Monday, August 31, 2015

Hola...Written 8-31-2015

I hope that you are having a really good week. I hope things have calmed down and everything is readjusting now that my oldest brother is off at school. Hopefully, my next oldest brother is adjusting to being the oldest at home and everyone is helping out and doing their part. I'm sure Mom is glad that that whole ordeal is done and she can move on to her next big project.

Today has been a pretty mellow day. We spent a good part of the day cleaning up the apartment because it was really trashed when I arrived. We've been throwing away tons of stuff and getting everything organized again. This apartment has had someone finish their mission here for the last 4 transfers and when people leave the mission they leave behind a ton of stuff. It's been the great purge from the apartment. We also had a nerf gun war where some of the new missionaries stopped by and our roommates and us loaded all the nerf guns we could and unloaded on them for about 15-20 minutes while we gave them each 2 "peashooter" nerf guns. They lasted a lot longer than we thought they would, but in the end since they were out numbered and way out gunned, they surrendered. It was a fun little activity for the day.

Things have been calming down a lot more this week. My companion and I have been really able to get into the swing of things. We are out teaching a lot more and working hard in the area. We are meeting more of the less-actives in the area and we are finding a couple new investigators. We are working really hard with 3 in particular all of which are in part-member families. One of them is a 9-year-old boy that has a phobia of going underwater. We are working with him and getting more comfortable with the idea. He is starting to get more comfortable with the idea and doesn't burst into tears when we mention it to him now. He's a really cool kid and he is really into video games like the new Super Smash Bros, Minecraft, Street Fighter, etc. He knows a ton about the gospel and has a great testimony; he just has to get over his fear. Another investigator is a lady that is the daughter-in-law of the old Elder's Quorum President. She and her husband are really trying to turn their lives around. She wants to get baptized but it's more of a matter of scheduling a date. Also, we have the husband of a member that's really cool. He is keeping his commitments but is just a little weary of getting baptized right now. He is a completely different guy than from last year. The best thing was that all three of them came to church this Sunday which was awesome.

We have been having some great experiences this week. We have been having these great lessons lately trying to ask a lot more questions. People have really been opening up to us and we are gaining their trust. Every day seemed to have its miracle. Tuesday, a member opened up to us how they are preparing to enter the temple but are struggling with tithing. My companion and I were able to bear testimony of the true blessings of tithing. Wednesday, we accidentally tracted into our Ward Mission Leader's home and his non-member wife was a lot more open to us and now we are trying to teach her again in a much less 'preach-y' way. Thursday,  the English elders had us come over to a pass off a lesson to a less-active member and her non-member husband that speak Spanish and want to go to the Spanish Ward. The room felt like a pressure cooker for the spirit while we were there.

Friday, we had a great lesson with that woman we are focusing on teaching and she committed to come to church and she wants to be baptized. Saturday, we were working with the 9-year-old boy about baptism. Plus, we found a family from Sierra Leone that is super interested in the gospel and committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon that we are passing off to the English elders. Lastly, on Sunday, my companion and I talked to a guy in the road who was on the phone with his sister. He told us that she was saying for the last half hour how she was trying to find God. Although she ended up not wanting to hear more, her brother who we were with, invited her to our church and he said that he'd be interested in hearing more about us. It was a week filled with awesome miracles and experiences.

I got a lot of packages this week. I have been enjoying the ties that you sent to me and yes I have been wearing them. I have been wearing my Muggle shirt from Aunt D and using the nerf gun too. I also got a lot of "Sunshine" from the G's and D's down south. I received letters from the N's, and Grandma D. Tell everyone thank you for the birthday gifts and I'll try to send them all a thank you letter as well. I'll keep an eye out for anything else.

I hope you have another great week and that all goes well. If I'm not mistaken my next P-Day will be on Tuesday because of a Ward activity, so don't think I died if you don't get any letter next Monday.

Elder Braden Dahl

My roommates and companion

Our new mission our dreams!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Déjà vu 2.0...Written 8-25-2015

I hope that you are doing well and that your week went well too. I'm sure there has been lots of stress around as of late with Mom taking my brother off to college. I'm sure they'll both be fine but everything in the moment just seems too hot to handle.

I cc'd you in my email to Mom since I know she's probably got a lot of other things on her mind right now and will be off in Utah today. I'm back in the Gaithersburg 2nd Ward and it's been a lot of fun. It's a different area than before but I really am enjoying it.

