Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Sunday, February 19, 2017

"You can judge the other person... together"

Well, transfers have come yet again! It feels weird for me, since I was only kind of in my area. Also, you probably all feel like I was just talking about transfers. I swear this doesn't normally happen. Anywho, I'm in Mineola again as anticipated!
Gold lips, delicious food!

I really, really enjoyed my last week with Sister Tarnasky and Sister Valverde. I love so much about each of them. Sister Tarnasky and I harmonize in companionship study (and every other moment of the day when we sing). We sing Disney, Princess and the Pauper, church music, classical music, what have you. Sister Valverde understands my passion for classical music and we talk about our travels and where we want to go/live some day. We also discuss the Spanish program and how hilarious Hispanics can be. The fact that they both served in Bermuda for six months of their missions is interesting. I feel like I've lived in Bermuda through their experiences. I may never serve in Bermuda, but maybe one day I'll get to visit!

As this transfer comes to a close, I think about all the amazing people I've come to know. Serving in Little Neck was fun because I got to meet a lot of the English members in this area. The diversity in English-speakers always astounds me. I talked to military families, many families who are doing residencies, a darling young woman who lives up at the Merchant Marine Academy, Hispanic families, Filipino families, etc.

One of my favorite adventures of this week was visiting our member at the U.S. Merchant Marines Academy. As we drove in to the academy I saw the buildings and was immediately in awe. Marble buildings, a hall with flags that could have been straight out of Harry Potter, chapels and overlooks and huge open spaces for drills. Academic buildings, lovely dorms, statues and plaques. And yet, it was absolutely nothing compared to face when I saw the view over the ocean. Looking from Great Neck into Manhattan is a sight to behold - especially in the evening when the city is lit up. We viewed bridges that shone like stars, I saw skyscrapers illuminated against a stark black background. The water rippled and the boats in the harbor bobbed. It felt like a scene out of a movie. Seeing students walk around in uniform was especially beautiful. Their dedication to their country and to their education is amazing. They go over sea, they learn, they work, and they serve wholeheartedly. We were talking with our member a bit and she excitedly said she wanted to show us the chapel. It was a very reverent moment as we walked into the tall, majestic, pure white chapel. We stood silently as we took in the lit chapel in the dark and soundless night. I slowly turned so that I could see all of it. In hushed tones it was explained that every member of the academy who had died overseas was written in a book on the pulpit, and the pages were turned each day so that every person might have the chance to be seen. I thought that was lovely. I walked away from our visit to the Academy with so much respect for our military and what they do. God bless them. It reminded me of a quote by Elder Ballard, "Small events and choices determine the direction of our lives just as small helms determine the direction of great ships."

A couple of days ago we did an exchange with a trio of Korean sisters. So, as one might suppose, there were six of us. It was interesting making the trip work, but somehow we figured it out. We split the trios into our two areas as we worked. Sister Yu is amazing. We did a lot of knocking, and we actually taught a lesson in my pool (so in Spanish). Sister Yu had absolutely no idea what was going on, but she said that she felt the spirit, which I think is awesome. Even though we don't all speak the same language, we can all understand the language of the spirit.
The French Workshop in Flushing.
On our exchange we also went to an amazing bakery. If you are ready for a stellar recommendation here it is: The French Workshop. I had a creme brûlée which was simply to die for. Sister Valverde ate an oreo cheesecake. This place is so classy that they paint your plates with gold. It was really fun, actually, because the gold was liquid so we took the gold and painted it on our lips like lipstick. We even have pictures for evidence!

Another awesome part about this week was reflecting on Edgar's baptism and seeing him be confirmed a member. The reception of the gift of the holy ghost is so important, and seeing Edgar take that huge step was simply amazing. Having the spirit with us constantly reminds us what we have the obligation to do and will 100% always warn us if we are entering into a dangerous situation.
Me and my dear companions! Love them both!
Korean-Spanish-English Squad.
We also have a member who is planning on going to the temple for her endowments soon and we just finished teaching her the last temple preparation course! I am so excited for her and hope she will be able to attend before she leaves for a vacation to visit her family in her country.The temple is truly the goal of each member of the church, and if you have not been I wholeheartedly encourage you to be worthy of a temple recommend and go. "You will come to know that what appears today to be a sacrifice will prove instead to be the greatest investment that you will ever make." -Gordon B. Hinckley.

