Wednesday, July 31, 2013

This morning we only spent an hour at the Library, just enough time to alphabetize the children's books. You sure can tell where the little hands like to roam! Afterwards, we went to the graduation ceremony for Brother Gilmore who had been attending the Captain's Career Course. We had just learned on Sunday that his follow on assignment is Kuwait. He will be gone for a year from his family. His wife and children will return to Arizona to be near family; they will all be able to give her the support she will require. They are a Navajo family. His father is Navajo, his mother is Caucasian. Directly from this graduation, we dashed to the hospital to attend Brother Stewart's graduation from X-ray tech school. He was the only graduate in his class, a class of one! However, he had lots of friends there from the Stake YSA group. He is one of the young men who received his Patriarchal Blessings a couple of weeks ago.

From the hospital, we dashed over to Sister Janssen's home. She was baptized about 3 months ago; we took her and her daughter Salena to lunch. Her husband is deployed, she recently returned from a nice vacation, and will go again the middle of August; we wanted to make sure she knew we loved her and were thinking of her. We had a nice time with her.

Our 4 o'clock appointment was cancelled, so we went home for a while and did our monthly report for the Church Military Relations Department, then we headed back up to post to visit the Mathews family. Sister Mathews has decided to be baptized on 10 August at 1630. We will be to the temple that day, but should be back in time to attend the baptism. We are so excited for her and the entire family as they come unto Christ. From the Mathews, we went to visit Brother Tidwell. He is a med student here at Fort Gordon for just a month, which is already up. He will be leaving on Saturday.

Here are some photos from today's graduations:
 Graduation reception line
 The Gilmore Family
 Brother Stewart
Brother Creswell, the YSA Adviser and Brother Stewart

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

After our late night last night, we were able to sleep in this morning and get the rest we needed.
This afternoon Elder Gowans attended his chaplain's meeting and while there and before it started he went up to say hi to a chaplain of Korean descent. Chaplain Pyun stated that he had been reading the Book of Mormon, which gave Elder Gowans the opportunity to visit with him about it and help him understand a few things. But the Chaplain seemed to be very impressed with the book and so hopefully, in the future, he will have other opportunities to talk to him about it. Sister Gowans went to the PX to do some shopping for the Cheney family girls, so that when they come to FHE they will have some fun games to play.

After the meeting we went to visit Sister Scroggins. We found her at home after being a way most of the summer. We also learned that her husband, Obe, is going to be gone an additional year. He was selected to be a commander of the unit where he is now working; so that will require that he be gone an additional year. Poor lady, poor boys, to be without their husband and father for 2 years. We try to keep up with her, but she seems to always be busy, so we catch her when we can. After our visit with Sister Scroggins, we visited Sister Fordham. Her husband will return home about 2 months. We are all excited for her and the others of the ward who deployed with him. We will have several ward members come home at that time.

This evening we went out to visit a family who has never returned our calls; so we thought we would just drop in on them. Well, we knocked on the door, the dogs barked, children's voices, a man's voice, and a woman's voice was all heard, then it became very quiet. Of course, no one opened the door to us either.

We then drove up on Post and dropped off a letter to one of our AIT students so he could work permission to attend the temple with us. From there we went to visit an old friend of ours who we worked with in the library, Dave White. We found his home and after knocking he came to the door; he was so thrilled to see us, he was so excited! He invited us in and we proceeded to have a wonderful conversation; after a few minutes, his wife joined us, and she was so thrilled to see us too, we had never met. After about an hour of visiting, Elder Gowans asked if we could leave them with a thought and a prayer. He opened a blue copy of the Book of Mormon to 2 Ne. 25 and read to them Nephi's proclamation of our belief in Christ. He then placed in that page a pass along card and handed the book to Dave. He was so thrilled to accept a copy of the Book of Mormon. It was if he could not contain himself. His wife also! He promised that he would read from it, they both did. They asked us to return again and we promised that we would. What a wonderful Spiritual evening!

Monday, July 29, 2013

We had a very interesting Family Home Evening. First of all, Brother Buck sent a text saying he was bringing someone to FHE who was very interested in the gospel; then he later stated he was bringing two people. We had a real nice time with these two, one young man and one young women. As they were on their way back to their barracks, we gave them each a copy of the Book of Mormon, gave them a brief introduction to it and bore testimony of its truthfulness and invited them to read it.

