Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Friday, April 28, 2017

Ooh I'm Halfway Thereeeee....


One of the young women here named Elisa Godoy got her mission call! I have taken her out to do missionary work countless times and seen her beautiful spirit and truly come to love her as a friend throughout these last six months in Mineola. As she opened her mission call I was brought to tears. My excitement was that of my own when I opened my call when she tumbled over the words, "Dear Sister Godoy, you are hereby called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Santa Rosa, California mission!" I can not believe that beautiful girl is going on a mission and I am so proud of her for deciding to dedicate her life to the Lord in this next year and a half. I know she will be successful and that the Lord will bless her and the people of Santa Rosa more than they ever thought possible. I love you, Elisa Godoy. <3
My Easter celebration. The bunny, the bunny, ooh I love the bunny!
Courtesy of Hermana Chung's camera.
The other items that can not compare to the majesty of the moment when Elisa opened her call:

1. Easter! What a lovely, splendid, humid and warm, flowering, gorgeous day! No one, not even Jews, could resist talking about Easter with us on such a beautiful day. Christ died, and due to His sacrifice we will all live again. "He is risen, He is risen, He hath opened heaven's gate. We are free from sin's dark prison, risen to a holier state. And a brighter Easter beam on our longing eyes shall stream." (Cecil Frances Alexander)
Called to serve in Santa Rosa, California!
Me with my favorite girl.
We found Élder Pavón!
Easter Selfies!

We found this lovely tree that matched my skirt so by golly we took
a picture of it.
Pretty Tree
Tracking in Jewville! With my Easter green. :)
We have new flooring in our apartment! Out with the old and in with the new!
2. I reach the halfway mark this week on the twentieth! Time flies by! Craziness, that is what this is! I have been in New York for almost nine months now!

3. I saw Elder Pavon (now Hermano Pavon), who I served with in Brooklyn, at Elisa's call opening!

4. Some of our Elders in Freeport got chased by a man with a gun this week which is scary! Luckily we have been very fine in terms of safety.

5. Flowers have been blooming all week. Tulips, daffodils, budding trees, it is simply a paradise here in New York.

6. On Easter I got a package of Lindt chocolates from my mom, which was beautiful. :) And the day before a letter from Sister Draper.

7. Today we went to the castles. Again. And I still love it.

8. The Elders sent us on an Easter egg hunt. It was fun!

9. We saw pretty houses on our road tour of Port Washington.

And that is pretty much it. I would promise a longer weekly for next week but I am never quite sure what will happen!

All my love,

Hermana Ally Voss

Pre Easter Update

Hello all!

Happy Easter in advance for this Sunday. The tulips and daffodils have finally poked above the earth and bloomed. Yellow and pink and vivid red. All these wonderful, triumphant colors remind us of Christ's triumphant revival and how he has conquered death so that we all might live again.
Flowers and sunshine

Mosiah 16:7-8

7 And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.

8 But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.

There is a really insightful quote by Gordon B. Hinckley that states, "there would be no Christmas if there was no Easter." I love that. The reason we have Christmas is because we have Easter! He rose, and because of His victory over death, we celebrate His birth.

Another scary thing this week is that we had interviews with President Reynolds and he said "You're not a new missionary anymore." What? It still feels like I'm in my first week. I mean, not really. Elder Menge said, "I feel like you've been on your mission forever" and sometimes it feels like that, but sometimes it feels like I'm still new. I'm not exactly sure what to think anymore. Only just about nine months left. That's scary.

