Friday, May 23, 2014

Cassidy's Picture 5-19-14

Cassidy and her past companion at the Whitney store.

Cassidy's Letter 5-19-14 Undercover Boss and Miracles

Well. AWESOME WEEK. Again. I actually feel like I say that about every week but honestly it is just impossible to have a bad week. But this week really was super cool. I witnessed one of the biggest miracles of my mission. And had some pretty funny happen too.
So I will start at the beginning.

So in the beginning... haha okay so yeah last Monday night we had no one to see, so we spent the night tracting. And naturally it started raining right when we started. Classic. So we were tracting.. and basically had no success. One house we stopped by to see this lady missionaries had met before and  would could hear a dog barking right behind the door.. and then a guy said "Go to your room" to the dog.. and the dog listened. Who knew dogs had rooms? Then the guy opened the door and said "What do you want baby" and I was like. Well, first of all... I am a representative of Jesus Christ and you cannot call me baby... second I am looking for Regina. And he was like "Well Regina died".... so yeah that got awkward. Poor Regina.
Anyways so we tracted and not much happened. At one door this young mom opened and was in her pajamas and basically said it was a bad time.. so I gave her little daughter a card and when we were walking away we heard her say "Mom what is a mor-man?" it was super funny. But yeah so we kinda felt like we accomplished nothing. Little did we know. Stay tuned.
So Tuesday we spent the day in Conneaut... which is like the ghetto of our area. One of our investigators told us that her downstairs neighbor just got kicked out because he was operating a meth lab down there... so that was never pleasant to find out about. But it was our investigator who is super into dungeons and dragons and that stuff. And she said the funniest thing. She said "Conneaut brings out the weird people. I mean, I am weird. But I am not dangerously weird." Hahah all I could say was amen. Because I have met the weirdest people in the world in Conneaut and some more dangerous than others. But it is always entertaining.
We have been able to teach this kid named Ethan the past few weeks, and he is getting baptized this Saturday! So that will be fun. I think he is 10 or 11. But yeah that is exciting.
So Wednesday we headed up to Kirtland. And then... THE BIGGEST MIRACLE EVER. So this guy who lives/goes to the church in Kirtland came into the visitor center and found us and said. 
"Did you go tracting in Jefferson on Monday night?" and we said yes.. and he said "Well you tracted into my friend" and then he told us how there is a lady he works with named Karen, and she had come into work and asked him if he had sent the missionaries to her house. And he told her no because he didn't know her address. So she told him that we came to her door but she didn't let us in. And okay this is the crazy part. So I guess she has been struggling, and so this guy (His name is Brother Jones) put Karen's name on the temple prayer roll on SATURDAY night... and then on MONDAY night we tracted into her. He was just amazed because clearly we were led to her house.. and he told her about that and she said she wanted us to come back over and teach her! So... basically the coolest thing ever. Turns out.. she was the woman who was in her pajamas with the daughter who asked what a morman is. How amazing is that? We were completely led to Karens house. There is no way in the world that was a coincidence. All I can say is, 1. THE TEMPLE IS so cool and prayers are totally answered. and 2. This church is true and my mission is real and God is leading us. And also it is so clear that God knows every one of His children and is aware of what they need, and he will do anything to help and answer their prayers.
So yeah basically the best thing ever. And we went back to Karen's house last night.. and it is confirmed. She is the coolest person ever. She doesn't have a church or really any relationship with God, and she is going through some tough stuff right now... and she really needs the Gospel. And she is so open to learning. So we are teaching her now! So exciting. And such a huge blessing. While we were at her house talking about how Heavenly Father knows her and loves her... I just felt that love so strong. It was one of those times that made me love being a missionary so much. I am so grateful that I get to spend this time helping other people find peace and comfort in Heavenly Father. I am going to be devastated the day I am not a missionary anymore. I love it so much.
