Elder Nissinen

Elder Nissinen

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Letter #4

Dear Family,                                                                                                     Sunday August 16

     Today was Sunday at the MTC!  Not gonna lie, Sunday's are super cool.  It's like EFY, General Conference, and Sacrament meeting all mushed together.  At first I was feeling a little homesick, but what happened this afternoon was FANTASTIC!

     Priesthood meeting was first.  We had it with our zone, which is about 50 people.  Our Branch president, President L. , gave a talk about giving commitments and helping people resolve their concerns.  He's a really cool guy.

     Sacrament meeting was neat too.  It was with our zone, and except for the big number of missionaries, everything else was identical.  We tried to do everything we could in Portuguese, like saying prayers, singing hymns, and giving talks.  Each week the Branch president randomly chooses two missionaries to give a 3-minute talk on a pre-assigned subject, which means that everyone has to come prepared to give a Portuguese talk.

     After lunch, our zone went on a walk around the Provo temple.  It's literally across the street from the MTC, and it's really cool.  It's not as green as Portland's, but i'm excited for Friday when we can go to the temple on our P-Day.  We even saw a protestor outside the temple gate yelling about Mormons and the cross, etc.  One of the missionaries tried to give him a pass-along card, but he turned it down cold.

     After dinner, our whole district decided to go to choir practice, and I'm really glad I went.  There were hundreds of missionaries in the choir, and when we all sang our harmonies, it sounded so cool.  We'll be performing at the Marriott Center this Tuesday for a devotional.  The song we're practicing, Precious Savior Dear Redeemer, is a really powerful song.

    And right after choir, everyone started lining up for the Sunday Night Devotional which is in the gym, so my companion and I rushed to grab our notebooks, so we could get good seats.  A guy named Vai Sekahema spoke that night; he's a sportscaster for NBC and played in the NFL and for BYU in the 80's.  But the best part, he said, was his mission in South Dakota.  He shared his experiences and the conversion stories of those he taught.  That day was 30 years exactly from when he got off his mission.  The work really changes lives!

     And to top it all off, we then watched a devotional Elder Bednar gave a few years ago on Christmas.  The main thing I got out of it, was that we need to turn outwards to be better missionaries and be more Christlike.  I'm not out here as a missionary for me; I'm here to serve Him and invite others to come to Christ.  I've been focusing on myself the last few days, and I realize that as I teach other people and serve, I'm not worried or distressed.  It's interesting because as we lose ourselves in the service of others, we find ourself.  Before I came here, I really thought I knew what it meant to "forget yourself and go to work."  And that's hard!  But through the Savior, I can do this and be the best missionary I can be.

     I love and miss you guys so much!  And I think about you all often.  I pray for your comfort and peace.  I can't wait to hear from you soon and to hear how you all are doing.  I love you!!!

                                                     Please write soon,

                                                              Elder Nissinen

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