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.