Elder Nissinen

Elder Nissinen

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Great news!!!

So there´s a perk to being in the Office around Transfer-time: you´re the first one to know what´s gonna happen. The Executive Secretary is the one who takes a look at the Transfer Board, checks up with President if there´s any hiccups, and makes the phonecalls Sunday night to each companionship that had a change. President called me just before lunch telling me that he was ready for me to look at it. To be honest, I was nervous as heck about where´d I would go. All this week President was passing by the office for meetings and stuff, with a question every now-and-then about possible leaders and companionships. Well I just got back from lunch, took a look at the board, and the verdict is....

I`M STAYING!!!! I didn´t say anything to President about what I would prefer, but I´m super happy that I´ll be ending my mission in the São Paulo 5th ward. I don´t know what secretary I´ll be (except Executive), but President will let me know later. The ward has been booming, we´ve been getting along great between us five secretaries, and between the office work and the field, it´s been a lot of fun. I´m really glad things won´t change a whole lot.

Here´s a good way to start off a letter: Last week I spent three days in the hospital. It started Sunday during Elders Quorum. Remember that Elder who had facial paralysis, and Carlo the neurosurgeon? They met up and got to talking about Elder C´s condition, and how Carlo wasn´t sure if he had something called Bell´s palsy (facial paralysis). One thing lead to another, and I ended up going with them both to one of the best hospitals in Brazil. Over the next couple days, they had Elder Corrêa go through some blood exans, CAT scans, shock exams, spine fluid extracts, and everything else to find out what was causing the unknown pain that he shouldn´t have had. We had swaps with the other elders at night to make sure the Elder staying with Elder C didn´t get stir-crazy being in a hospital with nothing to do. After all that, they found out that he has something called Ramsay Hunt syndrome of the 7th and 8th nerve. (fyi I had no idea what they were saying, so I had to look up all those words up in the dictionary. You know it´s not the kind of vocab you find in Preach My Gospel). In the end, Tuesday night we were liberated from the hospital just in time for my English class.

And it´s growing!! This last Tuesday was our first time with the two separate classes - and I think in total we had close to 30 in attendance - WOW! Because of the hospital, I didn´t have time to drop another cookie-bomb on the ward, but they´re all committed to bring more friends. I taught the basics class about how to introduce themselves. Remember the movie "Here Comes the Boom" when he´s teaching that citizenship class? Haha We had a ton of fun with it all.

Wednesday we had our Greenie Training Meeting where we got all the new missionaries to see how their training is going and if they´re all good to "leave their trainer´s nest " Elder L and I decided to do our part a little different than the normal training. We played Jeopardy! They don´t have it in Brazil, but we took the idea and did role-plays, scripture chases, a lot like Brother Maurer in Seminary. This group was super-competitive but no blood was shed and they learned a lot. 

Today we have a BAPTISM!!! Almir is a 28 year old young man who we´ve been teaching for about a month now, found through contacting him while in the elevador. We thought that after a while we were gonna have to drop him because he hadn´t gone to church, but it was Mother´s Day when we saw him in the back row in a suit and tie. And once he started reading the Book of Mormon, já era. We gotta start filling the font in a little bit. Man it doesn´t get better having a pday and a baptism on the same day. 

Love you all! Have a great week!!

Love Elder Nissinen

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Hey guys! 

Another blessed week in the 5th ward. President threw us a curveball when he called Wednesday night about an emergency transfer. There was an Elder in the area nextdoor to ours who caught the craziest virus I´ve ever seen. Half of his face got paralyzed! So President moved some missionaries around and now Elder C.  has joined forces with the 5th. Since he´s come we´ve been getting one member to go on splits with us, so it´s like having 3 companionships in the area. We´re bombing our area!!! This weekend has the potential to have at least 2 baptisms with the people we´re teaching. 

