Sunday, September 27, 2015
They grow into Leaders
Sunday, September 27, 2015Every six weeks when Transfers happen in the Missouri Independence Mission, missionaries are given the opportunity to train and/or lead. The calling may be to train a newly arrived missionary. A sacred responsibility. Other callings are to be District or Zone Leaders, along with sisters called to be Sister Training Leaders or Visitor Center Leaders. Finally, a select few are called to be Assistant to the President. As part of my mission secretary responsibility, I am to write a letter of congratulation and trust to each of these newly called leaders. After President Vest approves each one, I send a copy to the missionary, his family, his bishop, and finally, his stake president.
We had a sister arrive here in the mission from French Polynesia last November. That is a tiny dot of an island in the South Pacific Ocean. The closest big speck of land happens to be New Zealand to the far distant southwest. Sister Pahuiri came into this mission smiling and laughing with very limited, broken-up English. My elder remembers delivering a package to her right before Christmas last year. He tells the story in a previous blog about her laughing, jumping, and crying about this beat-up package from her home across the world. I will never forget it. She is now a Sister Training Leader.
Now, this is the dilemma. I have found that with many of our islander missionaries, their mail does not work like American mail. One sister from Tonga was telling me to go ahead and send her family a letter I had written using a very, very vague address I was reading on her mission form. She told me that her specific letter would go to the school and her family would call for it there when they came to that island. It all sounds a little like Robinson Crusoe to this sheltered AZ girl. I had previously sent letters to Sister Pahuiri's family and they had all been returned to me. This time I wanted to make sure her family was aware of her new mission calling. I sent the letter to an email address she had listed on her form. Lo and behold, I received this verbatim message back the next day:
Thank you very much from my heart for this message
I am really touched by the recognition you granted..
more Pere Celeste thank for this award
I thank my daughter for her example
it is a example for our family
Today I learn that his example goes beyond and thank all the people around him every day
for it is to always grow spiritually
Thank you to all of you
I like you
Thank you Lord Father and His Son Jesus Christ
Sister Pahuiri Mother
So my family, can you see why I chose to write about that little story this week. Lots of reasons. The gospel blesses so many of our lives everywhere! So many families give up so much for their children to serve the Lord. When some of you grandchildren are called to serve in a foreign land, you will be blessed with the gift of tongues like our little French Polynesian serving here in Missouri. We are ALL brothers and sisters in the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
I just love to picture this mother clear across the world right now as I type. It must be very, very early in the morning on her island. She will stir soon. Some of her first early thoughts will be of her precious missionary serving across the world. She will pray for her and her day will begin.
My love, love to all my Darlings,
Grams... aka Sister Seaman
A Fishy StoryThere was a mad rush out of the truck to be first to get their fishing pole rigged. All were wondering what the fish would be biting on this day, the 26th day of September 2015. As it turned out, the already rigged pole that I had used several weeks ago, was just sitting there waiting on me. I grabbed the pole, which had been rigged with a small weight, large hook and a brown plastic worm with a red fan tail. I turned and took a few steps to the pond and made a cast. In recent fishing expeditions, the large-mouth bass were striking the bait just a few feet off shore on the deep side of the pond. That is where I made the first cast of the day.
I was starting to reel the bait in, jigging it a little as I reeled, when boom, a big strike. I thought my pole was going to break. The fish was jumping and darting back and forth and eventually caught stuck in the reeds. I could not pull the fish loose and it weighed too much to just lift it out of the water. Elder Black saved the day by getting the net and capturing the first catch of the day.
I won two awards yesterday. One for the first catch of the day and one for the largest catch of the day. The large-mouth bass weighed in at 2.5 lbs and was 16 inches long. It was a great moment and it all happened within 2 minutes of getting out of the truck. I think there is something primitive about catching fish. It makes me laugh.
We were fishing the lower pond at Far West. It was a beautiful morning, one I hope I will never forget. Not for the fishing, which was memorable, but for the sense of something greater. Of all the historic sites in Missouri, I have decided that Far West is the best. I sense that something of great importance may have happened there a long time ago. And not that Joseph was there, which is a very significant thing, but something older and at least as significant. It is as peaceful and beautiful there as it gets. It has a temple-quality feel to it. I believe it will be a significant place in the Millennium.
