Elder Nissinen

Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dear Family and Friends, 

Thanks for all the great letters this week. You all sound like you're doing well! I received the package today, so thanks a lot! That bike pump is legit. 

As for Elder Madsen and I, we are doing well. He's developing and adjusting to missionary life quickly. We didn't have as much success as weeks before, so we're buckling down this week to get back to our usual selves and really "attack" the investigators, so to speak. A lot of investigators with baptismal dates have fallen through lately. It's part of the work, but I want to improve. 

On Friday I was washing some pants, and I noticed my phone in one of the pockets! The phone was spoiled from all the soap and water. I will be getting a new phone hopefully tomorrow. 

We've been teaching 3 children who come to church with their cousin's family. The parents aren't members.The children are really interested and need to be baptized. Our original date was the 31st January for all 3. The father told us the other day that he only wants the oldest to be baptized instead. It was a bit of a roadblock for us. We will obey the father and baptize the oldest. We've done a lot of scheduling with the father so he can make it to the baptism. We know he will feel the Spirit watching his boy get baptized, hopefully leading to the other's baptism shortly after.

On Saturday our district had a little party at our apartment! It was a lot of fun. I'm really lucky to be in a district of 10 Elders who I really like. We made a Ghanaian rice dish called jollof rice with fried plantain and a piece of chicken. It was a fun evening.
10 Elders in our apartment! Adjormann District!

Sunday some investigators came to church, but the main ones that we are focusing on didn't. I'm learning that teaching people is a constant change. The teaching pool changes a lot!

Tomorrow is some big Multi-zone Training Conference. One of the Area Seventy is coming to tour our mission soon too. Looking forward to that! 

I really don't need anymore packages, but I'll take them gladly! Snacks and junk food is perfectly fine with me.  I miss everyone at home of course, but sometimes I miss Joe especially. He is a cool kid, even though he's bigger than me now.  We got along pretty good for the most part. I'm looking forward to attending his graduation when I get home and hanging out with him when I can. 
I'm sorry for the short letter. Some weeks are the same as any other week, so there isn't much to talk about sometimes. Best of luck with finals. I can't believe you are halfway through the school year too. 

Love you all. Thanks for all you do to support me in this missionary work. Have a wonderful week! Enjoy the camping as well. 

Love, Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Dear Family and Friends, 

Well, it's been another sweat week - I mean sweet week! The Harmattan is going away, so it's warming back up again. 
Elder Kambwiri, Elder Bergeson's companion. He's still in his training. He's the first missionary in our mission from Malawi. Neat guy! 

Elder Madsen and I worked real hard this week. One of our weaknesses has always been member-present lessons and contacting. We focused on those two things this week and were able to get some really nice work done! We found several new investigators who have already accepted baptismal dates next month. We basically had a member with us every day of the week. Hard work pays off! All that means now is that we have a much bigger teaching pool, so our workload has only increased. 

On Wednesday I went on exchanges with an elder from Mozambique in his area. Jacob, people there speak Portuguese! I told him all day I wish my brother was there to speak with him. He's still learning English. Elder Madsen was with our District Leader in our area all day. He did really well. I was proud that he could handle the area and the phone all by himself and get a lot of work done without me by his side. 

This week I was looking inside a little pharmacy at the medicine they have. One bottle of "black seed" read this: "Science has proven that this Black Seed formula will kill every disease except death". Ha! One of the funniest things I've read in my life. 

Elder Madsen got a little sick Friday, so I took him to the hospital. He just had some bacterial infection like I did. We were only there for a few hours and then we went home and he slept for the rest of the day. He's back to normal now, so that's good. The Sanders bought us american pancake mix, maple syrup, and 2 boxes of Kraft mac and cheese to help Madsen recover! The four of us in the apartment sure enjoyed that!!! We even added extra flour to help the pancake mix last longer! 
My poor companion!

Other than his hiccup, our work has been nothing shy of BUSY. It's so fun working hard for the Lord, right Jacob?

 To answer your questions: 

1. Cold showers are great. I don't mind.
2. I think the package arrives any day now, so I'll get it next monday
3. Yes, I still have money! I exchanged some of it today for a good rate, but I still have plenty more (I think $40)
4. No crazy food this week that I can think of. Other than Elder Sanders buying me a little bag of M&M's and an actual chicken burger with an actual chicken breast with fries! That was really a treat. 
5. Ant problems are always here (why does everyone ask about the ants?!)
6. I don't need a backpack. 
7. Transfers are in 4 weeks. I don't know if I will be transferred or not. There's a chance. 
8. I haven't seen Liongitau since before Christmas, but we've texted and called a few times. 
9. I haven't heard of any crazy terrorists in Ghana... 

One thing I thought of this week:
In life, we can either dwell on the negatives that we can't control, or the positives we can control. In our mission, our attitude is having the glass "half-full" instead of "half-empty". Sometimes we get caught up in the negatives of daily life and forget the blessings we've been given. Trust me, it's easy as a missionary to have your glass "half-empty". I'm personally so glad for the hard days I've had at Wendy's and on the farm. It forced me to have the "half-full" mindset. I challenge all of you to focus on the glass being "half-full". Have a little pep in your step. SMILE! 

