Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Silver Spring, MD-Week 2 & a New Suit...Written 3-16-2015

LDS family releases Spanish translation of 'Glorious'

Elder Braden Dahl with his companion in his 4th area-Silver Spring, MD
His companion is a native Spanish speaker from Canada
This week has been really nice and a bit crazy here. As I mentioned they changed our Ward boundaries two Sundays ago. Initially that had no effect on our area. However, the Glenmont Ward gained a very large geographical area that used to be part of the other Spanish Ward. The mission decided to give us the old part of the Silver Spring Ward because the sister missionaries are often at the Visitors' Center on shift, making it hard for them to visit everyone especially if the person lives far away. Also because Elder M served in that area when it was part of the Silver Spring Ward and he knows most of the members that live there already. So our new area just got doubled in size. We gave away a small part of our area with a few members to the bike elders on the west to give them some more members and lighten our load. It's exciting but a bit crazy getting it all figured out. Most of the members that live in the new part of the ward are in leadership in the Silver Spring Ward (and ironically 2/3 of the leadership in Glenmont is now in the Silver Spring Ward). So the changes to the boundaries are more gradual and they expect that most of the change will happen after Stake Conference in about a month when the leadership can be released and new members can be called to those positions. However, a few people were able to make the transition over to the Glenmont Ward yesterday at church. Many people in the ward welcomed them to their new ward which was great. 
The dark green area (toward the right) is the area that Elder Dahl & his companion, Elder M cover in Silver Spring, MD
This last week we finally got our area map made and put up after some effort. We were busy trying to get to know everyone this last week. We passed by most of the investigators given to us twice but they didn't answer or told us another time to stop by. It's been a bit difficult getting into contact with all of them. However, my companion and I have found a couple investigators on our own or with them help of members and we are very excited to be teaching them. The members here are great and they always want to help out and come out with us. My companion and I had members come out with us 6 of the 7 days last week. It's great having a strong member support in the ward. 

We are also trying to get to know some of the members that live here too. We tried to meet with a lot of them and stopped by to see if they were home. Most weren't home when we stopped by, but we did end up finding a few of them and getting to know them. When their not home we just knock around the building to find people possibly interested in the church and to get a feel for our new area. 

We still can ride our bikes if we choose and we did ride them one day in the rain when we were checking up on some people that lived close by. We can also use public transportation and whatever other mode of transportation. It's just our area is big and we need a car to head around to some of the farther parts of the area.

My companion is really nice and easy to get along with. His Spanish is great but he claims if it wasn't for church, he wouldn't really know any Spanish at all. I think he feels a bit more comfortable speaking French [than English], it's just been 6 months since he's spoken a lot of French.

As you probably already know, last Monday I went and got a new suit. I had been thinking about buying one for a while now since I haven't worn my grey suit since Germantown because it got a little big for me and now it's ginormous on me. My charcoal suit also has been really big on my for a while. President Cooke once rolled it up on me to show how big the suit had gotten on me. Since I'm in a car area it finally gave me the shove to get a new suit that would fit a lot better so if I started gaining weight I'd know really quickly and be able to do something about it quick. I've been saving up for a bit for a purchase of a new suit so I was totally fine and not heading over to debtor's prison for it, nor am I going to be living off scraps for the rest of the month. Anyways, I checked a couple of stores in the area to see their prices and I ended up going to Sears and found a black suit for a decent price and in my right size. It's 8 sizes smaller than my grey suit and 6 sizes smaller than my charcoal suit, no need to say more. It fits a lot better and I'm trying to stay in shape so that it continues to fit me well.

Have a great week. I love you lots.
Elder Braden Dahl

Here's a fun video. Elder Gabe Guerrero was one of Braden's roommates. Can you find Braden in this video? I found him in 4 photos...(Spoiler alert: answers below!)

