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!

Eldste Parkinson

Monday, September 22, 2014



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!
Eldste Parkinson

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

More Rainbows

Monday, September 15, 2014

Line upon Line

Another week of miracles here in Kongsberg! We had a tough start to the week. A lot of banking  and a lot of "Nei Takk" and slammed doors. It was tough, but by the middle of the week, things started to turn around. On Wednesday we were blessed to be in the right place at the right time on countless occasions. We kept running into past potentials/investigators on the street that were willing to be taught then and there! There was one investigator that came to an appointment with the plan of dropping us. He said he was satisfied with his understanding of things. We proceeded to bear a lot of testimony and explain the apostasy and need for a restoration. The spirit literally filled our mouths with what he needed to hear. He was speechless and said he would pray again, this time with real intent, to find out. This message really answers the questions of the soul. 

We had a cool experience on Friday. There is this big African family that lives in Kongsberg. Since I have been here we have met all of the different siblings in the family (they live in different areas around the city). Small town problems. All have been positive, but it has been difficult to get appointments with them. This past friday we met the youngest son named Laurence. A sweet 18 year-old. We got to teach him! He is way prepared and said he is searching for which of all these different faiths is right. Excited to teach him and try to involve the youth of the ward as well. 

I have been thinking a lot lately about the pattern in which God work's with us: line upon line, precept upon precept. I've been trying to apply this concept a lot more to missionary work of late. For the church to really grow here in Norway it is going to take a bunch of little miracles, not a few big ones. A bunch of small steps. Often we put way to much focus on the end result when we really have no idea how we are going to get there. There is all this talk about us hastening the work, when really it is the Lord hastening His work. In the end, if we just focus on the little things each day, this work will go forth in God's way and God's time. 

Some other cool news: Rogers, a guy we found and taught a lot in Tromsø was just baptized this past Saturday!!

There was another baptism in Drammen on Saturday!

I love you all! Have a great week!

Eldste Parkinson

Throwback! This is Rogers! He was baptized on Saturday!

Took a hike

Monday, September 8, 2014

Blown away by Bednar

Dearest Fam,

Yesterday, the 7th of September, was a day I will never forget. Elder Bednar came for a much anticipated visit and blew us all away. We had a 2 hour stake conference with him in Oslo with over a thousand members present! Elder Bednar gave one of the most fantastic talks I have ever heard and said exactly what the people of Norway needed to hear. One thing that stood out for me is how he admonished us all to be missionaries by simply living the gospel. Inevitably, people are going to ask you why you are so weird/different from everyone else. By being wiling to answer their questions and bear testimony you are being a missionary. 

After the stake conference we had a separate 3 hour meeting for us missionaries and Elder Bednar. It was done in a question and answer format as Bednar often does. How Bednar chose to teach us, helped me better understand how I should be teaching my investigators: as agents not as objects. This allows for the spirit to be the true teacher. It makes sense. Why would I want someone to learn simply by listening to me, in my american Norwegian and limited understanding of the gospel? By the allowing them to be agents they can learn these truths for themselves through a perfect teacher. 

I could talk about Bednar all day and still wouldn´t be able to fairly express how much that conference did for me. But I will simply say that I know he is an apostle of the Lord and that this Church is the true restored church of Jesus Christ on the earth today!

Elder Skøien, my new comp, arrived on Wednesday! He is actually from Canada! Born in Drammen, Norway, but grew up in Alberta. However, he grew up speaking Norwegain in his home so he is pretty much fluent! He is 18 and younger than me! Looking forward to a bomb transfer with him. 

On Tuesday Kongsberg was miracle city. We had an awesome teach with that former I told you about last week. Name is Ane. The message of the restoration really touched her heart and the spirit was there. It was cool to be able to testify to her of the spirit that was in the room. When we were out contacting a lady ran up to us and shouted "Elders! Elders! I have been looking for you!" She apparently is a newly baptized convert from Hong Kong and just moved to Kongsberg. named Daisy! She wanted to know where the church is! She also said she has 5 non-member friends she wants to take with her! Way cool, and she came to the Bednar conference. We were able to have some other really cool teaches that day as well. 

Well that is about it. Have a great week! Love the gospel and LIVE it! Just do it!

The whole mission was together on Sunday for the first time in centuries (not sure how long it has been). Got a nice pic! I am in the back middle.

Eldste Parkinson

Monday, September 1, 2014

Ballin' in KBerg

MOVES call was this week! AND...I'm staying in Kongsberg! Elder Gustafson is headed over to Moss and I'm going to be serving with another Norwegian named Elder Skøien! He's been out a transfer less than me.

We had some cool experiences this week, though. There was this one lady in the area book that was taught a long time ago that we got in contact with again and taught on Tuesday. it was pretty hectic getting the appointment to work out, though, because we needed to have a member present and everyone was busy or out of town. Last minute, we were finally able to get two awesome woman from the ward to come with us, but they couldn't drive we had to bike to the top of this mountain where the lady lived! In the end, the teach went awesome! It's cool how when you do all you can, God prepares a way for things to work out. And the joy you get walking out of a lesson like that is greater than the stress that went into making it possible!

We got to help the Isaksen family out with some service this week! All their kids have fled the nest, so it's nice to be of help. And as I've said before, service opportunities are rare here in Norway. 

We visited a small isolated place called Ormåsen this week! We have a bunch of cool families that live out there, and we got to visit most of them. One of the families are die hard Green Bay Packer fans! Cool to have that cheese head connection. Two of the other families are converts to the church (at least the parents are), It's a special little area, but at the same time it is really hard to visit because it is way off the train route. #prayingforacar

Sunday we had a really cool ward activity called the MMTC (Member missionary training center). Each set of missionaries had a 10 minute station where we taught some principle of missionary work and gave some commitment. our station was all about Social media! All of you need to check out the talk that Bednar just gave at BYU. It's crazy to think of the possibilities that come with sharing goodness through the internet and social media. The church is making tons of cool stuff too. Mormon messages, Bible videos, that Easter video and most recently the full feature film "Meet the Mormons" that comes out soon. Taking the world with a flood! 

Elder Bednar is coming this Sunday!! Way exciting for us as missionaries and for all the members in Norway as a whole. All the missionaries are coming together for the first time in forever. Norway is on the rise! 

Thanks for the package! David, I'm impressed by the Scarf! A man of many talents. We are down in Drammen for the day! Played soccer this morning and hooping later today! 

Love always,
Eldste Parkinson
Photo of our District (sorry for bad quality)! Love these guys! From left to right: E. Gustafson, Me, S. Angerhofer, S. Larsen, Bishop, E. Halverson, E. Skinner, E. Gunther, E. Taylor
Dear Parkinson Family,

I had the pleasure to meet your son during the recent mission tour in the Norway Oslo Mission.
I have enclosed a photo of him with his companion. Enjoy!
What a cheerful and wonderful young Elder! He has been a great influence for
good among the missionaries of the Oslo Mission.

All the Best,

Timothy J. Dyches
Europe Area, 2nd counselor