Saturday, November 29, 2014

Week #5: THERE ARE NO coincidences!

Well, this is it. My district is the oldest in the whole zone, we are next in line to get out of here on a 21 hour flight to the Philippines. Its almost as surreal as the days leading up to my departure. As I'm sitting here, our branch president just came in and let me know that our travel plans are in the travel office. Hahaha that's insane.

Anyway, sooooo much has happened this week. First off, I was called to be district leader and that's way cool, I am excited to give it my best and help get this district out of the MTC and in to the field. Also we had the most amazing devotionals this week. The choir director here is the same choir director who led the MTC mens choir at this last general conference, and he is incredible, and he picks spectacular music. The songs we have done so far are Mack Wilberg's Praise to the man, Nearer my God to Thee and Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing (yeah, the one with the 8 part harmony split and dog whistle notes at the end in soprano 1). I LOVE MACK WILBERG.

Dallin H. Oaks came and gave an incredible talk, and then DAVID A. BEDNAR showed up. And rather than give a talk, they passed out hundreds of cellphones and we go to text questions straight to his Ipad. That was so cool. Then we did a service project and he just walked up and started working right next to me. I had a good 30 min conversation with Elder Bednar. That was incredible! Haha!

The MTC is going alright, but getting letters from the missionaries in the field makes me want to get out there so bad. Our investigators here in the MTC are throwing us through a loop. Yesterday everyone of them told us either that they didn't think we could help them, or they didn't want to talk to us anymore or that they had a drinking problem. Its been rough, but I want to share one awesome experience I had.

We were teaching and investigator named Beronica. She is 26 years old, single mother of 3 and she is blind. Halfway through our lesson she just fell apart. Her Tagalog was so fast I couldn't even keep up. I didn't understand the words she said but, I understand want she meant. She was mad that god made her blind and that she could see her kids. And I just opened my Aklat ni Mormon and read the first verse I saw. Then just kept talking to her. 100% in Tagalog. I don't even remember what I said. We walked out and my companion was like "what did you even say?" I told him I didn't know, we looked up the scripture in English since I had no clue what it said, and it told her that in heaven Our bodies would be perfected and not even a hair on our head would be missing.

That was incredible and I know I was inspired to say those things and share that with her. I want to close with a piece of advice. God answers prayers. And everyone wishes that they would just have incredible experiences, visitations from angels, and a booming voice from the heavens. But most of the time divine inspirations is like a foggy day. There's enough light, that you can tell its not dark anymore, but its not brilliantly illuminated, only just enough light to let you take a few steps in front of you. God sends us tender mercies to remind us he is there. THERE ARE NO coincidences. at all. God drops little hints here and there to keep us going. Accept those and proudly put one foot after the other trusting that he will keep you walking true north. I love you all!!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Week #4 - Family Letters

Just had to share these!

Hey Mom,

This week has been way better honestly. It tough to see another district go, I am gonna miss Elder Nibarger, he is going to be such a good missionary in the field. I am so ready to be out of the cold and in the Philippines. But 1st things 1st I guess. Tagalog grammar structure is so flippin wierd. rather than conjugate just the verb, you conjugate the whole sentence. not on who the actor is, but on the focus and tense blah blah blah. hah you would kill me. I STUDY! all the time haha I love study time haha I know crazy lol. Anyway I wanted to write a short not to my siblings make sure they get them, yeah?

Ethan :
Hey goofy. I sure miss you and your Scottish accent. Not even the real Scotsmen here seem to do it as good as you do haha. Keep your grades and what not up blah blah blah, girls are trouble, tell braden I said Kumusta!! haha I love you bro. MAGANDANG GABI!!

haha my whole district thought your dear elder to me was the greatest thing ever and we pinned it up to our wall hahaha I miss you bud, I miss your inventive mind and I find myself trying to be as smart as you when I am making my lesson plans. I love you Bud!!!! Stay worthy of you priestood okay? that is the MOST IMPORTANT THING RIGHT NOW. Mahal kita!!!!

Hey Sammy,
I misss you!!! I hope you are doing well. Your dear elders to me are the most powerful source of motivation ever!! keep it up silly I love you!! do good in school!! be kind to others!! PRAY EVERY SINGLE NIGHT!!!!

Elder Dahle

Week #4 - Language Lessons Oops! :-)


Oh my. Hahah its getting more difficult to start my emails to you guys because it feels like more and more is crammed into each week. I bring my journal to the email lab because the days have really started to blur together. This week started with two new districts coming in, and that feels weird. They look at us like we are about 5 years older than them, and have been speaking Tagalog most of our lives. Neither are true but it really puts in perspective how far we have come. We are now juggling 3 progressing investigators, one of which accepted a baptismal commitment so that's cool. One is a less active, and the other one is an atheist man named Andrew. In reality all three of these are our teachers, Brother DeYoung, Brother Smith, and Sister Osborne. Its insane how they can totally put on a new face and make it feel so real when we step into the role play rooms. Im not sure, but my understanding from what Bro. Smith has told me is that they are acting as one of the investigators they taught one their mission, and before the lesson they pray to be able to accurately respond and give us a close idea as to the kinds of questions we will get. Speaking full 45 min lessons in Tagalog is getting easier each time. I feel myself stringing sentences together faster and faster. Sometimes my mouth cant keep up with my brain. I feel a bit like my little brother Josh ;) love you buddy.

