We also told Dallin to hang in there. He is on the downward slope of his mission, but there is still much to learn and many more lives to bless. Hang in there Dallin! We love you so much and we pray for you throughout each day. He mentioned that he will be transferred on December 29th to the Southwest area of Sweden. We will be excited to hear all about it. He has been in Vasteras six months. It is time for a change. Sometimes change is the best thing to rejuvenate us!
We had a glorious Christmas day..... It started with our first gift of Christmas - Skyping with Aldste Milne at 8:00 am. It was incredible! It was wonderful to be a complete family again - yes, we do have an oldest son! We waited until after we Skyped with him to open our gifts. Santa was good to us this year. I then spent the morning preparing a dinner for the women and children at the Dove Center Shelter. I prepared ham, turkey breast, potatoes and gravy, stuffing, rolls, corn, fruit and veggie trays, apple pie, two banana cream pies, and a pecan pie along with sugar cookies and gingerbread men cookies as well as an apple, mango, sprite drink. We made enough to serve 20 people. We took it over to the shelter around 1:30. It was a heart warming experience. There were six women staying in the shelter along with seven children. The community had been generous that morning with gifts for them. We were blessed to have this wonderful opportunity. Later that day Carter sent a sweet little text to me thanking me for a wonderful Christmas and for reminding him about what Christmas is really about. Carter, Blaine, and Ty had also visited an assisted living center on Christmas Eve while I was grocery shopping. It was the same center Aunt Irene was in last Christmas and Carter wanted to play for them again. Carter played the piano for the residents. He played both Christmas songs and Hymns. Blaine said there wasn't a dry eye in the place when he was finished. Blaine also had a wonderful visit with a resident that really touched his heart. His name is Karl Brooks. He was a long-time mayor of St. George, as well as the athletic director of Dixie College. Blaine had been in communication with him several years ago and was so happy to see him again. He told Blaine what special boys Blaine had been blessed with, and that really made Blaine cry! It was a blessed day followed by the Milne's Christmas party, visiting members of our ward, and delivering Christmas treats.
Here are the emails from two weeks ago:
Matthew 23:11: But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
How are you this week? The weeks really seem to be flying by. I thought I would keep the inspirational quote short this week, but despite it being short, it is powerful, and so very true. Our Savior, who was indeed the greatest among men, was also the greatest servant. It is so important to pattern our lives after His. This is where true happiness and joy are found. Remember this each day, and each day you will be blessed with unsurpassed joy and rejoicing. With the Christmas season upon us, serving others seems to come a little easier, but let's remember to serve each day of the year. One of dad's patients, Erika Sheminkowsky, invited dad and me to attend her missionary farewell yesterday. She is 75 years old and is from Germany. She is darling and has a very strong german accent. She has served five missions since her husband passed away, and will be serving her sixth for 18 months at the mission office in Salt Lake City. She will most likely serve on the international floor. She used this scripture in her talk and I was prompted to share it with you. We have become great friends with her. She has spent the past two Thanksgivings with us.
I am so happy to have this past week over with. My finals all went well, but it was a crazy week. Carter has had an exciting week in basketball as I am sure he has told you. Pine View remains undefeated! They beat Snow Canyon on their home floor by 20 points, and they won the Paige, AZ tournament. They had two very close games in that tournament and defeated Tuba City for the Championship by one point. Tuba City is the defending Arizona 3A state champions. Carter is getting a lot of playing time and seems to be very happy in his role. Ty has started practicing again and will play in a tournament this next weekend up in Cedar City. Pine View plays Hurricane on Wednesday of this week and then they will play in the Dixie State tournament on Thursday and Friday. Dad's birthday is on Thursday, but we won't celebrate it until Saturday night. We will be having it here at home and inviting some friends and family members for dinner.
The Lewis family stopped by yesterday for dinner on their way home from California. It sounds like they had a great time. They are such a cute little family. I'm just grateful Julie didn't go into labor while walking all over Disneyland. She is due the latter part of January. They are having a boy so that will make four boys and two girls. They are all growing up so fast.
This week will be fun with all of Carter's basketball games and dad's birthday. I will also be volunteering at the Dove Center on Tuesday and helping with their fundraiser on Friday and Saturday. We will be gift wrapping for donations at the Zion Factory Stores. Our family is also going to provide Christmas dinner for the women and children who are currently housed in the Dove Center shelter. There are usually around 25 people there. We will also have Carter take his electric piano and play some Christmas carols for them. We will also be going around to some of the care centers in St. George on Christmas Eve so Carter can play for them as well. We are trying to be a little more service minded this Christmas - realizing that this is what it is really all about.
