Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Smithsonian Zoo Trip 3-24-2014


Dad,
I’m excited to hear that your building is now a 4 star facility and I see work is crazy as usual. I'm sure you get some better admissions now that the Facility is a 4 star instead of a 2 star, so hopefully less headaches in that aspect.
This week has been good. We were able visit some of our less-actives and visit some of our investigators. Our investigator with the baptismal date wanted it moved back a week so that he could have some of his friends from California come to his baptism. So we are still super excited for him.
On exchanges last time I rode another Elder's bike. Our car doesn't have a bike rack so my bike just stays our balcony. Don't worry it's as close to the apartment as possible. It has a bunch of plastic bags over different parts. I've tested the brakes and the pedals before and they both work fine. The only thing I haven't done is gearshift because the bike has never left the apartment. (My companion doesn't have his bike in this area because another Elder is using it, so I never really have the opportunity to use mine). And I know that the U-lock still works and it's easy to use.
My companion and I went to stake correlation yesterday and we talked about the weaknesses in the wards and about the big culture change the members and missionaries are going through. The old way of missionaries knocking doors is going, going, gone. They spoke about the missionaries’ roles. We are supposed to teach and it is the member’s responsibility to find. They likened it to a merger of two companies and everyone is going through a culture change and getting accustomed to something different. We are really trying to get referrals from members but it is often hard. We've been telling members look for a "no" or look for someone that you think will say no to you if you were to invite them to a church activity and then invite them to come to whatever that is, a dinner, scouts, church, FHE, etc.
Today we went to the DC Zoo. My companion has yet to go there and we are saw how good it was. It's a nice sized zoo and has a lot of stuff. It's no San Diego but it's really nice and free! It's a little cold today (in the 20s) but it's alright. Also it's supposed to snow again tomorrow. So winter just wants to keep hanging out.
Love,
Elder Braden Dahl

Mom,
I'm glad that my aunt, uncle and family are all settled in their new place. And NEVER underestimate a garage. Maryland has no concept of a garage. No one has a garage, only the very affluent and a couple of the condos have them (usually the newer ones). Most homes and condos just have a parking spot. People don't think of houses having a garage as the norm. Speaking of houses they are like the 8th wonder of the world here in my area. Everyone is in a condo or apartment here. Homes are all attached to each other in grand condo complexes. You have to go out to the boondocks to see an actual house.

Today my companion and I went to the Smithsonian Zoo in DC. It's a really nice zoo, some areas didn't have too much because of the cold, but it was really enjoyable. We saw the pandas, and we even saw the baby panda, which sleeps almost all day (around 20 hours or more) and comes out even less. We saw one of the staff members holding it for probably about 10 seconds because everyone was blood-clotting there. The panda came out for a few minutes (I say 2 minutes, my companion says 3) then went back inside away from the people. The baby panda is only 7 months old right now. We also saw things like California Seals, lions, tigers, gorillas, naked mole rats, birds, snakes, etc. It was a fun day and nice to go and enjoy the zoo.

This transfer is just flying by. Wednesday is the temple trip and then next week is transfers. Time feels like it is on a F-16 going full throttle. It's great but it seems like I just got here. It's crazy how fast the mission feels.

The English version of the song we sang should be where you found the original. It was recorded by the same people. The only difference is that it was the special musical number for why I believe. My companion and I sang the first 2 and last 2 verses of A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief but the first 2 verses were to the tune of Sweet Hour of Prayer.

Love,
Elder Braden Dahl

P.S. I'm glad to hear that The Family History is going well and you are working on it. Keep asking questions and you'll get the answers. P.S.S. Since I've emailed you my camera started working again. Hopefully it will stay that way and now I have 548 photos on it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Stake Conference, Baptism, Exchanges, Strange Food, Frozen 3/18/2014

Dear Dad,

On Sunday we did go back to the Visitors' Center and my companion and I performed the special musical number. It went well, but it is a lot harder singing it in English; it is much easier singing it in Spanish.  It's the exact same arrangement and words just translated over to English, and they did record it. Brother and Sister Von Stetten spoke that night.
They were missionaries in South Africa, who near the end of their mission were called as the Mission President in South Africa.  Brother Von Stetten retired as the National Account Director for Steinway Musical Instrument Company. They gave great talks. We had a few members and a recent convert there at the event, so we were really happy for them.
She says: En el Centro de Visitantes con mis hijos adoptivos Elder Kenzy Anderson y Elder Braden Dahl — feeling awesome at LDS Temples- Washington D.C. -- Translation: She says: At the Visitors' Center with my adopted children: Elder Kenzy Anderson and Elder Braden Dahl

The members and recent convert that went with us.
Wednesday was exchanges and I was in a bike area for a day and it helped me learn a lot of things and helped improve my teaching. My companion with Elder H gave one of our investigators a baptismal date and he is on date for the 20th of April. I am so excited for him. On Sunday he came to an early meeting, Stake Conference, and a baptism!