So yeah. that is that cool miracle. So while we were at Kirtland this week... well let me back up. For the past 2 months they have been talking about how this guy named Jason Mitchell was coming from Salt Lake to give us training on how to be better visitor center missionaries. So he is like one of the main guys in charge of all that stuff. So they have been making a huge deal out of it for a long time. So we had meetings with him Thursday and Friday. Well Wednesday night, me and my companion get called to take a tour. And we come down and it was this guy named John and he was just like an average guy said he was in town for some business from Oregon. So we were like cool... so we took him on tour. And the whole beginning was basically a train wreck because it was some kind of massive storm and the power kept going out during the movie so we couldn't even finish it.. and then while we were walking outside it was pouring so hard. But we had a pretty good tour.. nothing too special. . so yeah turns out this "John" fellow was actually  the famous Jason Mitchell in disguise. It was like undercover boss. He wanted to come a take a tour and see how we do without us knowing who he was. And OF COURSE of all the missionaries... it had to be me to take him on tour. Once I found out I just hit my head on the wall and asked to get sent home. Not because the tour was bad but that is just like nerve racking I mean talk about pressure. Haha it was a nightmare. So I was really nervous for the training with everyone... but the good news is he told us we were perfect (which is not true) but he said he absolutely loved the tour, and he told our site director that there was not a single thing that we needed to change. So that was really pretty cool! Even though it was terrifying I guess we passed the test. The only problem is now the senior missionaries think we are "heroes" and keep asking for autographs.... hahahah. Yeah missionary problems.
Friday.. super embarrassing. So I was getting ready and curling my hair... when I somehow dropped my curling iron onto my leg... and well basically I got this huge nasty burn that turned into this huge blister.. yeah super dramatic. And naturally my mission president asked what was wrong with my leg when I saw him... and I had to shamefully admit that I am apparently not old enough to curl my own hair without burning my LEG (who does that. I swear I have a talent for dumb injuries).. and then he had to tell everyone about it over the pulpit at conference. So now my burnt leg is the joke. That was fun and embarrassing.
Saturday I was on exchanges and it was really fun. We got to do service for this guy and then for lunch we roasted hotdogs and marshmallows and it was so fun. It is starting to feel like summer! We also had some cool experiences tracting and we met some really nice people. It is so cool how we end up at places where the people are ready and need the Gospel. And I got yelled at by a sweet little old grandma. All I did was ask her name.. and she stops and goes "WHY? WHY DO YOU NEED TO KNOW THAT?" and I said I was just trying to be friendly and she said goodbye and slammed the door. I think she thought I was trying to steal her identity. I mean let's face it my presence just screams identity thief.
And then yesterday in church.. it was so funny. So we are in relief society and the teacher is up front teaching her lesson, and this old lady in front of me pulls out this huge bag of marshmallows and was trying to open them for literally 4 minutes. Finally she broke into the bag. Then in the middle of a serious conversation she just raises her had and the teacher goes "What" and she said "If anyone wants one of my pink lemonade marshmallows I will be passing them around". I died. Only out in Ashtabula. Hahaha.
Basically I love it out here. Lots of funny people and I am seeing lots of miracles. And every day I have my testimony strengthened so much. A few things that I have really come to learn on my mission is that above all God loves us and He want to help us and be a part of our lives. And I've really learned that putting Him first will always make us happier. It is interesting how sometimes we think that we are only happy if we are doing what we want... but that doesn't really last. The only way we can be truly satisfied and happy is when we are doing what God wants and including Him and letting Him be in charge of our lives. Because I have learned that God only wants for us what will make us actually happy.. and only He knows what will make us happiest.. even when we don't realize it ourselves. So I am constantly learning how to have more faith and trust in God. But I am grateful that we can develop a personal relationship with Him, and that strengthens me more than anything.

