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.

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