Sunday, June 30, 2013

This evening we had a very sad visit with one of our sisters who we have been visiting with from time-to-time over the past 8 or 9 months. Her husband decided he wanted to go back to Language school to learn a new language for his Navy career and then from there go on to Maryland and work all the while leaving his family here in Georgia. They would be separated for 5 years, only seeing each other on rare occasions. Both of us felt very uneasy about this decision of theirs; we worked with them last fall to help them prepare for such a separation, but neither of them took us very seriously. Now, 7 months after his departure, they are divorced. Obviously, there were troubles in the marriage before this, but why would not they do what was best for their family? Why put your family into such jeopardy? She and the children will now be moving back to live with mom and dad for a year while she gets her feet back on the ground. What a terrible thing, to put the world above the family.

The good news for the day is Brother Sanders has agreed to meet with the missionaries and begin taking the discussions to learn more about the church and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been meeting with his wife and daughter over the period of his absence to help bring them back into activity. We love our mission!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

This morning we were successful in visiting several of our AIT students. We were able to find and visit nearly everyone we wanted to, we only missed one. We are still searching for a couple of soldiers who are here, but we don't know for sure where.

Afterward, we went back to the apartment and began preparations for our next institute lesson. This is going to be a busy week, so we wanted to make sure we got a good jump on it. Later in the afternoon we attended a baptism for a young lady, whose mother was just baptized about 2 weeks ago. Also in attendance was Sister Mathews who will be baptized at the end of July by her husband once he returns home from his remote tour in Korea. He is being baptized in Korea tomorrow, Sunday, and will be ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood; with that priesthood he will be able to baptize his wife. That will be a wonderful event to attend. We look forward to it.

This evening we went out and visited the Tenney family, the Murray family and the Jones family. Each of these families live in the Grovetown ward area. Sister Murray's husband is deployed, but will come home for his two weeks of vacation next week. We look forward to seeing him. The Jones family is now our point of contact for the Grovetown ward to help us keep up to-date with the move ins and move outs. The Tenney family have been special friends of ours now for much of our time here, we love and appreciate them.

Here are some photos from the baptismal service this afternoon:
 This is Sister Mathews with her daughters, Autumn and Savanah
 This is Marilyn and her grandchildren; she was baptized about 2 weeks ago. 
 Brittany, the baptismal 
 Brittany, the baptismal candidate, is standing next to Elder Faleao on the left; Elder Myer is on the right.

Friday, June 28, 2013

This evening our institute lesson covered sections 71, 73 and  75. The lesson was geared around missionary work and how ordinary members of the church can be effective missionaries. We learned that if we teach from the scriptures as led by the Holy Ghost and bear testimony that we will be effective in bringing the gospel to those who have not yet known its blessings. We left a challenge to those present to find someone to give a copy of the Book of Mormon to.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

This evening we went out to visit Brother DeLong; when we arrived and knocked on the door, we didn't get an answer, so we knocked one more time. Just then we heard a little noise and then we heard the dog and then the door opened. He had forgotten we were coming and was taking a nap. He works construction out at the nuclear plant and so is out doors all day long in the hot, humid environment. As many of us know, that humidity just zaps your strength after a while. We ended up having a nice visit with him. We always answer a lot of questions he has, which come in quite an array of gospel subjects. We also discussed with him the priesthood and the oath and covenant of the priesthood. We read with him out of section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

After we left, we headed up to post and went to see Sister Sanders and her husband who had just come home from a deployment to El Salvador. They send work teams down there to set up communication networks, build schools, restrooms, and other important structures. He is not a member of the church, but we hope that with a little encouragement he will come out with his wife and desire to learn more. They are a very happy couple. Leyna, their 8 year old daughter will be home the middle of July and hopefully will be baptized soon thereafter.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

This afternoon, we attended the graduation for one more of our students. Sister Nuusila, one of our few sisters, finished her classes and will be on her way home tomorrow to Hawaii! It is a long trip for her, probably 8 hours or so. Her is a photo of her at graduation:
We will miss her happy smiley face!

Later this afternoon, after graduation, we met up with the Elders at Sister Mathew's home to continue teaching her the gospel. She has felt the very soothing (as she describes it) or calm feelings that the Spirit brings. The gospel teachings have touched her heart and awakened in her that knowledge she had in the premortal life. It all seems so familiar to her. We had a real great lesson. Her children sure do enjoy having us over.

