Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This morning we attended our Zone Development Meeting, which is held about every 6 weeks. All the missionaries from the zone attend, so it is nice to get together and see so many. We have the largest Zone in the mission, around 32 missionaries. In this meeting we give an accounting of our stewardship, and then things that we can do to do better over the next several weeks. We discussed various techniques to help people be interested in learning our message. We do a lot of role playing to assist missionaries in learning various methods of teaching.

Being Halloween, we didn't have any appointments this evening. Rather we took a bucket of ice cream, donuts, and cookies over to the Elders' apartment and enjoyed a nice evening with them. We taught them how to play Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We are sure our children remember how to play that game. We must have played for about 30 minutes. Everyone was laughing and having a fun time. We didn't see one person out trick or treating. That is something to remember.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

This evening we had a nice visit with two single brethren. Both of them live in the Steven's Creek ward; they are the final two military members of that ward that we are aware of who we had not as yet visited.

This afternoon we were able to meet and collect some information about Family Resource Groups. Sister Gowans and I will help the sisters in our stake start their own group, which will function after the pattern of a Relief Society. We visited with a chaplain and two other ladies who are knowledgeable in helping us gather resources that will be advantageous to the sisters in the stake.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The hurricane has caused cold air to push further south, so here in Augusta we are experiencing very chilly humid, winds. The temperature this morning was near 40 degrees.

Sister Gowans had her crown put on her tooth this morning. We learned that they also want to put a crown on a second tooth. Oh, boy, another $1400!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Elder Gowans spoke this afternoon in the Servicemen's group. He was asked to speak on the topic of seeing others as they can become. He noted that in order to see others as God sees them, we must first learn to love them as God loves them and that requires a pure heart.

Later this evening we visited a young fellow, about 29 years old and found out that he was our son Jacob's final companion while on his mission. We have now met an army dentist and soldier who have known him.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

As we have mentioned before, good things happen when we are out. We spent the entire morning looking for new soldiers out on post. We have now met every LDS soldier that we are aware of who is in AIT except one young lady, and we now know where she lives. She just happened to be in remedial PT. One young man who we had been looking for had not been returning our calls or text messages because of a very upsetting tragedy back home. If he had just been coming out to church, we could have helped him through this ordeal. We think that now he realizes this. Hopefully he will come out tomorrow, partake of the sacrament, and have his spirit buoyed up.

We had a real nice baptism this afternoon. The Garcia family, whom the Elders have been teaching, are a family of 6. The children were baptized, but the parents have to wait a little longer. Everyone was excited and happy for this lovely family.

We met with the Fordham family this evening to give them a predeployment brief. They are a great couple, we will miss having him around.

Here are some photos from yesterday's excursion to the Thomas Woodrow Wilson Boyhood home, here in Augusta.

The front of the  home
 The entry way
 Living room
 Original chairs from the home
 Original dining room table
 Notice the ornate knobs

 The study
 President Wilson, as a boy, would turn the chair over, sit on the floor, put his back against the chair and read.

 Our tour guide
 Childhood toys

 Indoor plumbing

 Sister Gowans in the middle

 Our new friend, Aimee Anthony. She married one of our soldier two weeks ago.

 The kitchen
 Bedrooms over the kitchen
 The stairs!

 The kitchen for outside
 The carriage house
The garden

Friday, October 26, 2012

Late this morning we picked up Sister Anthony from her tiny little room and took her for a ride downtown so she could escape the misery of being alone in a tiny hotel room. She has also been rather ill, so we hoped that a change in scenery would help. We found the boyhood home of Thomas Woodrow Wilson and took the tour together. He lived there for about ten years, from age 3 to 13. It was there he remembers the first time he heard the word war; it was when Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Interestingly enough, his neighbor was destined to become a supreme court justice.

