Sweden Here I Come!

Sweden Here I Come!

Monday, January 13, 2014

P-Day Email January 13, 2014 - Cold, Snow, and Humility!

     I am always anxious and excited for Monday mornings....  As soon as I get up and drag everyone else out of bed I check my email.  My heart always swells when I see that we have a letter from Dallin.  This is truly the number one thing I look forward to each week.  Yesterday in Sacrament Meeting three mothers that have missionaries spoke.  It was neat to hear their thoughts and feelings, as well as how their sons were doing.  I often question if there is something wrong with me because I don't seem to be as emotional as most mothers appear or claim to be.  I don't shed many tears for Dallin, but what I do experience is an overwhelming sense of joy and peace.  My heart swells with happiness each time I think of him, and I feel a deep sense of gratitude that we were able to help him get to this point in his life and that he chose to serve a mission. A mission is such an incredible blessing in the life of an 18-year-old young man.  There is no other setting on earth that can teach him about and prepare him for his future the way a mission does.  Spiritual and emotional growth and development are accelerated unlike any other time in a missionary's life. The blessings are unmatched.  I do know that mission life is not all bliss.  In fact, blissful moments are grossly outnumbered by moments of struggle and strife, however, it is in the difficult moments where the most growth occurs.  This is when true character is developed as humble hearts turn to their Heavenly Father for strength, courage, and guidance.  My daily prayers for Dallin are that he will always turn to the Lord during the difficult times for succor and guidance, as well as turn to Him during times of success with gratitude and humility.  I also pray fervently that the hearts of the people he encounters will be softenend, that they and he will experience the unspeakable joy that results from  the conversion process.  I also pray the he will recognize the Lord's Hand in all things and learn to recognize and rejoice in the tender mercies He extends to us each day.  How blessed we are to have the fullness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Here is the letter Blaine and I sent Dallin this week:

Dear Dallin (Aldste Milne),

Doctrine and Covenants Section 4:

1 Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.
2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work:
4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;
5 And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify you for the work.
6 Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.
7 Ask and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.

It was great hearing from you last week. Thank you so much for sharing the experiences that you are having. We pray this letter finds you happy, well, and warm, and we pray the language continues to improve each day. We pray that your investigators are progressing and that you are finding more and more to teach.

We share this scripture with you this week, knowing that you are already familiar with it, and most likely have memorized it, but wanting to emphasize a very important point that was brought to our attention today by Brother Miller. He said to tell you that during his mission they were averaging about 80 baptisms a month mostly due to the attitude and teachings of his mission president. He taught the missionaries that their job was not to plant seeds, but their job was to harvest. Seeds have been planted for almost 175 years in Sweden. You are called there to harvest these seeds which have long been planted. Harvesting=baptizing. Thrust in your sickle with your might and you will bring salvation to not only your soul, but to the souls of countless others. Pray each day fervently to be guided to those whom the Lord has prepared to say "yes" today due to the preparations of many who have come before. Exercise tremendous faith in this endeavor and you will be amazed at the results. Let the Spirit be your guide and all will be well. Have confidence in your abilities and the message of truth that you carry.

You are currently carrying the most blessed responsibility you have had up to this point in your life. Right now you are a full-time ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ, and you are to heed His directive when he commanded: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (John 27:19.

Dallin, we want you to know that you are the gospel in action. You are answering the call to hasten the work. What a blessed opportunity you have been given. Our thoughts and prayers are with you every minute of every day. We attended the temple yesterday with Grandma Susan and Raymond. We had a wonderful time there and the Spirit was so strong. It is so exciting to be taught by the Spirit there and learn new things each time. The mysteries of God are beautiful and so enlightening.

Dallin, approach each day of your mission with the same passion and intensity you approached the basket when you drove the lane at PVHS. Sometimes you would score, sometimes you would not. Sometimes you were fouled and the referee would call it and sometimes he/she did not. But we always saw your determination to succeed and that is what we love about you! You were so fast and so silky smooth. We miss watching you. But we see the influence you have had on your teammates. They are doing well at continuing to change the culture that you helped start there. Do the same in Sweden. Change the culture of the missionaries, the members, and all those you come in contact with. You will accomplish this by studying the testimonies of prophets, both ancient and modern. Thrill with their testimonies and the love they have for the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the key to your success. Let the people of Sweden know that there is a prophet on the earth today by the name of Thomas S. Monson and he is of Swedish descent. We love you so much Dallin, and we love and appreciate the example you are setting for your family, and in parting we want to tell you..... Don't let this that we are telling you put undue pressure on you for baptisms. Do not think you are a failure if they do not readily come, but these are your goals, and the Lord will honor your efforts - we are sure of it. We are studying the prophet Joseph Fielding Smith this year in priesthood and Relief Society. He was the prophet from 1970-1972. He served for over 60 years as an apostle. He served a mission in England for two years and never baptized a soul. He was so discouraged that he wanted to come home, but he told himself that he would not only finish his mission, but that he would return home honorably as well. He was a great man and loved and served the Lord until his dying day. Obedience is the first law of Heaven. We are taught that in the temple. Obedience brings forth blessings. Continue to be obedient. Remember D&C 82:10: I the Lord am bound when you do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise. The Lord will always fulfill His promises. Take care of yourself Dallin. We look forward to hearing from you each week.

