Monday, April 27, 2015

April 26, 2015 - Part of that world

The four of us at the mission conference
I stared at the blank white box on the screen for a good two minutes watching the little bar appear and disappear trying to figure out what to write. Not because nothing happened this week, but cause I am forgetting all the english I once knew. It's 한국말 24/7 over here and we spend p-day with the other sisters (also Korean). SO fun, but I can't help but feel like Ariel sometimes when I try to speak english. What are those called again?
But we really are running and playing and staying all day in the sun here, so I'm pretty glad to be part of this world. Even when being with only Koreans means accidentally ordering cow blood soup. Just smile and swallow... That's what I always say.
And Sister Jeon and I actually do go running every morning and literally every time we turn the corner around this bridge we see this same girl, gripping her backpack, running to the subway. If she would just get up five minutes earlier... It gives us a good laugh though and always makes me think of Groundhog Day seeing the same thing day after day after day.
Thankfully, everyday here is completely different and full of funny little things and little miracles. We went on two exchanges this week with the sisters in our zone which was fun and exhausting at the same time. Remember Sister Seo? Of course you do. Couldn't forget her even if you wanted to! Well she's in my zone now and I got to go on exchange with her this week! It was so fun and we found so many random teaching opportunities. I remember going on exchanges with old STL's who were such examples to me and everytime seeing so many cool miracles and thinking, "man, I wish everyday was like that!". Everyday IS like that right now and it's so cool. The spirit is so strong here with Sister Jeon. 
As for our investigators, one word. MINA. The Mongolian. All she could talk about was the "undescribably happy feeling" she got after she met us and whenever she reads the Book of Mormon or prays. She even did everything she could to get work off next Sunday and is so excited to come to church. She really is an angel. 
Right now is test season, so many of our investigators were busy with that, but are still progressing well, which is great! The weather is finally warming up and we even got to have a mission tour with Elder Ringwood and I got to see Sister Wijetunge again which was great. :)
Well, that's a wrap. Kinda like those wraps they have at the MTC. Ohhh boy does that sound so good right now. I love you all and send the family my love (especially grandma)!
Sister Meck

P.S. My beauty of a companion. Yes, that makes me the beast in this companionship. I'll take it.
One more cool picture 
...And our view, in case you forgot what it looks like.

Friday, April 24, 2015

April 19, 2015 - Surely, you're not serious

Not sure about that side of the world, but this has been one heck of a week on this side of the world. Seriously. "Surely, you're not serious."
"I am. And stop calling me Shirley."
I'm sure you're curious about what went down at the DMZ (Demiliatarization Zone), but outside of single handedly ending the communist ruling of Kim Jong-Un and opening the door for the gospel to be preached up North, it wasn't too eventful... Hah. Wouldn't that be something?
No, we didn't see Mister Kim but we did get to see North Korea, so that's cool.  
As for the rest of this week, I've got some really sad news, but some really good stuff too. Which would you like first? I suppose we'll just grab the corner and rip the bandaid off and go with the bad, eh?
Bad news: Kim Sue Ryen (this whole name thing is impossible) who is more golden than the medal around Michael Phelps neck, found out that her parents are sending her to China this Tuesday. And on top of that, they found out she was coming to church with us and made her delete our number and give the Book of Mormon back... Sigh. All this happened right after she met with us, said she was beginning to believe in God (which has been hard for her), and accepted a baptismal commitment.  
So, yeah. That bandaid hurt a little, huh? But like Quinn says, "That didn't hurt!" Heh. Yes it did Quinn, okay? Go get me some neosporin.
Speaking of Quinn (and a quick transition into the good news).. The boy's having a BIRTHDAY on Thursday! Word on the street has it he REALLY likes people singing to him in public and since I'm not there to so it, I'm passing the baton on to you ;) Hey Quinn, love you kid. Have a great one.
In other good news, we found two new investigators this week! One from Mongolia and another, you'll never guess, from China! We taught their first lessons (including how to pray) in this place where all the foreigners hang out. It almost feels like I'm walking into Mos Eisley... Maybe only BQ and C will get that one, so we'll just say it's full of very interesting people. :)
But they're great. The Mongolian especially has this huge desire to come closer to Christ, the only problem being that she is super busy. So, we'll see. This ain't Facebook, but obviously I'll keep you posted. :) We have been keeping very busy too and our other investigators are progressing well and keeping their commitments. The majority of them being Chinese, and having had absolutely no background with religion, are progressing slowly, but it's so cool watching and assisting in the growth of their faith in God and Jesus Christ. So cool, I tell ya.
And as if that wasn't enough good news for ya, check out that picture. Yep. That's John the Schmidt and his commrades. Otherwise referred to as "The Piano Guys". The celloist and producer both served here in Korea so they held a surprise concert/ fireside for the missionaries last night and it was so so cool. The best part wasn't even the music, but hearing them bear their testimonies. They just ooze with the spirit and with joy and it really is contagious. This gospel really does bring happiness. Everytime. I've found that for myself too, and when I find it I just want to dig into my Easter basket and find more.
And then hide in my room and eat it all by myself hiding the wrappers and leaving no trace of chocolate on my face... NOT. I want to share it with everyone. Which is why I couldn't be happier to be here.
Love you all and wish you the happiest week.
Sister McCloskey

