Lined up on both sides getting ready to do some serious pulling. Note the national FFA organization banner, girls. Who do you know that was a member at one time?
Sunday, February 28, 2016
A Good Week
February 29, 2016
It has been a good week. We witnessed some life changing events take place for a dear family in our ward. This time last year Matt and Desiree Mulanazzi and three of their six children were baptized in the Blue Mills Ward. They also have three other children too young for baptism. We have been watching the calendar hoping we could teach them the Temple Prep classes before we left in April. It happened, and we witnessed their family sealing on Friday.
This is one of those Ensign type families that took hold of the gospel and never let go. They are the ones who shake their head and say, "How can it not be all so true? It makes such sense for a Father in Heaven to love us and want happiness for us". We have loved, loved to watch their progress this past year. They were introduced to the gospel by young sisters serving in our ward before we arrived last year. As their teaching progress moved along, other sisters came and went through our ward. Even after their baptism, they have had a special connection to the sisters serving in Blue Mills. Part of that sweetness is because their oldest daughter, Mariah, is determined to serve a mission in a few years. She is the one who gained a personal testimony first by attending youth activities.
On this special occasion, five sisters who had already gone home were able to come back to witness it. Sister Thompson flew in from Florida; Sister Alvarez traveled form WA; and Sisters Pistorius, Allan, and Webster came back from Utah. Then, add sisters who are still serving in the MIM who President Vest gave approval to attend. Can you picture how fulfilling it was for all of those young women to think they had played a part in uniting this family forever?
Can I tell you a tiny bit about one of their daughter's, Aliyah? Sister Mulinazzi was raised in a big family here in the Kansas City area. She would tell you it was dysfunctional. I tell you her mother was a saint. Those kids were carted to gospel singing churches throughout their lives. Desiree knows her Bible. Her mother raised many children besides her own. Matt and Desiree have done the same thing. They adopted Aliyah when she was ten. Aliyah's mother is Desiree's sister. Through poor choices, she could no longer raise her daughter. In the temple on Friday, when the door was opened for the six children to enter the sealing room, I spotted Aliyah first. She is now 14. She was craning her neck to see what was going on in there. Her eyes were bright, excited, and oh, so happy! It was a witness to me that, yes, Heavenly Father DOES want ALL his children to be happy. And that sealing power is available to all.
So, here's to a good week. It will go down as one of our highlights on our mission. My Seaman girls and son-in-laws.....I love you dearly. Stay the course. Go to the temple often. Teach your kids what a gift we have been given from a loving Father in Heaven.
My love, love to all of you,
Sister Seaman...aka Mom and Grams
The Tractor PullLast night Sister Seaman and I attended a tractor pull. I am sure you have seen these type of things on ESPN or some Ag channel. This is, after all, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas, the farmland of all farmland. For those of you who have never witnessed such an event, it is about oversized very powerful tractors pulling a weighted sled that dives into the ground as the tractor pulls it. These monsters have huge engines, many of them have more than one, or a jet engine, all of which develop monstrous power and noise (see pictures.) Just the sound of these tractors shake the ground and vibrate your seat and ears. We had ear plugs in and even then we covered our ears and laughed at the tickle in our ears as those monsters came down the track straight at us stopping only a few short feet from where we were sitting, hissing and puffing smoke and fire from their exhaust stacks.
It was an exciting time for a while. It got a little old after three hours. The arena was filled with burned alcohol exhaust that stung the eyes and lungs. They weren't through, but we left anyway.
As I have thought about the events, that transpired Friday and Saturday, that we were privileged to witness, the temple events and the tractor pull, it was easy for me to see the stark difference in their meaning. On the one hand, an absolutely meaningless event, an absolute waste of time and money, even by the world's standards it would be hard to justify the expense. On the other hand, a most sacred and life changing event that meant a family was sealed together for time and all eternity. An event where the value is so great that it is immeasurable. And as a witness to that event, I will tell you that to see six children holding hands over an alter in the temple with the parents at each end and a sealer with the authority to seal on earth and heaven, seal them together as a family, the feelings are more than I can describe. My heart felt like it would burst from indescribable joy.
Friends and family, beware of the time you spend on things that have absolutely no value in the long run. We should all evaluate our lives and decide today, again, and again, what is really important. Could we go on with our lives if we didn't get to watch the Super Bowl live or at all? Could we go on if we didn't get to see a tractor pull? But when you make and keep covenants, you do get to go on. Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve. The sacred things are far more important to me. Like keeping my family intact. Love you.
Monday, February 22, 2016
Sunday, February 21, 2016
PACK YOUR BAGS
February 21, 2016My message today is a message of Hope. Hope for any of you who might read this blog and think you might want to serve a mission someday. I am here today to say "You can do it."
