Monday, April 14, 2014

No longer a Trainee 4-7-2014

It's nice to no longer be a trainee but now I am trying to lose my greenie title (at the end of 6 months). The extra hour is relieving since it's less desk-sitting time. Now that I'm out here for my third transfer I can drive. It's nice being able to drive again, but Maryland drivers drive very differently than California drivers. I've become more accustomed to it from my previous two transfers, but it still is hard driving in it. The I-270 and the I-495 are awful. The speed limit is 55mph and I was going 80mph and was getting passed by every car on the road, I'm not joking either. Basically you just go full throttle on those freeways unless there is traffic. I can't even tell you how many times I was passed. I guess since it's the only road in Maryland without a "photo-cop" everyone just feels the need to speed.

Last Monday after I emailed you, my companion and I went out to the Potomac River in our area at White's Ferry. It was very pretty scenery and fun to take pictures all around. 

The Connecticut and Ohio Historic Canal is also right next to it there and we took some pictures by that as well. It isn't very much a canal anymore but you can see a little water flowing and the old banks of the canal. 

It was fun and we hung out there for a little while. It was nice and relaxing and just fun to see all the beauty over there. If you got out there with a camera, I'm not so sure how long it would take me to convince you to leave.

General Conference was great. I loved the sessions and the conference just seemed to fly by. I loved all the talks and each message was wonderful and very insightful. I can't pin down a favorite session or a favorite speaker because there were so many great talks in each session. I hope everyone follows President Monson's challenge to continue to study the conference talks this April General Conference and find and receive more inspiration and guidance. It was Elder Ballard's talk you were talking about with studying Preach My Gospel (PMG). I did really enjoy his talk and how he used some of his skills he learned on his mission helping him throughout his life.
Love, Elder Braden Dahl
This week has been very busy but very good. Elder Alca finished his mission last Wednesday so there were a few goodbye parties that we went to at member's homes on Monday and Tuesday. They were all fun and Elder Alca really appreciated all that the members were doing for him.

Tuesday's call-outs happened and we found out that we were getting 2 fresh out of the MTC missionaries in our district and who our new zone leader would be. They are all nice people but my companion and I haven't had very much time to visit or see them because of the busy-ness of this week.

Wednesday was the Transfer Meeting and it was a nice to hear all the testimonies of the departing missionaries. Afterwards, my companion and I stayed for a choir practice for a musical number for this month's "Night of Music and Inspiration." We will be singing, "Christ The Lord is Risen Today." For lunch, my companion and I went to the nearby mall, the Westfield Wheaton Mall. It is gigantic; it has a Costco in it along with a few other grocery stores and the normal mall stores. Although I was only in the food court it looked strikingly familiar. It's nice to know there's a Westfield mall out here too.

My companion and I finally were able to visit with one of the less-active families in the ward and we had a nice conversation with them and invited them to watch General Conference. We also started teaching one of the children of a recent convert to prepare him for baptism at the request of the Bishop. It is fun teaching little kids. We are currently teaching two kids who are children of record in preparation for baptism. They are really fun to be with and they always keep the conversation lively. Our investigator with the baptismal date is still doing well and he is still very excited to be baptized. It has been harder to keep in contact with him this week because of our busy schedule but we have stopped by a few times this week just to check up on him.

I am excited to keep working and I am loving this mission, the members and the people (aka future members). Tell Nathaniel to keep up the picture taking; he'll need the skill in the future.

Love, Elder Braden Dahl
P.S. Don't worry about my picture taking, I'm up to 775 pictures on my camera.
At the transfers meeting the mission office announced that they will no longer be forwarding mail to our addresses. This means if I get mail sent to the mission office I will get it when they distribute it out on days they bring the mail to our zone/area. They gave us two options for mail; wait for the days they give out mail or give the apartment address we have.

The more definite dates for this transfer to receive mail would be Zone Training on 4/9, Zone Conference 4/30, Departing Temple Trip 5/7, and Transfers 5/14. But there could technically be others; it's just less likely. For example the zone leaders went to the mission office on Thursday and I got a letter from the cousins in Roseville that day.

[Note: Stacie (Mom) has his apartment address if anyone wants it.]

Just remember this address might only last until May 14th. Though probably it will last 6 weeks after that because my companion is leaving after this transfer, but it's not a 100% fact. Also, if the mail arrives after that date of the transfer and I leave, it is extremely unlikely that I will ever see it (some missionaries aren't very good at forwarding or returning to sender). Of the two letters I have received, one of them took 8 days before it arrived in the mission office (not counting any of the 'Mission Office to me' time), the other took 6 days to get to the mission office. Just remember it can take longer than that, for example Grandma's most recent letter (from CA) took 7 days to travel from the North Potomac Post office to my apartment. Grandma sent her letter out on the 19th of March (I can see the postal stamp/marking with the date). The Mission Office sent it out to me on the 25th (or at least the post office processed it on that day, I can see their postal stamp/marking as well) and I got it on the 1st of April. Normally, I've heard it takes about a day or two from the mission office to the missionary's apartments. In this case it took 7 days, not 1-2 days.

I would recommend that if you were to send anything directly to my apartment to not send anything to the apartment address two weeks before transfers (for this transfer that date would be 4/29). And if you want to send anything after that date, send it to the normal Mission Office address. If it arrives later at the mission office I can always get it later. Plus the temple trip is just over a week from that day so it would arrive just on time for the temple trip and if it didn't make it in time it's only a few more days until the transfer meeting. For most people my address can stay the mission office one, 11700 Falls Rd. because it is less confusing than trying to remember a new address every six weeks and there are several times each transfer mail and packages are distributed (the dates I wrote earlier). Just use your discretion on who else gets my apartment address.

Packages should also go to the mission office because I'm not at the apartment very often or for very long. No one would be there to get the package if one were to come.

Love, Elder Braden Dahl

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