Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Zone Leader Council

Zone Leader Council was held at the mission home on February 26. Below are the zone leaders, assistants and office elders. When Elder Zwick did the mission tour he suggested we hold zone leader councils every month right after the 4th Sunday, rather than every transfer (6 weeks). The reason being so we could be more supportive of the local units by discussing their goals which they are to establish each month in ward council on the 4th Sunday. The direction from Elder L. Tom Perry is for the full-time missionaries to support the ward missions in every way. We are working to coordinate our efforts more fully with the ward's efforts. Discussion today focused on the missionaries working with each auxiliary to help them in their responsibility to have at least one convert baptism per year. The missionaries are in a sensitive position...they do not have the keys to direct the ward in their labors, but they can encourage and support. The wards are to get their training from the stake president, who has been trained by our Area Seventy (Elder Posey). The missionaries will then work with the wards and the individual auxiliaries. They will be talking with the auxiliary leaders about getting families to fellowship investigators and encouraging the auxiliaries to find people for the missionaries to teach.
Top: Elder Barnett, President, Elder Fister, Elder Bingham, Elder Levesque.
Center Section: Elder Slade, Elder D. Smith, Elder Warr, Elder Morgan, Elder Crane, Elder Woody, Elder French, Elder Forbes.
Bottom Section: Elder Parker, Elder Gawdun, Elder Wood, Elder Shelman, Elder Murray, Elder J. Clark, Elder C. Clark.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Brother David Webb

Transfer week is over and I have a few minutes this morning and felt I needed to let the returned missionaries who have served in Milledgeville know about Brother Webb. He passed away on Valentines' Day from a heart attack at age 59. We were so saddened. Brother Webb was the high councilman over missionary work in the Macon Stake. He was a people magnet and loved by all those who knew him. He lived missionary work. He could have written a book on how to share the gospel. He was also very involved in family history and temple work. On February 5, he gave what became his final talk in a church setting. He spoke to the Macon Zone at Zone Conference. What a blessing for the missionaries to hear him speak of the importance of the work they are doing.

President and I were able to attend his funeral Monday which was Presidents' Day. One of his sons said he must have chosen Valentines' Day and Presidents' Day because he loved his wife and he loved his country. His family decided they wanted to have a missionary funeral, and it was incredible. Elder Corbridge and Elder Teare offered the prayers. Brother Nathaniel Balckom, who serves as a councilor in the bishopric, gave the life sketch. Marcus and Michael, his sons, spoke about how family was their dad's first priority, and how his life changed after joining the church. Then Bishop Jared Johnson taught the Plan of Salvation within the context of family. It was a missionary funeral.

Let me share just a couple of points made by the speakers. Brother Balckom talked about a day, shortly after his baptism, when he had slipped back as far as keeping the commandments go. He was out on his porch smoking when Brother Webb pulled up in his car. Brother Balckom didn't know Brother Webb very well, only that he was a member of the church. Brother Balckom tried to hide the cigarette. (He said at that time he thought the Word of Wisdom was a suggestion, not a commandment.) Anyway, in order to save his fingers from getting burned he had to drop the cigarette and put it out. Of course, Brother Webb saw it, but all he said was, "Brother Balckom, you come to church with me." That was the beginning of a great friendship and renewed activity for Brother Balckom. There was no judging, just support and love. I might add that Brother Balckom has been at every baptism I've attended in Milledgeville. He is a great person who is continuing Brother Webb's legacy of support and love.

Bishop Johnson told the congregation (the chapel and cultural hall were filled, many were non-members) that as bishop he had the responsibility to teach his ward members the doctrine, and he did so on occassion. He said every time he taught, Brother Webb would thank him afterwards for feeding them, and he always asked Bishop Johnson to feed them more often. The Bishop looked out over the congregation and said, "Brother Webb got you all here today, and now I'm going to feed you, because that is what he would expect me to do." The Bishop then gave a powerful lesson on the Plan of Salvation with family as the focal point. All I could think of during Bishop Johnson's talk was that I am so grateful for family and for The Plan of Salvation. Since the funeral I've been more conscious of my blessings and the need to help others know what their options are. May we all judge less and support more. And thank you, Brother Webb, for teaching us all.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Elder Genck!

