Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Queen Bee馃悵

Want to know what's the bee's knees?

Transfer news is in! Sister Platt is out while I stay here in Rattling Rego Park, Queens! I will have for a companion the precious Sister Reeves. I am looking forward to this next transfer with great anticipation.
Our District Squad takes rad photos
As for exciting news: on Saturday our Ward Mission Leader got married!!!!! It was the most thrilling, sweet, exciting, wonderful thing ever.

They are the cutest couple ever. You could feel the love they had for each other as they looked into each other's eyes. I have to say that no two members in my mission have taken as good care and loved us the missionaries as them in my mission. Seeing them together finally as husband and wife was such a blessing. God has so many blessings in store for them.
Wuv, twue wuv is what bwings us together today.
I love Hispanic weddings/parties because of all the dancing. Our Elders were essentially the groomsmen and they did a dancing number with our WML (simple, but epic). And then he did one with his wife (also one of my very favorite members btw) and they started with none other then a Grease song! "You better shape up, cause I need you here with me, and my heart is set on you!... the one that I want ooh you are the one I want ooh ooh ooh."

They were also sealed in the temple earlier that day. It is so amazing to me that the Lord can seal families to be together forever here on this earth for beyond in the eternities.

*Sigh....* it was so romantic and lovely. From the tulle-draped room to the vanilla raspberry-filled cake.

Quotes of the week:

"Six months to supersize right here!" Me whilst drinking a Coca-Cola Slurpee on a very hot morning. (For context: a typical phrase in the mission is 'six months to sexy' for those who are preparing to go home and want to look good)

"Why, I think someone was scared right out of their shoes!" Sister Platt upon discovering a deserted pair of large male crocs on the sidewalk.

"Um... no. Sorry, but no." Me when, after sitting next to a man in the subway, I shook his hand and he tried to kiss mine. I awkwardly stood up afterwards and moved across the aisle. It was then that I realized he was terribly drunk. Unfortunate, isn't it?

"You got my back?" Me. In Queens it is a common practice to collect stickers one finds around the city. I found one on a pole and I hopped up and was holding myself with one hand and my feet wrapped around the pole while Sister Platt put a hand on my back and helped me as I peeled off the sticker to add it to my collection. It worked, though! :)
Exchanges are fun :-)
Also, I love Marcia a lot.
Siria joined squad.
My trainee and her other trainee!

Pensamiento Espiritual:

Yo he estado pensando mucho en lo que Dios tiene planificado para cada uno de nosotros. Antes de mi misi贸n le铆 un discurso en que uno de los ap贸stoles dijo que normalmente pensando en el fin de la misi贸n de una persona le ayuda a saber d贸nde los misioneros necesitan ir. Entonces, yo pienso en esto con las vidas de nosotros. Yo s茅 que Dios sabe nuestro potencial y que 脡l est谩 poniendo las retas y personas y situaciones en nuestros vidas que nos va a llevar a este punto. No hay ninguna duda para m铆 que Dios nos ama y nos va a ayudar y cuidar en cada momento de nuestros vidas.

Les quiero much铆simo,

Hermana Ally Voss

Home is Where the Spirit Is

This was a very lovely week. One of the highlights was getting to have a Sister Training Leader Meeting with Sister Reynolds and the other seven lovely STLs in the mission. We learned a lot and gained a lot of advice, and moreover were able to eat Cafe Rio-style pork barbacoa salads. It was quite tasty if I do say so myself.
Polaroid of the Rego Park 2 District


What was sad is that our mission nurse Sister Petersen is leaving and we all (the mission) made notes which Sister McDowell and Sister Reeves combined into a precious binder to give to her. We walked over and took our notes to her which was a bit heart breaking, but I know that she will also enjoy her life back in Utah. We will just miss her quite a lot here in New York. <\3

We got a few New Investigators this week and one of the investigators had lovely music playing in the background of our lesson. All of the music seemed to correspond with what we were saying as well. So it was an epic, dramatic, lesson.