This evening we went up to the post to gather whoever wanted to go and take them to the chili cook-off and trunk or treat at the Augusta building.  What a group of people! I would imagine that there were 200 people there this evening. Everyone had a great time. The sweet rolls were to die for! We ended up with 4 troops there, one nonmember. We had a real good time.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

We had a wonderful surprise this morning. Adam skyped us! We had a real nice skype visit with him. It was so good to see him, hear his voice, and simply visit with him. We love you Adam!

This evening we had two appointments scheduled, however the 6pm appointment was postponed. That freed us up to attend a baptism of young lady. We first met her last Friday at Institute class. She was so excited about her baptism. She brought 3 friends with her, one is already investigating, and the other two we hope soon will be.

After the baptism, we headed back up to Evans to meet the Fisher family. We had a real nice visit with them. He is on terminal leave and will retire officially in December. He is one of those fellows who seemed to have endless deployments. His longest one, including all his training was nearly 18 months. Can you imagine being gone for that long of a period of time? We had met another family just recently where the father had 6 or 8 year long deployments. You wonder how you can hold a family together when you are separated so much.

By the way, 2  months till Christmas.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This evening we visited and ate dinner with a family who have 9 children and the 10th is its way. We were very impressed at how well organized they were; everyone knew their place and assignment. They all knew that eating all their dinner was very important. They all sat at the table and visited and interacted with one another while eating. Nothing went to waste, they ate what they were giving. Very impressive.

Then we went out and visited a family in Evans. He has been deployed 6 times. In the 13 years he has in the army, he has probably been home less than half the time. He will not deploy while here at Fort Gordon, but he is a company commander, so he will have long hours at work. These army folks, they sure put a lot on the line.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This morning we attended our District Development Meeting. The subject of training was the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We also all bore testimony as it was possibly the final DDM prior to our District Leader's departure for home. We had a very nice time together.

This afternoon we drove up to Irmo with Elder and Sister Berry to attend our Quarterly Senior Couples Conference. There we had the opportunity to address any questions or concerns that we might have. President Holm taught us that we should always try to bring with us a question that we would like an answer to when we attend church services, the temple and other meetings. That will give the Spirit an opportunity to answer our question through ecclesiastical leaders, speakers, and so forth. It just so happened that Elder Gowans had carried a question with him to the conference with the hope of being able to counsel with other Military Relations Missionaries and see if he could find an answer. So when President Holm asked us if there were any questions, he was able to voice his question. It spurred a real good conversation. The question was, "Sister Gowans and I have worked real diligently to meet every military family in the Stake. We are now approaching the end of our list of families; what will we do now to keep our evenings busy? We still plan on visiting and working with the less active and others, but what other work might we involve ourselves in to stay active?

In this photo you can see a small pumpkin filled with a fruit dip surrounded by apples. It was very yummy! Also, homemade wheat bread and bowls ready to be filled with a delicious stew, or a real tasty squash soup.
 Below are some of the other Senior Couples. The Wakefields in the the back with the Putnams on the left in the back and brother Benedict in the front.
 In this photo are Brother and Sister Towers, a new brother whose name is not remembered at the moment and Sister Holm.
 Below are the assistants to President Holm, Elders Israelson and Olsen and Elder and Sister Decker.
 The Wakefields, they were in the MTC the same time we were.

Monday, October 22, 2012

This morning while serving for the Red Cross at the hospital, Elder Gowans had turned his back to the hall to get some hand sanitizer and when he turned back around there was Brother Halford standing by him with whom he serves in the servicemen's group. He said he was there with another church member who was in one of the recovery rooms recovering from a procedure he had just gone through. So we both walked over and visited for a few minutes. This brother, John, has only been a member for a year or so and he noticed that on his arm band its still showed his religious preference as Catholic. So he said, "I got to get that changed to Mormon"! Then the attending nurse hearing this said she had been raised by a Catholic Father and Baptist mother. So during the week she attend Catholic schools, but on the weekend she attended the Baptist church. She said she was very confused. Sister Gowans had a funny comment she read as she inputted patient comments. The patient commented wondering why they have to watch CNN TV while waiting in various areas in the hospital, they get tired of listening to Obama all the time.

