Elder Nissinen

Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My awesome Christmas package!!!

Man it´s hot here!!! I don´t know what kicked in after Christmas, but sheesh it´s been a constant sweat nonstop. There´s days I walk into the apartment thinking I lost at least 3 pounds in pure sweat. Luckily we´ve got a cycle of cold water we get from our fridge that we´re chugging. But man it´s hot! haha

Sorry again for not letting yáll know sooner about our Temple Trip. We found out  morning, but hopefully you got an email from one of the members in our ward. Today was a really good day in the temple. It was a good time to just think about how 2014 went, how do I want to make the most of 2015. The Church is totally true.

It was awesome chatting with all you guys on Christmas. No lags or slow internet. The only complaint was that the 40 minutes went by way fast. And you guys have all grown a ton! I didn´t even recognize Joe´s voice. If he keeps growing, he´ll blaze by us both B! 

Christmas in Brazil was a blast. My favorite member families all invited us over on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and since we´re in a well-to-do area, we got some sweet stuff. After Ninnie´s and some other people´s presents, I´m well-stocked on soap, deodorant, toothbrushes, and floss haha. A member gave us each a speaker in a Guaraná soda can. Thank you guys for the awesome gifts.

In terms of proselyting this week, things were pretty slow. No one stays around for the holidays in this part of Sao Paulo, unless they don´t have family, money, or they have to work. A lot of our members are out of town too until next week. But we worked well with those who did stick around, and we got a family marked for baptism who also went to Church! Their names are Pedro, Dioneira, and Andreia. They called the Church to get a Christmas DVD, we got the text message, and they´re stoked about the gospel. January is already looking pretty wet with our baptisms.

Remember when we had to go through all that headache to get my visa papers legalized, registered, notorized, etc.? Well turns out the government in Brazil gives that same kind of headache. We´ve been working with Ramiro and Natalya (the couple we took to the temple and want to get married), and after we took them to the Register Office, turns out the documents Ramiro has aren´t ^legalized^ enough. He´s from Bolivia, so after running around a bunch of government buildings this last week, we didn´t have a lot of luck. He may have to request some documents from Bolivia and have the Consulate people take a look at them before we can get a date set. But Ramiro and Natalya are super cool! After all the headache they took us out for pizza! It´s just a waiting game for us. 

After the Storm...

I haven´t had the best luck with umbrellas in Brazil. In two days I broke two, both of them that members let me borrow. I know I have the poncho we bought at Remingtons, but whenever I even try it on, I look like Batman or some Destroying Angel. People are already freaked out enough when some gringo goes up to do a street contact. Anyways, we took an unexpected ^bath^ one day coming home. We were SOAKED!!! Like EVERYTHING!! And Brazil´s irrigation runs right into the streets like big fat rivers. Elder T. and I tried avoiding it all and hopping between the high ground as best we could, but it didn´t even matter after 5 minutes haha. 

Well those are some of our adventures this past week. Working and Singin in the Rain and Sweat. Happy 2015!!! The Church is true!!! 

Love Elder Nissinen

My Precioussssssss Panettone!  The best baked good in Brazil!!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! WOOHOOO It´s almost here! 

So I didn´t know this, but there are a few things that are different about how Brazilians celebrate Christmas than how we do things in the States. First, is that Christmas Eve is just a big of a party (if not bigger) as Christmas Day. So we got invited to a member´s house for Wendesday night. Lots of Panettonne :) Another thing is that Santa Claus doesn´t put the presents under the tree or by the fireplace. In Brazil he puts them on the foot of the kids´ beds! Imagine Saint Nick creepin in every kids´ bedroom! I remember that Santa at home always locked all the kids´ bedroom doors so they couldn´t find their presents until after Mom and Dad woke up haha. 

We´ll be spending Christmas Day with a family for lunch and Skype. The father is actually American (born in Portland OR), served a mission in Brazil, and came back and married a Brazilian. I´m guessing it´ll be around 3-4 my time (I think that´s around 9-10-in Oregon). Should be good! 

A lot of things to tell you guys today, since last Monday I hardly knew anything about how transfers were gonna go down, who´s my new companion, etc. Wednesday was the Mission Chritsmas Party, and it was a BLAST!! All 192 missionaries got together in Ibiuna, one of the places most west in the mission, and probably one of the most rural. I got some pictures of it all - it was so GREEN! It´s like the jungle of Brazil kind of a thing. The Church owns a camp/park there. The President let us change into our pday clothes, play volleyball, soccer, football, whatever. We gave our little skits from each of the zones, and then...? The President announced what movie we were gonna watch......and it was.......not Frozen :( I think it was some movie about Maleficent?) But the presentations took longer than everyone thought, so we didn´t watch any movie anyways. Turns out Frozen will have to wait just a little longer. 

