Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December 28, 2014 - 행복한 크리스마스

A Christmas selfie

So uh.. Not much to say this week since I... uh.. like yeah kinda already like told it to you OVER THE PHONE. Ah what a glorious Christmas present that was. So many laughs. So many tangents. I think we talked about fridges for a good five minutes. You know, only the important stuff.

And I'm glad to hear you got the voicemail. Just a little Christmas present for you all. :)

So yes, Christmas came and past. We celebrated the man of the hours birth very simply, but beautifully. He truly is the gift of Christmas that Heavenly Father sent for all of us. And this is such a wonderful time of year to celebrate Him!

I don't know about the rest of the world, but Santa came to Korea quite early this year-- our stockings had been filled for weeks! We unwrapped our few presents in the morning, ate Chinese take-out with a ward member for lunch (like I said, I've secretly always wanted to have Chinese take out on Christmas so I was nothing less than thrilled at the prospect), a phone call with the fam, and a whole lot of contacting person after person, door after door. The end of the day I even tucked my companion in and read, voices and all,  the children's book "The Light of Christmas" which happens to be written by Richard Evans, one of my dad's old mission companions. How quaint. :) It was a simple day, nothing too remarkulous, but one I can assure you will not easily be forgot. As we lay in bed, our bodies completely drained of all energy, Sister Seo said, "오늘은  재일 행복한 크리스마스였어요" or "Today was the happiest Christmas I've ever had".

Simple, nothing like the celebration thrown for Bilbo Baggins' 111th birthday, but wonderful. The rest of the week has been quite simple as well. No new homes or refridgerators, no trips to India, no skydiving (still can't believe you went without me AGAIN Quinn. Thought we were buds), and no rushing to put up Christmas lights the day before Christmas. We have continued to teach our investigators, but it's hard to get them to keep committments. We had a really great lesson with Nicole though and it was completely guided by the Spirit. We finally discerned her needs and really connected with her, helping her to understand the need for a restoration.

We also had a miracle when we were meeting with a less active and she told us one of her old students was interested in the Book of Mormon and what it was all about and asked if she could invite him over right then. Um.. Is that a rhetorical question? It turned out to be an awesome member present lesson and a potential investigator! He is a 22 year old design major with all but a flip of red hair on the very top of his head. Boo yah.

These fingers have ran their weekly marathon and they're reading for some gatorade and a massage... So this a wrap up. I hope that through that phone call and through my letters you can feel my love for you all. I will never be able to express properly through the keys on this little Korean keyboard in this little computer lab, how very grateful I am for you and for the knowledge this gospel brings me that we will be together forever! Sometimes, like when I got to listen to the sultry sound of those all too familiar voices, it all just hits me all at once.

Like a Costco stomach bullet.


P.S. Some pretty lights. Not quite Christmas lights, but you get the idea.

Sister Meck

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 14, 2014 - WOW

A happy couple  :-)

Since Jessie wrote their Christmas letter from little Ander's perspective, I figured I would do the same.
"So there's this aunt that my daddy keeps telling me I have but I have a hard time believing him. I mean, aren't aunts supposed to love their nephews? It's almost been a year since I last saw her and I'm practically a man now. Minus the facial hair. But that will probably come before she gets here. I hear she's in Korea (maybe that's next to the moon?) and she's really happy. So that's good. I happy too. And hungry.... MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!"
Pretty much sums it up.
Seriously that little blob isn't the same little blob I held in my arms at the MTC. What are you two feeding him? He's right though. I am happy. And though I don't get to give him that big auntie squeeze, I know that the time I am spending away from my family is making it possible for others to be together forever. You'll get that hug, Ander. Promise. :)
This week was full of miracles. It began with temple day in Seoul, which was wonderful as always. Sister Seo and I spent our p-day roaming the streets of Seoul going into art gallery after art gallery and finding hints of Christmas on every corner. It was such a fun day. On the train ride home, a man approached us asking about the Book of Mormon. He was familiar with the church (has a memeber friend), but had so many questions. We finally tied the knot at the end of his thread of questions by giving him the Book and getting his number to refer to the Elders. It was such a cool experience. 
One of my mission goals, among many, is to develop a testimony of fasting. I had fasted countless times growing up, but as I looked back I had never really had any memorable experience with it. Nor truly understood why. But I can happily change that "is to develop" to "was to develop". This past week my companion and I fasted together and saw the immediate blessings. Not only were we not the slightest bit hungry, though we street contacted all day, but we could feel the spirit filling the emptiness. I have never really experienced that, or just never recongized it before. When we finished our fast we headed out to the apartment complex we had previously planned to visit. The first house we knocked on was and older lady who was home with her grandchildren and who ushered us in without letting us finish saying hello. The whole family ended up coming in and were preparing to leave so we introduced them to the Book of Mormon which they accepted graciously. Then about five doors later we happened upon a middle aged man who also insisted we come in, but as sisters we had to keep our rule. But we had one of the coolest doorstep conversations ever that ended in him agreeing to not only read the book of mormon, but to give us his number, meet with the elders and come to church. How cool is that? When we got to the bottom of the stairs of that apartment complex my companion looked up (way up :) ) at me, tears filling her big brown eyes. There is no doubt in my mind that this is God's work and His hand is in everything we do.
We also had the opportunity to teach Imma! She has three exams this upcoming week, but after the exams she has two months of vacation and she's staying! A huge miracle. She also agreed to come to church and wants to meet more when she has more time. We also taught Jessie, 박영여, Nicole, and Emma this week. And we ran into a long lost former investigator on the street who wants to start meeting again. Can you say wow?
(No, not World of Warcraft. You got excited there didn't you, BQC? :P)
I wish you all a week of miracles and the most beautiful Chirstmas season. Keep smiling. Fill your stomaches with neighbor goodies. Tell Santa what's on your list this Chirstmas (not an air guitar though, I hear those are getting pretty expensive these days). And Ander, stop growing, would you?
Your daughter, sister, friend, neice, cousin, grandaughter and fellow child of God,
Sister McCloskey
P.S. Here's a little bit of Seoul. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 7, 2014 - 17

