Hello everyone! So great to hear from you all, it's always a wonderful refresher to write home and hear what everyone is up to.
First off, I'm SO jealous of the new Chevy! Man I would kill to ride in that right now. Sort of breaks my heart a little bit. Wax it for me?
Things are going pretty great here right now. I am getting more and more "Africanized" as we say it here each day. It's always going to be hot and I'm always going to be sunburnt, but I'm working on techniques.
Dad and Joe, don't look! First time eating Fufu basically. I struggle! It comes with time though.
Today, as the title of the letter states, marks the beginning of "Affliction Week". Affliction week is the last week before your subsistance money we get each month, and because we're Elders and 18/19 years old, we can't budget very well. I totally blew all my money the first 2 weeks, so I'm on a budget myself. I went several days on 8 or 9 cedis a day, or like 2 bucks in american money. I exchanged some of my american dollars, so I'm all good now. We get 360 cedis per 4 weeks.
One night while walking back to the church building with some cool recent convert kids - we found a house that had exploded that morning, so it was really smoky! We thought it would be a great photo op. (and it was). But a man came out and chewed out the recent converts in the native language, and so we left. Apparently
it was his house he was building, and he thought we were making fun of the situation. We didn't know, otherwise we wouldn't had done it. But we still got great pictures.
So last week went well. We had a big multi-zone conference near the MTC, and Pres. and Sister Heid delivered some great stuff to us, a lot of it I needed to hear. I'm learning to become more patient. As a Greenie, it's important for me to just take everything in and not get frustrated. The food, the weather, Ghana itself - will all come with patience.
This is my shirt after the big rain.
Lights off has been pretty sporadic though. It was 24 hours off, 12 hours on for a few days, but now it's kind of whatever the power people want to do... As long as my fan works, I don't care!!
Our area btw is really close to the ocean! We decided to go near it and look at all the trash. Very sad sight really. I need to get my pants tapered some. I look like I'm wearing my dad's church clothes when he was on a mission in the 90's.
Me and Elder Liongitau are working hard though. Last week I committed 4 people to baptism, 3 of which were in the same day! Our branch struggles a lot with people coming to church, so we are targeting Less Actives and Recent Converts to come, as well as our investigators of course. I feel like the people are receiving me and trusting me more, and will continue to.
There is one small problem with being a white guy out here - girls. All of them in our branch like me, and a nutcase 24 year old too. I get teased about it a lot from the elders. It's just distracting because they'll try and hold my hand, throw their arm around me, and for some reason they love carrying my side bag. It's rather annoying to be honest, cause I can't be rude to people, but I can't let them escort me everywhere either.
There is an awesome place called Moon Light we love going to. It's just fried rice and a chicken leg! No pepe or spicy stuff or nothing! Genius Ghanaian whoever came up with that idea. We go there nearly every night and get a cold Coke.
This is Moon Light. We get a picture every time we go.
The second is when it rained for my first time here! And man was it nuts! All of the sudden, out of nowhere, BOOM! rain comes slamming down. It was lights out already, so it was dark, nighttime, and really rainy! We were waiting for Moon light to open, so we helped move the big undercover tent thing over the restaurant, but because the top was so dirty and dusty, we got covered in dirt and mud. I was laughing the entire time! Completely soaked but it was so fun.
That's about all I can think of. My companion says I am working hard, and I think our numbers show for it, but I can't really compare to anything yet of course.
There was a sponsorship event in the streets the other day. It was a big dance competition, and kids would dance battle each other for some prize. Absolutely hysterical how people dance here. It's so cool because every kid here can dance. Like at home, it means something if you can dance. But here everyone dances! I love watching them dance because it looks like a cross between someone who is having an epileptic seizure while getting tased. So funny!
Kids will hold your hand walking down the street and won't let you go. They like sitting on our laps too. Sometimes it is a distraction teaching an investigator because kids will come up and crowd around, making noise. I love the kids. They've made me cry 2 times this week.
They'll kill each other ( no joke) to get in a picture. It's a problem because they'll punch and kick just to get in it. Very funny!
The area isn't hard! It's just a matter of adjustment. I don't have runny tummy anymore, so that is a blessing in itself. Yes, the people are very humble, but they're a higher quality of a people too. Smart, quick, strong, resourceful.
Quick story for you kids at home that i just thought of:
Ghanaian kids have no toys, so they make their own fun. They play games where you clap and stomp. They use flat soccer balls. They collect glass bottle caps and use them to play a game like marbles and another game where you stack a few caps up and stand a ways away and throw your sandal and try and hit it. That is their entertainment. Kids will run around with tires a lot too. So kids at home, next time you get tired of your video games or feel like you have "nothing fun at our house to do", just remember they have bottle caps and sandals and dirt for fun. And they're HAPPY. Just a thought!
Joe there are lots of 15 year old girls here!!! I told some yesterday that i have a 15 year old brother. I showed them a picture on my camera of you, and they love you! they want me to blow up a picture of you for them. Girls love white men, especially if they are good soccer players. ooo la laaa Joe!
I am focusing on finding service opportunities. I give a bit of money away in candy to children frequently. That makes me happy haha.
I'm so happy the family is getting closer and closer. I think it's a great blessing we've been given. Sorry about the Captain Crimson and the Ducks. Us American elders all know about BYU's hot streak. Keep it alive! Tell everyone Joe is going to be the best Captain Crimson yet, they just gotta wait a few years!
Count your blessings, remember who you are, and reach a hand out to those who need help. Never forget that it doesn't cost one penny to be kind. Not one!
Hope you all have a sweet week.
Love Elder Nissinen
This is Elder Helm, one of my good buddies from the MTC. He's out in the bush a bit.