Monday, November 24, 2014

Pictures of Cassidy 11-18-14

Cassidy's Letter 11-18-14

Merry Christmas!

It literally is the dead of winter here all of the sudden. We have a ton of snow and it is freezing. I want summer back. But despite it being a frozen tundra... we had a super fun week!

It started with the GRIMMS my favorite Germans! So okay funny my companion and I  have been dying to have crepes for about a year.. so I called Sister Grimm and she said "we want to take you to a mexican restaurant for lunch" but we really just secretly wanted her to make us crepes.. so I was like "We can... but we really just love your cooking" and she said "you do?" and I said "Yep.. and we heard you make really good crepes...." and then she started laughing and said "Is that what you want... crepes" and SCORE hit caught and guess what.. she made us an endless feast of delicious crepes with fruit. It was literally heaven. She thought it was hilarious that we wanted crepes. And then while we were there she kept making more and more... and she would make me dark ones.. and we had to keep eating them.. and literally I probably ate like 23 crepes. I thought I was going to die. I felt like an Elder from Tonga. hahah. But really. It was so much fun though. And in the meantime it was a massive snow storm outside. And Dieter was just being hysterical. I wish you could meet him. It was just a fun memory I will cherish forever.

And we had such a good lesson with Dieter. He is the one who won't get baptized because he promised his mom he wouldn't right before she died a long time ago. I had spent all morning praying and trying to figure out what to teach him.. and it was a huge miracle. So we had it all planned out and we were just going to use our scriptures and stuff.. but right as we were walking out the door I had a feeling like I should grab my conference ensign even though I didn't need I went and got it.. and right in the middle of our lesson with Dieter he started talking about how he can't believe what he doesn't see... and that morning I had studied a talk in the ensign from Preisdent Uchdorf that was exactly perfect for Dieter. So I read part to him and he said "That all makes sense now. I understand. That was very good" which is HUGE for him.  We are making a ton of progress. I honestly feel like the reason I am here right now is for him. He is so close. He goes to church every week, he loves it, he knows the gospel is true.. he just is not accepting it. But it is my goal while I am here! Man I just love the Grimms and crepes and the Gospel. Doesn't get better.

And then after the Grimms... we managed to get stuck in our car going up a hill... and we couldn't get anywhere... until we prayed and then not even joking we somehow started moving. PRAYER WORKS. Always.

But apparently not everyone else in Chardon knows that. Because it was a mess. It took us over 40 minutes to get 2 MILES though the little downtown. I almost lost it. We ended up having to cancel the rest of our 5 appointments because everyone driving had lost their minds. haha not a joke. It took is like an hour to do a drive that normally takes maybe 10 minutes. Ohioans these days...

Then it was really depressing.. on Friday I was supposed to go to trainers meeting in Cleveland at the mission home.. but thanks to the snow they decided to cancel it. I was super bummed.  But we did get to have a super fun dinner with the Nelsons. They are my favorite family ever! After dinner we were supposed to see this couple named the Marx.. but she called and said, while she was coughing up a lung, "I don't know if you still want to come over. I have pneumonia and Brother Marx got in a car wreck.. but you are more than welcome to come over." I was like...... yeah no thanks I don't want pneumonia. What on earth people. hahah.  Then we got to see good ol Fiona! She called us and said "I really hope you aren't driving in this freaking weather." it was actually super sweet that she was worried about us. If you only could see how much progress we have made with her. She is so happy and laughing all the time and she doesn't bring up all the bad things that have happened in her life anymore.. it is so fun to see the change. She even lets us sing hymns with her and read scriptures.. which she never let us do when I first got here. And Saturday she let us help her clean her room... which not gonna lie was terrifying and I am just going to spare you the details of that one so you don't feel sick the rest of the day... but I really just love her and love how she helps me better understand how much God loves her and me.