Saturday and Sunday were Stake Conference and it was really inspirational. For the first time, the Elders were invited to the Priesthood Session. The Priesthood Session and the Adult Session were all about Missionary work and members working with missionaries. It was all about Hastening the Work. The First Presidency apparently invited all stakes to invite the youth 12 and over to attend the adult session of Stake Conference of 2014. The Sunday meeting was a broadcast. The people I remember were an Area Seventy, someone from the General Primary Presidency, and Elder Perry.  It was really great conference. They spoke about a lot of great topics like self-discipline, family history, missionary work, etc.

Before the Sunday Session there was a meeting for investigators and recent converts and Elder Anderson and I had our investigator with a baptismal date come to that meeting. He also stayed for stake conference and he stayed for the baptism of the Zone Leader's investigator (first baptism in our ward since I've been here). Our investigator is doing great and he is on target for the end of next month.

I have heard Sister Eyring play once a month or so, and she is an amazing at the violin and hopefully I'll hear it a few more times.  She's played for the Utah Symphony and with Jenny Oaks Baker.

The Cooke's are great but they know absolutely no Spanish. Maybe an hola or buenos dias but that's about the extent of it. Sister Cooke knows French and can understand a lot of it and speak it. I think President Cooke knows a little French, too, but no Spanish.  President Cooke spoke at the one baptism our ward has had since I've been here and the Elders that taught the investigator translated the whole thing as he spoke. President Cooke is a great guy and very friendly. He is strict in some aspects but very liberal in others. For example, with music anything that can invite the spirit like Disney songs, gospel, hymns (any genre-pop, rock, classical, instrumental, country), primary songs (any genre), classical, etc. are appropriate.  But we missionaries are only allowed to listen to hymns and Primary songs in the car—no exceptions; it can be any genre version of that hymn but it has to be in the hymnbook or the Primary songbook. He is really strict with obedience and diligence, just like any Mission President. According to other missionaries, the previous Mission President was a lot more strict. When I arrived all of President Cooke's children lived with him (two boys, and two girls), but now the oldest son has left to go back to college in Utah.
President & Sister Cooke and family (My Mission President and family)
Dear Mom,
It's been an awesome week here. Last Monday my companion and I went to a Noche de Hogar (aka Family Home Evening) at the Ward Mission Leader's home where we had a less-active member come. She was awesome and it was a great night. The next day we went over to a Lunch/Dinner at her home with two other Elders. It was good and we had a really nice conversation with her (look in the little boys email to see what we ate). That night we went over to a recent convert's home and also an investigator (with no relation) lives there. We came to confirm dinner for the next day and then gave them a Family History lesson. That investigator is doing so well and we planned to give him a Baptismal Date the following day (last Wednesday).

Late Tuesday night and Wednesday were exchanges and I went to the biking area in our District. I was with Elder A for the day. I rode the other Elder's bike, which was too big for me, but I didn't crash, and figured out a system to get on and off, start and stop (his brakes didn't work, they barely slowed the bike). It rained on and off all day so there was a good amount of mud on us. We biked to almost every member and less-active member, but no one was home that day.  Elder A is new to his area so there were a few times where we were searching for a home or got lost, but this project helped him know his area better. In the evening we biked down near the church by one of the "lakes" (a pond) and we were picked by the Zone Leaders and went to one of their dinner appointments.  The food was amazing, and they had an awesome cake that was yellow cake as a thin bottom layer and then a gelatin layer and then another thin gelatin layer with bits of fruit inside of it. We then were dropped off at the church building and then we biked up in the storm to an appointment we were late to. It took us forever to get there because it was all uphill and the wind really was blowing. We had to turn our wheels to the right and we were moving to the left. It wasn't scary but it just made things hard for a biker. We finished the day after the appointment.  Their investigator has a lot of light, but he still is held back by some doubts and I hope that he can overcome those doubts. It was still a very productive day because we were able to speak to a ton of people on the streets and meet new people and see some of their desires to know more about the church. We even found a referral for the French Elders. At the end of the night I went back to Germantown with my companion. It was a good learning experience and it helped me a ton.

