Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Oct 7 2014

  Howdy there brother's and sisters from cold and rainy Canton. The weather has taken a turn for the colder up here in Canton and correspondingly many of the people who were once outside and on the streets have gone into hibernation for the winter, its a real thing in da hood trust me. So the biggest news I have is that with tomorrow being transfer day Elder Robert Kidd will departing my presence and moving on to bigger and better things outside of the Akron stake; however with that news also came the news that I was training a brand new missionary who I get tomorrow, between all of transfers, conference, Elder Teh touring the mission, and Gladys Knight, plus baptismal interviews, throw in quite a few visits to the hospital to visit various sick members, Elder Kidd and I haven't had a normal day since before living memory.
 For the sake of time I'll just run through the big things that have happened since my last email
1) On September 19th Gladys Knight and her church Saints Unified Voices choir  came to visit the northern Ohio in what Stake President Tally termed the biggest missionary opportunity since Sidney Ridgeon first came to Ohio. She did an evening of music and testimony where her and her choir performed many church songs familiar to people outside of the church, as well as her and her husband William McDowell bearing their testimonies of why they joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We had about half a dozen people lined up to bring to the performance but unfortunately only two of them came through, and we lost the tickets, and a lot more background, but suffice to say we managed to make it in and see the performance which was truly amazing, what made it even better is that we had been given permission to worship in the style they do in other churches meaning my wonderful companion Elder Kidd and I took full advantage of the opportunity to be shouting "AMEN" "HALLELUJAH" and "PRAISE THE LORD" it was a truly wonderful evening. One of the thigns that Gladys brought to our attention was that she felt her entire life up to that point, all of her success with the Pipps and everything else was guided by the Lord so that she could now tour with her saints unified voices choir and tell people about the message of the Restoration of the Gospel
2)The next big event that happened the Wednesday after was that Elder Michael John U. Teh of the 1st Quorum of the 70, came to tour the mission and had a zone conference with us and gave us much wonderful instruction and advice. It was a wonderful opportunity to listen from a member of the 70 for six hours as he instructed us on how we can be the best missionaries and the ones the Lord needs. One of the doctrinal highlights he illustrated using the wonderful hit movie Finding Nemo. He talked about the sea turtles would just coast in the East Australian Current (EAC) because it was easy to do and moved them along without much effort, but then showed us that we need to rise to the level of Preach My Gospel missionaries and avoid being stuck in the current and just float along to the end of our missions, but that we need to work our absolute hardest to be best missionaries we can be which requires us to labor with our heart might mind and soul.
3) The next big news that came my way was the information that I was training. This came as quite the humbling experience to me that I realized the Lord has trusted me to train a brand new missionary. We had a meeting about how to be good trainers and much of it revolved around the counsel given in the last part of section 121 in the Doctrine & Covenants as we were extolled to be Christlike missionaries and to help our trainees reach their full potential as missionaries as quickly as possible. As I have been reading through the material that we have been given to prepare I am overwhelmed with the immense trust the Lord placed in me to train someone new and it has taken me to my knees many times asking for additional help and guidance. As the Lord always does he hears and answers my prayers. Part of what compounds the experience of training is that also means I have been called to be District Leader again over the Massillon district.
4)Yesterday I had some of the happiest news of my mission, one of our investigators was interviewed to be baptized and passed with flying colors, it was an amazing experience to see the change the Gospel has made in the lives of this family. The Mullins family is a wonderful family the father has been inactive for some time but is returning back to activity and wants to baptize his wife and 9 & 8 year old daughters. It has been an amazing experience to see the way the Lord works and prepares people over the course of their lives to hear the restored message of the Gospel. They will be getting baptized November 8th, it is far out because the father currently has a hand injury that he can't get wet and isn't expected to heal till then.
5)Transfers is tomorrow, and I have to say goodbye to Elder Kidd one of my favorite missionaries in the entire Ohio Cleveland Mission, and the world to boot, is going to be leaving me tomorrow to be called somewhere else. It is good for him because he has spent the first 15 months of his mission in Massillon Bike and one other area that borders it, so he will enjoy the change of scenery, unfortunately as all things must, our companionship is coming to an end which is cause for mourning, but the good news is we already agreed in the spirit world were going to go on exchanges with each other.
6)General Conference happened which is always an amazing spiritually uplifting experience as I came prepared with questions and concerns I found that each talk applied directly to my situation and was what I needed to hear. It has definitely strengthened my testimony that the Holy Ghost will give us direct personal and individual revelation as we need it and are prepared. Also I really liked Elder Chi Wong's talk because it was delivered in the language I am currently speaking in the mission Cantoneese..... haha get it, because I am in Canton, so Cantoneese... trust me the people around here don't speak English.

As I move forward into this next transfer and companionship  I look forward to a future filled with hope because I know that my Redeemer lives, I know that there is an individual plan laid out for my life that is deisgned to help me get into eternity with my family and Saviour to dewell in a celestial glory. This knowledge gives me the ever burning hope and knowledge that one day as it says in Revelations 21:4 "God shall wipe away all tears from [my] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" on that great millennial day when I am brought back into the presence of the Almighty Just and Holy God, by the Atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, I shall be able to stand with pure hands and a clean heart for by the grace of Christ I shall be made spotless pure and white, and dwell forever with my family in unending joy.
The Report of Elder Hunter Poe 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 27 2014

Salutations, Brothers and Sisters from warm, sunny, humid, Findlay Ohio. 

