Hey fam, sorry today has been a crazy day. We didn't even really have a p day its been packed with lessons but I'll get to email tomorrow. I was right in the middle of emailing home when an investigator called and had to move the appointment up so we had to leave early. You'll hear from me tomorrow.
Yep, that was it. I guess it is better than nothing. Anyhow, we will be grateful to hear from him tomorrow. I will share the letter he sent to Ty and to his Aunt Kim (thanks for sharing it with us Aunt Kim).
Letter to Ty:
Ty!! Its good to hear from ya lil brutha! Thats awesome that you are doing work in basketball keep it up! Keep practicing and always do your best when you get the chance to play in a game because before you know it you'll be on a mission too! I miss you tons Ty you are the best little brother, I would encourage you to start reading the book of mormon if you haven't already started, it truly is amazing and we can learn so much from it. Keep doing the right thing and always be a good example to your friends
your big bro dallin
ps sucks that you cracked your phone haha
Letter to Aunt Kim:
Haha thanks for the love Aunt Kim, getting letters from family always feels so good. thanks for all your thoughts and prayers I know that they help so much!
And yes it is sooo cold and its snowed for like 4 days straight now up here. I'm starting to get used to it now though it doesn't really bother me anymore. I've seen a big improvement with the language this week and I feel like I'm starting to really get comfortable with the whole missionary thing. We've been meeting different people from all over the world with all kinds of different backgrounds and beliefs because there are so many immigrants here. it has been really interesting. and way cool. But thanks again for the email Aunt Kim it always feels good to know you have people back home thinking about ya! Hope all is well with you and your family! Love you all so much!
Ha and thanks for remembering about the larsen girl I would love for her to hear that we met with the lady again and they literally look exactly alike it is crazy.
Here are the letters Blaine and I sent to Dallin this week (you will have to wait until tomorrow to read his response):
Well, you have made it through another week. How are you doing?
I was reading some news this week about how the church has started to put jeans and common shirts on their missionaries in order to begin a service kind of work for missionaries on their missions. The church has stated how missionary work has to change as people change. Meaning our lives are so busy, it is hard to catch anyone at home or are willing to let us in the doors anymore. People just don't like people coming in their homes anymore. Their is such a mistrust with complete strangers anymore. Especially the danger that is possible with allowing a complete stranger in the home. I heard that the church is increasing the hours their missionaries are required to give in service work each week (ie. cleaning up someones yard, shoveling snow, etc.) The church feels that might be a better way to reach people.
Have you been doing any of that, or is it just too cold to do anything outside?
How is the mission going? Are you guys still throwing a shutout? Have you had any luck?
I love you Dallin, and think of you always. Keep your chin up, and stay positive. Remember you are getting the best experience in your life. Remember the movie, "The best two years"
so this must be your best two years so far. Remember how much the Lord loves you and wants you to succeed. Again, we love you very much.
Your loving Dad,
Letter from Mom:
31 And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?
32 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.
33 Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you.
34 Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me.
Moses 7:13 And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of lions was heard out in the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.
I hope that this week has proven to be a little bit better than last week. I was so sad to read of your disappointments. Missions are wrought with them, but they are also wrought with incredible blessings when you choose to stay the course. What an incredibly humbling experience it must be to visit with people who have no need for or even a belief in God. What sustains them? What is their declared purpose in this life? It really is mind boggling to me that a child of God has no use for Him - their very creator, but even more crucial, their Father. That level of pride is heart breaking. Your predicament as a missionary in Sweden has weighed heavily on my mind this week. How do you find the strength and courage to move forward each day? Is there anyone that has ears to hear and hearts to understand?
