Elder Nissinen

Elder Nissinen

Monday, September 29, 2014

A good captain always goes down with his ship,

So so so many things happened this week. Not gonna lie, some things were stressin both Elder B and I with a bunch of appointments and baptisms lined up. But Heavenly Father´s hand was in everything that happened this week.

At the beginning of last week we were planning on having 6 people baptized this Saturday. Throughout the week, people started talking about not being prepared enough, or they hadn´t kicked their Word of Wisdom addictions yet, but we both prayed a ton this week that before the transfer was over, that we could have at least one person baptized, but if it´s the Lord´s will, we´d wait. We both felt that we´d focus more on the people who had the most likely-est chance of baptism. 

Out of all that, Jessica came out of the crowd of investigators. She was found through the Bishop´s 2nd counselor, Gilberto. She had some doubts in the beginning, but after going to Church the first time, the Spirit did the rest. She´s not married but has two younger girls. We got pretty freaked out when the girls were fighting chicken pox all this last week, but come a couple days before Saturday, they were perfect! It was great seeing the ward support her. She said that a huge weight was taken off her shoulders, she felt so great. Gilberto baptized her, and the day after I did the confirmation. 

Sunday night was a roller coaster too. We had the ward activity, the CTM&M (Member-Missionary Training Center), and it hit off so well. All the returned missionaries dressed up in their original tags, while the rest of the ward wore little FUTURE MISSIONARY tags. There were about 10 RM´s who had returned recently, so they each split off into `companionships` and we did a rotation between the ward. And then, to top it all off, (Mom, you´d be proud) I baked cookies for the whole ward! Took some creativity and bought all the stuff the day before and put M&M´s. The ward LOVED them!! All of the sisters had me translate the recipe. Your cookies are going global Mom! We had so many people there wanting to help out with the activity, and the work´s really gonna acelerate here!

The only thing.....President called me right before the activity. Looks like I´m followin the same path that I did in California - I´m going ZONE LEADER!!!! Which means, I´m being transferred. Tomorrow´s the swaps. All I know is that I´m going to Perdizes (the other side of the mission, and it´s a lot richer area too), my companion is gonna be Elder O  (a Brazilian!!). I´m pretty stoked but sad at the same time. I told the ward after the activity, and man was it hard to say goodbye. I´ve spent the most time in Macedonia than all the other areas on my whole mission. Elder B is a little afraid, having only 3 weeks in the area, and now with a Brazilian companion that he´s getting. But it´ll be good for him too. Tonight after packing I´m gonna go visit some other members to say goodbye (and to give them the cookie recipe). I think the hardest thing about a mission is saying goodbye. But it´ll be a great experience in this new area, new companions, new everything. I´m excited to see what the Lord has in store for me to learn with all this. 

A mission´s amazing. I´ve learned so much already, and I´ve changed so much too. A mission wants you to be a better person, and it makes you that. 

Loev you all a ton. Got some good pics comin today. The LAN house is going on a lunch break in about 15 minutes, but I´ll be back if you want to chat. Take some good notes of General Conference. It´s gonna be awesome!

Love Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What a week. Another one of those rollercoaster weeks with some really cool miracles and some crashes and burns.

But first off, remember that multi-zone activity where our zone won, and President promised us breakfast? We had that today. Man, President lives in a really nice place, on the richer side of town. The better-off people live in penthouses in complexes, and President fed both zones with an awesome breakfast. We also chilled for a few hours playing basketball in the complex´s sport court. Everyone took pictures, and President will be putting them up soon. I´ve got a few to send of it all too today.

Elder B.  and I are doing really well. This is the last week of the transfer, and chances are I´ll be heading out. Out of us four I´m the one with the most time in the area, so this week Elder B is gonna be acting as senior companion to help him get to know the area and investigators better. It´ll also help him with his shyness and Portuguese too. But, if the Lord does want me to stay for one more transfer, I´m not complaining haha. It´s definitely one of my favorite areas. 

