March 31, 2014 – Coburg for Another Transfer

First – I’m sorry, I’ve been a total slacker and realized that I was SIX weeks behind on Austin’s blog!  So I apologize in advance for the barrage of posts all at once! 

Our week was pretty good. It was a little slow, but it was good. We had a bunch of appointments fall out, which was pretty lame. We had our street display on Saturday, and that went pretty good.

I’m pretty happy to stay in Coburg! I like this area. It’s pretty, good members, decent work, and Elder Brandner and I get along well. It’s just weird that I am going to hit my “One year until I finish my mission” date this transfer, and I am still only in my second area! But I am actually on track to have the “mission life” that most missionaries want; where you stay in 4 areas for 4 transfers each. So that would be cool. I just like to assume that I am so awesome that wards and branches just don’t want to let me go. (Lulz)  It depends a lot on the missionary and the need I think. There are a decent amount of missionaries in my group, for example, who are going into their 4th area this transfer. Some move around a lot, and others do not. Speaking of which my MTC comp, Elder Baker, just got made a Zone leader in Frankfurt this transfer, so that is weird. That’ll be his 4th area. Almost my entire district stayed the same this transfer. Only Sister Diethelm is leaving.

We are not sure about our investigator’s (name removed)  baptismal date. Theoretically, yes – it should stick. We just haven’t been able to meet with him for a while, because he has been in Munich (which is weird to say because the real German name for it is München). So we have an appointment this week with him, and we will see where we are at that point.

No I did not take any pictures of the Street display this week. I was too busy being rejected by Germans. Street displays are pretty difficult in Deutschland. Most people don’t let you get a word out when you try to talk to them. They usually just look away, put their hand up in front of their face and say something like “Ich bin schon Katholisch” or “Ich glaube nichts”. Like I only passed out 3 Books of Mormons, and I was the most successful of the Elders. The Sisters always give away a lot more. I feel that the street stuff is a lot easier for sisters.

We are gonna watch General Conference at the ward building. On Saturday night we watch Saturday morning live. Then on Sunday morning we watch Saturday afternoon & Priesthood sessions, and then Sunday morning we watch live. The missionaries never really get to watch Sunday afternoon. We usually just download them onto our flash drives and listen to them during companion studies or at nights during the rest of the week.

My German is still definitely not perfect, but it gets better all the time. Elder Brandner also has good German, but we usually just speak English to each other.

We didn’t really do much today. I looked for stuff to send you guys in my package, but I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t just crazy expensive. So I am probably just gonna end up just sending you guys chocolate or something.

We don’t get too many member appointments, so we usually just make food ourselves.

Well I gotta go now! Been dandy chit chatting with you people! Have a fantastic week! Frito, you have fun in Mexico! Get some real BRC’s and have fun in your little Frito home land!

Love ya! Tschüß!

Elder Austin Cassell

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New Apartment in Coburg & Splits in Bamburg

March 24 –

Zone Conference was pretty dandy. Elder Dyches from the Quorum of the Seventy was there, and he said some pretty nifty and cool stuff. And yes, I did get my camera. That sucka is huge! But oh so nice! Thanks a bunch! I will try to take some good pictures with it! I haven’t really done too much with it, because I don’t really want to start taking it outside with me until I manage to buy a case for it. (I received a later email stating that he found his old case, and it fit perfectly…boys!)

We do not have hot water for the sink yet, which is pretty lame, but whatever. We can cook in our kitchen now though. And yeah I will try to send you some new pictures of the apartment. We have cleaning checks this week, so I will get some pictures taken once the apartment looks all nice. The weather has been pretty random. Some days have been pretty nice and sunny, some a little chilly, and some just plain cold and rainy. The Ecco shoes are still trucking through. I am still wearing the first pair that I brought, and they are holding up pretty well. They are starting to tear a little bit just above the arch on the bottom of the shoe. But I am gonna wear them until they completely die.

We have a pretty busy week planned. The most interesting thing that I would say that we have planned is that we have a street display here in Coburg on Saturday. We just had one this last Saturday in Bamberg where we all went to help out. We also have transfer calls this Saturday, so there is a chance that I might leave Coburg. Despite the fact that I am the second counselor in the Branch, I feel like I could get transferred. I don’t know why, I just feel like I will. We’ll see. I’ll be happy either way.  I did not really get to talk to President at Zone Conference. I did talk to one Elder that had served here for a while, though, and when he asked about Coburg, it at one point came up that I was the second counselor, and he asked President if I was gonna be in Coburg forever. Then President said something like “Oh no, he is not going to be in Coburg as long as he thinks” while I was standing there. Then he turned and was like “oh Elder Cassell I didn’t know that you were listening” but he always makes jokes like that. He’s very cryptic.