After our lesson with her, we headed up the road a ways to the Hibachi grill for dinner. While there we received a phone call from Brother Baum. He requested that we come up and to his apartment and have Elder Gowans give him a blessing prior to his promotion test tomorrow. After we finished our dinner, we headed up to his dorm room and gave him the blessing he requested. We will have to remember to give him a call tomorrow to see how it went.

Everyone go back and look at yesterday's post, We posted a bunch of photos.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This morning at 0830, Elder Gowans went back to the Dentist for him to install a temporary crown. After that was done, he dashed to the Augusta Ward building to join our last Zone meeting with President and Sister Holm. They came down to specifically to say good bye to us and to encourage everyone to be faithful and loyal to our Savior by showing that same faithfulness and loyalty to our new Mission President, President Cottle. They will arrive in Macon, Georgia on Thursday. At that time we will be all officially members of the Georgia Macon Mission. We were briefed by the two Elders who will be his assistants, we were taught by Sister Holm and President Holm. We have had a wonderful 13 months or so in the South Carolina Columbia Mission and look forward to the new Georgia Macon Mission. Next week our new Mission President will be up to hold a conference with us so we can all get to know each other.

This evening we visited two new families who have moved into the Grovetown Ward. The Christiansen and De La Torre families, both wonderful families. We wish we could get better acquainted with them. We have one more family yet to be able to contact. We leave voice mail with them, but no return contact yet.

Here are some photos of the day's events:
 President Holm is a pretty good unicycle rider

 Elder Gowans' cousin, Sister Gardner

 Our basketball shoot-out: Sister, Seniors and Elders


 A photo of all the missionaries in the Zone, all will be transferred to the Georgia Macon Mission
The Gowans and the Holms

Monday, June 24, 2013

This morning we did our normal Red Cross service; while there Elder Gowans saw the Cheney family at the hospital. She was there to have an OB/GYN checkup. Their girls names are Mizzy, Evie, and Sadie. We are growing quite close to them. They come out to our FHE activities and attend church with us on Sunday. They may only be here until September; all these wonderful people seem to come and go so fast. We love them immediately and see in them sons and daughters of Heavenly Father. So this evening we ate Tacos together and played UNO and had a little lesson that the Elders gave. We had a fun time together.

This afternoon, Elder Gowans had his first dental appointment since being on the mission. It was rather by necessity, however. Last Thursday a crown broke off his # 18 tooth. So he was able to get an appointment for this afternoon to have them check it out. He was given a thorough checkup and will obtain the new crown tomorrow morning.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

We have a had a very fine Sunday with one wonderful break through. After all our meetings ended, we went to visit the Johnson family as we have done now for about 5 weeks. They actually remembered to read one of the chapters out of the Gospel principles book. They were reading just  before we arrived, but at least they put forth the effort to get it done. This week they made their own goal to read two chapters during the week. At least they are showing a little progress and effort now.

We then dropped in on Sister Mathews. She has had a little sick one at home, so we stopped in to see how they were. They are doing well, we had a nice visit with her and the children.

We then headed to the church to watch the Leadership Conference broadcast from the Marriott Center; it was a wonderful conference, full of fine instruction from Apostles and Prophets.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

This morning we had the opportunity to meet for the first time Sister Barton. We had met her husband and two children previously, but had not been able to meet up with her. Finally, we met her today. It is obvious to tell that she does not enjoy being in AIT. She misses her children and husband. The children are with grandparents, the husband is here waiting for an apartment, fortunately he has found work. We were also able to meet a few other of our student soldier. One fellow who claims not to be a very good Mormon, but he said he would come out. We hope we can persuade him to work on becoming a fine Mormon. We are here to help.

After our soldier visits, we attended a baptism of a young lady. Her husband was already a member, but she was not. She came to love the Church through the good example of her husband and his parents. It was a real nice event for all who attended.

For the rest of the day, we went over to Sister Gardner's house and helped her get herself and her children moved back in. She had a lot of cleaning to do and putting things away. Her husband is due home from deployment on Monday, for which we are all excited. Sister Gowans helped her with laundry, cleaning and straitening the play room, watching the kids and so forth. Elder Gowans changed out light bulbs throughout the house and fixed light fixtures. Then he unclogged the bathtub drain, it had a massive amount of hair tangled up in there. He pulled out so much hair he thought for sure there should be a head attached to it. It filled up a paper towel! Then he scrubbed out the entire tub, it was grossly disgusting, very slimy! We all put things away and did a lot of general cleaning and straightening up! This sweet sister is just 6 months older than Shannon.
Brother and Sister Alsobrook
This little boy is a Nephew of the couple above.

