Elder Nissinen

Elder Nissinen

Monday, March 28, 2016

"Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to Ho I Go"

Dear family and friends, 

Hello! Thanks for all the sweet letters and pictures from Easter. Glad to hear you all had a wonderful time enjoying each other's company these past few weeks. Quick question: was anybody able to bop the Easter Bunny on the nose? Just checking. 

Well, the work has been great here as always. I received a call from the mission office yesterday afternoon. I'm being transferred to Ho, an area about 3 hours away from where I am now. It's one of the farther places in the mission. I will be serving with Elder Effiong, a Nigerian and finish his 2nd half of training. I will also be a District Leader there.  Yeah it's going to be sweet. Like this is where villages and huts and things are.  I am over 4 of us guys, maybe 6? I make sure companionships are doing well, and I receive all their weekly numbers and send them to the Zone Leaders. I lead district council meetings and other things. it's not bad, but it's a bit of responsibility. I don't feel ready for it in a new area and all. but I believe I'll be in the bush for a while, so it'll be sweet.  It was a surprise for sure. I don't know why I'm suddenly going. I've been in Nungua for only like 4 weeks. Elder Winborg and I were getting along great! However, I'm excited for what lays ahead in "the bush". I leave tomorrow afternoon. Cool, huh?
 This morning I was playing a game with those kids in this picture who stay next to us. Their house is so humbling. Our shed in the backyard is nicer. It's just so cool being able to experience that kind of thing.

As for Elder Madsen, he is leaving tomorrow night to get medical help in the States. He'll probably continue his mission in the States after. I will miss Elder Madsen. He's my son! His heart is in serving the Lord, and he'll be blessed with whatever happens to him. I learned a lot from him. 
One of my favorite pictures! At a member's house eating dinner the other night. This lady is my age. I really really liked her! Her personality is something I'll have to remember for when I'm looking for a girl myself when I'm home. 

Easter in Ghana isn't quite much. It's hardly celebrated at all. We had regular church meetings. I just ate some sugary snacks from packages and packed my clothes. I was a bit sad from it yesterday, but I'm over it now. New things in store! Hey Mom! Don't worry about my skin. I was able to get some connections and get a hold of a wide-brimmed hat that I'll now be wearing. I just got fed up with dealing with the burns the other day when my scalp got burnt, causing me to have a migraine for like a full day. So I'm wearing a safari hat from now on! Cool huh?
Massive banku dinner the other night!
Great to hear Jacob and Kimberley are doing well. I need her email address. This letter is suppose to be read by all family and close friends. She fits somewhere in the middle of those two. Congrats on the sweet job Jacob. You're enjoying!! 

Back to school this week huh? Hope everyone does well adjusting back to the normal life. I've been adjusting for a while now too. Take care!
First hamburger in 7 months! Probably the last one too!

By the way, I won't be watching conference next week. I'll be a bit far from the city, so I'm not sure on the accessibility of that one... President said we'll have to wait until October.

Love, Elder Nissinen

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Dear friends and family,

Elder Winborg and I are doing great! It's been yet another exciting
week here in Nungua.

One of our focuses is to reach out to less-active members. Because our
ward is new, there aren't many that attend sacrament meeting, but the
membership records is huge. We went with our awesome Bishop Wednesday
afternoon for 4 hours as he showed us several less-active's homes. It
was a great success! Several less-actives attended church yesterday.
In Elder Nissinen's book, having a less-active come back to church is
just as good as a convert baptism!

Our teaching pool continues to grow. Elder Winborg and I worked pretty
hard this week to keep ourselves busy teaching somebody as often as
possible. The work is here to do! I'm familiarizing myself with the
area and ward better. Our ward is called Nungua 3.

The other day our ward mission leader needed help moving his new
mattress home. It was quite the sight seeing two white guys carry a
mattress on their heads down the road! Hopefully you'll be able to see
a little clip of it...

Easter is celebrated here, but I don't think it's anything like home
(chocolate, African Easter Bunny - sorry Jacob - or Cadbury Eggs).
Everyone will probably go to church and have a big party or something
I imagine.

Thanks a lot for the pictures! Jeez you guys have too much fun! Those
are some pretty awesome scenic spots there. A+ on the photography
guys. Hope you guys enjoy having Kimberly over next week. Jacob I give
you permission to drive her in the truck for some time.

7 months yesterday!

Keep having fun as a family, soak it up! Enjoy Spring Break, and most
importantly enjoy Easter. It's amazing that even here in Ghana, one of
the most Christian countries in the world, people don't know that
Christ was resurrected, body and spirit. What a blessing it is to be
able to share that message with those I see. The sky is blue, the
Church is true.

Love always,

Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Dear family and friends, 

I apologize for not letting you know I wouldn't be able to email home yesterday. We had Elder Rasband come! 

Elder Rasband is AWESOME!

Let me first set the scene for who was present: 
1) The entire Africa West Area Presidency (Three Area Seventy's) and their wives
2) Ghana Accra Temple President and his wife
3) Ghana Accra and Ghana Accra West Mission Presidents and their wives
4) 300+ missionaries, and
5) Elder Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve, and his wife! 

