Monday, July 28, 2014

Teaching...Written 7/28/2014

Mom, This week has been quite a busy one for me. It was exciting to see all the work that was able to get done this last week and the success that my companion and I were able to have. My companion and I taught a lot of lessons this week and we were blessed to have 5 new investigators in our area.

On Monday we had a great lesson with our progressing investigator with a baptismal date. She was really touched by the holy spirit and said she wanted to start coming to church. Tuesday was mostly taken up by the interviews that we had with President Cooke. However we did have a dinner with a member family and a great lesson afterwards. Also we taught 2 new investigators and got a return appointment with them.

Wednesday we had a super brief lesson with one of our less-active members but the Holy Spirit was there and it was a very good learning opportunity for both of us. We also stopped by our investigating family. They didn't come to church last Sunday so they couldn't meet the requirements of going to church 3 Sundays before being baptized. We taught them the plan of salvation but the father wasn't there so when we tried to extend a new baptismal date, they were pretty apprehensive and declined (for now). We are hoping we can have another lesson with them soon with the father and extend a baptismal date again that they will be more willing to accept. 

This past Thursday my companion and I were looking for some of our potential investigators and we decided to knock one extra door where we found another new investigator. We were able to teach her briefly and she told us she had been praying to find some truth and lint in her life. It was a great miracle to witness. We have a return appointment this coming week. On Friday we tried to visit just about everyone but it seemed no one was ever home. However we did have some little miracles. We went to a less active member's home and they weren't there. I felt instead of following our normal plan to go to this other home, we should check and see if one of our referrals we had that lives close by was home. We biked over there and there was a woman walking down the street. My companion stopped in front of her and asked if she happened to be the person we were looking for. She in fact, was the person we were looking for and she is interested in hearing more. She told us that she gets her new work schedule this Monday (today) and that we can call her tonight to set up an appointment. Also, we decided later in the afternoon to completely change our schedule and go over to the most eastern part of our area on a road we don't normally take. We were biking by when one of the recent converts in the area drove by and flagged us down. He said he was moving from the room he was renting and he had some things he needed help moving and how he had been thinking the entire ride how on earth he could do it alone. It was a great miracle showing how Heavenly Father cares for each of his children even in little circumstances.

Saturday we met a man by his home who has a lot of problems in his life. We had a lesson with him right there in front of his apartment complex and he was really moved by the Holy Spirit and even accepted a baptismal date. He will have a lot of work to do but through Christ all things are possible. This last Sunday. Our progressing investigator came to church with her less-active husband. The ward was great in welcoming them. Our investigator said she loved church and wants to come again this coming week. We also went to Stake Coordination meeting since the stake invited all the missionaries to come instead of normally just one companionship. It was a great meeting and it showed me where we  were succeeding and where and what we need to improve on. In the evening my companion and I had a lesson with an investigator but they cancelled so we met with one of the members in our ward. 

Today we went to a service project with the mission.

We don't have as many meals with members in this area Compared to Germantown but we still have a couple meals every week. I'm getting pretty used to whatever is fed to me. Things don't seem as strange anymore and I'm getting used to the traditional plates of some of the countries people are from. Still not a fan of soups but I'll eat them when I have to. 

Sorry about the photos. I promise I do work a lot but cameras are discouraged during proselyting hours (90% of the time) and you are forbidden to have them in your pocket during proselyting hours. If appropriate you are allowed to take it from your backpack when appropriate but it's really hard on bike using a camera. I usually have my camera out on P-Day and P-Day we usually do something fun or interesting. 

Dad, I hope you had a nice week and that this next week will be fun too. I know you're up I'm Roseville while Mom and the boys are down south for the cousin camp. Hopefully you enjoy a little peace and quiet.

While I was writing it hit me that this Transfer is almost over. I think that nothing can go possible faster that a mission. This coming Wednesday is the Temple Trip and on Saturday we will find out if we are staying or leaving our areas. This Saturday the mission is also going to its yearly Nationals baseball game.

