Saturday, June 30, 2012

This morning we did our laundry and worked on next week's Institute class. It will be Helaman chapters 4-9.  Then this afternoon we went to a luncheon for one of our servicemen who is graduating from her officer leadership school and will soon be heading home. We will really miss her in our group meetings, she is a very good pianist. We are happy that she will be returning to her family in Washington.

After our luncheon we headed up to Fort Gordon to try and find some of our troops who are in Advanced Training. We did find 3 of them and had an opportunity to visit with them and to encourage them to stay active in scripture study, prayer, and attending church meetings. We reminded them that we are a resource for whatever they might need. We asked them to consider us as their family while they are here in training. It was so hot today that we felt it best to get out of the sun for all our visiting can only be done outside the barracks. We drove over to the PX and cooled off and drank 2 big cups of water.

We then drove out to Grovetown to meet with a military family who had invited us for supper along with our visit. We knocked on the door and the dad answered with a gasp. Oh  no, mom had just undergone surgery and they had forgot we were coming, but being very gracious they would not allow us to leave, but invited us in and we ended up having a wonderful visit with them. They have 5 children 1 of which was at work and the other 4 are all 12 to 17, two boys, who are twins, and two girls. A neighbor brought them dinner and they invited us to stay. We were very hesitant, but we felt we needed to stay and have dinner with them. We all shared wonderful dinner conversation together and when we were all done, Elder Gowans felt inspired to leave them with a message based on a passage of scripture we are all familiar with, "Knock and it shall be opened unto you." He asked each member what that meant to them personally, then after that we turned to Moroni chapter 10 verse 4 and discussed the meaning of asking with sincerity and real intent. The father had earlier related his story of how he joined the church. He had stated that he had asked in prayer to know which church was true and at the same time to bless him with a wife. He told God that he would do what ever He wanted him to do. The next  morning at 7:30 in the morning two Elders knocked on his door and the  sister who played the piano at his baptism eventually became his wife. So because of his sincerity and asking with real intent to do whatever God would have him do, his very sincere prayer was answered. So using this story we likened it to these young men and women in the house to pray with real intent, meaning that they would devote their lives to God and His work if He will answer their prayers concerning the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Joseph Smith. We left with a great spirit in the home; the father was very appreciative of the message that we left with them.

The Spirit inspires us every day to leave with these families and individuals a message they need to hear.

Friday, June 29, 2012

This morning we did all our grocery shopping for the month of July. There is very little space left in our average size fridge. The happy note is we stayed within the budget that we set up for ourselves. Through the rest of the month of July we will only need to buy bread and milk as needed. Of course there is always the occasion where we realize we forgot something. Anyway, we should be set. After a month in the mission, we have come to conclude we will spend, on average, $40.00 a week in gas, about $450.00 a month for food and other personal items. We drive, on average, 50 miles a day; that includes a trip to Columbia about every other week, which is a little over 60 miles away.

This evening in Institute we studied Helaman chapters 1- 4. We have focused on the debilitating effects of contention over the past 3 weeks. This evening we concluded with how that contention grew into secret combinations. Then we turned the focus to Sanctification and studied how a sanctified people will be able to avoid contention in life.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Today we sat down together and did a little companionship inventory. We looked at how things were going and what we could do to improve and use our time and gas a little wiser. We discussed how best and when would be best to try to get up and meet the soldiers in training. They are very difficult to get with! All the companies have different schedules of training, chow, formation time and so forth. So we came up with a plan of action and now for the next month we will see how it works.

This evening we met with a family who may be related to our Bishop back home; there is always a possibility when you have the same last name and a last name that is not very common. As we were on our way to see this family, we received a call from the second family we were to meet with and they asked us to cancel the appointment for that evening. So we decided to call another fellow who is single and who is our age and see what we could do for him. We helped him out by taking him to the Home Depot to buy new sprinkler heads and then to a roadside stand to buy and a watermelon.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This morning we dashed off early to attend our second zone conference. It was held in the North Augusta chapel in South Carolina. This particular zone conference was interview day. This was our first private interviews with President Holm. President Holm interviews the couples together. While he was interviewing all the missionaries, one-by-one, the President's assistance gave some very fine instruction to help us be better missionaries. When the morning was over, we ate lunch and was on our way back to Fort Gordon.

