You might not think a chemical engineer would know much about pottery. But thanks to his most recent Church-service mission, Larry Seedall, along with his wife, Pattie, has learned a thing or two. The Seedalls recently completed a 26-month service mission with the addiction recovery program in Katy, Texas (a suburb of Houston), and the experience sculpted them in ways they never imagined.
The Seedall’s foray into Church-service missions began a few years ago when they were called as stake welfare missionaries. For one year, they attended to the welfare needs of specific families in their assigned ward, counseling with them on matters such as family finance, job placement, nutrition, and health care, to name a few. But the Seedalls quickly learned that the key to changing minds was reaching hearts. When those they served felt loved, they were more inclined to follow wise counsel and improve their lives.
Looking back, the Seedalls see this experience, as well as other callings they have held in the Church, as training for what was to follow. Pattie shared, “I’ve always felt that with the Lord, there’s always something that He prepares you for by serving in the calling you’re in.”
What was to follow came as a call to serve as Church-service missionaries for the addiction recovery program (ARP). Pattie thought about how they would be able to share the Savior’s love in this new role. But Larry’s initial response was fear—fear that he couldn’t accomplish the Lord’s will with his limited experience. Nevertheless, they accepted the call and got to work.
And that’s when they gained a greater appreciation for pottery.
More specifically, they learned the meaning of the words “We are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand” (Isaiah 64:8). The Seedalls quickly acknowledged that they were not in charge of the ARP group—the Lord was. And as they yielded their will to His in their service, He qualified them for their work.
The greatest lesson they learned from their mission? Without a doubt, the answer is love. They felt that those they worked with were silently asking, “Will you love me? Will you see me as I need to be seen?” And with the Savior’s help, the Seedalls did. Just as they had learned from their previous service mission, they loved first and the miracles followed.
Looking back, Larry concludes that this mission has changed him. Going into the mission, he felt pretty confident about the administrative side of the Church, but this mission taught him about true charity as he loved those he served. And he learned something else from the people going through the program. With humility he shared, “They aren’t broken any more than I am. We all need the Savior.”
Through this Church-service mission, the Seedalls discovered that whatever the call, we are the clay. And if we are willing to be molded, God will use us to build His kingdom. Larry testified
that while he and his wife served their Church-service mission, “We were the clay and our hearts were changed.”