I hope you have a great week and that work isn't too stressful. I love you lots.
Elder Braden Dahl

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lots to teach! Written 7/21/2014

Mom, Happy Belated Birthday! I'm sorry about all the dental work but I hope you still had a great day.

On Tuesday my companion and I put another of our investigators on 'Baptismal Date!' At the time that meant we had 4 investigators with a baptismal date. It was super awesome and she is really excited to be baptized but just has a couple things she needs to take care of. The family that wants to get baptized is progressing and doing well but they are a little worried about going to church. This week we picked up two new investigators and 4 more potential investigators.

Wednesday we had Zone Conference. We had a lot of workshops and trainings. I learned a lot from it. It was a good day and and enjoyable Zone Conference. That evening all the Elders in our district had a dinner and Family Home Evening at a members home outside of my area. The family had several non-members there that we were able to teach. My companion and I now have a new investigator from Brazil that speaks Portuguese and some broken Spanish.

On Friday we picked up a new investigator in our area through Facebook. We met her in person before but we had a hard time contacting her. I found her on Facebook and began teaching her through Facebook. We also met with our family with a baptismal date and gave them a copy of the Book of Mormon and committed them to come to church this Sunday. Saturday Elder Andrade and I also picked up two new investigators around a apartment complex where we were able to briefly teach the message of the Restoration and schedule a return appointment.

On Sunday I went with Elder G (one of my roommates) to a baptism in Silver Spring because his companion and he had some investigators at church and his companion wanted to stay with them. It was a nice baptism and then we met up shortly after church and went back to our normal companionships. 

My companion and I went to the Visitors' Center with a member to a great "Why I Believe" fireside.  It featured Brother & Sister Jonas. Brother [Chris] Jonas is on the physician team for the White House but didn't really talk about that. Rather he talked about his conversion and testimony. It was a very powerful and spiritual night.

Dad, Wednesday I met this great lady from Africa at a Family Home Evening at a member's home. She speaks Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, and 7 African Dialects. She is super nice and interested in the gospel, she lives in Potomac but we saw her again at a lunch at the same family's home on Saturday. She gave me a CD that has mostly Portuguese songs and a few in English because she heard you lived in Brazil. It was super nice of her, she said it had no bad things on it but the CD has romantic overtones so I can't listen to it. Remind me to send it home to you. You might enjoy it. We also have an new investigator now from southern Brazil. She is in the Sister's area next to us but we received special permission because of my companion's limited knowledge of Portuguese and the Sister's crazy Visitors' Center schedule where they can't spend much time in their area.

My companion's bike has been working well now. I had a little front derailer problem but it is resolved enough. Hopefully no problems will appear. Today my companion and I went down to Silver Spring to have a nerf war with a lot of the missionaries at the church building. It was super fun and nice to hang out.

Elder Braden Dahl

P.S. I've been trying to think what I want for my birthday since you wrote me last week and I can't really think of anything spectacular. I'm not picky and whatever I receive is greatly appreciated. Some ideas I fumbled through are ties, music (CDs work best) Spanish, English, classical, hymns, choral, Disney, soundtrack, anything-mission permitting; or letters.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thunderstorms Written 7/14/2014

4th of July Group of Washington D.C. North Missionaries!!

Written 7/14/2014
Mom, This week has been a really good one. We were able to meet with our investigators that have a baptismal date a couple of times this week. They are doing well and now are having more desire to learn more and want us to come over more often. They still have a lot to learn and they have lots of questions but they are continuing to progress in the gospel. We also have a new investigator this week. She was a former investigator from a little while back that we saw on the street one day. She invited us to come back again and visit with her. We decided to go over this week and we had an awesome lesson with her.

