Friday, November 30, 2012

This evening we taught the last chapter of the Book of Mormon in our Institute class. We focused mostly on the topic of Spiritual Gifts. We went through the eight exhortations that Moroni gave us, which included the topic of Spiritual Gifts. Next week, we will begin teaching Church History.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

This evening we attended the Post Christmas Celebration. We took Elder and Sister Berry with us and had a very enjoyable time with them. We saw several of our member families there and had a chance to visit or simply say hi. We also ran into a soldier whose father served with Elder Gowans in the B-52 at Barksdale AFB. This Soldier was born the year previous to our departure from Barksdale. The celebration was outdoors on the field where the 4th of July party was held. They had several booths of homemade crafts, free food provided by local businesses and an hour of music by the army band and other local artists. Of course, Santa came at the conclusion of the festivities. After the festivities they lit a huge bonfire.

After we left we met the Anthony family at the bowling alley and had a fun game of bowling. Can you believe Sister Gowans won the match. She out scored us all. She must have been half asleep. Now she is in bed reveling in her sweet victory.

Here are some photos of the evening.

 Sisters Mack and Powers selling their homemade crafts
 Sister Walker
 The Walker girls
 Sister Berry and Sister Gowans visiting the reindeer.
 The penguins would pop up and down
 Oops, Santa's taking a bath.
 This was the candy tent. The sink and jars in the back ground are painted on the wall!
 The craft tents
 The stage
 The grandstands
 The bonfire

 Local talent singing
 A preschool choir
 The unlit tree
 Brother Walker about to sing
 The brigade commander
 The children's preschool choir
 The lit tree
 Brother Walker singing. He is a great vocalist.
 Mr. and Mrs. Clause

 The bonfire just getting started.
 Elder Berry
 The bonfire underway.
 Elder and Sister Berry
 The bonfire well underway.

 The surrounding area.
A group of AIT students in the bleachers.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This morning we accomplished our regularly weekly service at the Library. Although, we had not been there for two weeks, we were able to pickup right where we left off. Two weeks ago we had transfers, then this past week it was Thanksgiving and so the Library was closed. Sister Gowans went through and reorganized the children's section, which always needs help and Elder Gowans inventoried several hundred DVDs, he made it over half way through their entire inventory.

Immediately after we finished at the Library, we headed over to Sister Westbrook's apartment to teach her a new member lesson. We reviewed with her the importance of keeping the commandments of God and then reviewed several of the most important commandments, those commandments that will help us be worthy to enter the temple.

This evening we had a nice visit with a family we learned about only a month ago. We had been trying to get over to see them, but there had been illness in the home. We had a nice visit and then, as we always do, we left them with a scriptural thought and a prayer. After our visit completed Elder Gowans had a presidency meeting with the Branch Presidency at the Friendship chapel. It lasted for about 90 minutes, there is a lot to discuss with the organization of this new Branch.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

We have had a full day today. This morning we met with our 4 other missionaries in our district up at the Friendship chapel on Post for our weekly DDM. This is the first one conducted by our new District Leader, Elder Bagley. We were asked to train on "Our Purpose". We emphasized the importance and need to teach by the Spirit. We reminded them what we had been taught by Elder Bednar, "To Listen, Observe, Discern, Then Teach by the Spirit". We gave them a couple of scenarios to help them practice following those steps.

After our DDM, we headed over to sister Westbrook's place to teach her a third new member lesson. Today we discussed with her the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We enjoy visiting with her; she is a fine young lady.

Then this evening we had a nice visit with two more families. The Gonzales and James families. One lives in the Harlem Ward boundaries and the other in Martinez Ward, so there was a lot of traveling done tonight. We have truly met some wonderful people as we make these visits. We love them very much and simply wish we could spend more time with them, but with around 150 families to reach out to, visit and so forth, it becomes impossible. We have to narrow our focus down to those who have the greatest needs.

Monday, November 26, 2012

On Sunday we had received a frantic text message from our friend and student Sister Sousa. She had discovered that she hadn't enough money to get her to the airport. We told her that we would take her. So we arose at 3:10 am this morning, dressed and headed up to the Post. We picked her up and then drove to the airport, only about 10 miles away or so. After arrival and after helping her get her bags into the ticketing area we learned that she really had no idea how to proceed to get her ticket. We also learned that she had no idea that her bags, being all Pro Gear, should not be assessed the luggage fee. So we being there saved her a lot of head ache and frustration. We later learned that she arrived safely at her new location, Ft. Bliss, TX.

This afternoon we worked on our training assignment for DDM tomorrow and also for our last Book of Mormon Institute class. Next week, we will begin a study of Church History and the Doctrine and Covenants.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A young fellow whom we visited during the week, Ned, showed up to church today. All it takes sometimes, is just a little nudge. He seemed to enjoy himself and enjoy being at church. Our branch president put him right to work by asking him to say the opening prayer in Sacrament meeting.