 So the biggest event that happened this past week was the personal appearance of Elder Jeffery R. Holland, and President Donald Hallstrom in the Ohio Cleveland Mission. It was a truly an amazing experience. It would be difficult for me to properly sum up everything Elder Holland talked about, fortunately probably 55-70% of his talk is almost word for word out of other talks he has given to missionaries. The talks to look up are 1)Missionary Work and the Atonement, 2)Feed My Sheep (the one given in the MTC not the one given in general conference) 3)The Miracle of a Mission. Those offer a lifetime of inspiration for pretty much any missionary. Elder Holland also talked about teaching with power and authority, the fact that we are representatives of the Almighty Lord and as such we can invoke that authority when we are teaching someone about the Gospel. It was awesome, Elder Holland is truly an amazing man, as well as President Hallstrom. Much of President Hallstrom's address was focused on the fact that when Christ called the 12, it was a lifetime calling, and so it is for missionaries. The call to the ministry is not over when one returns home but rather it is a call that extends throughout time and eternity. So I am sending a repeated call out to every person that has served a full time mission to find your name tag and then look at it for a minute, ponder about what your mission meant to you, think about what happened to you during that time. Then get down on your knees and pray for the Lord's guidance about how you can continue to serve Him. Our lives are not our own, our souls were redeemed for a price, and our bodies will be perfected for a price, that price was the Son of God, the Holy One of Israel, the Great I AM, was what it cost for us to have the privilege or repenting, the joy of being baptized, and the opportunity to experience the love of the Holy Ghost, and to begin to understand the love the Saviour has for each of us. In return Christ has said he wants us, every part of us, everything we care about, everything we love, everything we hate, every little last imperfection, Christ wants us to lay on the altar of sacrifice so that he can begin the process of fitting us for the life above, and in the end that is all that really matters. Something Elder Holland talked about repeatedly was that in a swimming contest the blue ribbons aren't given out after the first couple of feet, everyone does remarkable for the first couple of strokes, but that the reward only comes at the end. It doesn't matter if we start out on the path of overcoming our anger issues, or start out to do missionary work, or begin the trek of discipleship, if after the first hour or so we decide that we have come far enough, it is just good enough to look over into the promised land without enjoying its fruits, if we decide we will follow the Saviour's example right up to the gate of Gethsemane but we decide we are too scared to go any farther. If we don't decide we are willing to go through the process of Calvary we will never be able experience the joy of Easter Sunday. We aren't asked to pay the price the Savior did but we will be asked to go through soul stretching experiences that will test the very fabric of our being, and the very core of our selves. The question becomes will we pay that price, does our faith in the Lord extend to the point where we are willing to give up our lives and wills and let them be swallowed up in His? Do we trust in the Lord and his promises that we are willing to turn everything we desire over to what His desires are for us? Fortunately God has given us the promise throughout the entirety of the scriptures that His grace is sufficient. Nephi promises that "the Lord giveth no commandment unto the the children of men save he shall prepare a way that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." So it comes down to our choice, the same choice we faced in the pre-earth life, the same decision. Will we follow the Plan of Salvation and say to the Father "thy will be done". Or will we choose to be children that felt the mud pie of their own limited imagination they had made in the sandbox was of greater worth than the feast their Father the King had prepared for them in his royal mansion above? Joshua 24:15
Elder Hunter D. Poe

Monday, May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014

The Elder Poe Report

  Happy Mother's day everyone, sorry it is a day late, but Mother's are the greatest thing in the world. Things here in Ohio have moved up to the 70's and 80's which is fantastic, much better than a polar vortex anyway. As I have been reviewing this past week and thinking about what experiences I would like to relate in this report one incident stuck out in my mind more than any. This Saturday we were out tracting and we got a call from our amazing Bishop WIlkerson and he asked us if we could come with him right now to an emergency appointment. As Elder Black once explained to me "When a Bishop asks you to do something your only response should be 'we'll get right on it'." We of course assented, and 10 minutes later we were in the Bishop's car en route to a less active sister who has been struggling for quite a while. As we got there we greeted her and sat out on her porch and talked for a couple of minutes then she broke down crying and began telling us about many of the storms of life she had been facing. One of the biggest challenges she was facing in getting reactivated was that a certain sister, who held a rather prominent position in the church, had been very judgmental, mocking, and disparaging to her, and had retold many of her judgments to other persons in the ward. To some of those who are rather familiar with my past know that I have a very strong opinion on the matter of judging and ridiculing from those who have sworn to take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ, who call themselves Saints. As this sister was talking to us it recalled to my mind an excerpt from Joseph Smith History wherein describing the treatment he received following the first vision "being persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me" Why is it those of us who have been called to the holy work of the ministry, and all those who have been baptized and brought into the House of Israel have been called into that work, can feel at ease with passing judgments on those who Christ has asked us to bring back into the fold. Did our Master not say "judge not that ye be not judged" (Matt 7:1) every person we meet every day has a story they have a million things that have happened to them before we come in contact with them and they will have a million things happen to them after we see them. Yet only Christ alone knows what they have been through only Christ alone has walked the exact same path that they have, Christ alone knows the thoughts of their heart and the true nature of their character. Why then do we feel secure in passing on judgement on those of our fellow travelers through life when we are all struggling with our own burdens. As the Lord said "Thou hypocrite first cast out the beam out of thine own eye" (Matt 7:5) Their can be only one thing at the heart of judging others and that is pride, pride is the antithesis of charity, pride is the delusional belief that some how you are superior to another person on this earth, it is a damning sin and for those who have any shred of pride in them at the last day will be cast out into outer darkness where there is weeping and waling and gnashing of teeth. 
 The good news is that the Lord has given us away to overcome the damning effects of pride, he has provided means that we may change our characters that we may strip ourselves of pride and become full of charity. That is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, Christ felt every person on this earth was important enough to atone for. Our Redeemer didn't say I will pay the price for Jeffery's sins but not for Donald's, He didn't pick and choose who was worth trying to bring back into Heaven and who wasn't, the Holy One of Israel paid an infinite price for every last one of us because every person that ever has been borne or ever will be born was important enough to the Great Mediator to try and bring back to Heaven. So next time you are called to pass judgement on another, next time you begin to open your mouth to criticize and condemn another's actions. Stop, think your Savior sweating blood in Gethsemane for that persons soul, think of the nails that were driven through his hands and feet for their transgressions. Then ask yourself how many drops of blood the Saviour has shed for you? When you want to hold a grudge remember the King who when suffering on the cross cried out "Father forgive them for they know not what they do" remember that it was because of you he was on that cross. I think too often we Christians think of the blessings that we receive from the Atonement without thinking about as well the price that was paid, that price that we incurred on the Savior for our mistakes and stupid decisions. The Lord lives he loves us he knows everyone of us perfectly and completely from the homeless man on the street to the CEO of Blue Ocean, he loves us. He would do anything for us, and has done everything, his only request is that we love one another as he loved us. Christ lived, he died, but most importantly he was resurrected. I know that with all my heart that he still lives and because of that we will all one day be brought before his judgement bar and will be asked how we treated a poor wayfaring man of grief. I testify in the name of Jesus Christ amen. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May 5, 2014