I'm glad everyone is finally getting off and starting school. I'm sure it will be a really different, new chapter with the next oldest brother out of the house now too. Don't stress out about it too much and I'm sure everything will work out fine. At least you can call him all the time still. Plus he'll be just fine at BYU. Tell the G family that I send my condolences and love to them. I'm sure it's crazy hard having their dog pass away.

This week has been a pretty good one. On Monday and Tuesday my companion, Elder H and I went out and visited some of the members and investigators in Mount Pleasant. I said a couple goodbyes but we were pretty busy. I finished packing up and got all ready for the transfer meeting.

Wednesday we had some elders with a car pick us up in DC and drive us over to the transfer meeting. So the big news is that I've been transferred. I'm sure you're dying to know everything. So my new companion is Elder P from Mesa, Arizona. We are serving in the Montgomery Village North area in the Gaithersburg 2nd Ward. So I'm back in the same Ward I started my mission in just in a different area (again). My first two areas in the ward were Germantown and Montgomery Village South. So I'm back in G2 and back in a car. It's weird being back here since its been over a year since I left. It's another big déjà vu moment for me. I'm seeing people like O, Hermano D, J, etc again in church (not my area though). We went and saw a few members in the area and I was introduced to a few people I didn't previously get the chance to meet. Just so you are aware my roommates are Elder C born in Erechim (Erexim), Brazil (in the Porto Alegre North Mission) but lived the majority of his life around Salt Lake City but briefly in Sorocaba, Brazil (by São Palo). Also Elder T again born in Sacramento, CA but lived for a bit in Tonga and then moved to Washington State. I'm sure you're happy to know I've been safe and sound this whole time. No problems here only hard work and fun. My new address is in Gaithersburg, MD.

Thursday my companion and I had a really great lesson with a referral that we received. It is a Mexican family and we were able to catch them at home and teach them the restoration. It was a lesson with a good spirit and then they invited us to come by again. We then stopped by an active member's home to see how she was doing. It turns out she was pretty sick and feeling very under the weather. We were able to offer her a blessing and give her some comfort. It was a small miracle that Heavenly Father gave to us. On our way out, we contacted a man that was really interested in the church. He took us talking to him as a message of God and he really wanted to go to the Visitors' Center and see what it was like. I was excited to have such another amazing experience.

Friday and Saturday we were able to contact a few people and see an investigator or two. It is nice getting to know all the people we are working with here and begin to watch their progression. We have this awesome investigator that is in a part-member family. He used to be uninterested but has really sparked desires as of late. He's learning little by little but he's doing almost everything that we ask him to do. I am glad I get the chance to know him now and help him come unto Christ.

On Sunday we went to church and it was fun seeing so many familiar faces again. We had a bunch of meetings after church so I couldn't really talk to anyone after church but I did get some hellos in before church. Elder Perkins of the [First Quorum of the] Seventy came after church for a stake missionary correlation that the missionaries, ward mission leaders, and bishops were invited to. We talked about missionary work in the stake and learned a lot of new things. 

 Elder Anthony D. Perkins

My companion and I then went with the Germantown Elders to Hermana O's house for dinner. It was a fun night and we had a great lesson as well.

The reason we didn't have P-Day on Monday was because we had Elder Perkins of the Seventy come and have a mission tour. Seneca and DC Zones had their "revelatory experience" (meeting) on Monday for the larger portion of the day. It was really a great day. I was selected as one of the six interviewees for the 2 zones. It was cool be interviewed by a general authority and it was mostly concerning the mission and how I feel about it. It was really great. Elder Perkins gave wonderful workshops and we had some great practicing for missionary work. He talked a lot about being diligent, finding, and inviting. Afterwords, we went to a member's home and had dinner and a lesson.

So I guess both my birthday's have fallen on a P-Day this year. I just started using my new iPad case from one set of grandparents which is really nice and I received a lovely card from the other grandparents. The Zone Leaders usually end up going to the Mission Office on Saturday to pick up mail and supplies for the week in Seneca. I don't really have any plans today nor do I really know what to do. It's been nice to relax today. Hermana O and Sister Cooke already sent me birthday texts. My roommates made me waffles this morning which was really nice especially since it's my favorite breakfast.

I hope you and my brother drive safe and have a great trip. I don't have wifi in my new apartment but you should be leaving in 5 minutes if all goes well. Take care and be safe.

Elder Braden Dahl

Monday, August 17, 2015

One and Done...Written 8-17-2015

Well I'm glad to hear things are still normal at home. I don't think there is ever a dull moment at a Dahl house. There always has to be something going on. I'm glad your e-prep project went well and that everything is up to date now. I'm sure it was a pretty daunting task to take on but worth it in the end.

