Georgia Macon Mission

Georgia Macon Mission

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hey Ya'll!   Happy Thanksgiving!  Time is flying by so fast.  I guess thats the way it works being an LDS missionary.   The days seem long and the months seem short and somehow that makes sense.  haha   I am so happy to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving.  It's not only a day to fellowship with family members, friends and acquaintances, but also a day that we can stop for just a moment and give thanks for all that we have.   And we have much to be thankful for!  Living a life of thanksgiving daily can be hard sometimes.  Luckily, we have a day specifically dedicated to give thanks.  I was also thinking of another day we should be thankful for.  A day we can pause and look back over our week.  A day that we can remember who is most important to give thanks to.   Of course, the day I am talking about is the Sabbath Day.   The most important day in our week.  That's the day we attend church and think about the atonement of Jesus Christ.   A day we give thanks to our Heavenly Father for all that we have.  Just as we share Thanksgiving Day with our loved ones, we should also want to share the Sabbath with others. 
I will always remember Sabbath days growing up.   We would go to church, partake of the sacrament and learn the gospel.   Then we would come home, have a great family dinner, and laugh and love and remember the Savior.  If we treated everyday like Thanksgiving, I would say all would be perfect.  I try to be thankful everyday..... Here are just a few of the things I am thankful for. 

- I am thankful to know the unconditional love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for me.
- I am thankful to know that even though I am imperfect, the atonement of Jesus Christ is there so that I can repent of my mistakes.
- I am thankful for parents who taught me right from wrong.  Parents who love me unconditionally and support me and encourage me to do good.
- I am thankful for a brother and a sister who have been amazing examples in my life.
- I am thankful for friends, teachers, and many others who without their help, I most likely wouldn't be on a mission today.
- I am thankful to be on a mission, serving the Lord in this part of the vineyard.
- I am thankful for the people that God allows me to teach.   They are an inspiration and example in my life.
- I am thankful for the members of the North Augusta Ward, who make me feel at home and last but not least............
- I am thankful for the newly opened CHIPOTLE! 

I am thankful for so much more, but those are just a few of the most important. 

I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving!  Do something fun and remember life is short...live life in the slow land.....witness all the beautiful things in front of you. 

Here is a hymn that I love right now
Hymn 92  For the Beauty of the Earth.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Baptisms and Chipotle

Hey Friends!
Happy November!  It's the start of my favorite season....Fall and Winter!   I really thought I disliked the cold weather, but being in the south makes me appreciate it a lot more. 
October was a great month!  We were able to hear from a general authority during our annual Mission Conference.   It was very exciting and we learned so much. 
Our Mission President came baring tidings of great joy..... we will be getting smart phones in our mission!   This will make our work a lot easier.   We will have better access to those who are ready to hear the gospel.
I am so grateful and excited for many reasons..... One reason is we have 2 people on date for baptism!  One of our investigators is a sweet older lady named Henrietta.  As we've been teaching her, we have learned her favorite saying.... "I'm slow.... I'ma get it"  And I can tell you she is surely getting it!  She has been reading and is already in 2 Nephi 12.   She is excited to keep learning and looking forward to her baptism.  The second reason I am excited is because in 2 days, on Nov 9, the new Chipotle opens!  It will be a wondrous day for the people of North Augusta!!

Sorry this is so short.  
Love you all
Elder McGee

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Transfers, Conference and Las Vegas

Hey Friends and Family!
Happy October!   This is one of my favorite months of the year!  As many of you know, I was transferred a couple of weeks ago.   My new area is North Augusta, South Carolina.  I am enjoying it so far, and getting to know lots of new people.   I will miss many friends from Baxley, and hope to keep in touch in the future.   One exciting thing about North Augusta is they are building a Chipotle and a Chick-fil-A!   I hope they are open for business before I leave!  Haha   I am excited to be here and to continue to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This past weekend was wonderful because of General Conference!   All of the talks were great!  One of my favorites was by Bonnie L Oscarson,  The Needs Before Us.   She gave a wonderful talk on how to serve others.   She spoke of the recent devastation around the world and how we mourn and want to help those affected by tragedies.   It is so important that we try to help during these major disasters   It is also just as important that we look around us and help those closest to us....our family, friends, neighbors, and communities.   The Savior said "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it"  (Luke 9:24)   President Monson spoke about this scripture and explained that "unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives.  Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish - and in effect save their lives"   We need to love and serve others.... near and far.   Jesus taught the multitudes, but he also taught people individually....one on one.   He did this because of the pure love He has for each one of us...individually.   We need to strive to have that same love for those around us.   John 13:34-35  says " A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.   By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" 

I was heartbroken to hear about the shootings in Las Vegas.   My heart goes out to the victims and their loved ones.   No one can truly understand what makes someone perform such cruel vicious acts.  As a 19 year old, there isn't much that I can say that would be beneficial.  What I do know is that the brightness of hope will ALWAYS win.   No matter what political view you have, or what religious view you have,  the light of Jesus Christ is stronger than any darkness we face in this life.    I am reminded of the hymn   Lead Kindly, Light.     The Savior can lead us out of darkness ALWAYS. 
Have a great week!  Love you all!





Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Big Ol' Irma

Hey guys!  Whats up? 
Happy September!  August went by so fast.  We are also nearing the end of a GMM transfer and I am thinking I may be transferred out of good ol' Baxley.  We shall see. 

Well it has been quite a while since I last updated the blog.  Many things have happened.  Our new member in the Hazelhurst Branch is doing great!  He just got a calling and is loving it!  We have some other investigators that are really progressing and even a boost in member support.   As some of you know, Baxley is very small and doesn't have it's own church building so we attend church in Hazelhurst which is also very small.   In spite of the small congregations, we get so much help from the members, which is awesome!

So, last week was literally just preparing and talking about big ol' Irma.  I have never seen Baxley so busy.  People from the coastal areas of Georgia came through Baxley to get to safer ground.  There were lots of people clearing out Walmart's shelves.  The bread sold out around Wednesday or early Thursday morning.   The cases of water were gone by Friday.   I will admit it was exciting to watch.  Maybe someday after my mission, for comic relief, I'll sit at a Walmart with a bag of popcorn and just watch people when there is a hurricane coming. 
On a more serious note, I was safe, and so was the rest of the GMM missionaries.   Some had a tree fall on a house they were living in and some had a little flooding, but other than that, no one was harmed.  We truly have one of the best mission presidents you could ever want!  President Grayson made sure we were all taken care of.  We were evacuated to Douglas, Georgia and waited out the storm there.   Afterwards, we were able to provide some service to an older couple.  We cleaned up their yard and I got to climb up on the roof.  (Don't tell my mom)  haha
We were very grateful for the opportunity to help. 

All is well here in Baxley.   I am enjoying and loving my mission.   We work hard and still find time to do some fun stuff.  I hope all is well with all of you.   Do something fun this week! 

I've added some pictures at the bottom of the page...........

The hymn for this week is
Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy

There are great scriptures that go with this song....
1 John 2:10
Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-16

This hymn talks about finding refuge from life's storms by depending on the Savior.   The Savior is the lighthouse and we are the lower lights mentioned in the hymn.  We must be good examples and shine our lights to help others find their way back to the Savior.  We can help those that are struggling.

Great Hymn!!!

 


Safe from the storm










Monday, August 21, 2017

Baptism in Baxley!

Hey y'all!   Happy Monday!   I hope everyone had a great week!   Can you believe I'm writing a blog post two weeks in a row?  haha

We've had a great week here in Baxley!  As I mentioned last week, we have been working with one of our investigators, Brother Thompson.   We were able to teach him the last couple of lessons this past week.   Brother Thompson is about as close to being a "Golden Investigator" as you can get.  He chose to meet with us....he chose to listen to the lessons and follow through with the commitments that we gave him.   Two of those commitments were to read The Book of Mormon and to pray to know of it's truthfulness.   As he followed the example of the Savior, he accepted the invitation to be baptized.   Brother Thompson was baptized on August 19, 2017!  It was a great day!
We are so proud of him and the choices he has made to be baptized.   Now he can continue to renew those covenants every Sabbath when he partakes of the sacrament.




I have talked about how much I love the hymns and here is one of my favorites scriptures about the importance of hymnal music.

Doctrine and Covenants 25

12 For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads

13 Wherefore, lift up thy heart and rejoice, and cleave unto the covenants which thou hast made.

It is such a blessing to be able to attend church and partake of the sacrament and to listen to the peaceful hymns.
I hope that everyone who has the opportunity to attend church can focus on the hymns and how they can bring peace to all.

My new favorite hymn is  More Holiness Give Me.   Read the words..... they are amazing.
It's a prayer that we can sing.  


Here are a couple more pictures from this past week!   I hope you all have a great week! 




Monday, August 14, 2017

Baptisms During the Dog Days of Summer!