Funny that you mention this week being a bit warmer over there in Utah cause over here it's a whole different story. Not an entirely different bookstore, just on a different shelf under the alphabetically ordered "Freezing Cold" section. I could almost say that 17 is the number of layers I have on right now, but I'm not quite at that point yet. That'll be a nice welcome to the new year, I think.
17 is, in fact, the number of days remaining until that beautiful day so rightfully devoted to the Savior of the world. You might say I'm a little excited.
You know what else is exciting? When you find out Gandalf didn't actually die, but is actually still alive with more conservative hair and a fancier staff. Or when the final scene ends in two brothers battling it in hand to hand combat. Or when you realize that Bruce Willis was dead the whole time.
... Wait. What?
No no, what's exciting is that we, Sister Seo and I, have 11 appointments for this upcoming week, including progressing and potential investigators. It's a huge miracle for us and we couldn't be more excited about it. We've been teaching Nicole, the Chinese university student with the Chinese recent convert and it's so so awesome. She has so many good questions and such a huge desire to find her own faith and is willing to do what it takes to find it. Emma and Imma have been sick, making it hard to meet, but we were able to meet and teach Jessie the Plan of Salvation which was awesome. We also met with 박영여 자매님 (Yeoungyo Park) and her family who we've met with a few times but it has been over a month. It was such a good lesson and she really seemed to soak in what we taught, I just hope we can instill in her the desire to learn more for herself. It's been such a blessing to have so many opportunities to teach the gospel! And one thing my companion and I know, however much we lack as teachers and with language barriers, is that everyone we are teaching knows that we know without any doubt, that this gospel is true.  
Speaking of my companion. Guys. She's so awesome. It's quite incredible how perfectly well we get along. Almost unbelievable really. We sometimes misunderstand each other's english or korean, but we have no miscommunication problem at all. We almost always just end up laughing. We found ourselves on the floor laughing the other night trying to wiggle out of our thousand layers. You know you've got a good companion when you can end your 14th weekly planning session with uncontrollable laughter.
In other news, I think I forgot to mention our primary program that was last week. It was the cutest thing and at one point there were three boys and the youngest girl singing "A Child's Prayer" and I may or may have gotten a little teary eyed. We're not talking big tears here, just like Dad tears. You know the kind he gets when he watches Emperor's New Groove or Over The Hedge... I mean who doesn't cry when they watch those movies, right?
... Right?
We also had our service project which was awesome but absolutely frigid (we can't even pretend we're not cold in that picture) and finding so many service opportunities. I've also had quite a number of really awesome street and train conversations this week, which are the best.
I wish you all the best too and send you my love. And a really awesome way to spend 2 minutes and 40 something seconds of your time. #sharethegift
Sister McCloskey

Monday, December 1, 2014

Nov. 30, 2014 - When the cold of winter comes...

First snow!