This week other interesting things happened as well. A Jew who worked as a librarian accepted a Book of Mormon, and we met another Jew who was going to a protest in New York. I'll pretend I know nothing of politics and say I'm not quite sure what about. Perhaps something pertaining to women's rights or some sort. In addition, I drove to Flushing a good bit, I saw seven investigators in different pools go to church, I got a bit sick (common cold), and forgot to write in my journal quite a bit.
Serious picture of my district. We called it a mini-zone picture -
there's just so many of us! Also, in conjunction with Sister Valverde
saying "even Hermana Voss looks small next to elder Parrish" Elder
Parrish is in the top right. And is 6'7". I'm 5'4". I think I'm pretty
clearly small next to him haha.
Aren't we so cute?!
I signed the stop sign in the living room of our apartment as per
tradition. Look for me above the P!
I can make soap creations, too! Look at my temple! Isn't it darling?
Most interesting are the hilarious things my companions and I end up saying. The following illustrate the degree of ridiculousness in this trio.

"I don't feel like doing pushups, I'll be a mountain instead." -Me

"You are definitely the only two people I have ever sang classical music with in the car." -Sister Tarnasky

"I love being in a trio!" -Me

"You can judge the other person... together." -Sister Valverde (on Sister Tarnasky making a plain tomato with salt).

"Even Sister Voss looks small next to Elder Parrish!" - Sister Valverde

"I have a soul, but I also steal souls." -Sister Tarnasky (on being a redhead)

"Wait, you have multiple souls? So, you're basically a horcrux." -Me

May your weeks be full of snow and sunshine!


Hermana Voss

Baptism Is The Gate!

There's far too much to say so perhaps a summary will be best.

The Background:

This week takes place primarily in Nassau County, New York. Mineola on Monday and Tuesday, with a switch to a rather lovely apartment in Little Neck with a dishwasher, hardwood floors, couches and tables, and food to supply an army of zone six and seven who do exchanges here. Also, this week takes place in various churches in Little Neck, Jamaica, and Flushing for various Zone Trainings, baptisms, church services.
Presidente Reyes, Edgar, Sister Ashford, and I at Edgar's baptism!
The Plot:

Two sisters serve together with a desire to continue until transfer exchange on January 24th. They prepare a man named Edgar for baptism, they laugh and cry together, they go to Sands Point together, they attend doctor visits, and are shocked when a necessary ear surgery breaks them apart. In despair, a lonely Mineola Spanish sister goes to Rego Park to receive two new companions who are both in leadership positions. They smile, greet her, and say that the next two weeks will be the best two weeks, forget about the Best Two Years. They eat fancy food together (there's a rumor Leaders get more money to provide for their zones), and teach several Spanish and English lessons together. They go to Flushing and Jamaica to receive training on how to be better missionaries on Thursday and Friday. In a planned change of events, Sister Landaverry and Sister Krause went on exchanges with them and pretty much all of them were sick so Sister Tarnasky and the Mineola missionary did studies alone. In a n insane turn of events, the Mineola missionary goes and serves in Lynbrook for five hours while her companions are off on a secret mission in Flushing. Finally remembered, having eaten snacks and ready to be with her primary caretakers, she is picked up and taken back to Little Neck. At church she prepares for the baptism of Edgar and speaks to her mission president and his wife, who are in her ward. They commit to come to the baptism of Edgar, and the mission president's wife even asks if she can bring a treat.
Sister Ashford and I went to Sand's Point again this week!
Sands Point is actually magical!

The Climax:

Of Edgar's baptism, the missionary wrote, "It was amazing. To see someone who had changed their life entirely, given up so many things, and done so much to change enter the waters of baptism was amazing. As President Reyes raised his arm, spoke, and Edgar went down into the water, there was an immediate sense of peace. He had changed his life. He had applied the atonement. He learned what he needed to continue on the path to eternal life and everlasting salvation. I was so proud of him to make this covenant with his Heavenly Father. It reminds me of a quote in Pride and Prejudice (the movie with Kiera Knightley) 'could you die of happiness?' Really, there are miracles that happen in this life when one believes and works and has trust in the One who makes it all happen."
Baptism picture with President and Sister Reynolds, who went to
Edgar's baptism!
My companions (Sister Tarnasky and Sister Valverde) and I at the
baptism! #AssistantToTheSisterTrainingLeaders
A full four-course Hispanic meal followed the baptism and little notes were written during the time he was changing.

