Week 14 – Love, Love, Love!

Dear Family and Friends,

Our last week of the transfer! Wow, that went by fast! We were blessed to be able to go to the temple again this week, so I’m really grateful because I needed it! This is a lot of work! ^^ I felt the Spirit so strongly in the temple. I was reminded of how important it is to invite people to come unto Christ. There is so much joy in the gospel, and we want to share that joy with everyone! It helped give me more motivation to go out and work harder because that it what the Lord needs me to do! ^^

We’ve been trying to find all the members of the ward for the past couple of weeks. Our ward has a whopping 700 members in it, but the majority of them don’t come to church! We’ve been trying to find the missing members, and it hasn’t been easy, but we know how important the work is. I’m reminded of the story of the shepard who left the 99 sheep to look for the one. Well, we’re trying to find the ones and help them know they’re loved! We’ve been heart attacking the members like crazy! ^^

I have learned a lot about missionary work and loving people this transfer. I often think about how much Jesus Christ loves us, and how much he wants us to be happy. There are many people that say they don’t love Jesus Christ, but he loves them anyway. There is true power in Charity- the pure love of Christ. I’m doing my best to love the people of Korea the best I can, and I hope they see the happiness that comes from living the gospel. This transfer has taught me a lot about love and how important it is. Always remember how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you, and how much I love you too! May the Lord always bless you in all that you do!

All my love,

Sis. Jessica Pope

Week 13 – Birthday Fun!

Dearest family and friends,

The end of another long week! I’m now 20/21? and my birthday was pretty good. We had interviews with President Christensen that day. I was really grateful because I felt like he really understood me. I had a thought about it: He said that he knew about my situation before the transfers started and he’s been watching ever since. If I needed help, he was waiting for me to ask. To me, that sounds very similar to how Christ works. He knows us and knows exactly what we’re going through. He knows exactly how to help us and he’s just waiting for us to ask and turn to him for help. I’m grateful to see these Christlike attributes in our mission president. It helps me know this work is truly inspired. ^^

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The Assistants to the President were very sweet. I saw them at the Young Missionary Companionship Forum (Which I will talk about in a minute) and so they knew my birthday was the next day. They made a “birthday box” filled with random things they had found at the church, like a 몰몬경, a missionary planner, some Youth CD’s, a first aid kit, and some chocolate (which I really hope they bought), They are silly, but it was very nice of them. ^^ Sis. Jeong gave me a present, and the elders in our ward sang “Happy Birthday” in Korean and brought muffins. Nothing big, but It was a good day. ^^

The Young Missionary Companionship Forum was great. It was for those companionships where both companions are young missionaries (i.e. one 3rd transfer, one 2nd transfer). Sis. Jeong and I qualified for it because she’s on her 4th transfer, and we were grateful to go because we learned a lot. They had this so that those companionships would feel more confident in their work and know that God trusts them. It’s interesting to know that 90% of our missionaries are less then a year out. We are a young mission. O.o One message that stuck out to me from it is that they said being clueless is a good thing. If you are clueless you are dependent on heaven and God can direct you. The minute you start saying “I know what I’m doing” that is absence of humility and the Spirit can’t work as well through you. I felt much more confident in my abilities after the meeting, and I know it will help me throughout my mission.

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I hope everything is going well for all of you! A special “Happy Birthday” to my favorite Mom! Love you so much! ^^ Thank you for all your prayers. I love you all, and I hope the Lord blesses you more than you think you deserve! Happy Halloween, because it’s not a big holiday out here. Eat a lot of candy for me!! ^^

Love you all!!

Sister Jessica Pope

Week 11 – General Conference is like Christmas in October! ^^

Dear Family and friends,

Oh, how I love General Conference! It truly is like Christmas time for missionaries. ^^ This was the strangest situation to watch conference I’ve ever been in though. Normally what would happen is that all the missionaries get together to watch conference and they have a Korean session and an English session, but because of the new emphasis on members working with missionaries they had us watch with our wards. This meant that Sis. Jeong and I would have to go on splits to watch conference, but none of the English speaking families came (they probably watched it last week on their own) so my companions for conference were three elders! O.o Don’t worry! Everything was fine. We had permission, and we left the door open so that people could see us. If I had brothers, I think they would be just like them. ^^ I learned a lot from watching conference with them, and we all were spiritually edified from the messages from the Lord. I really needed conference too. A lot of my own prayers and concerns were answered and I feel spiritually strengthened. On top of that, one of our investigators came to watch one of the sessions with us! She said that a lot of her questions were answered that other churches couldn’t answer. ^^ She’s is so awesome! I love her so much!

