Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Visit to the Washington National Cathedral...Written 1-26-2015

It’s been a nice week. Today we went to the Washington National Cathedral. It's an Episcopalian Cathedral not Roman Catholic. The building has a lot of history: President Woodrow Wilson is buried there, MLK Jr. gave his last Sunday Sermon there. Several presidents and other historic figures (including people like Neil Armstrong) have had their public funerals there. It is a huge building and very interesting. I personally enjoyed the stained glass that was done it was very beautiful but it was a poorly lit day and my camera was struggling focusing on it.

To me it was an interesting building with deep history and art but it really lacked the feeling of Holy. It seemed as though God was something unobtainable and mysterious. It made God seem too grand, unfathomable, and far off for man. To me the building really focused on the theme found in Moses 1:10 instead of Moses 1:39. To me JSH 1:19 was very prevalent; everything said "to the glory of God" but the benefactors or a painting, stone, column, etc. wrote it all around. It was written all over in stone, wood, and brass but I didn't see it written on the hearts of those there.

I'm glad to know of the Restoration and that God isn't some far off figure but rather, our Loving Heavenly Father. He cares for us and let's us feel of His Holy Spirit and that it's not all about the grandeur of a place or the belittling of man. It led me to ponder the importance of knowing our relation with our Heavenly Father; that we are his children and he has a plan for each of us. That he wants us to return to him and he is the master planner for us. All of his creations are to help us return to him and prepare us to live like him. It is something obtainable for each and every one of us, but it is up for us to choose. I hope that you have a good week and everything continues to go well.


Elder Braden Dahl

Over 1 year in DC/Maryland!...Written 1-19-2015

This week has been nice. On Monday evening we went to a Family Home Evening with one of our member families. It was a fun night and we cooked Pastel de Tres Leches (three milks cake) afterwards and enjoyed it as a dessert. 

Tuesday we went to see one of the area's recent converts but he wasn't home but his less-active brother was home so we were able to visit with him and talk about him coming to church and increasing his knowledge of the gospel. My companion and I also went to one of our part-member families to visit with them. The husband who was not a member was home but he was not feeling well from some illness so we didn't really talk to him. We did visit with his wife and son and it was nice to see them because we really don't see them often at home. 

Wednesday our zone had interviews with President Cooke in the morning. My interview was pretty short and sweet but there was a lot of waiting and travel time to have it. It took up a good portion of the morning but it was still a nice time. After the interviews we traveled back to D.C. and had lunch at our new member's house. It was really good and my companion and I are continuing to teach him the new member lessons and enjoying the visits we have. We then went to U St. to see a new investigator. His less than 1-yr-old son recently died. His wife isn't a member but nearly all of her family is members in the Silver Spring Ward. We got wind of it from them and went to visit them and had the family also there testifying about the Plan of Salvation. It gave him a lot of comfort and we have a return appointment this coming Wednesday. We then went and checked up on two less-active families. They are doing all right and we are really pushing them to come to church and really trying to help them. They both like us a lot and hopefully they will make the decision to come to church soon.

On Thursday we had our last district meeting of the transfer and played some games afterwards. We then went as a district to IHOP and had their endless pancakes and had a fun time. We then did our weekly planning session and visited some families.

Friday we went and saw our new member and his family again and taught them. It was fun visiting with them and sharing a message with them. We also had our correlation meeting and reported to the Branch Mission Leader about our area. Right after that we had mutual and had a fun time with the youth playing soccer. There were a lot of people that came and it was a fun time with them.

On Saturday we finally got in contact with a less-active member that we had been trying to get a hold of for several days. We found out that she has been in the hospital for pneumonia and bronchitis. We biked down to George Washington University Hospital (near downtown) and visited with her for a while and gave her a blessing. After our visit at the hospital, we went to a less-active member's home and invited him to church. We then went over with a member to visit an investigator and had a short lesson with them. After that lesson we went and saw two members and visited with them.

Sunday we visited a less active family from Mexico and they really want to go to the temple and we talked to them about temples. In the evening we went to a “Why I Believe” fireside at the Visitors’ Center with a member family and enjoyed the night.

When President Eyring came the mood was very different. His theme was about discernment and loving the people to improve missionary work here. That was the third time we sang that song and I too was a little surprised that we sang that song there. Elder and Sister Eyring are already home now (middle of the transfer) and we have a new Visitors’ Center Director-Elder Fowler and his wife. 

My companion lives in the valley part of Oregon. They see snow every once in a while but he's never lived where there has been consistent snow. But D.C. doesn't really get that much snow so it's not too bad here.

So with transfers my companion and I are staying together again in the same area. This will be 5 transfers together. It’s unheard of to be together this long but I think we'll be first on the list if there ever needs to be a midnighting (quick transfer). No new companion, nor new area.

Elder Braden Dahl

President Eyring's Visit...Written 1-12-2015

This week has been very cold. Friday the high was in the lower 20s. It snowed Tuesday morning and we got a couple inches of snow. It was fun biking in the snow and not too bad to do so. It was an adventure and fun to try. Wednesday was a bit harder to bike because any road that wasn't salted was very icy and it's hard to bike in slippery ice. You slide downhill and your wheels just spin going uphill. It's not super bad but more fun. There is still a little snow and ice around but it's raining today (still very cold) so a lot of it has gone.

On Monday my companion and I along with our roommates went to dinner and a Family Home Evening at a member's home. It was really nice and we had a good time being there.