At the post we were able to get Sister Gowans, one step closer to having her Red Cross back ground check completed. Elder Gowans has already been doing his service with the Red Cross. It helped that his Top Secret Security Clearance was still active.

This evening we picked up one of our Servicemen Group's new members and took him to a "No More Strangers" fireside. No more strangers as in, we are all brothers and sisters in the family of our Heavenly Father. We enjoyed the fireside and are happy to say that the chapel was full of new members and those investigating the church.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

This morning we spent 4 hours at the Post Library rendering service there. We spent a little over an hour helping with a hula-hoop activity. We learned that as a child doing the hula-hoop is pretty easy, but as an adult it becomes very difficult, the reason being is not that we are not a child any more, but rather because we are still using a child's hula-hoop! There are actually adult size hoops. Elder Gowans tried using one of the adult size hoops and sure enough, it was just like being a kid again. Not only does the size matter, but the weight matters as well. They need to be heavier than a child's hoop. We had a good time "hooping" it up and helping the children.

This afternoon we had our first meeting with the Chaplain Staff. The Chaplain staff meets once a month with representatives from all denominations who have a presence on the post. This was our first opportunity to meet everyone. Elder Gowans had the opportunity to introduce himself, we were warmly received.

This evening we met with a great family. The husband is a linguist in the Navy. They have 3 cute children and live in a beautiful new home in a very new suburb. We have met wonderful families who work out here at Fort Gordon. We have been blessed to get to know them; hopefully we can help bless their lives.

Here are some photos of the hula-hoop activity at the Post Library.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Today, Monday, was Elder Gowans' day to do his volunteer work at the Red Cross. On his way in he stopped off to see how Sister Gowans' background check was coming along. He found out there were two things yet to accomplish, so after he finished up at the hospital he took the items home and they were able to get it all completed and submitted electronically. Tomorrow when they arrive on base, they will drop off the signed copies at the security building.

This evening we attended our weekly Family Home Evening. We had a great discussion on the warfare and how we all should seek approval from our Heavenly Father before we go into a war zone or into combat to make sure we know His will for us. We studied Alma 43 and the Lord's Law of War. We know He expects us to defend ourselves, our families, our country, our liberty and freedom, but it is good for us to gain that personal testimony beforehand.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Another great Sabbath day in Augusta! As normal we attended the Grovetown ward this morning. Nearly every week we have someone new coming to church who is here to attend training at Fort Gordon. Today was no different. When ever someone comes in for training they are usually by themselves, so we always invite them to attend the activities we have on the post; such as FHE and Institute. We also inform them of the servicemen's group, as well so they have the option of attending either meeting. This morning a single sailor came into the Grovetown meeting. We met him and when we found out he was single and will most likely not have transportation in the future, he was very happy to learn of the meetings on post. On our way to the servicemen's group we stopped by the Fisher House so the Henrie family could follow us to the chapel. We had Brother Henrie's wife, 2 boys and his mother with us at the meetings. They all seemed to have an enjoyable experience being able to attend church. Elder Gowans assigned Sister Gowans to teach the boys a primary class, she was in seventh heaven. After the meetings concluded we took the sacrament to Brother Henrie in the hospital and then he requested another blessing as the hospital was going to discharge him and send him home back to Fort Campbell that night, a nearly 6 hour drive. He was in no condition to be making such a drive and the hospital had no business sending him home in such a condition either. Bad on them.  We both hope that he makes it home without too much pain or difficulty.

Afterward, we visited two of our military families; the second family had a little get-together going on so we were able to meet 3 other of our military families that we had  not yet met. We had a nice visit together, and then they fed us some supper which was real nice.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

This morning we cleaned house real well. Elder Gowans swept and mopped the floors and Sister Gowans dusted and vacuumed. We were amazed at how dirty the water was. We must track in a lot of dirt.

