Friday, May 31, 2013

Early this morning, we received a call from Sister Holm. She informed us that Elder Powell from the North Augusta area had been hospitalized with appendicitis. She asked us if we would go up and see what was going on and then report back to her. We drove up to University hospital and found Elder Powell's companion sitting alone, looking quite tired. We contacted the other Elders in their area and they were on their way down; once they arrived we sent Elder Powell's companion home with them so he could clean up, shower and get ready for the day. Meanwhile, Elder Powell came out of surgery and was assigned to a room. We went up to his room and found him well, but very tired. A little while later, the 3 other missionaries returned to the hospital and so we left Elder Powell in good hands.

This evening we continued our Institute lessons. The lesson covered the arrival of all the missionaries in Independence, Missouri, the revelations of the Lord concerning the building of Zion, the Laws, Principles, and Commandments that the Saints would be expected to keep and section 59, which contains a vision of what life would be like if the Saints lived as Saints should live. Always, these lessons emphasize taking care of the poor and needy and being one as a people.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

This morning we had our DDM; Elder Gowans had been asked to provide the training for the District. He felt inspired to instruct on Spiritual Gifts and tie it into the teachings from Preach My Gospel page 115, which is the first page of the chapter entitled "Christ-like Attributes". Christ-like attributes are attributes that Christ, Himself, posses and because they are His attributes, in order for us to acquire them, we must receive them in the form of a Gift, a Spiritual Gift. So we listed many Spiritual Gifts on the chock board, then we listed some of the weaknesses we have as missionaries and matched them up with the Spiritual Gifts we needed to seek to obtain that would help turn those weaknesses into strengths.

This evening we prayed that we would find one of our Sister's home, who we had not heard from in a long time, Sister Budge. We drove out to her home and a miracle did happen, she was home. We had a nice visit with her. We found out that her husband, who is in Egypt, will be transferred to some base in Colorado upon the completion of his deployment. We had a real good visit with her and again offered our services to her and told her that it would be our honor to serve her in anyway and at anytime she felt she needed us.

Afterward we went to drop off a set of the military edition of the scriptures to a Sister who will deploy next week. We missed seeing her as tonight she went to the temple for the very first time. When we told her Bishop after returning home this evening, he was so pleased to hear that she had made it there.

Next, we went to see Sister Mitton and her family. Leah and Parker were home so we had a nice visit with them. Sister Mitton is still struggling with personal family issues, but we know she will have the Spiritual strength to get through it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

This morning we arose early and headed up to the Post library for our normal Wednesday service. We ended early so we could take Elder and Sister Meecham out and show them around the city, particularly the areas where they will be serving. We stopped off for lunch at IHOP and continued our enjoyable visit with them. Then this evening we joined with them at the church for the Wednesday evening Book of Mormon study class that the young Elders sponsor so we could introduce them to other ward members and leaders. Since it was activity night for the youth many would be there.

This afternoon, we drove around the post to visit with some of our sisters. We found a few people home, but not as many as we would have liked to; but those we did find home enjoyed the visit and were grateful that we were thinking of them.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Yesterday afternoon, we received a call from President Holm. He informed us that the new Senior Couple, the Meechems, would be here the next evening, today. He asked us what he thought would be best to do with the Sisters who were then currently living in the apartment where the Meechems were going to be staying. We told him to have them move in with us to give the Meechems time to get situated without having to worry about the Sisters. So this morning we moved everything out of the 2nd bedroom and cleaned it up well so that they would have a nice room to sleep in. At 10:00 we started the move. The young Elders came to help and we were able to get everything moved over and the apartment clean by noon.

That afternoon Elder Gowans attended his chaplain's meeting and then that evening the Meechems arrived at 5:20. We had been in contact with them during the afternoon and told them we would have dinner for them. When they arrived we had them and the sisters, us and then two of the young missionaries came down too. So we had quite the crowd in our little apartment.

