Monday, December 30, 2013

December 23, 2013

The Elder Poe Report

Merry Christmas all of the people of the world from sunny Youngstown Ohio where we really do see the sun almost 3 times a year. This week was amazing. Also quick update, Elder Tollefsen and myself will be moving either Thursday or Friday so if you have any packages you are sending in the next day or two send them to 2070 W 117th St. Cleveland OH 44111 and they will get it directed to me until I get my new address. 

The first news of the week is that my wonderful companion Elder Tollefsen of Mesa Arizona will be spending the final 7 weeks of his missions with me as his trusty sidekick. I am glad about it, Elder Tollefsen is awesome. 

This week we had several amazing experiences, most of the week day was a little bit slow, with many of our appointments canceling and not having a lot of success in finding new persons, in addition we realized that because of an unplanned trip to Kirtland this month and an extra trip we had to take to the church, which is an hour away, this month we were down to about 17 miles a day. To put this in perspective we use about 10 miles getting in and out of our area each day. As a consequence we spent two wonderful Friday and Saturdays biking in the Ohio rain. This is when the miracles started unfolding, Saturday evening we finally got in contact with a media referral we had spent a week trying to get in touch with, Neze, she had requested a bible, and so we delivered the bible and started following the guidelines in Preach My Gospel about referrals and how to begin teaching, and BAM! just like that the Spirit started coming into the room while we listened to Neze talk about her religious past, and how she came to know Jesus Christ then we started bearing testimony of the restoration of the Gospel of Eternal Families, and she wants to learn more.
The next day was Sunday and an investigator/ part member that we had been working with came to church which is awesome since in the 7 months my companion has been here that has only happened twice. He seemed to enjoy church. In addition his 15 year old son has been coming back into activity and on Sunday was ordained to the office of a teacher, and he asked me to stand in, it was quite amazing to be part of a such a sacred experience and the blessing pronounced on him was quite powerful. 
So in conclusion I just wanted to end with an invitation to every person who gets this to accept the challenge put forth by Elder Ballard this most recent general conference to 

"reach out to just 'one' between now and Christmas" 

or new years and help someone else feel of the joy of the Gospel. Truly the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only thing that will save the world from its own self destruction, the only thing that will lift up the souls that are drooping down, the only thing that will give direction to those lost souls wandering in the wilderness of life, the only way we will rescue those trapped on the plains of mortality without any prospect of making headway against the mountains that are in their way. 
A great way to do that is to get a copy of The Book of Mormon, wrap it up put a bow on it and wham you got yourself a relatively inexpensive gift for every person you still need to get a gift for but aren't sure what to get them. 

I know Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the World and the Great Redeemer of all men, and although he came to the earth 2000 years ago as a baby his life did not begin there in Bethlehem and it did not end 33 years later upon the cross of Calvary but he is the Great I AM, the Eternal Jehovah, the Creator of the Earth and all things thereon, and I know without a doubt he lives still he was seen by Joseph Smith, and that he stands now at the head of this great latter day work and directs this Church. I know that he will soon return in honor and glory and when that day comes all those who have worked out their salvation with fear and trembling will be prepared, and those that have chosen to sin a little, lie a little, cheat, and take advantage of another will find that day will be terrible. So come unto Christ be perfected in him, for his yoke is easy and his burden truly is light. 

The Report of Elder Hunter D. Poe 

December 17, 2013

This week was a week of miracles, and excitement.

So first I wanted to start off the week by thanking my companion's mother and my own mother and any other prayers offer in our behalf for our safety they work. Sunday night and Saturday morning we had a snow storm blow through the area and as Elder Tollefsen and I were driving down the road all happy and content when a big ole Ford SUV attempts to shoot across the road. The problem is when the ground is covered in snow and ice no body goes anywhere fast, or stops fast. So I slam on the brakes to try and get us to stop before mr SUV gets us but we keep sliding forward and he sees us tries to stop but can't. So there we are hurtling towards an imminent death on the clod poorly maintained roads of Youngstown when at the last second I turn the wheel which moves the front part of Solina (our car that is her name and no not after Gomez) just barley out of the way where the radiator of the Ford was. Miraculously Elder Tollefsen, Solina and myself all escaped without a scratch. Thank you for the prayers they are working.

Also this week we had one of most marvelous lessons I have had on my mission. We have an investigator that missionaries have been working with since the beginning of my mission that has gradually been growing to understand the Gospel and all of the things that it entails, she has at this point gained a strong testimony but she has a smoking habit and some serious health problems that is preventing her from coming to church. We haven't been able to meet with her for a while because she lives all alone and we have had difficulty getting priesthood holders out with us so we could see her, this most recent week though we found out that her insurance had kicked her off and they were denying her a surgery she desperately needed and to top it all of her car had gotten hit by some bozo going the wrong way on a one way street. So we decided we had to get someone with us to go see her come the browns winning the super bowl or high water. So I prayed earnestly that the Lord would provide a way for someone to come with us, and we managed to get the wonderful Brother Melville who is a basically superman, he has a bachelors degree in Computer Science and works as a child abuse specialist doctor at Akron's Children hospital. He went with us to the appointment and was able to connect with her in a very deep and personal way and the Spirit was super strong as we tried to comfort Mercedes and explain how the Atonement will allow us to overcome all challenges in our way. It is difficult to describe it in words what happened there but it was truly something I will always remember. 

