Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Sweet Time

    We had all met earlier in the temple for Kortney to go for her first time. A sweet day. The Seaman Girls and Husbands (l-r): Jace and Lindsay Baum; Dan and Kirsten Flake; Eric and Addie Gaylord; The Missionaries; The Almost Cody and Kortney family; Jerry and Mauriah Walker (Kortney's parents); Chaz and Caitlin Hatch; Jessica and Jordy Fuentes

Homeward Bound

So many mixed emotions!

Here We Are


Here We Are

December 27, 2015


     Elder Cody Tenney left Show Low, Az in July 2013 to travel across the continent to Zimbabwe to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It was a bittersweet day for a young girl, Kortney Walker. They made plans to wait and see what the future would hold for them.
     Life went on. They wrote weekly while Kortney continued growing up and participating in high school activities. This she did with honors, all the while working at the local Dairy Queen, cheering, helping her mom, and setting a standard for all 20 Seaman cousins to follow. 
     Elder Tenney returned with honor from Africa this past summer. After a 16 hour flight to Atlanta, and then 4 hours to Arizona,  he met his family at Sky Harbor Airport   When the family hit the mountain, guess where Elder Tenney headed.....Yep.....and the welcome sign covered the width of the street. 
     So, HERE WE ARE. We are Home. For a short while to witness the wedding of these two. Isn't this a wonderful story with a happy ending? Kortney is our oldest granddaughter. As we stood in the 
Celestial Room of the Snowflake Temple yesterday with all six of our daughters and their husbands and waited for this young couple to come into the room, my elder and I squeezed hands and marveled at our blessings. 
     All Week my mind  has gone  back to my personal blessing given by President Williams before we left for Missouri. "This is the absolute best thing you can do for your family".  I felt that yesterday in the temple as Kortney went through for her endowments; then as we met at the Gaylord's house for Christmas Eve, and again,at the Hatch's house on Christmas Day.  
    We have found all is well in Show Low and more importantly, all is well in our families. Not to say they have not experienced trials, and even some heartbreak along the way this past year or so. But we love to see their desires to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in their homes. Cody and Kortney Tenney will follow the same pattern. They have both been taught well. 
    We are here for the week. We feel so blessed.  But, I have to confess, part of my heart is still in Missouri. When two young elders came into sacrament meeting today in Sierra Pines Ward, I made eye contact with one. We smiled and both of us tapped our name tags. It made me cry. 
     We will go home after the big party this weekend and finish the job. When I say Home, we both know what that means. Missouri. The Lord called us for 18 months. Just like Cody and Kortney, we have some exciting times ahead of us. 

All my Love,
Sister Seaman....aka grandma to the bride, Kortney. And Cody Tenney's new grandma. Just ask him.

Show Low Arizona

     Sister Seaman has lived in Show Low, Arizona all her life. And except for three brief periods of time when she went off to school at NAU, after we were married and lived in Scottsdale while I finished school at ASU,  and lately while we have been serving in Missouri, she has not been inclined to leave.  The decision was made early on in our marriage that we would stay and raise our family here, knowing full well that we would be giving up better paying jobs and more opportunities elsewhere. Actually, we didn't really give up much.  Maybe a better paying job, but everything else has been worth it.  In fact, that decision was instrumental in my being able to serve in the various church positions that I was called to and probably would not have had the same opportunities living in other places.
     I remember all of our girls, at some point in their teenage years, vowed to leave this place and not return because it was so small and "not with it."  Well, all of our 6 girls have either stayed after they were married or moved back or at some point lived near here.  As of today, 5 out of 6 live in or within 20 miles of Show Low. There is something about this place that gets in your blood.  It feels good here.  
     It felt good today as we got to visit our ward at church and hug and cry as we renewed old friendships.  We have missed the place, but we also know that Missouri has a hold on us for 4 more months.  We have grown to love our mission.  We have grown to love the missionaries that serve in Missouri.  We have grown to love the sacred places in Missouri. We have grown to love missionary service.  I think it is keeping us young.  I know that it is blessing our lives and the lives of our family as we serve.  I can hardly believe the tender feelings I have for missionaries.  
     If you have followed us on this blog since the beginning you know that it has not always been this way.  Serving has been the catalyst for change.  The day to day work of senior missionaries has changed us forever.  We will be eternally grateful for the opportunities that have come our way and the blessings that have come from serving in those opportunities.  It has strengthened our testimonies and our love and devotion for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  How grateful we are for Him. 
     We love you and ask the Lord to watch over our family and friends.

Sincerely,
Elder Seaman


     
     
     


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Mail

So fun!!

SISTER TALLIMATASSI

She is our bishop's wife. She was the first to welcome us to the ward. She has been so kind to us, just as her dear husband is.

Mothers and Christmas

Mothers and Christmas

December 20, 2015

     The phone has rung more than usual this week in the office. Many times it is a mother calling from out west asking about an address, our mail delivery times, most efficient shipping routes, etc. Many have started their conversations with an apology. "I am sorry. I am running late this year."....."I am sorry. I lost his or her new address."....Mothers, do you get my drift?   Do not fear, though. For every frazzled call I answer, there is another mother on the line asking for the name of their missionary's new companion. Asking how many sisters live in the house so she can send enough for all. Asking me to let our mail secretary know that she sent two extra packages for any missionary who won't be getting much.
     This most wonderful time of the year can wreak havoc on a mother's emotions. Have I done enough? Do my children feel a spirit of joy in our home this season? What neighbor have I forgotten? What child have I forgotten??!
      The prophet Isaiah spoke of the Savior and compared his love for us like that of a mother, "Can a woman forget her sucking child?" Isn't that the truth, Mothers? And I am not talking about Christmas gifts now. That is such a small part of how we show our love to our children, yet the world portrays it differently. Your child does not need the best phone, the best clothes. Your child needs you. And you are doing it. You are giving it and you don't need to apologize. Your gave your child the two best gifts they will ever get. A family and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
     Your heart may get broken along the way for a time due to your child's poor choices but Hallelujah! A Savior was born! Because of Him, your child can repent and start over. Because of Him, you can repent on those grumpy days that can creep into this joyous occasion. I speak from experience. I first became a mother 40 years ago this very week when our first daughter, Mauriah, was born. By the way, how can she be 40? She is too young and beautiful. It hasn't even phased her.
     So mothers....chin up. You have a sacred trust placed in you. You can do it! Pray for courage and strength. You are doing so much better than you think you are. Now, if you are a mom, be sure and check out the picture of the mail in our office last Monday. Study it. Guess where it came from and is still coming from? Over 200 mothers across the country and even, the world. Chances are slim to none that a dad postmarked a one of them. Moms, you've got this.

Rejoice greatly!
Sister Seaman.....aka MOTHER to Jessica, Caitlin, Mauriah, Kirsten, Lindsay, and Addie

Fathers, Front and Center

     The gifts coming from Home to missionaries, at least here in this mission, are considerable.  And I acknowledge all the mothers and their tender feelings for their missionaries.  However, as a father of the same daughters as Sister Seaman, I also know that the fathers care.  They care enough and in most cases far more than enough.  I also know that cards and gifts may not be their thing.  The fathers just wait longer than the wives and it gets taken care of before they can act.  Either way, Mothers and Fathers love their missionaries.  This sounds a little lame doesn't it.  OK Moms, you win, but this father loves his daughters more than he can express.
     Have you ever secretly wished that you could be an anonymous giver of gifts that would really help someone who really needs the help.  I am talking about really helping.  I am not sure I am qualified to make a distinction between who really has a need and who just has their hand out.  And I am not wealthy enough to do anything in the way of really helping someone, but I have always thought it would be the greatest thing.  I really enjoy doing the "pay-it-forward" thing at McDonalds; but, I am talking about a college tuition for a kid  who would never be able to get it otherwise; or a house for a disabled vet.  You may have had these same thoughts. 
     Well, here we are in Independence Missouri serving a mission and it has struck me that I have the opportunity to give the greatest gift to ever be given.  The gift of eternal life. The greatest of all gifts.  The reality of it though is that I am actually weird about giving this gift.  I am afraid.  Even though it costs me nothing. And even though it can be given without making any distinction.  I hesitate.  There is the fear that it will be rejected.  I don't like rejection. 
     During the course of this mission, Sister Seaman and I are slowly becoming better at giving the gift.  Wow, you would think that by now, after 14 months, we would be fearless. We are not, but we are getting better.  We have been giving out the little #ASaviorisBorn cards to a few people this year.  It seems to be such a small effort on our part.
     Anyway,  we do have the greatest of all the gifts ever given and we should share it whenever and wherever we can.  Start today by getting some pass-along cards from the missionaries near you and commit to yourselves to give them out.  Be friendly. Be the example. Be kind. You will be a great missionary. We love you.

