Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cassidy's Homecoming is 1-25-15

Cassidy will give her report at the 3rd Ward building in American Falls on Sunday, January 25, 2015. The meeting starts at 9:00 a.m. The address is 650 Pocatello Ave., American Falls, ID 83211. She looks forward to seeing you there!!

Pictures of Cassidy 1-20-15

Cassidy's Final Letter 1-20-15

Well, here it is. My LAST email as a missionary. Slightly depressing! But also my mission has been the greatest experience of my entire life and I can't be sad because I am just so grateful for it. And this past week has been one of the best of my mission! I am amazed at how much Heavenly Father loves me and blesses me, and at the miracles He constantly lets me see.

This week really was full of just cool experiences.

The first happened while we were out to lunch with a couple of members. First, let me back up. They wanted to take us to this restaurant.. but I had a few reliable sources that the restaurant wasn't very good.. so I was sorta trying to get us to go somewhere else.. and I it was so weird because we would plan somewhere else and then for the most random reasons we would have to switch back to the bad restaurant. After like 3 days I just gave up and accepted defeat haha.  So we go to lunch, my sources were correct just so you know haha, and I had a salad. They gave me the smallest thing of dressing so I went to get more and the girl working was trying to make me pay for more.. ( i promise this is relevant to the story I am not just rambling for nothing) and this guy worker who was on his lunch break came and said I could have it for free. So I went back, ate the rest of my lunch, and the member started telling us all about how she is vegan and loves yoga. Anyways fast forward.. we leave the restaurant.. and we are about to our car when I realize that I didn't give the girl working a pass along card. And I have gotten pretty good at giving those things out so I was a bit ashamed of myself, but I thought it would be weird to go all the way back in. But  something nagged me and I figured why not, so I made us go back to give her a card. Well we get in there and she was busy.. so we are awkwardly standing there... when the guy worker, named Cody, came up to us. He immediately started asking questions about the church, and what we believe, and asked about "emerald tablets"... yeahhhh.... he meant the gold plates.. but close enough, right?  So we talk to Him, explain The Book of Mormon, and he immediately asks "Where can I get a transcript of what was on the gold plates". We ran and brought him a Book of Mormon and he was really excited. Then he said "Can I tell you what has happened today. So I was sitting eating lunch, when I noticed they were trying to make you pay for more salad dressing. I thought to myself 'a friend of Jesus is a friend of mine' so I didn't want you to pay.  Then I overheard your friend talking about yoga.. and that is something that means a lot to me spiritually. It is really interesting how God is working today." Uh... craziest thing EVER. He totally felt the Spirit and is going to read The Book of Mormon. It was one of the coolest experiences ever that really showed God was in the little details. We had to go to the gross restaurant to find Cody. I had to go back in, not to give the girl a card, but to help Cody learn about The Book of Mormon. God is totally 100 percent in missionary work and man it was just awesome to know He used me to find Cody.

Cool experience number two was with Tina. So we hadn't been able to see Tina forever because I was sick, she was sick, then she had surgery.. and so it had been 17 trillion years. But the last time we met with her she decided that she wanted to start at the very beginning.. with figuring out "Who is God".. so she committed to study and try to understand. So we go over... and she had been studying! She had note cards of thoughts and notes and scriptures.. and she had a list of things she wants to work on, in order of importance. She even said at the beginning of the lesson "let's get started quick so I can get as much out of this session as I can." And she was telling us all she has learned about God and about how we need to have faith in Him, even when everything goes wrong in our lives. And I wish that I could describe to you the chance that has happened with her since we last saw her. Every time I have seen her she has been so negative, angry, impatient, (a lot has to do with the horrible things that have happened to her.. which they are really bad.) and she was always really angry towards God and thought that He hated her. And then on Saturday she was hopeful, happier, so much more patient with her kids and just totally a completely different person. It still blows my mind. I have never in my life seen someone change so much. And it just came from her studying and gaining a better understand of God. She said "I really feel like I know who He is now. And I feel like He is there for me. And I can already tell the biggest difference in my life. I can tell I am becoming a better person."

