Elder Nissinen

Elder Nissinen

Monday, June 23, 2014

What the streets look like during the World Cup!!!
Hey everyone!! 

This was a great one! Elder C. and I worked our tails off, and despite a few hiccups, the Lord blessed us immensely. Jardim Macedonia is a great place to be in.

A lot of you have asked how everything´s going with the World Cup. I´ve tried comparing to a lot of things, but the closest thing I can imagine is this: take the Super Bowl of Super Bowls versus every major country in the world, multiply the excitement by 10, and then put that excitement in the same country that´s hosting all these countries. Seriously from a non-missionary perspective, it´s what everyone is talking about. President del Guerso has given us permission to watch the Brazil games in active members´ homes, but the atmosphere doesn´t help out missionary work a whole lot haha. From about noon to 9pm, the games are on TV, which means if anyone has a TV in their house, the games are on. It´s funny because whenever we enter someone´s house, member or not, and we ask if we can share a spiritual message, they always say, >Oh sure, just wait till the end of the game!< So, what else can we do for the leftover 15 minutes? haha With the game today President said we have to go back to our houses right after, so today will be a full pday!

Jardim Macedonia has fewer active members, but it´s our plan to help them stay firm and reactivate the less-actives. A problem in Brazil is that many are willing to listen and commit to being baptized, but staying firm and living the commitments are hard. We had a meeting Sunday morning with some of the leaders in the ward, and a lot of what was talked about was finding and bringing back members who will stay active, go to the Temple, serve callings, etc. And the members are the best source for finding these people! 

For example, a couple weeks ago we had lunch with an active family. After our spiritual thought they decided to invite their less-active neighbors and their non-member friends to an FHE with us. We had it last Monday, and Elder C. and I were in charge of the game after the lesson. The dad shared a brief message from General Conference, and then we played Batata Quente. A little introduction, missionaries have to be pretty resourceful, so we found a little hackysack from a box of Frosted Flakes we bought before, and played Brazilian Hot Potato. Simple, but it worked! We had a ton of fun, and then the active family committed them to take the lessons and come to Church. I love working with the members!! 

Our study desk

The infamous electric shower head

Our Laundry room

Some pictures a member took of us last night with a family. Cake and Coke! haha

 Elder C. is by far one of the best companions I´ve had on my mission. He loves music, and he taught himself piano and a bunch of other instruments. He even writes music! And he´s got a great heart too. On Saturday I woke up with a terrible sick feeling in my stomach. I tried to shake it off and work, but after about an hour of walking, I felt really achy. I still don´t know if it was something I ate or drank. But we were close to the chapel, so we went in and I instantly fell asleep on one of the wooden benches of the chapel haha. Three hours later I woke up 100% better. We couldn´t get ahold of our lunch appointment, but Elder Castilla stayed there the whole time and helped me out a ton. I´m teaching him English, and we read the Book of Mormon together in the languages we´re trying to learn. I may have convinced him to go to BYU too haha. 

Oh, and I got your letter last week! LOVED the pictures and the letter!! People here really like seeing pictures of your family; it helps to show that you´re a normal person, and talking about families is an easy way to connect with people here.

Love you all!!! Thank you for your emails and encouragement! Being a missionary is one of the happiest and best things I´ve ever done! The Gospel and the Savior are real. Heavenly Father does answer our prayers. Miracles do happen. The scriptures are power-packed with the Spirit. 

Have an awesome week!!! I´m still hoping it´s Brazil and the US in the final haha. Be safe

Love Elder Nissinen 

Monday, June 16, 2014

My new companion has been out 10 months just like me!!!
Hey family!! 

As you´ve all heard and probably watched, Brazil started off the World Cup with a win! Things have never gotten crazier here (good and bad). 

Before I talk more about Thursday, I better talk about where I´m at right now. I'm in the same stake as before (Campo Limpo), but I switched wards and zones. I'm now serving in the Macedônia ward with my new companion Elder C. . He´s been out exactly as long as I have (10 months as of last Saturday), and he´s a blast!! He´s from Colombia, speaking Spanish, but he´s forgot a lot of it thanks to Portuguese. He´s helped me out a ton with the language, and I can tell I´ve already improved a lot in just this one week. 

They use real paint on the curbs of the streets!!!
GOOOOOOOOOAL!!!!!!! Score Brazil!!!
We live in a house that some members let the missionaries stay in. It´s not like the Yen House back in Mojave River (with the Jacuzzi and pool table), but at least we have a working stove in this house! Remember when Uncle Matt talked about those electric shower heads that heat up the water? Yup we´ve got one, but I haven´t gotten shocked yet (don´t jynx it). It´s only us two that live in it, but it´s a lot bigger than the last apartment. 

