Saturday, November 30, 2013

This morning, we headed up to post to visit with a few of our servicemen and women. Over the past few weeks we have visited each of them, so we wanted to go visit those who we felt could use an extra boost of fellowship. We were also giving them copies of the memorandum for next week's temple trip. We decided to move the temple trip to the first Saturday this month since most of the students will be attending their preholiday safety briefings on the second Saturday or Sunday. We will have to move a little quicker this month to get everything arranged.

This afternoon we attended the Nutcracker. The Mitton family has had children dancing in the ballet over the past 12 years or so. Their youngest son, Parker, who is 14 years old, has been dancing in it as well. So we attended to support him and also to have a nice afternoon out together.
 Us with Parker after the show, still in his makeup
Lorraine and Parker
This evening, we, the Esteps and us took Paul Miller out for dinner at Sticky Fingers. He has been with us in our branch off and on for over a year. He has been going through Warrant Officer Training and will soon graduate. He was here last fall for about 6 months; then he went home for the spring and summer and came back this past fall to finish the course. It is around a year long. So rather than moving his family out and doing it all at once, he decided to do it in chunks. So he will graduate this week. We will miss him. He has supported our activities as often as able. 
Paul is front right, with the Esteps on the left

Friday, November 29, 2013

This evening in Institute, we discussed the principles of the Priesthood as taught in the Doctrine and Covenants section 121. We had a small, but good turnout. Being a holiday weekend, we hoped we would see a larger group, made up of those who don't have an opportunity to come. However, it didn't quite turn out that way. We know that several of our young men are home for Thanksgiving, for which we are grateful. Section 121  contains some of the most sublime scripture ever revealed unto mankind. We love the great promises and the glimpse into eternity that it gives us, all available to those who valiantly endure to the end.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

We have had a wonderful Thanksgiving day, we hope you have too. We made arrangements to take several of our AIT student/soldiers to a thanksgiving dinner off post at the Fordham residence. They open their home up every year to any soldier who wants to come. We put the word out to all our LDS students and invited them to come. We had 21 signed up to go, but only 9 actually made it. We had arranged to use the Brosnahan's 15 PAX van to transport them all, so we nearly filled it up.

So this morning, Elder Gowans played football with about 30 other young men out at the Grovetown Middle School. We played for about 2 1/2  hours. After that we made the Sweet Potato Cassarole and once it was done, we packed up the car with the pies, the Cassarole and what ever else we would need and headed over to the Fordham's. We dropped off the food and headed up to post to load up the soldiers. We then brought them back to the Fordham's We were there a little over 2 hours and everyone seemed to have an enjoyable time. There was a lot of good food and a lot of people having a fun time together. Once we were done, we took the soldiers back home, returned to the Fordham's picked up all the tables and chairs we took to them yesterday and then took them all up to post, returned them to the chapel and then took the van back to the Brosnahan's and then headed home, whew! What a day! The important thing was that the soldiers had the opportunity to have an enjoyable and memorable Thanksgiving day.
 Sister Fordham on the left
 Part of the crowd
 Brothers Lawhorn and Barnes
 Brother Barnes and Cortes
 The Taveres Family
 Brother Braithwait
 Brother Tolbert
 Brother Walker
 Some of our young missionaries
 Brother Moore

 Sister Gowans

 Brother Slade
 Left Brother Rafn, Right Brother Fordham
 Sister Fordham and Sister Alberts
 Brother Alberts
Sister Norris

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

This has been a very busy! This morning, we arose at 6 am and quickly readied ourselves for an 8 am graduation ceremony for Brother Zenger who was graduating from BOLC (Basic Officer's Leadership Course). Brother and Sister Zenger have been a valuable resource to our missionaries here in the Augusta Ward. They have had people over to their home where the missionaries were able to teach them; they have gone out with the missionaries to help teach and many other things to assist the missionary effort.

