Monday, February 24, 2014

Visiting the Nation's Capital Today 02-24-2014


Dad,
I'm glad to hear that you’re still having fun even when you’re busy. I'm glad to hear even though Tour was a little stressful and very tiring that you still had fun. It was fun to see some of the pictures you took and I'm glad it was a good experience. I'm sorry to hear about Ann and I hope that the Gorman's are doing all right.

This week has been good. The snow is melting really fast and there is very little left. It has been super hot here; it even got up to 61. Yes 61 [degrees] is really hot here for me. We had our transfer meeting on Wednesday and we have 2 new missionaries in our district one Elder and one Sister.

This week has been good. We met with a lot of our less-actives this week and we are having great progress with them. We are going to have a training on family history and how to help people do it this coming Tuesday. Things are going great and we're trying hard.

Today we went to DC and visit the Capitol and saw the Library of Congress and the botanical gardens as well. I'm excited to go see more of the sights. I must forewarn you, if you ever think about going to the national mall, be prepared for a lot of walking. It's about a 2-mile walk end to end (not including coming back).
[Above: Elder Braden Dahl in front of the Capital]


[Above: Some photos of the Orchid Collection currently on display at the Washington DC Botanical Gardens-Photos courtesy of http://www.gardens.si.edu]



Things have been going well and I'm happy to be here.

Love,
Elder Braden Dahl

Mom,
I'm so glad to hear all the fun stuff you did during choir tour. I'm sure everyone loved it. I'm glad you all had a blast and had a good fun time. I hope it wasn't too stressful or painful during your stay. The trick to walking is: at night sit on the edge of the bed and get some frozen water bottles and ice.

The package was awesome. I was shocked to see how much effort you put in it. The chocolate is super good and I love the Kit-Kat, the Lindor chocolate was amazing and Dove Chocolate.

My companion loves dark chocolate and I gave him some of the Dove Dark Chocolate and he appreciates it. I loved the cards you all sent me and the one in Spanish. I loved the ties and have worn both of them. The whole package was just amazing and I loved it all. Thank you very much. It was a great gift.

 The mission has been going well. We've seen a lot of progress with our less-active members. We are also gaining some ground with our investigators. Today we went to DC for our second time. My companion and I went to the Capitol and didn't have time to go on the tour but walked around the front a bit. We then went to the Library of Congress and saw their exhibits and it was cool to be there. You aren't allowed in the grand reading room for just walking around. We also went to the botanical gardens and saw the cool plants from around the world. . They had a special focus on orchids there this time. We went to the Museum of Natural History again and did some of the second floor and saw the Hope Diamond. I'm super excited and cant wait to see more of the sights.
 


    [Above: Braden with the Hope Diamond on 2/24/2014]
Love,
Elder Braden Dahl

Matthew,
I'm so glad to hear that Footloose is going well. I know it seems like nothing is coming together. But it usually won’t come together until the last second. Everyone starts to realize that and freak out then kick it into high gear. I'm sure you will have a great show and I can't wait to hear all about it. You really are one of the leaders in Musical Theater because you are so knowledgeable about music, can hold a part, and have a great voice.

I'm sorry to hear there has been so many problems and drama this year in Musical Theater. Unfortunately, there is always a lot of drama in theater. There never seems to be a way to avoid it. Just try your best to avoid it and not participate in it. As for the thefts, I'm sorry to hear about that. I hope that they don't continue and just be careful with what you carry around. Hopefully, you won’t have any problems.

I'm doing well. On Friday we helped the English Elders move one of their members out, one of my roommates and I helped set up the Blue and Gold Dinner for the English Ward. We also had a tornado watch (not a warning), so we all had to go to a chapel and find a place away from the windows just in case. There was nothing serious, it was a little rainy (not even pouring) and little wind, just enough to move the storm slowly past us. My companion and my other roommate had to go to a leadership training so I was with Elder S (roommate) most of that day. I spent my time transferring some of our paper records to electronic ones. The tornado watch passed in the afternoon and our companions met back up with us. That night our District put on a move night for members, investigators and friends. We watched “17 Miracles” and it was a great night. We moved the couches and chairs out from the hallways and then brought in the padded Relief Society's chairs to make it more comfortable. We had some snacks-cookies, chips, popcorn, soda, etc. and it was just great.