I still don´t know why the Emergency Transfer happened. Nobody went home, and there were at least 6 elders that got swapped around. President just told me it had something to do with helping out some newer missionaries. But it doesn´t matter, because Macedônia with Elder C.

 is a lot of fun. It´s still in the favelas, but it´s also on the wilder side of town. Saturday and Sunday nights get pretty crazy with all the Funk parties. Saturday night our lesson took a lot longer than we thought, so to avoid all the craziness we took a bus home. It´s ALWAYS an adventure on the buses in the favelas - imagine the Dinosaur jeep ride at Disneyworld, without seatbelts!! I easily got a foot of air off one of the bumps in the road haha.

So President let us watch the first game Thursday, but the whole day was just horrible for proselyting. If somebody wasn´t drunk and partying, they were painting and decorating the streets even more. Even the members were fixed on the opening ceremonies and everything. And President told us to get to our houses asap after the game, and now I know why. Luckily the member we watched the game with gave us a ride. Traffic in Brazil is bad already, but what a crazy ride it was dodging parties and barbeques. But no worries, the Lord always keeps His missionaries safe.

The ward is pretty cool. It´s a little bit smaller, but there´s quite a bit of members who want to help us out. There´s a recent-convert family that´s going to the Temple to be sealed this month, and they invited a neighbor to come to Church and hear the lessons. And he came!! We´re gonna start teaching his girlfriend (soon to be wife) this week too. The only problem is the marriage issue. It´s a big problem here, especially if they´re married to someone else but can´t get a divorce, and they´re living with someone else - headache. The members are still surprised I´ve only been here a month now by how I´m speaking, but I still have a long way to go. 

Father´s Day doesn´t exist here in Brazil, but I was still thinking of you Dad yesterday. Thanks for being a great father in my life and helping me be where I´m at now in my life. Packages are hard and pretty expensive to send from here, but I´ve got a letter I´ll send tomorrow after District Meeting. Hopefully it gets there at least before the 4th of July. I love you a lot Dad!

Love you all and hope you have a great first full week of no school!! Glad to hear the Dance Festival went well and it was a lot of fun! Keep your fingers crossed for Brazil and the US, but for my sake I hope Brazil wins in the end. People here already love Americans, but I bet that´d change if the US won haha

Love you all,

Getting my hair washed....you know what she did? She came, and washed my hair. Barney Fife with Mrs. MendleBright
Habibs (it´s like the Arabian Little Ceasers haha) The cost 25 american cents
Elder Nissinen

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hey everyone!! 

I´m just as surprised as everyone else about this emergency transfer thing. And just when I get used to Jardim Ipê too! I´ve never seen it happen before, so who knows what´s happened with the other elders. I have no idea who´s my new companion, or my new area. But I do know that I´ll be going over to the next zone, which is actually in the same stake. So I´ll still be able to see the members at Stake activities and stuff. 

And so yesterday with the phone call from the Assistants totally threw me, Elder B. , and the rest of the ward off. I thought for sure that at the end of this transfer, at least I wouldn´t be the one going. But the Lord has a purpose in everything. We got the phone call right in the middle of a first lesson with an investigator family - bad timing Assistants!! Let me back up a little:

A week or two ago, Elder B.  and I went over to this one member´s house to introduce ourselves and talk about how we can help them do missionary work. We got talking, and after a while, they told us they have a family that lives in the same complex that would be super interested in the gospel. So they invited them over for lunch yesterday, and marked us on the lunch calendar for the same day. That family was super prepared!!! Anyways, right when we started sharing the Book of Mormon with them, we get the phone call. Elder B.  ignored it, but they called again. At that point we didn´t even care what anyone was calling about because we were just completely focused on this family. Elder B.  even took the battery out of the phone haha! But when the Assistants told me the news, I´ll be honest I was kinda mad. We´ve been having so much more success over the last couple weeks, and it´s gotten better and better!! A lot of the people we were teaching were solid, coming to church, had baptismal dates. AND we were gonna watch the first World Cup game with a member who has a 3D TV!!!! But I´m sure the Lord´s got a plan for what´s ahead. And I hope I get a Brazilian companion too so I can pick up the language a lot quicker. 

So about the World Cup, things are going CRAZY here!!! So crazy, that President del Guerso told us that we can watch all the games with Brazil playing. The only thing we have to do is that we have to watch the games in really active members´ homes, and we can´t go all crazy with face paint and stuff. BUT, when Brazil scores, we´re allowed to yell and celebrate haha. Everyone´s getting pumped for Thursday. And the people here are transforming the Favellas into a living Brazilian flag!! They paint the sidewalks, curbs, and even the trees in Green and Yellow. They hang streamers above across the streets. You see flags everywhere. It´s ridiculously awesome. I would take pictures, but there´s always people painting, hanging more stuff up, etc. This whole country´s gonna shut down on Thursday!! 