Friday, June 21, 2013

This evening in our Institute Class, we discussed the Everlasting Covenant. This covenant God has given mankind from the beginning of time. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was first given to Adam and Eve, and from that time until today, it has been revealed a new with every dispensation of the Gospel. We enter the covenant at baptism and we build on that covenant as we take upon ourselves additional covenants, particularly in the Temple. We discussed the blessings that God has for those who faithfully keep their covenants, the greatest of all is to know our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ personally. We are grateful to those who come out and support us.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

This evening we had an appointment to visit with Brother James DeLong. While enroute to his apartment he called and asked if we had eaten dinner. We told him we had, but he still wanted to take us out. So after we arrived at his place, we gathered up in our vehicle and drove over to his favorite Italian place. We enjoyed some great conversation, but while eating Elder Gowans' crown that he had put on a tooth over a year ago, broke; he thought at first that it was something in his meal, but then he discovered that it was his own tooth. We will have to go in to the dentist, hopefully tomorrow, and get it repaired.

We pray for safe travels for Jacob, Kathryn and family who are on their way to Utah, and Jacob who will be going on to Omaha. Also, to Rosalee who is flying to New York for the day with Terry Dougal. We hope they all have a wonderful and safe time.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

This morning we accomplished our normal service at the Post Library. Sister Gowans went with the children's reading group to the swimming pool and assisted there. Elder Gowans finished inventorying the fiction books and started on the Biographies. We must say that it is not the most enjoyable labor, but we know that we are doing a service that is greatly appreciated, because then they don't have to!

This afternoon we attended a rather large graduation of AIT students. We had two LDS students in the group of 175 graduates. We waited in the back for them as they filed out and was able to catch both of them on their way out. Neither of these two young men, Brother Holmgren and Brother Merryweather were active, but we hope that by being at their graduation, we can impress upon their minds and hearts that we love them and wish the best for them.

In the late evening we visited with the Stock family. Brother Stock is deployed, but will return the end of July; they are very excited about that. We had a nice visit with them and hope that we can always maintain a good relationship with all our families.

 Brother Holmgren
Brother Merryweather
Sister Woolley and children at the Swim Party for the kids. Sister Woolley is a member of the Augusta Ward. Her and her family will be moving out shortly. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

This morning we attended our District Development Meeting. We now have 10 missionaries in our district; 2 senior couples, 1 companionship of sisters, and 2 companionships of Elders. Ten missionaries in the Augusta Ward! We learned that President and Sister Holm will come down to Augusta next Tuesday to meet with the entire Zone, nearly 50 missionaries. They are coming to say goodbye as we will be handed over to the Georgia Macon Mission on the 1st of July.

After our meeting we zipped home so we could eat lunch and get back on the road again. This month's Chaplain's meeting was a week early, thank goodness! It all works out. If it had been next week, Elder Gowans would have had to either miss it, or miss part of the Zone meeting with the Holms. As it worked out, it was held today.

This evening, we went out to visit the Stewart family. They have just recently been coming back to church. It made our hearts leap when we saw them returning to church. They have such a beautiful little family. It was a choice day. Afterwards we dropped in on Sister Janssen. It was just in time. She was trying to get mattresses on her daughter's new bed; so we were able to help her with those.

It is wonderful to be able to serve. We love our mission!

Monday, June 17, 2013

This morning during our hospital Red Cross service, Elder Gowans received a phone call from Brother Woolley asking for help in moving some heavy furniture. He told him he could be there in 20 minutes, it was a very slow day at the hospital! So, he hopped in the car and drove over to their home. They were very surprised to see him. They told him that they didn't even have the truck yet; so he supposes that they miss understood. Anyway, he went back over at 1400 and took the young, strong backed Elders with him. They got all the heavy furniture out of the house and in the truck.

After returning home, Elder Gowans got to thinking that they had said something about putting it all in storage, so who is going to help them get all that heavy furniture in the storage unit? So he sent them a text back asking about it. The reply came that they were going to put it in storage themselves later that day. Well, that just wouldn't do. So he arranged to meet them at the storage unit and helped them get it all unloaded. Sister Woolley would have never been able to help lift all that heavy furniture and watch 3 little children at the same time. So we got it all done and Elder Gowans got home a little after 1800, just in time to clean up and go to FHE.

