Zuster Fox?

Zuster Fox?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Believing in Our Potential!

This was a wonderful week! It was full and included lots of traveling and unfortunately lots of not being in our own city, but fantastic nonetheless. And the time that we were here was great! 

Temple selfie with a great group of missionaries!
Wednesday was Temple Conference, our semiannual gathering of missionaries where we all get to visit the temple in Den Haag! This will be the last time for me on my mission, but I would also say it is my best temple experience thus far. I went in more prepared to learn and receive answers. It brought a lot of peace and serenity, and added spiritual strength to visit the house of the Lord. I am grateful that such a thing is possible through the restored priesthood. God wants us close to Him! The Temple is His house, and it should also be our home.

At temple conference we also were able to learn a lot from our mission leaders. Personally, I was inspired to not cheat my potential by buying into self limiting beliefs! We can accomplish anything we believe we can. Heavenly Father will support us in our righteous desires. I know I am capable of more that I can imagine, and I am excited to unlock that potential with the help of mijn Heiland!

We are working with some great investigators and members here. I love seeing the enthusiasm with which the members are starting to participate in missionary work- talking to friends and colleagues, just being open about their faith! Then reporting their experiences to us, because we always love to hear about it.

This week was also stake conference in Brussels, Belgium. It was a huge gathering, with everyone in the Antwerpen stake, which includes parts of the Netherlands. I loved seeing friends from Turnhout, and was also very uplifted. An investigator who came with us received a personal welcome from the stake president over the pulpit, and an invitation to continue to develop a testimony and be baptized. So, that was super cool! I love the members here, how they reach out and welcome everyone into their midst. It is a pleasure to serve here!

That was the week, dus. I love my mission. I love serving these marvelous people. I am grateful for the gospel, for the grace of my Savior that gets me through difficult times. I know that when we are burdened, when we feel low, all we have to do is reach up and reach out and listen for the reassuring voice telling us everything will be okay. I know that Christ knows us each individually and loves us. I have felt His power in my life!

Fijne week iedereen. Ik hou van jullie!

Liefs, Zuster Voss
This is Sister Hopkin, Ethlyn and I walking to Sister's conference together a few weeks ago :)
With a member and investigator in front of the church building in Brussels, Belgium.
The sign out front is in three languages!
We did a Bollywood activity with the young women here in Gent, and it was a blast!
I saw the Prosmans from Den Haag when we were at the church building there for temple conference!
Sister Robbins and I with Elder Morrell
Cute pictures of us in front of the station

Eating lunch at zone conference. Again, with some of my best friends and favorite people!
Zr dobler! my baby is all grown up and saving china!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Christ Watching Over Us

Hallo, iedereen! It is oktober and it is getting chilly here. We have had an incredible week. But very few moments of being companions with Sister Robbins have passed by that were not incredible! It is such a blessing to be with her. We discover mind-blowing ideas daily and it is a comfort to talk to and work with a best friend. In her words, this transfer is basically "a long, productive, very structured slumber party!"
Beautiful Belgium!
Friendship Street!
With Christ

This week we were piloting some new mission standards as mission leaders and working hard. However, the cool part was that working harder did not mean losing sight of the reason or not having fun. We were motivated by love, and just got out of our comfort zones a little more. We talked to people we were sitting with on trams, trains, and buses. We talked to everyone we saw as we walked along. And the blessing was that it didn't feel stressed or forced! It was so natural just to strike up conversations with these fascinating brothers and sisters that surround us, ask about their interesting lives, and then offer them something that has brought me so much joy if they were willing to accept it. So that was a great success- a miracle in changing attitudes and perspectives on what is possible. I can push myself harder than I thought.

On one particular day the trams were on strike (yay Belgium!) and my bike tire was being repaired, so we did a LOT of walking. We found some cool people, and also an Ikea shopping cart far from home. Since we live by the Ikea we decided to do a good deed and bring it back but we got some funny looks haha.
Ikea cart.

On Thursday i was on exchanges with Sister Johanson in Antwerpen! We had a great day and taught the Restoration to an awesome belgian mom who is open and searching. I love seeing the hearts of individuals touched by the Spirit.

We went to a dinner appointment this week in Geraardsbergen, a beautiful town in the midst of rolling hills, very close to the border of French-speaking Belgium (this is a complicated country with languages, politics, many things). The members had a friend they wanted to introduce us to, so after a quick dinner they drove us over there, which is awesome. Yay member missionary work! But then the friend wasn't home, so instead we drove to the top of a hill where a golden statue of Christ surveyed the countryside. It was a beautiful reminder to me that Christ watches over us all from on high. Moreover, He also descended below to walk with us, and is still with us when we seek Him.
Peace be still.
Us in beautiful Geraardsbergen (near France) in the woods and a statue of Christ! Thank you for taking us Familie van Hove!
Love you all. Have a wonderful week! I am looking forward to visiting the temple on Wednesday. It is always a special experience!

