Elder Nissinen

Elder Nissinen

Monday, May 30, 2016


Dear family and friends,

It's been another typical week I suppose. I sure love this area. Everything about it is so fantastic.
We scored SIX investigators at sacrament AGAIN this week! Sunday's for missionaries are the busiest. We're running around in about 20 different directions. Sunday's are also overall my favorite day. There are several people we are teaching who are pretty serious about baptism, which is exciting on our part.
We've been doing a better job of working with the members. It's true: when members and missionaries work together, miracles happen... quicker! Members are there when we aren't. They say what we sometimes can't say (language barrier). They know so many more people than we do. Every member a missionary!
I've been pondering some on my patriarchal blessing. Once I treat it like personal scripture, it means much more than just words. I encourage you to ponder over yours and pray for personal revelation to understand it deeper.
The rain continues to pour here. Yesterday we got a short flash-flood with dangerous wind speed. Many big tree limbs fell across roads, and two large billboards fell down, one of those falling on a truck!
We had a small miracle this week. Remember Daniel right? Well, we got in contact with his uncle, who was really supportive of the baptism. He informed us that Daniel's father was actually not his father. We got on the phone with Daniel's real father, who was super kind and approved of the whole thing. I believe he's even traveling from out of town to come and witness it on Friday. We're really happy that worked out smoothly for us. 
One of our investigators graduated from collage Sunday, so we supported her!
I heard a great quote from a John Bytheway talk the other day that's been sticking in my head. He was quoting somebody and said, "You cannot run away from weakness. You must either fight it out or perish, and if that be so, why not now, and where you stand?" We all have weaknesses, but with the Lord's help, those weaknesses can become strengths. So fight it out! 
We played some tennis today at a nice court! It was fun!

Elder Helm and I

Thanks for all you encouragement and support. Memorial Day huh? Go eat a Frosty and a #1 Combo meal for me. Have fun, and finish the school year strong!
Love, Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Dear family and friends, 

As any missionary can attest to, a mission covers our highest of highs and our lowest of lows. Emotions are typically either through the roof or down to the ground, with not much in the middle. That has been the summary of my week.

We have a few investigators who are super committed to the gospel right now. We planned on extending baptismal dates to 4 people. One accepted, and the other three are still pending. Some lessons went really really great, and others not so good. 
Some elders let us borrow the Restoration video. It works fantastic! We use it with my speaker and our DVD player to our investigators. I don't know why it took so long to think of doing this. 

On Friday, we walked out of our apartment praying for some new investigators. A few minutes later we got one from a member. About 5 minutes later, I got a call from some weird number, so I answered it. Turned out to be a Sister missionary in New York who worksmormon.org. A man requested for a Book of Mormon online, and we were the ones who lives in his area, so she forwarded his information to us. We met with the guy the following day, and his was really interested in the Book of Mormon and had been searching for a copy for a long time. It was the first time I've received a referral from the Church. It worked flawlessly! Cool stuff! 

Saturday was suppose to be Daniel's baptism. We called his father and asked him about some information on the baptismal form, and he told us we can't baptize his son. This was about 1 hour before the service. He is coming this Friday, and we are going to try and work things out with him so Daniel can get baptized soon. I was really upset at the whole thing, but it'll all work out in the end. 
Investigators brought food to the baptism, but of course it fell through, so we had a little party anyways! It was fun and helped me feel better again

Kenkey and fried fish with pepper. My favorite! Yummmmmm!

We had SIX investigators in sacrament yesterday! It was super fantastic. I gave a talk in sacrament meeting about forgiveness, and how we needed to be like Elsa and Anna in Frozen and just "let it go". I thought it was funny. We almost gave the lesson in Gospel Principles. Then we gave the lesson in EQ. A lot of teaching!

It's raining 3 or 4 times a week now, so that is making proselyting a challenge. Elder Effiong doesn't like the rain at all haha. 

Anyways, great to hear everyone is doing well and enjoying themselves. Have a great week! By the way, I received your package. The hat is SO GREAT! Probably the best gift I've received on my whole mission. I love that thing. It's fantastic. So thanks a lot. 
I love my new HAT!!!  

Love, Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Congratulations Bro.

