Sweden Here I Come!

Sweden Here I Come!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Welcome to Sweden President and Sister Beckstrand

I really haven't forgotten that my oldest son is in Sweden serving a mission.  I have just been super busy this week and haven't had a spare second to sit down and do this blog. I am actually writing from a hotel room in Denver, CO.  Between doctor's appointments, getting things ready for girl's camp, writing the book, and flying to Colorado I have hardly had time to rest let alone update the blog.  I apologize to those of you who are my faithful readers. The good news is I am starting to feel better.  My energy is returning and the things the doctor is having me do seem to be working. I also today received good news about the blood work and ultra sound I had performed last week.  Everything looks great!  What a relief.  In the Lord's time I will be as good as new!

Did any of you know that Dallin could sing?  From the time he could talk he was singing.  Being the oldest child he often had time alone in his younger years.  I would love to stand by his bedroom door and listen to him sing while he was playing or while he was trying to fall asleep. He was a naughty baby with colic, but he was a very happy and pleasant toddler.  He melted my heart!  Well, it appears that he is trying to launch a singing career in Sweden. Carter showed us a video of Dallin on a social media sight of him singing some song in Swedish.  A young ward member there in Karlskrona had video taped him and posted it. It was quite entertaining. I would love to know what he was singing. Once again he melted my heart.

Speaking of singing, our middle son Carter sang the National Anthem at his American Legion baseball game this past week.  I wasn't there, I had no idea he was going to do it.  Blaine said that Carter was amazing and that he sounded better than Alan Jackson.  That made Carter's day! Carter has found a new passion - singing country music.  As his voice matures he is realizing that he has a nice low singing voice. Who knew my boys were so talented!  They truly make me smile! Ty has an amazing voice but no one would really know it but me.  He can hit high notes that I can't even imagine hitting.  He also has a very nice vibrato, but any mention of lessons he clams right up - maybe some day. Anyhow, enough about all that. Aldste Milne sounds great this week.  He was able to meet his new mission president, so lots of excitement surrounding that.

Here is my letter this week:

