Monday, November 9, 2015

Final Mission Letter from Elder Dahl...Written 11-9-2015

Another week has flown by out here. It's amazing how fast time seems to just fly. I can't quite determine if you are counting hours, minutes, or seconds before you see me. From my oldest brother's email you [Mom] sound a bit more than ecstatic.

This week was really great. I'll probably keep this email pretty short because I have to start packing and getting everything ready for transfers. 

As you know I will be leaving my area and heading to the DC South Mission in Arlington for a week. I'm excited for my new area.

Monday I attended a baptism in the ward of an investigator I taught. She was still baptized into the ward but we ended up passing her to the sister missionaries to finish teaching her for a couple of reasons. It was a great baptism and she was confirmed yesterday in church. You should be meeting her on Friday. We also brought one of the recent converts in our area to the baptismal service and he really liked it. It was a great experience for him to see someone else's baptism.

On Wednesday we had our temple trip and it was wonderful. I always love going to the temple and it is so beautiful being able to enjoy the lovely DC Temple and the spirit of the Lord there.

Thursday we met a new investigator that was out working on his car. He was a really cool guy and had a lot of questions for us. We also were able to teach a member that is going through a really hard divorce and a recent convert that has been having a hard time getting to church. The best part was that this recent convert made it to church this Sunday and stayed all 3 hours! 

Thursday evening was the departing interview and dinner for the missionaries leaving this transfer. We had a lot of fun together and shared stories and had a great time. We made a scrapbook page and it was a wonderful evening.
Friday I headed up to the farm one last time where I planted garlic in their garden. We ended up finishing about 2.5 long rows of garlic the time we were there. It was fun and a nice day.

We also met this really cool guy when knocking the door of a former investigator. He let us talk to him outside and we shared with him. Message of the restoration. It really hit him hard and he started tearing up when we spoke about the Book of Mormon. He was really touched and said it was an answer he had been seeking. We are excited to begin working with him.

Sunday we had church and it was great as always. They had me go up and share my testimony as I am finishing my missionary service. It was weird to think that my first Sunday on my mission I spoke from the same pulpit as my last Sunday. After church I had a goodbye party (despedida) for myself and another elder going home in the ward at O's house. It was fun and we shared a great time with everyone. Afterwords, my companion and I went out and looked for some of our investigators and tracted a bit.

So about the bike... [Mom wrote him about disassembling his bike and shipping it home.] So I have my bike here at the apartment locked up in the parking garage with one of my U-locks. The problem is the key I had for the lock is missing and I have no idea where it is. I have looked for it everywhere in the apartment to no avail. If you know how to cut locks it might work but I am at a loss what to do with it. [Dad's solution-we'll hire a locksmith...Mom says, let's pray to find the key until then.]

On Sunday I was thinking of going to all three congregations but just staying for Sacrament Meeting. We'll talk more about the details when you are here or you can shoot me an email.
Elder Braden Dahl

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Monday, November 2, 2015

I'm not trunky - however I believe Mom is...Written 11-2-2015

This week has been really nice. Things have been going well here and my companion and I have been keeping busy. 

Most of Wednesday was taken up closing a missionary apartment. We were asked, along with a few other companionships, to close out a missionary apartment that wasn't being used. We packed up what was good and threw away the rest. We finished it in good time and worked quickly and had fun with each other. It was a good service. Afterwards, my companion and I visited an investigator and we taught her the plan of salvation due to a recent death in her family. We then extended the invitation to be baptized and she accepted! She should be baptized in the following weeks. It was a great experience and we are very excited for her. 

In the morning on Friday we had the opportunity to have a missionary temple baptism trip where we were able to bring 5 family names and perform their baptism and confirmations vicariously. It was another wonderful experience. Plus, as an added bonus we were able to perform 2 initiatories of those 5 names. 

Again we were blessed to go to the temple on Saturday for a recent convert temple trip. My companion and I brought a recently baptized member and he was able to do baptisms, as well as confirmations for them at the temple for the first time. He was a bit nervous but did really well and he felt the spirit there. We also were able to visit a couple of investigators that day as well. One of them we talked about the blessings of the temple and he really opened up to us which was great.