I hope you have had a good week and that school is going well. Hopefully you’re not too busy but rather, working hard and keeping up the good work. I know you are great and can do a lot of great things. One thing I would start considering is preparing for a Patriarchal Blessing. You don't have to get it now or even next year. I got mine when I was 17-½. Nevertheless, it's a good thing to start thinking about. I would just keep the thought of receiving one in your mind, think specifically when you might want to receive it and pray to Heavenly Father if that is when He wants you to have it. It doesn't have to be soon and you don't have to think that you need to get one tomorrow; you can think and feel that it needs to be right before your mission. What is important is that you receive this blessing when you are ready and when the Lord wants you to have this blessing. It is
also important to prepare for this blessing by remaining worthy. I would encourage you if you wish to receive a Patriarchal Blessing to read the "Patriarchal Blessing" section in the book “True to the Faith.” The book has a great explanation of what it is and how we should use it throughout our life. I know that my blessing has greatly helped me in my life. When the time is right, I know it will greatly help you and guide you throughout your life.

Love,
Elder Braden Dahl

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Lot of Snow (& Shoveling)

Dad,

I hope you had a great time chaperoning the Musical Theater/Choir tour. From all the pictures and videos you took it looks like you had a ton of fun. I'm sure you liked going back to USC and I'm positive you enjoyed Disneyland and California Adventure. I hope you had a fun trip. I loved seeing all the pictures you posted on Facebook. I hope everything has been going well with work and the family.
Bus #2 - The Fun Bus! Matthew with Alexis, Mason & Aaron
We had a lot of snow on Thursday, this winter is far harsher than most in Maryland. A lot of the snow has melted but we still have a ton of snow everywhere. This week the highs have been in the mid-30s. So not too bad-yes I've officially gone insane.
Snow in Germantown, MD
Yesterday my companion and I were in the musical number for the "Why I Believe" event at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center. The number went really well and the event was great. They had some new converts bear their testimonies and then they had a senior couple, Elder and Sister Oaks, speak on why they believed and why we need more senior couple missionaries. Tell Mom not to worry, they recorded it and it should be up sometime in the future.
Elder Dahl and 60+ other Missionaries from the Washington DC North Mission singing "A Marvelous Work" 
A Marvelous Work The Spirit of God Singing Washington DC North Mission Missionaries 

Also, my companion and I might perform in three weeks at the Visitors’ Center. It's not really up to us but there is a Spanish "Night of Music and Inspiration" coming up and they’re going to start assigning that out shortly. So, we'll see if we end up in a musical number.

To My 3 Youngest Brothers,

It looks like you guys had such an awesome time at Disneyland and California Adventure. I liked seeing you guys in all the pictures Dad took. I hope you had a blast there and got to go on all the rides you wanted to. I'm sure you had fun seeing some aunts, uncles and cousins. I'm sure it was fun hanging out with all of them. It also looked like you got some fun souvenirs as well. I liked seeing you guys all in your hats. Brother #3, I love the gloves and sorcerer hat. Brother #4, I love the minion shirt in one of the pictures.
I'm sure you had a super fun time this weekend. I'm sure you all have some more fun memories now. What did you see and what rides did you go on? You guys should tell me all about it and what your favorite parts were.


Mom,

It sure looks like you guys are having fun at Disneyland and California Adventure from all the pictures Dad has been posting. I'm sure the boys are loving it. I'm also betting they’re liking spending some time with some cousins, aunts, and uncles. Hope you guys loved it.

I hope choir tour was really fun and that you and Dad enjoyed it. I hope there weren't too many hassles to deal with. I hope the little boys behaved well. Hopefully now they'll remember Disneyland and California Adventure.

