Elder Nissinen

Elder Nissinen

Monday, September 30, 2013

Elder Nissinen with his new companion Elder "D"

Hi Dad!!!!!

The Rancho Cucamonga mission is a BLAST!!!!! It's totally different than the MTC, or really anything that I've done, but I'm working hard and trying to be the best I can :)

So Tuesday night we got picked up by a couple random elders who took us to their different apartments and we slept there for the night. I got to sleep on the floor, but I was SO TIRED that day from everything I was OUT in a heartbeat! The next morning we got up, worked out, and then headed back to the mission office to get our new companions and to do a little training.

So drum roll........ my new companion is ELDER D.(rhymes with "C." and everyone gets it wrong haha). He's a really cool elder, and actually I'm gonna be his last companion! (For a good reason, not the same as Elder H.). He heads home in early November, so this'll be the last 6 weeks of his mission! He has a TON of experience here with almost 23 months under his belt, and I'm always learning from him and his teaching skills. We work great together. We both try to be out as late as we can before we have to be back in our apartment by 9. Elder D.  is from Pennsylvania, and he just turned 21. I'll send you some pictures of us :) 

Elder D. and I serve in the Granite Hills ward with another set of missionaries in the town of Apple Valley. I'll help paint a picture of Apple Valley for ya: Imagine the scenery in the movie Napoleon Dynamite and replace all the grass with dust. When we're biking to our appointments, I'm just imagining someone to randomly yell out "RAWHIDE!" because it's a total desert. They call the area the High Desert, and I can see why. But the weather is AWESOME!! We're in the sun just long enough so I don't get burnt, and it's around the high 80's everyday. People tell me I got here just in time to miss the really hot spell during the summer in the Desert. 

The church here is pretty small, and the ward is mostly older couples with a few young families. The Bishop is cool. We had breakfast at his house on Thursday morning and his wife made everything GREEN since I'm a "greenie," which was pretty funny. We get dinners almost every night, and most of the meals I've had here have so far been casseroles haha. Oh well, a missionary is always hungry. The people here are really.....different too haha. Since it's SoCal, we meet all sorts of interesting people with tattoos, crazy hairstyles, and come from a poorer area. Most of the time we've spent here has been biking around our 2 square mile area and trying to set up appointments with Less-actives, Recent Converts, and the few investigators we have. BUT on Thursday we visited a former investigator named Debbie and taught her the Restoration. She was really receptive to it and told us she felt the Spirit. And guess who extended the baptism invitation? ME! She said......YES! And we have her scheduled to be baptized on November 9th. We're really praying for her to come to church, since that's something that a lot of missionaries struggle with is getting investigators to come to church.

Our apartment is actually a member's home that she doesn't live in anymore, so the missionaries use it. There's 4 of us in it, and we share it with our Zone Leaders, who are also really cool elders. It's honestly quite a dump haha, but we do with it what we can. Actually funny story, on Saturday we helped a member's neighbor move, and in return, we got a couch and table! So we took our dumpiest couch and table and put them on the street!! Haha only in California!! And...within 5 minutes someone pulled up and hauled the table away. And the couch is still on the street but no biggie - it's California haha. 

Thank you SO MUCH for your emails!!! I LOVE hearing from you and everyone!! 

Thank you for teaching me how to work hard. There's a lot of "free-time" on a mission, but the Lord will really bless us if we're outside our apartment working. We've also been trying to get the ward involved with helping us with referrals and lessons, but it's been hard, so we try to stay busy doing whatever we can to find. Thank you for your everyday example to me, your prayers, your love, your support, and every little thing that has prepared me for this moment. 

I LOVE YOU DAD!!!!! Please respond when you can, since there isn't really a time-limit on the computers for missionaries :)

Your missionary and son,

Elder Nissinen

Saturday, September 21, 2013

September 20th

Hi Mom!!!