The Taylor Swift Concert sounds like it was really fun. Although it seems like it was a bit of an excursion overall between what you and Mom said it sounds like it was a fun night. I'm glad you got to enjoy her concert. It must have been a really fun night.

I'm glad everyone's getting into the swing of school again. Hopefully Mom is not stressing out too much over the crazy school schedules and my oldest brother heading off [to college].

This week was really good. We had two investigators attend sacrament meeting and we had the confirmation of AM. We were out teaching a lot and it was a fun week. Transfers are this Wednesday and I will be leaving my current area in Mount Pleasant East. We'll see where I end up but it should be a fun new adventure.

It has been a busy and good week. In the evening on Monday Elder H and I went to a member's home nearby and had a great Family Home Evening with them and our recently baptized friend-AM. It was a really fun night and a great lesson.

We kept busy throughout the week. Teaching a lot of people, particularly investigators. We've been focusing on a part-member/less-active family a lot lately. They even came to church in Sunday and stayed for all 3 hours. They were a bit nervous at first but ended up really enjoying it at the end. Their kids all loved primary and wanted to tell them all about it.

On Friday I was on exchanges with the DC 3rd Ward East area. I was with Elder B, an English elder that came out this transfer. It was a really good time and we saw a lot of awesome miracles. We found a less-active member whose records aren't in DC. A referral that Elder H and I sent them the day before (just a phone number) found us and gave us their address. We also moved a member. Plus we were able to teach a lot of people that day. It was a really fun day and I got to know Elder B a lot better.

Saturday we went to a dinner at a buffet for one of the members in the branch. She was having her 80-somethingth birthday and invited the missionaries over to celebrate. It also happened to be Elder Hz's birthday and it was a fun big celebration.

Sunday was a great day! AM was confirmed in Sacrament Meeting. So it was amazing to see that. We had some really good classes as well. Also in the evening we had "Why I Believe" at the Visitors' Center. Jason Hinds, a track and field athlete spoke there. I also sang with a group singing "I Believe in Christ." Unfortunately, they are no longer recording performances for some reason so only pictures from now on. Sorry about that. It wasn't that good of a performance but it was mediocre.

So transfers are this Wednesday and I'll be leaving Mount Pleasant East. It was a quick transfer and now I'm gone. It was really fun being able to be back in Mount Pleasant again even if it was for a short while. I really enjoyed being the east area and it was a great adventure. I won't know where I'll be until Wednesday at the Transfer Meeting. I could go anywhere and I'm not really sure where I'll end up. I'm excited to see where I'll go and serve in my next area. It will be another great transfer. It's crazy how fast the time is flying by. It was great serving with Elder H and I learned a lot from him. It was fun being with him and serving with all the other missionaries in the city.

I hope you have another great week and that things don't get too crazy over at the Dahl house and I loved the update from you. I'm glad to hear that everyone is doing well and getting into the swing of school. Don't stress out too much with my older borther and school and eagle; it will all work out.

"Because I Have Been Given Much" - Accompanied by Sister Oliver
Left to Right: Elders Dahl, Fisher, Hartzog and Tutu'u
Uploaded 8-11-2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Baptism and Baseball...Written 8-10-2015

Don't worry about writing me late. I just figured you've getting tired of writing since its been something you've had to do for a bit now.

Maybe the time is passing for you slowly. But time here seems to be flying by. I can't believe it's already August. And it's already the middle of August. I still can't figure where all the time went.

This week has been nice. We did find some more new investigators this week. My companion and I have been keeping pretty busy and enjoying ourselves. It's crazy to think that summer is coming to its end. It seems like everyone just started their summer breaks. I hope one of my brothers is enjoying school and the rest of the family is enjoying the last few days before school.

Monday and Tuesday we had several appointments and were able to visit a lot of investigators and members.

Wednesday the mission went to the Temple a week early since the temple is closed for maintenance until October. It's always great going to temple and you always leave feeling better.

On Thursday we had our Weekly Planning session in the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress. It was cool to do it there and it's nice saying you've been able to use the main reading room of the Library of Congress.

Saturday we had a "Focus" in one of the areas in the district. Basically the district I'm in showed up in the area and went finding for people to teach. My companion and I had a great miracle. We went finding for someone and they weren't home. We knocked the two doors next to the home we were knocking and no one was home at either house. Then we saw someone walk up to the first side house (second door) we knocked. We asked him if he knew that person we were looking for and he told us no. We asked if he was interested with the same response. We then asked if he knew if anyone around would be interested and he told us a house nearby that might have a Mormon there. We knocked the door and we found a less-active member that hasn't been to church in years. He served a mission and went to BYU. He is really cool and still has the spark of his testimony. He was shocked that we found us. It was great being guided by the Lord. We taught him and we now have his info for the elders we were focusing for.