Dear family and friends,

Well I've been dying waiting to see how the big proposal went this week... she said yes! Great job Jacob. Your hard work has paid off. It's pretty hard to believe you are engaged. That's a pretty serious word you know.  Wow!  It's going to be hard not being home for the wedding and parties and stuff, but I'll be looking forward to the letters, and pictures. I've been anticipating today's letters the whole week! That's so crazy he's engaged....


The work is going! Elder Effiong and I are really starting to get a solid feel for the area. I'm becoming more established, and I like that a lot. This Saturday we have a baptism! A boy named Daniel. He's a great kid, and we're excited for him. We have several upcoming baptisms in June/July as well. We're teaching a couple of ladies who are all friends and are seriously committed to the Church. It's super cool seeing people who realize how much the gospel can bless their lives.
After a Zone Training Meeting.... 

I conducted an exchange Friday with the other elders in my district. It was nice going over to another area and encouraging my district members and helping them as best as I can. 
Exchanges with Elder Adodo

Having this calling has helped me be a better example to other missionaries. I'm expected to maintain a higher level of obedience now that others are watching me closely. Other than the baptism this week, we are working towards getting new investigators. It's important that we keep our teaching pool constantly fresh. 

A delicious dinner at Elder Helm's convert's house after his baptism. It's Kenke and has some other stuff in it.

I've been doing some serious "lawn maintenance" on the outside of our house lately. It feels nice doing some landscaping, but I sure miss the luxury of nice tools (mower, rake, etc).  

The washing machine is nice, although it's more rewarding handwashing... so I do both.

Today I have to pick up some trousers I got tailored.. they are getting kinda big on me now. Don't worry mom! Time goes by so fast around here. Hard to believe I've been living on my own away from home for 9 months...
A Kodak moment of the week! 

The letters/videos/pictures this week were awesome! Thanks so much for that. Again, congratulations Jacob on your proposal. I knew my idea would work! Take care everyone and have a wonderful week. 
Keep your eyes out for a letter coming in the mail soon-ish.

Love Elder Nissinen

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day

Dear friends and family, 

Well, time sure flies by when you're on a mission. Seems like just yesterday we were talking on the phone. 
My pretty goofy family!

It was SO NICE to hear from you all! I know you weren't able to see me, but I was able to see and hear you perfectly, so I guess it's better than nothing. Next time I'll do a better job planning so we'll all be able to see each other. It felt so cool to hear from you all. Even in just the 8 months I've been out, you've all grown so much (especially Joe, clap for yourself). I couldn't believe how hilarious all of you are. I guess I have forgotten our family humor or something. You guys are hysterical! 

Well, things are same-old same-old with me. We're working and working away at bringing people back to church and bringing new people into the church. I'm trying to focus a little bit on engaging the members with the missionary efforts. Investigators are more likely to be converted when they have a friend in the church to visit, support, and invite them. So go help your missionaries! 

I've done a bit of pondering lately about how my mission has impacted me and what-not. I realized how awesome of an opportunity I have before me. I get to spend literally 2 years serving the Lord. I have NOTHING to distract me, like education, career, or housing, making it possible to entirely devote myself to helping my brothers and sisters come closer to Jesus Christ. Pretty extraordinary, right? The Church has made it possible for us to easily put our "eye single to the glory of God". What a blessing it is to serve people all day long. You know that feeling you get when you do something nice for somebody? Missionaries are lucky to get that feeling every day, all day. Cool huh? 
A pretty cool looking house we found the other day.

Anyways, it was such a blessing to call home yesterday and hear from you all. You all sound like you're doing fantastic, so that's fantastic. Finish school strong!  Finally, happy Mother's Day Mom. I love you and am proud as ever to be your son. 

Love, Elder Nissinen

Here's the talk I gave yesterday. It wasn't very good, I waited until the last minute to write it, plus I didn't have resources for researching. So sorry for that. 

I have the special opportunity today to speak to you. I think it would be most appropriate if I speak on mothers, being that it's Mother's Day. So first of all, Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers here. You are special and have a divine role in each and every one of our lives here. 

A mother is more than one who gives birth to her child. A mother is more than just the person who's father marries. No, a mother is one who raises children, nurtures them, loves them, and teaches them. 

