Sweden Here I Come!

Sweden Here I Come!

Monday, February 10, 2014

P-Days Make Mondays Worth Getting Out of Bed For!

     Oh, it was rough getting up this morning.  I had a very busy Sunday with meetings most of the day and a youth fireside last night.  Plus, we stayed up extra late last night enjoying a very uplifting conversation with Carter.  We enjoyed an inspiring famliy home evening by Blaine and the discourse continued until 11:00 pm.  Ty had fallen asleep long ago on the couch.  He is so funny!  I think that feeling the Spirit for him is so peaceful it puts him right to sleep.  I really love Sunday nights.  This is when we have our family home evenings because Mondays, unfortunately, have been overtaken by school and sports schedules.  We always talk about what was taught during church that day and then one of us will give a lesson.  I love seeing how the boys' testimonies are strengthened each week, and we always make sure we reflect on the importance of participating in the ordinance of the Sacrament .  Blaine has done a really great job in teaching the boys the importance of being worthy to bless and pass the Sacrament:  "It's not what you do on Friday night that matters (meaning how many points you score in a ballgame or whatever else you are involved in), it's what you do on Sunday morning that is the most important.  You as an Aaronic Priesthood holder shoulder the responsibility of putting an entire congregation under covenant by performing the sacred ordinance of blessing and passing the Sacrament."  We were taught this important truth by one of our all time favorite gospel doctrine teachers - Bianca Lisonbee.  She lives in Orem, Utah and is a convert to the church.  She raised several boys who were athletes.  But she always emphasized the importance of worthily fulfilling their priesthood responsibilities.  Thank you Bianca for sharing this precious pearl of truth.  It has been one of the Milne's mantras ever since.

     Anyhow, it truly was the anticipation of reading Dallin's weekly email that allowed me to get out of bed this morning.  I was not disappointed!  It is always so uplifting and reassuring to read his letters.  It is amazing how rejuvenating it is to read a letter from your favorite missionary (just one of the many blessings we enjoy because of their service). 

Here are the letters that Blaine and I sent:

Hi Dallin,

You've entered your 4th month in the mission field. That is a nice accomplishment. I am sure you have learned very much up to this point.

This week I taught Sunday School for the 15-16 year olds. I really like the new curriculum the church has for the youth classes. This month is the Plan of Salvation and I talked about teaching others The Doctrine of Christ.

It has 5 components:

1. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
2. Repentance
3. Baptism
4. The Gift of the Holy Ghost
5. Enduring to the End

My class has 10-12 kids in it this year. They are really good kids and I enjoy teaching them each week.

Are you getting fed?
Are you staying warm?
Are you getting enough sleep?
Are your clothes adequate?
Do you need anything?

How was the work this past week?
Have you made any contacts worth pursuing?

Are you enjoying Swedish sacrament meetings. How is the language coming? Are you getting it and able to better communicate with the people?

Dallin, thanks for your willingness to serve and obey the commandments in your youth. You were such a good boy and easy boy to raise. Thanks for being you. We love you and believe in you. We have all the confidence in the world in you. Keep working hard and I am sure the Lord will send you someone prepared. Make sure to pray to be able to love the Swedish people. Enjoy your time there. It is such a good opportunity to be serving in that part of the world.

Everyone at home is doing fine. Your brothers are doing well and honoring their priesthood. Carter blessed the sacrament today and Ty passed. Your mom is doing a wonderful job with her Young Women's calling. She works very hard and is always striving to keep the program interesting for the girls.

Take care Dallin, I love you.

Daddy Milne

2 Nephi 31:20, 21
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under Heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God without end. Amen.

Dear Dallin,

I was so happy to read your last letter, and to see that the Lord is mindful of your prayers and desires. I pray that this finds you happy and well, and that the work is continuing to progress in Umea. I really enjoyed both letters you sent last week. I especially liked the baseball analogy you used in your dad's letter. In fact, I liked it so much I used it tonight at a fireside for our young men and women. The Dixie High School Seminary Council did a panel discussion for us, and I used it as part of their introduction. The Spirit was truly felt by all as I read it, and it set the tone for the remainder of the meeting. It is so wonderful to see how your testimony is growing and that your creativity is as strong as ever!

