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.