Sunday, September 30, 2012

This morning we left the house about 0915 and drove out to the North Augusta Ward, which is actually in South Carolina. We were invited to speak in the ward about 5 weeks ago. They have a very nice ward; not too many active military, most of the older generation are all retired military. We have one sister living in the ward whose husband just deployed to Egypt. Another family with whom we will be working is retired, but they have some issues going on that we have been asked to help with.We will meeting with them in two weeks. Our talks went real well. We felt a good spirit in the meeting. Afterwards, we drove back to our apartment for Sister Gowans to get some lunch and then we drove on to the Post for our Servicemen's group.

We have a soldier who desired baptism nearly two weeks ago, but due to difficulties getting them off post in Privately Owned Vehicles we had to cancel the baptism and then find away to get it done on post. Shortly after that, we learned that in the chapel we meet in there is a baptismal font. It is portable, believe it or not, and had been pushed into a storage space and covered with other smaller objects. Our group leader who has been in this assignment for two years didn't even know that it existed. A chaplain's assistant, who is also a member of the church, got it all prepared for us and so we had the baptism today after our services were over. Although the font was not exactly user friendly for an LDS baptism, we were able to make it work. It was a wonderful event.

After the baptism we headed into Grovetown to visit one of our members and his family. He has been assigned to a remote assignment in Korea and will be there for a year. We gave them our predeployment briefing and had a nice visit with them.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

This morning we went up to Post, as usual, to visit our troops. We were able to visit one young lady who seemed to be very much out of her environment and became quite emotional as she talked a little about home. We hope we can help her fell loved while she is here.

We were able to visit our soldier who will be baptized on Sunday. He is ready, and anxious. We need to make sure he will have a Battle Buddy to come with him. We are all excited about his baptism. We found a font in the Friendship Chapel we will be able to use. It will be a little awkward, but we think it will do.

Then, later in the morning and early in the after and later in the evening, we attended 3 baptisms. One was a family of 3, another single lady and then a family of two. They were all very nice and well attended. We are excited for these new converts to the church and hope they will find joy and happiness with us.

Friday, September 28, 2012

For most of the day, Elder Gowans assisted a family in the ward move their household goods from one rental house to another. It was a good thing the homes were not too far apart or we may not ever have got done today. It was nice to help out. There were 3 other brethren there to lend a hand.

Then this evening we held our weekly Institute class. We studied the first 6 chapters of the Book of Mormon, not THE Book of Mormon, but Mormon's book within the Book of Mormon. Our main point of emphasis was learning to live righteously in a wicked world.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

This morning Elder Gowans went over to a member's home to help him pack up their house for a short move to a new rental. They worked for about 2 hours and loaded the back of a large pick up truck and the very long flat bed truck. Hopefully this evening they were able to deliver it all to the new home.

This evening we had two appointments to meet with military families whose husband and father are deploying. The first appointment went fine, but the second had to cancel, mom was called into work. We will have to reschedule it for another day. We give them a predeployment briefing to help them prepare spiritually for their time away from each other and how to stay spiritually strong for the time that they are separated.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

This morning we had zone training and interviews with President Holm. He asked us several specific questions concerning our health and finances. It was a good interview. We had taken the Sister Missionaries with us from the Harlem Ward. When our meetings were finished we took them home; then we went to the Post to the AIT graduation. We arrived at the normal location for the graduations, but found it to be occupied by another meeting. So we asked around to find out where the graduation was supposed to be held and learned that it was at the Signal Theater. We arrived about 5 minutes before it started. We had 5 good friends, both members and nonmembers who graduated, we will certainly miss them.

This evening we enjoyed our second "No More Strangers" fireside. It was well attended and the Spirit of the Lord was very strong there. We were happy to meet so many investigators. Sister Gowans played the piano for the evening.
 Elder Cahoun
 Listening to Brother Posey
 President Holm, Young Brother Posey and President Posey, soon to be the Atlanta Temple President

 Elder Clark and Oviett on the right
 Brother Strader
 Brother Spangle on the right
 PFC Smart
 Brother Strader
 PFC Smith

 PFC Austin

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This morning we began our new assignment... inspecting apartments of our Elders and Sisters. We do 3 and Elder and Sister Berry do 3 and then the Ripleys, who live quite a ways off inspect 1. We started at 0830 and finished up around 1000. It was not too bad. We were shocked, however, to see how one apartment was so run down. Fortunately the office is moving these Elders over by us. It will be much better for them here than there. The carpets looked like they were 30 years old and the walls and ceiling needed to be painted something terribly. The other two were in pretty good shape.