This Wednesday is transfers. But my companion and I are both staying in Germantown so no big changes there. There are 3 people in our district leaving, so I'll have 2 new Elders and 1 new sister in the district.

This week was slowed down because of the storm that came through. We were not allowed to drive on Thursday or Friday. But we were allowed to go out of the apartment on Friday. We shoveled a ton of snow on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It snowed a ton on Thursday and a little bit on Friday and Saturday.
Snow Germantown, MD
Knee-deep in Snow!

Snow Germantown, MD
What is he doing outside without any gloves!...or a hat!--Must be from California
Things are still going well in Germantown. We're planning on having a movie night on Friday for members and their friends to get some new referrals. We are planning on watching “17 Miracles.

Movie Night...Noche de Película

We went to the temple on Wednesday (2/12/2014) and it was wonderful. They have 60+ new paintings in the temple replacing many old ones. The temple is gigantic and very beautiful. It was a great and beautiful experience.

Snow LDS Washington D.C. Temple Kensington, MD
Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, MD...in the Snow 02-14-2014
We've been working hard and trying to do our best. We've had to spend a lot of time imputing all of our paper records of current and former investigators because we are moving them all to electronic records. It's a lot of time-consuming work. I've really been enjoying this area and I'm glad that I am staying for at least 6 more weeks.

Love,

Elder Braden Dahl (written 2/17/2014)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February 10th-Happy Valentine's Day


February 10, 2014
To my two youngest brothers,
I recently started watching the Bible videos on the gospel library app and I am done with all of them. I do know that the gospel library app is missing a few, but the others are available online and probably on the Bible video app. You guys should check them out. They are very well done and are really cool to watch.

If you want you could also watch some Mormon Messages as well. I have watched a lot of the Mormon Messages and they are great! Some of them are funny, some are serious, some are happy, and some are a little sad. But those are also great to watch and have great messages. The best thing about the Mormon Messages and Bible Videos are they are always coming out with new ones. Since I have been in Washington, DC there have been several new Mormon Messages and new Bible Videos.

My mission has been really fun. I have been working hard and have been able to do a lot of fun things as well. It is really cool that I get to use an iPad mini in my mission, but we aren't allowed to have any games on it. We also have a cell phone, but it is not an iPhone. It is just a regular phone that can call and text.

I hope you guys have a really good Valentine's Day; just don't kiss too many girls. I hope you both are doing well and I hope you are doing well in school and having fun at school. Work hard and help Mom out. Make sure you both are getting your homework and projects done without Mom having to twist your arms too hard.

I heard you are going to do a lot of fun stuff this year and I can't wait to hear all about it.

Love,
Elder Braden Dahl

Dear Oldest Brother,

I hope that you have been doing well these last few weeks. I heard that “The Emperor's New Clothes” has gone really well. I am sure you had fun doing it. I hope that Footloose is also going well, and that practice is moving along and that you are having fun with practice.

It seems like you have been having lots of fun while staying busy. And I have heard that you have a lot more fun things in store this year. Keep doing well in school and enjoying all your classes. Hopefully Mr. O'Hair isn't too hard on you. Work hard in Spanish class.  It is very useful to speak and many countries speak Spanish. Plus, it could come in handy in the next few years.

The ward I attend is really great. It is one of the largest and most functioning Spanish wards (still it is only about one third the size of Roseville Second). Our entire District goes to this ward and there are two members from their ward doing a service mission so there are ten missionaries in all. Everyone is from all around the world. The Elder's Quorum is pretty small, but the ward is great and doing great. In the building we meet in we have an English Ward, a Spanish Ward, a Young Single Adult Ward, and a French Group (not a branch, but a group that is smaller than a branch). The Zone leaders are in our ward, and the Assistants to the President are in the YSA Ward, so sometimes we see them. Fun fact: One of my roommates is from Auburn. Also there is an Elder here, I have only met once, from Rocklin.

