Elder Nissinen

Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas in Tsito....

Dear family and friends, 

Last week was great!

We're teaching several families right now. It seems as though they're all progressing, so we're happy about that. 

Sometimes the best friend to have is somebody that can "chastise" you a little bit when they notice you're doing something wrong. That happened multiple times last week with multiple people. They were able to point out things I hadn't been doing right and ways to improve myself as a missionary. 

One of those things was extending baptismal dates to investigators. Preach My Gospel teaches us to be bold in extending dates, even in just the first lesson. Well, with some help, we realized that that strategy isn't working here. People seem to be taking that the wrong way and get scared at us coming again. So now we're going very slowly, focusing on getting them at sacrament many times. 

We had two investigators at sacrament! Yeah! 

Saturday was a highlight. We had our mission Christmas Conference. It was really great, and we all felt the Spirit of Christmas. Our district sang "Far Far Away" and it sounded really nice. I was holding back tears the entire time. It was a great conference.

Elder Effiom got his package. He hasn't opened it yet, but he's pretty excited! Thank you very much for that. I thought all the packages were for him, so I was kind of down that mine didn't come before Christmas until earlier today when Elder Effiom realized he took mine! So thank you very much for that. 

This week looks exciting! Friday we have our Seminary Christmas Party, and we're all stoked for that. Elder Horne and I are planning on making special homemade brownies for all the youth. I think it'll be a great evening. We also plan this week to make little cards with a scripture verse on it to drop off at investigators, recent converts, less-actives, and members homes as a way to bring in the Spirit of Christ. 

Well I wish all of you a very, merry Christmas! Enjoy yourselves but go do something REALLY nice for somebody this week! Can't wait to talk Sunday!

I love you all very much. 

Love, Elder Nissinen

Saw some cool cow with big horns. 
You're The Best,

Hey guys. I didn't write an email today cause I just talked with you yesterday, but I sent Mom like a boatload of pictures, so hopefully those will tell you about my week. I just wanted to say thanks very much for yesterday. You guys are the best support group, and I really appreciate your love to me out here on my mission. Hope you all enjoyed the rest of your Christmas and this time together as a family. 
Watch the video I sent you...Some guy was handing out little gifts to kids. People were just going nuts trying to get anything from him. It was a moment I don't think I'll ever forget. There's probably millions of other kids out there that don't get a single thing for Christmas that would die just to get their hands on a little toy. 
Love always, 
Elder Nissinen
Christmas eve party!

Two cool kids that came to church and surprised us. They don't speak english but we've been teaching their family the Gospel.
Most of the branch

Monday, December 12, 2016

Election Week

Dear family and friends, 

Snow? Freezing rain? Not burning hot? Wow. Yeah that doesn't exist over here. I'm *slightly* jealous of that!

This week was the week of the Ghana Elections. We received news from the Area Presidency that things might get out of hand, so we were ordered to stay in our apartments all day Thursday. We thought things might get bad in our area, but it wasn't at all. Somehow it was a more peaceful election that the United State's. But because of the election, everyone was busy and didn't have much time for us, so that hurt our proselyting time a bit. Luckily it's all over and everyone has calmed down, so that's good.

The best part of our week was Sunday! We had THREE investigators at sacrament meeting - a record for us. Two of them were a member's own siblings that he brought on his own, and one was a lady we invited. With all the contacting we did last week, we have a very full teaching pool. Elder Horne is super organized with the names and phone numbers, so it makes planning easy. We found several families that are willing to listen to our message. Hopefully something good comes out of that. Teaching families is a lot more special than just teaching an individual. 

We had a few opportunities this week as we were out and about to teach investigators how to pray. Most people here know how to pray (and very well), but every now and then we run into some who tell us they cannot. It's pretty cool teaching people how to pray in a vocabulary meant for Primary children. 

Some days ago, I was watching the Church's movie called "Our Heavenly Father's Plan". It inspired me to re-think the way I had always been teaching the Plan of Salvation, as well as all the other lessons. I guess I had been going too deep in doctrine, and it was making the lesson longer than it needed to be and more complicated. Elder Horne and I have changed the way we teach, and it's working really well. We're starting to teach more in-line with the Preach My Gospel discussions. I wish I had realized it earlier, but glad the movie made me change. Our lessons are very simple and yet spiritually uplifting. We'll continue teaching this way. 