Then yeah things got even more interesting this week because the other sisters that we share a car with... got in an accident (they are totally fine) but the car... yeah not so much. So we are currently car-less. So we have to scrounge off of everyone and their dogs for rides and it is a nightmare! It really complicates things. But luckily we have lots of awesome members who take care of us.. like the Graves! We basically spent all day at their house on Sunday due to the lack of a vehicle. But we had a really good lunch and then an awesome lesson. OH sidenote... guess what.. Sam spoke in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. What kind of investigator speaks in Sacrament Meeting?... it was so cool. It was the best experience to hear him and then his sisters bear their testimonies! The girls have made amazing progress. They are 12 and 13.. and I remember when we first started going over there they we not interested at all.. now they are participating, taking notes, and begging us to stay. It just makes me so happy I can't even tell you. And Sunday night we sat with them at a fireside.. and at one point they had all the missionaries stand up, and when I sat back down Megan (one of the girls) said "I wish so badly I could stand up and be a missionary" it was the cutest thing. It just such blessing to see them love the Gospel! And JoDee who is their aunt, quit smoking! She has been less active for awhile..and she is totally coming back! She is working towards the temple now :) The Graves are just the coolest part of my mission. And the baptism is a go and I can't wait.

Sunday night we also got to go to this cute old couple named the Honeningmen's house for dinner. I have never met anyone who talked so much. The best line was:
"I don't know if you know this... I don't think it is common knowledge.. but the church actually pays the Mafia to take care of the missionaries."  Ha ha ha. Good to know. She probably doesn't even know what the Mafia is. Man I love old people.

Well... that sums up my week! I ONLY HAVE 9 more preparation days left. That means 9 more of these emails...

what the heck.

Too weird. I guess we just have to enjoy it while it lasts! I am excited to start a new transfer tomorrow and to meet the new sister I will be training! It is going to be so good I know it.

I am officially a grandma. But everyone calls me a "mom" since I am training a new missionary. My companion even bought me a "Mother To Be" sash. I will include pictures. It was pretty funny.

okay well I am out! Have a good week! Love you!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pictures of Cassidy in Ohio 11-12-14

Top picture is Cassidy with Joan, who recently passed away. She was a great friend to Cassidy. Bottom picture is Cassidy with her companion at the Dollar Store.

11-12-14 Cassidy's letter from Ohio


Well biggest plot twist of this week... I got called to train a new missionary who is coming next week! IM SO EXCITED. It is really actually so weird because training takes 2 transfers and I leave in like a transfer and 2 weeks... so I won't finish training her.. but it is so meant to be. It is exactly what I need. I can't think of a better way to end my mission than to help someone else start theirs! It is going to help me so much to stay focused and working hard and not thinking about home which is just what I want. I really want to make the most of each day I have left here. ALSO... one of the sisters who is coming graduated from culinary school.. So I need everyone to start praying RIGHT NOW that she will be who I am with. That would be a dream. haha.

So that was good news. And we had a really good week!

Started a little interesting. Last Tuesday we went to a less active's house... and she was legit high on cocaine. It was the craziest thing. We didn't know she was until we had been there a bit. But she was acting so insane. She was talking super fast and then would be like "I painted my nails look" and then she would listen to our lesson and say that she needs to quit drugs so she can be happy again.. and then all the sudden she would like breath really deep and it sounded like darth vader (or however you spell that) and say "I am going to die from lung cancer listen". It was funny but mostly just really sad. It is so depressing to see people so deep in addiction and see how sad it makes them. Really made me grateful that if we don't ever drink or do any of that stuff we won't ever have to become addicted and let it control our lives. It is interesting how many people thing stuff like that will cure their problems and it never does. BUT the cool thing is people can overcome it and I am praying she will be able to.

We had another awesome lesson with Jerry! He has still been reading The Book of Mormon everyday and it is so cool to see the change he has made. He is honestly so much happier and the fact that his legs aren't hurting when they have been for years.. is just so awesome. I am sorry but no book that is made up could bring someone so much happiness and completely change them. It is one of the coolest miracles I have seen on my mission! Proves that doing really simple things can allow God to give us huge blessings.

