Zuster Fox?

Zuster Fox?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Heldhaftig, Vastberaden, Barmhartig

What a pleasure this last week and a half in Amsterdam has been, and how sad that my time here and my entire mission are ending. Here are my last thoughts and reflections as well as a summary of my brief time here in this fabulous city. The title of this post is Amsterdam's motto- heroic, resolute, merciful. I hope to be able to embody those traits when I get home too!
Goodbye Beautiful Nederland!
I don't know if spring suddenly started when I came to Amsterdam or if it's just a lot warmer because I came south- probably both. In any case, it has been beautiful, Sunny on a couple of days, and the daffodils and crocuses are blooming enthusiastically. Tulips are on sale again in the flower stands everywhere, and it's just a joy to be alive! This is a busy, unique city with wonderful people. I loved meeting everyone in this international ward on Sunday and I have enjoyed talking with the variety of people we pass on the Streets everyday- a business woman from Israel who was familiar with the BYU Jerusalem center, a student from Spain, a young Dutch woman named Ilsa who finds happiness in her family. I will miss not having and excuse to talk to and get to know everyone I see!
Bell Ups

Dutch Cow
We have a had a great week here in Amsterdam- teaching an atheist young adult who was open and willing to pray, searching for purpose in his life, and sharing the message of the restoration with a mother of three boys. Basically, I just love teaching and talking to people and helping them come closer to Christ. I am determined to continue to do so throughout my life, regardless of whether I'm a full time missionary or not.

We went to the little Dutch town of Volendam with the assistants last p-day and really enjoyed soaking in the traditional atmosphere. We have also enjoyed playing sports with the other missionaries here in the mornings. It's more fun with a big group!

Working in a trio with Zuster Ramirez and Zuster Twiggs has been a blast. They are both dedicated, consecrated, obedient missionaries, and I have learned a lot from both of them and we have had so much fun together! I will miss them. I know the work here in Amsterdam is well taken care of in their hands!

Now for my mission review. It is so difficult to believe that these 18 months are over. I've had a lot of wonderful experiences as well as trying times on my mission. I've biked through rain and snow to get o appointments and I've walked through pleasant green parks in the summer talking to people. I truly did everything I could to share this message, even when it was hard or I was scared or I didn't feel like it. I not only got through it but I found tremendous joy in the journey because I know WHY I came; for Christ, because I love Him. And I have felt His love and developed my own love for the Dutch and Belgian people as I have served them, gotten to know and laughed with them- they have become my family. I will miss them, and a piece of my heart will always be here.

I've learned a lot about faith, obedience and humility. I have learned to be bold. I have learned how to repent and completely give everything to my Savior. I have learned a lot and changed thanks to the positive influence of each of my wonderful companions. I know I was assigned to them and to each area by inspiration. I am convinced that these friendships will span the eternities, and I know that my mission has changed my life forever.

I'm grateful for the wonderful missionaries, members, and investigators in Assen, Den Haag, Turnhout, Gent, Leeuwarden and Amsterdam. I'm grateful to my companions Sisters Woodbury, Dobler, Bradley, Hopkin, Goodman, Young, Robbins, Jaramillo, Kimmons, Ramirez and Twiggs. I love them! I'm grateful for the support from and prayers of friends and family at home. I have been so blessed. I'm excited for the future, though my heart aches that I have to leave this behind. I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and that we can communicate with Him through sincere prayer. I know He sent His Son Jesus Christ to save us, and that Christ lives. I know His church was restored to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith and that we are led by a prophet today. I know that families can be together forever. and I know that "We are made of the stuff of eternity. Endings are not our destiny."(President Uchtdorf). This isn't an ending. Everything good in this life will continue forever, thanks to the mercy and love of Jesus Christ. I place my hope and trust in Him.

Kaas! (Cheese factory)

Mijn geliefde Nederlandse en Belgische broeders en zusters, Ik weet dat deze dingen waar zijn. Ik hou van jullie allemaal. Bedankt voor dit schitterend reis. Ik ben dankzij jullie voor eeuwig veranderd. Tot ziens <3


Zuster McKinney Voss
Not going home...