Dear Aldste Milne,
I thought I would explain this week's spiritual message before you read it.  As you know I have been struggling with my health. Although I see improvement it is no where near where I would like it to be after a month.  I have also acquired a few more symptoms.  This past week I started feeling a throbbing and heaviness in the left side of my neck.  I assumed it was my thyroid because of the disease that I have so I called my doctor.  He referred me to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist to further investigate.  On Wednesday I went to see the ENT doctor.  He told me that he didn't believe it was my thyroid and was quite sure that it was my left carotid artery that was inflamed.  He said that this happens occasionally with patients who have auto-immune diseases.  There is really no explanation otherwise.  He ordered more blood tests and I will have an ultrasound performed on my neck Monday.  I really am not concerned that it is anything serious, but just one more thing to deal with.  With an inflamed carotid artery there is a small risk for stroke due to the impeded blood flow, and it also creates tiredness and dizziness.  Those are two symptoms I already have so no biggy!  Anyhow, by Sunday I was still feeling quite frustrated.  I woke up determined to go to church today and especially young women's.  I felt so weak and shakey though that I wasn't sure if this was going to be possible.  As I prepared to go I said a silent prayer and asked for strength, but I also complained to the Lord impatiently.  I told Him that if this is how I am going to always be then He just needs to take me because at least on the other side of the veil I could work and serve because here, I am useless. I know that sounds pathetic, but that is truly how I felt. Anyhow, I made it through Sacrament meeting and was able to go to young women's.  I am so glad I did.  Sister Lindsey Sullivan gave a combined lesson today for all the young women.  She talked about the Covenant of Baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. At the beginning of the lesson she announced how all of them had fasted for me today.  This was very touching.  Then after the lesson she came up to me and handed me this talk by Elder Robert D. Hales.  She said that as she prepared her lesson this week she several times felt the impression to give me a copy of this talk.  I am so glad she did because it really helped me understand the reasons why the Lord is allowing me to suffer.  Anyhow, I included the first part of his talk below:
After recovering from three major surgeries which have prevented me from speaking in the past two general conferences, what a joy it is to be able to stand in this beautiful Conference Center today to teach and bear testimony to those who desire to hear the word of the Lord.
In the past two years, I have waited upon the Lord for mortal lessons to be taught me through periods of physical pain, mental anguish, and pondering. I learned that constant, intense pain is a great consecrating purifier that humbles us and draws us closer to God’s Spirit. If we listen and obey, we will be guided by His Spirit and do His will in our daily endeavors.
There were times when I have asked a few direct questions in my prayers, such as, “What lessons dost Thou want me to learn from these experiences?”
As I studied the scriptures during this critical period of my life, the veil was thin and answers were given to me as they were recorded in lives of others who had gone through even more severe trials.
“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high” (D&C 121:7–8).
Dark moments of depression were quickly dispelled by the light of the gospel as the Spirit brought peace and comfort with assurances that all would be well.
On a few occasions, I told the Lord that I had surely learned the lessons to be taught and that it wouldn’t be necessary for me to endure any more suffering. Such entreaties seemed to be of no avail, for it was made clear to me that this purifying process of testing was to be endured in the Lord’s time and in the Lord’s own way. It is one thing to teach, “Thy will be done” (Matt. 26:42). It is another to live it. I also learned that I would not be left alone to meet these trials and tribulations but that guardian angels would attend me. There were some that were near angels in the form of doctors, nurses, and most of all my sweet companion, Mary. And on occasion, when the Lord so desired, I was to be comforted with visitations of heavenly hosts that brought comfort and eternal reassurances in my time of need.
Though my personal suffering is not to be compared to the Savior’s agony in Gethsemane, I gained a better understanding of His Atonement and His suffering. In His time of agony, He asked His Father, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). His Father in Heaven sent an angel to sustain and comfort Him in His time of need (see Luke 22:43).
Jesus chose not to be released from this world until He had endured to the end and completed the mission He had been sent to accomplish for mankind. Upon the cross of Calvary, Jesus commended His spirit to His Father with a simple statement, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Having endured to the end, He was released from mortality.
We, too, must endure to the end. The Book of Mormon teaches, “Unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved” (2 Ne. 31:16).
The experiences of the last two years have made me stronger in spirit and have given me courage to testify more boldly to the world the deep feelings of my heart. I stand before you today with a resolve to teach the gospel principles like the prophets of old—without the fear of man, speaking clearly with plain talk, and teaching simple gospel truths.
Don't get me wrong Dallin, I by no means put myself in the same category as Elder Hales, but I could relate to his feelings in so many ways.  The Lord truly has blessed me and continues to bless me with greater clarity and understanding of our purpose here in mortality, but there are moments of weakness when I really just want it all to be over with.  Enduring to the end is the greatest challenge I think all of us face, and doing it with faith and dignity is even more difficult. I too am grateful for guardian angels both seen and unseen who comfort me when I need it the most.  I am confident that in time I will be well, but of course it will be in the Lord's time not mine. 
Anyhow, how are you this week?  How are things in Karlskrona? How is the new mission president? Do you think you will be transferred soon? How are all your friends doing this week? Did you get your debit card? Can you believe you have been out for 8 months?  Is it going as fast for you as it is for me?
This past week Dad, Carter, and Ty all went up north for baseball.  They were gone Wednesday night through Saturday night. I stayed home but that was okay.  I did a lot of writing and got some rest.  I also headed up to Minersville to spend the fourth of July with Grandma and Raymond.  Minersville had a nice celebration and then we drove up to the Beaver Mountain to eat dinner with Nanette's family.  Chantel, Trevor, and Ava were there as well.  It was so beautiful up there.  It had rained earlier in the day so it was nice and cool and smelled wonderful.  It was so nice to get out of the heat of St. George. Ava is growing up fast, and she is so cute.  She kept us entertained the whole night! Anyhow, Dad's team won their tournament.  Carter pitched a complete game against Bear River and got the win.  They were undefeated with one tie game.  Ty's team went 2-2 but they lost to the top team in the state.  Ty pitched that game and only gave up two unearned runs.  His team wasn't able to score so that made it tough.  He did a great job though and showed a lot of heart. 
Today dad did a really nice job sharing his testimony in Sacrament meeting.  He talked about the blessings that come to us because of this great nation and the freedoms that have been preserved for us by those who have fought and also given the ultimate sacrifice.  He talked about the symbol of the American Flag and how it stands as a reminder of the gift of free agency the Lord has given His children and how this land is a land that was founded to protect our agency. He talked about the blessing of being part of the American Legion Baseball program and what an honor it is to wear the uniform along side these young players many who are in our ward. It is so awesome for him to have this opportunity.  He really is doing a great job!
The book is really coming along.  I am just finishing up writing chapter 2. Hopefully I can knock out a couple more chapters this week.  There is a lot of writing and re-writing, but each day I do my best to hear the voice of the Lord.  I have often felt His hand over me and the words seem to really flow. This has been an incredible experience.  I guess it is not everyday you wake up and say, "I'm going to write a book today."  There is so much that goes into it.  What a journey! I will never be able to thank Dr. White enough for this opportunity! We have been working on it since last January, and it is so nice to see how all of our hard work is finally coming together.
Dad and I will fly to Denver on Wednesday evening.  That should be interesting.  I really don't foresee anything really changing though.  It would really take something extra-ordinary to get your dad to leave St. George.  Hopefully he can convince Comfort Dental to come to Utah.  We'll see!
I pray all is well with you Dallin!  Take care of yourself and let me know if there is anything you need.  I put some more money in your account, so hopefully you will have what you need. We really had an awesome Family Home Evening tonight.  Your brothers are really growing up.  They are great kids! You have been such a great influence in their lives.  Thank you for being such an excellent son and brother!  Have a fun p-day and a fantastic week!
Love you so much!
Here is Blaine's Letter:
To Aldste Milne From this Side of St. George<,
How are you today?  How is the Swedish mission going?  Today marks 8 months on your mission.  What an accomplishment. 