At 1100 we met with a sister who said she would advise us and help set up a women's support group for our military spouses who needs a little more support from other spouse in dealing with military life. It will be for all, but will emphasize the need to help deployed and separated families.

This afternoon Brother Estep and I found a portable baptismal font at the Friendship chapel. We will be able to use it when we have an AIT student who desires baptism. That will save us from having to coordinate or work rides for all the AIT students to the Augusta chapel. It is a big headache and usually doesn't work out.

This evening we visited a single sister who will deploy sometime in the next 3 to 4 months. Although not active in the church she was very friendly and warm to us.

Monday, September 24, 2012

This morning we did our Red Cross service, nothing unusual today. This afternoon we took the Elders bowling at the Post Bowling Alley. As you may recall they have $1.00 games, shoes, hot dogs and french fries. Can you imagine feeding 4 hungry Elders, and the two of us for $19.50? Elder Gowans had the two game overall best score of 257. He didn't get in his groove until mid way through the second game. Elder Nielson tried to mimic his stance, but no one can quite do it like Elder Gowans can.

This evening we dropped in for FHE, but had to leave early to go meet a family up in Grovetown. We had a real difficult time getting together with them, but then one day she called us and arranged the appointment. During our visit we found out that she had talked to other families in their ward who we had visited and they recommended that they get together with us. On this particular visit it was our first visit where we gave a predeployment brief to the husband and wife. The Church Military Relations Department put together a briefing for us Missionaries to use in assisting families who will be separated whether due to deployment or TDY. So we used the briefing for the first time and it worked out real well. We will be giving it a couple of more times this week. We hope to get to all the families where a spouse will be deploying soon and give them this briefing. We believe it will be very helpful.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

We have had a wonderful day. It began early this morning as we needed to get up to Post and start working on getting our AIT students permission to leave Post for Stake Conference. When all was finished we had 5 with us, plus one wife. They all drove to conference with Brother Demming, our assistant chaplain in a chaplain van. It worked perfectly. It was a 7 passenger van and that is how many seats we ended up needing. One of the students was a fairly new young lady who had only been on Post for a week. So her first Sunday was a Stake Conference Sunday.

After Stake Conference ended, we stayed around for Brother Harrington's ordination. He asked Elder Gowans to do the ordination. It was a very spiritual moment for all of us. Brother Harrington was so well prepared and had sought after this ordination with such great faith that the blessing pronounced upon him was very powerful.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

This morning we got up early and headed up to the Post where our AIT students live. We wanted to try and see a few before they headed off and away from the barracks. The first soldier was already gone to an all day class when we got to his company barracks, but fortunately when Elder Gowans went up there later to deliver a letter to another soldier he ran into him and was able to visit with him and invite him to come out to the church meetings and activities. During the early morning hours we ran into and met around 16 of our soldiers and some of their friends. We were able to talk to brother Potter this morning and ensure him that we would get his baptism arranged. It was supposed to have been this morning, but they couldn't get permission to leave the post. He is not worried, he knows it will happen.

This afternoon we met with one of our families whom we love very much. We talked with them about their church activity and how we can help them increase their faithfulness. They were very receptive and would like us to return often to help them and encourage them. The stake conference we attended today gave me some great ideas of how we can help them.

We attended the adult session of stake conference this evening with one of our soldiers. We were hoping to get more out, but it is Saturday and many were out and about doing other things. It was a very spiritual and enjoyable meeting.

