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”

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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

Korean Thanksgiving – Week 7

Dearest family and friends,

Happy 주석 week! ^^ That is Korean Thanksgiving, and it’s will be on the 19th. The Korean missionaries get to call home that day, but the foreign missionaries will have to wait for Christmas. It’s okay though. It will be fun to celebrate anyway. ^^ We will have mission conference on that day, so it’s going to be an exciting week!

So this week we were able to visit our investigator who has been in the hospital nearly every day. She is in the hospital that is right next to the other ward in our district, so she was able to witness a baptism on Saturday!!! ^^ I was praying so hard that she would feel something, and she told me that she “felt her heart spark” that day. Ah!! The Spirit is so awesome!! She also was able to receive a blessing of the sick yesterday. The Lord has been preparing her for the gospel! She won’t be in the hospital much longer, and that means that we won’t be able to teach her soon. *sigh* We know that the new missionaries will love her just as much as we do, and we know that the gospel will bless her life more than she can even imagine. Missionaries plant seeds all the time and sometimes they don’t get to see the fruit of that seed. I pray for her and I hope that she will know that the seed is good.

We also were able to get a new investigator who doesn’t speak Korean that well. We teach her in English, and that means that I am to lead the conversation. It’s different being so involved in the lesson because most of the time I have no idea what is going on and am just praying to recognize when I should bear testimony. When we teach this sister I can speak about everything, and It’s a good reminder that I AM able to teach the gospel. I can do it in Korean, but most of the time it’s all I can do to get out three or so sentences and I get frustrated because I still can’t understand. Teaching in English reminded me of what can happen when I am able to speak the language and it gave me more hope. I have faith that I can learn this language, and I know that the Lord will help me if I continue to try. On Tuesday we went to the temple and I was reminded of a very important lesson: I am not perfect, but Jesus Christ is. He who created the heaven and the earth created this language, and he knows how much I am trying to learn it and where I’m at. Mistakes are part of the plan, but so are miracles. I am looking for the miracles each day, and I have seen them.

I was asked to teach English class twice this week because the elders in our ward were elsewhere doing missionary things. Those who come think I’m hilarious when I teach. That, or I’m crazy. I can’t tell anymore. ^^ At least they enjoy themselves, and I enjoy teaching English. We teach mostly conversational English, so if anyone has any ideas for topics, like “Pet Peeves”, “Holidays”, “Jokes”, etc. please let me know because I’d like to use them. Thanks!

Thank you for your prayers and faith. Truly they are a blessing to me. I love you all so much! 사랑해요!!!

All my love,

Sister Jessica Pope

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P.S. Please send me your best and worst jokes, especially Knock Knock jokes. They are all new to the Koreans. 😛

 

“To bring the world His Truth”

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 7 – MTC – Sister Jessica Pope

Hello Family and Friends!

 DSCF0439We are now the oldest group of Koreans in our branch now, so they’ve put a lot of pressure on us to be good examples and be perfectly obedient. We are doing our best to be the best missionaries we can be so that we will always have the Spirit to be with us. I’ve noticed that we have grown as we come to rely upon the Spirit more, and we are excited to share the gospel with the people of Korea. I am still nervous because I feel like I can barely say my own name, but I know that Heavenly Father loves us and will be with us every step of the way. This week Sis. Jackson and I learned a powerful lesson about listening to the Spirit, and I know that we were able to teach exactly what we needed to. Our “investigators” are now preparing for batism, and we are excited to help them draw closer to Christ. I pray that we will become more confident in our speaking so that we will be able to teach the people of Korea with the confidence of the Lord. I know that with his help we can do all things, of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

This week Sis. Jackson and I were able to tryout to sing at the MTC for something, and we got a yes!! It’s so exciting that we are able to share our talents with the rest of the MTC and invite the Spirit to the meetings. We don’t know when or where we are singing, but it will probably fairly soon because we leave soon. We will get a letter in the mail telling us when and where, and we’ll move forward from there. I love the MTC, and I am both happy and sad to be leaving. We’ve got a few more weeks to pull everything together for Korea, and then we are gone. The work moves very fast here!

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I adore hearing from everyone, and I know that you all are doing great things. Remember “Every member a missionary”. If you get the chance you should check out www.mormon.org. It’s so awesome, and it is really helpful for those who want to learn about the church. I know that the Lord is blessing you, and I hope you turn to him in all things. The blessings come after a trial of your faith, so don’t lose the faith! Keep believing and serving the Lord. He loves each and every one of you, and I know that he wants to help you in all things.

I love you all so much!

Love,

Sis. Jessica Pope