Monday, December 29, 2014

2014

Takk for sist! It seems like I just barely talked to you! Everybody looked way taller (even you dad) and older (except for you mom)! I realized afterwards how hard it is to really explain the mission experience over a skype call, but I think the visual image I got of all of you is what I will cherish the most! 

It has been  a very intereseting week missionary work wise. Norway pretty much shuts down for the holidays and it has been near impossible to get appointments set up with our investigators. We were in members homes nearly every night this past week, which helped us buld up relationships and put on a few needed holiday pounds. It was quite the blessing. The family we were with on Julaften (Christmas Eve) is the brother to the Isaksen family in Kongsberg that I knew so well! There are lots of cool Christmas traditions that it was fun to be a part of. For one, on Julaften you always eat a dessert called riskrem. Hidden in the dessert is an Almond, and whoever finds it wins a pig cake. Anyways, I was the lucky one this year and earned myself a pretty gnarly pig! They also have this ancient tradition of walking in circles around the Christmas tree singing Christmas songs. good stuff.

It has been a special experience to dedicate the Christmas season to serving others. Our district organized a caroling activity one night in which we were able to sing to several member and non-members. There was one older lady that we visited who has been inactive because of her poor health. We went into her house and she told us her favorite hymn, which we then sang with her and despite her poor health she sang along with us! Another day, we went to a care facility to give a blessing to a member that is dying from cancer. He could hardly move and was in a lot of pain. It was really neat to give him a blessing and see the peace it brought to his soul. As we were about to head home for dinner I saw a chessboard on his table and asked him if he played chess. He said yes and asked if I wanted to play with him. So, for the first time in many years, I played chess with this man and he beat me pretty good! "When you are in the service of your fellow beings you are only in the service of your God." 

2014 has been a very special year. I remember just 4 years ago I was David's age beginning school in Boise. I wasn't very sure what I was doing with my life. 2 years ago I was writing up countless college applications to schools across the country. I was devestated when the responses of every school was a resounding NO apart from one school: BYU. One year ago, I had just finished up my second semester of college, two semesters that allowed me to really develop a testimony for the Gospel and a desire to serve a mission. For almost all of 2014 I have been serving as a missionary in Norway doing a work that I know is good and true. Looking back, I am so grateful for the ways in which God has directed my path over the years. I have a testimony that God has a plan for us and is mindful of us every step of the way!

have a great week and a godt nyttår!

Love, 
Eldste Parkinson



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

GOD JUL!

A really quick note because I will be talking to you tomorrow on skype! It has been really cool to experience the Christmas season as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! Every Christmas I remember has followed the same tradition of family, food, presents, etc. Being away from all that for the first time has allowed me to really contemplate the true meaning of Christmas and the role Jesus Christ plays in my life. I am grateful for my testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ! I am grateful for the opportunity I have to spread this glorious message to the people of Norway! On Sunday there was an awesome talk about the "Condescension of Christ:" A super big word. "Nedlatenhet" in Norwegian. As big and strange of a word as it is, it really helps explain Christ's role in our lives. God's son, who came into the world without sin, went below all we will ever experience and fathom in order to lift us all back to our Father in heaven. We watched a movie last night about the Nativity and it was interesting to think about how the Son of God, the King of Kings, was born in the lowest of conditions, amongst livestock. How grateful I am for His life and his sacrifice! 

The members are taking great care of us! We have dinner appointments lined up all this week! I appreciate the letters, packages, and prayers that have come my way! 

God Jul!

Love, 
Eldste Parkinson

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Lord's strength

What a week! Elder Holden ended up being here through Friday and bounced down to Sandvika for the remainder of his mission. We had a blast serving together and were blessed with miracles on miracles. I am now living right in the heart of Oslo with my new companion elder Christensen. He has been out as long as Elder Abril, so I will finish training him the rest of this transfer. He is from Nampa, Idaho, which brings back memories of my first basketball game out at Nampa High School!

The work in Oslo is exciting! We have an awesome ward mission leader from Scotland who served his mission in Norway several years ago! A lot of great members and a lot of potential to reactivate.