After emailing last Monday, Yule and us 4 went and did the Ice Bucket Challenge. Yule´s got the video, and he said he should have it on today. If he doesn´t, Rosie can give him a hard time haha. 

I don't know why I wore jeans knowing I'm going to get wet!
We have a bunch of great investigators, and those who´ve already been to Church love it. We have a few lined up for baptism this weekend, but some have been on-and-off with commitments, and others have told us they don´t feel quite ready yet.

The zone!!!
Elder B and I are gonna keep praying and working hard so these people can make the right choice. The best choices in life are usually some of the hardest. I think that´s why it´s so important that when the Spirit prompts us to do something, we need to act on it and not push it off. Satan these days is increasing in strength. But I´m super super super excited for General Conference in less than two weeks. Our Stake Center´s gonna be in remodeling during the conference, so we may have to go to another stake center if we want to watch the sessions in English (they usually got it hooked up just for the American missionaries). 

The Lord has blessed us with a really cool kid we´re teaching. His name is Nilo. We found him through some member-friends of his that work at the same Pet Shop as he does. Actually the owners of the shop are members too, and they always have a Book of Mormon ready to hand out. The members aren´t apart of our area, but they referred Nilo to us. He´s super smart and diving into the scriptures. In the last couple weeks he´s read all the way past Lehi´s dream, and in that chapter, that´s when Nilo decided he wants to be baptized - Ka POW! And....he came to Church yesterday all by himself!! These investigators are true examples of faith, because they SHOW it. His member friends surprised all of us by taking him to Young Mens and Sunday School, even though they´re not in our ward! 

We got some good things coming. This week´s gonna be packed with appointments and the crazy things that only 4 lost Americans can do in a foreign country haha. But Heavenly Father has blessed us so much - we can´t stop thanking Him, even during the rough days. 

Love you all a ton. Thanks for the emails again. Congratulations on the wins and the great-looking Captain Crimson flag. 

Love Elder Nissinen 

Monday, September 15, 2014

What an awesome week we had! A lot of errands with getting Elder B and Elder W all settled in and zone conference, but Elder B and I hit the pavement hard this week. 

Elder B is a great guy. He´s spent 8 months in the Las Vegas West mission waiting for the visa. He´s 19 from Iowa, close to Des Moines. We´ve gotten along great this week. Portuguese is a little hard for him to understand, and the first week is always the hardest, like mentally draining. He even fell asleep a couple times during lessons! haha The crazy thing is, is that on the first impression people think he´s Brazilian!!! I guess if you´re dark-haired with a tan you can pass off. I have no chance haha. This last week I´ve really noticed how far my Portuguese has gone since 5 months ago. 

Wednesday we had our Multi-Zone Conference with President Del Guerso. It was pretty much an all-day event, and by the time we got home with traffic, it was like 7:30pm. The mission´s getting really pumped up for all the good stuff that´s been happening. In August our mission reached our goal with 104 baptisms - in a month! I remember the most baptisms we had in California was 33 in a month. We also had a little inter-zone competition of basketball shots. The AP´s put a point system depending on where you shot (1 for layup, 3 for free-throw, etc) Each zone chose 3 people to shoot, and whoever had the most points would eat breakfast at President´s house. We were the last group to go, and all the zones didn´t get more than 3. All the zones chose the Americans in their group to shoot (because most Brasilians can´t shoot for squat haha). I was first, went up for a free throw. The shot looked beautiful, and it must´ve bounced around the rim 5 times before bouncing out. Man I was ticked. But Elder B and another Elder goy us with 4.  I think the Mission posted some pictures of it you can check it out.

The rest of the week we´ve been runnning around teaching, teaching, and teaching our awesome investigators. Luis and his family have been doing great with the Word of Wisdom, and they´re progressively decreasing their cigarettes and coffee. The members have been doing great in supporting. We´ve also got a fun activity planned at the end of the month called the CTM&M (Missionary and Member). If it goes well, I´m thinking about trying to do the same thing with all us RM´s when we come home. The ward´s getting pretty pumped with us 4.