It was snowing Sunday night and Monday so P-Day was cancelled for Monday. We were allowed to go out, but we were encouraged to go visit people. My companion and I went out and cleaned a lot of people's cars and went to visit some people. We then went with Hermano D y Hermano J to Hermana O's home where we visited and had a dinner. It was good and we had some great conversations about the gospel. It was a well spent day.

I am happy to hear that you that you attended the Family History Class and are enjoying it. I am sure you will be very successful on Family Search. I am really glad you went to the class and I hope that you will continue to have fun in it.
Love, Elder Braden Dahl

P.S.  A haiku I wrote:

Vaya y haga
La gran obra misional
Venga a Cristo
Escuche al profeta
Tu Padre Celestial te ama

English Translation (courtesy Google Translate)
Go and do
The great missionary work
Come to Christ
Listen to the prophet
Your Heavenly Father loves you

Dear Brother #3 and Brother #4,
I hope that you have been doing well. I've had a good week here. I wanted to follow up and see if you have been watching any of the Bible Videos on lds.org. If you have that is great and you can tell me about the ones you like. If not the best time to start is now. You can download on any iPhone or iPad the Bible Videos app and watch them. If home is like anything when I left, you have some device in your hand for several hours. If you watch one Bible video they are usually two to five minutes long. I am sure you can spare five minutes each day to watch one video.  They are really interesting to watch.
video

I believe you guys will appreciate this the most; last Tuesday I ate ceviches—they can be prepared a lot of different ways, but the one I ate was raw fish, raw shrimp, and raw octopus. You could definitely see some tentacle bits in there. It is safe to eat because it has lemon juice poured over it. Also it was eaten with lettuce and with a spicy sauce (a thin sauce similar to an Italian and herbs sauce) on it. After that we ate a shrimp soup with eggs, cheese, potatoes, and cream. I think it's called chupada de camarón. We drank homemade Chica Morada which is a purple corn drink. You boil the purple corn with apples and pineapples and then strain it, repeat with the same corn but different pineapples and apples and add sugar. It is super delicious and I really like the drink.
Love, Elder Braden Dahl

P.S. Our car was a bit of a fixer upper, it was a minor thing. It had a leak in the tire and we had to go get it fixed up by a fixer upper fixer.
Also, I think Elsa is living in DC because it snowed again. She just keeps letting it go. So we couldn't use our car on Monday because of the snow. You just have to watch your step while walking.

Anyway, do you want to build a snowman? Because we have enough snow now to build one over here.
I really can't wait for a little bit warmer weather and to see what frozen things do in Summer.

It's okay though because the cold never bothered me anyway. Go enjoy the sun. 

A couple days ago my companion and I went over to a member's home and we finished each other's...sandwiches (we split one). They were super good. And for the first time in forever, we got an investigator with a baptismal date. Well, have a great day and don't let the frostbite bite.

P.S.S. I hope you got those million Frozen quotes and references from some of the songs.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Family History! 3-10-2014


3/10/2014
Hello my Father,

This week has been fairy good. Almost all the snow has melted now and it was 60 degrees on Saturday. It's really weird now when I think 60 is hot. Tell the boys to try tongue tacos, it sounds a whole lot worse than it actually is, trust me they're actually really tasty.

I've been working on Family History and found both of the Dahl side Great Grandmother's Obituaries so I have made the change. It looks like on Family Search they got combined into one person and then were broken up by someone but not completely edited. Needless to say there is still a lot of family history to be done. It's great work and there is still a ton to do. I found 2 more of Grandma Dahl's ancestors. I found a Mary Davidson and found an indexed Christening record of her with the correct Christening date. It had her father listed but nothing else really. I went through the index project and found 2 other Davidsons; both of the other children were from the same city in Massachusetts (pre-USA), with really no other information except the father's name. On the first child I looked at I found their profile and a William Davidson (the father) but no spouse. On the second child I found the William, a ton of children and 2 wives with a lot more information and I was able to attach Mary to her parents.