Now if you believe that my companion had enough bike mishaps last week, think again. This week he broke off 2 of his rear gears with destroyed the entire cassette of gears on his back tire. The gears all moved side to side so his chain would always fall off into a "hole" in between the gears. We took it to a bike shop to get it repaired but they were ball-parking a minimum of $70. We had Elder G in our apartment that ended up helping him for a good two and a half hours putting together an old 5-gear rim from the apartment onto his 8-gear bike. After many ball bearings, a couple of axels, and probably a tube of grease, the bike finally was working properly again. It is nice now that my companion has a bike again and everything is working smoothly. So far my companion’s bike has been working smoothly now and there seems to be no problems. Both of our bikes work pretty well now. My bike is working fine the only think I could even think of that isn't 100% smooth is the breaks squeak and squeal in the rain when I use them but that really isn't any problem and it could just be I'm still wearing in the bike. My gears don't shift as wonderfully as I'd like but they shift pretty smoothly, it just takes a couple pedals for it to decide to switch over. It's not a problem and the nearest bike shop is in Germantown and it would cost at least $20 to have them fix it. Since it is still the best shifting bike I own, I'm ok for now.

Last Wednesday was Zone Training. It was a good meeting and it helped remind me of how to be a more effective missionary. We had a fun role-play where we couldn't talk about the gospel at all even if someone brought it up of had questions. On Sunday my companion and I performed our songs for "Noche de Musica e InspiraciĆ³n" and they went really well. It was a fun night and some of the members in our area were able to attend. A lot of people ended up going to the event and it was a great spiritual experience. Yes they recorded it plus I'll get a CD in a few weeks of it. They'll probably post it on the FB page or YouTube I'm the next few days.

I knew that room changes were inevitable, honestly, I was shocked it lasted this long. [Mom's Note: I wrote Braden and said, "So it may come as a shock but Dad & I have decided to rearrange the bedroom assignments. Brother #1 gets your room. Brother #2 is staying in his orange room. Brother #4 is staying in his room and Brother #3 is moving into Brother #1's room.] Don't worry about sending me an SD card ASAP, I still have 2 here a 4GB and a 32GB. I knew you would ask what I wanted for my birthday this week...I'm not sure yet. I have a pair of shorts, 4th of July was a bit cooler and I wanted to avoid sunburn legs. I'll get back to you on what I want soon.

Golfing-last zone activity, a couple weeks before transfers.
Of course Braden would be the one to keep score!

Dad, I hope you are doing well and having a good time. Mom was telling me about the things everyone has been doing all week and about the house changes. No surprise and I'm glad the room is getting put to good use.

If I had a dollar for every thunderstorm here I'd be quite happy with the pocket change I'd be making. Thunderstorms seem to be about an every other day occurrence here. Normally they happen in the evening and some make it into the early morning. When they first started occurring this summer it was "wow, cool, a thunderstorm". Now it's more like it's getting kind of late "cue clouds, cue wind, drizzle, lightning, downpour." Let's just say there is a reason no one in Maryland has a sprinkler system (really, people have no idea what that is here). Even in July there is no dry season.

As you may know I've started to read the Quad* again. Recently I've been reading in 2nd Samuel and I have been really liking the early King David. He always stays positive in his situation and tries to follow the lord's way. Despite all that happens to him he puts his trust in The Lord and keeps enduring his trials.

Elder Braden Dahl

*Mom’s Note: What is ‘the Quad?’ The quad includes four standard works of scripture for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes to referred to as the "Mormon Church." These are: the Holy Bible (King James Version of the Old Testament & the New Testament), The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine & Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price.