THE GOSPEL CAN LITERALLY CHANGE PEOPLE in the most incredible way. I just feel like so lucky that God let me see how far she has come before I went home. It is amazing because I literally did nothing. Tina did the work, and God blessed her. And I am excited to hear about the progress she continues to make. It just makes me so happy because I know that her live, and her children's lives are going to be so much better because of what she is doing.

Also, nicest thing ever, Jerry had us over for dinner this week! I am amazed at everything he is able to do without arms. It is pretty inspiring. He made us roast and vegetables and he was so proud. It was sweet. And then we had an incredible lesson. Let me back up for a second.. so the other day I had a prompting that we should talk about Patriarchal blessings with him but we hadn't done it yet... and after dinner he said "I read my patriarchal blessing for the first time since I got it. And I have never felt the spirit so strong. I could see the things it said coming true, especially since I have been reading the scriptures." and he went on to say that he is going to work towards getting the Melchizedek priesthood, and that on fast Sunday he is going to get up to share his testimony of all he has been learning. And it literally made me so happy. To see Jerry start out with no confidence, not even able to read any scriptures, to reading 5 chapters a day and working towards the priesthood! Another huge miracle showing how people can change. The Gospel really is so incredibly powerful.

Saturday was one of the best days ever. ALL OF OUR APPOINTMENTS WORKED.. I think that might be the first time of my mission! We had the awesome lesson with Tina.. which went over so we were late to lunch at The Grimms.. and Sister Grimm left a voice mail in her German accent saying "you said you would be here 12:30.. It is 12:45 and food is ready and you are not." Cracked me up. And she made a delicious German meal complete with schnitzel. And the best part was Sister Grimm literally out of nowhere pulled out a harmonica from her pocket.. and started playing the song "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" for me. It was so funny.. who even knew she could play the harmonica? But man saying goodbye to them.. not fun. Dieter gave me a huge hug (I know I am not allowed to hug guys on my mission but he hugged me before I could do anything about it haha) and said they really love me and will miss me. I have never seen him get emotional like that! And Sister Grimm was crying and said "Will you write my grandson so you will have a reason to come back and visit us?" So funny. I just love them. I have met the coolest people on my mission. It is like so priceless.

THEN Danee passed her baptismal interview! (She is the awesome 17 year old) and she will be getting baptized the beginning of February! I am so excited for her. She has been one of the best/coolest/inspirational people I have taught.

We had a super cool tour the other day at the Visitors' Center too! So it started with 3 members.. and then a lady and her 24 yaer old daughter joined the group, and they weren't members. So we started on the tour, and they had the coolest, deepest questions.. and it was awesome because the two teenage kids who were members were answering the questions! It was cool to see how they softened up. I felt the Spirit so strong while I was sharing my experience with The Book of Mormon, and by the end they gave us their number to call them and they just kept saying how much they loved it. It doesn't sound that awesome but I am having a hard time explaining it.. but it was one of the best tours I have taken on my mission. It was just cool to see how powerful the Spirit is and how it can soften people.

Overall, just a super good week. Just a super good mission. Scratch that, the BEST MISSION. I am overwhelmed with gratitude at the experience I have had. It has changed me so much. I have met the most incredible people whose friendships I will cherish forever. I will never stop thanking Heavenly Father for sending me to Ohio, and for letting me witness the power of Jesus Christ's Atonement, in my life as well as others. I can honestly say that I know this truly is Jesus Christ's church restored to the earth. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that God loves each and every one of His children. I experienced Him reaching out to them through me, and I was able to constantly feel of His love. I have witnessed miracle after miracle, testifying to me that I truly have been engaged in God's work. I feel blessed to be an instrument in His hands to help His children.

I know that Jesus Christ lives and that we can each be forgiven. I know people can change. I know that people can become happy, regardless of their circumstances, if they rely on Christ. I know that true and lasting happiness is only found by living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that The Book of Mormon is not only true, but that it can and will change everyone who actually reads it. It has changed me forever and I will never, ever, stop being grateful for that book.  And I truly know that families are forever.. and I couldn't be more excited to be with my family again!