It was great catching up on old times with old companions and other mission buddies, getting some good sun (actually too much - my neck has been burnt since Wednesday haha). The last part before the busses took us back on the 2 hour trip to our areas was the Transfer. Elder O is now in Osasco, not too far from here, and I´ll still see him at Leadership meetings and stuff. We worked really well together. Thank you again for sending the money to buy Elder O his shoes. Tuesday night, and it was the only time I´ve ever seen him cry. They fit him perfect, and he chucked his old shoes that the holes had gotten so big that little gravel rocks were getting inside. I´ll miss him a lot. Between Sunday and Wednesday we were visiting all the members he made friends with, and he was really a friend to everyone. Great example to me. The funny thing is, the night before I opened my suitcase to double-check the size while Elder O was taking a shower. Then I got a phone call, talked for a minute, and went to bed, forgetting my suitcase was wide open with a bright-orange shoe box sticking out. When I woke up to do my pushups, I thought for sure he already saw it, but after he got out of the shower he was so tired that he went straight to bed - phew!! You should´ve seen his face! You could tell that he was questioning himself if it was real or a dream haha

You can see the floor through the bottom of his shoes.  

And now, my new companion is...........Elder T. ! Not American, Not Brazilian, he´s.....from Peru! He´s got just over a year on the mission, but he´s been in Brazil for 5 years now. He´s got a really cool story. His mother died when he was 19 (5 years ago), and his stepfather wasn´t treating him very good, so he packed up and moved to Manaus, Brazil - alone! Got a job working on Honda motorcycles, and made a living for himself there. Not too long after, the elders got in touch with him, he accepted the gospel, and waited for his Brazilian citizenship to get finished. He´s definitely a miracle-missionary, like definitely against all odds he wouldn´t be here. He´s a straight-forward and serious guy. Hard worker. We´ve been getting some good work done in the last couple days since he´s got here. 

I´m super pumped for Christmas! It´ll be great talking with you. Tell Ninnie I´m loving all the Christmas stuff she´s sent me, especially the 25 Missionary Stories I´m reading every day. 

I love you all!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!

Elder Nissinen
Good morning! 

So we got the phone call yesterday right in a middle of a lesson. And....I think this is the first time where I´ve actually called it right, but Elder O was transferred. But the Assistants are doing transfers different this time. We don´t know where Elder O´s going, who´s his new companion, who´s my new companion. Nada. But we´ll all find out Wednesday at the MISSION CHRISTMAS PARTY!!! 

The whole mission is stoked for it! It´s been in the works for a while now. It starts Wednesday morning at 6am where our zone gets picked up by a van on a 2 hour drive to where the party´s at. I promise I´ll get some good pics of all the activities and my mission buddies. The President asked us that we don´t schedule any appointments that day, so looks like there´s gonna be a lot of great stuff (maybe the movie Frozen?). Our zone organized an annonymous gift exchange between us. And we´re gonna be doing a Mini-mission-musical in front of the whole mission. Wish us luck!

This last week I went on an exchange where I stayed in the area and Elder O went out, which gave me the chance to be a sneaky Santa and check out the shoe stores in our area. Our area is located right in the smack middle of Sao Paulo, and we´ve got street fairs, fancy clothing stores, and even a few malls. The hardest part was looking for a pair that would last at least 8 more months. But we found them!! I haven´t given them yet to Elder O. The only place that I could hide them without him accidently finding them is my suitcase, and I´m planning on giving them to him tomorrow night. He´ll be so surprised!! I feel so much better giving than receiving, especially to someone who needs it.

We had an AWESOME experience this week with Ramiro and Natalya. They´ve been coming to Church every week and loving it. This Thursday we all drove to the Temple to show them around the garden and the Waiting Room. The traffic was rough, and we probably spent more time in the car than outside, but it was all worth it. We showed them around the inside as much as we could, and then we asked them as a couple to say a prayer together about them getting married. We watched them read the Proclomation on the Family, talking with their stepkids they brought. The best part was what they said afterwards: Our greatest goals are to get married, be baptized, and then get sealed in a year - in that order. BOOM!! We´ve got it marked on the calendar to go to the Registration Office to schedule their marriage in January. I´m hoping it´s gonna be something like when the Hicks in California got married and baptized on the same day. It´ll be so awesome. I love teaching families!!!! And I love Portuguese!!!

