Saturday, August 31, 2013

As Saturdays typically are, we had a wonderful day. This morning we begun up on Post finding new AIT students and looking up some we haven't seen out to church for a while. There is only one student out here now that we don't know where he is. We will keep hunting for him. We have 38 students/soldiers out here on Post; it is interesting, the numbers stay very consistent. It will rise and fall from week-to-week, but by in large we stay in the mid thirties. We found 4 student/soldiers today that we had never visited before, 3 of them had just arrived and one had been here for two  months, but we could never catch a break with him. We finally caught up with him today. Another fellow, we found playing video games in the arcade, and another we woke up, he still came down and talked to us, it was time for him morning formation anyway, so it wasn't all that bad. Hopefully, we will see all these young men at church where we can better befriend them and get to know them and they us.

This afternoon we attended a baptism of a wonderful lady and her son, the Dixons. They are neighbors of a member family on post and have been loved and friendshipped into the gospel.It was a delightful occasion. One of our recent converts, Brother Sanders, gave a talk on the subject of baptism. He did a very fine job.

Then this evening, we had two appointments, one with the Hall family and one with the Bryan family. The Hall family had been living in the area for about 1 1/2  years; the young Elders just happened to track into them and they confessed to being members of the Church. They immediately came out to church the following weekend; then we learned about them and made the appointment to visit them. We had a very nice 30 minutes with them. Next, the Bryans, they are still in the process of moving in. They agreed to have us over, even though they are still putting things away. He is 38 years old and joined the army just 2 1/2  years ago. Talk about starting over!

Just as we were leaving their home, we got a text message from the del a torre family. They needed help moving a piano out of storage into their home; so we drove up and met up with them at the storage unit (we were about 15 minutes away) and helped them and two young Elders move it out, onto a trailer and then into their home. It wasn't too bad of a job. It has been a wonderful busy day!

Friday, August 30, 2013

This evening's lesson at Institute covered the first half of section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants. We discussed the First and Second comforters as referenced in the 14th chapter of St. John and as further and more deeply discussed in the 88th section. It is an incredible promise to each of us that as we grow and progress, as we strive to live worthy of the blessings of Heaven, that we can actually have a personal visit from our Savior, Jesus Christ. We then discussed the Light of Christ and all its different facets; how the light of Christ is also known as the Light of Truth, the Spirit of Christ and so forth. We discussed the ultimate destiny of our planet earth, how it will be renewed and eventually become our Heavenly Home. This is a truly wonderful revelation from God and reveals to us so much knowledge about the magnificence of God and Christ, and our potential in the Plan of Salvation.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Last night while we were at the Stake-Wide Boy Scout Court of Honor, we learned that Brother Stott was deploying soon. So during the court of honor we sent him a text to see if we could come by and give them our predeployment briefing. So we arranged to do that this evening. We had already two appointments set up with two soldiers who are here for Senior Leadership Training, Brothers DeVries and Nelson; unfortunately, Brother Nelson must have forgot so we left after not finding him and called the Stott family and asked if we could come early. They said we could so we went up and had a  nice visit with them. She is from the DR, so we will keep a close eye on her to make sure she fair this adversity well.

After our visiting, we dropped in on Elder and Sister Meacham; they learned just two days ago that he has prostate cancer. We wanted to know if there is anything we can do to help. They won't decide on a plan of attack until next week. We will keep them in our prayers.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This evening we had a very unusual event occur. First, we drove over to Grovetown to visit a new military family in the area, the Cooleys. They are a young couple with two small little girls; he is a linguist, she is an aspiring writer. We had a real nice visit with them. Afterwards, we drove down to the Augusta chapel to attend a stake-wide Boy Scout court of honor. During the summer they all combined together and attended a 100 year anniversary LDS/Boy Scouts of America commemorative camporee at the Daniel Boone Boy Scout reservation. All total, they earned several hundred merit badges and other awards. President Estep was awarded his Wood Badge beads (I guess that is the appropriate term).