December has officially checked it, though it seems to have arrived a bit early this year, but it has brought with it quite a lot of that little white stuff that falls from the sky. Needless to say I'm totally ecstatic about it.
I laughed a little to myself reading about the ever eventful lives of that little family of mine. Thanksgiving seemed to have been a raging success, which news brings quite the smile to my face. As for Thanksgiving over here... Hah. We intended on an American feast with the district at our neighborhood Ashleys (a very famous, very delicious American buffet), but the wait was longer than what I imagine the line outside Best Buy was this past Friday. A line I hope none of you were in... It was kinda a bummer, but my companion and I were determined to celebrate what would be her first Thanksgiving with an American and mine with a Korean. So, naturally, we took the next best option and ate a 5,000 roasted chicken, that looked like a little turkey, from a roasting truck on the street. Talk about a Thanksgiving feast! It was quite the experience to remember and we even found a little German bakery with some walnut pie (also a first for Sister Seo) to top it off. Oh what a Happy Thanksgiving it was! Thank you pilgrims and indians. You rule.
In lieu of this lovely holiday, my companion and I decided to start only "gratitude" personal prayers at night, something I have wanted to do for a long time. There are always things to be grateful, so I thought it would be pretty easy and it was-- at first. As I have continued to do it though it has become even more personal and eye opening.
I, thanks to the amazing example of my parents, learned to pray to Heavenly Father at a young age. I prayed with my family, at church, on my own--but very rarely did I see it as a real conversation with my Heavenly Father. As a missionary I have strived to form the same relationship and have the same conversations with my Father in heaven as I do with you, Dad. I loved talking to you, telling you every meaningless facet of my life, seeking your advice on little decisions that really didn't matter but seemed like the end of the world to me, seeking comfort when days were hard. I really grew to trust you with everything and really treasure your advice. But since I have been in Korea, and no longer can come in to your office, sit my bony bum on your lap with my hair in your face and tell you everything about everything, I have looked more to my Father in heaven. I think this will be a lifetime pursuit, but I can say that I have grown closer to Him since I have been out here and I really know that not only is He there, but He wants to listen, He wants to know how I feel and what is going on and He wants to help. Just like you, Dad.
And as I have said prayers of gratitude I have come to truly recognize Him as the source of all the blessings I have received, one of those being the amazing earthly parents into whose arms I was all to lucky to jump in to. I love you two. More than you will ever know.
So needless to say I have learned a lot about humility this week. I even happened upon Alma 31:30-38 this morning and it summed up so much of my thoughts. I had been feeling pretty down about not seeing as much success as I had hoped out here, much like Alma's experience. But I have had so many incredible experiences, including an awesome lesson last night with Emma and a miracle student that we talked to on the street and eventually agreed to come to our church, that it is impossible not to recognize God's hand in this work. He's so cool, guys, and He's so real.
... And this letter is so long. Yikes.
As for whatever else I wanted to tell you about my week, I'll make it quick:
Went bowling last week as a district as by golly was it a blast (thanks to Korea and it's ridiculously low priced entertainment).
We have been given kimchi by just about every woman in our ward, our english class, our investigators and even some Jehovah's Witnesses we barely know. Thankfully, I have a Korean companion or I wouldn't know what the heck to do with all of it. I get a good laugh every time I look in the fridge. SO MUCH KIMCHI.
I dreamed for the first time in Korean and it was hilarious. And so cool! Who knew Michelle could speak Korean too. :)
I love you all and I'm so grateful for YOU. Keep being weird and having lip synching parties, Okay?
Sister Me
P.S. Who caught to LOTR reference?
P.P.S. Here's our bowling team and this pretty area of mine (pre snow)

And our Thanksgiving feast. Hah. :)