We´ve come to love the members and make some great friendships with them. They offer to give us rides home so we don´t have to spend more money on the bus, ask when they can do splits with us, and (despite our consistent refusal) command us to be the first ones to serve ourselves at meals. One Irmã wants our suits to be in tip-top shape for this Sunday´s Christmas program, so she´s paying to have our suits dry-cleaned this week. It´s super humbling and wonderful to be spending Christmas with so many loving people. 

Oh, before I forget, I´ll be finding out at what time the members can have me and my new comp over to Skype on Christmas Day. President is letting us talk for 40 minutes this year. 

Elder O has been like a Big Brother to me and a great friend. My first Brazilian comp too! He works a ton and plays hard too. We´ll be having one last round of ping pong to determine if the US or Brazil is better haha.

Love you all! Merry Christmas (I´m trying to say that as much as I can to everyone!), eat another Mickey Bar and use all your FastPasses. Tell Ninnie again THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for her Christmas package that I just started to open this last week. I Love it!

Love Elder Nissinen

Hi guys! You´ll all get this after you get off the ship, so I hope it was a great start to the vacation. 

We had a really good week ourselves. I´m pretty sure it was all because of our planning. Mission life is so much easier and more successful when you take just a few minutes to sit down, think about what you want to happen, talk about it, and then do it. Rather than run around the whole day doing street contacts. Missionary work is so much more than the numbers we report. 

Thursday we had a Mission Leadership Council. This time it was totally different. The President had 3 different sessions and divided the mission into the 3 divisions. We went into the Stake President´s council room and for 3 hours we talked about how each zone was doing, problems, concerns, ideas, and we discussed it all like a council. The small group council was a lot better than in the past. I don´t know why, but for some wacky reason I like meetings haha. In the council we changed some things that weren´t working out real well for us, like Exchanges that we were doing weekly.

Friday we got to have our first meeting with our new Ward Missionaries. They´re so pumped!! We gave a little training about our purpose as disciples of Christ, and by the end we had our calenders filled for next week with splits. One ward missionary gave us a ride home afterward, and he was handing out passalong cards to people on the street through his window! 

Oh, before I forget, since the end of the 6 week Transfer is the same week as Christmas, President moved the Transfer a week early. So, which means that this Sunday night we´ll find out who´s going and staying. Elder O's convinced that he´ll be leaving (he´s got more than 4 months in Perdizes), so he called the Assistants, begging them so he won´t be transferred. 

I don´t know what happened this weekend, but someone threw some spiritual gasoline and lit our area up - it´s a good thing! We had one lady come up to us and asked us to visit her nieces. We taught the whole family, and they´ve all committed to come to church this upcoming weekend. They look solid. Another guy came up to us and asked us where our church is, etc. We called him Saturday night to see if he was still going, and he said yes! We marked a meeting spot to show him the chapel, loved it all, and he´s hooked to know more. Do you remember Ramiro and Natalya? They´re the couple we met at Stake Conference that wanted to be baptized and married. We taught the Law of Chastity to them this weekend, and we marked Saturday morning to go to the Government place (forgot the name in english) to get their marriage all organized. AND we scheduled to take them on a tour of the Temple for this Thursday. OH, and one more miracle. We´ve been teaching this lady named Marcia. She wants to be baptized so much, but her husband´s in jail and they´re not married, so she´s been waiting until he gets released. ]Her two kids were invited by the Primary to go on a little Temple Trip of the garden and stuff. We had no idea this was happening. We visited them that same afternoon, and they said they LOVED the temple!!! Her 9 year old daughter said that she felt so good inside like she never wanted to leave. And the 7 year old son said that the fountain looked cool, the water was cold, and that the toy in his Happy Meal at McDonalds afterward was cool too haha. 

Time is going by crazy!! We´ve really seen a difference in this area. Before I got here, the members weren´t even giving the missionaries water if they passed by. Now we´ve got some great friendships with the members and they´re willing to help! 

The Church is True!

Have a supercalifragilisticexpialadocious week!

Love Elder Nissinen

Monday, December 1, 2014

Who needs turkey when you have the temple!

We got rain!! I know it´s a negative thing back in Oregon, but here it was a HUGE blessing. Makes me appreciate the buttload of rain we get at home. Got a cool story with the rain this week.

December? All ready? Doesn´t really feel like December without some ice or snow, instead of sunscreen and umbrellas, but we´ve got Ninnie´s door decoration in our apartment and 5 MoTab albums to bring the Christmas spirit in.

