu!<3) ever since. They have both made so much progress and were ready for baptism- because R technically still lives in Breda, that's where he needed to be baptized, but he was still our investigator. So on Saturday night we slept over with the Breda sisters and on Sunday we held a double baptism! It was so special. Our ward mission leader Brother Scherf came as well and was able to baptize R, who is so golden and prepared. It was a beautiful service! It was cool to visit Breda as well and to be reunited with my lovely MTC companion Sister Robbins.
Sister Faa and I last transfer.
The four of us crammed in the back seat of a car! gezellig!
Me with sister robbins and the mini peanut butter I gave her which she loves
This is kind of non chronological, but earlier this week we actually had another cool experience with R- he wanted to visit the temple, so we all went on a field trip to Zoetermeer and had a lesson on the temple grounds. R recognized how powerful the Spirit was there and it was such a cool opportunity to testify that baptism is just the first step; ultimately, it is the entrance to the path that leads to temple covenants and blessings.

Other things that have happened... we had a really cool member referral last week actually. A member had been discussing the church with her friend and invited us to go by with a book of Mormon. Her friend immediately invited us in, we taught about the Restoration, we made a new appointment and she came to church. So cool! I love member referrals!

We had a fun dinner appointment in Delft with Brother/Dr. Ames and a group of students from BYU here studying water management resources for a couple weeks. He related the story of his mission in Scotland in the 80's when a visiting businessman took him and other missionaries out for pizza, because when that guy was on his mission in Italy in the 60's another businessman had taken him out for pizza... So Brother Ames gave us pizza in the Netherlands in 2015 and now the mantle is on our shoulders :) It was really fun, talking to people with American accents. his son is also in this mission, so that's pretty cool!

Enjoying Pizza provided by Bro Ames

We had a "sister support day"working with our zone leaders. We contacted people together, taught together, and I always love the opportunity to learn from other missionaries by working together. We found a lot of interested potential investigators over the day which was fabulous! We have some great zone leaders. We will miss Elder Bernier, who is going to Antwerpen!
Breakfast with Delft Elders Conatti and Reese this morning- Mark and Spencer's scones! mmm
This morning we played basketball with our district and zone leaders in the park, which we have done a couple other times during the past two transfers.
Ball'in on P-Day - Team Photo
It is my favorite way to exercise! It is a great group that we have had here. Change is part of life though, so we bid adieu to those leaving and welcome the new elders and sisters coming in!

I guess what has just been with me this week is that we don't earn or merit any blessings we ever receive- Heavenly Father just does His work and it is an honor to get to participate. I love being a missionary!

I miss and pray for you all at home daily. Have a great week!

Liefs, Zuster McKinney Voss
Me and sister Bradley with ELDER and sister Romig (not brother. he has actually been set apart :) )

P.S. Happy Memorial Day!
The Temple!
Basketball with the district and zone leaders this morning! (Bernier, Schmidt, Claflin, Davis)
The basketball court in the park is right by this random banana statue, so whenever we agree to meet there it kind of turned into "meet @banana 6:35" a time honored tradition

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Amazing Grace!

Well folks, we had a wonderful week here in Den Haag!
In the centrum in front of a pretty church :)

The investigators we are working with are making progress! It's so thrilling to have this front row seat to individuals experiencing a mighty change of heart and lifting their lives up to a higher level, coming closer to their Creator. We have had some great lessons, with members and without- we actually did a lot of teaching this week, which is the ideal. Our schedule gets crazy sometimes, appointments fall through and get made again last minute, but we had a day where everything actually worked out exactly how we had planned it! That in itself is pretty unexpected in missionary life :)

We had zone conference together with Amsterdam zone! I found it incredibly enlightening. Firstly, we had the opportunity to see the short documentary/movie "A New Day for the Book of Mormon"which I found fascinating and strongly recommend that everyone watch, member or not- it treats the Book of Mormon from a very intellectual perspective as a literary work of notice for the religious and non religious alike.

