Elder Nissinen

Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lion King and Kung Fu Panda

Dear family and friends, 

We're working hard here in Ho! I'm starting to learn how to work smarter and not harder. The other day I was cleaning out some cabinet spaces, and I found an old membership record from over a year ago. I got excited at it, and went through and called every single member on that list that we did not know. Many of the numbers didn't exist anymore and several people have relocated since, but there was many we got a hold of that still live in the area. Since then we've had a renewed focus on strengthening the inactives/less-actives in the branch. It's fun! It also opens the windows up for more investigators, as many of these families are only part-member families. The field is white already to harvest! 
Some cool kids after seminary we taught the other night.

I am almost at the point where I can state every person's name in sacrament now, which is nice. 

Elder Effiong hasn't been feeling too good this week, so that's been a little hold-up for us. Actually, there must be some kind of sickness going around, because everyone is getting sick. We've given more blessings this week than I've ever given in my whole life. It's nice being able to have the opportunity to use my priesthood when people need it. After all, priesthood is all about service, right?
Last night. One of my favorite families. Cool kids, cool parents. Both girls are super nice and kind. We're going over there Friday night for one of the girl's birthday.

Yesterday our first counselor gave a talk. It was one of the coolest talks I've ever heard. He related the gospel to Lion King and Kung Fu Panda. It was incredible! Everybody was engaged. He told me I'm giving a talk this coming Sunday, so I'm working on relating the gospel to Frozen. We'll see how it turns out! A member brought 3 of his friends to church, and they were all really interested in the investigator's class. We're excited to meet with them tomorrow.
It's called Kente. It's a local african fabric but it's hand weaved. So it's tedious and takes a very long time. A member makes it. Check out dropbox for a video. One of the cooler things I've ever seen. Very talented! 

Yeah my skin feels better. Actually, my arms are getting really dark! This picture doesn't do it justice, but maybe you can tell
Well, that's about it for my week. Sounds like everyone is doing great. Good to hear the family is all back together again. I hope Jacob passes his drug test. Best of luck to you all! Enjoy this time together. 

Love always, 

Elder Nissinen

Monday, April 18, 2016

Ga, Twi, or Ewe?

Dear family and friends, 

Another week has come and gone here.... Things went GREAT this past week! Elder Effiong and I put our shoulders to the wheel (or legs to the pedals) and got some serious missionary work done! Every week, we write goals for what we want to accomplish that week in our weekly planning session. Well, for the first time in my entire mission, we met or exceeded every single goal we set! It was so great! We were so motivated to meet those goals, it was pretty dang cool! 
We have mid-week, where everyone is invited to come for like a Wednesday family home evening at the chapel. Well the mid-week here sucks, and nobody comes. I decided it was because it wasn't fun. Elder Effiong and I decided to make it fun! We played a bunch of games I remember Harward used on us when I was in seminary. It was a hit, and pretty soon more people will come. 

A guy pulled us over last week as we were crawling on our bikes up a big hill and wanted to know more about Joseph Smith. We set up an appointment and met with him a few days later. The man had met with missionaries several years ago. I could tell his heart was ready and I dropped a baptismal date on him... the first lesson! He accepted it and came to church yesterday. 

My first area spoke Ga, my second area spoke Twi, and my third area (here) speaks Ewe! Not easy!  I am working very hard, and it's paying off! I was up at 6 this morning. Did all my wash and cleaned the apartment.
I was scared to death of this monkey!

While street contacting the other day we found a girl who was a less-active. We met with her the next day, and she told us her story of why she wasn't coming to church or seminary. Her mother and step-father are against the church, so they don't allow her to come. She tries hard to come. She wasn't in church yesterday so I felt we should visit her. Her step-father is not a very nice man and treats her poorly. She was washing everybody else's clothes, so we helped her with it. She told me how she is working on Personal Progress by herself as well as studying the scriptures each day because she can't attend seminary much. I've thought about that a lot. Let's not complain about church, seminary, or church responsibilities because there's people in the world who WANT those things but can't because of circumstances they cannot control.
 Termite hills! 

I gave this ram the parable of the lost sheep....

"I am the good shepherd, and I know my sheep"
"Teach all nations, kindreds, tongues, people, and species" 

I miss my old area, but this one is great too. You can't have the same area twice. Things you like, things you don't like. But I'm excited that i am establishing myself here. I'm determined to learn every single member's name in the branch. 
Thanks for all you do. Sure sounds like everyone is busier than heck with sports, piano, school and work. Congrats Rosie on your piano test! Good to hear Mormon Prom went well and it's over. Have a great week. 