At FHE Sister Cheney came out with her 3 girls. Her husband is in AIT and she wanted to have some fun with the girls. We all had a good time together. Just as we were leaving, the heavens broke loose and rain poured down upon us. It was a great thunderstorm.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A wonderful Father's day! This evening we had the opportunity to meet with the Johnson family and Sister Mathews and her daughters and continue to teach them the gospel. The Johnson family is really struggling to keep their commitments; we pray that they will have the strength to do so. Sister Mathews is progressing wonderfully and pray that she will continue to grow spiritually and that both her and her husband who is remote to Korea will grow and progress spiritually together.We love our mission and love serving our fellowmen.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

We have had a marvelous Saturday. This morning, as normal, we went up to visit our student soldiers; we had a few in mind that we wanted to meet with and we were able to see everyone, but one young lady, Sister Barton. She was at the financial briefing that all new soldiers are required to attend. Her and her family just moved up last weekend; I wrote about meeting with her husband and helping him find an apartment to rent. So, we still have not as yet met her. We were able to see brother Cheney, his family also moved here this past Monday. He had been moved to a new barracks, but we were able to track him down. Brother Ellsworth, whose wife also moved here on Wednesday had already been signed out by his wife. We are happy they are together. His wife is the daughter of one of Bob's old missionary companions, Steve Hone. We were able to see Brother Baker, Brother Sharp, Sister Nuusila, Sister Cox, Brother Meadows, Brother Edwards, Brother Buck and then we also visited with Brother Stewart who is the student in the radiology school.

After our visits were completed, we dashed home and got ready for our monthly FRG get together. This month we held it up at Evans Town Park. There was another event going on at the same time, it didn't interfere with us. We only had one other family come out. A year ago we perceived a need for the sisters to have some interaction with each other that would help them through the rigors military life, family separation and so forth. It is very possible that the need does not really exist as we thought. There are also probably many other things going on their lives and adding one more thing may not be something they need.

After the FRG, we drove to the Estep's house where they were holding a party to celebrate their son's upcoming wedding. I guess it was supposed to be a shower of some kind, but many who had been invited did not come. It was just us and a few family members.

From there we went back to post to pick up 3 soldiers and take them to Costco to buy groceries for a BBQ. We picked them up at 1530 and had them back around 1700, enough time for us to look up a few more students. It was at this time we were able to visit Brother Edwards.

From there we went to our appointment on post with the Wright family. They just moved in the past few weeks. He is attending the Captain's career course. Since he has had all the technical training, he will only have to attend half the course, so he will be done in August and at that time he will move to Fort Brag, NC. We had a delightful visit with them. They have only 1 daughter, who is 10 years old. He and his wife seem to have a good life together.

It has been a wonderful day, we will rest well tonight.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Yesterday, while visiting Sister Anderson, out on post, she told us her lawn mower had broke, it wouldn't start. So we told her we'ed see about getting it fixed for her. After we returned home, Elder Gowans called President Estep about using his truck to pick it up and take it to a repair shop. President Estep, said to use the Sortage, and bring it to his house and he would take a look at it. So at 8 am this morning Elder Gowans drove up to Post got the lawn mower, took it the Estep's and within 30 minutes he had it running. It was a fouled spark plug. He cleaned it up good and it ran like a champ. Elder Gowans returned the lawn mower to a grateful young lady and then headed home.

This evening we discussed the importance of the principle of forgiveness in building a Zion people and in moving forward the Kingdom of God, here on the earth. It was a good evening (Sections 63, 64, 65). We met and became acquainted with Elder Douglass, he replaced Elder Heywood whose time to return home had come.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

This afternoon we visited 5 sisters. We had made arrangements to visit 3 sisters whose husbands are deployed; then 2 other opportunities came up for us. On Monday, we received a call from the mission office with a referral. We called the sister and made an appointment after the other 3 appointments. Sister Gowans then had an opportunity to visit a sister in the branch at the same time as our just scheduled 4th appointment. So we decided we needed to divide and conquer. Since our referral is by herself with her 2 daughters (her husband is also deployed), we decided we needed to take our younger missionaries with us to visit the first 3 so they would have us with them when they taught this referral lady, since they can't teach ladies by themselves with no one else with them. So what we did is dropped Sister Gowans off at the library, where her visiting teaching companion works; the two of them went to visit teach Sister Halford. Elder Gowans took the 2 young Elders to Sister Mathews' home to visit her for the first time and teach her of the restoration of the gospel. We had wonderful visits. After Elder Gowans and the young missionaries were through, he drove them home and then went to pick up Sister Gowans.