Teaching feels really good. Even though they are not real. They have real emotion. I have watched our investigators Beronica (Sister Osborne) cry a few times in discussions. I can hear the power in my voice moving my investigators to feel the spirit. It feels way cool. Unity with my companion is getting a little better, but only outside of lessons. I cant get him to say a word in lessons. I dont think its the language either because he knows just as much as I do. We spend companionship study and language study role playing with one another and He talks during that. So keep him in your prayers as well. Hes a good guy and He looks out for me.

Tagalog is such a funny language grammer is simple but confusing at the same time. The other day I totally messed up in a lesson haha, I meant to say

Bakit po pinatay ng mga tao si Jesucristo

(why did the people kill Jesus?)

But I accidentally said

Bakit po pinatay ang mga tao ni Jesucristo

Which means "why did Jesus kill the people" OOPS! the look on that investigators face was pretty unbelievable. But I fixed it and we finished the lesson with a church invitation that was accepted

Anyway I just want to close with a short testimony in tagalog

Alam ko po na mapagmahal ng Diyos. At sa pamamagitan ng pananampalataya malalaman katotohanan tungkol sa lahat mga bagay. Alam ko po na mahirap ang buhay. Pero Sa pamamagitan panalangin, marandaman po ninyo masaya at ang kaluwalhatian ng Diyos.

I love you all so much!!
Mahal kita!!!

Elder Dahle

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Week #3 - Enduring to the End

Magandang Umaga, (Good Morning)

This has been another rough week, and I'm starting to wonder if thats just normal. I spent the beginning of last week getting really close to the oldest district going to the Philippines. One Elder in particular I really looked up to, was named Elder Gilmore. All those guys were the hope that my district could make it through this. And it wasn't uncommon for us to spend a lot of time in there rooms getting advice and stuff from them. On sunday many of the Elders in that group spoke, and then the whole district elders and sisters got up and sang Nearer My God To Thee, and every other verse they sang in tagalog.

The tuesday after that sunday (2 days before the departure of that district) I got back to the residence hall and was on my way to my room when Elder Carr came up from behind me and pulled me into his room. His eyes were full of tears and something was clearly wrong. He told me that Elder Gilmore decided to go home. He didn't really have a testimony I guess. Which was absolutely heart breaking. There was a solemn quiet over our district that dinner, no one said a word. We thought he was so strong, jokes on us I guess. The worst part is that as soon has he pressed the abort mission button, it caused 2 more elders to do the same.

The next day we had a wednesday night devotional which I had been asked to speak at a week previously. So I had the responsibility of addressing our zone right after Elders Gilmore, Wood, and Spencer left. The topic was "enduring to the end".... imagine that.

I had hoped to send the whole talk I gave, but I don't really have time so I'll just share a thought or two from it.

Going on a mission is much different then the 18 years of talking about it, make it out to be. Its not worse, its better. No one told us when we were in primary that we would be a part of the most incredible global effort to fix the world we live in. We all are in the same boat and we as missionaries are called to maintain our worlds "moral buoyancy" patching up the leaks in our ship, to save us from sinking standards. And its not easy. Its hard to keep going. Its supposed to be that way, thats what makes it worth it. No one walks out of and easy experience and says to themselves, "wow look how strong I am" This climb is long, and difficult, and it feels like its you against the world. I know its been a difficult couple days this week. I don think its any coincidence that this MTC is surrounded by mountains. Because no matter what, you have to climb one to get out. And its up to you how you make it out of here. With gods help or without it. Because we are called to serve. God runs a tight ship. Elders and Sisters I promise you that this is worth it. And even though we watch those on our right and left swan dive off the side of this boat, we must be stronger than that. We must be stronger than that for the people of the Philippines. Each one of us must pull our weight, heaving the flag of god to the top of our masts, proudly declaring, "Ako po si Elder Dahle! gusto ko magbahagi insang mensahe tungkol sa tagapagligtas anim!"

Family and friends. Lastly I want to share a quote that my grandma Whitney always shared with me.

"The purpose of life is not to see who can make it to death safely in a pretty, and well preserved body free from damage. Rather to come flying in sideways skidding on the pavement all burned up from re-entry loudly saying "Wow, what a ride"

I love you all so much, and I miss you all so much. I am excited to get to the field. As necessary as the MTC is I really dont want to be here anymore, because I don't feel like Im really helping anyone at the moment. But I have already decided which mountain to climb. I love you all, smile a bunch and have fun and all that jazz. Please write dear elders. It feels so good to have mail in my mailbox lol. Love You!!

Mahal kita, (I love you)
Elder Dahle

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Week #2 - Life is hard. Mahirap ang buhay.


