Monday, February 24, 2014

Week 3

Parkinson Fam, 

So much has happened since I last wrote home. Some good, some bad. 3 new missionaries joined our zone. Elder Conatti from Brazil, Elder Hendricks from Alberta, and Sister Adams from Germany (although she was born in America). All 3 of them are going to the Netherlands. It's kind of nice not being the youngest one anymore. I feel a lot more comfortable as a missionary and with the MTC life. As far as bad news, my companion, Elder Pestridge, found out Thursday that he is going home. He has a medical problem that didn't get better and he went back to London on Saturday morning. I was pretty bummed out, but I'm grateful for the short time I got to get to know him and all that he taught me. I now call chips "crisps" haha. He helped me learn how to speak "proper" english. 

There were two very good devotionals this week. It's crazy how many good speakers they get to come to the MTC. I actually got asked to give the opening prayer at Sunday's devotional so that was pretty cool. Although, it was also pretty terrifying.

It's been a big learning week for me. My teacher showed me a mormon message in which Elder Christofferson tells a story about a currant bush. The moral is that we need to be cut down so that we can grow back stronger. God knows what he wants us to be. I had one investigator lesson I taught this week that was a complete train wreck. Yet, despite how bad it went I needed the experience because it taught me valuable lessons about my purpose as a missionary. I'm here simply to represent Christ. By myself I'm nothing, but through Christ I know I can be an effective missionary. One scripture I've really liked this week is in Alma 26:12. 

Happy Birthday to Hannah! I hope it was a good one! I was bummed to hear David's team lost. You'll have to let me know how Boise Varsity does in the tourney. 

Lykke til! Jeg elsker dere!

Eldste Parkinson

Before Elder Pestridge left

The New Zone
Marcus Corbitt (former Boise missionary) just found me while I was writing home!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Week 2

It's been another crazy week. Time is starting to speed up here. Last week I said that the 6 Dutch elders in my zone had been reassigned in the states because their visas didn't come. Well, a couple days ago their visas all showed up and they went back to their original flight plans to the Netherlands. They left this morning, and we were up at about 4 to say goodbye and help them with their luggage. I'm going to miss them. With them leaving our zone is now 6 missionaries strong. Elder Pestridge moved into our room and I am now officially his companion. He's been here about 8 weeks and hopefully will be able to leave to Sweden on Monday. He is from England, a big time rugby player, and hilarious. 3 More Dutch speaking missionaries will join us Wednesday, one being Elder Fredrico's (who just left) cousin.

The Norwegian keeps coming along. My teachers are all awesome. I actually have three teachers now and they just rotate teaching me. They are all RM's from Norway, and Brother Smith and Brother Bartholomew actually served together a couple years back. It's been a little frustrating at times being the only one in the class because I have to respond to every question and do every activity by myself. But at the same time it has really pushed me to my limit and allowed for a lot of growth. 

Yesterday, Matthew Holland spoke to us for our Sunday Devotional about the life of Joseph Smith. Elder Holland was in attendance and he spoke briefly as well which was neat. The talks were really powerful and definitely hit home for me. There honestly isn't anywhere I'd rather be right now than here at the MTC. While I'm anxious to get to Norway, I know my time here will help me to be a more successful and dilligent missionary.

I've started reading from the Book of Mormon in Norwegian each night which has helped a lot. I also got the Missionary Purpose and the First Vision memorized in Norwegian. I feel like my Norwegian ability has already almost caught up to my French after just a week and a half haha. 

I appreciate the letters! Happy Birthday Grandpa! Ha det bra!

Eldste Parkinson
My New Companion! He is an English man. "best kid in the world"- Elder Pestridge

Elder Childs! He just left for the Netherlands!

All the Elders!

here is where I learn.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 1!

Wow. It's been a crazy week to say the least. I got to Provo by around 9. Grandma, Grandpa, and Erik dropped me off at about 1:30. To my surprise I found out that I am a solo missionary. This means that I am the only missionary in the MTC learning Norwegian. I have two companions, Elder Reimschussel and Elder Lester, who are going to Denmark. They have been here a week longer than me. We get along well and our schedules line up so I spend most of my time with them. The rest of my district includes Sister King who's going to Suriname speaking Dutch (arrived same day as me and also a solo) and Sister Wright (going to Denmark and arrived a week ago). Sister King is actually the first Sister ever to get called to Suriname. There are 8 other Elders in my zone going to the Netherlands, but they all leave next Monday. One of them, Elder Lee (from singapore), left today. However, to make things more confusing six of the elders got reassigned because their Visas didn't come. They are all going to different places around the United States. The final elder in our zone is Elder Pestridge from England. He is going to Sweden and is hilarious. He loves to make fun of Americans. I spend a bit of time with him because our languages are similar and we both don't really have companions. Well, hopefully that makes sense. It's a very complicated situation, but if it's taught me anything it's that God wants me in Norway.

The MTC hits you like a bus. You work hard all day everyday. The first couple days seemed like they never ended. I have two awesome Norwegian teachers and it's kind of cool that I am one on one with them so I get to go at my own pace. The Norwegian is actually coming surprisingly well. The hardest part for me has been the pronounciation. In French a lot of the letters in a given word are silent whereas in Norwegian you pronounce everything. I can already pray, bare a testimony, and have a simple conversation in Norwegian. I've also already taught two investigator lessons in Norwegian. It's hard because I have to teach all by myself, but they both went quite well. 

The food has been a little disappointing. I'm usually so hungry after sitting in a classroom all day that I just eat it anyways. We went to the temple this morning as a district, which was really cool. There was a great devotional last night about being yourself and getting along with your companion. It's also been cool to see so many missionaries here coming from all over the world. Just in my tiny zone we have elders from Singapore, Brazil, and London.  

Not sure what else to say. I have felt a special spirit here at the MTC. Every day you learn so much. It's kind of cool being able to dedicate everything you do to one cause: inviting and helping other come unto Christ. This is my purpose as a missionary, and despite my inadequacies as far as the language goes I know that I can touch peoples lives as I learn to teach with the spirit. 

Let me know if you have any questions about anything! I'm doing great so don't worry about me. I'll try to attach some photos in a separate email from the week. I appreciate all the letters!

Elder Parkinson

MTC District
Name tag - Solo Missionary!

MTC Zone

Elder Lee before he leaves to the Netherlands!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Off to a great start!

Here are a few pictures of Tom as he headed into the Missionary Training Center.  He flew out of the Boise airport early Wednesday morning, then had a quick visit in Provo with Grandma, Grandpa and Erik before heading into the MTC.

After being set apart as a missionary by President Doughty
At the Boise Airport

With Harriet and David at the Boise Airport -- how tall will those 2 be in two years?

Going through security -- he's on his own

With Grandpa and Erik

With Grandma and Erik.

At the temple with GramME