Well, this last Thanksgiving was THE most different I´ve ever experienced. We had a Multi=Zone Conference for most of the day. There were quite a few American senior couple missionaries that got up and bore their testimonies, thanking us on behalf of our families. Really powerful to see guys who served missions 40 plus years ago bear their testimonies on their love of Brasil and the people. What made our Thanksgiving Top was what happened after the conference. 

For about 4 weeks now Elder O and I have been planning a Temple Trip with some recent-converts. It started after we discovered that many of them, who´ve been members for over a year, had NEVER been to the Temple - and it´s 30 minutes away by bus! We got all the info about their ancestors, etc. Bishop interviewed them all. And we got some brothers to help bring everyone that night. We had at least 8 converts there for the first time!! And 17 names to baptize and confirm! If you want to see what the Spirit of Elijah looks like, you should´ve seen their faces! Elder O. and I were honored to be the baptizers that night. And what a workout too!! We easily did 100 names baptized and confirmed. The Spirit was so strong - and it was Elder O´s first time doing baptisms for the dead, ever! He got really excited to get his own family history done. I´m secretly wishing that someone in our family will go to Finland and get a bunch more records and stuff. So, who needs Turkey on Thanksgiving when you´ve got the Temple?

I went on a few exchanges this week. That was when it first started to rain. Hard. Elder W. and I booked it to a member´s house, who thought we were gonna die from pneumonia haha. So she had us dry all our clothes and drink a cup of homemade juice before heading back out. While in my area, Elder O.  stayed out in the rain doing street contacts and jumping in puddles. He´s really gonna need some new shoes after letting that water soak in his shoes - man it stinks haha

We found a cool investigator this week. Elena was in front of her aparment building with her toddler son when we decided to do a street contact like normal. For some reason we told her that she won´t be happy if she´s smoking. Later when we returned for an appointment, she told us that when she tried going up her stairs to her apartment, she could hardly breathe. She then tried smoking another cigarette, and she felt like throwing up. She hasn´t been smoking since, and we committed her to baptism for later this month. BOOM! 

You´re all gonna have a blast these next couple weeks on the cruise!! Have a great time!! If I had to choose between a cruise or staying on the mission for two weeks......well......hope I don´t offend yáll, but I´d definitely stay here :). There´s just too much work here than go on vacations! 

Thanks for the Barney Fife snippet Mom!! Love you all!

Load up on Mickey Ears and Roy Rogers, take lots of pics, and have a magical time!

Love Elder Nissinen

Monday, November 24, 2014

No no, I haven´t been contaminated. Elder C. is one of the Assistants to the President.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!! It kinda sucks that they don´t do anything in Brazil for it, but I think they save it for an even bigger Christmas. I´ve heard that Brazilians celebrate Christmas for two days (Eve and the actual Christmas). President del Guerso is planning something HUGE for the mission to celebrate. And I´ve heard a rumor that we may be watching the movie Frozen! Keep it on the DL though.

December starts next week (already!), and I´ve started rolling out the Christmas music and the whole ball of wax. And even better news, I GOT NINNIE´S PACKAGE!!!! Don´t worry, I´ve only opened the letters and I´ll wait till December 14th. I was so surprised and grateful that it came already. 

Elder O. and I decided that we´re gonna give Christ really good present this year, and we committed ourselves to baptizing 5 people in December. It´s gonna be a big challenge for sure, but the same day that we talked about it, we met a bunch of really interested people that the members introduced to us. We´ve got at least 3 quality families that we´ve started teaching! Hallelujah!

Getting back to the title of the email, I did my first exchange with an Assistant. They´re the Elders that are over the entire mission and work close with the President. Elder C. is the most craziest missionary I´ve ever met. When we walked out of our apartment onto the street, he yelled HALLELUJAH!! GLORY TO GOD!! and started doing street contacts. I wasn´t sure to laugh my head off or to be embarrased. And throughout the day things just got more hilarious. We knocked on two people´s door at the same time, and ended up telling one of them that we´d be back in 10 minutes after sharing a message with his neighbor. But his attitude is super contagious, and I was mostly laughing the whole exchange.

Stake Conference was this weekend - it was SOOOOOO AWESOME!!!! President Del Guerso spoke at each session, and invited us to the Priesthood Leadership session. The whole thing was on To The Rescue, Conversion, and Teaching. To be honest it was probably the best stake conference I´ve been to about missionary work. A random couple came in during the conference, and afterward came up to us and said they wanted to be taught, married, and baptized. AND they livein our area! BOOM! Elder O. doesn´t believe in Santa (he believes it´s all commercialized), but I think after seeing these miracles, he´s started to believe haha.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving this weekend! I´m so very very grateful for my family and the Gospel which has changed my life in more ways than I can count. I´m seeing so many blessings out here in the mission field that I should´ve been more grateful for back home, and I thank Heavenly Father for every day that I´m out here. I wouldn´t be anywhere else!

