Another Awesome Week in Deutschland!

This has been a pretty awesome week! The best part of the week was definitely Saturday! The young couple that we have been teaching (name withheld for privacy reasons) were baptized! It all went really well! Tons of people from the ward came, we had some good talks, and good food was served afterwards! All in all, it couldn’t have really gone better. Wait that’s not true. They spelled my name incorrectly on the program. It said “Elder Cassel.” Oh well, I’m used to that mistake. 

So yeah, what else interesting has gone on in my life.  I’ve officially made it past my first full transfer in Germany, that’s pretty nifty. Only 22 more months until I come home! That’s a weird thought. I ate the drachen feuer at our Chinese restaurant the other day. As I thought, it just barely had an afterburn, despite the fact that it warned about how spicy it would be. Anyways,  what else has happened?   I’m really tired, I can’t think. Elder Kalt and I went skateboarding last P-Day, so now I know how to ride a skateboard without falling off. Whoo! We also went and bought matching step brother ties and necklaces at a super cheap and awesome store called Primark. We’ll probably go back there today. Speaking of today, it’s Elder Brown’s birthday! I didn’t have any birthday songs on my ipod to play for him, but I did have a frosty the snowman song that says “Happy Birthday” at the very beginning of it, so Elder Watson and I went to their apartment this morning with a Christmas tree that we found in our missionary apartment, and sang it to him. Yes, we are special. 

What else has happened? We met with some older ladies in our ward, which is pretty fun. One told us about how her family was almost arrested by the Gestapo back in the day. That was a cool story. One lady made us some super tasty pancakes with strawberries and cream. I love food! Elder Kalt and I also met an elderly black lady who plays music on the streets. Her name’s Oma Tabia, and she was way nice. She called us her “grandbabies”, and walked us around town. She told us about how Germans don’t like her, and want to kill her, but they never will. She also told us that she doesn’t like the police because they know her too well. She was awesome. 

I don’t have a ton of time today, and I’m really tired, so that’s all for now. Life’s good, we work hard. 

Peace out, people!

Elder Austin Cassell

“Good News” / “Wie gut”

Howdy people,

So this week has been a pretty awesome week! Why you ask? Because Monday stared off pretty awesome! I was able to buy a harmonica (which I suck at for now, but I plan to master the art), I got to eat some super tasty ice cream, and best of all the family that we’ve been meeting with for a while told us that they wanted to be baptized! That was so awesome! We had an appointment to meet with them for about an hour just to teach a lesson with a member from our ward, but that lesson ended up going for over three hours. It went over so long just because they had so many questions about things that they’ve heard about from other people/ the internet. I was totally happy with that, though, I love questions like that, and the member we brought with us was super helpful because he used to be a Bishop and seemed to pretty much know everything. So yeah, towards the end of the lesson they kind of just turned to Elder Watson and I and asked when they could be baptized. That took us by surprise. But we have their baptism scheduled now for the 27th of this month, which is AWESOME. We’ve met with them a couple times since then, and they are just really great people. They’re about 24 and 25, and he’s in school to become a children’s educator. They’re just super nice and fun, and full of love. It’s awesome. So yeah, that definitely set a good tone for the rest of the week! Also I’m super excited because their cat just had some kittens, and we get to meet with them this Thursday, so I get to see new kittens!

I’m pretty sure that Elder Kalt and I, mainly me, are driving Elder Watson and Elder Brown crazy. Last P-day E. Kalt bought the German “Wicked” soundtrack. So guess what we’ve been listening to? I’ve already got a good amount of “Dancing through Life” or rather “Tanz durch die Welt” memorized, and little bits and pieces from all of the other songs. Once I have that song down, the next song I’m gonna learn will be “Popular” or as the Germans would say “Heißgeliebt.” Between me singing all of the time, and my horrible playing of the harmonica, I’m really surprised that Elder Watson hasn’t strangled me in my sleep yet. My awesome personality must be worth the annoyance. That or he’s just obeying the 6th commandment. Probably the former of the two.