I have loved my mission. I feel so much peace and happiness knowing that I served the Lord. I was definitely not a perfect missionary, and things never went perfectly, but I have had the greatest experience I could ever dream of. I have learned so much, I have grown so much, I have a relationship with the Savior that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

I am so grateful for all of the prayers, letters, emails and just all of the support and love I have received. I feel so blessed! I have truly never felt this happy!


Love always,

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cassidy's Letter 1-13-15


Man it was a super busy and hilarious and awesome week. Heavenly Father is just blessing me to have the best last few weeks ever. And despite the 2 feet of snow that we keep getting the car stuck in.. everything is going really well!

OH and I also got the car stuck in a ditch this week.  and I instantly remembered why I go to college in California. So yeah basically there was a bunch of snow and long story short couldn't see where the edge of the road was and after we parked and went to a house and came back the car had sunk and there was basically no getting out of it. The car was like completely tilted. But I am not even exaggerating.. we were stuck... and we prayed.. and I just kept praying for a miracle and somehow we got out. I have no clue how because I was 90% sure we were going to have to get pulled out but man God answers prayers that is all I can say! I swear I just keep seeing miracles all the time.

We actually got to see a lot of people this week. And some of them were slightly crazy which was awesome. Like this one lady Sally.. she lives in these slightly weird apartments.. and her apartment happened to be an ashtray mixed with dog hair.. but I was just glad we got in because we have been trying since September. So we get in and she had some weird movie on and she goes "Sorry. I will not turn the movie off because I love Elvis." Okay.... then she invites us to this Christmas party (I coulda sworn Christmas was last month?) and then she started showing me these weird poems about dogs dying and rainbows. And yeah it actually was as weird as it sounds.

One tragic thing did happen this week. I almost made it until the end. SO CLOSE. So basically I like really any food except chicken pot pie and lasagna. And I had gone my whole mission without chicken pot pie.. until this week. I didn't die don't worry.. I guess it had to happen sometime. haha yep that is the biggest travesty of my week so obviously my week was pretty good.

It was pretty cool so you all know about Jerry I talk about him all the time just because he has come such a long way. But this week a member was talking to us and she said the nicest thing. She said "Jerry really likes you. He told me he has learned more from you than he has ever learned before" and it honestly made me so happy because I know that I haven't really taught him anything.. it was all the spirit and him teaching  himself by reading the scriptures! All my companion and I do is call him and talk about what he has been reading. It just makes me really happy to know that he feels like he is learning a lot. Also we had a lesson and I asked him how the Gospel has helped me and he said "Since I found the church... I haven't been depressed like I used to be. I used to have really bad depression from losing my mom and being left alone. But I don't have that. And lately since I started reading the scriptures, I feel God so much stronger in my life... now the minute I wake up I look forward to reading. And I feel so much better.. and it is all thanks to The Book of Mormon." Best testimony ever. Just the confidence he has gained in himself and how much happier he is, are just more examples of the blessings of reading the scriptures.

Another funny story. This is actually hilarious. So this old lady in our ward, she is super nice, but ya know an older lady. So we were on the phone with her... and she starts telling us about this surgery that she had.. and she said some CLASSIC quotes. I was dying of laughter. Okay so she said "I couldn't move my bowels and I was bleeding like crazy" then she said "I was feeling like, man I really gotta go" and the best.. "I couldn't pee and I couldn't poop and i was bleeding to death" hahahah. Then she said "I want to bear my testimony about it at church but I don't think people want to hear about my pee and poop" YOU GOT THAT RIGHT. We don't. But man it was so funny. The perks of serving in a branch full of old fogies.