Anyways I really don’t have much time left to email, actually like no time at all, so I am just gonna fill you in on some of the things that have been going on here:

This week was a pretty good week. On Friday I got to go on a split in Bamberg with Elder Jackson, and that was way fun! Elder Jackson is a fun guy to be with in general, but we also got to do some pretty cool stuff. We did a bunch of yard work for one of their investigators for a while, which was fun, and then they fed us some rouladden, which was way tasty! Then we had an appointment with their ward second counselor, who is from Africa, and he made us fufu! That was some way good food, and you eat it with your hands – which makes it way more fun! Then on Saturday we had a street display which was pretty fun. It was raining and windy like crazy, but we still got stuff done. Then yesterday we went to our ward mission leader’s house for lunch, and he made us sauerbraten, which was also way good! It was a good week for my belly!

That was pretty much all that happened this week. Not much else very interesting. This week should be pretty good, we have some good appointments, and are gonna be pretty busy almost all of the time the rest of the week, so that is good.
Well, I gotta go! Love y’all!

Elder Austin Cassell

Note:  He was able to upload some pics later in the week – so here is his new apartment, and pictures of the castle from the Bamberg Elders’ apartment!  It’s so beautiful!!!  New camera takes some nice pics!  🙂

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District P-Day at Kloyster Banz

March 17 –

Hey so you probably have noticed by now that I am emailing y’all rather late. That is because we had a fairly busy day, and then I just had a bunch of emailing to do, and not a lot of time to do it all in. Sorry that this email is going to probably be relatively short.

So for missionary work, we set a baptismal date for the 19th of April for Atiq yesterday. Hopefully it will be more set this time. He has a good testimony and really wants to get baptized. The only problem is that it is sometimes hard for him to remember some of the doctrinal points. But yeah, should be good. We also had a really good lesson with Karin this week about the Word of Wisdom, so hopefully she can work on quitting smoking.

Today we had a P-day with the rest of the district. We went to a big monastery in Bad Staffelstein, called “Kloyster Banz”. It was pretty cool. There weren’t any buses that drove up there, so we had to walk all of the way, which was a pretty long walk. It took a little over an hour to walk all of the way up there. But it was fun to just walk up there with all of the other Elders and the Sister Missionaries. Oh – and we did not get a chance to ever go to the veste (castle) this week. I don’t know when we are going to be able to do that. Probably next transfer if I stay here in Coburg.

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This week we have Zone Conference on Wednesday, so that’ll be good. Elder Dyches from the Quorum of the Seventy will be there, so that’ll be cool. And that is when I will be able to pick up my camera. We don’t get our new Mission President until June, so we will get to see President Schwartz.

Other random news: We got our kitchen finally, so that is good. We don’t have hot water in the kitchen, though. At least not for now. I conducted sacrament meeting yesterday, and that was pretty cool.

So yeah that is really about it on my end. I gotta go now, so talk to you next week. Hopefully then I will be able to write a better letter.

Love you!
Elder Austin Cassell

PS. Thanks for the Dieter/Dumbledore thing!

 

Celebrity for a Day (Berühmtheit für einen Tag)

P-day is going OK today.  We went to a funeral this morning. Then I ate a bunch of spicy Chinese food for lunch.  The funeral and everything took up most of our pday time, but it’s okay because we are going to be able to use some of that time later this week and go to the castle finally!   It’s always closed on Mondays, so this is our chance to finally go there and get our money’s worth!

This week was good, we managed to keep ourselves pretty busy. On Saturday we did about 5 hours of service doing yard work for a family in our ward.  Allergies aren’t too bad right now, although I did notice the other day that when I breath through my nose, the air only goes through one nostril. Is that normal???  On Thursday we had Zone Training in Nürnberg.  I  really can’t remember all that much that is interesting that we did this week. We were busy like all of the time, but it was all just stuff that I can’t really remember right now. I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff I should tell you.  Did you see the pics I sent of the Newspaper article?  I’ll try and get the newspaper sent to y’all at some point.

Coburg Newspaper Article

Coburg Newspaper Article

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Thanks for sending the new camera!  I will let you know when I get it.  I can still take pictures with the camera that I have, it just takes a lot of preparation time. So I should be able to still get a bunch of pictures up at the castle.  And no, I really haven’t taken many pictures since the camera broke.  I uploaded the ones I have taken.

