Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Hallelujah! Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!!! What a beautiful weekend it has been here in San Diego! I realized last week that I left out a lot of details about my new area, but luckily my dad is always there to remind me :)

My new companion is Elder Gunther! He came into the mission one transfer after me, and we actually had the same teachers in the MTC! He is from Mapleton, Utah and is a great companion! He is the district leader for our district of six missionaries (four sisters [two of which serve in the Mormon Battalion] and it has been a blast so far.  We have a car, but parking here is somewhat ridiculous, so we do a lot of walking. We have to leave to all of our appointments way early because there are so many people to talk to on the streets! And of all ethnicities! This past week we talked to people from Somalia, Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia, Puerto Rico, Columbia, Argentina, Mexico, and Canada! What an awesome group!? The language barrier for some of them was very hard to work around!

This area is filled with such humble people! Everyone works so hard and it has been so much fun to teach these amazing people. It has been weird to go back to solely Spanish work here in Barrio 20 (20th Ward in English), but it has been a lot of fun too. There are WAY more people here that speak Spanish than English, so that's nice :) Sorry Dad, I can't see the zoo from my window, but you're right I'm pretty close to it again!

I got so spoiled again! Elder Gunther and his previous companion were putting in some good work, and there are a lot of investigators that we are teaching. We had four of them come to church yesterday! Again, I a super blessed to be here! Pray for Jesus Fierro (an awesome man that overcame drugs a year ago and is now looking for God in his life), Maria Juarez (who just needs to get married to be baptized, and her "husband" of 25 years gave the ok), and Blanca & Ruben Toscano. Blanca and Ruben are a miracle. We received them as a referral from our ward mission leader, Hermano Mejia (this man is an angel), who just met them while he was working (he's a maintenance man for apartments) and invited them to meet with us. Hno. Mejia met them last week, we got the referral on Thursday, on Saturday we had our first lesson, and on Sunday they came to church!

They are so cool! In our lesson we only showed them the Easter video Hallelujah, and explained about what we do as missionaries, and the member that we had with us testified about how the gospel has blessed his family.  We also got to learn a lot about them, like how they just moved here from Columbia eight months ago. It was awesome, but we didn't have time to teach anything about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, or anything like that. You know, the really important things. But we figured that it was Easter Sunday, so everything would be pretty basic....right?

No....the first talk in Sacrament meeting was on Patriarchal Blessings, Gospel Principles was on the Word of Wisdom, and then they had a special class for the Priesthood that they thought it would be best for investigators not to be there, so they sent us out with the Deacons Quorum....I'm not going to lie I was terrified of what Blanca and Ruben were going to think about the whole experience. Right after church we talked to them.....and they loved it! Miracles still exist! ray for them!

The weather is SO different! I have been bringing a sweater with me this past week because I have been freezing! I had forgotten that March was still considered a cold month in some parts of the world!

We didn't do anything special for Easter. A very nice family gave us a food, and so we had our Easter feast of turkey and cheese sandwiches and blue Peeps back at the apartment, and then went back out to tell the whole world about how we are able to find new life through Jesus Christ! That night our ward had a devotional and us missionaries sang a musical number! Oh I almost forgot about how Elder Gunther, another member of the ward, and I had a solo in a special musical number in Sacrament Meeting. Yeah, we didn't know about that until we showed up to church on Sunday.....it's good to be back to Spanish work :)

I hope that I filled in all of the blanks! I love you all! What an amazing time of year it is right now! Easter Sunday, followed soon after by General Conference. I can't wait!

Elder Dahl

1. Look what Elder Gunther has? It's a face massager thingy! It's incredible!
2. Our ward mission leader bought pizza or us after we practiced our musical number for church! He's the best!
3. Elder Gunther found a lizard!
4. Easter Feast!
5. Don't ask me what this is....we are having way too much fun here in Barrio 20!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Goodbye Imperial Valley

Transfers are in and Elder Dahl is out! I am being transferred from El
Centro to Barrio 20! We received the news yesterday at 10:00 am, and I
have been going crazy ever since! You would think that a whole day was
enough time to say goodbye to everyone, but no- not even close. The
Imperial Valley has a special place in my heart, and the people there
really are a Zion-like people. I love them.

Miguel Sanchez was baptized last Sunday! The service was held right
after Stake Conference, so the room was PACKED! That family has
changed my life, and I am so grateful that my last six months was
filled with each one of them. It was absolutely amazing to see him
into the water and be completely clean from his past life. I will miss
them dearly.

George....so that took a turn for the worse. We taught him the word of
wisdom, and at first he was all for it, even though he has had an
addiction to coffee for almost his whole life. On Wednesday evening he
gave it up. He was clean until Friday and then his body shut down on
him and he had an "episode" which then caused him to tell us the next
day that he was done. He said he would continue to read the Book of
Mormon, but he was done meeting with us and going to church. Elder
Laws and I were shocked, and a little bit hurt, but the Lord has a
plan for everyone. George will find his way.