We were able to teach our Icelandic buddy Ari a couple more times this week! He is awesome and getting integrated in with some of the young adults! We were teaching about prayer and invited him to close our lesson with a prayer and he just paused for a long time not knowing what to say. We asked if we could say one first to demonstrate and he blurted out "Yes, Show me!" He said a simple prayer after for the first time in his life and he was beaming after he said Amen. 

A couple more crazy stories: 1. Last Sunday on the metro to Church this man overheard two of the other missionaries talking with somebody about Jesus Christ. All the missionaries got off the T-bane (Metro) and started walking to the church as this man decided to jump off after us, epically running to the door sticking his hand in right before the doors closed. He came to church and we have started teaching him! From Eritrea/Ethiopia. 2. On Tuesday night Elder Holden and I had this former investigator we were going to try and visit. We had no phone number, just an address. We were on our way to the T-bane and started talking to this lady that we followed onto a Trikk (Street Car) that we figured would take us to the right area. We gave the lady a pamphlet before she got off and split up to talk some other people. Lo and behold, Elder Holden strikes up a conversation with this man from Nigeria and gets his name and number before we get off the trikk...Turns out this man was the man we were on our way to visit! What?!?! And Oslo is a little bigger than Kongsberg haha! I am not sure what will become of the two people from these stories, but God knows where His sheep are and will set us into their paths when we act on the promptings of the Holy Ghost! 

I learned a lot these last few weeks about relying on the Lord. We worked really hard and honestly didn't have time for meals sometime because of travel and unexpected things that came up. But no matter how tired or hungry I was, once I started talking with others about the gospel or teaching lessons I felt more strength and energy than any energy drink, drug, or full night sleep could of given me. It makes me think of my favorite scripture in Isaiah and another one I have found recently:

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strengththey shall mount  up with wings as eaglesthey shall runand not be weary; and they shall walk,  and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

12 And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my   gospel as with the voice of trumpboth day and night. And will give unto him strength such as is not known among men. (Doctrine and Covenants 24:12)

I'm grateful for the joy this gospel gives me and for my opportunity to dedicate 2 years of my life spreading that joy across Norway!

Have a great week!

Love,
Eldste Parkinson



Monday, December 8, 2014

My dog is named Grimsey!

Hey Fam,

It's been an unbelievable week! We found out that there will be a mini moves on Wednesday. Elder Holden will be moving to Romerike and I will be joining Elder Christensen here in Oslo. Our area will be closing after two weeks, but will probably open up again next transfer. We are a bit bummed, but the work is going great here!
Saturday may have been the coolest day of my mission!

We had some really awesome experiences. We had a sweet teach with this guy from the Congo and his Norwegian girlfriend. We taught an awesome lesson in which we talked a lot about authority and at the end of the lesson we gave the girlfriend a priesthood blessing for her injured back and the spirit was really strong! 

We did a street stand to invite people to the language class we are starting up. It's crazy how big Oslo is compared to the other places I have served. Felt like I was in NYC. There was this guy that wasn't happy about our street stand and stood with his bike blocking our sign for about 45 minutes. We all would try talking to him and he would just want to bash so we let him be. It got me pretty fired up, but I'm glad I kept my cool. Ironically I was reading in the scriptures the next day about how Christ tolerated everything without even opening his mouth. Turn the other cheek. 

God blessed us with another awesome teach after the street stand, though! This awesome Icelandic guy who moved here about 4 years ago! It was probably one of the most powerful teaches on my mission. He was asking us the most sincere questions and the spirit hit him so strong! I was able to talk to him for a while about Iceland and he said he is from Akureyri! Did we go there? He said he has been to Grimsey island and I told him that my dog is named Grimsey! He is so prepared! We had another teach that night with our progressor named Ørjan! He is the nicest guy and is making good progress towards baptism!
It's been exciting to start using the "He is the Gift" video in our proselyting! We got into several houses by just asking if we could show them the video! If you haven't seen it yet it is on christmas.mormon.org. It's been a great motivation to really focus on being a Christ centered missionary.
One nice thing that is nice about serving in Oslo is that we have access to this Young Adult Center right in the middle of the city. It has a huge kitchen, couches, ping pong table, etc. Institute is held there as well as other activities. It is a great place to teach investigators and there are tons of young members that are there all the time!
It is starting to get colder and looking like Christmas! I appreciate all of the love and support! It keeps me warm :)
Love,
Eldste Parkinson

Isaksen family and Hisam

Kongsberg

Emmanuel -- love this guy!