I am just going to be really honest and let you know that this is really hard and I am struggling a lot. This week has been okay but for the most part incredibly discouraging. We spent the week teaching a fake investigator in tagalog. My companion and I were the only companionship that didn't get a baptismal commitment from her. Felt the spirit in lessons, and she said she felt the BOM was true. So im not really sure what the deal was. I am missing everyone a lot and I am incredibly homesick. I go through waves and phases of put pictures up and taking them out of sight. My companion refuses to study the language then wonders why he cant find anything to say in the middle of the lesson so I basically just teach the whole lesson. Elder Hennessy is having the same problem with his companion. I am just having a pretty rough time and I could really use some prayers. Also the Dear Elders have helped a lot. Nothing raises my spirits like going to the mail room before lunch and seeing envelopes with my name on it. Mom, the day you sent brownies, the other three elders in my room also got dear elder brownies so we have 4 huge pans of brownies in my room. The food here is pretty good although it messes with you stomach. Go look up Jeremiah 4:19-21. That pretty much describes the food here. Elder Brown (Elder Hennessy's Companion) snores so loud. I seriously have not made it a whole night without waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep because of his snoring. It is a serious problem. Last night I only slept 6 hours, we have tried medicine and ear plugs and all sorts of stuff. We usually just keep a pile of miscellaneous stuff to throw at him when he wakes us up in the middle of the night. After our last lesson with our investigator Mary Grace, we walked into our class room the next day only to find out she is going to be one of our teachers for the rest of our time here at the MTC. So on monday asked if we could sit down with her and talk and see what went wrong.

We spend about 16 hours a day in the class room. 10 for class instruction. 6 for personal and companionship study. So lack of sleep, upset stomach, homesick, and learning a new language. Trying to learn in class is like drinking out of a fire hydrant. You get some water but in pretty much just hurts your face. Dont worry about me coming home early or anything. Im not going to do that, I think it will get better, and I know im supposed to be here. I know in the preexistence I made promises with people in the Philippines that I would do this and come find and help them. This is an incredible amazing experience and the comfort of the guys in my zone is really holding me together. God knew what I needed, the guys Im with are so much like my friends. Elder Tanner is a lot like Colby and Josh May put together. Elder Hennessy is kinda like Nate Wallace and Austin. Elder Brown is like Ethan. Like exactly like Ethan. Hes just a funny goofball who makes faces and noises to keep the mood light.

I want to close this weekly letter with a piece of advice for all my friends and family. Life is hard. Mahirap ang buhay. But it is supposed to be like that. It is supposed to be really scary. You are supposed to stand on the edge of every life choice and say wow this is impossible. How am I going to do this. But do it. Austin go on tour. Joey, be a mortician. Colby join a drumcorps, be an engineer. But whatever you decide to do, don't do it with your hands in you pockets, standing on the sidelines waiting for a big break. Everything you have every wanted is in front of you, if only you have the strength and tenacity to stretch yourself a little more, reach a little further, leave the sideline, join the game, and play to win.

Elder Dahle

PS, I desperately want the emails of Colby Calk, Steve Alvarez, Josh May, pretty much the whole drumline, with Logan and all. And please keep up the Dear Elders. it is incredibly motivating.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

First Letter Home - November 1, 2014 - Where are you going?

After spending a day with Paige and Robbie we finally drove to the MTC. That in itself is quite the endeavor. You basically drive up to the curb in a line of probably 100 other cars, and you are greeted by a host (which is just another elder in his 4th week of the MTC with a host sticker on his shirt). After a tearful goodbye to my sister and Robbie, I was sent through a crucible of questions.
"whats your name"

"Is your suit pocket sewn shut"

"did we spell your name correct on your name tag?"

"Where's your immunization record"

being pushed through all these stations and being handed about a million different things, name tag, a huge back of books and teaching/study material. And the most frequent and probably most important question I got was.

'Where are you going!"

That question hits me hard. Where are you going. Just 48 hours earlier I would have replied simply with "home" now I proudly respond with "Magmimisyon po ako sa Urdaneta Pilipinas!"
The language is tough. And I am never really sure what is going on because our teacher Bro. Smith doesn't speak English. He can, but he doesn't. First day of class he just constantly was drilling us with questions, as he smiled knowing we could not understand.

"Kumusta po kayo!? Mabuti??"

"Saan Po Kayo Magmimisyon!?"

"Ano Po ang Pangalan ninyo!?"

I of course know the answer to every one of these now. My companion is named Elder Tanner, and I am in a district with 7 sisters and 4 elders including myself. Elder Brown, Elder Tanner and Elder Hennessey. I LOVE these guys Mahal mahal mahal mga kasama ko.

Yesterday (friday) we taught our first investigator in Tagalog. It was 45 min long and I spoke 100 tagalog and lead the lesson. at the end of the lesson after I bore my testimony I looked up and our investigator Mary Grace was crying. And we committed her to read the book of mormon and pray to know its true. Almost every night the 4 of us go to bed tired and home sick. We pray all of the time, especially for the gift of tongues to better know the language or "kaloob ng mga wika" but I love these guys, I am happy to be here and I know this is what I am supposed to do. I love you all so much, look into dear for me, you can write letters and they will be printed here at the MTC and given to me at lunch EVERYDAY, I could really use some daily family/ friend contact.

Love Elder Dahle