I am now in City Heights, CA! It is in the same zone as my area in
Logan Heights! It is basically just as ghetto, but there are a ton of
different ethnicities here! I will elaborate more next week after we
do more exploring. This is my first Spanish Ward that I have served
in! I'm not going to lie, at first I was a little disappointed because
it is in intercity San Diego, and other than the valley I spent my
whole mission in that kind of area, but then I realized something kind
of cool. 20th Ward is the mother unit of all Spanish units here in San
Diego. Sweetwater 3rd, La Mesa, and  Logan Heights are all break-off
branches of 20 Ward, and so I feel complete now that I am serving
here. If anybody needs a tour guide of the ghettos of San Diego, I can
definitely help!

Elder Dahl

The same friend from Food Bank that helped us get into the fair also
invited us over to her ranch! We had so much fun!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Monetary Miracles

This week has flown by way faster than I ever thought possible! Oh my
heavens I can't believe we are winding down to the last week of the
transfer. This last week was filled with a lot of craziness, so
hopefully I don't forget anything.

On Saturday I went on exchanges with my former companion, Elder Clair!
He lives in our apartment, but he and Elder Hampton cover the southern
part of 1st Ward on bikes, so I got to be on bikes for the day! It was
WAY fun! At one point we took a shortcut and we went underneath a
train! While it was moving! Nah just kidding it hasn't moved in
forever. To end off the night they had a baptism and we got to go!
Can't get enough  of those here in the valley!

Then on Sunday was miracle central. At first it seemed like everything
was going downhill faster than a speeding bullet. Church started and
we had no investigators there! The Sanchez family wasn't even there!
We at first were pretty sad, but then decided to switch from "pity
missionary mode" to "mission impossible missionary mode" and made some
calls. George and the Sanchez family were last because of the time
change! George made it a little bit after sacrament began, and the
Sanchez family came at about 10:30, but then Miguel and us went to the
1st Ward sacrament meeting.

Now that's where the next miracle begins! When we walked into the 1st
Ward meeting a member called for us before it started and introduced
us to a young man named Jacob. Jacob is 20 and is thinking about going
to BYU for accounting, so he decided to come to the LDS church and see
what it was all about! We are now teaching and he is super open to
learning more and finding out if it is true!

Yesterday I got to go on exchanges in Calexico with Elder Rodriguez!
We had a blast and talked to a ton of people! Calexico is so cool and
so prepared to hear the Gospel!

George is still doing awesome, and he has already begun reading in
Jacob in the Book of Mormon. He read half of 1 Nephi and all of 2
Nephi  in a total of two days. I love that man. Miguel passed his
baptismal interview yesterday! He is going to be baptized after Stake
Conference on Sunday! WE ARE SOOOOO EXCITED!

Also, the subject for the email today is "Monetary Miralces" because
the Reillys took us out to lunch, a member paid for our haircuts
today, and the Broadbent family (the sweetest snowbird couple in the
world from Evanston, WY) took us to Costco today and spent.....well
let's just say it was more than I ever imagined. El Centro is the
place to be a missionary.

I love you all mucho! Keep up the great work!

Elder Dahl

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

County Fair!

Wow last Tuesday was one of the best days of my mission! We went to
the Imperial Valley County Fair! Our friend from Food Bank, Kris, gave
us a tour of the fair, and while we were there this lady named Betsy
came up to us and told us that she had arranged for us to get free
corn dogs, fries, churros, and a drink! And the discounted tickets
ended up just being free tickets! We didn't pay a thing! It was so fun
and we had a blast. Unfortunately there were no Texas Tenderloins and
no fried Oreos......but we won't hold that against them. They also
didn't have any Nigerian Dwarf goats there......awkward.

Then on Wednesday we took a journey to Camp Wildwood in Ramona and had
a special zone conference in the mountains! Honestly, that was
probably one of the coolest experiences of my mission. I learned a lot
of lessons up there, not only in the formal training part where we
discussed teaching by the spirit and lesson plans, but by some fun,
outdoor activities we did. Almost all of them included balancing on
either a plank of wood, a log, or something along those lines, which
isn't exactly my specialty, but there was a lot of teamwork involved,
so it ended up working super well. Then we had a silent hike up to the
top of a mountain, which was pretty awesome.

Updates on the investigators:

Erica totally bailed out on us.  We are still trying to see her, but
she has done pretty well at avoiding us. That's ok, there are plenty
of other fish in the sea.
Miguel is doing awesome and has been reading the Book of Mormon. We
are starting to see them less often and give them a little more space.
I love the Sanchez family so much!
George is perfect. He is already in 1 Nephi 16 after a week of knowing
us. He reads all the pamphlets and loved church on Sunday. He also
agreed to prepare himself to be baptized on March 26. He is a miracle.