The Resolution:

Happiness abounded in the heart of the Mineola missionary. Though sad things had occurred and changes upheaved the sailboat of her life, she learned happiness was easily found when one looks on the bright side. Sometimes a thousand things happen in the same week, and one must simply adapt. Life is a game of adaptation and successful adaptation gives one happiness and joy.
Zone Six with all my Chino friends!
Zone Seven (the best zone!) had our training meeting.
We were all (except me) a bit sick during exchanges.
I wish you all the same joy I have felt in my life this week. Great felicity often follows great sorrow!

In dearest love,

Hermana Ally Voss
Exchanges with Sister Landaverry and Sister Krause!
Plot Twist: I'm a Lynbrook missionary, too! Brief exchanges in Lynbrook.

A Crazy Week

Us in our winter ensembles <3
Hello beautiful family and friends!

My format is a rundown of each day this week since things were so hectic and crazy. Enjoy! :)

Monday: 1/2
  • Bowling! Strike you're out! Or in... that is definitely the wrong sport reference. 
  • "Most awkwardly adorable thing I've ever seen." -Elder Ramos on my bowling. But my whole district agreed. Oh dear. 
  • Comparing bellies at the Perez' home... whilst eating pupusas (and learning how to make them!). Slightly strange but funny! Fabio likes us! 
  • Erika fed us quinoa with piña and is making little steps towards baptism one by one. 
Tuesday: 1/3
  • We drank birthday cake hot chocolate that was SO GOOD. 
  • Interviews: "what's the most challenging thing about your mission?" "The food! I have a legitimate fear of dinner appointments." President *eyes widen* *laughs* "really?". 
It was interesting, I didn't feel like he counseled as much, he just asked what he could do for me. He asked me to teach Sister Ashford, be an example to her, serve her, and learn from her. We may be different and not get along like bread and butter, but we can still teach with the spirit and bring others unto repentance together.
  • "Sister Voss I just have to say thank you for the light you and your smile radiate. Whenever I ask missionaries about who has impacted them or who has that light they always mention you." -Elder Watson. Wow! What a compliment. 
  • We returned the cello - a bitter moment but sweet as well. I played God be With You Till We Meet Again as a final work. How sweet to even have it.
  • We went to the fancy McDonalds! It was gorgeous inside, too! 
  • Hayddi at English class. #newinvestigator
Wednesday: 1/4
  • EDGAR IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!! He is entirely off of coffee and tea and is finishing working on smoking. He is willing to live all of the other commandments. 
  • Sister Ashford got hit on like 100 times at the Hempstead McDonalds.
  • Oh my goodness. She has a cholesteatoma. The area medic said she would have to go home to have a surgery if it really is a cholesteatoma. 
  • Lots of doctors appointments in our future and maybe a CT scan for her. The exciting part is that I have a doctors appointment next Tuesday as well. Everything is crazy, but a lesson with Ana reminded us why we are missionaries. She wants to go to the temple before February 10th! Wow! What enthusiasm. She is so ready. I am excited to help her along the way. We will have to see her often and help her and oh my goodness but I am crazy happy for her. Families like hers' are why I love being a missionary. It fills me with ultimate and exquisite happiness. 
  • A blessing from Elder Corbett ended the day with words of comfort and an answer to Sister Ashford's prayers.
    Us and our wonderful Branch President.
    The Epic Christmas Tree Battle. Moral of the story: Fake Christmas Trees are really hard to pull apart! 
Thursday: 1/5
  • Sister Ashford is leaving. Next week.
  • We called the area medical specialist and the first thing he said was, "what do you think? When do you want to go home? We could send you home tomorrow but it might be best to line up doctors and such first." - Dr. Elder Sonkuns. Apparently it wasn't a question of if, but when.
  • It gave me questions such as, "Edgar's baptism! What do we do?" And "what about Ana going to the temple before February 10th?" And, "what is going to happen to me? Where will I go? What will I do? Can I come back to Mineola?" I have no clue. I'm a bit sick to my stomach with uncertainty. 
  • On the bright side, Edgar's practice interview went almost smooth as butter. The only hiccup was that he is still trying to quit smoking. We need to get him off of that. Soon.
