Monday, December 31, 2012

We learned yesterday that 3 of our current Elders serving in the area will be transferred out on Wednesday and that two will not be replaced. Also, that the car they are using will be moved to another area. Our one remaining Elder and his new companion, who ever it will be, will be left to cover two huge areas, to include the Post and without a car. We have committed our assistance to them to help them cover this large area by making sure they have transportation up into Grovetown, which is around 10 miles away from their apartment.

Since most of them are leaving we took them bowling this afternoon. We had a good time together. Photos to follow!

We also learned that President Holm has asked that we no longer hold the transfer dinner; so we did not hold it today, rather Elder and Sister Berry, the two of us and one set of Elders all had a New Years' Eve dinner together.

After dinner we went out to Sister Arnett's place for Family Home Evening and watched the movie, "Silent Night". We had a nice time with her. She treated us to Hot Chocolate and a muffin-like sweet bread with butter and jam. Tomorrow is the New Year!

 Elder Oviatt above and Elder Butler below.

 Elder Schwartz above and Elder Bagley below.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

This evening after church, we went to visit the Murray family. Husband/dad, is getting ready to deploy on Thursday or Friday. We went to see if there is any last minute things we can do to help. He is very anxious and we hope that with all our combined faith and prayers and with a priesthood blessing, that his heart and mind will be put to rest and he will be able to go forward with faith and confidence that all will be well with both himself and his family.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

At noon we assembled with a few others and witnessed the baptism of a young 8 year old girl named Brianna. She just turned 8 years old and wanted to be baptized. Now you may think this is  not unusual, but it is, her parents are not members. She has two older siblings who were baptized a couple of months ago, but she could not because she was not old enough. As you can imagine, she has been waiting on pins and needles for her birthday so she could be baptized. We are still waiting on mom and dad, eventually they will be ready too. Does the scripture, "A little child shall lead them" ring a bell?

Afterwards we met in our Missionary Correlation meeting and then we took two of our missionaries and met with a fellow who is in the military and had expressed a desire to learn about the church. We had a nice discussion about the Book of Mormon. He had several questions that needed answering and so we did our best to satisfy his questions. He seems to be very honest and sincere in wanting to learn. We will see him again on New Year's Day.

Friday, December 28, 2012

By looking at our Institute class this evening, we can sure tell all the students are still at home enjoying their Christmas Holiday. We will miss those who have finished their training and gone on to bigger and better things. Jacob, who has been so faithful in coming out for the past 6 months, Rubin, the Bakers, the Allreds, but we look forward to seeing those who will be returning.

We looked at the life of Joseph Smith from the time of his first vision up through the time he published the Book of Mormon to see how the Lord had prepared, nurtured and tutored him to take on the role of Prophet of the Restoration. Then we likened those events to our own lives to see if we can see how the Lord has prepared, nurtured and tutored us along the way to take on the roles we are serving in now and how we will be prepared for future roles. I believe it was quite effective! We also learned some new things about the Prophet's time of preparation. As you read various accounts that he gave and that have been recorded by his associates, you will learn some very interesting things.

This morning Elder Gowans took the young Elders and helped the Campbell family move from the Martinez ward down to a house on Post. We arrived at his new home around 1030 and worked until we were done, which was about 1230. They purchased some Wendy's hamburgers and fries and so we all ate lunch together; from there we went to visit a fellow in a special nursing home who is recovering from brain injuries suffered during a car accident. Just after arriving at the Campbell's home, Elder Gowans received a phone call from our Elder's Quorum President asking if we would take the assignment to go visit him and give him a blessing. We did just that. We met him and his mother and father. We visited for a few minutes, gave him the blessing and then went on our way.

At that time the young Elders had an appointment to be up in Grovetown for a meeting with one of our members, so Elder Gowans drove them up there and dropped them off. He asked them how they were going to get home, they said they would walk. Well, that was unacceptable. It is about 10 miles from there to their apartment. So he asked them to call him when they were ready to return to their apartment; he would then go get them and take them home. It was 2130 when they all got home; we had some soup leftover from Institute, so we made sure they had their fill and then headed on home. It has been a good day!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

We resumed our family visits today. This evening we went out to visit Vickie, even though she is not military, she works in the Post library and is a member of the branch. We had a nice visit with her. She is 60 years old, single and so I'm sure she appreciated the visit.

This afternoon we put in the final touches on our Institute lesson; we will be studying the Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon. Should be a very interesting lesson.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We took today as a day of rest. No, not a Sabbath day of rest, simply a day off to rest. We did some house cleaning, a 30 minute work out at the gym and basically rested. This evening, Elder Gowans worked up a real good outline for Friday's institute class. He can't rest too long!

Dallin Skyped us for a while, it is always nice to talk to you Dallin! We love you.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It has been a wonderful Christmas day. It has been a joy to skype with all of our children and grandchildren. it has been a lot of fun to see each of you. We can tell that there has been a lot of growth going on over the past 7 months. We especially noticed a big change with Grace, Charlie, Asher and Zac. We love you all so much!

Thank you all for your precious gifts, but the most precious gift of all is the gift of the goodness of your lives.

We went and picked up Elders Bagley and Schwartz so they could use our computer to skype their families. It was great to see the excitement in their eyes and the eyes of their families. Then we went over to the Berry's ate a great Christmas dinner with them and Jessy and Aaron and Tiffany. Afterwards we played some games and then did more skyping.