That alone was amazing. Just being in their presence was outstanding. Luckily, all of us were able to shake all of their hands yesterday! Elder Rasband was awesome. He has so much love for the missionaries. He talked a lot about the process by which missionaries get their call. It's so cool how divine this mission is for me. Literally, I am exactly where the Lord wants me to be and exactly with who He wants me to be with, right now! Once Elder Rasband got this into our heads, I realized that there is no need to complain, because everything all the way down to my companion is by divine revelation. The critical part is for me to learn WHY I'm here. I've partly grown to understand that one. 

Elder Rasband proposed this question to us: "Who is your most important convert?" He said it was ourselves. I've thought of this much. I am my most important convert. If I go home and haven't changed anything about myself or my relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Gospel, then my mission benefited me but little. Before I can convert anybody, I need to make sure that I myself am converted. 

Well, being in the presence of another Apostle is quite the unique opportunity, of which I am grateful for. 
Outside our apartment yesterday going to Elder Rasband. All the rain is kind of nice, but it gets everything muddy and
 you can't wash your clothes. 

Saturday was one of the best days of my whole mission. The 3 convert baptisms that Elder Madsen and I left from that emergency transfer were baptized Saturday. It was such a special day, seeing them all again and watching them be baptized. It was so cool cause they were baptized by Seth, a recent convert. I couldn't stop smiling the whole program. Elder Madsen got pretty sick again the night before, so he wasn't able to come with me, unfortunately. It was an awesome day that I'll never forget! 

Theresa, Rose, Matthew were all baptized by Seth! What a day, what a day. Rose came late, so she isn't pictured here. These are the two Nigerian Sisters that replaced us. 

My joy was full :)

The rest of last week was similar to the one before: rain, water problems, and normal teaching. I fasted last week that Elder Winborg and I would be a successful companionship. It was one of the hardest fasts I've ever done, but I'm seeing the blessings of it already. We get along great, and are starting to teach in unity. Our teaching pool is big. We've got some work to do! 
I took a bath last Monday on two of these! We ran out of water completely. We still have water problems. I've taken bucket showers for about 10 days now. 
Great to hear everyone is doing well at home and in school. I received the package from Ninny yesterday. I will just say it was quite the treat! Thanks so much! 

Have another great wet week! 

Love always,  Elder Nissinen

Monday, March 7, 2016

Water Week!!!

Dear family and friends, 

As you all know, I've been transferred to an area near my other one. It's a bit nicer in some ways. I do miss the people I served in Sangonaa, but this new area gives me the wonderful opportunity to "start over". I get to re-start my relationships with my companion, the ward members and leaders, and investigators. It's a nice feeling being able to "start over" again from scratch. 

I don't really know the area yet, or many people for that matter...! Elder Winborg is a great guy, and has a strong desire to work hard. He's showing me the people and the area patiently. I will soon learn it! 

It was my first Sunday in the new ward... It is a newly-formed ward actually. It was split from a bigger ward just recently. There aren't many people in it (we might even become a branch) but I'm excited to get the work rolling again! The ward is great. President Heid is encouraging us to build strong relationships with the auxiliary leaders and the bishop, and that's something I would like to do better at. Many times missionaries get caught up in contacting and tracting, but there's better ways of going about it: the members! Receiving referrals from members is such a gold mine for us. 

Tuesday we got dumped on! It rained really hard, and unfortunately we were a bit far from our apartment, so we got stuck out in it.

Rain Storm!!!  Everything got wrecked.  Oh well! Elder Winborg has a waterproof camera. 

 Saturday we had 2 baptisms! One was a convert, and the other was an 8 year old kid who's family is already members recently. We asked the kid who he wanted to baptize him, and he pointed at me... the kid doesn't really even know me! I was happy to baptize him of course... funny!

Anyways, the church building didn't have running water for some reason, so we had to run hoses through some windows to fill the font. Then the font became too full by the time we started, so when I was baptizing little Junior, the water reached his neck! Everyone was laughing at that one. It started to rain a bit that evening again, so we got wet again. Our water tank accidentally broke, so there was a little pipe spewing water that had to get fixed soon. It got fixed that evening, but the city water somehow was shut off. The city water is still shut off, we've been doing everything by buckets the past few days... We are almost out of water, so I don't know what's going to happen from here haha. It was a water week!
Played rugby at the beach last Monday! Way fun! 

That's really about it for Nungua. I've been humbled a lot the past few days, just for one reason or another. I'm trying to change the ways I think and talk: I get better reception from others when I talk about THEM instead of ME. I love my mission. Transfers (especially emergency transfers) are hard, but as long as I am being an aid and not a burden, the work will continue.
A game we play. Yes my skin is burnt a lot.  I use sunscreen but it's incredibly hot all the time.  I sweat from 7am to 9pm, and wake up sweaty again.  It's really hard, but I'm trying. 

Sounds like you all had a great weekend camping! Lucky! Congrats Jacob on your new girlfriend. You're a pretty smooth guy! Pandora charms?! Jeez. Best of luck to everyone this week in school and what-not. Remember how blessed you really are (seriously). Have fun! 

Good news!  Elder Rasband is coming next week to visit us missionaries!!!  It's cause our mission is the best!!! 

Love always, Elder Nissinen