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