Sweden Here I Come!

Sweden Here I Come!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Elder Milne's Letter and Pictures - January 2, 2014

     Ever since talking to Dallin on Christmas Day he has been at the forefront of my thoughts and emotions.  It is so hard to not miss him this time of year.  To make things more difficult, last night I was balancing my check book in the kitchen and Ty was watching TV in the family room, he turned and said, "mom" and I answered, "what?".  As I turned to look at him there were those big crocodile tears again and he said, "what am I going to do without Dallin for two years?".  We both cried, and I did my best to offer words of encouragement.  I tried to explain that even though it is so hard having Dallin away from us we need to try and be happy and at peace because we love him and we know this is what is best for him.  Ty has always been really close to Dallin, and Dallin has been an excellent older brother.  I know Ty really misses him, but we all agree that there is really no place else we would rather him be than in Sweden right now. His service is already blessing our family.  You can do it Ty!  We will all get through it together!

     Here is the letter we sent to Dallin this week.  I wrote most of it before Blaine joined me, but he added to the ending with the thoughts about Brigham Young:

1Peter 3:15 But asanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give ban answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the chope that is in you with dmeekness and efear:

Dear Dallin,

I decided that each week I will begin your letter with a scripture.  I heard this one the other day from dad as I was helping him prepare for his Sunday lesson.  The message that you have to share is hope, and as you share it in meekness and fear you will be successful.  Be willing to open your mouth to all you encounter.  The message you have is the most important thing you can give to your brothers and sisters in Sweden.  Consider how this message has blessed your own life as well as the lives of your loved ones.  Do not deny anyone the chance to receive the good news of the gospel.  You are so awesome Dallin!  What I love about you the most is the unconditional love you have carried in your heart your entire life.  You truly came to us this way.  What a gift you have been.  I have recently read the April 2013 conference address by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the twelve - It's A Miracle.  Here are somethings that stood out:

If you’re not a full-time missionary with a missionary badge pinned on your coat, now is the time to paint one on your heart—painted, as Paul said, “not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.”

Our desire to share the gospel takes all of us to our knees, and it should, because we need the Lord’s help.
President Monson has asked that we pray for “those areas where our influence is limited and where we are not allowed to share the gospel freely.”15 As we earnestly and unitedly petition our Father in Heaven, the Lord will continue to open important doors for us.
We also pray for our own opportunities to share the gospel. The Apostle Peter said, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh … a reason [for] the hope that is in you.”16
With the confusion17 and commotion18 of today’s world, it’s not surprising that fewer people are attending their places of worship. Although many want to be closer to God and to better understand the purpose of life, they have unanswered questions. Many have hearts open to the truth, but as the prophet Amos described, “they [are running] to and fro [seeking] the word of the Lord, and [cannot] find it.”19 You can help answer their questions. In your everyday conversations you can add to their faith in Christ.20
The Savior said: “Hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up.”21
I promise you, as you pray to know with whom to speak, names and faces will come into your mind. Words to speak will be given in the very moment you need them.22 Opportunities will open to you. Faith will overcome doubt, and the Lord will bless you with your very own miracles.

I know these words to be true, and as you exercise faith and approach the Father in humble prayer, you will come to know the truth of these words as well.  That is my challenge to you this week.  Pray like you have never prayed before and I know the Lord will pour out blessings upon you and your companion.  The first thing my mission trainer taught me was to get on my knees and pray to love the people of Oklahoma and to not get up until I did.  For without this love our work would be in vain.  Love is a gift from the Spirit.  Do all that you can to cultivate it each day.  This love will open doors that have previously been closed to the missionaries.  Love is the key that unlocks these doors.  You have a natural gift of love.  Petition the Lord to teach you how to best apply it in His work.

