Elder Nissinen

Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

New Focus

Dear family and friends, 

Not to get into too many details, but this was another tough week for us. 

The highlight of the week was the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast. It was a bit different than last year's. It was structured like an executive committee meeting rather than a talk-based instruction. Many great insights were given, and I enjoyed as I got to sit back and repeatedly get instructed on the Doctrine of Christ and our Missionary Purpose. At the end, they announced two big changes: First, our schedule is slightly different. They feel like we are ready to have a more flexible schedule, allowing us to be agents of our own time. The schedule is adapted to the culture of the country. Nothing much changed for our mission though. The second announcement was huge. Now, we are only recording four key indicators instead of nine. No more lessons are even counted or sent in. This is to narrow our goals to the very most important tasks. All of us were pretty shocked. 

In just the few days we've been implementing this, we love it. My own goal was always to get as many lessons in as possible, and now I get to slow down and really focus on helping the investigator understand, as well as understanding them. We'll be looking to new materials also, like Daily Planners and a brand-new 12 Week Training Program. 

Sefakor's baptism did not go through. For a while, we were not sure if she was mentally capable of being baptized. She has some severe challenges with learning. We had talked with the Zone Leaders about it, and they weren't sure as well. Horne and I prayed about what would be the best decision. Sunday morning rolled around, and we went to open the font. Somehow all the water we pumped in there Saturday leaked out. We were upset about it, and just postponed it to next month. As sacrament meeting was going, I noticed Sefakor was outside on the ground sleeping. It was an answer to our prayers that maybe she did not need baptism. We feel that our decision was right, and we're grateful to the Lord for giving us that answer. With that being said, we did extend a baptismal date to a super solid investigator for next month! 

I lost my camera Thursday morning. Somehow it fell out of my bag when I was riding my bike. It had my memory card of all my pictures since I came. I am hoping you save everything I send home. I usually try and email every picture I take from the week, so not many things are lost. It could be worse. The camera was pretty nice, so that's the sucky part. I did save all my videos onto another flash drive, so we're lucky on that part of it. I'm really sorry I lost it.  I also got sick for a few days, but I'm all good now. 
I did get the packages from Ninnie. Those are great! Elder Horne and I are thankful for them.

I know that the Lord is mindful of His children and that this is His work. Prayers are answered (sometimes in unique ways). I am thankful for the hard times I'm having here that teach me and change me into whatever the Lord needs me to be. 

Have a great week. 

Love Elder Nissinen

Monday, January 23, 2017


Dear family and friends, 

It's a bit tough to try and explain this week in a few words. When the week was all said and done though, it was great! 

It was an unusually hot week for us. We had a lot of new people that we were planning on beginning the discussions with, but unfortunately most of these people cannot speak English. All throughout the week we were constantly looking for member-translators and weren't getting much support. Actually, we were in a far village trying to teach a family one day, and no members were around. We ended up using a 14-year old girl who was nearby to do it for us. I thought that was really funny. Elder Horne also got sick for a few days. Every day we had tons of appointments booked, but almost all of them fell through. On Tuesday after a tough morning, we just had to sit down and cry for a few minutes. To top it all off, we didn't have any electricity in our apartment for more than two straight days - Friday to Sunday. Thanks to some sleeping pills though, we were able to make it through those hot, fan-less nights.
A big storm that flew right over us!  

Sunday it all changed: Sunday morning we were really surprised when President Heid's 1st Counselor showed up, along with the 1st and 2nd Counselor to our district presidency. With still no electricity, sacrament meeting got hot quickly. Miraculously, the lights came on and the fans cooled us all down. One by one, our investigators trickled in throughout the meeting. Eventually we ended up with FIVE investigators at sacrament. As the fifth one walked in, the only thing that came into my mind was "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer. Let me tell ya, that felt GOOD. 

The best part of the week, however, was the TWO baptismal dates we extended! That's right.... Tsito's having some baptisms! We've got one this coming Sunday, and two at the end of February. 

Looking back, I could see how Heavenly Father had blessed Elder Horne and I for our efforts. We did the best we could, and let Him make up the difference. Eternal perspective is a handy tool in our mortal journey.

This week is going to be great. On Friday we are going to watch the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast, and Sunday baptize Sefakor. 

I just wanted to say a big THANKS to the ward members at home for the nice package and the handwritten cards. That was very thoughtful of you, and I appreciate your support - and the Snickers bars. 

Have a great week! HAMMER TIME. 

Love, Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cold Mornings

Dear family and friends, 

It's been another great week in Tsito. Transfer news rolled out, and I was worried I'd be leaving. After all, I've been in this district for almost 10 months now. Horne and I are staying! We're both real happy about that. We're firing on all cylinders and we want to keep it that way. 