It was posted in an article on Deseret News here:

LDS missionary takes a selfie every day for 2 years, posts video

Give up? Here are the 4 photos I found Elder Braden Dahl in...
They are all right around the 1 minute mark. (0:56, 0:58, 1:01 & 1:02)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

1st week in Silver Spring...Written 3-9-2015

It has been a really crazy but fun week. Tuesday was my last day in DC; My DC companion and I stopped by a few members and investigators homes to visit with them. I said a couple goodbyes but it was a nice day with some great lessons. Especially with one investigator who is just absorbing everything being taught to him.

Wednesday was the Transfer Meeting and we had it at the DC Stake Center instead of the Visitors' Center. Anyways, I have been transferred just out of the Beltway (I-495) in a brand new area called Glenmont Central (even though it covers nothing in Glenmont-it's that we're in the Spanish Glenmont Ward). They just created a third area in the ward and gave us parts of the preexisting Elder and Sister areas. I am with a new companion that was in my district in DC last transfer, Elder M. We are essentially whitewashing the area but luckily we have a little help from the Elders and Sisters that used to cover our area in the middle. It's an adventure starting from ground zero but it's a very promising area. We have a brand new apartment (we just opened it), new area, new companion, everything new. It's been a little difficult getting started and meeting the members and investigators but we're hitting he ground running and doing our best. We were able to meet several members already and set up various appointments with many members (active and less-active). This is a car area (boo) and now I'm trying to remember how to drive again and all the other stuff that comes with driving. My address is in Silver Spring, MD. We are in a large 2 man apartment so no roommates. I don't know everyone in my district (White Oak District) because district meeting was cancelled on Thursday due to the large amount of snow we received. But there is one set of Elders and one set of Sisters who are serving in my ward (Glenmont Ward).

We had to wait a bit to get into our apartment because the mission office lost the keys to it but we eventually got in and we have a set of keys now. We took the Elders car and now they have a small portion of their former area and they're on bike. I'm driving a Subaru Legacy now. 

We have a lot of people in our area and its a pretty good size (not anything compared to Germantown). It covers mostly Montgomery County with a bit of Prince George County. The I-495 is the bottom boundary and the toll 200 is the Northern Boundary. The western boundary is the 193 to arcola rd to kemp mill road and then up the little river. The eastern boundary is the 201 to the 212 to the I-95

We've done some service in the Ward now. We've met a few people and we are enjoying being here. It's a little tough but we enjoy the challenge. Everyone seems pretty nice. On Sunday they changes the ward boundaries. It didn't effect our official area, technically there was an area below us in the former ward boundaries that we unofficially covered the members there. We only met two of those families however so we just passed the rest of the list onto the Silver Spring Ward where they'll now attend. It's going to be a fun transfer.

Elder Braden Dahl

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Hello Transfer Week...Written 3-2-2015

I'm going to go back and forth between my questions to Braden's answers. His letter makes more sense when you know what Mom asked him...

Mom: So did you have church cancelled today? Are you and all you fellow missionaries less actives now?
So church wasn't cancelled yesterday and a lot of people showed up yesterday. It was nice to have church again especially since it was the last Sunday of the Transfer.

Mom: Did you actually get to go to the temple last week or was that a snow day too?We did go to the temple last Wednesday and we haven't been totally locked inside. Yesterday it freeze rained pretty good and we could go out only on foot to appointments. Luckily we had three appointments so we were out most of the day but it was rather slippery when walking. They are trying to have us out as much as possible but this week wasn't nearly as bad as the previous one.

Mom: Can you guys play games like charades, zoo, Sticks, Soduku, checkers, chess, board games, etc.? Sister Cooke should plan the next training on...what to do when you're stuck inside!When we stay inside we can play board games so it's not too bad. Today is actually pretty nice.

Mom: I officially have paid for your new iPad. Its not cheap! And you'll get to keep it. Maybe if I'm lucky it can be the Dahl Family iPad and go around the world with our family's missionaries...but most likely it will just be yours for college I guess.We'll see about the Dahl Family iPad. They claimed at the meeting that they had Apple add additional filters built into the iPad, so it work great. I haven't been on Facebook lately so I haven't seen anything on here but from the way Matthew wrote about [the Gatsby Dance], it sounded like a lot of fun.

