Hello All! Once again it feels like forever since I wrote last. A lot has happened since my last p day in the MTC.
I was a part of the first missionary departure devotional to be held in the gorgeous new buildings, so that was cool! Packed up over the course of two days and had our last classes.
Got up at 2:30 AM to leave the MTC and get to the airport. Waited there like 2-3 hrs for our flight to Atlanta. Went to Jamba juice and the guy in line in front of us paid for elder Miller and I's drinks. Found a member of my home ward in the airport, and just one thing after another worked out really well. The burrito place we ate at in the ATL airport's slogan was "burritos on a mission" which... idk shows me God's watching over me and knows me and has a funny sense of humor. I am a burrito.
Said goodbye to the awesome sister missionaries in my MTC district. I look up to each of them so much, they're amazing. They'll be serving in Atlanta.
As we were about to land in little rock, I looked out the window at all the fields and thought about the people I'd be meeting and helping in the next two years. Then proceeded one of the most powerful spiritual impressions I've ever had. I felt like I got a glimpse of what my Heavenly Father was thinking right then. I felt like he is SO FLIPPIN EXCITED that ELDER DAHL is right where he needs to be. Now he can get to work on certain people that he's been wanting to come to Him for a while, now. Tried to hide my tears from the nice lady I sat next to haha.
We landed in little rock, and met the mission President, Pres. Wakolo. We're his last group of missionaries he'll pick up before leaving to be a member of the seventy! As we were walking out, he stayed behind to give one of the airport workers a copy of the book of mormon and to schedule a return appointment bc he could tell the worker noticed something different in this group of missionaries than he saw in most people.
Had some training that evening and met my new companion, Elder Johnson of Salt Lake City, Utah, and also learned what area I'd be serving in. Colliersville Tennessee! (The Arkansas little rock mission is the name of the geographical area that I've been called to serve in. It includes a good portion of TN, and tiny corners of missouri and Mississippi!)
Stayed the night in a hotel. It was so nice to have a real shower and to sleep in s real bed, not the MTC kind or a bunk bed.
The next morning we headed out and got some more training from the mission President and then drove to our areas that afternoon.
Colliersville is a super nice part of TN. Pretty wealthy area.
We got to TN in time for a dinner appointment with this awesome guy who works logistics for Nike golf. He used to house the missionaries, I guess, but now we have an apartment. Super nice single guy in maybe his early 30s? We went to a burger place that was really good and then went to our apartment for the grand tour and to unpack.
I knew daily studying was a big chunk of missionary schedule, but they weren't kidding. We get up at 6:30, exercise, shower, etc. And then from like 8 to 1pm with breakfast/lunch breaks... its all studying.
After studies, we went to our first appointment. We visited with this lady from China, actually, who somehow got her MBA from BYU being exposed to the church there. She's here for work now, and at the start of the lesson was open to there even being a God in the first place. We taught our 1st lesson on the restoration of Christ's original church on the earth today. Part of training to be a missionary is being challenged to extend the baptismal invitation on your 1st lesson. So I did! We asked her to be baptized and she said if she could come to know for herself what we told her was true, she'd be baptized on July 29th! So prayers for her are appreciated, so she can get answers to her own prayers about the Book of Mormon and so on. She asked lots of good questions, followed along, and then Elder Johnson showed her how to get the book of Mormon in Chinese on her phone so it'd be easier for her to read. Super neat lady.
Met more members of the local ward here. So many great people. And living in just gorgeous southern homes. This is a beautiful, beautiful area.
Had dinner with a nice family and one of their daughters dog sits for a neighbor. That neighbor pays her $100 a day, and hires someone completely different just to walk the dog. So yeah, that gives you maybe a "high end exaggeration" of what this area is like.
On the other hand, we did walk through a local "ghetto," in the area, basically a few steps up above a trailer park. Us two white kids in white shirts and ties walking by black people shouting at each other... its fun hahaha. There was literally a watermelon cracked open on the road with flies buzzing around it. It was hot and humid, and there were lots of old cars in everyone's back yard... it really felt like I was in the south haha. And it was awesome. Knocking doors is still hard and worrying, but just walking around made me so happy cause everything is so cool!