On Sunday two of the investigators we are currently teaching came to church which was really exciting. One of them came for the first time and she enjoyed the services. For Elders Quorum, my companion and I had to give a spontaneous lesson because the teacher didn't show up but the class still went well and we had a good discussion. 


Elder Braden Dahl
I'm not trunky - but Mom is-she's counting down the days!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

2 weeks!...Written 10-26-2015

In the evening on Monday after P-Day, my companion and I had an appointment with one of our investigators and we were able to talk to him about the Word of Wisdom. It was a great lesson because he had a lot of questions about the subject and is starting to understand the reasons behind what we teach. We then went and had dinner with the Relief Society President and had a great time and a good lesson with her family.

Tuesday Afternoon my companion and I had the opportunity to meet with a less-active member we had previously not been able to get into contact with. We briefly met with him and shared a message with him. He seems like a really nice guy and very gospel minded but he works on Sunday's. In the later afternoon, my companion and I went on exchanges with the Assistants [to the President-AP's]. It was a good exchange and I stayed in my area. We went over to a meal appointment with one of our members and talked about getting sealed because their family has yet to be sealed in the temple. We then went out looking for a referral we had and tracting around there. We found a couple people that spoke English that were interested and we talked with those that had time. One of the ladies we spoke with told of a house that spoke Spanish and might be interested. We went over there and a man let us in immediately. We were able to share the message of the restoration to him and his daughter. We set up a return appointment and. We are excited to begin working with them.

Our schedule for Wednesday was pretty busy. We had a short appointment with one of our other investigators and we talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon and reading it daily. We committed her to read it daily. We then went to a huge meal appointment with one of members. All the elders were over in the ward. This member is rather old and has terminal cancer and he wanted all the missionaries over as he put it "one last time" before he passes on. He has been doing very well and is still full of energy despite his age and disease. It was a really fun night and we enjoyed being with him. After our dinner we went directly to our 9-year-old that was baptized last Sunday and brought him a small gift and visited with him for a bit. We then went over to one of our newer investigators that lives in the basement of a less-active member's home. They are a small family of a husband, wife, and 3-year-old son. We visited with them and finished teaching about the restoration with them and committed them to read daily from the Book of Mormon. After our visit with them, my companion and I went to visit one of the Primary Presidency members in our area. She was doing well and we talked about the upcoming primary program and about the temple.

Thursday was also a very busy day. Some of the highlights included us visiting one of are less-active members named R. He is a YSA (young single adult) that has been trying to get back on the path. He has a lot of desire to do the right things again. We were able to talk to him for a while about studying the scriptures and attending sacrament meeting. He has begun to study the scriptures and is starting to get back onto the path. Also, my companion and I had a great lesson with our Dominican investigator. We taught about the gospel of Jesus Christ and she was very attentive. She has begun to think about getting baptized and wants us to meet more with her. We are excited to see more of her progression in coming closer to Christ.

Our day on Friday was equally busy as the rest of the week. One of the best parts of the day was visiting with C., a recent convert in our area. We passed by his home and he let us in. We got to know him better and then ended up on the subject of studying the scriptures. He opened up to us and said he read the scriptures about every other day but was unsure why exactly we are supposed to read the scriptures. We had the chance to explain to him that it is the word of God and can protect us from harm, we can receive answers, and we can learn more about the gospel. As he began to understand we could see he had a greater desire to read and, more importantly, study the scriptures and he committed to study the scriptures each day.

On Saturday we had so many great appointments I'm not sure what to talk about. We taught two new investigators the restoration and they were very open and attentive to us. We also met a less-active member and came over right as her son needed a blessing of health. Plus, we were able to explain authority, priesthood, and eternal marriage to one of our progressing investigators.

During Sacrament Meeting on Sunday our recently baptized 9-year-old investigator was confirmed so now he is officially a member of the Church. We are so excited for him and all the great things that are going to come from the choices he made. Church was nice and we had one of our progressing investigators attend church and a random woman that lives about 2 blocks down the road showed up to church that speaks Spanish. She saw it was a Christian church and she decided to go in and attend and now wants to know more. It is really awesome.


Elder Braden Dahl

Another day in the life...Written 10-19-2015

I'm not sure if there is anything I want you to bring [to Washington D.C.]. I guess I would say warm clothing (the high has been in he 50's the last few days, which is light jacket weather here but it sounds like California has been a lot hotter and might not be so easily adjustable. 