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I will answer your questions:

1)  No I did not celebrate Pancake Day, they apparently don’t celebrate it here, as far as I know.  (We started celebrating the British “Pancake Day” a few years ago with English-style pancakes – recipe and tradition courtesy of my Sister-in-Law, Sarah.  Sooooooooooooooo yummy!!!  We wondered if they celebrate it in Germany…guess not!)

2.)  My new calling is going great!   We had a meeting this week and I received all of my responsibilities/ things that I am in charge of. Basically all of the missionary stuff (no surprise there!), branch activities, the young men’s group, the young single adults, and then I just have to help conduct sacrament meetings and work with the finances.

3.) Elder Brander and I are getting along really well. We talk a lot, and plus we work really well together too, so it’s pretty dandy.

4.) Just told him.  (I told him to tell Elder Bradner to have his mom join the Frankfurt mission Facebook group that I started.)

5.) (Asked him if he had talked to his friend Ka’imi about his “Voodoo” experience he had on his mission in Brazil – no bueno!)   Yep, talked to him about it.  Some stuff like that happened in my old apartment in Saarbrücken.  Some missionaries played around with a Ouija board and crap started going down.  The apartment had to be rededicated – those Elders faced the wrath of President Schwartz!  You just don’t mess around with that stuff!  People think its just funny and innocent, but it definitely is NOT.  Especially for missionaries.

Hey well I gotta go, Talk to you next week! Love ya!

Elder Cassell

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Branch Presidency in Coburg

Note from Kelly (Mom):  This is from last week.  I could not post it, because there was some information that could not be public last week, but now that it’s official – I can post the letter.  This week’s letter will follow!

Sup Family,

I see that y’all are still in the tradition of making the cake on the birthday, and then actually getting to eat it a few days later. How is it that we always seem to do that in our family!? We are super special. Well mother dearest I am glad that you enjoyed my email (Austin was able to send me a few pictures and a quick “Happy Birthday” email on my birthday!  A very happy surprise!!!)  .  The lederhosen was expensive, but it was totally worth it! Elder Rock and I both were really happy with our purchases. I pretty much got exactly what I wanted. I wanted darker colored lederhosen, just because I prefer darker to lighter, with a green shirt. I wasn’t sure whether to get above or below knee, though. In the end, though, we both decided to get above knee because it was just way more comfy and looked cooler/funnier/sexier (lulz). I tried on the longer ones too, and they just were a bigger pain to put on, and were not as comfy. The short ones, though, are way comfy. I’ve worn them around the apartment a few times just for fun. The only things that the longer ones have in advantage is that they are a little warmer (which I don’t really care too much about) but the one thing that almost made me buy them was that I could look much more hobbit like in the longer ones! But I like the ones that I got. Cade would just be disappointed.

Lederhosen!

Lederhosen!

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So after we went and bought the hosen, Elder Rock, all four of the Bamberg Elders, and I all went to the Docu centrum museum in Nürnberg. It was a pretty cool museum. It was in one of the uncompleted congress halls that Hitler had started building during the Third Reich. It was all about Nürnberg’s association with WW2 and the Nürnberg trials that happened there. It was pretty crazy. Really interesting and really cool. I took a few pictures. Which reminds me I still need to buy a new camera  (his broke).

Well the rest of my time with Elder Rock we just tried to meet with some investigators and friends of the church so that Elder Rock could say goodbye. Then on Thursday I got paired with Elder Brandner. He and I have been getting along really well. We both want to work hard and make cool things happen, but he’s pretty relaxed about it, and fun, so I am looking forward to this transfer. Oh yeah so we moved into the new apartment. It is really nice and big, and stuff, but the problem right now is just that we don’t have a kitchen or a washing machine, so we have to make all of our food at the church (which isn’t too big of a deal since we live like 3 minutes away from the church building) and we have to wash our clothes once a week at a laundromat, which is expensive, so that sucks. But I like the new place, so that is good.

We had the musical this Friday, and it went pretty good. It was cheesy and a little lame, but whatevs. We had some of our investigators come which was really cool! We saw some good things come from it. And it was all recorded, so it’ll probably be put on the mission blog, so y’all will be able to see it. (I will post a link if it shows up on the mission blog.)