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is God's church on the earth and has the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the greatest joy we will have in this world will be found in the service of others and their is no greater gift that you can offer someone than the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

The Report of Elder Hunter Poe 

December 9, 2013

At the end of Joseph Smith history it records the account of Oliver Cowdrey on what it was like to translate the Book of Mormon. It open with "These were days never to be forgotten.." I had an amazing privilege to have a day like that this week.

 This week we had what in our mission is called Christmas conference, it is kind of like a big zone conference with half the mission, or it was. This year we had to get Christmas conference approved through the area 70, fortunately we got to do it this year, with a caveat, the area 70 asked that rather than doing half the mission on one day and half the mission the other day we do Christmas conference for the entire mission on one day. This is what happened that most remarkable of days.....

We began the long hour and a half drive early at 7:05 in the morning in order to get to Kirtland on time. An hour, several legally gray driving maneuvers, and a scream or two from the other missionaries in the car that weren't so used to a creative Utah way of driving, we arrived in the parking lot of the Community of Christ visitors center across the road from the Kirtland Temple. According to the instructions we had received from our zone leaders we all gathered in front of the Kirtland temple and waited for everyone to arrive. At approximately 9:30 the Assistants to the President opened up the door to the Kirtland temple and asked as everyone proceeded in that they would please maintain silence and study D&C 110, 109, and 137 as we waited for everyone to come in. 

It was truly an awe inspiring experience to sit in the Kirtland temple and read what occurred there as I was able to stare at the exact spot where Jesus Christ appeared and accepted the Kirtland temple as his house.

As the conference began we were notified that the area 70 of our area was present and presiding additionally that 3 of the stake presidents in our mission were present as well and would be addressing us. The opening hymn that we sang to begin the Christmas conference was The Spirit of God. Everything that occurred following could not be adequately be described by the written word nor the tongue convey the spirit that was in that sacred shrine wherein the priesthood keys of this last great dispensation were restored. 
We had the opportunity to hear the various stake presidents testify of the Saviour and Joseph Smith, we were instructed by our mission president, and we had the wonderful opportunity to here from a member of the 70 Elder Seltin bear his testimony that he knows with 100% certainty that the members of the Quorum of the Twelve are guided and directed by Jesus Christ and that this church is driven and captained by the Lord. Truly one of the greatest difficulties presented by the Gospel is the challenge of trying to express even a particle of what happens when one has a spiritual experience. 

The Kirtland Temple session of Christmas conference was closed as over 200 full time missionaries sang the Ohio Cleveland Mission song, and proclaimed loudly that we have been called to serve in the place where Christ our Saviour has shown his face. 

I know with absolute certainty that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Saviour of the World, He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and he is directing this great latter day work of bringing all nations kindreds, tongues and people to a knowledge of their Redeemer and preparing this earth for his second coming which will not be as a humble babe in a manager, but rather with the armies and hosts of heaven as the Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end and he shall reign forever and ever in glory and splendor with all those who will turn to him and allow him to make our burdens lights. I bear testimony that lasting peace and joy can only be found as we turn our hearts and wills over to the Saviour of all mankind, trust in his redeeming love, and try his works to do.

The Report of Elder Poe

December 2, 2013

This week was Thanksgiving, which means around here in Ohio it turns into annual, be too busy season. 

 This week was a little bit sparse in setting up appointments, because apparently if you have family coming into town Thursday for Thanksgiving, or you are leaving the day after thanksgiving that suddenly means you can't meet with missionaries for the entire week. It is actually quite puzzling that people can't find an hour in an entire week to discuss the Being who gave us everything we have, and continues to grant us the breath of life from day to day.

 In fact with the onrushing tidal wave of holiday business moving towards us like a screaming mountain of crazy it has caused me to seriously reflect on the purpose of this life and why we are, and more importantly what we are doing to fulfill this purpose.

 A purpose gives something meaning a purpose is the reason something exists, for example the purpose of a knife is to cut, the purpose of a missionary is to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in the Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end". the purpose of a salad shooter is too dice salads. If something is no longer fulfilling it's purpose than it doesn't have a reason for existing, if a knife doesn't cut we throw it away, if a missionary doesn't fulfill his purpose he should get sent home, if a salad shooter doesn't slice salad we spend 30 years trying to fight with customer support services to get a new one since it is still under warranty.