Friday, September 21, 2012

This morning and afternoon, Elder Gowans did the most difficult lawn mowing job he has ever done. He mowed the lawn of a Sister who thought she could take care of everything herself while her husband was deployed, but then ended up being hospitalized and has now been forced to ask for help. The lawn around the house was flat, but as you moved away from the house the lawn became very steep, uphill in the front and on the sides, and downhill in the back. The downhill part in the back was so overgrown the grass was in some cases 5 feet high if not taller. This overgrown grass was probably 30 feet deep moving towards the back of the yard. The side yard raised up over 3 feet in height at approximately a 70 to 80 degree incline. the front yard rose higher, however it was not quite as steep. It took him 2 1/2 hours to mow it all down. He was so saturated with perspiration that his hat dripped from the bill, his pants were soaked through at the waste, and his shirt dripped off the sleeves. He drank 4 litters of water through the process. It was incredible.

We had a real nice institute class this evening. The topic was on conversion and taken from 4th Nephi. We would encourage you to read it and learn what it really means to be converted to all aspects of the gospel and then see what the blessing are to those who are.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

This evening we had the opportunity to help a sister prepare herself to move to Maryland. She has a nice little townhouse that she will be renting to another family in the ward. So we went over ate pizza with her and then got busy. Sister Gowans helped her pack up items in the family room and bedroom while Elder Gowans  screwed support frames into the walls of the garage in which she will use to hang peg board from. She plans on coming back to house someday. That may be a long way off, but she wants to hang onto the house. We had a nice evening with her and was happy to assist her. We hope to see her again someday and wish her the best.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Today we have with greater earnest began revisiting families who will have deployed family members in the near future. At the same time we are trying to set up a women's support group where wives of deployed servicemen will be able to come together for mutual support, friendship and simply to do something fun together. So this afternoon we met one sister whose husband is currently TDY in preparation for deployment. Then we met with a sister whose husband just returned from a lengthy TDY and then we met with a family who will be moving soon. We still are trying to meet with families who need encouraging, a little fellowship and some friendship. At this point in time we see a shift in the emphasis of our nightly visits. We will be moving toward helping the brethren prepare spiritually for deployment and setting up an organization where sisters can go for female support and friendship.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

This evening we set out to Harlem, GA to visit the last family in the Harlem ward. We had a nice visit with them, unfortunately it seems that this family is losing their faith. They were polite and receptive, but we think that they have lost much of their desire to be active participants in the church. The children seemed to be unaware of the Book of Mormon and its wonderful stories. They were married in the temple 10 years ago, so you have to ask yourself, "What happened"? When Elder Gowans left them with a scriptural thought from the Book of Mormon, the mother got up and left with the pretense of feeding the baby, as soon as he was through, she returned. Hopefully, there will be something we can do for them in the future to help nurture their faith.

Afterwards, we dropped in on our friend Marshall. We have been very concerned for him; his place of work has been torturous to him. Today he worked a 15 hour day and most days are not unlike that. He has not been able to participate in any of our church functions now for a couple of weeks and he is supposed to be getting married in October. We hope that he can continue and move forward and put up with the strain of it all.

Lastly we visited a new couple in the ward. He is here for basic officer course. He will be active duty for a while and then plans on going into the reserves. They will be heading to Alaska for their duty assignment in December of all times! We had a nice visit with them and was able to pass on to them some good advise, but most of all to show them that we love them.

Monday, September 17, 2012

This morning was our day for Red Cross service. Elder Gowans had a couple of interesting experiences. First he took a fellow out to the parking lot and found out he was from Fort Jackson, up near Columbia. So he asked him how many soldiers went through basic training every year. Amazingly enough, he told him around 80,000. Of that number, whatever it may actually be, we receive around 20 to 30 here for AIT. We also receive soldiers from other basic training bases too.

The second interesting thing that happened was Elder Gowans stepped into the elevator after taking a patient down to the parking lot and there was a fellow in the elevator who had very severe scars and stitches up and down both legs. They were very random running up and down his legs, over his knees and so forth. Then he had a huge, egg shape bulge coming from his left cheek. Elder Gowans said, "What in the world did you do to yourself?" He responded, "I got blew up in Afghanistan, sir"! Elder Gowans replied, "Oh my, at least you are alive to tell the story"! At that moment he left the elevator, but just 15 minutes later they ran into each other again in the elevator. Elder Gowans said, "Well, hello again". He then reached out his hand and shook it and said, "Thank you for your service."