Winter is here

Monday, December 1, 2014

A few more Thanksgiving pictures...

Thanks again to the Rasmussens!!






Thanksgiving Photos

Sent from a senior couple in Oslo with the comment: "Love These Great Missionaries!"

Tom is near rear on right side




Week 1 in Oslo!

We had a great last couple of days in Kongsberg. We had an awesome FHE at the Isaksen's house with an investigator named H and some other members. We found H a week before I left and were able to teach him 4 times in one week! Awesome guy that has committed to prepare for baptism! A huge miracle. It was cool to teach him one last time right before I left!

It's been a sweet first week in the big city of Oslo! We are actually living in Sandvika in an apartment that the AP's were living in, which is about a 25 minute train ride from the city. There are 8 other missionaries in the Oslo ward and one senior couple! It's an exciting feeling to be starting completely from scratch without any prior obligations. The ward is huge (about 700 members on the list), but only about 180 of them are active. There is so much potential for this city to just take off!!

Elder Holden is a cool dude! From Rockford, Illinois and already has completed a bachelors degree in Finance. He is a great missionary and really helping me develop skills and get more excited and consecrated to this work! It's also fun to be serving with someone from the Midwest! 

We have spent a lot of time on the streets talking to people! It is such a contrast to the abandoned streets of Kongsberg that I had become so used to. We have been blessed with many tender mercies as we open up this area. First, when looking through some drawers in the apartment we found some old Oslo area books that we able to find some very cool people in! One being this part member family from Vietnam that we were able to teach yesterday! Another miracle happened when we were sitting in the Institute Center downtown looking up an address on the computer. This random guy, turned out to be a previous investigator, walked in asking if he could meet with some missionaries. We had an awesome teach in which we were able to commit him to baptism! There were difficult times too, when appointments would fall through and nobody would stop and talk to us, but I have come to be grateful for those struggles. I recognize that God tests us and tries us in order to qualify us for all the blessings he has in store. I am grateful for the opportunity to be consecrated to this work and for the powers from heaven that are available to us when we bury our weapons of war like the the Lamanites did and commit to follow Christ! 

I love you all!

Eldste Parkinson

Monday, November 24, 2014

Moves Call! AND….

HEY FAM!
I cannot believe Hannah is home! I was going to send this to her mission email because it has become so natural. Congrats on an awesome 18 months!
In other news, moves call was this week! AND....I am going to Oslo to open up a new area! Complete surprise. I thought I was going to have one more transfer in Kongsberg, but I am going to the capital city! My new comp is going to be elder Holden, who only has one transfer left! Way solid missionary that is also from the Midwest so I am excited to tear it up with him! I'm going to have so much to learn. Lots of energy going into this transfer, but at the same time it is very bittersweet. I've come to love the people in Kongsberg and the members in the Drammen Ward. Because Kongsberg is so small I have come to know pretty much everyone. Whether it's the Library ladies, grocery store workers, or the old man named Dagfinn I say good morning to each day as he smokes his pipe on his same bench. I will miss it!
It was a special last week though. I think the highlight for me was teaching this man named Emmanuel. I need to tell you his story. Back when I was with Elder Skøien, we were one day walking up a hill to an appointment with a member. We were running late and I had on some tunnnel vision. Out of the blue this guy contacts ME in english asking us what we do. I told him about the Book of Mormon for about 2 minutes before telling him we had to run to an appointment. We got a phone number, taught him the next morning, and one more time that same week. Then, he got way busy and had some tough things happen in his life. I probably banked on his door 20 times in the last 2 months and we were never able to teach him and every appointment we got fell through. This past week we were finally able to come inside and had an incredible teach! Emmanuel is a truth seeker and the spirit testified to him time and time again in that lesson! 
We visited a lot of members this week and were able to regain contact with quite a few investigators. Elder Abril will be staying put in Kongsberg and will do awesome things! He has developed skills so fast and definitely taught me more than I could ever teach him. Training was a great experience.
A bunch of missionaries gathered together today and we had a good old American Turkey Bowl! We'll be having a get together tonight with members and some investigators in Kongsberg! I'll attach a bunch of photos!
Love,
Eldste Parkinson

Biskop Waal! 