Nothin but good things are happening. Thank heavens I haven´t gotten burnt yet, even when I spend the whole day with sunscreen. It´s pretty expensive here, so in the next package if you could put in a bottle or two that´d be great for when summer comes.
Love you all a ton! Thanks for the great emails. Congratulations Captain Crimson and the rest of the family! You´re all super awesome. I´m having a blast and we´re tearin it up here in JMAC. Be prepared next week for some ASL Ice Bucket Challenge pics for our pday activity today with Yule :) 

Have a great week,              Elder Nissinen

The famous chocolate pizza!!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

I snapped a quick one of us in the LAN house

That´s right. As of tomorrow, our area Jardim Macedonia will be taken over by 4 AMERICANS. Which means, they´re splitting our area! President called us Wednesday and told us the news. With the new program for American visa-waiters spending two weeks in the Brazil MTC, President needed somewhere to put some Americans. Our ward is the only ward in the stake without two companionships, so President made it official that we´re going from 2 Americans (which is rare enough) to 4! Elder B. and I are gonna be splitting, me with one and him with the other American. I still get to be District Leader too. They´re both super fresh here. All I know is their names: my companion is Elder B. and Elder B.  is Elder W's. We´ve been laughing to ourselves the last few days thinking about how it´s gonna be with us 4. We already get enough heads turned with just us two. Tomorrow morning we pick them up, eat lunch with the President, and head back to Macedônia. From what I´ve heard, they´ve already been out for about a year. We´re both pretty excited. This area´s been really needing it. Lately we´ve just been booking it to and from appointments across our area. And it´s about a 45 minute walk from one side to the other. The ward is pretty pumped too, but they don´t know that we´re getting two Americans yet haha. 

The only problem we´ve been having with this change is getting everything together and organized in our house so it won´t be too cramped with us 4. It´s great for both of us, but we´ve been arranging and rearranging everything to fit. President ordered two closet dressers and another bunkbed, and they came Friday morning during Weekly Planning. The night before we were planning to spend the whole day putting it all together. Turns out in Brazil it works different: The moving company drops off the boxes, and within 3-5 days a guy from the company comes and puts it all together. We were about to start opening everything when our neighbor member told us - thank heavens! The guy came this morning, powertools and everything to slap it all together. He just finished an hour ago. I´ll send pictures next week of how the house looks after we get done arranging it all. 

But in spite of all the craziness trying to get ready for the newbies tomorrow, we´ve been BUSY like heck. Heavenly Father has blessed us a lot. Here´s the cream of the crop in Macedonia as respects to investigators:

Luis, Adriane, and Eder: Father, mother, and son-in-law. We found them by just doing a street contact in front of their house. They´ve come to church twice already, and yesterday they came on their own!! They love church and the Book of Mormon, and they´ve got a date for the 27th. The whole ward is super pumped for them!

Marcos: Another street contact. Actually we found him while contacting someone we street-contacted a few days before. He´s an older guy and pretty lonely. He´s got some bad knee problems too, and he can only make it to the top of the flight of stairs that lead to the road. He told us he´d be all ready, shaved, and in nice clothes Sunday morning for us to pick him up from the road. When we passed by in a member´s car he beamed! And he looked great!! Loved church too! We´re also helping him kick his coffee and smoking addictions. He´s got a date for the 27th too.

We´re planning on having a giant baptismal service on the 27th, and we´ve got a few more investigators lined up for that date too. A couple members yesterday bore their testimonies on conversion right to the investigators we had at church - it was awesome!! We´ve got a growing force of member-missionaries helping us out, and we´re dividing and conquering to keep up. This work is so awesome. I´ve never been more exhausted, and I love it. 

Honestly it felt pretty weird speaking in English yesterday over the Facebook thing that Yule´s got. He´s a tight guy, and getting prepped to serve his mission soon. He loves to hang out with us taking selfies after sacrament meeting haha.