During the evening, Elder Gowans took the two sisters, out to visit some men, and since they cannot go to visit a single male without having someone else with them, Elder Gowans was happy to help them out. The first visit was with Brother Wood, he has been a member for a few years, he is in the Navy, so it was great that Elder Gowans could go and visit with him as part of our responsibility to minister to our military families.

We went to visit Jimmy Walker (member, but not active) and his brother Wayne (nonmember) and Jimmy's adopted daughter Tiann. We wanted to discuss with them our Savior Jesus Christ. As the discussion began, Jimmy asked Tiann to give the account of the creation. She did so and very well. Wanting to steer the topic to Jesus Christ, Elder Gowans asked, "Who created the earth"? Of course she said God. Then one of the Sisters chimed in saying that the God referred to is Jesus Christ. We also pointed out to her from Hebrews and St. John how the Bible testifies that Jesus was the creator. At that point Wayne objects to that doctrine and Jimmy gets very angry about it too, and tells us all to leave and that we are not to come back. At first we thought he was joking, then it became very apparent that he was not. He gets up and goes into the back yard, Wayne goes into the house. Tiann is sitting by Elder Gowans; we offer a closing prayer. Elder Gowans tells the sisters he is going into the back yard to talk to Jimmy. He does so and finds Jimmy and tells him he is sorry if they offended him, and wanted him to now that we came by to visit because we love them. Jimmy continues to say that we are not to come back that he has read the bible more than anyone and that it does not teach that Jesus Christ is the creator nor does the Book of Mormon. Elder Gowans is not going to argue with him, but reaffirms their love for them, shakes his hand and leaves. We were all in shock about the events that just occurred and we talked about what happened wondering if we had done something wrong. We all felt that we had been led by the Spirit as to the words we spoke. Later after thinking about it, we felt that something important will come of what was discussed.

We also met the Heise family this evening and had a real nice visit with Brother Heise who is home from the Middle East, his wife and daughter, Liz. He wanted us to come back and enjoy dinner with them at some point in time before he leaves to go back. They have two sons one is in the Middle East and the other is serving a mission in Long Beach.

We are enjoying having the Sisters here with us and hope they will enjoy being with us too.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Being Memorial Day, we decided to take a short trip out to Beach Island, just over the border in South Carolina and visit Redcliffe St. Park. Redcliffe was the stately home of the James Henry Hammond family of the mid 19th century. It remained in the Hammond family for four generations, until 1975 when it was given to the State of South Carolina as a state park. John Shaw Billings was the final owner of the family, he was also managing editor of Time and the founder of Life Magazine. The estate is very beautiful with large oak, magnolia and cedar trees.

This afternoon we decided to take in a movie. We went and saw Jack the Giant Killer. It was an enjoyable movie. We don't remember what the last movie we saw was, nor when it was we saw it.

We said goodbye this evening to Brother Voorhees and our newly baptized brother, Brother Glore. They will both be moving on to new assignments on Thursday.

 Walking up to the house, the stables are in the background
 Elder Gowans in the carriage
 The stables, the property had a system of saving the rain water. The water would run off these steep roofs and then be collected in an under ground storage facility. The water could be pumped out and used by the family. 
 Some of the beautiful trees

 Redcliffe Manner


 Magnolia blossom
 The entry way. The first floor and the second floor were constructed under the same floor plan; however, over the years modifications had been made to include the addition of two bathrooms. The main entry way was flanked by four rooms, two on each side of the hall. 
 Mr. Hammon wanted people to think he was Christian
 Joy, our tour guide, she did an excellent job
 The library, contained about 2000 books. 
 The children's study table. Enough room for 6. 
 The slave quarters

 More Magnolia blossoms, they have a very beautiful, very sweet odor. 