We actually had the opportunity to have the previous President of this mission, Elder Calderwood (who is now a seventy), come and speak to us at stake conference this past week. Stake conference is a meeting where all of the local units meet together to learn what the prophet would have us learn. He said something about general conference that I really loved. Well, he said a lot of things that I really loved but there were several in particular I will mention. He said of Prophet Thomas S. Monson's talk that "I hope you heard a prophet beg you to read the Book of Mormon." Wow. I listened to the video again and listened to a prophet beg me and others to read that Book. The most perfect book.
Carlos Pérez wanted to dab with us. So we did.
A lion-dog we met this week. It seemed quite terrifying until it
started licking our faces.
It was hilarious because stake Conference was transmitted from Flushing so they did the entire General Conference scheme. "Welcome to the stake Conference center transmitted from Flushing, Flushing New York." *organ music and choir singing in the background*
Werewolf with the mega-district. It was fun. I won with my honey. ;) (we played the version with Cupid, and I as the werewolf preserved our matrimony)
In addition he said, "I'm not sure you would find two more kind and loving servants of the Lord than the Reynolds." I love my Mission President and all that he has done for me. I am grateful for Sister Reynolds and how she loves each and every one of us and is an example for us every day. When I look at her I see so many Christ-like attributes that I would love to exemplify in my life.

One other thing that President Calderwood said that impressed me is that he stated that if one reads from the Book of Mormon every single day and holds fast to it than they will have eternal life. What an exquisite promise!

There was a moment this week when we could choose between contacting an uncontacted referral, or knocking. Great Neck, or Hempstead. We prayed to know where to go and on the count of three we both shouted, "Great Neck!" It was a wonderful evening. We shared the Prince of Peace video several times, got some new investigators, and were very successful, gratefully. What a spiritual experience! The spirit can guide us when we let ourselves be guided by its hand.

Happy Easter, may your eggs be delicious and your chocolate dark. :)


Hermana Ally Voss

Post Script:

Sorry my weekly is so short. We were playing Werewolf/Mafia with the Lynbrook district. It was fun. :)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

You Mean the Nuns?

April, my favorite month, has officially begun! Flowers are beginning to bloom, bees aren't out yet, the weather is looking up (rainy but warm. And you know what they say, 'April showers bring May flowers').

Today we toured a lovely cathedral. It is gothic in style and located in Garden City, I believe. I have always looked at it in awe and made a split second decision as we came close to it today to take the side road and go explore. It was a beautiful day to do so. I'm not strictly sure if we were supposed to, but the door was open and we went inside. No one was there to condemn us.... It was lovely! Flying buttresses, stained glass, and the narthex and the tympanum were stunning!

We went on exchanges this week with the lovely Sisters Valverde and Dawson and to quote an experience I wrote in my journal:

Sister Valverde sneaks from the car to the gate. "We have to hop the fence," she whispers. I watch in stunned silence as the she moves like a cat, hopping onto the other side of the eight foot fence. I follow suit quietly and carefully (or as carefully as I can in a pencil skirt and slight heels). Upon landing on the soft grass we sneak about five feet around the house before I hear a, "oh shoot, this is Mr. Kim's yard! Run, run! He has cameras!" We retrace our steps, hopping the fence and running around a median wherein we are able to simply run around the house, scale a fire escape, and card the door into the apartment. Sister Valverde puts her finger to her lips, indicating the suspects may already be in the house. It is pitch-black, and not a sound is to be heard. We tip-toe to the door - right as we get there the doorknob turns. "Boo!" We scream as the terrified Sister Missionaries scream and say how awful we are. Diabolically, Sister Valverde and I laugh (maniacally).

This sums up my and Sister Valverde's relationship. :) Apparently this Mr. Kim has also seen other Sister Missionaries try to enter his yard before (on accident) and told the neighbors. The neighbors just look in stunned disbelief and say, "what? You mean the nuns?" Yes, the nuns.
Cathedral Pics

The nuns also got to go to the French Workshop again! What a lovely place. This time I ate 'The Melody'. It is a dark-chocolate and creme brûlée treat with many other lovely inserts. It tastes good, but next time I shall probably just eat more crème brûlée and stick with the classics.
The French Workshop

We ate pizza at a meeting for trainers and trainees on Wednesday. I very much enjoyed it (now the question is - the pizza or the meeting? It's like a Choose Your Own Adventure).

We had the opportunity to hear from modern-day prophets this week in what is called General Conference. I learned many wonderful pieces of wisdom. I shall write some of them, roughly translated from Spanish. (English originally to Spanish translation and back to my English translation of the Spanish).

