Sunday, August 2, 2015

August 2, 2015 - See you on the other side.

Look at that face. No not me, sillies, the beautiful toothless grin on that grandmother on my left. Her thin skin bearing witness of a well lived life, smile wrinkles testifying to a happy one. 

The face says it all. I love this country and I love these people.

I suppose now it is a good time for me to write what them churchy people like to call a "testimony". 

It's hard to say where my testimony began. I was lucky to be raised by two of the most devoted disciples of Christ who emulated his example in their every endeavor, so it was pretty easy to rely on their big anchor of faith. I, like Nephi, was raised by "goodly parents", who lived the gospel and enjoyed the peace and joy that comes from doing so. It's hard to forget those things we heard repeatedly from dad growing up,  "Never say die", "remember who you are", "I can't believe it's not butter"... "Pile drive into the sand...":) just to name a few.

But I remember Dad, a convert to the church, always telling us that "everyone has a conversion story". 

I think mine began a long time ago, long before I can remember. High school hit and I realized that I was surrounded by spiritual powerhouses, but I still felt like I was just tossing wished up into the sky, hoping someone, somewhere might swipe them up. For a long time it felt to me like a testimony was one of those things only the perfectly righteous could obtain. But I saw young people, my age and younger, certain of what I was still unsure of and I began to think, "Well if they know it, why can't I?"

You'd think that would be the trigger jump starting me into some stalwart journey of spiritual development, but you'd be wrong. Instead I got caught up in the whirlwind of adolescence. It's a wonderful time, that time they so appropriately term the "terrible teens", filled with awkward moments, lessons learned and relearned after mistakes made and remade, and a whole lot of self discovery.

It was then that President Monson announced the change in mission age, spurring a ripple of excitement, anticipation, and uncertainty. After the initial excitement wore off, the reality of leaving everything and really not knowing what missionary work entailed, settled in. 

The summer after graduation, I spent nearly every Sunday hopping from farewell to farewell listening to testimony after testimony. Some powerful, some simple, but all honest. How could I get that? Part of me felt like I needed to come to some sort of perfect knowledge before I could join the some 80,000 youth.

Sometime between buying textbooks, moving into a dormitory, getting oriented into the college student life and taking my final tests, I felt the pull and knew there was no way I was not going to serve. The question, "Well, why did you choose to serve a mission?" is no fill in the bubble question. There's a myriad of answers, one being, "Ya know, I'm not too sure my sure myself!" 

But I did. I signed out and stepped onto the biggest roller coaster I've ever been on in my life (and we all know that's saying something-- I mean have you seen the size of those big boys at Busch Gardens??) and it has been the best decision I've ever made. 

As much as I'd like to, I can't put all I have learned or gained these past eighteen months here in this little email. But I suppose I'll put just one. And that is that this gospel, the same gospel taught by Christ himself and then restored through Joseph Smith; the same gospel being put into music form for kids and adults alike to sing; the same gospel being preached around the world by those bearing the black name tags... that gospel, guys. It's true. All of it. God's real. He's our father in Heaven. And He loves us enough to send his son so we can return to live with Him. How cool is He, huh? 

I love this work. This church. And this country. And am sad to say that this is my last email, yesterday was our last baptism (yes, Mina got baptized and it was a beautiful thing), and this is my last week wearing the name tag preaching the gospel i have come to a surety is true here in this country to a people I have come to love.

This is it. I suppose. Love you guys.

See you... on the other side. 
(it's like I'm turning from a llama into a human, if you get what I mean)


Sister McCloskey
Mina's baptism

July 26, 2015 - Mina

"Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
 ...Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors..."
(Alma 36:24-25) This week that fruit and "exceedingly great joy" hit me like a slap in the face. A good one, though. You didn't think a slap in the face could ever be a good thing, now did you? Okay, maybe it was more like a pie to the face. Cause that sounds a little more desirable. Banana Cream? 

Anywho. Remember Mina? She's the beautiful thirty year old Mongolian Sister Jeon and I met some four months ago. You may not remember, but hers is a name I will never forget. She was that "golden investigator" every missionary dies to teach. She was the most prepared investigator I've ever had. She felt the spirit right off the bat stronger than anyone else I've ever taught. And I have never prayed for, fasted for, or studied for anyone more in my life than her.