So yeah, the rest of my week has been rather marvelous. On Tuesday we got to have district meeting, which means that we got to go to our Chinese restaurant for lunch, which is always good. I’ve decided that tomorrow I will order the “Drachen Feuer” or “Dragon Fire” which is the hottest thing on the menu. It’ll probably be about as spicy as flaming hot Cheetos. That’s what I’m expecting. We also got to meet with an elderly lady from our ward, who made us some tasty berry cream pancakes. She also played her super expensive and huge harmonica for us, that put mine to shame. Then she told us stories about her past which was really cool. We all found a really cool thrift shop where I bought some pretty sweet stuff. I bought an awesome Martin Luther translation German student bible, from 1911, which was in really good condition. I was also able to buy all three of the “Lord of the Rings” movies in German(Does that make Cade proud of me? They’re not extended, but I looked for those). All for 8 euro. Deal! That made me super happy! We’re gonna go back there, and I’ll probably buy a German Harry Potter book to send home. We also got to have dinner with our Bishop and his wife that night which was cool. She made us a super traditional German mean of weinerschnitzel, spätzle, and red cabbage. It was so good! I love food! Then, since he’s a beekeeper, he showed us all of his bees and I got to put on a beekeeper suit. It was awesome!

Well I’m all out of time, but the rest of the week was awesome too! More nice people, more good food, a baptism in Kaiserslautern and other shenanigans.

Tschüss,

Elder Austin Cassell

 

Yummy Food

Yummy Food

One of our meetings

One of our meetings

Movie Theatre

Movie Theatre

Our apartment...note the Texas flag.  Cade would be proud.

Our apartment…note the Texas flag. Cade would be proud.

Apartment

Apartment

The shower I hate

The shower I hate

We make our own food too!

We make our own food too!

A little taste of America

A little taste of America

Knighting of a Jedi

Knighting of a Jedi

Yeah...we are that cool.

Yeah…we are that cool.

Saarbruken

Saarbruken

Saarbruken

Saarbruken

Apparently they like Texas here too!

Apparently they like Texas here too!

God Bless America

Original email has been edited by Kelly (Mom). Some names have been protected for privacy reasons.

So this last week has been a pretty good week! Not a lot has happened, but it’s still been good. Last P-Day was a little boring, we went thrift shopping, but there wasn’t anything I really wanted to buy. There wasn’t a single lightsaber amongst the four thrift shops we went to! Hopefully this P-Day will be fun! We don’t really have any plans, but we’ll find something fun to do. I do plan on buying a harmonica at some point today. I’m not sure why. I just want one. It’ll probably drive my companion nuts after about five minutes, but I’m willing to take that risk.

So I’m just gonna run by what happened on each day, that will make it easier on me to write about things.

So on Tuesday I went on a split with Elder Williamson, one of our zone leaders. That went really well. He was a pretty cool guy, and I feel like I learned a lot from him, so that’s always good. We didn’t really do a whole lot that day. He said that my Gollum voice was too creepily accurate. He said that he could see the sound coming from me, but part of him didn’t really believe that I was capable of imitating him so well. He also said that he sees a lot of potential in me, and that I’ll be a really good missionary. I hope to prove him right. Challenge accepted.

Wednesday was definitely an interesting day. Elder Watson and I went to go visit a man by the name of Herr XXXXX (name protected). I had heard many tales of him prior to visiting him, but that certainly did not ruin the experience for me. He’s an Italian man who’s about 65 years old, and he’s spent 46 years of that time living in Germany. Despite the fact that he has lived here that long, however, he knows very little German. Because of this fact, he tells the exact same stories each and every time the missionaries visit him. Multiple times each visit. He told us about how his brother, and his nephew speak very good German about six times. He also told us about all of the bad things that had happened in his life, like his surgeries and the fact that he lives alone, is the devil trying to bring him down, but that he fights against him everyday. He doesn’t really have an interest in the church, but he likes us to visit him, so we do because he’s just a nice but lonely man, so we drop in and say hi about once a month. After visiting with him we went back to the dönner shop that we went to last time, and the guy remembered us and gave us each a free slice of pizza, so that was awesome.