Met with a ward member who spent 30 mins showing us his custom made guns collection so that was cool.
Pretty much everyone here believes in Jesus already, which is awesome. Most people seem pretty content with their faith as it is, though. When we ask people how they came to be religious, or have faith in Christ as their savior, though, they really have to stop and think. They talk about how they like the community of the church they go too. And they talk about the bible a lot. So far it's not too often people say they know because they've really felt the holy ghost testify to them that it is. Which is sad!
We've had 2 kinda bashers so far. Both really polite people, both trying to convince us we're wrong, but both times I walked away even more sure that what I believe is true. They rely on bible passages open for interpretation and on using "logic" or taking some things very literally and others metaphorically. Their faith is based on archeological or historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived, not actual faith received from God telling them truth through the holy ghost.
The restored gospel, though, is absolutely logical! But I'm so glad my faith is founded on experience, on living it, on praying about it, on feeling the holy ghost in my heart as I read the book of mormon. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is true. Not just because people tell me it is or because there's historical evidence, but because I feel God's love for me as I live it.
Ate at red robin with this family from India one night. Another funny sight to imagine. It sounds like the start of a joke. A Red Robin full of white folks and black folks coming for their free birthday burgers, and then an Indian family and two white mormon missionaries come in. Their parents didn't speak much English and wore the cool traditional clothing you imagine. It was fun hahaha.
That's most of the highlights!
Yesterday was church and there are some characters. One lady with a legit mustache. And one of the congregation members preassigned to speak talked about breaking her arm at a family reunion and how her favorite part of going to the hospital is the level ten pain killers. ("Say 8!!!!" Anyone?) And then in elders quorum one of the teachers talked about the holy ghost's influence on science and its ability to measure distances in space?? I'm exagerating just a bit, and the rest of the church meetings were actually really great. There's some awesome awesome people. And a lot from Boise Idaho, too! I was told most of the members are either from Idaho or utah in these wards. It's fun to talk street names and fun things to do in Boise with people.
The weather has been awesome! We're in an all car area so we dont have to use our bikes. There's a tropical storm or something I guess earlier this week and we were getting the tendrils clouds up here, so it'd be cloudy and sprinking one minute and sunny the next. Kinda like Idaho but in a definite pattern. I think it's passed, though. Yesterday was gorgeous. 75-80 degrees maybe, not really humid at all. Walking around that evening felt like an Idaho summer evening. (Aka the best)
It was a busy week. Lots of adjusting and growing and improving I need to do. I feel very lucky to start my mission and that growth here in Colliersville.
I wanna hear from you!!! Send me emails plz. Tell me about your life. Your day. Your dog. Send me memes. Music reviews for albums I'm missing. Whatever!
You can also send mail to
866 Schilling Rd. Collierville TN
Apt #103, 38017
Big takeaway this week: life is hard, not the gospel.
Think about that for a while. I really like that.
Until next week!
Made it to Little Rock! It's hot and humid already, but not as bad as it will get, apparently. Ill be serving in Collierville, TN w/ Elder Johnson of SLC! President and Sister Wakolo are awesome! Saw some fireflies flashing in the church parking lot, and heard the cicadas buzzing outside. We're staying in a hotel tonight while the sisters stay in the mission home. Excited to be here and serving in TENNESSEE!
Well, it seems as though this last week went by even faster than the one before it. Which is fine by me! I've been really enjoying being at the MTC though. If I could stay here my whole mission I'd be tempted, but there are people to save, new places to go, non-cafeteria food to eat, and adventures to be had!
Last Sunday was one of the longest days of my life, though. Meeting after meeting. All good ones, don't get me wrong! It just was so long. 6:50AM to 9PM!
Oh and President Uchtdorf came.
