Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas in the mission field

December 29, 2014

     We got a text from our Linds earlier in the week. She talked about our first Christmas away from home as being unforgettable. She was right! This has been the best, most unforgettable week of our mission! My two little pictures posted below explain it all.
     Our office has all worked together this whole month to make sure each missionary gets "Christmas".  Sister Black, our called and chosen Mail Lady from Panguitch Utah, keeps a thorough list of packages going in and out of the office. On a dime, she can tell you if Sister Villanueva or Elder Edgington or any other missionary in the field will be having Christmas. We would often get calls from some mother in Idaho or some other foreign country wanting to know where her missionary's package had ended up. All of these packages seen below were one day of the process. Multiply that by 280 missionaries in our mission .Sister Black or one of her other helpers, which could be me on any given day,  would mark and note the package on her list. We would get all old addresses and postage lines blacked out. She would NEVER let any of the rest of us mess with her making proper new address labels to be slapped on the packages. It is a fine science. Then, get out of her way because she had to race to the post office to stand in line. Her husband is the finance secretary for the mission. When she said GO, his pen stopped in midair writing all those checks and his coat was on. Besides being a man who can quote the Gettysburg Address from beginning to end, he does exactly what his wife wants him to do. We enlisted all the district leaders to make sure we knew who would not receive Christmas. It has been an eye opener to me to see families who send their son or daughter out and that is ALL they can do. We experienced the sweet project, at home in Show Low, of the McCaleb girls as they got together two sets of clothing for sister missionaries. There are truly families who give their all to send their missionary out to spread the joy of the gospel.
     As the days drew closer to Christmas, our president's office turned into Santa's workshop. We shopped, sorted, and wrapped gifts for those on our "list". When any of us had a spare moment we got to decide who gets what and then, get it all together just like a loving mother from home would do if she could. On Christmas Eve day, after all zone leaders had been contacted to meet one of us in a parking lot in their area to collect the last minute packages for EVERYONE in the mission,  we closed the office and hit the road, each car taking a section of the mission to deliver to. Unforgettable.
     The other picture shows cards from home from our loved ones. That means ALL our loved ones. There were many days in the month of December when my elder would bring the mail in and we would shed tears just looking at return addresses of Christmas cards mailed to us! We were humbled by so many kindnesses sent our way. Thank you sounds kind of hollow, but.....thank you.
    Our Christmas day started with 26 young sisters and that many Senior missionaries for breakfast and devotional at the visitor center, lunch with two elders who skyped and facetimed their families in our little apartment, and finally, dinner with the two AP's and some more senior missionaries in our apartment building. We have never been busier. We loved it. We have experienced the true joy of Christmas on both ends. Giving and receiving. ALL because of the Gift of Him. Unforgettable.


HOME....

     Christmas came and went this year in a blur.  It was great and I am so glad that we were so busy.  There are a few traditions in the field that I am grateful for.  One of them is eating Christmas Breakfast at the Visitors Center.  That was very nice.  The other is playing Santa Claus for missionaries.  I had one experience that I would like to share.
      Elders Crow and Garrett (other senior missionaries)  and I gathered up presents and we headed for the southern reaches of the mission.  When we arrived in Warrensburg, we met the Zone Leaders and some sister missionaries and delivered the packages.  This was two days before Christmas.  One of the sisters was from Tonga.  There happened to be a small package from HOME for her. The only one she got. That gal was so excited, she was hugging that package and jumping around screaming and yelling things we didn't understand, crying all the time.  I will not soon forget that remarkable feeling I had.  It was knowing that someone remembered this dear sister and probably at significant cost (the postage was probably more valuable than the contents), for Christmas.  I think to the Sister, it was a piece of HOME that was so overwelming.  They come from the islands from poor families who cannot afford to send them.  They literally come with the clothes on their backs so to speak.  They cannot speak the english language very well. The American culture is so different.  They are so homesick.  They have great faith but they get down a little at times.  Can you imagine the feelings they have when they get something from home.  HOME sweet HOME.
      I am so grateful for the gifts that came in the mail to Sister Seaman and me this year.  The arrival of each one brought those tender feelings about HOME.   Gift giving is the best (#He is the Gift), but this year, watching the receiving was right up there.  Can we all remember the lonely, the left-out, the not-so-popular, the far-away all the time.  May God grant us the wisdom to take care of all who come into our paths and let us give them a reminder of HOME even if it is with just kindness.

    
  
    

Packages at the Mission Home


We'll sing for a key.  They locked
 themselves out of their apartment.
 