Sunday, November 23, 2014

November 23, 2014 -Thiggity thiggity Thanksgiving

I don't know if you heard, but there's this thing coming up called Thanksgiving on that side of the world, so I thought I'd put in my two cents.
I'm so very grateful for...
My dad. For teaching me that it's okay to laugh at yourself when you do dumb things and a companion that's willing to laugh with me. Like when I spill kimchi all over the floor or get my toothpaste spit all over her while getting too animated telling bedtime stories. I've been in Korea for some eight months now, but you'll be happy to know that yes, my hair is still blonde.
My mom. For instilling in me a great love of learning, reading and just genuine curiosity. As well as a love of the outdoors, serving people and getting my hands dirty! This week we had the opportunity to help shovel rows for planting up in the surrounding Korean hills. It was all too perfect and I caught myself, or rather, my companion caught me simply letting out little laughs here and there. Simply because I was too happy not to. 
My companion. with whom I get to spend a third transfer with and couldn't be more excited. We began our missions together in the MTC, and have had many an adventure as companions since. Together we have celebrated 추석 (one of the two biggest Korean holidays), both of our birthdays, both of our half-way marks, Halloween, and now Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have already witness so many miracles together and can't wait for another transfer full. Plus she's a crazy good cook, lets me borrow her clothes and is just so darn happy all the time. Seriously, guys. You will love her.
"Jesus The Christ". Well duh, I'm grateful for Him! But I'm actually referring to the book by my good friend James Talmage. I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to read and finish that book this week and for the impact it has had on my testimony of Jesus Christ as not only the Son of God, but the Savior of the World-- the Saviour of my world.
The people I have met in this beautiful country. Yeah, yeah you're probably getting sick of hearing this by now but... that's too bad. Yesterday I was trying to make small talk with this little old lady on the street, asking her if she had made kimchi yet this season. She simply looked up, way up, smiled a toothless smile, smacked me on the cheek a few times, then wandered off. It was one of those, "You're cute. Thanks for trying to speak my language" moments that definitely left me smiling. I have had the opportunity to meet and teach and talk to so many incredible people out here. The investigators we teach and less actives we meet are all so amazing and I feel so blessed to be the vessel, as weak as I am, to bring them closer to Christ.
The Korean language. I never thought I'd say it, but I truly am grateful for the opportunity I have been given to learn this beautiful language. As hard, frustrating and utterly incomprehensible it seems at times, it's amazing to see how far I have come-- knowing that I owe it all to my Heavenly Father.
The opportunity I have been given to bear Jesus Christ's name on my chest and preach his gospel to the people of Korea. Need I say more?
My stinkin family. The more stories I tell about all of you, the more I can't help but feel like I got the draw when coming down to earth. All of you. Mom, Dad, Brandon, Quinn, Jessie, Ander, The McCloskeys, The Hoffmans, The Pinos, The Morses, Grandma, Poppop, Nana, Grammy, Grandpa, Aunt Abbey, Uncle Ryan, Tori and Brett, Briana and Garrett... Did I miss anyone? Oh yeah, you too Chase. ;) You all have been such an example to me all twenty years of my life and have blessed me in ways that you will never know. I know that your prayers are being answered on my behalf and I hope you know that you are always in mine. It will be strange not spending the holidays with all of you this year, but know I'll be thinking of you.
... And for Mr. Bean. For teaching me how to cook a Turkey for what promises to be one heck of a Korean Thanksgiving. :)

My two cents turned into a good ten dollars. Whoops! I love you all and wish you the happiest Thanksgiving. 

My companion's teeeny feet.

A service project in the mountains.

My district

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 15, 2014 - Put a coat on, won't you?

Koreans. They kill me!
Figuratively, of course, else you ought to be wondering who the typer behind this email is.
Don't worry, it's me. I'm still alive. Korean's wouldn't hurt a fly. They might eat them though...
But really, I am surrounded by what I think are some of the most humble, giving, genuinely kind people this world has to offer and I consider myself the luckiest. Pretty sure if you take a look at a dictionary under the word "altruism" there will be some sort of shpeel about Korea. I can't count how many times in a day I get told, with all sincerity, how good my Korean is. Even if all I say to them is hello. Really. And mom, remember how you were always hounding me for not wearing a coat? No matter how many times I heard you say, "Rach put a coat on! It's winter!" I was still too stubborn to listen. You're probably worrying about the fact that now I have no mother to nag on me about my tendency to not wear coats, but you'll be happy to hear that just about every Korean woman, old and young, including my companion, has filled your spot in ensuring that my body temperature stays at a reasonable level. As soon as I walk out the door, I've got a Korean mother or grandmother on every corner looking out for me.
So yes, mama, I'm wearing a coat. :)
A coat. Do you know what that means? Winter. You might say it arrived a little early here in Chun Cheon, but it has been welcomed with open arms and cherry noses. And Heavenly Father must have been in the mood for some french toast on Thursday, sending a little powdered sugar from the sky. It happened whilst I was happily walking alongside a woman telling her about the message of the restored gospel. My companion, who was trailing a little behind, must have noticed at the exact moment because as soon as I glimpsed the little white flakes I turned to her and we exchanged looks of both wonder and awe, mixed with that little bit of childlike enthusiasm for all things associated with Christmas. Thankfully Heavenly Father has a steady hand and did not, as tends to happen to the rest of us, tap the container too hard leaving white mound on his already syrup drowned french toast. Just a sweet taste of what is to come.
Although I love the cold and this winter season, my heart reaches out to all those missionaries who spend their whole missions in this kind of weather. Brrrrrr. It certainly makes the work a bit harder freezing our little batooties off on the street. But I have already seen so many times, God's hand in this work and I know, through simple acts of kindness, that God is looking out for us.
And as if this week couldn't have been sweeter! We now have a new investigator, Nicole, from China who is an angel. She already has so much faith and such an open heart! We taught/ ate an amazing dinner, with Emma who is also nothing short of angelic. She has had some unpleasant experiences with church so it's hard to get her to commit, but we can see the change in her heart every time we meet her. Imma, too, is doing just wonderfully. We had several more really awesome lessons this week too, with some Jehovah's Witnesses, Jessie, a potential investigator, a group of Muslims straight from Pakistan, and our less actives. We have seen so so much success and so many miracles this week!
Also this week has also been kimchi making season, in which we got to participate in with some women from our ward. So fun! I'm definitely writing that on my bucket list then crossing it off my bucket list when I get home. Then teaching all of you in what promises to be one of the best FHE's you've ever had.
I didn't say best smelling, mind you.
I love you all. More than snow and kimchi and spicy food combined. And I know, that despite all that is going on in the world and the millions of people that are in it, that God loves you and knows you personally and knows your situation. And not only that, but He wants to help you and will help you. All you have to do is ASK.
Love you all.
And put a coat on, for goodness sake. It's freezing outside.
Sister McCloskey 
P.S. Don't worry. Fall hasn't completely disappeared yet. Here's proof!