A funny note: Sister Mathews' husband is meeting with the missionaries in Korea, where he is on a remote tour of duty. Every time he goes to church and other activities there is always food afterward. So he assumed that his wife would have to have some food available for us. So she apparently worried about it quite a bit and had a large bowl of freshly cut vegetables and dip for us. She really thought that was expected of her. So we told her it was very kind of her to put it out, but that it would not be necessary for future visits. The perceptions people get is very interesting.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

This morning we had the opportunity to attend our final Transfer Meeting with the SCCM. The chapel was packed full of missionaries. We would guess 2/3 to 3/4 of the mission was in attendance. This transfer meeting held great impact on the entire mission, as well as the new Georgia Macon Mission, (GMM) which will stand up 1 July. All Elders and Sister who are now in the Augusta Zone will be transferred to the new GMM. President Holm is planning a conference with us sometime in the next week or two to say farewell to each of us. We will certainly miss him, but will look forward to continued service as servants of God, no matter which mission we will serve in. While at the meeting, we met Sister Davis who came out from Elder Gowans' brother Mike's ward, back in Washington. It was nice to meet her. We also said good bye to Elders Heywood and Powell and Sister Brand, 3 missionaries with whom we had much interaction with.

This afternoon and evening, we took the Sisters to meet with a single fellow. He mostly just wanted to have someone to talk to. We left him a short message, a copy of the Book of Mormon with a reading assignment and a prayer. We then went up on Post to meet Sister Ellsworth whose husband is an AIT student. She just moved up here where she can be closer to him. They may end up being here until December time frame. Her mother helped her with the move, she has no furniture to speak of, just the bare essentials. Her mother happens to be the wife of Elder Gowans' brother Bob's old mission companion, Elder Steve Hone. It is definitely a small world.

After visiting Sister Ellsworth, we went to see Brother Baum. He is doing well. He has been kept very busy with his army duties and his preparation to separate and move on with his life. We left him a good message from President Uchtodorf about  maintaining good spiritual landmarks.

 Sister Davies and her companion
Elder Heywood and his parents, from Arizona

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

This morning Elder and Sister Gowans had to divide and conquer. Elder Gowans dropped Sister Gowans at the Estep's so she could help cut out and sew vests for Steven's wedding. Elder Gowans went to Brother Cambell's graduation from his Endodontic school. Nine residents graduated. The school was 2 years in length. They had some severe trials during the duration of this school; one trial occurred last summer when he sent the family home for a vacation and give him time to step up the studies. While in Utah, she was diagnosed with cancer in her female organs. She under went surgery to remove the cancerous organs. He in the meantime was out here in Georgia living in a house that was being sold out from under him. We happened to meet him for the first time during all this severe trial. We eventually helped him move onto post when the family moved back to Georgia, after Sister Cambell recovered.

After the graduation, Elder Gowans went up to the Estep's to see how things were going. While there we had lunch. Shortly afterward, a call came in from Brother Barton, he was ready to go apartment hunting. Elder Gowans met him at our apartment and from there we went to the local library and then hunting. After about an hour we found one that was in their price range and in the August ward, where we thought they would be most comfortable and be able to be a strength to the ward.

Afterward, Elder Gowans returned to the Estep's, picked up Sister Gowans, and we returned home for a short time and then headed over to the Cheney's so Sister Gowans could meet her. Then we drove up to Sister James' home to see how she was doing. We found that her mother was there with her and that everything was fine. From there we went to visit Sister Arnett. Our visits with her usually run about 2 hours. Yes, that is a long visit, but living alone she rarely has a friendly person to talk to and down load all her frustrations onto. So we had a nice visit with her and helped her get boxes out of her attic, so she could start preparing for her upcoming move. It has been a long, but very productive day!
 Photos from the Graduation
 After the graduation was complete, they called all the families up to the stage and gave their husbands, wives, mothers and fathers back to the family.

