Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hello family and friends! 

I didn't know it was a 10 hour time change from Hawaii and Ghana, so that's sweet! Sounds like everyone is doing well and having a good time enjoying Hawaii. Good to hear you all are feeling some Ghanaian heat! 
Foosball is popular here. You pay like 20 pesawas for 5 foosballs, so we hop in sometimes and play with the boys. They are good! 

My week was pretty great as well. We are baptizing Larbi the 14th of November, and hopefully a lady named Pascalene the 28th. Our investigator pool has decreased since the recent baptisms, so we are finding and reaching out to get that number back up. It was nice to see both ladies come to church this Sunday all on their own. That tells us they're committed and want the Gospel. 

This week, I've reflected a bit on my calling. There are so many times throughout my week that during a lesson, I can't believe my companion and I, who are only 19 and 18 years old, are giving advice to full-grown adult men and women. Sometimes I feel like a father talking to my child...weird right?! Let me share a story about Pascalene, who is only 23 or 24 and has two children. Below is a story she either wrote or her friend wrote and gave it to me on a piece of paper. I will write it exactly the way it is written: 

'My mum died when I was 8 years old. After the funeral I was brought back to Akusombo. I thought I will be schooling over there but they didn't send me to school. Later, I was brought to stay with my grandfather at Sakumono estate. Also there, I thought my grandfather will be sending me to school but he didn't. When I was staying in my grandfather's house, his sister started maltreating me. When I saw that it was getting out of hand, I decided to run away from the house. When I left the house. I didn't know anybody to go and stay with. I went to where they have been dumping waste. That was where I want to stay. If I will eat I have to beg before they will give me something to eat but sometimes they don't give me. They tell me I'm mad and they can't give a mad person food to eat. I stayed there for about 3 years. I prayed to God to find me a helper through this prayer God sent me someone who later told me she will be sending me to abroad. Luckily the woman's husband was there so he asked his wife to bring me there but at the Airport I escaped. I didn't know what happened for me to run away from the Airport. I boarded a lorry from the Airport to Sakumono estate at there my grandfather sent me to stay with my uncle but what my grandfather's sister did was small. My uncle maltreated me so I decided to run away from him. When I escaped from his house a white man named Elsin proposed to me and I did accepted it. Later he slept with me and at that time, I was a virgin. After breaking my virginity I started living a life full of mysterys that is taking in alcoholic beverages and also smoking of cigarettes.'  This is the full letter she gave me. I wish the story would continue. Can you believe a life like that? Absolutely nothing was fair in her life - yet she was responsible for the irresponsibility of her caretakers. She has also never asked us for a single cedi. I already felt bad for her like I do the rest of the people we teach, but after hearing a bit of her past I felt real bad. I told myself, ''how can I reach to her? I cannot relate to her life in the least bit. I then realized it has nothing to do with me relating to her: it's my message. The Gospel is literally the only thing on earth that can unite everyone in every situation. And that's exactly how an 18 year old white kid from the comfortable United States can become friends with any black person in 3rd world Ghana. It's all about the Gospel of Jesus Christ! To finish the story, I went to her the next day after reading and apologized for her suffering. I told her basically what I just said, that us missionaries were sent here to help you specifically, and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bring you a future of joy and happiness for you and your children. She showed up to Church with 2 little children all by herself last Sunday.
We teach some young adult siblings here.

At Pascalene's house - I thought it was cute. 

Right around the corner from our apartment is the lady that sells banku that we eat for lunch most days.

Cool 16 year old kid we are teaching. We see plenty skin out here - I'll just put it that way! 
A few days ago (I think it was Wednesday) we were walking in the normal blistering heat, singing gospel songs and what-not, and I just felt a rush of happiness. I said outloud - ''man I love my mission!''. It's amazing what can happen when you devote yourself to service and feeding His lost sheep. I then thought of the scripture in Matthew: ''For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save find it''. I am so grateful that I can be out here serving. It's the best opportunity I know of to truly find myself as the Saviour taught. 
This is pascalene and her friends. For some reason, just about all our investigators are women.... 

Anyways, that's the spiritual side of things. I learned to catch a chicken yesterday. We stoned a rat to death near the church building. It's so fun living like this! 

I tried taking a few shots of food this week. I forgot to take them most the time, so sorry bout that. This is kelewele (I have no idea how to spell it) but it's fried plantain with spices and pepe in it (really good!)

My tie collection. 

Have a good time on vacation while you can! Joe you're looking pretty tall in those family pictures. Maybe you're as tall as me now....? Jacob, sorry about the breakup. Don't worry though, there's plenty of fish out in that Stormy sea. 😁 Tell Mama and Papa and Grandma hi for me. I LOL'd at the shot of Papa in shorts and Romeos in Hawaii! 

Love Elder Nissinen
Try this Pano shot out.... Love getting near the ocean. 

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