Sorry for the lack of pictures this week. Not too many Kodak moments, but my mind is already thinking of plenty with the Fantastic 4 Americans.

Love you guys a lot. Glad to hear the first week of school went great. Keep it up! Go Tide!

Love Elder Nissinen

Monday, September 1, 2014

The package came!!!
Hey everyone! 

First thing, I GOT THE PACKAGE!!! Last Pday we went over to the Mission Office to sign some visa stuff, and it was there! It arrived last Saturday, so all in all it takes about a month solid for a package to get here. And apparently the letters take even longer to get to the States. Good thing we got email.

Ward fish
But thank you guys so much for the package! It made my week for sure. Ninnie really knows how to stuff a package: tons of pictures, letters, and candy haha. Tell her thank you thank you thank you from me. I know it wasn´t easy or cheap, but it meant a lot. The whole family is awesome; I´m so grateful for sure an awesome family. I hope you all had a great week.

This week has been one of gratitude, for a lot of things, and Heavenly Father blessed both Elder B. and I a lot. We´ve been teaching a lot of people, and committing them to come to Church for yesterday. We were planning on having at least 6 investigators come. And guess how many? 11! Two families and a lot of members brought their friends. The chapel and classrooms were really full yesterday! And many said they´d be coming back for sure this Sunday. I honestly have no idea how it happened, or what we did to have this kind of success, but in my nightly prayer yesterday I got down on my knees and thanked Heavenly Father so much for His tender mercies. There´s so much to be grateful for.   
                                      Teaching some math skills
And I love working with the members. Allan the 8 year old got interviewed yesterday by the Bishop, and he´s all set to be baptized. We just gotta choose a date! Tonight we´ll be going over, marking a date, teaching the 10 Commandments (WITH hand signals), and giving his mom Luciana the recipe for Mom´s cookies so we can make them next week or sometime really soon. The best thing that happened with that family was when yesterday the less-active mom came to church!! She looked so happy!! She passed us on the way home as we were walking, sitting in the back of a truck with Allan. They waved at us and looked so happy. The Gospel is so awesome.

8 year old Allen and his CTR shield!!!

That reminds me. Remember when I told you about the nonmember who did not drink but did not want to throw out his wine bottles? He´s not the only guy! We met a less-active with the same thing. And, same thing, no pictures of the family. We proposed the idea of switching out the bottles for pictures, and then I threw the icing on the cake: Mom´s homemade cookies. She took the bait, and is totally willing to throw them out. We´ll be following up with some fresh cookies soon haha. Never thought that American cookies would influence someone´s salvation haha.
You´ve all asked about schools here. Since the seasons are switched, kids are in school almost all year long except for a couple months during Christmastime (and the World Cup every 4 years). They have school at 3 different times a day, and the kids choose which one they go to: early morning until noonish, afternoonish, and evening until nighttime. 

Our supermarket!!! 
About the elections. Things are just nuts when it comes to politics. A lot of people don´t trust the system. How it works is this: everyone above 18 is mandated to vote - no choice. If you don´t then your opportunities go down if you want to go to college, leave the country, or work somewhere in the goverment - it´s declined automatically if you don´t. You register by going to a government building, and then on the day you vote (October 5th), you go to the nearest pre-assigned public school to vote. You punch in the number code of the candidate, or you can choose to vote for no one. What I hear that happens is that if you choose to vote for no one, the government puts your vote over to the person that´s in the lead. Kids 16 and 17 can vote if they want, but it´s not mandatory. Oh, and the open TV channels, for one hour a day, they play advertisements of all the candidates (it´s law), so pretty much you just sit and watch political ads if you wanna watch TV. Pretty different than the States huh? haha
So many great things happened this week. I´m really grateful for the many blessings that my loving Heavenly Father has given me. Thank you guys for everything. I love you all so much. Crazy to think you´re all in high school already. Have a great first week of school!! Go Tide!

Love Elder Nissinen