I have learned when any missionary packs their bags for their mission, he or she brings ALL their baggage with them. Meaning emotional baggage; past experience baggage; all of "Who they are" baggage. And then, over time, the miracle happens. If the work is put in on their part, the Savior makes up the difference and a successful mission occurs!
In our time of service here, we have worked with 16 different Senior missionaries in the MIM office. We have seen them come and go. I have learned things I needed to learn from working with each one of them. I consider each as my friend. Before I tell you about one of them, let me give you a quote that I read this week. It came from Paula Fish at home in Show Low, AZ.
"When you find people who not only tolerate your quirks but celebrate them with
cries of "Me too!" be sure to cherish them. Because those weirdos are your tribe."
I gave this quote to Sister Fuller who is in charge of phones and Ipads for the young missionaries.
Her and I are surely in the same tribe. She knew about as much about a computer as I did when she came in December. As for Ipads, she doesn't own one. And doesn't intend to. And when a real phone isn't working for missionaries, that's another adventure to listen to her talking to them about how to fix it. So, can you see why I just love her? Here is a bit of trivia about my friend:
*She LOVES shoes. Me too!.....she cleaned out her closet awhile back and I got a few good pair off
*She loves, loves straight up COKE with no ice. The ice will dilute
the flavor. Sonic is her first stop of the day.Not me. I'll take a diet occasionally. But I get her.
*She LOVES her nails. Me too! Only she came to us with "Carnival nails"; meaning a different color
on each nail. I was appointed to tell her that that is not Handbook Legal. So, she has settled for pale,
one-colored nails for now. Occasionally, she can't help herself and shows up with sparkles on them.
She tells me she feels naked without them.
*She calls me and the young missionaries "Honey". I don't, but I get her.
*When I have to send a phone call to her about an Ipad or missionary phone, I warn her first. I yell
through the glass. We have a little laugh and away she goes with her expertise.
*She can be talking on her personal cell phone and try to send that call through to someone else in the
office on the mission land line. Me too!
*She owns a Big Bird yellow colored car with her favorite football teams plastered on the windows.
Not me, but I love the happy color of Yellow. I don't even like football that much, but she is
passionate about it when it comes to certain teams. I will not name them here.
*She wants to serve because she says she needs all the blessings she can get. Me too!
I tell you about Sister Fuller, who is way beyond age 70, because she is a normal gal working on having a spiritual experience by serving this mission. She has baggage like all of us. She admits it. I have lots and lots of baggage too. And guess what? The Lord is willing to accept my piddly little offering of serving here. So, thinking about serving a mission? Pack your bags. The Lord will take you. Hope you have a grand time.
Friday Night OutFriday night out at the Independence Visitors Center was real interesting. The speakers were direct descendants of Joseph Smith. Kimberly Jo Smith is a great-great grand-daughter. She is also a member of the LDS Church. She has done much in her life to reconcile the Joseph and Emma Smith family to the LDS Church. It is rough going. The animosity between the family and the church is still very real.
Sister Smith talked about the rumors and falsehoods that were passed down from generation to generation in the family. She talked about her conversion story and what it took to overcome all of the stuff she had been taught. She said she was told to avoid the Mormon missionaries because they would hook you. She told us that each time she had an experience with the Mormons she could feel the Holy Ghost which she knew and relied on in her life. She said it was confusing but that she had always been taught to follow the Holy Ghost and that's what she did. The Holy Ghost eventually led her and some of her family to join the church.
After joining the church, she said that she started attending Relief Society meetings and was very excited about it. However, on one of her first meetings they started teaching the lesson from the study guide about Brigham Young. Her past teachings caught up with her when it came to Brigham Young. She had been taught that Brigham Young was the man who had made life miserable for Emma and her family. Sister Smith did not attend Relief Society again for the next two years as that was how long the church was studying the teachings of Brigham Young. She said that it took time and a great deal of prompting by the Holy Ghost to overcome the issues with Brigham Young.
To hear her talk about her journey and the history the Smith family brought me to believe that like all of us we tend to believe in perception rather than truth. Often times rumors repeated over and over become the perceived truth. That is what happened on both sides of the religious fence as it pertained to the LDS and the RLDS. As an example, she said that she was taught that out in Utah, if you apostatized from the church, you were taken to the top of the Salt Lake Temple and thrown into the Great Salt Lake. She said that on a subsequent visit to Temple Square in Salt Lake that she was surprised that there was not a lake next the Temple.
I believe Sister Smith and others like her, are now beginning to see, by way of the Holy Ghost, that the truth is far from what they were all taught.