Elder Anderson ad I are teaching a brother and sister, they are very busy so we don't get to see them very often. They work and go to school so it's a little hard. The brother isn't as interested as the sister and they're doing alright. One of the former investigators has been coming to church again and expressed his desire to be baptized, so we are hoping to meet with him this week and extend a baptismal date to him. We helped a recent convert stay active, since they were starting to go less active. We've been able to meet with many of our less active members, some of them who were basically do not contact. We've had most of the people we've met come to church, but we're still having problems with them coming to church consistently.  But they are getting a lot better.

Transfers are on April 2nd. I really don't know if either of us will be transferred. Elder Anderson is dying next transfer (aka finishing his mission). So I'm not really sure if he'll leave for one transfer or if I'll leave and he'll get someone here for one transfer. We both might stay, but Elder Anderson is on his 5th transfer (6-week period) here. But at the same time in this mission missionaries are staying in their areas longer to know and work with members better. So I have no clue.

Elder Anderson and I are planning to tour the Capitol sometime this transfer. An English member we know here has a friend that works for one of the congressmen who's offered to get us a special tour of the Capitol, so we hope he can come through with it.

Everything has been going well and I'm loving it out here.

Love,
Elder Braden Dahl

Mom,

Yes, I do like tongue tacos. We went with a Hermano and Hermana to a taco truck and I got 2 care asada tacos and two tongue tacos. I thought I was going to die but I picked up a taco not knowing which one and then ate it, and I repeated that with the second taco. Tongue is actually very good. It has a lot of flavor and brings a lot of flavor out in the things with it. It is a little chewy but still pretty good.

My companion and I actually taught the [family home evening] lesson [on Family History]. But Elder H was next to me when Sister Cooke was taking a picture, so Elder H got the credit on accident. But we did use three of your heart ribbons to "seal" a family together and then we spoke about Family History.

In regards to Family History, my mission is going to be trained on Family History specifically on Family Search, so that we can help others learn to do their own Family History. (Don't worry I already emailed the three grandparents with emails and have received responses from all of them.) Since Family History is part of the Gospel (turning the hearts of the children to their fathers) and not just a program or something nice that the Church has, missionaries can use it as one of the many tools we have to help members and investigators become more deeply converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am in one of the 5 beta tester wards in our mission for the training we are receiving for Family History on Family Search. Family Search has a little bit of a learning curve to know how to do everything and how to do it correctly. There is an open Facebook group with the lessons in a file form so that every missionary can go at their own pace. Family Search is constantly changing and I can think of at least 4 of the 20 lessons that were put up less than a month ago that already have a version 2 and I know there are 3 lessons are currently missing because they are already outdated and need to be updated. We are getting some basic training, similar to that of a Family History Consultant so that we can help the members do their family history and the missionaries can confidently know the program that the church uses and be a help to the members. We aren't changing the mission, just adding a tool to missionary work that is really effective. During our training we are encouraged to spend an hour a day to work on the lessons and to complete them in a timely manner. After we finish all the lessons we wont use that much time that often to review our Family History Training, but we are encouraged to review some of the lessons and check for updates on Family Search occasionally; when we reach that point. For now, every week we have to report on how many Family History training lessons we have completed and how many Family History lessons we have taught to others. It is an excellent part of the gospel and it really gets people excited about their ancestry. Since Family History is the 2nd most popular hobby in the world, it is an easy conversation piece to bring up and isn't as scary to share with others.

I highly recommend that you start working on Family History. I highly recommend that Dad, all 4 of my brothers, and everyone you know start working on a family history. Our lines are not done. I fixed Grandma's mother from her twin’s name to her actual name, combined 2 Uncle LV's and already found 2 more of our ancestors of Family Search in the early-mid 1700s. There is a lot of work to do. I know that it's great to immerse yourself in.

Yesterday my companion and I sang "Un Pobre Forastero" with Elder O at the piano for "Noche de Música e Inspiración". We were the last number and it went really well. It was recorded last night and we'll get a disk of the performance sometime in the future. I think Elder Anderson had someone record it on his camera. I would have had someone record it on my camera but recently my camera has been acting funny and it keeps automatically shutting down and displaying something along the lines of "a camera error was detected, will automatically shutdown, restart E32". So it only stays on for 30 seconds or so. Anyways, I think it went well. Sister Eyring asked us to perform it again next Sunday for "Why I Believe" as the special musical number. So next week we'll be performing it again, but in English.