After the Red Cross service, Elder Gowans and Brother Estep the servicemen's group leader, took a couch to a sister who needed one for her apartment; her husband is an AIT student, so she lives by herself there. Next, he mowed our dear Sister's lawn whose husband is deployed.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Today we had new troops come out to servicemen's group who had just arrived this past week. We also had a soldier commit to baptism on Saturday. We are excited for him. This coming week we will have stake conference and in order for the troops to go we needed to get them a chaplain's letter; so we spent part of our evening taking the letter around to some of our troops who weren't in church. Three of our troops will be ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood on Sunday if it all works out and they can all get their interviews.

We had a nice visit this evening with a family of 2 and one in the oven. They are both on active duty, she is Air Force, he is Army. Both are linguists, both Arabic. He is actually in school and ROTC, but still does National Guard, but will go back on active duty after commissioning. It has been a good day!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

This morning we were able to resume our visits to the AIT soldiers on Post. We were able to visit 8 of our young men and women. Tomorrow, Sunday, 2 of our soldier will be interviewed for advancement in the priesthood, so we need to make sure they will be able to make it.

This evening we visited 2 more families all in the Stevens Creek Ward. We have nearly completed all our family visits in all the wards we have names for. We are still waiting on lists from 3 wards; so hopefully we will get those soon. In the mean time we are looking back over those who we have visited and will select some to go visit again.

Friday, September 14, 2012

This evening got rather complicated trying to get everyone where they needed to be, including ourselves. We left early to pick up Brother Woodley from his home over in Grovetown so that we could get to the Post early so that we could go pick up the Elders and get them on post in time to meet with a soldier who wants to be baptized. Elder Gowans took the Elders to the soldiers' barracks where he dropped them off so they could visit. Then he drove back to pick up one other soldier. By the time he got back to the chapel sister Gowans had already started institute and was teaching the lesson. Our studies today was the last four chapters of 3 Nephi.

At the conclusion of Institute, Elder Gowans walked back the last soldier to be picked up, then drove back to the chapel picked up Sister Gowans and Brother Woodley, drove back to the first barracks to pick up the Elders who were supposed to be visiting with the soldier who wants to be baptized, but we couldn't find them. Finally we found them in a hangout where the soldiers go to socialize during their off duty hours. They had been teaching and talking to quite a few people as they were visiting with their primary candidate. Four soldiers committed to come to church, we will see what happens. Hopefully they will keep their commitments and come

So we took the Elders home, then Brother Woodley and then ourselves. Whew! What an evening.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Today we went and met a newly wed family. They have only been married a month. He had been in Afghanistan for nearly year and at his half way point, when he came back for leave, he met her at a church function. They were married shortly after he returned home for good. Anyway, we had a nice visit with them,  it does not appear that he will have any more deployments.

Afterwards we went down to a Value Price Hotel to meet with a marine and his family. They are staying there until their house is finished being constructed. They have nearly a month to wait. So they are a family of six living in a hotel size room with a kitchenette. Hopefully they will still like each other when they are finally out of there. While we were waiting in the lobby of the hotel, two men came walking in and looked at us and by the look on their face they were happy to see us. One asked if we had a copy of the Book of Mormon available. We told him that we did at the apartment. He said he had left his scriptures home; so we went back to the apartment and picked him up a copy. We had removed everything from the car since we were getting a rental and had not put anything in back in the rental. When we returned he was very happy to receive the book and was impressed with our quick service.

Also while we were in the lobby, a fellow came out who was wearing a Notre Dame shirt. Elder Gowans said, "Are you a Notre Dame fan?" He said, "Yes, how about you"? Elder Gowans told him he was a BYU man and that our two teams were playing this year. He said, "Better luck next year!" We will see what happens.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

This morning we did our typical service at the Library, inventorying books. Then this afternoon we attended our second graduation for our AIT students. One fellow, a member from Utah graduated along with two others who had from time-to-time come out at the invitation of members. It is good to be able to show our support for them as they leave to go home or to their gaining unit.