Those prayers were answered. Mina is getting baptized this Sunday :)

Feels like a dream within a dream. Where's Leo Dicap when you need him? Oh right, there was no room for him on the door.

We met Mina this week and she bore a powerful testimony and told us that she is ready and striving to do all she can to keep every commandment. She wants to be "born again" and "recommit to follow the Savior" and she knows that this is the way. She came to church, we had a member present lesson and we got to eat Mongolian food with her this week. THE BEST.

It's a good thing I've always liked maracchino cherries, cause Heavenly Father just dumped a handful atop this sunday. Our little threesome has been blessed with some fifteen beautiful children of God with whom to share this message (among which are Mongolian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, and of course Koreans), four of which are new investigators and four others have baptismal dates. Can you say "wonder of wonders miracle of miracles", or what? 
I'm about out of time (yikes, that applies to more than just this email session, doesn't it?) but I'd like to turn the time over to President Hinckley to sum it all up.

Take it away, President.

 "Do you want to be happy?
Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause. 
Lend your efforts to helping people... 
Stand higher, lift those with feeble knees,
hold up the arms of those that hang down.
Live the gospel of Jesus Christ."

I was caught on film laughing in my sleep this week so I guess it's pretty safe to say I'm happy. Haha. :) I wish you all the best and... well, I'll see you soon! 

Sister McCloskey

P.S. Here's Seoul and a little drawing I did for one of our investigators! Enjoy!

We went to the tower on pday and put a lock on the lock
bridge with our names and a heart by them (leaving room
for our future husbands names). SO fun.

.. And that's me cracking up as I threw the key off the mountain. 

I LOVE my companions. :) 

July 19, 2015 - rainbows love unicorns and more unicorns.

I need someone to ship me off to an island in the middle of nowhere so I can get a new supersuit and fight a big metal ball so it can stretch out my hands and legs and crack my back. My back! But don't worry. It's just "mind over back pain", right Dad? Right. 

Aside from my back hurting and being totally wiped out, we're great! :) 

I don't have a lot of time, so this'll be a flash. We have seen so many little miracles this week with new investigators (Chinese and Malaysian!) one of which showed up to church on Sunday, member present lessons (total miracle- people here in Seoul are SO busy), three investigators accepting the baptismal commitment, referrals, and so many opportunities to teach. We are literally jumping from subway to bus to subway talking to everyone lucky enough to be taking public transportation that day! It's an absolute blast.

I received two pretty meaningful gifts this week too. Elizabeth, our 60 something investigator who loves to sew and has showed us how, gave me two handmade Korean dolls. Mom, you're gonna die. SO thoughtful of her. And then one of my former investigators, who didn't even know of my great fondness for sunflowers, gifted me a sunflower fan. Can you feel the love? 

Oh, I can feel it.

I also got told twice this week that I look like Kiera Knightly.

It's the corset isn't it?

... okay I'm not THAT scandalous. I have always wanted to wear one of those though. 

Talk about TMI.


I got to go on exchanges with Sister Collinwood this week exactly 18 months after we met that fateful day in the MTC! So fun huh? We had a pretty miraculous day too. One investigator said "I've felt many times as you were talking that this really is true". Hey guess what, you're right! We also taught the whole restoration lesson to a lady in the park and got two return appointments. Woo! I love Sister Collinwood. And I love bearing my testimony and teaching the gospel in Korean. Good news is I've got two more weeks to do it. Boo yah.

Sorry this letter is pretty lame. But then again so is the one Quinn sent. Oh wait. He didn't.


Love you love you love you xoxoxoxox muuuuah love love hugs kisses hugs xoxoxxoxo more kugs more kisses love rainbows unicorns....

Have the best week, kids. 

Sister McCloskey

P.S. Half my pictures are of sunsets so, uh, sorry. But this is our view and we're going to that tower today! Woo!

... And here's a funny picture of our zone leaders. They're great. :)