Christmas kindness from Loved Ones

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Macy and Cash, this one's for you

December 21, 2014
 
     Macy and Cash, Happy Birthday to you! Macy, you are thirteen today. Your parents' first adventure with a teen-ager in their house. I always tell you this.....I will tell you again.....do they know how lucky they are to have you?  I was there when you were born. I knew you were such a gift to your mother who a few years years before had given a beautiful daughter to another family who could not do that for themselves. I drove away from that hospital after seeing your birth and sobbed in gratitude.  The Lord always makes things right when we try to do things right like your mom did. Your mom met your dad and because of that wonderful union, here you are! You were our most precious blessing to help heal us all. Our best Christmas gift that year.
     We went to another beautiful Christmas program at the Independence Visitors Center on Friday night. A group of bell ringers. And boy, could they ring those bells! All music reminds me of you because you love it so much. You could sing the whole song that Ariel sang on Little Mermaid almost before you could speak in whole sentences. After the program, I asked the sister missionaries that were around to please let me take their picture for my granddaughters. One is from Mexico, one from Virginia. One came here from Washington while others came by way of Utah. I always look at these young sisters in this mission, and there are a lot of them because of the two visitors centers close by, and wonder which one of my granddaughters may serve a mission someday. These sisters are all so happy and willing to do what is asked of them. One of them has curls like you do. She says she never liked it while she was growing up. Now that she is serving here on a mission, it is extra curly with the humidity. For us Arizona people, that is wet air. All the time. Winter and summer. It is something to see, Macy....Anyway, she has decided she loves her curls now. I have told her about you and your beautiful curls. You are so lucky! I can picture any of my beautiful granddaughters serving a mission.  Can you picture that? Our Kortney, McKenzie, Mattie (your joined-at the hip cousin), Brookie, Chloe, Livi, Sailor, Ellie, Mikael, or Avy. Maybe one of them will decide to serve.
     Cash, you are nine tomorrow. I cannot believe your mom and dad have been married long enough to have a son that old! I was there when you were born also. Where did that shock of red hair come from? You are so unique! The one and only Seaman grandchild with red hair! I credit your birth for your mom's desire to have the gospel back in her life. And your dad wanting to do the same thing. He is such a good man.  They took you to the temple to be sealed when you were a baby. A great day! Do you see the picture of your papa and Elder Dyer below. I met that young elder the first week we were here. When he walked up to me, I immediately teared up. I loved him from that minute and told him why. He can play the piano. He is a district leader. He is knowledgeable in the gospel. He is bright. He reminds me of you. I always tell him about you. Everytime I see him, I see you in another nine years or so serving the Lord. Just like all your other Seaman boy cousins....Ethan, Kyson, Noah, Ezra, Teag, Zane, Max, Jett, and Elijah. So, Happy Birhtday to our two Arizona Christmas babies. What a great time of year to be born. It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Love you all,

Sister Seaman

Keeping a clean house...

     We left yesterday about 9:30am and got home at 4:30pm.  We drove 30 miles to pick up an Elder and his companion, who had driven 50 miles from their assigned area, and then we all  drove another 25 miles to an apartment where the Elder used to live. He and his old companion had lived in the apartment until his companion got sent home and he had to leave the apartment to live with another companionship.  He left the place in a terrible mess three weeks ago.  Food rotting in the table dishes unwashed, floors need attention, bathroom hadn't been cleaned in at least the time any Elders had been living there. Bad news. The landlady had called me and wondered what happened to the Elders because she hadn't seen them in about month. She had opened the door to the apartment and got mad and called me. She said it was not like our Elders to do such things, they had always been so nice to her.  So much for setting the example.  She was worried about cockroaches and other things.  I said I would take care of it.
  
  I cleaned the kitchen and dining area.  Sister Seaman wouldn't even come in while I was doing that.  She finally came in and helped with the vacuuming.  The Elders had disappeared up stairs.  They were going throught the missionary materials they had found upstairs.  I was getting insulted.  President Vest, the Mission President, had sent me to take the Elder to clean the apartment. Not me.  Not Sister Seaman.  I finally told the Elder to clean the bathroom.  He was insulted. I waited.  It took him a long time just to clean the tub.
    
     When we let them off at their car in Odessa, MO., I had my speech already.  I think it fell on deaf ears.  It then dawned on me who I was dealing with.  An 18 year-old missionary who apparently had not been taught to clean up after himself.  I am now on a mission to educate young missionaries and their mothers about the vitures of keeping it clean.  And so my girls, I have 21 potential missionaries in this family and they ought to know how to keep it clean. You can not expect to feel inspired when you live like a pig.  You will smell, look and sound like a pig to a person investigating our religion. 

     Now that that is off my mind, Sister Seaman and I were the Christmas program today in our assigned ward.  Remember, the one with all the Samoans.  There were no choirs of heavenly hosts, no special program, just a special (beautiful) piano solo and us.  We didn't realize we were really all there was until we saw the program.  It turned out alright.  The Counselor conducting the meeting said something in broken English and tears, about Sister Seaman speeking with fire.  They are so kind to us.  They treat us with very real respect.  I don't really know why.  We certainly don't deserve it, but they are very loving and good people.  Especially the Bishop. I cry listening to him give the announcements.  You have to see it to believe it.

Anyway, keep it clean and and have a very Merry Christmas.  We miss you all so much, especially this Christmas week.  We love you.