After church we did a few cold calls on people whom we don't have telephone numbers on or who never answer their phones when we call. We found one family at home and made an appointment for Wednesday. Then we found another lady home and found her husband just got shipped over to Kuwait. So we made an appointment with her for Saturday. It pays to be out and about! Heavenly Father always has people for us to find and meet.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

This morning, as is our weekly tradition, we went out to visit our soldiers out on Post. We began our visit hoping to find a certain young man, but instead found another, Brother McKinney. He is a fine young man, his problem is that he does not have a consistent battle buddy that will come to church with him. The company NCOs will not allow us to drive him over to church, we acting as his battle buddy. This is one of the big problems we have encountered, many of the companies apply the rules so differently that it gives us problems. Sometimes different NCOs within each company apply the rules differently, too. We had a nice visit with Brother McKinney; he went down to the other fellow's room who we came to see, but he was asleep in bed. We were able to get around and find a few others who we hoped to find and encourage them to come out to church, and to give them a hand of fellowship and love.

We then drove up to the church to witness a baptism of a young 9 year old boy whose parents have recently come back into activity. We had a nice service for him and he seemed to be really happy. The parents, too, were elated to see this significant event take place.

This afternoon, Elder Gowans attended his first Branch Presidency meeting as the Branch Executive Secretary. We will meet regularly on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 pm. Now that we have met most of the military families in the stake, we can begin to use our evenings for other purposes. Interesting how this call came just as we had visited nearly every military home in the stake.

This evening we attended the Nutcracker Ballet. The Mitton family, with home we have been working, have two children who are a part of the cast. We went to show them our love and support and also to enjoy a nice evening out. It was very well done and we enjoyed watching these two young people perform. They were very happy to see us after the show and know that we had come out to support them.

Friday, November 23, 2012

We had a real fine lesson this evening from Moroni chapters 8 and 9. We discussed the topic of infant baptism along with many of the associated principles and doctrines that Mormon discusses with his son, Moroni. One of the sisters had an ahah moment as we discussed verse 15 of chapter 8. Just as Elder Gowans was about to teach the principle here, the Spirit inspired the following thought, "As an infant you don't have the agency to choose whether or not you are baptized, it is the parents decision. As an adult you have the agency and you have the opportunity to choose. So how could God be a just God in requiring an infant to be baptized, when there is no agency on the part of the infant to choose?" The entire plan of salvation rests on, 1. Jesus Christ and His atonement, and 2. Our ability to choose right from wrong, our agency!

The next topic was from chapter 9, Anger! We discussed how anger is a choice. When angered we are really reacting to a previous input. For example, if someone lies to me, my first reaction might be betrayal; and with that anger may follow, "To think, he betrayed me!" So, I allow, I choose to become angry. Rather, I could choose to act in another way. I could choose simply to say, "I'm sorry, you lied to me; why would you do that?" Anger gives way to the devil having more power over us than the Spirit of God; when we choose to be angry, we choose to give over our self-control to the devil and he begins to take charge over us. This is why we see such terrible destruction among the Book of Mormon people, they allowed their anger to erode away their agency. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

We have had a very nice Thanksgiving day. It begin this morning with the Grovetown Ward Turkey Bowl played up on the post, around 25 people showed up, which made for a real fun time. We played for about an hour and a half. After the game we came home and got busy making the Sweet Potato Casserole for our Thanksgiving Dinner at the Fordham's. As soon as that was done we loaded up the pies, the whipping cream and the casserole and headed up to the post to check out the all the students who wanted to go. We ended up with 6 young men and 1 young woman who went. We were able to transport them in the Chaplain's van down to the Fordham's. They all had a good time. We were at their home for about 3 hours. There was a lot of good food and a lot of good people there. Now it is time to rest.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

This morning we took our friend, Elder Clark, to transfer meeting. He was transferred to Greenville, SC. He will be a junior Zone Leader there. We will miss his diligence in doing the Lord's work. I'm sure, however, that Elder Oviatt and his new companion will keep the fire going. We stopped off at one of our favorite delis on the way home so we could all get a bite of lunch. So we have two new Elders serving in our District, it will be great to get to know and work with them. They are Elders Butler and Bagley.

This afternoon we attended the graduation of one of our AIT students, Sister Carlie Sousa. When she first arrived we received notice from her basic training base that she was arriving, so on the following Saturday we set out to find her. As we were walking through the barracks a young lady comes up to us and introduces herself, of course it was Carlie. We have grown to love this stalwart young lady. She has been such a pleasure getting to know and visit with. We love her and will miss her. Fortunately for us, she does not leave until next week, so we will have her for a few more days.

This evening we visited a young man who will deploy this next year. He is single and is not a motivated church goer. We encouraged him to use his time away to build himself spiritually and to take a good look at his life and build a sound structure on his foundation of Jesus Christ.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We are so thankful for the mission we are called to serve. We have met many great families. We hope that we are doing some good. We love the Lord, we are thankful for his great atoning sacrifice that He has made for us that we might live if we repent, are faithful to our covenants and endure to the end of our lives in faithful service.