Much Love,

Mom and Dad
Here is the letter we received from Aldste Milne today:

Dear Milne Fam
Thanks for the awesome email. I love those verses in Section 4 that you sent. I actually read those same verses everyday along with some select others out of the BoM and D&C that have to do with missionary work before I start personal study to keep me focused on what I'm doing and to get me "pumped up" haha.
It finally snowed for real this last week. It is absolutely freezing now. The wind is a killer. But I'm able to stay pretty warm outside for the most part though. Once my face goes numb its not that bad because everything else is covered up pretty good haha. Welcome to Sweden. But today has been great because the sky was clear this morning and I saw the sun for the first time since I arrived in Umeå, so that was exciting!
This last week was kind of a rough one for us. We had a bunch of appointments lined up and more than half were either cancelled or pushed back even later. But the lessons we did teach went very well and we met a lot of new investigators. One guy is super cool. The previous night we didn't have many appointments for the next day so we talked about where we would go tracking. After we decided, we wrote it down and in a half serious/half joking way we lifted up our planners to show the "angels" where to prepare someone for us because we had read earlier in Alma that seen and unseen angels were preparing the hearts of the children of men to accept the gospel or something along those lines. So thats what we did. The next day we went to the place we had previously decided and chose an apartment building we hadn't been in before. We walked up a few levels and went to the end of the hallway to knock on the first door but before we could ring the door opened up and actually hit Elder Forsyth right in the face, I bursted out laughing and the guy who opened up kind of freaked out and apologized but we explained to him who we were and that we had a message about the family and asked what his family meant to him. His reply was awesome, "Well besides my man Jesus they mean everything! We're actually on our way to praise the Lord at our church right now!" But we talked to him a little bit longer about our message and he said we were more than welcome to come back tomorrow. The next day we taught the Restoration and the spirit was super strong and we set up an appointment to come back next tuesday (tomorrow). He has an awesome story about how he came to be a christian. He said that before he was into some really bad stuff and actually overdosed and was pronounced dead in the hospital for about 40 minutes! He says the he saw himself leave his body and he looked over himself in the hospital bed and at his wife and little son crying but then all of a sudden he was back and from that point on he was a changed man. He is such a cool guy, I have a really good feeling about him.
But I will say that so far, Sweden has done nothing but humble me. Coming out of the MTC, I will admit that I kind of had the idea that I knew everything that I needed to know and that I would be able to convince just about anyone that I taught to be baptized and that I would be able to walk off the plane and start speaking Swedish to everyone and their dog. But I've learned it is not that way at all. I still think that I am a great teacher but none of that matters unless you have the Spirit. It is the Spirit that converts not the missionaries knowledge or teachings. We simply share the message, testify of its truthfullness and then invite them to make commitments so that they too can recieve a spiritual witness. The Swedish has been really tough but this last week I feel like I made a ton of progress. Like in sacrament meeting I was able to understand everything that the speakers were saying and I have been participating alot more in Swedish lessons and understand what the investigators are saying. We do teach a lot in English too which is nice. But the work is progressing, good things are happening. And I've really been humbled as far as sports go here too haha. We play a sport called innebandy every saturday with members and investigators which is basically indoor hockey in tennis shoes with a wiffle ball. Nobody has any interest in basketball, baseball or football (including my comp) so innebandy is all we do. And I suck. I'm the most athletic person in the gym but the whole hockey thing just doesn't go well with me haha. I'm getting better at that too though, we play with a lot of people who are considered "semi pros".  Yeah, there is a professional league, its really weird.
But yeah good week, glad to hear that PV basketball is doing so well. That is super exciting. Hope everything is going good at home too with all the family, talk to ya next week!
Äldste Milne
One picture is of us playing innebandy and the other is of me and my comp when it finally started to snow. Now there is snow everywhere, we've been doing a lot of shoveling for members.

Cold and Snowing!

Playing innebandy!

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