Sunday, June 29, 2014

3 Investigators...written 6/23/2014

Written 6/23/2014
This week has been really good. Missionary work is a lot harder with the World Cup going on (many people do worship it). My companion and I are working hard to make sure we can still keep up and get lessons. We have 3 investigators and we are trying to get them to progress and meet with them more often. We also have a very large pool of referrals and potential investigators we are trying to get into contact with. We have been meeting with many of the area's less-active members and we are starting to see some of them come to church again. We're trying to really get the area moving and progressing. Luckily, we are both staying for this next transfer and hopefully we will start seeing more fruits of our efforts.

Yesterday, my companion and I went to the Visitors' Center for a pianist performance by Raul Sunico, a Filipino classical pianist with 2 of our members. We got there a little late, but we heard him play some amazing pieces. He played some classical pieces from the Philippines, and amazing "Rhapsody in Blue", and (my personal favorite) an encore of The Phantom of the Opera Medley
Raul Sunico playing The Phantom of the Opera Medley
Our members really liked it and it was a great night. If all goes as planned, my companion and I should be going to the Visitors' Center with some of our investigators on Wednesday to see Lindsey Sterling perform. The whole mission is excited for it and it should be really great.  

Dad, I am really enjoying my new area and thankfully, there are no big issues with my bike. It is definitely getting hot here and the summer is sure to be hotter. Almost every house we go to we get offered water so I should be fine. I'm glad you enjoyed your Nauvoo trip and got to see some of the wonderful sights. I'm sure you had lots of fun taking all those pictures, so don't stress yourself out too much with all the editing you like to do. 

This week really good. My companion and I have been really working with the push for Family History work. The ward also put on an activity we helped at. It's great watching the members of the ward begin their family history and then find some additional names that they can bring to the temple. My companion and I have also been working on our FamilySearch skills and we are having a lot of success. I have been generally working on distant cousins and I have over 100 ordinances reserved. At the temple trip this last week I was able to do 2 initiatories and 1 Endowment for some of the names I have found. 

I hope you have a great week!

Elder Braden Dahl

P.S. It's harder to write because I often don't have that much time, I used to be able to download my emails in the morning and write a bit during lunch.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Found my own names for Family History work in the Temple - written 6/16/2014

This week has been really great, and I have a few more mission stories because of this week. There were several storms that passed through this week. I'm starting to get used to storms here, they just sweep in and dump rain, usually with some lightning and then an hour or two later they're gone (unless it's a evening storm, those stay all night). Maryland gets a ton of rain. Elder A and I once had to do a 25-yard sprint in the rain and with no exaggeration, the front of my grey pants suddenly were black pants. I had to iron those pants for about 15 minutes (no water in the iron) to get them dry enough. The whole time it was like a sauna in front of me. I also came into possession of the 1943 pocket edition of the Book of Mormon for men in the Armed Forces from cleaning the church and them throwing away a lot of old books and other miscellaneous items. It's cool to have and a neat little keepsake from my mission. 

On Wednesday, Elder A and I went to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. It was a extra trip to the temple and you could only go if you had names that you had found. I brought the limit of 5 names of some of our distant cousin's I've found. Elder A and I officiated the confirmations of the missionaries who just finished their baptisms, then we went in and baptized each other for the vicarious ordinances. Then we did the confirmations for our names. It was a really amazing experience and I am so grateful that I was able to participate in it. This Wednesday is the temple trip for the mission and I am excited to go to them temple again.

Sunday, Elder A and I went to the Visitors' Center with a recent convert in our area for a "Why I Believe" featuring Charity Tillemann-Dick, an American soprano (opera singer) who received a double lung transplant (she's on her 2nd set of new lungs) and she continues to sing opera today. Her story was really amazing and inspiring. I feel so lucky to have a Visitors' Center and a temple in my mission that I can go to with investigators, recent converts, or less-active members for some amazing events.

Elder Braden Dahl

What a Week! Written 6/9/2014

I'm so glad you and the family are enjoying Nauvoo. It certainly looks like you all are having a ton of fun.