And there's this coolest 50 cent batting cage that I may or may not
have begged my companion to go to last pday. SO fun, skirt and all. :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 9, 2014 - Shlessinger? Schlesigner? Shleshingur?

Not too much from this end this week thanks to the life-threatening case of pneumonia (who's impressed I still know how to spell that.. I did spell it right, didn't I?) that left my companion and I bed-ridden.
Hah. Just kidding mama.
Don't worry, the companion and I are healthy and happy as ever. We take our vitamins and excersize (wow that was harder to spell than pneumonia) daily and follow a strict food pyramid diet. Okay, fine, minus the food pyramid. Who even knows what that is? Besides, this is Asia. They don't have pyramids here anyway.
... Anyway. The REAL reason I have little to write is that we spent a large part of our week in Seoul! We had temple day on Tuesday, zone meeting on Wednesday, and a stake music conference on Saturday, all of which were what I would deem a "raging success". The time in between that was spent teaching on the train, talking to people on the streets, teaching english class, etc. The usual. As for the UNusual, we had several less-actives show up out of the blue this week that we met with and who agreed to come back to church! One came in while we were practicing our music with our ward. She had had a rough day and decided to go on a walk, saw the lights on in our little church, followed the spirit right on in and BAM. She's back. As for investigators, we weren't able to meet with SeaHorse or Jessie, for various sad reasons, but we met with Imma and Emma (how quaint). They are both so awesome and have so so much potential.
So many of our investigators and less-actives are having really hard times right now and it's been hard on my little companion and I. I feel like I should have paid more attention when mom was listening to Dr. Laura Schlessinger (yeah. there's no hope spelling that one), the whitest woman with the most black woman voice ever. Next to Abigail Harper that is.
Now I've got my mom all excited thinking I'm going to listen to it with her when I get back. Hah! No, no. I wouldn't go that far. I don't know nearly as much as she does about probably everything, but I do have something to offer that she doesn't. And it's a knowledge of this gospel and of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know. I know I know I know that no matter what it is you're going through, He has been through it. He can bring you more comfort and peace than you could find anywhere else from anywhere else. Cool, huh?
That's I've got for this week. It's getting a little chillier here, as I imagine is the case back home. Keep warm. Don't get pneumonia. And no matter what anyone tells you, it's okay to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. You've waited too long to belt Mariah Carey's "I don't want a lot for Christmas".
Love you all,
Sister McCloskey
What's a letter without a selfie?

A message card. Woo!

  Sister Zundel from my mission prep class at BYU!
We've been in the same zone since she's gotten here.
So fun!

Friday, October 31, 2014

October 26, 2014 - Oh, so it's a GIRL house.