The crowd filled the church gymnasium for the Court of Honor

Prior to the evening, Elder Gowans took two of our young Elders over to teach a single mom. We read with her from the Book of Mormon of Christ's advent in the American Continent. She was very interested in the things we read and talked about; she seems genuinely interested in learning more.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

This evening, we took Bishop Burgess back out to Post to visit more of our families. I believe we visited another 6; next week, we will most likely be out again to visit. He enjoys being out among the members and we enjoy being with him in their homes.

This afternoon Elder Gowans attended the monthly Chaplain's meeting; it is enjoyable to meet and greet many of them and to represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This morning we attended our weekly DDM. It was Elder Huss's birthday; afterwards we ate deep fried Oreo cookies and home made cookies made by sister Meacham; they were all very good.

Monday, August 26, 2013

This evening at FHE, Brother Wood came out with his cute little two year old daughter Olivia; also Sister Cheney came with her daughters. She told us today that she will have her baby on Friday, at least that is the plan. Her husband should be off duty that day so that would be a perfect time to have this next little gal come into the world. Lacey Wessels came out too; she is a single mom, Brother Wood is a single dad, we kinda hoped that they might get acquainted, but neither of them showed any interest in the other.

We visited the doctor and picked up some meds for Sister Gowans today, with the hope that it will help her terrible allergy cough.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

At our Branch services today, we had 3 new people come out whom we had not had out before. One young lady, first weekend here, she came out. Just goes to show, if you are determined you can do it! Then we had a young man come out who has been here a while; he finally made it out. We were happy to see him. One more new fellow, a student in the Senior Leadership School. We have had several folks out recently who are in the upper level schools.

We had a real nice visit with the Johnson family. They have now been out to church 3 weeks in a row! We are very pleased with their current progress; we hope they will keep coming and make it a habit. We talked about priesthood advancement, patriarchal blessings, baptizing his son, attending the temple and all sorts of things that can happen as they become steadily active.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Today has been wonderful! We headed out of the house around 0730 and headed up to post to visit our Student/Soldiers. Our first stop was B-447 where we thought we might have a new arrival, Sister Flygare. Sure enough we learned that she was there. The Platoon Sgt sent a runner to her room to ask her to come and visit with us. Soon afterward she came down; what a very pleasant young lady. Her Nickname is Noodle, because she is so thin. Afterward our visit with her, we visited each of our LDS students in that company, which now is up to 6. We had good visits with them; we have a good group of soldiers there and we hope that we can keep them growing and progressing. At 0930 Sister Estep and Brother Marzolf came out to join us in our visits. For the next two hours we visited our soldiers; in total we were able to make 18  visits, to include two new soldiers that we had not yet been able to meet. It was a very successful morning.

From the post we dashed home, Elder Gowans dropped off Sister Gowans so she could rest and try to get better and then He went to the Augusta ward building to join a group of new converts, to include 3 military, on a temple trip up to the South Carolina Columbia Temple. We had marvelous experiences. Everyone was so thrilled to be in the temple for the first time; the excitement was greater than Christmas morning.
Here are a couple of photos of the group.
 I couldn't tell you all the names in this group; however, the couple right of center is the Zenger family. Both are returned missionaries and have a great spirit of service.
In this photo, the fellow in the blue shirt is Brother Sanders, just baptized about 6 weeks ago; his wife is standing to his left, Crystal; she has her arm around Leyna their wonderful, exuberant daughter. In the pink is Sister Janssen, another incredibly wonderful young lady and her daughter Selina. Behind Stephanie, is Brother Willis. On the far left is Brother Banks, then Sister Taylor and behind them are the Erwins, an incredible couple with a wonderful spirit of service.