As all too usual in missionary work, with as much new investigators to follow up with, we also had to drop a lot. It's a never-ending task of adding and dropping investigators, but that's what keeps the days different sometimes. We contacted a lot of people. This week I contacted the people that would smile and wave back at me. Nice people are usually the ones that progress! We'll see what happens this week. 
A cute little duckling

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Church was great. A young woman couldn't give her talk, so she called and asked if I could. For zero preparation on the topic, I felt like I did pretty decent haha. But it's not too big of a deal when you're only speaking to 39 people either. We also held a meeting with all the endowed members of the branch and instructed them on the garment. Seems like they forgot some important parts, and we needed to remind them on a few details. 

Elder Horne and I love fufu!

We've discussed for a while the idea of having a literacy class. So many members here don't know how to read or write English. There's a great NGO program created by a Mormon guy that is used all around Ghana that we're going to implement. We announced it Sunday and almost half the branch signed up. We're hoping it will be a success and that it'll be a way to bring non-members in. 

 Exchanges with Elder Howland

The mornings here are cold lately. Horne and I are shivering whenever we wake up! 
Elder Horne with some kids

In Seminary we studied John 3. As I was preparing the lesson, I got a deeper understanding of verse 16. The most ultimate expression of love is found there: God sending His perfect Son to die for us so that all of us, if we choose so, can return to live with Him again. God really does love us! 
Our apartment was getting some maintenance done on it so it's safer. They were welding and painting and the guys just made the place a  mess. But the apartment is absolutely spotless now. Probably the cleanest in the mission in my opinion. 

Have a great, cold week. 

Love Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Gadianton Robbers

Dear friends and family, 

Our week was fantastic (for the most part). 

On Tuesday, we were lucky to have the physical and mental doctors for all the Africa West Area come and instruct our zone. They were fun and helped us with handling stress throughout our missions. 

I conducted exchanges with some of my district members Thursday and Friday. It's nice moving companionships around and being able to work and learn with other missionaries. I was able to give some advice to some of my district members who are struggling with their companions and teach them about working their area more efficiently. 

Well, either Thursday or Friday afternoon, some of Elder Horne's valuables were stolen. Some small boys ripped through our window screen and took his old camera and several memory cards. We were lucky it wasn't worse. It was overall a small-scale theft and a wake-up to us to hide our valuables away from windows and such. It was a lesson learned! 

Somehow we had a really great week. We had 23 lessons by Saturday morning, and we wanted to get 30 even. After a hard day's work, we muscled in lesson no. 30. I have only reached that a few times in my mission, and it sure felt good to hit it again. 

Many of our seeds we've planted are sprouting up. Our teaching pool is fantastic, and several investigators are pretty serious. In fact, we had 3 at sacrament meeting yesterday, and Horne and I think all 3 are future baptismal dates. Tsito's rolling! 

Well, that's about it for our week. We're working hard, having fun, and using our abilities to the max to further God's work out here. This is His work! 

May God bless you all to have a wonderful week. 

Love Elder Nissinen

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Greetings from Tatooine

Dear family and friends, 


It's pretty hard to believe that it's already 2017, and that I'm able to say I'm going home this year! 2016 was a phenomenal year for not only me, but for the whole family. It was probably the only year of my life that'll be able to say I served the Lord full-time. That's something special there! Our family sure has been blessed in 2016. 
Kids in our area

You're probably wondering what the heck Tatooine is. Well, this time of the year is Harmattan Season, where sand and dust from the Sahara blow over. This creates a cloud of dust in the sky, covering the sun and making the weather a bit cooler. Because the sun is blocked, it's easy to look right into it during broad daylight. Elder Horne called it Tatooine off of Star Wars, and I thought it was clever and funny. Like I said, the Harmattan makes everything cooler, so it's nice for a change, but the air quality isn't great. 
Harmattan. You can see the dust over the
mountains in the background.
Overall, our week was solid. We were struggling in the beginning of the week with finding new investigators, but our prayers were answered, and out of thin air new investigators and referrals starting pouring in. President Heid has repeatedly taught that "less-actives are gold mines". The reason is that most of their friends and family are non-members. So it's a fantastic opportunity to not only re-activate a member, but to introduce the gospel to their family and friends. We have a few situations like that right now. Hopefully good results will come. President's always right! 

Sad news: 
Tuesday evening we got back to the apartment, and my name tag wasn't on me. Some time that evening I lost it. It fell in a taxi probably. It's my special tag that I've worn since day 1, so I'd be really bummed out of if never showed up. I'm praying that it'll come back to us somehow. 

For New Years Eve, all missionaries had to be in by 6pm. Luckily for us, our branch is at our house, so we were able to hang with the branch for the evening! It was fun, and a few investigators even showed up. For New Year's Eve in Ghana, every single person goes to a church to worship and make noise until 2 in the morning. 

Thanks for informing me of your New Year's Resolutions. Sounds like all of us (me included) have a resolution to improve our scripture studying. All the answers to life's questions are found in there! It's the iron rod that leads to the tree of life, not anything else. 

I'm so grateful for 2016. The Lord has been good to me. I wish all of you a Happy 2017. 

Love always, 

Elder Nissinen