And everyone can have that personal relationship. And it can always be stronger. So don't forget to include Heavenly Father in your life and let him direct you. And I know you will be happier. Okay sorry now I  will be done with my missionary rant.
I love you all! Have a great week!!

Love Cassidy

Pictures of Cassidy 5-12-14

Top Photo: Cassidy with her companion and the "sneaky snake" which tried to attack her!
Bottom Photo: Cassidy stated "My Amish best friends!! (They aren't allowed to have their faces in pictures, so this is the best I could get.) I love them!"

Cassidy's Letter 5-12-14 Snakes and Amish Children

Well this was basically one of the funnest weeks of my mission.

First of all....
I am officially best friends with the AMISH. Yeah, so last Monday we went to go milk goats.. and we were out on a farm in the middle of literally nowhere and there were these cute little Amish kids there helping us. And they were the funnest little kids ever. And also milking goats is really hard. I had no clue that it was such a work out haha. I was milking the goat and I said "Wow you guys must be really strong after milking goats all the time" and one little girl said "Yeah we are really strong." and I said "Can you do a lot of pushups?" and she said "Oh yeah" and I asked how many and she said "like 6."  it was so funny. And the goats did not like me. They kept trying to attack me and I was just getting swarmed with goats. And naturally they kept trying to kick me in the face while I was milking them so there were 3 Amish children holding the goat while I was milking it. But it was successful and then we got to bottle feed these little baby goats! It was so cute. And weird. When I signed up for this mission thing I never realized I would be milking goats with Amish. But I surprisingly loved it. Oh and they taught me some German! (they mostly taught me because they think it is hilarious when I try to say it.. so I say something and they all start laughing at me.) But I can say "HIPDEGAESTIGHT" which means "Hold the goat tight" and they love that one. Hahah so basically we became best friends... and then they invited us to their house to have lunch on Saturday!
So... lunch at an Amish house. COOLEST THING EVER. We get there and there were about 10 kids waiting at the door for us. There are 14 children all under the age of 19.. and they all look exactly the same. There were kids everywhere. And their house felt like I was stepping back in time. So they have no electricity or anything.. and everything was super old fashioned. We ate "Mush" which is mashed potatoes and gravy (and yeah it was probably the best potatoes and gravy ever) and then this like creamy asparagus thing. Super delicious. And all of the children were sitting at this huge long table watching us eat and laughing. It was so funny. Then we helped do the dishes which was fun because they don't have a sink or anything and they get water from a pump.. basically everything is a lot more complicated but also a lot more simple at the same time. It was just such a cool experience to be in their home seeing how they live/eat/work. And the kids were just so excited the whole time. They showed us all around their farm and barn and their cute little buggies. Basically I love the Amish. They are the coolest people ever. And it is just crazy how they are so out of the world. But it is cool I mean they don't waste their time playing video games or on the internet they are out actually doing things which is awesome. But yeah don't worry I actually like flushing toilets way to much so don't think I would survive a week. But it was just super cool and I am pumped to have new Amish best friends!
And the Amish not having a bathroom led to a really fun experience. So after lunch I had to go the bathroom SO bad and naturally we are out in the middle of nowhere so we found this ghetto little store thing.. and we go in.. and I swear I entered the twilight zone. Everyone was staring at us.. and the store was all askew and most of the shelves were empty like it was the end of the world and people had frantically grabbed anything they could... and it was all dim.. just super creepy. But I was desperate. So we walked to the back of the store and there was this sign that said "No public restroom" but the no was crossed out... so I asked the guy that was behind the swinging door and he told us to go back in the back down like 3 dark hallways through the stock room and then we would get to the bathroom.... sketchiest thing ever. I took pictures because I was 90% sure we were going to get killed. I mean the story ends well we didn't die or anything.. but it was definitely the weirdest bathroom experience I have ever had. Next time I am using the Amish outhouse. 
We had a lot of cool teaching experiences this week too! We were out tracting on Saturday night and we met this really nice lady named Juanita who we are going to start teaching. I mean everyone needs to teach a Juainita am I right?  And then we were just walking down the street and this couple came up and we started talking and we are going to start teaching them too! It was really cool how we just kept running into people who are really nice and open to learning more. Thank goodness for warm weather and people being outside! And I am grateful that Heavenly Father is placing people in our paths. My testimony of Him helping us in this work is strengthened every single day.
And we only ran into one drunk guy while tracting. His name was Ernie. And he had no teeth. But he was a hoot. We were talking to him and gave him a picture of Christ.. and he said "I think this is what I need to change my life around. I really need to change" so I told him that it would change his life. Then he looked at me and my companion and said "You guys are like twins..." and then pointing at my companion "And I can tell you are the evil twin" haha it was hilarious. Then he told us that he lets homeless people stay at his house.. and said "Once, I lived under a bridge for 2 years. It was the best 2 years of my life" (Missionaries always say their missions are their best 2 years.. but hey maybe living under a bridge is a close second.) Then we asked if we could say a prayer with him and he said yes, then he put his arms around us and bowed his head and FELL ASLEEP and started snoring while I was praying. Probably one of the funniest things ever. Good ol drunk Ernie
Oh another crazy thing. So you all remember Shirely right? My awesome 90 year old investigator in my last area? So yeah before I left she was really worried about me getting into politics and getting attacked by "snakes". Well the other missionaries went to visit her.. and I guess Shirley said a prayer and said "Please bless Cassidy in Ashtabula that she will know that we love her and miss her. And God please keep her safe from the snakes that will try to attack her." and all I can say is GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS.... because last Thursday I was at Kirtland giving a tour... and we were walking and I almost accidentally ran into this log... and right on the end of it was a HUGE SNAKE like 6 feet long and as fat as like a small tennis ball. And I literally almost walked right into it. And I didn't even scream or anything all I said was "And this is a snake" and the guy we had on tour started freaking out. It was so funny. But it was just the craziest thing because Shirley has been super stressed out about me and snakes... and then I ran into a snake. What are the odds. Thank goodness Shirley is still praying for me haha.
Let's see what else happened. We are teaching a blind guy named Brian! He seems pretty cool. We saw our dungeon and dragon friends again and that was good. Oh and we have to volunteer at this "Pioneer School" is Painsville once a week for 3 hours.. and it is this place where small children come on field trips to learn about pioneers. And we are in charge of teaching them about candles and then helping them make them. And Yes, it is more boring than it sounds. I didn't enjoy the pioneer field trip when I was 8... and I sure don't enjoy it any more now. hahah I think it might be the hardest thing of my mission. Tracting in a hurricane is more fun than teaching a child to make a candle. But it is teaching me patience which I always need.
But yeah I think those are the highlights this week! Things are just going so good. I am loving this area, even if it is out in the boonies and the WEIRDEST place on earth. It is a fun adventure! And the people here are just classic. And they are all really humble and willing to learn which is neat. I know that I am here for a reason and that I am going to have a lot of learning opportunities.
I am just so grateful to be a missionary and to serve and help people. I have so many experiences where we are meeting with people.. and I get like a glimpse of how Heavenly Father sees them, and it completely changes my heart and perspective. Because I really know how much Heavenly Father loves every single one of us, no matter who we are or what we have done. And I truly know that when we put Him first and let Him lead our lives that we will be happier. He always knows what is best and what will bring us the most happiness in the long run. We just have to be patient and trust Him!  It is just important to always include Him in everything we are doing, and we will be happier. I see this every single day.
Have a great week and remember that I love you! 