Elder Gowans, perched in the seat of a Magnolia tree

Sunday, May 26, 2013

This evening we left a challenge with the Johnson family after giving them a short lesson on faith. The challenge is to read and study the scriptures and pray as they study. In stair step fashion, we outlined for them the step from belief up to action and action up to trials and from trials a large step up to Miracles. In between trials and miracles we placed little steps that they can take to overcome trials and work toward the miracles. These smaller steps include prayer, scripture study, FHE, fasting and so forth. The miracles included attending church, paying tithing, and becoming temple worthy. They took the commitment to study their scriptures and pray every day.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Another tremendous Saturday! This morning we had President and Sister Estep come with us to visit the troops. The women went together and the men went together. President Estep and Elder Gowans was able to find 3 new soldiers that arrived at the end of last week; Brothers Ellsworth, Padron and Maxfield. Each one is in a different unit. The good thing is we found them and had a real nice visit with each one. We were also able to visit with Brother Baker who also is in the process of preparing his mission paper work. President Estep had a good visit with him. We also visited with Brother Edwards who wants to receive his Patriarchal Blessing. The arranged to get that done on Tuesday. We were also able to visit with several other young men who we don't see very often. Sister Estep and Sister Gowans visited with two of our Sisters, Sister Nuusila and Sister Cox. All together we were able to visit 14 of our soldiers.

This afternoon, after returning from Post we worked on next Friday's Institute class; Elder Gowans took a nap during the middle of the preparation and then finished up this evening.

At 6 pm we drove out to Leitner Lake where a couple from our ward held their wedding reception. They were married this afternoon in the South Carolina Columbia Temple and held the reception out at the lake. It was beautiful. The temperature was perfect and the scenery spectacular. When we walked out onto the deck  back by the lake, Elder Gowans saw someone who he thought he recognized. So when able he walked over to meet him; he was the groom's father. As we got to talking we found out we both served together at Barksdale AFB; he was a Navigator and Radar Navigator the same as Elder Gowans. He was also a student at Navigation school while Elder Gowans was an instructor there. What a small world. We had a real nice visit together and the reception was lovely.
 The Bride's Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Garland
 Half the crowd out on the deck
 The other half of the crowd
 Our friends, Brother and Sister Tenney
 The Bride and Groom, Bethany Garland and George Phillips
 Our friends, Brother and Sister Goff
 Grandparents of the Groom
 Parents of both Bride and Groom
 Bethany with her in-laws
 George and his in-laws
Elder Gowans and Dennis Phillips, two old Radars

Friday, May 24, 2013

This morning at 0330, Elder Gowans arose from a sleepless night and drove to the Post to take Brother Meadows to the airport. With this 4 day weekend, many of the students opted to go home to family. Many of these students have not seen their families for 6 to 8 months. Brother Meadows' wife delivered their baby last weekend so he is going home to be with her and the family for the 4 days he has available.

Then at 0800, we picked up a neighbor lady, Linda, and took her to the surgical clinic where she under went arthroscopic knee surgery to repair damage to her knee. She was to have been there only 3 to 4 hours, it ended up being 6 hours. After returning home and getting Linda comfortable in her apartment, we headed home and prepared the meal for institute and made final preparations for class.

We discussed our personal commitments to Christ and what is required of us to make a complete commitment to Him. We discussed personalities from church history who had obviously made such commitments. We discussed how these commitments will prepare us to become a Zion people and prepare us for the 2nd coming of Christ.

Why was Elder Gowans having a sleepless night you ask? Or maybe your not asking... but right as we were going to bed a text message came in from one of our members asking a question. Then as that was completed another message came in. Over the next hour 6 text messages were received. This completely chased sleep away. Hopefully tonight will be better.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

This afternoon we took our zone leaders to their exchanges with other missionaries, and then we took the two who was left with us to see Becky Hyman. She was baptized a few months ago, but since then has been suffering from health issues. We read from the Book of Mormon with her and then before we departed we gave her a blessing. She was very appreciative of our time and efforts, and it was really good to see her again.