Another New Investigator had a daughter than enjoyed pulling hair, hitting newborn babies, and pushing cats off of chairs. While slightly unfortunate, everyone made it out of the lesson only slightly frazzled and mostly alive.

Food Recommendations: Have you ever tried the tamales on 82nd? They have salsa verde, salsa roja, dulce, queso, picante, and every kind you could ever want. They are also authentically Mexican, and one of the hands-down most amazing things I have ever had the pleasure to eat in my life. I love tamales, though. If you are ever in Jackson Heights or Corona (not the beer, the city), I would animate you to try them. You'll never go back. (Can you animate someone to try something in English? Is that proper English?)

Exchanges with Sisters Amaro and Stubbs were quite excellent. They are wonderful, hard-working sisters. Training companionships are the best companionships. :) I'm only slightly partial to my two experiences.
Exchanges!!


Funny Story:

We often teach families in which the children of the Spanish-speaking parents speak little to no Spanish. In this case we frequently teach in English for the benefit of the kids. In one such circumstance we were reading a story in the Book of Mormon about Nephi and his brothers going back into Jerusalem to get the golden plates. Now, in English Nephi is pronounced phonetically n膿´f墨. Now keep in mind that his mother is Hispanic and they go to church in Spanish. In Spanish Nephi is spelled Nefi and is pronounced Ne-fee. 'Ne' as in the first sound in 'Nettles' and fee as in '*Fee* fie foe fum I smell the blood of an Englishman.'

We all take turns reading and when we get to Nephi's name Sister Platt and I pronounced it the English way. The moment I said Nephi's name the little boy Phillip (name changed) turned around and said, "why do you say Nephi? It's Nefi." I corrected myself and we continued to take turns reading. The next time Sister Platt tripped up and Phillip muttered under his breath, "It's Nefi." Unfortunately I slipped up yet again a while later and Phillip said, "I just don't understand! Why do you keep saying Nephi? It's Nefi!" We explained apologetically that we were just really bad at pronouncing his name and that it was our fault. He looked very impatient and told us we ought to learn how to properly pronounce it.
My face when the elevator is broken and we live on the sixth floor.
More sad faces
Miracles?? Well, we somehow always manage to pray really hard on the weekends when we aren't hitting our goals, and then we hit them. But in terms of something that touched me was this week is that I had the impression to walk down a street that a Less Active from Otavalo lived in, and we not only saw him and his family, but a member who had just moved here from Ecuador. He saw us out of the corner of his eye and sprinted to meet us and asked us where the church was. We gave him the address, and he came to church and as he was looking at the paintings he said, "I really miss the spirit here. It's home." I know that home isn't necessarily a specific place, but home is the feeling of the spirit. Because our true home is with God, and when we feel the spirit, we are with God even if for just a moment. I know this church is true.

Love,

Hermana Ally Voss

Monday, September 4, 2017

How Far Away Does That Plane Look?

¡Hola Familia!

One year ago today (August 8th) a slightly scared, but very excited, missionary stepped off a stairway in LaGuardia into New York. Today the same missionary, now confident and excited, awaits a temple trip into Manhattan.
Pretty sure the BOM is the most Legendary of all.


Have I really been in New York for a year? Have *we* really been in New York for a year? (Shoutout to everyone who came in with me). Impossible! Theoretically a year ago today I was in the mission home with no idea that I was about to go into Brooklyn for my training experience with Sister Gourley. No idea that a year later I would be in Rego Park. I am so grateful for this year. A celebratory temple trip is a perfect way to commemorate the occasion, with many of my beloved fellow missionaries accompanying me. :)