P.S. Elder O and I are doing good.  We´ve been working out the kinks in our companionship this last week. To let you in on a secret, I´m thinking of buying him a new pair of shoes for Christmas. His pair isn´t very good, and is already falling apart after 3 months. Can I use the $100 as my present to get him some?

Thank for you all that you all do. 

Love Elder Nissinen

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hey everyone!

Time has gone by super fast. Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away (can´t believe it). Unfortunately Brazil doesn't  have that holiday. So they jump right to Christmas! It´s sunny, clear, and already the stores have Christmas decorations. Because the prices for presents gets jacked way high in December, we´ve got people already doing their Christmas shopping! In the middle of November!! Because of the paradise-y weather, the song Melekeliki Maka has been stuck in my head. I´ll have to check around if they´ve got a Portuguese version of that song...

Well, in response to last week´s meltdown, I took the time Wednesday morning to study a bit about stress and what the heck´s been going on in my head. At length I came to the conclusion: DON`T TRY TO CONTROL THE THINGS YOU CAN`T. I can´t force my investigators to be baptized, I can´t control the missionaries in my zone to be more obedient, neither can I be the Ward Mission Leader, Executive Secretary, and Bishop on top of all that at the same time. Phew. So, I took the day and we worked, worked, worked, and I had fun with it.

We´ve been doing some ^Spring Cleaning in our teaching pool too this last week. We started off the week with 15 groups of people (families, single investigators, etc.), and as of yesterday we´re down to 6. A lot dropped us for crazy reasons (Don´t want to pray because they know they´ll get an answer, They don´t want our money, or They´d rather be a model), so we´re gonna be syched and pumped for some good finding. We´ve been slacking on our street contacts, so we´re gonna have to put the Perdizes wagon in overdrive. 

Cool story this week. One of the investigators we have is Pereira, an old investigator that was dropped four years ago, but we started reteaching last week. He´s one of those older guys that you can´t help but love. He repeats everything he says at least 3 times, but it´s profound. Our first lesson with him was 3 hours long the previous week. On Thursday we asked him if he believed the Book of Mormon is true. He said he knew it was true from the beginning, but he asked God for a confirmation, that if two missionaries gave him another Book of Mormon, without asking, that he would have all surety that it is true. We gave him a Book on our first visit without knowing, and he told us that this last week. 

Sorry I don´t have any pictures this week. I´m looking for a good spot to take the Christmas Card picture Mom asked. When does she need it? Thank you for the hilarious Barney Fife snippet. I laughed right out loud, and I think Elder O.  thinks I´m crazy (along with the rest of my past companions haha). We´ll keep going, day by day, and I know the Lord will bless us with success. After some good reflection this last week, I decided to change the nickname of this area from Babylon to the Garden of Gethsemane for me. It´s been a hard but wonderful challenge.

I love you all very much. Congratulations B on the ACT score. Keep your head up. 

Love Elder Nissinen 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hey Guys,

First lesson learned on last Pday (taken from one of Dad´s quotes): If you don´t do it, don´t do it. Learned that lesson pretty well when I had the crazy idea to cut my own hair. It wasn´t too too too bad, buuuuuut, two weeks is the difference between a good haircut and a bad one, right? I think in the space of two years, every Elder goes through at least one bad haircut haha.

Transfers have come in.......we´re both staying!!! I was relieved. We´re both stoked to stay, because we´re really hoping to see the fruits of our hard work after these last 6 weeks. This area has really been the Refiner´s fire for both of us. There´s many reasons God has His missionaries go out in two-by-two, especially that when you have those hard days, weeks, or months, you´re not alone in it. There´s a good amount of stress on the mission, that comes from just about every source you can think of. Saturday was one of those days. I had already started my fast that afternoon, I was tired, nothing was on-time that day, and we felt alone. We both had our own emotional breakdown. When we came home that night, I asked Elder Oliveira to give me a Preisthood Blessing of Comfort and Counsel. There´s a special feeling and power when you feel a Preisthood holder´s hands on your head, and I really felt the Spirit. In the end, I knew that everything that we´ve been going through has been helping and preparing us for the future.  We stay positive, selfless, happy, and obedient, and things will all work out soon. Thank you for your prayers. 

Love you tons,

Elder Nissinen

Monday, November 3, 2014

My package arrived!!!  Thanks Aunt Ninnie!!!