There is a special love that only mothers give. Actually, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has said that no love on earth can come closer to that of Jesus Christ's than a mother's. Each of us owes a big "thank you" to our mothers today, because without them, none of us would be here. 

In the Book of Mormon, we read a story about Helaman and his army of 2000 young soldiers. These soldiers were boys, and most of them had never fought in battle before, yet they were expected to be just as strong and courageous as their fathers and enemies were. So what made these 2000 stripling warriors succeed? Was it the influence of their teachers? Was it their siblings? Was it leaders in the Church? No. Listen to verses 47 and 48 in Alma 56: 

"Now they had never fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them."
"And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We did not doubt our mothers knew."

It was the testimony and teachings of their mothers that kept them valiant and fearless.

Now I would like to speak small about my own mother. My mother is a member of the church since she was born. She introduced the gospel to my father, and he was baptized and they later got married in the temple. Because of my mother, my father was baptized into the church. She is a great example to me of a woman who does not lower her standards for anyone. I am second-born of four children. Ever since I was born, my mom was always at home. Even in my high school years, I remember coming home after school and seeing my mother working around the house. I would like to share one quick story:

I worked at a restaurant for some time. My shift was always to close the restaurant, meaning that I wouldn't get home until 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning. Each night I worked, I would always get home to see my mother and father waiting for me. They were not going to sleep until they saw me come home safe and sound, no matter how tired they were. That is one memory of my mother that I'll always remember.

Today is Mother's Day, of course. I miss my mom. She used to cook and do all my wash, but I have to do all that now! She made the most delicious foods, and I'll have to wait for a while to eat her dishes again. As missionaries, we get to call home 2 times a year: Christmas and Mother's Day. today I'm so excited to be able to speak with my family and wish my mother a Happy Mothers' Day. I am so thankful for the wonderful mother I have. She an am amazing woman, and has been one of the biggest influences in my whole life. Without her I wouldn't be who I am today. I love and miss her a lot. God bless all you mother's on this special day. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Did You Say Washing Machine?

Dear friends and family, 

Yep, you heard it! The other day I received a text message from President Heid, informing us that Elder Effiong and I were going to be given a small washing machine as a test-trial for the rest of the mission. The story goes that we are the first missionaries in all of West Africa to be using a washing machine! That includes all of Ghana and Sierra Leone for sure, maybe even more missions in Nigeria. Pretty cool, huh? The washing machine is nice! I don't know how well it works on shirts and things like that yet, but it sure makes washing socks easier!
Barber man went a little happy on my sides last night..
Now I don't feel like the only Ginger in Ghana!

Anyways, the work is still rollin' forward. We've been able to reach out to several less-actives again. It was nice seeing some come to church and even bear their testimony Sunday. People just need to feel loved sometimes, really. We got several new investigators this week also, some we feel are ready for an upcoming baptism!  Our teaching pool is getting really big now, I love that! Elder Effiong and I have crashed on our bikes a couple of times throughout the week, so that's been funny.
Most of these Elders were in our apartment last night. All but 2. 

I'm stoked to hear from you all on Mother's Day! It will be a great time. 

I'll keep this letter short so we have things to talk about. 
The girl who's name is Perfect, invited us to her birthday! She is a great girl.

What it looks like right before a big storm. Heavy wind and very cool. We got soaked! 
By the way, sorry I didn't write yesterday. Our zone had an activity at a beach a few hours away (near the border of Togo), so we got back kind of later in the day. It was also a holiday, so the public cafes were closing.
The drive on the way to the beach. Where we went is Aflao, which borders the country Togo. Far! 

Talk to you Sunday! 

Elder Nissinen

(This is a text I received from one of the couple missionaries serving in Elder B's area.  It's always nice to hear how he is serving and how well he is being taken care by some amazing couple missionaries! This is a picture of Elder and Sister Bondie with Elder B. He said he will miss them a ton)

 "As moms we know how absolutely wonderful our sons are. When someone else sees what we know...it warms our heart:). I want to tell you that my husband and I have seen how incredible your son is! Elder Nissinen is such a hardworking, obedient, patient, thoughtful, mature, and fun young man! We feel so blessed to have him serving in Ho and have this chance to spend time with him. He is a great missionary!" -Sister Bondie.