Apfelsaft

Howdy y’all

So last week was a little boring, and I was hoping that I would have some more interesting things to talk about. Well, that certainly came true. It’s been a weird week.

Well Monday was pretty standard, we didn’t really do a whole lot. Elder Watson and I went and visited the couple that was recently baptized, and they were happy to see us. They had just got back from their vacation to Thailand, which they did not like very well. Apparently Thailand is way expensive and not fun. They joked with us about how they wanted to call us and tell us that they missed us and that they wanted to come home. They make me laugh! Björn was also watching American Football, so I got to see a little bit. It made me happy. It was the Colts against the Giants if I remember correctly, and it looked like the Colts were winning. That pleased me. I hate the Giants.

Tuesday was interesting. The three other Elders and I were walking to our church building for our district meeting that we have every Tuesday. We were walking down the street, when who comes stumbling over to us? Mario. For Elder Watson and I, this was our fourth encounter with Mario. This was the other first lucky encounter for the other two Elders. He shook all of our hands very enthusiastically, mumbled some stuff for a while, and then quoted the pledge of allegiance to us. Then after that we told him that we had to go, but he insisted that he hug each of us first. So he did. He hugged all of us for a few seconds each. Except for Elder Brown. He liked Elder Brown. He hugged him for a full minute or so, whispering drunken thoughts into his ear, and then kissing his shirt. That was interesting. Fortunately Elder Kalt managed to take a picture during this time, so I will be sending that picture as part of this letter. You’re welcome.

Mario

Thursday was also an interesting day. So the four of us went to go visit an older woman in our ward. She’s about 84 or so, and lives pretty far away. She wrote down some directions for us to follow so that we could find her house. They were wrong. We wandered around in the middle of nowhere looking for her house for a while before we realized that she had given us the wrong road to follow. So we wasted about an hour and a half going down a long country road. During this time, an Elder who shall remain nameless really had to use the bathroom. The problem was that there wasn’t anywhere to go. So he had to go off in to a big group of trees and bushes on the side of the road. Apparently some of the leaves were spiky. Enough said! (I should probably have edited this out, but it really loses something if I do…and if you know and understand my son, and our family – you will understand why I did not feel it necessary to edit it out!)

But wait there’s more! Thursday has another interesting tale! So we eventually got to this member’s house, and she poured us what she told us was Apfelsaft, which is basically apple cider, and Germans drink it all of the time. We downed half of our glasses in one gulp because we had just spent the last almost two hours walking around in the heat trying to find her house. So we tasted it and knew that something was wrong. We asked, but she insisted that it was Apfelsaft, so we just assumed that it was a really strong and nasty Apfelsaft (we are Americans – what do we know?). So we finished it. Then later she left the room and Elder Kalt went to look at the bottle, because the label was facing away from us. The label did not say Apfelsaft. It was Apfelwein. Yep, an apple flavored wine with a 6.6% alcohol content. So yeah, that’s how a member accidentally served me and my companions alcohol on our missions.

Other than those things not a whole lot happened this week. We met with some members for some eating/get to know you appointments. We did some service activities, went to some meetings, did our studying of course, and all other sorts of fun missionary things. We do a lot of work, but I just tend to talk about the more interesting and funny things that happen. But now I must go. Until next week!

Tschüß Leute!
Elder Austin Cassell

“Splits” Week

Hallo Leute!  (Translation:  People)

So this has been a pretty good week here in good ol’ Deutschland! Not a whole lot has happened, but it’s all been good!

I guess the first thing of interest is that we have a really cool new investigator! His name is Peter, and he is a really cool guy. He’s probably in his early 50’s and is really nice. He stopped some other Elders last week that he saw at a train station and he told them that he would want to meet with us. They gave him our number, since he lives in our area, and then he called us and we set up an appointment. We met at his house and ended up just talking about what we believe, and he seemed pretty excited about it! He’s a pretty devout Catholic man, who just wants to know God as much as he can. We bore him our testimonies about the Book Mormon, and he told us that he would read it and pray about it!  So that was cool! He also made us a bunch of little sandwiches and other snacks, and gave us a ride home, so he was way nice! We’re meeting with him again tomorrow! Hopefully it’ll go well!

