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. :)