I'm super excited to go serve in California!!! I saw a picture of my new mission president, President H. He and his wife look like awesome people! I'm so excited to meet them and get right to work :) 

Did you and Dad get my travel info in an email? 

So before Elder H left, there was a 3-some in my district. So after he left, one of the elders in the trio became my companion. His name is Elder A., an 18-year old missionary like me from Texas. He's really cool and really wants to work hard. Our planning meetings and lessons are a lot more efficient and we get a lot done. 

I talked to Elder J. and he and his mom know about calling from airport. He's really excited to go serve in Tulsa OK. From my district, there's two sisters going to Scotsville Arizona (Sisters A and B), two elders and a sister going to Tulsa OK (Elders J. and M and Sister T), one elder going to Eugene OR (Elder V), and two of us going to Rancho Cugamonga (me and Elder J.). We're all leaving within the next few days! We all opened our reassignments together - it was like Christmas!! :) 

Today we did Initiatories at the Temple for the first time as a district - It was a great time!!! After I email I'll start packing. I washed all my clothes already and ironed a lot of it. 

Anyways, hope we can chat whenever you can.


Elder Fuss

PS. Keep an eye out for a package that I'm sending home :)

California here I come.....!

I got my reassignment today!!!!! Turns out, no one was right!!! 

I'm going to CALIFORNIA!!!!!!! Rancho Cucamonga Mission!!!!!!! I leave Tuesday morning on the 8:45am flight to LA!!! 


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Saturday, September 7th

Dear Family,

          Thank you again for the really awesome package!  I loved everything about it: the really neat dictionary, the AMAZING mickey pin, ( that's my ultimate favorite :), and the index card!.  My companion had never heard about folding a card like that, so he was stoked to do it at members homes! It's a really neat idea!  Thanks you!!!
     I also got Mama & Papa's letter today too!  I hope everyone had fun up in Detroit Lake and that Papa had a really fun birthday.  Tell Papa to not worry: I'll still make him say "Uncle" :)  They're so funny and I love them a ton!
  Every time I get a package, I make a new friend.  Somebody always notices the Andy Griffith pictures, and they tell me "I love that show"!  I don't feel so alone watching TVland anymore haha.  My district gets a kick out of it, and  Elder H. just rolls his eyes, haha.
  Which teachers does everyone have this year?  Any that I had?  Classes here at the MTC are nowhere near like school.  i mean , what class in school would you start off with an opening prayer, reciting our purpose, the firs vision,  Moroni's promise and then having someone give a spiritual thought and bearing their testimony?!!!  That's never happened in Senior Ricardo's spanish class.  That's for sure!!!
It's awesome here.  No one is ever alone here.  The companion is always within sight and sound of you.
     A quick question for you mom... should I wash my laundry bag every time I wash my clothes?  It it good for it?
     Anyways, I hope everyone is staying busy and having fun!  Before you know it, I'll leave the MTC, Halloween will be here, then shortly after it'll be Thanksgiving, and I'll talk to you all on Christmas!!  It'll go by so fast, I can tell.  I'm just excited to get to work!   The work is real! Testimonies grow everyday.  The spirit is ow we do everything as missionaries.
      I love you all!!!!!!!!  Again, thank you for the letters, packages, and emails!
                                            Love you all,
                                           Elder Fuss

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dear Family,

     I'm so glad you got the SD card with no problem.  If you want me to take more pictures (anything in particular), please let me know:)  So about that tree, they show it to all the new missionaries on their first day here.  No one knows why, but you're right! It does smell like butterscotch, cream soda, something like that. It's kind of another of those crazy quirks at the MTC.

