Zuster Fox?

Zuster Fox?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Where the poppies grow

This week was ridiculously full and crazy, and super awesome, so I will try to relate everything that has happened.
Zuster Voss at the barb wire front line (Ypres)

On Monday, and awesome family in our branch took us to Ypres/Ieper, the famous WWI front line of trenches here in Belgium. It was an incredible experience to walk on fields I had only read about in history classes. We visited the place where the poem "In Flanders Fields"See Poem Here was composed, and I live in Flanders (Vlaanderen) now, so it was another level of mind blowing. The poppies are a symbol of WWI memorial, and they were blooming everywhere. We climbed in and around old German bunkers, visited memorials and walked through trenches. It was an amazing cultural/historical experience, and what made it cooler was that we were with an awesome Belgian family (the Janssens!) getting the tour so to speak from someone to whom it all that occurred there was personally relevant. It was a bit sobering- why did the world let all those atrocities there occur? Sister Janssen said something I found really poignant- "they spent four years fighting over this little stretch of land, and now it's a graveyard, and no one wants it." I am grateful that there is more to the world than war and hope that we can as societies focus on the things that are truly important!
The view from a German bunker

Tuesday was back to regular missionary work, and it was a great day! We taught five lessons in one day- two planned, three just to random people we found and talked to! The work is going forward! Teaching lessons isn't about numbers, but rather about people opening their hearts and homes to us and to the message of the restored gospel, their great potential for peace and happiness. It is a pleasure to share it!

On Wednesday the Maastricht sisters came to sleep over, which was SO fun, because that means Sister Dobler and Sister Twiggs! We all went to zone conference the next day, which was a blast. It was combined Antwerpen and Eindhoven zones, so a lot of people- including eight out of the original twelve missionaries from my MTC group! Reunited and it feels so good :) We missed Sisters Thomas and Whittington and Elders Cook and Dewitt, but everyone else was there!

Other big news we received at zone conference will make my grandparents happy, but a lot of missionaries grumpy... For several years this mission has been exempt from the policy of wearing helmets that applies to every other missionary in the world, because that is so alien to the constantly-biking Dutch and Belgian cultures. However, due to some injuries, HQ at Salt Lake has requested that we start being obedient, and our mission president agrees so, jammer. We were not super thrilled to hear it, I'll admit, but I will wear one with a good attitude. It really is a good idea for safety, and exact obedience brings blessings!

Friday was such a cool day. We started out with a full day of appointments planned, and then in the morning as we were studying, one by one they started falling through. So we were looking at a big empty day of knocking on doors! But we figured God had a plan, so with faith we just went to work, and looked up a couple of potential investigators- and miracles happened. We taught two Restorations, found three new investigators, all super prepared people, but they were just potentials and we wouldn't have visited them if we had had our other appointments. God cancelled our other plans to send us where HE needed us to go. I have a testimony that God is directing His work! And then all of our appointments did go through on Saturday. So it works out :)

Selfie w Sister Maughn and Sister Faa

One of the super prepared people was an amazing Belgian lady who was given a Book of Mormon by some elders on the street 8 years ago, but never knew it's story, only that it helped her understand some things better than the Bible. She is so amazing! We are excited to be teaching her. And those original elders have no idea the seed they planted- it reminds me of the mormon message, "you never know how much good you do" You Never Know...

An amazing investigator family invited us over for dinner, and it was so fun! Their 12 year old daughter prayed for the first time and thanked God that their lives were changing thanks to the Gospel. Then the nine year old came to church alone because the rest of her family was sick, but she still wanted to come, so we walked with her, and she loved it!. I love teaching families! the gospel is meant to improve our family lives.

On Saturday morning I was asked to play my violin at the funeral of a member of this branch who had just passed away. it was difficult, and sad, but also uplifting. Every single person who spoke testified of Jesus Christ, the miracle of the resurrection, and that they would see her again. Sister Goodman and I watched "Because of Him" (do link here too dad) to cheer ourselves up, and it is so inspiring; There is no such thing as an end! WE are made of the stuff of eternities.

That's all I wanted to share this week. I am so grateful for my mission and what and enriching experience it has been. I love and miss you all! Have an incredible week!

Love, Sister Voss

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Belgium, de beloofde land

Belgium is a blazing fire of missionary success! I am so excited to be in Turnhout!!!

Where to even begin? I'll quickly summarize the last couple of days in Den Haag. One of our investigators who sister Bradley and I found finally came to church! After several months, it was so amazing to see him finally make the commitment. On P-day we had a blast playing ultimate frisbee with the other missionaries for the last time, in between the frenzy of packing and cleaning. Then we went to a FHE with the young single adults at the Romig's, which was wonderful.