And we got to see Fiona this week finally! She was as funny as ever. I asked her what movies I need to watch when I get home.. and she said "I like movies that cuss and you won't like that." and I said "Well which movie do you like" and she said "Mulan 2. It is hilarious" hahah yeah pretty sure Mulan 2 isn't cussing. It was funny. Then the staff member who takes care of her was cooking and the fire alarm started going off.. so I was waving a phone book by the alarm to get it to go off and Fiona was crying laughing and then she said "That's it I am going to start eating microwave dinners again so I don't have to hear that sound." hahah she kills me. I just have such a love for her and every single time I am with her I just feel how much God loves her and it always makes me realize how much He loves me. It really is a blessing to feel that. That is one of the things I really love about being a missionary.

I am just so grateful for my mission. I got to go to the farewell dinner this week with all the missionaries going home.. and it was mostly insane because I feel like I JUST GOT HERE. The time went so fast. But then I think about all the people I have met and the experiences I have had.. and it has been the most fulfilling and incredible year and a half of my life. I wouldn't trade my mission for anything in the world. It has been some of the longest, hardest, most emotionally exhausting days of my life... but the also the funniest, most spiritual, and life changing ones as well. I feel like I am such a better person. I understand people and love them in a way I never imagined I could. I feel so much closer to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.. and I have felt their love in so many ways. I have gained an understanding and knowledge of the scriptures, especially The Book of Mormon that has given me so much strength and it gives me so much hope in the future and without a doubt has changed the rest of my life.  I am happy I still have some more time here in Ohio with all these people I love! I never thought I could love it as much as I do.

I love you all too! And I am looking forward to seeing you... insanely soon! Ah!

Have a good week!

Love Cassidy

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Pictures of Cassidy 1-6-15

Cassidy's Letter 1-6-15


Well things are good and I am alive here in Ohio! We are buried in snow that appears to never stop. I was serious about not wanting to live in the snowbelt. As one of the old senior missionaries said "no human beings should have to go outside in weather like this" hahah couldn't agree more. But the good news is I am finally over the flu! That was bad stuff. The worst part was that once anyone hears anything about you being sick... NO ONE wants you to come to their house.. for understandable reasons.. but it makes missionary work kinda challenging. But we still had a pretty good week!

Don't even worry... I started off the new year right. We all woke up at midnight (because we still have our 10:30 bedtime haha) and we ate a whole thing of ice cream. I was pretty proud of us. And I wore my turtleneck. I mean there is just no other way to start the year than looking like a 48 year old  bald french man eating ice cream. My companion thinks I am a freak but I am so it is okay. ALSO SHE FINALLY COOKED FOR ME! Yes my companion who graduated from culinary school finally cooked. She made crepes and they were pretty awesome so I guess I will believe her degree now. haha.

I had a cool tour at Kirtland the other day! It was awesome that we got a tour considering it is January and the slowest time of year. But it was a family that had 3 young girls ages 8-12, and the little 10 year old girl was so in tune with the spirit it was so neat. When we were in the School of the Prophets I asked how they thought they would feel if they saw Heavenly Father.. and she said "I would feel happy I think." And I asked her how she felt right then and she said "I feel really at peace here. I don't have anything to worry about while I am in here. I feel really special to be somewhere Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were." And it was so sweet and so sincere.. and she really just summed up my feelings about Kirtland. It is such a special place. I won't lie and say I loved every single minute of serving there, because it has been really hard a lot of times. But I have had some of the most sacred experiences that have truly changed my testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I wish I could take you all to The School of the Prophets and just let you experience the calm peaceful spirit in there. Everyone that comes can notice a difference. I think it is just so spiritual because Jesus Christ was such a part of Kirtland. There is a quote by President Hinckley that he said when he was dedicating Kirtland.. and he said there was no other place where Jesus Christ was so revealed to mortal man than here in Kirtland. And His spirit is still here so strong. And just like the little girl, I feel so special and grateful that I have got to spend so much time in a place where the Savior truly was and still is. the other day we were at the visitor center.. and we were at a station watching the nativities making sure no one touches them... and I was about to loose my mind of boredom.. when this really cool lady came and and started talking to us! She had lots of questions about our missions and what we do, and it was cool because we got to talk to her for awhile. She has a son on a mission for her church and she was just really impressed with us and the face that we leave our families and school and everything behind... so she brought us free Chipotle! Is that not the nicest thing ever. God really is all about the tender mercies!