Sincerely,
Elder Seaman
    
    
    
   

 


    

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sister Pemberton

Sister Pemberton has been helping out in the mission home for several years during Transfer Week. She invited me to a cookie Exchange at her home on Saturday. As you can see, she loves Christmas. She only has 4 trees up this year. In the past, she puts up as many as 17. That's right-17.

MENDED AND READY TO GO

Mothers and Christmas

December 20, 2015

     The phone has rung more than usual this week in the office. Many times it is a mother calling from out west asking about an address, our mail delivery times, most efficient shipping routes, etc. Many have started their conversations with an apology. "I am sorry. I am running late this year."....."I am sorry. I lost his or her new address."....Mothers, do you get my drift?   Do not fear, though. For every frazzled call I answer, there is another mother on the line asking for the name of their missionary's new companion. Asking how many sisters live in the house so she can send enough for all. Asking me to let our mail secretary know that she sent two extra packages for any missionary who won't be getting much.
     This most wonderful time of the year can wreak havoc on a mother's emotions. Have I done enough? Do my children feel a spirit of joy in our home this season? What neighbor have I forgotten? What child have I forgotten??!
      The prophet Isaiah spoke of the Savior and compared his love for us like that of a mother, "Can a woman forget her sucking child?" Isn't that the truth, Mothers? And I am not talking about Christmas gifts now. That is such a small part of how we show our love to our children, yet the world portrays it differently. Your child does not need the best phone, the best clothes. Your child needs you. And you are doing it. You are giving it and you don't need to apologize. Your gave your child the two best gifts they will ever get. A family and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
     Your heart may get broken along the way for a time due to your child's poor choices but Hallelujah! A Savior was born! Because of Him, your child can repent and start over. Because of Him, you can repent on those grumpy days that can creep into this joyous occasion. I speak from experience. I first became a mother 40 years ago this very week when our first daughter, Mauriah, was born. By the way, how can she be 40? She is too young and beautiful. It hasn't even phased her.
     So mothers....chin up. You have a sacred trust placed in you. You can do it! Pray for courage and strength. You are doing so much better than you think you are. Now, if you are a mom, be sure and check out the picture of the mail in our office last Monday. Study it. Guess where it came from and is still coming from? Over 200 mothers across the country and even, the world. Chances are slim to none that a dad postmarked a one of them. Moms, you've got this.

Rejoice greatly!
Sister Seaman.....aka MOTHER to Jessica, Caitlin, Mauriah, Kirsten, Lindsay, and Addie

Fathers, Front and Center

     The gifts coming from Home to missionaries, at least here in this mission, are considerable.  And I acknowledge all the mothers and their tender feelings for their missionaries.  However, as a father of the same daughters as Sister Seaman, I also know that the fathers care.  They care enough and in most cases far more than enough.  I also know that cards and gifts may not be their thing.  The fathers just wait longer than the wives and it gets taken care of before they can act.  Either way, Mothers and Fathers love their missionaries.  This sounds a little lame doesn't it.  OK Moms, you win, but this father loves his daughters more than he can express.
     Have you ever secretly wished that you could be an anonymous giver of gifts that would really help someone who really needs the help.  I am talking about really helping.  I am not sure I am qualified to make a distinction between who really has a need and who just has their hand out.  And I am not wealthy enough to do anything in the way of really helping someone, but I have always thought it would be the greatest thing.  I really enjoy doing the "pay-it-forward" thing at McDonalds; but, I am talking about a college tuition for a kid  who would never be able to get it otherwise; or a house for a disabled vet.  You may have had these same thoughts. 
     Well, here we are in Independence Missouri serving a mission and it has struck me that I have the opportunity to give the greatest gift to ever be given.  The gift of eternal life. The greatest of all gifts.  The reality of it though is that I am actually weird about giving this gift.  I am afraid.  Even though it costs me nothing. And even though it can be given without making any distinction.  I hesitate.  There is the fear that it will be rejected.  I don't like rejection. 
     During the course of this mission, Sister Seaman and I are slowly becoming better at giving the gift.  Wow, you would think that by now, after 14 months, we would be fearless. We are not, but we are getting better.  We have been giving out the little #ASaviorisBorn cards to a few people this year.  It seems to be such a small effort on our part.
     Anyway,  we do have the greatest of all the gifts ever given and we should share it whenever and wherever we can.  Start today by getting some pass-along cards from the missionaries near you and commit to yourselves to give them out.  Be friendly. Be the example. Be kind. You will be a great missionary. We love you.

Sincerely,
Elder Seaman
    
    
    
   

 


    

Dressing For the Title

Dressing for the Title

December 13, 2015

      The temperature has hovered around 70 degrees this week. It has changed just today with steady rain falling. I have been studying all the posts on Instagram from our family and friends of the beautiful snow that has fallen back home in Show Low, Az. I am so happy for all of them! But, honestly, it has been a good week for Arrivals, Transfers, and Departures.
      We only received 5 newbies this week with 12 missionaries going home. It is such an exciting time to see these new missionaries on their first day in Missouri. They are always running on fumes from lack of sleep but most have a innocent happiness about them. The elders are typically in their new suits and all the sisters are sporting new bags for all their goods.
      Now, compare this to the departing group that arrive in the office the very next day. The elders suits are more worn. Most of the sisters have told me at different times that they will never wear this skirt or that dress again. As a matter of fact, many leave their clothes in what is called our Zion Closet for other sisters to pick and choose from. This is also where many of our sisters from the islands or Mexico get their mission coats and boots.  Having raised six daughters, I love when I see sisters sporting a new outfit straight from Zion's Closet. There have been many a black plastic bag passed around from one Seaman girl to another through the years. I have been the lucky recipient of some pretty good items out of those big ol' bags.
      On Transfer Thursday this week, Sister Phillips came in from Overland Park. She was being transferred up to St. Joseph. She handed me two dresses out of Zion's Closet because they "looked like me". One fits, one doesn't. It was like wearing a strait jacket. And it wasn't even zipped. So, I did what any good sister missionary would do. When Sister Hixon came by with her new companion, I gave her the cute red dress. She knows what to do. If it doesn't fit her and no sister calls dibs on it before she leaves the area, it goes back in Zion's Closet. These sisters out here in Missouri are living a simple version of the United Order, don't you think?
     As for the elders, they don't seem to have as much fun as the sisters do when it comes to dressing. Oh, don't get me wrong. Some get regular packages from a mama back home who keeps them looking spiffy. Others have learned to drop by the office and give me their pants to mend. I have become pretty proficient at it. I always tell them I am volunteer help so don't expect miracles. And they don't. A pair I mended this week was supported with duct tape when I got ahold of them.
     The one thing all missionaries have in common whether they are new arrivals or departing for home is lack of sleep.  They are up every morning hard at it at 6:30. When departing missionaries tell me they are going to sleep in a day or two when they arrive home, I believe them.  They work hard. They play hard. They sleep less. So, when it all over for them and it is time to go home, elders pack up their worn white shirts. Sisters' bags have probably been changed out a time or two but I have NEVER seen a sister go home with a spanking new bag on her shoulder. I have come to believe it is a badge of honor for these tired missionaries to return home with a bag full of holey socks and gray underwear. These things can always be replaced. Their one sweet mission experience is worth it all.
     Call me if you need a hem fixed.