I don't even know where to begin with this letter. Last Monday night my companion (Elder C) and I taught the last of the Family Home Evenings lessons for the single adults in our ward (it was for 5 weeks on the missionary lessons). They had a little dinner/party afterwards that we stayed for and it was really fun hanging out with them (don't worry they're much older single adults-older than singles ward age).

On Tuesday my companion (Elder C) and I went with our roommates, Elder L and Elder J to help give service to one of their members cleaning up a lot of dust and dirt from inside their house that they are remodeling. We also talked to D. A. more about her mission call that she received. I forgot to tell you last week but D, a member in our area received her mission call to the California Oakland/San Francisco Mission! The missionaries here are all really good friends with her and we are all excited for her call. She leaves in September and she says I should go down there after my mission and say hi. 

We also had dinner with a fairly recently reactivated family and taught them about Family History and they are excited to begin the work for their family. I am excited that this ward is really getting into Family History. In fact, the Relief Society is now having classes for Family History at the Family History Center on Wednesday in Germantown. Later that night another member took us to Bruster's Ice Cream, a really popular ice cream store here where all of the ice cream is made right there. I had Graham Central Station and Mint Chocolate Chip, they were excellent.

Wednesday was Zone Training and I learned a lot. Sister Cooke gave a short workshop on staying healthy because of (as dubbed by the other zones) The Great Seneca Strepedemic. There has been quite a few cases of strep throat lately, my roommate Elder J had it, my zone leader, Elder M got it twice (he finished his antibiotics the first time and still got it again). There have been a few other missionaries that have caught it. Everyone is trying to avoid catching it as much as possible but it can take symptoms up to 5 days before appearing. The rush of people with strep throat is over. The last person I know that caught Strep Throat was on Sunday the 1st. However, everyone is still tying to be cautious. The Zone Leaders let us know in their workshop about finding people that the mission plans to significantly cut back on miles in the car areas to encourage biking and public transportation so that the missionaries can meet and teach more people. After the workshop the Zone Leaders also mentioned to a small group of us that if this change happens eventually we could receive more money each month for public transportation on money that normally would be spent on gas for the cars. I wasn't overly enthusiastic about this coming change (nothing is changing for June, they just want you to start practicing so you can get used to it before the change actually happens). Germantown's a big area and doesn't have many bus lines, but I was willing to give it a try. My thoughts were I'm going to try this out and hopefully it will work out and be successful.

However, none of that matters anymore because I got transferred! Now you're probably thinking, what!? Long story short, Wednesday night after English Class around 8:30pm my companion (Elder C) and I got a call from the APs. They told us that there was going to be an emergency transfer and that I would be leaving my first area and going to Montgomery Village South first thing in the morning with my new companion Elder A. My companion (Elder C) would receive Elder C from Montgomery Village South into Germantown. I don't know the details of what was happening but I know that one of the elders was struggling in particular. Wednesday night I rapidly packed everything up and finished the last few things (bedding, shampoo,etc) in the morning. Thursday morning, Elder C and I drove down to the Montgomery Village Elders' apartment and did the transfer. I'm a bike Elder now with Elder A and I am serving in the Montgomery Village South area which covers parts of Gaithersburg and Washington Grove. I am still in the same ward and district as before which is nice but confusing for everyone else. My companion, (Elder A) is from Tampico, Mexico and speaks English better than some native speakers. He has been out for just over a year. We've been getting along well and are doing well in the area. Our roommates are our zone leaders and fellow district members, Elder H and M. I don't remember if I've told you or not but Elder H is from Auburn, California so we did some of the same things such as Camp Winton, Sacramento Temple, etc. Elder M was born in Russia and moved to Utah when he was around 8 (I think). He speaks Russian, English, and Spanish.