My trainer is a great companion. He is the District Leader for our District. We are about the same height. He likes to sing and knows some of the show-tunes. He knows the area really well and is loved by the people. His Dad is from Utah and served in Mexico for his mission and his Mom is from Mexico, so he speaks excellent Spanish, plus he leaves in May so he only has two more transfers after this one. He is super nice and a great missionary.

If you haven't already, you should read this month's New Era. I have read parts of it and it is really good. I enjoyed reading “28 Ways to Spread Sunshine. It is a very nice article about staying happy and making others happy. There are a ton of great articles in the magazine. There are a lot about dating in this edition of the magazine. I recommend reading them all, but the article "Not Dating? You're Not Alone" was probably my favorite out of the ones I have read so far. It is very applicable to many people out there and was really insightful.

Love,
Elder Braden Dahl

P.S. A few tips for that class that the teachers don't normally say to help with pronunciation . . . the letter "b" and "v" make the exact same sound.  Its sound is kind of in between the two sounds. Also, the "d" sound is not in your throat like it is in English, it's at the tip of your mouth in Spanish by flicking your tongue off of your teeth; it's almost a "th" sound.

Dear Mom,

It sounds like you are all doing well and I'm glad to hear it. I'm sure you will all have a great time this coming weekend. At Disneyland just let your sister guide you and you'll see/go on just about everything. Also at Cars Land go to the cozy cone food snack place and get what my oldest cousin calls the "purple flurp" (ask your sister). It's super good.

I'm glad to hear it has started to rain in California again. I'm glad to hear that the prayers for rain were heard. 

I'm also glad you are getting the pictures from the member in my ward and I hope you'll get the ones he took last night of us eating with them.
Haciendo tamales con Hermana Olga Rodriguez - Making tamales with Sister Olga Rodriguez.
Saturday they made them; Sunday they ate them. 

This Wednesday we are going to the temple as our temple day this transfer. I am super excited to go and can't wait to see what is inside the DC temple. They just replaced most of the portraits in the temple and our apartment was lucky enough to acquire two of the old paintings. We have on printed canvas “Christ Ordaining the Twelve Apostles” and “Christ's Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.”

Things have been going pretty well around here. We have been meeting a lot with our less actives and seen a few of our investigators, but it is often hard to meet with them because of their work schedule. Sunday was really good and we taught the 13-year-old class for Sunday School. And we taught and talked to a man, who is not a member but knows all of the church and has a testimony of everything for third hour. It is a long and confusing story. The members are still amazing and the ward is doing great. The less actives in the ward are really opening up and some are starting to come to Church again more or less. It is amazing to see the miracles happening to the people here.

Today was our Zone Activity. It was a Country Fair theme. We were divided into teams and then had a bunch of small competitions. Whichever team won the most competitions overall got to throw whipped cream pies at the Zone Leaders. The activities included bobbing for apples, barrel races, sack races, three-legged races, donut on a string, etc.

Everything is going absolutely great here in Washington, DC North. Last Monday's weather was a little weird. It snowed, then rained, and then we had freezing rain. It snowed a little on Sunday and we have a very small layer of snow covering everything.

We went sledding near our apartment on 1-21-2014 - L to R: Elder ?; Elder Anderson; Elder Braden Dahl

Snow, Rain, Freezing Rain on 2-5-2014
Thank you in advance for the Valentine's Day package.

Love,
Elder Braden Dahl

Live Questions and Answers as we emailed back & forth…Mom...Braden

Where did you and your companion get your flannel shirts? The ones you were making tamales in?

They are my companions. He received a lot of them from a guy throughout his mission and he let me borrow one.

I hope to see you and your companion singing in the next Night of Music at the Temple Visitor's Center.  I've watched pretty much all the videos.  The Mission President's wife posted a few and one of the Sister Missionaries posted some, too.

We have not been in Night of Music and Inspiration yet, but next Sunday we are in a choir number, "Why I Believe."

I know you weren't in the last one...I was super impressed with the Elder’s piano playing. Hope someone videos the group and posts it...put the iPads to good use!

That Elder doesn't think he's good at the piano because he only really knows chords,
which means he can technically play anything. But he is really good at the piano. He came up with that arrangement of chords and the other Elder came up with a rap to it.