 Good Morning Brothers, and Sisters from cloudy, rainy, windy Findlay Ohio. Seriously there I think there have been more days of rain and snow here in Findlay since I got here than there have been of sunshine. On the flipside the Lord knows how he is running the weather machine so who am I to complain I'll just say "yes, Lord" and trust He knows what He is doing. 
 This week we had some interesting experiences, in the middle of the week we had a day in which we didn't have any appointments, zilch, and as consequence we had a lot of stop by's planned. As we were going from place to place we saw an older guy out on his driveway and so we stopped and started talking to him about the Lord and the Gospel and how families can be together forever. He started talking to us about what he believed and how he puts all his stock in Romans 10:9, so we had a good 20 minute conversation, and asked him if we could come back Sunday at 7:30 and he told us he would be there. So we go back Sunday evening and give him a pretty awesome lesson on Restoration, he tried pulling it off on tangents and what not but with the help of the Lord we were able to gracefully bring it back to one of the principles of the Restoration, and after reciting the 1st Vision the Spirit was super strong, then he went out to get something and came back and it turns out that we had been talking to Reverend Joseph Goodman the entire time, but he seemed to like what we had to say and said we could come back so it will be quite the experience when we go back, he seems like he genuinely felt the Spirit while we were talking and so the Lord is working on him.
 Also last week I had the privilege of delivering a talk about "how does daily study of the Book of Mormon help me come closer to my Saviour" as I was thinking about it and pondering on what I should say one point that came to my mind with some force was the power the Book of Mormon has to weld families together. Out here in Ohio I have seen many youth who have gone less active, and met many more members that have gone less active after they left home and have raised their children in a generation of inactivity. This is a crises, this is an epidemic that is sweeping at least Ohio if not the nation, right now Satan is winning over too many of the youth and in this world today we Christian soldiers can't afford to lose those who are already enlisted. One of the most powerful ways we can combat though is through studying the Book of Mormon daily as a family, I don't know why every person goes less active, or why children stray from the strait and narrow, or why some choose this day to serve mammon. There is one thing I do know though, that is that the Book of Mormon is one of the most powerful tools that God has put in the hands of mothers and fathers to combat the influence of the adversary. I cannot promise that every child who sits in on family scripture study will be stick to the Gospel through thick and thin, I can't promise that all children who hear the words of the Book of Mormon are going to remain active throughout the course of their lives; however without a shadow of a doubt I do know that if mothers and fathers will put forth the effort to try and study the scriptures everyday it will come back to play a decisive role in their children's eternal progression. It may take time to see the effects of the gospel seed planted in the hearts of the children to begin to grow, it may take months, or even years, before the effects become manifest. The Prodigal son didn't waste all his substance in riotous living, end up feeding pigs, then come to himself in the course of a week, I think it took many months or years before the memories of home stirred within him. I can see him know as he is trying to feed himself with the food that the swine did, the memories dancing in his mind of a warm fire, a soft bed, mommas home made supper. These are those things which the Holy Ghost called to his remembrance in this time of despair, and I know that if we choose to study the Book of Mormon each day as a family, no matter how hard, the same thing will happen for those of our children who do wander, there will come a time when the Spirit will bring to remembrance the words of Christ which they heard while in the home, it will bring the spiritual nourishment that they have been so long estranged from, that is the power of the Book of Mormon, it testifies and invites all to come unto Christ and be perfected in him, that is the central message of the Boook of Mormon and to those who hear that message regardless of whether or not they sink in at the time, they will never be forgotten. But first we must plant the seed. When it is late at night and the day has been hectic and you can't feel like you can do it but forth the effort to study the Book of Mormon together, when the children have been fighting and screaming, and the teenager is being moody and obnoxious pull within yourself the strength to sit them all down. The impact won't be immediate, but it will be eternal. I testify in the name of Jesus Christ Amen. 

April 29, 2014

Hello there Brothers and Sisters from Findlay Ohio

 So transfer information came down the grapevine last night and Elder Hesford and I will be having the wonderful opportunity to be serving with each other again for another six weeks in Findlay Ohio. This week the rain hasn't held off and we have been being hit by Satan left and right but we have been seeing miracles, one of which occurred yesterday. So Monday we had two awesome lessons lined up with investigators that we had high hopes for, Gary and Crystal, everything was set up perfect for the lessons we had the perfect members coming, cute little objects lessons lined up, the whole nine yards. So about two hours before our lesson with Gary we give him a phone call to confirm the appointment and we don't hear back from him for a half an hour... then an hour... about 30 minutes before we are supposed to be there we get a text from Gary in which he informs us that he has committed to his wife that he will start being a Catholic, this is pretty much the worst news a missionary can get so instead of letting things go quietly we eventually work out with him that he is willing to give us 30 minutes of his time on Thursday, the 1st. So that was a huge let down especially because he only let us know 30 minutes before the member was already there when we informed him of the cancellation of the appointment. So after that we go do some tracting and stop by some people without much success and we are biking to our next appointment we are about 3 minutes away from her house when she calls and cancels on us, and we were like NNNNNOOOOOO!!!!!  We reschedule for next week but know we are pretty bummed, and to boot we had to skip lunch to get to an appointment with a less active member on time, and we had everything that we had planned fall through for the next 2 hours, and to top it all off it had been raining all day long. Our mission president had told us in a zone conference that when appointments go through to pray and ask the Lord to let us know who else we could help. So we go to a quite park and ask the Lord in prayer to show us where we need to go and what we need to do to help someone come closer to Christ and my inspired companion suggests we just go out onto the street in front of us and turn left and so we do and then we make another left and as we are biking along I see a house and feel like maybe we should go there, but we bike past it, then I almost hear a voice telling me go back and knock on that door. So we turn around and knock on the door and the most amazing thing happens..... they pretend  to not be home. So we leave a Book of Mormon pass along card in there and are about to head off to a potential in the area when we see two guy across the street in their garage so we go over and talk to them. Lo and behold it turns out that one of the guys is Bob, a man we had a wonderful conversation with in a Wendy's about 3 weeks ago and he had said he would come to church, but unfortunately never did. So we start talking with Bob and about 20 minutes later we say goodbye as he has a copy of the Book of Mormon in his hands that he has committed to read all the way through and pray about and he wanted to discuss more with us. Miracles happen in this work the Lord. This is the work of eternal salvation and "the Eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on until all his promises shall be fufilled" (Mormon 8:22). I know that Jesus Christ lives and runs this church. I know that it was restored through Jospeh Smith who was and is a prophet seer and revlator, and that through him all of the keys of the Holy Priesthood were restored to the earth, I also know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and all those who seek comfort, solace, consolation, truth, and the Lord can find him by studying the Book of Mormon. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, 14