"When we are complacent with our covenants we are complicit with the consequences." -Gary B. Sabin

"The great oratorio of the Plan of Salvation... stand close to the Savior, who has perfect pitch... you will be endowed with power to hear the songs [some] cannot now sing... Surely love of God is our melody and our quest to obey Him is our harmony." -Jeffrey R. Holland.

"Sleeping in church must be one of the most healthy naps!" -Dieter F. Uchtdorf (I'm sure something went wrong in translation with this one!)

"We think the ends justify the means. It is not so!" -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"Bautícese! Bautícese!" -Joaquin E. Costa

"Warning is a happy song, not always someone standing on a box saying 'arrepiéntase!'" -D. Todd Christoffersen

"Teach your children to have integrity... 'I did it because I said I would!'.... He has divine expectations for us." -Joy D. Jones

"The language must be taught if you don't wish to lose it!" -Valeri V. Cordon

"Luz, luz, luz, luz luz, luz. Everything living prefers light! Positivity! Christ is light!" -Mark A. Bragg

"This work doesn't just save the dead. It saves us all!" -Henry B. Eyring.

I love you all! I hope you all find peace through the Savior. "King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace".

With love,

Hermana Ally Voss
When Elders make you crepes because they are sweet!

Short and sweet

Today I went to the temple! There is far too little time to say far too much so this week all I did shall be in bullet points.
Temple visit this week!

1. I got to see a baby in a sonogram.

2. I got kissed by a random stranger on the cheek. He left slobber and spit. Ew. He had a beard. And it felt weird. (*cue Veggie Tales music*)

3. I went to the temple. :)

4. Women's conference happened! Peace, service, and "you are holding a great person"!

5. We played with balloons in a lesson about service.

6. We had a Zone Training in Jamaica. (Don't those happen like every other week?)

Life is good. The work is progressing! Baptisms to come! ;)

My love,

Hermana Ally Voss

Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Missions are kind of incredible. It is a bit difficult to describe the kind of joy, stress, and happiness that comes from serving the Lord.
I love my trainee!

Everything starts with the people, though. And I am lucky to have the most gorgeous, sweet companion ever, Hermana Chung. And I am inordinately blessed to have wonderful members as well. After not having seen Ana for a month we went over to have a lesson Monday night and it was so wonderful to feel her family's spirit again. She brought us back little souvenirs from her country as well which was darling. I thought it was interesting how she mentioned that she had talked to missionaries while she was in her country and how different the missionary work is in her country versus here in the United States. Also, Hispanics have a weird thing about not letting us do the dishes. In the past, Ana's sink has exploded on me when I've tried, so I brought the dishes over to the sink and she told me not to wash the dishes. I told her I didn't know how to use her sink and she said, "mejor que no sepas." (you better not know) Also her daughter told us to bring a pony game the next time, so we will have to be pretty creative. When her daughter saw a picture of me with rabbits she said, "oh, ¡que Linda!"

We had a ton of warnings for a snow storm, but luckily there wasn't too much snow. It didn't stop the work hardly at all. It was mostly freezing rain mixed with a decent amount of snow (definitely no more than a foot). Driving in the snow is one of my favorite things. (In addition to silver-white winters that melt into springs, of course).
At Mega-Zone we talked a lot about baptism. How to get our investigators there, why it is important, and how we can teach repentance through baptism. We saw the new Easter video campaign for the church which is called Prince of Peace. It is so beautiful. We also talked about tender mercies at Mega-Zone, which helped me to see all of the tender mercies in my life.

That very day we drove to an appointment where pretty much every single person who was in the home (most of them being members) participated in the lesson. We helped less actives see why church was important, and helped the investigators see how working towards baptism was going to help them. Then we went to an appointment where we got a referral for her sister-in-law. Upon arriving at the Sister-in-laws house we were told that actually she had been reading in the Bible on line the day before and an add for the Book of Mormon had come up and she had said to herself "I want to learn more about the Book of Mormon, I am going to look that book up." And then we showed up! Her entire family was interested, and she gave up yet another referral! It was amazing to see the blessings of immediately contacting referrals.