Anyways, congrats on having no school. MLK rocks huh! Have a great week everyone. 

Love, Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dear family and friends, 

It's been another great week out here in Sangonaa! Happy birthday Dad! Hope you're feeling better. 
Elder Madsen and I are doing well. The both of us have done some introspecting, seeing how we can improve ourselves as missionaries of the Lord. For me, my patience has been short, so I'm working on improving that. It's easy to lose patience with people, but I can't control things I can't control, so I shouldn't let that get to me.

  I like being trainer. Everything falls on my back, but I like having the ability to be a leader.  Sometimes it's a challenge during teaching. New missionaries do silly things because they don't really know mission life, but I'm working hard at preparing Elder Madsen for when I leave. I'm giving him all the tools he needs to be successful, as far as I know. Training is fun! 

We were blessed this Saturday with the baptism of Seth!  This was Elder Madsen's first baptism in the field.   He's such a good guy and will be a solid member/leader in our branch. Sunday he was confirmed and given the Priesthood.  After his interview, we took him out to Papa's Pizza. It was a real fun night. The pizza tastes just like home! Probably even better. I am surprised at how little I must eat now. I eat one meal and am fine for the rest of the day.  We sure like Seth. He sent this text the following morning:
Seth is 60 years old.
This was the second time in his whole life that he has had pizza.
We love Seth!!!

"Good morning Elders. I thank you so much for the wonderful time we had yesterday.I am now fully convinced that your church is truly the Church of Jesus Christ. And you are his messengers. Thank you for your kindness. In Jesus' name, Amen."

Heck yeah! Those are the kind of investigators we constantly need: converted converts! 

Well that's about it for our week. We were blessed to receive more member-present lessons than I've ever had before. We are developing a strategy to utilize a member every single day of the week. I know it will bring success. We had a good attendance at church probably 80 or 90. Our branch is growing. I would love to see the day when we become a ward. It's not too far away. 

I accidentally ate a piece of fruit that was full of maggots. Whoops!  It was really gross. My thumb was covered in white little maggots. 

 I'm really excited for the package, especially the deodorant. You should have seen the 4 of the other night when Elder Madsen and Bergeson got some late Christmas packages. They shared a bunch of junk with us. We were going crazy eating chocolate, Reese's, and Jelly Belly's! One senior couple brought us a small bag of peanut M&M's. Boy were those good!  American snacks are amazing! You forget how good they are, and how easy and fast it is to get a meal.

Sounds like everyone is doing well at home. Joe told me about his pushups. He'll be way ripped if he sticks with it for the year. I told him as he's gaining weight, I'm losing it! He will certainly weigh more than me by the time I get back. I bet it's nice being back in the schedule again. I can't even believe it's almost halfway through the school year. Jeez! Enjoy the cold, work hard, and most importantly, HAVE FUN! 

Love you all, 
Elder Nissinen

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Dear family and friends, 

I've done a lot of self-evaluation these past few days, something everyone kind of does during this time. I realized that this year may be my only year in complete full service to the Lord, so I want to do it right! I've done a lot of thinking about my actions, and how well I am representing Jesus Christ and His Church. Sometimes, unfortunately, I forget that everyone sees me as a full-time representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I want to focus a lot more on myself as a missionary, not myself as a tourist of Ghana.

Elder Madsen is doing great! Hard to believe he's halfway through his training now. He's a little quiet still, but the both of us are going to be sharing the teaching/talking. I am going to get him out of his comfort zone! He'll just be that much more prepared when the time comes for him to be Senior Companion. 

One exciting event this week was our Branch New Year's Party! Us missionaries have been working hard to invite all we could to this party, and our efforts payed off we think. We had roughly 400 in attendance, which is pretty remarkable, considering we get less than 90 in sacrament normally. It was a great opportunity for less-actives and especially investigators to be around members of the church in a friendly, easy-going environment. It was one of the happiest nights of my mission.

As for the investigators, Elder Madsen and I are really cranking on finding people to teach. We are in need of a bigger teaching pool! This Saturday we are baptizing Seth. Seth's an older man, and is by far the most prepared person I've ever seen. He's remarkable! Seth is a solid gold investigator. He reads his Book of Mormon, comes to church every Sunday, and even bore his testimony Sunday! He called us the other day and invited us for lunch! It's the first time I've been invited to a lunch appointment! We can't wait for Saturday to baptize him. He'll be such a strong addition to the Branch.

All of us are constantly sick in some way or another (minor sickness). I feel great. I wasn't able to do a full fast yesterday. I felt like vomiting, so I took some water and I felt better. We've all got runny tummy almost daily. Elder B. was puking the other night. Livin' the life!! Never or rarely getting sick at home is something to be thankful for. It's a real challenge to be healthy. I just listen to my body and do what I need to do. Yeah I take doxy daily. I have lots of mosquito bites, so I'm never not going to take the doxy.

Sounds like you all are enjoying the snow, holy cow! Hope you all set some great New Year's goals. Go out and reach them. Have a great week. Remember who you are. 

Love, Elder Nissinen