Tuesday was pretty busy for us where my companion and I had 8 lessons. We went and visited several less-active members in our area and are trying to help them come back to church and help with the problems and struggles they are having. Some of the lessons we had with our less-active members went extremely well and hopefully they will continue to progress. We also were able to see our new member and confirm an appointment with him and share a short lesson with him about the importance of coming to church. We also had the opportunity to briefly see one of our investigators and very briefly talk about the Plan of Salvation with her. In the evening we went to an active member's home and were able to share a lesson with them and get a return appointment with them for later in the week.

On Wednesday we had lunch over at our new member’s house and we were able to teach him the Plan of Salvation again. We had his sister, who was baptized just over a year ago, help with the lesson and we had a really enjoyable time. He wanted to go to the Visitors’ Center with us so my companion and I set up an appointment with him to go the following day.

Thursday we had a Facebook lesson with a recent convert that just moved into our area. He is doing all right but we are trying to help him do even better. We set up a follow up appointment with him on Monday and some members have even expressed their feelings about going out to see him win us. It's awesome! We also took our new member to the Visitors' Center after riding the train, bus, and walking a little. The sister missionaries played the Christus recording for us and then we watched “Meet the Mormons” with him. He enjoyed the movie, especially the part with the MMA fighter. It was a fun night and it was cool having our new member with us.

Friday Morning, I had music practice with the group that sang "Nearer My God to Thee" that we were performing the following day. I went with an English Elder in D.C. on exchanges and went up there while our companions went to a service project. I practiced with our group for a while and when we finished. My temporary companion and I bummed a ride to Wheaton where Brother JS was. He was going to give us a ride back down to our respective apartments because he was with some other elders up there in Wheaton, MD. We ate lunch at Costco and then drove back down to D.C. My companion and I were reunited and then we went and had a lesson with a member. In the evening we went to mutual and they had a good lesson to start and then we went and played soccer and ate pizza afterwards.  

Saturday we had a special meeting at 1pm. As you may or may not have guessed from the Mormon Newsroom post that President Eyring
President Henry B. Eyring and President Cooke (Mission President)

President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaking at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors' Center 1-10-2015
(see Elder Lim's blog post about President Eyring's visit for a perspective on what was spoken about in that meeting)

was in town to visit and release his younger brother, Elder Eyring from being the Visitors’ Center Director for the D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center. He spoke to us and gave a great talk. President and Sister Cooke also spoke as well as Elder and Sister Eyring. 

Elder Harden & Sister LoiAnne Eyring with President Peter & Sister Heather Cooke
It was an awesome meeting and my music group sang at the end of the meeting. It was a super good meeting and it was super enjoyable. The temple also got a new exhibit, a nine foot model of the temple cut out with a scale model of the inside of the temple as well. It looks really cool. After the meeting though, we went back to our area and visited a less-active member and trying to help her come to church the following Sunday. In the evening, we ate at a different less active's home that feeds us a ton. We invited our zone leaders (who are a part of our district) to come with us. They loved all the food and were very full by the end of it. 

On Sunday, my companion and I went to some meetings before church and then we had our Sacrament Meeting. The Elder's Quorum President fed us after church with spaghetti, calzones, and bread. It was super delicious. We also went to a member's home for dinner. It was a good day and we were able to see a few investigators as well. 

I'm glad that you gave a great talk in church and the family is doing well. I hope that you have a really good week and everyone does well.


Elder Braden Dahl
Elder Lim's blog post about President Eyring's visit

Feliz 2015...Written 1-5-2015

This week has been really good. On Monday we went and had a lesson with a less-active member after P-Day.

On Tuesday we had our Zone Conference, which went really well. They had a lot of workshops and a lot of good talks. It went really well and I learned a lot. They had workshops for the referrals we got, how to contact people, following up, etc. We had a break in the middle of the conference for lunch. We had a district breakout session after lunch to help us apply the things we learned at the conference. They also hit hard on the Focus 15 list for each ward/branch. After the conference we went to a less-active member’s home and taught her about the importance of coming to church. It went really well and the spirit was strong. We then went nearby to the Primary President's house and visited with her the first time since I've been here. Her husband isn't a member and we were able to teach him for a little bit and get to know their family. It was awesome.

Wednesday we had a fun day. We had to be in by 5pm for New Year's Eve. We went and had lunch at a less-active member's home and there was so much food and it was a really fun time. We then shared a message with her. We then immediately went to a dinner appointment with a new member in our area. It was great getting to know them. We also were able to review the restoration with them after the dinner. We did acknowledge 9pm being midnight in parts of Brazil but we really didn't do anything special.

Thursday we went back to the new member's home to have lunch and get to know them better. We had a great lesson and it was super fun. We then had our weekly planning session that went well. In the afternoon, my companion and I went to a wedding reception for the branch and we found and now have a potential investigator from it. It was a great event and everyone had a lot fun.

On Friday we went over to the recently baptized member’s house and visited with him and then had a lesson with their family. We invited them to come to mutual that evening. We ended up picking them up for mutual and played soccer with them.

Saturday we saw a less-active member and visited with her briefly, we invited her to church and informed her of the time change that was going to happen. It was a nice little visit. We tried to see a referral from a member in the Silver Spring Ward. They have a lot going on right now but they appreciated the stop by. My companion and I then went and saw an investigator of ours and we had a great lesson. They are actually reading the Book of Mormon and they said it is just like the Bible!

Sunday we switched church hours for the first time since the branch has been in the building. We started at 10am and when we started we probably only had 10 people there. It slowly filled and a lot of the English Ward showed up too. It was still a great meeting and a lot of great talks and lessons.

In response to your question; I have no idea how much I bike, I feel like 30 miles is way too high. I've never kept track of how much I've biked around so I don't even really have a guesstimate. I don't know distances to anything, just what we deem a short or far ride.

I hope you have a really good week and enjoy it.


Elder Braden Dahl