Monday, July 7, 2014

How many flat tires in 24 hours?...Written 7/7/2014

Now you might be asking yourself, "Elder Dahl do you have a story about your companion or yourself having a broken down bike?" or perhaps, "Elder Dahl did you ever get caught in a rainstorm?" Luckily I have a story that will cover both topics for you. Tuesday night on he way back to the apartment my companion got a flat tire so we walked a short distance back home and it was already late enough to stay home. The next morning my companion fixed his tube with a patch and we headed out. On the way to the library his patch failed and his front tire went flat again. We used the library for a bit and then we walked back to the apartment. It was a really hot day but we finally made it back to the apartment. My companion's hole was more of a slash and he luckily had an extra tube that he put on his front tire. We then went on with our day and we were going to the homes of the new move-in members that we were informed about by the bishop in our area. We were going to one house in the most eastward part of our area when my companion got a flat tire on his rear tire. We did some more walking (or me just riding slowly and in circles around him). That member wasn't home but it was close enough to another member that we went over and asked if they had a pump. They had a little pump but it wasn't that effective so we decided to head out. It got suddenly cloudy, which was nice because that day was one of the hottest days we've had here. As we were heading back a man offered us a ride to a gas station to go use an air pump to fill up my companion's tire. (My companion was convinced he didn't have a hole in his rear tire and it just leaked out somehow). He borrowed 50¢ from me and pumped up his tire. It then started to lightly sprinkle and we decided to head back to the apartment to fix up his tire properly. His tire lasted a little bit but was definitely leaking. About 25% of the way home his tire went flat again. We happened to be in an area with no real close members and it began to rain harder. We biked as fast as we could downhill to the apartment but we were pretty soaked by the time we got back home.

So on the 4th of July, my companion and I went down to the Spanish Mount Pleasant apartment in D.C. and we had a barbecue. That apartment building is one of the nicest and most expensive apartments in the mission. We went to their rooftop where the have some lawn, picnicking areas, tables, and grills. We hung out with around 30-40 other missionaries for a while.

Can you find Braden? What a view...even without the fireworks!
At around 4:30pm we all went over to the National Mall. The whole mall is absolutely packed on the 4th. We walked through the Smithsonian Cultural Festival highlighting Kenya and China this year. We saw some cool exhibits they had around. We then hung out for a bit on the lawn and then went to Union Station for dinner. We went back to the mall for the fireworks. The people there probably doubled from beforehand. We were across from the American History Museum on the lawn watching them go off at the Washington Monument. The fireworks were really amazing and it was cool to see them go off.

Don't worry I took plenty of pictures and I am in some of them. After the fireworks everybody was running to the Metro. We got on after about a half an hour of waiting and then my companion and I stayed at the Mount Pleasant Elder's apartment for the night. The next morning we woke up and headed down to the Metro and rode back to our area where our roommates picked us up. I was pretty tired but I'm recovering.

On Saturday we went to one of our investigator's homes looking to see if he was there. He wasn't there but some other people were there. A lot of people live at this apartment and it wasn't too surprising to us. They let us in and we began talking to the three people there. It was a family; a father, mother, and daughter. We had actually seen the mother and daughter before but they hadn't listened to us before this point. We ended up teaching all of the the Restoration of the Gospel and we committed all of them to be baptized. They all agreed after some reassurance. It is super exciting to have these people interested in the Gospel and how they have already made the commitment to be baptized during our first visit. I am excited to see their progression.

The 1st and 2nd verses for tenor part worked in your emails but the others did not. The attachments on Facebook are working.
Elder Braden Dahl
P.S. I sent a package home today. I have a note in there explaining everything but for the most part is is some of the stuff I've collected on my missions (letters, books, clothing, etc) that I wantto keep but don't want to carry around with me for the next 17 months.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Happy Independence Day! Written July 4, 2014

Dad, Happy Belated Birthday! I hope you had a great birthday with tons of fun. I also hope you got to do some fun stuff. Also Happy Independence Day! I hope you guys have lots of fun today and enjoy some fireworks.

This is going to be a super quick email today and I promise that you'll get a longer one on this coming Monday. Today is going to be a full and busy day. Today is the 4th of July and my companion and I are heading down to D.C. The plan is that we are going to a BBQ at the D.C. Elder's apartment and then heading down to the National Mall and hopefully staying for the fireworks. Tonight's curfew is extended to 10:30 so we can enjoy some of the fireworks.