I was especially grateful for Conference because this week was a bit hard for me. During one particular night I was feeling somewhat emotionally drained and feeling down, and I wasn’t excited about going out to 전도. I felt like I wanted to just hide for the night, but I knew that wasn’t what I needed to do. I wanted to overcome these feelings, so I prayed and told Heavenly Father “Okay. I’m going to talk to everyone I can tonight, but I need your help. Please help me overcome!” Almost instantly I saw a girl wearing a shirt that said “Stand Firm in your style.” I don’t know if she understood what her shirt meant, but those words were exactly what I needed to help me have the courage to open my mouth. I did my best to “stand firm” and I started talking to people, and then my companion started talking to people, and we 전도ed a lot! I felt those feelings go away and were replaced with happiness and triumph. I felt triumphant because Heavenly Father helped be thwart the adversary’s plan to stop me from talking to people. I have a testimony of service and the power that it gives to us. Not only does it bless other people, but we can also overcome our own feelings when we are in need.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and that you turn to the Lord for everything! The Lord loves you so much! You are his beloved child!

I love you all!

Love,

Sis Jessica Pope

Week 10 – The Secret to Happiness

Hello Family and Friends!

I hope you all enjoyed confrence. We’ll see it next weekend because of the time difference and translation to Korean, but I’m super excited to hear the words of the prophet! We were able to have dinner with an AMAZING American family in our ward (American Food!!!!!!!! ^^) and I was able to give a spiritual thought and invite them to prayerfully think of a question and have faith to look for the answer during conference. I’ve taken the challenge myself, and so I look forward to answers to prayers as well. I hope your prayers were answered!!

We’ve been running around all over the place visiting members and 전도ing trying to invite others to come unto Christ. I realized how blessed we are to have investigators who we continue to meet because some areas hardly have any. I’ve been doing better at recognizing what is going on in the lessons and recognizing when I should testify. Hopefully my Korean will start improving more quickly now.

The sad news is that this week I lost my voice pretty much completely, which is really bad for missionary work, but Heavenly Father helped me when I needed to speak and it was a miracle in my eyes. It was a miracle because had a voice during the following story:

I have been focusing some of my study on answering questions of the soul through the Book of Mormon. We were meeting with a recent convert and she asked me one of the questions that I had been studying! “How can I find happiness?” I immediately felt the Spirit and knew exactly where to turn to! We read in 1 Nephi 8, the story of the Tree of Life. We read about how the fruit “was desirable to make one happy” and then I turned to 1 Nephi 11 to explain how the fruit of the tree was a representation of the love of God, and that the rod of iron was the word of God and when we continually press forward in keeping the commandments and doing everything the Lord expects us to we can find happiness, not only at the end, but throughout the journey. I love how in Preach my Gospel in the section under Lesson 2, The Earth Life how it says that “our purpose in life is to have joy AND prepare to meet God.” (PMG, empahsis added) We can have joy NOW!!! “Adam fell that man might be, and men are, that they might have JOY!” (2 Nephi 2:25, emphasis added) This is a JOYFUL work, and we can be happy now when we keep the commandments. They aren’t given to bind us down by rules, but to free us from the guilt and sorrow that breaking the rules brings! I explained to the recent convert how there were different groups that tried to get to the tree, but only the group that continually pressed forward to partake of the tree and didn’t give heed to the people who were mocking found TRUE happiness. Happiness and joy are possible to obtain, and we can have it NOW!!! Doesn’t that just fill you up with hope? I love this message! ^^ I LOVE the Book of Mormon too! It’s so awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The gospel is so true! I hope you all know that. I am still struggling to know how best to do missionary work, but I know that with the Lord I can do anything he needs me to. Never forget how blessed we are to know how to have happiness in this life! I love you all!

All my love,
Sister Jessica Pope
“To bring the world His Truth”

Week 9 – 2nd Transfer already?!

Dearest Family and friends,

Well we’re officially at the end of my first transfer. I think that means I’m gonna make it. ^^ No surprise, Sis. Jeong and I are staying in 신촌 (Shin-chone) for another transfer because I’m not quite done with training. It’s hard to believe I’ve been here for nine weeks now. O.o After we got our call, the zone leaders called us and I answered the phone. They mistook me for my companion and said I sounded really Korean!!!!! ^^ Yay! I can tell my Korean is getting better, though I’m still far from being proficient. I realized that I have been having conversations with people in Korean. O.o How crazy is that? And Sis. Jeong was really surprised that when I was calling potential investigators these past few days I got a return appointment each day. I was too, actually. Heavenly Father has blessed us so much, and I’m so grateful for his help because it’s only because of him that I can speak at all.

In other news, this transfer means that a new zone will be created, and the missionaries in our ward (namely, us, the zone leaders, and another set of elders) will become our own district. One of our zone leaders is leaving ㅠㅠ  and another one will come in, and combined they will train a new missionary. One of our other elders will be district leader. There will be five elders in that house now. I’m glad I’m not allowed in there. 😉

So next week is Confrence! I’m a little sad because of the time difference that Conference will end on Monday Evening for us. That means that we will watch it a week later. *sigh* At least we get to see it! I’m super excited! ^^

As for my birthday wishes, it’s starting to get colder out her e so I would really like some warmer clothes, especially sweaters. I can buy them here, but Koreans are really small and I haven’t found my size yet. Also, Deodorant 없어요 (doesn’t exist), the same with American toothpaste. And most of all I miss American food. ㅠㅠ Physical pictures from home would be nice, and anything else you think a foreign missionary might need. ^^

Always remember that Heavenly Father loves you! You are his child, and his way is the best way. I was reading D&C 122:17, and it is so true. we should cheerfully do everything that lies in our power, and then we can see the Lord’s blessings. Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy, or you can choose to be depressed and give up. I am learning that more and more while I’m here, and I hope you remember that too.

