Monday, March 31, 2014

snø, snø, og mer snø


All is well here in Tromsø! It's been snowing non stop all week and especially this weekend. I'm amazed at how prepared the people here are for this much snow. The city buses that we take have steel chains on their tires which is pretty sweet. Rumors are that the snow will not be leaving any time soon.

It's been a little bit of a frustrating week because of all the cancellations we've had. We were able to get a lot of scheduled appointments for this week, but only a few actually showed up. Wednesday afternoon we flew down to Trondheim for Zone Conference. All of Wednesday was spent contacting on the streets of Trondheim and getting to know the other missionaries there. All day Thursday we had our conference and then we flew back that night. On our flight back I talked to this guy from Alta pretty much the whole flight. It was a great chance to practice my Norwegian. He had never heard of our church before, but when I mentioned the word "mormon" he said he had heard of us from south park haha. It was nice just having a normal conversation with him and letting him know that we are actually pretty normal people.

Saturday night we went to visit a new investigator that lives in the student dorms. He was busy and we were about to leave, but then we went over and talked to one of his roommates. We talked to him for about 20 minutes and shared a book of Mormon with him. He seemed very interested and was willing to read. The next day we met two more of their roommates and talked to them as well. It's cool because these students come from all over the world (Pakistan, Eritrea, Phillipines), and can speak about 6 languages each. 

I enjoyed one of the talks on Sunday from a member in our ward who is working on his phd here at the university. He talked about how all of his colleagues think it is silly that he has a belief in God, as if religion and academia are mutually exclusive. He then said that in science and academics all your time is spent trying to disprove something. I think it is really cool that we believe that we have a God who knows all truth and that by coming to know God we can come to learn truth. 

Congrats to Sean on his mission call to Spain! Thinking of Grandma after her surgery!

Eldste Parkinson



Monday, March 24, 2014


The view from my desk in our apartment! Så pen!

Last Temple walk at the MTC!



I'm here safely in Norway! The flights were long and uncomfortable, but everything went as planned. I ate dinner at the Mission home Tuesday night. President and Sister evans are super nice. They actually let me go to bed early Tuesday night and sleep in til 7:30. That was much appreciated. President Evans told me Tuesday night that my first are would be Tromsø, Norway! After Alta, Tromsø is the northern most mission area in the world. 

I flew up to Tromsø Wednesday afternoon and met my new companion, Elder Garrard. He's been out about 8 months, speaks the language very well, and works really hard. Tromsø has four missionaries, but a set of elders got replaced by a new set of sisters this transfer (Søster Mourik and Søster Rupp). A Senior couple will also be coming to Tromsø in a few weeks, which will be much needed. 

 As for the Branch...VERY small. We meet on the second floor of a building downtown. A very central location. There is an American family that just moved here with 4 kids. The father is doing a phd program here in linguistics. They are pretty much the only active members. A lot of less actives who come sometimes. There are several members who skype in to church every Sunday because they live so far away. One family actually lives up in Svalbard (big Island way north with a lot of polar bears). We're trying to find an excuse to go up there haha. But just to give you an idea of how small we are: on Sunday I blessed the sacrament, gave a talk, and taught sunday school. In norsk. Luckily we only go two hours. 

There were not really any investigators when I got here, but a lot of potentials. We've been making a lot of phone calls since i got here. Also a lot of street contacting and door knocking (we call it banking). We've gotten a few new investigators and already have 8 lessons schedules for next week. We're really focusing on finding strong families. We're planning on starting up a Norwegian class for people that don't know the language. 

There's a very strong dialect here. There's one older less-active that we bring groceries to with a dialect so thick I can't understand anything. My companion really only speaks norwegian with me, though, so I'm sure it will come fast. 

I appreciate all the letters and support! I'm heading down to Trondheim for zone conference on Wednesday. Ha det godt! 

Eldste Parkinson

Elder Garrard kommer fra Utah! Riverton, Utah.
There are lot's of refugees and international people here. A lot of our investigators aren't native Norwegian. For example we just started teaching a man named Rogers from Uganda. He committed to be baptized after our first lesson, but he is waiting on his citizenship (green card).  
Younger people know some english. Older people not so much. 
The university is one of the bigger ones in Norway. Lots of students here. 
We cook for ourselves. There is a small kitchen at the Church so we eat there a lot. Spaghetti, Fish, Chicken, rice, vegetables. A lot of sandwiches for lunch. In Norway your supposed to eat them "open faced" (one slice of bread). We have our first dinner appointment tomorrow. The food is really good, though. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Dear Brother and Sister Parkinson,

We are happy to welcome your son to Norway.  He came healthy and happy!  His new companion is Elder Garrard.  He will be serving in Tromso, way above the Arctic Circle.  In a few months he will experience the midnight sun.

President Evans

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Til Norge!

I'm sending a quick note to say that I am all set to leave Monday at 7 am! It's been a great last week. My teachers shared some really inspiring messages with me and I really enjoyed in field training yesterday.
A quick spiritual thought before I head. I'd have to say the biggest lesson I've learned at the MTC is the importance of being humble. I talked with one of my teachers this week about the story of Enoch. Enoch, was a "young lad" who felt very inadequate about his calling and his abilities. But, by submitting his will to God his weaknesses were strengthened. I think this verse speaks for itself.