Hey guys! 

Let me just start off by saying that I´m still not used to this whole starting-a-fast-on- deal. After 18 years of having it , Brazil throws me a curveball hahaha. Actually I didn´t realize it was fast s until Preisthood Opening Exercises haha. I´m planning on making it up next Sunday

I love reading your guys´ letters! Winter already?!? We´re on the last week of transfers too, and the next one will run into Christmas. I´m really really hoping to stay with Elder O for at least one more. 

We had Mission Leadership Council this week too, and it was great talking with Elder M, Elder J, and Elder C. Turns out we´ll all be going home the same transfer! I sent a picture of us four. 

As for the English, we´ve been having a sort of competition with the Sisters that we split the ward with. One of them has been out for 11 months, and knows quite a bit of English. Elder O and I love to pull pranks on the Sisters. But this week this Sister came up to Elder O with a new phrase she learned that week: Go to Hell. What´s even funnier is that Elder O understood it perfectly without me having to translate. You would´ve had to have been there. I´ve been thinking of some real good sentences to teach my comp in revenge haha.

Yesterday I bore my testimony about courage in Sacrament Meeting. This last week I had a really good experience with that. one of our District Leaders had a baptismal interview for me to do. The lady was scheduled to be baptized for the next day, . Btw, I love doing interviews. It´s like seeing a person´s spiritual progress in a snapshot. We started it off with prayer, I got to know her briefly, and then starting asking her the questions. Soon I realized that this lady didn´t really have a testimony, but that she was ultimately being baptized for the two young men teaching her. She hadn´t read much of the Book of Mormon, none of it in the past two weeks, neither had she prayed about it. In a kind way I stopped the interview and explained to her that it´d be better for her to have a little more time to prep herself and grow her testimony. She didn´t have a problem with that, and she committed herself to study and pray more. After the interview I explained what had happened to the District Leader, with her not being able to be baptized that weekend. As we walked back to his apartment to trade back, he didn´t say a word to me. I shook it off, knowing that if I had passed her, she would´ve been baptized without a true testimony. I felt Heavenly Father was pleased.

I thought the incident would be over. Later that afternoon I get a phone call from President del Guerso. The District Leader had called him, complaining to him that she hadn´t passed. He asked me why I didn´t pass her. To be honest I was pretty nervous when I explained what happened. In the end he told me congratulations, and today in our weekly emails, President told me thank you that I didn´t pass her and that the Lord was proud of my trust in Him.

There are many times when our courage to stand for what´s right is tested. Heavenly Father has saved us for these times to when we need to show that courage. In this great war, we already know who´s gonna win. The real question is which side will we find ourselves fighting on when it´s over. 

Thank you for your wonderful examples. Stand firm. And even when blessings don´t appear in the way you hope, they come. Just hold on a little longer. There´s a lot of help and happiness ahead. 

I love you all. Have a great week!     Love Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Temple trip this morning!!!

                          HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM,

You know that phrase that behind every Eagle Scout is a Mom? I know the same thing goes for a missionary
Oh YES! YES YES YES!! Ninnie really knows how to stuff a package. Tell her THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Everything was just perfect. And I´ll shred the old card today

Well, the sun is shining in the dead-center of Sao Paulo, and Elder O. and I haven´t given up yet. I´m seeing some great progress in the area, slow but sure. We´re building better friendships with our members, they´re more willing to go on splits with us, and we´re gonna be having our first Ward Council t(in a long time - before Elder O. got here). If by an odd chance, if I turn into a member that´s too lazy or too ^busy^ to do missionary work, I want someone to hit me right upside the head with Preach My Gospel. Because there´s no way in heck that this work can hasten with just 88,000, at least not at the pace Heavenly Father wants it We had some really good things happen this week. We had interviews with President Del Guerso. He´s a pretty funny guy, especially when him and his wife are cracking jokes. My interview was pretty short. No questions? No problems? Good! Haha
On Thursday
 We got a random referral on the cell phone, saying that a couple had already been to church and wanted to get baptized. Pretty much in our ears that means that we get over there as fast as we can. Little did we know that the street was in the furthest corner of our area. We walked, and then walked. Elder O´s back had been hurting a lot that day, so I carried his bag and we walked and walked for about an hour straight (and missionaries walk fast). Finally we got there. The couple (Carol and Vagner) had just moved from Bolivia that same week, was taught by the missionaries there, and want to get baptized. BOOM! We´re working with them to get married and used to the ward. Turns out in the Center there´s a lot of Hispanic members in our ward.
It was awesome to see Elder M!!!