(I didn't see him, but a couple people in our zone did. I guess he came to tour the new buildings on the MTC campus. For those who don't know, President Uchtdorf works closely with the Prophet, above the quorum of the 12 apostles.)
So while he was here, there was a rumor that he would be the speaker at the Sunday devotional. And then we heard he had gone home already so we were kinda disappointed. But the devo ending up being good anyway. As of that day, there were 1300 missionaries in the MTC, 700 of which were sisters! And then we got 500 new missionaries on wednesday! The sister missionaries are just crazy incredible. Like... I wanna be as good as the sister missionaries are haha.
On Monday, we started meeting with 2 new investigators. Even though they're acting, you really come to love them and hope they keep commitments and feel the spirit and choose to be baptized. Thankfully, it seems we managed to do that this week!
On Tuesday and Wednesday, I got up with a few other elders at ~3AM to say goodbye to the elders in the district that left the MTC for the field. They're all such great, hilarious, immensely spiritual guys that I look up to a lot. They're gonna be great. The next time I get up that early will be this Tuesday to leave for Little Rock!
(We got our flight itineries. Leaving the MTC at 3:30 for an 8:30 flight. A little earlier than it needs to be if you ask me, but...)
On tuesday, Elder Nielson of the 70 (The group of people under the quorum of the 12 apostles) visited for the Tuesday devotional. I realized that I had heard about him before from my parents. So my grandparents lived on the same street as them and their kids and my parents grew up together. So after the devo (Which was awesome, talking about how God protects his missionaries and is involved in this work) I made my companion go wait in line with me up front to meet him. It kinda felt like being able to meet band members after a concert? But anyway, I introduced myself as the grandson of the holmsteads and he asked who my parents were. I said Tiffany, and he brought his wife over and she was like "oh, are you Oliver?" So that's cool! She knew me before I introduced myself. We got to follow them out with the MTC presidency into this special room where the speakers and presidency hang out before the devotionals. Got pictures taken with them there and talked a little bit about my family and twin falls Idaho. It was cool to have someone who knows the people I love the most so well!
Another takeaway or 2 from the devotional (actually from sister Nielson):
-Qualifying for, receiving, and acting on spiritual promptings is the single greatest skill we can acquire in this life
-My whole life and the whole lives of my future investigators have been preparing us for this.
-Jesus Christ has called ME.
After the older district left, the janitors came to clean the room. They found a screw on the ground and looked up at the air vent. They found all kinds of goodies in there. We were freaking out next door like a drug bust was going on. Kinda hilarious.
So this isn't super organized at all, but... another thing I love about the MTC happens at about 9PM. As various districts go back to dorms, some of them will just sing a hymn on the way. As they walk past people chatting, they join in. So its just cool to see that spread across campus. I've sung "called to serve" more times in the past few weeks than maybe my entire life before then haha. But it's awesome when people you've never met before join in and spread the song around!
So my four square reign has continued stronger than it ever did in 4th grade. We decided to try something else last night. While most of the zone played volleyball again, a few of us tried botchee (sp?) Ball. Elder Miller and I won 6/12 games... and there were 4 teams. So we schooled haha. When it comes to basketball and volleyball etc. I'm pretty lousy, but with weird sports like four square, botchee ball, wallyball... I'm pretty good apparently?
Yesterday some of our district (me, and sisters Gardner, Pollard, and Landon) started practicing the song Nearer, My God to Thee for church tomorrow. To clarify, I'm playing piano, and they are singing and sound really good. I'll have to see about doing a video? https://youtu.be/DSKhtVfsIOo
Soooo that's this week, really. We went to the temple again today. No big impressions today, really, but as I was walking out I just felt really happy and like I'd done the right thing. That same feeling I'm hoping to get on the flight back home from Arkansas in 1.9 years. :)
Got a haircut here this morning, too. It took all of about 8 minutes, but turned out pretty good I think. I've been wanting to get a haircut since before I even reported to the MTC but scheduling an appointment was a pain. But anyway, My head feels a lot lighter now, Yay!