This afternoon we began our preparations for next week's Institute class. We will be studying Helaman chapters 1-4. Our main focus will be the topic of Sanctification. During the middle of our preparations a phone call came from the Augusta Ward Elders; they said a man had just called them saying he has a son in the hospital here on Post. He was hoping to find someone who could give him a blessing. Elder Gowans called the High Priest Group Leader who lives on post and they met up at the hospital, found the man and found that his wife was there, too. He had had an operation on his leg where they had to go in and brake the the bones to straighten them due to some birth defect, which he did not know he had until he began the rigorous physical activity required by the army. The lower leg was all pinned using an external fixation device. He was in a great deal of pain. So we anointed him and gave him a blessing; afterward we invited his wife  to the servicemen's group and in doing so found out they have 2 children staying in the Fisher House with his mother. So we will drive by the Fisher House and they will follow us to church. After church we will take the sacrament up to him. During our conversation we learned that he is stationed at Fort Campbell, KY and is here at the hospital to have his leg corrected. For this reason the family is staying at the Fisher House. 

This evening we went out to visit a family, but they were not  home. That is the first time we have had an appointment that was not home. They must have forgot, or something came up. So we decided to call on a fellow who lives close by.  We found him ill at home. So we did what we could for him and then left.

Friday, June 22, 2012

This morning we left at 0615 to go to Aiken, SC to pickup 2 missionaries to take up to Newberry, SC for a mission conference with Elder Walker of the Seventy presiding. The conference began at 0930 with Elder Walker meeting personally with each missionary. There were enough missionaries to fill the chapel. So we all formed a line, one row at a time, and waited our turn to go up and shake hands, introduce ourselves and then return to our pew. Sister Holm, the mission president's wife spoke first. We learned from her that we should help people learn how to become clean. After sister Holm spoke then President Holm spoke. He encouraged us to listen to the Spirit while Elder Walker spoke and record three things that the Spirit would teach us. It was then Sister Walker's turn to speak. She counseled us to assist others through their trials. Elder  Walker then spoke until noon when it was time to break for lunch.While Elder Walker was speaking he received a telephone call from Elder Russel M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. When he came back in he said hello to us from Elder Nelson. He first spoke about how we should always be happy and to take our sunshine with us where ever we go and to do everything we do with enthusiasm. He spoke much about things particular to missionaries and missionary work, which we will not get into in this format.

During lunch, we had a chance to visit; we met Elder Gowans from Vernon, UT. He is a fine young man and a fine piano player. He is my second cousin once removed. His grandpa and my dad are cousins. During the lunch break we all took photos of the different zones. Ours is posted.

After lunch we returned to the conference. President Holm spoke again. He advised us to contemplate the word we will learn to day and contemplate it. He spoke of how important it is to earn the trust of our Father in Heaven, to be clean to be worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. After he spoke then Elder Walker returned to the podium and spoke also about earning trust through continually making correct choices. He spoke about many more things, once again about things that I cannot write here.

After conference we returned the Aiken Elders to their apartment and then returned to Augusta. As soon as we got home we collected all the food for Institute and dashed off for the Post Chapel. We taught the attendees about how to avoid contention and temptation,  how to build a spiritual wall around ourselves to keep it far away from us. We taught about the effects of trials, and the importance of record keeping.

It has been a long, but wonderful day!
 Elder Gowans and Elder Gowans
 Elder and Sister Gowans and Elder Gowans

 Elder Tonga from the Kingdom of Tonga (on the left)
 Our Augusta Zone; Elder and Sister Walker sitting next to us. President and Sister Holm next to them.

Elder T. Gowans

Thursday, June 21, 2012

For several days we have been trying to get an appointment with a family whose husband is TDY and will be having back surgery next week. Last evening we were impressed to call her again and was able to get a hold of her. She was rather vague about setting up an appointment, but then she said she needed someone to stay at her house to wait for a repairman to come. The repairman would not come in if there was not an adult present. Her children are old enough to stay home by themselves for the afternoon, being 14, 12 and 8, but not old enough to let the repairman in. So we told her that we would be happy to stay the afternoon until the repairman came. We arrived around 1pm and had a delightful time with the 3 girls playing a fun assortment of games together. The repairman arrived around 3pm and while he was there mom came home. She would have just missed him and would have had to reschedule the appointment, meanwhile the clog in the bath tub would have got worse. 