Elder Seaman


VC Sister Missionaries
Red-headed Elder Dryer


Back of Red-headed Elder Dyer

Sunday, December 14, 2014

 

At What Price?

    
    Brother Atwood, who my Elder replaced, is long gone. On our way to Walmart early Saturday morning to buy yet another houseful of items to stock a new apartment for missionaries, I spotted this sign. Now, not only did Elder Atwood like to eat at lots of places, he got great pleasure in noting and commenting on the price of gas whenever I got to ride around with them in the gray mission van. I couldn't help think that he would have been so happy to see Casey's sign. Man, that price was cheap. But we all know we can't count on the price of gas to make us happy on a daily basis.
     We had a couple come in from Thatcher, AZ this week. They are here for just six months. As we had our get-to-know you dinner for them on Monday night, we heard their story. A little over two years ago they were serving  a mission in Oregon. They were involved in a horrible accident when a logging truck lost control in a canyon and dumped the logs on them. They were both severely injured with Brother Garrett ending up in a coma for over a month. His prognosis was grim at best and had two strokes to boot. He had to learn to sit, eat, stand, talk, walk, etc. all over again. He now has disabilities that he will deal with the rest of his life. She drives for them. She takes care of business for them. She cares for him. Why are they here? Because they wanted to "finish" a mission. I am in awe of them. My thought was, haven't you already paid a price?
     We had an All-Mission conference this week. Over 280 missionaries trying to squeeze on risers for a group shot after a morning of training and lunch. Three hours of afternoon Christmas singing from each zone. Throughout the day, I kept my eye on as many of the 17 "newbies" as I could find. These are the ones that came here from the MTC the day before Thanksgiving.  Honestly, one or two still carry that "deer-in-headlight" look. I understand. Others were hard to recognize as they have blended in so well and seem so happy. Actually, the whole chapel was just "happy" that afternoon as they sang for each other. I couldn't help but think of the price they all have paid to come to Independence, MO. to preach the gospel.
     Our Independence Visitors Center is hosting Christmas programs on the weekends in December. Last night, we heard from the Bountiful Quartet. It was Christmas hymns played on violins and a cello for the Mormons by  four members of The Remnant of The Church of Jesus Christ. There was a time in the program when the audience sang carols as the foursome played them so beautifully on their instruments. One song was a Christmas hymn they sing in their church to the old tune of "If You Could Hie To Kolob".  Man, that got me whispering like a kid to my elder! That is one of my favorite hymns! And it has Christmas words, also! All he wanted was to be left alone to just sing the darn thing. But it made me think so much of our doctinally correct version.

   The works of God continue,
          And worlds and lives abound;
     Improvement and progression
                                                               Have one eternal round....  
 
    The price we pay to serve in the Missouri Independence Mission office is small when I look at the big picture. I miss my little darlings from home  at least six or seven times a day. I love young Arizona elders like long lost friends. (I have not met any young AZ sisters yet)  But, everyday, I am more thankful for this opportunity to spend time with my elder serving. I can't measure the cost by wordly standards because I just know I feel kinda like a rich girl on those days when I get to walk right smack dab where Joseph and Emma walked right here in Independence, MO.
 
Sister Seaman
 
 

Not much to say....

     Sister Seaman said it all this week and I feel a little down tonight.  My stress level is up and I'll tell you why.   I wake up way too early and worry about furniture and Elders and Sisters and leases and estate sales.  The furniture I bought at the estate sale this week all smells like cig smoke.  Yuck. I haven't taught one temple prep class yet.  We tried to clean the church yesterday but nobody showed up and we couldn't get in.  I thought maybe the Samoans were running on Polynesian Time, but no,  turns out that the elders quorum plays basketball at 5:00 on Sat. morning, but the gym was decorated for a Ward Party and they couldn't play so they cleaned the building and were all through by 7:00.  We missed it all.  They ask to speak in church next Sunday.  Dang. 
 
  But tomorrow it all starts over again.  It is a little something like the movie "Ground Hog Day."  New Senior couple arrives tonight.  Their apartment is not ready because I thought they were coming in next week.  I will be scrambling for a couple of days.  Oh well.
 
Now, let me tell you what is important and why all this stuff doesn't matter.  I know that we are here in Missouri to serve.  And serve we will.  If I don't do anything else I will know when we leave that we did all we could to make things better and we helped further the work.  I carry pass-along cards with me now because when people see us in our suits and name tags they are very  curious and it will present opportunities. (I haven't passed any out yet so...) I am trying to be bolder about what we have in our lives that is so important and sacred.  It makes all the difference to know.  And I know. If I could just get people to listen.  It will happen someday and I will report it from Missouri.
 
As a side note, I think I told you about all the "separatist" churchs here.  I have included photos of several of them.  It is so interesting and they are all within a mile radius.
 