Two out of the days this week I was on splits with some of the other Elders in my area, which was pretty fun!  (“Splits” are when the Missionaries spend a day with another Missionary that is not their companion – it helps break up the monotony of spending 24/7 together with your companion.)  One of the days I was on a split with an Elder named Elder Givens from the Idar Oberstein area. We went to his area, which is a really pretty area! It was a fun split.  I taught him how to juggle, and he taught me how to solve a Rubik’s cube. Good times!

The other split I stayed in my area, and worked with Elder Lyman, one of my Zone Leaders. I think it was a really good split!  He’s a really cool guy, and we did good work together! We worked with the other Saarbrücken Elders, and wrote some questions, bible verses, and answers to some questions in chalk on a bridge where people walk. At the end of this big chain we put our number for people that had questions, and we just talked to people while we did it.  We had a couple of people who seemed interested, so now we have some people to maybe work with!  Elder Lyman says that I’m an awesome missionary.  It’s true.  And that he thinks that I’ll train the next transfers which is in about two weeks. Scary. Not for me, but for the “golden” (nickname for new missionaries)   that I’ll theoretically be training.  That’ll be interesting.

Not a whole lot else has happened this week. That’s about it that’s interesting. So I guess I’ll talk about some of the interesting things that Germans do:

Germans are a little different. Let’s just establish that now. Like, the fact that Germans seem to like to use crutches for no reason. I see so many people here using crutches for no reason at all. Usually they just carry them. They also like to drink. A lot. At any given point in time there are at least ten men drinking on the steps outside of the train station, and one of them is always shirtless. Usually there are two of them, though. People here also just pee wherever they want. There’s no rule for public urination, so people will always just find random streets or bushes to do their business. They also like to advertise the same advertisement everywhere. There’s a poster here for a circus called “Flic Flac” that we see everywhere. The ad has a goth girl on it. We named her Gertrude. She’s everywhere. She gets around. Germans also have a fear of strange things:  Air conditioning, clothes dryers, non carbonated drinks, and turning on lights. It’s a little strange.

Well I gotta go for now. Hopefully something more interesting will happen this week, I feel pretty boring.

Tschüß Leute!

Elder Austin Cassell

Another Crazy Week in Deutschland!

Note from Kelly (mom):  Sorry that there was no update last week, the letter was of a more personal nature, and written just for me.  🙂  (Moms need those sometimes!).  He didn’t have time to write one for the blog!  Also – if you have a chance, Austin would LOVE to get REAL letters – emails are awesome, but he has limited time just on Mondays to read and write back to everyone – so if you can, sending a real letter would be MUCH appreciated!  Plus, he can keep them and re-read them when he needs a little connection to home…which is something he can’t do with emails.

Hi Everyone!

So this has been a pretty interesting couple of weeks. A whole lot of crazy stuff has happened. I’ll try not to forget anything, but I probably will. Too much.

So to start off with some literal crazy, guess who Elder Watson and I ran in to last week? Our crazy drunk/crazy friend Mario!  We were walking in the middle of the city because we had to go to an appointment, and all of a sudden we hear someone yelling “HEEYY”. I immediately recognized the voice of Mario. We tried to keep walking and pretend that we didn’t hear him, but in my heart I knew that there was no point. He had found us, and he was going to talk with us. So he did. So for a few minutes he very drunkenly rambled to us something about God bless America and the Queen. No idea. And how he had a friend in Kaiserslautern who he wanted us to find for him because he wanted to talk to him. So yeah, that made my day.

Next interesting event:  So we got to go visit Herr Grecco last week. He’s the Italian man who hardly speaks any German, but we visit every now and then because he’s a pretty lonely guy. So E. Watson and I had already told the other Elders about all of his “catchphrases” that he says each time we had visited him, so during the visit we all kept note of how many times he would say one of his “catchphrases”. I can’t remember the numbers, but it was pretty dang ridiculous. He said one of them about 27 times if I remember correctly. Elder Kalt managed to sneak a picture of him to send back home, so I’ll get him to share that with me eventually.