After visiting with Becky, we went to see Marilyn. She and two of her children have been studying the gospel and have accepted a baptismal challenge to be baptized early next month. We read with her a few verses of scripture and then left her with a pray and blessing on her home.

From there we went to see Sister Janssen who was baptized about a month ago. She is doing real well. We answered questions she had about the temple and temple marriages; talked about the plan of salvation with her and answered a few more questions she had. She is very committed to attending church, even when her friends who introduced the gospel to her can't go, she goes by herself with her little daughter, Selena.

This evening we spent an hour and half with Brother DeLong; he is doing real well. He had a lot of questions about Priesthood and other gospel principles. We read with him from section 20, and 107 from the Doctrine and Covenants and from the Book of Moroni in the Book of Mormon. We had a real good visit with him. He wants to continue to grow and learn and participate in the priesthood ordinances of the gospel. We love this brother and the others sisters who we visited, they are all beautiful sons and daughters of God.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Last night, at midnight, Elder Gowans went to the airport to pick up the wife of one of our AIT students. He drove her up to the post to get her car and then followed her half way home to ensure she was safely on her way. This was the second trip to the airport in two days. Then the following morning we were up and off to the library for our weekly service there. We did go a little late so that Elder Gowans could get a little extra sleep. This afternoon we attended the graduation of Brother Ward. He was converted to the Church while at Basic training, and then while here his wife lost the baby they were expecting, so we sent word to the missionaries out there, they contacted her, ministered to her needs and she was eventually baptized. A great story, uniting the family in the gospel.
 Brother Ward
 Ward in formation after Graduation. He is in the back row 1st soldier
 Brother Ward and his Battle Buddy
 15th Brigade Graduation Ceremony
We will miss Brother Ward!

This evening we visited with Brother Derouen who was baptized a few months ago. He seems to be doing real well; he is hoping to reclassify, meaning get a new job in the Army.

Next we went to see Brother and Sister Norris. They are the couple that was converted and baptized about a year before our arrival. He was a baptist minister at one time, found the gospel, which answered all his questions, gained a testimony and was baptized. We had a nice visit with them.

From there we dropped in on the Tenneys. He will be going TDY for about 4 months come July. So we will be keeping an eye on Sister Tenney for him and helping her in anyway we can as we do our other sisters whose husbands are gone.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

This morning we attended our weekly District Development Meeting; it was well done. Our district leader, Elder Faleao, does a good job planning and executing the plan. One of the things Elder Gowans instructed them to do was to pray in very specific detail about men that we need to find to strengthen our ward. It was well received.

This evening after Elder Gowans' Branch Presidency Meeting, we went up to post to meet with and visit Brother Baum. He believes he will be separating from the Army in November. We had a nice visit with him, as always.

Monday, May 20, 2013

After our hospital service this morning, we came home and worked all afternoon on our Institute lesson. Then this evening we met in our FHE. We enjoy having Sister Westbrook back with us. She was gone for a while, but now is back with us. She is our one Air Force representative.

Elder Gowans stayed up late to go to the Airport and bring Brother Meadows back to the barracks. His plane was late arriving so he didn't get back home until 1 am. All in a day's service.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

We have had an enjoyable Sabbath Day. After our meetings, which were well attended by our AIT students, we went to visit Sister Janssen for a few minutes to take her a copy of the May issue of the Ensign magazine, which is a report of the April General Conference. When we visited last week we introduced to her the Ensign magazine and promised her that we would bring a copy to her. We always have a pile that we offer the soldiers; so we took one from there to give her.

From there we went to visit Sister Sanders and her daughter Leyna. We heard that sister Sanders had been ill so we stopped by to see how she was doing. Apparently she had food poisoning yesterday, but today she is doing much better. She is with child, so there is always a little more of a concern in this condition.