We also had the opportunity on Saturday to go the Washington Nationals Baseball game in the

evening. The elders in the district met up right before for a potluck dinner and then we all went down as a district and enjoyed the game. The Washington Nationals played the Colorado Rockies; the Nationals won the game. It was a really fun night. We were even able to bring a recently reactivated member with us to the game.

Sunday was a pretty busy day. We had the baptism of one of the investigators we are teaching. She is the sister of a member and is really solid. It was so great seeing her get baptized this week and it was such a superb spiritual experience. There were a ton of members from the branch that attended her baptism and it went great.

Today was a fun day. My companion and I went downtown to see some of the sights. We went over to the FDR Memorial and enjoyed being there. We then walked over to the George Mason Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial and checked both of those out. It was fun being down to the sights again and I took a few more pictures down there.

I hope you have a great week and enjoy yourself.
Elder Braden Dahl

Mom: Sweet! I knew the baptism was coming up but I didn't know it was yesterday! How exciting!

Braden: Yes I still have both my [Washington Nationals] hats from last year. It was a fun game on Saturday. Not much left really planned for the mission. I think we have a General Authority (70) coming end of August. But I can't really think of any other major mission event coming up soon.

Mom: Sister M sent us her pic of you & Elder Haggard in front of Jefferson Memorial this morning too. Fun to see so much of you today! 😄

Elder Braden Dahl: Awesome. Yeah she asked for your phone number and I couldn't remember it for the life of me. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing. However, I still do remember the home phone and dad's cell. Luckily, I still remember your email.

Sister M: Ran into your son today at the Jefferson Memorial. He's doing great & he says he loves you!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Upcoming Baptism...Written 8-3-2015

Tell Grandpa and Grandma W Congratulations on their calls. [Called to Family and Church History Headquarters Mission in Salt Lake City, UT] It should be something really exciting for them and it will be another great experience. I'm also glad that you are feeling better and that Matthew has been a great chauffeur. It's crazy to think in 3 weeks you'll be taking him off to school. Time seems to just be flying by. 

Sorry I know so much about DC; I guess I've just been living here for the last 20 months and have picked up a thing or two. My letter to Dad had a lot of the touristy things to do. I'll see if I can get into contact with some of the people I worked with in the past and see if we can visit with them. The hard thing is it's just pretty far out and I can't really have a lot of communication with them right now. But will get to that later. I've still got plenty of time. Walking will be for most of the touristy stuff downtown but besides that there wont be terribly much walking. I'll plan on minimal walking. If there is anything Dad or you (tourist, cuisine, what normal people do, chapels, historical sites, etc) just let me know. You're the better researcher of the group. We'll probably drive around where I served, see some of the chapels, maybe visit a couple sacrament meetings, and try to see a few people. It's kind of up to transfers and where I go and what I do but it should be fun.

This week has been a good one. My companion, Elder H and I have been working hard in the area and doing well. We picked up a few more new investigators that we've started teaching. I met someone that knows D. L. [Braden's 12-year old scout leader] that we GQ'd [General Quesiton'd] and I met a couple from HB that recently moved out here while on the Metro. They even still have their 714 number. It's been certainly an interesting week.

We also have a few people that we are working with that are preparing for baptism. One of them is coming up soon and it should be awesome. She's been going through some difficulties but has been working through them with the help of the Lord. It's great seeing the steps she is making toward baptism. There are some awesome people in the area that we have begun to work with and it is always exciting to see their progression. It's always great being out here as a missionary. DC never ceases to have a great adventure. 

I hope that you have another great week and that all continues to go well.

Elder Braden Dahl

Touring Washington DC...Written 8-3-2015

Just feel free to look up places and if you want to go anywhere by all means let's go.

All of the things on your list are pretty easy to do. The only thing I am unsure of is the Reflecting Pools because when the weather starts getting cold here they drain every fountain, pool, or artificial body of water to prevent freezing and damage to the pool/fountain. Middle of November it should still be there but it's really up to Mother Nature. Anyways, the best way to do the memorials/monuments (Korea, Vietnam, Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, WWII-but could also include FDR, MLK Jr, George Mason, and signers of the Declaration of Independence) is in the morning. Most of the museums and other structures open at 10am. What you do is you head out early and walk to the memorials and monuments you want to see and then go check out the rest at 10. The must see memorials and monuments are Korea, Vietnam, Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, and WWII. The others I mentioned are still very well done and beautiful just less known (there are a billion other even smaller memorials or statues all around DC but usually not worth the visit unless significant to you).