Greetings from soaking wet Findlay Ohio

 So first things first need to clear up a misconception that occurred during my last email, I am not training Elder Hesford I am greenie breaking him. It means that I am the first companion he had after his trainer and as such am breaking him of all the bad habits his trainer gave to him. 
 Things in Findlay are great and fantastic, apart from the frequent rain which comes by out here in Ohio, which wouldn't be nearly as much of a problem excepting that when one is on a bike and it begins to rain one tends to get soaking wet as well as all of the supplies which one is carrying. As for the area the people are nice enough, although as the weather warms up many people feel the need to hurl profanity at us from their car window I am not quite sure why.... So far we are working our tails off and trying to put forth extraordinary effort to show the Lord our faith so that he will start to work miracles according to it. We found a wonderful new investigator Lou, apparently missionaries have been trying to stop by her since before I got here but the first time Elder Hesford and I stop by bam she is home and we teach her a lesson and pick her up as a new investigator. So that was awesomely exciting, although we haven't been able to get a return appointment with her. That appears to be the vein of things right now,  lots of people want to meet with us and we set up a time to go see them and then when we get there they aren't home. Rather quite depressing, but missionary work isn't easy and it isn't supposed to be. Missionary work is a work of forging and refining souls, and sometimes it is our own souls that must be refined and forged in the Master's hands, but as we dutifully show our faith through our obedience to his commandments and rules we will build within ourselves a more Christlike being and as we become more like Christ we are capable of experiencing greater happiness, and greater joy. It is only however as we come to appreciate and apply the Atonement of Christ that this transformation can occur it is only Because of Him (mormon.org/becauseofhim) that we can find salvation and exaltation, it is only because of him that we are freed from death hell and the devil and misery and endless woe, because of him we can be changed, transformed, and uplifted from where we are when we were born to what we desperately want to become. It is all possible because He lives.

The Report of Elder Hunter D. Poe

Monday, April 7, 2014

April 7, 2014

The Elder Poe Report

I apologize everyone for not emailing more there is actually quite the story that goes with that. Basically I was biking along the road and out of no where a Barracuda jumps out of a puddle and bites one of my legs clean off, not to be stopped though like John Morrill in mountain of the Lord I fashioned a wood one out of a nearby tree branch and persevered. Okay all of that is a lie, really for those not aware last week I hit and passed the one year mark, and there was a lot going on in preparation for  General Conference, and I was kinda depressed last week. Which resulted in emails not getting sent but I am back and with the grace of the Lord better than ever.

So I am currently serving in the Findlay biking area in western Ohio, it is a decent sized town about the size of Clearfield with nothing for hundreds of miles around except cornfields. I am currently greenie breaking a fine young elder by the name of Elder Brent Hesford, who has a lot to still learn but wants to move forward so he is fantastic really no one better. 

We currently have no solid investigators but that is going to change soon. 

As for conference....
I don't know how I feel about conference I just don't think anyone was up to par with where they were last year, I feel like the 12 just weren't there to win. Just kidding, although really is there anyone who didn't like conference. I thought all of the talks were amazing, although honestly I am really worried, because if we accept that the people who talk in conference are Prophets, Seers, and Revelators, and they have seen what is coming in the next little while, all they talked about was sacrifice, faith in the face of trials, standing up for your faith, and the kind of things that often we associate with large scale natural disasters, man made catastrophes, and the early persecution of the saints. It is kind of freaky. Also compared to previous conferences that come to my mind a lot more of the talks were more stern more of a warning about the consequences of sin, and a rebuking of people, contrasted with the blessings of living the Gospel and the joys of following Christ. 
Elder Bednar was definitely mind blowingly awesome, although Elder Holland's was superb I could feel the power of his testimony so strong when he emphasized that he knew.  I would say though President Utchdorf was probably one of the most practical ones or ones that are going to modify my behavior the most. Also in consequence of Elder Ballard's address I would like to invite each member to obtain a personal physical copy of Preach My Gospel and to study from it at least on a weekly basis as well as possibly coming up with FHE ideas from it. I promise that if you will do so the Spirit will come in greater abundance to the home, your capacity to act will be strengthened and the principles of the Gospel will have a greater bearing on your behavior and in the decisions you make.

I also received one of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard this past week from Brother Lon Kreger 1st Counselor in Findlay Bishopric he told me "come home with your shield or on it" this comment comes from the ancient Spartan mothers who would tell their sons that it would be better for them to die in battle a heroes death, than it would be for them to flee from the field of battle and live a cowards life. In relation to missionary work that means be willing to kill yourself for the work give every last ounce of effort, ambition, and energy to the work of the Lord. It means to never spend a minute trifling with temptation it means to deny yourself of all ungodliness and come unto Christ with perfect obedience. How can we expect to represent Christ and to bear his name upon us be willing to have the audacity to claim we are his representatives, if we do not lay everything upon the altar of sacrifice. Christ paid the ultimate price for all of us how can we do any less than pay him back with everything we posses. That is what he require ultimately is that we offer up our whole souls as an offering to him then he will remake us into what we so desperately want to become. 