Friday, August 23, 2013

This evening our institute lesson covered sections 87 and 90 from the Doctrine and Covenants. We discussed how the world is in turmoil and how we can live in relative peace by Standing in Holy Places, which means keeping our covenants, treating seriously the Oracles of God and walking uprightly before God.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Georgia Macon Mission is continuing the tradition of the South Carolina Mission in having their Senior Couples inspect apartments. So this morning, we drove out to Harlem and then out to Thomson to inspect two apartments. Not only do we make sure that they are keeping their apartments clean, but we also make sure they have everything they need to have comfortable living quarters. One of the Elders was sleeping on a very poor mattress, so we wrote in our report that a new one should be provided. They also do not have enough chairs for the kitchen table, and the ones they do have are in poor condition. It is these sort of things  that we want to make sure get corrected. After returning home Elder Gowans dashed out to meet the Sisters at an appointment, unfortunately it fell through. He asked us to come back in a couple of hours, but we had an other appointment scheduled for then. At 2 pm, we met with the Swartz family; he is deploying in about 2 1/2 weeks for Kuwait. We gave them our predeployment briefing as we had the Towns family the day prior. We are so happy that we learned of these families situation before it was too late. This has been the problem for a while. So many months ago, we asked the stake to ask the wards to assign someone to be a POC for us so that we could keep track of our military families, particularly those who are in such a situation, but it has not been done. We keep asking, but nothing happens. In some cases, it is almost as if we are home teachers to all these families, but that would be impossible. We really love our call, but we need the support of our stake and our ward leadership to be completely effective.

After visiting the Swartz family, we came home for an hour and then went back to Grovetown to a Birthday party for Sister Gardner; at the part was the Towns, Sister Mack and of course, the Gardners. We had an enjoyable time with them, eating hot dogs, and visiting.
 Sister Gardner, she is 35; she does ASL in the Augusta Ward; our ward is designated the ward in the stake to take care of the deaf. 
 Brother Towns, he will deploy Sunday
 Lila, Bella, Josie
 Elenor
 Sister Mack, her husband is currently deployed
 Brother Gardner and Sister Towns. Brother Gardner recently returned from a deployment
Joseph
After the Birthday party, we dashed up to post to visit with Sister Lacy Wessels who is here TDY at the NCO academy. She will be here until October. We had a short, but good visit with her. We try to visit all those who come here TDY, no matter how long or short of a time they will be with us. 

After Sister Wessel's visit, we went to see Elder and Sister Meacham. Elder Meacham celebrated his 69th birthday today. From their we dashed up to see Sister Mitton up in North Augusta. We visit with her from time-to-time to help and support her through a difficult time she has been going through for the past 2 years. 

It has been a long, but wonderful day! Hopefully some good has been done. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

This morning we served at the Library for only 2 hours or so, no one had anything for us to do. So we straightened up the children's books and then headed home.

This afternoon, we attended the graduation of 3 of our soldiers:
Brothers Edwards, Smith and Nation
Brother Smith is a 3rd great grandson of Hyrum Smith. Elder Gowans also recorded the Army song as sung by the graduates at the end of their ceremony:
video
After the graduation, we dashed over to Sister Amanda Tenney's to  mow her lawn for her. It took about 45 minutes, but the nice thing was that it rained a little while mowing, which really helped cool Elder Gowans off. After cleaning up, we dashed to the Towns' house to give Brother and Sister Towns a predeployment briefing. He is in the Navy and will be a submarine rider for about 4 months or so. We have a couple of those in our Stake. They are not assigned to the submarine crew, rather they receive orders to accompany the crew and analyze communications that are intercepted. While there, Brother Towns asked Elder Gowans to give him a blessing, which he happily did. 

From there we dashed again to Brother Wood's home. He is a single dad and works as an active duty reservist with the Marines. He has a cute little 2 year old daughter named Olivia. We have had a wonderful day!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sister Gowans is still feeling under the weather. Hopefully, it is only a virus and that it will run its course in a few days. We attended our DDM this morning; the instruction entailed notes from Elder Andersen's visit on Saturday. After DDM, we dashed up to the post for Sister Gowans' ENT appointment; everything was normal.

We spent the afternoon letting Sister Gowans rest with the hope she would feel up to going out during the evening. We had arranged for Bishop Burgess to go visit our military families who live on post this evening. Elder Gowans had texted him, called him, but received no answer. Finally, he called around 4 pm and we arranged a place to meet. Sister Gowans didn't feel up to going out, so Elder Gowans drove up to post and met with the Bishop and from there we drove out to the Gordon Terrace Housing area. We met with the Johnsons, Herrs, Powers, Ledbetters, Stephanie Janssen and the Sanders. We had real nice visits with each of them. It is a nice occasion for a family to have their Bishop come and visit them in their home.