Cheap Gas on 23rd Street
This is what a person comes home to when the Apt Bld
they live in is full of old RS Presidents.
Totally plastic. Red balls and candy cane reindeer really
add to the season.
 
 


    



Church of Jesus Christ Temple Lot



Church of Jesus Christ Restoration Branch

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Remnant Branch





RLDS now Community of Christ Stone Chapel.
It is beautiful.

Sunday, December 7, 2014



A New Month Begins

     We have been here a month. My mind still continues to wander back to Home. My two girls handled their ward Christmas party this past week. Our Ezra was baptized yesterday. Kort and Kenz were in the Feast of Carols. Our Ethan won the Regional Wrestling Tournament in his weight-class yesterday. His dad told me last night to stay out here as long as we possibly can, considering how well everyone is getting blessed back at home. He was inferring we stay here for several more years. Possibly until the Cougars win another state football championship. All I can say about this is......can they do it in the next 17 months because we will be in the truck then.
     This little blog is the best thing I can do for myself once a week as I dig deep to find my most recent highlight. Now, some of you may know that our Lindsay is praying for me that an assistant housing coordinator opens up real soon and the Lord calls me to do that. I love my Elder's calling! He is on the road hauling items here and there. He is at estate sales buying dressers for apartments. I tag along as much as I possibly can before and after office hours. I got a beauty of a brown wool coat for 10 bucks at an estate sale this past week. I am in my element in his truck or the mission van.
     As for my calling, you all may breathe a sigh of relief that I can now transfer calls to all phones in the mission office; cut/copy and paste to any document on the computer; answer in full sentences when I am asked where or what President Vest may be doing on such and such a date. I can even schedule flights for arriving and departing missionaries! I tell you all this not to toot my own horn about how clever I am. It is the Lord working miracles. To 99.9% of you, all of the above things I can now almost manage to do daily are nothing. You all can do them. I couldn't. Office work was as foreign to me as a new language.
     So, as you can see, just like my family at home, I have been so very blessed. The Lord is aware of me and my needs and weaknesses. If this is my mission, I can do it. One more thought this week.....I have the absolute best companion. He carries me. Don't even think about going on a mission with your spouse if you don't like him/her. Cornnuts in your ear in the car bug you? Stay home. Don't come if toothpaste tubes are an issue in your marriage. Wise use of electricity can be another deal breaker. In other words, this is no place to work out marriage problems. Besides the Lord, we are all we have. He is my companion, my shopping partner, my fellow tourist, my date, my dearest friend.
So, really, when my thoughts turn to home, I need to remind myself that I am Home. Where my Elder is. Carry on, my dear girls. We will be there soon. We have all been given this opportunity to grow and learn. But someone, please......tell those Cougars about the 17 month deadline.

My love to all 6 readers of our blog,

Sister Seaman


The Virtues of being Independent


Well, he and his wife leave for home this week.  I have tried to get him to trade with me but he won't even joke about it.  Elder Atwood and I have been glued at the hip for the last 4 weeks.  He has been training me to be the Housing Coordinator for the Mission.  Maybe a little about him.  He has lost 85 lbs since being here.  He must have been really big because he is still a good sized man.  He has one of those personalities that is always happy and loud about it.  He whistles or sings a lot of the time.  He jokes with everybody, but loves to joke with missionaries and they love him for it.  He also brings them "stuff" and they really love him for that (ie, new beds, vacuum cleaners, bikes, etc.)  He has taught me the art of going to estate sales and 2nd hand stores to buy "stuff."  I am not real good at it yet but I do have the idea.  Note: Buying items this way is following the handbook.  It must save thousands of dollars, but you get apartments furnished with a great variety of "stuff" that doesn't match.  Well, I digress. Elder Atwood will be missed by me and the missionaries. It has been fun times buying, traveling, delivering, and talking (mostly listening).  Good luck Elder Atwood.  I will be "independent" as of Thursday. The Van will be silent and the thought of that kinda bothers me.  Maybe I can learn a new language. There are no virtues to being "independent" today.

I had no idea that that the support system of a mission was so important.  Without the 3 or 4 couples that work in the office, the place would come to a stand still. It is great to feel needed.  We don't get much attention and no one really knows what we do, but I know the Lord appreciates all of us.

I really wish Sister Seaman could be my assistant.  I know that she has been called to run the Mission from behind the scenes, but I really enjoy having her around.  I think she would eventually take over though and start telling me where to stop (she loves to stop and look at everything.)  That would be OK I guess.  I never let her stop as we traveled through the years, I was always hell-bent on getting there as quickly and as efficiently as possible. NO stopping.  It has been a mistake.  I wish I could take it back. I want to do it just for her because it makes her happy. Making her happy is everything to me.  So I will travel the state of Missouri and sometimes she will get to come along and we will stop and it will be great and she will be happy and I will be happy.



Elder Atwood

Sunday, November 30, 2014



Life Goes On....