We had Stake Conference too yesterday, and we got to have it broadcasted from Salt Lake. All of it was in Portuguese. The 1st counselor in the Relief Society, Elder Ballard, and Elder Scott spoke to us. They had voiceovers for the first two speakers, but when Elder Scott came up, the words he was saying were the same coming from his mouth! The dots connected: he speaks Portuguese!!! Turns out he was in the Area Presidency of South America at one point, so he already knew a bit of Spanish and Portuguese. It was pretty cool hearing an Apostle speak another language! 

Well, who knows what´s ahead with these changes, but I´ll definitely miss everything that´s happened here. Elder B´s been a great companion, and we´ve both helped each other out during this last month. The members are amazing in every way possible. I´ve seen a ton of miracles here, and we´ve had a blast eating all the pizza with chocolate-stuffed border as we can haha.

Good luck with these last 3,5 days of school and the Dance Festival!! This week´s gonna be a blast! Make it a good one. Love you all a lot!!

Vai Brasil!  

Love Elder Nissinen 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hi Dad this is Jacob. The Assistants called me like 2 hours ago and told me I´m being emergency-transferred to another area. Don´t know why, but it has to do with missionaries in another zone. Anyways, tomorrow afternoon I´ll have to go to the office, which means to do email I´ll have to do it earlier in the morning (like 9:30 my time). So I just wanted to send this email so you and the rest of the family can send your emails sometime tonight instead of tomorrow morning. I still won´t know what´s gonna happen until tomorrow afternoon.

Love ya Dad,

Elder Nissinen

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hey family!! 

After last week´s little hiccup, Elder B. and I hit the pavement hard this week. And we were so blessed!!! Let me tell you all about the many miracles we saw:

Starting off right after I emailed you all, that very night each of the investigators we saw opened up to us so much! We´re teaching Junior, a 10 year old who loves and plays violent videogames all day. And it´s been hard to get his attention focused on really anything, and he´s also pretty shy. But for some reason I shoved my Rubix Cube in my bag after dropping off our groceries, and Junior noticed it when we starting sharing a message. We decided to talk about baptism and goals. I let him mix it up as best he could, and then I explained how sometimes when we look at a big decision (like baptism), it can look pretty intimidating or even impossible. But when you take it step by step, (as I was solving the cube), it doesn´t take long before you´ve completed it. He was HOOKED to that lesson!! We committed him to baptism for the 14th. We just need to come to Church and get better fellowshipped and integrated to the ward. I never thought I´d actually use that cube in someone´s conversion - imagine that!

Another miracle happened on Wednesday. We got 3 referrals from Headquarters for some nonmembers in our area we should see. We clapped outside one of them, right as the husband of the name we got pulled up. We explained why we were there, who we are, and what we do. We thought for sure he would think we were creeping on his house. But he smiled and invited us in for lunch - a perfect stranger!!! He and his family were very nice and friendly to us, and treated us like guests. We spent some time getting to know them, and before we could tell, we spent two hours there!! But they were very open to letting us come back and share a message with them - keep your fingers crossed!!

Our members have also been some of the greatest sources of our miracles this week. We´ve been struggling to help out a recent-convert young man who went back to his Word of Wisdom addiction after his baptism two months ago. Last week we shared a message about the Priesthood, and about how it´s an opportunity to serve our fellowman and God. He doesn´t have the priesthood yet, but when we came back this week he was very interested in being worthy to have the priesthood. He comes to church almost every week (he walks with us), but all he has are jeans, shirts, and flip-flops, so that´s what he´s been wearing to Church. But Saturday a member called us and asked us what his clothing sizes were. When we showed up Sunday morning to pick him up, holding a bag with slacks, a pressed white shirt, socks, and a tie, he beamed!!! He looked good too!! I got Elder B. to send a picture of him. That same night the same members invited him over to dinner to eat with him. The members never cease to amaze me, and this young man will be ready for the Aaronic Priesthood in a month! He looked so happy at Church too. I don´t think he´ll ever take those clothes off either haha.

Elder B.  is great in writing in his journal, which has motivated me to be better with mine. I don´t have enough time to type all the great things that happened this week, but things are definitely picking up, and I think we´ll be baptizing many very soon. This work is great!!! It ALWAYS is, in times of success and discouragement.

I love you all. Congratulations B on the new car. Maybe you and Papa will have to reteach me how to drive a manual again haha. Enjoy these last few days of school too. Hope you got my letter. If not it should definitely come this week. Elder F.  still hasn´t sent off my package yet, but he´s getting on it this week. 

Love you!

Brazils off brand frosted flakes
Elder Nissinen