MY LOVE, LOVE TO YOU ALL!
Sister Seaman....aka Grandma to Kyson, Teag, Cash, Max, Zane, Noah, Ezra, Elijah, Jett, Ethan, Kortney, Kenz, Mattie, Chloe, Livi, Brookie, Ellie, Macy, Mikael, Avy, and Sailor


Sacrifice

     Well, another transfer has come and gone, and 12 good old friends have completed their missions and gone home.  It tears me up a little for a day or two but I get over it as I start to see their facebook posts show up with them getting back to their lives.  But I hope I never forget them or the sacrifice that they made.  They are outstanding people.
     Speaking of sacrifice, can I tell you about a missionary that is still here but barely.  His name is Elder Burke.  I was asked by the nurse the other day to take him to the doctor up in Liberty.  He and I rode in the mission truck and we talked.  He told me that he was sick and had been for some time and couldn't shake it. He had come down with a rattley old cough due to an infection in his sinus.  He said that he has Lupus and that he had spent several months prior to his mission just getting his health good enough to serve.  That delay makes him older and more mature than most of the new missionaries.  Because of the Lupus, and the medication he takes, his immune system does not work.  He catches everything.  What is he doing serving in the mold and mildew capital of the mid-west??
     The doctors have poked and prodded him and have decided that he must surgery on his sinus to open him up and dry him out.  The decision will be made in the next few days to either send him home or do it out here.  He wants to stay and finish his mission.  He is a good boy.  He is quiet and obedient and doesn't complain. His health is dwindling and he is becoming weaker by the day.  He has pneumonia now.  We think they may have hospitalized him this weekend. 
     Now I ask you, do you make this kind of sacrifice?  Do you have this kind of desire to serve?  He is my hero. 
     The thing is, there are many of the missionaries here serving with handicaps and impairments.  They do so out of love and obedience for and to the Savior.  They shame me and my pitiful service.  Where do they all come from?  They come from homes like yours, my dear daughters.  They have had mothers who have taught them and given them vision and faith and courage in the face of some mighty tough trials.  They have taught them to pray and read the scriptures.  And then sent them on their way. 
     Sacrifice brings the blessings of heaven.  I find great joy in serving with the missionaries here and it is a great honor for me to serve them and with them.  I pray that your children, my grandchildren, will be these kind of missionaries.  I love you all so much.  See you in a few.

Sincerely,
Elder Seaman
    



    

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Us and The Elders

(L-R) Elders Hales and Lacock. Elder Lacock has been training Elder Hales. They are both full of courage and conviction. Two more that lead us by example.

A Savior is Born

All Mission Christmas picture from below. The cool ones were taken from the cherry picker. Do you spot us on the third row on the left?  Good Luck. Doesn't matter. We know we were there. We felt the spirit as all these missionaries belted out the mission song and then, "Called to Serve" when the photo shoot was over.

He could be ours

Elder Hinrichsen is from Nevada. When he first arrived in the mission almost a year ago, all he wanted was an American hamburger. He had been in the Mexico MTC for 6 weeks. He endeared himself to us then.

Uncle Bob and Aunt Linda

So sweet to see them!!! My elder was up country moving a Sister so he missed them. The other office missionaries told me it was like seeing me in ten years. They thought we were alike. A big compliment!

They All Came!

They All Came! AND so did Bob and Linda!

December 6, 2015

      The whole mission met in Independence on Tuesday, Dec. 1 for the All Mission Christmas Conference. In the morning session, there were trainings and testimonies from departing missionaries who will be leaving our mission in December and January. As I listened to 17 testimonies, my mind reflected back to our experiences with each of them. It is my duty to report from Missouri as often as I feel inspired to write it that these missionaries are committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are bold and quick to share it. On most days they are happy and upbeat. They can be funny at times, reflective,  and brave at other times. The list goes on.....My grandkids, I will say again - I pray you 
are like them. Say your prayers. Brush your teeth. Make your bed. Study Preach my Gospel with your family. Then, go. Go when the time is right. You will be a blessing to someone in the world just as these missionaries in the Missouri Independence Mission have been and still are blessings to others.
    After lunch and an afternoon of entertainment from each zone, we all watched "A Savior is Born" and the accompanying animated video (Christmas.mormon.org.) Each time I see these short videos I want to stand and shout, Amen! A Savior was born and because of him I have every opportunity to make it back to meet Him and my Heavenly Parents again someday. I will also see my loved ones again. My mom and dad. My grandparents. Lorraine. Don. Uncle Ted. All my loved ones.....All because a Savior was born.
     To conclude our mission conference, we walked up to the Visitor Center for a group picture around the Christus. Could it be pulled off was the burning question all day. As you will see from my pictures that, yes, it was.  What you do not see or hear is 230 missionaries breaking into the mission song and also, Called to Serve Him, when the picture session was complete.
     They all came for a glorious day. And it was that. Also this week, Uncle Bob and Aunt Linda passed through for a quick lunch on Friday . They were on their way home from serving 18 months in Canada. Oh, it was good to see them!! I always learn something talking to these two loved ones. Their mission was hard. It was so good to compare notes and see what we each have learned. Why Canada for the Evans' and why Missouri for the Seaman's? The Lord knows us all, my grandkids. He knows where we need to be to help the work move forward. He will place you where you need to be when the time is right, my little grands. Linda told me of an experience she had with an answer to prayer. She was clearly reminded that the Lord wanted her to "do what she could with these people that He loves and He will make up the difference". I left them in the parking lot later that afternoon with a renewed determination to do what I could out here in the MIM office and the Lord will make up the difference.
     So, another week gone by. Another week of just doing my teensy, tiny part to help the work move forward. Was it a good one? Yes, it was. They all came. Testimony was born. The spirit was felt. Now, aren't I a blessed ol' sister missionary to be part of this wonderful work? The only thing missing were all of you, my dear grandchildren.  Oh, I still miss you all so! But we are all getting blessed. Can you feel it?

Happiest of Decembers to my darlings!
Sister Seaman, ......aka grandma to Avy, Sailor, Mikael, Macy, Livi, Chloe, Mattie, Kenz, Ellie, Brookie, Kortney, Cash, Max, Zane, Elijah, Ezra, Noah. Kyson, Teag, Ethan, and Jett.



The Challenge

     The truck and trailer are traveling at about 75 miles an hour headed due north on Interstate 35 towards Albany, Missouri.  Albany is about 2 hours away from Independence at the far end of the mission.  The trailer is empty but the truck is full of missionaries.  Two sets.  We are going to Albany to move a senior sister to Chillicothe and close the little rental she has lived in for about 13 months.   She did a wonderful job in that little town.  The people at the Bingo games and the Library meetings and other groups just love her.  We stopped later for lunch in a town 20 miles east for lunch and several of the old people eating at the Dairy Queen were hugging her and crying about them missing her.  Wow, what an example.
     Anyway, I digress. We had to stop in Cameron on the way up for a bathroom break.  As I watched the missionaries trying to decide what they wanted at McDonalds, I noticed that one of the missionaries was talking to a stranger and eventually gave him a pass-a-long card with the Christmas Initiative on it.  The Christmas All Missionary Conference was where these cards were handed out.  The mission got about 18,000 of these little cards which were equally distributed to the 220 missionaries.  Elder Lacock had just started his missionary day with success.
     As I thought about it, I have never really been able to give cards to strangers. So I decided to throw down the challenge.  The two sets of missionaries and me would have a contest all day long to see who could get the most cards placed.  Game on. I don't play if I'm going to lose.
     Elder Lacock lives by the spirit.  He follows the promptings closer than any missionary I have ever known.  He always has a prayer in his heart to reach out to all who are around him. It is almost cheating. Every time I would turn my back he and his companion, Elder Hales, would be talking to someone.
     We stopped for gas in Jamesport (that's right, the little Amish community.) The missionaries run for the bathroom and the goodies.  I stay with the truck.  A lady pulls up on the other side of the pump.  She starts getting her gas.  I catch her eye.  "How's it going?" I ask.  She says she is grateful.  I say, grateful, that is a very unusual way to answer.  She says she knows but that is how she feels.  I press for the card placement.  She takes it and then she says she has something for me.  She opens her trunk and gives me a paperback book.  The title is The lies in Our Lives.  I am looking at it and turn it over and see the author's picture on the back.  It looks like the lady I am talking to.  It is.  I have her sign it for me and thank her.  The score is missionaries 1, Elder Seaman 1.
     I walk in the little store to round them up and then walk back out to the truck.  What is keeping them?  They have given another card to the grouchy looking cook in the back and it had brightened her day. 2 to 1.
    I didn't win that day, but I did catch on to placing the cards.  I will do my best now.  Elder Lacock goes home this week.  He has been one of my very favorite missionaries.  I will miss him dearly, his love for the Savior and the restored gospel  and especially for his example to me of what it takes to be a real good missionary.  I will never forget him.
     So, if the missionaries ask you to give out pass-a-long cards, please try it.  You will know that the Lords wants all his children to know the truth.  I love you all. 