On another note, there was a sister who bore her testimony in our ward fast-and-testimony meeting this morning that really drew my attention. She talked about her conversion to the gospel as a teenager. She said that if it weren't for a young Aaronic Priesthood holder who lived the gospel she would have not joined the church. She said that they really hadn't known each other in school but when they were graduating, she found her self alone with him. She said she had the chance to ask him what made him so different from the other boys. Was it his religion or what? For the next three hours they talked. She ask questions, he answered them. She joined the church at great cost. The job she was promised was withdrawn, her friends left her, her family disowned her and her father ask her to leave. As she was leaving, suit-case in hand, her mother told her father that if the daughter had to leave, then she was going with her. The father relented, but what a cost. The sister went on to say that it was the best decision she had ever made and had been blessed all through the years since.
I wonder if I would have done the same if I were in her shoes. The story has made me reflect on the strength of my own testimony. I pray that it will be that strong someday. I fear it needs some work and I pray that my kids and grandkids will have that kind of testimony.
Sunday, September 20, 2015
We've Done 'Em All
September 20, 2015We feel like we can say we have now experienced the four beautiful seasons of Missouri as of this week. Fall arrived in the mission along with 25 new missionaries. Both have been huge blessings! It is almost time to wear a sweater again. The beautiful green trees are thinking really hard about turning colors. The new missionaries are now all situated throughout Missouri and Kansas ready to go to work.
Some of you may remember that in my dreams I am Elder Seaman's assistant housing coordinator. I absolutely love the Saturdays when he has apartments to set up, beds or desks to deliver, etc. I beat him to the mission truck. I take along my books and embroidery just in case I need something to do along the way. Yesterday, we traveled the freeway to Newmark to set up an apartment. We took two local missionaries with us to help in the hauling up and down stairs. It always surprises me how much they love to go with my elder. Not just for a free lunch. Like me, they find it a break from their daily routine. One elder was so happy to go with us yesterday as he had served in that area and when he left, the mission shut it down. He was busy setting up beds and telling the new elders who to look up once they got settled in the area.
This new group of Arrivals have been fun to watch. I mean fun for me, even before they got here. Tuesday mornings in the office are my best day of all! My computer tells me who the new missionaries are that are assigned to this mission. I love to look at their pictures and try to guess their age and where they are from before I pull up their whole form. I wonder if they were excited when they opened their call? How did they get to the point of serving a mission? Was it always engrained in them? Or had they made the decision when they were older? Were they converts? The only active member in their family? Is their mother proud, humble, grateful, heartsick all at the same time? I pull up their form and begin my work. Three files are made. One for President Vest, one for our mission nurse, Sister Arnold and one for me in the Master File. I add their names to the mission lists, such as the Transfer Summary. I notify President of the number of New Arrivals for the week. I then write Welcome Letters to these new elders and sisters.
For the longest time, this group had only one sister on date to arrive with 14 elders. Then, 19 elders. Our numbers went up to 23 elders and this one lone sister. Sister Flake from Spanish Fork, UT. Then, in a surprise move from Salt Lake we received one more sister to round up our numbers to 2 sisters and 23 elders. See why I have fun? I am an outsider looking on as lives are being changed around the country and world when calls are opened for service in the Missouri Independence Mission.
My elder and I come to love and know these missionaries. It was such a highlight for me to welcome Elder Dallas Taylor here from Layton, UT. He lives across the street from my dear brother, Ted, in Layton, UT. I showed him and his companion the picture of us, Eben and Jeannette, and Ted and Lorraine taken in Show Low on our "farewell day". Lorraine looked so vibrant and beautiful. He understood my tears. He loves Maddy. He loved Lorraine. He is now one of my favorite missionaries, along with others.
Our mission got the call Friday afternoon that one of our elder's mother had just passed away. It was such a shock. This elder is a Zone Leader who has a gift to be everyone's best friend. He calls me Mama Seaman. He sat in my office one day and told me he was so homesick to see his mom that he would have done anything to get home. This was soon after we arrived. So, from that conversation, him and I made a pact to "stay the course". He has and he has done it so well. Our hearts are so heavy for him and his family. His whole life changed on Friday afternoon and knowing him, he will stay the course.
The seasons and faces continue to evolve here in the mission but the work we are all about is oh, so very true.
My Love to ALL of my Darlings,
BAD HAIR WEEK.....
Have I ever told you that serving this mission has been one of the most humbling events of my life? It seems that almost everything I do or don't get to do takes me down a notch. I pray that I have not been a vain, cocky, over-bearing man all my life. This week in particular has been hard. To start things off, I got a bad hair cut. Let me explain.