What is the Christmas season like in Sweden? I hope you will have a place for Christmas dinner. Do you think you will be transferred before Christmas? If not, what is the address to your apartment there in Vasteras. I will send your package directly there today. I will send it priority mail so it should be there in 6-8 days. If you think you are going to be transferred before Christmas I will just send it to the mission office and hopefully they will forward it to you. Did you ever get your last package with the antibiotic in it?
How's the work going? It sounds like you are having some wonderful experiences as the district leader. I am so grateful you have been given this leadership opportunity. It is a wonderful way to develop leadership skills that will bless your life to come. I pray all is well with you, and that you are happy. Take care of yourself and stay safe and warm. I hope the mild winter continues. We are certainly having a mild winter so far.
Love you tons and miss you so much. Have a fantastic week. We can't wait to Skype with you on Christmas!
All My Love,
Dallin's Letter this Week:
What's up fam?
I'm glad that you feel good about your finals. That is the best feeling in the world, being done with finals! Carter did tell me all about basketball. Cool to hear that PVHS is playing so well. And I'm looking forward to start hearing about Ty's ball soon with it starting up. Way to go with the service mindset this holiday season. That is what it is all about. Send lots of pictures of everything!
I'm doing good though. Still kicking. I'll give you guys the run down of what happened this week (minus the not important stuff)
Monday: PDay. Nothing too special. Got some Kebab pizza with Emil, did some grocery shopping.
Tuesday: Had our final Awesome Tuesday of the year. David and Ida went on vacation to New Zealand for Christmas! We had (our last) step class, dinner, played scum (with different hats showing our ranking in the world) and had an awesome message to close. On the way home, as is tradition in Västerås when a missionary has their last awesome tuesday (Zaugg flies home this week) We stopped at the place where Elder Bailey was hit and killed earlier this year and lit a candle at his little memorial. It was a pretty cool night.
Wednesday: We went on splits here in Västerås. I went with Elder Ahlstrom for a few hours. We visited some nice less-actives and then headed over to ward council where we helped the ward create a mission plan for the year of 2015. Afterwards we taught Hamid and Farnaz, two persian members. Farnaz(Nini is her nickname). Since they speak persian and only a little english, we had a lesson over skype with Mojgan, the persian member whos calling is to translate for missionary lessons. So we got to teach them using skype! Technology rocks! We switched back afterward.
Thursday: We had district meeting in Örebro! We got on a train early and headed to DM. District meeting was good. We talked about the Gift of Christ and how we can give back as missionaries. Afterwards, we began preparing our skit for the Christmas conference. Every district is making a skit for zone conference. We are doing a dance, since we are all crazy good dancers and have incredibly good looks and smiles;) We are making a boy band called the Västerbros. and we rock;) We will have to video it at the conference!
After DM, I headed to Södertälje to go on splits with one of the zone leaders. Had a good time, did some good work.
Friday: We got up friday and went to the local highschool. Miranda, a foreign exchange student from Colorado who is staying in Västerås who is also a member, was voted to be Lucia in their highschool Lucia pageant. Which meant she got to where the crown with the candles on it and walk around the stage while the choirs sang songs about her. it was really nice. Mirandas mom even surprised her by flying in to see the pageant. It was super cool!
After the pageant, we went to the church and helped Thomas Otnes clean it. Then we went over to his place for dinner. They are super nice. They gave us root beers and cream sodas and reeses as our christmas presents since they will be leaving town for Christmas. Molline is not a member, but has taken all the lessons and comes to church every week. Thomas asked us instead of a message, to simply bear our testimonies to his family about the savior. It was a very powerful little testimony meaning. I want everyone to know that I have a strong testimony of the saviors love for me. He gave the greatest sacrifice so that I could be happy. I know he loves me. I hope you all remember him throughout this upcoming holiday. Remember his birth, and all the great and wonderful things he did so we can be clean and happy with our families forever!
Saturday: Spent the morning playing innebandy! Its such a fun game! I just wish I was as good as all the swedes! Its like Americans and basketball. They all play it from the time they can walk and even if they aren't good, they can kill anyone from anywhere else! Swedes cant dribble a basketball to save their lives and Americans cant play Innebandy to save theirs ha ha.
After Innebandy we ran home and changed for the branch christmas party! We had a great time eating pepperkakor and saffronbular and drinking julmust and Glögg( I still hate Glögg, no matter how many times I drink it...) We also had a nice little program involving the primary kids singing Lucia songs, Missionaries singing Bjällerklang (jinglebells), getting fake snowballs thrown at us by primary kids (the kids in this branch are pretty wild and they LOVE the missionaries. My nametag gets stolen at least once every sunday in church). it was really nice.
After the party, we got to help cleanup everything. the tinsel was EVERYWHERE and it was a PAIN to try to clean it all up! but we got it done eventually!