     We have been here almost a month now. I am so surprised today that life goes on everywhere! I woke up to Chaz's birthday today. Our family carried on at Thanksgiving just fine without us. The month will change tomorrow. Christmas lights are appearing on the street corners. See.....life goes on.
     And the mission here carries on also. We took two Visa Waiters to the airport on Monday to catch a plane to Brazil. They have been here waiting for a couple for months for their visas. Well, I should say working here, not just waiting. It was a testimony to me that The Lord is so mindful of his missionaries. Who sends two little ol' 19 year old kids to Brazil with layovers in Atlanta, and then, they wake up to a new day, a new language, a whole new world in Brazil? What kind of mother does a thing like that? That next day, nineteen elders and sisters were dropped off at that same airport to fly to their various homes across the world after serving their time as missionaries. On Wednesday evening, we went to the Mission president's home to greet the new bunch that had arrived that morning from the MTC. There were seventeen of them. Ten little boys and seven little girls. I say that with huge respect. Again, I think, their mothers would be so proud! Not one had a tear in their eye as they stood and introduced themselves and told why they chose to come on a mission. Why did they come?....."I always knew I would"....."I saw the change it made in my brother"......."My family is inactive. I wanted to show them the joy the gospel can bring"....."I was going nowhere. I fasted for answers and here I am".....I wanted to kiss and hug every one of them! How can they be so brave? So bold?
    My elder moved in the new doctor yesterday. He will service several missions from his home here in Independence for the next year. A new couple appeared yesterday across the hall. They will serve in the two visitor's centers here with all those beautiful young sisters. We hauled bunk beds to a threesome out in Higginsville yesterday. As my elder talked to them on the phone and realized they may be short a bed the young elder told him not to hurry. They were taking turn sleeping in the recliner. He will be going home in three weeks and could do it. So....you see....mission life goes on also. I realize I am but a speck in this work and life will go on whether we chose to serve or not. But, I am so amazed at all these young people and old people who come out here to try to do some good. Our sacrament meeting today was again, a missionary's farewell. He is going to Mexico to the MTC to learn Spanish and then, back to Long Beach, CA to serve. He told all the young people to serve only if they have pure intents and pure desires.  Need I say more about my life these days? It goes on in a different way, in a different state but, man oh man, I'm so thankful there are good mothers across the world teaching their children the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are brave and bold and can do hard things. I want to live my life like them.

      "I know that the work I have been called to do is the work of God or I would not stay here one minute, no, I would not have left home. But I know that our happiness is dependent upon my faithfulness while I am here. I am in the hands of our Heavenly Father and he will watch over me and protect me if I do his will. And he will be with you while I am away and watch over you and protect you in all things."      

     President Joseph Fielding Smith to his wife, Louie, when he was serving in England. I bet they wished they could have gone together like My elder and me.
 

The Rolling Hills of Missouri...


     Never ending miles and miles of rolling hills covered with mowed grass or cultivated farmland broken only with wooded areas, ponds, rivers and streams. Scattered little towns or homes every now and then.  It is beautiful.  The geese are everywhere.  The buildings are mostly older, probably built 30 to 100 years ago.  The soil is black.  There is no need for irrigation.  Everything grows on its own. I can understand why Adam and Eve liked it here.

Speaking of Adam and Eve, there is some misconception about where the Garden was.  The Garden of Eden was in Independence, literally. Right at 517 W Walnut Street. (This is also the site of the prophesied temples to be built in the last days.  24 of them to be exact, right on this site.) I am probably writing this blog from the east side of the garden.  When Eve decided to change things, they were sent out of the garden and ended up at a place called Adam-Ondi-Amen (Man and God.)  It is about 50 miles from here. There are great things going to happen in both places. Our mission surrounds the mission of Adam-Ondi-Amen.  The church owns thousands of acres of farmland there.  President Monson presides, personally over this mission.  It will be the place that all the Prophets down through the ages including Adam will hand back the keys of their dispensations to the Savior.  It is a meeting scheduled a few years in the future and will be by invitation only.  Our mission is referred to as the "Alpha and Omega", the beginning and end.  It all started here, it will all end here.  This place is so full of history it is hard to believe.

And so we try to learn our duties and responsibilities, so that this mission will be as successful as possible.  That includes taking care of young and old missionaries.  We love them. 

You will remember that there are a few break-offs of the Church here.  They politely call the break-off a "separation." The main break-off was the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (RLDS). They stayed when the Saints left for Salt Lake City.  They have had nothing but trouble in the last few years. A few years ago they had about 1.5 million members. After disavowing the Book of Mormon, allowing women apostles, gay marriage and a few other things, they are now down to approximately 250,000 members and out of money.  When they started changing things some of them left and started the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  One of those guys left them and joined our church a few years ago.  He is now the Stake President of the Independence Stake.  President Cato is his name.  He seems like a real good man.  And he is very focused. It is so interesting here.  Our perspective is changing somewhat. 

Oh well.  Good night from the Alpha and Omega Mission.



This is a BIG Samoan missionary leaving for the MTC in Mexico tomorrow.