Most of my life, I have cut my own hair. It has probably looked like it. It started when we were broke and a haircut was too much money. It became a habit. Caitlin took over when she graduated from cosmetology school, but I have started back at it here in the mission field because I felt like it. On Tuesday morning, I started to cut my hair. I use guards on the shears to get the right length of hair in the right place. On top, I use a number 8. It wasn't working correctly. I took it off, put it back on, tried it again, no good. I took it off and was studying the shears. Without thinking, I picked up the sheers and started over the top with NO GUARD! I looked up and saw that I had cut a 2" swath down to bare skin, across all of the right side of the top of my head. I almost fainted. President Vest, our Mission President, told us when we got here, that we were to be examples to the missionaries. The thought of him seeing me with my hair cut down to the skin caused me great anguish. When I saw him the next day, all he said was, "Got your money's worth didn't you." I tried to explain but he was in a hurry. I felt so humiliated.
So last night, as Sister Seaman and I are getting ready for bed, I noticed that her bathroom door was closed (unusual.) When she came out, she had a towel on her head (again unusual.) I ask her why she had a towel on her head and she said she had made a grievous mistake. "Take it off," I said.
She said, " NEVER." I told her to let me see it, it couldn't be that bad. She turned the lights off and took the towel off. Her hair glowed in the dark it was so blond. It was a good thing she had some brown dye left over from the last time she tried to streak her hair. She has sworn off the self-streaking until we get home.
Like I have said before, humility is a our constant companion as we get older. Oh well. Don't we all have bad hair days and weeks. It is a small thing and our hair will continue to grow and our sins will not be so blatant. What happened to the golden years? The Lord expects us to be humble and teachable. Can we take correction without wilting?
Things are well here in Missouri. The work continues to progress. I am glad transfer week is over. Love you all.
Sunday, September 13, 2015
A Fine Weekend for the ElderlySeptember 13, 2015
My phone rang in the office this past Friday afternoon. It was our Kortney and she was on speaker phone with her Cody. I got my elder and we stepped outside to hear the news that they were now officially engaged to be married the end of December. What glorious news! But, how can that be?? We just went through a wedding for her mom and dad, what,... 20 something years ago....A granddaughter old enough to marry? Where did the time go?
Going home after work, we passed a group with flags flying and posters up, on a freeway overpass, reminding all of Kansas City to Never Forget what happened to our country 14 years ago that very day. That tragic event seems to have occurred just yesterday. It is stamped in my mind. I know exactly what our little family was doing that morning - getting ready for school while their dad was fixing us all breakfast. He turned on the news and called us all together to watch as it seemed the whole world was in commotion. Will I ever forget? No, I won't.
Saturday morning we took a sister from our ward to do baptisms for the dead so she could see how it is done. We walked the grounds with her. The flowers are beautiful. I know that the FM missionaries are going there this week to pull them all up to plant 55,000 bulbs. It was absolutely just yesterday when they were out there planting spring flowers. Where did the time go?
From the temple, my elder and I went to a baptism in our ward. The Ward mission leader was grateful we were all attending. He was especially grateful that the elderly missionaries from the ward could attend that day. I kind of looked around. Now, Elder and Sister Fullmer were there. They work in the Visitor Center and they are just a few years older than us. We were sitting by them. The ward mission leader was smiling and nodding at our row. It was true. We were the elderly missionaries in attendance. It was a wonderful service. Afterwards, my elder and I helped each other hobble out to the truck and we drove slowly home.
As you can see, it was a fine weekend for the elderly.
Oh, I love you all!
Lock Yourself Out...(get it?)Its Friday night, about 9:30, my mission phone goes off. I am already in bed and reading. I try not to hear it, but it is getting to me. It can only be trouble. A shooting, a break-in, a faucet left on.
A week or so ago, I was summoned to one of the houses where eight of our visitor center sister missionaries are living. The back door had been jacked. The door jamb was split in two and the door was split around the door knob and the dead bolt. Somebody wanted in but I don't think they made it. The door was hung up on one of the latches and couldn't be pushed in. I replaced the door and the jamb. The funny thing about this incident is that the upper half of the door was glass and there was a window not 12" from the door. If you really wanted in, just break the glass and unlock the door. Duh! But it has spooked the sisters and we'll probably end up having to move them.