We received word today that our ward is splitting again. I have mixed emotions about this. On one hand, I truly know this is what's best. There are way too many members in our ward, and it becomes next to impossible to minister to the individual needs of the members. I especially struggle in young women's to bond with the girls one on one. There are 46 of them, and I would like nothing more than to spend individual time with each one of them as their president. So, it will be nice to have a smaller group of young women. On the other hand, the thought of just one of them leaving breaks my heart. I truly do love them, and I pray daily for their successes! I love my calling, but at times it truly is exhausting. This month alone we have so many activities that require so much work and sacrifice. Last Tuesday I had the Sister Missionaries over to our house to eat dinner with my Laurels. There were 10 Laurels here as well as the two sisters and two leaders. We made Cafe Rio type food and it was delicious. We enjoyed visiting with the missionaries, and it was great for the Laurels to ask them questions about what mission life is like. This Tuesday, I and my presidency are hosting an etiquette dinner for the young men and women and their leaders. I have designed a Family Feud game to play (all the questions are etiquette questions) and a power point presentation. We will then serve a five course meal to them. It should be fun, but a lot of work. Hopefully they can all learn a few manners. I think it is so important to feel confident and comfortable while dining with other people, whether it be with dignitaries or your future in-laws, the way we present ourselves in social settings speaks volumes about our character and nature. We have two other major activities this month. I am going to be exhausted, but I really do find much joy in serving in this calling. I think dad and your two brothers get pretty tired of it at times though. I appreciate their ongoing support. Ty and Carter both helped me out a lot with the fireside tonight.

I am still working hard on the book with Dr. White. We are having to double our efforts from this time forward because she maybe taking a job up north in a few months doing research for the church. I met with two different family therapists this week. These visits were very enlightening on the reality of pornography addiction. What an absolutely deadly trap to be caught in. I feel nothing but sorrow for anyone who succumbs to this. Thankfully there is hope and healing for both the addict and his/her family through the atonement. However, the process is painful and slow, and one can never change the consequences of this addiction. It never ceases to amaze me how many people I meet that tell me how so many of their friends have divorced because of pornography use and addiction. This week I will be fine tuning the introduction as well as researching scriptures and talks by general authorities on the different areas we will be covering in this book. We truly are striving to have this book be a book that will give others hope in the healing power of the atonement and peace through the miracle of forgiveness.

Dad and Carter are gearing up for baseball. Dad has been asked to coach the JV team at Pine View. He really does enjoy this. Ty is still playing basketball and refuses to even touch a baseball until after the basketball season is over. He is doing really well in basketball. He is refining his skills and has become a really great team player. I love to see how unselfish he is and how he really cheers his other team mates on. I had to smile at him during his last game. He passed the ball to his buddy Taylor Tobler and told him to "hit it!". Unfortunately he didn't make the basket, but it was a good shot and Ty's unselfishness sent a good message to his coaches and teammates. Carter is still working hard to maintain his 4.0 GPA, and I am really liking how his and Ty's relationship is evolving. They are really starting to enjoy each other. They helped dad on Saturday make furrows for the garden. Ty came home and said how much fun he had with dad and Carter. This was a breath of fresh air considering how much Ty doesn't like to work.

Anyhow, I had better explain this week's choice of scriptures. This month's "Come Follow Me" youth curriculum is on the plan of salvation. I love this topic. Today in Young Women's we talked about the purpose of life, agency, and the atonement. Tonight for FHE dad taught us the key concepts he taught his Sunday School class today. His lesson was on the five parts of the doctrine of Christ. He referenced 2 Nephi 31. This is for sure one of my all time favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. It truly contains the five parts of the doctrine of Christ: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. It was the discussion about enduring to the end that really caught my attention. Of course it is verse 20 that spells this out for us. We must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, and by so doing we will have a perfect brightness of hope and a love of God and of all men. Also, as we press forward and feast upon the words of Christ and endure to the end we will have eternal life. Such a magnificent promise. Dad asked us this question: "What is the one thing we do each week that truly helps us endure to the end?". The answer of course is the partaking of the sacrament. Each time we partake of the sacrament we are refreshed, renewed, and our sins are forgiven us. We get to start each week with a clean slate. Our burdens of sin, heartache, sickness and sorrow are lifted. It is a new day and we can be freed from the burdens that we bear. He reminded us that the sacrament table is truly a holy altar upon which the emblems of the sacrament are placed. He then reminded us of what we have taught you and your brothers all along. It is not what you do on Friday night that matters, but what you do on Sunday morning. Through the aaronic priesthood you have the power to kneel at this holy altar and put an entire congregation under covenant. Quite a responsibility for a 16 year old, but what a wonderful blessing and privilege. Remember while you are serving as a missionary in Sweden to teach those five basic components of the gospel of Christ, teach the importance of partaking of the sacrament worthily each week, and teach of the love that our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ has for each of us.