With the nostalgia of looking back on my mission, I want to share how much I will miss my trainer Sister Gourley as she leaves the mission for her home. A year ago tomorrow we got lost, locked out, and rescued by Elder Creager and Elder Weisler (bless their hearts). Sis. Gourley helped me learn how to be an obedient and hard-working missionary, and got me through those first few months wonderfully. Sister Gourley has made such a difference in my mission. :) I love her.
Shout Out to Sis Gourley!
In terms of housekeeping, we only got second to the Elders for the Clean Home Award in Zone 5. (Get it? Housekeeping? Like, legitimate housekeeping??)
This was supposed to be a really nice Manhattan skyline picture but
the Elder Creager's face got in the way. :/
We ate Chick-Fil-A at Mission Leadership Council of Friday which was most marvelous. I ate a full two chicken sandwiches along with waffle fry chips. We (Sister Platt and I) also sang a song at MLC. It probably sounded mediocre, but it was kind of fun to do. Stressful, but fun. I adore MLC. I get to see all my favorite missionaries, including President and Sister Reynolds!
Mission Leadership Council Crew.
Patriarch Rappleye from my Lynbrook Stake (from near Mineola) came
to Rego Park! What a treat.
Sister Petersen is not allowed to leave!
I heard another fun story this week I would enjoy narrating as the spiritual thought:

A man walked down a busy New York sidewalk. It was a fine day and when he turned the corner he saw a white, folded slip of paper lying on the ground. Thinking it was another pamphlet from the Jehovah's Witness or some sort the man continued on his way.

This man was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, though, and he knew when the spirit was talking to him. It told him to go back and pick up the slip. Obedient, he walked back and picked up the slip. And guess what was on it? A number? A winning lottery card? A name?

Nope. It was blank. A plain, white, boring, folded slip of paper.

Now, internally this man was a bit upset. 'But, I felt the spirit,' he thought. 'I know that it was the Holy Ghost talking to me....' He sighed and continued down the street until he arrived home.

He rehearsed what had happened to his wife. She sat and thought for a bit and then said, "Well, what if it was the Holy Spirit testing you? If you wouldn't have responded to such a little prompting now, how could it give you bigger promptings later?" The man knew his wife was correct, and that these little experiences really did prepare him to be more attune to the spirit at every moment in his life.

I want to testify that when we really try to listen with our hearts, the Holy Ghost will guide us, and that if we are obedient to every prompting in the moment in which it is given that we will have an over-abundance of happiness and blessings poured down upon us in our lives. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

With love,

Hermana Ally Voss

P.S. and the answer to the title question is about 5-ish months away. Ahhh.
Exchanges with Sisters Thomas and Allen part II
Temple trip with all of my favorites❤️ 
 The temple has a new set of original oil paintings that are just lovely.
Temple companion picture馃巰

What if I don't talk to them? What if I do?

Hello,

It has been a veritable eternity since I have last written. Since the temple trip (and we have another one next Tuesday to celebrate our one-year-anniversary) much has happened. For example: I received a lovely one-year-old card from my family. It says I am "special and sweet and cute," which is nice.
Sister Platt and I at church the day I gave a talk on charity.


Moreover, I visited Great Neck yesterday in Mineola's area for a doctor's appointment. And let me say: there is a reason that Mineola is a car area. We went from a 7 train so rickety I worried it might fall off the tracks to the N20G bus to Great Neck. While the bright orange bus presented less of a threatening ambiance than the train, it zoomed by half of the stops without hesitating, leaving us to scramble to assure our stop was pushed. The half mile interval between each of the stops left us a bit unwilling to wait until the next. The appointment went well and I met a woman named Maryn (who pronounced it Maren like my mother) in the waiting area who was very kind. The lady who took my blood must have been a bit more intense than the others because the spot from which she took blood bled quite a bit more than normal. I took the gauze off of my arm and saw enough blood for a bullet wound (probably not that much, but a decent amount all the same). Perhaps it was because I was tense?

