Monday, July 17, 2017

Last Week, Last Letter

Dear family and friends, 

I'm not really sure what to say in this letter. It's the letter I've been looking forward to write for a long long time, and now that it's here, I'm at a little loss for words. It might be best to save a large part of what I want to say for my homecoming talk in church in 2 weeks. 

I have done a bit of reflecting the past few days on how my mission has changed me and blessed me. As expected, I'm a lot different than I was when I came two years ago. Slowly and surely, whether because of companions, areas, or members, I've been molded into the man God would intend for me to be. The list of lessons I've learned here is endless, but if there's one thing that's really made an impact on me is that there's a lot of people out there with tough situations, and I'm extremely blessed to have the life I have. Living in America 18 years sheltered me from what real life is like for a large part of the world's population. Being literally immersed in Ghana for two years has opened my eyes and softened my heart. I get to (somewhat) live in humble circumstances for two years and go back to first-world lifestyles. My friends here don't. That will be hard to get over. 

I might have touched a few lives, but without realizing it, so many of them have touched mine too. I pray to Heavenly Father that I never forget the people I've crossed and their stories. 

It's been said that a missionary's most important convert is themselves. My mission has given me the opportunity to be closer to God through studying the gospel and teaching it. As I've read and taught the Book of Mormon, I've come to know it to be true, without a doubt. My mission has helped me to see God working in His children's lives, my own and those I've come across. I know that He lives and that He loves me. Throughout this difficult two years, He's been there to guide, comfort, and confirm to me that this is His Church, and that He loves me. That sweet assurance has blessed me tremendously. 

Last of all, I thank you for your support. Missions are hard enough with a loving, supporting family backing you up. There's a lot of missionaries I've served around who don't have anything near the support I have. The occasional package or letter has really helped me stay sane at times. I especially thank the immediate family for their weekly letters. I realize you are all very busy and tired, and to write me every week was probably a bit of a burden, but know that news and pictures from home - no matter how little - goes a long ways! Thank you. I don't think I could have done it without you. Heck, I barely did it with you! 

My time has come. I will miss the people of Ghana very much. I'm sooooo grateful that I could serve here. This is the best mission ever! 

The Church is True, the Book of Mormon is blue (and true). God loves and wants the absolute best for ALL His children, and is ever-ready to bless us when we do what He's asked. 

I only hope that God will accept my two year offering and find my service worthy. Although I've fallen short at times, I believe I've done my best. I believe I can walk on the airplane feeling like I've made the world a little better. My greatest joy hasn't come from baptizing converts, but rather knowing that I was an instrument in God's hands to carry forth His work. I suppose the baptisms is second! 

Have a wonderful week! Can't even believe I'll be with you all in just one week. Time flies doesn't it? 


Love always, 

Elder Nissinen

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