We also learned this evening that Brother Mardanlou will be attending the temple with the Augusta ward temple trip on Saturday, so we know for sure that the Sanders will be there, Stephanie and Brother Mardanlou. We are excited about this trip!

Monday, August 19, 2013

We had a rather typical Monday today. Not typical for Becky and Dad, happy birthday! We love you. This morning we did our weekly Red Cross service and then this afternoon we were able to get our Institute lesson all outlined. This evening we attended our FHE. Kayla and Lacey were there along with our missionaries and the Esteps. We provide this for all who want to attend. It is interesting how some of our soldiers will do anything to get out of the Barracks and come down and have some fun with us. Others simply don't bother, still others cannot come due to their class schedule. From time-to-time we have a small group of soldiers who really get involved and take part in everything they can, they have a great time with us and it makes their AIT experience a little more enjoyable to remember.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Another very busy Sunday as we do our best to get out and meet families, particularly on Post. We had a good turn out at church from our AIT students; we still struggle with getting some of our students out who are down at the 73rd Ordinance Battalion. It seems that there is a huge struggle for these young men and women; we are working on a possible solution, which we hope will work for them. We continue to teach Brother Mardanlou the new member lessons and we continue to work with those who desire to advance in the priesthood and obtain temple recommends.

The Johnson family with whom we have been visiting weekly now for about 3 months, have now made it out to church 2 weeks in a row. We are very happy for them and hope they will continue to the effort it takes to be active; we know it will bring them joy and happiness.

We met very shortly with Sister Janssen, we gave her a blessing that she requested and also simply visited with her. We also paid a visit to Brother Campbell, he is going through some difficult times right now, so we also visited and talked with him.

Here are a few more photos from yesterday's conference with Elder Andersen.
Some of our Sisters (Sorry about the quality of some of them)








Saturday, August 17, 2013

This morning at 0500 the alarms rang and out of bed we jumped to ready ourselves for a long drive down to Columbus, Georgia to be taught and instructed by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Just two days ago, the news broke that we were invited to mission wide conference Elder Andersen; we had to rearrange our schedules so we could free up the day; also transportation issues needed to be resolved. We were asked to drive to Thomson, GA and from there drive our Sisters who work that area down to Columbus in their car. Elder Andersen gave permission for all the missionaries to drive their own cars down. Our Sisters didn't feel up to making a drive of the length on their own, so we were asked to drive them down. We didn't mind that, it saved us a lot of gas money, plus we had the pleasure of the Sister's company. The drive, one way, ended up to be around 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Freeway all the way, however, it has been very rainy for the past several days, so the entire drive was in rain and drizzle.

The conference with Elder Andersen was wonderful. He encouraged the Elders to help everyone progress as much as they would allow, even if they didn't progress enough to be baptized. If we can help them increase their faith, repent of sin, be better fathers and mothers, be better sons and daughters, be better citizens, whatever it may be, then we will not have failed that day. He also encouraged each of us to be patient. Patients is one of the missionaries best friends, an attribute worth developing; it will bless our lives, especially as missionaries. 

A few days ago at our last Zone Conference, we were challenged to read the Book of  Mormon with a specific topic in mind prior to our next zone conference which will be in 90 days. Sister Gowans will study on the topic of prayer, Elder Gowans was going to study on the topic of Faith, however, after our conference today with Elder Andersen, he decided to study on the topic of "The Nature of Discipleship".  This topic was briefly mentioned at the beginning of the conference and so intrigued him, that he felt it appropriate to change. Here are some photos of the other Senior Couples who serve with us in the Georgia Macon Mission: 