After our short visit with the Sanders we headed to our appointment with the Johnsons. We have been working with them from time-to-time to come out to church. They had come occasionally, but we haven't seen them there now for many months. This evening we encouraged them to use Saturday evening as an extended Sabbath and start getting prepared to for the Sabbath by getting the children bathed, getting the clothes out, getting to bed on time so you can get up on time. We talked about how we often cut ourselves off from our Heavenly Father when stop studying the scriptures, stop praying and stop attending church. We likened that to our little children, that they would never purposely cut themselves off from their parents and we, in our need, are much like our little children. We should never cut ourselves off from God. Our visit was all of 30 minutes and we left them with a prayer and were on our way.

One of our Sister Missionaries asked for a blessing this evening, so we needed to be back at the apartment by 6:30 pm. After the blessing, we invited them over to our apartment for some homemade pizza, and cookies. We had a nice 30 minutes with them, then off they went to finish their evening.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

This morning in our weekly visits to our AIT students, we made particular effort to visit Sister Nuusila our Polynesian friend. We found her at home in her barracks and had a nice visit with her. Then suddenly as we visited, she remembered two other LDS soldiers whom she had met. A Brother Cheney and a Sister Cox. We had no idea that they were with us. Immediately we went to find them. Fortunately they were in her same company, so we didn't  have to go far. We found both of them and had a real nice visit with them. All three committed to coming out to church tomorrow. We always tell them that they can text or call if they can't find a battle buddy. Throughout the morning and with one visit in the afternoon to brother Edwards, we visited 10 of our student soldiers. Brother Edwards usually sleeps in on Saturdays due to late Friday classes, so we try to visit him and his buddies later in the day. We found him as we were leaving or FRG picnic just before he was to head out to some event somewhere off post. The Spirit certainly leads us to where we need to be.

This afternoon, we attended our FRG function at the children's park on post. The Barretts, Sister Tenney and Sister Wilkinson came out. We had a nice visit together while the children played and then Elder Gowans helped teach the ladies some basic car care. How to check the oil, and other fluids, then we changed a tire on one of the vehicles so they would be able to if they ever needed to.

This evening, we attended Sister Murray's and her daughter's piano recital; it was held at the Martinez Baptist Church. It was a nice function with 10 children and one adult playing for us. Afterward they fed us hamburgers and hot dogs. So it turned out very nice.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Around 4:45 this morning we received a text message from one of our soldiers, Brother Meadows. He has been on baby watch for the past couple of weeks. So this morning we finally received the notice that he was heading home for the delivery and that he would need a ride to the airport. So at 9 am Elder Gowans picked him up at his barracks and dashed him to the airport. Meanwhile, his wife, had taken herself to the hospital, but they sent her home. So when Brother Meadows arrived home, sometime in the late afternoon, the baby must have been born, at home, in the tub. One of those crazy stories that we occasionally hear about, but never experience. We are happy to hear that all are doing well.

Then this afternoon we took our Sister Missionaries to meet up with the Thompson sisters so they could exchange companions for a day. They will often do this so the younger and newer missionaries can be taught and trained by several different missionaries. Afterward, we went out to eat and a very nice BBQ restaurant to celebrate our 36 wedding anniversary.

This evening we discussed Spiritual Gifts in our Institute Class; we discussed what they are, why we should seek them, how they can bless us and those in our wards and stakes. We also discussed how they can bless us not to fall victim to Satan's deceptions and how they can help prepare us to become a Zion people, a people prepared for the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

This afternoon we took two of our Elders up to Post to visit with Sister Janssen. She was baptized about 2 weeks ago. She is doing real well and continues to ask good questions. The Elders left her with a DVD featuring the restoration of the Gospel. We talked to her about the church magazines, the priesthood, callings, and other fun things.

This evening we visited with President and Sister Estep, our branch president and after a nice visit with them we went out to the Post and visited with our X-ray tech student, Brother Stewart. We have visited with him a few times since he arrived, but has never come out to church. He said he wanted to attend the Augusta ward  rather than the Military Branch on Post; he has done neither, so we encouraged him to come out and set up an appointment for him with President Estep on Sunday; hopefully that will get him to come out.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

This morning after our service at the library, we paid a Home Teaching visit to Sister Westbrook, she is such a sweet young lady. She was baptized last November and is anxiously awaiting the time when she can go to the Temple and receive her endowment. We had a real nice visit with her; we caught her up on some of the topics of discussion we have had in institute since she has been unable to be there for the past several weeks.