Anyways, that's about it! Some of my district members have a big baptismal service coming on Saturday, so I'll be conducting the interviews this week for their candidates. 

Christmas is coming! Enjoy the last week of school! 

Love, Elder Nissinen


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"Hey, Whatever!"

Dear family and friends, 

Like many of you, this has been a "hey, whatever" week for us in Tsito. 

We were determined to find somebody who was interested in the gospel message this week. So that's what we did. We had three good ideas on how to do this, and we tried all three ideas.

Wednesday we tried method 1: seminary. We instructed all the youth at seminary class on being missionaries and how to contact and place a pamphlet, then set them free for about an hour! To our surprise, they came back with 25 names and phone numbers of people they contacted. All the youth were super pumped and competitive about the activity. We'll probably do it again. 

Thursday was market day in Tsito and we thought we might get some publicity with a informative booth. We brought all kinds of pamphlets and a member or two to help us. A few people approached the table and asked us some questions, and we gave them whatever they wanted on the table. We weren't in the busiest part of the market, so it wasn't very effective, but it was an idea! Maybe we'll try it again in the future, maybe not. 

Saturday was our final whammy for finding new people. We got two young men to go on splits with us, and we were out all day teaching and finding. Many things fell through that day, but overall it was a success. We'll definitely try and do that more often. 

For the week, we contacted 52 people and found 9 new investigators from them. 2 of those 9 accepted the invitation to be baptized! So I guess it was all a success. 

With all the rejection we are facing, Elder Horne and I are getting tougher and stronger. I feel almost invulnerable to any negativity in my day. We're excited for what's coming! 
The Ghana Election is happening Wednesday. We received information from church headquarters that Thursday we aren't to leave the apartment. If the current president doesn't get reelected, our area will be very upset. It could get nasty if he doesn't win.

Thanks to everyone for your continued love and support. Elder Horne and I feel your love and prayers, and we are grateful that you're thinking of us and the people here.

Have a fantastic week! Try and catch the Christmas Spirit. It's hard (especially here) but focus on Christ and what a gift He's been for the earth, and that'll help. 

Love Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Cursed Ram

Dear family and friends,

The connection is awful today, so sorry about that.

To update you, Elder Horne and I are healthy and well! It took us a
few days to fully recover our appetites and strength, but we’re back
in full action again. It was hard for me to eat anything until Friday,
so for Thanksgiving this year, I had nothing!

I told you about Cate and Agnes, right? These are some of the nicest
investigators I have ever met. When I’m having a hard day and things
aren’t going well, we just stop by and see Cate and her mom and
suddenly I’m a lot better. They are so generous! They’ve fed us like 4
times, and even rejected my money when I tried to pay them for a
duffle bag I wanted to buy from them! Cate’s been coming to Seminary
and seems to enjoy it. Best part of it all is that she came to
sacrament meeting Sunday! It’s our first investigator at sacrament
meeting in 4 weeks, so we were thrilled to see her come. We’ll be
working on getting her mom to come next Sunday. She’s very devoted to
her Pentecost church, and it might be a challenge to get her to come
visit us. Keep them in your prayers!

Cate and Agnes

Interesting story for ya:
On Friday, we were walking down the road and saw a bunch of people
gathered around this ram. The ram had red and black clothes tied
around its neck, body, and legs. Nobody knew what was going on though.
Well, the village men gathered the crowd and told them that some
people found the ram a few days prior and were scared because
apparently the ram was cursed. Some man had used the ram to curse the
village from progressing. They needed everyone to say prayers over the
ram so the curse would be removed and the town could again move
forward. They then removed the cloths and poured alcohol on them and
burned them all. Then they said some wild prayers with drums to
“cancel” the curse. Then a man killed the ram. Elder Horne got a little sick from watching that,
so we had to leave haha. It was a pretty wild scene, and unfortunately
I forgot to bring my camera!

The other exciting news is that my previous area (Ho 2) will be
expanding to 4 missionaries, and not just 2. That means the district I
am over will be going from 4 to 6, so that’ll be a bit more
responsibility for me. I’m excited though; that means Ho 2 is growing
bigger and bigger.

Sounds like everyone had a really great vacation week. Only 27 days
until Christmas!
Have a great week.