Monday, June 10, 2013

This morning, we expected to hear from Brother Barton to help him do some apartment hunting. Unfortunately we never heard from him. Hopefully everything is well. We did hear from sister Cheney. I took our younger Elders over to the new apartment and we unloaded her trailer and her van. It has  been raining most of the day, and it was raining while unloading all her goods; fortunately we got it all in without things getting too wet. She didn't have much, particularly with having 3 girls; no beds, just two mattresses. A card table for a dining room table, folding chairs, a couch, a computer and a few small suit cases and a few bags of clothes. Everything they have to their name. We will see if we can't get her some more for the house. Her husband is in training out here; so they aren't making much money.

This evening, while at FHE, we received a call from Elder Milberger up at the mission office. He had a name, phone and address of a lady who wants to learn about the church. Her husband is currently in Korea and he is receiving the missionaries, and he wants her to do the same. So Elder Gowans called her and set up an appointment with her on Thursday; we are very excited to meet with her. The work of the Lord is moving forward!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Wow, what a day! At the Augusta ward today, as we walked in, a member of the Stake Presidency was there standing at the back of chapel. We didn't think too much of it except that we just had the Stake President and one counselor last week in our meetings. Anyway, Elder Gowans proceeded around the room greeting the members of the ward and as usual with about 5 minutes before meetings, he went and sat down. On the stand, there seated, was President Hunt, the Bishop and then an older gentlemen who he did not recognize. The Bishop got up to start the meetings and he began by recognizing on the stand Elder Cornish of the Seventy! Wow, what an unusual occurrence, to have a General Authority at Sacrament meeting is very unusual. We then realized he was there for his daughter who is in our ward. She and her husband had just had a baby and he was there for the blessing. He did speak at the conclusion of the Sacrament meeting for about 10 minutes. Do to the ward make-up, we know there were many members who did not realize the significance of his visit.

During Sunday School, Elder Gowans received a phone call from one of our AIT students. He felt an urgent need to take the call, so he dashed out to the hall way and answered and then he felt impressed to go outside. Just as he finished the phone call, up the stairs from the parking lot walks a family who they had been visiting, trying to visit and encouraging to come out to church. They looked like the model LDS family. He quickly walked over to them and welcomed them and took them inside. He asked if they had ever met Bishop Burgess, they replied that they had not. Just as they walked in and rounded the corner, the Bishop walked into the Clerks office. Elder Gowans walked up to him and said, "Bishop I'd like to introduce the Stewart family to you"! He immediately recognized the name and invited them into his office. We don't know what happened after that. Hopefully a lot of good!

After our meetings ended we dashed home for lunch and then up to the Fort. We received a text message from a brand new fellow, Brother Sharp, he needed a battle buddy to pick him up for church. He is a young 18 year old fellow, who being trained in the Army, but at the same time preparing for a mission. We will be able to help prepare him for his priesthood advancement and his preparations for a mission. We are looking forward to assisting him.

Also, we have 3 new families moving into the area, whose spouses are in AIT. They all  happened to come in the same week. So we have two tomorrow, Monday, and one on Wednesday. The first one, tomorrow, we will likely take him around and show him some apartments he can move his family into. His wife is the army member. The other two, one will move into the same complex we live in and the other is moving into housing on post because he will be in training for the next 6 or 7 months.

After our meetings ended we went over to the Johnson home to see if they kept their commitments to read, study and pray. We found out they had not. However, they are still willing and want to, so we invited them to set their phone alarm to go off right after they put the children to bed to remind them. Then we studied the second chapter in the Gospel Principles Manual. We perceive that Sister Johnson has a good solid understanding of the basic principles, they have simply allowed bad habits to enter life, which has made it difficult to attend to their duties. No Word of Wisdom issues, other than going to bed on time on Saturday, so they can get up on time on Sunday.

After our visit with the Johnson Family, we drove up into Grovetown and visited the Voyles. He has just returned home from the Middle East for his two week vacation. He will head back in 11 days. He timed his return to be in time for their Anniversary, her birthday and a child's birthday. It was nice to meet Brother Voyles, he seems to be a very good fellow. We love his family as we have visited them from time-to-time over the past 5 months or so.