I know that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour I know with absolute certainty that the 12 Apostles and the First Presidency are witnesses of Christ to all the world and that the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not President Thomas S. Monson but it is Jesus Christ. I know that when we  head their council when we build upon the rock of our Redeemer who is Christ the Son of God then we will be able to weather every storm trial or adversity that comes our way. I testify as one who has been called to witness of him to all the world in his sacred name, that of Jesus Christ. Amen

Elder Hunter D. Poe

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March 18 2014

So yesterday I received some of the worst news of my mission, I will be leaving New Castle West Wednesday morn, the Spirit of the Lord has called me away to labor in another portion of the vineyard and although I am sure that the call came by revelation and is the will of the Lord, my heart is still breaking on the inside from it because I love the people of this area so much and I am going to miss them so much. My investigators, my less actives, my members, I am going to miss all of them so much, it is sad :-( 
 I know though that the Lord had his hand in all things and when I become a missionary I in effect said, "I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord" and I still mean that. There are others elsewhere that I need to go to, and others I need to help feel the love of the Lord. I am going to miss Elder Betzold as well incredibly much because he has been one of the greatest companions I have had, I truly believe that there are very few other missionaries in this mission who I could've had the experiences I have had with Elder Betzold. He is a hard worker that understands his purpose and wants to fulfill it. While I have been in the New Castle district I have had the chance to witness  5 baptisms and interview 4 people, which has been a wonderful experience to see the testimony and strength of people that have turned their lives over to the Lord and followed the example of Jesus Christ. 
 In New Castle West I have come to understand who I was as a missionary, how to do missionary work, and what being a missionary means. I understand now the role of Preach My Gospel, it is not a workbook on how to help people get baptized it is scripture that was developed to help missionaries become converted to the Gospel, because as you become converted to the Gospel and as you come to understand and follow the principles thereof you will have the desire and ability to share it with others. You have to have a testimony of the principles you teach otherwise the Holy Ghost will not be there when you say "I know that living the Gospel will bless your life". To be an excellent missionary you have to love others as the Saviour loved them, as you strive to see others as Christ did and treat them in the manner the Great Physician the Lord blesses you to become more Christlike, and it becomes easier. 
 I have developed more strongly my testimony and converstion towards the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this area, I know Jesus Christ lives and is the Saviour and Redeemer of the World that he came down as the Son of God in a tabernacle of flesh to ransom all mankind from suffering death sorrow and the devil. As we follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ and have faith in him, repent, become baptized receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end, we find peace we find joy and we find happiness. If you are striving to live the Gospel and do not feel the peace the comfort and the Spirit that is promised, reevaluate what else more you can do, seek where you can improve, humble yourself in the depths of humility and ask the Lord what do I lack? As you do happiness and blessings will be poured out upon you. I know that Jesus Christ lives that he stands at the head of this great work to bring souls to salvation, that he did appear to the boy prophet Joseph Smith, and through Joseph Smith he did establish his kingdom and Church back on the earth. I know this with certainty and can never deny it.
The Report of Elder Hunter Poe

Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014

The Elder Poe Report

 This week in the Youngstown area was packed full of miracles and too much stinking snow. 

 We started off the week on Monday (bet ya didn't see that one coming) where we had three excellent lessons with less active members on the Atonement, scripture study, and the blessings that come from obedience, and it set the tone for the rest of a great week. So last week Elder Betzold and I set a goal to talk to at least 10 new people each day about the Gospel, because Elder Ballard said in the most recent conference that if the missionaries want to teach more people they need to talk to more people. So we set a goal in faith and worked hard towards it, so we do it Tuesday, Wednesday, and we aren't seeing a ton of success, almost no one we talk to is really interested but we kept persisting at it. So Thursday evening rolls around we finish dinner and my companion decides he needs to use the restroom, so we go into a nearby PetSmart and while he is using the bano I try finding some people to talk to but the part of the store where the bathroom is, is deserted. At this point we were at 8 people talked to, so we walk out to the car and I decide that I need sugar, so we drive over to the nearby gas station and my companion and I have a brief deliberation on the Twix v. Snickers controversy (Twix is superior by the way). Then we walk up to the counter to begin our transaction and the cashier asks me if I want a Get-Go card and we don't really have any appointments so I am all like what the heck let's do it, I like saving 3 cents a  gallon. Then we found her standing right behind us, purchasing three cans of beer and some cigarettes was Sara. We say hi to her and then she looks real intently at out name tags and says "oh my [expletive deleted] more church people." Then she looks at us and says "Okay so I have never been to church in my life and never felt like I needed it but in the past 7 days God has been bombarding me with church people, a Hindi guy tried talking to me, a Muslim guy, three non-denominational Christians, the Mormons, everyone. So I am thinking God wants me to join a church." Then she asks probably the second greatest question any missionary on the planet can here "Can I talk to you guys for a few minutes about God?" At this point inside I was like "HALLELUJAH HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH" and so then we step into our car for about 15 minutes in front of the gas station, because it is only like 20 degrees outside. So she starts asking us some questions about things like prophets and what not, and every time she gives us an answer she is all like "Yes, yes that just makes sense!" So we have a wonderful conversation and we get her number and give her a Joseph Smith Testimony Pamphlet and a Book of Mormon and ask her to read and pray about it and she says she will, then she calls later that night and tells us how she feels exactly like Joseph Smith and it was awesome. She will probably be getting baptized soon.
 Another major miracle that happened this last week was spawned on Tuesday at District Meeting. District Meeting was about Former Investigators and we were promised that if we would do our best to stop by every former investigator we could in the next week we would find at least 1 new investigator. So Saturday we stop by a ton of former investigators. We are going through stopping by stopping by, most of them aren't home, some of the houses are abandoned. It is getting later towards the evening and we stop by one more former, we knock on the door and wait, and wait. Then someone comes and we ask if Leslie is there, the girl looks at us and she is all like nope, not to be dismayed or turned back though we start talking to the girl who answered the door, Christina about the Gospel, and ask if we can come back the next day because she was in the middle of homework and she is gives a kinda hesitant yes, but says yes nonetheless. So we come around on Sunday and we hear incredibly loud music being played, and we knock on the door, no one comes, we knock again, no one answers, I am bummed but knock again in a half heart effort..........nothing. So we start moving back towards the car, I glance up one last time hoping against hope for something, but alas it was all in vain. Then we see an old lady across the street slip on some ice and we run over to help her and talk to her and she was alright but told us she was Catholic and had already met with Mormons before and wasn't interested. So I open my car door and I hear a house door open behind me and I turn around and see Christina open the door and BAM! I grab my scriptures and practically bolt to Christina's door. As my companion catches up and she lets us in and we are just about to have the opening prayer when he friend walks in and decides to sit in on the lesson and it was an awesome lessons where we talked about her needs and the Gospel and about how it blessed us and it was AWWWWEEEESOOMMMEE and then we asked if we could come back and they said yes so we got ourselves two new investigators right then and there. The Lord truly does open the windows of Heaven and pour out a blessing that there shall not be room to receive it. All because we were faithful enough to believe in a promise made by the Lord's authorized servants. 
 I know that Jesus Christ is the Saviour and Redeemer of the world, I know that only by following his Gospel can we find peace and happiness in this life and I know that as we seek first the kingdom of Heaven true joy is poured out upon us in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.
-Elder Hunter D. Poe

