Thursday, March 13, 2014

Simeon On His Way

Elder Simeon Lovell entered the MTC in Provo on Wednesday, March 12 in final preparation for missionary service in the Georgia Atlanta Mission.  The 21-year-old joined the church in Georgetown, Guyana, South America at age 14 along with his identical twin brother Selwin. In the United States only since mid-September and in St. George since Halloween “the twins” always knew the next great adventure in their lives was a mission.

His call to the American south was met with enthusiasm.  “I just want to serve the Lord.  I am happy for this opportunity to serve in Georgia although I am sorry Selwin and I won’t be in the MTC together.  Could be the MTC just wasn’t prepared for two Lovells at the same time.”  

Missionaries first arrived in Georgia in 1843 to preach and to campaign for Church President Joseph Smith's United States presidential bid. After Joseph Smith was martyred one year later, the Church's growth slowed. Activity resumed in the late 1870s when the Southern States Mission was headquartered in Rome, Georgia. One early convert to the Church donated land and built a chapel at Mormon Springs in Haralson County.

Missionaries left the state for a decade following the murder of one missionary in July 1879. By 1908, Church membership in Georgia was approximately 6,800 but in 1930 membership was 4,311. The first temple to be built in the Southern states was completed in 1983 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Today there are 80,500+ members, 151 wards and branches, 2 missions and 42 family history centers. The church in Georgia increased its profile in 1992 when Latter-day Saints were very visible  with disaster relief after Hurricane Andrew destroyed homes and families in Albany.  In 1994, some 6000 Church volunteers helped homeowners recover from flooding in the area.

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