Can´t complain a whole lot haha. We´re working really hard, and God has been really good to us. What more can I ask for? I know for sure that in the times where I´m not baptizing as much, that I´m growing ten times faster.
Love you all. Hope we can chat a bit if the Internet doesn´t act weird. Happy Halloween (Brazilians know it exists but don´t do anything for it haha).

Love Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Peridizes Zone!!!

Elder O made me this awesome meal!!! Noodles, Rice and Chicken.  It was amazing!!!

Before I forget our next P-day won't be on Monday because  we´re going to the TEMPLE!!!! The last time I went was with Elder C. months ago. I hope I never take the Temple for granted.

It´s great that Pday is today too! Elder O.  and I are always pumped to get off to the LAN House as fast as we can. And we´re now another hour ahead thanks to Daylight Savings. Elder O. was telling me, where he lives they hardly ever switch the time, because he lives so close to the Equator. You´re not gonna believe this (I didn´t either), but yesterday President sent us all a text giving us PERIMISSION to SLEEP IN today until 7:30. What the heck!!! Even I took advantage of that, or tried, even though I couldn´t go back to sleep when I woke up at 6:30. Oh well haha

Things went a lot better this week. We´ve been really narrowing down our teaching pool with those who want to know the truth, and SHOW it (going to church, praying, reading). The rest have either dropped us or we dropped them after teaching them for so long without much progress. But with that said, we´ve got some quality people we´re teaching. One of them is Fernando. He´s the guy we brought to the church building to tour it around and play some pingpong. He grew up as a Jehova Witness but wasn´t baptized. We´re super tight with him. And....he came to church too!! I got a cool story with that:

A lesson learned on Sunday (of many). During the week, someone robbed the church building; jumped the high fence, broke the two thick masterlocks on the doors, and broke the window to get in. They took the speakers and microphones, and tried breaking the Bishopric´s security door. Thankfully no one was inside or hurt, but it made things kinda annoying on Sunday without being able to hear the speakers right. We were sitting towards the back near the side doors, and with little kids running around, opening and shutting the doors every 10 seconds, and not being able to hear the speakers, I was (to say the least) annoyed. I was mostly afraid of what Fernando would think, it being his first time. After the meeting, we asked him what he thought. His answer stunned me: Ît was perfect. I realized and learned that to those who no hardly anything of our faith, that there is still a distinct and perfect Spirit to be felt in His house, no matter how roughty the kids, or if we´re lacking the lastest sound system. None of that matters if there are those gathered in His name, attentively looking for that ^water of everlasting life.^  And they will feel it. The members afterward asked Fernando if he´s got a baptismal date soon. He said Not yet, but I will definitely soon. It was one of those spiritual fist-pumping moments.

This is a hard area, probably one of the hardest in the mission. Some have called this place Babylon if you believe it or not. But I´ve been growing and stretching so much with Elder O. We´re working our butts off, and we know Heavenly Father has and will continue to bless us, even with the small coincidences. Thank you too for your advice Dad that you sent me today.

I love you all very much. Have a great week! 

Love Elder Nissinen

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ping Pong Proselyting...

Boy things have been burning up here in Brazil. We left the apartment at 10, and it was already 91 degrees!! The whole week has been like that. Thank heavens we have a box fan for each of us to use at night to cool off. When we get home at night, after planning, it´s always a competition of who´s gonna be the one to take a shower first. In the summer it´s pretty common to take two even three showers a day to get all the sweat off. I definitely used some sunscreen to keep me alive haha.

A long week it was in Perdizes. We had a lot of good successes, and then almost all of it came burning down at the last moment on Saturday. But I´m grateful for the story Mom sent me about Gratitude. Elder O  is a great help. He´s super positive and hilarious, and we´ve been helping each other out a lot with all the crazy stresses in mission life. We had some really good spiritual experiences too.

Starting off on the less-spiritual side, I learned that our church building has a ping-pong table! We took one of our investigators to show him around the chapel, and then we all decided to hook up the table and go at it. After a bunch of smack-talk (it´s really fun to smack-talk in Portuguese btw), I learned an important lesson: don´t mess with Brazilians in ping-pong. Fun fact, they all hold the paddle the Japanese way. I held my own, but Elder O shoved my foot in my mouth. If we have time today after shopping and cleaning, we´re gonna go back to the chapel for a rematch. 