Love, Zuster McKinney Voss

Banana Selfie in Gent Station

A crazy giant slug we found! 

Heart attacking the elders'door at 6:45 am because someone had a birthday!

An awesome visiting American member brought us Kraft mac n cheese!
Selfie with pretty leaves.
Primark!! a fun store here
With Sister Bunnell.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Our Journey of Discipleship

Goedendag van Gent, iedereen! A blissfully happy Sister Voss reporting to you this week from the other side of Belgium. So far, I am loving it here. There are wonderful members in this branch, Gent is a beautiful city, and being reunited with Sister Robbins, my MTC companion, is a dream come true. Going about and doing the work has been very pleasant. Not it has never been before, and I also really miss blessed Turnhout and the amazing people there, and Sister Young, but this was the easiest transition I have experienced.

Sister Robbins and I toevallig in Antwerpen Centraal haha
Also the easiest transfer. I packed up all my stuff, got on a train to Antwerpen Centraal, met Sister Robbins there, then we continued on to Gent. Painless. We dropped my stuff off at the apartment and went right to work!

We have seen some cool miracles this week. We only had a couple hours one day to just go out and talk to people, so we decided to look up some people who had previously expressed interest. We went out, and the first two people we tried were home, and let us teach them lessons and make return appointments. It was way cool!

Later that day we knew we had a long bus ride to get to an appointment, so we prayed before we left that we would be led to someone to talk to on the bus. While we were waiting for it at the station I noticed a girl staring at our nametags, so we struck up a conversation, sat with each other the entire bus ride, and she had tons of questions about us, or church, what we do as missionaries, and she asked for our contact information so she could learn more. It was so cool! Prayers are indeed answered. Then we got to our appointment and taught a young mother about the crucial role of the family in eternity, and that was a powerful lesson as well. We have been super blessed here this past week.

We also had the opportunity to plan the zone vision for this transfer with Elder Hirsch and Elder Harrop, the zone leaders. We have been asked to focus on using our time wisely and good planning. Before my mission, I don't think I realized how much it is possible to accomplish in one day if you plan it out well and work hard. Some of the principles I learned and habits I've acquired will help me be much more successful back at home I think!

This weekend also brought the very special opportunity to watch general Conference and receive inspired counsel from Heavenly Father through our humble church leaders. It was incredibly uplifting and I am looking forward to studying my notes and applying what I have learned. It was also great because members here welcomed us into their homes to watch it and it made me feel like I was home watching it with my own family :)
Watching General Conference with familie Verdegem! Kimberly recently served in this mission too and just returned home, and she is a dear friend of mine. So it really felt like home to watch Conference at her house with her family :) left to right: President Eyring, Sister Robbins, Kimberly, and I :)
I felt encouraged to keep up the good gospel habits that lead to continued conversion- prayer, scripture study, church attendance- and there is a great quote from president Uchtdorf: "Ëxaltation is our goal, discipleship is our journey" that I want to internalize. There is a grand and glorious future that awaits us. We can find joy and fulfillment now as we stay on the path, press towards the light, hold fast to the habits that safeguard our testimonies and cherish the family relationships that lead us there. I am also grateful for the testimonies of mothers and families! I am so thankful that I have been blessed with a wonderful mom, dad, siblings, extended family and friends who are family :)

I know we are led by apostles and prophets on the earth today. I know the Gospel was restored through Joseph Smith, and that God sees fit to accomplish His marvelous work through mortals. I am so grateful for the peace and assurance that I feel through the knowledge of God's love!

Love you all, everyone! Have a wonderful week.

Liefs, Zuster Voss

Going to Gent!

I cannot believe that all of the things that happened this week, actually happened this week. We had a fun p-day in Mechelen, zone training on Tuesday, Sister's Conference on Saturday, and then we received transfer calls on Sunday night.
Starting a new day in Belgium. Sun in the morning at Dordrecht station. #mybeautifulmission
I suppose transfer news is the most pressing. I will be going to.... GENT! with sister Robbins, my beloved MTC companion. It has been our dream to be companions in the field since we were together in the MTC, but I was starting to lose faith that it would happen. We are super excited. However, I m also sad to be leaving Turnhout after only a short two transfers here. I am sad to leave Sister Young - we have learned and grown a lot together. I am staying in Belgium though, so luckily there will be chances to see all these people I love again!

I'll miss Zuster Young.

This week was an emotional and spiritual roller coaster (achbaan!) for me. I learned some important lessons while going through some rocky lows and glorious highs. I received some counsel and had a spiritually instructive moment, where Heavenly Father really showed me my weaknesses, and I was shocked. Sure, I knew I wasn't perfect - but it was hard and painful to accept the flaws. When what I want and try so hard for is to do and be good, why is the path so fraught with road bumps, mistakes, and failure? I took it too far though and let myself fall into despair, and felt like I accomplished nothing this entire transfer. So that was confusing and difficult.