Brother and Sister Zenger
After the graduation, we headed over to the library to take care of our weekly service there. Maurice, who volunteers there everyday had some things for us to help with. He was taking down the Autumn decorations and putting up winter and Christmas decor. So we helped him put up the decorations. We  had some time to do a few more odds and ends before we had to leave to attend a service provided by the Post Chaplains. It was called Thanks Living. The service began at noon and lasted until 1 pm with a light lunch served afterwards. We assisted them in getting things all cleaned up. After the cleaning, we drove out to Evans to pick up the Brosnahan's 15 Pax van so we could use it tomorrow to shuttle troops out to the Fordham's for our Thanksgiving dinner. By the time we returned with the van, it was time to attend another graduation, Brother Oyston graduated today from AIT. He is the one who has been playing the piano in our Branch services; actually it is a very versatile piano, he can make it play like an organ. So for the past few months, when he has been able to attend church, we have had organ music; it is very beautiful. We will certainly miss Brother Oyston. 

Brother Oyston
After Brother Oyston's graduation, we went back to the chapel and loaded four tables and 20 chairs to take to the Fordham's for tomorrow's Thanksgiving feast. We took everything down in the van and then returned to post, picked up the car and drove home where we had a light dinner with our Augusta Bike Elders and then drove back to post to visit the Sanders and take them some Death by Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie. Sister Sanders was out with her mom, so we had a fun visit with KC and Leyna. Leyna should us photo albums of her "whole" life, all 8 years of it! We have had a wonderful day. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This morning, we drove over to the Estep's home for breakfast. We enjoyed a wonderful meal of sausage gravy and biscuits, eggs, sausage, bacon, fruit drink and even some herbal tea. Elder Gowans ordered sunny-side up eggs and then laid them over his sausage gravy and biscuits and then broke the yoke over it. Yum! Sister Gowans ordered scrambled eggs and ate them with her bacon. Afterwards, Elder Gowans helped President Estep lift an LG front load dryer on top of their LG front load washer. We then fastened the washer to the dryer. After all the eating and the work was done, we enjoyed a nice visit with them.

During the afternoon, Elder Gowans made six cream pies for our Thanksgiving day with the Student/Soldiers. He made three death by chocolate/peanut butter and 3 strawberry/coconut. We hope that they will be enjoyed by all who will come hungry and ready to eat!

This evening, we took half a chocolate pie and chocolate topping to the Janssen family along with the DVD, "Mr. Kruger's Christmas". We thought they would enjoy something nice to watch during this coming Christmas Season. Tomorrow, we will take the same thing to the Sanders family. While we were out this evening, we also stopped by the Stewart family, Herr family and Johnson family.

As we arrived back at the apartment, we saw our three new Elders, Elder Hatch, and Elder and Sister Meacham out in the parking lot. So we drove up and introduced ourselves to the three new young men. They seemed to be real top notch Elders.

Monday, November 25, 2013

This morning, we performed our normal Red Cross service; it was a very slow day on the 6th floor, so Elder Gowans was able to finish up his study of the October General Conference. Sister Gowans had her normal busy day of inputting patient comments.

This afternoon, we worked on the first outline of Friday's institute class. We will be studying the 121st section of the doctrine and covenants, studying the principles of the priesthood.

This evening, we had a great turnout of soldiers at FHE. There were 11 of us present. Sister Estep provided a  meal of Spaghetti and garlic bread. We had a lesson on the gift of being able to share the gospel that we are all so thankful for. Then we all went around the room and stated something we were all thankful for. Afterwards, we all played a great game of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Gowans family will remember that game and how much we all enjoyed it.

We have coordinated and arranged everything we need to do for Thanksgiving. We will be shuttling around 20 soldiers to the Fordham's; plus we will need to pick up the van and also pickup tables and chairs.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

We have had a very fine day! This morning, early, we attended the Augusta Ward Mission Correlation Meeting. We had a good meeting with the Ward Council. Afterward, we headed home for about a half hour, then we headed up to North Augusta where we were invited to speak in Sacrament Meeting. Brother Dunagan, who invited us to speak complemented Sister Gowans on her growth since the last time we spoke. He could really tell that she has grown in her confidence and spiritual sensitivity. Elder Gowans has noticed the same over the past 18 months since we've been serving. We spoke on the subject of Stewardship and Gratitude. We tied the two topics together using the principle that a grateful person will be a good steward over his/her earthly blessings and heavenly gifts. And that a good steward will be marked by the attribute of gratefulness.

