Imun Week 1 – For Unto Us A Child is Born

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I can’t tell you how excited for Christmas I am. It really doesn’t feel like Christmas at all because there is not much snow here, even though it’s freezing cold. Christmas isn’t very big here, so anytime I see or hear something Christmas-ey I just light up inside.^^ We went to the Imun Christmas party and it was really fun! All of the Imun Elders and us were asked to do a skit, so we did the Nativity. Since Sis. Kang was the only Korean, she read the story and the rest of us acted it out. You can guess who I was. That’s right! I was Joseph. ^^ Just kidding! I was Mary because I was the only other sister missionary. ^^ It went well, though it was sometimes hard to keep a straight face with the other Elders. I didn’t have a baby doll, so I just wrapped my scarf in a blanket, and it looked okay. Missionaries have to get resourceful sometimes. ^^

I hope that we brought the Spirit with that because we had two investigators with us. I’ve met a lot of interesting people from all over the world here in Korea, and one of our investigators is Polish. We had a good talk about how much God loves us and how he knows everything that we are going through. He knows exactly how to help us, and he wants us to be happy! It was really good, and she mentioned how she always feels really good when she meets with the sisters. I hope she continues to meet with us!

Our other investigator there was a grandmother who I had taught the alphabet to earlier that day. She was so cute, and we taught her how to say “I love you, teacher”. She said that to me all day, and I sang a little for her and she started to tear up.^^ I felt really good that day.

I really love Imun already. I love our branch! They are so kind, and it’s full of young families. Yesterday the 동데문 sisters (we’re in a four person house) had a baptism that we were able to attend. It was so awesome, and the Spirit was there. It was a Chinese man, so Elder South (who knows a little Chinese) learned the baptismal ordinance in Chinese. It was really awesome to see someone draw closer to our Heavenly Father and enter the gate to Eternal life! That is a wonderful gift that the Savior has given us, and I am so grateful that I get to talk about it every day!

I hope that this Christmas you take the time to remember those gifts that Heavenly Father has given you. I know that he has blessed my life so much, and I know that he loves us so very much! He wants us to be happy, and if we turn to him he will bless us more than we think we deserve. Christmas is truly CHRIST-mus, and I love sharing the message of his gift with the people of Korea. I love you all so much! May God bless you and keep you always!

“For unto us a child is born, for unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” 2 Nephi 19:6

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” I love you!!!

Love,
Sis. Jessica Pope

Sinchon Week 6 – The Gifts we Give

Dearest Family and Friends,

Yesterday was my last Sunday in 신촌! On Wednesday I will be in 이문 branch! (I
don’t know how to spell it in English… ee-moon branch) It’s still in
Seoul, but it’s in a different zone. My new companion is Korean! Her name
is Sis. Gang (I don’t know the English spelling yet…) So far I have
always had a Korean companion. It’s like they want me to learn this
language or something!^^ I’m really sad to leave because there are a lot of
people here that I really love, but I am excited because there are more
people to love.

Yesterday I spoke in church for the last time. I can tell that my Korean
has become lots better, though it still needs a lot of work. Lots of people
came up and told me they would miss me, and I’m really grateful for this
wonderful ward. I’ve learned a lot from being here. I’m going to miss them
so much!

As for my companions, Sis. Yoon is going to a different area to be with my
trainer’s trainer. ^^ And Sis. Lawrence is going to stay in 신촌 for her very
last transfer, and she will be sister training leader and training again.
This was a very exciting transfer call. ^^

As Christmas is approaching, I’ve thought a lot about why we celebrate
Christmas. At home around this time we would be going to the Christmas
street party with my grandparents. Every year we see Santa, and every year
he asks the same question: “What is the first gift of Christmas?” The
answer is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. He loves
us so much, and he gave us a wonderful gift: Through Him we can be
resurrected and return to live with him and our Heavenly Father if we
choose to. He has given us the opportunity to repent and change when we
make a mistake. Through him we can find true happiness and joy and overcome
our trials and sorrow. Everything that is wrong in this life will be made
up later through the blessing of the Atonement. That is such a wonderful
gift! He has given us everything, and there is no way we can repay him for
his love. He came to the Earth and suffered for us so that we wouldn’t have
to. He knows us personally and he knows how to help us. This is the
ultimate gift!