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Well, just a quick update. We switched our p-day to Saturday so we can go explore Volendam with the Assistants to the President.
All the departing missionaries in the mission home with Pres and Sis Bunnell
This week has been an emotional roller coaster. I was able to say goodbye to everyone in Leeuwarden, and we had a couple of nice last dinner appointments. On Tuesday night I finished packing and on Wednesday reported to the mission office! It was a flurry of activity with the other departing missionaries, weighing suitcases, being interviewed... I think my favorite moments were those where we took some time to just play the piano and sing hymns together to calm down. We truly had a great, fun group of people- Sisters Watts, Robbins, Bush and I, from our Original MTC group, with Elders Frederico, Conatti, Neptune, Evans and Heinricks. We said goodbye to other missionaries, and then headed together to the mission home. We enjoyed our last supper there together, a wonderful meal Sister Bunnell prepared for us, and then sat down for a testimony meeting. It was so inspiring to feel the strength of the spirits and testimonies of these incredible individuals at the end of their mission experiences.
Sae pic without the Bunnells
Our last meal at the mission home,Sister Bunnell leaning in to be in the picture :)

Last district meeting a the Romig's

We had a nice evening there together and then went to bed to prepare for an early morning. We ate breakfast and knelt in a family prayer together before heading to the office to pick up Luggage and accompanying the missionaries flying out to the airport. It was difficult to say goodbye and hurt my heart, but I was also full of gratitude that I got to know these incredible missionaries. Watching them walk away past security, I had the feeling that I was watching noble,valiant soldiers walk away from the battlefield after having given their all and fought their fight- after having accomplished the work they were sent to do. It was inspiring! A couple other missionaries were picked up by their parents, and it was so fun to meet them.
Fun at the mission office before leaving haha (Dad comment: photobombing to the end - I'm so proud of that girl!)

Airport goodbyes

A not so serious picture with Zus Watts
Playing and singing together to calm down in the midst of all the departing hubbub
And then... I was off to Amsterdam! I love working with Sister Ramirez and Sister Twiggs. Being in a trio is a blast. Our matching white helmets weaving in and out of the crazy traffic here... We've already had some cool and miraculous experiences working, finding and teaching here, and it's only been a couple days! I'm glad we still have another week together!
Amsteram adventures with Sister Ramirez and Sister Twiggs!

I know this church is true. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't. I love this mission, and I have become someone better and more Christlike because of it.

All my love, Zuster Voss

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Getting ready to depart

Well, this is almost it. This Wednesday I report to the office for departing ceremonies there with the other missionaries leaving in my group. I'll remain in the mission actually for the next two weeks in the little known city of... Amsterdam!!! And then my parents will come get me, and shortly thereafter I'll be home. So strange!
What a mission does to a pair of boots...
Dad Note: Shoes worn out in the Service of the Lord!
This past week was great. We were able to gather, simultaneously with missionaries all over the world, to watch the worldwide missionary broadcast. It was inspiring and uplifting! The theme was "teach repentance and baptize converts."We are taught that conversion is a continuing process, as is repentance. We are all constantly striving to turn our hearts to God. If potential converts understand that before baptism, they will already be converted when they are baptized. Repentance is critical for each of us- because we all make mistakes. But we can be free of that burden of sin and be made new. That is what baptism and the sacrament offer! We were instructed as to how we can teach that doctrine more clearly, and I am certain that it will influence retention as those who are baptized truly understand the covenant they are making and have already committed to follow Christ.

Another highlight of the week was with Catherine, Who has been baptized now for a month and a half and is still going strong. The missionaries review all the lessons with converts after baptisms, and we're trying an approach with her where we all study a lesson and then she teaches it to us. She taught us the Restoration incredibly well, and then afterwards remarked that she wished that everyone had this knowledge of God's love. We then asked her if she could think of anyone specifically that she wanted to share it with, and she immediately thought of two neighbors who she wants to visit with us to share this message. It was such a cool moment, the Spirit was strong in prompting her to think of them, and we got two referrals. I love to see that the natural fruits of receiving this happy knowledge is the desire to share it with those we love. After all, that's why I'm here! And the Dutch and Belgian people have truly become those that I love <3
Eating at the Pannekoek Schip!
My miracle sweet stroopwafels
Snow again
At the Romigs
Saying goodbye to members here in Leeuwarden yesterday was sad, but they are so wonderful. I am so grateful I got to serve here in this special area. And I am grateful for technology that makes staying in touch with everyone possible!

