The Weekly Elder Poe Report
This week has been an interesting week full of challenges and experience the following are the highlights of the week.
Monday evening we had dinner with the Israel family in the ward, they fed us well and during the meal the discussion turned to the “I’m a Mormon” campaign that the Church is currently doing in London and several other cities in response to The Book of Mormon musical. It was amazing to see how quickly the work is moving forward and how the Lord is hastening His Work. (In no small part due to the great efforts of the ICS Department of the Church).
On Tuesday we were doing service for a less active member that we help out every week, and often during the course of this service her father who lives there will feed us lunch and we talk with him a lot, his name is Wally. He is a great guy has lived a very intresting life and actually taught me quite a few things, but he is usually not very interested in learning about the Church and the Gospel as he thinks he is quite happy as a Catholic; however this Tuesday he opened up to us a little bit more than usual about how his wife had passed away quite painfully a few years ago, even though she had lived her entire life pretty right, and that is the one of the problems he has with our message and us as missionaries is because we always put a rose colored spin on things and make it seem like everything will work out and be easy, that we don’t have to worry about a wife, or kids, or money, or things of that nature. I have been thinking about that a lot recently because it is incredibly true, ultimately we as missionaries do have some trouble relating with people because we aren’t real world people while we are on our missions we are a different kind of person, and we do usually as missionaries put a happy spin on things and don’t always tell people what it will be like when things aren’t going so good.
This leads me to my next major highlight of this week was Zone Training Meeting. It is a conference all the missionaries in the zone have once a month, to discuss the business of the zone and get some training in. The major theme of this month was finding people to teach. All of the missions in our stake got together at the beginning of this year and decided what their goal for number of baptism would be, the goal they settled on was 575, right now at the halfway point we aren’t even a third of the way there. We have realized that a large part of this is because we are having trouble finding people to teach right now. So we have really been focusing as much of our effort and time right now as we can on finding people that are receptive to the Gospel which really one of the only ways around in our area is though tracting. From Friday to Sunday evening despite our best efforts we have gotten no new investigators yet in this area.
Finally, on Sunday evening we had dinner with the Marcum family, they are an amazing family that feed us quite regularly, and we always have good discussions with, in part because their daughter is actually serving right now in the Spanish Speaking North Ogden mission. As we were talking we asked Brother Marcum about how he had started investigating the Gospel and what part the missionaries played in helping him with the decision to be baptized. His response was that actually the missionaries actually played no role in his decision to investigate the Church and join, it was his friends that he had that were members of the Church that helped him to starting learning about the church, and ultimately it was them that helped him decide to join the church. This helped me realize that although us missionaries often like to think that we are a big part of helping people convert really we play a marginal role, it is their own commitment to finding the truth, their own relationship with God, and the friendships that they develop with other members of the Church that is the big part of it, us missionaries are just there to help teach a little bit.
So what all this week has made me realize is that the best missionaries in the world will be useless without the support and help of the members of the Church. The most effective way for missionaries to find people to teach is for members of the Ward to invite their friends and neighbors to be taught, in the members home, from the missionaries. The most important thing in determining if Recent Converts will remain active or fall away is the fellowship and friendship they receive from the members. So this is my appeal to everyone who reads this letter, starting doing the work starting helping the missionary work. There are thousands of returned missionaries out there that know what a mission is like and have been there, when you took off your name tag you didn’t forget everything you learned. It may be intimidating at first to start, but darnit the Lord has promised that He will hasten His work, when you are doing missionary work you are doing a greater amount of good than can be done anywhere else outside of the Temple or your family. The joy that you can receive from helping someone come enter into the Kingdom of God is greater than any other joy you can find outside of the family, it will bless your life more than can be described. I would like to end this letter by inviting every member of the Church who reads this to commit to do three things. 1) Read Elder Andersen’s talk from this most recent General Conference titled “It’s a Miracle” 2) Get a copy of Preach My Gospel in your home, and then once you do or if you already have one, study out of it, have one family home evening a week dedicated to missionary work, or something like that it will increase your understanding of the Gospel and desire to share it 3)Start helping the full time missionaries in your area get people to teach and be there while they teach, it doesn’t have to be a chance to convert someone. It doesn’t have to be confrontational or awkward, invite a friend to a FHE and invite the missionaries over to teach the lesson they will be grateful for it and it will bless your home. I end with a promise that if you strive to the best of your effort to help bring people to the Kingdom of God you will be blessed and so will your family, returned missionaries remember the joy you felt when you had the chance to help someone enter into the covenant of baptism.
Doctrine and Convenants Section 18: 15-16
And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people and bring save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!
The Report of
Elder Hunter D. Poe
Elder Hunter D. Poe