We got to see Fiona again. Always an adventure. This time she showed us some old videos of her and her "band" called "The Pussycats". There was one where they were trying to rap and would say "We're the pussycats... yeah.... we're the pussycats.. meow" and Fiona was like dancing to it and thought it was the greatest thing ever hahah it was the best. I wish everyone could meet her. You just can't help but be happy when you're with her. And we are making progress with her! So she hates the church because someone said something mean to her once, and it really wasn't anything but she does have a mental disorder that causes her to hold on to things like that, anyways but she is starting to let us sing church songs with her! We sang the primary song about prayer.. and it was so neat. The spirit was super strong and she was just beaming and the whole time I felt God's love for her so strong. It was one of those times where I realize that I am just here to do God's work and He cares so much about Fiona that He needed me to come here to help her feel how much He loves here. It was a really special experience. After Fiona did say "My best friend is Jewish and so I am trying to transfer" hahah so there is that. hahah

I got to do my very favorite thing ever this week..... SING WITH NUNS. I was actually secretly praying that I would get transferred so that I wouldn't have to sing in this production.. but NOPE. Not that lucky. They are just so intense and overly dramatic about it. The funniest thing is the lady in my branch who is making us do it. First of all she had us to lunch before practice and fed us the scariest pizza and gave us carrots that were covered in white mold. Scary times. Then she was freaking out about transfers and said "You need to tell your mission president to send someone here who knows The Messiah already" and I was like..... are you serious? The point of our missions is not to sing in a production. Haha it was hilarious. The funniest part is my companion who is getting transferred is an amazing singer and does really good.. and I am the one left and man my poor new companion who is brand new. This is gonna be a hoot. I literally just have to mouth the words because I have no clue what is going on. I wish you could see it haha. Anyways that is that nightmare.

So the bummer of this week was we didn't get to see a SINGLE ONE OF OUR INVESTIGATORS. Yeah basically a catastrophe. Apparently the whole world is like sick or out of town or who knows what. I wanted to pull my hair out but I didn't don't worry. This week is looking a lot better though! Sam is for sure getting baptized on the 30th.. and I WILL BE HERE! I am so excited. I never get to be at the baptisms. This is an early Christmas miracle! And we have a new investigator who is ready and wants to get baptized... she is 17 and SO COOL, she is just waiting to be officially adopted so that she can. It is supposed to be soon so hopefully she will get baptized in the beginning of December! Lots of sweet things are coming up it is so fun. And so awesome I will get to be here for it all :) Heavenly Father is the best.

And the Graves are just the best. I can't even tell you how amazing it has been to see their family change. From my first Sunday here until now they are completely different. They are so much more unified and happy and the spirit is stronger in their home.. and I feel like I should be used to it by now... but I will never get over how much of a difference it makes when people are living the Gospel and putting it first in their lives. It doesn't make everything perfect by any means, but it makes people happy and hopeful. And that is why I am here and I feel so blessed to see all these people change.

And yesterday was my very last zone conference. It is so bizarre that I am at the point of having my "last" of things. Time goes so fast. We got to watch Meet the Mormons and it was so good! I was really impressed.

ANDdddddd I have to go! But it was a super awesome week! I will be emailing on Tuesday like normal next week. We have lots of cool stuff planned and I am excited. Pray our investigators will return from the dark abyss they somehow disappeared to...great thanks.


Love Cassidy

11-4-14 Picture of Cassidy in Ohio

11-4-2014 Cassidy's Letter from Ohio


What the heck. How did that even happen so fast. Also this was the fastest week ever. And everyone and their dog was sick. But we still managed to have a good week! Okay well actually it was a super weird week. Really weird.

Susie and Stephen were both sick... so that was slightly depressing. But Susie did come to church and is still planning on getting baptized in a few weeks! So no worried there.

Wednesday was well kinda a bust of a day. I hurt my leg running last Tuesday and it didn't hurt too bad and I thought I was just maybe being a baby so I ran on it on Wednesday and yeah well bad idea. Spent most of the day calling doctors and going to the doctor. My mission president's wife was freaking out thinking I like tore my achilles tendon and she said "I am afraid this is the end for you Sister Jensen"... hahah she was like preparing for me to have to go home. Yeah right. The only way I would come home early is if I was in a body bag. Okay that was a bit gruesome. Happy halloween? Anyways it was only a strained achilles so WE ARE FINE. And it is actually amazing because it pretty darn bad to even walk on it.. but I fasted on Sunday and part of it asked that my leg would heal and guess what.... It DID. It doesn't even hurt at all. It is a legitimate miracle! I can't even tell which leg it was. So yeah miracle number 8034 of my mission!