We also got a new investigator named Rick this week! We don't know a ton about him.. but he seems like a nice guy. We also, I don't think I have ever talked about her, are teaching the COOLEST GIRL EVER. She is 17 and just so awesome and is getting baptized this month! Hopefully while I am still here!! She just got adopted by a family in our ward.. and she has the strongest testimony I have ever seen. She inspires me a lot. She has wanted to get baptized for a long time, but never could because she wasn't adopted yet. But she has been going to church and young womens and has just been dying to get baptized. She even went with the youth to the temple, and just sat in the waiting room because she couldn't go in... and then she bore her testimony about the spirit that she felt in the temple, and how grateful she was to just be there.. even if she couldn't go in.. and how excited she is to finally get baptized. It was so powerful! And it made me realize that I totally take what I have for granted. I don't even realize how big of  a blessing it is to have the freedom to get baptized and to enjoy all the promised blessings that come with it! She has really helped me to be more grateful for the simple things I have. And just to appreciate the temple. Between her and not getting to go to a temple for a year and a half... I really have a whole new appreciation and love for it and am DYING TO GO BACK.

Okay tender mercy 3000 of the week. I was walking back from a tour at kirtland... when I saw the PORTZ from the Ashtabula ward! And I literally about died of excitement. They are like the funniest craziest people in the world. The are the ones with all the cat statues and clocks and night lights... and no teeth..  hahah. Yeah so I saw him and then he went to get his wife to see me.. and she walks in the visitor center and yells "MY BABY! Give me a hug. I am going to cry." and I was about to laugh because I didn't even realize she loved me so much. And then she practically chocked me.  And she was just being so funny. She was like "I cooked up two ducks for the Christmas feast." and yeah that is scary. And then she said "You get to go home so soon and see your mommy and daddy and sibbies (what is a sibby?) and your friendies." And then she started crying when she said goodbye to me. And I said "Have fun up at temple tour!" and he yells across the visitor center... "We will! It will be better than alcohol!" hahah he would know. Yeah cracked me up.

I think that lately I have just really been realizing the importance of trusting in God and His timing, and just remembering that everything happens in His way. And I have been really humbled and know that every small thing we do to help people makes a difference. A lot of times on a mission, and in life for that matter, you do things and never get to see the results. But one of my favorite quotes  that helps me a lot says " Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that can come tomorrow. You ave set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost."  And I really believe that. No effort that we put forth to help someone, or to learn, or to improve someone's life is ever lost. Even if it is small and we don't realize it. I saw a little glimpse this week of how little things we do can lead to big changes. I found out that someone I taught in Lorain, who I didn't think we were able to help much, got baptized! I would never have thought that would happen. And it did! And I got the nicest letter from my investigator in Ashtabula telling me how much he misses our lessons and all of the fond memories he has. And he just said the nicest things about me and it helped me to see that God has been and is using me to bless people that I don't even know. And honestly nothing really makes me happier than knowing God is using me to help people in who need it.

And I am grateful for the way my life has been blessed by all the amazing people I have met here in Ohio! I sure am going to miss it. It has been the greatest experience I could have hoped for. I am cherishing every minute of it.

Have a great week! I love you lots!

Love Cassidy

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cassidy's Letter 12-30-14


Happy New Year! I hope that everyone had a great Christmas. I wish I could say mine was great... but honestly the flu and Christmas don't mix... and I will just leave it at that. The flu is a killer so I spent 4 days stuck in our house... so not too much to report from this week haha. But I decided that since it is the end of 2014... I would just share some of the things I have learned throughout this past year as a missionary!