Sincerely,
Elder Seaman
    
    

 

 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Four of our Friends

At the VC last night. Elders (l-r) Santa Cruz   and Blake (UT); Elder Papworth (CA), Elder Umpierrez (NC).

Christmas at the Visitor center

We did it up on November 28, 2015. A sweet time.

Hurray!!

Need we say more?

Same Time, Same Place

There is something to be said for repeating good things. The mama bird who built these nests has that figured out.

More Seconds

More Seconds

November 29, 2015


     This post will be about more seconds. Not "seconds" as in Thanksgiving helpings. Seconds as "ah! we've done this before".....It was a windy. windy day earlier in the month when I was out on a walk. The FM missionaries were hanging lights up in the trees at the Visitors Center, preparing for the November 28 Lighting Ceremony. I had barely made it up the sidewalk when Sister Cox came running towards me with something cupped in her hands. It was a tiny, beautifully formed birdnest she had gotten out of the very same tree that the FM  had gotten down for me this time last year. (Check it out after you read this)
     This same mama bird had nested in the same tree. She chose wisely. It is the first tree that welcomes all visitors to the VC. Oftentimes, her and her babies would have been serenaded by beautiful music coming from speakers in the VC. Basically, only happy people would have passed by her home. This surely solidifies my opinion that she was and is a Mormon mother. Her two nests were built strong and compact with beautifully soft woven insides. This took her some time. I have seen some nests out this way that are slapped together. Not this mama. I have learned from her two years in a row.
     We attended our second Christmas Lighting ceremony at the Visitors Center last night. The young missionary faces have mostly changed but the spirit and the message were the same. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Good News of the World. So, my six daughters.....keep making wise choices. Keep your homes strong, safe, and happy. We all know it starts in the kitchen at the breakfast table. Like my mama bird here in Independence, feed your babies well.
     Along with my elder and me doing lots of second-time-around activities, this week was also a first for our whole family. We received Kortney and Cody's wedding announcement in the mail! What an exciting happening for all of us! We are so happy for them! Although, I have to report that I have had more than a few elders checking in my office on a regular basis to see "if it is still on".  Some are so optimistic they believe they still have a chance. Isn't that sweet? The optimism of youth. We all should never lose it. I believe some may start holding out for our next granddaughter. Look out, Kenz.
     Let Heaven and Nature sing. It's our second and last times to be here in Independence for the glorious season of Christmas.

My Love, Love to all of my Darlings,
Sister Seaman.....aka... mother to Mauriah, Kirsten, Jessica, Lindsay, Addie, and Caitlin

The Speed Read

     Well, Sister Seaman and I have known each other for 43 years this week.  How can that be.  Time surely has left me behind.  From all you old people out there, can I get an AMEN!  I am still her junior companion.  She likes to tell anybody who will listen that she is the senior companion and gets to tell me what to do.  It is hard to take.  I try to smile more as it confuses her.  We are doing very well under the circumstances.
     Bill Brady passed away a week or so ago.  His wife, Dee, worked for the School District in my office for many of the 27 years I  worked there.  She and Bill are and were comfortable old friends.  I am sorry Dee. Dee and I did not do things the same way and we often told each other that they were doing things wrong.  Of course my way was right, but she was left-handed and left-brained and stubborn.  The funny thing about it was that we came to the same answers.  It is living proof that there are more than one right way to do things.  I miss good old Dee.
     Things have been slower here in this mission lately.  I pretty much had been running around crazy-like for the past 12 months and now I find myself at the office more with not much to do these days.  It is not good to be slow.  The December Transfer is coming up on the 11th.  12 good friends are going home.  5 newbies are coming out.  We will miss our young missionary friends.  Other friends are going home this month too.  Two of the office couples, that we have been working with for the last year, are going home.  It is hard to believe.  And a lot more of the Senior Couples are going home from the Visitors Centers and out in the field.  Lots of change.  I don't handle change all that well anymore.
     I just ought to mention that I am called on to do things in my calling as the Housing Coordinator that were not listed in the job description.  Lately I have had to unstop two toilets in two different Sisters apartments.  I don't mind so much, but it has put a strain on the relationships with these sisters.  I don't get the eye contact anymore and they seem to avoid me.  It's like it's my fault.  They don't even seem that thankful.  Oh well.  Maybe they ought to call a plumber.  Or maybe I could wear a mask on that type of visit.
     Things are just rolling along and life is at its best.  Love you all.

Sincerely,
Elder Seaman
    
    

 

   

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Saturday in Platte City

Our friends, Elders Stallings ( l ) and Sanger. We delivered a couch, ate a meal, and got pumped up by these two. These two requested a bigger couch since they feel that doing companionship inventory sitting on a love seat isn't that cool. We were happy to oblige. Such good elders. Elder Sanger in one of the first elders we met in Independence over a year ago. We have watched him become a leader with a love for missionary work.

My Elder doing the Lord's work

                                      A humble, lonely job. But, it moves the work forward.

Learn How to Park

                                                   See Sister Seaman's entry this week.

It's All The Lord's Work

It's All The Lord's Work

November 22, 2015

     It was a slow Thursday in the mission office this week. No phone calls to take care of. No emails that needed a response. I got to get in the mission truck with my elder for an apartment clean-up. It is always my dream come true! He drives. I study the landscape and drill him on our whereabouts. It is not glamorous work but it's all the Lord's work. I love it.
     One thing I have noticed since we have been here in Missouri is that people do not know how to drive. Just like all those people that do not know how to drive back in AZ when we travel to and in "the valley" You know those people -  The snowbirds. Do you know how I know that AZ Snowbirds and all of Missouri does not know how to drive? My elder tells me so.
     Now back to the Lord's work. When missionaries move out of an area, my elder will go back in and clean the apartment after he has taken care of the furniture. It seems like a lonely job. As I vacuumed the floors and he cleaned the bathroom, I thought of all the missionaries that had passed through that area since we have been here. I remember going out there one rainy night and delivering new beds to elders who had just washed EVERYTHING while this place was being blasted with Super Bedbug Killer Poison. And it worked. They continued to live and serve from that very place. The last set of missionaries living there were sisters. The long dark hall smelled like a toss up of lots of old fried food dinners. Tenants could be heard talking from behind closed doors. Bikes had been hauled in and out and up and down three flights of stairs on a daily basis. Wheel marks were still on sections of the wall. Pushpins were randomly vacuumed up on the old shag carpet. Pushpins are a must in missionary apartments. How else do you get those pictures from the Ensign and Home to stay on the wall?  It is not high-end living, but it is living for  the Lord's work.
     After we finished and piled all our cleaning supplies in the buckets and toted the vacuum cleaner down and out the stairs, there was a bag of some sort attached to the mission truck's front windshield. We got close. "Learn how to park".  What in the world? I studied my junior companion's parking. The front end of that Chevy Truck was almost even with the steps to get in the building. "Even" as in a tenant almost having to climb over the hood to get up the steps. The wheels were  perfectly placed right over the white line. Meaning the Lord's truck was basically taking up two parking spaces and the whole front sidewalk.  I took a picture of the sign and climbed in.
     Along our way home we dropped off mail that had been sitting in the office to missionaries that lived out that way. We always ask how the work is going and always, "it is Great!"  When we got in Independence, darkness had settled and the mission office was closed. Another day of doing the Lord's work down. I love it.