Elder Braden Dahl (2nd from right) w/ 2 Elders & 2 Ward Members

I've taken some more pictures and looking at your list I believe I have completed 23 of the 69 photos you want (some were already taken and you know have from my old SD card). I'm working on it but photos aren't the forefront of a missionary's purpose but I am trying to work on your list. Let me just say I wish I was in 'ye old times' where if over 500 pictures where sent to a parent of a missionary they would die from how extensive and thorough their collection of photos was. Just so you know on Friday the 7th I had 237 on my SD card that I started using the 23rd of February (that averages just over 18 photos per day). I'm going to start deleting the photos on my iPad that you have and that I've sent the description of to you. Can you tell me which number I left off on; I believe I stopped at 268. But I'm not sure. The purpose of the photos on my iPad is so that I can have a backup of them just incase something happens to the SD card then I still have those photos. My plan is to take pictures download them on my iPad with my SD card to lightning reader. Send the pictures off to you and the description of the photos. Have you confirm that you received both and answer any questions you have on any photos and then delete them from my iPad. I will now start sending the description of the photos with the SD card so when you go through them you can just look at the description while you go. Instead of having to go back and check, like you have to now. I'll delete my older photos on my iPad since their isn't much room on it and that way I can add my current photos onto my iPad and then send off them off to you and not have to worry about them being lost if something were to happen.


Love,
Elder Braden Dahl

"Un Pobre Forastero" Elders Dahl & Anderson Piano: Elder Ortega March 9, 2014 NMI at Washington DC Temple Visitors Center.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Foods Eaten in My First 3 Months-2/23/2014

2/23/2014
Family,
Many of you are probably wondering what on earth I eat here, how do I survive, what do I normally eat? Please don't die when I tell you.

The standard meat: Chicken. The standard side: beans & rice. Put it all together and you have a normal meal. Almost always is there some form of chicken & rice. And a lot of times there are beans. The rice is almost always white rice, not a lot done to it, but every once in a while it's way different. Learn to love rice. I have learned to love it because you get a ton of it. Now with beans, they're almost always black beans and most of the time they are just your normal side, but sometimes they're in your rice. Once I had bean soup, it was kind of weird.

Chicken. Brother #3 this is your place. I've eaten so much chicken I'm growing feathers. I've seen it prepared many different ways. Sometimes it's chopped up with rice & plantains, cooked and served bones and all, lightly breaded, like what a normal chicken breast without bones looks like, etc. If the person is Peruvian (and sometimes others) expect plantains - they're a big banana that is super sweet, the green plantains are poisonous if not cooked. I don't really care for plantains but I'll eat them.

Peruvian food: Papa a la Huancaína
Some other things I really like... Yuca, it's a root, normally served in Peruvian food. It kind of looks like a giant french fry, tastes like one too but it's even better. They fry them and you dip it in different salsas (sauces). I could eat it for days. It's also found in soups and very good too.  Papa de la Huancaína, it's a baked potato with this sauce that is poured over it. The coloration is similar to fry sauce and it has little red dots in it.

Other foods I've liked...ribs, stir fry, hamburger patty, tacos de carne asada, tamales, and various salads. Oh also talapia, not too bad.
[Above left: Making tamales with a Sister from the ward-Saturday 2/8/2014; 
Above right: Eating the tamales on Sunday 2/9/2014]

Pastas. There are a lot of different noodles and sauces I've had. Some red sauce, green sauce, meatballs, meaty, thin noodles, long noodles, this noodles, short noodles. I'm liking and getting used to it.

Soups. Soups are weird here, but I'm getting used to it. You know in California the thickest soup is a clam chosder or a chunky beef stew. Here, there will be a slab of meat in there, full yacas, whole carrots, etc. Basically take your dinner plate and put it in a broth. They'll have a corn on the cob (or half) in there. You have to use your hands a lot and drink up the broth.

Braden comere tacos al pastor y de carne asada-Saturday 2/22/2014
Some of the weirder things I've eaten. Kimchi (kimchee), ask Sister Warr, it's the Korean pickled cabbage with the powerful smell. I had a little, not too bad, I would eat it again. Has a nice kick at the end. Tacos de lengua, tongue tacos. Braden has eaten tongue, it was very good, I liked it a lot and would eat many more times. Meat is a little more chewy.