     Elder H is a great guy! He's definitely an Alabamian, even though he doesn't have the accent. Just the way he does stuff, you can tell he's Southern. He has a big heavy laugh, and me and him get along great. Every week we have what's called companionship inventory, basically where we smooth out the rough edges in our companionship and see where we could improve.
     I'm learning so many things here at the MTC. Things about the gospel, the language, being a missionary, and being a leader. Now that I'm District Leader, I've learned a lot about working with my district to figure out, set, and achieve goals for the district. On Wednesday, I noticed a missing seam in one of my slack's pockets. So what did I do? With some needle, thread, and 45 minutes, I finally fixed it up as good as I could haha. But it looks good, and you can't hardly notice the stitching, especially if I'm wearing a belt.

     You'll be glad to hear this Mom. I'm so grateful you gave me that small iron you got from Goodwill! These irons here aren't really reliable: water leaks, they've burnt out other elder's shirts, and it flickers on and off. But that little iron is as reliable as ever. I've let others elders in my district use it too. It takes a little longer to iron, but at least there's no gunk that gets on your shirt. And another thing that'll brighten your day, Mom. I'm really glad you made me take that haircutting set. Don't get me wrong, the barbers here do alright, but I've used the different razors to trim necklines that were uneven and to trim sideburns. If I ever have to cut hair in the field, I'll be ready :)

     I heard about everyone's first day of school! It won't be long before everyone is into the outline of things. B, the first week or so of Wendy's is basically video orientation: you watch videos about how to do stuff for HOURS. It get's pretty boring, but hey, you get paid to do it. But you're getting some great hours. 7 to 3?! I wonder what you'll be doing for 3 hours before the place even opens. What does everyone say about you working there after your brother quit? Haha.

     Elder H is like a big fuzzy bear. He has a LOT of body hair, and sweats a lot because of it, but he gives really big hugs. So basically he's like an older brother bear haha. And he's cool and always ready to relax and have fun, which you need if you want to survive the 10 hour study schedule of the MTC :)

     I would record a video of myself, but it's against missionary rules. I could ask my mission president when I get in the field, but I know at least in the MTC, only cameras with the picture function only are allowed. Sorry! But it'll be just a couple of weeks until I can call you from the airport.

     Oh also, I weighed myself again during gym time. Before I left, I weighed 160, and after working out I weighed 157!!! Last time when I weighed myself I had my church clothes on and weighed 164, so it's an improvement! It all starts with cutting out the donuts in the morning- those things are killer! Haha. You'll get this letter after I email you today, but I love getting all your letters and hearing that you're all safe. I love you!!!

Your "missionario",
                                 Elder Nissinen

P.S. "I can take some manners, I can take some cleanin' up, and I can take a bossy mouth. But I ain't about to be to death with no spoon!" -Briscoe Darling (HAHA!)
The Seven Dwarfs!!!  Jacob is "Sneezy", because he is the only one that hasn't been sick yet!
Hi Mom!! 