Happiest of Thanksgivings to my darlings! Don't we all live a blessed life?

Sister Seaman.....aka Grandma to Kortney, Ethan, Jett, Kenz, Mattie Claire, Chloe, Livi, Kyson, Brookie, Teag, Ellie, Macy, Noah, Ezra, Mikael, Elijah, Zane, Max, Cash, Sailor, and Avy


Life is in the Details

     It was the middle of the day.  Nobody needed a parking space.  We were the only ones there.  Some smart-relic decided I was politically incorrect.  Probably some left-wing commie pinko who just loves Obama.  The note was written on a booze-bottle bag for heavens sake.  I am not letting it bother me.  It is the Lord's work after all.
     My brother, Les, and his wife, Linda, were here last weekend.  It was a whirlwind tour of as many sacred sites as we could get in.  It was great.  I love the sacred sites of Missouri.  It was good to see them again and the sites.  We did get to see BYU get beat.  Although I would have liked them to beat Mizzou. 
     Now down to business.  Last week in church Sister Seaman and I sat down behind an empty part of the pew in front of us.  Way to our left and on that row, sat 3 older single sisters.  I shouldn't say single, but they were there alone, as always, and take comfort in each other.  Just before the meeting started, a young family came in and sat down in front of us.  They seemed very nervous and uncomfortable.  They were dressed very poorly.  There was a very thin mother, 2 kids under the age of 6 and a father.  Their clothes were wrinkled and a little dirty.  They had a peculiar smell about them.  It was like tobacco smoke, unwashed clothes and bodies and old kitchen odors all wrapped in one.  Did I say they were nervous. 
     As we started to sing the opening song,  one of the sisters down the row, Sister Fox (her husband is either a non-member or inactive), got up and walked down the row and sat next to the young mother.  She proceeded to give the young woman a great big hug and started to speak to her very softly in her ear.  I could literally feel the tension start to dissipate.  Sister Fox sat next to her the entire meeting.  It was one of the kindest things I have seen for a while.
     I have thought about that simple act of kindness all week. I have decided that salvation is in the details ( I think a general authority said that in the last conference.)  Salvation is in the small acts of kindness and compassion that we are inspired to do all the time, if we want to hear them.  It is in doing good.  It is in the smile and the handshake.  It is being patient with people on the freeways of Missouri.  It is a kind word. It is praise for someone in need.  It is in the tease to get someone to smile or laugh.  It is bearing each others burdens.  It is being a friend.  It does not get any better than this.  To my family, I say start now, make it a habit.  Think about it.  You can not go wrong.  Your own troubles will be smaller or non-existent.  You will feel good.  I know it.  I love you all and I know that you are already this kind of person.  Stay the course.

Sincerely,
Elder Seaman


   
    
    

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Party's Over

The Party's Over....

November 15, 2015

     "Turn out the lights, the party's over...." Any of you remember that old country, western song? That is how I am feeling tonight. I am sorry to report my elder has already turned out the lights. I am the only one reporting from Missouri this week. 
     We have had Les and Linda Seaman from Flagstaff here with us this weekend. Les is Mike's younger brother. We have been traveling the mission again hitting all the sites. Along with every other true blue BYU football fan from across the country. Then, as if it were general conference, we all met again at Arrowhead stadium, home of Bishop Ky's team, the Kansas City Chiefs. As you all know, the Lord did not intervene to cause a BYU win but it was a good game. Now, you might ask...can missionaries do that? Yes, if you are old ones. We were allowed. I loved when I walked by a little girl and I heard her whisper to her mom, "She's a missionary!" Did I stop and talk to her? Of course I did, and she had traveled from Iowa with her family to see the game.
     I can't let the week begin without reporting one sweet story. One of our new elders who arrived two weeks ago in the mission lost his Ipad last Sunday night. Elder Mejia is the youngest child in a family of 14 siblings. His family had immigrated from Mexico to Utah several years ago and they all have worked hard together to send child after child out to serve on missions throughout the world. He is being trained by Elder Kirby, who has been here only 6 weeks longer than he has. These two are go-getters. They were out tracting last Sunday evening when they were approached by someone asking  questions. During the course of the conversation, Elder Mejia set his Ipad on the hood of their car. You can imagine the rest of the story in your mind.......yes, they drove off. No, it wasn't there when they went back to find it.
     These missionary Ipads are expensive little gizmos. 300 and something dollars. The families of missionaries now pay that added expense when their child heads out to serve the Lord. His Ipad had not been paid for yet. Now, he needed to buy yet another one.
      On Wednesday, I answered a call from a woman who did not know who to report to but she had an Ipad in her possession with the name of Elder Mejia on it. Did I know of him or where he could be located? I took her number and turned it over to Sister Crow who is in charge of Ipads for missionaries. She called him. He called her. He got his Ipad back.
     The details are sketchy but we do know that this new, young elder's Ipad had been found and sold at least two different times. It had been in three different people's possession. This sister had bought it when she recognized the first name of "Elder". 
      A coincidence? I'm not saying. All I know is this young elder worked hard to get here. He and his companion had hit the ground running, doing all they could to be obedient, faithful elders. Both elders left faithful mothers home in Utah who were praying for their success in spreading the good news of the gospel. A bunch of old senior missionaries in the mission office were praying for a miracle that this young elder would find that Ipad.  I just love those kind of coincidences, don't you?
     Good night. Lights out.

I love, love you all,
Sister Seaman........Kortney, Ethan, Jett, McKenzie, Mattie, Chloe, Livi, Kyson, Brookie, Teag, Ellie, Macy, Noah, Ezra, Mikael, Elijah, Zane, Max, Cash, Sailor, AND Avy's Grandma

My First Grader, Josh Weeks!

Hasn't he grown up? Isn't he handsome? It was pretty exciting to see him Friday night here at the BYU football players fireside. He is a freshman on that team after serving a mission. We are sorry they didn't win but it sure made for a good, good time.

Sister Costley

She has been out 2 weeks. She is from UT and is a BYU graduate in advertising. She says she knew she had to come. She presented like a pro to a standing room only crowd at the jail on Saturday. This mission is full of remarkable sisters just like her.

Historic Liberty Jail

The room was packed for the Saturday afternoon presentation. There was a "holiday" feel in the air all weekend with so many BYU fans in town. But dear Sister Costley brought us all back to our roots with her beautiful presentation of what happened here in Liberty Jail. Here we are with Les and Linda. Les is Mike's brother. Joel Weeks flew in for Josh's game. So good to see them all.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Happy Birthday, Elder Ellison!

He is 66. He will be in the Celestial Kingdom. He serves so faithfully.

Truman Summer Whitehouse in Independence.

More Birdnests

(L-r) Elders Vehar and Terry were thrilled to drop off three more nests to me this week. Their whole zone has been in on Operation Bird to retrieve these nests. So sweet! I love them. Not sure President Vest likes them cluttering up my office.