Thursday was an awesome day because we were able to go to a member’s house for dinner that night. It was the Schröder family again, the same family where we got to have burritos last time. It was a great night! Since Sister Schröder knew that it was the 4th of July in the US, she made us some hamburgers because that’s the stereotypical American food here in Germany. They were really tasty! After dinner they had us stay a little longer to play Settlers of Catan with them. That just about made my week. I won of course. I’ve found that board games tend to bring out the competitive side in me. I blame my family for that. I play to win, because winning is fun, and I like to have fun. They’re an awesome little family. It was also awesome to be there because their little daughter, Anita, who is super cute, was watching “Tangled” throughout most of the night, so I was able to see Tangled in German. Awesome. At the end of the night, when Elder Watson and I headed back to our apartment, we faced the direction where America was, put our hands over our hearts, and sang along to the national anthem as it played out of the speakers from my iPod. I was so patriotic that night. There are a lot of things I miss about America. Like air conditioning. I don’t know why Germans haven’t started using it yet.

Friday we went to Zone Conference in Kaiserslautern for most of the day. That was good, we just mainly discussed news, and talked about how we could all be better missionaries in each of our areas. We also got to meet and have interviews with President Schwartz, which is always awesome. He’s such a great guy! He always makes me feel happy and motivated! Then at the end of the day we went to another member’s house from our ward for dinner. It was the Escobar family, and they were all very nice! There were a lot of people there, and the food was excellent! Some kind of delicious and tender meat, so naturally it was awesome. We weren’t able to stay that long, because we had some stuff that we had to take care of, but she gave us some tasty Turkish candy before we left, which was also awesome!

Saturday was a little lame, because all of our appointments fell out, but it’s all good. I bought a kilogram of Haribo Gummi Bears, so it’s hard to complain about life. And then yesterday we went to church which is always nice. The XXXXXX family, one of our investigators came, so that made us happy! Things are going really well with them, so that makes me really happy! We have a meeting with them later on today!

Well now I’m just gonna talk about all of the random stuff that has happened this week. Elder Kalt and I decided that we wanted to see what kind of phrase our full names can make when scrambled, like how “Tom Marvolo Riddle” became “I am Lord Voldemort”. Elder “Brady Logun Kalt” turned out to be “Dragun Bolt Lyke” and Elder “Austin Tanner Cassell” turned into “Nuns tear snail castle.” I’m pretty darn proud of mine, if I do say so myself. I also described the entire musical “Wicked” to my companions. Since we’ve heard the songs a lot of times, my companions wanted to know what it was about. My description got a good amount of “on no she didn’t” and “oh snap” comments from the lot of them, so that was fun. We walked past a “gentleman’s club” by the name of “Venus” and the men outside of it tried to get us to visit, but we passed on that “not so great and spacious building”. I witnessed some lightsaber fights, had some heated arguments about Digimon and Pokemon, and was told by a drunk guy that he liked my tie. Good week.

Well now I’m off to go on an adventure. Probably involving a harmonica.

Peace, Elder Austin Cassell

PS. If anybody wants a good laugh, go to

It’s an old and ridiculously cheesy/funny movie that we quote all the time here!

Here, I’ll answer your bloody questions!

1) Snoring…Companion ready to kill you in your sleep?
A. We all sleep like the dead, since we’re so tired.
2) Regular Toilet or “Shelf”? This references the “shelf” type toilets that I saw when I went to Europe several years ago. Austin was “warned” about these prior to going – so we wondered if he had one!.
A. Ours is normal, but I have used plenty of shelves. I don’t know why those horrible things exist. It’s nasty.
3) How is your German now?
A. Getting better and better. I understand a decent amount, and can speak to most people. Grammar needs work, though.

MTC (Missionary Training Center, Provo, UT)

MTC (Missionary Training Center, Provo, UT)

IMG_1396 MTC (Missionary Training Center, Provo, UT)

IMG_1411 MTC (Missionary Training Center, Provo, UT)