February 17 2014

Hello, Brothers and Sisters

 This week was an amazing week, in the words of Oliver Cowdery "these were days never to be forgotten" (Pearl of Great Price pg 58) This week we had zone conference with our mission president which is always a revelatory experience but was followed up two days later by two sessions of stake conference, wherein we not only got to hear our wonderful, spiritual giant of a man, President James Kirk (yes that is probably a significant part of his awesomeness) but also Elder Walter C. Selden of the 70, as well as our mission president, and the temple president for the Columbus Temple District. It was amazing and inspiring to see them discuss and educate us on what the work of salvation means, and what it actually means to "Hasten the Work of Salvation" They talked about how the President Monson has exercised the Priesthood keys given to Joseph Smith by Moses in the Kirtland temple, to gather in scattered Israel and to bring all to a knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I would encourage everyone to check out the website hasteningthework.lds.org and to study the "Go About Doing Good" section in chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel. 
 In D&C 8:3 the Lord talks about how the spirit of revelation is that same spirit "by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground." Elder Betzold, my wonderful companion and I, saw this in action yesterday. So we had gotten home really late Saturday night due to stake conference and accidentally leaving the keys at the stake center, so we didn't get a chance to plan for Sunday. So we were going around shoveling people's driveway and doing things that we had needed to do throughout the week and then kinda petered out we had about an hour before dinner and were kinda out of things to do, and so my compnaions ask me what way he needs to turn at an intersection and I am all like "I don't know where are we going" and he responded with "I don't know that is a good question" then I had a street pop into my mind that we had intended to tract several days ago and it was as clear as day that I could feel the Spirit telling me "go to Inverness" so we head on over to Inverness and we get out and are just about to knock on the first door when we see somebody stuck in the snow. So we run over and help him out, he is a great guy by the name of Mike and we talk to Mike a little and find out that he already knows all about the Mormons because he has been out to Utah, and we ask him where in Utah he has been and he is all like "Ogden, Salt Lake City, Clearfield to take care of my aunt" and then I get real excited because I am from Clearfield and so I start asking him about his family and aunt and what not and he starts telling us about his life and how he has always tried to help people and what not and then we get the feeling to show him Mosiah 18 where Alma is talking to the people at the Waters of Mormon, about comforting those that stand in need of comfort and such and we ask him to read it aloud, and he does then we talk with him a little more and commit him to read all of Mosiah 18 and then Elder Betzold, who is an incredibly powerful missionary spiritually, says a prayer and he gets tears in his eyes and we ask if we can come back on March 1st and he says yes. So now we have another one of God's children that has a copy and has read and felt the power of the Book of Mormon and who has said we could return all because we heeded the prompting of the still small voice that told us to go somewhere. The strangest thing was that at the time it didn't really even feel like a spiritual prompting it just felt like an idea of something to do, a kind of vivid thought, the Lord is Hastening his Work, the missionaries I have met are raising the bar and lengthening their stride, the question becomes now will we begin to lengthen our stride as well, will we make sure to keep up with the Lord and the missionaries in bringing Salvation to God's children? 
 I know that Jesus is the Christ, I know that the Book of Mormon is the most powerful and correct of any book on earth and we were commanded by a prophet of God 26 years ago to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon and there are still those who have not heard it's message. If you do not yet have a testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon then get one now, read it by yourself and with your family every day before next conference, record how you feel each day, then at conference take a look at what has changed. The Book of Mormon will do more to change bad behavior and bring the Spirit of the Lord which is the Spirit of Miracles. More than just use the Book of Mormon in our own lives though we need to share it with the world, for those who are abreast of the troubling political and social issues that are plaguing the world I say that sharing the Gospel and especially the Book of Mormon is more than just an issue of Salvation, it is an issue of national security. I invite every person who reads this to acquire 10 copies of the Book of Mormon Pass Along Cards (preferably the Saviour in America and not Alien Jesus) and distribute them before the beginning of general conference. A real easy way to do this is when you meet someone new just ask them if they like to read, when they say yes, tell them about the greatest Book you have ever read, tell them they can get a FREE copy by calling the number on the back of the Pass Along Card, bear your testimony of it, and shazam you have planted a seed you have spread the Gospel it wasn't awkward it wasn't strange it was you telling people about your favorite book. 
 The time for speaking of missionary work is done, the time for conjecturing on how to help people is done. Now is the time of action, now is the time to spread the Gospel; the blessings of the Gospel only come as we go and do, Nephi didn't get the plates by waiting in the cave for an angel to bring them to him, he went and did. I know that as we seek to spread the Gospel in love we will see miracles happen our conversion to the Gospel will deepen and the blessings will be poured out such that there shall not be room to receive them. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord Saviour and Redeemer. Amen. 