I feel like I wrote you guys like five minutes ago.
But it was a long five minutes. So don't worry. I've got plenty to tell you.
This week we met yet again with our beloved Seahorse! I know what you're thinking, "underwater lesson??" I know. I had that same conception. Yes, that would make for a much more exciting story, though it might complicate speaking Korean..  But sadly, no, we did not in fact have an underwater lesson. Things of that sort are frowned upon by the man I currently call President.
Christensen, that is. Obama has no say whether I swim or not.
Our lesson, carbon dioxide and all, was wonderful. We taught alongside the Elder's Chinese recent convert and she shared powerful insights and her recently obtained testimony. He even happily accepted our marked up Book of Mormon and committed to read it. He really is so willing to listen and open his heart. So so cool. We also began teaching a lady from our English class with whom I share a love of English literature and maroon. And she even shares her English name with one of my favorite people. Yep, that would be you, Jessie. We met with her and taught her about the Book of Mormon. She's really intrigued by it and is willing to find out for herself if it's true. So excited for her.
We had a few downers this week with our investigator, Emma, and her daughter who got in a bit of a car accident. We were able to visit them at the hospital though and her whole family was there asking about what we do as missionaries and why. So it turned out to be a really good experience and she is healing quickly. Another "downer" (in every sense of the word), was a phone call that came during companion study. One of Sister Seo's former investigators answered in absolute desperation. Through her sobs we learned that she was in such a low place that she was ready to end her life. We were able to have a long conversation over the phone, sharing things we learned in personal study and helping her to feel God's love for her. And the coolest part was when we all knelt, the phone on speaker, and my companion offered up the most sincere, pleading prayer on her behalf. The spirit was so strong and when we hung up the phone we both looked at each other and smiled. We knew that everything would be okay.
And, because Heavenly Father is the best, everything is okay. She is doing so much better, just days later, and it has opened up more opportunities for gospel conversation and a renewed desire to find hope. Heavenly Father really does answer prayers, you guys.
This gospel is the coolest.
So, everything is well, here in this beautiful city. Not to mention that today is a really good hair day (I know you can relate, Dad). But the leaves are all changing colors and there are leaves about three sizes bigger than my head littering the ground. It's all I can do not to just dump out my suitcases and fill them with these leaves. They're the coolest! No, wait. The gospel is the coolest.
We also ate some street food from this apparently very famous little place and KBS (the most popular radio broadcasting company in Korea), got really excited when they saw a foreigner and even more excited when they found out I could speak Korean. So the sultry sound of my voice, mingled with my broken Korean, has now hit the chilling Korean air.
Our ward had a bit of a Halloween party on Saturday too, which was a blast. Halloween isn't really a thing here, so naturally the missionaries were alone in the donning of costumes. My companion and I crafted up some pretty cool pumpkin costumes (complete with two nametags for eyes). I really really really really love halloween. And what's the scariest part of Halloween?
NO REESE'S. Right, Chase? You're lucky I'm not there to steal all your candy this year. So you'd best enjoy it.
I love you all and wish you the most terrifyingly wonderful Hallow's Eve this week. Go eat candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner, watch a scary movie (but not by yourself like some weirdos *cough QUINN), be a superhero without superpowers for a day, carve your dad's face into a pumpkin, and jump in a pile of leaves, okay?
맥 자메 (Sister Mac-- A name that has become familiar to me as people fail to accept the challenge of saying my full name)

FYI -*The title of this blog is a quote from the movie Monster House, one of our familiy's favorite Halloween movies.
P.S. Here's me sporting one of my favorite leaves and a blurry picture from our halloween party. Hah.

And a large leaf selfie.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

October 19, 2014 - SeaHorse

With my Mission mama

I feel like I need an experienced writer and poet with very little but the words in his head, a strong-willed-do-it-herself blacksmith of a woman, a red head with a good sense of humor, and big soft hearted lug of a man to look over my shoulder and help me put the thoughts in my head into words on a keyboard everytime I start these letters.
But then again Geoffrey Chaucer is dead and Ulrich VonLichtenstein wasn't even Ulrich VonLichtenstein after all, now was he?
I guess I, too, will just have to change my stars. 
My heart, much like that of Ulrich's, is full of love. This week we met and taught both our lovely 성은경 (Sister Song) and 서혜정 (Emma).Both of them have very very little religious background, so we have to teach very simply, but the Spirit is always there. We are excited to watch them progress as they continue to read the Book of Mormon! We also had a miracle of miracles on Saturday. Our appointment cancelled, so we decided to go door to door at a nearby apartment. We scanned over the buildings and picked one, doubtless it was not coincidence, to begin our sharing of this message. The first door we knocked on happened to be a Vietnamese man who is here as a student and has been searching for religion, but didn't really feel anything at the churches he has attended in Korea. Yeah, okay, that's awesome.
Second door.
A father opened the door and hurriedly ushered us in, as though the family had been expecting us. We were all but completely baffled as we sat on their floor and they fed us pears and honey tea. This rarely happens, okay? It was all we could not to keep exchanging looks of confusion. It didn't take much conversation for us to learn that they had had sister missionaries over some sixteen years earlier and had very fond memories of that time. The son, now 27, had been around the block and back again searching for something more than just this life, but had become more lost in his search to be found. Circumstances arose, and we could no longer be in the home with just the men, so we went with the 27 year old 김세호, or his english name, SeaHorse, to a nearby cafe. It was one of the most amazing lessons I have had thus far on my mission. Seriously why have we not invented a way to go back in time and relive the best memories. Come on, Steve Jobs, you're slacking. (Oops, I guess we all understand why!) 
I would gladly put the whole conversation right here for you to indulge in, trust me, it would be a good read, but for the sake of time and your sanity, I will just say that it was all one big miracle. Nearly every morning in companion study, Sister Seo and I have been studying the scriptures to answer our really deep, soul searching questions. And as SeaHorse spoke, he asked us question after question, the very questions we have studied the last week. It was so cool sharing with him the knowledge that we have gained from the scriptures and our pure testimonies of the gospel. He wants to change his life and learn how to obtain faith and we couldn't be more thrilled to help him.
Seriously there is nothing like missionary work. It is the coolest thing ever.
So, life is good. Not to mention the fact that I got to go rock climbing last week with our district for p-day, my little ward feels like family (don't worry, guys, I'm only replacing you temporarily), I had the coolest dream about Frankenstein (you could say I'm pretty excited for the big day), my companion and I laugh ALL the time, I celebrated my half way mark and will be celebrating my companion's this week (did I ever mention we were in the MTC together? Oh, well.. We were in the MTC together), we had another awesome lesson with a Jehovah's witness, we had interviews with our mission president, and... it's raining. Boo yah.
your William Thatcher