Monday evening my companion and I went and checked up on one of the recent converts in our area and had a nice time visiting with him and helping him remember the importance of partaking of the sacrament worthily. He liked the lesson we had and is understanding the importance of the sacrament more. We then went over and had dinner with one of the members in the ward and had a great time with them.

On Tuesday we kept busy with meetings in the morning but enjoyed the afternoon visiting with people. This past week the bishopric asked the missionaries to help with cleaning out the records in the ward by visiting all the families we have in our areas and seeing if they still live there and their information is up to date. We went and visited with three families that were in our area that we had previously not visited. We also found out about several members if they lived there or not. We also were able to have a couple other visits.

Then for Wednesday we kept working on finding members as well as other things. We also had lunch with a less-active family, met with two of our potential investigators, and had our 9-year-old be interviewed for baptism.

During Thursday it was a bit hectic. My companion and I planned for 2 workshops we will be giving the coming week and then we helped an elder for a little bit. We still managed to have two great lessons with two of the part-member families in our ward.

For Friday my companion and I went out to do service on the farm in Seneca and we were removing a barbwire fence for the majority of it and then putting in a new electric fence. Then we went and found a new potential investigator while tracting and then went and checked up on a referral our Ward Mission Leader gave us. The referral he gave us was home and she introduced herself and part of her family. She was a bit busy at the time we passed by but she really wanted us to come back and we have an appointment for this coming week. We are excited to get to know her.

This past Saturday my companion and I kept busy visiting a lot of people. We had 2 members come out with us to an appointment and it worked out really well with one of our investigators. We then went and visited a couple members and investigators we had in the southern part of our area. Hno D. took us out to dinner at a new Mexican Restaurant called SeƱor Tequila's (some name). The food was good but the service was really slow but we had a really good time visiting and chatting. You already have your first appointment now coming here; Hermano D wants to take you out to eat (probably on Monday). Anyways, after the appointment my companion and I went and had a nice lesson with one of our progressing investigators about studying the scriptures. 

Yesterday was a huge miracle. Our 9-year-old investigator got baptized! Everyone was stressing over this baptism and you don't know how many prayers and fasts were done for this. He was beyond nervous for the baptism but literally was praying every 5 minutes for the strength to go through with this. It took a long while for him to get baptized. To make a long story short there was a lot of fear and a lot of different ways we tried to get him to be baptized (a chair, kneeling, sitting, etc) and it wasn't working. He would get too freaked out and yet he still wanted to get baptized. Then the 2nd counselor of the bishopric jumped in the font (in his Sunday clothes), then asked the bishop if it was ok, then told the dad to dunk him (in Spanish to surprise him). With a little assistance he was baptized. I have never seen anyone so ecstatic and joyous to be baptized in my life. He started hugging everyone yelling "I DID IT!!!". It was an awesome moment and it was such a cool thing to experience. It was a wonderful end of the week.


Elder Braden Dahl

Un mes...Written 10-12-2015

I'm glad that I'm not the only one finally running out of things to say. I'm glad your week has been calmer and that everyone is doing well. I'm starting to wonder with you writing me about all the changes back home over the last 2 years, if I'll recognize anything in California. Here in Maryland things are nice, the weather is changing between hot and cold, leaves are changing colors and falling, it's not raining as much, and people are enjoying the fall season.

Grandpa D sent me an email about college grilling me down for all my stuff; when I start school, scholarships, classes, looking for more scholarships, major, etc. Unfortunately, I don't really have any answers for him. I've been having more of the mentality "When I'm on my Mission, be on my Mission" and I haven't really been focusing on that. Is there something I should do or know, be aware of?

Anyways, on Monday my companion and I went to a part member family and taught them to "ponderize" (aka "Meditizar") the scriptures and invited them to try John 14:15. It was a nice little lesson and then we went over to a dinner appointment with a family that some are active members, some are less-active, and one isn't a member. We taught on "What lack I Yet" from General Conference and we had a really great discussion with them.