Good news... we FINALLY got to see Fiona again! Man I missed her. She was as funny as ever. She told us about how she went to this dance party and there were 3 guys fighting over her and one called her "hot cheeks" and she was laughing so hard that it literally made me cry laughing. Then she was talking about peanut butter (of course... haha) and she said all serious "any peanut butter is good peanut butter" and then she said "I just eat it with a spoon" classic Fiona. She literally makes every day good.

Then okay it was crazy so everyone canceled... and I felt like really prompted to go stop by some members of our branch... so we get to their house and they weren't there.. so I was like k cool that was for nothing great. Then as we were walking back to our car someone yelled "Hi Sisters!" and we looked and there was this lady sitting out on her porch. We went over and talked to her and turns out she has met with the missionaries in the past and still reads The Book of Mormon.. but she stopped going to church and never got baptized. She said that she was having one of the worst days she had ever had.. and then she saw us. She said it wasn't a coincidence but knows it was God reaching out to her. HOW COOL IS THAT. We were led to the members house so that we would be able to meet her! It is amazing to me God is so aware of everyone and loves each one of us so much.. that He would have all our appointments fall through and lead us directly to her right when she needed it. It was awesome. Nothing is better than really feeling like God is just using me to help His children!

Luckily we can always count on the Graves to feed us and not cancel on us! And every lesson at their house is just so edifying. They have the most powerful testimonies I honestly just feel honored to be the missionaries who get to teach their family and help them get stronger in the Gospel. It has been such a great blessing to me.

Halloween was just straight up creepy! It started with the weirdest lunch of my mission. This member had us meet her at this slightly weird deli/store thing... and there were no places to sit inside.. so she decided we would get our food and then sit in her car. Already sounded awkward. Then I got this soup that literally had I don't even want to know what in it. So anyways we get our food and go to her car.... and there was, not exaggerating, 3 inches of dog hair EVERYWHERE. I almost died. So yeah just picture us sitting in this hairy car, that was freezing because it wasn't on, eating nasty soup. It was a mess. Hahah it was so bad that it was funny.

Then everyone (once again) decided to get sick or who knows for what reason everyone canceled. So we went and did some service at a party store blowing up balloons. Yeah it was weird. Then we stopped by a less active who actually let us in (that was a miracle) but she was so uptight about the trick or treaters that she wouldn't even let us talk.

Then the car we were driving decided that it would be fun to not have working headlights.. so almost died about 87 times driving home.

So needless to say it was slightly not one of the best days of my mission. Then I checked the mail and had a letter from "Lawley".. and I was SO EXCITED because I haven't heard from them in awhile (they were one of my favorite old couples in Aurora back in the spring).. so I open the letter... and I found out that Joan passed away. And I literally just started crying. I am actually still really depressed about it. And I am still in shock. She was only like 70 years old. I had just mailed her a letter like a week ago telling her I was so excited to call her when I was done with my mission. She was one of the number one people I was excited to get to see again. I have so many fun memories with her. She was such an answer to prayers the day we met. I will never forget praying with all my heart that someone would be nice enough to just talk to us and let us in out of the freezing cold.. and then we knocked on her door.. and she knocked back.. and then made us come in and drink hot chocolate! And then we became best friends. I spent so many hours at her house doing service and teaching her. And even though she was slightly crazy and had 890 scary dolls, I loved her so much.  I just can't believe that she is gone. The letter her husband Arlie sent was just so sad. It is comforting to know that she is in a better place and that she will be able to learn more about the Gospel on that side, I guess I was getting her ready. It is just hard though! It did make me realize how much the people I have met on my mission mean to me. I had no clue it was even possible to grow to love them so much. But I really do. I can't even express how grateful I am for all the people I have met who have literally changed my life.

But there you go.. bad day of the mission number one. haha.

Luckily Saturday was awesome! Started with the pancake breakfast with the Community of Christ Church. And that is always fun. Gotta love breakfast with a bunch of oldies.