This afternoon we visited with some friends for a while as she is trying to overcome some severe constipation and flu like symptoms. Then he told us of his sister who was undergoing severe difficulties too and wanted some advice from us as how he could maybe help her.

This evening we had a new AIT soldier who wanted to come to FHE, so we went and picked  him up and brought him. It just goes to show that if you want to come and plan for it, you can generally make it happen. I wish others would exercise that sort of faith!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The day ended in a dash out to give a blessing to Amiee who was here with her husband, Marshall last night for dinner. No, we didn't poison her, but she is suffering from some sort of stomach flu, constipation and the sort. She did come to church today, but they only stayed for Sacrament meeting and then went home. It kind of reminds us of what Sister Gowans went through in Korea last January. It may simply be her body adjusting to a new and different environment, culture and diet.

We visited two families this evening. We had the pleasure of visiting an army dentist and his family; We believe he was the 3rd dentist we have visited. The second family is prior military, but he now works his same job as a contractor; he is contemplating reentering the army so as to enable him to get a military retirement. We enjoyed visiting both families. They were a lot of fun.

Prior to servicemen's group we picked up a member and his battle buddy at B-447. B is the company and the 447 is his battalion. This was his first Sunday with us. Then we went by and picked up an Brother whose battle buddy decided not to go to church. We had, we believe, our largest attendance at church since we've been here, 30 members, not to include the guest speakers.

Elder Gowans will be speaking next Sunday.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This past week we received 3 new AIT students who came in from Fort Jackson. This morning we attempted to find them. We were able to get a hold of one on the phone who was staying off base with his family. Since they had just arrived from Basic Training they were allowed a weekend pass to be with family. Another called us, believe it or not, and the last we have not as yet heard from. We were able to visit with one of our soldiers who always says he will come to church when we see him, but then never shows up. We felt more sincerity this time over past visits, so maybe he will show up. We were able to see several other students this morning, it is always nice to visit with them.

We had been struggling to meet with a family out in the Harlem area; we finally made it, our schedules finally came together. He is in the processes of being med boarded out of the Army. He will be given a medical retirement. The army is certainly more rough on their people and more strict on their medical conditions than the Air Force ever was. We don't know if we ever remember an airman being med boarded out of the Air Force.

This evening we finally were able to get together with the Anthony Family. He is one of our soldiers who was married about two weeks ago. Sister Gowans' dad performed the ceremony in the SLC temple. We had them over to eat dinner with us and with the Estep family, our Servicemen's Group Leader and his wife. We had a delightful time together.

Just as we concluded our dinner party, Elder Gowans was called upon to go and assist giving a blessing to a sister, this was the ninth blessing he has assisted in giving this week. We feel real good that people are becoming more aware of us and more trusting in our desire to serve them.

Friday, October 19, 2012

We had a nice visit with a family in the Martinez ward this afternoon. They are from our neck of the woods. Every once in a while we will meet a family who has roots in areas around us. The husband has family in Kaysville and the wife is Cambodian; her parents met after they both came to the US and settled north of our area.

This evening in Institute, we had two new young ladies come out. One is going to be baptized on Thursday, the second one is her friend who is very excited about coming out. She said she wants to learn more and she is also in the Air Force. It was nice to see an Air Force uniform for a change. We were really happy to meet these two young ladies.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

This morning we both got up a little late; Sister Gowans didn't sleep so well. When she doesn't sleep well, it takes a toll on both of us. After all the morning routine was done, Elder Gowans went and did a 30 minute run; this needs to happen more consistently. He figures he doesn't have to get right out of bed and dash to the gym, rather he can go after the morning routine is complete. This way he might be able to get more consistent in his workouts.

