Zuster Fox?

Zuster Fox?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

One year already?

This past week I hit my official one year mark. On August 6, 2014 I entered the MTC, uncertain about what the next year and a half would bring but excited and enthusiastic, eager, to discover and begin the great adventure before me. Now, a year later, I can say it has been absolutely incredible, without a doubt the best year for my life up to this point. It has been such a powerful learning experience! I have acquired life skills- how to interact better with people, cooking, cleaning, living on my own, and I have grown spiritually. My foundation built on Christ has become much stronger. And of course, I have seen countless miracles and experienced inexpressible joy in the progress I have seen others make and in the relationships I've developed. It's just the nature of the work. And it is such a blessing!
Picture from time in Assen

So, that was on Thursday. The rest of the week was pretty great. On Monday we had a zone p-day in Lokeren- we played random sports and it was so fun just to be with all the other missionaries in Belgium! The members in my areas have always welcomed me in as my family, but I think we are kind of a missionary family as well. Playing volleyball with friends is just always a nice chill thing to do!

Tuesday morning was a scene of great drama in our little house. We had just woken up and were slowly getting ready for district meeting when I heard a beeping and grumbling from the end of the street. With a sudden realization that that sound could mean only one thing, I dashed upstairs to check our trash calendar, and sure enough, it was pick up day- which in Belgium means, the one specific kind of trash that you have to sort and you only get one chance to get rid of it every two weeks so if you miss it you must suffer in stinkiness until the next pick up. I yelled down to Sister Goodman, "it's rest afval day! It's rest afval day! We have to get all the trash outside now!" Then I threw on a random skirt and we ran around the house frantically collecting that kind of garbage and stuffed it into our little trash container and dragged it outside as the truck moved ominously closer. then we ran back inside, closed our gate, and waited nervously to see if they would accept it. We both released sighs of relief and gave each other high fives when they took it away. All of this occurred at 6:40 am.

Me holding my mission call on my mission birthday, so to speak. Can't believe I have less than six months left now!

Our street is so romantically European and beautiful!

The rest of the week was not nearly so stressful. Haha :) On Wednesday I was on exchanges with Sister Maughan, our sister training leader, and the mini-missionary working with the Antwerpen sisters this week, the fabulous Sister Spijkerman, from Zwolle. It was really fun! We talked to a lot of people in Turnhout, taught together, and it was really fun! I love getting to work with and learn from other missionaries.
With the zone leaders! (blondes and gingers segregated, I noticed later haha)
So it was cool when the next day, our zone leaders Elder Tornianen and Elder Bernier joined us for a few hours to do a sister support day! They helped us teach a lesson and we ended up just walking everywhere. I'm grateful for the support and service of our missionary leaders. It is encouraging!
Beginning of a series of "candid" photos of Sister Goodman and I being typical missionaries, but companionless Elder Bernier photo bombed every single one haha 

On Saturday Sister Goodman and I had 15 minutes before a lesson, so I suggested that we go walk around a nearby park and talk to people. The first person who came across our path was a super cool, open, positive and spiritual man. He gladly accepted a Book of Mormon, gave us his address to come talk about it later, and prayed with us before we parted ways. He brought up the veil that separates us from heaven, but which is sometimes thin. Super deep! Basically it was just awesome, and we were standing on a little path in the midst of cool, shady trees. It was just such a peaceful scene, and my heart was so full of gratitude that we could feel the Spirit so strongly. I love being a missionary!

Another cool story of the week was a new investigator who we visited. She immediately asked us some questions about gifts of the Spirit she had learned about in her own studies. We started explaining the gift of the Holy Ghost and she basically said, "I don't remember the laying on of hands after I got baptized! I guess I'll have to get baptized again so I can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!" ...it was awesome. We told her that would would love to help her prepare to do that, and she was just super enthusiastic. We set a tentative baptismal date for October. I am excited to continue working with her!
This is the castle, a former lodge of the Dukes of Brabant that is right here in the middle of Turnhout!
Cool sideways building in Turnhout
In sacrament meeting yesterday Sister Goodman and I played a violin/piano duet as an intermediate musical number. It was "Amazing Grace" and the Spirit was so strong. The words are so simple but powerful! We need Christ. His grace enables and strengthens us when we cannot go on. I am so grateful for His love and Atoning sacrifice. Through study and prayer I have received my own witness, and I can testify that I know that He lives, He is the Son of God, and He is our Savior. I am so grateful for all He has done for me and for all of us.
With Sister Maughan and Sister Spijkerman (it's pronounced like "spiderman") in front of Antwerpen Centraal and enjoying delicious melon ice drinks!
I hope you all have a wonderful week! Another cool Dutch lingual difference that can have a greater significance: there is no difference between the words for husband/wife and man/woman. It's just "man" and "vrouw." It can be frustrating as a foreign speaker trying to pick it up from the context... But I think it's also a beautiful hint at our eternal destiny. A woman is meant to be a wife and a man is meant to be a husband, because the two are meant to be together- forever, with their children. Ponder that :)

Love, Sister Voss
Lunch in Antwerpen after exchanges!

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