It's been a good week here despite the weather. We were able to visit some of people and visit with them. We picked up a former investigator again that called us asking to come to church and visit with us again. It was super cool and ice to see them again. They are very nice and want to learn more again and already know a lot about the gospel. Another investigator was a caretaker of a member family and we had shared messages with him before but he hadn't really payed much attention. We were at this member's home and invited him to listen to our message but he declined. However, later on in our visit he came out again and asked us how we can know which church is true. It was an awesome moment and we were able to teach him about the Restoration of the Gospel and how he can know for himself the truth of all things. He really liked that he can pray to God and receive an answer. We had a lot of awesome lessons and a great opportunities teaching some of our less-actives and investigators.

So I'm pretty sure that you know when transfers are better than I do. Transfers are this Wednesday and everyone finds out where they are going on Wednesday morning. All we know is if we're staying or leaving and I am leaving my current area. So next week you get to see where I end up.
Elder Braden Dahl

News the from Dahl Apartment in DC...Written 2-23-2015

Winter has finally arrived here in DC. We've hit record lows for the weeks and we've had 3 snow days (well 2 and a half). It's cool going out in super cold weather and watching the snow fall but not always the most entertaining thing being inside all day. Saturday it snowed a lot here and then freeze rained in the evening. The Zone leaders and 3 other elders were at our apartment to meet up and go to a temple recommend interview when the storm hit so we had a fun time hanging out together. Three of the Elders ended up staying the night because the amount of snow we had. They cancelled Sacrament Meeting again this week again. It feels super weird not going to church let alone 2 weeks in a row, one more week and all the missionaries here become less-active members. I don't know about thicker skin [from living in a cold area] but I've been keeping warm and haven't been getting cold so far. I'm definitely more used to the cold temperatures now and layering always helps.

It has been a really awesome week despite the wintery weather. My companion and I were able to visit with several investigators and less-active members. One of our progressing investigators accepted a Baptismal Date. He is the caretaker of a less-active member we recently reactivated. He sparked some interest in the church and has been listening in and participating in lessons with us. We invited him to be baptized and he accepted. We have begun teaching him and preparing him for his coming baptism. He is very open about hearing and accepting the gospel. We also were able to visit several other less-active members and a couple of investigators. It's a little hard to stay in communication with all of them due to the weather but my companion and I have been managing.

I'm glad you're finding a lot more in our Family History lines. I've been working a bit on some cousin lines and reserving a ton of names for the temple. Our temple trip is his week and it's always great to do the work there. Also the mission is planning another temple trip where we can do 5 vicarious baptisms for our family files names. It's always great to do family history and further the work of the lord. 

Elder Braden Dahl

P.S.-The worldwide rollout of the new iPad program is rolling out next week. We'll be getting new iPads that are much more restricted sometime soon (1-3 weeks). We won't be on Facebook for a few months and they'll be some coming changes. We're having a huge meeting tomorrow with 2 General Authorities about it tomorrow but from what we know now I'll probably have to purchase the iPad, no FB for a while, a lot of training, and the U.S. is now all getting iPads.

Today was a fun P-Day today. We went with the Zone Leaders and the Mission Office Elders to Point Lookout in Maryland. It's the southernmost point in our mission. It was fun going out and seeing the Chesapeake Bay and they had a small lighthouse there (which was closed). It was a long drive but a lot of fun to visit but definitely chilly today. We took some photos and enjoyed it a lot. Plus I passed through California and Hollywood today, two of the cities in Maryland you have to pass through.

Today's Adventure-Point Lookout near St. Mary's River State Park & the city of Lexington Park, MD. Point Lookout is at the bottom of the mission. Technically it is the Atlantic Ocean (in the form of the Chesapeake Bay) and where the Potomac River hits the Chesapeake. There was ice in the water and plenty of snow around.


It appears it is about 1.5 hours to drive (by car) or a
3-hour Metro ride from Elder Braden Dahl's apartment to this place.

Elder Dahl with Elder Van Wagoner