What a great day! We call Elder Genck the Lone Ranger, because he came in by himself. We haven't had a single elder in a long time...about two years (Elder Gropper)! Elder Genck arrived about 4:00 pm yesterday, Feb. 20. We had dinner and then went to Warren Ellington's baptism, which was incredible. Then it was back to the mission home for devotional and then outside to watch the lunar eclipse. It was beautiful...another reminder of the blessings our Heavenly Father gives us. We were glad to get that blessing after the Sunday night tree incident! Welcome to Georgia, Elder Genck.
Elder Genck is front and center with President and Sister Evanson, Elder Wood, Elder C. Clark, Elder J. Clark, Elder Genck, Elder Morgan, Elder D. Smith and the Eastmans.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sending Four More Home...

Last night was Elder Jonathan Lanman, Sister Elissa Stewart, Sister Rebecca Carter and Sister Annie Tenney's last night in the mission. These missionaries will be missed. We had dinner, a devotional, cut ties, had dessert...birthday cake for Elder Wood...and then got them up very early this morning! We send them back to be strong member missionaries...keep them busy! Elder Lanman, Sister Tenney, Sister Stewart, Sister Carter.
And the ties are cut!!!
The quilt is growing.
With Elder Morgan, President, Elder Wood and Elder Clark before the birthday cake is cut.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Weather Watch!

Well, high winds + high trees = big problem! I questioned whether or not to post these pictures...I was a missionary's mom once...but I decided it was best to let you see a little of Georgia weather and to let you know Heavenly Father watches over us. The tree fell when the office was empty. We had tornado sirens going in Macon and a few other areas of the mission last night (Feb. 17), but none of the missionary apartments or the mission home were touched. The office, however, didn't fare so well. Luckily, though, the tree (Satan's fiery dart) fell on the back conference room...away from all the computers, files, etc. The church rents the office so the landlord is responsible for repairs. The interesting thing about this "tree on the roof" is that it is only the very top of the Georgia pine. Below you can see the major part of the tree which is still standing. This tree was taller than those around it...I guess we learn from this experience that being taller (or more proud) isn't the way to be! Elder Eastman estimated the tree to be well over 100 ft. high, before it was humbled.From a lofty beginning...

To a humbled end...with Elder D. Smith dancing in the background! Actually, he is tiptoeing through the puddles...lots of rain during the storm.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I have received a request to clarify the music standard for the GMM Missionaries. One poor mom sent her son a CD she thought was great, only to have him return it saying he wanted to be exactly obedient and this CD didn't fit the music standard. What a great young man! This mom is going through what I went through when we first came to the mission....there's lots of great songs, but I learned most aren't appropriate for missionaries. The Lord's missionaries have to teach with the Spirit if they are to be effective. The Spirit is very sensitive and we want to do everything we can to keep the Spirit with us. Here's the guidelines from the GMM Handbook:

Georgia Macon Mission Music Standard:
1. During the week (Tuesday-Sunday)
-Mormon Tabernacle Choir
-BYU Choir recordings
-Instrumental Hymns (Piano, orchestra, guitar)
-Classical Music (100 year old classics)
-Hymns by other artists that would be appropriate for Sacrament Mtg. (This was just added.)
-Talks on tape (CD) that have gone through correlation, i.e. talks by the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, The First Quorum of Seventy...any other talks on tape should be cleared by the President or Assistants.

2. Preparation Day Music
-All of the above listed, plus...
-Any other music that would be appropriate for Sacrament Meeting

3. Christmas Music
-Mormon Tabernacle Choir Music
-BYU Choirs doing Christmas Music
-Instrumental or Orchestra Christmas Hymns
-Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Music
-Classical Christmas songs by other artists (use good judgment and common sense; no groups that do not represent our standards). Examples of such songs: Do You Hear What I Hear; Were You There; Little One; White Christmas, O Holy Night. Please, no rock and roll or hard western music.

I hope this helps as you select CDs to send to your missionary. I also hope your missionary has been writing you about the direction missionary work is going. Elder L. Tom Perry, who now heads up the missionary department has directed us and members to focus on:
1. All full-time missionaries being Preach My Gospel Missionaries, which includes working closely with the members.
2. Every member being actively involved in the Ward Mission. He has specifically asked that each organization represented at the ward council (HP, RS, EQ, YW, YM, Prim, SS, Ward Missionaries) be responsible for at least one convert baptism per year. Members are to find the people and the missionaries will teach them.

