Tuesday, April 30, 2013

This morning we met, once again, with Sister Janssen who will be baptized on Saturday. Her husband is deployed, but she says he is fully supportive of her decision. We hope that once he returns from his deployment, that he will desire to learn more about the Gospel.

Elder Gowans attended his monthly Chaplain's meeting. Interestingly enough, of all the faith groups that meet on post, we and the Islam representative were the only nonmilitary people there. No Catholics, no Wican/Pagan, and several others.

This evening we went out for a second try to meet with the family who forgot we were coming last week and had gone to the temple. We should up for our appointment tonight and guess what? They were gone again, and guess where to? You guessed it, the Temple! Oh, well, maybe they have a real urgent need to get family work done in the temple; so that is great! Afterward, we went around and popped in on some families and had a quick visit with them.

Monday, April 29, 2013

We had a well attended FHE  today. The young Elders brought a new convert with them; Brother Voorhees brought a friend with him who has been studying the Gospel and has committed to being baptized on the 12th of May. Then another young lady came who the young missionaries brought last week; she is a recent graduate of BYU and has committed to coming to FHE every week. We usually have a short lesson, then play a game. Quite often we play Apples to Apples; it is a fun game, if you've never tried it, you ought to.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Our Sabbath Day began at 0730 this morning with our Ward Missionary Correlation Meeting at our Augusta Chapel. Here we discuss those who are investigating the church and how we can all support their efforts.

Afterwards, we came home and did our scripture study then went back for our church meetings. The Augusta ward is putting to good use all the members that were transferred in with the boundary change. Today several were sustained in new callings, including a new Elder's Quorum President.

From our meetings in the Augusta ward, we grabbed a bite to eat and then headed up to the Post to attend our Branch meetings. We had a wonderful turnout, many of our soldiers came to include some new folks who were there for the first time. We also have two young men who are investigating the church; we hope that they continue to do the things that will build their testimonies, pray, study their scriptures and come to church.

After our branch meetings we went to visit some of our members on post; the Walker family is getting ready to separate from the Army. He is a musician, a wonderful singer. Brother Walker, will attend FSU to obtain his doctorate in music arts. We will miss his beautiful family. We also visited the Wooley family and Marshal Anthony and found out he will be out of the army in 3 weeks. The Wooley family is planning on moving to St. George where they have family. We wish them the best also.

We have lots of families to visit, many of them live near each other in neighborhoods around the area, so when we are in such an area, we try to drop in on as many as we can find home and see how they are doing.
 At Zone conference on Tuesday, it was time to inspect mission vehicles. So here we are doing our inspections.

Elder Decker in his ACUs

Saturday, April 27, 2013

This morning we drove up to post as normal, but today would be different. The stake had a Women's Conference, so we were hoping that some of our Sister Soldiers would want to go. All had declined to attend except one; so we went up with the hope that she would show up. She was on Fireguard duty all night, but we assume she didn't make it past the bed. We don't blame her. Sister Gowans took the car and drove up to the Stake Center, Elder Gowans stayed behind and visited many soldiers. At 1100 the Brigade held an appreciation BBQ for all the soldiers in the Brigade, which consists of mostly students. All who helped out last Christmas with the feeding of 3600 soldiers as they left for Holiday Block Leave were given a certificate of appreciation. Several of us from the branch received a certificate. They served ribs, fish, hamburgers, hot dogs, beans, hush puppies and drinks. It was a nice affair. 

After the BBQ was completed and the Stake Women's Conference concluded, Sister Gowans picked up Elder Gowans and we drove home and prepared for our evening adventures. We had an appointment at 1800 in an area where we have several families, three with husbands who are gone, two part member families and a couple of others. So we left early from the apartment and stopped in to see all the families we could. We had short, but nice visits with most of them. We love these families! The Stott family with whom we had the appointment was feeding the Spanish Elders when we arrived. After they left we had a short visit with the Stotts. She is from the Dominican Republic, hence that is why the Spanish Elders were there. They have two cute little girls. Sister Stott is in the process of becoming a citizen, they simply need to send in the paper work and then go through the tests and other processes to get it complete. It has been a fine day!

Friday, April 26, 2013

This afternoon we had the opportunity to meet two of our young Elders and take them up to the Post to meet with Sister Janssen. We met with her a week ago last Monday, so it has been about 11 days or so since we met with her that first time. When we entered her home having not seen her for those 11 days we were amazed at how much she has grown spiritually. She has been studying, praying, learning and growing spiritually. It was incredible the difference that these 11 days had made. When we met with the missionaries the first time she knew literally nothing about God, religion, and Jesus; now she talks and responds to our discussions almost as a seasoned veteran. It is incredible what the Holy Spirit can do when a person gives her or himself over to Him to be taught.