Being on bike is good expect going up some of the steep hills. My bike is doing fine but I am having problems with my front derailer, it is having trouble switching gears. Elder H and I have been messing with the adjustments but we usually can only get 2 of the 3 gears to work. However it's not really a problem because I just keep in in 2nd gear and rarely would I even consider any gear higher than 2-8 and any gear lower than 2-1. The I usually ride in 2-5 or 2-6. Down some hills I've gone up to 2-8 but I normally just coast down. The lowest gear I've gone into has been 2-3. I've been locking my bike and my area is by far the least dangerous and fewest theft bike area in the mission. I'm starting to get used just being sweaty and smelly all the time.

In the new area I'm trying to learn who are the members, less-actives, investigators, and potentials. I'm also trying to get a mental map of the area down as well. It's a little hard coming in the middle of the transfer but I'm catching on quick enough.

Dear Brother #4,That's so cool that you caught fireflies in Nauvoo. The fireflies here are just barely starting to come out, so you don't see too many. That's cool that you got Minecraft for the computer. I hope you are enjoying playing on it but don't become too addicted to it. I hope that you are enjoying your time in Nauvoo with the family and Grandma & Grandpa.

Dear Brother #3 (aka Mr. Rich Man),I'm having a lot of fun on my mission. Yesterday I taught the 10 and 11 year olds in Primary. They're lots of fun and we taught them the 10 Commandments and some cool hand signals to memorize them. I also went to the "Night of Music and Inspiration" yesterday and heard some really good music. Today was my zone activity and we all went mini golfing which was really fun. I'm sure Minecraft has been really fun and I hope you are having even more fun in Nauvoo right now. There are some really cool things out there and I hope you are learning a ton.

Dear Brother #2,Congratulation on your finals. Come on, you think you did you're best when you got 100%? That's awesome. I can't wait to see your success in all your other math classes in the coming years.That's awesome that you got to do baptisms at the temple. I have over 100 ordinances reserved on Family Search from distant cousins that are ready to go to the temple. I have some work for you and the family to do this summer. Tell mom I have a lot of women that need their ordinances done. Elder A and I are planning on going to a special mission approved baptism for the dead session at the temple on the 11th and I'm planning on doing 5 of the names I have reserved.
Elder Braden Dahl

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Really Good Week 6-2-2014

Thanks for all the letters from the boys and thank you for your letter as well. This week has been really good. My companion and I met with C, our recent convert this week and had a really good lesson with him on Family History. He really wants to get into it and wants to get his membership number so that he can get on as a member on FamilySearch. We also met with R, our investigator this week and he is doing really well and is accepting the gospel really easily.

Last Thursday a big thunderstorm came through in the evening and it down poured and there was a ton of lightning. All the Elders in our district were going to go to a taco truck for dinner with Hno D but the rain stopped us, so then we were going to go to Roy Rodger's but the power all went out in that area. So we ended up going to Old Country Buffet in Gaithersburg.

On the way we saw a huge tree that had fallen over onto some power lines, the tree took up two full lanes and was causing some traffic. When we got home the power was out but it came back on about 10 minutes later.

 Downed Power Lines in Gaithersburg, MD
Multiple lightning exposures over the Jefferson Memorial combined into a single image
from May 27, 2014 (Photo Credit: Kevin Ambrose)
On Friday I had exchanges and went to Montgomery Village South on bike. It was a beautiful day and it wasn't bad bike riding weather. They had a lot of appointments and we visited with some of the areas investigators and less-actives. That night, one of the Gaithersburg 1st ward members, who is moving to Mexico for work, invited us to Five Guys and Krispy Kreme so we had a nice big dinner. I was with Elder C, who is in his 2nd transfer. It was fun to work with him and different being the person to take the lead in lessons for a day. It was good and I enjoyed it.

Saturday the Elders in our District moved one of our members in Germantown to Dickerson (still in my area). It's far out there and according to a resident of that area there are more horses and more cows than people there; I believe him. I'd never been out there but it was nice to see on the drive out. 

On Sunday we went to the Mission President's home for Spanish FHE and it was really fun and a lot of people came out for it. The lesson was very spiritual and everyone there enjoyed it. Today my companion and I, along with our roommates, and the DC French elders went to Smithsonian Zoo for a while and hung out. It was fun to go see again. 


Elder Braden Dahl