Hey Everyone!
Happy August and also Happy Dog Days of Summer!  That is what Georgia refers to the hottest month of the year....August.   I have never heard that before, but surprisingly it has not been that hot.  I think we have been very blessed for the past couple of weeks.  The humidity, in my opinion, has been very tolerable.  haha

In my last blog post, I said that I would be posting every 2 weeks, but obviously that hasn't happened.  haha   So just expect one at least once a month and I will continue to work on that!  :)



Well, I have to say we have had an awesome week.  We have been working very hard with our investigators and a couple of them have dates set for baptism this month.   One investigator, Brother Thompson is getting baptized on Saturday!  We are very excited for him.  His wife and children are already members of the church.  He asked my companion and I to come and teach him about the gospel so he could be baptized.     We asked him during the first visit why he decided to take the lessons to be baptized and he answered "Because I want to be able to go to the temple and be sealed to my wife"  He told us it was time for a change.   We were so happy to hear that and we are very excited for him and his amazing family.   We only have a few last minute arrangements to complete for his baptismal service on Saturday.   We hope and pray everything goes well. 

Some other news from this past week.....
Sister John and Sister Jensen are serving in a neighboring town.   They had a baptism this past Saturday and we had the awesome opportunity to help out.  Sister Douglas was baptized and she is the sweetest lady ever!  It was such a blessing to participate in her baptism!  The work in Georgia is happening.   Sometimes it seems slow, but it is definitely happening.



Something else I've noticed on my mission.   My IBS symptoms are practically non-existent.  It can't be from my amazing eating habits.  haha   I don't even have to take my meds.   I am very grateful that Heavenly Father is looking out for me while serving my mission.   No matter how big or small our trial may be,  we can find help through the atonement of Jesus Christ.  

Rainbows in Georgia!

Rainbows in Georgia!



Nothing crazy has happened lately.   I still get random dogs that pee on my shoes and people who think we don't believe in Jesus Christ even though His name is on our name tag.   For me, the mission is going by so fast.  I can't believe summer will be over soon.  

I am out of time to write this week!  Hope everyone has a great week!   Remember to pay attention to the beautiful things in life!

Elder McGee


Beautiful Georgia Sky

Beautiful Georgia Sky




Tuesday, July 18, 2017

"Wow! It's hot!" : Have I Done Any Good? : Dogs Love Me!

Hey ya'll!  What's up?

I know it's been quite a while since I've posted, but it has been wonderful being here in Baxley, GA.  There are so many things to discuss and so many things that have happened, but let me start off by saying, "Wow!  It gets a little hot down here in the South in the middle of July!"  It's the prime time for heat and humidity!

 Last transfer we spent the entire 6 weeks on bikes.   Riding 7-9 hours a day is a little exhausting, but it is still quite the adventure!  I am so grateful for the good people of the south.  They might turn us away and tell us how wrong we are, but they will always offer us a Gatorade or a water bottle to go....sometimes even a jug of water that's so big they have to give you a bag to carry it in!  Haha


 



  We truly can't complain.  Southern hospitality is the best!

Another thing I wanted to discuss is the importance of "agreeing to disagree".   Being in the Bible belt of the south,  means we have many people who disagree with us.  We can spend hours upon hours talking about the different doctrines from one belief to the next.   Some missionaries love to prove that they are right.   Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't like losing an argument and I will try my best not to.  But I have found that trying to prove people are wrong doesn't work.  To be sound in the gospel, and going from "I believe to I know" is absolutely important.  I have realized the most important thing to do in the lessons we teach, is to bare testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ.    As a missionary our calling is to invite all to come unto Christ.  The only way to know if what we teach is true, if the Book of Mormon is true, is to pray.



One thing I am working on during my mission is being more charitable.   As it says in The Book of Mormon.......

Moroni 7:47
"47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him" 

How great is that?!  This scripture verse is one of my favorites because the pure love of Christ is infinite as is His atonement.  He suffered for each one of us.  I think anyone who is charitable and loving just naturally feels happy.

I encourage all of you ( most likely the 2 people who read this haha) to do something charitable this week.  There are thousands of ways to be charitable....big and small.   Hymn 223 says " Have I done any good?"    Its a great hymn about showing Christ-like love.



So in  other news, not too many crazy things have happened lately.  We are having a cool Branch cookout this Saturday, so that is exciting!  Also, one of our investigators is progressing towards baptism.  It is exciting to see him grow in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I don't know if I will still be in Baxley for his baptism, but I am very excited for him.
We also witnessed two baptisms yesterday.   A couple in a neighboring city called McRae, GA was baptized.   So the work is happening, slowly but surely it continues here in the south.

I have had a couple of dogs pee all over my shoe, which was awkward.  haha   A lot of dogs around here run up to be petted.   They get so excited when someone pets them, that they pee all over.   They can't control themselves.



The other day, I had someone ask me "What denomination are you?  Are you Japanese?"   I responded " I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints"  haha   That was kind of weird.  haha






I am going to try to be better about sending updates for the blog.   Hopefully every 2 weeks and hopefully what I say is actually interesting.

Remember to do something fun and remember to slow down to see all the beautiful things in life.

Elder McGee