It has been a wonderful and very eventful day!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

This morning, we met early at the Friendship Chapel to take our AIT students out to the temple. As last month, we had a real good turn out. We had a total of 15 in the group. There was no one in the group who was not endowed, so we all had planned to do an endowment session. However, there were two people in the session scheduled for their own endowment; as a result there were many family and friends attending with these two young people. There was not enough seats for all of us to attend the session, so 3 of the soldiers did initiatory work and Elder Gowans did sealings. As the word implies, initiatory work is the first ordinances accomplished in the temple. Sealings are where families are sealed for time and eternity, it is the final, and crowning ordinance of the temple. Initiatory and sealing work go fairly quickly, where the endowment session is much more lengthy. After our work in the temple was completed, we decided to go to Lizard's Thicket for lunch. While eating, the waitress came by our table, where 15 of us were eating, and stated she had some happy news for us; she told us she would pass it on when we were through.

As we all completed our lunch, the waitress came by and told us that another patron in the restaurant had paid for all our meals! Can you believe that someone would do this? Fifteen meals, over $132.00, that is a lot. But someone had seen us, and seeing that we were missionaries, soldiers, young and old, felt prompted to take it upon himself to do a wonderful deed. Now it will be our turn to "Pass it Forward".

At the Temple
 Elder Dixon, Sister Gowans, Elder Dixon's companion, Brother Buck
 Elder Dixon, at one time he worked with us on Fort Gordon
 President Estep and our current Fort Gordon Elders; Elders Heywood and Litwack
 Brothers Ellsworth, Howell, and Ebell
 The Estep Family
 The Hochstetler Family
 The Phillips Family
 Brothers Smith and Buck
Elder Dixon

Friday, June 7, 2013

This evening at institute, we studied sections 60-62. Prior to this section 28 men had been called to go on a  mission to Missouri. They were commanded to go different routes and to preach the gospel along the way. These sections were given after their arrival in Independence, MO. Our study has been very interesting as we take into account the history that was taking place, which is what inspired the Prophet Joseph Smith to inquire of the Lord as to how to deal with certain problems and issues that would arise from time-to-time. When it came to Church issues, never did the prophet simply give an answer off the top of his head, or do something that he thought would be good, but he always went to the Lord and inquired as to what His will would be, for it was His Church!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

So, this morning, Elder and Sister France came down to Augusta and together we got the Sisters moved into their new apartment. They have a nice little two story apartment on the east side of Washington, where they do most of their work. We will miss having them around, they brought some life to our quiet little abode. This afternoon we reorganized ourselves and now we have a nice little nook in which to do our studies and the work that needs to be done on the computer.

This evening we went out to visit the Bawden Family; his brother may know Bernie as at one time or now he still does, work in as an architect for the church. Brother Bawden is an Arabic Linguist. His wife is from Brazil. They have 3 beautiful children. We had a nice visit with them. He will be separating in the fall, but will then plan on hiring on with the ANG in Utah.

After our visit with the Bawdens, we went up to the Mitton family's home. Their daughter Leah graduated high school and had a graduation party this evening, so we went up to celebrate with her. She had a lot of friends there and was obviously having a fun time. It was nice to see the entire family together.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

This morning after our service at the Post Library, we drove over to the 73 Ord Battalion and learned that they moved their graduation ceremony from the Friendship Chapel to Hazan Hall. We also learned that we missed Sister Bodley's graduation because of this move. We don't know if we missed Brother Brown's graduation either. He hasn't returned any of our communications. We try really hard to befriend these young men and women, but friendship is a two way street and if they don't put forth some effort on their part, then it is very difficult for us to be there for them if they should ever need us. We try to be at their graduations to show them that we do care and desire for them a happy and successful career.

This evening we met a new fellow, brand new to the Post. He is a marine linguist, speaking Arabic. He has been here only a short time; he informed us that he will be getting married in one month from now and that he and his wife to be will be living off post in an apartment, yet to be determined. He was a very friendly fellow and we hope that he and his wife will take advantage of our LDS activities. Just before we met him, we stopped in to visit Sister Murray, they had just finished eating and offered us some. It was a delicious chicken with apple crisp and ice cream desert.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