Sunday: Church. I blessed the sacrament, translated sacrament meeting, and taught the youth sunday school meeting. After church, we went home and made some lunch and weekly planned. After planning, we got back out taught a nice plan of salvation and got a few more contacts before calling it a night!
My comp is awesome and we are working hard! The weather is getting colder and there is a little frost on the ground, but no big snow storms yet! We have Christmas zone conference this week, so that will be a lot of fun I think! The Västerbros are going to rock it!
Well thats about it from Sweden for the week. I love you and miss you all!
Before district meeting in Örebro
The Örebro castle
The last Awesome Tuesday. Legendary Night
Saint Lucia's Day
Communication to set up our Skype for Christmas Day:
Hey, I'll be able to Skype at 8 am Utah time on Christmas day. Does that work for you guys? I can't remember what I made my last Skype name as so I'll probably just make a new one and send you an invite. Also, tomorrow isn't technically a p-day so we won't be emailing besides reporting numbers and writing president but I can write a little to set things up for Christmas.
Skyping with you will be the best Christmas present ever. How long will you be able to Skype for? The only time limit we have is we have to have Christmas dinner over to the Dove Center Shelter by 1:00 pm and then we are heading up the road to Grandma Susan's for Christmas dinner later that day.
I just want to share with you something I learned today from Brother Burr as he spoke in Sacrament Meeting. He pointed out that there are three levels of Christmas. The first level is the level of Santa Clause, exchanging gifts, Christmas trees and ornaments, Christmas Carols, and spending more and eating more than we do any other time of year. The second level is actually the Christ Child, the three wise men, the shepherds, the star, the angels, Mary and Joseph, and the entire Christmas story that we read in the Bible. The third and most important level is centered around the adult Christ. This consists of His love, His service, His miracles, His teachings, His atonement and resurrection. It also consists of our testimony of these things. As we celebrate His birth, we should also celebrate His life, His atonement, His death, and resurrection. This led me to remember something that Elder Bruce R. Mckonkie used to teach. He would always ask, "How do you prove that Jesus is the Christ?" The answer is the Resurrection. He would then ask, "how do you prove the resurrection?" The answer is witnesses. The Bible tells us of literally hundreds of witnesses who saw the resurrected Savior. The Book of Mormon does as well - those who were at the temple in Bountiful when He came to this continent. And of course we read of the Witness of Joseph Smith in the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. We also have our own witness that has been revealed to us through the Holy Ghost. Some day we too will stand before Him and see Him face to face. Remember, without the resurrection the Christ child would have been just another precious baby. What a blessing you have right now to be one of His emissaries sharing His glorious gospel. There isn't a greater gift that you could give someone than the gift of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, it is the knowledge of His great love for each one of us and our eternal potential that gives each child of God faith, hope, and Charity.
Enough pontificating. I can't wait to see your handsome face and hear your voice. Christmas cannot come soon enough. I won't be able to sleep Christmas Eve with the anticipation of seeing you and hearing your voice. I will truly be like a kid at Christmastime. Take care of yourself Big D and we will see you on Thursday!
The Milne Family Party Christmas Eve (Thanks Aunt Kim for the Pictures!):
Uncle Scott and Aunt Glenda
Glen and Bonnie's Blessed Posterity
Blaine, Natalie, and Santa
Aunt Glenda, Santa, Blaine, and Rebecca (the nice looking ear is Luke's)
He is the Real Santa!
The Three Wise Men Reunite!
Christmas Day at the Dove Center Shelter
The Nativity at the St. George Temple
Wise Men Still Seek Him!
A Nativity From Christmas' Past
(Montana, Kya, Dallin, Keaton, Keely, Carter, and Baby Jaden)
Thanks Aunt Kim for this precious memory
Thanks Aunt Kim for this precious memory
Blaine's 46th birthday was December 18th. We celebrated it on the 20th with 30 friends and family members at our home. It was so much fun. We served Café Rio style burritos and salad along with chips, salsa, guacamole, birthday cake with ice cream and german chocolate fudge sauce, and cheesecake squares. Here are some pictures:
The Tree and Balloons. We had two other tables as well (30 people attended).
That is a lot of candles. You would think he would have enough hot air to blow them all out with one blow, but he didn't - LOL!
Some of the Guests
A message from the Birthday Boy!
A Birthday Speech!
The Birthday Boy
I promised Dallin I would add some pictures of Carter playing ball. These two pictures were in the newspaper. Carter and his teammates celebrating on the bench while playing at Dixie State and Carter playing against Hurricane at PVHS. The Panthers are 10-0 so far this season.... Keep it up boys!
Reaction to Kody Wilstead's dribble behind his back in the paint late in the game
Carter's signature basketball lips have returned