Love, Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

When Upon Life's Billows

Dear family and friends,

This was a pretty memorable week in Elder Nissinen's mission, to start off.

For one reason or another, we've been having a really hard time
finding people who are willing to keep any commitments. It seems as
though everything we are teaching these people isn't clicking. Elder
Horne and I are scratching our heads wondering what we're lacking.
Hopefully this week we'll be able to get some inspired answers.

We were blessed to find some super great investigators during the
week. Let me tell you about Cate and her mother Agnes: I felt like we
should talk with them, so we did. We quickly realized how kind these
ladies were. We've visited with them 3 or 4 times since then. They
have bought us drinks and bananas, and even call us! Cate has even
came to Seminary twice. They are easily some of the nicest people I've
met on my mission. Hopefully good things will happen with them this

Now for the interesting part:

Friday night Elder Horne got pretty sick and was throwing up all
night. We decided to go to the only nearby clinic Saturday afternoon.
When we got there, the signboard said they were closed on weekends. We
still went to the entrance and were lucky to find a nurse inside named
Comfort. Even though the clinic was closed, she treated Horne and
helped him out. He was diagnosed with malaria.

Anyways, Sunday evening rolled around, and I wasn't feeling too good
either. I woke up early this morning and also threw up several times.
This morning we went to the same clinic again and I got treated by
Comfort as well. I was told I had malaria too, but I don't think so.
We left the clinic a few hours ago. We're both recovering well, so no

We didn't get any investigators at sacrament..... again. We're going
to do everything we possibly can to get some next Sunday.

Even though this has been such a trying week, I've been able to look
at the little blessings that come in our path clearer than I have
before. It's really special to be able to see the hand of the Lord
throughout the day, and it makes me feel better.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers. I appreciate it!

Have a good week, and stay away from coral reefs or whatever.

Love Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Dear family and friends,

Elder Horne and I are really loving it out here. We're working harder and smarter than either of us have ever worked before. This area seems to be turning around again. Yeah!

The highlight of the week was Thursday's Multi-Zone Training Conference. President and Sister Heid gave some super great counsel, and I really soaked it all in. One thing he mentioned was how to get more baptismal dates, and that it's achievable if we're more bold. Elder Horne and I must have really loved that, cause right after we invited all of our investigators to baptism! Some even said yes! Throughout the conference, President make references to angels assisting us in this work. He firmly believes heavenly angels are all around us and our investigators as we teach, find, plan, and work. Tsito can get a bit lonely if you're in a certain mood. I'm trying to develop faith so I can visualize angels being sent to Tsito, and it sure helps boost the ol' self-esteem. The conference was great. 

Our focus is to know the branch members. So many of our members are less-active. Most of the names have no address or phone number, so it was a big obstacle. After walking and talking to all sorts of people (member and non-member), we've got a pretty good idea of where nearly every member of our branch lives. Many of these less-actives are young kids and are the only member of their whole family. It's pretty frustrating that missionaries would baptize young kids with no parental help in the church, but it's going to give us opportunities to teach their families. We'll see how that all goes. 
Seminary class! It's getting to be pretty fun now. We do it 6 to 7pm Tuesday through Friday. If you come,
Elder Nissinen gives you a little treat. 

Elder Horne is just awesome. I really like him, and we have a lot of fun together. I think some miracles are coming! 
Helped an investigator at his farm build some structure thing. It was a hot day! This picture was taken at 9 am.

Glad to hear you had a great trip and enjoyed the Ghana-like weather. Have a good week. 
In front of our apartment. We had a bit of a water problem. we aren't connected to city water, so it has to get trucked out here. Big problem! We didn't have water for a few days, but we're good now.

Love Elder Nissinen

Hello from Tsito (Cheeto)

Dear family and friends, 

As you know, the first week in Tsito was a bit rough. Good news for ya - this week was much better! I feel great about working here. 

Our priorities are less-active families and recent converts. They are typically the ones who have lots of family and friends that are non-members. We started this search by going through the Branch Directory and calling all names we didn't recognize. So far, we've received a lot of referrals. One of those referrals already has a baptismal date for the end of the month! It's going to take some time to build the area again, but we're like ten times busier than we were last week. Elder Horne is a great guy and we're having a lot of fun working together. 