Today is my last p-day in Leeuwarden, so Sister Kimmons and I embarked on an adventure this morning to bike out to the doop monument- the monument that marks the place that the first converts of the Church in Nederland were baptized in a canal. We biked for about an hour through beautiful Farmland and were blessed with lovely weather... I'm glad I got to see it! Missionary work has a rich history in this country.
The Doop monument!

Have a wonderful week everyone! Repent daily and find that peace in Heavenly Father. I'm grateful to still be here, but looking forward to seeing you all soon.

All my love, Zuster McKinney Voss
Unhealthy but delicious breakfast: Chocolate Cruesli :)

Time is Short...

It's alarming how little time there is left now. What happened to the time at the beginning of my mission when I saw 18 months stretching out into eternity ahead of me? As excited as I am to be reunited with family and friends at home, I have loved and cherished this unique time on a mission. I have learned so much about myself and the Gospel, and have found lifelong friends and adopted family here in Belgium and the Netherlands. I am eager to serve them with everything I've got for the next couple of weeks, while I still can!
The elders borrowed our bikes but forgot our helmets, so we had to ride without them until we could retrieve them. So we took a picture... It felt so weird not to have them!
We had a great week. President Bunnell has been encouraging us to set and strive for inspired goals over the past few weeks. I love the purposeful, planned approach to missionary work- there is a good, better, and best way to go about things, and being efficient and then working hard is a great way to feel fulfilled!

We had a lesson with the miracle man we found in the ice and rain last week, and he loved the first lesson. When we gave him a Book of Mormon, he was almost shocked that we were offering him something so valuable, and made sure that we both had our own copies at home before he was willing to accept it. I've never had that happen before... And he was eager to read it. Wonderful!
Cows are important to Friesland. Don't worry, no idol worship. 
Funny article. (Headline translated is "Beautiful Assassin")
We also had zone training this week. It was weird to be the "dying" missionary- Elder Frederico and the Romigs and I all had to bear our last testimonies, which was somewhat intimidating. How do you sum up in a few minutes 18 months worth of experiences? But it's amazing how the Spirit guides, and I think we all said some things that surprised us. For me, as I was talking, one of the things I said was Ï know Heavenly Father is proud of the work I've done here." I wouldn't have thought to say that, but I do feel that it's true, and I'm grateful for that confirmation! Further, the zone training was an excellent and inspired evening of instruction from our great zone leaders and sister training leaders. I'm determined to apply what they shared with us. It's never too late to improve!
Zone Training Friends
We also went on exchanges with the Apeldoorn sisters, and I was with Sister Twiggs. It was an adventure getting around, but we saw miracles and had a good time!

Another miracle this week was when we went to visit a girl who had ordered a DVD from the church about a month ago. In general, the policy is to contact these referrals as soon as possible. However, she lives in a dorp about an hour away from Leeuwarden in the middle of nowhere, so it took some time for us just to figure out how to get there. When we finally did last week, we were surprised to discover that the DVD, which is normally delivered through the mail, had never come! So we returned this week, and found her waiting and eager to receive us. In the meantime, she had done tons of online research about the church and had a positive impresseion. We watched the DVD with her, and she asked tons of questions that led to us teaching her the complete message of the Restoration. I wasn't sure if she would really be interested in anything more, but it felt right, so at the end of the lesson I still extended to her the invitation to be baptized. She enthusiastically affirmed that if she received an answer, she absolutely would. She knows there is something out there but wasn't sure what, so it was a joy to testify to her that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and that she could communicate with Him through prayer. We are excited to continue working with her!
We were both born in Texas! Sister Kimmons shows her Texan pride by proudly hanging the flag in every apartment.
Further... Life is fantastic. Even when it doesn't aways go how we plan, I know that through Christ we can continue to feel peace. John 14:27- the peace He offers us is entirely different than what the world offers. I have felt that peace even in turbulent times, and I know it's accessible to all of us.

Have a wonderful week! Ik hou van jullie.