Thanks Sister Smith for giving me a small glimpse into the life of the Prophet and his wife Emma and their descendants.
The great lesson for me was that you must live worthy of the Holy Ghost at all times. And you must be willing to follow those promptings as they come no matter how difficult or strange they may seem. It will make all the difference.
Sunday, February 14, 2016
I hear the train a'comin...rollin' round the bend
February 14, 2016There is something lonesome, yet romantic about a train whistle to me. Where is it going? Where has it been? What will the next stop bring in the life of boarding passengers? I must feel this way since a train is so foreign to me. The one train riding experience I had in my life before Missouri was a Cub Scout Train ride from Holbrook to Winslow, AZ. My mom was a den leader at that time. And boy, I loved Cub Scout Day more than any of those boys ever did. Another train experience came every morning for four years as I rode the school bus 20 miles to Snowflake, AZ for my higher education. We stopped at the track as we entered the small town. The bus driver opened the door; looked both ways; shut the door and we moved on to school. In all those four years I don't remember ever seeing a train.
That small track in Snowflake, AZ carried box cars. No passenger ever got off to a loved one's waiting arms in that small town. Now, down the road 50 miles to Holbrook, AZ. a few passengers would leave or return home at that small depot. Our family drove down there when I was in fourth grade to pick up our new pet monkey that was arriving straight from the jungle. The rail workers dropped off a wooden box in my dad's arms. Wild screeches were coming from it. That's an Eb Lewis story for another day.
We followed the train tracks this week to Atchinson, Kansas to deliver new mattresses to the elders serving up there. The country side was bleak, yet with a beauty of its own. The trains move right through folks' back yard. The whistles are long and loud. So many box cars moving goods across the United States.
Amelia Earhart was born in Atchinson, Kansas and my elder graciously made a stop at her birth home for me. She was such a tiny woman! She had such a longing for adventure! I loved to see it all, then walk safely out to the mission truck and drive back to Independence, MO with my seatbelt on. For now, my adventure lies right there in that mission office.
Speaking of the office, our sweet Visitor Center Leaders, Sisters Schiess and Oleson, texted me last Sunday for Elder Fuller's phone number. Now, has your mind ever taken a sidetrack and assumed something else when people are addressing you? Mine did at that time. I assumed they meant Elder Fullmer, who was a visitor center missionary with his wife and recently went home to Utah. I texted back that if they reminded me on Monday, I would find that number for them. They replied that it was ok; they would be in on Monday. True to their word, they appeared in the office. There I was standing right by Elder Fuller, our car czar, and told the sisters that if they waited a minute I would get that number for them. Sweet Sister Schiess, without a smile, very kindly said, "that's ok. He's standing right here." Guess who went off in the bathroom and had some serious laughs on herself? Me. I can't wait to tell those sisters my side of the story. Think they will crack a smile or will they be too polite? As for Elder Fuller....he will like to hear it too when the time is right. On the other hand, maybe none of them will understand my sense of humor.
On this Valentine's Day, my heart will be in AZ when our third grandson receives the priesthood. All the local Seaman sisters will be there with their families. Noah Baum, how did you grow up so fast? Do you know the power you are receiving today at the hands of your dad? Your adventure is just beginning. Your life will be full of so many of them! You will probably ride lots more trains or fly in more planes than I ever dreamed of. And that's wonderful!
My world is small. I am A-OK with that. Trying to be an office secretary is my fun for now. As I work in there everyday and hear the train whistle blowing through Independence, I am reminded of my home in AZ. Where you are. Where your aunts, uncles, and cousins are. Where Home is.
MY LOVE TO MY FAMILY,
The HeroThis week has been a sad one for me. A friend of mine died in Arizona. Kevin Brackney was that friend. He was my boss for many years as I worked as the Business Manager and he as the Superintendent of the Show Low Unified School District. He and I waged many a battle together to make a budget work for another year without enough money. We had a good team during those years and had many good times but they were not without high anxiety and stress.
Thinking about it has caused me to contemplate if Mr. Brackney thought it was worth it. I wonder if he thought it was worth the ugliness or the high stress meetings with disillusioned staff and public. Or the constant barrage of changes in the education law or testing methods or staff evaluations. The constant give and take of politicians who have their own personal agendas.
I think of him as a hero and here is why. As a superintendent of a school district, you take on an impossible job, knowing that you can not win the war, only some battles along the way. You take pride in the teachers who give their all everyday in a classrooms filled with kids who are not getting what they need at home, if they have a "home." You try to get your teachers paid what they are worth, but generally, in the process. only alienate them because it will never be enough. You had to cut budgets and wages and benefits to make things work. You had to keep a Governing Board happy which is impossible as time moves on. The law suits, the disciplinary hearings, dismissal hearings, the endless meetings and interviews just keep coming.