I learned that the secret in Brazil to get some event going is COOKIES. Tuesday was the first time in my life that I formally taught English to a group of people. I didn´t believe it when once the class got going we had at least 15 people in the classroom. And everyone liked it!! Tuesday was the "Introduction to the Crash Course," where it´s gonna be a 5 week deal, and we´ll have the Basics class and the Conversation class. Tuesday it was just me teaching, so we had everyone together to get everyone pumped. We showed some motivational video in English, and then some role-plays about how to introduce yourself. At the end of it all, the people went nuts for the cookies we made. Mom, your cookie recipe was a hit! And throughout the week, we got a lot of people interested and commited to come to the class this Tuesday. We´re hoping close to 40 people between the two classes. The Bishop was stoked after the turnout of this last week.

Have you ever seen someone getting wheelchaired out of the Temple? Wednesday President took Elder L.  and I to the Temple because we weren´t able to go with our zone the week before. After the session a temple worker came up and asked me if I could keep on eye on an older guy while he went to go grab a wheelchair. He told me that the guy´s blood pressure went down a lot, and asked me to make sure he wouldn´t faint or nothing. The older man was sitting on a little bench with his back turned to me, so I just waited for a minute for the wheelchair. While the temple worker helped the older man into the chair, he turned so I could see his face - it was President Del Guerso!! They quickly rolled him out of the Temple to his car back home for him to take some medicine. An hour later he was back at the Mission Office laughing and messing around with us. Crazy right?

Buckle up for the last week of the transfer - it´s usually one of the craziest.

Sorry we didn´t take any pics of the 5 of us/  We´ll have some new ones this week.  Love you all!! Have a great week.

Elder Nissinen

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hey guys!!

Thursday morning as we were doing our exercises, Elder C. (one of the APs) comes up to me and asks, "Why didn´t you tell me where your brother´s going on his mission?" WHAT?!? Turns out the day before, Yule (from Macedonia) saw the news on Facebook and told the other Elders where B´s going. President gave me permission to look at the video Dad sent. GHANA!!!!! I´ll admit I did a quick search on LDS.org about the MTC, Temple, and mission info. It looks awesome!! There´s a bit of pride you get when you tell people your brother´s going to Africa. Load up on all the Lucky Charms and 2% milk you can. Proud of ya bro.

Carlo´s baptism last Saturday was great. His father-in-law baptized and confirmed him, and all us Elders got up to sing a musical number. The members have been noticing our hard work and just this last week we´ve been seeing them trusting us a lot more. 

For example, last night we had Family Home Evening with Flanizia and Mauricio (some solid investigators), and the Primary and Elder´s Quorum presidents´ family. Their 5 year old son got up and did the lesson on the First Vision - by himself!!! Recited James 1:5 and a good part of Joseph Smith´s words, and he said that´s his favorite story. The kid´s only 5! Just for kicks, Mauricio opened up to us a ton after discovering that Mormons can drink Coke. :] They´re a super solid family, the only problem is that they´re going to Disneyland and spend a month traveling the States. Dang it! But President is letting us use Skype to keep following-up with them while they´re traveling. 

The pizza sign... It means "Feel the power." It´s an inside joke between us because of the churches they have here. They try to show their "power" by curing, preaching, yelling, etc. hahaha 
Wednesday night I had one of those "What just happened?" epxeriences. I was on splits with a member, and we visited a referral from that English school I taught at a couple weeks ago. I called the night before to mark a quick visit, since they said they would only have 15-20 minutes to talk. So we got in the house, explained about ourselves, the Church, missionary work, and answered some questions. Afterwards the couple said, "Well we don´t know how much time you have, but we made this dinner for you guys." WHAT? We were both caught off by surprise, and we set up for tonight to go back and start teaching. Super nice family.
These are the paper roses we made for the Mothers in our ward.

Thank you for your emails and pictures. It was great seeing you all again on Mother´s Day. Congratulations again on the mission call.

Love Elder Nissinen

Friday, May 15, 2015

Hey guys! 

This week was pretty calm and has gone by really fast. Elder L. and I have been mixing up the days; we both woke up thinking today was Monday. But only in the Office can you have a pday and a.....