The Spirit really touched my heart today in Sunday School. Sister Shepherd was teaching the Gospel Doctrine lesson. It was on Adam, Cain, Abel, and then Enoch. The majority of time was spent on Enoch. When the Lord called him as a prophet Enoch could not believe it. He was slow of speech and frankly didn't have a lot of confidence (see Moses 6:31). He felt inadequate and even hated by the people. This reminded me of your situation. I know that the language barrier can be difficult. You may feel slow of speech at times, and not very confident in sharing the gospel message with these people who have no need for God. But the words the Lord spoke to Enoch surely apply to you. Surely you can trust that when you keep the commandments the Lord will allow no man to pierce you, the Spirit shall open your mouth, give you utterance, and justify your words. As you walk with the Lord each day and exercise faith in Him the earth shall tremble, the mountains will flee, and the rivers will be turned from their course. Your words will become great and powerful (see Moses 7:13). Enoch goes on to convert many to the Lord. He then continued to lead them in truth and righteousness and commanded them to teach their children these same things. We all know the level of righteousness that the people of Enoch obtained, for the Lord took up their entire city to dwell with Him. What would have happened had Enoch allowed his weaknesses to hold him back. Think of the countless lives that would not have been touched by his message and leadership.
Dallin, whenever you feel your weaknesses pulling you down, think of Enoch, think of his faith and obedience, and remember how the Lord blessed him by turning his weakness into a great strength.
You are awesome Dallin! You can do it! Pray to know the questions you should ask and the words you should speak to gain the attention of these people who have no need for God. Pray for the gift of discernment that you might know their thoughts and know how to challenge and inspire their actions. This is a very precious gift of the Spirit but is surely attainable by those who righteously seek after it to do the work of the Lord. Pray to truly love these people and to see them as our Heavenly Father sees them. His lens is one of compassion, love, and mercy.
This week has been a great week. Dad and I celebrated our 20 year anniversary by going up by Zion's and staying for two nights. We spent all day Saturday at a place called Jacob's Ranch. It was incredible. They had about 17 horses that you could choose from to ride. After you chose your horse you spent at least an hour with it letting it get used to you and to learn to trust you. By the end of the hour you have the horse following your commands and following you all over the place without a bridle or even a rope. It was amazing. I chose a white and brown paint horse named Jesse and dad chose a red sorrel horse named Cricket. We rode them for six hours. We went all over these trails next to Zion's park, up and down hills, and through rivers and streams. We even ran them at times as fast as they could go. It was an absolute rush and reminded me of being a kid again on my palomino horse Nugget. Dad did awesome as well. He had never ridden a horse like that - meaning he had never been on a horse while it was running at full speed. It was breathtaking at times - the ride and scenery both. We watched the sunset on top of a peak that I still can't believe we climbed up to. We could see for miles all around. It was gorgeous. We even did some missionary work with our guide. A very kind christian man who has lived a very interesting life. He loves mormons but has a few issues with our doctrine. We engaged in quite the discussion, but once things became a little to heated we toned it down and mutually respected each others views.
This week with my book Dr. White and I finalized our questions and chapter titles. We have sent them to a couple of different marriage and family therapists to review and to get their thoughts on things we might be overlooking or better ways to word the questions. I also just finished drafting the flyer we will use to give to therapists, bishops, and stake presidents to distribute to those they feel would be interested in contributing to the book through interviews. This has been an exciting challenge, and I look forward to the final product. We hope to have it finished by this Fall.
Dallin, is there anything that you need? What can we do more on our end to help move the work you are doing for the Lord forward in Sweden. Our thoughts and prayers are with you every day. We pray for your safety, well being, and success. Keep your chin up. Doors will open, hearts will soften, and the Spirit will bear witness of the truthfulness of the message you share. You are incredible Dallin and so very handsome! I love you so much! Stay safe, happy, healthy, and warm!
PS. I came across this quote today that I actually found on my mission to Oklahoma: "If you ever get discouraged think of Noah: He worked for 300 years preaching to the people, and then all of his contacts were drowned!" Ha! Now that would be depressing!
Here are a few pictures I took of Blaine at Jacob's Ranch:
Wrangler Jack teaching Blaine how to train Cricket.
Blaine Training Cricket (if you look closely you can see the pink whip).
At this point Cricket would follow Blaine wherever he would go!
Wrangler Jack and Blaine getting ready to saddle up Cricket
Ready to ride!
Off into the wild blue yonder.......
Lookin' good honey!