And don't worry I am 100% sure that someone will video the choral piece next week.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

iPads for Each Missionary

It's been a crazy week with the big change of having iPad minis. Last Tuesday was Zone Conference. We had a lot of classes and learned a lot of things and learned how we can be better. At the end we all received our 16GB iPad minis and we set it up and got trained on it. They are very strictly limited (for obvious reasons) but they are really nice. We have the gospel library, LDS Music, Skype, email, Facebook, Safari (with around 6 unblocked sites), and an area book/planner app, along with some of the standard apps installed. We have a few others but we don't really use them. We no longer have the daily planner book since there is an app for that. It is amazing how the work is being hastened. It is
taking some getting used to, but it is really nice to just pull up a Mormon Message you want to show and have sow many gospel tools at your fingertips.

From the Mission Blog: iPads for All of our Missionaries

We're Making History!

Elders Hatch, Guerrero, Hartzog, Dahl, Anderson, Sisters Chappell and Marambio

We are one of the few missions worldwide chosen to pilot the revolutionary approach to missionary work of giving each missionary a specially-designed iPad.

At this week's zone conferences, our missionaries were instructed on the importance of staying focused on their purpose and were trained on the use of this amazing device.

So you can tell the Bishop that the church is Pro-Apple Products. And joke with my oldest brother that the Church chose Apple over Droids. They are restricted; they don't have the App Store but we have this thing called air-walk which is the program that kind of controls the restrictions and it has a small App Store so we can update the few apps we have if something new comes out.

Last night my companion and I went to the Night of Music and Inspiration at the Visitors' Center. We were supposed to have a Recent Convert and a Potential Investigator there but the PI was a no show and the RC called us last minute and said her ride fell through so she couldn't come but wanted to. It was a great performance with music, short talks, and a few short clips.

I am doing great. I love my mission here and the ward I'm in. Things are going pretty well. My companion  and I are getting a lot done with the less-actives in our area and we are finding a lot of
potential investigators. The hard thing is almost everyone works all the time it's hard to get appointments with everyone and have people progress. We've been having fun as well, we fed some horses last week, sing a lot, and just stay happy. We work a ton and try to stay busy. I feel like I'm going to gain 3,000 pounds because the members feed you a lot and they give you a portion for 5 people.

One example is once we had a quarter rack of ribs, a full chicken breast, half a plate of heaping rice, two large chicken tenders, some beans, and a salad. You can tell the people only a small, small portion and that means basically nothing [they still give you a lot]. However, the cooking ability of these people is amazing. The people here cook some delicious food, it's just you can't always eat it all. The standard meal here is 1. Rice 2. Chicken and 3. Beans. The rice is usually white rice but I've seen it prepared differently and it's very good. The beans are always black beans. But the chicken is almost always prepared some way different than I've seen. Since the people are from all over the world everyone has their own little spin on things.

When you are here you have to know the nationality of everyone. Most people here have a strong sense of national pride and hang out with people from their country. It's important to know people's history and someone who can relate to them. The major two groups in our ward are the Salvadorians and the Peruvians. But still there are people from all over here so you basically have to know every Spanish speaking country because I'm getting close to meeting someone from all of them. I have met people from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Spain, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. The countries I haven't met people from include Paraguay, Uruguay, Columbia, Panama, Belize, Cuba, and the African Country that speaks Spanish. I only haven't met people from 7 of the (I believe) 21 countries that speak Spanish (22 if you count Puerto Rico).
The man who texted you our picture was a man in our ward.  He is a convert from 2 years ago and he is one of the strongest members in the ward. He is from México and he is super nice and just awesome.






I've been doing great! I've been working hard and having fun as well. We had exchanges last Friday and I stayed in my Area and Elder Alca joined me. I had to drive since he doesn't have a license and it's just straight up weird to drive a small vehicle. It really was an eye opener on all the things I still need to work on and how much I still need to learn.

Love, Elder Braden Dahl (written 2/3/2014)