Elder Nissinen

Elder Nissinen

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hey family!!!
Sorry I told you Friday instead of today. Today's actually our p-day. Sorry!!
I'll just start off by saying, the CTM is THE BEST place to learn Portuguese, way better than in Provo. I'm completely immersed here!!! We're pretty much forbidden to speak English to anyone - the only ones who understand it are the other americans. My roommates are Brazilians, my teachers are Brazilians, we eat meals with the Brazilians, and all the workers are Brazilian. It's all sink-or-swim here. And it's awesome!! I've learned/relearned a ton, and the best way of practicing is just speaking it. Our teachers don't spend a lot of time on the Fundamentals of being a missionary. We're pretty much just practicing a ton. Teaching, speaking, playing games, everything's in Portuguese. You know what's weird? After speaking Portuguese nearly for a straight week, it feels weird speaking in English haha. I'm super grateful that I get to spend a little time here just to step back, reevaluate stuff, and just jump into the language. The gift of tongues is real!!! I mean, after seven months of hardly speaking full sentences in Portuguese, and then after a week of full immersion, I'm surprised the natives understand me! I'm nowhere near fluent, but the CTM has given me a great foundation.
So lemme tell ya a little about how things work here. It's waaaaay smaller here than at Provo. We just got a bunch of new missionaries today, and we capped at 300 or so. The whole facility is like one of the big buildings in Utah. So you get to know people here pretty easy, which is nice. My roommates are really cool (and patient). We have three meals a day (Desjejum, Almoço, and Jantar), and then at 9:30 we have a Lanche. It's like a late snack: piece of fruit, a little croissant roll, and juice box. For breakfasts it's the same thing: a roll that we put meat and cheese in and then toast it - tastes pretty good. And, you called it, beans and rice are available at for lunch and dinner every day. Besides the Gospel, I'm also converted to one more thing: Guaraná. I had it my first meal here, and I don't know how to describe it. It's got a hint of cream soda, but fruity. SUPER good! I think one of my American roommates is addicted to it because he drinks like 10 glasses a day. Another thing, we have to drink a ton of water here - at least 10 glasses a day. The nights get pretty humid, and the mornings cool off. We have a big fan right over our door that we leave on all night. I was BAKING my first night! 
My companion is Elder W. from South Carolina. He served in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for 6 months before coming here, and his MTC companion was Elder B.  - small world! He's really cool and picked up a little Creole in Florida, so he likes speaking that when he can. He's going to Goianya. So far I haven't met a single missionary going to Sao Paulo West yet, but I'll probably run into a few later.
My district is cool too. Sister B. and Sister A.  are in it, and they're companions again too! My Branch President assigned me to be the Zone Leader on Sunday. In the MTC it just means that I welcome the new ones in my zone and set a good example by being obedient.
Last week we got to go out to the heart of the city and proselyte. Elder W. and I were given 6 Book of Mormons to hand out, and then to just go talk with people! It was probably the funnest thing! The people here are super humble and receptive. The problem here is that near everyone will accept a copy, but there're people who will just do it to be nice and not read it. Kinda the opposite problem I had in California. Within an hour we easily had them handed out. The area we proselyted looked like New York Town Square - soooo many people in just one little area. It just felt great being back out.  
The language is going great, I'm really excited to get back in the field. I've been really blessed this last week. Heavenly Father has helped me out a lot.
Sorry these computers won't let me send pictures. And there's a rule here to where you can only take pictures on p-day and your last day here. And we can't take our cameras outside the CTM too for p-day. But this morning when I went to the Sao Paulo temple (btw, BEAUTIFUL!), our driver took a picture of our district and will send it to you.
They have the hour time-limit for emailing here too. I still have 20 minutes by the time you get this email, so maybe we can chat.
Thanks!! Sorry again if you were expecting an email on Friday. I love you all a lot!!!
Elder Nissinen

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hi family!!
Just letting you know I made it here safe and sound. And what a day!! I'm super tired, and my mind is blown again. EVERYONE speaks Portuguese here! Talk about full immersion. I haven't unpacked yet, but I'm headed to my room right after this.
But I'm super excited to be here. These next two weeks are gonna be focused completely on language skills. Instead of having two teachers a day like the regular 6-weekers, we have three. We're encouraged to speak the language all the time and to eat with the natives in the cafeteria. All of my teachers so far are natives, and their English is limited.
The food so far is pretty good too. Guess what we had for lunch? That's right: beans and rice! On Wednesdays we get pizza, but it's totally different than American pizza. No tomato sauce. I ate a slice with cheesy sauce and corn! Not too bad actually.
Anyways, it was great talking with everyone yesterday. It's crazy to think I'm actually here now! My P-days are on Fridays, but my first won't be till next week, just like it was in Provo.
I don't have a lot of time, but I may be able to chat for a minute.
Love you all so much,
Elder Nissinen

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hi everyone!!