We also found a few investigators through our "bible class" we're holding. Some of them have attended and enjoyed it. Hopefully that will continue to be an avenue to receive more interested souls. I really love teaching Seminary and the youth, so I want to do the best job I can to give them the best learning experience. Many of them will never get the chance to study the gospel as deep as we study it for the rest of their lives. One young woman spoke up one day asking for more scripture mastery. We made a cool chart and hung it up for the youth to "check-off" their scriptures when they memorize it. We are planning for a Seminary Christmas party, where the youth can bring their non-member friends. I just love the youth!

One experience occurred the other day that I'd like to share: 

We were contacting a referral from a old lady member one afternoon. This man was her cousin and we had been told he had a copy of the Book of Mormon. As we sat down with him and tried to get to know him better, he questioned us why we were visiting him (and older man), and not young adults who commit more sins, inferring that he is less of a sinner. We answered that our message can bless all people of all ages. Throughout the visit, he still didn't seem to understand why we were taking time to visit him. Ironically, he then started to preach to us about humility and repentance, and how needed those characteristics are to become like our Father in Heaven. It was almost humorous how blind this old man was to his own pride. At the same time, it was sad because we understood what he chose not to, and offered him what he didn't want to accept. 

I wondered how often that happens to me in my own life. My own blindness keeps me from seeing the truth. 

Hope you all have a wonderful week (which won't be too hard). 

Love Elder Nissinen 

Monday, October 31, 2016


Dear family and friends, 

Hope you're having a happy Halloween. 

Well it was my first full week in Tsito. It's a challenging area with a lot of obstacles, but I'm very determined to get things done and get this place moving again. 

Elder Horne is a super cool guy. I have a lot of respect for him already. He's only been in Tsito for 6 weeks, so it feels like we're whitewashed. We're pretty unified on what we want to accomplish and how to do it. Elder Horne is very humble. I think we're meant to be together. 

We were blessed to have an investigator come to sacrament meeting Sunday. His name is Redeemer. Elder Horne and I plan on extending a baptismal date to him this week. Hopefully that all goes well! 

Here in small little Tsito the missionaries do quite a bit. There's a nice member who lets us use part of his house for Seminary. Missionaries teach seminary here, which I'm happy about. I love teaching the youth! Well I was thinking about ways to expand our teaching pool and noticed in our planners that it mentions offering scripture classes. Long story short, Elder Horne and I made posters with the little supplies we could find to advertise this class. This week we'll be putting them up. Hopefully this will be a way for the public to be introduced to the gospel. We'll see how it goes! 

That's about it for us. I'm very optimistic about finding success out here in Tsito. It'll take time to adjust and learn the area, but with our skills ( and the Lord's help) we can do some great things.

Enjoy your trip!

Love Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Goodbye Ho Zone, Hello Ho Zone!

Dear family and friends, 

Hey! You all seem anxious to know the transfer news. 

President Heid called me Friday morning and gave me the news: I am getting transferred to Tsito! All I could say was "WOW". Let me explain: Tsito is where Elder Scott is serving, a very small branch close to Ho. This transfer is equivalent to transferring from Forest Grove to Hillsboro. After seven months in Ho, I have been able to get pretty acquainted with the members in Tsito branch. I know the area decently and have spent the night in their apartment several times. Most of their members know me as well. Hardly anybody can believe that I'm replacing Elder Scott and going to Tsito. It's quite the talk, as you might imagine. I'm still the District Leader here too. I'll be companions with Elder Horne, who I already know well. There's a lot of work to be done in Tsito, but I'm happy I'm still in Ho. In his email to me he said "Good luck in Tsito. This assignment comes from the Lord because I sure did not think of it". We'll see what happens.
Going to a lesson
Most of this week was spent saying goodbye to families and investigators. It's amazing how attached missionaries get to their people. It's hard to say goodbye, but I'm just a HOP, SKIP and a JUMP away, so it's not too bad. I bore my testimony Sunday in Ewe and that got a good laugh out of everyone. 
Florence, our eternal investigator. Very sweet and nice. I've grown close to her over the past 7 months. She's a seamstress.

2 of my favorite guys! Brother Jasper and Justice.
Super great guys!

Francisca, my recent convert!

