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!