Friday: 1/6
  • We had lunch at Ana's. She made us lunch and a fruit plate and I eat really quickly which everyone made jokes about so I was supposed to let Sister Ashford eat some fruit since the plate was between us but I just kind of ate most of the plate and then it was down to an apple chunk and two mandarin slices and I kind of slid my hand onto the plate, grabbed a mandarin, and ate it really fast, which Ana saw. She began to laugh and said,"Yo te amo." And then she said that I was like Camila (spontaneous and a fast eater) and Sister Ashford was like Yamki (slow eater and thinks more before speaking). Oops.
  • Also she said that she learned so much and that she has "ansiedad" and is "emocionada" to go to the temple! 
  • Lesson with Edgar at McDonalds. Also, Fanny is in the hospital! She won't tell anyone anything.
  • She's leaving Wednesday. Officially. Oh no. What will happen? She's already packing and ready to go. "Sister Voss," she admitted,"I never knew how to tell you this but I just haven't felt like a missionary the past weeks I've been with you." I feel happy that she can go home to get the problem resolved so that she can come back ready to work.
    Fancy McDonalds! Isn't it just gorgeous?
Saturday: 1/7
  • It snowed! A lot. And we have many photos to testify to the truth of it. We enjoyed hydroplaning in snow many times and true-born Texan Sister Ashford screaming about how she didn't want to drive in the snow and it was her first time and how cars were honking at her to which I just silently turned on her flashers and people went around her... it was very amusing. Especially once we picked up Elisa Godoy and she was in the car hearing about how Sister Ashford had never driven in snow as well. We, awkwardly, got a call saying that president had asked us all to be parked at our apartments and doing service or anything around us during the snowstorm as we were driving to Long Beach, so we turned around and drove the forty five minutes home. 
  • Later we shoveled snow and cleaned off cars. A man poked his head out of his door and said, "you know you're cleaning off my car...?" , "Yes!" I replied. "Is that okay?", "Yes.... why?" At which point we explained the whole service and missionary thing. "You know you don't have to do that..." he mumbled as he went back inside. He was grateful. I just know it!
  • Hot cocoa supplemented the snowy, blustery day and we went inside at the end of the night with pink cheeks and cold toes. A warm shower and pajamas were a blessing from heaven indeed.
    Our iPads have filters! How great is that?!?
    Looking at the darling snow!
    I kind of was really enjoying the snow. A lot.
Sunday: 1/8
  • We woke up, got dressed, studied, and went outside to de-ice the car. We looked at it, tried scraping the ice off, looked at each other, and decided it was better to just walk to church. Almost like it was in Brooklyn (except snow was everywhere) we walked the three quarters of a mile to the church and entered with pink cheeks and frozen toes. Luckily we warmed up at church, especially with the news that Edgar passed his baptismal interview! One week until his baptism!
  • We said goodbye to several families, including the Perez family and the Reyes' and we ate lots of chocolate to commiserate. At night before planning my peace of mind for what would happen with Edgar's baptism and my area was disturbed enough that we called President Reynolds to see what exactly might occur in my immediate future.
  • Transcription of part of my call with president: "So, I know Sister Ashford is going to leave on Wednesday, but... I was just kind of wondering... what's going to happen with me...?" At this point President laughed and laughed and then kind of trailed off. It was the kind of laugh that one normally has when they are lost in the middle of a four mile hike and don't know where the trail head is. He said that was actually what he and the Assistants were just talking about.  "I think... we'll put you with the Sister Training Leaders so you can stay in your pool....the Assistants are nodding their heads in approval right now." Yes! Success! I could keep my pool! I thoroughly approved of this idea. Not only do I get automatic leadership training by staying with the Sister Training Leaders, but I am permitted to help Edgar get baptized and prepare Ana to get her endowments taken out!
    Edgar came to church! His baptism is next week!
Remember: "Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds." -Hinckley.

Keep working hard!

My best,

Hermana Ally Voss