As fair warning be prepared for some walking. If you're downtown you are lucky to get a parking spot within 10 blocks of where you want to be. Parking is expensive and usually pretty short term and it's just literally hours of circling around places (Think like downtown Los Angeles or San Fransisco). The Residence Inn in Arlington, VA is .3 miles away from a metro station (pentagon city) on the blue and yellow lines. If going downtown use the metro rail and walk. Basically, Maryland you need a car (suburbia), DC a car is good but there is some traffic (Big city) but not terrible, downtown=no car. We'll probably walk and metro around downtown. Use a Smartrip card (metro card that is cheaper than a fair card, and they save a dollar each way and are super cheap ($10-$2 for the card $8 on he card and you can reload them). I have one extra, I'll work on acquiring another extra card. It might be a good idea to do some practice walks around town before you come here. I'll keep walking to an absolute minimum but downtown the National mall is 2 miles long and requires some walking.
I'm no expert on Virginia, but Arlington is also a good morning destination. Have your walking shoes on though. Tomb of the unknown solider will probably have a change of the guard every hour because it should be the off season (if not every 30 min for the busy season), also in Arlington is the raising of the flag, Iwo Jima statue, eternal flame (JFK burial site), and the Arlington house. Arlington is a lot of walking around.

Capitol Tours can be reserved in advance or show up and hope for tickets (just like the Washington Monument). For scheduling wise I'd recommend reserving them because it's a hit or miss if you show up to grab tickets (I got lucky last time because they had 2 extra tickets for the tour). Same process as you did for the Washington Monument just on the Capitol Building site. 

This is very important if you want to go to the White House; you need to work on that ASAP, as in now. It usually takes around 2-3 months for clearance if I remember correctly. Go to the White House website and get info for the tour. You have to send a bunch of stuff (SS#, ID, DOB, etc) to get clearance to enter. Make sure it exactly matches your ID you bring (and please bring some form of photo ID) otherwise they won't let you in when you get there. It takes some time but they have all the info you need on the website. So sign us all up if you want to go and try and schedule it when you can.

DC Temple and Visitors' Center is super easy. So transfer meeting (aka where you'll pick me up) is located at the DC Stake center which is literally next door to the Temple and Visitors' Center. If you'd like, we can go there after transfers or on any other day. Sessions for the LDS Washington D.C. Temple run
Tuesday–FridayEvery hour from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; every 30 minutes from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
SaturdayEvery 30 minutes from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

and there is clothing rental there as well. The Visitors' Center is open everyday 10am-9pm. Also during our visit, that Sunday will be "Why I Believe" at 7pm. An event at the Vistors' Center where they have some recent converts speak and a keynote speaker. The whole mission will be there.

I'm sorry I don't know much about what's outside of the mission to visit but Virginia has Mount Vernon, Air Force Memorial, Pentagon, and 9-11 pentagon memorial, also the larger Smithsonian Air and Space museum. I don't know much outside of Southern Maryland and DC. If you or Mom have anything you are dying to do outside of Maryland or DC, feel free to explore the east coast.

Some things I would recommend doing in DC include (but are not limited to) the following...I'll give you my reasoning but if you don't sound interested in it we don't have to go because I've been to these places and have seen them. I'm just throwing some out there for you to enjoy. 
National Museum of Natural History-the biggest of the Museums on the mall, it has a bit of everything: Hope Diamond, tons of jewels, mummies, dinosaurs, taxidermy, etc 
National Museum of American History-Nauvoo Sunstone, Nauvoo temple historical plate, Dorothy's red ruby slippers, star spangled banner 
National Air and Space Museum-Wright Brothers' plane, big jets, airplanes, spirit of St Lois, rockets, military aircraft
Library of Congress-nice building, Jefferson library, main reading room, Gutenberg bible, unfortunately currently can't see a first edition of the Book of Mormon anymore :(
Kennedy Center-Mom's alley-don't have to see a show but they do tours you see the hall of nations, the hall of states, and their main theaters.
National Archives-Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Constitution.
Holocaust Memorial Museum-sobering experience but a popular destination.
National Gallery of Art-some great art, have to be careful in some rooms but there is some great Art and artists in there.
National Gallery of American Art/National Portrait Gallery-portraits of every president, Joseph Smith, and Brigham Young.
Elder Braden Dahl