This evening we went to visit with Brother Stewart, a single young man in training at the hospital, however, he forgot our appointment. So we called him and rescheduled for tomorrow night. We also visited the Johnson family, they struggle with activity; we offered them a weekly get together where we can help instruct and encourage them and help them rebuild the desire to come back to church. They were very willing to do that. We also dropped in on Sister Ledbetter, found out her husband had been home for a short leave from his deployment, but had since returned. Darn, we missed him. We tried to see one more family, but they were not home.

Sister Gowans will now be taking the lead in teaching our institute class. Elder Gowans told her he didn't want to cheat her out of this opportunity to grow. She always has helped teach, but now she will take the lead.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

This evening we had the opportunity to visit the Halford family. He is a counselor in the Branch Presidency and she in the Relief Society Presidency. We've written about them in the past, she suffers from fibromyalgia and suffers from consistant pain. When we arrived we found that she had gone to bed, which is a good thing for she gets very little sleep. So we had a nice visit with Brother Halford. We wish there was something we could do for her.

After wards, we went up to see the James family. He is a radiologist at the hospital and just deployed this past Friday. So we had a short, but nice visit with Sister James; we hope that she will feel comfortable in calling us if she should ever need anything.

From there we dropped in on Sister Murray to see how she is. We found her well and happy. She has been taking piano lessons for the past four months; we plan on attending her recital on Saturday.

Monday, May 13, 2013

This evening after arriving at FHE, I found President Estep up in the attic of the chapel. I guess curiosity got the best of him, but we sure found a couple of interesting things. First, there was a large white, wooden cabinet right near the top of the stairs. It has a painting of the Christus on the left hand door and a painting of the angel Moroni on the right hand side. Inside we found several copies of our Hymnals and we also found white lettering for the announcement boards. The announcement boards never had listed our services and activities, until tonight! We brought those letters down and posted all our activities up on the board. We also found another box labeled LDS Group. We found it full of CDs and other random things. It was almost finding a gold mine. We had a real nice evening together, Brother Glore, our newly baptized member came out along with his Battle Buddy, Brother Voorhees.
Here is a photo of the activities board.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day! We had a wonderful day, two baptisms on Fort Gordon, or in the Fort Gordon Military Branch! Brother Adams and Brother Glore. Both bore wonderful testimonies at the completion of the service, both are so excited to have found truths that they had been looking for. Here a couple of photos:
 From left to right: Brother Ebell who baptized Brother Adams standing next to him. Then Brother Glore who was baptized by Brother Voorhees standing on the far right.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Today was our monthly Temple Trip! We had the largest group yet of AIT students who attended with us.
Eight young men were able to get away for the day and attend the Temple with us. We were so pleased to see so many come out. It is a true blessing for these young men to go to the temple and escape the world, which exists around the barracks. Here are some photos of the trip:
 Brother Rapp, he has been here for two weeks. In the back ground is Casey, a new convert, not military, but thinking about joining the Army.
 Brother Buck, he has been at Fort Gordon a month or two, another fine young man. In the back ground is Elder Heywood, one of the missionaries assigned to the Branch.

 Here is a photo of all those who came with us: Back Row, Brother Marzolf, Brother Smith, Brother Howell, Brother Ebell, Brother Meadows, Elder Heywood, Elder Litwack. Middle Row, Sister Gowans, Sister Estep, Brother Buck, Casey, President Estep, Brother Halford. In front kneeling, Brother Callahan, Brother Voorhees. 
 Brothers, Howell, Ebell, Rapp, Meadows, Smith, Callahan, Voorhees