 Our Neighbors, the Meachams 

 The Sperlein
 The McCoys
 The Castletons
The Fosters
 The Bushs

 The Johnsons

The Butlers

Thursday, August 15, 2013

This evening, we had a very nice visit with Sister Westbrook, Kayla! She is such a delightful young lady. She has been a member now for 9 months and continues to be excited about living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been blessed by her friendship. Afterwards, we drove out to have dinner with the Jones family. He is second counselor in the Grovetown ward Bishopric; they have two teenage children, Jordan and Kade, a brother and sister. They are a wonderful family. Brother Jones is the type of man who will get things done. We love and appreciate them. After our appointment with them we walked two doors down to see the Sarah Murray; she only turned 8 years old a short time ago and has had about that many surgeries on her ears. She develops tumors in her ears and because of them her hearing is being destroyed along with the structure of her ears. With this last surgery, which just took place on Tuesday, her right ear has no more ear canal. It is so sad, she is such a beautiful and strong little girl; we love her and pray for her. From there, we went back to Post and met with Brother Baum; once again, we had a nice visit with him. He will be separating from the Army in November then go back to school; he wants to study Robotics.

Just this evening we learned that we will have a mission conference with Elder Andersen of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles on Saturday; we had to hustle and reschedule all our appointments; we had a full day planned; but it wouldn't be good to miss a call by an Apostle.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

This morning we dashed up to the Post to pick up a box of peaches! We haven't tried them yet, but we are sure they will be delicious. From there we dropped them back off at the apartment and then went to our first Zone Meeting with President Cottle and our new Georgia Macon Mission. We had excellent training and enjoyed all that these fine young missionaries prepared for this conference.

We left the conference early to be able to attend the graduation of 6 of our LDS soldiers and 2 soldiers, although not members came to our meetings. We also filmed the soldiers reciting the Soldier's Creed. It is as follows:
I am an American Soldier
I am a warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States 
and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat. 
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, 
trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment, and myself.
I am an expert, and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy
the enemies of the United Sates of America in close 
combat.
I am a guardian of freedom
and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.
video


Brothers Baker, Callahan, Martin, Buck, Barney, NG (Ning)
Brothers Martin and NG were not members, but they came out to our services
Brother Carroll
Brother Hammon

Photo from our Zone Conference
President and Sister Cottle are seated on the left of the photo. In the center is his first counselor President McCoy and to the right is the Mission Doctor, Brother and Sister Rose.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

This morning Elder Phillips, our Australian Elder, decided he wanted to come out and run with Elder Gowans. We don't know for sure how long he has been on his mission, but it was easy to tell he had lost some of his endurance. He is a world class bicyclist, but he is not in as good a shape as he used to be.

This morning, we visited with Sister Arnett out at her new apartment. It was the shortest visit we have had with her. She had to be to work by 1145 and we arrived at 1000, we stayed about 50 minutes. She has arranged her place very nicely; she certainly has an eye for making things look real nice.

Early this afternoon, we visited Nathaniel and his friend Willey with the Sisters.We had a real nice discussion with them on the topic of Gospel of Jesus Christ. This lesson covers the first principles and ordinances of the gospel: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, The Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. We committed them to Baptism as they learn the truthfulness of the gospel and also committed them to attending church with us on Sunday.

This afternoon we went out to visit Brother Noah Nakaya;  we became acquainted with him about a month ago when his wife was befriended by Sister Cheney, an active member of  the branch. Noah has not been an active member for a long time, but having been befriended by the Cheneys he has been coming out to church and other activities quiet regularly. We made it a point to make sure we visited him; we hope that his testimony will be reignited and that he will take the initiative to get his wife and family taught the gospel, so they can be united together as a family.

Afterwards, we still had time before our next appointment, so we dropped by Sister Janssen's house. We found her home and had a nice visit with her. Her husband returns from deployment in just over a month; it will be wonderful to meet him and to get acquainted; we hope he will have a desire to hear the gospel and have it taught to him.

From there we went up to visit Brother and Sister Halford. As we drove up we found Sister Halford outside doing yard work. For most people that would not be anything unusual, but with her it is. She suffers terribly from different ailments that she is down more than she is up. Having done this yard work will probably put her down for a couple of days.

In the middle of this, we got a good start on our Institute Lesson for Friday, hopefully we will have a few more hours to get it all completed and studied before Friday; it is going to be a very busy week.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Early last week, we had arranged to take our District Missionaries Bowling. There are ten of us in the district. We suppose that the sisters had told other sisters in the zone and even in other zones and before we knew it, we were receiving text messages from other companionships about coming and how to get there and needing directions. When all was said and done, there were 22 of us bowling today. Fortunately, the 25 hot dogs and 14 orders of fries satisfied everyone. The Meachams split the cost with us; $39.00 wasn't too bad to feed all those people.