B looks great in his uniform!!! He'll have a great time working at Wendy's!!
And I love the bracelets too! All the missionaries that I've shown them to, they think it's an awesome idea! :) 
In my room on my desk I put up a few sticky-notes to help me think about missionary work and why I'm here. One of them says, "What Do I Stand For?" The bracelets we had before reminded me to write that. Sometimes missionaries don't follow all the rules, especially the Lights Out rule at 10:30. Some will stay up and talk in the vending machine room for hours after lights out, which make things difficult for everyone else trying to get some sleep. But there's a lot of good elders here who're trying to be obedient.
In my district there's 11 missionaries total, and there's one district leader per district in the MTC, so I'm it! :) There was an elder before me who was the District Leader, but they switch leaders every three weeks so more people can have the chance to serve in a leadership position. 
I'm glad you're always out on the lookout, Mom ;) Sister S. sounds like a really nice person! Where's she from?
We mostly speak English here honestly :P It's hard speaking Portuguese when most of the MTC is speaking English, but for one part of the day (usually the morning or evening classes), our district tries to go on just solid Portuguese.
I'm excited to get the package! Honestly I don't think my room could hold any more sweets haha. Between the four elders in it getting stuff from their families too, no one is every hungry haha. But we share and don't eat a lot of it. Before the MTC I weighed 160, and on Wednesday after working out, I weighed 157! The hardest part is not eating the donuts for breakfast, because those things are really tempting to have in the morning.
If I could've packed more of something to the MTC, I would've packed more athletic socks. Since we wear a pair during gym-time and on P-days, I go through two pairs pretty easy. Whenever you could, if you could send some socks (it doesn't matter which kind), that would be amazing!! Thank you for everything you've done for me!! 
Tell Papa HAPPY BIRTHDAY from Elder Fuss!!! I hope gets a thank-you letter I sent a few days ago for the last big package from the family. I hope he has a great and super fun birthday! I love you Papa!!!!!
Our residence hall is kinda weird lately. Apparently I talk in my sleep and I sleep walk. Every night it's either me or another elder in my room talking or doing something weird in our sleep - funny, huh? I never know what's going on when I sleep. I'm so tired at night that I just crash until the alarm goes off. 
I'll try to send pictures as often as I can. On some computers it doesn't let me, but I'll try everywhere I can. 
If you have any questions about anything, I'd love to answer them! I can't believe I have less than 3 weeks here! Elder S. got his reassignment today: he's going to Oakland/San Francisco California, and he leaves Wednesday!!!
Thank you for replying to my letters, emails, etc. I LOVE hearing from you all!!! There's so much to learn at the MTC, and we're constantly praying for the Spirit, or else we really can't teach. I'm soooooooo grateful for my family!!!! 

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! It won't be long before I call you from the airport!!! 

Elder Fuss

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Elder Nissinen loves the MTC!!!!

Dear Family,

   Attached is my SD card of pictures.  I tried to get a lot of the day-to-day things we do here.  If you've got questions about what some pictures are about don't hesitate to ask.   I hope it gets to you safely.
Anyways, thank you for you emails yesterday!  What's great is that i can print them out and read them over and over.  There's so much to do here in so little time, but we have so much fun here it's always a SPIRITUAL BLAST!!!
On Thursday we taught one of our other investigators.  Her name is Bruna and we teach her every other day.  In "reality", she really our teacher posing as Bruna, but we experience Turns out she loves to sing and, itself is so real.  Anyways, she's kind or a stubborn woman who doesn't think religion is important and God, Christ are a belief that binds people.  Elder H and I wanted to show her God's love for her, so we decided to sing a hymn before we have an opening prayer in our lesson.  Turns out she loves to sing, and I felt inspired to sing " I stand all amazed" in portuguese.  She didn't sing, but as Elder H and I sung, I could tell she was getting emotional- the spirit was there. We didn't talk much after that.  We invited her to pray on her knees out loud about our message and if God is really there.  She said she'd try, but thats a start.  Even though we didn't commit her to baptism, we invited her to feel the spirit, and thats what does the real teaching in people's lives.  It was just and awesome 20 minute experience.
     P-day went great!!! Laundry went as smooth as ever, emailing wasn't much of a problem (except figuring out the pictures), and the Temple we so awesome!!!  My first haircutting appointment went pretty well too!  A lot of Elders complain, but for a 15 min haircut, it wasn't bad at all.  Better than what I could do in an hour, HaHa.  But what's even neater is that some Elders in my district wanted me to fix their sideburns, neckline, and the lines in their hair with my razor!!  haha!!
     Last night was our first TRC- Training resources Center or something like that, it's where volunteer members sit down with missionaries and the have them teach a lesson or share a spiritual thought.  To me, it was a TON of fun!  We laughed with the members as we got to know them, and helped bear and grow their testimonies- all in Portuguese!!!!  I got the SUPER AWESOME FAT PACKAGE from the rest of the Long family- totally rocked my day!!!  My companion and I were laughing the whole time!!! and the rest of our district is pretty jealous. But we'll share all the stuff because heaven know we can't come close to eating all of it in less that 4 weeks.  They really liked the Wendy's  stuff too- great touch!!!
     I am going to try to write all the families in the next day or two and thank them all for their support, thoughts, and love.  I have all the families addresses except Ro's and Bogy's.  So I'll probably send them to our house and you can forward them to them.  I can't believe it's been almost 3 weeks and that school is just around the corner!  What classes and teachers do the kids have? How are piano, soccer, running, and the new job coming along?  I'm excited to hear about your scripture studying and the goals and effort you all have put into studying the scriptures daily!!!  The blessings will continue to be poured out upon you all.  I love you a ton!!!!  Missionary work is fun, hard, and worth every second!!!
It feels great to have badge bearing his name, and that I can testify of the importance and divinity of my calling to be a set apart servant and representative of the Savior.  It's so awesome!!!