Great less-active family. I pay the girls to wash my clothes every Saturday morning. I'll miss them!
Another big part of our week was contacting new people. I wanted to build the area up before I was transferred, so we did several hours of pure finding. I think that'll bring about some good results, hopefully. Elder Effiom isn't too happy about getting another companion so soon into his mission, but he's a natural leader and will do just fine.
We buy from irene all the time.
Her daughters are fun too. Great friends!

I will miss Elder Scott and Elder Helm though. They're really good guys, and some of my best friends. 

Sounds like you guys are all busy and happy. Enjoy your week and Halloween parties! Thanks as always for the pictures. 

Love always, 

Elder Ho

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Leaving Ho after 7 months :(

Dear family and friends, 

Well, this week was a bit better than last, but basically the same. It's been a lot of contacting and finding. It seems as though every person we contacted is either a pastor or prophet in their church, or their spouse is! So that kind of ends it there....

Francisca was baptized yesterday! It was a hectic day trying to throw a baptism together, but we pulled it off, all the members stuck around, and Francisca was happy and bore a very very short (but great) testimony at the end. I think she'll be a great convert in the Church. Visiting with her is always a lot of fun - she has a bubbly personality and can get really chatty haha.

We don't have any upcoming baptismal dates yet, so we're going to work extra hard and find ways to bring more people into the gospel. In our weekly planning last night, we discussed some "new" ways to contact people that we haven't tried before. Good things ahead. 

The most interesting news of the week is that now all missionaries not from North America can now send one text message to any person every Sunday evening. Elder Effiom was really excited about that! It's a test-trial for now, so it's not a permanent thing. Hopefully it works out: some of these Elders don't get much communication from home via email.

I just received news from our zone leaders that I'm leaving.... I don't know when but probably by next week. Not too happy about that one.....I'm a little anxious to go somewhere else (7 months in Ho) but I love the people here and the perks of Ho. Wherever I go I'm going to have to start all over again. Transfers are hard for me!  Sunday marks 15 convert baptisms in Ho for the year, I've been blessed that 13 have been with me and my awesome companions!

Well, that's it! Have a great week everyone. As you are freezing your faces off, you can dream of me getting fried. 

Love, Elder Nissinen

Monday, October 10, 2016

Carry it!

Dear family and friends, 

Elder Effiom and I had a tough week. I think it was also one of the hardest weeks I've worked on a mission. We had great plans to see a lot of people, but nobody answered their phones, and just a lot of appointments fell through. Also, the weather was absolutely scorching, so that didn't help much! Wednesday was especially memorable. Everything quickly fell apart, so I was determined to find some new people to start teaching. We walked all around in the heat and contacted for hours. It seemed as though we had walked 20 miles or so! Elder Effiom got wore out. It was the closest I've seen to a missionary collapsing on the roadside haha. I was very proud he endured and didn't give up on such a hard day. 

The rest of the week was similar. Fortunately though, the Lord answered our pleas and blessed us with 6 new investigators. We'll just continue to move on quickly from person to person until someone clicks. The hardest part of all the week was not seeing any investigators at sacrament, after all the commitments and work. Something I think I learned the other day is that maybe the Lord is showing us unprepared people so that we can quickly distinguish them and move on to those He's prepared for us. 

The whole week I decided to carry a copy of the Book of Mormon in my hand, so that if we're talking to someone, it's visible. Well, that turned out to be a really good teaching strategy. So many people came up to us and asked about "our Bible" and thousands of gospel-related questions opened up because of it. I love doing it, and it works beautifully. After all, it's the keystone of our religion! I think I will try my best to do that everyday if possible. 

Elder Effiom's training is going good. He led in a lot of lessons, and I'll have him do that more often until he's confident. 

The good news is is that we have a baptism on Sunday! Sister Francisca is ready to rock. She's a really nice lady and is totally prepared for membership in the Church and her baptismal covenant. 
Service Project for an investigator. We helped her make "chips" for like 5 hours haha. It was fun and a lot of work.
We rarely get opportunities to serve,
so I was really happy to do it for a change.

This is the investigator, Gispa. Really nice.

They just tastes like bland chips. It's mostly made of flour. 

We're still getting a lot of rainfall. It looks like we'll be close to the Harmattan season, where sands from the Sahara blow over. Today was a super hot day. 
Snake at the chapel.
Well, that's about it for our week. Thanks for all your unending love and support. 

Elder Nissinen