Later we found out that Sister Cheney had locked her keys in her van; it took an hour and a half to two hours to finally get someone there to open it. The Military Police and the Fire department would not come and assist unless she was having an emergency; being 8 months pregnant, a diabetic and having 3 small children was not an emergency enough. We finally got an off post locksmith to come out and open the car for her and she finally got on her way. Her husband, who is an AIT student, texted us and asked if we were with her, we told him that they were fine and we were taking care of things. Everything ended fine, but it is very late!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

We had a wonderful day at church today. Several of our AIT students and permanent party soldiers came out to enjoy the Sabbath day. Also, the A/C is finally working. It has been out all summer long! Finally, today, it was actually cool in the chapel. Brother Mardanlou who came to us at the first of the month, was interviewed for baptism and was determined ready for baptism. He will be baptized this coming Sunday after our services are completed. He is a wonderful young man; I know the Lord has a great future for him as he continues to grow and stay worthy.

We also continue to teach and review with Brother Yanke. He is a very quiet young man; it is hard to hear what he says, but he seems determined to continue to grow and progress in the gospel. We have a lot of good folks here at Fort Gordon. We pray for them and hope that they will continue to stay faithful to their covenants.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

We had a very successful morning, to include a wonderful miracle. We went to C-447 to try to find a young man who we heard was there, but had not met. When we arrived there, we found that they were all in their morning formation. They really make it hard sometimes; some Saturdays their formation is at 8 am, some it is at 8:30. Lately it has been at 8:30, so if we get there at 8 we have time to see everyone we want to see, but today it was at 8; so we waited about a half hour for them to finish. We try to watch them as they come into the barracks and look at their names so we can hopefully catch the ones we are looking for. Today, Elder Gowans was watching; one young man was just about to head up the stairs, but he looked over at him and he and Elder Gowans caught eyes, he knew by the look that this was the fellow we were looking for. He turned and sure enough, his name tag bore the correct name. "Are you Brother Buhrmann?" "Yes, I am", was the reply. We had a nice visit and we were able to get acquainted. We were able to find one other young man who we looked for too. Then, we went to visit brother Mardanlou. He had told us yesterday, that he wanted to talk to us today. So we went to his barracks and asked for him. He came down and we went out and sat at a picnic table. He humbly told us that it was his desire to not wait any longer to be baptized, but that he wanted to be baptized as soon as possible. We were so thrilled to hear of his decision. We told him we would have him meet with the young Elders tomorrow and make sure he is ready and then have him interviewed and we set a date for him to be baptized, next Sunday. We were so happy! And he was too.

Later in the afternoon we attended another baptism of a very nice fellow. Also there, was the family we had an appointment with, the Zenger family. So, after the baptism we followed them to their apartment and had a real nice visit with them. They've been married two months, he is a graduate of West Point. A very sweet couple, both attended Northridge High School in Layton! Tis been a wonderful day!

Friday, July 26, 2013

This morning we attended a combined birthday celebration for the chaplain corp and JAG corp. The chaplains certainly do seem to appreciate us. I believe they must have some understanding of the work, the time and the effort we have put in, in our ministry here on Fort Gordon. We are always made to feel welcome; they always make an effort to greet us and give us a warm handshake. We love all these good people we have the opportunity to associate with.

We had a wonderful institute class this evening. One of the missionaries who served here on Fort Gordon, Elder Dixon, came back with his parents to visit us on his way home. It was real nice to see him again. Sister Kayla Westbrook was traveling with them, so they must have gone to pick her up; it would be real nice if a romance would start up between Elder Dixon and Kayla. Also in attendance was the Phillips and Amanda Tenney. Also Brother Edwards came out with Brother Mardanlou; we have not seen Brother Edwards for over 2 months. We have visited him in his Barracks, encouraged him to come out, but finally Brother Mardanlou was able to bring him out. We discussed the Celestial Kingdom and all its associated promises and blessings. It was a real  good evening.

Here are some photos from the birthday celebration this morning.
 Chaplain Weinrich
 Simple random photos

 On the left, Chaplain Watson, chief chaplain on post

 Sgt. Rozier standing on the left. She is a great lady to work with at the Friendship chapel where we hold all our services. 