Here's my coolest area
My even coolester companion

A beautiful sunset

Rock climbing!

And one more of my cool area...Fall!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

October 12, 2014 - The Cup's Half Full

You know when someone gives you one of those compliments that both catches you off guard and makes you question everything you thought you knew?
I got one of those the other day.
We were sitting on the train talking to a lady on our way in to Seoul (for general conference!). She was the nicest fifty-something year old lady who had tried getting married when she was younger, but it never worked out. Sad. But she told me something I've never heard in my life. She stopped, mid conversation, and said, "You look like Jesus". It caught me off guard causing me to chuckle. I said, "It's the hair, isn't it?". She smiled and said, "No. It's your eyes."
Stop the train, people, this is serious! I've thought about this a bit the last few days and hope that I can be the kind of person who's love of the Savior is reflected in my life... Or in my eyes.
But even better than being complimentized was her willingness to meet with us again and hear our message! We also had another street lesson with a lady we saw sitting on the side of the road who started out pretty mercilessly bashing the Book in our hands to, after hearing our testimonies, asking for a Book of Mormon and setting up for us a return appointment. Wow is the Spirit real or what.
Nope. There's no "or what". It's real. And it feels to me something like what I imagine "heart burn" to feel like, though somewhat less detrimental to ones health.
I also feel priviledged at this time to introduce a good friend of mine, and a newly discovered seeker of truth, 서혜정. She asked me to give her an english name which, after much deep consideration, is Emma. Trust me, it fits. She is a thirty year old single mother with these beautiful sad eyes and a desire to turn her life around. We began teaching her and her daughter this week and it was wonderful. She is wonderful!
We have also had many an adventure whilst knocking doors this week sharing this beautiful message. We were talking to one lady, who, previous to our knock on the door, had been vacuuming, and in an attempt to get us to stop talking and go away said, "People are trying to sleep!"....
Pretty sure I'm only louder than a vacuum when I sing Beyonce or Etta James.
Also, a nice little old harmony (old lady) greeted us at the door only she seemed to have forgotten that she did not have a thread of clothing covering the top half of her little body.
You never really know what you sign up for when you send in those papers to the prophet, do ya?
Speaking of the prophet, isn't he the coolest? This week we had the opportunity to watch conference. It consisted of hearing the latest words of inspiration Heavenly Father's got for His kiddos, being spiritually and physically edified (thanks, again, to the Spirit... and Costco muffins), and maybe drawing a picture here and there. Can't get much better than that.
Also, they forgot to mention it in conference, but we got our transfer calls this week and 서주은  and I are staying together for another here in this beautiful city. I couldn't be more excited to spend another one with her. That, and the fact that it is October and I love October and fall and sunsets and the brisk air, make for one happy Sister McCloskey.
Oh yeah, and guess what. My HALF WAY mark is on Wednesday. What the heck. Does anyone know where the last nine months went? 
That, along with my camera, seem to have disappeared somewhat suddenly.
But, anywho, love you all and wish you safety and peace wherever you may be in the world (*cough PRAGUE *cough)
Hah. Just kidding, Sister McCloskey
P.S. Hey dad, don't worry. My camera is right next to the keyboard. Hah. Gotcha.:)
P.P.S. Here's a few little conference doodles.
P.P.P.S. This church is so true, you guys. All of it. And I think it all spurred from me really just wanting it to be true. I wanted so badly for everything to be true, but for the longest time I thought that to really know I needed the spirit to hit me like a wall leaving a lightning bolt shaped scar on my forehead or something. But I know it's true. And I know that God knows that I know it's true. And I want you to know that I know it's true. But more than that, I want you to know for yourself that it's true. And I promise you, echoeing the words of our apostles from conference, that if you seek, you will find.

At an art museum last p-day

My cute companion in our beautiful area

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 5, 2014 -김치!

