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 camarĂ³n. 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.

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