This Christmas season is a time of giving. My question to you is what is
your gift to the Savior? We cannot repay him fully, but we can do something
for him this year. Elder Ballard has given us a great idea for giving: he
asked us to invite someone to draw closer to the Savior and have a name to
give to the missionaries. I have also taken this challenge myself, and I
have someone from home in mind that I would like the missionaries to talk
to. I’m going to do my best to help that person be willing to meet with the
missionaries because I know how much it has blessed my life. I know that if
we can give this gift to the Savior we will not only bless our friend or
family member, but our own lives will be enriched as well. I know this is
true, and I know that Heavenly Father will help you if you only turn to
him. I look forward to hearing about the gifts that you give. Thank you all
for your wonderful example to me! That is also a gift that I will truly
treasure!

I love you all so much! May God bless you and keep you this holiday season!
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Lots of Love,
Sis. Jessica Pope

Sinchon Week 5 – Keep the Commandmen​ts

Dear Family and Friends,

Another crazy week as a missionary! Let me just say it’s so nice to have a distribution center in your area. ^^ Recently we went and saw that they had mini Preach My Gospels in combined Korean and English! Of course, we bought them right away because it’s super helpful to have PMG in both Korean and English at district meeting when half of the missionaries speak English and the other half speak Korean! We were so excited! ^^

Wednesday is going to be exciting because the other 신촌 sisters (who were living in the apartment I used to live in) are going to be moving into our apartment with us. That’s going to be five sisters in one apartment. It will be just like home! 😉 That’s a lot of people for our small apartment, but it will likely only be for a week because the transfer ends next week. It will be interesting to see what happens!

I’ve thought a lot this week about keeping the Lord’s commandments. I love how when the Lord gives a commandment, he always provides a way for that commandment to be accomplished, whether that be keeping the Word of Wisdom, or coming to church every week, or serving the people in Korea, just to name a few. The Lord doesn’t give commandments just because he can. He gives them to us because he loves us and he knows that when we keep the commandments we will be safe and happy. Keeping the commandments protects us from harm and frees us from the guilt we feel when we make a wrong choice. Heavenly Father loves us so much, and he wants to bless us so badly, but He can’t do that when we choose not to keep his commandments. “For I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” (D&C 10) If we keep the commandments, then the Lord has to bless us. It’s as simple as that! We should always live our life in such a way that the Lord has to bless us, and that way is to always keep the commandments.

I love you all so much! Thank you for all your love and support from home, and I hope you will all have a wonderful Christmas! You are amazing! May God bless you and keep you!

Love,

Sis. Jessica Pope
“To bring the world His Truth”

Sinchon Week 4 – Families are Forever!

Dear friends and family,

Geez, I cried reading every one of your emails. You all are so spiritually minded! Thank you for your wonderful examples and testimonies.

I was so grateful for Thanksgiving! We had dinner with the Filmores, and it was wonderful! They had all the traditional food, which we were so grateful for because they don’t exist here in Korea. Lots of Koreans don’t even know what turkey tastes like! Sis. Yoon had tried it before and didn’t like it, but when she tried Thanksgiving turkey… ^^ She really likes turkey now. She does not, however, like pumpkin pie. She tried some of mine and I asked her (in Korean) “Is it delicious?” and she nodded, and then shuddered. ^^ She is so silly! They had stuffing, and mashed potatoes, and yams and all the good stuff. They had RANCH dressing for the salad! Ranch doesn’t exist in Korea! *sob* When we saw the meal we almost cried because it looked so good.^^ The Filmores are some of my favorite people.^^ It was a great Thanksgiving, and we seriously ate and ate until we were sick because we wouldn’t be getting any more for a long time. It was sooooo good! And they gave us leftovers… *sob* We were so happy! ^^

Today is going to be really special because we’re going to a Korean palace with one of our investigators. I’m so excited to see it, but I’m more excited because afterward we’re going to visit the Lord’s palace, a.k.a the temple.^^ We’re going to talk about how much the Lord loves her, and how we can be with our families forever. We are not perfect, but the Lord has created a way for us to repent and change when we make a mistake. He always is ready to welcome us back with open arms if we choose to come back to him, and he can help us get rid of those habits and thoughts that keep us from being truly happy.

Today we studied a lot about eternal families. I am so grateful for my family and the love and support that they give me! The family is so important because it is in our families that we learn and grow the best. They help prepare us for the world and to prepare to meet God, and what we learn in the home can shape our future, for the better or for the worse. I have seen this effect on the people we talk to time and time again, and it is heartbreaking to hear of the hurt that comes when family is not a high priority. It makes such a difference to have a support system at home to support throughout our lives. It’s heartbreaking to see someone distance themselves from that support system.

I know that the family is so important to God’s plan. We are giving our families for a reason, and we’re going to be with them forever! I am so blessed to have this knowledge! May God bless you and your family always! Love you lots!

Love,

Sis. Jessica Pope
“To bring the world His Truth”