Sunday was a wonderful day for our family. We enjoyed a spirit-filled ward conference. Blaine and I were able to attend the Sunday School portion together with the youth. Carter and Ty were in there as well as all the other young men and young women. The stake presidency spoke. They are awesome. Something that stood out to all of us, and that we were still talking about last night, was something President Bangerter spoke about. He was asked by a youth how to have more confidence. I was thrilled with the response he gave. He quoted the scripture from D&C 121:45: "Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from Heaven." I absolutely love that! It is so true, and so applicable in today's world. Garnish means to decorate or embellish. Our thoughts should be decorated with virtue. This thought brought to mind some other scriptures Proverbs 31:10: "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies." I know that as we strive to live virtuous lives, we will enjoy lives filled with confidence. We will come to understand and know who we are and why we are here.
Sunday night was awesome. Tatiana and I spent many hours on Saturday and again on Sunday preparing a Russian meal for some of her and our close friends. We had about 20 people here. She shared some interesting things about Kyrgizstan along with a video about her country. Kyrgizstan is beautiful! She also shared her testimony and her desire to be baptized, but when she returns to Kyrgizstan on May 19th, she will be returning to a country that does not allow our church there yet. We all have hopes that someday soon they will. Each person attending introduced themself and told how they knew Tatiana and gave her some well wishes. I was especially touched by what Carter said. I had no idea he had this experience with Tatiana. She was in his Seminary class at the beginning of the year, and this year they are studying the Book of Mormon. Tatiana not knowing anything about the Book of Mormon asked a lot of questions. Carter noticed her interest and curiosity, and realized how much we take the Book of Mormon for granted. Because of Tatiana's example he resolved to read the Book of Mormon more intently and to finish it this year. He shared how he has recently finished the Book of Mormon and tearfully bore his testimony to the truthfulness of it. Anyhow, it was a memorable evening.
Here is my letter to Dallin this week:
Advice for the Week: This week I want you to reflect on the Savior and how he taught! You are His emissary sent to Sweden to teach His gospel. How can you best represent Him? How did He help others learn, grow spiritually, and become converted to His gospel?
1. He loved them, prayed for them, and continually served them.
2. He knew who they were and who they could become.
3. He prepared Himself to teach by spending time alone in prayer and fasting.
4. He used the scriptures to teach and testify about His mission.
5. He shared simple stories, parables, and real-life examples that made sense to them.
6. He asked questions that caused them to think and feel deeply.
7. He invited them to testify, and as they did the Spirit touched their hearts.
8. He trusted them, prepared them, and gave them important responsibilities to teach, bless, and serve others.
9. He invited them to act in faith and live the truths He taught.
10. He was their example and mentor.
(This came from a "Come Follow Me" curriculum teaching guide.)
THIS THEN IS YOUR SACRED CALLING - TO TEACH AS THE SAVIOR TAUGHT! As you do, the people of Sweden will give place in their hearts for the seed of the gospel to be planted, to swell, and to grow. This will lead to conversion - the ultimate goal of your teaching!
Dear Aldste Milne,
I hope you have had a wonderful week! I hope you have had joy and rejoicing in your labors. I pray you have felt loved and missed. I pray the hearts of the people in Sweden are being softened and their minds opened to the wonderful message that you bear. I hope your needs are being met and that you are happy!
We just finished another long but beautiful Sabbath Day. It started bright and early as I hurried to clean the house a bit and continue some food preparations before all my meetings started for the day. I had a Laurel's class presidency meeting at 10:00 am, a ward council meeting with all the Stake leaders at 11:30 am, it was ward conference today, we were taught by our stake leaders all day. It was uplifting and inspiring! During our ward council meeting President Bangerter taught us some of the leadership lessons we learn from the "Last Supper". Most of it centered around Love and the Spirit. I made a few comments, and after one particular comment he paused and teared up a little as he shared with the group the blessing he has of setting apart missionaries and the blessings he gets to bestow upon them. He then shared that on rare occasion he gets to impart very special and sacred gifts as dictated by the spirit. He specified one gift imparticular. He said what a miracle this gift was and that it was one of the greatest gifts we can receive from the Spirit. He looked right at me and I know that he was referring to you and the amazing blessing he gave you and the special gift he bestowed upon you. I teared up and said a silent prayer of gratitude for you and the opportunity you have to serve a mission. I also prayed that you would remember this gift and seek to fully develop it and use it in the way the Lord would have you use it. Take every opportunity to develop all the talents and gifts the Lord has blessed you with. There isn't a greater place to use them than the mission field.
After church we had a special dinner at our house with about 20 people. Tatiana, our foreign exchange student from Kyrgyzstan, wanted to host a dinner in which she prepared Russian food for her guests. We held it here, and Tatiana and I did all the cooking. We made Okarachka (barbeque chicken), Plov ( rice, pork, carrots, and onions), Olivie (a Russian potato salad), pompushki (scones with honey butter), Compote (a fruit drink), and sharlotka (apple cake). The Allen's were here with the Turpins from our other ward in Green Springs, the Millwards (Tatiana's host family), President Morris, his wife Cindy, and Austin, and us. We really had a great time. We gave Tatiana many LDS books written in Russian to take back home with her when she goes on May 19th. The Church is not in Kyrgyzstan yet.
Yesterday one of dad's dental school classmates called.... Hans Smith. Do you remember Hans and Alisha Smith and Christian from Louisville? Hans' mother is actually from Umea and Hans served a mission in Sweden. He said that Karlskrona was one of his favorite areas and that it is so beautiful there in the summer. He was so excited to hear that you were serving there.
This week PVHS beat Desert Hills in baseball on Tuesday, and then lost to them on Friday. We are still in the running to make the playoffs. We have Dixie this week and need to win at least one of the games to have a chance.