It's my hope that we'll all seriously consider our own responsibility in helping the world to understand our beliefs. Have a great week...hope Valentine's Day was full of love for you all.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Mission Tour With Elder and Sister W. Craig Zwick

The Georgia Macon Mission was blessed with a mission tour by Elder W. Craig Zwick of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Sister Zwick. They arrived in Macon on January 27 and visited with the zones on Monday the 28th and Tuesday the 29th. They strengthened, uplifted and encouraged us in this great work. President and I had learned the week before at the Mission Presidents' Seminar with Elder L. Tom Perry and Elder Walter Gonzalez, that the focus in missionary work is going to be on the "ward missions." Elder and Sister Zwick reinforced the need to work closely with the members and to commit ourselves to being Preach My Gospel Missionaries. Sister Zwick encouraged us not to limit ourselves, but to allow Heavenly Father to expand our capacities. Elder Zwick asked us to consider what we are willing to change. He then talked with us about the blessings of living the Law of Sacrifice and being perfect in our use of time. He also counseled us to build a sure foundation of faith and to cleanse the inner vessel. He also, left us with some personal experiences he had had with President Hinckley. Our hearts were full and our desire to double convert baptisms was increased.
The time went so fast, but they left us with so much to ponder and incorporate. Our missionaries are grateful and motivated. We look forward to increasing our efforts and helping those around us to come unto Christ.
Below are pictures of each zone with the Zwicks.
Savannah South Zone: Top: Elders Snow, K. Nielson, P. Smith, Sister Stewart, Elder Kimbal, Sister Barnes, Elder Diaz, Sister Larsen, Elder C. Clark, Elder Larsen, Elder Wood. Seated: Sisters Tanner and Hedrick, Elder and Sister Zwick, Sister and Pres. Evanson. Floor: Elders Manning, A. Hall, Gawdun, Forbes and Randall.
Savannah North Zone: Standing: Elders C. Clark, Fowers, Price, Tanner, Takapu, Foster, Bingham, Murray, Blackmer, Kunz, Skinner, Kimball, Gardner, Wood. Seated: Elder and Sister Harper, Elder and Sister Zwick, Sister and Pres. Evanson. Floor: Elders White, Parker, Beacham, Benjamin, and Heiner.
Macon Zone: Top: Elders D. Smith, Corbridge, Garner, Skinner, Crane, Hutchison, Moon, Jackson, Wall, Pettingill, Williams, Godfrey. Middle: Elders Horan, Collings, Day, Hoskin, Woody, McKee, J. Clark, Teare, Fister, Spendlove, Sisters Orme and Stokes. Seated: Elder C. Clark, Sister and President Evanson, Elder and Sister Zwick, Sister and Elder Eastman, Elder Wood.

Douglas Zone: Top: Elders C. Clark, Hartley, Gropper, Park, Molis, Jenson, Mortensen, Levesque, Bro. Roberson, Elder Wood. Middle: Elders Faux, Summerhays, Christiansen, Hale, Barnes, French, Redford, Schaat. Seated: Sister and Pres. Evanson, Elder and Sister Zwick, Sisters Moyes and Jenson
Augusta Zone: Standing: Elders Talbot, C. Clark, J. Hall, Poole, Conlin, Martin, Spencer, Beard, Robertson, Ogden, Rowell, Sister Thomas, Elder Koelling, Sisters Carter and Benson, Elders Beckman, Benson, Rich, Cadman, Wood, Lanman. Seated: Sister and Elder Nielson, Elder and Sister Zwick, Sister and Pres. Evanson. Floor: Elders Beverley, Bell, Shelman, Rice, Slade, Alvord.

Albany South Zone: Top: Elders C. Clark, Morgan, McCarty, Thompson, Stallings, Lokhorst, T. Wayman, Cottam, Carlson, Wood. Middle: Elders Barnett, Rogers, Nelson, Brunson, Sandoval, Stoddard, Hickman. Seated: Sister and Pres. Evanson, Elder and Sister Zwick, Sisters Miller and VanPatten

Albany North Zone: Top: Elders C. Clark, Fuhriman, Ilfra, Nielson, Silva, Holyoak, J. Wayman, J. Hall, Wood. Middle: Sisters Tenney, Brumage, Elders Sharpe, Dilts, Jacobsen, Johanson, Warr, Sisters Redman and Craw. Seated: Sister and Pres. Evanson, Elder and Sister Zwick, Sister and Elder Chatterley.