Sunday, November 23, 2014



Saturdays

November 22, 2014

     We have spent three Saturdays in Missouri. All three of those Saturdays have been spent moving Stuff to help missionaries be more comfortable. Whether it was moving Stuff from estate sales to the mission's Batcave (basement in the stake center where all the missionaries' "stuff" is stored) or moving sets of missionaries' stuff to new apartments. This moving business has been a highlight of my week. I like Elder Seaman's mission call. It takes me back to my roots. I grew up in the back of an old yellow Chevy truck that was always on the move looking for good stuff to buy, sell, or trade.
     The picture below shows my Elder helping two sweet missionaries get settled in a new place yesterday. Everytime I am around elders in these situations, I am in awe of their goodness, commitment, and happiness. This is Elder Kolama.....lu ...ha....something. My Elder told me after the move that this elder is on a football scholarship to University of Utah. He was a 330 lb. defensive tackle. When he leaves his mission, he is taking all his stuff straight to Utah to the football field. Then, my Elder told me this young missionary has lost 70 lbs. since he came out on his mission due to missionary work. Now, mind you, this young elder did not tell me any of this. He was just so grateful for the new little twin bed and a blender.
     After our move yesterday we went to visit Temple Lot owned by The Church of Christ. A very kind old gentleman gave us a short history of his religion, the Hedrickites. That is their "Nickname", named after their leader, a Mr. Hedrick. These good people were members of our church until their leader got a revelation in 1864 telling them to return to Missouri in 1867 and live in that consecrated land in Jackson County, Missouri.  I kinda think Mr. Hedricks decided he didn;t like Brigham Young so he went it alone. Anyways, these people got all their Stuff together, moved back and bought Temple Lot. Now, this little tour guide gets to meet every Mormon who visits Independence, Mo. Just like our young, robust missionaries, he believes in his cause. As we listened to his story yesterday I got the feeling Heavenly Father really, really loves him. Just like he loves these young missionaries we get to move around the mission. That little Hedrickite man's Saturday was well spent. That's the joy of this mission. There is a church on every corner and, on Saturdays, when we finish hauling stuff around, we can pop in get a history lesson from good people owning part of the Truth. These young elders and sisters, like Elder Kola...something, know it all. They will proclaim it to anybody. That is why I will get in the truck on any Saturday and help move their stuff.

Love, Sister Seaman

Travels, Graveyards and Church

        In my travels this week, I was within 4 miles of Adam-ondi-Amen (Adam walks with God), 7 miles of Hauns Mill (where the Saints didn't listen and there was a massacre) and 7 miles from Far West where the Saints temporarily stopped and dedicated a temple site (there is absolutely nothing there today but a little church (CC or RLDS)  and a fenced lot with the 4 cornerstones.) We make this run every so often to  deliver furniture, bikes or whatever to the missionaries living there.  In this case, two of the companionships were Senior Sisters.  I feel for the Senior Sisters.  They are way out there, living in little tiny towns, where their work is to support (MLS, member leadership support) the Branch or Ward (visiting the less active and helping out in certain callings.) I know they get involved and love the people but it seems lonely. I also know that they are successful. This trip went northeast 80 miles or so in a big circle ( 160 mile round trip) with 3 stops.  Two stops in Chillecothe and one in Trenton. I came back with a loaf of homemade bread (it was so good), satisfied that they were doing OK out there. I don't remember if I told you that the mission pays about $ 58,000 a month for rent on all the apartments I manage.  We closed one apartment in Blue Springs and opened one in Olathe this week taking the furniture from one to the other. It is busy and I do get to see lots of country.

     Sister Seaman and I live next to a BIG, OLD graveyard.  One of the more interesting residents is that of William E McLellin (see photo). He was one of the original 12 apostles of the church. He apostatized  and left the church and never came back.  He lived in Independence the rest of his life as a doctor.  The other more interesting residents are a few Generals from the Civil War.  They are Confederate Soldiers.  It is so weird to see the grave markers.  There was a huge battle fought near here.  Jim Bridger, the Frontier Scout is buried down the street.  Joseph Smith III is buried in the RLDS cemetery a few blocks from here.  Lilburn Boggs is buried here (Governor of Missouri that signed an extermination order on the Mormons.)  Parts of this area have great and sacred history.

I continue to be amazed at church by the Samoan Element.  They are really good people.  The choir sang a song in Samoan today.  They can sing.  The older Samoans speak with very heavy accents and don't do that well in English, so parts of the meetings are in Samoan.  The young men and women are very strong spiritually and really know the gospel.  They continue to be friendly and loving to us.

We are settling in for the duration, but there are still times I get homesick as does Sister Seaman. We are busy and the time does pass swiftly, at least for me. 
Moving Elders
Temple Lot Marker


Large Crypt in Old Cemetary

Head stones in Old Cemetary

Beautiful resting place
We love you all.