Well in some interesting news, I got an interesting call this week. On Friday President Schwartz called me and said “Elder Cassell has President Keil (my branch president) talked to you about your calling yet?” I told him no and that I didn’t know what he meant. He then said “Oh okay, that’s probably because he still has to talk to the stake president about it. Anyways he already talked to me about it, and you are allowed to accept your calling, just know that President Keil trusts you, and so do I. Okay I’ve got to go bye.” And then he hung up. And I was really confused for a long time. Then on Saturday at Stake conference (we had that this week it was really good, we watched a live video stream that Elder Bednar and Elder Hales did for the German speaking stakes. And it was really cool because Elder Bednar spoke his whole talk in German, since he served his mission in Germany!)  Anyways, President Keil and the Stake President pull me into an office and told me that they wanted to call me as President Keil’s second counselor.  He told me that he once had a missionary as a counselor a long time ago, like in the eighties, and it worked well, but he hasn’t felt needed to call any other Elders as a counselor since, but he felt like I was the Elder for the job.  So yeah, I just got my humility check, because as of this next Sunday (that’s when I’ll officially start, until then nobody else knows that I will be except Elder Brandner) –  I’m gonna have a lot more responsibility on my hands. But it’ll be cool, I feel like I’ll learn a lot. I also feel like that means that I am gonna stay in Coburg for a long time. Which I’m cool with, I like it here. I’m just not sure why I am the one being called. I don’t feel like I have done anything really special to really earn this calling, but it’ll be a cool experience.

Well gotta go, gotta do pday stuff. Love you guys! Have a good week!

Love, Elder Austin Cassell

Fasching and Coburg Newspaper Article!

Yep, I’m oficially der Zweiter Ratgeber der Zweigpräsidentschaft (2nd Counselor to the President).   It feels pretty weird!  For responsibilities, I help count tithing money and what-not after church on Sundays, I am in charge of overseeing the Young Men activities in the branch, and starting the next Sunday after this Sunday I will be in charge of conducting the Sacrament meetings.  Any other responsibilities that I have I will learn about this Friday when we have a Branch Presidency meeting.  Poor Elder Brandner has to wait out in the hall when we have meetings, so that kind-of sucks for him.  I’m pretty sure that most people were surprised that I was called as the second counselor. Apparently that has never happened in Coburg.  It was weird though because I was in the pews sitting with Elder Brandner and Koffi, and then they announced my calling and I had to go up and sit on the stand. It’s weird. I felt like I had just been separated from the rest of the branch.

The weather is actually rather schön today. Fairly warm and sunny.  Life is pretty great!  Things are going great with Elder Brandner!  I feel like I can really be myself, and we get along really well.  We work really well together.  We have a lot of fun, but we work really hard and get a lot done!  We pretty much just chilled today, there really is not a whole lot to do here in Coburg. Especially when we have to go back and forth everywhere for grocery shopping and doing laundry.  I don’t have much time to write a big letter today, I am trying to play catch up with all of the people that have written me and I haven’t really replied back to in a while.

This week is the starting of Carnival, though, which is basically the German equivalent of Halloween. It just lasts a long time, and people drink a lot more. There was also a day called Fasching, where women go around and try to cut off people’s ties. So it is a dangerous day for Elders. It’s not really a big deal here in Coburg, though, so it was okay. I still wore one of my crappy ties, just in case. I was not willing to take the risk and lose one of my good ties. When it comes to my ties, I’m not afraid of keeping my pimp hand strong. Other than that nothing really interesting has happened this week. We did get stopped yesterday by a crazy guy, though. He started telling us all about how he knows when Christ is gonna come back and how we have to go back to America and tell everyone on his behalf. That was fun.

Oh yeah, and the newspaper article on Elder Rock and I came out this last week. We had a full little article in the Coburg newspaper about us. It turned out pretty good!  There’s a big picture of the two of us in it too. I’ll send it to you guys, and I’ll try and send you pictures of the pages within the next few days. You can get Brock to translate it for you or something. They described me as the happy and chill one, and mentioned that I was wearing a batman watch and that I worked at Legoland.  So yeah, I am basically awesome (hahaha).

So I still need to get a camera. It would probably be better if you can just send me one.  You know what you want me to have! Just send it to the mission office. We have Zone Conference is on the 19th, so I would be able to get it then.

I do approve of your torturing of the evil one (Cade).  Please continue. He deserves it.  And thanks for the picture of my woman (I sent him a picture from my cell-phone that I took of Emma Watson presenting at the Academy Awards – especially since she was presenting with Batman star, Joseph Gordon-Levitt).  She be lookin classy like she always do!

Anyways I gotta go, but I love you guys, and I will try and send you pictures soon! Have a great week! Love ya! Thank you!

Elder Austin Cassell