Imun Week 6 – I Don’t Speak Chinese!

Hello everyone!

So transfer calls were this last week! Guess what? My companion isn’t Korean! ^^ She’s from Taiwan! ^^ You weren’t expecting that one, huh? Me neither. It was soooo surprising this time. So I live in a 6 sister apartment, but this last transfer there were only 4 sisters in it: Me and Sis. Kang and Sis. Goodwin and Sis. Dunn. It’s so nice to have more sisters in an apartment! It really helps with the stress. Anyway, Sis. Goodwin and Sis. Dunn are in 동대문 area, and we are in 이문. So it was really surprising when the AP’s called and told me that my new companion is Sis. Dunn! O.o She’s moving across the hall to be with me (but I want their room, so I’ll move over.^^). She’s from Taiwan, so she speaks Mandarin Chinese. She’s learning Korean AND English, so we will have fun this transfer. The cool thing is that there are TONS of Chinese people in our area, so we will likely have lots of Chinese investigators. Another elder in my district also speaks Chinese a little bit, and I speak NO Chinese, except for “Hello” and “Thank you”, so we will have tons of fun this transfer. I’m going to have to have her teach me how to say “I’m a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Here is our card!” in Chinese. 재미서요! O.o

In other news, we had Mission Conference this last week because of the Lunar New Year. We’re all a year older! Woot! ^^ Our focus this month was on using the Book of Mormon, and we had a lot of testimonies on sharing the Book of Mormon, especially when we talk to people on the Street. I shared my testimony as well because I’ve seen such an improvement in my own 전도 through using the Book of Mormon. I love the Book of Mormon so much! I know that it is true, and I love that I have the opportunity to share this book with the people in Korea. The Book of Mormon truly testifies of Jesus Christ, and when we read it we can know the truth of it for ourselves. President Packer warned us about the perilous times ahead last General Conference, and he said that we need to make scripture reading a priority. I encourage you to read or reread the Book of Mormon and ask Heavenly Father if it is true. I promise that Heavenly Father is mindful of us and he will answer your prayer. I know this is true, and I know that this book will bless your lives.

Next transfer is going to be so interesting! ^^ I hope you have a wonderful week! May God bless you and keep you always!

All my love,
Sister Jessica Pope

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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

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 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”

Sinchon Week 2 – Every Member a Missionary

My dear family and friends,

Oh my goodness, what a wonderful week! We had Mission Conference, and two General Authorities spoke! ^^ Elder Whiting is new to the Quorum of the Seventy last year, and Elder Evans is the executive director of missionaries, or something like that. It was really special to hear from them because Elder Evans is so involved in missionary work! He talked a lot about what we needed to hear. I loved what he said about the Lord giving revelation line upon line in regards to Pres. Monson lowering the missionary age. It’s so awesome! Something like the missionary age being lowered –> shorter MTC stay –> New Mexico MTC –> Sister Training Leaders –> Worldwide Broadcast for member missionary work –> New Technology –> the new awesome changes that are going to happen over the next year! Oh. My. Goodness!!! Missionary work is becoming soooo much better! I’m so excited!!!!!!!!! ^^

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I have a challenge for you all though. At mission conference it was impressed upon me that we need members so much to help with this work. We need to think about what WE can do to help with missionary work because it’s not just the missionaries that do it. It’s a million times better to get a referral from a member than to have to find people on the street. I challenge you to take Elder Ballard’s challenge to heart, and I dare you to go up to your local missionaries and ask them what you can do to help them, even if it’s just being the member in a member present lesson. I promise they won’t turn you down, and the Lord will bless you for your willingness to serve him. We need members so so much! We can’t do this work without them. Please think of people you can invite to hear the missionaries, and ask the missionaries what you can do to help them. I promise that you will be blessed if you do this.

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Also, We had stake conference yesterday. First of all, we had a miracle that one of our investigators who we thought wouldn’t show up came! Woot! ^^ And it was a broadcast from Utah and Elder Cook and Elder Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke. Oh. My. Goodness. I already knew that they are inspired, but this just increased my testimony so much because the entire meeting focused on the problems that Korea is facing. I’m sure they know a lot from the mission presidents, but they hit the nail on the head with this one. It was exactly perfect for a people they probably do not know much about! The church is so true!!! ^^

We’ve had a miracle of picking up a lot of new investigators this week, a lot of them Chinese. I love telling people about how much God loves them! It’s my favorite thing to tell people. I am really grateful for the opportunity to share the gospel with the people of Korea. I really love Korea and it’s people.

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Tomorrow we have the opportunity to help with a big service project. All the missionaries are going to help make Kimchi! Kimchi (if you don’t know) is pretty much the Korean national dish. They eat it with everything (and that is not an exaggeration.) Kimchi is fermented vegetables, usually cabbage, and it is delicious. I really like Kimchi, but it can be hard to take at first because it’s a bit spicy. It’s really good though! ^^ Tomorrow we’re going to help make it, and it will be an exciting adventure. Yay Kimchi! ^^

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I hope you all have a wonderful week! Remember to “ask the missionaries!” ^^

Love you lots!

Sister Jessica Pope

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 12 – How Old Am I Really?

안녕하세요, 제 가적과 진구!

As some of you may recall, this week is my last as a teenager. This means I’m supposed to do grown up things, like buy my own toilet paper or go to work everyday. Well, I’ve actually been doing that for a while, so we have enough toilet paper and my work is the Lord’s work right now, so we’re good on that. ^^ I’m just confused about my age.

You see, Korean age is a little different than American age. In Korea, when you are born you are already 1, and then at the Lunar New Year everyone gets a year older together on the same day. This means that when I left the United States I was 19, and when I got her I was 21! In a strange paradox I won’t be 20 ever because on my birthday I’ll still be telling people I’m 21! AND when I come back I’ll have turned 21 in American age! I’m going to be 21 for a really long time! O.o

This last week went much better than last week. We still worked hard, and there were still disappointments, but we are doing the work of the Lord! I went on exchange this week with our sister training leader, and I just have to say that she is adorable! She is so awesome, and she really helped me understand a few things about how to do better missionary work. I’m grateful for her example to me!

I’m so grateful for everyone’s prayers! Thank you for the birthday wishes too! I love you all, and I hope you have a wonderful week! May the Lord bless you and keep you!!!!!

All my love,

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 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!
May 2013

May 2013

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