Love always, 
Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Hills Are Alive.....

... with the sound of panting pedaling missionaries. 

Things are going great here. I'm really starting to adjust to this new area. We used bikes all this past week. Let me tell you, these hills and our bikes don't work well together! Some of these hills are ridiculous. In fact, Tuesday we went up a super steep hill that stretched for a long ways. I felt so accomplished going all the way to the top and not stopping! These hills are something else! 

We had a great Zone Training Meeting Tuesday. Elder and Sister Bodine gave great talks about maintaining a positive attitude amid the negatives that happen each day. It's a pure choice to be happy. 
The Ho Zone!

Elder Effiong and I get along real great. He's awesome and has a real desire to work hard and see the people. We teach in unity and enjoy each other a lot. I'm now seeing how being submissive really has an impact on a successful companionship.  I told Effiong how much I like him, and he told me he likes me too. We're gonna get some serious work done around here...... (hopefully)

Wednesday we went with a Branch missionary to show us as many people as he knew in the branch boundaries, including members, less-actives, and former investigators. Our teaching pool is small, and the both of us are somehow new to the area. We were biking all day, and I forgot to wear sunscreen on my arms. They got burnt real bad! I learned that lesson. 

This poor single mother works really hard to support her family. She's awesome and super talented. Her kids are cool too. We gave her service the other day to help out. This mother and I were talking about conveniences, and she'd never heard of a vacuum before. I've never seen one here yet either. We also explained how a washer and dryer work. It was a unique experience looking back. Life is so different here than at home. It's hard to even explain to people.  I just forget my past life and focus on appreciating theirs.

We set a goal to extend some baptismal dates this week, and we did. There's this boy that always comes to church and seminary, but we didn't know he hadn't been baptized. Immediately we started teaching him, and plan on baptizing him the beginning of next month. He's got a hard home life with basically no parental support. He's a good kid though. 
Some legitimate Jordans I found the other day. 
Size 10 so I didn't grab 'em. Tempting though! 

Found this at a little store near our house.. 1 cedi a piece!
 I bought 50 of them, but already ate more than half.

I'm learning a lot about leading and being an example. I love the church. It's so true! Teaching others about our simple life-changing message is so fun. 

Sounds like everyone had a great week.  Love and miss you all. Have a wonderful busy week. Enjoy the Prom Rosie. 


Elder Nissinen

Monday, April 4, 2016

I'm a Bushionary, Mom!

Dear friends and family, 


You're all wanting to know about Ho and such. It's a very nice city that is in the middle of some small mountains. It's a regional capitol, so it's quite nice. I don't really know much else besides that, because I'm still really new. It's a bit cooler here too, which is nice! 

We call it the "bush" because it's away from the city and I'm surrounded by trees and green. If you want an idea of what I see this place as, it's somehow like North Plains...? We were walking down a little road the other day, and it reminded me of North Plains. I guess you can take that for whatever it's worth. 

My companion is Elder Effiong from Nigeria. He's a great guy, and I am already getting to like him. Even though he's still new on his mission, he knows the gospel well and is teaching me the area and people. We're going to get some serious work done here! 

Sunday was a great day! They announced that we'd be viewing the broadcast LIVE! I was really surprised at that one. It was the first time Ho has ever had the capabilities to watch Conference live before. They confused the time difference, so we ended up waiting for 3 hours before the conference started. I got interrupted a few times for District responsibilities, but what I did see was awesome! Some great talks were given. I'm excited to go back and download all the talks, especially from the Priesthood Session, which I missed. 

Transfers are hard for me. Everything is new, but I know time will help. The branch is really strong, and the work is here to do. 

I'm so grateful to have been able to watch Conference and here what our Prophet and his apostles had to say. What a blessing that is, huh? 

I know God loves us and looks after us, simply because we are His sheep. All we need to do is lift up our hearts to Him, as Elder Uchtdorf said. 

Tomorrow we are having a Zone Training Meeting. Our zone is so spread out that a lot of us have to sleepover here. The Zone leaders called me this morning and said that 12 elders are coming to sleep in our apartment tonight! Whoa! Our apartment has a few extra rooms, but I think this is not the best idea.... hahaha

Sounds like everyone had a phenomenal week! Great job Joe in winning it for Glencoe (that's rare, Glencoe winning). Rosie, keep having fun. Congrats on getting asked to the dance! Jacob, have a wonderful happy 21st birthday!! Thanks Mom and Dad for your love and support. I feel so overly blessed. 

Love you all, 

Elder Nissinen