I love you all! Thank you for your prayers and messages of love! I couldn’t do this without them.

All my love,

Sister Jessica Pope

May 2013

Week 8 추석 Fun!

Dearest Family and Friends,

First of all, Congratulations to Uncle John E and Vanessa on their wedding! Woot woot! I am so excited for you!

Also, Congratulations to Aunt Kristie and Adrian on their engagement! I look forward to the pictures. ^^

This week was the three day holiday of 추석 (Chew-sok) ! Like I said last week, it’s the Korean Thanksgiving. Our mission president decided that it we should do a special mission fast with all the missionaries. We did a full 24 hour fast to remove the “fog” that has been over the mission, to rededicate ourselves to the work. and to overcome temptation. Now, some might be wondering why a bunch of young adults would willingly choose not eat for 24 hours like that. I want you to know that when we all heard about this fast we became super excited because we knew that our mission president was inspired by God. We all knew that there would be miracles that would come from this, and so we prepared ourselves and sacrificed a little pleasure for much more valuable spiritual treasures. We had a testimony meeting before we broke our fast together and it was one of the most spiritually powerful testimony meetings I’ve ever been a part of. There was so much faith in that room! We all could feel the spirit, and when President Christensen had us all kneel and then offered the prayer to break our fast, he promised the Lord that we would act on the impressions He gave us. I pretty much cried through the whole prayer because I knew that every word he said was true! We are willing to act on the Lord’s impressions, and I am looking forward to this next week to see the hand of the Lord. ^^

After we broke our fast, it was time for our 추석 feast. Mmmm…. everything was delicious.^^ We all probably ate way to much of the special 추석 food, and then we played games as a mission. The next day was another P-day because change day was on Saturday. We went to a park as a zone and we rode bikes and played games in the sunshine! It was the first time I’ve ridden a bike all my mission, and probably one of the few times I will. It was a lot of fun, and we all came back a little red from the sun. ^^

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The next day was change day, like I said. This means we clean our apartments super super well because transfers are coming up soon (but not for me). Our apartment used to be an elder’s apartment, and it was SOOO GROSSS!!! I think the only reason the elders survived was because their moms were praying that they would come back safely. I only cleaned the kitchen for FIVE hours just scrubbing and scrubbing years and years of dirt away. Now the apartment is livable, but my wrist just ached that night because I scrubbed so hard. I saved our lives that day. Your welcome, future missionaries!

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Anyway, it was a great week and I look forward to seeing the miracles that come in the weeks to come. Thank you for your love and prayers. I feel them every day! I love you all!!

All my love,
Sister Jessica Pope

Week 6 – An Unexpected Opportunit​y

Dear Family and friends,

I was talking to one of our American elders, and he said to me “You’ve been here almost a whole normal transfer. How do you feel?”
I said, “I feel like I still know nothing.”
He nodded, and said,”That feeling never goes away”.
True story.
If there is one thing that being in Korea has taught me, it is that I absolutely cannot do this on my own. There is no way I could learn Korean if it weren’t for the promise of the Lord and the gift of tongues. I have an absolute testimony that the gift of tongues is real because I have felt it and have seen it many many times. It give me confidence that the Lord is with me and will help me. I reread from my early entries from the MTC in my journal this past week, and I thought about how far I have come in such a short time. Even though I am far from being fluent, it is an absolute miracle that I can speak as well as I can. It’s not perfection, but that is truly a gift from the Lord.
This week I also went on my first exchange, which is really cool because it was only recently that sisters have been able to go on exchanges like this. I went with Sister Kwon to her area and the sister training leader and her other companion went with my companion. I learned lots from Sister Kwon. She is so awesome, and I sincerely hope we get to be companions at some point during our missions. She went to BYUI for three years, so she has a lot of understand about Americans and she speaks English so well. It was a really good experience!
Sister Jeong and I were kind of sad that we wouldn’t be able to meet with one our investigators again because she was moving to a new area. This week we found out that she is in the hospital for surgery, and so we’ve taken this unexpected opportunity to meet with her and tell her we love her and share the message of the gospel with her! It is sad that she will be in the hospital for a few weeks, but we hope that this is Heavenly Father preparing her to receive the message that we have to share. She is so cute, and I pray that she will be receptive to the Lord’s message!
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I’m really excited because tomorrow is our zone’s temple day! It’s going to be so awesome! ^^ So today is only email day. Our real P-Day will be tomorrow, so right after this we’re going right back out to work and talk to some people and invite them to come unto Christ. I’m thankful for all of your prayers and love. I know that the Lord will bless you if you only turn to him. I’ve learned that Faith is a choice, and so is happiness. Choose the better part always. Choose to partake of the fruit of life.
Love you lots!
Sister Jessica Pope

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”