January 27, 2014 – Interviews and Haircuts

This week was a pretty cool week. One of the things that was really nice was that I was able to meet with President Schwartz on Thursday, and I was able to have an interview with him. It lasted about 20 minutes and was really good. It is amazing how he can pretty much just look into your eyes and just see into your soul. It’s cool. He says all of the right things that each missionary needs to hear at the time, and just completely motivates you to be the best missionary that you can be. So that was good to have an interview, I hadn’t had one since my first transfer, and right now I am on my sixth.

We also had a baptism this Saturday. It was for a boy named Marcel, and he was one of the sister’s investigators, and is the son of a new member of the ward who got baptized last year. It was an awesome experience. And a couple of our investigators were able to come and watch, so that was really good.

Let’s see what else happened this week that was interesting:  I cut my hair by myself for the first time on my mission. Well almost all by myself. Elder Rock got the back for me, because I can’t see that part. It turned out pretty well, I have to say! I could have a promising career as a hair cutter if I wanted to!   Hahaha.  Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.

Well I’ll tell you about some of our investigators:  We are teaching a 53 year old American who works here as a ballet director (he has a wife and two super cute kids).  We don’t get to meet with him very often though. He’s hard to meet with.

We are teaching Ray who is in his fourties and is from Cuba. His wife just passed away back in November. She died in a plane crash. He’s a really good guy, and I think we are helping him a lot. We haven’t really taught him very much yet, because he is dealing with a lot of stuff, but he’s a really great guy.

All of our other investigators are students from the college in our area, but none of them are really progressing right now which is kinda frustrating.  We actually have a street display scheduled for this Saturday, so that should be pretty sweet, and hopefully we will meet some new people. 

Tell Cade to send me information on Sherlock (a BBC show they both like).  I want it. I’m proud that he is obsessed.   Oh – you asked about the singing guy.  The singing guy is awesome. He walks around Coburg with either his boombox or his wife, and just sings at the top of his lungs. Badly. He makes me happy. I’ve only seen him once, though.

Well yeah, I gotta go. Gotta send pictures. Hopefully I’ll have more cool stories next week!

Love you!
Elder Austin Cassell

January 20, 2014 – Schnitzel & Currywurst

My week was good. I had a split with Elder Jackson in Bamberg, that was awesome.  He is seriously hilarious.  We had zone training meeting, an interesting appointment with our less active friend,  and a few appointments here and there. One of our main investigators told us that she’ll get baptized soon, so that was really good.

I love the German language.  Every day somebody will comment on how good my German is, how I sound like I am German.

Here’s a funny story:  So we get called about twice everyday from a less active member that loves us. Mainly Elder Rock. His name is Jürgen. Well he invited us over for dinner this week so that he could make us Schnitzel. We don’t know why. Anyways, we get to his apartment and he is ready for us, and has all of the things out for the schnitzel. So schnitzel and oil, and a pan. And we ask him if there is anything we could do to help with dinner. His response: “yeah you can cook it.”  So that’s what we did. I made schnitzel for the first time in my life. And we started cooking it, and then he comes over and says “Okay they are done” and takes them out. They were not done. They were still quite raw in the middle. So he takes them out and puts them on the plates, and puts the nudel salat all on top of them and then we sit at the table. I tried to tell him that they were not done, but he did not listen. So he takes a big bite out of his, then says “oh its raw”.  So he takes ours back and then puts them back on the pan, and tries again, except this time it’s cooking in oils and nudels. In the end they were cooked good enough to eat, and really weren’t too bad. Then he gave Elder Rock cds that he made for him. So one cd of Mo Tab, one of classical, one of a bunch of rock music (which we obviously won’t listen to), and one that is one solid hour of just jungle sounds. We don’t know why. We just talked to him a little bit ago and we are going over to his house again on Wednesday and he is going to make us currywurst. I’m excited.

Well gotta go! Love you! Mean it!

Elder Austin Cassell

One-Third Mark Reached! Jan. 13, 2014

Hi Everyone,

So I am email messaging y’all right now in “real time” as I schreib this email, so I feel pretty silly. I feel like I am having two conversations at once.

 Today we haven’t really been doing anything. There’s not a lot to do in Coburg, other than go to the castle, and we are gonna do that sometime later this transfer with our whole district. So we just did shopping for groceries, ate lunch, tried to shop a little bit, took naps, played some card games, and did a Jesus puzzle. Fun stuff!”

We did not do anything cool on Three kings day. That’s a German holiday. All Germans do on their holidays is not work. They all stay inside their tiny litlle apartments, watch tv, drink, and smoke. The daily life of a German. We still have not moved in to the new apartment. We have to wait on some of our new stuff to get here from Frankfurt.