The Report of Elder Poe

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10, 2014

The Elder Poe Report

 So I just want to start out the report by saying "SEAHAWKS RULE!!! WAHOO!!!" that is the last I will mention of it just because I can imagine that must be real painful for the Denver fans right now I mean 43 - 8 in a super bowl game.... wow. 

 So I now have a wonderful new companion Elder Frederick Allen Betzold III from the great state of Idaho in the Boise region. He is a great guy and seems like a really hard worker I am very glad to be able to be his companion we are going to do a lot of great things. He is also one of the 18 year old missionaries, which has been very interesting. I know there are some of you out there that think 18 year olds are just not mature enough to serve missions, but I can say with all honesty that the 18 year old missionaries I have met are some of the most spiritually powerful missionaries out there, they seem to have an unflinching faith and trust in the Lord that I see a lot of more "mature" missionaries just seem to lack. 

 This last week was quite hectic, so my previous companion was supposed to go home on Wednesday of last week; however we get a call Monday night around 10 from President Vellinga saying that because of an incoming storm we need to get him up to Cleveland Tuesday morning, and transfers are delayed until Thursday. So after much scrambling we worked it out where I spent the three days following Monday with the New Castle Elders in New Castle. It was quite the adventure because New Castle is a very special town. 

 Thursday I met my new companion Elder Betzold who I previously referred to, and although we had a ton of appointments lined up for the evening all of them canceled on us, which was rather unfortunate. Things are starting to take form and take off though in the New Castle West area, and I had the good pleasure of conducting my 4th baptismal interview Sunday morning, it was for a man by the name of Gordon. He is a part member that has been coming to church for almost 3 years now but because of a lot of heartache and hurt he has dealt with in the past he didn't feel he was ready to get baptized, but after meeting with the missionaries for so long he has started to feel the effects of and apply the Atonement in his life and it is bringing him healing. 

I love my mission I love the opportunity to serve others. If Christ were to appear to me right now and tell me he was willing to cut me the same deal as the 3 Nephites or John the Beloved I would take it in a heartbeat. There is truly no greater joy than helping others come unto Christ. I know that through Jesus Christ's Atonement we can all find peace healing and comfort if we will follow his Gospel. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Lord's church once again on the earth and I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father.

The Report of Elder Hunter Poe

Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014

Salutations from the great frozen state of Ohio, where as of right now we are projected to get hit with a 2nd polar vortex in one month on Tuesday. The good news is that because of the weather people will really start getting excited about the idea of baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost. (haha bad pun)

This week has been pretty fantastic, our investigator Mercedes came to church again this is 2 times in 3 weeks which is super exciting, if her surgery on the 14th goes well we will be probably to be able to help her enter the waters of baptism on the 1st of March. However our other investigator Phil didn't come to church and sounds like he is going to probably have to have gallbladder surgery, which is not a happy thought. 
 So one miracle I have seen this week is the power of prayer. Two weeks ago we had our Zone Training Meeting where we came up with a list of investigators across the zone we were going to pray for and we all agreed to pray for them by name once a week. Last night our zone leaders sent out a text across the zone reporting that 2 of the investigators that we had been praying for had overcome significant obstacles to baptism, including softening the heart of parents opposed to the church, an anti husband, and health issues, all of these have been being overcome by the power of prayer. Prior to my mission I "said my prayers" as  I have come out into the mission field I have realized how much power there is in not just saying your prayers, but in communicating with your Father in Heaven through prayer. One of my favorite statements on prayer comes from the Bible Dictionary "As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father and we are his children), than at once prayer become natural and instinctive on our part." prayer isn't just about getting blessing for ourselves and requesting help prayer is a way we talk to our loving Father, whose sole design is our happiness and who has all power in Heaven and Earth to bring that to pass if we will trust in him. As Christ has said "whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name.. believing that ye shall receive behold is shall be given unto you" ( 3 Nephi 18:20) Prayer is a way we can express our concerns and our joys, our fears, our faith, our anxieties, and gratitudes to a loving Father. Although prayers can be said silently in the sacred chambers of our hearts, they gain greater power and will increase our faith if we vocalize them at every opportunity we have. Our prayers will have more energy of heart if we understand that we are actually talking to a being that has a body of flesh and bones as we do, and not some amorphous clump of ether. With prayer being a conversation though after we are done speaking, we must listen, we must allow time for the other party to respond to us and to give us the answers to our questions that we are seeking.

 I know that prayer is a celestial form of work and if we will put the time and effort into developing a personal and close relationship with our loving Heavenly Father, we will be blessed so much "that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:10) I know that if we will earnestly pray to our Father in Heaven he will hear and answers our prayers, he will provide guidance, and comfort. I know that few habits in this world will bless a family more than praying as a family each morning and evening, as we do the Spirit of the Lord will be more present in our home. I know that our Saviour Jesus Christ is the Saviour and Redeemer of the World and though him all mankind can be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. I have come to this knowledge because I have prayed sincerely and have had the Lord answer me in unmistakable ways, I know in the same manner, and by the same power, that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration and the Church of  Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Lord's kingdom on the Earth again. I testify in the name of Jesus Christ Amen

The Report of Elder Hunter Poe

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

Well ladies and gentleman good news the New Castle West Elders, Tollefsen & Poe, survived the arctic vortex alright. Our mission president had us stay inside for 2 straight days to keep us safe and I have decided that missionaries do not do well in captivity, also in case you were ever wondering if a scribble monster and a fracking monster get in a fight with their associated allies, the fracking monster doesn't survive but his side wins, and Ariel escapes the destruction with her waterlogged toaster. Sadly although Porter Rockwell does take out the Goldfish of Doom he gets taken out by Sister Voyles. There is a lot more to it than what is mentioned here, but the point is missionaries don't do well in captivity. 