Sincerely,

Elder Seaman



 

Sunday, November 16, 2014



HOME

November 16, 2014

     This is a picture of Bob on his van. He is the first thing I see when I open the blinds of our little apartment each morning. I have never seen Bob leave his spot. I have wondered all week if he never got calls to warm peoples' homes or do what ever he says he will do on his van. My Elder Seaman did tell me this morning that, yes, he has seen Bob go out and about. He must get home early each day.

     Yesterday on Pandora one of our favorite songs came on, HOME by Michael Buble. I told my Elder he had to turn it off. Well, he did and when he turned it back on there he was again...."feel like I'm livin' someone else's life"...We turned to each other and kinda laughed when we both said at the same time, "That's us!" The absolute best thing about this mission is my companion. He is diligently and kindly making Independence our new HOME. He told me this week that he misses our home ward. Our dear Bishop Kai. His high priest friends. So do I. But we are making new friends in our home ward here. We all thought Bishop Kahau Kai had an unusual name.....our new bishop is Bishop Tuuaga Talimatasi. He speaks with a deep Samoan accent and told us from the pulpit today "We are good to see you." We already feel blessed by his leadership. His dear wife sits on the front row so he can see her. So, for now, Blue Mills Ward is our HOME. Like ol Bob, we all can leave our safe spots on our sidewalk and go out into the world and be at Home because the Gospel of Jesus Christ does that for us.

My love to all of our friends, Sister Seaman
    
Church 

     I could not get a picture of him, but in our ward today, there was a non-farewell sacrament meeting for a huge Samoan kid leaving for Auckland, New Zealand to serve a 2 year mission.  Maybe I should describe him before I go on.  He was probably 6 foot 4 inches tall and weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 pounds. Black (and I mean black) hair, very dark skin and a built-in scowl that made him almost scary. (I believe he was a football player if that helps you get him in your mind.)  He wore a black suit (almost all of the young men in this ward wear black suits) white shirt and black tie.  Around his neck was the most beautiful flower and leaf lei.  It was huge.  Someone really loved this kid to have made that lei for this occasion.  When it was his turn to talk he stood and delivered the greatest talk I think I have heard an 18 year-old give. He was so kind, had a tremendous testimony of the gospel, loved the Savior and honored and revered his parents.  Wow!  There was not a dry eye in the place. 

I have been in lots of sacrament meetings, in lots of different wards, and there have not been many that equaled this one.  The members love to sing and they belt out the hymns.  (I have always thought that you can tell the spiritual temperature of a ward by how they sing.)  They have welcomed us, they hug us, they have Samoan names that I will probably never be able to pronounce. They have 2 gospel doctrine classes, one in English and one in Samoan.  However, the closing prayer today was in Spanish I think. I was literally reduced to tears by just being there.  It was the high-lite of my week.

I should mention that these Samoan people came here years ago to build the temple that was prophesied  to be built in the last days.  It hasn't happened yet.  Can you imagine how they feel now after so many generations.  In the mean time they have built their families.  It is one of the neatest things I have seen.  They have such respect and honor for their families.

My senior companion is acclimating slowly but surely.  She doesn't cry as much anymore. She is certainly a great companion (maybe a little bossy) and I love sleeping with her.  In fact, all we do is sleep eat, work, eat sleep, work, etc.

The Church has so many break-off factions here that it is hard to keep track of.  The Stake President in the Independence Stake is a convert after he started the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after leaving the Reorganized Church (RLDS).  He has a reputation of being on fire.  Crazy huh?

Love you all,
Elder Seaman
This picture was Friday.

This picture was today.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Arriving in the mission field:

Elder Seaman's version:
   
     We already knew where the Mission Office was, we were here about 20 years ago.  So we drove there in the shadow of the RLDS or Community of Christ Church's Temple across the street.  It is Sunday night and we check in at the Visitors Center.  The Senior missionaries are having a fireside where new converts are bearing their testimonies and President Vest is speaking. We stay and meet everyone.  ANXIETY!  We are told that we have our initial interview with President Vest on Monday at 11:00.  We show up and so does he.  First thing out of his mouth is that he wants to change our assignments.  He wants Sister Seaman to be the Mission Secretary and me to be the Housing Coordinator for the mission which is the largest mission in the world personnel wise.  It has 280 missionaries (lots of sisters for the 2 Visitor Centers and lots of senior couples.)  So much for planting flowers!

Sister Seaman:

     I am sure any of you taking the time to read this stuff already knows that this change is asking the next to impossible of an old gal who cannot even Copy or Cut OR Paste. It is true. I would do ANYTHING or call ANYBODY to help me with computer work. As for phones......I figure the Lord made answering machines so people like me don't have to ever talk on them. It has been a week of tears, prayers, and even fasting by my dear family at home. I feel the Lord has a sense of humor. I also know He is a God of miracles and I am daily asking for them. After a day of working with missionaries on a service clean-out/move on Saturday, I can see that I love all young missionaries - elders and sisters. They are so bold, happy, energetic. I want to be like them.
    Along with switching hats from FM workers to office workers our thoughts were at home with our dear Hatch family. We were so concerned about little Avy. Oh, she was a sick baby! I kept remembering a promise in my blessing from President Williams about our family being blessed.  I knew the Lord was in charge of our lives and clung to the faith that all would be well. It was such a long week.  I felt like we left Show Low back in 1998 or so. As the weekend progressed Avy just flat "got better" on Sunday! She was diagnosed, finally, with Entrovirus. We read about it and truly see what a blessing it has been that she did not end up with some serious after-effects. Now I call that a miracle. How about you?