Monday, April 13, 2015

April 12, 2015 - Swallowed up in the joy of God

So I'm not so good at writing all the boring logistical stuff, but I come from a family of smarties, so I figure I should relay some of this to all of you. So for anyone who cares (ahem DAD), here's the boring stuff... :)
There are currently around 200 missionaries in our mission, 51 sisters (30 foreign 21 Korean), 148 elders (120 foreign and 28 Korean). There are about 10 sister training leaders (and I'm the youngest in mission age--yikes!) and we work with the zone leaders to help train the missionaries, especially sisters, in our zone. We go on exchanges with the sisters and give monthly zone trainings. Whew.
This week we had a leadership training meeting with all the APs and zone leaders at President's home which was so so fun and a huge spiritual high. Then the next day, the two zone leaders and sister Jeon and I gave our first zone training. We got pretty creative with it and it ended up being "one of the best zone training meetings" the APs had seen. Cool, huh? 
As for Sister Jeon and I, we couldn't be happier. We end nearly everyday staring out our window watching Seoul buzz 16 floors beneath us, just marveling at the joy this gospel brings. I hope I never lose the profound sense of awe and adoration I have for this gospel and this work. Everyday seems to end like Ammon who "was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhausting of his strength..." (Alma 27:17). I don't know if I've used that one before, but it couldn't be more pertinent than right now. That isn't to say that there aren't struggles or disappointments, as we have seen many. One of our investigators, who is the most prepared 20 year old ever and has this huge desire to be baptized, can no longer meet with us, contact us, or come to church because of her father opposing it. Sigh. But we have five Chinese investigators who are progressing and Kim Soo Ryen even came to and stayed for all four hours of conference with us! So awesome.
My heart is just so full and there's so much I want to say, but don't have sufficient time. Lately we have been teaching so many people who have no background with religion or God and have gotten to teach over five people how to pray. It's a pretty cool thing getting to be there with someone their first time communicating with their Father in Heaven. I love introducing people to that wonderful big guy in the sky. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Him at a young age by two of the best people in this world. But though I was taught to pray and continued to practice throughout my life, I think I started to get comfortable with it; a little too comfortable. I found myself simply tossing wishes up into the air hoping someone somewhere somehow would catch it. I still have to ask myself how I actually came to a knowledge of the existence of God. Not only a knowledge of his existence, but that He knows ME and loves ME. And I honestly don't know how it happened, but... It happened. Just like a painting being made one brush stroke at a time, this is a painting that's still being painted. But now it's starting to take form and I'll tell ya... it's looking pretty darn good. :) Yup. I know God lives and I know He loves me. 
He's up there guys. Keep looking up and you'll find Him. 
Promise. :)
Sister McCloskey 

P.S. We are going to the DMZ (aka NORTH KOREA) this week as a district. So awesome, right? If I don't make it back... Just know how much I love you. K? :)

Conference doodle
Our awesome view

Monday, April 6, 2015

April 5, 2015 -Well hello there, Seoul! It's been a while, hm?

Chase, remember that first hotel we stayed in in New York with the wall of windows looking out over the city and the floor to ceiling mirror that was placed so oddly right in front of the toilet? Well, picture that, but bigger and without the oddly placed mirror, and you've got my house. 16th floor! Looking over Seoul and this park where the old folk gather in the morning to do Korean style zumba (no, not gangnam style... though that would be pretty funny). SO cool. And my companion, 전부해 자매님 (what.. you can read that? sigh.) Sister Jeon Boo Hae is the coolest. We speak non stop Korean which is so fun and go running on this river trail every morning. She's SUCH a good missionary with one of those cute scrunch your nose smiles that everyone loves.
With twelve lessons Wednesday to Sunday, we were super busy and ended every day totally wiped out. Wa wa wa wa WIPE OUT. No, we don't use roller blades when we street contact and thankfully our sleeping pads are more comfortable than the Classic Skating floor, but you get the idea.
And you won't need to fight over the maraschino cherry on the top of this sundae cause I've got plenty to go around.
We had a great last few days in ChunCheon including a service project in the mountains on Tuesday and one last parata/  curry dinner with Sister Wi. It was a sad depart, but I know I'll be back someday and... we already practically planned my trip to Sri Lanka.. :)
Wednesday, after meeting my new companion and ooing and aweing for a bit at our home, we met this 20 year old Chinese girl on the street, invited her to the church, showed her around, met her again on Saturday, taught her about God and Jesus Christ, she prayed for the first time in her life... for 10 MINUTES, invited her to church, she came to church on Sunday, stayed all the hours and for the baptismal service after, and agreed to meet again. What the heck. So cool right? 김수련 (Kim Soo Ryeon) is her name.
And Sunday we were fasting for a former investigator who has some home troubles and she ended up coming to church and telling us she was not only fasting, but wants to be baptized on April 19th. What the heck. So cool, right?
It's fun being back in Seoul and seeing new things everyday. It's still pretty brisk weather, but there are cherry blossoms and cats everywhere. And so many foreigners! Bowing has officially become a part of me now, like a reflex, and I bow at everyone, Korean or not. So wierd, but I can't control it! What can I say, I am my father's daughter (that's you, Lightning Reflex Rick). :) We currently have six Chinese investigators and three Mongolians. All speak pretty great Korean though which is good.
I'm happy.
And tired.
But more happy than tired.
Love you!
Sister McCloskey

P.S. My new view in the rain and the service project in the mountains... In the rain! Woo!

The magnolia trees that are everywhere
A goodbye to Sister W, caught by another elder