Then we got to have lunch with the Grimms! She made a "traditional German feast" and yeah I totally felt like I was back in Germany. The sure love to stuff us full, literally. The meatloaf was a bit meatloafy.. but that was okay. With enough salt anything is eatable I have discovered. It is really fun because Dieter is really starting to like us! He made about a billion jokes about me eating salt.. and he also said that if I don't get married within 5 years I will "be an old maid and will never get married". That is always comforting. haha. But it was just really fun. He has the best old sarcastic german sense of humor and we are making a lot of progress with him! At church on Sunday he wouldn't stop participating in the lesson in sunday school. It was so cool. It is just crazy because he literally knows it is all true.. he just doesn't want to break the promise he made to his mom before she died that he wouldn't get baptized. WHY MOM WHY. But really it will happen I have total faith.

We had a good lesson with Jerry! It is so cool because we have been trying to get him to read The Book of Mormon my entire time here... and we hadn't been making any progress at all. So we decided to call and remind him every morning.. and he has been reading every day! And he told us "I can really notice a difference. I feel so much better. And the weirdest thing is.. my legs aren't hurting as much as they normally do. And I know it must be from reading everyday." So cool. I'm telling you The Book of Mormon is a miracle worker.

Sunday was good too! Had another slightly terrifying experience. Did some service for this lady and she had us wash her dishes... which didn't sound too bad... yeah WRONG. There was legitimate MOLD growing. It was so bad she had to light a candle. My companion couldn't even do it because she was about to throw up... this sounds so dramatic but I am not even lying... so I had to do it. All I can say is God gives you weird power to do things you never thought you could when you are trying to serve people. Because it was bad. She also is a legit hoarder so that is always fun. But even though it was one of the grossest things I have ever done... it felt so good to do something for someone that they couldn't, or wouldn't, do for themselves. There really is nothing better than knowing you are helping people no matter how bad it is.

And yeah that was a fun story to end with haha.  I guess this was just a really weird week. Okay well I am totally out of time so I have to go... but I love you have a great week! And I will email on Wednesday next week!

Love Cassidy

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Cassidy's Letter 10-28-14


Wow time is flying and things have been progressing really well here. We now have 3 investigators with dates for BAPTISM! It is so cool to see all the growth in this area since I got here in September! We have been really blessed.

So cool news with Susie! She has been working on quitting coffee right, so we went over the other day... and she had thrown her coffee pot outside in the trash! She quit! It was so exciting. The biggest miracle ever. And she decided she wants to get baptized on November 22nd! She is just so solid it is crazy. We walked in and her two daughters were listening to primary songs while they were doing homework.... I mean honestly solid. Oh and her daughter said "Mom, can I have a God themed birthday party? I just love him." probably the cutest thing I have ever heard haha. We are really excited about her.

Things are also going really well with Stephen! He set a baptismal date for January 24th... which is the same day I fly home... so if I am still in the area (which is unlikely but still) it will be the 23rd! So my last night would be a baptism. That would probably be the best last day ever. It is really fun to teach him because he is so open and willing to learn. He came to stake conference on saturday and really liked that too. It is just nice to have people who really want to learn and who like to learn too!

And our other investigator Sam is doing great! Still set to get baptized November 30th!  The whole family is doing super good. I just love them so much. They are the dream mission family. They make us feel so loved and at home and she cooks us good food every week and they need us and we need them and it is just perfect. I will be really depressed when I have to say goodbye to them. We had an awesome lesson about the power of prayer and scripture study. We talked a lot about how Heavenly Father has blessings that He wants to give us, but we have to ask Him. Sometimes I forget that Heavenly Father loves me and misses me and just wants me to be happy, and He just wants me to pray and do what He asks so I can be happy. Funny how simple it is but how easy it is to forget. I just left their house really happy! I wrote in my journal "I love the Graves. I love the spirit they have and their humility and their desire to help us and to help themselves. They inspire me so much. Man things are good and Heavenly Father is the best." So that sums that up!

On Friday last week I was on exchanges with a sister named Sister Newrean, and I went to her area which was Burton/Middlefield. We got to see lots and lots of old people so I was right at home! There was this one old lady who didn't say anything like the whole time.. then all the sudden she goes "Jensen. Jensen. Jensen. I know you from somewhere. I know you." .. I still can't decide if it was cool or creepy.... then she tried to say something else but couldn't talk.. so maybe she is stalking me, who knows?

