Week 4 – A Mission Exhibition!

Buenos Tardes, mi familia y amigos! ㅅㅅ (Wait, that’s not my language!)

We lived through another week. It was a little rough because we lost two of our investigators, but we have more return appointments planned! We met with one sister who is Korean, but she said that sometimes English is more comfortable because she lived in foreign countries for a long time, so sometimes she makes mistakes in Korean and Koreans don’t understand why. I am happy because I can participate more in teaching her, and she seems so ready to receive the gospel! I’m so excited for her! ㅅㅅ
We’re planning a big event for the ward this week. Before I got here they had an idea for a Missionary Exhibition to help members learn more about missionary work and how they can help and non-members can also come and learn more about the gospel. This has taken a lot of planning, but we are excited. There is also going to be a musical “concert” of sorts, so all of us missionaries in the ward plus another ward’s missionaries will be singing a lot. The good news is that the missionaries in our ward are very talented, and I really enjoy when we sing together before meetings because we have two tenors and two basses and I am an alto and my companion is a soprano! This worked out perfectly. ㅅㅅ Hopefully we we be able to invite the Spirit and help the members understand how much we need them and help investigators gain more faith and some friends in the ward. This will be awesome!
As for the language, I’m really nervous because I am supposed to pass-off on the first lesson this week with one of our district leaders. That is a lot of 다노 (dah-no), or Vocabulary, and I am praying super hard for the Spirit to be there and for the gift of tongues to help me. I’ve been studying as much as I can, but it is slow going. I pray that I will be ready by Wednesday, and I have faith that the Lord will help me. I have already seen some of the miracles that the gift of tongues can bring, and I have no doubt that the Lord will help me as long as I keep trying and have faith. 와이팅! (why-ting) Fighting! (Let’s do it/good luck)
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The food is still really good, but there are several things that are not my favorite. There is a drink that tastes like grain in water that is very popular, and a type of water Kimchi that is like a soup, but it tastes like pickling solution to me. I’m still experimenting at the grocery store since I can’t read any of the labels yet, and I have a suspicion that I’m buying skim milk again without meaning to. *sigh* Oh well.
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Thank you all again for your love and support. I need it so much! I love hearing from you all, and I hope you continue to write me! Love you lots! The church is so true!
All my love,
Sister Jessica Pope
P.S. These are pictures of us at an all-you-can-eat meat buffet. You grab the meat you want and then you cook it in the middle of your table. It was delicious, and I think it would be a bad idea if they had these in America.
The second dish is 팓빙수 (Pa ping su) which is like ice cream. It’s mixed with red beans and ice, and it’s super delicious. ㅅㅅ
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Week 3 – Taking Chances, Making Mistakes, and Getting Messy

Hello my friends and family!

Has is really already been a week? Wow! We worked hard this week, and I feel it. It’s super humid and hot, but just like the mail we go out every day! The work of the Lord will go forth! ささ

Since we’ve been working so hard I’ve actually lost a few pounds (take that, MTC teachers!!! ささ) and I am happy because I believe the abs that I had in high school are beginning to come back! ささ The only thing is that my trainer says once I adjust to the food that won’t be the case anymore, and I think she might be right, especially since some of the ward members feed us really well and keep us with a pretty steady supply of ice cream. But I will try to not let that happen! Anyway, I lost a few pounds, and it was enough that some Korean missionaries(Koreans notice everything about you and they are frank to tell you if you’ve lost or gained weight) noticed, and I proudly told them yes! Then they asked me if I was sick and they told my trainer that she is a bad trainer because she doesn’t feed me! *sigh* I tried to explain that losing wieght is a good thing in America and that I wasn’t sick. I don’t know if they believed me.

The language is very slowly coming. I am beginning to understand a little bit more every day. My 穿亀 is improving, and I can pray a little better. Yesterday I was asked to pray in four different meetings! I try my best, but I don’t know why they like to ask me to pray so much. Probably because I am new. ささ

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I taught English class the other day. Teaching English is one of the best ways we find people to teach. We do a 30-30 program: 30 minutes of English and 30 minutes of the gospel. A lot of people are interested in English, so we offer English for free.  ささ One of our new investigators came for English, but we think she may be really interested in the gospel now. Oh, I hope so! People also get nervous about their English when I tell them I am an English major, but what they don’t know is that I am nervous to talk to them because I don’t speak Korean! I have to speak in really simple English when I use it to help them understand me and I am trying to use more and more Korean as I learn it. I am already seeing my English going away little by little, and my only hope is that it is at least getting replaced with Korean.

So this week I realized that I need to change my attitude about Korean and my mission. I am always super nervous when I try to speak, but one night I remembered a quote from one of my favorite TV shows as a kid. Many of you will remember Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus. Her catch phrase is “It’s time to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!” and then the class goes on a field trip and does exactly that! They end up learning a lot from the experience, especially from their mistakes. I realized that it needs to become my catch phrase when it comes to immersing myself in the Korean culture and my mission. I need to think positively and not focus on the mistakes themselves, but on what I learned from them. I make TONS of mistakes, but I am learning more and more every day. This is the task that Heavenly Father has set before me, and I need to remember that he always makes a way to accomplish his work. I know the gift of tongues is real, and I know that Heavenly Father has a way for me to do everything that He needs me too. He will never leave me alone when I am doing my part and keeping the commandments. I know this is true in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thank you all again for your prayers and your faith in me. They are great strength to me as I do my best to serve the Lord. I love you all so much!

