Imun Week 2 – With the Hand of the Lord

Dearest Family and Friends,

Happy New Year! I was wrong about when everyone gets a year older. It’s actually on January 1st, so now I’m 22! O.o That’s weird to think about…

So Korea has a different tradition for the New Year. Instead of partying the night before (though I’m sure that happens) they get up really early and go on a hike and watch the sun rise on a new year! We were invited by members in our branch to go hiking, but our group decided to go at 10 am instead. It was really fun! I love hiking! ^^ It was pretty, and pretty cold too. I’m glad I get to see so many different traditions in this culture! It’s really interesting to see that even though our cultures are different, in a lot of ways we are all very much the same. It makes sense too because we are all Heavenly Father’s children. We are brothers and sisters learning and growing together! I have met many people from all different countries, but we all part of the same family. One days when I struggle to speak and understand Korean, I remember that in Heaven we all spoke the same language; the language of the Spirit. It helps me to remember that even though I may not be able to speak and understand now, after this life I will be able to understand and speak to everyone that I have met here and that we can rejoice together in the language of the Spirit. Until that day, I will continue to struggle to learn this language and trust that the Spirit will teach those I speak to what they need to hear. Only with the Spirit is this possible. I physically cannot do it any other way.

Our district leader gave us a challenge to place a Book of Mormon every day for a week. I decided to take this challenge to heart, and I have seen the hand of the Lord helping me. On days when I am so physically exhausted that I am falling alseep as I climb the stairs, or when I only have one pass-along card left after a full day of 전도, or when I only have five minutes to talk to people, Heavenly Father can place someone in my path that will accept the gift of a Book of Mormon. Heavenly Father is aware of us in all that we do! If we have enough faith, He can perform miracles through us. I know this is true with all my heart!

This week I found out that one of the investigators I helped teach in 신촌 was getting baptized on Sunday. I was really sad that I was not able to go, but I know that it is not about me, it is about Sis. Kim. I am so happy that she made that decision to draw closer to our Heavenly Father and begin her journey back to him. In 이문 the elders also were able to see one of their investigators baptized as well! Truly, Heavenly Father has been so good to me. This work can be so hard, but it is also so worth it. I’m so grateful that I have been able to see the hand of the Lord this week in many ways. I know without a doubt this church is true! The gifts of the Spirit are real! The Lord really does love us and want to help us! This is the “happy message” that we share every day. There is great power in the Lord’s work, and I am so blessed to be a part of it in Korea.

I love you all so much! I hope you have a wonderful week, and a very happy New Year!

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

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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”

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 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 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 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

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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