Also, my trainee is way gorgeous. So, that.

Then, (will wonders never cease?) the elders called us inspiredly. Then they visited someone we couldn't visit. Act on promptings. We were able to help them by getting them a Book of Mormon for children before their appointment.

We found a family by helping them carry eggs. More people to help come to church and be baptized. Crazy tender mercies.

In terms of investigators we are preparing four investigators right ow to be baptized. Hopefully within the next three weeks three of them will get baptized, and one more in the weeks afterwards. Katrina is preparing to get baptized by getting married to a member and then being baptized. We look forward to her making covenants with her Father in Heaven. Marina is hopefully going to get baptized with her two boys within the coming weeks. Side note: she is making pupusas for us tomorrow. Yes!

Today we went to the Holocaust Center of Nassau County. It was incredible to see into the lives of those who suffered so much. I give all of my utmost respect to the victims of that Holocaust.

We also had the opportunity to walk along the beach again. I've said it before and I will say it again: the Lord has given us a world so beautiful, how can we not marvel and explore? I love the clear smell of the sea breeze, the open ocean, the Long Island Sound, Connecticut, the Bronx. It is so lovely. (Side note: I met a girl who went to elementary school with Duchess Kate Middleton today).

Welwyn Preserve and Holocaust museum today. We went inside and walked around the Holocaust museum this time and it was so humbling and amazing. It is awful and horrible and absolutely frightening what happened.
And now for the spiritual thought:

“Sadness, disappointment, and severe challenge are events in life, not life itself. I do not minimize how hard some of these events are. They can extend over a long period of time, but they should not be allowed to become the confining center of everything you do. The Lord inspired Lehi to declare the fundamental truth, “Men are, that they might have joy.” That is a conditional statement: “they might have joy.” It is not conditional for the Lord. His intent is that each of us finds joy. It will not be conditional for you as you obey the commandments, have faith in the Master, and do the things that are necessary to have joy here on earth. Your joy in life depends upon your trust in Heavenly Father and His holy Son, your conviction that their plan of happiness truly can bring you joy.”​ Thomas S. Monson

I hope you all find joy this week!

My love from New York,

Hermana Ally Voss
Oh, and I petted a dog this week.

Training is such an adventure

The point of training is to help prepare a missionary to know all of his or her duties in the mission field and help them learn to really 'be a missionary'. In case of missionaries who are learning languages, it is also to help the new missionaries learn how to speak the language. Luckily, I'm not even hardly having to train Sister Chung! She came pre-trained!

Sister Chung is half Chinese (thus her last name), and half Chilena (her middle name is Alejandra). She is amazing! She speaks Spanish fluently, having spoken it at home, is a convert, and does better in our lessons than I do! She is kind, loves the people, adores Hispanic food, is from California, is very in tune with the spirit, and is overall just great. I look forward to being with her for the next three months!

Going to transfers is always a roller coaster, and a bit overwhelming given the number of people who congregate there. All the same, it was a blessing to see the majority of my old companions, district members, and Zone Leaders. They lined us (the trainers) up in a room with the trainees and President Reynolds read off who was training who and I was very blessed to receive Sister Chung.

She did the three-week program in the MTC like me, with the same Branch President as me. It's been crazy how many little connections we have been finding as we have gone through the days. We had pizza after we all were acquainted with our fledglings. Elder Rogers in my District is training Elder Rigby, and Elder Lance is training Elder Merrell. We are a district full of greenie fire!