​The awesome Ward Mission Leader Glenn and Fam!

Thought I would forward a photo the Isaksen family sent me! They have taken great care of me!

Drive to Tønsberg!

Sister Isaksen brought us back all this from Sweden! Props to having a Svensk companion. Meatballs included!
The awesome Nystad family! Go Pack go!





Monday, November 17, 2014

HEY

HEY
SHOUT OUT...to David with the 15th birthday on Saturday! I sent something in the mail, so I hope it gets to you before the big day! It will be special to have Hannah back a few days before. I hear you are getting pretty tall, Dave. Dunkin' yet? We will be playing some bball in the church later today. Most of the elders in the district played high school ball and we keep saying that we should put together a squad and take on the little Norwegian pro teams haha.
We had a great Zone Leader Training on Tuesday in Tønsberg. We drove on this tiny little winding road to get there and it was way scenic. We talked a lot about teaching skills especially when it comes to resolving concerns. One important thing I learned is that our job is to "help other people resolve their concerns," not simply "resolve their concerns for them." Often I become used to certain concerns and try to use rote, textbook answers that I have given before. It really comes down to teaching in the way that Elder Bednar taught us while he was here: help investigators become agents rather than objects by listening, asking inspired questions, and allowing the spirit to teach them answers to their own concerns.
We had a difficult time teaching people this week. Appointment after appointment fell through, something you become used to as a missionary, but this week seemed especially brutal. But, all disappointments really help you to appreciate the few flecks of gold you did have. We had an awesome teach with one of our newer investigators named Jacob. He is a really nice man from Sierra Leone! Thanks to the car we were able to visit a less active that lives out in the boonies. Literally the middle of nowhere haha. The address wouldn't even show up on the GPS so we had to ask around before we eventually found the street. We didn't know much about her, but we banked on the door and were able to teach the whole family (4 kids and a husband)! She is a convert of about 14 years and still reads daily in the Book of Mormon, but her family has unfortunately never jumped on board. It was a really cool and unexpected teach.
Sunday was the Primary Program. The Primary in this ward is about twice as big as the whole branch in Tromsø haha. The missionaries got to go up and sing the song "Vi vil bringe sannhet til jord" (We'll bring the world his truth) with the primary which was cool. All the elders in the ward are really tall so it was a cool image with all these kids as tall as our kneecaps.
Norwegians start celebrating Jul (Christmas) really early. Stores are all filled with Christmas items and grocery stores have all this cheap food that is special for Christmas. Plus, we have been listening to this christmas MO-TAB CD on repeat in the car. Ready for the Holidays! 

Not much else to say! Have a great week!
Love,
Eldste Parkinson

Monday, November 10, 2014

Members and Missionaries

First off, thanks for all the birthday wishes! It was a great day and even better with all the love from back home! It snowed quite a bit, which made it a memorable day! 

We had quite a few service opportunities this week, which was awesome! We helped the Isaksen family with their garage project and helped another member move. Unfortunately, this member lived on the 5th floor of an apartment complex with no elevator so that was quite the workout. It was nice to be spending time with members and really building up relationships with them. Member work actually happened to also be the theme of our Zone Conference this week. It was a really inspiring meeting and really cool to see everyone begin to catch the same vision. It is especially applicable to the Drammen Ward, a ward that every missionary in the mission wants to serve in because the members 'get it'. The fruits of this new vision may not be seen right away, but it will allow for real growth here in Norway.

