Cemetery walks are better than my jr. Companion said. All people should attend one in their lifetime.
Sunday, October 25, 2015
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.
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Good Luck Stories
October 18, 2015Our 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 StoriesDo 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.
Sunday, October 11, 2015
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 and Wiser too....Happy Birthday to usOctober 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.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
October 4, 2015It has been a cool, Fall day here in Missouri on this October Conference Sunday. We have spent the day with Addie, Eric, Zane, and Max. We have made our mission tour of the church history sites with a stop in the Liberty Stake Center for Sunday morning session. It has been a wonderful, historical conference. Now, who doesn't say those very words every 6 months when conference is over? It has been especially eventful for us with the Gaylord family here
Each time we have a daughter and her husband come to visit, we marvel at their little families and love to watch their specific family dynamics. This little family is easy to enjoy. The two boys scuffle like puppy dogs in the back seat, Addie directs everyone's activities, and Eric drives and let's her do it. But tonight, they are tired. We are tired. So, I am posting for the Seaman companionship. I just add a final amen to the things we have seen and heard this weekend. Amen.
I want to also direct a final word to our six daughters - Mauriah, Kirsten, Jessica, Lindsay, Addie, and Caitlin. My heart was thankful and full today for all of you. Your efforts at goodness. I thought of all of you when Elder Russell M. Nelson spoke of the women of the church and proclaimed to all that you are the women that President Kimball saw as distinct and different in happy ways from the rest of the world. Elder Nelson also proclaimed that you must have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ . Nothing is more crucial to you than your own conversion. He asked that we women step forward. Rise to our full stature.
So my daughters, I say......I am in. I want to do it. I am going to trust in the doctrine of Christ. I am going to be happy. I will take my rightful and needful place. How about it? It can only be happy and complete with you there. You and your husbands and your beautiful children along with my favorite elder. Let's get the job done.
My love to all my darlings,
Mom....aka Sister Seaman
P.S. Elder Seaman is fine. He will be back in the saddle next week.