Love Cassidy

Pictures of Cassidy 5-5-14

Top Photo: Bible Study best friends. Center Photo: Cassidy's 20th Birthday was celebrated on May 1st
Bottom Photo: The definition of our companionship was milkshakes. So of course we got one last shake as we were headed to get transferred.

Greetings from Ashtabula 5-5-14 Letter


Hello from a different world! Seriously. I have no clue where I am.... but it is not normal. hahaha. I am now serving in the Ashtabula area... and I live in Jefferson. I am in the very tip top northern corner of Ohio. My area borders Pennsylvania and we are on Lake Erie! And it is a crazy place up here. I am definitely not near Cleveland anymore. I cover Jefferson, Pierpont, Andover, and this really odd town called Conneaut. I sure am in for an adventure up here...
First of all.. it is SO COUNTRY. And second of all... THERE IS NOTHING HERE. Okay well there are some houses (some that may or may not be a billion years old falling apart and smell like dying animals. PS I am getting super good and not breathing for long periods of time) but other than that.... a ton of country. We are doing service tonight.. and milking goats. Yep. I am at that point in life where I am milking goats... and apparently the Amish will be helping us. So just picture me milking goats with the Amish... it is going to be good and I am pumped. It will probably be a train wreck.. but hey I am sure I will have some kind of story to tell.  I really am so excited for this new area! It is really different but I think that it is going to be a ton of fun.
Oh my new address is
139 West Satin St. #B2 
Jefferson, Ohio, 44047 

I had a kinda crazy week this week! I was so sad to say goodbye to Hiram. Last Tuesday night we got to go to one last Bible study with my Hiram College friends and it was so fun! I think leaving them basically shattered my heart into a billion pieces.. but it is okay because I know I will see them again! That whole experience was just the coolest thing and still is solid proof that God is in control of my mission and putting me where He needs me!
Wednesday was transfers.. and my new companion is Sister Coontz. It is actually super crazy because I was companions with her before for 3 weeks... and people NEVER get put back together... but here we are! So it made it kinda an easy adjustment because I already know her. So yeah. We spent Wednesday and Thursday at Kirtland. My birthday was good! Sister Smith is just awesome and brought me Chipotle and decorated for my birthday it was so nice. And a guy randomly brought us 3 watermelons and if you know me I was in HEAVEN. I may or may not have eaten a whole one by myself. It was my birthday okay so don't judge me. Then we came and I moved into my new apartment... which is surprisingly really pretty nice! It is small but it is clean and that is all I care about.
My first day in my new area was definitely interesting. We went up to Conneaut and visited some people there. The first people are named Christina and Steffen... they are like 30 years old. They are very interesting. Let's just say I know more about dungeons and dragons now than I ever thought I would. Once we got past talking about the gaming world.. we actually had a super cool lesson! I guess that things have been slow going with them and that Steffen never really pays any attention.. but he shared this super cool experience he had and how he knows that God exists. Then we read some of the Book of Mormon with them and they were super into it. It was fun. I think they have a ton of potential so it will be fun to see what happens!