Thus, we spent a lot of this week visiting members. One thing we have been focusing on is introducing preach my gospel to families and helping them to read it together. Something cool about Preach my Gospel is how plain and simple it is when it comes to the gospel. Every answer we could possibly need to give someone concerning the church is in the book and could be learned in primary for that matter. 

We met with the Burmese family again, but they continue to be hard to teach/communicate with. We were able to find some first presidency messages in Burmese for them to read so hopefully that helps in some way or another. Daisy, the member from the Philipines, was finally able to come to church! Now we just need to get her friends there! 

As a district we are putting a big focus on less active work as well! Often we get so excited about finding new people, but completely forget about those that have gone astray. It has been cool to see a lot of members in the ward come back to church for the first time in years. There was one man that even bore his testimony last week and publicly thanked the missionaries for inviting him back. Sometimes all it takes is an invitation. 

I love you all and I love this work! Hannah, good luck on the home stretch! 

Med Vennlig Hilsen, 
Eldste Parkinson

3 generations right here. My papa elder Garrard and my son elder Abril.

PEANUT BUTTER

Homemade cake. All we had to to do was take off the ice cream lid!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Happy 19th

HAPPY 19th to the other Elder Parkinson in Ungarn (Hungary in Norwegian)! It baffles my mind to think that if it weren't for the age change we would both still be in college. Scary thoughts.
We got the car this week and it has revolutionized our proselyting. It makes it a lot easier to visit members and try back investigators we have lost contact with. Nancy, our investigator from Ghana, continues to progress. It was neat to have a reactivated member on the teach that was able to bear some powerful testimony which allowed the spirit to testify to her of the truth. Now, we just have to overcome the same problem we always have: getting her to church. Our other most positive investigator of late is this truth seeking guy from India. He is fascinated that our church is led by a prophet and is working towards baptism. It is interesting how most of the people we teach are not from Norway.
We had splits in Drammen on Saturday. I got to work with Elder Skøien, my old comp, and Elder Naumu who served in Alta when I was in Tromsø. It's cool how much energy splits brings into missionary work. GETS ME PUMPED!! 

We had a really cool experience last night. First, I have to backtrack a little bit. A few weeks ago I met this family from Burma with Elder Skøien. We ordered the Joseph Smith pamphlet in Burmese and dropped it off earlier this week. After a ward activity fell through last night we decided to go and try back this family. They let us right in and we started talking about what they read and the message of the restoration in very simple Norwegian. We would ask the father questions and he would always try to change the subject to the gold plates he read about in the pamphlet. So, we taught him about the Book of Mormon like he wanted and his eyes were just lit up the whole time! This full grown man was, I kid you not, literally jumping up and down with excitement! When we told him that the book is not yet translated to Burmese they were very frustrated. The sincerity of this family to be able to read the Book of Mormon really touched me. They are going to try as well as they can in Norwegian and we will try to get them in contact with members from Burma. This church is literally flooding the earth!
I am coming up on my 9 month mark. I am not really very big on milestones like that, but it keeps hitting me how fast this time really goes. Especially with Hannah on her last few weeks!
There was another baptism up in Tromsø which made me happy and a little homesick for my birthplace! I have really enjoyed these first two areas of my mission. Elder Abril is doing awesome! Great guy. It is crazy how fast he has adjusted and how eager he is to work! I feel like I have way more to learn from him than he has to learn from me! Especially when it comes to Swedish, which I make him teach me! Funny: 'å spørre' in norwegian means 'to ask' while in swedish it means 'to beat to death'. That misunderstanding led to a funny encounter with somebody.
Have a great week! Lots of Love!
Eldste Parkinson  

My two Iranian buddies! The one on the left just moved to Germany!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Rain Rain go away

After getting some snow last week it has warmed up a little again and turned into rain...all day every day. I think Saturday was the first time we saw the sun in a couple weeks. We had this service project during the week helping some members attach some snow removing mechanism on their roof. It was nice to get wet and dirty and do some service.