This evening we had another very nice institute class. We discussed Law as found in Section 42 of the Doctrine and Covenants. The Lord promised His people that He would reveal the Law to them that would be necessary to build up Zion and for us to become a Zion people. We had a small, but good group of people in attendance.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

This evening we went out to meet a new family and when we arrived at the home, the lady of house's mother answered the door. She is from Brazil and speaks very little English. So she called her daughter on the phone and handed us the phone. He answered and said that they forgot we were coming and were at the Columbia, SC Temple. If we are going to be forgotten, the temple is a good thing to put in our place.

As a result we went to visit a couple of families we hadn't seen for a while. The Edmundsons was the first. It was her lawn that Elder Gowans mowed all summer long while her husband was deployed. He is home now and the baby they were expecting is 2 months old. What a cutie she is. Dark black hair and a complexion to match her mothers. While there, they told us that they may be transferred to England this summer. That sounds very exciting.

We then went to see the Escobido family. We had an enjoyable visit with them and had several good laughs, sister Escobido is quite a funny lady. Her husband Manuel, is occasionally the one being laughed about. We love them and hope we can assist them in getting to the temple someday.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

This afternoon we attended Brother Voorhees' graduation from AIT. He has been a very fine asset to our programs. He and Brother Palmer try to attend all of our activities. Elders Heywood and Litwack came also; they are our missionary pair who support us on Post.

This evening we went to visit Brother Delong. He is a wonderful man who is currently coming back into activity in the church. He received his scriptures that we helped him purchase last week, so we walked him through them from front to back, showing him all the different tools in the scriptures that will help make the scriptures more meaningful.

I took some photos at the graduation; I also took some photos outside of the Signal Towers so you can see what the Post looks like from the tallest building on Post, other than the hospital.
 This Cannon was made from Church Bells during the Civil war to help assist the war effort.
 The Signal Towers is the main classroom for all the AIT students. It is named "Signal Tower" as the Soldiers are called "Signal Soldiers".
 In front of the Signal Towers are these two auditoriums, where most of the graduations are held.
 One of the newly refurbished barracks where our AIT students live.
 The Mall
 An old barracks undergoing refurbishment.
 The main street down through the Post. It is called Chamberlain. You are looking easterly.
 Brother Voorhees
 Elder Litwack, Brother Voorhees and Elder Heywood.
 You know who!
 Their company all formed up prior to marching back to the barracks.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Today was Zone Conference. It was held in the Augusta building, which is near by, so we didn't have to travel far. During the morning session much of the topic was on change and how important it is to our growth and development throughout our life and into the next life. The afternoon session was centered around desire and how we can help people we meet gain a desire to learn about and study the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how we ourselves can gain greater desire to do what the Lord expects of us.

After the Zone Conference we took the Putnams, who are the Military Relations Couple at Fort Jackson, up to Fort Gordon and showed them around. They really enjoyed seeing the Post. They said it was much nicer than Fort Jackson. They said that on average they have around 10,000 soldiers in Basic Training at any given time. I believe there is 5 Basic Training bases and I have no idea if they are all the same size in terms of numbers, but you can see there are a lot of soldiers being trained every 2 months or so.

Here are some photos from our Zone Conference:
 Lunch is served
 Some of our fine young missionaries

 Sister Lee who did all the work in setting up lunch for us
Elder Litwack from Alaska and Elder Heywood behind him 

 Elder Faleao and sister Lee, looks like a serious discussion

 Our fine Sister missionaries

 and one missionary couple
 The Putnams and the Holms
 We had a shooting contest, Higher Sister Gowans, she did make her 3rd and last attempt!

 Elder Gowans made his 3rd and last attempt too, but then went on to win the contest! Can you believe it?

 My Cousin, Sister Gardner

 Can you tell by her form that she played High School basket ball? 

We had a lot of fun!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Not too much going on today. We accomplished our Red Cross service this morning and then delivered letters to our female soldiers to give them permission to attend our Stake's Women's Conference this Saturday morning. Hopefully they will want to come out.

This evening we attended our FHE we had 7 people there to include a young lady who just recently graduated from BYU and now is out here hoping to find work as an editor, sound familiar Adam?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

This morning we attended our first meetings with the Augusta ward. In the past the Augusta ward always met at 1300 so we were never able to attend since it conflicted with the Branch meetings on Post. Since the realignment of boundaries and the Grovetown ward moving to the Harlem building and their meeting time changing to 1300, the Augusta ward, all alone in their building, moved their meeting time to 1000. So today being the day that their meeting time changed, we began attending their meetings. All members living on Fort Gordon now attends the Augusta ward. We can only attend for two hours, after which we need to get on our way up to the Branch meetings.