Seriously. If you're having a hard day, just take a look at my nephew's little face and all your troubles will melt away. Truly, that boy belongs in Baby Gap.
Scratch that. That boy belongs in my arms. If you ever need a babysitter, Jessie, just send him on over for the day. The postal system here is pretty timely and reliable. I think.
(I can almost hear your voice in my head, Jessie, echoeing the words of Kiera Knightly. "I am disinclined to aquiesce to your request.... Means no.")
Fine. I guess I can wait.
In all honesty, I'm not having a hard day. He just made a good day better! In fact, I have quite a good lot of good news to report from this side of the world.
   Firstly, my nine year old investigator from my last area got baptized on Sunday! She was so excited and her whole family (all non members) attended the beautiful ceremony.
   Also, when I arrived here in this new little ward of mine, there was no Relief Society, but as of Sunday, we know have a full functioning, though rather small, Relief Society. Woo!
   c. We met with three potential investigators this week. A mom and her four kids, two ladies from our english class, and a lady we met on the street. And they all have such potential. Potential potential potential. I think I use that word too much, but alas, that is all I can use for now.
   4. I ate Costco pizza this week. Yes, you may call me Sister McClostco.
   Fifthly, we had a ward hike and barbecue this week (yes, we had to explain to the people of Korea what that is) and both were a raging success. We were able to invite many potential investigators and have many a gospel conversation. It was wonderful.
   Oh! And papa guess what. This weekend we had a baptism for the Elders' Chinese investigators! They are the cutest couple. And I'm convinced that one day they will be mission presidents in China (who said that).
So the work is catching speed here, and were (obviously) pretty excited about it. This is not to say that this week did not have its downs, with a lot of rejection and slammed doors. But if 24601 can endure a life in prison, I can take a door slammed in my face. "So it was with the best people who ever lived", right? Thankfully, I have an awesome companion who keeps me laughing. We get along like butter and toast. Or rather, like kimchi and rice.
Kimchi and everything really, this is Korea.
I wish you all the best with all your educational, social, mental, financial, substantial, circumstantial endeavors 
Love you
Baptism for the Elders' Chinese investigators

My area

Another selfie

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 28, 2014 - Bertybottseveryflavoredbeans. Yum.

So you know that scene in every movie where the girl is walking in the rain, musing at the beauty of her surroundings, you know all dreamy or whatever, and then a car comes out of nowhere and sends a wall of water her way, soaking her and leaving her totally miserable?
Now just place me in the part of "the girl" and substitute "leaving her and her companion unable to breathe from an excess of laughter" for "leaving her totally miserable" and you just watched the opening scene to my day.
This past week opened on a rather bright, sunny day in Seoul (on an exchange with the Sister Training Leader) which was a lot of fun. We also had a "Sister's Conference" in our zone which was wonderful. It's always inspiring hearing older missionaries experiences and testimonies.
But it was all too good to come back to this happiest city of Chun Cheon. The work here is hard, there just aren't as many people to talk to, but we're keeping our heads up. We have had several appointments cancel and potential investigators drop, which is always disheartening. But, just like the rain, we manage to find things to laugh about and keep our heads up. We did, however, meet with a certain 서혜정 (Soh He Jung) who is not only the Asian doppleganger for the actress who plays Jim Carrey's wife in "Liar Liar", but (more importantly) has so much potential to progress in the gospel. She's so awesome! And we set up several appointments for this upcoming week with past investigators that we're looking forward to.
And guys, guess what! Heavenly Father totally answers prayers. In lieu of the above paragraph, and our current status of 0 progressing investigators, I have been saying some pretty fervent prayers for Heavenly Father to bless me with "opportunities to teach His gospel". Well, He answered.
Yesterday I had the hah, "opportunity" (so it's called) to teach gospel doctrine class and teach young women. Mind you, this was all in Korean. It was stressful, but I learned so much in preparing and teaching that I truly was grateful and it really was an "opportunity". But that's not the end. On top of that, yesterday was my angel of a companion's birthday yesterday which called for some seriously super speed apartment decorating done in the short time I had while she was in the shower. That, and we had a girl from Utah come to church so I had the "opportunity" to translate for her in sacrament meeting. Whew.
Needless to say my companion and I gobbled up our homemade cake completely guilt free.
Heavenly Father is answering our prayers and we are seeing miracles everyday. So obviously, life is good. That, and my companion happens to be one heck of a cook so I'm not only in the process of learning Korean, but learning the art of Korean cooking. Sometimes I feel like Dumbledore (no, I'm not growing a beard, Quinn) in the first movie when he reaches into the bag of "Berty Botts Every Flavored Beans", pops one in his mouth, not sure what to expect and then says, happily, "Mm. Earwax!" Only in my case it's something more like, "Mm. Cow's blood!".
Not sure which is worse.
Keep smiling, keep praying, keep breathing.
Love you all,
Sister McCloskey 
My comp
Something that needs to get in your stomach pronto

Sister's Conference