We also taught this younger boy who wants to get baptized.. and is like ready to get baptized.. but I guess his parents are divorced and his dad won't let him. So hopefully that changes and he will be able to! His house was like real life dungeons and dragons... I think I may have to start carrying a sword around with me or something in order to fit in in this place.
We also had an interesting lesson with this super nice lady named Sister Weise and her son.. who is from Germany and does not speak very good English. It went good even though he did criticize my outfit...  I had no clue 40 year old Germans know what is in style for sister missionaries these days. It was funny haha.
Saturday we got to do some service gardening, and then we got to go to my favorite place ever. THE NURSING HOME. Hahah just can't keep me away from those places I guess. We painted their nails and it was super funny. The ones I met weren't quite a big of comedians as in my last area.. but maybe they will get funnier. A lot of people canceled on us on Saturday which was kinda a bummer. And it is hard not knowing anyone an d just having to like go with what my companion has planned. Hopefully this week is better.
We did have a super cool lesson on Saturday night with this guy named Gene. He has been meeting with the missionaries for like a year and he is super smart. Too smart haha. He questions everything. He is one of those people who doesn't understand how we can "know" that the Book of Mormon or the Church is true. He doesn't really accept the idea of praying and receiving an answer from God. Which I get because that is hard.. but what you have to do.  And my companion is like too nice and  just tries to come up with nice answers to his impossible questions and at one point I just turned to him and asked him if he knew that God exists. And he paused and he said "yes I do know that." and then I said "how do you know that".. and then he said "I can't explain it but I just do." and i was like EXACTLY and you can have that same thing happen with the Book of Mormon and with the Church. That stumped him for a minute and then he said "You're a good one." haha no clue what that meant. But it was just a super intense and fun lesson and I am pumped to teach him again.
Yesterday at church was.... the funniest/interesting thing ever. So this ward is just so different than anything I have ever experienced. Once again I found myself on a different planet. I mean the people here are really nice and friendly and I love them already. But they are very different. So it was testimony meeting.. (best first day in a ward ever) and this guy goes running up there (and he is older and actually not all the way there. I wish I could remember the bad joke he told me about falling down when I told Him I was from American Falls) .. and he has something written out on a paper so  I knew it was going to be good. And oh boy was it a gem. So he gets up there and is at first just thanking all of the service men and women who sacrifice for the country... then he starts getting really worked up and is like "The only ones who don't care about our service men is our GOVERNMENT. All the government cares about is themselves and they are trying to TEAR US ALL DOWN. I AM APPALLED at this government and it is our duty to do something to change " and at this point the bishop had to ya know tell him to uh, stop, and then he goes "I am very sorry everyone. When I was a young kid my mom would give me the opportunity to do the ironing and pressing. And we are all like those clothes and sometimes we have to be "ironed out" by the Gospel of Jesus Christ." hahaha so... yeah it was super entertaining and I really wish I had that on video.  Good times in Ashtabula already.
The ward is just full of characters and this area is full of some gems of people. I know that I am here for a reason and that there are people here I need to meet... and I am so excited for the experiences I am going to have here. I am just constantly amazed at how God puts me where He needs me and then helps me love where I am and who I am with.  The next few weeks are going to be full of some interesting stories... so sorry this email is lame but next week will be a billion times better I promise!
Well I have to get going... but I really appreciate all of your support and all the happy birthdays I got! You guys are the best. SO EXCITED TO SKYPE ON SUNDAY! I can't believe it is Mother's day already! Best thing ever. Well actually being a missionary is the best thing ever but that is a close second. I love you!! Have a great week! 

Love Cassidy