It's weird to think that my next email will be sent from Arkansas! P Day will most likely be on Monday, which means it'll be just over a week til you hear from me again.
So keep doing good things! Read the Book of Mormon. Pray to your Heavenly Father. He's there. And Jesus Christ is there to make your burdens light! My testimony of my Savior has grown so much while I've been here. I hope you can feel His love for you as much as I do here!
Until next time!
Time is weird here! It feels like forever since my last email, but on Monday of this week, we did a service project and that feels like yesterday. The days are long, the weeks are kinda faster?
I've made it to P Day! (P[reparation] days happen once a week and is basically the day we get to send emails, do laundry, all that stuff! My P Day while in the Missionary Training Center is Saturday.
It's already kinda hard to believe that this is my 4th day in the MTC already. Every day is pretty packed and long, but I think with the "less sleeping" part of things, it really just feels like one really long day altogether haha.
So after I got here on Wednesday, I went inside the MTC, got my nametags, my books, dropped bags off at our residency, and then went to our classroom to meet our teachers, and do some Orientation type stuff on the computers. Met my companion, Elder Miller from Surprise Arizona. He's kind of a quiet kid, but has definitely been warming up, and is really funny and very insightful when he wants to be. After that we went to a kind of "welcome" fireside/meeting in one of the older chapel-like buildings in the MTC. There were a lot of new missionaries in there! Definitely got the distinct impression while I was there that "yes, this is where I need to be" and further had the thought "this is where EVERYBODY needs to be." The spirit is definitely here. A clip from elder Holland this last conference was shared, when he said essentially Christ tells us to "Come as we are, but don't intend to STAY as we are." Man, Elder Holland gets me every time.
On Thursday, we experienced that first 6:30 AM alarm. It wasn't too bad! I think the novelty of being in a new place helped. Got up, got ready, and Elder Miller & I started studying for imaginary investigators we had already been assigned. We had a few classes throughout the day, and study time as well. Classes are usually an hour or so of instruction, ways of changing our perspective and the way we look at teaching. (Teaching to invite people to act on principles of the gospel rather than just teaching them information.) After that, we role play, and even Thursday afternoon (our first full day!) had a lesson with the teacher playing an investigator that we prepared in class. It went... okay. Thankfully, our lesson with her the next day went really well, and Elder Miller and I felt a lot more confident about it.
Thursday night, we met our Branch Presidency. (The adult leaders around to specifically help our group of missionaries.) They're all nice. We all introduced ourselves by sharing our name, families, where we were serving, what made us want to serve a mission, and so on.
So of the members of our zone (our group of missionaries here in the MTC) that came in on Wednesday, there are 4 Elders, including myself, and something like 16 sisters? I was moved by each of my fellow elders' introductions and stories, but wow. These sister missionaries are just incredible. They have such strong testimonies and faith. Afterward, we got some more orientation stuff, and were taken out one at a time for just a quick interview with one of the members of the branch presidency. They asked if we went to school or worked before our mission, if we'd taken mission prep classes before, and stuff like that.
After the meeting was over, the Branch Presidency came in and talked briefly about leadership positions. They said after prayerfully considering who should be District Leader, Elder Dahl was that person. Um yup so I'm district leader now. Within the new members of our zone, our district (that I am leader of) has the 4 elders [all going to Arkansas little rock w/ me], and 6 sisters [all going to Georgia, I think?] The other district within our zone is entirely sister missionaries, [Going to Georgia, oklahoma city, Cincinatti? We're all in-states, and the midwest/south area] and another one of them was asked to be Sister Training Leader.
So yeah, I was already kinda overwhelmed with all the newness and stuff I had to do before, and then I was called to be District Leader. Fortunately, most of what that means, I've discovered, is that I check the mail for everyone and just conduct our district classes.
