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!