This evening Sister Gowans went to Relief Society; this was her first time to drive the new vehicle. Elder Gowans accompanied her to the church and sat outside and sent a text message and did a little studying while she was having a good time with the sisters. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Today was a little slower than others. This morning we did a little shopping and then came home and studied for Institute. Then we received a phone call from one of our evening appointments who needed to postpone the appointment until next week. So we only had one appointment this evening. We did receive a call from another sister who  needs our help tomorrow to receive a maintenance crew at her home. They won't come in if an adult is not there. She will be at work, her children are old enough to take care of themselves for an afternoon, but will not come in without an adult. So we will go over and take care of being the adult.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

This morning we did our service time at the Fort Gordon public library. We inventoried more of their DVDs. It can be a rather tedious undertaking. This afternoon we worked on the Institute lesson for Friday. This week we are studying Alma 52-63. We  are going to be concentrating on how to avoid contention and temptation. Plus we will address covenant making and keeping, plus a few other noteworthy notes like the importance of record keeping. 

This evening we visited two more of our military families. We enjoy these visits very much and look forward to them. We also dropped in on one fellow who we recently received records on. He was surprised to see us, but not as much as his wife. I'm afraid that if looks could kill we would be dead. Then after just a moment of talking with her she softened a little. So hopefully she will allow us to come over and visit sometime. This was our first less than welcoming meeting with anyone. All we had was an address, no phone number, so all we could do is drop by and say hi. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

This morning Elder Gowans began his service with the Red Cross. His assignment is to wheel patients to appointments within the hospital or to take them out to a waiting car when the are discharged. Sister Gowans needed to stay home today to be there when the new dryer arrived. We are rarely apart, today was one of those days.

This afternoon we met with another fine family. They are both fellow graduates of BYU, they met in the Cougar Marching Band, isn't that cool! They both play the French Horn. In fact that is what he does in the army, he plays in the army band. He never deploys!

After our meeting with the family we drove out to the post and had family night with our little servicemen's family home evening group. We ate pizza and played Apples to Apples and did a lot of talking and visiting. The lesson was on how we can better apply the atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

This has been a terrific Sabbath Day! The day began early as we began our regular church services at 0900. We are getting to know more people and remembering some of their names :). We had a nice visit with the ward clerk who told us that we would be able to get a map of the ward with the location of all the members mapped out. How nice that would be! We purchased a map shortly after we arrived and have been using it and google maps to locate our members. We actually had one member family whose address was so new that it was not on the map or google maps. After church ended we headed back to the apartment for lunch and then on to Fort Gordon for our servicemen's group meeting. Brother Welch, who was just baptized, was confirmed, shortly after that we spoke. We each took about 10 minutes, introduced ourselves and then gave a short talk. Sister Gowans actually appeared quite comfortable behind the pulpit; she gave a real good talk. Elder Gowans spoke more extensively on the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

After the meetings ended we and the Elders drove back to the apartment for for a quick dinner and then back to Fort Gordon to meet with a family. We had trouble finding their home, but eventually we found it and had a real nice visit with them. Both mom and dad suffer from medical issues. Dad's is army induced and mom's is simply life! They have a great family who love and support one another.

The second family lives well off post. We drove down to the closest gate, but it was closed! We had to drive  nearly 10 miles out of our way to get around to them, we were late, but had a real nice visit with them, too. A beautiful family with loads of talent. We figured since Thursday we have driven 250 miles, but it has all been worth it! We love our work.

We want to add one more thing. On a very personal and spiritual note, something we are very grateful to Heavenly Father for, and that is as we visit all these families, we always want to leave them with a scriptural thought. Each family we have visited have been left with a scriptural thought that has been very personalized just for them. We have never met these families before, yet by the power of the Holy Ghost each family is left with a message intended just for them. No two have been the same. This is a testimony that God knows each of us individually and knows just what each of us needs. As we stay close to our Heavenly Father He is able to inspire us as to what message to leave them.

Happy Father's Day to all you dads who read this blog!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

This has been a wonderful day. As planned, this morning Private Welch was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is always an inspirational event to witness a baptism. The baptismal service was conducted by Brother Stock our ward mission leader; Bishop Adams presided. Brother Estep spoke for a few minutes on the ordinance of Baptism and Elder Gowans spoke on the subject of the Holy Ghost. After the baptism was completed we all drove out to Fort Gordon and ate pizzas and had a great visit with all who came out. Brother Welch had 3 other nonmember solders who came out with him. They all seemed to have a wonderful time, We invited them to come out to church tomorrow. We pray they will come.