This afternoon we said goodbye to two of our members. One young fellow had been waiting for a bone in his foot to heal before he could pass his PT test. It took a while for him to build his abilities back up once his foot did heal. Yesterday, we received a text message from him saying he had finally passed his test. The army can be real efficient when it wants to be. They had him out of here in less than 24 hours. The other fellow is from the Utah National Guard. His wife and two children came out for the last 2 weeks of his training and graduation. Elder Gowans took them to the airport this afternoon. We had a real car full!

This evening we met with the children of a family whose parents are going through a real rough time currently. We had met with the parents a week ago. It is a big mess. We talked to the children about forgiveness, love, and other principles of the gospel that we thought they needed to understand. I think they all felt encouraged when we left. Elder Gowans promised them that if they would sincerely forgive their dad and express their love to him and ask him to repent and set his life straight, that it would go a long way to saving the family.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This morning at the library, we straightened up the entire children's book section, putting all the books back into their proper alphabetical order. It took 4 hours it get it all done! How long will it take little hands to have them all messed up again? I'm sure all the mothers out there can answer that question.

This evening we met with a lady whose husband had deployed clear back last February. Several months ago when we called her, she said she was in California. So we thought she would stay there the entire duration of the deployment. Just a few days ago we learned that she has school aged children so she had been back in town since August. We gave her a phone call and arranged a visit and was able to meet her.We had a nice visit, she seems to be handling the deployment pretty well.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

We are getting very close to having visited all our known military families. We just got off the phone with an Elders Quorum President who told me of a few more families out in the Martinez ward that we had not yet known about. So we will be giving them all call and arranging an appointment to go visit them. We will definitely  need to seek Heavenly Father's will and direction for us once we have visited everyone. What will He have us do. Of course there will still be visiting the less active and working on the FRG and keeping up with the deployed families, but we will still have a lot of time left over. We will see what He will have us do next.

Monday, October 15, 2012

This morning we worked together on the 6th floor in Phase II Recovery. The patient advocacy office was closed, so Sister Gowans came up and worked with Elder Gowans.

We were happy to receive the news concerning Bo, the Dougal's dog. He was able to pass a toy that he had swallowed after a week of working its way through the intestines.

Elder Gowans mowed two of our sister's lawns today. It is getting to the time of year where it may only need to be done every other week or so.

Bishop Adam's attended our FHE this evening. It is the first time he has come out since we have been here. It was nice to have him, he had a good time with us.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

This morning we were called by one of our missionaries asking if we could pick up two people to bring to church. Of course, we said, "Sure"! So we dashed out to get them. We arrived about 10 minutes before church. It gave us sometime to start handing out fliers that we had made up announcing our LDS FRG. (Family Readiness Group). It is a support group for all Military spouses both LDS and nonLDS who would like to participate.We received a lot of enthusiastic responses from many of our military families. We hope that many will come out and support this effort. We have 4 weeks to prepare for it. The planned date to organize it is the 10th of November.

After church Elder Gowans was asked to assist in giving 4 blessings, all to LDS military and family members.  We are thankful for their confidence in us.

After serviceman's group, we dashed out to North Augusta to meet with a couple whose marriage is in severe trouble. We told them that we are not professional councilors, however, with the Lord's help we would be able offer them some appropriate advise, council and wisdom from two who have been through much of what they have gone through too. 

Here is a photo from Saturday's baptism. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

This morning we made our traditional trip out to the Post to visit our AIT soldiers. We were very blessed to find most of whom we were looking for. In the past couple of weeks we have received nearly a dozen new students. We have made contact with but a couple. In fact we were waiting for one soldier to come down when another that we had yet to find, identified himself to us. We love it when that happens. Then this evening we had one return our call; she was so excited to have made contact with us.

This afternoon we visited one family. We found out he is in orthodontics school here at Fort Gordon. We had a real nice visit with them.

Then we went back up to the Post to take in some of the Oktoberfest fun. We walked around to look at all the carnival type attractions, then we walked over to the food booths and bought some good German food and then listened to the Rising Star competition.  We bought an Elephant ear to enjoy together and then we left for home.