Zuster McKinney Voss

Monday, January 25, 2016


Well, this has been one of the craziest weeks of my mission, weather-wise! But it made it pretty exciting. Sister Kimmons and I really enjoyed playing in the snow on our p-day last Monday-- I took her sledding for her first time, and we had a snowball fight- it was delightful!
Biking in the snow.
However, that night, everything FROZE. We woke up to what I imagine was a pretty realistic recreation of the winter wonderland Elsa created in Frozen. But of course, as naïve missionaries with no access to the internet, we had no idea how bad it really was. All we knew was that the parking lot of our building was one solid sheet of ice, but we were determined to get to district meeting, as usual. So we joined the many throngs of people walking (biking and driving were sketchy) and made or way to the station and caught one of the few and infrequent trains to Groningen that day. It wasn't until we got there and were informed that there were no buses running at all in the entire province that we realized how bad the actual situation was, and it was around that time that our leaders called, concerned about us traveling. But we were already in Groningen... So our district leaders walked with us to the Romig's and we all had lunch and a short district meeting, before President Bunnell called and asked that we all go to the houses of the Groningen missionaries and remain inside for the rest of the day due to the weather situation.
Skating on the street.
As it turns out, it was a code red weather emergency, declared for all of the Northern Netherlands. In the word's of Elder Bonner, one of the APs, "They drew a line across the top of the country and everything above that line is in super duper ice danger. And you are above that line." Woohoo! unaware missionary life. So slipping and sliding, we made our way with the Groningen sisters to their apartment, past the children literally ice skating on the Streets and pulling each other in sleds. We did our best to have a productive afternoon studying inside, and it was a really fun unexpected sleepover situation, we were glad we made the best of it!

Wednesday, the weather was similar. School and everything was cancelled in this part of the country, and buses and trains were not running much better. Getting back to Leeuwarden and one appointment here were the most productive things we could safely manage on that day. A bit frustrating to be stuck inside, but again, we did our best to plan and prepare and use the time well.

Thursday was a miracle day. The weather was as menacing as ever- still slippery, icy, cloudy, freezing and rainy, not a significant improvement from the previous couple of days, and all the appointments we had planned cancelled, even those with members, and I don't blame them- transportation was still unreliable. But we were still determined to go out! Looking out our window did not make me very excited, but we sat down and planned who we could visit and where we could go in the area, and got out and got to work.

And it was incredible! Everyone we talked to that day was positive and kind. We had set the goal to find at least three potential investigators by the end of the day, and we made it! One of the first miracles was Jetske- a sweet woman we started talking to just as we were walking. We asked her what brought her happiness, and after an insightful answer, she actually asked us the same question back! Very thoughtful, and a first for me on my mission. We had a good conversation, but she had to continue on. However, a little bit later, we ran into each other in the neighborhood again! this time she felt impressed to invite us to her home, so we walked with her there, and it was such a tender mercy. We were so cold, and so we were able to warm up with some herbal tea, and she had tons of questions that led to us being able to share the Restoration with her.

Another miracle occurred as we were walking in the misty freezing rain. We began talking with a young man who was amazed by the missionary work we do, and eager to tell us his own conversion story and belief in God. It was inspiring to hear his testimony, and we shared ours. In the end, we said a prayer together before parting, exchanged information, and we have an appointment with him this week to share more. So cool.

That evening we dropped by a former investigator who we hadn't heard from in a couple of months. She was home but exhausted from her internship and children. However, we were able to persuade her to let us help her at least fold laundry, which we happily did together for a little while, and she offered us dinner as well. By the time we left with a prayer, she was much less overwhelmed, and the Spirit was strong. It wasn't a lesson, but it was the kind of simple service I feel like Christ would have offered, and we were happy to have been at the right place at the right time to help her.

So yeah! Heavenly Father definitely helped us overcome the weather and stay safe that day, and I am humbled by the miracles we saw. the next day, the temperatures rose (from -6 Celsius to 10 degrees! pretty dramatic) and the snow and ice was like a bad dream, and normal life resumed. The moral of Frozen is true... love thaws :) But it was all pretty exciting!

The rest of our week went well too! Another investigator we hadn't seen for a while surprisingly just showed up at church, so that was cool! We re-established contact and should be meeting again this week. Also, I gave a talk in church- probably my last as a missionary. Such a strange feeling!

All is well in Zion! It's hard to believe that these 18 months are ending, that it's less than a month that I have left here in these beautiful countries! But I am inspired and encouraged to keep working hard, to give everything I have until the end.

I love you all! have a wonderful week. Love, Sister Voss