Monday, August 25, 2014

Summer is over?

It has been a wet week here in Telemark. Rainy weather and spaghetti dinners almost everyday this week, which made biking an adventure. It seems like summer just barely started, but supposedly winter is just around the corner, even down here in the south. I'm thinking it would be sweet to get some snowmobiles out here when winter starts.
The work was difficult this week. A lot of appointments falling through and investigators losing interest. Serving a mission takes so much energy and resiliency. The mission, like everything, is a process and takes mistakes and learning experiences to see growth. In a way, our whole message is a message of growth through the atonement of Christ. In a few lessons this week it was evident to me how much I don't know. Often times it can be frustrating, but eventually I realize and remind myself that it doesn't matter how much I know because it is not my job to convince people. In this sense, I'm reminded of how much the Book of Mormon is the foundation of my testimony. Any weird question somebody asks that i cannot give a clear answer can be simply answered by the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and its evidence of continuing revelation.  
There was a cool coincidence in church on Sunday. A lady named Søster Sterri came up to me and said that she knows my brother. Apparently she is Erik's companion's Grandma! She lives in Drammen! small world!
We found some cool families this week from South America! It's cool being able to meet and teach people from all over the world. It reminds me of how global this great work has become!
Last week of this first transfer in Kongsberg. Time is flying so fast. Too fast. It is scary to thing that you will never get these two years back!
Have a great week! David and Harriet, good luck with school starting! Sounds like David is getting yoked with all that time in the gym (apart from my massive legs from all the biking :).
Elder Parkinson

Norwegians playing some soccer. Really the only sport they play that isn't in the snow.

classic missionaries with their bike helmets pic

Monday, August 18, 2014

Highlight of the week

The highlight of the week was definitely a visit from Elder Dyches on Friday. We had a big combined p-day in Oslo on Thursday before the conference (played sports, etc.). Elder Dyches used to be a mission president in Portland, so he had a lot of good perspectives and thoughts about missionary work. There were so many things I took away from the conference that it was kind of overwhelming. So many things to do better. One thing that really stood out to me is what he said about the spirit. It can be so easy to get into a habit of just teaching lessons and contacting people in the same way, but the spirit ALWAYS needs to be the one guiding a conversation or else the message will not be relevant to them. Especially here in Norway where people are really hesitant to hear our message and see no need for it. I of course learned this in the MTC, but I am beginning to understand why it is so important. 

Photo sent by a senior sister of Elders hanging out in Oslo

We saw a lot of miracles this week though. On Monday we were on splits up here in Kongsberg. Elder Gunther and I were in the 'city' contacting and found   this really cool guy named Ather. He is from Iraq, but has lived in Norway for a long time. Speaks really good Norsk and English. He told us up front that he had read about us on facebook and wanted to buy the book that we share. So we were like..."we can give it to you right now for free!" We taught him on steps for about half an hour. He was way positive and said he wants us to teach his girlfriend too...and his friends! He is out of town for a week, but we are teaching him again soon!

And then yesterday we finally got to meet with a Norwegian named Kenneth. We found him my first week in kongsberg, but we had to keep canceling lessons because of work, sick kids. The lesson went really well! He said that he never thought the mormon church would be the true Church of Jesus Christ. We have another teach on Wednesday, which makes me so grateful to be in a big ward and bring solid Norwegian members with us. The Bishop calls our ward "the machine." We just need to get our investigators to church and the ward will do the rest!!

I am so grateful for all the wonderful leaders we have in the church, be it in the Drammen Ward or in the 70. All these leaders know how this gospel can bless families and how important missionary work is. They express this through love and service, which is to the benefit of many. 

eldste Parkinson

Monday, August 11, 2014

The King's Mound

It was an awesome week! Those two weeks of finding are starting to pay off! We taught some really cool people this week. One of them was this guy named Asad who has read the Bible, Koran, and Torah and told us he wants to read our book. It is cool when you find people like this that are searching for the truth because they really relate to Joseph smith and the idea of a restoration. 

We are also teaching a couple from India (there is quite a large population here in Kongsberg from India). They have been reading the Book of Mormon and like to learn, but they are very deep rooted in Hinduism. It makes me wish we had members that were from India that we could bring on teaches. 

Yesterday we had 3 investigators in church, which was a miracle. Two of them were formers that we just reconnected with. It was a way cool Sacrament meeting too because a return missionary, current missionary, and soon to be missionary all spoke.There were probably 150 people in church.

I spent a bunch of time going through the area book and we spent one day just biking around and visiting formers. Some of them were still positive and set up appointments with us. Speaking of biking, we do a lot of it. I am actually getting in pretty good shape, especially since we live at the top of a hill. Although, we got in trouble for taking our bikes on the train. Apparently you have to pay 100 crowns to take two bikes on a train? But, you also have to pay to use public restrooms. Gotta love Norway.

Kongsberg is a small enough town that we are starting yo realize that everyone knows everyone. To name a few. 1. Knock on door. Old couple answers and not interested. Say they are picking up their grandchildren. 15 minutes later we try back a potential who is the daughter of the old couple and get to see them pick up their grandchildren. 2. When trying back C's family again we found that C's brother John has met with the missionaries before and already knew Elder Gustaffson. 3. A Peruvian named Wilbur on the potential sheet. bank on his door. Realized he was the cool atheist guy we talked with for 30 minutes on the street 3 days ago. 

Anyways, have a great week. Elder Dyches from the 70 comes on Friday!!

Elder Parkinson

pic: Andreas heads to England on Thursday!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 2 in Kongsberg

Week 2 in Kongsberg!  First things first, they took our car :( The elders down in Halden had no way to get to church so we gave them the car on Saturday. To compromise, we got a train/bus pass and bikes. We take the train to church on Sunday and the buses are really of no use in the summer so we bike everywhere now. A lot of our prostelyting time is eaten up by transportation now, but at least I'll be getting in better shape!
A lot of our lessons fell through, so we were on the streets and on doorsteps most of the week. We found a lot of cool people and got a bunch of appointments for next week. Just need to start teaching them!
I met a lot more ward members this week. They are all so solid! The bishop is only 28 and awesome/loves working with the missionaries. The Isaksen family, that we've eaten with a few times now, has a son heading on his mission to London in a week and a half. I know that working with the members is going to be the key here and throughout Norway. We've got some fun activities planned in the next few months to get the missionary work going as a ward. Oh, and Elder Bednar is visiting Norway in a month!
We had a baptism in Drammen on Saturday! The ward had to adjust the yearly baptismal goal because we are on pace to break it!
Not much else to report on. The weather has been a little cooler recently. Norway is still beautiful as ever.
have a great week!
Eldste Parkinson