Elder Nissinen

Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Mission Standard Week

Dear family and friends, 

I apologize for not writing yesterday. We had a great multi-zone conference and didn't get back until late, so today is our P-day. 

In the mission field, President Heid has set standards for the missionaries to achieve. Some of these are investigators at sacrament, investigators with baptismal dates, and new investigators. I have tried for 11 months to get a mission standard week and have gotten super close several times. Well, last week Elder Effiong and I got a mission standard week! We finally put our shoulders to wheel and received so many blessings from it. 

This weekend we are baptizing 2 minors and one older guy. I'm excited! Raphael, the older guy, has been to church 7 straight times, so we feel fully confident that he'll be a lasting support to the branch. Sunday we taught 2nd and 3rd hour without prior notice. Teaching can be a lot of fun. 

The work is going so well right now, it's hard to describe. I can't be grateful enough for my mission and the experiences I'm having. 

This week we'll get news about transfers. The both of us are on the edges of our seats cause we don't want to leave. 

Something interesting struck me last night: 
We had gotten back at the apartment from the long drive home after the conference and had a knock on our door. It was a young woman and two of her classmates. One of the girls (nonmember) had serious pains in her leg and it was affecting her ability to focus during her exams. She asked if we could give her a blessing. Of course we did. After this experience, I thought to myself for a while about the whole thing. I could get asked at any moment to use God's priesthood. I have to keep myself worthy at all times to be able to have that power, because we never know when that power will be called upon to help His children. I want to always be able, at any given moment, to be able to say "Lord, I feel I can qualify". Some less-actives brag that they have the priesthood authority. We teach them if they're living their lives unworthily, the priesthood power is gone from them and the cannot act in the name of God. Keeping the commandments will bring the Holy Ghost, which will bring back that priesthood power. 

The priesthood is a tremendous (and wonderful) responsibility that we brethren have. "Where much is given, much is required". 

It's so great to hear from you all. Have a wonderful week. 

Love Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Superman and Sacrament Meeting

This picture was a cool idea by my companion. Funny story is that I accidentally left that name tag there and didn't realize it until we were down at the bottom. So my name tag is literally at the highest peak in West Africa haha!

Dear family and friends, 

Thanks for all the great pictures and info about your Trek! It's sounds like you guys had a wonderful, hard time and learned a lot from it. Most importantly, your testimony was strengthened. I'm happy to hear it wasn't easy and you worked hard to "pull" through. Remember what you learned!
This is Clement. He's Joe's age. He works very hard selling FanIce (a frozen treat in Ghana) to pay for his school fees. He's an inspiration to me. I tear up thinking about his work ethic. Great kid. Need more like him.

I'm doing as good as I can get right now. We've got so many serious investigators and so many upcoming baptisms, it's just rockin'! 

The other day we were climbing on our bikes up a really rough terrain to visit a member. For whatever reason none of my brakes worked. I knew the ride down was going to be interesting. As we were going down, I quickly realized I was in trouble. I could either smash my companion or run into a rock to stop me. I went for the rock and sailed over the handlebars, landing on my back in some rows of corn. It was pretty cool if you ask me. I didn't get hurt, so it was kind of funny. Felt like Superman for a second or two. 

The highlight of my week was Sunday. Rumors were going around that President Gay (one of the Seventy) was coming to visit our branch. Elder Effiong and I were assigned to give talks also. President Gay never came, but we had 8 investigators come! It was such a joy. The best part of it had to be when Sarah and her two kids came together. After church we were talking, and the mother is super dedicated to be baptized. We're so excited! Our investigator's class was so full we had to force our recent converts to another classroom! 

Elder Effiong and I are doing great together. He feels like he will be transferred, but I hope he stays for a bit longer so he can be here to finish teaching all these great investigators. 

On the 30th of this month, we are baptizing a guy named Raphael. He's been to church 6 times, and is totally ready for it. We're also baptizing a young girl named Felicia. She stays with her grandmother and has always come to church, but for some reason wasn't baptized when she was 8. 

Again, things can't get too much brighter around here. I say it time and time again, but I really don't want things to change for me for a while! Ho is fantastic. 

On a side note, our zone climbed the highest peak in Ghana and West Africa today. We got some sweet pictures and the views were outstanding. 

It's great to hear from you all. Have a fun week! 

Love Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Have Miracles Ceased? Nay

Dear family and friends, 

It's been another week. Yeah! 