This afternoon we received an urgent call from Elder Angel saying that his companion, Elder Tonga had split out his pants. So we took our little sewing kit and drove out to find them where they had been working. We found them and we gave Elder Tonga a pair of shorts to put on while Sister Gowans sewed up the seam of his pants. We left them in better spirits and took off to go to Fort Gordon.

We dropped in on Sister Miller and had a  nice visit with her, then we went to find our 6pm appointment. We found their home and had a nice visit with a family who we found out has roots in Star Valley, WY, the home of my mother. At the end of our visit we always try to leave them with a scriptural thought; we are always  amazed at how the Holy Ghost inspires us with the correct message to leave with them. This is truly God's work! We are enjoying every minute.

Friday, June 15, 2012

This has been a wonderful day. With Private Welch's baptism tomorrow, we decided we had better do our laundry today. So, we did that this morning. This afternoon we reviewed our lesson that we taught this evening. We had a wonderful group there. We had 3 servicemen, one of which was Private Welch, then his battle buddy and finally one other young man whom we had not met yet came and participated. He seemed happy to be there, so I hope that he will continue to come and participate. The lesson went real well, I think everyone learned the objectives that we had laid out to cover. We covered the topic of contention real well and I think it home. Then we covered the Lord's Law of War as discussed in the Book of Mormon and had a real good discussion centered around the feelings, concerns and so forth that these young men have felt about going to war. So I think that it went very well.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

We were able to finish most everything this morning to be able to work with the Red Cross. Floyd will begin his volunteer service on Monday, while Karen will have to wait for her background check to be completed.

This afternoon we finalized our instruction for Institute Friday evening, as we stated in an earlier post we will be conducting a class discussing the war chapters of the Book of Mormon; chapters 43-51 of Alma. I am sure it will be a great discussion; we look forward to hearing the views and opinions of our solders. Another discussion that will be just as interesting will be centered around contention and we will wind up with a discussion on how we can find happiness in life amid all the turmoil in life.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This morning we picked up two of our Elders and drove up to Columbia for a  meeting with President Holm and all the other Military Relations Missionaries. There are four of us couples serving such missions here in the South Carolina Columbia Mission. One couple at Fort Jackson, one at Shaw AFB, one at the Naval War Station and us at Fort Gordon. President Holm wanted to have a powwow with all of us to share ideas of how best to help our troops, particularly those who are alone, without family. So we discussed many things and at the end we set some goals, came away with many good ideas to pursue and some further clarification on our duties.

This evening we resumed going out and meeting the families in the area. This evening we met a young man that reminded us of our own son, Adam. We also met a fellow who attended nursing school at the same school where Karen graduated from, Westminster College. She though that was pretty cool. We have a lot of great people in the area who serve in various branches of service, not just the Army. We have met Army and Navy and we know there is Air Force and Marines around too.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

This morning we went to the library out on post to do some service work. We inventoried their DVDs for nearly 4 hours. We figure we saved one person nearly 8 hours if they had done it by themselves. Next week we begin helping with the reading program.

This afternoon we prepared an outline for our Friday institute class, we will be studying Alma 43-51, or what  some call the war chapters. They will be very appropriate for our military students. We will study what I call, The Law of War, as taught in the Book of Mormon; then we will study the designs of Captain Moroni to conduct the warfare in accordance with the Law of War and  how opposed it is to his enemies designs of war. We will also study the debilitating effects of contention, whether it be in a marriage, a family, or a nation. Then we will examine the art of happiness.

This evening we met with two wonderful military families. The first lady is living alone with her son while her husband is deployed; her parents live about 30 miles away, which is a real help to her. They were with her when we met her; she served us a nice dinner. Then we met a second couple who have been married for 2 years and only been together 8 months of that two years. The military, particularly the Army and Navy is real tough on families. We had a great visit with both of these families and will grow to love them very much over the next two years.