Another old lady we saw pulled out this weird instrument called the melodica or something.. I will send a picture.. and started playing it and I literally almost died laughing. It was hysterical.

We also got to see this guy named Brother Pitts! He is in his early 20s, and he lives at a special house for people with slight mental health issues. He is probably the nicest kid in the world though. We get there and he said "I just love the Book of Mormon and when I read it I feel so happy and I just want to tell everyone about it but I am scared they will get mad but I just love it." it was so sweet. Then we were talking about the Gospel and The Holy Ghost and he said "The Holy Ghost is the happiness giver." Amen to that.

So Saturday I was having a pretty rough day. We didn't get to go to our area and we didn't really get to accomplish much and for some reason I was just feeling really down and felt like, even though I know my mission has blessed me so much I can't even comprehend it, sometimes I feel like I am not helping anyone but myself. And I didn't come here to just help myself. So I was just feeling bad and I just prayed that I would be able to feel and know that I am here for a reason and that what I am doing matters... and man was my prayer answered. Saturday night was the first session of stake conference... and I got to see SO MANY people from my past areas. And it was literally what saved me. I got to see all my favorite families (and it was really cool because sometimes I think that they have probably forgotten about me/ just don't care anymore since I am not there) but they were SO excited and I was so excited and it just made me so happy. There were multiple people who said they miss me and that the ward misses me and that they wish I could come back. They were able to tell me about how important the work I did while I was there, and how much of a difference it made. And it was amazing because I didn't even realize that I did anything significant.. but they all acted like I had made the biggest difference. Total answer to my prayer. People I didn't even know very well came and told me how much the ward misses me.  It just made me so grateful! I have met so many incredible people and seeing all of them made me realize how amazing my mission has been. I have friendships that will last forever and have experienced things that will forever change my life. And I had no clue that I even grew to love people so much until I saw them again. It is insane. And Sister Baker (who I was working with a year ago) even brought me a freshly baked treat! People are so nice!

But it was the biggest tender mercy from Heavenly Father. It made me so happy and helped me really realize that I am here for a reason and I have made a difference, even if it takes 6 months or 7 years or eternity to see it. My mission president's wife said something that I really loved. She said "As missionaries we are showing the Lord that we love Him, that we trust Him, and that we have faith that we will be blessed for sacrificing and serving Him even if we don't understand how or why things happen." And that is how I feel. I don't understand most of what happens or why things don't happen and sometimes I even wonder what I am doing here... but I have complete faith that Heavenly Father loves me and that I am here for a reason. And I know He will bless me. I am receiving way more than I am sacrificing, and I have faith everything is for a reason.

And then after stake conference we got to go... SING WITH THE NUNS AGAIN. And yep it was even more intense than last time. And okay can I just say I am not like totally musically stupid.. but these are hard songs and they get all worked up.. and have you ever seen a big group of stressed out singing Nuns? It is interesting that is all I will say. Let's pray I get transferred before the performance of I might end up getting hurt. Also the director's name is Aubrey. And he is a guy. So that's that.

And then yesterday we had a good day at Kirtland! I took this tour that was this oldies (they literally couldn't walk it took like 6 years to get anywhere) and 3 of the 4 weren't members.. and they mostly wanted to know the history of stuff, which is never quite as fun.. but I did have a really cool experience. So at one point we have a really old copy of The Book of Mormon, and I was telling them about it and basically I just told them how much The Book of Mormon means to me, and one guy turned to the lady and said to her "Do you see how her eyes light up when she talks about that book. She must love it" and then I told them that nothing has brought me greater peace or made such an impact on my life as The Book of Mormon has.. and the guy said "I can tell. I can see it in your eyes." That was basically the highlight of my day. Sorry I am so over-obsessive with The Book of Mormon I just love it.

And that was basically my week. Things are moving right along and people are doing great! It is just really awesome to see so much progress.. pray it keeps it up!

I love you and appreciate all you do for me. Have a good week!

Love Cassidy

Picture of Cassidy 10-28-14

Cassidy in Kirtland October 28, 2014