A quick update on me, last month I decided to reread the Standard Works along with the Bible Dictionary, and the Guide to the Study of the Scriptures with the goal of finishing in less than 18 months (with at least 2 reads of the BOM). I'm going at a pretty good pace, not as fast as last time however. I'm already in Deuteronomy (OT) and Alma (BOM).

Yesterday I received the letters the you guys all sent me (Gorman's and Dahl's). It was nice hearing from all of you. I wanted to say thanks for all the letters. I also sent a envelope to you and Dad, you should be receiving it very shortly. It has a Birthday card for Dad in it. The black Duct-Taped rectangle is one of my SD cards with the videos you wanted on it. If you could shoot me a quick email or message when you get it that would be great.

Love, Elder Braden Dahl

P.S. Could you send me some more stamps? I've worn my supply through and I only have 4 left and I have to still write Grandma and the Gorman's back.

P.S.S since you have the "Excellence," [Washington D.C. Newsletter and Calendar] we have a 100% chance of mail being delivered to us at Zone Conference, Zone Training, Departing Temple trip, and Transfers. (I'm currently in the Seneca Zone).

Mom, I have a huge favor to ask. So for this coming Night of Music and Inspiration I've been asked to be in a small group to sing, "Consider the Lilies of the Field." It's coming up on the 13th [of July] and we've yet to practice all together. I've had one opportunity to go to the church and plunk muy part out (poorly) on the piano. I was wondering if you could play the tenor part and then the accompaniment and send me a recording of the file. It would be greatly appreciated if you can. If you can't or it's not working please don't worry about it. I can manage. [Mom's Note: Done! Sent it late after fireworks on 7/4!]
Thank you so much. I love you!

Lindsey Sterling, Service & a Day off for 4th of July...Written 6/30/2014

Written 6/30/2014
Tell Aunt Angie congratulations. It's cool to have a new cousin. [Aunt Angie had a baby boy on Monday, June 30th. Its the 16th Winkler grand-baby.]

This week has been really good. Wednesday was transfers and we all went to the Visitors' Center for our transfer meeting. My district didn't have too many changes. We lost one of the sister missionaries from a trio, but the other two sister missionaries our staying. [Mom's note: In other words, there were 3 sisters together and one of the 3 went to another area.] One of my Zone Leaders left and now we have a new zone leader in my district that actually was in my first district, Elder G.

That night my companion and I went back to the Visitors' Center to go to the Lindsey Sterling event with an investigator. Lindsey Sterling played two songs, one at the beginning and the other at the end. She plays really well and it was neat being able to hear her play in person. My companion and I arrived early with our investigators so we were able to sit in the 5th row from the front in the middle, so they had a nice view. For the majority of the event she was talking about her story and what she believes in. She covered several gospel topics and it was cool to listen to her faith and story. It was a really good event and everyone enjoyed it. The Visitors' Center is an amazing place to have in the mission and it is great being able to go there.

Lindsey Stirling Performing at the Washington D.C. Visitors' Center

My companion and I gave a lot of service this last week. We've helped move 3 families, washed a car, picked up an oven, and coordinated getting a bed. We've kept pretty busy, but it has been fun. We also have been teaching several of the members family history and many of them are starting to find a lot of family names. 

I don't have a lot of time to write because today isn't a P-Day. They gave us a small amount of time to write our families today and they moved P-Day to the 4th of July this week. My companion and I are planning on going to a BBQ with some of the other missionaries and then probably head down to D.C.

P.S. I'm going to send the SD card home soon. Also I did get three Nauvoo postcards.

Youngest Brother, It sounds like you are really enjoying your new pet. I'm sure your having lots of fun with Blue now. It also sounds like Dad had a good first experience with the new parakeets in the house. Keep having fun this summer. Enjoy your new parakeet and teach him lots of new tricks.

Elder Braden Dahl