Time is Marching On

Time is Marching On

November 8, 2015

     Time is marching on. My walks around Independence seem to take on a new urgency. It is our only Fall. Each birdnest dropped off by my dear missionary friends seems a little sweeter. Each historical spot I drag my elder to on our P-day seems a little richer. Each birthday from home makes me feel older.  Our Ezra will turn nine this week. How can that be?
     This week I finally received three birdnests from  two of my elder friends. They have been telling me about these nests for two months now when I talk to them on the phone or see them at zone conference.  It has been so sweet to watch these two be so excited about such a small thing that they thought would make an old senior sister happy. They had been talking these nests up so much, I had wondered if they might be goldplated or something. They were not but they are lovely as you can see. They are even more excited about giving the gift of the gospel to anybody and everybody. In some ways, their youth has not made them fearful of "man". They love the Lord and they are here to share it. They will talk it up to anyone they see. You go, Elders! I love to see these kind of missionaries in action. My grandkids......you also can do this! You were born to do it just like Elders Vehar and Terry.
     My elder and I visited President and Bess Truman's home yesterday. It was like stepping back in time to my own Ozment grandparents home on E. Jarvis Ave. in Mesa, Az.  The Truman's really did live a simple life here in Independence. He especially loved to take his daily walks around town. The people knew and loved him. He was his own man. And he so loved his wife. After he passed away in 1972, his wife left his coat and hat on the rack by the back door where it was always ready to be worn. It is still there today. It reminded me of my own dad's black derby hat that he always wore. I have one of those sitting on my coatrack at home in memory of him. President Truman is one of my new heroes but Eb Lewis has always been my biggest hero. Eb and Jerrie, what would you think of your girl getting to serve here in  Independence with her dearest companion?
    So, another week has gone by. This fall season seems extra sweet. The gospel of Jesus Christ and the work we are engaged in seems extra sweet. Family birthdays seem extra meaningful. Time is marching on. Ezra, you have a Happy Birthday. This time next year you will turn ten. I know you know how to make cakes, right? How about a German chocolate cake next November? Can you make those? We will be over.

My Love, love, love to you all,
Grams....aka Mom....Sister Seaman

Conversion

     At the President's devotional last week, where the newly baptized converts get to bear their testimonies, a tall, thin black man, about 40 years old, stood and told us the story of his conversion.  He said that it had started many years ago.  He had grown up in a good home, with parents who were good god-fearing people who worked for a living and had set a good example.  When he arrived at the teen years, he had started to make lots of bad choices.  Especially when it came to who his friends were.  He started getting in trouble. He got his girl friend pregnant. He was into drugs and other things.  He eventually did something that he got caught doing and spent the next 15 years of his life in prison.  While in prison, he found God.  When he was released from prison, a year or so ago, he married his old girl friend and started being a father to his son, who is now 16.
     His wife and son were members of the church.  He wanted to know more and so the missionaries started to teach him.  He wanted baptism.  His son, now a priest, baptized his father.
     Isn't it wonderful?  It is wonderful to me.  The amazing grace and mercy of our Savior.  To all He extends his invitation, come unto me.  To the humble and the repentant, He extends his cleansing mercy.
    I think I have talked about Elder Ellison before, but I need to again.  His picture is on the blog.  It was his birthday this week.  He is 66.  He is speech impaired and has had a stroke.  So it is hard to understand him.  He is a church service FM missionary and has been serving at the Independence Visitors Center and grounds for the last 7 years.  He works 3 days a week.  He loves it.  He is especially fond of Sister Seaman, who is so kind to him.
    We had a Senior Dinner a couple of weeks ago where the arriving  and departing senior missionaries bear their testimonies.  Elder Ellison likes to ride out to the church with us.  He loves to be part of this dinner experience.  He sat next to me at the dinner.  At the conclusion of the dinner and testimonies, we sang the closing song.  Many of you know how I feel about singing the hymns of the church.  I don't sing well but I love to sing the hymns.  So does Elder Ellison.  He and I sang God be with You till Meet Again at the top of our lungs.  He just loved it.  He didn't know all the words but he knew the melody and I could feel his testimony and his conviction of the gospel.  It melted me to tears. 
     I say keep the faith, sing at the top of your lungs, acknowledge that the Savior can do all he said He would.  It will convert you.

Sincerely,
Elder Seaman
    
   
 
    

Monday, November 2, 2015

VC sisters

Sister Hunt (l) is our AZ girl from Mesa. Sister Krause took us through the VC a year ago on our first visit. She goes home to UT in December.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sister Gray

Our friend delivering her goods to the office for the missionaries.

Elder Nyholm

Our dear friend left us for California. A sad day. That elder can eat. He makes us happy.

Welcome to Independence

Welcome to Independence

November 1, 2015

     It was a year ago this very Sunday that our Toyota pulled into Independence from the MTC in Provo.  We settled in a motel and with nothing to do, decided to go down to the Visitor Center. A sweet young sister, Sister Krause, welcomed us at the door and gave us a tour. She mentioned the President's Devotional is held every Fast Sunday there so we decided to stay for that. A crowd started gathering for that. I noticed an older black sister with a hat on who was quietly waiting for the meeting to begin. It was Sister Gray.
      Sister Gray lives across the street from the Mission Office in the low-income government assisted apartments. She does not drive. She is easy to spot walking because she always has her same hat on and she is either pushing or pulling her grocery cart. She attends all special meetings up the street at the Visitor Center. The church is her life.
      Monthly she makes her way over to our office with her bags of grocery to be given to the missionaries. She just spent lots of time with us all this past Thursday afternoon. She has her bags divided equally between the sisters and the elders so no one feels slighted. This week she had 20 coupons for them to look at and divide up as needed. Her offerings always vary but there will always be a bag of rice for each and an off brand of some sort of cereal. There is excitement in her voice when she has found some type of meat, like hot dogs, to share with the missionaries.
     Now, once Sister Gray has gone over the items in each bag with one of us, she likes to sit down and visit. There can be tricky if office duties are needed to be completed for the day. My office is separate from the main big room so I try as often as I can to come out and visit with this good sister. Her stories are the same. Her sayings are the same. "Many hands make light work" is her favorite one.
     I have come to find out that I like visiting with Sister Gray. She has a simple faith. She loves the Lord. Her heart is settled with her small trials and her life.  She wants to serve and is so happy to do what she can. She never leaves without expressing her thankfulness for the gospel and Jesus Christ and for all of us.   I have learned many things visiting with this good sister.  My days in Independence Mission have been better by knowing Sister Gray. Many hands do make light work and I have found that out from Sister Gray.

Be kind, my dearest grandkids,
Grandma.....aka Sister Seaman


Another Day, Another Transfer

     This was transfer week.  It comes every six weeks.  It starts on Wednesday about noon when the arriving missionaries appear at the airport.  Some come from the MTC in Provo and a few come from the MTC in Mexico City.  We see them for the first time out at the Mission Home at about 5:00 PM.  They are tired and sleepy.  On this transfer there were 10 elders and 2 sisters coming in.  We meet with them in a short orientation meeting.  Each of the Senior Office Missionaries talk to them about the rules and the money and the housing and their health and their driving skills and how to write the correct date the church way.  Most of them have been up since about 2:00AM.  It has been a long day.  Then the interviews start with President Vest.  He spends about 10 minutes with each missionary.  Then they go to bed. It is usually about 10:00PM or later depending on the size of the transfer. 
     Thursday the new arrivals get ready to go to the Stake Center next to the mission office for the actual transfer.  The newbies have now been assigned to their trainers by President Vest.  All the missionaries through out the mission meet at this time if they or their companions have been transferred.  It is utter chaos for about an hour.  There is a tangible feeling in the air.  It is JOY.  They are so excited to see one another.  Old companions, new companions.  There is hugging and laughter and smiles all around. Sisters and Elders all running and jumping around.  I think it must be like this in heaven.
     Then the transfer takes place and they all head out to different places around the mission.  Taking all their luggage with them.  There are a few left standing there. Looking a little sad loading their luggage in the mission trailer.
     These are the missionaries who have completed their honorable missions and they are going home.  They depart for their tour of Adam-Ondi-Ahmen and then return to the Mission Home for dinner and their last night in the mission field.  I have heard that some of them stay up all night talking and comparing notes, telling missionary stories and laughing.
     Friday morning the departees are up early for a temple session and then leaving for the airport and going home. 
     I am always saddened by the departure.  I have made good friends with some of them.  Eternal friends in many cases.  I can barely stand to see them go.  I avoid the good-byes if possible but that is not easy.  I cry easily. I know that many of these missionaries will become great and good people.  They will be tomorrow's leaders in the church.  They will become stalwart mothers and fathers in their families and to God.  They will be successful in life because of the mission experience and the relationship they have developed with the Savior.  I just love them.  It is truly an incredible experience every 6 weeks.

Sincerely,
Elder Seaman

 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Beautiful Fall in Woodlawn Cemetery

Cemetery walks are better than my jr. Companion said. All people should attend one in their lifetime.