This last Tuesday Elder Watson and I had to wake up at about 4 in the morning to catch a train to Frankfurt for a Golden-Trainer meeting. The meeting lasted pretty much all day and was really good. That’s because President Schwartz is probably one of the most awesome and amazing guys I’ve ever met. He’s just a super great guy. He’ll definitely be a general authority someday. Anyways, Elder Watson had to stay in Frankfurt overnight because he had to go to a Leadership Training Meeting the next day, so I had to go split with another Elder named Elder Oberhansley in Kaiserslautern. Well four other Elders and I had to take a train back to Kaiserslautern, where I’d meet up with Elder Oberhansley, and the other four would drive their cars that they had there back to their areas. Our train was scheduled to leave at about 5, but because apparently during a storm a few trees had fallen on the tracks, our train was delayed just a wee bit. Four and a half hours to be exact. So yeah, we pretty much had to sit around Frankfurt Haubtbahnhoff for the entire time, and wait to find out where we were supposed to go. We got to eat Burger King, though, so I was happy. Well eventually we got back to Kaiserslautern at about 11:30 at night, and all of the other Elders were too tired to drive back to their areas, so the five of us all spent the night at another pair of Elder’s apartment. So we had seven elders in one apartment. A little cramped, I had to sleep on the floor, but it’s fine and it’s fun.

I hit a big point in my mission this last Saturday. I got things thrown at me for the first time! The other three elders and I were leaving a member appointment, and heading toward the bus stop when we walked past a group of four maybe 15 year olds sitting in a park. They’re all wearing sagged basketball shorts, high socks, gold necklaces, flat hat turned backwards, etc. They were pretty dang “thug” *Sarcasm*. So anyways we kind of politely acknowledged them and then kept walking down this big set of stairs toward the bus stop. All of a sudden we start noticing that they are very inaccurately throwing some wild crab-apples and small rocks at us. We just ignored it and then waited at the bus stop, while they threw stuff at us from a big ledge in front of us and up a little bit. They went on for like a solid minute without hitting any of us, so we all kind of decided to give them a little sass. Just little polite comments like “good throw” and “you’re so talented” every time they would miss us. I was way amused. I thought it was hilarious. I did really want to give them some snarky sass, for that is my personality, but we decided that was not such a great idea.  I think that they were really irritated, so they stayed for like five minutes throwing things at us. At one point I stood right in front of them and stretched out my arms for them to try, but they still couldn’t hit me! I was basically like Samuel the Lamanite. Ha. Mormon Joke. So yeah, that was a silly little experience.

Oh yeah, one thing that has made me super happy is my new flash drive! A lot of the missionaries here have flash drives that they use to share music and other files with each other, so I bought one. I now have a flash drive with about 3300 songs on it. It’s awesome and a little ridiculous. I have pretty much every disney song, in English and German, and a whole lot of church songs, and a whole bunch of random crap. It’s beautiful.

There’s probably other stuff that I’m forgetting, but that’s all I can think of for now. Well now I’ve gotta go buy groceries for the week! Feel free to write me if you haven’t, it fills my heart with exceedingly great joy!

Tschüß people!

Elder Austin Cassell

My mom asked, so here is my daily schedule:

  • 6:30am to 7:00am:  Exercise
  • 7am -8am:  Showering, dressing, eating
  • 8am-9am:  Personal study
  • 9am-11am:  Companion study
  • 11am-12pm:  Lunch
  • 12pm-1pm:  Language study
  • 1pm-9pm:  Proselytizing time. So appointments, contacting, coordinating, stuff like that, with dinner thrown in somewhere in that time.
  • 9pm-9:30pm:  Planning.
  • 9:30pm to 10:30pm:  Getting ready for the next day/ relaxing a little bit before bed.

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