After the bowling, we returned home and met with the Meachams for a few minutes to plan our attack on the missionary's apartment inspections. We got things planned out and looks as if we will get it all done next week. We are still waiting to hear from Sister Johnson at the mission office to see who is going to inspect the North Augusta Zone.

This evening we held our weekly FHE. We continue to have a fun time with the Cheney family who comes out every week. We typically have dinner, then a lesson and finally games.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

This afternoon at the beginning of Priesthood Meeting, Elder Gowans ordained Brother Mardanlou a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood. It was a very special experience as Brother Mardanlou received a very powerful blessing. He is a special young man, we wish there would be a way for us to keep in contact with him in the future; he will be active duty in the Army, maybe there will be a way for us to get acquainted with his family after we return home.

This evening, we had the opportunity to meet Brother Donny Johnson's mother. If you remember, we have been meeting with him and his family every Sunday evening to help bring them back into activity. She came out with her youngest daughter, Lainey, to be with her second grandchild as she goes off to school for the first time, tomorrow morning. She is a sweet lady, Lainey, is 18, soon to be 19 and has been called to serve in Columbus, Ohio mission.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

This morning a group of 12 of us had a wonderful trip to the temple in Columbia. We arrived around 0930 and then divided up into two groups; those who were there under limited use recommends and those who had full recommends. Elder Gowans, attended with those who held the limited use recommends; they did their normal baptisms and confirmations for the dead. Sister Gowans and the others all participated in an endowment session. We had a nice time together. It is so wonderful to offer these good young men and women the opportunity to get away from Post and go to a place where the Spirit of the Lord is found in such rich abundance.

 In this photo, we have Brother Babcock who is on rotation at Eisenhower hospital, the we have Brother Manwaring who is in the Intermediate Service School, then we have Brother Barnett who is also on Rotation at Eisenhower.
 In these two photos we have Sister Westbrook who we have taken to the  temple many times; then we have Brother Kemner and Brother LaRose, both are in the same company, both are looking forward to serving missions after they graduate from AIT. Then we have Sister Lacey Wessels; she is her for the NCO academy. She will be here about 2 months. She is a convert of 1 1/2 years. It is such a blessing to be able to offer these good folks an opportunity to attend the temple.


After returning home, we attended the baptism of Sister Jessica Mathews. It was her husband who was introduced to the church while on assignment in Korea. He sent word to his aunt who was already a member of the church to help his wife locate the missionaries here on Fort Gordon; that was when we were called. Sister Mathews was baptized by her husband Joseph! They have two darling little girls, Autumn and Savannah.
Elder Faleao, Brother Mathews, Sister Mathews, Elder Crist
Savannah, Autumn
 Elder Gowans feels very loved!
 Bishop Burgess
 Elder and Sister Meacham

 After the baptism, Brother DeLong, a member who we have been working, with came to the Church to meet with us and discuss the principles of the Gospel to be able to learn more and increase his understanding. We had a real nice discussion of the purpose of Prophets.

Friday, August 9, 2013

This evening before and during our institute class, President Estep, interviewed 3 of our soldiers for temple recommends so they could attend the temple with us tomorrow. We look forward to having a total of 13 in our group that will drive to Columbia to the temple tomorrow.

In our Institute class this evening we discussed the principles, doctrines, teachings and so forth that we will need to learn to live by in order to be able to live the Law of Consecration, the Law of the Celestial Kingdom of Heaven.What principles of this law can we live now that will help us live consecrated lives now and in the future, particularly as we strive to inherit the Celestial Kingdom? We searched many passages of the Doctrine and Covenants in many of its sections in search of those principles that will help us know what we can do now that will prepare us for the future.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

This afternoon we went out to see Brother Stock since he has been assigned as our new High Council Rep to the Stake Presidency. He will be a good high councilor for us since he is military and has been assigned to our Military Branch. We briefed him on the Military Relations Website on LDS.org. We caught him up on all that we have been trying to do to encourage the Stake to put together a Military Relations Committee to assist us in our efforts to minister to our military families. Hopefully we will see some progress in this area.