                                                                  Your missionary,
                                                                   Elder Nissinen

P.S. I love the bracelets!!!  I wear mine every night to bed.  They're so cool!!! Thank you!!!!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

August 29th

Dear Family,

      Tuesday we got soaked- physically and spiritually.  So guess who came and spoke to us on Tuesday night??  ELDER NEAL L. ANDERSON!!!  The devotional that night was broadcasted to nearly all the MTC in the world!!!  His talk was titled " First love, then sacrifice." I thought it was really fitting for missionaries because we love and sacrifice so much.  He said, " we love the things we sacrifice and we sacrifice for the things we love".  So true!!!  The whole Marriott Center felt so awesome with all the missionaries singing and paying attention to an apostle's voice.  Really neat!

     After we closed the devotional, the security told us we couldn't leave because of lighting and thunder outside, so for another 15 minutes, everyone just sang hymns until we could leave.  But it was still pouring when we left.  We all knew we would get soaked, and we did.  But it was actually fun!  And good news, the CTR tie didn't get wet either. :)

     Tuesday we also had another service day!  I actually look forward to cleaning, believe it or not.  This time instead of vacuuming, I cleaned the sinks and counters in the bathrooms-gross!  Even elders make a lot of mess with their hair in those sinks.  But it was fun to just get out there and work.

     Funny thing with everyone's clothes being soaked on Tuesday, when I passed by the dry-cleaning service building the next day, the line was backed up so far.  I even think they had to turn some missionaries down unless they were leaving the MTC within a week.  But my suit's OK- if it starts smelling, I'll have it dry-cleaned.  They recommend having all your suits dry-cleaned before you leave the MTC anyways.

     In our district, we challenged each other to bear our testimonies (in Portuguese) to 5 different groups per day, and Elder H and I have been studying and practicing for our lessons.  We have 2 new posing investigators now, Bruna and João (John).  We teach one of them every other day, so there's a lot of studying that goes in that.

     I got your package yesterday!  Thank you thank you thank you so much!!  I know which of the hundreds of packages are mine because of The Andy Griffith Show pictures- they so make my day!  And I still remember the episodes of those pictures. :) Thank you again for the iPod and speaker!  I saw that there's pictures on them from the photo shoot a few weeks ago, and they look great!  Thank you!!!  My companion and I laughed at the Yahtzee game.  I'lll see if we can play it in the MTC, I'll look it up in the handbook.

And best of all, thank you so much Dad for your letter.  I love reading it, and I'll always treasure and protect it.  I'm so grateful for your example to me and your family.  I love and miss you so much, and it won't be long before I'm home.

     I'm excited to email you tomorrow.  I'll try to keep my emails short so you can respond quickly and we can have a conversation.

     I love hearing about the exciting things going on at home!  Tell Mama & Papa that it was great getting their letter in the package!  I miss them a lot too.  Have you been keeping up with America's Got Talent? Haha.

     I love getting your letters, and I always read one before I go to bed.  I think about you often, and I'm so grateful that families can be together forever, and that we all will live together after this life.  That's probably my most favorite thing about the gospel.

     Thank you for all that you do, everything that you've done for me, your prayers, thoughts, and support throughout all my life.


                                                                                    Elder Nissinen