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