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