Monday, June 11, 2012

This morning and afternoon we finished up most of the volunteer requirements for the Red Cross. We still have a little to do, but the big stuff is done. We had to take a myriad of on line courses and the Sister Gowans had to finish up her back ground check paper work; all that was on line, too. This evening we had a very enjoyable FHE with several of our troops; we ate some very good taco soup, had a nice lesson from the Kent family and then we sat around and had told stories and a lot of good laughs. We had an old acquaintance with us this evening, Patrick Hairr, who we knew from Louisiana. He is now living near Scott AFB near St. Louis. We had a great time remember old times. 

I hope everyone enjoys all the photos below.
 All loaded up

 Saying goodbye to the Dougals
 A day with the Costanzos

 Sister Reese
 Many of the couples with whom we went through training.

 Another one of our fine instructors.

 The Wakefields, who are serving at Shaw AFB

Sunday, June 10, 2012

This has been a fine day. After attending our meetings in the Grovetown ward, we went to our Serviceman's group meetings out at Fort Gordon. We met two new servicemen, fine young men who are here for training. Then we learned that one of the servicemen who has been coming out with his battle buddy who is LDS has agreed to be baptized this coming Saturday. We are so pleased for this news. He is a real nice young man, we are so happy for him. He will be baptized on Saturday the 16th at 11am. We will have to sign him out of his unit, off base and then take him directly to the church house and then directly back to his unit. He is very excited and seemed to be real happy about this decision.

After meetings we brought two of the Elders back home with us and fed them dinner. Elder Tonga from the kingdom of Tonga and Elder Clark. I'll tell you what, Elder Tonga ate 3 full plates of fried rice! Wow, what an appetite. After dinner we drove back out to the post and met with two of our military familes, the Demings and the Alberts. Brother Deming is an assistant chaplain and the Grovetown ward's High Priest Group Leader. They have 4 sons. Then we met with the Alberts who just had their first baby this past week. Both are fine families and we were happy to meet them and they us. It has been a great day! We love this work.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

As we have begun to settle into a routine, we have begun to use Saturday as our Preparation Day. Although we will not tie ourselves to it in case we are needed else where, but it seems that it will work out well. We did our laundry this morning and then I read all the chapters of Alma to begin preparation for our next institute class. We will study Alma chapters 43-51. It was a lot of reading. These chapter begin the war chapters, I think they will be particularly meaningful for our military members. Although we call them the war chapters they are based in solid gospel principles and doctrines. A person can certainly grow spiritually as they study them.

This evening we met with two military families, the Kents and the Adamsons. Both are fairly young, both are in their early years of life together. Although young, they have a lot to offer our military group and will be a strength to young solders coming through for their training. We are developing a very nice relationship with them. They have given us a lot of good advice. Over the next several weeks we hope to meet all the military families in our ward. Many of the families we will meet will know  LDS young men and young women who are not coming out to church who we will be able to reach out to and bring back, if they are willing.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Today we taught our first Institute class out at Fort Gordon at the Friendship chapel. We had 2 students, a husband and wife who live out on the fort. I suppose you may say that it was a good way to break us in. We had a nice evening with them. Our subject was Alma 40-42. It is tradition for the teachers to bring a meal of some sorts that the students can enjoy while listening and taking part in the lesson. We made up a crockpot full of fried rice. So since there were only two there you can imagine not much of it was eaten. We will be eating it for quite some time! Afterwards, we met up with Elder and Sister Berry and went to an ice cream shop, ate ice cream and had a nice visit with each other.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

This morning we went back to Fort Gordon to work on our Red Cross volunteer application. We were able to only get one thing done, then we found out that we had not properly finished our on line education and training. So we came home and worked on that most of the afternoon. This evening we met with an old retired Air Force fellow, who had been excommunicated from the church some time ago and who is working on having his blessings of church membership restored to him. We visited for about an hour and encouraged him to do what ever is required of him by his Heavenly Father. Then we encouraged him to be prayerful and to study his scriptures everyday. He stated that he had a hard time remembering to do that, he is still working on an addiction problem; so I told him to study the scriptures in the addiction workbook and that would give him a good start. After we came home we spoke with the fellow who is supposed to be taking him to church and verified that he was still planning on doing that. When I called him back he said he wanted to come to family home evening on Monday, so we told him we would pick him up for that.