 13 And so great was the afaith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.

Can't wait to get out there! I have a calling card so I'll try and call from Dallas. Congrats to Christopher on his mission call! What a unique place!

Elder Parkinson

PS  The Skype lesson went really well! It was with a young couple that lives north of Oslo. Morten served a mission in Salt Lake a few years ago and his wife is a convert of 2 years. Morten had a strong dialect (He's originally from Stavanger), but I still managed to understand them both well. We talked for 45 minutes and they were very nice and complimentary! They said they will have me over and give me delicious Norwegian food if i serve in their ward!

The 4th and 5th companions -- Elder Heinricks and Elder Conatti! Jeg elsker dem!

My Teachers! -- Brother Bartholomew (on left) and Brother Smith! So grateful for all they taught me!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Last Week!

The 3 Danes left this morning at 6. They are all very excited and anxious to be in Denmark. This means I am now companions with Elder Conatti and Elder Heinricks. Although, supposedly another Danish Elder is coming Wednesday, so I might become his companion for my last couple days. Hopefully this all makes sense haha. I realized I never really told you much about the Danish missionaries. Elder Lester is from Evanston, Wyoming. He was a big time wrestler in High School, but he injured his shoulder his senior year and couldn't compete. He decided to graduate high school early to go on his mission! We get along really well. He's a true cowboy haha. Elder Reimschussel and Sister Wright are both from Utah. Both did a semester at BYU like I did. They're all going to do great things.

Friday I got my flight plans. They accidentally gave me two separate flight plans, but I dropped by the travel office today and got things figured out. So, I leave Salt Lake at 12:20 pm Monday and Arrive in Dallas, Texas at 4 pm. I leave Dallas at 7:15 and arrive in London at 9:35 am. I leave London at 1:05 and arrive in Norway at 4:15! I get to call home from the airport, so I'll probably do that in Dallas. 

I'm struggling to remember what I even did this week. it's gotten to the point where every week is pretty much the same. Two of my three teachers have been busy and didn't come much this week. So I have had pretty much the same teacher most of the week and a few of the Swedish teachers have helped out occasionally. I can understand Swedish pretty well so that worked out. Oh, and apparently on Wednesday I'm teaching a skype lesson with a less-active in Norway! I'm really excited for that. 

It's cool how after the first 4 weeks I pretty much learned all the material, so my lessons with teachers have been very flexible lately. One day my teacher talked for like half an hour about Norway's role in World War 2 and another day about his experience not seeing the sun for months in a row when he served in Northern Norway. I'm definitely going to a cool place. 

I think I'm allowed to write a quick note home Saturday night and then my next letter will be from Norge! I feel like my letters are pretty boring and monotone, but I'm sure they will get more interesting once I get out of the MTC! I love you all and appreciate the letters and support! 

Eldste Parkinson

One last shot of the Group! They make me look like a giant. 

Elder Lester! 

Elder Reimschussel!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 4?

It's been a good week. The zone hasn't changed since I last wrote, which is probably the first time that has happened. The 3 Danes all got their flight plans this past Friday and will leave Monday for Denmark. I get my flight plans this Friday! Mom, thanks for the note about the Visa! I had been worrying a little bit about whether or not it would come. Although, I'm not going to rest assured until I actually have it in my hands.

It seems like everybody at the MTC has been getting sick. One of my teachers was unable to work his shifts twice this week, so I had a lot of extra time just studying on my own. Luckily, I've been fine. I just drink like three glasses of OJ every morning at breakfast and that's worked so far.

I hosted new missionaries this week which was cool. There were a couple sisters that I hosted who were balling out waterfalls and then there was an elder who had come in a suburban with about 15 relatives who all dropped him off. It makes you realize how big of a deal it is to drop off your kid for two years. I was actually talking to an elder from Samoa and he told me that when he left his dad promised not to send him any money or anything. In return this elder promised that he wouldn't write home to his family during his two years of service. All so that he could fully dedicate his service to the Lord and have no distractions. Yes, mom, I'll keep emailing. Haha but it was pretty humbling to hear that. 

I've been thinking a lot this week about how I can make the gospel relevant to ALL people, especially people that already have good lives. Everyone in Norway is pretty well off and doesn't really see a need for religion. I feel like I'm kind of still searching for an answer, but I've learned a lot this week about how important the message of the Atonement is. I've enjoyed reading in Alma 7 about how Christ knows exactly how to help and succor us. 

I was bummed to hear Boise lost to Timberline. I felt sure that this was the year. Oh well, my mission has definitely taught me that there are more important things in life than basketball. It's weird how all the things you think you will miss when you leave quickly become irrelevant. Oh, and our Branch President told us about the Ukraine situation yesterday.  We had no idea. It's crazy to think how Emily was just there a few months ago.

Ha det!
Eldste Parkinson

And happy Birthday Mom! I hope it's a good one!