Me and Elder W with our MacD 
I also went on Exchanges with Elder W, a brand-new missionary with only 2 weeks here. A lot of the Americans now are going straight to the Brazil MTC without having to wait. And me with only a week or so in the huge downtown area, needless to say, we got a little ways off the beaten path, if you know what I mean. But we decided to celebrate (and get rid of our headaches from being lost), by getting some Big Macs for 15 dollars a piece. But it was worth it haha.

Saturday was probably one of the hardest proselyting days of my mission. We´ve been working with some really good people, and they were marked and ready for baptism soon. But throughout the day, we passed by a few of them on the street. Many lied about appointments, broke commandments behind our backs, and to be honest we were pretty mad, if not disappointed. Right when close to nothing else could-ve gone worse, we decided to take 5, get some cold water, and pop a squat on a nearby parkbench to just talk. We both felt right to fast about all this. So right then and there we started our fast in prayer. We got up, chose someone to go visit, and started walking. A minute or two later we got a phonecall from the Relief Society president. She´d seen us praying and asked us why. We told her we were having a rough day, and she told us of how proud she was that we´re obedient and working hard, and that the Lord is proud of us too. I don´t know exactly how Heavenly Father answers our prayers, but a scripture that Elder O uses often comes to mind - of how by small and simple things, great things come to pass. That phone call was the best thing that happened that day. 

Thank you for your emails and prayers. Even though some weeks and days are harder or better than others, I´m grateful that Heavenly Father gives me these opportunities to grow. I rely on Him for so much.

Keep fighting and keep moving forward. Know where you face.

Love you all very much,             Elder Nissinen

            Pictures of my apartment 

Monday, October 6, 2014

My first Brazilian Companion
Happy Pday! It came really fast this week, and I´ve got a lot of changes to tell you guys.

Of course Monday was spent most of the day packing and saying good-bye to all the awesome members I met. I´m sending you some pictures of them all today. Tuesday I got to see all my last companions because they were getting transferred too. Elder B and Elder C are still doing awesome. A member pulled up in one of the fanciest cars in the church parking lot, and Elder Oliveira came out with the member. My first thought: ^Man this place is gonna be legit. So many things to tell you about the changes.

I think the best way to describe the difference between Perdizes and every other area I´ve served in is like this: Imagine serving in the poorest part of Cornelius for 4 months, and then get transferred right to the richest and heart of Portland, right in the smack center. And that´s where I´m at! It´s a HUGE area. We have to take two buses to get to church every week, and even with our area split with Sisters, it takes about 30 minutes by bus to go from side to side. The houses are few. In fact most buildings are apartments, so imagine in just one block how many people live. We have SO MUCH work to do here we are never resting, plus being a zone leader at the same time. 

My first Brazilian companion Elder O is amazing. He´s a convert of about 5 years now, and is the first member of his family as a member of the Church. He got kicked out of the house for joining, but then he came back and baptized most of his family. He´s an awesome teacher, super funny, and gets along great with everyone. Heavenly Father has really blessed me with some awesome companions.

This week we did a Contact challenge between our zone, between which companionship could do the most contacts in a week fromThursday to Sunday night. Our zone is really competitive, but it was hilarious throughout the week to see everyone smack-talking each other about talking to people on the street. Even between conference sessions our zone was out contacting to get the edge. I´ve never contacted so many people on my mission! Our area´s not the best for contacting because since so many people work in our area, few actually live in it, or even close to it! 

To put that to the test, Elder O challenged me to do a contact with the first person I saw, and then to see where he lived. Turns out the guy lived at least 3 hours by bus away from our area - and that´s common!! The center is way different than anything else. And if you think Portland is weird, wait till you check out São Paulo. Just so you believe me, there´s men that dress up like women, and they actually look like women (until they open their mouths and talk in their actual voices). Pretty weird. 

We live in an apartment with just me and Elder O. Sorry mom, but no oven in this one. And no gym either! But it´s okay. We got a great view of the city from our 12 story window. 

Conference was the BEST! And I was super grateful they hooked up a little TV in some room in the stake center to the English channel of conference. It was me, the rest of the American missionaries in the stake, and a couple members who were fluent in English. I wasn´t able to listen to Priesthood Session because of the time, but I downloaded all the conference already to listen again throughout the week. I thought it was really neat that they had a few 70 speak in their native languages. The members got a kick of it here that they got to hear a talk in their own language without someone doing a translation. I learned to be grateful for English after listening to the foreign talks. It´s so much different when you´re listening and watching the General Authority actually speaking. 
Crazy changes, but I know I´m learning and growing a lot because of it. It looks like you all had a great week. Keep truckin Glencoe! Love you all a ton!! Thank you for your emails today. I keep praying for you every day.

Love Elder Nissinen