Two of our Friends

Elder Anderton, on left, has challenged the Seaman companionship to step up our missionary game. Elder Spencer, aka Elder Holland, is another bright spot in our day.

GENERAL GEORGE LUCAS

Gen. Lucas, who ordered Joseph Smith killed at Far West. Our friend, Alexander Doniphan, would not carry out the order. He saved the life of our prophet for a few years longer.

And the Odds Are...

And the Odds Are....

October 25, 2015

     I have a young friend here named Elder Spencer. He is from a small town in Utah. He makes me laugh. He comes in and plops down in my office and with a straight face tells me about his missionary adventures. He told me this week that in his spare time he figured out he had a 1 in 125 chance to be a trainer in this week's upcoming transfer. After he explained the odds to me, I told him he could have memorized all of 1 Nephi in the time it took him to ponder that business. He came in late on Friday afternoon and told me he was going to be a trainer. He is scared to death. If you knew Elder Spencer, you would be as excited as I was about this call. He has also been "filling in" as District Leader since his companion left two weeks ago. He will be continuing in that call also. His new companion straight out of the MTC is in for one adventure living with Elder Spencer. The thing is, Elder Spencer doesn't even know what Elder Spencer is made of yet. He will shine. He will rise to the occasion. He is my friend. How many of you have friends who take pictures of Elder Holland to the barber and ask him to cut your hair like that? I do, and the funny thing is, he does look a bit like Elder Holland.
    Our year mark is this week. I am settled in my work. I know and try my best to do my "duties". My greatest joy will always be the young missionaries who pop their head in my door with a hello or a story. Our family at home seems to also be settled. Our Brookie has begun her adventure in YW. She has turned into a beautiful 12 year old. I am so thankful I can talk about our families at home now after a year without getting teary eyed. My heart has strengthened. These young missionaries, like Elder Spencer,  have helped fill in little holes in my heart.
     This conversion of my heart - this "becoming" - could only happen to me individually when I got in that Toyota truck with my companion and drove East to Missouri. There will always be mission secretaries. There will always be young elders like my friend Elder Spencer. Both of us could have chosen to stay home. The Lord's work would have gone on without us. But who would have missed out? What would the odds have been then, Elder Spencer? You are doing it! I am doing it along with my very own Elder Seaman. We are the lucky ones, aren't we? Go get 'em, my dear friend. The Lord wants you to train a new elder. He is counting on you because He knows He can.

My love to you all,
Sister Seaman aka Gma

What are the Odds?

     In my mind, I can see the notches scratched in the wall of our apartment.  There are 363 of them as of today.  Two more days and it will be the year mark.  It has passed like a dream.  The past year has been filled with wild fluctuations in our emotions.  First homesickness, then figuring out our place in the office pecking order, then friends and family visits and good-byes.  In retrospect, it has been a year of humbling events, a year of learning, a year of sacrifice and most of all, a year of loving the Missouri Independence Mission experience and especially our young missionaries.  It has been a great experience and adventure.  We know that the next six months will be more of the same and we can't wait.  At the end, I believe that we will not be the same people, the experience will have changed us forever.  We will be more confident and humble and hopefully more like the Savior.
     Sister Seaman and I have been married for over 42 years now. During our married lives, whenever we would drive somewhere on some trip, Sister Seaman has always wanted to stop at every little shop or cave or monument along the way.  I on the other hand, have been very goal driven.  No stops or even bathroom breaks.  She has been very disappointed in me in that regard through the years.  When we were returning for our last trip from Independence to Layton for Lorraine's funeral, I made Sister Seaman a promise that I would try and stop wherever she wanted to stop and go and do all the little things that she wanted do. It's called repentance guys.
     Last night was a good example of the change I have made for her.  She wanted to attend a "Cemetery Walk" at the Woodlawn Cemetery, a very old cemetery here in Independence that was started about 1835.  So I reluctantly went with her.  For those of you who have not had the chance to attend a "cemetery walk" its not that great.  Our guide's name was Eric, an unemployed history teacher, who was not very prepared.  However, there was an event that took place during the walk that I would like to tell you about.
     At different points during the walk, they had people dressed up in period costumes that were supposed to tell us about the people that they represented who were buried there in the cemetery.  Eric forgot to mention them a couple of times so we didn't get to hear their stories.  But at one stop, the costumed dead person, stopped us by crying out that he need volunteers to join him in eradicating the Mormons from Independence and Missouri and joining him in killing Joe Smith. He had my attention.  He said that his name was Lucas (General Lucas) and that he was organizing a militia to carry out his threats as he considered the Mormons no better than vermin. No one in our little group raised their hand to volunteer.  It was very quiet.  I believe Sister Seaman and I were the only Mormons in the group and we did have our name tags on.  I wanted to confront him.  So I asked where he was buried and thinking I should spit on his grave.  He was vague about it and motioned that it was somewhere around there.  What I should have asked him, and I am still kicking myself for not doing it, was why.  Why on earth did he want to kill the Mormons?  Maybe it would have been a good opportunity to stand up for the Church and maybe a good missionary moment, but I chickened out. 
     I am a little ashamed today that I didn't say more.  I have promised myself that I will be bolder.  I don't think too fast on my feet, but I will try harder.  Dave Tenney would have nailed him.  I pray that I can be that way too some day.  Not ashamed, not embarrassed, not scared.
     "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1: 7)
     I hope my family is also getting stronger at the missionary thing.  I hope to set the right example some day.  I love you  all and think of you often.

Sincerely,
Elder Seaman

    

    

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Good Luck Stories

Good Luck Stories

October 18, 2015

      Our little Livi Flake turned eight this week. She was baptized yesterday in Show Low by her dad, Dan. This is our third convert on our mission. They have been Max Gaylord, Jett Walker, and now, little Livi. Our heart was there. She looked like a little angel in her picture. We love this little girl.
Later in the afternoon, it was reported to me by our daughter, Lindsay, that she missed it also. Her family got there for the tacos after the baptism because she had the wrong time in her mind. After she told me her story about her blunder, her final words to me were, "I know you can relate to all this, Mom".  Of course I can.....it brought back a story about other little girls and birthdays.
     I dropped a much younger Lindsay to a little friend's birthday party many years ago. I distinctly remember waving from the car when the mom opened the door and then, driving away. I knew from the invitation that this mother would drop off my Lindsay after the celebration was over. Real names will be not  used in this story to protect the innocent. The evening activities were busy so it wasn't until we were all at the breakfast table the next morning that I asked Lindsay how the party went. She told us all very matter-of-factly that she was the only one there and there was no cake. No games were played either, but her friend did like Lindsay's gift to her. The most fun they had was playing with all the birthday gifts the little girl got the day before. The light started coming on......After an embarrassed phone call to Birthday Girl's Mother, I see I was a day late and a dollar short. She was very polite about it. Our little family had a pretty good laugh about their silly mother, namely me. That incident was so me.
     Another memory from our lives in Show Low walked in the mission office this week. Mark and Laraine Eddington with their friends from England. They were on their finals days of a three-week tour of church history sights from Palmyra to end in Winter Quarters. It was so wonderful to visit with them about our time serving together in the old Show Low 3rd Ward. We were so busy talking at dinner that evening that we forgot to take a picture when it was so quickly over. Darnit.  Such good people.
     Isn't that the another wonder of the gospel? Friends we make serving together are our friends for life. The Lord sent another friend home to Idaho this week, Elder Taylor. He had been in the office quite a bit serving as an AP at one time. He would brace himself before coming into my office to ask me to do something on the computer for the mission. We both knew by the time we got through completing the task "together",  he could have completed it and many other assignments several times over. My computer is off limits to the missionaries. I will always hear his voice ....."hold it, hold it....move it up, up, up....Oh, ok....let's start over"......He was always so excited for me when "we" did something right. He never ceased to tell me he wished he could have been in my kindergarten class because he just knew it would have been a good time. He and I both silently knew it was his way of complimenting me for something and it was not my computer skills.
    I know when our little Livi looks at her baptism pictures and sees that Lindsay and her family were only in some of  the pictures and Papa and I were in none of them, she won't mind. She knows we all love her. Some of us were just busy.

