Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Happy May Day Dears!

First a funny story that requires a bit of background. In English we frequently use the prefix "un-" to signify reversal of a verb. "Unwind", "untie", "undo", "unkind", "undress", etc. In Spanish it is fairly similar with the prefix "des-". "Deshacer" (undo), "descansar" (unwind), "Desanimar" (depress), "Desaparecer" (disappear), "Desconocido" (unknown), etc.
A cool mural on a rainy day!

So, yesterday we were playing the game, "The Human Knot" or in Spanish "El Nudo Humano." We had played it with a family the night before as well and it was a great success and many people had fun. So we were all knotted up and it was time to unknot ourselves. So naturally if the noun is 'nudo' than un-doing the noun would be 'des-nudar.' Unfortunately what 'desnudar' actually means is to undress, not to untie a knot.

So I mistakenly began, "Okay ahora vamos a desnu-".

I stopped realizing the gravity of the word I was about to say. I stopped, but unfortunately everyone realized I was about to say 'desnudar' and burst out laughing. But what was I supposed to do? The word for knot is 'nudo' so naturally I was just trying to say "unknot!" Oops. It was a memory I'll never forget, though, certainly.

This week we had Mega-Zone which was amazing! Seeing and receiving training from our leaders is one of my favorite things. President Reynolds spoke on the spirit and how we can recognize it and use it. It was lovely and made me think quite a bit about how I might apply the spirit more in all I do.

Some more things we learned from the Assistants Elders Pothier and Weisler (did I mention he was an Assistant now)? Tips for door approaches!

Your first approach:

1. Area management. Stay in one area as much as possible! Focus on one area for an entire week. After one pass go back and talk to the people who didn't respond the first time.

2. One-on-one. Companion stands a couple of feet back where possible. Writing down area management. Looking up a scripture maybe. Very engaged and maybe writing down what they are sharing. But just a bit back. Same in street contacting. One companion lead!

3. Imagine you got a call from them asking to be baptized but it is your first time meeting them. Bold, not overbearing. Be presumptuous.

4. Turn your body to stand with, not against them. Acting comfortable.

5. Screen door they won't open? No problem! Stand close to the glass and then move immediately to the side of the screen door. Start showing him something right in the way of the door seal. They'll see it is out of the way, in front of the door, and then your just right here being friends.

6. "Quien?" (Who?) "Es nosotras!" "Its us!" (Note: we have tried this and it has worked EVERY SINGLE TIME!)
Next, one presents a problem and a solution in a powerful way. And then my favorite part: the transition.

1. The ultimate goal is to make it inside, be their friend. Questions are kryptonite to getting into your home. Don't ask to go in. Explain that you have more to share but it's better to do so inside. "Let's take a seat on the sofa and we can explain a bit more." "Let's take this conversation to a more comfortable venue." DO NOT look at them when you say that. Look inside and lean towards the living room. Outside you're a pest and inside you're a guest.

2. For street contacting, explain that you teach lessons for 15-20 minutes at the person's convenience, say, "lets schedule a time to stop by." DO NOT look at them when you say that.

3. Give them specific options. "Do weekdays or weekends work for you? Friday's Saturday or Sundays? Night or day? We will just call you before to confirm so... your number is 516-...?"

It works! I have only been using this approach for less than a week and already it works so well! Especially when people say, "who?" And we say, "it's us!" Works every time.

The Elders in Freeport had a baptism on Saturday! It was the first baptism in Freeport's branch in well over a year (almost two years) so it was terribly exciting for everyone! Especially since I adore almost every single member in Freeport. I got to see Elisa, Lidia (who gave me the llama sweaters a while back), and a bunch of members I may not have mentioned to you all but who mean a lot to me! It was beautiful. I really enjoyed it.
Clark Botanical Garden Pictures

Today Sister Chung chopped off all her hair! It looks great and it is gorgeous enough almost to inspire me to cut my hair but let's be honest cutting one's hair is too scary and I shan't ever do it. Alas.

Also, the weather here has been crazy. Humid and hot to chilly and cold. Luckily today is pretty so we are going to go to Clark Botanic Gardens.

And we are still trying to find as much as possible, so we can teach repentance and baptism. Pray with us that we can find those who are prepared to hear the gospel!

All my dearest love,

Hermana Ally Voss


"Sister Chung... as a companionship I think we are having difficulties interrupting our more talkative investigators. Let's do a role play." -Hermana Voss
We found a token of Mineola!

*role plays interrupting talkative Hispanics* (which is easy because Sister Chung is a talkative Hispanic and therefore perfect for the role)

*Goes to lesson. Sister Voss interrupts like a hundred times and Sister Chung looks sympathetically and nods her head at the investigator, never once interrupting but being an angel and letting the investigator talk about her feelings and life story and needs* *Lesson Ends and missionaries are walking home*

"Sister Chung... I thought we were going to interrupt..." - Hermana Voss

"Oh...but I didn't want to be rude... I'll interrupt next time!" -Sister Chung

"Okay." -Hermana Voss

*Companionship Study the next day discussing the importance of keeping our lessons to a respectable length and therefore the need to kindly but firmly interject. Both companions agree to do so and are one in the necessity of such actions*

"So will you interrupt?" -Hermana Voss

"Sure, yes, I will!" -Sister Chung

"Awesome. Okay, now look me in the eyes and tell me that you will interrupt." -Hermana Voss

*Sister Chung gives a deer in the headlights look and frightfully spurts* "I'm not gonna interrupt!"

*awkward silence*

"... well at least you're honest...." -Hermana Voss

Events of the week:

I am terribly sad to see one of my very favorite families move back to their home country of El Salvador. I love them so much and I will miss them dearly. But it is nice to know that if I visit El Salvador I have a home in Santa Ana. <3
Skyping with the Sister Training Leaders
I asked them if they would respond if I sent them a letter yesterday and the sister in question tried to respond, "yes, right away" (in English). The problem was that our brains were still in Spanish mode since we had been talking in Spanish. So it really sounded like she said, "Si claro, güey," which is very informal and was totally unexpected so we had a good laugh about that one! (Translates roughly to, "Yeah of course, dude.")

This week we have been doing a lot of finding to replace a lot of investigators who have drifted off the straight and narrow. It is going well, and we have enjoyed all the new faces.

One of my favorite less active families who I have not seen come to church since December finally came to church again! Success! It is *such* a joy to see those one teaches at church. It is indescribable the happiness that comes from seeing lambs walk back into the fold on their own two feet. And it is even better once one sees how much they enjoy it. I anticipate their rapid re-activation now that they have been spiritually nourished by the good word of God.
I'm basically Tarzan.

Trees are for climbing! (Side note: we also found swings)

Isn't Jackson Ave School gorgeous?
Alma 31:5 says it best: "And now, as the ​​​preaching​ of the ​​​word​ had a great tendency to ​​​lead​ the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God."

The Animal Question:

Sister Chung used to be a vegetarian so we have been enjoying having an animal rights debate with the Elders. I mostly am on the pro-meat side but ultimately I don't mind which side I am on inasfar as we win the debate. Ethics don't much apply to me here. You animal rights activists out there might enjoy the statements in Leviticus 17, especially verse 10. You meat-lovers pizza types will appreciate Genesis 9:3, D&C 49:18-19, and 1 Tim 4:1-3 (my personal favorite).

I love you all and wish my family a very happy Europe trip starting next week! You all are the best!


Hermana Ally Voss
At our member's farewell
Some kind of brownie master creation.