Friday, October 12, 2012

This evening in Institute, we studied the topic of Prayer from Either 1-5. Moroni recorded in his abridgment for us the brother of Jared's many prayers he offered for and in behalf his family and their friends and their families. It is one of only a handful of sources in all of scripture where we can find actual prayers and where we can go to learn how our own prayers should be. Proper prayers, prayers that are meaningful to our Father in Heaven, take work, they take thought and effort. If we don't feel like we have done some mental work after having offered a prayer, then we are probably not offering very effective prayers. Through the brother of Jared's prayers, we learn that prayers should be specific and bold yet humble, offered in complete faith, with thought, sincerity and real intent. We should admit our own failings, shortcomings, weaknesses, sins and other transgressions, and admit that we need God's power of forgiveness, mercy and compassion, just as Jared did. We should be generous in our gratitude for all our many wonderful blessings received at His hand, we should ask for help in remembering our blessings so that we never forget them. Finally, our prayers should be offered in accordance with the promptings of His Spirit, that they might always be uttered in accordance with His will. Father knows just what we need before we ever pray, He knows just how to bless us before we ask, but if we go on in our prayers contrary to His will, then we will not obtain what we really need and He cannot bless us with what He has ready for us.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sister Gowans had an appointment up at the hospital this morning; while on the way there we received a phone call from our LDS chaplain who had received a phone call from a worried father about his son. His son has been on station for about 3 weeks or so and had suddenly come down with a very bad skin rash. We went up to see him and had to get him out of bed, poor fella. We had a nice visit with him wherein he explained what was going on. We called our LDS assistant chaplain and he assisted Elder Gowans in giving him a blessing. We then walked him back to his room and told him that we would see him in a couple of days, on Saturday when we make our weekly visit.

We met a Navy family this evening. He had just recently returned from a deployment back in mid August. From time-to-time, we find families who, like this one, had a deployed family member of whom we new nothing about and who we could have possibly been serving or helping out in some way. We had an enjoyable time, they even treated us to dinner.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

This evening we paid a visit to a family whose husband/father just returned from deployment. It is great to see a lovely family reunited after many months of separation. It was obvious that the girls were really happy to have their daddy home and it was obvious that he was glad to be back home with his girls. He does have a son, but he is very young and was rather noisy, so he was sent to his room. Then we went up north and visited an army orthodontist. He is a colonel in the army. He says instead of straightening teeth he straightens papers. Their youngest son is 12, he is the last child left at home. We had a nice visit with these families and hope they know they can call us at anytime.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We spent most of the day preparing for Friday's institute class. We didn't have anything else going on the entire day. We also spent an hour trying to drum up some more appointments since Saturday and Sunday afternoon we were busy with conference, which is our usual appointment making time. We were able to get a couple of more for the week, which just about filled our schedule.

This evening we met with a great family. He is in the National Guard and will deploy after the first of the year. This is his first deployment, but it will not be their first separation. They were very appreciative of the predeployment briefing that we gave them; it gave them some things to ponder on and do to make sure they are well prepared.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Since it is Columbus Day (Observed), and since the hospital would be closed there was no need for Red Cross volunteers. We took Elder and Sister Berry with us up to North Augusta and visited the Living History Museum. It was a nice quiet, peaceful place with beautiful grounds and a few rebuilt buildings that would have been erected during the colonial period. We had a nice walk and during the walk we came across the Barn. We learned that the barn is booked up for weddings every week through 2014! Is this a place where you would want to be married? The Temple or the Barn?


Here are two restored cabins.

 And other nice photos of the area

 The Berrys
 The Gowans

This afternoon we had copied our flier that will go out to all the military families, ward leaders and so forth, announcing the organization of the LDS FRG (Family Readiness Group). We distributed it to all the  missionaries who came to the transfer dinner this evening. They will take it back to the wards and distribute it to the military families and ward leaders.

We then had FHE; it was a rather quiet evening with only 5 people there tonight.