This week I also had several more interviews for the book. It is becoming easier to do them in that I have learned how to not allow them to weigh me down so much. We have four more this week and only a few more the following week. We will only do a few more after that if we feel like we need them. We will then spend all summer writing and rewriting. It will be crazy. If we can find a publisher it will most likely be in print by next Spring. In my wildest dreams I would have never guessed that I would be writing a book, especially on pornography addiction.
Grandma and Raymond spent a few days with us this week and attended the temple while they were here. They also played pickle ball for the first time. Grandma now wants a pickle ball court in her backyard - Sounds fun!
I also attended the temple this week. I love the new films. They are amazing. I truly do learn something new every time. I was blessed to eat lunch with Uncle Jack and Gail in the temple cafeteria after my session. They are so wonderful - a reminder of how living the gospel brings so much peace and joy into your life.
Other news, Chantel is going to have another baby this October, and Kenadee is engaged. Not sure when the wedding is yet. Dad and Brother Johansen have been asked to coach legion baseball this summer, and dad may be going to work for another dental company in a few weeks named Genesis Dental.
Here are some questions for this week: What is one thing that you look forward to doing each day? What is the most difficult part about being a missionary in Sweden? What is your favorite door approach? How many people are you teaching right now? What is the strangest experience you have had so far? What is the most spiritual experience you have had so far?
Take care Dal, Love you tons!!!!!
PS. I put an extra $100.00 in your account this week.
Here is Blaine's letter:
We got your email. It sounds good. I am happy you're still upbeat about the work. Brother Allen was over yesterday with the dinner and all. He comes to mind at this time for me writing you. Yesterday's dinner with Tatiana was a great experience for all that was there. Interestingly enough, Brother Allen gets a lot of the credit. He listened to the spirit tell him to get some conference tickets so Tatiana could attend such an event while she was here in America. Your mom took her to conference and it was a great experience for them both. The Allen's were here yesterday and Rod was Rod. Very Bold and straightforward with the gospel message. I have appreciated his life in ours. I feel he has been a real blessing to our family.
Take care Dallin, keep watching yourself and stay safe.
Here is Aldste Milne's Email:
First off mom, I love what you wrote there about the way the Savior taught? Where did you get that? Those are all dang good things to keep in mind as a missionary. Thank you. Sounds like everyone is doing well. Hearing about all these big dinners that you guys are having is sure making me homesick though haha, I'm eating pretty good up here but nothing beats mom's home dinners. I got the book in the mail, thanks for sending that mom as well as the extra money, you guys are spoiling me! That's really cool to hear about dad's friend Hans, I can vaguely remember their family. And be sure to tell Chantel congrats and to Kenadee as well, how exciting. I'm starting to hear about some of my other friends from high school who are getting married and its freaking me out, where has the time gone?!
Anyways as far as this week went, it was pretty average I guess. No new baptismal dates but the ones that we have are progressing very well. This next month should be more of a harvest, Lord willing. Something that kind of threw us off guard was that we found out that my companion will be transferring out on Wednesday. We are both pretty disappointed. There is so much going on here and we were really starting to click together with the teachees, but I guess the Lord knows what is up and what needs to go down. My new comp will be a guy from the states named Packer. I knew him a little up in Umeå, he was in a city a little south from us. He seems like a cool guy. I'm trying to think of something cool that happened this week but nothing really comes to mind, I'm sure something did I'm just not good with this kind of stuff haha. I went on splits with a Swedish elder on thursday so it was good to get some advice from him about the language and stuff like that.
What is one thing you look forward to doing each day?
- Honestly its to go out and contact new people. I'm a little weird with this I guess because normally missionaries aren't a big fan of contacting but I think it's actually pretty exciting to go out and talk to random people. I especially like door knocks because its like you never know what you are going to get. The key is just making it fun and the Fin has taught me a lot about how to make it fun. It's going to be sad to see him go but it is what is. We've had a good time.
What is the most difficult part about being a missionary in Sweden?
- Probably not baptizing as much as other missions. There were 130 baptisms last year for 200 missionaries. It's pretty easy to get discouraged with that but it's just something you've got to work through. The numbers don't necessarily reflect how successful you are either. But I know for sure there are definitely some coming here pretty soon. The dates that we have are looking pretty good.
What is your favorite door approach?
- Tough question ha, I'm not even sure if I have like a "go to" door approach or anything like that, I try to mix it up so I don't just sound like a robot. Me and the fin have had a lot of success with door knocks and getting in too, he has taught me a lot of good stuff with tracting. I've noticed you have the most success when you get them talking about their beliefs or what they hold dear in life and then tying it in with our message. The idea of a living prophet also interests people alot up here.
How many people are you teaching right now?
- around 8, some more often then others, and we are always teaching new people every week. As far as numbers go, me and the Fin teach a lot more than most missionaries.
What is the strangest experience you have had so far?
- There has been a handful of times where we have been let in at the door by a straight up psycho path and have had to ditch before it gets super weird or uncomfortable. It's surprisingly hard to pick out one that sticks out. They all lead to a lot of laughs afterwards though.
What is the most spiritual experience you have had so far?
- Another hard one to pick out, every week you have different experiences. The baptisms were of course awesome, lots of really cool experiences with prayer, getting that inspiration to talk to someone or go knock a random door and it ends up being a golden person, gosh it's hard to pick one out.
Anyways thanks for the questions, it makes it easier to write stuff. I'm looking forward to mother's day, I'll be able to skype ya'll again! Good luck with everything this week, I love and miss you all!
This week's pictures:
It's so beautiful here!
Karlskrona Branch Council
This guy was so excited to meet Mormons and get a BoM that he wanted a picture - haha!