This evening, after our meetings ended, we visited with the Sanders family. Eylana, the 8 year old daughter, is wanting to be baptized. We completed the lessons with her this evening and now she will simply wait until her dad returns from his deployment in June; after which her family will come into town and she will be baptized.

This evening, Elder Gowans attended High Priest Quorum meeting and then a Stake General Priesthood meeting, generally held twice a year.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

This morning our young Elders joined us as we went to visit our Soldiers out on Post. We were able to meet a new fellow who just arrived yesterday on Post, he is not a member, but had been studying the Gospel while at basic training at Fort Jackson. He is excited to be here and wants to continue to study and eventually be baptized.

We also attended a baptism this morning of a family who the missionaries, including ourselves, had been working with for quite sometime. We are very happy for  them. You may remember in a past post that Elder Gowans had taken a fellow over to Aiken to get his birth certificate; they are the family that was baptized.

This evening we held our monthly FRG. We had a much better turnout today than last month. We had everyone bring a foreign food, then Elder Gowans gave a class on gardening. We focused on container gardening and put together some fun little containers, to include an old pair of shoes.

Friday, April 19, 2013

This evening we enjoyed a fine institute lesson taken from the 37th and 38th sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. In the Cause of Zion, preparing a people for the 2nd Coming of the Lord, we learned that in order for us to become a Zion people, we need to make sure we take good care of each other. Taking care of the poor and the needy and seeing that their needs are met; looking after the widow, the orphan, the fatherless, the sick, those in prison and so forth, is all a very important part of learning to become a Zion people and preparing ourselves for the Lord's 2nd coming. How can we all become one in Christ, if we are not one now or at least striving to become one. Being one in our marriages, in our families, in our communities of faith. Christ commands that we be one and if we are not one we are not His.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

This morning Elder Gowans took the car in for an oil change, tire rotation and inspection of vital parts. Happily it passed with no problems. Then this afternoon he accomplished his first lawn mowing of the season. Sister Stock, whose lawn he mowed from time-to-time last season, has moved to a new rental home with her children. Now they have a yard that is a little larger, but much of the grass is in a flood plain and so remains quite wet. So all he needed to mow was the dry areas. It took about an hour.

This evening we visited one of our very fun families, the Mack family. He will deploy sometime in July; so now is the time to start preparations. We gave them our predeployment briefing which covers many of the important spiritual preparations that need to be done prior to family separation. We spent about 30 minutes with them and then we went to visit brother Delong, whom we have mentioned before in our blog. We discussed with him in basic terms the laws of mercy and justice, the atonement, and judgement. Then we discussed with him the importance of reading and studying the Book of Mormon. He committed from that night forward to read and study this marvelous work and a wonder. From his home we went up to Sister Arnett's home. She called and asked for a blessing; so we told her we would come up after our appointments. We spent an hour with her visiting and sister Gowans was able to give her some good tips on taking some medication and helping her body ease into them. Elder Gowans gave her the blessing and then we left for home.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

This morning we accomplished our library service. We were off there for nearly 3 months as it was going through extensive remodeling. Elder Gowans conducts inventory while Sister Gowans does shelf reading; or making sure the books are in the correct order.

This afternoon we attended a graduation for the Ordinance soldiers. Most of the students that come through here are Signal Students, but we have a small group who are in the Ordinance Battalion. We had two LDS soldiers who graduated, we saw on the roster there was a young fellow from Farr West, UT, we wondered if he might be LDS too, if he was he never let anyone know.
 Brother Bailey in the center with two of his buddies.
Brother Thompson
This evening we had a real nice visit with a family who recently arrived in the area. He is a Major in the army and is going through field grade officer school here. He will be here about 7 months, then they will move on again. They attend the Harlem ward. They have no children, so we invited them to come out to our FHE and Institute class. We also invited them to come out to the FRG on Saturday. Also this evening we took Brother Woodley up to Home Depot again. This is the 3rd time. He is doing a lot of things in his home and he doesn't have a driver's licence, so he has to depend on others to drive him here and there. So for the past week or two he has been calling upon us, which is fine. We are happy to assist.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Today has been a busy, but fun day! It all began this morning when we attended our weekly District Development Meeting at the Chapel. The meeting lasted from 10:30 to about noon. From there we headed home, grabbed some lunch and then took our young missionaries to an appointment on base. We met with a young lady from Alaska. She is the wife of a deployed soldier in Iraq. She heard of the church from her good LDS friends. She knows little about religion, about our Savior or God. The young Elders did a good job beginning her education. As she listened to and participated in the lesson you could tell the Spirit was working on her; at the conclusion of the lesson, she committed to be baptized early next month. She has a lot of learning ahead of her, but it will be exciting and very rewarding for her.