Tuesday we met some interesting characters while we were out knocking doors, it reminded me of the people you meet in certain parts of DC. But we had some really good lessons that day. We found this awesome family that lived in the basement of a less-active member. We talked to the husband while he was working on his car outside and then he invited us in to teach him and his wife. It was a good lesson and he had plenty of questions so it went really well.

Wednesday we had the opportunity to meet with our most progressing investigator who is 9 years old. He really wants to get baptized and there are just a couple things holding him back. We are really trying with all we can to help him reach his goal of baptism. He's getting close so we are hoping as he keeps commitments the Lord will bless him.

On Thursday we saw a lot of people throughout the day. We found 4 new investigators and had some awesome surprise lessons. Friday was also great. We went out looking for a lot of the less-active members we don't know anything about. My companion and I had the chance to meet a few of them and find out that a lot of them no longer live there. 

Saturday my companion and I celebrated two of the elders birthdays in our zone and went to lunch with them. We then went to an appointment with one of our returning members. She is doing much better and has come to church a few times. We also had a really great lesson with one of our older investigators. One of his good friends is in the bishopric and he came out with us and helped a ton.

Sunday was wonderful as always. We were able to enjoy it and have a couple lessons and have an investigator at church.

I hope that you have a great week and that all continues to go well.


Elder Braden Dahl

Monday, October 5, 2015

Making the most of my 5.5 weeks...Written 10-5-2015

It's been a while since our last email and I just wanted to check in and see how Dad's doing. I hope that you are recovering well from your surgery and that you are feeling better. I also hope that you really enjoyed General Conference this last weekend.

Today has been pretty mellow. We have had some other elders over and played a board game called Pandemic where all the players are on a team against the game. Basically you have to cure 4 epidemics using various strategies. It was fun and it's been nice hanging out. I hope that you have a great week.

It was pretty wet and rainy this last week and definitely busy with meetings, transfers, and General Conference. I'm glad everyone is doing well things are still trucking along. Tell Grandma and Grandpa W that I'm excited for their mission.

Tuesday we went with the English Elders to pass off an investigator that spoke Spanish. She seemed very nice and interested in the message and it was awesome to start teaching her. We also went over to one of our less-active member's home and taught her and her daughter about the 10 commandments and invited them to watch General Conference that weekend. It was a nice lesson and the spirit was there.

Wednesday was busy with transfers. Since my companion and I were staying along with our roommates it wasn't too much of a hassle. After transfers we grabbed lunch with a bunch of other missionaries at a pizza buffet. We stayed super busy on Wednesday and we taught a lot of our investigators. We also had dinner with a member and then went over to one of the part member families and taught their investigator son. He is really cool and working towards getting baptized. Then in the evening we went to a new investigator and taught him the restoration.

On Thursday we went and taught a less-active member who recently has been reactivated. We had a good lesson about following the prophet and she said she'd watch General Conference. We also had a really good lesson about the plan of salvation with another investigator.

Friday we taught one of our really progressing investigators and we asked him to watch General Conference with the question of should he be baptized. We saw him at the priesthood session and he really enjoyed it. One of his really good friends is the second councilor in the bishopric which has helped a lot.

Saturday and Sunday was obviously General Conference and there were a lot of great talks. I watched all of the sessions in Spanish as usual and they were really great. I watched the normal sessions at the Montgomery Village Chapel (where we meet for church regularly) and then the priesthood session at the Seneca Stake Center. I'm not sure I have a favorite talk or speaker but there was some great things and I learned a ton from it. We even had two of our investigators watch General Conference. It was a great week.

Elder Braden Dahl

Little Brother #3,
I'm glad I got to hear from you this week. It sounds cool that you're putting together a bike. That will be a cool surprise for Christmas and will certainly be a awesome gift for him. Star Wars in school sounds like a lot of fun, I hope you're excited for episode 7 coming out at the end of the year. We might have to go and see it sometime.

It's cool that you're getting into coin collecting that sounds like an awesome collection. I'll keep an eye out for American Samoa quarter if I see it. I'm glad you like biking; it is a lot of fun plus where you live is super flat. I hope you have a great week.

Little Brother #4,
It is so cool that you got a giant stuffed animal. That is crazy big. I hope you have been enjoying him. I don't think I've seen a stuffed animal that big. I hope you are enjoying school and doing well. Keep up the awesome work.

Elder Braden Dahl