After our meetings in North Augusta, we headed home for lunch and then headed off to Post for our Branch meetings. We had another wonderful turnout of our young soldiers. We even had one come out who has never come in the past. He seemed genuinely happy to be in his meetings. He has been in AIT for quite sometime and this was his first time out. It was wonderful to see him.

After our meetings we took some time to meet with the Esteps. We had some coordinating to do, so we took care of that. Then we decided to go try and meet one more new fellow, who we missed yesterday. We went to his company, had him paged, but he was not in his room. Since their next formation was only 30 minutes away, we decided to wait. Elder Gowans decided to wait outside the car and watch the young men as they walked by and read their name tags to see if he could find Brother Tolbert. Two young men walked by in the PT uniforms, he asked them if either new Private Tolbert; one looked rather awkward and said, "That's me". Elder Gowans introduced himself and for the next 5 minutes or so, we had a nice visit. He was just telling him who his LDS battle buddies were, when out walked Brother Rafn. Obviously inspired to come out when he did. Elder Gowans introduced them to each other and then said his goodbyes and left with Sister Gowans to go home for the night.

The Fordham family has once again opened their home to the AIT students. We have been collecting the names of those who would like to come. Up to this point, we have 21 soldiers signed up to come out. We expect there to be some who will drop out, but that will be a great turnout if they all come. We will borrow the same 15 pax van to transport them all that we borrowed on Veteran's day.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

What an enjoyable day! As most Saturdays go, we started off spending about 3 hours visiting many of our student/soldiers. We had 3 in mind that we wanted to find and meet for the first time. We found two and then met one more who had just come in who we did not have any record of coming. While waiting to meet him we were able to see and visit with each of our soldiers, save one, in that particular company; we visited with Brothers Warner, Carapezza and Otwell; we also talked with Sister Flygare. The new fellow we went to  meet, we found out was a brand new member of the church. So we were excited to invite him out and and hopefully we will be able to encourage him to keep coming. From there we went to visit another new Sister. We eventually found her and had a nice visit with her. Her name is Raquel Garcia, a very nice young lady who seemed to be genuinely happy in meeting us. We were also able to meet and visit with several other soldiers who we have not seen out to church. We probably met with 10 of our soldiers this morning.

From there we drove out to Thomson, GA to take a couple of our Sisters to lunch, Sister Turner and Sister Madsen. We hadn't seen them for quite sometime, so we thought it was about time. We just learned this evening that Sister Madsen is being transferred, so it was a good thing we did. We will miss her. One of the reasons we had decided to do it today was because President McCoy, counselor in the Mission Presidency asked us to come out to Harlem and visit with him. He wanted to see how we were doing and also wanted to know if we had any thoughts on who would be a good replacement for us; they are looking to call someone from this area who could live and work from home. We haven't got to know very many retirees. So we had a nice lunch with the Sisters and a nice visit with the McCoys.

From there we went to visit Brother Woodley who had just had his gall bladder removed and just a week before that had an operation on a couple of toes. So he is pretty well laid up. Other than that he is doing well. We also visited with the Phillips, the Rockhills and the Macks this afternoon.

This evening, after returning  home, we received a call from Elder Phillips, he wanted to know if Elder Gowans was available to go on splits with him. So they went out and visited with an investigator family, a part member family and then a young man, DJ who had had his feelings hurt to make sure he was doing well. He gave us both a big hug and seemed to be very happy that we made the effort to come out and see him.