Sorry I am super low on time today. Since it's my last P-day in the States, I've had a lot to do, and I've been running all around since 5:30 when we woke up. Dont worry though, we still got our studies in. 

I sent off a package of stuff I knew I wouldn't take to Brazil. You should be getting it later this week. If you don't know what some of the stuff is, we can talk about it when I call next week. I also put in my SD card with the birthday pictures and videos. 

On Thursday we had our regular President Interviews that he does about every three months. This time President decided to include my "departing interview" with mine. Lemme tell ya, it feels so weird haha. I'm just so grateful I'm not actually going home yet. But he's letting me call from the airport. I bought a Calling Card today too. My flight leaves from California at noon, but I don't know the other times for layovers and stuff. 

Haven't started packing yet...haha I've just been sorting stuff into piles. But that's another thing to get started on plus my list of other errands we have to run today. 

Sorry I don't have a lot of time, but I'll update you on everything when I call next Tuesday. Elder F. and I have had an awesome week, and I'm sure this is gonna be the busiest and best week of my mission so far.

 I love you guys and hope you all have a great week!!! 

Love Elder Nissinen

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hey everyone! 

This week has been great! I've seen a lot of blessings this week, especially from General Conference. It was sooo good! We didn't watch it with members, so we just went to the Stake Center and watched it all there. That place was dead! Out of the 12 people inside that chapel, all but two were missionaries haha. I can't believe it's all gone by so fast. And what's even better is reading through all the talks in the next couple weeks. My favorite talks were by Elder Holland, Elder Bednar, Bishop Stevenson, Elder Ballard, and Elder Scott - so many favorites! 

Thank you so much for the birthday present!!! Elder F.  recorded me opening my package without me realizing it. I'll send off this SD card before I leave. I loved the Andy Griffith shirt too!! And I've got the Barney Fife license in my wallet. It was a really good birthday. We didn't have a lot of time after Priesthood Session, but Elder F.  and I are gonna go out to eat somewhere before transfers. 

This week I woke up for Early Morning Seminary for the first time - 4:30! haha Elder F.  and I were invited to help out the Seminary kids learn how to invite their friends to come to seminary. This week is Invite Your Friend To Seminary week, so we role-played with the teens to help them see how normal it is to invite someone, even if they don't come. We got Costco muffins afterwards, so it was pretty cool. Oh, and this one teenager is from Brazil, so we talked for a little bit in Portuguese. You probably won't believe this, but she actually understood me!! Everytime I try talking to a Spanish-speaker in Portuguese, they look at me like I'm speaking with rocks in my mouth haha. And I hope the CTM will boost in those dusty language skills.

Elder F.  and I have been doing great, and we're still having a blast with our roommates Elder S. and Elder S . Last night Elder S.  taught us how to throw playing cards so they cut through paper - it works! I even got one to stick in the ceiling this morning! Just one of the crazy things we've been up to.

As for our teaching, we're hopefully gonna have the B.'s be baptized this upcoming weekend, but we haven't been able to see them this last week and we still have some things to teach them. The rest of our investigators have been doing well. With MLC and General Conference this week, we didn't have as much time to proselyte, but it'll pick back up this week. Elder F.  and I are just gonna kill it over these couple weeks :) We're excited. 

One of our investigators, Jose, has been going through some hard times. He owns his own moving and cleaning business, but he hasn't had a lot of business lately. And his landlord just served him with a 3-day notice. On Friday we went in planning on teaching the Restoration. But after hearing him talk about how stressed he is, we got the prompting to give him a priesthood blessing. He said he felt really warm inside, and he wanted that feeling again. Well, Church, prayer, and scriptures is the answer we gave him. He went out of town this weekend but we hope to see him at church soon.

This gospel is so awesome. After listening to general conference, the youth are really being focused on. The world is going crazy!! I was just in the mall a couple hours ago. Elder F.
 had to get some presents for his brother, but just walking through it felt weird. And the clothing stores have gone nuts too! So much of the stuff is inappropriate. Stay true guys and buckle up, cuz we're in the last days.

Love you all. Thanks again for the birthday wishes :)    Elder Nissinen