We made our final preparations for Institute Friday evening. We feel that we are ready to give our first lessons. We will be fixing up a big pot of Korean Fried Rice to take with us. Yummy, it will be good.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

This morning we drove up to Columbia, S.C. to attend our first mission transfer day. All the Elders who are being transferred assemble at the Irmo Chapel to await the news of their transfers. Also attending are the missionaries who are going home and the new missionaries who have recently arrived. Once testimonies have been born by the new and old missionaries, the new assignments are announced and everyone collects their belongings and departs. Since we were among the new arrivals, we bore our testimonies to all assembled. We were home by 3pm or so and spent the remainder of the afternoon taking luggage that we brought back with us from the transfer meeting to the new Elders who were transferred to our district. After dinner we worked on our institute lesson for Friday and rehearsed it to each other.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

We had our first day of service in the Library today. The library staff is preparing for their summer activities. We helped them put together the award bags; these are bags of fun goodies for when the adults and children achieve a certain amount of reading hours for the summer. They have bags for kids, teenagers and adults. We spent about two hours on this project and got it all done. Afterwards, we were trained on how to "read shelves". We carefully examine the books on each shelf to ensure that they are in alphabetical order. We spent about an hour doing that. You may imagine, it got a little tedious after awhile.

During the afternoon we continued our preparations for institute on Friday evening.We are being careful to prepare how we were instructed by the CES office.

This evening we visited with our new Bishop, Bishop Adams. We reviewed the ward roster paying particular attention to the military families. He told us what he knew about the families that he was able to share with us. We came home and I began calling the families; I was able to find one at home who would answer his phone. We made an appointment to go out and see him. We will keep trying the other families; hopefully they will answer their phones so we can make an appointment with them. Some of them have email addresses, so we can try that route as well.

Monday, June 4, 2012

This morning we found a coarse we could use to walk around our apartment complex. We will probably walk it together most mornings when we do not have to leave early. After our walk and breakfast, we headed out to the post hospital where we began our orientation in order to be Red Cross volunteers. It is going to be a lengthy process. Who would have thought that there would be so much to do to simply go in and help as a volunteer. This afternoon we began preparing to teach our first institute class. We will be teaching Alma 40, 41 and 42, Alma's instruction to his naughty son. Then this evening we had dinner for our departing missionaries, those who will be transferred on Wednesday. Finally, we had a Family Home Evening with a few of the solders on base. It is difficult for many to come out at times since their schedules conflict. We learned of a couple of other soldiers that we will try to find and meet over the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Our first Sabbath Day in the mission. We attended our ward, the Grovetown Ward, and was able to meet many of the members. I asked for and obtained the ward roster and one of the counselors marked all the military families in the ward. Over the next 2 years we will make it a point to visit these members and the new ones as they come into the ward.

Afterwards, we went to Fort Gordon and attended the group meeting there, which consists of Sacrament meeting, Priesthood/Relief Society and then a "Lingerlonger", a time for visiting and socializing amongst the military members, group leadership and the missionaries. One of the sisters there works at the library; she took us over to the library after we were through and we signed up for volunteer service. We will serve on Tuesday mornings from about 8am to 12pm.

This evening we went over to visit with Elder and Sister Berry and had a desert together.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

This morning we attended a baptism of a sister who had been taught by the Elders. She was in tears as she realized now that her hopes and dreams of a better life could now be realized. Not that life would immediately become easy, worry free, or be without its normal challenges, but rather that through her faith in Christ she would be able to more easily meet her challenges and overcome life's difficulties. Her mother and daughter were already members of the church; it simply took her longer to gain her own testimony of the truths she had learned, but once she did, she new what she needed to do and that is to come unto Christ through faith,  repent, be baptized, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

After the baptism, we held a correlation meeting with the ward mission leader, the Elders and other ward missionaries. During that meeting we learned of a young lady at Fort Gordon who needed love and fellowship. So after the meeting was over I called her and set up an appointment to visit. We were able to go this evening. We had a wonderful visit with her. We learned that she and her husband are separated, not for lack of love, but rather by assignment. In the 4 years of marriage, they have been together 9 months. We hope we can offer her love, friendship and fellowship as needed. This was our first meeting with a soldier here at Fort Gordon.