Things are going great in general. Elder Effiong wasn't feeling too good, so we spend two afternoons in the hospital. His ears and head were bothering him. The work was a little slow, but he's doing better now. 

One of 3 families where every member of the family is active in the church. This is the only family that every member comes every week and the husband sits next to the wife. Great family! 

I mentioned something about miracles last email. This week was one of miracles. An investigator's mother was pretty sick, so we offered to give her a blessing. A few days later we returned and was teaching the daughter, who is a solid investigator that we'll baptize at the end of the month (hopefully). We invited the mother to sit in also. At the end of the lesson, we discussed the plans for the daughter's baptismal date, to which the mother said "I want to get baptized too!". I was so surprised and shocked, I think Effiong was too! Long story short, we plan on baptizing the mother, daughter, and son at the end of the month. Have miracles ceased? Nay. 

Friday night we got back to the apartment and realized we had lost our keys. After searching for a while in the nearby areas we were at earlier, we couldn't find anything. It being dark out didn't help our situation either. A few minutes later we go back to a store where we had bought some food, and still couldn't find the keys. As we're walking back, a guy comes up to us and says "Are you looking for some keys?". I was so surprised the guy had even seen the keys on the ground at night and was honest enough to give them to us. Have miracles ceased? Nay.
It's just a road sign....But it's true!

We scored 5 investigators at sacrament also. One investigator, who we'll baptize at the end of the month, has been to church 5 times already! The great part was that two of our recent converts (Bless and Daniel) gave talks. We helped them all week to write them, and they did a great job. It's a great comfort to know that your recent convert is staying strong in the gospel. 
Brother Ballard. He served here in Ho four years ago and came back to visit and for some charity work or something. Dad landscapes his father's place. Small world!

Saturday night the barber messed up my hair BADLY, so my hair is shorter than Dad's right now. Not too happy about that one, but it'll grow back.  Good luck on Trek! Kids need something hard to do over the summer. It'll be helpful when they're older. I loved Trek. It was hard but worthwhile. Many hard things there are reflected in my mission life. Make sure you get a lot of pics of Trek. 
By the way, I'm sending a letter home today to Jacob and Kim that I don't want them to open until they are married. It's a pretty great letter if I do say so myself. I'm praying that it'll reach home before they're married though. Jacob and Kimberley will LOVE the letter. It was so fun to write. I wrote it in a way that it could be read in front of the whole family if they'd like to.
Great to hear from you guys. Enjoy your week.

Elder Nissinen

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Happy Birthday America!!!

Dear friends and family, 

I'm pretty far away from home, but you don't worry, I'm a citizen of the United States of America and I still feel patriotic today! 

Our week was great. Elder Effiong and I have been blessed to have a young man come with us every single day, which is a big help when it comes to translation issues. It's definitely a blessing! He'll be so prepared for his own mission soon. 
Some of my favorite pictures of my mission!

The second one had a big hole in it! The hole was made by the termites or ants and you can see all the way to the top! Super cool!!!

We've got several investigators who are preparing for their baptisms right now. However, many of them will need major changes in order for us to convert them. Miracles, honestly, need to happen. I've thought about what I'm asking people to do on a daily basis: give up drugs, co-habitation, their own previous church with all their friends there, repent, and accept the commitment of being dedicated to the Church and follow Jesus Christ for the rest of their lives. It's an incredibly hard pill to swallow, but people do it all the time everywhere. Why? Because the Church is true, and God is leading this work. I'm simply suppose to be His tool in which He can use to make it all happen. For those of you who are preparing for a mission, seriously ponder what you'll be asking people to do and give up. It will change the way you teach and love your investigators.

We were so happy to see two great investigators at sacrament yesterday. It's a wonderful feeling! 

Saturday was kind of funny. For one reason or another, we literally taught the Book of Mormon all day long! Hour after hour, lesson after lesson, question after question - we did it! It wasn't easy to keep our focus (especially after answering the same questions all day) and as we were biking home I mentally started complaining, when I realized how lucky I was! Seriously, I was able to talk about "the keystone of our religion" all day long! What a blessing, right?! 

Well, that's about it for our week. I love my mission so much. It's amazing. I'm so appreciative for this opportunity I have to serve in Ghana. I realize how blessed we are as Americans to live in such a wonderful country with plenteous opportunities. Have a great 4th! I miss making my 4th of July playlist haha. God bless America!!!!! 
Don't worry, your boy is still American! 


Pizza for lunch.... 

and more junk for Dinner!!! Wohoo!

Love always, 

Elder Nissinen