1. The Book of Mormon is the most powerful book in the world. I talk about it all the time. But I just think of experiences.. like Ed yelling at me in McDonalds in the middle of a prayer and saying "I KNOW THE BOOK OF MORMON IS TRUE".. or Michael telling us how reading it brought him more peace than anything else. And how he said that reading it made him a better person and that he was able to love people more. And just watching Michael change as he read it... so unbelievable and powerful. And just the experiences I have had this past year reading it and finding answers and comfort in it, will make me love it for the rest of my life. I mean it when I say I love it.

2. Don't ever ask people in nursing homes if they like the food. They will go off on a 45 minute rant about how the chili is too spicy.

3. After over 35 different ice cream outings.. Mitchells Ice Cream is the best in Cleveland.

4. God has a PERFECT plan for each and every one of us. I witnessed that so much with my mission, being right where I needed to be when I needed to be there. And I think about people like the Graves.. who just moved to Ohio.. and then I got to meet them.. and now they have changed my life forever, and we were able to help Sam get baptized and really build a solid foundation in the Gospel. I also think about back to the Bible Studies at Hiram College.. where I was able to meet some of the most incredible people that I will be friends with forever! I will never forget when Natalie said her dream school is Chapman.. and I knew that God had me exactly where He wanted me.

5. God answers every single prayer in His time and His way. I mean I always knew that.. but now I really know that. There are way too many examples because it happens every day. But one of the biggest was getting to go full- proselyting. I had been praying for that for my whole mission... and my mission president had no clue, but out of all the missionaries he was inspired to send me full proselyting, and it was one of the best experiences of my mission! And yesterday when I was sick I prayed that someone would make me good food... and the nicest lady in my branch made me homemade rolls and drove an hour to get them to me. SO NICE.

6. That I will never, EVER, live somewhere that can be classified as being in a "Snowbelt".

7. I learned that it is possible to sleep and sing the Messiah at the same time and not get caught by the Nuns

8. That there is so much good and truth found in all different places. God uses lots of people to spread His work, not just one church. I have felt and seen God's love radiated from people of every religion. It has really inspired me so much. It strengthens my testimony of the power of God's love and makes me want to live in a way that everyone can feel that.

9. If it looks like cat hair in your food, it is.

10. That I never want to explain where American Falls is again. #noitisnotidahofalls #ortwinfalls #bye

11. If I am ever feeling down.. I just remember Fiona's statement "Peanut butter is the only thing that makes me feel good about myself". She's right. It never lets ya down

12. I know in a way I didn't know before that families really can be forever. Grandma Jensen passing away was one of the hardest, but most strengthening experiences of my life. I still wish I could put into words the peace and love I felt from God helping me to know that I will be with Grandma again, that I can be with my family forever, and that is what this is all about. I still feel Grandma helping me here on my mission.  I really have come to know without a doubt that the plan of happiness is real and that eternal families are real and they are right now. And the peace of knowing I can be with my family forever motivates me every day because I want everyone to have that same comfort.

13.  Never trust anywhere that is called the "Fun Buffet". It will never be fun.

14. The Gospel brings greater happiness than anything in the world. I see it every day when I get to compare people who are, and who aren't. Regardless of what people have, or are able to do, the happiest people I have met this past year.. are the ones who have God and Jesus Christ in the center of their lives.

15. And the greatest thing I have learned this past year.. is that Jesus Christ is real. That He knows me. That He loves me. And because of His sacrifice for me... I can be not only forgiven of my mistakes, but I can be strengthened to become better than I ever could on my own. I have experienced more joy in repenting and overcoming my personal inadequacies than I ever imagined. It gives me so much hope to know that even though I am not perfect, I am loved, and that if I am willing to let Christ help me, I can overcome anything and experience happiness forever with my family.

And I am excited to use what I have learned throughout the new year and throughout my life!  My mission has been the greatest blessing I could ever ask for. I have no clue how I got so lucky to meet so many amazing people and experience God working through me so much. I will cherish it and be grateful for it forever.

And I will always be grateful for my family and friends and for all the prayers, letters, and just love that you've given me this past year. I really have the best life with the best people ever.

I hope you all have a great New Years! Happy 2015!

Love Cassidy