Monday, September 21, 2015

Cute girl picture for the week. This is how all women carry their babies - with some cloth and the baby on their back. Looks uncomfortable to me, but babies sleep all time, so I guess it works.

Dear Family and Friends.
Hey!! Great to hear from everyone again. Hope school is going well and everyone is having fun. Joe keep kicking butt! Rosie keep being a good friend, service opportunities are everywhere, you just need the "service goggles" as I say first. Jacob, BYU sounds sooo fun! Keep being a hungry hound dog. 

First of all...... it's my one month mark! Crazy how fast time goes by when you are a full-time servant busy doing work all day long. Weeks fly by. This week was a week of milestones for me personally. In short, I am becoming more and more "Africanized" as Pres. Heid calls it. I'm getting into the norm of missionary life in Ghana. 

Yes, I got my haircut! 19 year old kid cut it. Did a phenomenal job on it really, considering it was his first time cutting a white mans hair. he spent probably 30-40 minutes on it.

 My first milestone happened on Tuesday, but the story begins Monday. Bear with me on the length of the story: 

There is a chop-bar that some member lady owns or something, so she gives missionaries free meals. Well that's awesome, except it is only fufu and banku. My companion and the other elders in the apartment like it a lot, so I'm always reluctant on going, because if you don't eat everything, they will be very upset, and so you have to give it to the other elders to help you out. Well Monday night they were tired of helping me out because I can hardly eat any fufu, and so my only resort was to ask for a plastic bag to "take it home and eat it later". I stuffed it in the bag and threw it on the side of the road while we were going home. Frustrated at the world basically, impatient at myself, and a bit hungry, I prayed and asked for some help. So Tuesday the Zone Leaders went out with us for the day. Of course, for breakfast, they wanted to go to the chop bar. Again reluctant, I joined with no choice. We started eating, and before I knew it, I ate all the fufu!!!! First time!!! Just twelve hours ago I couldn't eat jack-squat, and now I downed the whole thing!  I was so happy at my achievement, I nearly cried. It was monumental for me, though it sounds silly. Since then, fufu is fine. Banku has a sour flavor, so it's not as easy, and you have to swallow a bit quicker than you can with fufu, but I'm getting much better. Prayers are answered! Foods that were gross in the MTC taste good now. Foods that weren't sweet enough are sweet now. Thought those of you at home would enjoy a story about the food, since you're all curious about that. 
Monumental first ball of fufu! Fufu is gooooood! Now I'm working on finishing the soup and chicken too. I just get too full honestly. I can't eat as much as before. 

Banku at the apartment for breakfast. They don't have fufu for breakfast where we are at. Banku helps you swallow better. Fufu you can savor... not banku! 

Second milestone: 

I got my first baptism Saturday! His name is Clifford, middle-aged man. I never knew him really. See he was suppose to be baptized before I came, but they postponed it. My companion told me I was going to baptize him, so I did. It was a bit strange baptizing basically a stranger, but it was a significant event on his part. He's a really serious guy though... I'm really excited when I have baptisms of my own next month with people I taught and found. It'll be really significant then. Next month we are planning on at least 3 baptisms... possibly 4 or 5. 

Clifford, the very serious man I baptized. We nailed it first time! Didn't mess up on the name or anything! 
Me and Elder Liongitau are working hard in resolving our differences. I'm working on humbling myself in all situations and looking inward to better our companionship. I don't always need to be right or know what is going on. Many great attributes I'm trying to attain out here.... 

The work is also going sweet. Members are becoming friends, and church attendance is slowly on the rise. 

To answer a few questions about technology here: 
No iPads to missionaries. I gave mine to President when I arrived here, and will get it back in two years... Most people have phones, but they are basic nokia things like what we have. Sometimes a smartphone. When it's lights out, it's generators out too, so generators are all over the place. I mean, you have to still blast the music even though it's lights out, duh! 

I'm cooking on my own more. If you want something to eat, you pretty much have to cook it! Eggs, fruit, bread, and Indomie. Indomie is the same as Top Raman, so I bought a fat pack of 40 of them the other day. Such a good investment. 
Just because it's lights out, doesn't stop the people from doing the things they need to do. This iron works off of coals. I was amazed. Looked at it, studied it, played with it for a good 5 minutes. They are so resourceful!

There is a nice lady named Theodora who "altered my trousers" aka hemmed my pants for free! Five pair! 
They use handcrank sewing machines here. I've only seen just a few electronic ones. 

Fun thought for you all. I get asked the funniest questions sometimes. Here are some good ones: 

Do you have oranges in America?
Is America cold? 
I have a friend named so-and-so in America. Do you know him?

                  Speaking of that question, there is a funny story about a recent convert we go and visit that I think you would like. He is an old man named John Smith. He LOVES that he has a white last name. He tells the story all the time. Supposedly his great-great-great-great grandfather was white, so that's why his last name is Smith. Well the other day he asked me if I could take him home to the U.S. and help find his relatives, or that he wants to go to the U.S. and look himself and find his ancestry. SO FUNNY! He has no idea that there are like 10.2 million Smiths out there. I told him about, but i don't even think that will help him in his case. 
Like I said, we are near the ocean. So we went down to see for ourselves: Absolutely amazing scene! The ocean is right along a huge cliff, where everyone lives. It was so cool to see. 

I just love the people here. The people love life. I say it in my head nearly everyday. They just have a love of life, regardless of the things they lack. Low quality living, high quality people.

Keep being rockstars and choosing the right. Remember that people are watching you no matter what. Don't forget to reach out to those in need. Like the scriptures say, as I am losing myself in the service of the Lord, I am finding myself just as equally. 

Have a wonderful week! Thanks for the letters, stories, pictures, and support. Love and miss you all, 

Elder Nissinen

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