The following are some photos from Transfer day and of sister Sousa.

 Above and below, transfer dinner at the Berry's. Elders Clark, Oviatt and Schwartz. Sisters, Bell, Kophfel, Stimeli, and Roos.
 Below: Transfer Day
 Elder Clark

 Hmmm, how we going to get all this stuff in the car?

 Sister Sousa.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

This evening we had a wonderful visit with our friends who we wrote about in our weekly letter last week. We discussed Moroni chapter 7 for nearly an hour and a half and then we gave them our predeployment briefing, which lasted about a half an hour. We could see the Spirit fill his mind and heart with answers and solutions to many of his concerns. We would read a passage or to and then we would ask what he thought and how that would help him. We discussed how we can be peaceable followers of Christ and walk peaceably with our fellowman and still go to war. We discussed how important it is for us to lay our problems at the feet of our Savior and then to move forward with faith. It turned out to be a blessed evening for all of us.

Afterward we went to dinner with some friends who both serve in the military, the Slack family. We love them and enjoy their company. We ate at a nice little Mexican Restaurant. Three of us ate Fajitas, and one who will go unnamed ate a cheesy burrito.
Tomorrow is another Transfer day. We will take up three missionaries and bring home four.

Monday, November 19, 2012

It has been a day and a half! It all began this morning with our Red Cross Service; then we taught a new member lesson to Sister Westbrook. Afterwards, Elder Gowans mowed Sister Edmundson's yard, probably the last time for the year. After finishing he drove on out to Harlem to pickup the four sister missionaries and drove them into the transfer dinner where we ate delicious hamburgers hot off the grill. After that Elder Gowans drove them back to Harlem (an 18 mile trip one way) and then back to pick up sister Gowans for FHE. Now it is time for bed.

 A little love letter from our missionaries.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Today was the first full meetings of the new Fort Gordon Branch. Elder Gowans was sustained and set a part as the Branch Executive Secretary, a position he has never held before so this will be a new experience for him. We also said good bye to two of our AIT students, they will be leaving this week. Brother Forman and Sister Sousa. We will miss them.

 On Thursday we took Elder Nielson up to the Mission Home for his departure home. Above is the Grovetown and South Augusta Elders in their apartment. Below, Elder Nielson and us.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

As we do on all Saturday mornings, we headed up to the post to find 3 AIT students whose names we had received over the past couple of days. We found one of the young men; he is in the same company as 3 other LDS young men. We had a quick, but nice visit with him as he was on detail. We informed him of the others in his company and later informed one of them of his presence in the company. Hopefully they will all gather together tomorrow and come out. We found what companies the other two are in, but unfortunately, since they had just arrived the day before they were out touring the post. We left a card for them with our name and number on it so they could get in touch with us.

This evening we visited a family of 6 who we had met a couple of  months ago in church, but they haven't been back since. They were stuck living in a small hotel room for about two months while their house was being built, but now they are in their home, and it is a beautiful home. Their home cost $162,000, in Utah around us, it would be at least $250,000. We had a nice visit with them. After there we went by the home of one of our sisters whose husband is deployed, but she wasn't home; so we went to another sister's home whose husband is also gone and she and her 3 children were home, so we had a nice visit with them. It is nice when they say, "Your visit is just what we needed".

After church we have a linger-longer, where we all enjoy visiting each other.

Friday, November 16, 2012

This evening's Institute class was wonderful. We had a great turnout and a new fellow showed up who just arrived for a rotation at the hospital. We studied Moroni 7 and took nearly an hour and a half to cover all material. Afterward, one of the soldiers came up and said, "That was great, it was just what I needed to hear". We discussed what it meant to walk peaceably with our fellowmen and to be a peaceable follower of Christ. We went through the entire chapter covering the material with this theme in mind including the instructions from Mormon on the topic of Faith, Hope and Charity. It turned out real nice.

 Brother Woodley
 Sister Adamson
 President and Sister Estep
Sister Arnett

Thursday, November 15, 2012

This morning we took it easy to give Sister Gowans an opportunity to feel better. This afternoon we visited with the Estep family; he has been called to serve as our Branch President on Fort Gordon. Elder Gowans will be serving as his Executive Secretary. So they had a lot to talk about. Afterward, Elder Gowans went to help a family load up their moving van so they could put all their stuff in storage.

This evening we went out to Grovetown to meet a family we had met once before, but we were not able to get with the Husband; so we thought it was about time to go back out and try again. This time we were successful and had a nice visit with him.

 Standing at the front door and looking right you can see our spacious front room.
 Standing at the front door and looking left you can see our kitchen.
 Standing by the chair in the first photo, you can see our dining room.
 Looking straight ahead you can see our couch and front door.
Looking straight ahead from our front door you can see our hallway. Our bedroom is all the way back to the right; the hall bath is on the left. Our office is in the room just short of our bedroom.