 Three of Korean Chaplains who work here on post
 Chaplain Robinson, Weinrich and ?
 The Dixon family
 George and Bethany Phillips
 Amanda Tenney
 Brother and Sister Estep and Kayla Westbrook in the middle
Elder Douglas and Elder Heyland

Thursday, July 25, 2013

This morning, Elder Gowans finally received his new crown, on my tooth of course. Anyway, while they were at it, the dentist repaired a chipped tooth, an old war injury from 1994. The original repair work had crumbled away at some point in time.

This evening, we went out to see the Sanders family. Brother Sanders seems to be doing very well in his recovery from his operation. Also, Lena is home; it was so nice to see her. Her grandma Sanders was there too, so we were able to meet her. She is a very sweet woman. It would be wonderful if she could leave with a positive attitude toward the church and eventually be taught the gospel. We then had a nice evening with Brother DeLong. He is a wonderful fellow. We enjoy helping him grow in the gospel. He has made some great improvements in his life.

We booked our trip home for Joe's wedding today. We are really excited about this wonderful family event and of course for Joe and Sarah and her family; soon to be their family.

Her are some photos Elder Gowans took of some beautiful Crape Myrtle trees. They have been blossoming all summer. They are white, pink, purple, red; they are really quite a lovely tree.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Elder Gowans took some liberty to sleep in this morning after his exhausting evening yesterday. After returning home last night, he hung his perspiration soaked clothes over the shower railing in the extra bathroom to dry over night.When Sister Gowans went in there this morning to use the bathroom, she said the clothes really stunk, so she put them right into the wash. Good thing, because Elder Gowans needed those jeans when we went to help Sister Mack clean house this afternoon.

After a good night's rest, we headed to the library to do our normal Wednesday service. Even though we arrived an hour later than normal, we were still able to accomplish all that we had set out to do. Sister Gowans did her shelf reading in the children's room and Elder Gowans finished inventorying in the same room.With the exception of the fiction books, he has inventoried the entire library twice. We wonder what they will have in store for us next week.

This evening we had two appointments. The first was with a new family; new to the area and newly wedded. He is a Marine, one of only two Marines on Post that we are aware of who is LDS. We had a real nice visit with them. We hope that they enjoy building their new married life here together. It is very different from Arizona and New Mexico where they are from. Since they live right by brother George Dereoun, we dropped in on him to say hi and had a nice little visit with him. Last time we saw him he had severely twisted his ankle; he seems to be doing much better now. After visiting George, we went to our second appointment, Brother Baum, an old companion of Jacob's. He is doing well. He just received his separation from the Army orders today; that put a smile on his face. Afterward, we dropped in on Sister Murray. Her husband just left to return to his deployed location after his midcycle leave. She had been feeling rather blue, but seemed to be doing fine.

A great evening! We thoroughly enjoy these fruitful evenings.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

This morning, we arose early, drove to Sam's, bought gas, went and picked up the Augusta Sisters and drove them to Macon, GA where was held the mission's first transfer meeting. President Cottle said that all but about 12 companionships were at the meeting. So transfers affected nearly everyone. The meetings began at 11:00 am and then after the announcements of the transfers were completed, then President Cottle met with all the missionaries who were going to be trainers. Sister Cottle met with all the Sisters. All the little side meetings finally ended around 2:30. Elder Gowans had already loaded up all the Sister's baggage in their cars and collected all their mail so that when they were finished we could get right on the road. We had told the Mack family that we would help them move into their new place beginning at 4 pm, but with the extra meetings going on, we didn't get back to Augusta until 4:40 pm. We had kept the Macks up-to-date with our progress. When Elder Gowans arrived at their home they had the truck about 1/3 filled and it was a long one. We filled the truck up and then took it to their new house and unloaded it and moved everything into their new house.By that time it was nearly 8 pm. We sat down and ate pizza and drank gator-aid and water. We then drove back to the old house and loaded up all the rest of their belongings and drove back and unloaded it all; this time it was a little less than half. As you can imagine we were all worn out.