This evening we drove all the way out to the east end of Augusta to drop in on a lady who will never answer her phone. We did find her home! She seemed happy to know that we were there to support her and give her aid after her husband deploys next month.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

This has been a nonstop day from sun up to sun down. This morning we headed to the hospital early for Sister Gowans' doctors appointments. She had a mammogram and some blood work drawn. From there we went back home to make our final preparations for DDM. We were asked to do some training. Sister Gowans did her training on the converting power of the Book of Mormon and Elder Gowans did his on how the atonement can be used to help people who are studying the gospel.

After our DDM we drove back to the Post for another appointment for Sister Gowans, this time to get her final shot in her knee; she says that they have helped her knee feel better. From the Post we drove up to Martinez to visit a family. We learned that her dad served a mission to Korea the same time Elder Gowans did, way back in 1973 and 1974 time frame. Elder Gowans was 1974 and 1975. So we may have met. We also learned that her brother is in our ward in Grovetown.

From there we drove south of the Post to deliver 5 copies of the Book of Mormon to the family whose 12 year old son was found dead on Sunday. Unfortunately, the mom was gone to the funeral home with her parents, but her fiance was there and so he gratefully took the books; hopefully we or the young Elders will have the opportunity to teach all of them.

This evening we visited two more families out in Martinez. The last fellow is the Battalion Commander of his unit. He will be a great resource as we try to find people who may be in his unit. 

It has been a great day, busy, but great.

Monday, September 10, 2012

It is very late; just as we arrived back at our apartment, we received a text message that one of our troops had been taken to the ER. Elder Gowans returned to the Post and went to the hospital to be with this young man. For several weeks he has been suffering sharp chest pains from time-to-time. He had another episode this evening. The doctors have ruled out his heart, lungs chest cavity and so forth. It doesn't seem to be life threatening, rather it is more of an annoyance. He will return to the doctor tomorrow and now they are going to run more tests on his stomach and see if it might be stomach related.

As we were completing our service at the hospital this afternoon, Elder Gowans received a phone call from the Bishop stating that he had just learned of a young 12 year old boy who had been found dead in his room. He was the son of a woman who was not active in the church, in fact we didn't even know they were there, but with this tragedy they had made themselves known. He asked us to go to the home and see what we could do to help until he could get there. We gave the mom and her fiance blessings, sat with her, mourned with her and tried to console her. The Bishop arrived about 2 hours after we did. He took charge of the situation and so we left.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

After our church meetings ended today we went to the stake's Saint's at War meeting. The stake is trying to get the service members to come and participate in a forum designed to give them opportunities to talk about their experiences with others who have had the same or similar experiences to be able to help them work through the tough things they have witnessed. We have had brethren attend who served clear back in WWII and all the wars since then to help these new soldiers work through their problems. We have tried to expand this to include the wives to help them support each other during their husband's absence. At some point in time we will be teaching the Church's resiliency program to aid all military and their families cope with deployment issues.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

This morning we picked up 3 of our servicemen and met several others at the Friendship chapel on Post and then headed for the South Carolina Columbia Temple. One of the servicemen, a sister, who has only been a member for a couple of months, was able to do 12 baptisms and confirmations for the dead. She was very excited as this was her first time in the temple. In the temple Elder Gowans was able to perform the ordinances while she stood in as proxy for 10 women so they could be confirmed members of the church and receive the Holy Ghost. Then we went into the baptismal font and Elder Gowans baptized her for 10 women who had died many decades ago. After we finished we went outside so they could walk around the temple and take pictures. As we were coming back into the temple to join the remainder of the group one of the temple workers asked this young lady if she would mind doing 2 more baptisms for a lady who had brought the names of two of her family members who had passed away sometime ago. She went in and changed and Elder Gowans went in and changed; so he baptized and confirmed her two more times for the two deceased women this lady had brought in to have the work done for. It was a very good experience for both of us. Apparently this lady who brought the names of her deceased relatives in was going to do all the work for them that afternoon, but she couldn't do the baptisms herself do to some issue involving getting into the water.