We also learned about Grace. A debate that is probably now centuries old asks whether we are saved by grace or works.
Zone Conference with my MTC group brothas! Elders Reese, Morell, and Lott.
To be honest, we are saved by grace alone, so to speak- we can't pay the price of our sins- only Christ could. It is by His merits and mercy that it is even possible to return to our Heavenly Father's presence. But just because he made it possible doesn't mean we don't have a role as well- our obedience determines how much we take advantage of that incomprehensible gift of grace that is offered to us. What's more, it is a source of daily power that we can draw from, to strengthen us and help us to be patient, humble, and charitable beyond our earthly capacities. I am so grateful for Christ's amazing grace! I am making it a personal goal to be more aware of it and draw from it constantly each day.

A highlight of the week was an incredible dinner appointment with the Scherf family and an investigator and her family on Thursday. I can't imagine a better, nicer, more comfortable way to get to know the church than through open, kind members in their own home. It was an enjoyable experience for everyone involved, and we are grateful for members willing to open their homes to accept everyone around them, especially those who are just beginning to investigate the church and really need some open arms to be welcomed into.

Speaking of which, this Den Haag ward is really good about providing dinner appointments for the missionaries- Sister Bradley and I have had several "perfect weeks" (a dinner appointment every single night) since we've have been here, thanks to the love and generosity of the members! however, this past week was a little bit quieter for all the missionaries, so we (Elders Schmidt, Bernier, Claflin, Davis, and Sister Bradley and I) decided to get together in the church to have our own dinner appointment. We all pitched in something, and it was complete even with dessert and a spiritual thought. That was pretty fun!
Our church dinner appointment feast!

Last p-day, we happened to be with the Delft elders and zone leaders in the centrum and had the idea to pick out complete outfits for one another and see how it turned out, which ended up being pretty hilarious!
Group picture - modeling our fabulous outfits, the very latest in summer fashion
Sister bradley and I! The elders did a pretty good job picking our outfits!
Elder Bernier and Elder Schmidt rockin it!
Elder Conatti and Elder Reese. Peace.
I love being on a mission! Not that it isn't often challenging or discouraging, but ultimately some of my most precious memories and joyful moments I'm experiencing right here in the Netherlands. I know that Heavenly Father is active in all of our lives and that He takes care of His children and work. :)

Sister McKinney Voss

(dad note) - I missed my time to "chat" during McKinney's e-mail time this week and the result was a long update with lots of pictures (since I was not distracting her). You're welcome!

With Gayana after church!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Moeder Dag!

Happy Mother's Day to all women out there! Special shout out to my own wonderful Mom, whose wisdom, love and guidance have blessed me immeasurably and who still sneakily asks questions that help me figure out my own solutions to any problems I encounter. I'm also incredibly grateful to my grandmothers, aunts, young women leaders and family friends for their support through the years... what would we do without these incredible women?
Biking home from church with roses in the fiets tas
Mother's Day rose and clomping earrings

The Primary children sang to the mother's in sacrament meeting, super cute, and gave them all roses. We got roses too!

The highlight of the holiday was definitely Skyping with my family :)
Voss Family Portrait covering 2 countries and 9 time zones.
It feels like I never left. We've all grown and changed over the past nine months, but our relationships are the same, just as strong, just as silly! I love my family so much. What a miracle it is that Skype enables international, free, instant communication. I am in awe of technology!

I passed my nine month mark this week! I am officially more than half way done. That's kind of a crazy thought. It's inspiring me to make the most of every precious moment I have here in this country with these amazing people in the service of the Lord. I've had a lot of incredible experiences already and I'm looking forward to where the rest of this journey will take me before I return home next February!
African outfits fun at Ethlyn's house!

Joint teach selfie with a jovo
Last Monday we went to Delft on our p-day. We ate lunch at the Ikea there (why not?) and raided the tourist shops... I finally got my legitimate, yellow, Dutch wooden shoes (klompen)! So that was a win. Plus it was just a beautiful day. Super fun. Speaking of which, today is even nicer, and i have ventured outside without tights for the first time since probably October! 24 degrees Celsius and Sunny. lovely :)
Delft City Hall with the Elders
Delft City Hall with Lisa, who joined us there!
Klompen I bought! thanks Grandma and Grandpa Wright!
This past week were another couple of cultural holidays- their version of memorial day, dodenherdenking, which is observed with two minutes of silence across the entire nation. it was very powerful and fascinating to be a part of.

