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Life of gratitude

By Chelsea White

For 81-year-old Flo McKinney, giving thanks is something she has integrated into her daily life. McKinney regularly takes seniors in wheelchairs to church service every Sunday, volunteers with the Baptist Retirement Community Auxiliary, visits with friends who do not have families close by and works through acts of kindness to do missionary work.

“I was born and raised in China, as my parents were missionaries there,” McKinney said. “I left China at 17 to come back to the United States and go to college at Baylor University. My husband and I traveled back to China to serve as missionaries in Hong Kong for 27 years. We value helping others and leading them to God; it is very fulfilling. We all have gifts and talents and use them in different ways. I enjoy using mine to bring a smile to someone’s face.”

While McKinney was in college, she felt the Lord calling her to missionary service but she resisted. She knew she would have to play the piano, like most women missionaries at the time, and she didn’t know how.

“I kept fighting and I finally said, ‘OK, Lord, if I go, you’re going to have to go with me and give me the strength to do it and the wisdom to do what you want to call me to do,’” McKinney said. “All my worries were over after that. The Lord took over.”

Soon after, McKinney met her husband, and much to her surprise, he was a music major. He played the piano, and she knew she wouldn’t have to worry about not being able to play the piano anymore.
They went to Hong Kong after they married. McKinney and her husband worked in Chinese churches and liked taking the youth group on sailing trips. The trips gave them an opportunity to share about God. When they returned to the U.S., they retired in Houston but later moved to San Angelo to be close to McKinney’s brother and his family.

“Being a missionary in China was the most wonderful experience,” she said. “The only way we can have abundant joy and peace is by being in God’s presence. We have so many reasons to be thankful.”
Even now at Baptist Retirement, McKinney enjoys sharing the joys of her life and her faith in God with others. She has been devoted to spreading the word of God all her life.

“I had a wonderful time in China,” McKinney said. “God was good to send us to Hong Kong. It is such a vibrant place to live, and we enjoyed the international community of people who also called Hong Kong home.

“I am most thankful for my good health and the daily blessings I receive from God. More people should be thankful for the simpler things in life and get up ready to enjoy the day they have been given. We should be thankful for the good days and the bad days. The bad days make us even more thankful for the good ones. People who live life with a pessimistic outlook need to look beyond themselves and see how they can help others, look for the needs of others and work to help fulfill those needs. They’ll feel better for it. There is goodness not only in things, but also in people.”

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