Yeah, I heard that they had released the name of the new Mission President. That’s cool that he is a pediatrician. I was hoping that he would be a German, but I am sure that I will love him just the same. By the way did I ever mention that Coburg is President Schwartz’s home town? He grew up here, was baptized in our ward building and what not. Cool stuff, right? I’ve just decided that when he retires and is no longer our mission president, I am just going to have to beg the new mission president to send me down to Feucht, president Schwartz’s current home, so that I can just see him every Sunday at least!  Love that man!  He is a spiritual giant and one of the best people I’ve ever met.

I still have not bought my lederhosen yet, I’ll get them at some point though, don’t worry. Kein Angst. I didn’t get any pictures of the street display, sorry, I forgot my camera. I haven’t really taken any pictures this week, but I’m working on it.

Our investigators are doing okay. Unfortunately almost every single one of our appointments with investigators has fallen out this week.  Most were just too busy and were not able to meet. That is one of the things that is frustrating right now; the fact that a lot of our investigators, who are students at the hoch schule, are all really busy right now because they all have papers, projects, and Prüfungen coming up in the next couple of weeks or so. So it is pretty difficult for them to find any time where they can meet with us or come to any of our activities. So hopefully they’ll all be able to find some time this week where they can meet with us!

But aside from that fact, we have still had some really cool things and miracles happen this week! The biggest miracle that I feel that happened is what happened last Monday night. Elder Rock and I had our primary plan, and our backup plan fall out, so we decided that we would go to the church to print out some pass along flyers and posters for our Kulturabend that we have coming up at the end of the month, and then go to the Hochschule and go invite all of our investigators and potential friends there. So we went and did that, and then at about 8:20 we started heading back to the Wohnung to eat some dinner and finish up some plans for the Kulturabend. On the way back, however, we both felt prompted to go to a restaurant that we knew a friend of one of our investigators, who we have met a few times, worked at. We wanted to go in and just say hi to her and to see how she was doing. Once we got there we saw that she was working and started talking to her, and each ordered a small pizza so that we could stay there and talk to her (plus we were hungry). As we were waiting though, a group of people sitting down next to us started asking us a bunch of questions. You know the standard missionary questions: who are you, where are you from, what are you doing here, etc. Well we ended up talking with them for a while (two moms and two younger teenagers) and we eventually found out that one of the moms was the mother of our investigator’s friend, and actually was the owner of the restaurant. So we kept talking and eventually mentioned some of our activities that we had at the church, and about the Kulturabend that we will be having, and they got really excited about all of them! The owner really wants to come to the English class that we have at the church, and the others want to come and play volleyball with us! And what more, the owner took one of our posters that we had for Kulturabend, and said that she would advertise it at the front of the restaurant for us! And her friend works for a class that teaches people German, and she said that she would advertise it at her work as well! And then to top it all off, the owner gave us our pizzas and soda for free, because of how nice we were! It was a really cool experience, and was totally lead and happened through the Spirit! So I really hope some good things will come out of this!

By the way we just entered into a new transfer, so I am here in Coburg with Elder Rock for at least another 6 weeks. Elder Rock is a really good missionary. We don’t mess around as much as I have had with my other companions, but he is a really good example and I have definitely learned a lot from him this transfer. I am happy to be here in Coburg with him for at least one other transfer.

I realized that I hit my one third mark for my mission. That’s weird. I’m not sure how I feel about that.  I feel like my German is really improving. I’m really learning to understand and apply all the grammar rules. Plus people still think that I am German all of the time , so that makes me happy.

Well I gotta go, Love you guys! Bis nächste Woche!

Elder Austin Cassell

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January 6, 2014 – “drei Königs Tag” (Three Kings Day)

Sup Parentals,

I am so tired. I don’t know why, because I took a nap today. But I have like zero energy right now. So sorry if this email turns out being pretty lame today. But that’s one of the lame things about this pday. Everything is closed. Like everything. We couldn’t even go grocery shopping today because the whole town is shut down. It’s some holiday today called “drei Königs Tag” which means three kings day. But yeah that’s the thing about Germany. Any holiday and the whole place pretty much shuts down and people just sit at home. So yeah we haven’t really done anything today. We cleaned because we have cleaning checks tomorrow. Which is pointless because we are moving into a new apartment soon. By the way, our new apartment is sweet! We checked it out yesterday. It’s like twice the size of the one that we have right now, has two bathrooms, and the shower has decent water pressure, so I’m happy!

So for New Years Eve we stayed inside from 6 on and made new goals for the new year. It was okay. Then we went to bed at 10:30. Then we woke up at like 11:45 because all of Germany started going nuts with the fireworks thing. They launch them like crazy! I will try to upload the video that I took sometime next week. They definitely go for quantity rather than quality for the fireworks, though. There’s a ton of them, but they are not all that impressive. So that was cool.