The MTC

Sister Seaman's version:

  The day finally arrived! We were set apart by our dear President Williams before we left Show Low. I found even before we hit the front door I was clinging to some of those special promises that the Lord made through him. I was one homesick little girl even with my dear companion six inches away
at all times. I was in awe of ALL those sweet young elders and sisters busily going about their work. It was especially thrilling to be at the Tuesday night devotional where Sister Rosemary Wixom, the Primary President, and her husband, spoke. The Senior couples get to sit up front in padded chairs and the young elders and sisters fill in all the way to the top of the auditorium. To look up there and see a wave a beautiful young girls just a bit older than my Kortney and McKenzie left behind in Show Low, and then, a sea of white shirts behind them was so empowering! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is such a gift to this world. I was determined to go do my part in INDEPENDENCE, MO. I knew those flower beds were waiting for fall work to be done. This was truly a highlight of that long week.
     You all may wonder what was my first highlight? Well, one of my kindest, sweetest first graders from many years past was entering the MTC three days after we were there. Sister Lexi Nikolaus will be serving in the Los Angeles Temple Visitor's Center. On the day I knew she would arrive, my Elder Seaman humored me by letting us follow new arriving little groups of young sisters to their apartment building. No Lexi. I wandered the aisles of the cafeteria that evening looking at every dark haired sister I could find. No Lexi. To make a long story short, I asked Heavenly Father if  I could please see that sweet girl. I was so homesick! She was a heartbeat away from all that I had left in Show Low. She was Home.
     After spying again the next morning on all those young dark haired sisters, we began to eat our breakfast. As we were visiting with an couple that seemed even older than us, I looked up and walking towards me with tears in her eyes was Sister Nikolaus! We hung on to each other and cried. She will never know what strength she gave me that morning. That beautiful young thing! If she can leave all she loves to serve the Lord, so can I. I even get to choose my companion for the next 18 months, my dear Elder Seaman.  Thank you, Sister Nikolaus. -------------Sister Seaman    
Sweet Sister Nikolaus


MTC October 27, 2014
Elder Seaman's version:

      The day came all too quickly.  Where did the summer go?  I am not ready, but said our good-byes,  packed up our stuff, turned off the house and locked it up, got in the truck and drove off and did not look back.  Felt a little like the what I imagined the Saints leaving Nauvoo may have felt like.  Drove into the MTC with a truck piled high with "stuff," and began to learn how to teach the gospel.  The four days were filled with high stress role playing, learning the teaching principles and eating at the Cafeteria with about 400+/- other missionaries.  There were 40 other Senior Couples there with us headed to places all over the world.  It is amazing to think that so many give up family, friends, jobs, retirement, and just go because they can and want to, knowing the Lord needs them.  This happens every week!  For me the MTC experience rocked.  It was filled with so many amazing spiritual experiences that I did not want to leave and enter back into the world.  It felt spiritually safe there.  I liked it and especially to be there with my companion, even though she was sooo homesick.

     I think the high-lite of the MTC for me was the moment I came to realize that even I could teach the gospel if called upon to do it and to do it boldly.  I am sure this will wear off as we plant flowers in Missouri but I will not forget the experience.  I also came to realize that no matter what we do on our mission we will be needed and appreciated by the Saviour.  I pray that we will be successful, even though I am not sure that I understand what that means today.



    

 


  

Sunday, November 9, 2014



The Call came.......

        On Friday, May 16, 2014 we came home from  school to a brown envelope from Salt Lake City, Utah. We looked at each other and cried. What do we do? Who do we tell? We finally settled on opening it on Saturday night at Walker's. home. All the girls came but Caitlin who was in Hawaii.  It was so fun, sweet, emotional......Each person put their guess on our big map. We had a two dollar bill  riding on the lucky winner. This was more exciting than childbirth. Probably because all the children from birth were there but our Caitlin. Then.....INDEPENDENCE MISSOURI MISSION working as Facilities Management Specialists. Cash won the 2 dollar bill by guessing Kansas!

*A quote from my journal: "Now, don't get me wrong-----but what the heck is this? Janitors? Jobs they assign people that they don't know what else to do with? Honestly, I am so confused. I just have to move forward with a positive attitude like my Mikie and know it will work. We have made covenants........."



                                 McKenzie's Instagram  announcing our call to our friends along with that official call signed by President Monson.