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