Monday, July 22, 2013

This morning we had a rather slow day at the hospital. I guess people must be doing what they are supposed to be doing and not getting sick! :) Elder Gowans had to do a mad dash to post again to ready another POA of Joe to use to close on the house we are selling. The lady recognized me and asked, "Didn't we just do this?" Anyway, it is sent off and hopefully, it better, get to Joe tomorrow morning. Despite all  this we were still able to get the first draft outline completed for Institute.

At FHE this evening, the Zenger family came out who we had met at Church on Sunday. We were happy to welcome them and hope they will continue to come out. They are a newly married couple, just two months. He is in the Basic Officer's Course for the signal officers. We have an appointment to visit them on Saturday evening. We look forward to getting to know them better.

Tomorrow we make our first trip to Macon for our first Georgia Macon Mission transfer meeting. This will be quite a meeting, a lot of shuffling will be going on.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

While picking up a soldier for church today, 3 young men were walking toward us, when suddenly one of the young men broke away and came over to me and shook my hand. I looked at his name and asked him if he was Brother Otwell. He replied, "I am". We had a quick little visit and I introduced him to Brother LaRose and Brother Sharp who were with me. We will look forward to getting to know him better on Saturday.

We enjoyed our Sunday services, although the A/C is still broken, we were able to suffer through the very warm air. One of our soldiers, Brother Buck, he brought with him a fellow soldier, Brother Holder, who is also a member of the church; so today we learned of two other soldiers on post that we did not know about. Hopefully, we can lovingly encourage them to come out and participate with us.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

We had a great day visiting and finding our young soldiers. We also had a pioneer day celebration down at the chapel, so we left early to go to the base and visit with some of our soldiers who have really needed a visit. Our first stop was C company of the 447th Battalion. There we have four soldiers who are members of the church; Brothers Nation, Rapp, Maxfield and Sister Barton. We were able to visit each of them and obtain commitments that they would come out to church. Brother Nation expressed how he is having difficulties with his new wife. Brother Rapp was selected to be in some kind of competition, so he has been working out a lot on Sundays and the others, simply need to come out. Put a young person in a new environment and it seems that all their good habits just go away, if they aren't careful and remember what their priorities are. We then went to find 3 new soldiers who just arrived Friday. We found where they will all stay for their duration, but two of them were on a weekend pass with their families. We did find one young man, unfortunately he is in a company, which has been very difficult for our soldier to gain permission or find battle buddies that will allow them to attend church. So we will see how committed he is in finding ways to get to church. Many just toss up their hands, give up and so we seldom see them.

Afterwards, we went down to the chapel and joined in in the pioneer day festivities. They served breakfast, played pioneer games and had a real fun time. From there we dashed home to make our picnic lunch and then went on up to, which will probably be our final FRG. Attendance has dwindled down to one. We really felt that this was something our sisters needed, but obviously it is not. So we will cease having them, unless we, at some future time, hear or feel that it will be needed once again.

From the FRG, we went to visit the Barrett family. They just had a baby girl on Wednesday, everyone is doing fine, and we are very happy to see this new little one safely here with us and that mom is doing well also.

From the Barrett's we went back up to post to visit a few more soldiers. One has been here for 3 weeks or so, but we had never been able to make contact; well finally, we were able to do so today. He is a nice young man; not a lot of activity in the past, no priesthood. So we told him that if he desires so, we will help prepare him for the priesthood and help him grow spiritually. He has a battle buddy with him in his company, so the way is there if he desires to come.

After that we came home, rested for a while then we went out to have a birthday dinner for Sister Gowans. We went to Chedders; we had not been there before, but it was very good.

Friday, July 19, 2013

This morning, Elder Gowans, mowed sister Stocks front lawn. Her Home Teacher and son, was to mow the back yard this evening. Hopefully they were able to get that done. As mentioned in the past, we had afternoon rainstorms everyday for nearly 6 weeks. It makes mowing the lawn rather difficult. Needless to say, there were some very wet and soggy spots in the yard. Her husband comes home this weekend, so we look forward to having him home permanently!