This entire day has been taken up with Zone Conference, interviews, and a No More Strangers Fireside. We drove up to the North Augusta Chapel and arrived just before 8 am. Our interview with President Holm was shortly after 8. On the way up to the chapel we received a text message from Joe saying there were problems with the Power of Attorney we had sent him nearly a month ago. So Elder Gowans, after his interview drove back to the apartment and found the POA, fixed the problem and emailed it back to Joe with the hope that it would suffice. Shortly after returning to the chapel, and about 30 minutes into our meeting, another text message came in. This time from Sister Janssen, our new convert to the church. She stated that her daughter, Salena, had food poisoning and she was not sure she would make the Fireside this evening. Elder Gowans got back in touch with her and told her he would try and find someone who could go and give her a blessing. He tried the only two men he knew of who could give a blessing, but they did not answer their phones, certainly they were at work. So Elder Gowans called President Estep, our Branch President, to see if he could ride up and assist in giving the blessing. He said he would be happy to. So Elder Gowans left the meeting, picked up President Estep and drove out to the Post. As we arrived at the Janssen home, Sister Janssen said that Salena had just fallen asleep; so we lightly laid hands on her head, anointed her and gave her a blessing. This was Sister Janssen's first experience with Priesthood Blessings, so we explained the process to her and as we concluded and left, we could tell that she was very appreciative of our efforts in going out and giving her daughter a blessing. On the way to take President Estep back home, we stopped in at Churches and he purchased for his wife and himself and box of chicken. After dropping him off at home, Elder Gowans dashed back up to the church and rejoined the remainder of the meetings. 

The No More Strangers Fireside, was wonderful. A wonderful Spirit filled the room as a missionary, a new convert, President and Sister Holm and President Squires spoke and bore testimony. We hope that all in attendance felt the same wonderful Spirit. 

Our singing sisters. They made up a song to the tune of the little Mermaid about being SMART and setting goals. SMART is an acronym and stands for:  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time Bound

We had another video to upload, but it errors out; I'll try posting it on FB and see what happens. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

This morning after we completed our service at the hospital and as we were driving into the apartment parking lot, we saw the Sisters were just leaving. We could see that they wanted to talk to us and so we maneuvered the car around, rolled down the windows and they said they were going to lunch at the Golden Corral and do we want to go with them. We agreed, so they parked, hopped in the car with us and off we went. We had a real nice lunch together and enjoyed the time we had to visit. Afterward, we walked over to Aldi's which is just across the parking lot and did a little grocery shopping.

This evening at FHE it was just the Esteps and us. All our soldiers who came so faithfully have now graduated and left and most of the other LDS soldiers are on a mid or night training schedule. We hope that we can get a few to come out and join us. Even our regulars haven't been coming lately due to schedule changes and other such things. Anyway, we are here for them to provide activities and other enjoyable experiences.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

This afternoon, we had a good turnout at our Servicemen's Branch. At this point, a good majority of those who attend are returned missionaries, older more mature young men, who have learned how to prioritize their lives and their time. After church finished, we went out and had a short visit with Sisters Sanders and Janssen. We left each of them with a map to the North Augusta Ward so they could attend Tuesday evening's "No More Strangers Fireside". The young missionaries asked Sister Janssen if she would say a prayer at the Fireside, and so we asked Sister  Sanders if she would like to go and go with sister Janssen.

We had a very discussion with the Johnson family this evening. Although they hadn't kept their commitment to study and pray during the week, we sat with them and we studied together. We started with lesson one from the Gospel Principles manual, Sister Johnson read the lesson and Brother Johnson looked up and read the scripture references. It worked out real well. We encouraged them to do this together every evening for about 15 minutes. Hopefully they will do this and will find that it will bring them together and build not only their gospel knowledge, but also their relationship.

Brother and Sister Meachem came over this evening and brought a plate of cookies, yum yum, they were very good.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

As normal, we went out this morning to see our soldiers. Sister Gowans felt very prompted to go see Sister Poyer. We found her in a high state of anxiety. Apparently there is a lot of drama going on back home with her parents and siblings. She was obviously very disturbed. We asked her to be sure to come to church and that if she wanted a blessing, we could give her one there.

We saw several other of our soldiers. One soldier, Brother Carroll, came up right behind us as we were looking for him. He has not been out to church for several weeks; we had a nice visit with him, he said that he really missed being at church. As we've stated in the past, too often these young men and women simply let other things get in the way of their more important obligations. As we talked to him, one of his friends stated that he had been trying to get Brother Carroll to take him to church, he wanted to go. So hopefully tomorrow, we will see them there.

This afternoon, we visited Sister Fordham, Brother Sled and Sister Campbell. We found them all to be well. Brother Sled has not been out for several weeks, too. We said he had been taking the weekends to get away from the Post and seeing the sights in the region. Sister Campbell, has found a new drug that will help her sleep at night. Her husband has been in training and will graduate the middle of the month.

This evening, we took the time to plan institute; this coming week is going to prove to be very busy.