After the appointment with Sister Janssen, we dropped the missionaries off at their car and then we headed to Brother Woodley's home to take him shopping at Home Depot. We also did some shopping for us for the FRG Saturday. Elder Gowans will teach a gardening class. We got Brother Woodley back just in time for us to go directly to an appointment with the Wagstaff family out in Harlem, they are in the Navy. We knocked on her door about 30 seconds late. Sister Wagstaff let us in, but apologized as she had forgotten about a baseball game he was involved in. We had a real nice visit with her. She is very sweet with a kind and gentle personality. We got to know her and talked a lot about our various experiences. While giving the thought, Elder Gowans asked her what she thought of when she thought of Heaven. She began to weep and we learned that her parents have not been getting along well. We talked about somethings she could do that might help, particularly since she will be going home for her youngest sister's high school graduation. We did the best we could to encourage her and we said our goodbyes and left.

From there we went to the Estep's, our Branch President for a Home Teaching Visit. We had a nice visit with them, talked shop a little and straightened out some things, Sister Gowans gave them a good lesson and then we left for home.

We have had a fine day.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Another tragic day for our world as terrorists struck a senseless blow to the Boston Marathon. We wonder why, why would people do this? What do they hope to accomplish? There is so much evil in the world. The world needs the gospel of Jesus Christ. It needs the peace that comes from knowing who we are, that we are children, sons and daughters of God, who loves us. He loves us so tremendously that He gave us our agency, whereby we become agents to ourselves, free to choose our path in life, whether good or evil. We have all been hurt by those who choose to do evil, we have all been blessed by those who choose to do good. Without agency nothing would be possible, neither good nor evil. God must allow us to choose for ourselves, so that His judgments will be just and so that we can see what kind of people we truly are; are we the kind of person who will choose to do what is right, choose to do good, choose to love, choose to be selfless? Or are we the opposite. Whatever we are, we will learn, God will judge us righteously according to the works we do while in this sphere of existence. Someday peace will be the way of life, Jesus will be our King, we will be His faithful followers and we will enjoy all the good that life has to offer. Until then, we must do our part to bring peace, joy and happiness to our little sphere of influence, our family and friends.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

We had a wonderful turn-out of new soldiers this afternoon to include 3 nonmembers who were brought by their battle buddies; we also had one fellow there who wanted to come and check us out, he even stood up and bore his testimony of how God has been guiding his life. Hopefully he will come back.

This evening we had our final appointment with the Rockhill family. We hope they will keep their commitments and continue to attend church and make themselves ready for the temple.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

This morning we had 5 soldiers come out to attend the temple with us. Brothers Voorhees, Palmer, Meadows, Hoschtetler and Edwards. This was brother Edwards first trip since being baptized back in December while at basic training. He had texted us earlier in the week saying he felt unworthy to get a temple recommend and attend the temple. We texted back asking him to bring it up with President Estep. We did not hear back from him. Then this morning we find out that Brother Hoschtetler brought him and he did indeed go in for an interview, and President Estep found him worthy to attend the temple. It is indeed a miracle! We had a wonderful and safe trip. So Brothers Edwards and Palmer did baptisms while the others all endowed members, went on an endowment session.

After returning home, we returned to post to take Sister Bodley her Baptismal Certificate that came to us in the mail. We had a nice visit with her, she committed to coming to church tomorrow. Then we went to find 3 other soldiers. We found them all in the same company and we also learned that one was not a member, but desire baptism. Brothers Ebell, Howell, and Adams. After visiting with them for a few minutes, we called one other fellow, who we had talked to before, but had not met. He didn't answer, so we decided to return home. As we were traveling down Gordon Hwy, he called us so we turned around, went back to Post and met up with him; we found out that he is in the same barracks as Brother Meadows, so now they both have a good battle buddy. While we were waiting for Brother Nation to come out and see us, Brother Meadow just happened to come up; so we were able to have them introduce themselves to each other. We hope they will be able to become friends and help each other out. What a great work! Heavenly Father opens the way before us and is at our side at all times.

Temple Trip Photos:
 Brother Palmer and Edwards
 Brother Hoschtetler, Palmer and Edwards
 Same as above, I had them remove their caps so we could see their faces.
 Brother Palmer and Edwards
Brother Voorhees, Palmer and Meadows