New Years Day was dead. There was nobody out and about. Luckily we had some appointments so we had something to do. I also went on two splits this week. One with Elder Simpson, and one with Elder Jackson. He’s from Ireland. They were really fun and we had some great experiences.

Other things that we did this week: On Friday we played volleyball with our investigators which was fun. I’m getting pretty good!  It was cool because Koffi came. He is a less active member from Ivory Coast Africa. We found him a few weeks back, and he had no idea that there was a church in Coburg. But he came to volleyball and church this week, so that was way cool! He’s 25 and a student here learning German.

So last pday we just hung out with the other missionaries in Bamberg and had lunch, went around the city a little bit, and then did some shopping because they had a lot of after christmas deals. Which reminds me, I got a sweet deal on a new suit! I bought a pretty decent grey suit at C&A that was usually €90, and I got it for €19! Holla holla! (That was a shout-out for Aunt Sarah)

And on Saturday we had a pretty cool street display at Bamberg. I made a bunch of balloons and handed them out to kids. The balloons all say “Ich bin ein Kind Gottes” and then they say mormon.org on the back. It was pretty successful and really fun.

Well I gotta go! I love you guys! Have fun in Texas!

Love, Elder Austin Cassell

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Coburg is AWESOME! (Double Post from 12/16 & 12/23)

December 16, 2013
Hey so sorry if this letter to you guy is gonna be short, but I don’t have a ton of time to write a big old huge letter. We have our zone Pday today, so I have to do my emailing really fast in this small internet cafe in Nürnberg, and then I gotta get out of here to go have some fun. 

So yeah, this week was pretty sweet. We met with a lot of our investigators, so that was really good. And yesterday we set a baptismal date with one of our investigators, so that of course is awesome! He comes from Afghanistan, and is about 22ish. He is a way nice guy, and he really wants to be baptized. We knew that he has been wanting to be baptized for a while, but we had to wait a while to make sure that he has a real testimony about everything, and that he understands everything, and it seems that he does, so we set a baptismal date for him to be baptized on January 4th!

So what made the Hobbit so good? I did not get a heavily detailed letter from Cade because he sucks. 

Yeah I went back through a lot of the ancestry on the Cassell side. There are a lot of kings and queens from Germany and France – pretty sweet. 

Oh yeah, about my cardigan, don’t be hating! You people back in America may think that it looks weird, but here in Germany it’s super awesome! It’s what a lot of the missionaries wear. It’s just the thing here. I thought that they were girly too at first, but they’re not here. And neither is my side bag. “It’s a man’s bag!” Friends references – gotta love em. 

So what did sister Tschiershwitz say about me? Good things I hope? She is way nice and awesome! Did any other members from Saarbrücken send me friend requests? (He got a few requests on his Facebook from people back in his Saarbrücken area – which I let him know about.  Yes…I do try to update him on his Facebook stuff!)

So I got my package finally, so that’s good. And I got some Christmas invites, so I’ll try and make Skype plans this week, and let you know this week.  Also I uploaded a few pictures from Saarbrücken.

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Gotta go, love you!
Elder Austin Cassell

December 23, 2013

So somehow I am pretty pressed for time again, so I am just gonna do a combined email. Sorry to suck in those regards, hopefully I’ll be better after Christmas.  So things that happened this week:

On Monday we went to Nürnberg to go see the Weihnacht Markt, which is the biggest and the most famous in the world, so that was really cool! There was a crazy amount of people there! And we were there only on a Monday afternoon! I didn’t really buy anything, which was disappointing. I was going in the hope of buying you guys your Christmas presents, but I couldn’t find anything that was really all that great without being RIDICULOUSLY expensive! So I’m gonna try and find some cool stuff for y’all today. So yeah all I bought was a €5 cup of Kinderpunch, the only non alcoholic drink there, and that tasted really good. I mainly bought it for the tradition of it, and the cup. And then I also bought a 1/2 meter wurst. But that was just because it looked awesome, and I got a good picture out of it, so I’m happy. I didn’t get to buy lederhosen, though. We didn’t have enough time. We had a lot of fun hanging out with a lot of the elders from our district and some from our zone, so it was way cool!

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We had zone conference this last Tuesday, which was really good and fun. I got to see some people that I haven’t seen in a while. People in my Saarbrücken districts at other points in time, like Elder Kalt. We learned a lot, and then we went to the Weihnacht Markt to sing Christmas songs to everyone there. It was way cool.

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We met with some of our investigators this week, which was way good. We also have a new investigator, who I see a lot of potential in. So that’s good.

Well anyways I’m super excited to Skype with you guys on Christmas! It’ll be sweet! I’ll make sure that it all works out!

Love you guys, and am way excited!

Love Elder Austin Cassell