This afternoon we prepared for Saints At War event on Sunday evening. We were asked to present a small portion of the program.

 The Columbia South Carolina Temple

 Sister Gowans and Sister Sousa
 The Allreds

 Elder Gowans
 Sister Sousa

Friday, September 7, 2012

A short entry today. Elder Gowans took the Sportage in to get the repair estimate done. We almost forgot to add the mirror into the estimate. The total will be slightly over $1400.00. It will probably take about 3 days to complete once they get all the parts in and that should be no later than Tuesday. So, hopefully by the end of next week it will be all fixed up. Until then it is still able to get us around, for which we are grateful.

We had our institute class this evening. We enjoy this class, it is always enjoyable to be around our friends. We covered 3 Nephi 23-26 this evening. Spent most of the time learning how to search the scriptures and study Isaiah.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Well, it finally happened this evening, we got into a car accident. No one was hurt and not too much damage, but it is very aggravating. We will have to take the car in for repair soon, the wheels are way out of alignment; we hope that it will be okay to drive to the temple on Saturday. We may end up having to drive with someone else or not go at all. We are not sure if we want to drive it all that way or not. We were hunting for a street and when it suddenly showed up we started making a right turn, but just then another car was coming up on the right and we collided, side to side.

We went to see the lady who Elder Gowans mows the lawn for. She requested a blessing, which of course was given with the ward Elder's quorum president assisting. It is nice to know that people will call upon us when needed.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

This morning we did 4 hours of book inventory, most all of them were books about war; the war of independence, the civil war and so forth. Made me think of how much war, the thoughts of war, the tragedies of war and so forth occupies our lives.

This evening we had a nice dinner and visit with another one of our great families. He is in the Bishopric, so we were able to discuss some families in the ward who may at this time or soon will need our assistance. A big deployment is coming up soon, which will have a large impact on our members.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

This morning we attended a Zone Development meeting. All missionaries in the zone gathered at the Augusta chapel and set a new tone and standard to be used in our District Development meetings. After the meeting completed we were asked to take the Sister missionaries assigned to the Harlem ward back to their apartment. Before we left the Sisters who serve in the Martinez ward asked if they could all go to lunch together. So we, the 6 of us, all went to a nearby Chinese restaurant. We enjoyed a nice meal together and fun conversation.

After lunch, Elder Gowans left to go mow our sister's lawn. It had started to rain before he left, but it still looked sunny out in the direction he was going. When he drew near the home, he could tell that it had not yet rained there. However, there was a nearby dark cloud threatening. So he went to work and mowed the front yard first in case it decided to rain. He completed the front yard and moved to the back. About 1/3 of the way through it began to get  misty, then a few drops and then a down pour. By now he was 1/2 done. He kept on mowing and soon the rain stopped, but he was very drenched. He was able to finish the job and get home in time to get ready for dinner and their evening appointments.

This evening we went out to visit a family who we had already met, but it was during the husband's deployment. So now we were able to meet him. We had a nice visit and was able to help move some furniture out of the way of their delivery people moving in a new fridge.

Next we drove back out to Harlem. We went to visit a fellow who had been in a severe accident nearly 2 years ago and as a result was in the process of being medically retired. It could come down to a medical discharge, but he was hoping for a retirement. He had been on a motorcycle and was cut off by an on coming car. The accident caused 2 months of coma. It took a year for his brain to fully recover and for him to get back to somewhat of a normal life. The Army, however, didn't think his new normal was good enough, so out he goes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Today we took a nice trip up to Aiken, South Carolina. We traveled up with Elder and Sister Berry and met up with another couple, the Rapleys. Together we went up to the Hopeland Gardens, took part in a BBQ cook-off and wondered around the town square. We also visited the Hitchcock Woods. Here are some photos to take a look at.
 Hopeland Gardens

 Garden Club House-Also a doll house

 The Rye Patch

 The Ripleys and the Berrys

 The Thoroughbred Museum

 Aiken Town Square
 A local car show

 The Hitchcock Woods

This evening we met a lady and her son. She is going through a divorce; so we hope that there will be something we can do for her.