Friday, June 1, 2012

It has been a week since we last posted or updated our blog. We arrived safely in Augusta, GA on Tuesday the 29th of May. Let me back up and tell you of our trip out. We finished our training at the MTC on Thursday the 24th of May and drove up to SLC to have additional training at the Missionary Relations Department of the Church. The training was valuable and will need to be reviewed often. It lasted until the middle of the afternoon at which time we drove back up to Layton to finish packing our car with most of everything we planned to take with us. I ended up having to put two suitcases up on the luggage rack; they were not too big and so I was not afraid that they would cause too much drag.

We had a nice visit with Shannon and Eric and family and with Rosalee and David and family. We slept in the guest room that night and then the following morning treated them to breakfast at Sill's; it doubled as Rosalee's birthday dinner. After breakfast we took off to Young Chevrolet to see if they had our license plates yet and our remote entry device. They had the remote entry device, but not our plates. We then took the device down to the KIA shop where we found out that we had been given the wrong one, however, fortunately for us, the technician had one in his tool box. He programmed it for us and once done we left for Laramie, Wyoming where my uncle Gradon lives. We had a triple treat that evening; not only did we have the opportunity to visit with uncle Gradon, but also with uncle David and Ellen, uncle Gradon's daughter, my cousin. Ellen could not stay too long, but we had a great visit with her. We then took Gradon and David out for supper. After a nice meal and a great visit together we went home and David headed back to the Denver area where aunt Connie was anxiously waiting for him.

The following morning we left for Gretna, NE where our daughter Becky and her family were anxiously waiting our arrival. We drove for 8 hours and arrived in Gretna about 5:45pm. Our drive to Laramie was about 6 hours; so far our journey was up to 14 hours. We stayed Saturday evening, all day Sunday and then left Monday morning. All the children wanted me to give them roller coaster rides and play monster hide and seek. We did the roller coaster rides and then we went to the Korea House for dinner, where Matt and Becky treated us to some delicious Korean food. After returning home we played monster hide and seek out doors and had a great time hiding, chasing and making a lot of noise.

Sunday we attended church at our old ward, the Papillion ward; we still have some friends there who we enjoy visiting with. That evening, Matt, grilled a pile of brats for us to eat. They were delicious. After dinner we sat down together as a family and talked with the children about what we would be doing on our mission and helping them understand that we would not be back to visit for nearly 2 years. We did the same thing in Layton; I'm sure that only about 4 of our 15 grandchildren really understand the time we will be gone. Hopefully they will not forget us.

We left Becky and Matt and family Monday morning and drove 14 hours to Cooksville, Tennessee. It is about 100 miles past Nashville. We stayed the night in a motel 6. The area is beautiful. The Cumberlan, the Smokey Mountains, it was all gorgeous.

On our final day of driving, we left about 7:30am eastern time and drove until we reached Irmo, SC, where the mission offices are for the South Carolina, Columbia mission. We arrived at 2pm just 30 minutes prior to our meeting time. That gave us time to change our clothes and meet the mission staff. We had a nice meeting with President and Sister Holm, the staff and the Wakefields, who we had been in the MTC with. After the meeting we went out to eat and enjoyed some real good southern cook'n. After dinner, we drove down to Augusta, another hour or so away. We found our apartment after some searching, and found Elder and Sister Berry, our neighbors, in our apartment, putting together our furniture. What a nice surprise! We helped them get it finished and then they left and we brought all our belongings in from the car and as we did so we put most of it right away!

The following day, Thursday, we went out and did some more shopping, and then met the Esteps; they are the Post LDS group leaders. We had a nice sandwich with them, a great visit, and learned more of what goes on in the local area that we needed to be aware of.

Today we went on the post and paid a visit to the hospital, moved our records there and moved our Tricare region so we could be seen by the staff there if we should ever have any medical needs. We also went up to the Red Cross office and volunteered to work with them one day a week. We also arranged to meet with the library staff and volunteer our services there. This evening I texted all our servicemen who I had a phone number for and told them how we were looking forward to meeting them and getting acquainted with them.

That catches us all up; now we are all up-to-date. We look forward to a great work here,  hopefully we will have a positive impact on many young men and young women who will need our love and fellowship.