Anyway, I can't stand it anymore, I answer the phone. It is two sister missionaries. They have just moved into a new apartment the day before and they have locked themselves out of their apartment. Keys are inside. They are in the garage because they had the garage door opener. "Elder Seaman can you help us?" they cry. "We are so sorry." "Can you call the landlord for key?" The landlord is in southwest Missouri for the weekend. He doesn't know how to get them in. He is sympathetic and all but he can't do anything. He says, "you'll have to call a locksmith or have them stay somewhere else until I get home." I say "Ok."
I am becoming a break-in artist, I mean locksmith. I stop by the Mission Office and get my tools and head off to the apartment with Sister Seaman in tow. I take the door-stop trim off and stick a screwdriver through the open space and easily push back the bolt and open the door. The sisters are thankful. They claimed they had determined to spend the night on the garage floor with only some sheets for bedding. That would not have been a good night.
It is transfer week. 25 newbies coming in and only 11 going home. It will be a busy week, but we will get to see many of our now good friends, some of which are going home. It will be sad and happy.
Life goes on. A good man once told me, when he thought I was too full of myself, "there will always be somebody right behind you, ready to take your place, who is better than you are. And worse than you are." Just do the best you can. And don't knock, I mean lock, yourselves out. Love you all.
Sunday, September 6, 2015
Here and There and Everywhere
September 6, 2015The Hatch's, namely Chaz, Caitlin, Cash, Sailor, and Avy blew into Kansas City
airport this past Thursday evening. Seems we have been on the move to Here, There, and Everywhere for the past three days. As far as I am concerned, I am game to hit the hot spots over and over again. It is more the pleasure of the company than the sights. Some of these hotspots mean more and more to me when we take our family there. For instance....Adam-ondi-Ahman....where the first family of Adam and Eve began. I have no idea in the world how they settled in and learned the ways to survive in a telestrial world. My head cannot comprehend such things. This much I do know. They loved their children. I know why Eve rejoiced knowing were it not for their transgression they "could never have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient"....Moses 5:11
She walked that sacred ground with her children. I want to walk it with mine and am so thankful we are given that opportunity on this mission.
We sat in the Independence Visitor Center on Saturday morning with Sister Baggett from UT as she presented the video "GOD's PLAN" for us. It reminded me of the Women's Meeting I sat in on a Saturday evening, September 1985, in the Show Low Stake Center as President Hinckley presented THE FAMILY PROCLAMATION to the world. I thought to myself, "Oh, that is nice". Little, oh little, did I know I would live to see that proclamation become our guiding light as latter-day scripture from a prophet of God in a world where troubles and sorrow abound. We have three daughters yet to come to Missouri. That means I get to sit in that beautiful presentation three more times with my people that I love. My family.
Our little Hatchlings, as I think of them.....like to carry and use hand sanitizer here, there, and everywhere. Any time we got in the car along our travels, Sailor passed around her "hanitizer". That's the Hatch name for it. I was mighty thankful for that miracle juice many times throughout the day. It's too bad we can't wipe the world off of us each day as we get home to our safe havens, right? Oh wait, maybe we can. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have a latter-day prophet who guides us in loving ways from our Father above. We can recognize good from evil, thanks to Eve tasting of the fruit. We can experience the joy of our very own redemption through Jesus Christ and eternal life which God gives to all the obedient. That is even more important miracle juice that Sailor's hanitizer.
So, thank you Hatch's. Didn't we love our time together? Didn't we make some sweet memories? Did you feel at all the love that your ol' papa and grams have for the Lord and their mission? I hope and pray you did. You are all a huge part of why we are here to serve. Go home and send some more of your cousins our way.
My love to all my darlings,
Grandma, Grams, Sister Seaman
It's LateWe have spent the day with the Hatch's and are just now getting home and trying to write something worthy in this blog. I will be brief.
After seeing the Liberty Jail, Far West and Adam-Ondi-Ahmen again today, I am realizing that I am becoming attached to these sacred places. As I stand and look at these sacred places and contemplate the things that are recorded about them, I am finding myself feeling the spirit, and hearing the whispers about the truthfulness of the record.
Today I had the opportunity to bear my testimony at the Liberty Jail to my family and others and found that I do know that Joseph and the others were surely there and that he received revelations for the church and world during that trial in his life. I know that Far West is somehow a sacred place beyond the fact that the Saints were living there and dedicated a temple site there. I believe that there is a history beyond what is recorded of these sacred places. Someday we will surely know the whole story.
I am grateful for my family and love them dearly. I hope your experiences with us in Missouri stay with you and cause you to reflect on how you felt when you were here and strengthens your testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. Please keep coming even though its getting late.