Our institute class was very warm tonight. Apparently, the A/C is broken again. We had a nonmember visitor with us, we were so happy to have him and his battle buddy, though not a member, will be at some point in time. He is the son of an LDS mother and Muslim father. His brothers have joined the church and he will as soon as he can decide whether to wait for his brother to come and baptize him or to just get it done now. We discussed the 76th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, touching upon the everything, but the Celestial Kingdom. Even though it was warm, we had a good Spirit there and everyone was very appreciative of the lesson and the things they learned.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This afternoon, we headed up to Post to get a Power of Attorney accomplished and mailed off to Joe. After getting that done we went over to see Sister Mathews and her fun little girls, Autumn and Savannah. While there Elder Gowans changed out a light bulb for her in a rather hard to reach place in the pantry. Then we visited with her and answered questions for her. For example, how does the prophet become the prophet? That is a rather common question and a good one for anyone who has been studying, pondering and trying to think things through.

Later in the evening, we went to see brother DeLong, but we did not find him home. He may have forgot our appointment with him. So we went to see a few other folks out in Grovetown. We found the O'keefe family home and had a real nice visit with them.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

This evening Sister Gowans attended a relief society function with the Branch and Elder Gowans drove up to the Stake Center to meet with our High Council representative for military relations. We have really struggled to establish a Military Relations Committee in the stake with each ward and branch having their representatives. Our new Stake President has been in place for about 9 months and we have a new High Council representative, so we thought we would try again to see if we can get this committee established. We had a good, productive meeting. Brother Richards is very determined to assist us and help us help our military community; we hope that someone will take the bull by the horns and wrestle this problem down.

After the meeting, Elder Gowans rejoined the ladies at the Estep's home until they were through. They were teaching Sister Westbrook how to sew, then they had a visiting teaching moment.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

This morning, our dear friend, Sister Mitton, came by for a blessing. We first met her and her husband, Jeff, back in the fall of 2012. She has really struggled with him as he has changed so much since his deployment  to Iraq. Obviously, we shouldn't get into the details, but she from time-to-time will give us a call and we will visit and then give her a blessing. We pray for her and for her family. We love her and hope that she will find answers and peace through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

With the new mission now formed and running, we held our first DDM (District Development Meeting) this morning. It was good to be back together. We ran the meeting just as if we were still in the old  mission, as no guidance has come to make any changes. As we always say, "If it an't broke, don't fix it"!

This evening, we went out to visit brother and sister Sanders. He had some surgery today and  has bounced back very rapidly; he is smiling and happy. He knows he has been greatly blessed! We then went out to visit some of our families. Sister Voyles, whose husband has now returned to Egypt, then we dropped in on the Hickams and the Koellers. Brother Hickam is being med boarded out and the Koellers will be transferred to D.C. next spring. We also saw the Peterson family; we learned that he had been called as the new Elder's Quorum President in the Harlem Ward. We didn't even know that the old President, Brother Heaton was moving. We would hope that when these people would move, people we've established a relationship with, that they would at least call and say goodbye. Oh well, we love them anyway.

Monday, July 15, 2013

This afternoon, we had a Monday visit with the Johnson family, rather than a Sunday visit. Yesterday, Brother Johnson was on a 24 hour shift cycle, so we had arranged to visit today. Unfortunately, they forgot we were coming, but we still had a nice visit. We studied the topic of Prophets, who they are, their purpose and the importance of following them. We recommitted them to accomplish their own personal study and invited them to come to the Pioneer day breakfast on Saturday.

This evening, Sister Cheney, the wife of one of our AIT students, brought two other wives and their children to FHE. So we had 7 children there, as you can imagine, it got a little chaotic at times, but we had a fun time. Our FHE has drastically changed over the past two months. However, it will change again, these families will depart and something new will happen after that.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Our Stake Patriarch was asked to speak in our services today; he is a wonderful Christ-like man, just what you would expect a Patriarch to be. After Sacrament meeting, he gave two of our soldiers their patriarchal blessings. We set up a room for him where he could be in a quiet solitary place, where the Spirit of the Lord would be able to inspire him in the offering of these blessings. As he finished these blessings and as each young man emerged from the room, they had the biggest, happiest smiles on their faces that you would ever see. What a beautiful experience for these young men, and what a beautiful experience it was for our Stake Patriarch.

We also had the opportunity to have Brother Yanke in our services for the first time. He is a new convert, baptized while at Fort Jackson. One of our full-time missionaries, his mini-mission companion and Elder Gowans, taught him his first new-member lesson. We feel that he enjoyed the lesson and hope that he will commit to studying the Book of Mormon and praying daily. We set him up an appointment with President Estep to be interviewed for the Aaronic Priesthood.

After church we went to visit a few people here on post. We visited the Stewart family, Sister Ledbetter and Sister Janssen.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

This has been a glorious day! We awoke early this morning, 5 am to be exact. We quickly dressed and ate our breakfast so that we could pick up a young lady, Alicia Patterson, a new convert and take her and other troops to the temple. We took her and Kayla Westbrook in our car to the temple. We had a nice visit with them while traveling. After our arrival, we entered the temple and was able to perform the ordinances of baptism and conformation for the dead. Both these young women hold a limited use temple recommend, which allows them to do only certain ordinances in the temple. As they grow and mature in the gospel, they will then be given the opportunity to do other temple ordinances.
 Alicia and Kayla - Alicia's first temple experience

 After our temple work was completed, we ate lunch at the Lizard's Thicket; we then headed home. After dropping the young ladies off, we ran some errands on post and then went directly to the Augusta Ward building to attend the Baptism of Brother Kristopher Sanders. Sister Gowans was to play the piano and Elder Gowans was to speak on the topic of the Holy Ghost. As we waited for the baptism to begin, we were able to visit with President Cottle who was in town to interview all the missionaries in our Zone. The baptismal service was wonderful; very spiritual and very uplifting.
Crystal and Kristopher Sanders, Joshua and Catherine Anderson
After the baptism, Elder Meyer and Elder Gowans drove over to pick up a young lady, Saundra Cheeks, who was to be taught that evening there at the church. We had a real nice discussion with her and had the opportunity to have President and Sister Cottle involved in the discussion as well. 

It has been a wonderful day, full of wonderful events.We are very tired and look forward to a good night's rest. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

This morning we drove to Sister Rachel Mack's home to assist her in packing the family's belongings for their move into their new home. She has 3 small children, so our help was greatly appreciated. We worked with her for about 4 hours. We got everything packed up except those things she needed to keep out to sustain their everyday life. Her husband will be leaving on deployment soon; currently he is away for training for his deployment.

Afterwards, we did our final prep for Institute class. We had a good turnout. A new fellow came out this evening, Cooper King. He seemed to be a nice fellow, very quiet, a returned missionary; I hope we will see him come out regularly.

This evening, Elder Gowans helped the young Elders put together two baptism programs. One fellow, the husband of a lady who we had been watching over during his deployment, just began the missionary lessons last Saturday. He didn't even believe in God a week ago. Then after two lessons, he began to see, in a most vivid way, how serious his wife was about her belief and he said he was lying in bed two nights ago and had the strongest impressions come over him as he thought and pondered on all that he had been taught. He immediately new that there is a God and that what he had been taught was true. He will be baptized tomorrow! The Elders had to hustle to teach him the remaining lessons to make sure he understood all that he was committing himself too. Conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is such a wondrous miracle!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

This afternoon, Elder Gowans went to have his new crown installed, but the dentist didn't like something about it, so he asked him to wait and have another one manufactured so it would be right. So far the temporary crown has worked just fine, so no complaints.

Later in the afternoon, we visited Sister Mathews at her home on Post. We learned that, yesterday, her birthday, she was sick all day and even in the hospital for 7 hours. We felt real bad for her and prior to leaving we administered to her. Elder and Sister Gowans taught her about Eternal Families and the 3 most important things we can do to maintain a strong and healthy family: Family Prayer, Family Scripture Study and Family Home Evening. Then we discussed with her the purpose of the temple and what she and her family can expect as far as their future temple experiences are concerned.

Later in the evening, we visited with Sister Arnett. We always have good visits with her. They usually last about an hour and a half; she has no family in the area and she has never married, so she appreciates people to talk to. We helped her get some things down from her attack while there; she is preparing to move soon and wants everything ready for when that time comes.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This morning after our service at the Post Library, we went to visit Sister Westbrook. We always visit her in her barrack's day room. We had a real nice visit with her and discussed with her the lesson from President Monson about pioneers and how she is a modern-day pioneer being the first member of the church in her family. Her posterity will rise up and bless her and be grateful for the day that she was baptized a member of the church.

Afterward we dashed home for lunch and then back to post to attend the graduation of a young lady, though not a member of the church, she became a real good friend, Sister Redfern. A very sweet young lady who we enjoyed visiting and talking to. She had quite a few family members there with her, so we were not the only ones there to see her graduate as normally is the case.

From there we went to see the Murray family. Brother Murray is home for two weeks from his deployment after being gone for 6 months. He returns on the 20th to finish up his tour of duty, which should bring him home in December or January. We had a real nice visit with them; he has a lot of frustrations, but we think he is doing much better than he was before he left. Sister Murray was not up to par; she was suffering from a headache, so hopefully we didn't wear her out too much.

After the Murrays, we went to see the Halfords. He serves as a councilor in the Branch Presidency. His wife suffers from various aliments, which keep her at home most of the time. However, this evening, she seemed much more perky or chipper. We had probably our best visit with them since we began visiting them several months ago.

We had another great rainstorm again today. We have had afternoon rain showers  nearly daily since the beginning of June.
Sister Redfern with cousins

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

This afternoon we went out and met our Sister Missionaries at the home of Nick Lay, a recent convert and taught him and his girl friend, who also is a recent convert. We discussed with them how they can involve themselves in missionary work, especially among family. It was a nice visit with them and are thankful that the Sisters would think to invite us to come along with them.

This evening, Elder Gowans attended his Branch Presidency meeting with the Fort Gordon Military Branch, Branch Presidency. It had been some time since we had a presidency meeting with the Esteps being gone for a while. We were able to discuss many of our soldiers who we are trying to help progress and grow. Many are progressing in the priesthood and some are preparing for missionary work. It is a joy to help and assist them in their growth and preparation.

This evening we had the pleasure of visiting Brother Willardson. He is in his junior year of med school and has been spending the last 6 months rotating around different hospitals being trained in many different medical procedures. He has a wife and children who are waiting for him back in San Antonio. He is a fine young man who is very committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Monday, July 8, 2013

We welcomed the Esteps back to Family Home Evening today; we were glad to have them back. We took a few photos of the Cheney family who have been coming out very regularly. He is an AIT student and she and the family came out to live here while he is in training. They had been a part long enough and everyone wanted to be back together again as a family. We have loved having them here. Hopefully, we will be able to post some photos of the evening, but the computer seems to be having issues with the card.

 From oldest to youngest: Mizey, Evie, Sadie

 Sister Cheney in the background, expecting number 4 daughter
 Elder Litwack, Sister Estep and Elder Douglas
This fellow was doing a mini mission with our missionaries. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Sabbath Day

We enjoyed our Fast and Testimony Sunday. It was good to have the Esteps back with us. We had a good turn out at our Branch Sacrament meeting and the testimonies born were all heart felt and uplifting. It is encouraging to see our young men come out who are still 18 years old or close thereabout. They have been well taught by their mothers and fathers and have learned to prioritize and put first the important things.

After church we made our weekly visit to the Johnson family; they failed to do any studying this week. We continue to encourage them and help them set goals that they can achieve; this week we left them the challenge to improve their prayers. Sister Johnson set her phone alarm to remind her to study.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Wonderful Moments

This morning, we arose a little later than normal after our late night last night. We didn't skip our time with our AIT students, but rather we went up later than normal. We found two of our new students, Brothers Yanke and Mardonlou. We met brother Yanke for a moment last week, but didn't have time to talk to him. This week we took a few minutes and had a friendly visit with him. He seems to be rather shy or timid, but we hope he will take the opportunities to come out and join us in our activities. He has 3 other battle buddies there in his platoon, so he shouldn't have a problem coming out. He was just baptized 3 weeks ago, so we want to be able to help him grow and progress. Brother Mardonlou is the product of a Muslim father and an LDS mother. He has two brothers who joined the church during their teenage years and both served missions. This young man wants to join the church too, but wants his family to all be involved, so he may wait awhile. He was thrilled that we contacted him and went to visit him this morning.

This evening we went to the Esteps to help celebrate their Grandson's birthday. Several families came out to join the celebration. We all had a good time together, but you could tell that many of us were tired after our late night last night.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Estep Wedding Reception

This morning Elder Gowans took the Sportage in for an oil change, tire rotation, and its 45,000 mile check up. Everything looks good on it, it is serving us very well for which we are very grateful.

This afternoon, we finally had the opportunity to clean the apartment floors real well; we had not been able to before moving in, so now was the time. It took 5 changes of water before we got the floor all clean; so that is 6 buckets of good soapy water to clean the floors. I don't know what the cleaning woman used to clean the floors with prior to our moving in, but it sure wasn't clean. We had to take a scrub brush and scrub the entire floor, then we went back and mopped it; afterwards, we went back over it again with clear, clean water for one last rinse.

This evening we attended the Estep's son's wedding reception. It was a very nice affair and was well attended. It was nicely decorated, with lights, streamers plants, flowers and so forth. We talked a lot about their visit with our children at  home. They really enjoyed everyone! We stayed to help them clean up and put everything away. It took 3 1/2 hours to get it all cleaned. It was very labor intensive. The Esteps and Taylors appreciated our help. Tomorrow, Saturday, we will have to go see our troops later in the morning or early afternoon.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

This morning as we began the laundry, we found out the hoses on the washer were attached opposite to what they should be. We dashed out of the apartment early so we could attend the Grovetown ward Independence day breakfast. We thought that it would be a good time for us to see how many of the families are doing. We found that one brother is being med boarded out of the Army and will go on terminal leave this month. They are worried about finding work; jobs in and for the government have become much more scarce and difficult to find. We will do all we can to help him.

When we arrived back home, we found the washer hadn't run, so it was then we learned that who ever had hooked the washer up and got the hoses on backwards. So that set us back several hours in getting the laundry done.

This evening we attended a BBQ with the Meachams and the other missionaries in our district. We had a real nice time eating delicious beans, potato salad, hamburgers and birthday cake and ice cream. Sister Grimm celebrated her birthday yesterday and Elder Pack made her a big cake. We have had a real nice day. We are so thankful that the weather for most of the last  month has been stormy in the afternoons, it really keeps the temperature in respectful areas of comfort. It has really been a blessing.
 From left to right: Sister Grimm, Elder Pack, Sister Lusk, Elder Huss

 Elders Faleao and Myer. Elder Myer is stuffed; it was their 3rd dinner appointment today
 Elder Meacham
Sister Meacham
Their apartment is very similar to ours. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

3 Graduations and Independence Day Celebration

This morning we attended to our Library service as normal, however, we knew that Brother Sled's graduation was going to be sometime this morning. Elder Gowans called the Alexander Hall to see if they could tell him what time the graduation would be held; he was told in seven minutes. So, we hustled out of the library having only been there for 55 minutes and dashed over to Alexander Hall. We arrived there about 5 minutes into the preliminary videos that they always present at the beginning of each graduation exercise. Brother Sled attended the Basic Officer's Leadership Course, a course for 2nd Lts. After the graduation we took his photo out in the foyer where we always take our soldier's photos.
 As we were finishing talking to Brother Sled and wishing him well, suddenly we see another one of our church members, Brother Bennett. He was there for the Warrant Officer Course. So we went right back into the auditorium and watched him go through his graduation too. We did not know he was graduating that day, so we were fortunate to see him and be there for him too!
Both of these young men were in courses to teach them their roles as a Signal Officer. Later that afternoon we attended Brother Meadow's, Brother Lyles', and Sister Poyer's graduations. They were all in AIT. We took with us the Meachams and the Albrechts, for after graduation we took them out to enjoy the Independence Day Celebrations out on Barton Field here on Fort Gordon.
 Brother Meadows
 Brother Lyles
Sister Poyer
While wondering around Barton Field and looking at all the vendors, we found one that was selling steak meals for $10.00; so we all bought a steak dinner. After eating, we all sat out on the field and talked for a good 2 to 3 hours. The Albrechts had to leave, they live 1 1/2 hours away; so that left just the four of us. Around 9 pm it started to rain a little and the fireworks started about the same time. We watched a magnificent fireworks show, set to patriotic music. It lasted about 20 minutes. The higher flying fireworks actually went into the clouds a little, so when they burst, they appeared to be in a fog. We had a wonderful time.
 Viewing the army equipment

 A carnival type of atmosphere 

From left to right: Sister Gowans, Sister Meacham and Sister Albrecht