It was one of those weeks where I look back through my planner and it doesn't really tell the story. A ton of unplanned teaches in unplanned areas. I guess that is how you know that spirit was guiding you. There was one time that we walked out of the apartment and started talking to this guy on our way to the city. He was pretty critical and loved to point to problems other people have with our church. We taught him for a while there on the street, but were not able to get anywhere. We gave him a card and continued on our way. 30 seconds later he called down to us and asked us if we wanted to come with him and talk to his friend. What?! We weren't going to say no to that. HIs friend ended up being our next door neighbor and we were able to have a nice conversation with them that really changed their perception of who we were. Hopefully, will be able to teach them again soon. 

We have begun teaching this cool lady from Ghana named Nancy. She let us teach her the first time mainly because she wanted to hear the word of God, didn't really want to change. As we taught her the plan of salvation, though, it hit her that we were teaching things that she hasn't thought about before. Without us even needing to extend the invitation she said she needs to read the Book of Mormon and pray for understanding. I keep learning more and more how the restored gospel answers the questions of the soul. Pure, 100 percent TRUTH.

We had Stake Conference this week, which was really inspiring. The Stake President talked about how in the church you are never "retired". There is no threshold of understanding or knowledge that exempts you from the work. Everybody, is invited to take part and work together in the work of salvation. There is always more to learn and always more to do. The whole conference confirmed to me that this church is led by revelation at every different level. 

We got an extra hour of sleep on Sunday! That was a blessing, although I'm so many hours behind at this point it didn't make a huge difference. With the darkness it is becoming necessary to have reflectors and a flashlight on you at all times haha.

Our Ward mission leader mentioned to me that the Kansas City Royals were in the World Series and I nearly lost it haha. I didn't bother asking for the record of Twins. It was weird feeling, though, that a whole baseball season has passed without me having a clue that it ever began. It made me realize how long I have been out here and how much we are literally separated from the world as missionaries.  

We should be getting the car tomorrow so that will revolutionize the proselyting. Although, it will take away all the time we get on public transportation to talk with people. Pros and cons. 

I got the birthday packages! It will take some patience to wait till the 7th to open them. Especially with the rumor that one of them has some peanut butter!!

Ha en fin uke! 
Love always, 
Eldste Parkinson


Høst

Monday, October 20, 2014

Kaos!

HEY FAM,
It has been one crazy week. Elder Abril arrived on Wednesday...but I wasn't there to pick him up...! On our way to the train station we got stuck in horrible traffic (not usual in Drammen). We had to park in a sketchy spot and sprint to the station, but when we got there we couldn't find Elder Abril! After a bunch of running and a few lost hairs we found him sitting composed on a bench. I felt horrible.
Elder Abril is from a small little town in Oregon only about an hour away from Boise! He lived in Sweden for about 7 years (Mom is swedish), so he speaks fluent Swedish! Swedish is very similar to Norwegian, so he understands people better than me haha. He is way excited to serve and willing to try anything!
On Saturday there was another baptism down in Drammen this time of a 19 year old guy from Angola. I was blessed with the opportunity to interview him. It was incredible to see how the gospel has helped him to turn his life around. He literally begging for commandments to keep. He is planning on serving a mission!
On this same Saturday I also made the brutal mistake of forgetting our phone on the train. You never think about how much you depend on something until you don't have it. How was missionary work done before cell phones?? Dad, are you that old? We borrowed a members phone to make some necessary calls to investigators and long story short we were able to retrieve the phone today from Oslo. A few more lost hairs.
We have this investigator who is a seventh day adventist that we found in this Ormåsen area. He is very satisfied with his beliefs, but talked to us just to see how we see things. We visited his church last Saturday and he came to our church on Sunday! It was a powerful sacrament meeting with a return missionary and a soon to leave missionary both speaking. I could tell the spirit touched him, but at the end of the meeting he simply went back to his concerns about the Book of Mormon not agreeing with the Bible. Agency. Even though he wasn't interested in the end, I was appreciative of his curiosity to learn about our message and what it is we do on Sundays.
We continue to find cool people, but are struggling to help them progress! I am also running out out of houses to bank on! Winter has begun and I finally got out the wallet and bought myself a parka. Should be another great week! Thanks for all the letters and for all the support! I appreciate it!
Love,
Eldste Parkinson

Got some snow! Check out that scarf, David! 