Merry Christmas everyone!
 Arron and Tiffany
 Elders Bagley and Schwartz
 Elder and Sister Berry

Jessy Salas in the middle

Monday, December 24, 2012

This morning we finished our delivery of Christmas cards and our Christmas message to our military families. Included in this small group was two families whom we had yet had the opportunity to meet. The first family, simply busy with life, always failed to get back to us and seemed never around to answer the phone when we called. However, they were very willing for us to come by and visit in the near future. The second family, the husband works at Fort Bragg and then comes home on the weekends. He said they will be moving to Colorado Springs come spring time. They were very willing to have us come by, in fact we made an appointment with them for two weeks down the road.

This afternoon we went to a Christmas Eve party at the Fordham residence; we were there along with several other families. We ate a lot of "finger food" played  some fun games and then visited for a while and then headed home where we awaited some skype time with our children. Rosalee and David helped us join in the Neal Christmas Eve party by bringing along their new tablet by which means they could get internet connection and we could talk and visit with many of the family members. It was nice to visit with many of our family whom we love.

Here are some photos of today's events:

The Fordhams,our host family; they also hosted the Thanksgiving party we told you about last month.
The Norris family

 Sister Norris made this wonderful vegetable Christmas tree. The dipping sauce was underneath the vegetables.

One of the games we played required us to stack 5 apples on top of each other.  You can see the progress below.

 The Kendall family, Former Army now Civilian contractor
  These two families are friends and neighbors of the Fordhams.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

After our church services today, we headed back out on the road to personally deliver more Christmas cards and our Christmas message of love and gratitude to our military families in the Grovetown and Harlem Wards. We knocked on one door and the husband asked if I would give his wife a blessing; it is nice to be at the right place at the right time and know that Heavenly Father is directing our efforts.

Here are a few more photos:

 This brother has been called to serve as a Mission President. He and his wife will serve beginning in July.
 Six of our lovely sisters

 One of our new missionary couples
 President and Sister Holm
 Sister Rothman
Our Zone leaders

Saturday, December 22, 2012

This morning around 0900 we drove out to the east side of Augusta and began delivering Christmas cards along with a personal message of love and gratitude for each family. We went from their to North Augusta, SC and from their back to Augusta where we spent the majority of the day. At lunch time we ate a small lunch at Chili's. We didn't count how many we delivered, but I would guess around 50 or so. From Augusta we drove on into Grovetown. We found most people home, we had to tape the card to about a dozen homes since they weren't home. We enjoyed our quick visits. We stayed and visited a little longer at a few homes, but most was quick, right on the door step. It was good to reacquaint ourselves with many, remind ourselves of where they live, and even what they look like. Often we both remembered different things about each family and often we would make the comment that we didn't realize that this is where we were or that we didn't realize how this looked in the day light. We had a good time.

More photos!

 Missionaries knocking on doors: Above, knocking into a party; below knocking on Scrooge's door
 Scrooge shewed them away and went to sleep

 Scrooge awakened by the ghost of Christmas present, warning him that he had better listen to the missionaries.
 Scrooge finds the missionaries, requests baptism, is baptized and now knows the true meaning of Christmas and wishes all a Merry and white Christmas; they all then sing, White Christmas.

 Shots from a couple of other skits.

Friday, December 21, 2012

This evening we went out to eat at a place called Bobby's BBQ up in Aiken. While there and about the time we were all finishing eating Elder Gowans received a phone call from Elder Tippetts one of our Augusta Ward Missionaries. He said he received a call from a lady whose fiance was in ICU and was asking for a blessing for him. After our drive back, we stopped at the Estep's house to drop everyone off; while there Sister Estep who had been suffering from the flu earlier in the week requested a blessing and then one of the other ladies also requested one. So, before we went to the hospital we gave two blessings.  President Estep and Elder Gowans then left for the hospital to find this Brother Nap. We finally found him and administered to him.

On the way home Elder Gowans called Elder Tippetts to ask him how they got his number. In the course of our discussion we learned that the fiance and this Brother Nap had, many months ago, been meeting with our predecessor, the Atkinsons. She, the fiance, called them, they gave her a number, which happened to be the phone that Elder Tippetts had, which used to be the Zone Leader's phone. So he called us and that is how it all came to pass. We will be following up with him and her to see how they are doing and find out who is the member and who is not, or if they both are, or what their current status is.

Here are some more photos:

 Sister Brand
 Sister Rothman
 Our new missionary couple who just arrived the day before the Conference. They used to own a stationary store in the ZCMI mall and were my brother Mike's boss.
 Sister Gardner, could be a relative.
 A crowded hall of missionaries.
 A quartet.
 Two of our sisters
 Above and below are three photos of our district's skit. It was a combination of "A Christmas Carol" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas".

Thursday, December 20, 2012

We wrote more Christmas cards today to deliver them to our military families on Saturday. We will most likely spend most of the day delivering cards. We have them all organized by area along with maps to everyone's home.

Here are some more photos from our Christmas conference yesterday:

 A group of great Sister Missionaries. With the age change we will see the number of sister missionaries serving increase to equal the number of Elders serving.
 Elders Ultra and Tonga
 Elders Bagley and Schwartz
 A group of Elders

 Elder and Sister France
 Sister Berry with Sister Gowans
 A chapel full of missionaries
Elder and Sister Berry