Korean dessert, it was shaved ice mixed with red beans, a little sweet, very interesting. The reason for the Korean food was that we went to our roomates to a Korean lady's home for lunch. Also there was a beef/steak prepared with rice and steamed veggies you put on top of a giant lettuce leaf and ate. There was this super good pepper that tasted like a bell pepper.
Lunch on Sunday 2/23/2014

Restaurants. Been to Subway 3 times, got the Subway melt, grilled chicken, turkey & black forest ham. Usually get lots of other toppings. Subway is good. I'm appreciating sandwiches. At the apartement I sometimes will make a turkey sandwich toasted with cheese and sometimes lettuce. Taco bell, got the taco meal deal, it was good. Sardi's super good Peruvian chicken place. Oh sorry Brother #1, literally the closest restaurant which is a 5-7 minute walk is Outback Steakhouse, haven't been there because it's expensive but think of you when I see it. Cafe rio - very similar to Costa Vida, Utah worships it, two weekends in a row they had $1 burritos (instead of normally around $8). Obviously there are more places I've been to but I tried to mention some different ones. Oh there's a Noodles and Company here, I had the Whole Grain L...something [Whole Grain Tuscan Linguine] with parmesan chicken, it was amazing.
Whole Grain Tuscan Linguine from Noodles and Company


Anyways that is the tip of the iceberg of what I've been eating. Don't die from shock.

Love, Elder Braden John Dahl
[Note: Mom is in total shock!!!!]
3/3/2014
Family,
Part 2 of things I've eaten. So since I wrote you my last list of things I've eaten, more food and drink has come to mind and I've now eaten more things. I've eaten completos, which are a Chilean hot dog. It's done in thick bread and has a hot dog with cheese, tomatoes, and guacamole on it.

I've also had cashew juice (from the cashew fruit, not nut), it smells awful but the taste really isn't that bad. I've also had chimichangas, which are alright, not my favorite but pretty good.

I've also had sopes which are a tortilla base and it kind of looks like a pizza. It's a small tortilla with beans, cheese, herbs and some other things. It tastes super good.

I've also had a bowtie pasta with a slamon sauce and a little bit of salmon bits in it. I'm still not the biggest seafood fan but it was alright. I've had some pork sandwiches with mayo now and bell peppers in vinegar and that was super good.
Lunch - Saturday 3/8/2014

I love you all.
Love, Elder Braden John Dahl

Monday, March 3, 2014

It's Snowing Today


Mom,
Between the two SD cards there should be 531 pictures. Regarding the funny pictures, my companion and I had nothing better to do some P-days in the CCM. So we did the Beatles walk and the Buddy the Elf jump in the crosswalk, etc. I try to take a lot of pictures because I know you're obsessed with pictures and probably disappointed it was only 531 you received.


I don't take that many here unless we go to DC, usually I'm too busy. Plus, Germantown and the surrounding area is no Manhattan Island.

Every once in a while you can send me a SD card and I will send you back my SD card with some more pictures. As long as I have the means to send it, I will.  Just remember I don't use my camera terribly often here. Since I went to DC last Monday I have 110 more pictures on the new SD card you gave me. But that is far from the normal as you can probably see from the pictures I sent you that are in DC. I also forgot that I have another 32GB SD card that I brought with me that doesn't have anything on it yet.

You are welcome to do whatever you want in regards to distributing the pictures I've taken. I am fine with them going out and I am equally ok if you don't want to send them out. You are more than welcome to do what you feel appropriate with the pictures. I think that it's great that you want to send them to my companion's Mom.

I forgot to thank you for the solar elephant in your last package. It is funny to see but it's a great gift and a great conversation piece in my apartment. Also I have been pulling the scriptures out of a jar everyday to try and improve myself.

The snow is not that hard to live in. We can drive in the snow but it's when the snow isn't sticking or when it is going to be very little (probably around an inch). When you're driving in snow (which I don't because newbies aren't allowed to drive until their third transfer), slow down, brake sooner and don't stop (you can get stuck). When there is ice, slow down, brake sooner. Snow here is some of the warmest days and it feels great. Layer if necessary, don't wear too much cotton. Don't let yourself get cold or numb. After the snow, walk in the footsteps of others to avoid getting really wet or snow in your shoes if at all possible. The snow melts fast here so be aware that the roads are really wet and it can sometimes refreeze. Maryland salts the ground more than I salt french fries or my younger brother salts chips. You will have a salty car. Try not to bump into things or brush by them because you will be very salty as well with salt stains. They're very easy to get off, often with just brushing with you hand a bit or use a little water.