My love, love, love,
Sister Seaman ......aka Grandma, Grams, Mom

 

More Short Stories

     Do any of you remember what a good luck load is?  It is when you have a load of mixed clothes that need to be washed but can't wait for a full load of just that kind.  Or a good luck meal. Or a good luck story.  This weeks blog is just that.  A little of this and that.
     Last Sunday evening I was assigned to speak at a ward missionary fireside.  Just  5  minutes about missionaries and missionary work and bear my testimony.  Piece of cake, right?  I had a short talk already to go. An Elder Holland story or two.  We left the apartment in time to arrive at the Stake Center at a quarter to seven.  When we pulled up to the parking lot, it was full.  A little tingly feeling runs up my back. My phone goes off with a message, "Are you coming? You're up next."  I answered, yes.  On our way in, the VC Director is walking in and he asks, " Are we late?"  I don't know for sure but it doesn't feel right.  We walk in and the chapel is pretty much full.  We wander through the chapel as the Ward Mission Leader is thanking everyone for their part on the program and then he says, " I see that Elder Seaman has arrived and we will now hear from him."  I was so rattled that I could not even remember the talk.  It was horrible.  I mumbled and stammered and repeated myself a few times, bore my testimony and sat down.  There was a talk after me and then the closing hymn and prayer.  We were done by seven.  The meeting had been changed from seven to six but nobody had told us.
     That reminds me of another story similar in nature.  It takes place a few years ago, when I was serving as a Stake President.  I have changed the names to fictitious names to protect the innocent. 
     One of the toughest things that a Stake President has to do is take a bad-news call from a Mission President.  The call goes something like this.  "President, this is President So-and-so from the Independence Missouri Mission.  I am calling to inform you that Elder So-and-so will be coming home early.  His flight will arrive in Phoenix at 12:00PM tomorrow.  Will you please arrange for someone to pick him up.  Please notify his parents that he is coming home.  Thank you."  I received one of those calls one morning and had my executive secretary make an appointment with the parents for a meeting that evening.  The parents showed up with anxiety all over them as they knew it was some kind of bad news about the son. I very bluntly gave them the bad news.  They looked at me for a long moment and then said, "Something is not right here.  Our son has been home for several months."
     I had given the executive secretary the wrong family's name.  Oh, the last name right but it was the wrong family.
     I could go on and on with these kind of stories.  It seems to happen to us all.  Just remember that the Lord is in charge and we are not and never will be perfect in this life.  I am so thankful for people who are very forgiving and especially for the Savior's Atonement.  Which will include all of the "times like this" things that just happen.  He fills in the gaps and helps us be better than we are. So don't you ever give up.  You get back up and back in the saddle or the bike or whatever it was that you fell off of and continue on your way back.  You will make it and I will see you there.  I love you all.

Sincerely,

Elder Seaman


 

So Long, Elder Taylor

Our friend, Elder Taylor, left us this week for ID. He put the Energizer Bunny to shame. Such an example to us. We want our grandsons to work like him when they go on missions.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Good Men

President Vest, Elders: Garrick, Seaman, and Dixon. Elders Garrick and Dixon are the AP's. For my birthday, Elder Garrick sent me a picture of him holding a pot of mums on some investigator 's porch. I had told him earlier I hoped my Elder got me mums so I could have them on my porch for the fall. He was so proud when he found some because he didn't know what mums were until I explained them to him.

One Year Older

One Year Older and Wiser too....Happy Birthday to us

October 11, 2015

     I am 61 years old as of yesterday. My elder is 63 as of September 30. Aren't we blessed to be celebrating such a wonderful occasion here in Missouri Independence Mission? For some reason, my elder does not get all worked up about his birthday like I do. He accuses me of celebrating mine before his even arrives. I admit, a birthday has been a thing of great joy to me since 2004. That was the year I turned 50.  Many of you know why. If you don't know and are kind of curious, read on.
     My mom died of cancer when she was 49, so I figure I had been "gifted" any years after that age. My dad passed away when he was 60 so.....this is a big one for me. I have officially outlived them both. My patriarchal blessing tells me I chose them in the spirit world. I believe it. I loved them both. More importantly, I liked them.
     With the coming of celebrating this birthday on our mission I have pondered some of the things I have learned this past year. Can I just tell you a few of them?

* Our lives and time are so fleeting and fragile. Our family experienced that again with the passing of our beautiful Lorraine. I think we all thought that if anyone could beat cancer it would be her. She was too brave, too loved by Ted, too strong, too beautiful....."Time flies on wings of lightning, we cannot call it back"
* The Lord knows each of us. He knows our strengths and weaknesses. He blesses us with what we need and want. We will all bury dreams along the way. But the trick is to keep walking. Our immediate Seaman family have watched as little Elijah's mom, Lindsay, has rearranged her thinking and household to bless his life. What a blessing he has been and will be to all of us. "When you cannot do what you've always done - then you only do what matters most" Robert D. Hales
* We can get this right. We are given every opportunity to repent and change through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I have learned so much from these young missionaries out here that are so boldly preaching that message  to Missouri.   "As we worthily partake of the sacrament it renews everything about us."  L. Tom Perry
     This is the final entry in my dad, Elbert J. Lewis ',  journal. It was written on his birthday.
July 14, 1992. 60 years old today. A few aches and pains but pretty good shape considering the miles on me. I sure would like to know how many heartbeats are left, or maybe I wouldn't. Knowledge like that may drive me more crazy than I am." He died on September 2 of that year.
     So, I will move on. Grateful to be here in Independence. Grateful for my life. Grateful to serve a while longer with my dearest junior companion. Looking forward to 2 more years before Medicare kicks in for Elder Seaman. Think of all that money we will save on insurance.

Seize the day, My Loved Ones,
Sister Seaman...aka Grandma and Mom 

The Assignment...

     Not long after we arrived in Independence, we were meeting in our Monday meeting with President Vest and the other "office" senior missionaries.  I did not know at the time that he rarely gave instructions about how we ought to dress, but on this occasion he was doing exactly that.  I felt that he was addressing me in the cover of a meeting, so after the meeting I lingered and ask him if I was the problem.  He was kind but he said he wanted his senior missionaries to dress in a suit, white shirt and tie.  Regular missionary attire, right?  At the time, I was wearing dockers and a sport jacket everyday because that was what the guy I was replacing was wearing.  And in my training situation, he and I were working in the very dusty, dirty  environment of the bat-cave (storage for missionary furniture under the stake center) all most every day, where you get very dirty very quickly.  I also had not brought suits with me, only one or two, because our original assignment was with the FM and I had brought Levis for that assignment.
     With the new assignment came the need to dress up.  New suits were purchased. 5 suits are rotated on a daily basis and dry cleaned quite often.  The old, used dirty furniture is loaded and unloaded in a suit regardless of the temperature or weather.  So when the temperature was 90 degrees and so was the humidity, the suits were often wrinkled and poor looking.  The pockets rip out as does the seat.  It is not easy but it is what the assignment requires.
     The missionaries often ask me why I wear a suit to do the dirty work, when I am totally soaked in sweat.  I tell them that it is an assignment from President Vest.  He wants me to set an example to them of what to be wearing.  I hope that it has been worth it.
    I got a nice new suit for my birthday from my daughters.  Too nice to work in. So I went to the Men's Wearhouse for new suits this weekend as I have worn out several suits of late.  I am still struggling with the sticker shock.  Suits were just not made for old, fat guys to work hard in and the good-fitting new ones are really expensive. But I will continue to do it just as exactly as I can because I was asked by my priesthood leader to do it that way.
    I pray that the small sacrifice on my part will somehow be seen by the missionaries as how it is supposed to be done, even though it is not pretty.  That they will dress the part they play and be seen as the Lord wants them seen. Handsome, clean-cut, dressed well, well behaved, sincere, honest and truthful bearers of the Lord's message. That they may teach the world the truth. 

Sincerely,
Elder Seaman