At the VC last night. Elders (l-r) Santa Cruz and Blake (UT); Elder Papworth (CA), Elder Umpierrez (NC).
Sunday, November 29, 2015
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 ReadWell, 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.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
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.
It's All The Lord's Work
November 22, 2015It 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 DetailsIt 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.
Sunday, November 15, 2015
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
Sunday, November 8, 2015
(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
November 8, 2015Time 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
ConversionAt 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.
Monday, November 2, 2015
Sunday, November 1, 2015
Welcome to Independence
November 1, 2015It 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 TransferThis 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.