Mr. Brackney, thanks for always thinking of the kids. Thanks for listening to me when you didn't want to, because it was generally bad news. Thanks for being black and white about education and not giving in to the endless personal agendas and the wanderings of crazy politicians that were always on the horizon. Thanks for sticking up for the employees, especially as it related to health insurance (a fight that you could not win) and especially for the underdogs along the way. You were a succor for the underdog. Thanks for juggling lots of balls and keeping them up. Thanks for showing lots of tenacity and fire when you believed in something.
Mr. Brackney, thanks for doing the impossible for so long, without the money or means, going it alone when you thought you were right, without much hope of long-term success.
It was worth it to me.
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Are You Kidding Me?
February 7, 2015I knew when I was called to this position that I was the Keeper of the Records. Our office has History books laying around that previous secretaries had put together. They are all neatly bound, THICK, and beautifully put together. It seems that if anyone sneezed in the mission that it was noted. So, here I am......President Vest asked me to just keep it on the computer and then, send it in to Salt Lake electronically instead of in book form.
It is time to get it sent in. I have faithfully been keeping notes, pictures, talks, etc, throughout the year on the office computer. I asked my elder to come in at the beginning of the week to check it out before I sent it out west. He took one look at my business and with a look of, "are you kidding me?", he politely explained that it would never fly because it was a mess. (He didn't say that, but I knew what he meant). How was this old schoolteacher who had no computer experience to know there is a difference between things called Folders and Word Documents? And those other things that have a red icon called PDF's? I had a little of everything saved in a long row and thought Salt Lake would really enjoy looking at it all.
After a few tears and prayers in the bathroom, I got myself together and moved Elder Seaman into my office. If he couldn't figure out my troubles, the AP's were in and out and they could add their expertise. It has been a busy week for all of them. The end of this story is that No, it is not finished. Yes, it will get finished soon.
I am embarrassed to tell you all this story. I know some of you may finally now see that I truly don't get computer work. And then, the next thing you need to realize is that the Lord has truly, truly blessed me these past months. Aren't you amazed I didn't flat blow-up that mission computer adding this and that here and there? Aren't you amazed that missionaries have come and gone safely this past year to the Missouri Independence Mission? This little story is to remind me and you that if we try our very hardest to be faithful and do our assigned callings, the Lord will make up the difference. He sent angels my way this week; namely Elders Seaman, Butterfield, and Anderton.
On a different note, it has been a sweet past two days. Danny and Tisha Crandell blew in for a few hours. Then, our special friend, Matalili, took out her endowments yesterday. The sun shone off and on throughout the week. Life is good in Missouri.
My love to all of you!
Tender MerciesPresident and Sister Crandell came to see us Friday afternoon. We were so glad to see them. They had picked up a new truck in New York and were driving it home. They were stopping along the way to see a few sites and we were one of them. They could only stay for a few hours but wanted to visit us and the church historical sites we could get in before dark. We went to the Temple Lot and the Community of Christ Temple and then decided we could make Hawn's Mill before dark if we hurried. They had never been to Hawn's Mill. It is difficult to find and way out of the way.
The guide at the Church of Christ Temple Lot was nice to us. President Crandell told the guide that he might be related to one of their apostles. Turned out the President Crandell found a booklet with the name of his Uncle on it who just happened to be one of their apostles. What a tender mercy.
Hawn's Mill is about an hour and a half north east of Independence. We drove like crazy and talked about Show Low and the Stake and the people. I sort of got lost and thought I had missed the turn off the pavement. We drove and drove looking for the little dirt road called Catawaba and never found it. It was getting dark. I finally gave up and turned into a road to turn around and head back. I looked up and to my amazement the road sign said Catawaba. We had made it. One of the Lord's tender mercies, don't you think.
It was almost dark on arriving at the Hawn's Mill Site, but we took pictures and talked about the significance of the place. Not a thing is there but an open field. It is hard to believe that a mob outright killed 17 men and boys that day so long ago on that very spot and that the dead were thrown down a well that was being dug on that site. The well ended being a makeshift grave which was then quickly covered because the mob had told the women that they would be back to desecrate the bodies. The location of which has now been lost over the many years and has not been located yet. It would be considered sacred ground by many.
Anyway, it was a great weekend. The Crandell's snuck out in the middle of the night, on their way to Texas to see their son, Josh and his family.
The Lord continues to bless us here in Missouri and we are very grateful to serve here. We love you all.