I just finished watching Zion's Camp on LDS.org that explains very well how that experience helped shape the early leaders of the church.  Just after returning from Missouri, the men of Zion's Camp made up most of the newly called Quorum of 12 apostles and the Quorum of Seventy as well as the Presidency of the Seventy.  The prophet Joseph Smith explained to them how the Lord had prepared them through the experiences of Zion's camp for there futures as leaders in the church.

I find this story in Church history to be a very nice way to help explain our lives and how it is so important to put our Trust in the Lord and remember Him and His plan for us. We should always remember how our experiences as we include the Lord in them have purpose and development of His plan for us.  That is why we should never look on failure to be just that.  From each of our failures there is a lot to be learned.  That failure will always lead us to do better and understand how to do such.

Dallin,  you now have 8 months of missionary experience.  From your 8 months I am sure you can see the success and failures the Lord has blessed you with.  Please see the failure as experience to make you a better missionary for the remainder of your mission.  You too have had and are having your own Zion's camp there in Sweden.

It sounds like you had a very spiritual experience with President Newell as he was leaving his mission.  I am excited to hear of that when you return.  I can only imagine what things he might have told you.

The Lord in his wisdom has sent you to Sweden,  and we must remember his words to us as we push forward in faith each day not knowing the things before hand which we should do.

Be Still, and know that I am God.     (D&C 101:16)


Now for what you have all been waiting for:
Dear Family,

My goodness Mom I'm not sure if I like you keeping me updated on your health, makes me so nervous and sick.  That sure was nice of Sister Sullivan though, what a great message by Elder Hales.  I'm glad that you are keeping a spiritual point of view despite all the discouragement.  One thing that has been on my mind lately is a phrase that is one this plaque that my companion has on his desk, "Tro på Gud innebär att tro på hans tidschemat" which translates out to "Faith in God means believing in his time schedule".  We talked about this with one of our friends who is really close to baptism but is worried about her family's situation and how they would handle her making this big change.  We talked about faith and how a lot of times we just need to do what we think is right with the faith that the Lord will take care of things in his time even if things don't look good at the time being.  I like your line that you are confident that in time I will be well, but of course it will be in the Lords time not mine.  Keep up the good attitude mom.  And don't do too much, put those boys to work.  
Here is a link to another talk that I really liked on the atonement called becoming perfect in Christ, check it out I think you'll like it

I especially liked the section on being a "perfectionist", I feel like a lot of times that is a struggle of mine.  Often, things don't go exactly the way I planned with investigators or lessons etc. but we can just do our best and rely on the atonement to take care of the rest, his comments on missionaries are really good.

Well I've offically been a missionary for 8 months.  Unbelievable.  1/3 done, it's crazy how fast time is flying.  Reflecting back on this short time it's amazing to see how much I have learned, grown, and changed.  Anyways we had a pretty average week, a few heart breaks and a few lifts.  We met the new mission president and his wife on thursday and I'm pretty excited to serve with these two.  President Beckstrand seems like a really cool guy and Sister B is a sweetheart.  I'm looking forward to the future with them.  I also got to meet up with my mtc comp at the conference and it was cool to talk with him about the mission and compare stories and experiences.  Things are going well in Karlskrona, I'm thinking that this will be my last transfer here, my companion has heard that he will probably train a new missionary here so that means I'll be getting the boot.  It sure would be nice to baptize before that time but with the way things are looking it would require an absolute miracle.  We're still pushing forward though and doing what we can, we still have a lot of positive people that are right there but there just always seems to be things that slow it down or obstacles that are tough to overcome but I have faith in the Lord's timetable.   And I got my debit card in the mail the other day so I am back in business, thanks again for getting that done.
That is awesome to hear about baseball.  I always look forward to hearing Carter and Ty's weakly sport report from back home.  I've been playing quite a bit of soccer over here myself.  Mostly just because its the only thing these people play around here.  Every tuesday evening we get together with some kids from the branch and non member friends and play some soccer at the park, its always a good time and it sort of keeps me in shape haha.  
I like what you said dad about the zions camp and the Lord preparing us, a lot of times through our failures or tough times.  God surely has a perfect plan for each one of us and knows exactly what we need to experience to become the man  or woman that he wants us to become.  Church history sure is interesting as well, it has been really cool to have all this time to focus on the gospel and learn everything that I can about the church.

Anyways that's about all I have to shoot today, just know that ya'll are the best family this side of the st. george ;)  Love you all, take care!

Med Kärlek

Äldste Milne
This week's pictures:
Me and my Comp...

Welcome President and Sister Beckstrand

An old shipyard



  1. Are you the one that took the video of Aldste Milne?

  2. Natalie, do you know where they get their singing talent? FROM YOU! Way to raise those boys.