Dearest Family and Friends,

Wow! What a week! Christmas was absolutely wonderful! I don’t know if I can convey all that I felt, but I want to share an experience with you.

So on Christmas day we had a mission conference, and had a wonderful time with all of the Missionaries here. Afterward we went right back out to work. We decided that as a zone we would carol in the streets, and while the rest of us sang, some missionaries would talk to the people passing by. Lots of people stopped for a second to listen to us sing, and many left smiling. As we were singing “Silent Night” I was struck by the Spirit testifying of the love of Jesus Christ. I felt his love for each of the people passing us on the street, and I knew that he wanted them to hear his message of peace. No mission is all that easy, and Korea is no exception. It can be so discouraging sometimes when you come back after a long day of rejection, but in that moment I could feel God’s love for the people of Korea. even the one’s who don’t want anything to do with him, and I’ve met those people many many times. This Christmas was very different from others because this Christmas had absolutely nothing to do with me at all. This was a Christmas only about Christ and the people he loves so much! I was only a messenger, like the Heavenly Host that testified of the Savior’s birth, singing “Peace on Earth, Good Will To Men” and testifying of his love. We saw many smiles as we sang, and we ended up giving away a whole box and more copies of the Book of Mormon as Christmas presents in a few hours! The Spirit was so strong as we sang praises to him on the freezing streets of Korea, and I pray that it fell upon the ears of those that would receive him. This has really strengthened my testimony and increased my understanding of the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas is for Christ and the people he loves!

I also was blessed to be able to talk with my family this week. They are so amazing, and I am so grateful that I was able to hear their voices and receive strength from them! Heavenly Father gives us our families so that we can find strength and happiness now and in the eternities. I am so grateful for my family and all that they have done to support me while I am serving the Lord. I know that other missionaries do not have the support that I have, and my heart goes out to them and I know that they will be blessed for their sacrifices. I know that I have been so blessed to have the family that I have been given and I rely on their strength and the strength of my Father in Heaven while I am away from them. After I talked with them on the phone, I felt such vigor and power and I talked to so many people that day! Our total was 50+ at the end of the day, and I know it was because of the strength of my family and my Father in Heaven.

Thank you for all the strength you all have given me while I’ve been doing my Father’s work. I feel it every day, and it is these prayers that sustain me and all other missionaries in the world. This work is not about us. We are only the messengers as we spread the happy message of peace and happiness. I am so happy that I have the opportunity to share my happiness with others every day. I have just about a year left before I return, and my New Year’s Resolution is to lose myself in the service every day because this is not about me; it’s about the people that God loves so much, and I am one of them! ^^

I know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ is our Savior, Lord, and Redeemer. I know that he lives, and he loves us deeply. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He can see who we are, but more importantly he can see who we can become. If we trust in him, we can become like him and receive that promise of eternal life and remain with him throughout the eternities. What we sacrifice now is tiny compared to the blessings we will receive! We are and will forever be God’s children, and he will love us whether we feel like we deserve it or not. I urge you will all the energy that I can muster to trust his love! He loves you so very much. Never forget that he loves you! I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you all so very much! Stay strong, and trust his love!

Love,
Sister Jessica Pope

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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 1 – Girl Power!!!

Dearest Family and Friends,

Another transfer! Woot! ^^ So I’m sure you’re all so anxious to find out where I am and with who I am, so I guess I’ll stop beating around the bush to tell you. ^^ I’m still in the 신촌 area (I wasn’t surprised about that) but I moved into the new apartment there! It’s sooooo much nicer than our other one– It’s bigger because at the end of the transfer it will be a 4 sister house, and it has a pretty rock garden! I don’t have pictures because the transfer was on Saturday and we were so busy just trying to move and unpack. I’ll send them next week!

I also have two wonderful new companions! I love Sis. Lawrence so much! She is a really old missionary -she’s been here 16 months- and she has lots of experience, for which I am grateful for. ^^ She is from Utah and she is currently in Law School at BYU, and she is amazing. Our other companion is a brand new missionary- Sis. Yoon! She is Korean, and absolutely adorable. Again, I will have pictures of the three of us next time. I can tell we will have a great transfer! ^^

So the awesome thing is that in 신촌 we now have FIVE sisters and FOUR elders. What!? How crazy is that?? Sis. White and Sis. Thomas (also a new missionary) are a wonderful addition to our district. ^^ This transfer had 17 new missionaries– 11 sisters and 6 elders. Usually they start with the sisters to find out their new companion, but we started with the elders because there weren’t as many. ^^ Sister Power! But I would be extremely worried if we didn’t have elders. They are so important to the work too.

It’s already starting out really well. Yesterday we had two member present lessons, and we have more appointments lined up for this next week! ^^ It’s getting colder out here, so it’s nice to have three so we can huddle together for warmth. ^^ I’m so excited for this transfer!!

If you want to send a Christmas package, you should do it now because it takes so long to get here. If it’s too expensive, a card would be lovely. ^^

I love you all so much! Thank you again for your prayers! I pray for you always!

All my love,

Sis. Jessica Pope