Happy New Year 2017

{Here is the text for our New Year’s Greeting. To see pictures with the text, click here.}

Dear Family and Friends,

As the beginning of the New Year, we are sharing some of the highlights of our year in 2016.

Our Daily Life: We enjoy our lively Rainbow Mennonite Church, where Leroy serves as a deacon and June is chair of the Welcoming Committee. We are part of some discussion groups that gives us a good chance to read and share ideas with friends. Being near Kansas City and also the Truman Library, we have many interesting learning opportunities, more than we have time or energy for. Leroy spends much of his time researching and writing his blog articles. June still enjoys her flowers and writing family history stories. In the spring, with the help of Kathy and Tim, she started a new butterfly garden, and is still growing milkweed and other flowers to encourage the monarchs on their trips north and south.

February: June spent two weeks in Silver Spring, Md., with Ken, Naomi (12), and Natalie (6), while Mina was with her family in Japan. She enjoyed baking with the Girls for their birthdays. She also loved being with Keith, Brenda, and with Lauren and her Jeff. It is very nice that our two sons and their families live so close together.

March: Luckily for us, David von Drahle, an editor-at-large of Time magazine, lives in Kansas City, and we had the opportunity to hear him speak three times this year. The first time was at William Jewell College’s Achievement Day Dinner, just after he had interviewed Donald Trump on his airplane for a cover story for Time.

April/May: On April 23 we set out for Japan. We landed in Tokyo and then flew up to Sendai where we visited our beloved Kaneko family. They pastored Hirao Baptist Church during our early years in Japan. A local pastor drove us to the scene where the devastating tsunami occurred five years ago. It is heartbreaking to see the long list of people who perished. Red tulips had been set out and were blooming inside the empty foundations of former homes: a sign that life will go on.

Our friends Ron and Lydia Hankins again graciously shared their home with us during those wonderful days in Fukuoka. A blur of happy gatherings with old and new friends occupied our time for the two weeks we had there.

June enjoyed being with Active Parenting leaders and friends during that time. June taught the first AP group in 1986, and is very happy it is now available across Japan. Leroy’s Toishikai, an alumni group of Seinan students who have kept in touch through the years had a lovely gathering for us. Then the big event was the 100th celebration for the founding of Seinan Gakuin, the school system where Leroy served for 36 years as professor, including eight years chancellor. We so appreciate the precious memories our friends in Japan helped create for us.

We arrived back in Liberty just in time to welcome our Kids and Grandkids from Maryland and Arizona who came for the wedding of Kathy and Tim’s daughter Katrina to Ryan Hlousek. Leroy was honored to perform their meaningful service in a lovely outdoor setting.

June: On the 6th we set out for Maryland, stopping in Indiana to visit Tootsie Lamkin, a friend we first met in 1959 when we moved to Ekron, Kentucky. She was a leader in our church there, besides being a great encourager to a young pastor and his family (us!). In Washington, D.C., we met up with Karen and Carl where she was attending a conference. Then we joined the rest of the family to celebrate the wedding of Keith and Brenda’s daughter, Marian, to Chris Mulligan in a sweet service at Seekers Church near Silver Spring. This was the first time all seven of our grandchildren had been together, so we are happy to have a snapshot of that.

July: We watched both the Republican and Democratic Conventions, and were thrilled to welcome our first woman candidate for the Democratic Party. We went to Rondo, June’s childhood church to attend the funeral of a long-time friend, Connie Baldwin, who was the victim of a tragic car wreck.

August/September: For the second year we were bothered by the oak mites in Liberty and others places close by. We attended a Democratic meeting and began to think of November.

October: Leroy’s Uncle True Cousins passed away, and we drove to Huntsville (near Houston) for the funeral. It was good to be with his wife Esther and to visit with Leroy’s cousins and many of their children and grandchildren whom we had never met. Then we headed toward Tucson, where we spent a week with Karen, Rob, and Carl (9). Highlights were: some time with Karen; June baking cornbread and cake with Carl, who really enjoys cooking; and visiting Rob’s wonderful art room where he teaches in a Tucson high school. His students had done beautiful work which he had on display around his specious room. On the 18th we met Karen and Carl at his school, had a treat with Karen at her favorite Starbucks, and then headed back to Missouri, where we continued in our campaigning efforts for Hillary.

November: We enjoyed having Kikuko Fukuoka, our long-time friend from Fukuoka, visit us—and we enjoyed visiting an Amish community together. On November 8 we cast our ballots for what we thought would be the first woman President. June thought about her Grandmother Ethel and others who had worked so hard to win women even the right to vote. Needless to say, we were shocked by the results.

December: We had a fun Christmas Day with Kathy and Tim and their wonderful children. Katrina and Ryan came from Springfield and David from Rolla, Mo. Katrina and Ryan graduated from Southwest Baptist University in May. She is now a teacher at Carthage, Mo., and he is a counselor for business students at Missouri State University in Springfield. David is in his second year at Missouri University School of Science and Technology where he is an electrical engineering major.

We look forward to being cozy under our new blanket, warmed by the love of our children and grandchildren, whose names you see on it. Our hearts are also warmed by your friendship, and we pray that 2017 will be a year of peace and good will for you and yours.

Love,

Leroy & June

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About Leroy Seat

* Born in Grant City, MO, on 8/15/1938 * Graduated from Southwest Baptist College (Bolivar, MO) in 1957 (A.A.) * Graduated from William Jewell College (Liberty, MO) in 1959 (A.B.) * Graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY) in 1962 (B.D., equivalent of M.Div.) * Received the Doctor of Philosophy degree in theology from SBTS. * Baptist missionary to Japan from 1966 to 2004. * Full-time faculty member at Seinan Gakuin University (Fukuoka, Japan) from 1968 to 2004. * Adjunct professor at Rockhurst University from 2006 to 2014.
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