Interviews took place in the mission office yesterday. As I sat in the office, pictures of Mission Presidents gone by and the current Mission President drew me to think a bit more than I usually do. President had me reflect on my mission and the attributes I have acquired therein. It was a wonderful opportunity for me. Two-thirds of the way into my mission, but it already feels like in some ways it is coming to a close. Now I have to work my behind off in these last 20 weeks to make sure I have done all that I possibly can.
The Mission Office is the only place that has AC in Rego. Thus all
the missionaries. 
Skyping with Bermuda is not as fun as going to Bermuda but still nice.
We didn't sail the seven seas but we ate there! 
The sunset over the METS stadium.
We had three exchanges this week, with the Bermuda sisters (Skype exchange), the Far Rockaway sisters, and the Rego sisters. Sister Persinger has an obsession with Hamilton and goes to ComicCon every year which is awesome, and Sister Allen loves Disney. Sister Thomas inspires me to go to Hawaii, and Sister Grimsman inspires me to become an artist. Sisters Wuthrich and Maldonado just look like they are on vacation every day, which is cool.
Tornado Crepe deliciousness in Corona. 
People let the fire hydrants go free here.

Which sadly wastes a lot of water but it is for a good purpose, right...?
One tender mercy happened two Fridays ago. We were fruitlessly knocking with a member before a lesson and I saw a family walking past on the street behind us. I let them walk away and got this feeling that I should talk to them but I ignored it for a bit. I kept feeling it but we were knocking doors which I thought was what the Lord wanted from me at that moment so I simply put off the feeling (also known as ignoring the prompting of the Holy Ghost). And then they stopped, the little girl got something stuck and they paused. They were a good bit away at this point and I had a panicked feeling (the "what if I go to God after I die and have to account for not talking to this perfect little Hispanic family and I could have helped them change their lives" feeling) and then I just ran like a bullet to them and said, "¡Hola! ¿Ustedes han visto a los misioneros antes?" The mom looked shocked, then admitted she was a member who hadn't been to church since coming to this country.

We went to visit her on the following Monday night and as we were talking she admitted that the two days prior to us approaching her she had been praying harder than ever before in her life due to several severe trials in her life. She had seen us missionaries as they were passing by and not said a word, but "YOU came up to ME," she stated several times. She said that she knew that God had answered her prayers and that she needed the church back in her life. She shared her testimony of how God will answer our prayers in the exact moment He knows that we need an answer. It strengthened my testimony, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to teach her and her family. I know that God knows each of you and wants to answer your prayers.

I hope your next week is beautiful,

Hermana Ally Voss

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven

Hello all, 

I am writing this from the sweet comfort of my iPad. Yes! The iPads were returned this week. Also one might ask why I am sending a weekly out on Saturday, July 22nd.

We found Wonder Woman in Jamaica!

 I am pleased to say that Jos茅 Luis, Vanessa, and Karen were able to go to the temple as a family today. It was a wonderful experience to see them baptized for names they had found and to see the process of how they were able to find the names. In a year they will have an opportunity to go back to be sealed for time and all eternity. I am so grateful to my parents who set the example of having the temple as a goal for me so that now I am able to help others have the temple as a goal. I once heard a quote from Gordon B. Hinckley that said something to the effect of, "What seems to be a sacrifice today will one day prove to be the greatest investment you have ever made." I know that staying temple-worthy and getting ourselves to the temple is an amazing goal and will truly bless us far more than we can even imagine.

I last wrote on Monday, so my experiences have not been many. But the quotes have! "Congratulations! You look beautiful today." -our Super to us this morning. 
"You can't have million dollar blessings with a ten-cent prayer." -Elder Weisler quoting someone else. 
 "What you can't measure you can't manage." -President Reynolds. 