The next day was bevrijdings dag, basically independence day, celebrating the freedom after German occupation during WWII. There were apparently crazy festivals in the city center, but we weren't around for that :)

Other than that, it was a normal week. Teaching, finding, having a blast! I got to go on exchanges with Sister Lemich here and that was fun! Life is good in Den Haag.
Check out this sweet Imagine Dragons concert we're going to go to! #jk 
Proverbs 31:28- Moms are awesome. I am thankful every day for a loving Heavenly father who sends us to eath in families and the critical role that mothers fill in families. I'm grateful for my Mom.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Love, Sister Voss
Lunch at Ikea with the delft elders last pday!
 Love those swedish meatballs

Classic Dutch Picture

We found our street! Maybe a good place to knock doors?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

De echte Konings Dag

Long time no blog! Just kidding. But eight days instead of six days between p-days makes a big difference for us missionaries! It is nice to be able to relax after a long week.

But it has been a lovely week! Last Monday was, drum roll please... King's Day! Which is kind of a celebration of the current ruler, held on the birthday of not the current monarch but like two in the past... Anyway, it's a free day for all the Dutch, and basically it's a massive yard sale. Everyone puts all the stuff they want to get rid of out on the street, walks around wearing orange, just relaxing and having a good time! there was a really chill vibe in the air. we missionaries all over the country set up tables full of pamphlets and copies of the Book of Mormon to give away, and just had a blast talking to people, sharing the message, and enjoying the spirit of the day. We did it in Schevenginen, by the beach, and there were lots of other families out selling things- totally gezellig! We actually found a lot of potentials, people interested in hearing more, and gave away a lot of books and pamphlets. Also, while walking around and talking to people, we found a lot of great bargains. I got two practically new blazers, Harry potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in Dutch (unbelievable how much self control it's going to take for me to not read that for the next nine months) flowers for my bike, kid-sized klompen, and random other knick knacks all for 8 euros. Not bad! I'd call it a successful King's Day from all accounts!

We had a great week further- a busy day at church Sunday. It's always stressful to have a lot of investigators in church, talking to members to set up dinner appointments or joint teaches, but it's the best kind of stress in the world. It's always a whirlwind three hours, but it's the best three hours of the week!
Free cotton candy! (suikerspin)
At the beach in Scheveningen (have fun trying to pronounce that)
We are so happy with how our investigators are doing. One 18 year old girl in particular is so positive, loves church and asks so many questions to learn everything she can, and immediately implements the commandments she learns into her life. She loves reading the Book of Mormon. Absolutely incredible!

Another one of our investigators is equally positive, but struggling to overcome addictions to smoking and alcohol. He feels the Spirit so clearly in lessons and loves the church, but just needs help conquering those addictions that are holding him back. it is so clear to me how those substances hold us back in our progression and why it is important to avoid them.

Another cool/random experience from the week- this one time on my mission, I taught a monk! Yes, it's true. Sister Bradley and I were asked to prepare the lesson for institute, a mid-week scripture study class for the young single adults. We did our best- it was kind of a deep lesson about Doctrine and Covenants 88, but it turned out really well. One of the regular young adults who attends brought a new friend of his- an actual monk from a monastery in this city. he had met him and they loved having discussions about religion. So he was invited to come to institute! it was so cool. There we were, just teaching a lesson to a monk in actual robes and everything. he was a young, cool guy with great insights. It was a pleasure to exchange ideas with him.
Our picture with the monk. he's kind of being covered by the elders
On May Day I made daisy chains for Sister Bradley and I. The weather has been up and down, but what I love is how green and bright it is! It is bright long before we wake up at 6:30am and I am much more motivated to hop up from my prayers and go out jogging or something after waking up.

Fun side note- Sister Sarah Juchau, one of my teachers in the MTC is visiting Nederland with her mom and they happened to be in Den Haag, so we got to see them! So much fun! interesting to note the changes of the last nine months... Amazingly, I speak Dutch now. :) it was a Delight to briefly see her!
[Dad Note] Just decided to add this picture because I thought it was fun...
I love the regular adventures of missionary life. Teaching, planning, finding- it is a great joy and pleasure. We get to interact with such special, incredible people. I am grateful for all I am learning about patience, love, and hope. This is a crazy world we live in, but there is Always peace and comfort through Christ.
Me in downtown den haag showing off the new flowers I got for the handlebars of my bike!
May Day daisy crown
I love you all! Have a wonderful week!
Love, Sister Voss

Bro Romig - Master of the selfie...