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.