Even more fun is that a member of our District, the companion of our District Leader (who is from Puerto Rico), only speaks Spanish (he's from Puebla, Mexico). What does that mean? District meetings are now going to be held entirely in Spanish. Crazy. That's never happened to me before. It's great for the new Spanish-speakers in our district, though. I know it will really help them become fluent in Spanish. Sister Chung has that one down already, but it will still be fun for her to enjoy more opportunities speaking Spanish. (Question of the day in District Meeting: "Quiere Esposo feo o hijos feos?" Mi y mi compañera escogimos un esposo feo en vez de hijos feos porque queremos lo mejor por nuestros hijos, pero los muchachos (todos) decidieron "porque va a vivir toda su tiempo en las eternidades con esta persona" que es mas importante a tener una esposa linda y hijos feos. Ay ay ay. Hombres.)
Me and my trainee and my new red dress!
Generation Photo. My Trainer, Me, and my Trainee
First day care photo in Scottie Corolli.
I may or may not have covered my trainee's bed in balloons.... (the
note says *thanks for being such a FUN companion*)
It's fun because as a companionship we actually speak Spanish a lot. I'd say maybe a third of the time we speak, we are speaking in Spanish! I thought it was fun being companions with Sister Valverde because of how much we spoke Spanish, but with Sister Chung it's even more. I love it. We speak and understand one another's Spanish, and she is helping me grow in your mission language as well. Now the question is: since we were both put into the "native" program for Spanish at the MTC, do we actually have to do an hour of language study every day? The guideline is that if it's not your native language to still study every day, but by mission standards isn't it technically already our "native" language? Think, ponder, discuss. Until I have the opportunity to ask my Mission President, we will.... But Sister Chung is anxious about every moment we are not outside teaching the gospel and proselyting, so sometimes I wonder if maybe we just shouldn't.... I'm not sure I ever thought I would end up in this situation!

On my trainee's first day I went through a yellow light and it turned red (apparently - our member said it did) and we got flashed. Oops. I have actually never been flashed by a light before. Good Golly Miss Molly, but I do not much enjoy it.

This week we have done quite a bit of knocking in the freezing cold. At risk of over-pressing the point, it was cold. Most cold. Most extraordinarily frigid. One could even say it was glacial. Toe warmers and hand warmers converted into ice packs. Noses converted into Rudolphs. Fingers holding the Book of Mormon have temporarily lost dexterity. Yea, even unto the dropping of the temperature of the apartment day after day.

"And now all these things did [Hermana Voss] and [her] fellow laborers do who were over the church, walking in all diligence [in the North Pole], teaching the word of God in all things [even when it was 'too cold' to keep the door open so they could share their message], suffering all manner of afflictions [like unto frozen toes and fingers], being persecuted by all those who did not belong to the church of God [insomuch that they were too prideful to impart of their substance and warmth to the freezing missionaries]." (Slight unscriptural adaptation credit of Mosiah 26:38)

However, snow covering Glen Cove is very scenic. We were driving up to Glen Cove and the snow was gently blowing off trees and falling on the road and on the ground. We passed frozen lakes, cute Victorian houses covered in a layer of winter, and the sky was that purpleish color that always precedes and follows snowfalls. We sang Disney songs whilst knocking to distract ourselves from the cold. Our favorite was adapted from "How Do You Know?" in the Disney movie Enchanted. Our new lyrics were, "Who Do You Know?" Asking referrals is very important.

We took silhouette pictures in Garden City and this one makes me
look smallest. :)
Guess who came back from Ecuador this week? Ana the elder! We are going to see her today and I am thrilled. I was at church talking to an investigator (we had eight at church this week) and I heard a very familiar voice say, "¡hermanita!". I turned around and just about died from happiness. I know Ana and her family were only gone for a month but it felt like a decade. My week was never the same without going over for Family Home Evenings with them, and I am pleased to resume doing so.

Little Spiritual Thought from D&C 121:

"41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile--

43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;"

This has really struck me this week and I know as we strive to be kind leaders, the type of leaders who help others and don't view themselves even really as leaders, we will be blessed. Our examples are more powerful than we believe. I feel blessed to be able to access priesthood power through Leaders in my life and I know the priesthood will continue to bless me my whole life through.
I found Sister McDowell! Sister Fa'ulao joined her over in the Hamptons.

May your lives continue to be blessed and sanctified.

My love,

Hermana Ally Voss