BAPTISM at the same time!!! Carlo is gonna be baptized tonight. He´s got a great story. For about 15 years he´s known the Church, and his wife is already a member. After a while she went less-active, and overtime, their marriage was struggling. This last October they about ready to call it quits, when Carlo realized that they were missing something in their relationship. That´s when he (the non-member) brought his wife (the less-active member) back to the Church. He works between several children´s hospitals, and even sacrifices sleep so he can go to Church Sunday morning. He´s already read the Book of Mormon (twice!) and pays his tithing. I could´ve sworn he was already a member when I came into the ward. In fact, we only taught him twice before he was interviewed by our District Leader - he´s so ready! And it was all member-missionary work. It was our Bishop who pulled him aside and challenged him to be baptized. God has been blessing our area so much!

So our mission has a lot of new leaders that have been assigned just over the last couple transfers, specifically new zone leaders. Tuesday we had a Mission Leadership Council, and President had a few things that he wanted to be certain that they were passed to the rest of the mission, so one of the AP´s and I decided to go on a "Surprise Exchange" the day after. Boy were the ZL´s shocked when we showed up out of nothing to their District Meeting - HA! The two Zone Leaders that I went with were both newly-assigned leaders and both Americans with language difficulties. But it went good and we were able to help get some investigators progessing in their area. 

I love this work. I know that God´s hand is in it and that He knows and hears all of His children. Serving a mission is the hands-down the best thing I´ve done. I love it and so grateful for it. 

I´m excited to talk with you guys tomorrow! Can´t believe it´s already here. 

Love Elder Nissinen

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Hey guys!

More Pizza!!!!

Sorry for the last-minute notice on the switch. On Monday we had 14 missionaries leaving and all hanging out in the office, and everything was just crazy. I had interviews with President Del Guerso this week too, and we talked about the work in the office. About 6 months ago, pday for all the secretaries was Saturday, because a lot of the work we do in the office involves Church Headquarters, Real Estate places, and the Government - who all close on Saturdays. So President switched it all to Saturday! I´m actually pretty happy now because I´ll have a true Pday without having half the mission calling on Monday, my new workday. 

We had a GREAT week!!! I got two experiences this week that I want to share

On Tuesday we had half of the group going home in the evening, and throughout the afternoon they were making sure all their luggage was under the weight limits. One Elder was going home by Azul, an airline owned by a member of the Church, and who also has a new contract with the Church to give more weight to missionaries going home. So I told the Elder to make sure everything was under 63kg (138lbs), and he packed his bags and went off to the airport. That night I get a phone call from the airport payphone from this Elder, nervous as heck because the airline lady wasn´t letting him take home anymore weight than any average flyer. He was super panicky, which made me panicked. The Elder´s minutes ran out at the payphone, so there was no way to call him back. And I had no idea what to do. So I went back to our room, knelt down and said a prayer, asking Heavenly Father to soften someone´s heart to let this Elder get home with his luggage. I went back to my computer desk, and less than a minute later the Elder calls back, still frantic, but gave me the number of someone I could talk to. I called the number, and it was a guy named Claudio, who works for Azul at the airport. I explained that we were from the Church and the situation, and Claudio accepted it and let the Elder pass with his luggage. And then Claudio asked me, "You know, I´ve always wanted to get to know your church better. Is there a chapel of yours close to where I live?" Claudio gave us his address, and we passed it to the missionaries of his area. The guy was super nice. And I know that that was an answer to my prayer. I KNOW God hears and answers the prayers of His children.  

From the left: Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), Rondônia (also Brazil), and Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), and then me haha. That´s the office staff! 
And yesterday, man, it was so good to have a devotional with Elder Christofferson. You know you can actually FEEL it when an Apostle enters in a room? For many Brazilians in the chapel, it was the first time they had seen an Apostle up-close. One thing he said that stuck out was "You can learn a lot from people who´ve had to rely soley on faith in Jesus Christ." He´s super humble, and they way he talked you could tell every word was treated like coming from the Lord himself. It was great for the whole mission.

We had an English school contact me and the American AP here and invite us to go and do open up a panel for questions about the United States and our religion - all in English. It was something to help the Brazilians open up and to use their language skills they´ve been practicing. So we had to speak for two hours in just English! And afterwards, I was with a headache for the rest of the day, I swear! But we found some great people we´re gonna start working with next week once they get back out of town. English is hard

Hope you all have a great week!! This Church is TRUE!

Love Elder Nissinen