This week has been absolutely splendid though for missionary work in our area even with two days cut off of our proselyting, we found two wonderful new investigators Daniel and Richard, they really have a desire to learn, unfortunately  they have a little more of a difficult time with retaining what we teach, but we are going to try and keep working with them and helping them come to Christ as best as we can. 

We also had another wonderful miracle this week our investigator Mercedes came to church this week. Mercedes is a woman that lives completely alone and has several very severe and crippling health issues, and to boot her family has disowned her and refuses to associate with her. Missionaries have been working with Mercedes since before my companion, Elder Tollefsen, had gotten here 6 months ago, and during that time it had been difficult to help her progress and she didn't always seem to understand everything we taught the first or second time so it was also an exercise in patience. Persistence pays off though and once we show the Lord our faith by doing everything we can the Lord makes bare his arm and starts to work miracles. In 6 months meeting with the missionaries Mercedes had still not been able to quit smoking however 2 weeks ago she had quit and hasn't smoked a cigarette since, then the biggest miracle happened yesterday when she came to church, it was awesome to see her there and she stayed for all 3 blocks and enjoyed it immensely. It was awesome to see what the Lord will do for his children. The experience with Mercedes has also taught, how vital and critical it is to continue to work with people even when it feels like you aren't making any progress and things aren't progressing forward. The Lord is willing to work with us and search out for us no matter how little we move forward and how often we end up stumbling or getting lost, the Saviour's arms are always outstretched and reaching to lift us up if we will let Him. 

I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Savior and Redeemer of the world and if we will look to him and take advantage of his great Atoning sacrifice by repenting he will lift us up. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God to restore the fullness of the Gospel in these great last days, and because of that I love the Prophet Joseph Smith, he was willing to live and die before denying that he had seen a vision, and because of all he has done we now understand many of the plain and precious truths that were lost because of conspiring, evil, and misguided men. I know that God is our Loving Heavenly Father and he knows and loves each of us completely and entirely, he weeps when we do, and is happy when we are happy. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6, 2014

First off my apologies for not sending a report out last week things get real hectic around the holidays. I wanted to start by thanking every person and family that sent gifts, cards, and other items to myself over the holiday season they are very much appreciated and I am incredibly grateful,  I express my thanks to the following people and families,
The Gaurduno family
The Major Meadows Ward
The Chatwin family
Grandma & Grandpa Poe
Grandma & Grandpa Parke
The Hale family
my father Josh Poe
The Clearfield Utah stake presidency
The Vellinga Family
The Tollefsen Family
The Parke Family
My angel of a Mother Marilyn Chrisetensen
and all others who sent cards or gifts to support the Ohio Cleveland Missionaries.

So this was the first time in my fragile little life that I was away from home for Christmas, it was definitely an adjustment and a change. Although it was depressing to be away family for the holiday season I have been far blessed beyond the sacrifice, and I know my family has been as well. 

This past week was quite excellent we accomplished quite a bit and got an opportunity to invite many people unto Christ, unfortunately not all of them were so interested in accepting the invite. 

With the New Year dawning it has really caused me to reflect on new beginnings and the Atonement. In Elder McConkie's final general conference address he said that "The Atonement.... is the least understood of all our revealed truths" and I honestly can say that in my travels up and down this great Ohio Cleveland Mission and throughout life I feel that this statement is just as true as it was when spoken by Elder McConkie. This New Year allows us to understand the Atonement in a greater and deeper way. The New Year brings new opportunities and a new calendar, the Atonement brings gives us a way to become a new person, and to have our mistakes blotted out. I feel too many of us think that the Atonement allows us to be forgiven of our sins and gives us a chance to try over; however the Atonement is so much more than that, the Atonement not only allows us to be forgiven of our sins if we repent, but if we repent and turn to the Lord in faith the power of the Atonement becomes operative to change who we fundamentally are and helps us to become like our Saviour. The Atonement is not just about removing the effects of our past mistakes, but it is about giving us hope for a brighter future. The simple truth of the matter is that no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God, that means those who are in the celestial kingdom have no more repentance for between the time they sin and the time they repent they are unclean and as such could not have a place in the presence of our Heavenly Father. That is what the Atonement does it allows us to be changed into what we desperately want to become, perfect. Christ voluntarily paid the price of sin and took upon him not only our sins, but felt every hurt we will every feel, went through every temptation we will ever go through, and suffered every grief we will ever suffer. In doing so he gave us access to grace that we might become changed from who we are, into who we want to become. The Atonement makes it possible that a man who was an alcoholic last year can stop being an alcoholic this year, he is not an alcoholic he is not a recovering addict, it changes who the man was so that the person in his past who was an alcoholic is not him. The Saviour wants to change us into perfect beings as fast as he can, however he will only be able to help us change as fast as we will allow him. The Lord will not change us against our will, he cannot for it is contrary to the principle of agency, but if we are willing to submit all things to him he will remake us in his image spiritually as well as physically. As we follow him and give up everything holding back no part we will find peace in this life, we will find the peace that comes from knowing we are following the path of discipleship. As we put off the natural man and become a saint through the Atonement of Christ we will find that the amount of good we can do is limitless as we give up our favourite sins to the Great Mediator we will find that we have lost nothing, as we consecrate our heart, might, mind and soul unto him who created the heavens and the earth we will find that he will make so much more of our brief sojourn in mortality than we could have ever made if left to our own devices. The Lord lives, he loves us and wants us to be happy. I have been commissioned to go forth and witness to the world that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God and I know that if men will turn unto him they will find everlasting joy, if men will repent and turn to Christ they will find freedom, I know not how to express adequately how great the joy and peace and happiness is for those that follow the Saviour and yield their whole souls up as an offering to him, for words have not been written and tongues cannot describe how blessed and wonderful the blessings of repentance and the Gospel are. Come unto Christ and be perfected in him.

The Report of Elder Hunter Poe