Elder Abril!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Should I stay or should I go?

MOVES CALL! Should I stay or should I go? Well......I'm staying here in Kongsberg! I will be getting a new comp straight from the states named Elder Abril. Apparently his mom is Swedish so he has already gotten a head start with the language. Elder Skøien is moving down to Drammen so we will still be in the same district and see each other on Sundays. It's going to be a great learning experience to train and I feel like it is coming at a good time in my mission. A real opportunity to get reenergized and really focus on doing things right. I remember how clueless I was when I came to the land and I know the first several weeks are key to starting off your mission on the right note. 

It seems like most of this week has been spent on trains. We had a zone leader training in Tønsberg. I had a trainers meeting in Oslo. Ward Council  in Drammen. Church on Sunday in Drammen. We really travel a lot, but good news came in today that we will be getting the car back! Skøien's bike is still in the shop (Don't ask me why it's taking so long) so it will be a big blessing. It may take a week or two though. 

We had a really cool experience teaching these two guys from Iran. Both live here alone with families in dangerous situations back in Iran. They are really searching for comfort, peace, and protection. One of them speaks Norwegian and the other only speaks Persian. It's unfortunate because the one who is searching the most can only be communicated to through his friend. We gave him the Book of Mormon in Persian and a week later he told us he had finished it! He said he loved it. We taught him about prayer and how he could find out if it is true. He literally interrupted us and asked us if he could pray. I have no idea what he said, but the spirit was there. They each payed 200 crowns to take the train with us to church on Sunday. Do to safety concerns they probably won't be able to be baptized for a while, but it was a really special experience. Reminded me of my man Amiri back in Minnesota. 

Due to the difficulty of transporting members and investigators to church we have begun praying to find a van. Kind of weird, but we didn't know what else to do. Me and elder Skinner had a cool experience on splits last week finding this investigator with a huge van. And then this past week when visiting a young member couple, we saw this huge 8 passenger  van in the driveway! No idea why they bought it, but all of the sudden we've got way to get people to church as well as a way to get the members involved. Crazy. 

Elder Skøien and I tried speaking Norwegian the whole week and made it most of the way! He's been a great hard working comp. Gonna miss him. 

Mom, I ate that whole Peanut Butter jar. Literally put it on everything. Easily ten times as big as the peanut butter jars they sell here. 'MERICA

Jeg elsker dere! Snakkes!

Every morning the whole valley is just covered with fog!

Eldste Parkinson

Monday, October 6, 2014

NO SHAME!

HELLO!
It was a high energy week! The highlight was probably on Thursday when the ZL's came to Kongsberg for some splits. We were able to find and teach a lot of people. The bold move of the day was when I was with Elder Skinner. We saw some guy sitting in a car and decided to just walk over and bank on the window (I guess we were getting kind of fed up with banking on doors). The guy let us teach him right there and we got another appointment!
General Conference was amazing! Because Norwegians are so fluent in english, almost everyone watches it in english. So that was a blessing. I still haven't seen the last session though. I loved the talk by Elder Anderson. Elder Uchtdorf's talk was sweet as well. This church is led by inspired men. Now let's all do as President Eyring directed and pray for confirming revelation!
I had a funny experience this week that kind of made me think. We were on splits and one of the elders had to mail something. Our toilet brush had broken and I decided to go buy a new one while waiting. As I was standing in the checkout line I realized how goofy I looked. An 18 year old in a suit buying just one item: a toilet brush. I realized, though, that it is only awkward if you make it awkward, so I just smiled right through the whole thing with no shame. I feel like a lot of times when we we knock on doors or contact people it feels kind of like I'm holding a toilet brush. We testify of things that seem weird to todays standards (a living profet, the first vision, golden plates, the word of wisdom). But, why should we be ashamed? We've got the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! It doesn't mean it's not the truth simply because it doesn't coincide with society. I'm pretty sure that was a theme in conference too. Anyway, kind of a dumb analogy, but don't be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ!
That sounds like a sweet trip Dave had with the young men! Bummer about Taysom Hill and the cougs :(
It is getting darker and darker every day. It seems like just yesterday that the sun never went down.