Then to top it all off, we had the entire district over at 9 pm to listen in on the transfer telecon to see who in our district was being transferred. Time for bed!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

This evening, we went out to visit Sister Arnett; she has been in a very difficult situation at work for the past many months and it is really taking a tole on her. We don't know if she is going to last until her retirement goal of 2014/15 or not. We shared with her some of the principles taught by Elder Holland in the last General Conference with the hope that it would give her hope in the future and would help her keep her focus on the wonderful things ahead.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

This afternoon, we attended two graduations, one with the 73rd Ordinance Battalion and the second with the 15th Signal Battalion. We weren't sure how many graduates we had, but soon found out that we had two at the 73rd and four at the 15th. We were rather surprised at the 15th. One of the young men graduated 2 to 3 weeks ahead of what he was supposed to have. We attended the first only until we had to leave to get to the second. Here are some photos of the events.
The photo below is at the 73rd graduation held in the Hazan Hall. All the students sit in front of the hall, while the guests sit in back. 
Brother Markestein
Brother Baquera
Brothers Otwell, Yanke, Sainsbury
Brother Ellsworth

After the graduations, we went and visited 3 of our Sisters, Sister Mack, who is  making fudge; we ordered some almond joy fudge. We then visited Sister Stott and Sister Volyes. 

Our evening appointment cancelled on us so we decided to go to the Wednesday evening Book of Mormon class that the Meachams conduct. They were discussing the Book of Mosiah. 

Also, today was Sister Meacham's birthday. We all gathered at their apartment for a little ice cream and cake. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This morning, we attended our weekly DDM with our younger full-time missionaries. The Sisters proposed that we gather the ward together for an evening to teach them, in a fun way, how to be better member missionaries. Elder Gowans proposed that we invite the members to the MMTC (Member Missionary Training Center) and have a fun evening helping members feel what it is like to attend the MTC. Then spend the evening in fun classes teaching them how to share the gospel with the final goal in mind to prepare for a special open house a few weeks later where they could invite a friend to with the idea of learning more about the Church. We will see how the ward council receives the proposal.

This afternoon Elder Gowans attended the monthly RSO meeting, he calls it the Chaplain's meeting. All the faith group leaders assemble to discuss what is going on in their particular faith group. So, we, as Latter-day Saints, give a short briefing on the successes and activities of the Fort Gordon Military Branch.

This evening, we visited a new family out in Steven's Creek. He is an emergency room doctor and will deploy sometime early in the year. He will deploy with the 101st Airborne as their on-site surgeon. We had a nice visit with them. Come to find out she is friends with our niece Becky Messina. Not only was it our first visit with them, but we also gave them our predeployment briefing as well. With the holidays coming up and she is expecting a baby in a month, we thought it best to get the briefing done now. After our visit with the Jensen family, we drove over to the Halford's and visited with Brother Halford, his wife was sick in bed. He is doing fine, but she had been having a bad day. We feel for her and pray that at some point in time, she will heal.

Monday, November 18, 2013

We had a good morning of service at the Post Hospital this morning. We were expecting a Sister to come and see us this afternoon, but she never came by. So we waited, but while we waited we were able to work on our talks for Sunday. We are speaking on the topics of Stewardship and Gratitude. We hope that we will be able to be well prepared so that the Spirit of the Lord will be able to carry the message of our talks to the Saints in North Augusta.

We had a wonderful FHE this evening. All total, we had 10 in attendance. We had a real good lesson from the One for the Money pamphlet. Sister Estep gives that lesson a couple of times a year. It is good for our young troops; hopefully we can keep them from going into debt with all the money they are now earning.
This post is for Sunday, the 17th; we just realized that we forgot to post yesterday. So we apologize for that.
We had another tremendous turnout for our church services on post. We had around 36. It is tremendous to have such a large group of good faithful young men and young women with us at this time.

Elder Gowans had lined up 3 of our prospective Elders to attend with him at Stake Priesthood meeting this evening, however, for one reason or another they all backed down. We visited the Johnson family as normal and had a nice visit with them on the subject of baptism. Afterwards, we dropped by the Sanders, and he had decided not to go as well as Brother Janssen and Brother Shelledy. So Elder Gowans picked up the Elders who serve with us and took them up instead. Elder Giddens of the Quorum of the 70 had been asked to come up and speak at the meeting; he lives in Atlanta. He spoke to us on the topic of what it means to be a man. It was quite interesting as the world is marginalizing men and man's role in the world. He aligned it with the need for us to rise up and also be powerful men in the priesthood, to live up to our privileges and take the lead in our families. It was a very good meeting. Elder Gowans was asked to give the closing prayer in the meeting.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

This morning, we were able to visit with 13 of our student/soldiers; two of them only briefly, but yet, we were able to say hi to them and let them know we were thinking of them. Yesterday, we received a phone call from a sister of one of our soldiers, she was very concerned about him; we told her that we were planning on visiting him this morning and we were able to do so. We had a nice visit with him and encouraged him to be prayerful and to study his scriptures. We also invited him to come out to our activities. We hope that we are able to be a blessing to these young men and provide for them a spiritual retreat from their daily struggles. This afternoon we had the wonderful privilege of baptizing Kyle Janssen. His wife was baptized last March; after he returned from deployment, he investigated the church, did what we asked him to do, that is study and pray to find out for himself, from the source of all truth, Heavenly Father, if what we were teaching him was true. He did and gained a testimony of the truths, which we taught him, particularly the Book of Mormon.
 Kyle Janssen
 Stephanie, Salena, Kyle
 Being baptized with Kyle, was Sister Reneda Williams and her son J'Marion. He was quite frightened about getting into the water, but after a while, he found the courage and got in and was baptized. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

This afternoon, we had the opportunity to attend Brother Holloway's graduation from his Captain's Career Course. He and his wife and the parents of 10 beautiful children with one more on the way due in March.
The children are: Joshua, Danielle, Emily, Meghan, Rachel, Lillian, Hayden, Peter, Lauren and Benjamin. They will depart for Hawaii in December. They have invited us to come stay with them sometime next year; we offered to take care of the children while mom and dad go away for a time together for a few days. With a baby due in March, it will have to be at a time when mom can leave the baby. Anyway, we look forward to that opportunity.
 Trying to get the family together for a photo
 Got them all together! 
This evening, we experienced a first, no one was able to come out to institute. Just the two of us there tonight. We ate a little of the dinner we had prepared, put the rest away, watched a short video, The John Tanner story, and then packed up and took everything home. Oh well, hopefully things will work out better next week!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

This evening, we had another night out with Bishop Burgess. Our first stop was to see the Fisher family. We had visited them 2 or 3 weeks ago, but as the Bishop wanted to go out and visit all his military families we had the opportunity to go back and see them again. Bishop Burgess asked the family to sing a hymn before we left; so dad played the piano and everyone sang. The oldest child is 6, it was a very cute moment.

From there we went right next door to see Sister Galan. Her husband has been gone TDY for about a  month; so we stopped in to see how she was doing. He will be back home next week. She is expecting their 4th child; she has difficult pregnancies, but she seemed to be doing fine.

Next we stopped in at the Sanders. Sister Sanders is healing nicely after her difficult labor and child birth; she seems to be in great spirits and her husband KC seems to be doing very well too. He was feeling rather low with his wife's difficulties and then with the lack of sleep he was feeling pretty bushed. Leyna, however, is doing great, always a very happy young lady.

Our next and last stop was at the Gardners' home. Brother Gardner had recently broke his arm, but he was fine. We helped him replace an air filter, which is way up high on the wall of the staircase. We also looked at the washer and dryer; they have been having troubles with both. Also, the little closet in which they sit is much too small, so we talked about doing some remodeling. Once they get everything figured out then we will put together a team of men to get it all done in one day.

The time we spent out this evening was very enjoyable; it is always wonderful to know that we cheered up a few folks and brought a little sunshine to those who may have needed it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday, our day at the Post Library; over the past couple of weeks, we have been asked to do some odds and ends that needed to be done. Actually it has made our service at the Library more enjoyable because of our interest in learning more of what goes on in the library. For example, the things that need to be done to get a book ready to place on the shelf, replacing shelving, or fixing old shelving. A lot of things going on behind the scenes that no one ever sees.

This afternoon we didn't have any graduations, so we spent our afternoon finalizing Friday's institute lesson. We will be discussing how the Church is a standard to the world, the value of property to the Lord and thus to us and finally the Law of Tithing. It should be another great class.

This evening we visited the Goff family and gave them our predeparture briefing as Brother Goff will deploy sometime early next year. He is in the Air Force and will actually be filling a flying position on some sort of recon plane. It sounds very interesting. He is not a pilot, but rather he will be gathering some kind of intel.

We stopped in at the Fordham's after visiting the Goffs. Dan Fordham returned from his deployment about a month ago. Since then they have done a lot of traveling, so this is our first opportunity to visit with him. During his deployment, he and his wife both lost about 45 to 50 pounds of weight. They both look great and they say they feel great too! We love this couple and keep them in our prayers; they have a lot of exciting things a head of them, so we hope for the best for them.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

This afternoon, we went out to visit Christina Dobins one last time. She believes she will be taken back home tomorrow. We never asked why she was in the hospital, but simply tried to help her feel befriended, warmed and loved. Hopefully, she will take good care of herself.

This evening, we visited a new family to the area, the Hyde family. We had a real enjoyable visit with them and was able to get acquainted and to know each other a little. At the conclusion of the visit, Elder Gowans was asked if he would assist Brother Hyde in giving a blessing to his wife who is 5 weeks pregnant; apparently she has had some miscarriages in the past. We left them with a good thought and feeling spiritually uplifted. We love our Military families; they are wonderful folks.

Monday, November 11, 2013

On any typical Monday, we would have gone to the Post Hospital this morning and worked our Red Cross volunteer jobs, during the afternoon Elder Gowans would have worked out the first draft of Friday's institute lesson. However, being Veteran's Day, we changed things up quite a bit. This morning Elder Gowans worked Friday's institute lesson and got the outline all worked out. Then we drove out to Evans and picked up a 15 Pax van so we could take our student/soldiers out for lunch. We drove back to post and ended up filling the van to near capacity; we hauled 10 young men and women to O'Charleys for a yummy free meal. It really turned out nice. We spent about 3 hours together.

After lunch, we returned the van and then headed back to the apartment for about 15 minutes. We decided we had better head out to the Olive Garden where we were to meet up with Ryan Baum so we could say our farewells to him. We arrived at the Olive Garden at 1720 and got in line for a table. We were told that it would be a 45 minute wait, not too bad. We texted Ryan and told him we should be seated right around 1800, our meeting time. Ryan should up a little before 1800 and about 10 minutes later we were called to our table. We had a real nice dinner and visit together. We wish Ryan all the best and especially, we hope he finds a fantastic young lady to be his wife.

It has been a wonderful day!
 A photo of most of the student/soldiers we went to lunch with. 
Dinner with Ryan

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Last night while writing in the blog, Elder Gowans forgot to mention that during the evening, after returning home from the Temple, we received a call from Sister Burgess, the Bishop's wife; she stated that she had just received a phone call from a lady out in Las Vegas who was calling about her Sister who had been admitted to the hospital and was asking if there was someone who could go and visit her. So she called us. Since Sister Gowans' knees were very sore, Elder Gowans called Elder Meacham to see if he would be willing to go with him to visit this lady, her name is Christina. So we went down to check on her. We found a lovely young lady, 28 years old, single, a student at the University of Georgia. We had a very enjoyable visit with her; helped her laugh and feel that she was among friends. We visited with her for about 20 minutes. The reason I bring this up is because this evening we went to visit her once again. Here she is, several thousand miles away from any family; her friends are all in Athens, GA; she is completely alone. We had another nice visit with her this evening and was able to bring her a little joy and cheer. We also gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon to read, she is a member of the Church, but she didn't have her own scriptures with her; Elder Gowans also gave her a copy of one of his books to read. She was very appreciative and grateful that now she would have something good to read.

We had a wonderful Sacrament service this afternoon in our branch. President Baughman, the South Carolina Temple, Temple President came and spoke to us; he did a magnificent job speaking to all our soldiers. He spoke of his own experiences in the military during the Vietnam war. I'm sure he touched a lot of hearts.

This evening, we visited with Brother Kyle Janssen our investigator who will be baptized this Saturday. He had his baptismal interview this evening and was cleared for baptism. This is so wonderful, we are uniting a family. You may recall that Sister Janssen was baptized back in March; now her husband will be too. We are so excited for them.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

This morning we left for the Post around 0635. We made our first stop to pick up 2 of our student/soldiers so we could use them as battle buddies to pick up 4 other students/soldiers. Unfortunately, the Platoon Sgt. was at chow and so we had to wait for him for 20 minutes. There is always something that delays us! However, we finally got them checked out and so we were able to pick up the others; even though we were a little late getting to them. We had a wonderful trip to the temple with 10 student/soldiers, 1 wife and 4 escorts (that would be us and other members of the branch presidency). We really did have a wonderful time with them; it is so good to see them enjoy the experiences and the spirit of the temple. We had one young man with us who was there for the first time, Brother Hancock! He had a wonderful experience. Here are some photos of the trip.
 Brothers Mardanlou, Hancock, Moore, Barnes

 Beautiful fall foliage. These are the Crepe Myrtle trees 

 Brother and Sister Amidan; she is due next  month
 Most of the group
 Brothers Hancock and Braithwaite
 Brother Rafn

Brother Boone

Friday, November 8, 2013

Another wonderful day! This morning, we left the apartment early to do some shopping, when we returned we saw President Cottle and his wife over in the parking lot by the young Elder's apartment. We waved and walked over to see what was going on. Without going into details, President Cottle said he came to pick up our Zone Leaders, they were being transferred! It was very sudden, but they were needed somewhere else. We will miss Elders Heiner and Hunstman.

This afternoon, we had the opportunity to visit two more of our Sisters. We first visited with Sister Swartz and had a nice visit with her. Her knee had been bothering her, but through some good physical therapy it was doing much better. We then were able to visit Sister Mack; she gave us some great news today. Her husband will be returning in 4 weeks; his tour of duty is being shortened, so even though he will miss Thanksgiving, he will be home for Christmas.

This evening we visited the Sanders family for two reasons; 1. To see how Sister Sanders is coming along, she is getting better slowly, obviously not fast enough for her; 2. To say so long to her mother in law, Sandy; she has been here around a month now, but has been a wonderful asset to Crystal. We will miss seeing her and hope that she has a safe trip home tomorrow. Crystal's own mother will be coming out in a week or two. So we will have the opportunity to meet her also.

This evening, our institute class discussed the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We discussed their purpose, their responsibilities and our need to pray for them, to listen to them, and to do as they teach us. It turned out to be a wonderful lesson.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

This has been a very interesting day, a  day where the Spirit's guidance has been very evident. We had a very ambitious schedule set up for the day beginning right after lunch. We first had set up appointments to see Sister Swartz, then Sister Stott and finally Sister Malcom. About an hour before our appointment with Sister Swartz she shot us a text saying she was busy and could we come tomorrow. So we arranged to see her tomorrow. Well, now what do we do? So we decided to drop in on Sister Murray. We found her busy making dinner for 3 other families besides her own! This wonderful woman, if she doesn't have enough challenges in her own family, she is always looking out after others. She had a sink full of potatoes to dice, so Elder Gowans asked if she had another knife. She is very willing to allow someone to help, but she will never ask. So we got to work cutting potatoes; after which, we sliced up 4 or 5 sausages. Since we were helping, she was able to get started on the desert, a massive amount of Apple Crisp; she got that already and at that point we needed to leave so we could go see Sister Stott. She walked us out to the car already all done with her dinner prep.

We drove to the Stott's, but didn't find her home, so we shot her off a text to see when she would be back. No answer, so we drove to Walmart to get Sister Gowans some pain patches for her knees. While there we ran into Sister Stock and another Sister from the ward. At that point we had an hour to kill before seeing Sister Malcom. At that time Sister Stott called and said she would be available after 4 pm. We decided to go see Sister Ramsey the Relief Society President for the Grovetown ward. We found her at home and had a nice visit with her. She told us of another Sister who could really use some fellowshipping. So we wrote her name down and will give her a call soon. We reviewed with her her list of sisters with deployed husbands, yes, it matched our list.

From there we dropped in on Sister de La Torre. Darn, we woke her up from a nap. We said hi, and apologized for waking her up and then we headed back to Sister Malcom's. She has not yet let us into her home; she is still in the process of moving in and putting things away, but we had a nice visit with her out in the front; she is warming up to us nicely and we believe she really appreciate's our visits and friendship.

We finally caught Sister Stott and had a short, but nice visit with her. She is lonesome, she doesn't have any family close by, so hopefully she will appreciate our friendship and our visits. We may need to visit her a little more often.

From there we dropped in the Towns. We heard that he returned from his first deployment. Sure enough the entire family was home. He was only gone for 7 weeks. He was assigned as a submarine rider, but apparently the mission was cut short due to lack of mission need. They were certainly all happy that he was home and that they were all back together again.

From this point, more interesting things begin to happen. We didn't have time to drive home for supper, so we drove up on post and went to Burger King, where we were to meet Bishop Burgess and take him to go visit more of our military families on post. We had set up an appointment earlier with the Albert's family at 7 pm, however, we had received a text earlier from them asking if we could come by at 6. We told them we were not meeting up with the Bishop until 6:15, but if wanted we could come by at 6 for a short visit, without the Bishop. So that is what we agreed to do and then visit with them again another time with the Bishop. We were just finishing our meal at 5:45 when we see the Bishop walk into Burger King a whole 30 minutes early. Elder Gowans immediately shot a text to the Albert's saying that they would be there at 6 or a little after with the Bishop. We arrived about 6:08 and had a nice 25 minutes visit with them. He just recently returned from deployment and during his entire absence, she stayed with her family back in California. It is wonderful having them back together and back here at Fort Gordon. This fortuitous circumstance enabled us to get a head start on our visits which enabled us to see everyone we wanted to see during the evening.

From the Albert's, we went to the Stewarts and had a real nice visit with them. From there we went to see the Wickham's where the Bishop invited them to come to church on Sunday. They haven't been since they arrived; they always have an excuse. Anyway, we are hopeful for them. From there we drove off post where we had the opportunity to visit the Ackley  family and the Wilkinson family. The Ackleys just had a baby boy about 2 months ago. He is very cute, they have 2 older girls. He plans on getting out of the Air Force in about 10 months and purchasing a business. The Wilkinson family lives in a home where they have had some severe problems, one with the foundation and the other with a leaky roof. They got the foundation fixed, but the roof still leaks. So we went back with the Bishop and see where the leak is coming in at and he promised them help from the ward in getting the problem fixed. Needless to say they were very appreciative. There are several men in the area who should be able to help fix the problem.

It has been a wonderful miraculous evening; we were able to see and visit everyone we wanted to see and visit with. The Bishop has seen all but a couple of our military families now; we will finish up the visits in the next week or two. We love our work, we love seeing the hand of the Lord in the work; He truly is at the head and guiding us in all we do.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This afternoon 6 of our AIT students graduated from their training. Up until today, we had 45 students, we have obviously now dropped back below the 40 mark. We have had more students recently than ever before; in fact by the end of this month, depending on how many we receive, we could drop close to 30. Here are some photos of today's graduates.
These first two graduated from the 73rd Ordinance Battalion
 Sister Moreno
Brother Tracy
These final four graduated from Signal Battalions 
 Brother Buhrman
 Brother Kemner, Sister Gomez, Brother LaRose
 All three Brethren in the same element of their formation
This is Chaplain Weinrich; we have developed a very nice friendship with him. 

This evening we visited with a very nice lady, Sister Pagel. She is single and a convert of about 3 1/2 years. She joined the church while stationed in Germany. We had a delightful visit with her and hope that in the future we will have more opportunities to see her.