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