Mega-zone was this week. We tried talking to a return-missionary member about it and she had no clue of what we were talking. So to any who wonder, a mega-zone is the exact same thing as a zone Conference, we just have a different name for it in our mission. Just like how we say 'blinded in' instead of 'white-washing' or 'pink-washing' like some missionaries say in other missions. It was very inspiring to talk about finding, how to manage Area Book (taught by the now-Assistant Elder Brown who is my exemplar in all things Area Book - I was blessed to be able to see his Area Book in Mineola, it was more beautiful than any I had before seen), and how to make our mission culture more Christ-centered. It is always motivational.
Mega-zone馃槂
froyo w Hna Borges
This week we went to Richmond Hill, Queens for a meeting and on the way went through several subway stops in Jamaica. It was quite interesting and I saw many a weave, old subways, red-brick badly lit stations, and also a poor sick child who threw up next to us on the subway. The entire subway car teamed up to help the mom and I provided tissues, a girl down the car provided a plastic bag, an old lady gave a water bottle, and a man cleared up the mess with another water bottle. It was nice to see how everyone wanted to help the mom and her little boy, it kind of gave me hope to see all of the good people in the world.
Xoxo gossip girl.
What a fun red skirt, right?
I'm going to miss dear Sister Petersen.
It was wonderful getting to go to the temple with Jos茅 Luis, Vanessa, and Karen

After said meeting we exchanged with Sisters Romney and Borges. The poor things were terribly sick but still went out and worked hard! They are precious and beautiful sisters. The work with YSAs is difficult but I can also see how rewarding it is through what they say.
I think I have been a bit stressed this week. I would take to heart the suggestions of the book 'Adjusting to Missionary Life' and slow down by 10% except there's not enough time! To do everything one must do I have to speed up by 10% if I'm to be successful. Times like these teach me quite a bit about prioritizing. I can choose the good, the better, or the best. The best often requires sacrifice, but said sacrifices vale la pena. They are worth it. Like going to the temple. :) 

All my love, 

Hermana Ally Voss

That's Why They Call us Valiant

Crazy to think I hit my year mark in the mission this Thursday. I went into the MTC a year ago on Thursday. Time flies by, yes, but it also kind of feels like it has been a year. I am so grateful for what I have learned in that time. How I have learned to keep the language of the gospel forever in my life.
"No achievement in this life, important as it may be, will be relevant if we lose the language of the gospel in our families. It is my testimony that Heavenly Father will bless us in our efforts as we strive to embrace His language, even until we become fluent in this higher level of communication, which always was our mother tongue." -Valeri V. Cord贸n
My generation picture with Sister Chung's trainee Sister McAllister. 
In my last hours with Sister McDowell we went to the zoo, pet llamas, visited the Unisphere in Flushing-Meadows park and had a surprise birthday party/going away commemoration for me and Sister McDowell. All of our investigators came and we enjoyed strawberry shortcake, testimonies, and missionary-friendly fun (aka we played hot potato with a minion plush).
Sister Training Leaders and Sister Reynolds at MLC. :)
Las Super Hermanas de Rego Park 2.
Isn't this such a cute cake? Hermana Delucca is amazing.
  I have my new companion Sister Platt now. She is great! She loves to golf and she enjoys rock music (but not on the mission, never fear) and she is an excellent missionary. I am looking forward to having an "incredible" transfer.
Funny moment in Ward Council:
Primary President: "we have a problem. The kids go crazy after primary if their parents don't pick them up right away."
*nods of sympathy from the Young Women and Relief Society Presidents*
*men laugh*
PP: "Last time we lost [Juan] and I went to look for him and found him hanging onto the stair railing on the second floor by one hand, feet dangling in the air!" 
Bishop: "I guess that's why they call them valiant!"
Tender mercies (#bendiciones):
-After church on Sunday we were waiting by the bus stop and a member showed up in their car and asked if we wanted a ride and if we were going towards Jackson Heights. We were! #blessings
-We really wanted at least three new investigators last week and we got to Sunday night without #3 so we prayed really hard and ten minutes to nine we had a minutes long conversation in which we found a promising new investigator! #blessed
Raquel got baptizzled! The Elders were teaching her but I have a strong emotional attachment to her and Dasha.
The mission is fantastic. I wouldn't give up these experiences for anything else.
Sincerely,
Hermana Ally Voss

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Weekly 7/10 (my absolute favorite day of the year other than all my other favorite days) or "Just Don't Die in Tha Hood" (taken from a cool piece of grafitti this week)

Well, I am very sad to say Sister McDowell and I are doomed to forever only do one-and-dones. She is, as of this morning, OUT. :( I feel under-qualified to continue the work without her, but I pray that the Lord will help me and my new companion in our efforts to find, teach, and baptize the people here in New York.
Just don't die in tha hood!