We are so blessed to have the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Make every effort you can to bring this message to all you meet. What an amazing gift you have to offer. Remember that the worth of a soul is measured by its capacity to become a God. You are in the business of saving souls for your Father in Heaven. How great shall be your joy. Express daily your gratitude for this remarkable opportunity. A Jesuit priest once said, "It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful. Discover the joy that comes from expressing gratitude. Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy (2 Nephi 2:25)! Be joyful Dallin! I love you so much! Keep up the great work and the great attitude! My thoughts and prayers are with you always.

With Much Love,

Here is the email from Elder Milne:

Hey Milne Fam
Its always nice to hear from you guys and that you are all doing well. And those are some awesome verses from an awesome chapter. When I teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, 2 nephi 31 is one that I always refer to, like you said, it covers everything. And the scripture you cited at the end is a gem. Our purpose in this life is to have joy, joy which comes from the blessings given to us from our Heavenly Father through our obedience, the biggest blessing being our families. You guys are the best.
I'll base the rest of my letter off all the questions dad asked me in his email haha!
Are you getting fed?
Absolutely. The members love feeding the missionaries and my new comp is quite the chef as well. I've learned how to cook a little bit myself. Ha, I've even put on about 10 pounds since I left for the mtc.

Are you staying warm?
Yeah I think my body has completely adjusted at this point to the cold and snow. It is still really cold, but it doesn't really bother me at all anymore.

Are you getting enough sleep?
Sleep is one thing that a missionary never has enough of . I'm pretty good at getting to bed by 1030 and getting up at 630 but you're always so tired at the end of the day, it seems like as soon as your head hits the pillow the alarm goes off the next morning. But I'm doing good.

Are your clothes adequate?
Yep I'm good with that. Doesn't really matter what I wear, I'm always looking good :)

Do you need anything?
Yeah, someone who will sincerely pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true and that if Joseph Smith was a true prophet. We have tons of people who have no problem reading and learning more about our faith but not a lot who seek for spiritual truths.

How was the work this past week?
Not going to lie, it was one of the slower ones since I've been here. A lot of it was just because it was kind of a crazy week with transfers and getting a new companion. My new comps name is Elder Russell Hitch from Washington State. He's been out for about 18 months. He's a cool kid we get along pretty well.

Have you made any contacts worth pursuing?
This week not so much. We spent a lot of time cleaning out the area book and updating it so we basically went around visiting everyone, updating addresses and I showed Elder Hitch around Umeå and where everything is at.

Are you enjoying Swedish sacrament meetings?
They are my favorite. I have no problem understanding the speakers now and really no problem talking with the members save a few who have a weird dialect or who mumble. Elder Hitch was really impressed when he heard me speak in our first lesson together. He said that I was better than his last companion who has been out 6 months now, so that made me feel good and gave me alot of confidence.
How is the language coming? Are you getting it and able to better communicate with the people?
Pretty much answered that above. But yeah I'm feeling pretty comfortable, of course there is still so much for me to learn but I don't have a problem stopping someone on the street or talking with someone on the bus. I'm starting to have a lot of fun with that.
But I like those questions, it makes it easier to write letters haha. But I'm doing good, just trying to stay positive. Without a doubt Sweden and the other Scandanavian countries are the toughest in the world when it comes to being a missionary. Everyone is atheist and nobody gets married anymore.  Sad deal. But there is work to be done and I know that there are good people out there who are prepared for the gospel, just got to tract them down.
Anyways keep up with the questions, the more specific they are, the more specific my answer will be haha. And keep me updated on everything I love hearing about how everyone is doing with school, work, church, sports, the book, and stuff like that. Don't worry too much about me though, the Lord has been very good to me.
Äldste Milne
Here are the pictures he sent:

Saying farewell to my awesome trainer!

My study desk!
Hey Dallin, I am starting another blog for me (actually for my posterity).  Here is the address:
www.natalieblackmilne.blogspot.com.  I haven't posted anything yet, I have tons to do today, but tonight I will for sure!


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