The Elders of our zone (my district + the district of elders from each previous week) are all in one corner of the residency hall. Like 4 rooms of 6 beds each [3 bunk beds] and 4 Elders in each room. So lots of room, thankfully. Some of the Elders that have been here longer have taken the vent off of the A/C system [like the tubes that carry the cold air around the building? I forgot what those are called] and use it to put their extra sodas and treats in there to keep it cool. They then put the vent back on to keep it secret. I guess there's a banana up there that's been in there since before these Elders got there haha. The other guys in our zone can be kind a rowdy, but it's fun. And actually really cool to see them doing human-wheel-barrow racing down the halls after curfew one minute, but then planning lessons for investigators and saying really meaningful prayers the next. Idk, they work hard and play hard. Two of them are going to the Orem, Utah mission (yikes) and our "neighbors" downstairs are actually going to be serving service missions in Russia! Which I guess I thought was a totally closed mission. Apparently 1+ of these neighbors had actually been assigned to a different mission while they were here! Whoa.
Friday morning was a lot harder to get up haha. Pretty typical day already though. We had a part of one class outside, next to the new buildings on the MTC Campus, which are set to open next week. (Idk if you've heard about these, but I guess they've been in the works for a while, now, and the missionaries this month will be the first to ever use them!) Our teacher did some talking and got our district a chance to walk inside the doors to check out this cool wall-sized mural of the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi. He said walking in that building was like walking into the temple, and that even though you can feel the holy ghost on the MTC campus, you can notice a difference in the feel of that spirit in the new building. With that in mind, we walked in the front doors. Wow. Yes. This mural was of Nephi overlooking Jerusalem, on the verge of something kinda scary, being "led by the spirit" but "not knowing beforehand" what he was going to do or say. And you could feel the spirit so strongly--stronger than I've ever felt it because of a building before. Temples are sacred, but the different power of the Holy Ghost testifying of the sheer amount of potential for GOOD that everyone who walks into that new building will have was just amazing. Exactly what I'd imagine walking into the Sacred Grove would feel like. This was definitely the spiritual highlight of the week.
We had our exercise time after that and played volleyball. I was reminded that I wasn't very great at it, but it was fun, and one elder from the UK with the perfect accent from our zone made it pretty hilarious.
So basically that's been life the last half of this week! Classes, study time, meals. Meals are pretty good! We're eating well, here. But I'm still on the same notch of my belt, so I'll keep you updated on that haha.
This morning we got up at like 5:45 and did a session at the Provo Temple across the street. It was hard to stay awake, but looking at the picture of the Savior in the celestial room there was also a spiritual experience. I felt like He was proud of me.
We got back and now i'm in a computer lab in the MTC writing this email!
As for a funny/embarassing story: last night I was kinda tired, and so, as one does, I grabbed my like toiletries bag and went to brush my teeth in the bathroom. I put the toothpaste on, wet the toothbrush, and started brushing my teeth. Man, this toothpaste didn't taste great. [spit, rinse, continue.] I look over at the "toothpaste." yeah, no, it wasn't toothpaste. I'd accidentally put anti-itch cream on my toothbrush instead of the same-travel-sized toothpaste I got from my last dentist appointment hahaha. I'm still alive to tell about it. I wasn't afraid to laugh about it, and got just about every other elder in the bathroom at the time laughing to tears. It was actually great.
So that's that! The days are long, already kinda blurring together, and it seems like the wednesday I was dropped off was simultaneously yesterday and a month ago. The MTC is good, though. I've had a great time here already, and have enjoyed at least most aspects of every day. :)
I love you all! The Gospel is true.
Elder Oliver Dahl
Serving A Mission!
What's all this about? As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, it is expected of me that I will serve a two-year mission. (And yeah, the "riding bikes and wearing nametags and knocking on doors" kind of mission.) But this isn't something I'm doing because it's expected of me... I'm doing this because the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed my life SO much, in SO many ways. I can't think of a greater honor or responsibility than being able to play a part in someone's story of finding and enjoying these blessings, too.
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(After June 20, 2017)
Elder Oliver Wrigley Dahl
Arkansas Little Rock Mission
905 Kierre Dr
North Little Rock AR 72116