Thursday, July 3, 2014

June 30, 2014 Letter from Cassidy


Let me see... what happened this week... Went to my first ARP meeting, had 2 people come to church, ate hotdogs with Amish, and taught the Gospel outside while a bunch of fireflies flew around us. So yeah, things are GOOD. 

First of all... Gerald AND Gene came to church yesterday. It was awesome. Last week Gene came in a blue shirt and tie.. and he told me he felt like he "stuck out like a blue thumb" so yesterday he came in a new white shirt and tie. It was funny. Gerald said it was the first time he had been to church in over 20 years... so huge step! And he really enjoyed it! His biggest concern was he couldn't figure out the hymn book.... easy concern. haha. 

Also... Gerald came to the addiction recovery class and we went too for moral support. When it was my turn to introduce myself I almost said "Hi I am Sister Jensen and I am addicted to ice cream".. but I am really not ready to give that addiction up. haha. Anyways Gerald has been smoking since he was 13 years old... now he is 50. But he has a real sincere desire to give it up because he knows it will really bless his life. The teacher is a professional drug and alcohol counselor so the class was great. It is neat that the church has such great resources to help people completely change their lives. But it is really fun to teach Gerald. He soaks it all up like a sponge. His life has been such a mess and he is already noticing differences since he started meeting with us.. and it is really amazing how him just doing small things like reading the scriptures and praying has already made such a huge impact on his life. Definitely has strengthened my testimony of the power of living the Gospel. We took the Portz to teach him again... and it was just as funny as the last time. We were in the middle of the lesson and all the sudden Sister Portz goes "Gerald do you have any medical problems?" I was like... what? Who just asks that? Especially when I am in the middle of bearing my testimony about the plan of salvation? Then she went off on this long thing about how he is the patriarch of his home... and then she started talking about polygamy.. and I was just hitting myself in the head with my scriptures. Good thing is I think they were so confusing that it all went over Gerald's head. And now we have some good things to laugh about haha. 

Gene is doing so good. He has come such a long way since when I first met him. He was always so confused about things like.. even just who God is and if he even existed. Now he knows that God is our father and it is awesome to hear him pray to him and talk about Him. And Gene literally has the funniest stories ever. Teaching him is too much fun. So he didn't really like the music at church.. and so I made him sing what he wanted.. and he started singing a song about hot dogs and he claimed it was a church song.. I was dying of laughter. Also, I did attend a "chicken sale" this week...  it is like a yard sale... but chickens... (yeah where the heck am I ?) and the Amish were having hot dogs. So I got to eat hot dogs with Amish children. Never thought I'd be doing that. And I never thought the Amish could make such good hot dogs. Who knew? 

Kirtland was crazy this week. It is getting crazier by the day. It requires all of my strength to give so many tours. I had NO idea that the visitor center would be the hardest part of my mission.. but it is by far. Tracting in a blizzard is easy compared to giving 5, two hour long tours a day. Sometimes I feel like I am crossing the plains pulling a handcart all day... okay just kidding it isn't that bad. It is really good and rewarding.. but it is tough work. One of my favorite things lately has been when we take younger kids on tour.. we will all sing a song together.. and it is so cool to see how strongly it brings the spirit and how the kids stop acting crazy and get quiet and actually listen! Oh and I got to take some old folgies from England on tour this week... and the guy told me his conversion story. He said that he met this girl and was so impressed with her standards.. that he looked into the church... and two weeks after meeting the missionaries he got baptized. He said when they told him about not smoking, he threw all of his cigarettes in the fire! I was like "wow that is amazing" and he said "Well, I had a testimony. I knew it was true. And nothing was going to stop me." It was pretty darn powerful! It is true though... if we really know something is true, then we shouldn't let anything keep us from the blessings. 

Thursday we took 20 seminary and institute teachers from Canada on tour... not sure why I always have to take the intimidating tour groups.. but it went really good! It was a tour where they taught me than I taught them, but I love when that happens! Which is often because I really know so little. I am learning a ton about history and I know a lot about what happened here.. but there is just so much I will never even comprehend it all. 

Tuesday, yeah sorry I am jumping ALL over the place with this email, we got to hangout with our homies Bridgette and Carol. Bridgette had a shirt on that said "this guy needs a beer" and she does look like a guy.. so that was funny. And she had the worlds biggest mullet. Literally it goes down to her butt. I will try to get a picture with her this week so you can see. But she said at one point "My hair is my strength. I would be lost without it." Hahah I was just dying. She also told us she is "lactoast intolerant"... any clue what that means anyone? And it was so funny someone called her and she said "I am busy with my girls right now. My preacher girls. My lady friends. My sisters." Apparently I am now a preacher girl. But man even though Bridgette is the definition of crazy.. she is more loving than like anyone I have ever met. Everyone that walks by she talks to, and offers to help.. and she really just loves everyone so much. It inspires me. And I really feel like she is more Christlike than almost anyone. It makes her fun to be around. I am not sure how to get to the point where everyone around me just feels Christ's love.. but that is definitely the way I want to become. And also Carol said she would get baptized so that is awesome too! 

The COOLEST thing was our lesson with Michael. (The family from that time when the spirit screamed at me and told me to knock on their door). So he read over 100 pages in the Book of Mormon in like 5 days.... so obviously I was already happy. Then he told us that the day after he stayed up late to read, he had a bunch miracles happen at work and things went way better than they should have. And he knows he was being blessed for reading the Book of Mormon. And then he told us about a really neat experience he had.. he said he was laying in bed.. like half asleep and he said he vividly heard a voice tell him that he needs to keep meeting with us because we will help  him positively change his life. Then he told us how grateful he is that we are meeting with him and for the positive influence he has already felt. It was such a neat experience! I am so grateful that the spirit told me to knock on their door. It was one of those moments where I knew that God needs me here in Ohio and that I really am helping people even if I don't always feel like it or recognize it. No matter how hard it is to be away from home or how many disappointments I have on my mission... experiences like this will remind me that there is nothing more important I could be doing. And I just love every minute of it. 

Overall.... really good week. Time is flying by so fast out here. I cannot believe that tomorrow is July already! Where is the summer going? I feel like I was just emailing you last week! It scares me. I never want summer to end.... 

I hope that you have a fun week and a good 4th of July! I will probably be in bed before there are any fireworks... missionaryprobs. Good thing it is worth it to be a missionary.

Also... WRITE ME LETTERS PEOPLE. I miss finding things in my mailbox. It has been as dry as the desert lately. 

Okay that is all. 

I love you! 

Love Cassidy

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