Today for pday my companion, the other El Centro elders, and another
missionary from Calexico all had doctors appointment in San Diego, so
Elder Rodriguez (from Calexico) and I went up to Brawley with the
elders up there (Elder Fehrenbach and Elder Thomson) and we played
racquetball and basketball for hours and hours. We had a blast!

What a sacred privilege it is to be a missionary! It is weird to think
that I only have 5 months left to go! What happened? I know these last
five months will fly by, but I'm ready to give everything I have to
the Lord during this time! Missionary work is the best! Go make
someone's day today!

Elder Dahl

Again, way too much fun at the fair! That corn dog was a shout out to
my sister, Lauren!

Random pictures of us at the zone conference and at different
missionary meetings!

Here are some pictures of us at pday! Elder Rodriguez, Elder
Fehrenbach, Elder Thomson, and I had soooo much fun! Elder Fehrenbach
and I make a pretty mean team!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

All Within an Hour

Oh the miracles are endless! To follow up from last week's cool
miracle about James.....yeah he gave us a disconnected phone number
and an address that wasn't his. Awkward. BUT we talked to the lady
that lived at the address he gave us and she we are now teaching her!
From Shamaya, to James, and now to ERICA (shout out to my little
sister! Yes I double checked and she spells it with a "C") and her two
children. They are a super cool family and we had an awesome lesson
with the Bain family (a new family that just moved into the ward from
Arizona who are awesome) and Erica's family. Pray that she will
continue to be awesome!

Another cool miracle- we went to the church last Sunday after all of
the meetings and we synced our Area Books on our iPads. A little
referral popped by the name of George. We had just synced a couple
hours before and there wasn't anything new, but we just decided to
sync again regardless. The record said to call him and that he would
be interested in a Book of Mormon. Well we called him and he said he
would be very interested in receiving a Book of Mormon because he knew
it would teach more about Christ and he is currently on a spiritual
search to follow God.......yeah you read that right! We arranged to
meet at the church, and then when we were talking about when to meet
he said, "Well if I start walking now I could be there by 5:00 (it was
4:20). See you then! Look for the old guy with a cane." We called
Bishop Rolfe and asked him to come join us for a lesson (Bishop Rolfe
is the former Bishop of 1st Ward that is an amazing missionary), and
sure enough at about 5:10 we saw a man with a cane standing outside
looking at the church.

We invited him to come inside and we were able to teach the
Restoration and throughout the whole time he kept on saying, "Yeah
that seems to make sense." He said someone told him that Mormons were
pagans, and he stood up for us and said that he wanted to learn more
and read the Book of Mormon. He just recently moved to El Centro
because he felt prompted to come hear, search for God's truth, and
read scriptures. He said that as he was walking he wasn't sure which
church was ours, so he would walk until he found one that felt right.
There are a lot of churches on the same street as the church, but he
said he didn't feel right stopping at any of them. Wow I'm getting
crazy excited just writing about it. We are seeing him again tonight-
pray that everything will continue to be led by the Spirit!

Alright well I'm off to the county fair! We have a friend from the
Food Bank that got us discounted tickets! WOOOOHOOOOO!!!!! I can't
wait to see the goats!

Elder Dahl

1 & 2. Angie sent us some cool pictures!

 3 & 4. Then Angie took some action shots- this is real missionary work.

 5. This was our view at one point coming back to the valley after a
meeting we had in San Diego. We thought it looked pretty epic.

Sunday Surprise!

Last Sunday we had a church tour lined up with a young girl named
Shamaya. We were stoked out of our minds for this tour because 1) her
name is Shamaya 2) She had corn rows and 3) the young single adults
have a family home evening every Sunday and she was going to go. Well
we waited for her.....and she never came. But as we were waiting
outside this young man came walking by, so naturally we bounded over
to him and invited him to see inside the church. His name is James and
he was super cool! Pray for him that he will come to institute.

Yesterday we had MTEs and I was parked up with my good friend Elder
Hansen! We came into the mission together and we were in the same zone
to start our mission! We had such a blast and got to meet a ton of new
people in our area. The other cool thing was that we had members with
us for almost the entire day, and we could see how our lessons were
really more effective and spiritual when a member was there testifying
along side us.

Last Thursday we had a splits/blitz activity for our area! Our stake
president requested all missionaries in the zone that didn't have a
member present to come and go on splits with the members to visit
members that needed a visit or that nobody in the ward knew. Ten
missionaries came and afterward we had a ton of referrals to go
contact, such was super cool too! Normally you only blitz areas that
are struggling, but this was well appreciated nonetheless!

Saturday morning about half of the zone went down to Calexico to
participate in a "Clean Up Calexico" project. The lady in charge asked
for the missionaries to be the supervisors because we were the
"adults"........... ADULTS!?!?!? Now that's hilarious.

This week has been a huge testimony to me about how it's not the name
on the top of the plaque that matters, but the name that's in the
middle. We as missionaries really aren't anything special, but when we
truly have faith in Jesus Christ is when miracles begin to occur. It's
all about the Atonement.

I love you all!
Elder Dahl