 In the same way, we that have accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ into our hearts understand that we too have a purpose in the this life which is to become closer and closer to our Saviour and Our Loving Father in Heaven through changing ourselves to become like them by drawing on the power of the Atonement. Do we ever stop to think if what we are doing is helping us carry out our purpose in life. There are two people we are working with that really illustrate what happens when we don't seek to carry out our purpose. One Brother is currently living alone, he has recently overcome a second bout of cancer, and is divorced with one daughter and grandson who he hardly ever sees, despite working with this brother for three months he still has had difficulty giving up things in his life that are preventing him from coming back to Christ and coming to church, this brother continues to drift from day to day without doing much in his life, and just existing really. Then there is another sister we are working with who has a beautiful family and two wonderful little girls that is always on the go. Her daughters are well on their way to becoming olympic swimmers, she volunteers at the YMCA and works as a part time teacher, and a million other things. This sister is constantly on the go and constantly moving, but she too has trouble making it to church because of all she is involved in. She is constantly moving but often laterally. Both of these individuals are wonderful beloved children of God that have incredible potential but neither of them are moving forward in life because they aren't helping fulfill their purpose. At the last day when all things that we have done are brought forth and we give a final accounting of what we did with this life what will be able to say we did? Will we be able to say we have carried out our purpose? 

Luckily a knife that doesn't cut can be sharpened, and missionary that doesn't work can repent, and a salad shooter that doesn't slice can be replaced under warranty that will break down in the exact same amount of time as that last one.

That is the good news of this holiday season, is that because 2000 years ago a young babe was born in a stable, we can put behind us our past mistakes and our missed opportunities and become a sharpened knife, a repentant missionary, even the miracle of a fixed salad shooter. That is the miracle of the Atonement and the meaning of this holiday season that is the purpose of Christmas to turn us to Christ and help us understand again what our purpose is.

I know that Jesus Christ was born 2000 years ago in a lowly stable, that he descended from celestial worlds on high to ransom mankind, but of even greater worth I know that his life did not end 33 years after his birth but that he still lives today that he broke the bands of death and hell and through him and only on his name can we find our purpose, salvation, and happiness every other avenue will falter in the end will not make up the difference at the final accounting, but he already paid the price if we will just accept his offer. 

Introducing Preparing for a mission:
We are adding a new section to the Elder Poe report for those who will soon be embarking on a full time mission called Preparing for a mission. Today we would like to focus on the first question in preparing to serve a mission, which is. Should I serve a mission. If you can respond yes to the following two questions then you should definitely serve a mission.
1. Are you a young man between the ages of 18-27, who holds the priesthood?
2. Are you currently worthy, or willing to repent and become worthy to serve a mission? 
If you can answer yes to both those questions then you should serve a mission. The prophet has commanded you to, and when you entered the waters of baptism you covenanted to follow the commandments of God, that is one of them. 

The Report of Elder Hunter Poe

November 25, 2013

This week was a great week in the New Castle West area, of this little corner of the Ohio Cleaveland Mission.
 Monday we had an awesome suprise, of having a wonderful sister in the ward to feed us, and she invited her non member daughter and son in law to the dinner as well and so we had a powerful opportunity to bear testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and what it can do in our lives, I wish I could say that following that they both wanted to investigate but alas twas not to be so at this time; however God's plan is to work as it will.
 On Wendesday morning we had a second lesson with one of our investigators, Phil, who is the husband and father of a returning member family. Before the lesson I was quite nervous for no apparent reason about the lesson, at first the lesson started kinda rough and didn't feel like it was flowing real well. I would llike to say that about half way in everything just started flowing real smooth and nice but to be honest the entire lesson was kind of rough, however the Spirit was definintly there, and that is all us missionaries are suppossed to do is create an enviroment wherein the Spirit can testify of the truth of what we teach. 
 Fiday Elder Tollefsen and I got a wonderful lesson in sacraficing for the Gospel. As it is getting close to the end of the month Elder Tollefsen and myself have been running quite short on miles to drive around with, and so we choose to bike everywhere on Friday, unfortunatly the weather thought it would be funny to rain, all day long, and drop down to the lovely low 30's for most of the day, as I was biking the only thought that kept popping into my head though was "my pioneer anscestors don't feel sorry for me at all" so it was an excellent learning opportunity to experience what it means to sacrafice for the sake of the Gospel.
 I am very grateful to have the opportunity to serve in the Ohio Cleaveland Mission, a mission is definitley one of the greatest expereince of my life, I know with absolute certainty that God is our loving Heavenly Father that He knows each one of us perfectly and completly and loves us. I know that Jesus Christ is the Saviour and Redeemer of the world and that as we seek to draw closer to Him we will find the happiness that is not dependent upon external factors or circumstance but we will be able to find a lasting joy that comes from knowing we our children of loving heavenly parents with a divine potential and an eternal destiny. I know that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is  the only church on the earth that has the fulness of the Gospel and has the priesthood authority nessecary to perform the ordinaces that are required for the Atonement to take full effect in our lives and allow us to return to our heavenly home.