All my love,

Sister Jessica Pope

P.S. Here are some pictures of Korea at night, and some apartment buildings that are all over the place. Also, shopping for clothes is really fun in Korea because it’s quality and it’s cheap, but sometimes you come across a badly translated shirt or something. I’m not sure I could go around with a shirt that said “A Moose Milk” or “A floaty dress is the”.  ささ
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“To bring the world His Truth”

 

Week 2 – Shin Chone Area

Hello from across the ocean! 今今

So I’m a new missionary, so I’m allowed to make mistakes. The temple is in our area, but the mission home is not. Sorry about that! Moving on…

This week had its challenges, but I’m pretty sure that is every week. The biggest challenge for me at this point is just trying to learn Korean. As I’ve said, I normally have no idea what’s going on and it is frustrating when I want so badly to understand and not just be a pretty face. The good news is that I think the jet lag is beginning to wear off and I am getting a little better at listening! One of our zone leaders shared a story in our zone meeting about when I attempted to teach during English class. He said that I didn’t use fancy Korean (because I can’t use fancy Korean) but I spoke from the heart and invited the Spirit into the room. It made me feel better that he said that and it gave me a little more confidence to keep trying. I am really hoping things will start getting a little easier now.

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Other good news is that we got two new investigators this week! We are so excited to teach them and invite them to come unto Christ. Sometimes its hard when we are out doing 瞪紫 (Jun-doh), which is street contacting, and they completely ignore us. One time a woman actually ran away from us when we tried to talk to her! Are we really that scary? 今今 One rule that is specific to the missions in Korea is that only sisters 瞪紫 to women and only elders 瞪紫 to men. This is mostly cultural, I think, but we follow the rules that have been set down. Hopefully we can touch some hearts while we are here.

As for the food, IT. IS. SO. GOOD!!!!! Yeah, it’s a bit spicy, but it is delicious! I think my favorite dish so far is 鎗殼 (Jim dalk -soft k) It kind of reminds me of a spicy stew. It has a lot of vegetables like potatoes, onions, and carrots and it has chicken in it. I think my favorite part is the clear noodles. Mmmm!! One interesting characteristic of Korean meals is that instead of everyone having their own plate, they make a ginormous dish with several side dishes with it and everyone eats from the same plate. I have been complemented on my chopstick ability, so I tell everyone that I learned from my aunt who served in Japan. 今今 Ah! Just writing about it makes me hungry.

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Funny story: this week we went to a Primary activity and there was a firefighter who was teaching CPR. Of course, I couldn’t really understand what he was saying but I followed along as best I could. He had a dummy to practice on, and who do you think they asked to demonstrate CPR? That’s right! The foreigner who can’t speak! 今今 I’m grateful for our other zone leader who helped me out. *sigh* Barely more than a week here and I’m already kissing a dummy. I hope I don’t have to talk to the mission president about this. 😉

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I am so grateful for the Lord’s hand in this work. It is not easy, but I know that the Lord will help me learn Korean and the culture. I have felt the Spirit testify of truth pretty much every day that I’ve been here, and I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to study the word of God every single day. Thank you for your love and support. I can feel your prayers for me. Thanks so much! I love you all! Remember, the church is true!

All my love,

濠衙 (Sister Pope)

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Week 1 – Shin Chone Area

안녕하세요, everyone!

I’m so sorry if some of you were worried about me because you didn’t hear from me until now, but I want you to know that I am safe and sound! We didn’t get a chance to email yesterday (Our Monday, your Sunday) because we were helping a woman move into her new apartment with her daughter! Hopefully it will open her heart and she will be interested to know more about the gospel and why were are here. We got special permission to email today instead of our Preparation day, so now I can tell you about my first week in Korea!

DSCF1070First of all, it is SOOO HUMID!!! There is so much water in the air and it is super hot all the time. My area is in the huge city of Seoul, and it happens to be the one with the Temple and the Mission office too! We are literally around the corner from the temple. One of the first characteristics I noticed about Korea is that there are so many steep hills and stairs everywhere, and there are not a lot of elevators. Most of the members live on the 3rd or 4th floor too. My trainer says that my legs will get huge, and I believe her! I’m kind of grateful that I was able to somewhat prepare for this part when I did that one year of track in high school. This is going to be fun!DSCF1057

Speaking of my trainer, her name is 정효정 자매님 (Sister Jeong). She is a native Korean, and she speaks the language perfectly. ㅅㅅ She is adorable, and is so positive all the time! I am so grateful for her help because I am at a loss for everything here. I feel like a small child following her everywhere. I can barely understand anything and I can’t read very well and I don’t know what I’m doing, so she is a great “mother” teaching me how to survive Korea as a missionary.DSCF1040

This area has it’s challenges, and I hope I am up to the task to help out as best I can. This is going to be really hard, but I am always praying for the Lord’s hand. I have already seen evidence of the gift of tongues working here, and I know that the Lord will help us as we do our best to serve him. Keep praying for us! Thank you so much for your love and support! We feel it.

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포프 자매 (Sister Pope)