Tuesday was our last district meeting. I have loved the Den Haag district|! Then Sister Hopkin and I taught the Restoration lesson to a new investigator as well as one of our progressing investigators. it was a great way to finish strong in Den Haag! We had a fabulous dinner with the Romigs and the other missionaries, dundies were presented, and we all said goodbye. parting is indeed such sweet sorrow!
Receiving my last dundie, "master of the dundies" award. lol (Z Voss was the only missionary to receive all 7 dundies awarded by Elder Clafin)

I have missed Den Haag. On Wednesday morning we left to meet all the other missionaries at the train stations in the adventure that is getting everyone to their new destination. It was all so quick! Ethlyn escorted me as far as Rotterdam and then I made my way to Belgium with all the others who were transferred there. Leaving Den Haag is a bit heart breaking- but it should be, otherwise I didn't serve here with all my heart, might, mind and strength! But I will miss everyone there...
Seeing Gayana, one of my awesome friends in Den Haag for the last time before I left! tears were shed... :P

Nevertheless, I am so thrilled to be in Belgium!!! Turnhout is the promised land, a dream city! We have been working really hard and seeing miracles every single day, almost indescribable. I have been here for four days, and we have done a lot of contacting, just knocking and doors- but one day, we were let in to teach lessons three different times! People have just been opening their hearts and homes to us, and we have taught nine lessons total since I have been here. We taught the Plan of Salvation to a family and they loved it, and are so excited to turn their lives over to God and to make the changes necessary so they can be together forever. It was a powerful, beautiful lesson. Sister Goodman and I have found two new investigators together and taught several first lessons about the restoration. In one lesson, we shared Joseph Smiths's story in his own captivating words, and the man immediately remarked that it gave him chills. In another situation, we said just a simple prayer before leaving and the man started to cry, he was so emotionally overwhlemed by the Spirit. There are so many prepared people here! I feel so blessed to serve in the incredible city of Turnhout.
Biking through beautiful Belgian fields together!

It is beautiful and old. I feel like coming to Belgium is stepping back a couple of centuries. The architecture is lovely. The milk doesn't need to be refrigerated and never expires, but is still pretty good. The accent is sometimes difficult to understand. It literally sounds like Dutch with thick Irish accent, if that makes any sense. I thought I was pretty good at this language, but Vlaams requires me to listern really hard and even then I don't completely get it. Haha it's a work in progress! the Belgian people I have found to be extremely friendly and kind however, so it has been wonderful. I love the members here in Turnhout. I am looking forward to getting to know them better|!

Right when I first got here, I noticed all sorts of things that make it different from the Netherlands, but now everything seems normal. I'll try to think about and write everything down next week. It's definitely a different country! A new exciting world to explore. Sister Goodman, my new companion, is amazing- she is from Colorado, also went to BYU, musically talented, and we are basically Disney princess together. We are having a blast together here!
We love reading disney stories together for language study :)

Have a great week everybody and remember doctrine and covenants 76:59. All things are ours, for we are His, precious sons and daughters of God. I love and miss you all!

Liefs from Belgie!!!
Zuster Voss
Ice Cream from Ethlyn!
Milkshakes with the District Leaders

Sunday, July 12, 2015

On the Move!

It's going to have to be a short update this week but I'll type as quickly as possible. Big transfer news: On Wednesday I will be going moving to Turnhout, in BELGIUM! It will be a big change! I am looking forward to the adventure; a new country, a new dialect, a new companion. But I will miss Sister Hopkin and Den Haag! We have had such a fun transfer and I have loved my time in s'Gravenshage- getting to hang out with our favorite elders in Delft, Elder Conatti and Elder Reese, the Romigs, our awesome senior couple here, and the many other wonderful missionaries in our ward and district. Audieu to dying missionaries Elder Claflin (who has been in my district/district leader for 7 transfers!) and Elder Losee. Change can be heart breaking, but the memories and friendships are worth it! The members and investigators here are stellar as well!
Transfers are a time to see old friends at train stations!..
Have some fun...

And say goodbyes..
Speaking of goodbyes, we bad farewell to our wonderful President and Sister Robinson last week and we had the opportunity to meet our new mission president and his wife, president and Sister Bunnell- and they are wonderful! They are so enthusiastic, friendly, and loving. I am looking forward to getting to know them better and serving under their leadership!
With Pres and Sister Bunnell!

They joined us at a baptism for one of the elders' investigators on Saturday, and it was a beautiful service!

This week was great. I can only share a few highlights. First, I crossed something off of my Den Haag bucket list and knocked doors along a couple of houseboats! Had some nice conversations, too :) We played ultimate frisbee for institute, and it was awesome to hang out with the young single adults!

We also visited a petting zoo and taught a lesson there. Absolutely awesome!

Sister Hopkin and I dressed up for the 4th of July and sang the Star Spangled banner during companionship study. I'm sad that I missed it, and all the fireworks in America- it's something that's best celebrated in the good ól USA.
We coordinated to wear red, white and blue on the fourth of July!
Picking cherries together from a tree we found!
We cannot tell a lie though - we did not cut the tree down...
I'm so grateful for religious freedom, and the liberty we enjoy. God functions by giving us agency and protects liberty everywhere. I am so grateful that we are free to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience. God bless America, and liberty everywhere.

I love you all! have a great week!
-Sister Voss
Eating Chinese with the elders.
Sitting on the back of my bike to ride it looks funny. lol
Giant Goat!! (for you Aunt Panda)
Jovo game night at the romigs! 
Funny face picture is always a crowd pleaser.
District Picture.
With Br christian the monk and the elders at our last appointment!
Exchanges and winning a competition vs Zuster Riley's companionship.

The beloved Romig's - What a blessing to serve with them!
Knocking on a house boat on a canal- crossing something off my Den Haag bucket list!
Petting zoo fun with an investigator and her son! 

Yay, petting zoo! "kinder boerderij" = children's farm
Ultimate frisbee action shots!

Cute Baby. 
Companion selfie. 
Eating lekker Roti!
Ice cream from Ethlyn!
Milkshakes with District Leaders.