Dallin, I love you more than you could ever know.  You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers.  I know something of the struggles that missionaries face from day to day.  Do not allow depression and discouragement linger too long.  They are a natural part of missionary work, but do not let them overcome you.  Always remember that tomorrow is a new day and the Lord, after a bit of trial and testing, will reward your honest efforts.  He loves you and He wants you to succeed.  Our greatest moments of growth come only after the struggle.  Do not fear the struggles of your mission.  Embrace them, face them head on, and remember that with the Lord nothing is impossible.  I pray that during your difficult moments you will allow yourself to feel the arms of the Lord envelop you, and that you will feel our love and prayers from home. 

The words of Brigham Young come to mind here (compliments of your father).  In 1847, Brigham Young upon arriving in the Salt Lake Valley with the saints said: "This is the place, DRIVE on!"  This would become Zion at that point, but the church has now expanded across the globe.  Your Zion is now Sweden - DRIVE on!  There is a famine in the land of hearing the word of the Lord. It is your duty to feed these people and build up Zion in this part of the world.  Amos 8:11:  Behold, the days come, said the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.  People are hungering and thirsting after the hope the gospel brings.  D&C 133:5:  Go ye out from Babylon.  Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.  Be the instrument the Lord needs you to be.  He loves you, and lo he is with you always.

Take care of yourself Dallin.  Please let us know what we can do for you, or if there is anything you need.  We received a sweet letter from the Relief Society President there in Umea.  You are loved there already!  Always be gracious with the members.  Love them first, and they will bring their friends and loved ones to you to teach.  Involve then in anyway you can.  They will be your key to lasting success, and the work you involve them in will bless their lives and strengthen their testimonies.

Much Love,

Mom and Dad

     Here is Elder Milne's much anticipated response:
Sup Fam
   Well I'm still alive and doing well here in Sweden.  Christmas and New Years were way fun, the members here are super nice and fed us a lot.  I don't really know where to start.  So far I'm loving the mission life.  My trainer and I get along real well.  The work has been a little slow because of the holidays but we have a lot planned for this next week.  One thing that has been really cool is teaching different people from around the world.  Like the other day we taught a guy from ethiopia and gave him a book of Mormon in his language and right after taught a guy from Egypt and gave him a book of Mormon in his language.  There's like 5 or 6 different languages that we have Book of Mormons for because there are so many immigrants from different parts of the world.  And of course we are teaching Swedes as well. 
   It still hasn't really snowed yet surprisingly.  It snowed a little a few days ago but its melted now.  It's been raining alot.  Not really what I expected coming to Sweden this time of year.  The language gets a little better every day.  But everything is good, we're working hard and good things are happening up here!
Elder Milne
Books of Mormon We Have!

Golf in the attic of the church - ha!

Ping Pong in the attic of the Church - haha!

Umea at night!
     Letters from Aunt Kim's Blog:
I woke up this morning and checked my email.  So fun to see an email from Elder Milne.
Hey Aunt Kim good to hear from ya!  Its been an awesome experience so far here in Sweden.  The members in the branch love to feed the missionaries and they did a good job taking care of us during Christmas and New Years.  But surprisingly its only snowed a couple times, but it's all melted.  It's rained quite a bit though.  It gets dark around 3 which has been tough to get used to but I love the European feel of everything.  Right now I'm just trying to get the language down, but most people here can speak English so that's nice.  The work has been slow the last couple of weeks because of the holidays, but we have a lot planned for next week and we've got the members pumped up to help with the work also.  Good things are happening and it’s so fulfilling doing the Lord’s work.  I hope you all had a fine Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you! 

Äldste Milne

Then I had an email from my friend Michelle Dawson.  Her daughter is also serving in Sweden.

I totally forgot to tell you!!! I met Elder Milne! He was at our Zone Training in Stockholm. He's serving in Umeå with Elder Forsyth! And Forsyth is one of the best missionaries out here. He was our first district leader. Anyway, Elder Milne is in my zone! So there you go! Small, small world!! :) 

I'm smiling.  


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