Have an awesome week! I love you all and appreciate the support!
Love,
Eldste Parkinson 

50!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

One by One

I'll start off with the most important news...HAPPY 50th to Papa Parkinson! Wish I could be there, but I know that there is nothing more you would rather have me doing than serving as a missionary! 

Elder Skøien and I had another great week! It all started with this 18 year old investigator that we have. He tried to drop us about two weeks ago and we committed him to give it another chance. On Monday we were wandering around trying to find the address of some potential that we had found on the street. Not super positive, and impossible to communicate with, but we figured to give it a chance. We banked on what we thought was the house and found this African family. We talked to the father on the porch and they were not very interested, satisfied with the Bible. But, out of nowhere, we saw B. (the 18 year old) walk in the background! He came outside, closed the door behind him, and talked to us for awhile. Super sincere and wanted to meet again. We had a super cool teach with him later in the week and he is preparing to be baptized in November! 

As I have been reading in the Book of Mormon lately I have noticed how often the phrase 'one by one' is used. Especially in 3rd Nephi you realize how much Christ teaches the one. It has been cool to apply the principle to missionary work and search for the one. We made that a zone wide focus this last week and saw miracles as our number of baptismal dates was more than doubled!

They are remodeling our church building in Drammen so we went to Sandvika on Sunday for church. Quite the travel. 

We have started teaching some more people from the Phillipines (a couple being referred from the member that just moved here). People are starting to progress and it cool to see the effects the gospel of Jesus Christ can have on someone's life. The key to true happiness. Our job as missionaries is to simply invite people to try it out! 

They are kicking me off the computer, so that's all she wrote! Have a great week!

Love, 
Eldste Parkinson

Monday, September 22, 2014

Transportation

PARKINSON FAM,

This week has blown by. On Tuesday I finished up the stressful, expensive and never ending process of obtaining a Norwegian drivers license. I drove pretty horribly in my test, but it was good enough to get the license! CERTIFIED.

I don't think I have mentioned this, but Elder Skøien's bike is now in the shop, so we have been on foot or bus the last two weeks. The busses work pretty good, but on the weekends they do not go at all. We are hoping to get his bike back before it starts snowing! Or else we have seen some pretty cool snow bikes in the stores. That'd be cool too. 

Elder Skøien has been a big help with the Norwegian. We have been speaking just Norsk outside of the apartment and have dedicated two days a week to speaking it the whole day. I had gotten a little lazy with that in the past so it is good to recommit. Language skills are so important, even if everyone here speaks better english than me. 

We continue to be blessed with people to teach and share the gospel with. On Saturday we had a really cool experience when we were out banking. There was a guy early in the evening that quickly told us we could try back later in the evening and slammed the door. We were not sure how serious to take him and already had to plan for a 45 minute walk home. We continued banking and  found nothing. Everybody seemed to be watching the same TV show and were annoyed that we were interrupting them. We were about to head home before deciding to try back that man we had found earlier in the evening. He happily let us in and we had an awesome lesson! The spirit was strong. He had doubts, but wholeheartedly committed to pray and read from the book of mormon. He even said the prayer to close the lesson. It's cool how often the miracles don't come until after we have done all that we can. 

Earlier in the week we were blessed to find and teach a norwegian family. It has been humbling to find all these people that are willing to hear, but the problem we have been having is getting them to progress towards baptism. It is one thing to hear the message and feel the spirit, but it is another to act and really commit to find out if the message is true. The spirit takes the message unto people's hearts, but they have to choose to really let it in. It makes you realize how important member work is, especially as it relates to finding and teaching those that will progress towards baptism. The mission is putting a greater focus on member work; less active, new convert AND active members. It is going to take a real change in how we do missionary work for the full potential to be reached here, but getting everyone to really commit to that change is not easy.

We have been having trouble getting investigators and members to church due to a shortage of members with cars. We may need to find and baptize a bus driver. 

Thanks for the notes and your support! Have a great week!
Love,
Eldste Parkinson

We helped one of our investigators clean out his house this week!

More Rainbows