Sadly, we learned that one of our most progressing investigators is moving! This week! I am a bit heartbroken, given the good relationship we have developed. However, I know the members of Staten Island will be good to her and I am praying for her continued success in the gospel in Staten.

Also, we have decided that one of our other most progressing investigators should probably be taught by the elders. Sadly, there are many needs of investigators that can sometimes only be met by different sets of missionaries. I feel confident that Elders Franco and Carlson will teach him well, though. And I look forward to his baptism in the next two weeks. :)

One of the Elder's investigators whom I love dearly is to be baptized this coming Saturday! She and her daughter have become dear friends to me and I look forward to seeing them continue to become a part of our wonderful ward. We also look forward to going to the temple with our recent convert Jose Luis in two weeks! It won't be the same without Sister McDowell, but I know that Jose's first time in the temple will be only augmented by what she taught him while she was here.
The Unisphere!
Pictures from the site of the 1964-1965 World's Fair!


Sister McDowell has taught me a lot. Charity, Christ-like service, and many ways to be more competent and successful in the work. I know as I follow her model and example I will be able to succeed in my mission and in many aspects of my life. So it is a sad day in some ways, but we have much to which we look forward. Please pray for our continued success in finding new people to teach in the coming weeks whom we can bring to church and help prepare for baptism. I want to start my second decade of life with a bang, so I am hoping we can work and work and work and teach and preach like missionaries do!
A lovely flower from the festival
More from World's Fair site
Pancake breakfast on July 4th!
A patriotic fire station!

It poured rain, but we still have to work...
Yesterday ended my teens with a fun finale as well. There was a Colombian flower festival on the street we live so we enjoyed proselyting with the many many Colombians who live near us. We received flowers and saw floats and many traditions from the town of Medell铆n. Moreover, I had the exquisite opportunity of petting a squirrel. It came up to me with a peanut in its mouth and I couldn't help but pet the cute thing. Also, we met an awesome potential who had a teacup maltese named Pnina. It was the best lapdog I have yet met in my life, given she sat on me and yet only took up maybe a quarter of the space she had. Of course my favorite part was her owner's willingness to learn the gospel. So many of the people here have true desires to follow Christ's plan for them.
Columbian Festival of Flowers

Cute dog from the festival. Can you guess  their flag colors?
To be repetitive, I have to again share of my gratitude for all the amazing people who worked to make our nation free. For those who died, for those who participated, and for those whose memories live on to this day. I have an especial amount of respect for George Washington, our first president. As we stood on our roof and watched the many fireworks fired off in Manhattan's firework show, I thought of how grateful I am for this country and how I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. Long live America and her religious freedom. <3

Quotes of the week

"I've always wanted to climb up the fire escapes onto the roof like they do in movies.... And today is the fourth of July... so, we could probably climb up onto the roof to see the show from Manhattan.... Can we please?" -me.
"That's why they say sight and sound. Cause if you can't see 'em and if you cant hear 'em, they're probably dead." -Hna. McDowell on me choking on a spree while she was in the bathroom.

I love you all! We are off to get crepes, and maybe to also go to Cheesecake Factory for strawberry shortcake and also to get a tie for our investigator and go to the lego store as per tradition and also to go to the zoo and maybe to go to the computers at the library to order a present for the Elder's investigator (did I mention I love her?) and for Hna. McDowell to send in her ecclesiatical endorsement, and for me to check when school starts.

Stay tuned for the next episode of: Just Don't Die in Tha Hood.

<3 Hermana Ally Voss