We also dropped in on the Mack family. Brother Mack just deployed four days ago. Sister Mack was having a Mary Kay party, so obviously she is trying to keep busy. She seems to be doing fine; we will see how she does as time goes by. We are sure she will have some needs come up that she will need our help with.

This evening we dropped in on the White family, our friend from the library. They seem to be doing fine. He said that he has been reading from the Book of Mormon, so we told him to write down questions he might have and that we will get together and discuss them. Also, we made plans to go out to dinner together soon. They are a wonderful couple, we hope that we can continue to work with them and learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

This afternoon, we attended the graduation of 3 of our AIT students, Brothers Ebell, Howell and Adams. Brother Adams had been baptized while here. The are all three fine young men, we will miss them. I've posted their photos before, but here they are again:

 Brother Howel, Adams and Ebell
 Their company formation after graduation

This evening, we went out to visit a new Sister and her daughter who just moved into the Grovetown ward. Sister Sarah Smith. Her husband is still in training at Goodfellow Air Force Base. He will finish up at the end of this month and join her then. After visiting Sister Smith, we went over to Sister Murray's to see how she is getting along. She seems to be doing real well, but her daughter Sara will under go further operations on her ears on Tuesday. She will receive a blessing on Monday, we hope to be there for the blessing. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Today was a day of meetings. This morning we attended our District Development Meeting and then this evening Elder Gowans attended his Branch Presidency Meeting. We have a lot of soldiers who have a great desire to advance in the Priesthood, receive help in preparing for missions and so forth. So we spend about half of our meeting in discussing their needs and what we can do to help. It is very rewarding to see these young men grow and develop. It is difficult at times do to their schedules, sometimes they can't always make it to church, so their progress is delayed, but we do what we can for them despite their schedules.

This afternoon we assisted the Sisters in teaching Nathaniel, we don't know his last name. Nathaniel had a friend there with him named Willy. Both of them really loved the lesson on the plan of salvation that was taught them today. They were amazed at how strongly the love of God is manifest in this wonderful plan of which the Savior is the central figure. When they learned that heaven contained more kingdoms than one, and that nearly all mankind will receive some degree of glory, they came to see just how loving God really is.

Monday, August 5, 2013

On our way to FHE this evening, we stopped by the Sanders' home to see how KC was doing. Shortly after his baptism he had surgery to remove skin from around his stomach. Prior to this time he had lost a lot of weight and needed to get the excess skin removed. Recently the drainage had increased so we wanted to go over and see  him. We had a nice visit, other than the current problem he is experiencing, he seems to be doing fine. From there we drove up to FHE. Attending today was Sister Lacey Wessels, who just arrived to attend the NCO academy.  She will be here for a couple of months. Also attending was Brother Noah Nakaya. He is attending the Basic Officer Course. His wife had come up to stay with him for part of the summer months and while here she met Sister Cheney, whose husband is an AIT student. Sister Cheney and Mrs. Nakaya became good friends, she is  not a member of the church, but through their friendship, Brother Nakaya has begun coming back to church and now came to FHE too. Hopefully, he will continue this positive trend and when he returns home hopefully he will bring his wife along too!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

It's been a marvelous Sabbath Day. This morning, in the Augusta Ward, our Gospel Principle's Class was bursting at the edges with new members and investigators. It was a beautiful and inspiring sight. A new young lady was in our Sacrament meeting by the name of Lacey. We introduced ourselves and informed her of the Post Branch and also informed her of our FHE and Institute class. Later when we got up to post, she actually showed up to check out the Branch! She is a convert of only a year and half, but she wanted to see how the branch operated. She had a wonderful time with us, but not only that, she also participated in the baptism service by offering the invocation.

At our Branch meeting, we had several new folks come out, in fact we had one brother come out who is here TDY, but has not been active in the church for many years, but he came out because we took the time to visit with him and invite him when we saw him at a farewell party.