But ultimately, when Heavenly Father teaches us, it is a message of hope, and invitation to repentance, becoming more, and reaching our potential. With the help of my wonderful companion and many other loving friends, I was also able to see my strengths, the positive things that I did accomplish with the help of the Lord in this past trasnfer. I realized that yes, I tried to take on too much when I should have listened better to Heavenly Father help me to make priorities. However, what is imporant is that I learned how much I absolutely need to rely on the grace of my Savior! It really is impossible to go through without Him. If feeling lost and disappointed is what it took for me to learn that important lesson, it was worth it. With Christ, my strengths are magnified. Without, my weaknesses (pride, perfectionism, anxiety) are more prominent. I needed to stop putting up walls to hide my imperfections and be willing to be vulnerable, and admit them so that I could work on overcoming them. Thus this week was a bit exhausting, but so wonderful to learn about the atonement.

Zone training was on Tuesday, and it was an opportunity for me and the zone leaders (Elder Hirsch and Elder Bernier) to relay to the others missionaries the vision for the mission based on our leadership council with President and Sister Bunnell and the APs and to provide training, together with the district leaders. It was a cool experience and worked out really well. I was a bit nervous about presenting, but the spirit took over and I am grateful that it worked out. I was training on using the scriptures - in our own lives, and in lessons with investigators. I also learned a lot and took a lot away from zone training, so that was wonderful overall!

On Monday , we went to Mechelen, a beautiful little city between Antwerpen and Leauven. They sweetly provided a delicious pancake breakfast and then we all climbed a huge tower and saw some huge bells chiming on the hour. from the top, you could see Brussels in one direction and Antwerpen in the other. It was a clear day and a beautiful view! So that was a really fun cultural/physical p-day activity. It was 538 steps to the top of the tower! A decent little hike. It was really fun. We are 100% focused on our tasks and work all the other days of the week, so a chance to relax and a change of pace on p-days is always refreshing- especially when it is in good company!
Huge bell in Mechele

Sister Young and I worked together in Turnhout this week. We found some new interested people, including one awesome youg Belgian girl who is already religious but wants to learn more about what God has in store for her. We taught her the message of the Restoration and she completely accepted everything. I love meeting people who are prepared!
With Sis Caldwell :-) (Dad note) This is one of the creepiest photobombs I have seen in some time...
On Saturday we had Sister's Conference at the mission home in Leidschendam. That was also a really rewarding, uplifting experience. We did service projects together, and the sister training leaders and the Bunnells were able to present thoughts and training about whatever we were inspired to share. I tried to express my grattude for humiltity and the peace that comes from seeing ourselves with the proper perspective - as God sees us. So that went well! It was lovely to see all of the sisters. there are so many amazing sisters in this mission!
Sister Conference friends!

Yesterday afternoon was funny. A young man came up and started talking to us at a bus stop, and I think he was more interested in us than in our message... nevertheless, we gave him a card and invited him to look up the website haha. We were laughing about it as we walked away and I had the idea to knock doors on a street we were passing- we started, and found an interested lady who made an appointment to meet next week at the second door! so that was pretty cool.

I hope you all had a wonderful week. I love and miss you all. As we prepare for General Conference, I hope our minds and hearts can be open to God's counsel for us individually. I am so grateful that we have prophets to lead and guide us in these latter days :)

All my love, Zuster McKinney Voss
Sister Hopkin made all these cupcakes! she is so talented.
(Dad note) - Zuster Young had some great commentary on the week that I thought I would share highlighting a couple of adventures from the week. Enjoy!

  • Knocking door on Tramstraat when we hear a banging noise. Look down the street and a woman is trying to kick down a door. People in the apartment looking out the window trying to talk to her. She is just flipping people off. With no luck on the door she moves onto the windows and kicks out the windows! Dude it felt like I was watching a scene from a movie! A small crowd of people watching on the other side of the street, woman on the 3rd floor calling the police, a group of 11 year old girls on their bikes asking us what is happening and sitting gossiping about the whole incident. Could not believe my eyes... I will admit I was laughing... mostly at the commentary coming from the peanut gallery of my companion. "I just witnessed vandalism." "This world needs more peace." Oh it was very eventful. Yet it was interesting to see the neighbors come out and help this woman. I do not the story, or the motives, she clearly was hurt and those were the actions she took to handle them. But the neighbors helped her and she stayed and with their help cleaned up the glass. The police came and she went with them. Cool to see neighbors jump out and help. 
  • After an appointment, there was an old bike with what looked like a terribly uncomfortable bike seat. I pointed it out and Zr. Voss was touching the bike seat and then a woman walked out... she was the owner. We all unlocked our bikes in an awkward silence. Man I was trying so hard to not laugh. 
  • Belgium. Where the rain is typical. And twice this week we got soaked through to the ondergoeden and had to go home and change. Just gotta love biking in the rain that starts as a drizzle which then it pours and there is no point in pulling overbecause youre already soaked. 

Random Pictures from Sister's Conference: