Tuesday, December 31, 2013

This morning, we held our weekly DDM and as normal it went very well. We have wonderful Elders and Sisters in our district. Afterward, we headed out to do our monthly shopping. Sister Gowans and I have determined to diet this entire month; we will be doing a low carb diet eating no more than 20 carbs a day. I will do so for about a week and then start increasing my carb intake. Sister Gowans will stay at that level for 2 to 3 weeks and then begin increasing her carb level. We will be completely cutting out breads, cereals, sugars, sweets, snacks and so forth. We will increase our intake of vegetables and healthy proteins. We will make our own peanut butter, salad dressings and so forth. Sister Gowans has a goal to lose 40 pounds. On this diet she could lose about a pound a day. My goal is to lose 5-10 pounds.

This evening the Meachams took us to visit Shae, she was baptized back in September. She has been going through some struggles lately one of which is her fiance up and left her without even a trace. So she was rather heart broken, but she has come to learn that it is all for the best if she wants a life that is in line with God's will for her. We had a nice visit and left her with a thought from the January Ensign and prayer.

After our meeting with Shae, we received a call from our young missionaries to tell us about Tony a fellow that Elder Gowans has met with along with our young missionaries. Elders Hatch and Judson have been meeting with him daily for about a week. He is distraught over the condition of his wife's health and his own physical condition. She is in the last stages of Alzheimer's and he suffers from the pains of a once broken back and other ailments. Yesterday, as we visited with him, we felt inspired to give him a priesthood blessing. In the blessing he was promised that if he would lay his burdens as the feet of the Savior, he would be blessed with greater health, he would sleep at night and would be able to accomplish the things he desires. He also was reminded that his wife's life is in the hands of God and that she would be taken care of. Today, when the Elders went to visit him, he was up and answered the door, he was clean shaven, he was all smiles! He had slept the previous night, got up cleaned the house, fixed food and all sorts of things! With faith in Christ, he was able to do everything he was promised. He is in the process of being born again. It is a true miracle!

Happy New Year everyone! We love you!

Monday, December 30, 2013

This morning, we accomplished our normal Red Cross service at the hospital. While there Elder Gowans got his blood work done for his physical next week. Sister Gowans was also able to get in contact with the referral office concerning her knee.

This evening Elder Gowans went with our young Elders to visit Tony again. Although he is going through severe trials with his wife and his own health, he is progressing nicely and seems sincere in his search for hope and truth. We gave him a blessing before we left, which we hope and have faith that it will help him find some relief from the pains and sorrows of this world as he gains faith and hope in Christ.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

After our church servcies this afternoon, we visited with the Johnson family, who made it to church today! That brings us much joy when we see them make such efforts. If they will just do the simple things that would make life less complicated and make church attendance a habit then we will see great growth in them. So many people complicate the Sabbath by overloading Saturday; a good Sabbath day begins on Saturday.

After our visit with the Johnsons, we dropped in on some of our families on Post and gave them an invitation to a missionary open house in January. From there we went to the Meacham's apartment for dinner; their son Jeremy and his two boys are in town for a visit, so we all enjoyed dinner together.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

This morning, we attended the baptism of Roberta Jackson. Elder Gowans dropped off Sister Gowans at the church and then went and picked up Sister Jackson and her family. Roberta has 5 children and is the same age as our daughter Rosalee. Three of her children came along, along with her sister. The baptism went very well, she said that she is making a new beginning in her life. We are very happy for her.

Early this afternoon, we had a brief communication with future Elder and Sister Morris; we checked out a RV park for them where they are considering making their home for the next 2 years.

This afternoon, Elder Gowans went out with our Augusta Elders to visit 3 families. The first fellow, Tony, is in a very sad situation. He is the same age as Elder Gowans, but his wife is 66 and in the final stages of Alzheimer's. He has very mixed feelings toward God and life. With the visit of our fine missionaries, he has begin to have hope in life again and is beginning to understand the nature of God, our mortal condition and the agency He has given to mankind. They have been visiting him now everyday to bring him words of love and encouragement. We next visited Amber; she is the mother of 4 or 5 young children, but has desires to attend church and have her children attending too. She needs to overcome her fear of change and learn to make new habits in life. Hopefully, we will see her at church tomorrow. The last fellow we visited was a man from Belize, Emil. We taught him of the Restoration of the Gospel, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. He seemed very interested as he began learning new things. He said he would try to be at church tomorrow, too. As we teach these wonderful children of God, we try to imagine them all dressed in white ready and willing to make and keep solemn covenants with our Father in Heaven. We feel God's love for His beautiful children and know how the Gospel will left them from many worldly cares and burdens.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Grovetown Elders called and asked for assistance in giving a blessing this afternoon to Sister Amy Johnson. She was up at the Post Hospital; Elder Gowans met up with the missionaries and together they drove up to the hospital. They found her in the ER, was able to find a vacant room and there gave her a blessing. We can't say whay was ailing her for it is private, but she received a very comforting blessing and with our faith in Jesus Christ, we know that she will receive the promises given her.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

This morning we left a little after 10 am to drive down to Statesboro to visit Sister Cora Robinson and her daughter Kristi Welch and family . We knew the Robinson family in Nebraska; Don Robinson was our faithful home teacher for quite a while during our 7 years there. Kristi was about 2 years older than our daughter Shannon. We had a wonderful visit with them! Cora is doing very well; she has been living with Kristi and family around 6 or 7 years. Kristi and her husband have 5 children including one set of twin girls. Their oldest child is Becca, 15 then Nash 13, then the twin girls and then their youngest son. We had a delicious lunch with them and then visited for about 2 hours. She has a beautiful family.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas! The first thing this morning, we had the opportunity to skype with Adam. We love you Adam and hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Immediately afterwards, we began cooking bacon and blueberry pancakes for all the missionaries who were coming our way for breakfast. We had a nice visit with Elder and Sister Meacham, Elders Hatch, Judson, Bennett and Webb; Sisters Tevi and Price. We only missed our zone leaders, Elders Eklof and Spencer. While we visited the Elders and Sisters played Crowns a card game that Elder and Sister Berry taught us after we arrived in the mission.

For much of the rest of the morning and afternoon, we had the opportunity to skype or call our parents and children. It has been very enjoyable to visit with each and with most of our grandchildren.

This evening we had the pleasure of having dinner with the Brosnahan family. They live in the Stevens Creek area, but attend the Augusta ward to assist in signing for the deaf. Any deaf members or investigators in the stake who need sign interpretation come to the Augusta ward. So Sister Brosnahan assists with that vital need. Her husband, is the Ward Mission Leader in our ward. It is their van that we use in transporting members to church who do not have a vehicle and when we need to transport soldiers in mass to Thanksgiving or Vetran's day meals.
  The Brosnahan Family: Left to right is Jane, Faith, Devin, Claire, Vivian, Brother and Sister Brosnahan
Also at the dinner was Sister Brosnahan's sister and her family. They live in the local area too. 
Thanks everyone for helping make the day so enjoyable!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

This has been a wonderful and busy Christmas Eve. It began with our weekly DDM at 10:30; we were able to have some discussion on some up coming events and make sure that everything is being coordinated for them. Next month, the missionaries want to put on an activity for the ward and this weekend, being the 5th Sunday, the Bishop has asked that the missionaries provide the instruction for a combined Priesthood Relief Society lesson. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

Afterward, we had lunch with our Zone Leaders before going with them to visit one of their investigators, Sister Roberta Louise Jackson. She was named after her father, Robert Louis Jackson. She will be baptized this weekend, she is very excited; she is the same age as Rosalee.

Then at 4:30 this evening we all met at the Galan home for a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner. They invited all the missionaries plus several other families over, so it was quite a spread. After the eating was done, the children put on a little nativity play, it was very cute.

From there we took all the missionaries caroling; we visited 8 homes and brought a little Christmas Cheer to everyone we visited; it was a lot of fun. Our first visit was to Sister Dixon and her son Jack; they said that they had never been caroled before. You could see in their eyes that they were very touched. We have had a wonderful Christmas Eve. Here are some photos from the dinner party:
 Sister Price and Tevi; this is not at the dinner party, but at the Meacham's apartment.
 The Feast! My, the pork was so good!
 Brother Galan
 Sister Galan, she is due with a baby in the next couple of months. 
 The Fisher Family, minus two children
 The line up
 The line gets longer
 All the food was so good
 One of the Galan's children
 Almost everyone is through the line
 Brother and Sister Bruderer; he is an AIT student, his wife just joined him last week. 
 Brother and Sister Anderson, a great couple
 After the dinner, the children put on a Nativity play. It was narrated by Sister Fisher and then we would sing a Christmas Hymn. 
 Angels, shephards, and Joseph and Mary

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

This morning, we resumed our red cross service. Sister Gowans was able to get her referral from the referral office and get her appointments set up with pain managment and the orthopedic surgeon. So we are happy about that. 15 January is her appointment with the surgeon. Elder Gowans had a busy morning taking patients to their cars; seemed that they were busy today. This afternoon he went back to the red cross office to take his annual recertification tests to be able to serve for the red cross. We had a quiet evening at home allowing Sister Gowans to rest her knee.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

We have had a wonderful Sabbath and hope you have too! This morning, we attended our normal meetings, but with the Branch on post being shut down for the holidays, we attended all of the Augusta ward meetings. It is the first time since joining the Augusta ward that we have attended Priesthood and Relief Society there. We met a fellow who is TDY here at Fort Gordon; it is his first time attending since he arrived over 2 months ago. He said he usually works 12 hour days. Apparently he is a linguist, we can't imagine what he must be doing out here that would require such long hours of work and particularly having to be here TDY. Aren't there others here that speak the language he is trained in? Maybe not. Obviously there is some hot spot in the world that he is listening in on and that only he must have the qualifications to do. Hopefully, we will be able to check in with him from time to time.

After church, we drove up to post and began visiting 12 families who  live either on our close to post. In the middle of our visits, we visited with the Johnson family and had a good lesson on Spiritual Gifts and how these gifts could bless their lives if they were to seek for them. Afterwards, we headed over to the Meachams where every Sunday they have the missionaries over for dinner. We never go because we are always involved on post visiting our families. After dinner, we headed back up to post to finish our visits. We did realize that we missed two families; we will have to visit them tomorrow. We gave each family a Christmas DVD, either Joy to the World, or Mr. Kruger's Christmas and a Christmas card.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

This morning we visited a local flea market. Sister Gowans purchased a new purse, some body powder, a new watch a possibly another item or two. Elder Gowans purchased two new belts, a case for the cell phone and a car charger for the phone. We then found a cute new baby dress for Rosalee and David's little girl who is due about the time we finish our mission.

This evening, we invited Elder and Sister Meacham over to play a game or two and simply for a nice visit. It is a good thing that all our student/soldiers are gone for Christmas, all our Sister's with deployed husbands are gone and most of our new converts are gone, too. So not much for us to do at this time. We wish that the hospital would call for a referral for Sister Gowans.
This post is for Friday 20 December 2014
This evening, since there wasn't any institute class, we went out to eat with the Esteps in New Ellington, SC at a very delicious BBQ restaurant. We enjoyed as much as we could eat and then for dessert, they served peach cobbler and banana pudding. After dinner, we all returned to the Estep's and enjoyed the movie Les Miserables. During the movie, Sister Estep made up some popcorn for us all to snack on. We had a very enjoyable evening together.

We are still trying to keep Sister Gowans off her feet as much as possible to keep her knee from becoming to painful.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

This afternoon, Elder Gowans cleaned the car all throughout the enterior; it was in much need of a good cleaning. This evening, we drove up on post and visited the Rafn family. Brother Rafn has been here since the 18th of October, but the family just moved out 2 weeks ago. They are now living in on post housing and trying to grow accustom to their  new location and surroundings. They have two children, Logan who is 11 and Lily who is 7.

After our visit with the Rafn family, we drove out to visit Brother and Sister Halford. They are doing well, she is always ill with her various conditions that she suffers from, but seemed much better today than when we have visited on other days in the past. Much of the conversation centered around pet dogs of the  past :).

The message we have been leaving with our families centers around Elder Porter's message in the December Ensign. Christ was born the Lamb of God and was born in the spring during the birthing season of the little lambs. He became our shephard; so as a lamb, he needed nourishing, loving care, guidence and so forth, just as we all do. He needed service. As he grew to manhood and entered His ministry, He became the Shephard and served us. In our lives we have a similar life. We are born, need nourishing, need service, but as we grow older, most of us learn to serve, but for some reason or another we forget that we also still need to be served  from time-to-time. We often hear the old axiom, "It is better to give than to receive", yet it is important for us all to be good receipiants of service. We need to allow others to serve us when we need it. Just as we accept or receive the gift of Christ and His atonment in our lives, we need to accept or receive the kind service of other and allow them the blessings of serving us. We need to learn to be good receivers!
This blog post is for December 18, 2014! Bad me, forgot to post yesterday's activities. Of course, I do have an excuse; I didn't get home until 2:30 in the morning. Yesterday evening we were invited to dinner with Sister Arnett at her apartment. She is one of the librarians on post and attends the FGMB with us most Sundays. She has to work one Sunday a month. She is a single Sister, never been married. We enjoy our visits with her; we always have a lot to talk about. She served up a plate of ham, deliciously seasoned potatoes, peas in the pod and wheat rolls; it was all very delicious. For dessert she baked some double chocolate cookes and with it she had some mint chocolate ice cream. We visited for about 2 1/2 hours. Afterwards, Elder Gowans dropped Sister Gowans off at the apartment and headed up to post to serve the Cadre who were working getting our student/soldiers off post for their holiday block leave. In about a 24 hour period they moved nearly 3500 young men and women to the surrounding airports to get them on their flights home. We know that they bus them to Augusta, Atlanta, Charlotte and Columbia; it is quite an event. So the Cadre is up all night doing whatever needs to be done; so the chapel prepares meals all night long for them. So Elder Gowans served up dinner for whoever came by from 10 pm to 2 am. We are still trying to keep sister Gowans' knee rested as much as possible. No word yet on surgery.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

This morning, Elder Gowans took the car in for an oil change; the mechanic found that the belts were cracking, so he decided to not only change them out, but also change out the timing belt, too. In the long run it will save money and it was due to be changed out in 5,000 miles. As a result, we now have all new belts, an oil change and the tires rotated. We think we will be good to go for another 5,000 miles.

We visited with Aubry Lonsberry this evening. She is a new permanent party army linguist; we had a great visit with her and look forward to getting to know her better in the future. Tomorrow she leaves to visit her  mother for Christmas. We wish her all the best.

Monday, December 16, 2013

This morning, we were up and off to the airport to meet up with Sister Holloway and follow her west to Atlanta where she dropped her family van off for shipment to Hawaii. They rented a van at the airport to get them through tomorrow when they will all board a Hawaii bound aircraft and live for the next 3 years. We are very excited for them. Anyway, the traveling went smoothly, we arrived in Atlanta at the shipping station and Sister Holloway had no problems in getting everything completed for the shipping of the van. One the way home, we stopped off at IHOP and had lunch; we then finished the drive home.

After arriving home, we readied ourselves for our zone conference Christmas party. President and Sister Cottle and the entire zone gathered for a pizza dinner and then President Cottle introduced a movie that he had selected for us all to watch. It was Ephraim's Rescue. It was an excellent movie telling the story of Ephraim Hanks, an early convert to the church and his incredible life's story. After the movie, some of the Elders provided a few muscial numbers and President Cottle read a Christmas story by Alma Yates. It told his own story when he was about 7 years old the Christmas after his father died how he and his brother and his mother spent that first Christmas. It was very touching. After the story, we sang a hymn or two and then ended the evening. It was well done, a Christmas time we will all remember.

Here is some photos of our missionaries.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Said goodbye to many of our Student/Soldiers today as they leave for Christmas. We will see most of them again in early January. Some will graduate and leave; so we will not see them again. We wish all our AIT students and wonderful and merry Christmas.
We went to visit the Murray family this evening. We had not been out to visit since Brother Murray returned from deployment. Unfortunately we learned that while deployed his unit moved out to Atlanta, so  now he spends all week in Atlanta and is home only on the weekends and this weekend was drill weekend so he wasn't home at all. Poor Sister Murray, she is still burdened with most all of the family care even after her husband returned home.
We were able to take two photos of two of our students who will graduate tomorrow, Monday. We will not be able to attend since we are traveling to Atlanta tomorrow with the Holloways. Brothers Finch and Montierth.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

This morning we took one of our Sisters from the Augusta Ward to the Stake Swapmeet. Church members from throughout the stake take clothes, toys, kitchen items and so forth to the swapmeet and then needy folks from throughout the area come and take home things they need for themselves and their families. This sister, she and her husband and 3 children just moved into a rental home and about the only thing they have to their name is a couple of beds, an old warn out TV and a TV stand. We took her up to the swapmeet and before you know it she hands Elder Gowans a stack of red dishes and bowls. As she collects things, he takes them out to the car. Over about an hour and a half of time she literaly filled the car up with two small bikes on the rack on top of the car. Just as we were leaving, someone brought in a very nice sofa with pillows; she saw that and said, "That would look so cute in my house." We had no way of getting it to her house. We all got out to the car when Elder Gowans felt prompted to go back into the church and find out who brought the sofa. No one was sure, but one of the Bishops said that a fellow named Alan, who was standing near by, had a truck. So he went over and asked if he would mind transporting the sofa in his truck, it would be about a 20 minute drive. He was very willing and within 10 minutes we had the couch loaded up and we were on our way; the sister we had brought had no idea what Elder Gowans had just done. When we arrived at her home and saw the truck pull in with the sofa, she let out a yelp, "Thank you"! she exclaimed. She was right, it did look very cute in their home. Now they have a sofa to sit on and lots of toys, clothes and kitchen items for Christmas.

Sister Gowans decided to stay home for the afternoon while Elder Gowans went up to post to visit students. His first priority was to visit those who will be graduating on Monday. With the Holiday Block Leave beginning on Wednesday for some, they are holding all the graduations throughout the day on Monday. We will miss all of them as we will be helping the Holloway family transport their van to Atlanta for shipment to Hawaii. We will have three students graduating on Monday, Brothers Finch, Montierth and Priddy. He was able to visit with each one, but was only able to get one photo, the other two promised to be at church
Sunday so we could take them there.
Brother Finch
Elder Gowans was able to visit 17 of our students and wish many of them a Merry Christmas; some will be in their saftey briefings tomorrow, which occure during church hours. We want them to know that we love them and hope they all have a wonderful Christmas. He did have one young man come up to him and say that he is a member of the church; so he told him that we would look him up after the Holiday Block Leave. It was nice to be able to visit with nearly half of all our current students. 

This evening we enjoyed the Augusta Ward Christmas party; many ward members came out. We took photos of many of the families; we will include them here with as many of their names as we know. 
 Brother Banks

 The Holloway Family

 Marquita and children, she is investigating the church

 Sister Price
 Elder Eklof and Sister Tevi
 Sister Ledbetter and children, husband is deployed
 The Stewart Family
 The Fields
 The Blacks
 The Haderlys
 And Friends
 The Rafn family
 The Erwin family
 The Fisher Family

 The Patchett Family
 The Anderson Family 
 Hudman Family
 Another Anderson Family 
 The Alderson Family 
 The Smith Family
Marilynn and son