We had a wonderful baptism for Brother Mardanlou. Everything went very well. It was a very spiritual experience!
 Elder Gowans, Brother Mardanlou, Elders Douglas and Heyland

After our Branch meetings concluded, we had our normal Sunday visit with the Johnson Family. We believe that though their progress is slow, it is coming along. We encouraged them to put the atonement to use in their lives, by using it to overcome their weaknesses; we encouraged them to cease using sarcasm and to help each other through faith and charity to work together in building each other up.

After our visit with them we went to visit one of our Doctors in training, Brother Babcock. He is just one of several medical students who have come through on rotation through the Eisenhower Medical Center.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

What a wonderful day! This morning Elder Gowans went up to Sister Arnett's house, along with several other men to help her move from her Townhouse that she recently sold, into an apartment where she will live until a new job comes along for her. She attends the Fort Gordon Military Branch since she works nearly every Sunday of the month. She is able to get off for church services most Sundays, so her church records stay in our branch; she also serves in the Relief Society Presidency. We began our labor around 8 am and concluded right around noon.

After returning home, we did some work around the house and then we headed up to Post to visit our AIT students. Over the last 3 weeks or so we have received around 11 new LDS student/soldiers. We had been unable to locate a couple and then some of them we simply haven't found at the barracks. Finally, this afternoon, we were able to visit with all but two of the soldiers we set out to see and to find. In the middle of this is a very funny little story. One of the soldier we set out to find has the last name of Priddy; another one of the soldiers, in the same company, has the name of Stanke; both of these soldiers were in formation when we arrived at their company, both are brand new arrivals as of yesterday. Well, we are standing in the foyer of the company building waiting for the formation to break up and the soldiers to come in. After several minutes they start coming in. Brother Priddy comes in and we both see each other at the same time. He lets out a yipee and expresses how happy he is to see us. Just after that Sister Stanke comes in she looks at us and claims she is not a member of the church. We tell her thanks  for taking a minute to talk to us and then she goes on her way. Also, about this time another soldier who we had met two weeks ago comes over to talk to us, Brother Otwell. So the four of us talk a little and we learn that both of these young men are very desirous to be advanced in the priesthood and want to know what they can do to progress. Well, after talking to them both for a while, brother Otwell leaves and now we are just talking to Brother Priddy. He tells us how he is often kidded with over his name, Priddy, in fact just today he says that he and Sister Stanke were standing next to each other in formation and the Platoon Sgt. couldn't help but giggle when she called out their names one right after another, Priddy Stanke! Good thing he has a sense of humor.

We had made phone contact with one young man, Brother Oysten. We set up an appointment with him at 7 pm. After we had seen everyone we wanted to see, we decided to go to a little fast food shop called the Huddle House. After we had ordered our food in walks a young soldier and what appeared to be his wife and a mother figure. As he turned toward us, we saw on his name tag the name, Oysten. We had to get up and go over and introduce ourselves; what a funny coincidence to see the next young man we were going to meet there in the same establishment as us.

After dinner, we set out to go meet Brother Cooper King. We found him in his room on Post and had an interesting visit with him. It is very obvious that something has happened in his life where he has lost his testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we concluded our visit with him, we asked if we could leave him with a prayer, he responded, "No". We tried to leave on a positive note and hope that as we visit with him in the future, we will be able to find out what has happened in the past that has brought him to this point in his life.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Not too much going on today; this morning at 1030, we attended our Zone Training Meeting. It lasted until 1:30. It was well done and I think that all the missionaries there went away feeling well trained and renewed.

This evening, we held our regular Institute class. We discussed the Law of the Celestial Kingdom from sections 78 and 82. We had a good attendance and we believe that everyone who was there felt inspired, and well instructed.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

We had a very enjoyable visit with a not-quite-so-young man this evening. Brother Manwaring is attending an intermediate school that would be for Majors and Lt. Colonels. He will be here until October, after which he will head home back to Utah and then deploy to the middle east for a year. His wife will come out for a visit at the end of the month, so at that time, we will visit him again with her there and give them a predeployment briefing. He has deployed many times, but they have only been married a short time, so this will be mostly for them as a newly wed couple. We ended up being in his apartment for nearly an hour and a half, but we had a great visit with him.