IMG_1421 Frankfurt

IMG_1424 Somewhere in Germany

IMG_1430 Austin’s church building in Saarbruken

IMG_1437E Austin’s apartment building

Bahn / Trains in Germany Bahn / Train in Germany

Mustard that looks like toothpaste Mustard that looks like toothpaste

Germany Building in Germany

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music

I am currently wearing my Gryffindor tie. Today is a good day. So this has been a pretty crazy week. To start off, I am sad to say that I did not purchase a lightsaber last Monday. Only one store had them, they were pretty expensive, and they only had Obi-Wan’s blue lightsaber. Blue is way too mainstream amongst the missionaries here. I want either a green or a purple lightsaber, or “Laserschwert” as they are called here in Germany. We are going thrift shopping today, so I’ll see if I can find one then. We found one really cool thrift shop last week, so we’re gonna go by some other ones to see what kind of awesome stuff we can find. Apparently the song “Thrift Shop” never really hit it off here in Germany, so all of the thrift shops are still pretty cheap and actually have interesting stuff to buy. So that’s my plan for today. What happened this last week.

Well after we went Laserschwert hunting last week, we went and got me my first dönner at a small little dönner shop fairly close to our apartment. Let me just say: dönners are awesome! It was the perfect combination of meat, vegetables, freshness, grease, spicyness (since they’re a Turkish food it actually was spicy”, and overall deliciousness. The guy that made them for us was super cool, and gave us some free Turkish drinks because he liked us, and said he had a lot of respect for guys that would pay money and give up two years of their lives to share what they believe. The only problem was that the drink was pretty disgusting. It was basically a watery combination of non flavored yogurt and sour cream. Elder Kalt almost threw up. We of course lied to him and said that they were delicious, but then promptly took them back to our apartment and threw them down the sink once we had left. We haven’t really had that much time to really do any lessons or go out teaching this week, most of our time went to preparing for our church’s open house. We made posters and flyers, went out and distributed them, and then did other things to prepare for the day like clean the church building, and attending meetings. Most of the time Elder Watson and I would end up working with the other two missionaries, which is always good.

I get along pretty well with the other Elders, so that’s good. I probably get along with Elder Kalt the best. The two of us have a lot of fun singing songs together and telling stupid jokes. We mainly sing songs from “Wicked” for some reason. He likes to sing “Popular” almost every other hour. We’re planning on making some pretty cool rap videos about the mission to the beats of various songs. Be excited for that. One thing that I’ve definitely learned from this experience of living with only one other person, or sometimes three others, is that my future wife is gonna have to be just about as crazy as I am in order to put up with me. I’ve pretty much become known as the guy that does voices. My Gollum voice is appreciated by all, so I’m happy.

So the big thing I guess that happened this week was that we had our open house on Saturday. It definitely didn’t go as well as we had hoped, though. We only had one lady show up for the English course that we were teaching. I was worried that the ward would take it badly, and be discouraged, but they reacted quite differently. They all reacted fairly positively, and just said that now we know what not to do next time. Even though we didn’t really have any success with the open house, I still enjoyed my day. I was able to get to know more of the people in my ward a little better, and got to spend just some chill time with the other Elder’s, which is good. I’ve learned that it’s good to be positive when you’re a missionary, which is good for me because I’m usually a pretty positive person. Being positive will generally make you much happier.

Last night was pretty awesome.The four of us went to the Nesson’s house for dinner. They’re an older family in our ward, and they’re awesome! They both speak English, which is nice, and Sister Neeson made me my first real German meal! She made us a beef goulasch, with rotkohl, dumplings, and spätzle, complete with tiramisu for dessert. It was all so freaking good! Definitely one of the best meals I’ve had so far! I love food. Food is awesome.

I guess the last thing I want to talk about is just something that I’ve kind of realized this week. I’m not going to be the same when I come back. I can feel myself maturing a little more with each day that passes. There was a moment this week when Elder Watson and I were taking a train to get to a meeting when I realized that I was sitting on a train, in Germany, in a suit, discussing the important topics that we would all need to discuss in the district planning and correlation meeting we were heading to. It was the most “adult” I’ve ever felt in my whole life. I then realized that this was going to be my life for the next two years. Although I am here primarily to teach the gospel and help people in any way that I can, I know that my life will never quite be the same. By helping others I am preparing myself for the world. Missions really do turn boys in to men. That all being said, like I said earlier, I’m still my crazy self. I`m just maturing somehow. Anyways I’m done here. I’m off to find a lasershwert.

Tschüs
Elder Austin Cassell