My companion is very easy to get along with and he gets along with almost everyone. There are some moments of "What do you want to do?" "I don't know what do you want to do?” He does get things done and is on top of things most of the time. He tries to please everyone, there was someone that used to be in our district that didn't eats sweets, so he'd bring mixed nuts and dried fruit. He is also willing to share just about everything he has. Everyone in the ward loves him and he is a great person.

I have a list I made in Mexico with a very brief explanation of some of the photos I took. I'm going to send it to you and just write me back if that works well with you, it is matching up right, any way you'd like it done differently so that I can make changes appropriately before doing all of them. It will be snail mailed and I'm not sure when I'll exactly get it out, plus there is a snow storm today and maybe tomorrow so it could take things a while.

I hope everyone is doing well and that you have a great week.

Love,
Elder Braden Dahl

Mom,

This week has been great. My companion and I have been doing a lot. We practiced with another Elder who is our pianist for our musical number this coming Sunday and I'm excited to sing it for "Night of Music and Inspiration." The Elder is an awesome pianist and my companion is an excellent singer. We will be singing the first and last few verses of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief." But with some changes to the tunes (you'll see). 









Our ward also had a Primary Activity on Saturday at the Visitors' Center. All of the missionaries in our ward brought the kids down to the temple and we went to the main entrance and one of the side doors. Most of the kids touched the temple too. Yesterday (Sunday), my companion and I taught the Family Home Evening lesson, in Spanish of course. It was on Family History and we used something in our lesson you might recognize; hopefully it will make it into the Mission blog.

I'm happy for the uncle, aunt & family to be moving somewhere bigger and with a backyard. I would like their new address as well when they get it. Which also reminds me that I have none of the extended Winkler Family's addresses with the exception of one uncle & aunt.

Missionaries are allowed to wear non-proselyting clothing if the activity we are doing cannot be done in our proselyting clothing (P-day activity, working out, or service). You still have to wear your nametag. My companion and I had to drop off our roommate who wanted to go to DC to play some missionary football happening that day. He didn't want to be the only one on the way to DC without a shirt and tie, so we changed and stayed for the game a few minutes so we could be in non-proselyting clothes as well for that day. I was in a hoody because it wasn't cold that day; it was nice and a little windy.

I guess we were at the Thomas Jefferson Building. It's the building you think of when you say Library of Congress (grand reading room). It was 3 floors; a ground floor, a 1st, and 2nd floor. Yes I saw the Gutenberg Bible along with another super old bible. I also saw the Exploring the Early Americas exhibit, and Thomas Jefferson's Library. I believe that there was only one exhibit we didn't see; on the ground floor. It was some rock star’s exhibit or something, I'm not really sure. We saw the one that was extended to be on display longer with some cartoon drawings (I don't remember the subject matter).

Anyways, Elder Anderson and I are basically trapped today. There is a snowstorm and we aren't allowed to drive, but we can leave the apartment. It has been coming down since 7:00am here; there was about 2 inches of snow on the ground. The storm might stay tomorrow as well, but who knows.

Love,
Elder Braden Dahl

Dear Father,

I'm glad to hear you are doing well and that you had an opportunity to share the gospel last week as well. I heard that you went and saw some movies at the theater last week; I hope you and the family enjoyed them.

It has been a really good week and fairly busy. My companion and I have practiced a bit for our song for "Night of Music and Inspiration" next week. We also taught Family Home Evening in Spanish at the President Cooke's home. We taught about family history. Some Sisters were in charge of the game and we played gospel related charades. We had some cake at the end and it was just a great night with a great turn out.

We have a snowstorm today so we can't drive anywhere and it is supposed to be rather cold today and tomorrow. I'm starting to get used to the snow and I'm fairly used to the cold now. The snow is a great opportunity for service for the people here. We've found some potentials [potential investigators] from shoveling snow.

I hope you have fun finishing up watching the Olympics. I heard that despite the many problems that it was a good Olympics. I'm very glad to hear that California is getting some water now, and some rain. I love you a ton.

Love,
Elder Braden Dahl

PS check out mom's emails. She sent me one earlier in the week so I've been able to write a lot, little by little. Enjoy your day. Good luck with the little boys. Tell them it's snowing here. Oh and also tell them tomorrow is National Pancake Day, so free short stack at IHOP.