Monday, November 24, 2014

Moves Call! AND….

I cannot believe Hannah is home! I was going to send this to her mission email because it has become so natural. Congrats on an awesome 18 months!
In other news, moves call was this week! AND....I am going to Oslo to open up a new area! Complete surprise. I thought I was going to have one more transfer in Kongsberg, but I am going to the capital city! My new comp is going to be elder Holden, who only has one transfer left! Way solid missionary that is also from the Midwest so I am excited to tear it up with him! I'm going to have so much to learn. Lots of energy going into this transfer, but at the same time it is very bittersweet. I've come to love the people in Kongsberg and the members in the Drammen Ward. Because Kongsberg is so small I have come to know pretty much everyone. Whether it's the Library ladies, grocery store workers, or the old man named Dagfinn I say good morning to each day as he smokes his pipe on his same bench. I will miss it!
It was a special last week though. I think the highlight for me was teaching this man named Emmanuel. I need to tell you his story. Back when I was with Elder Skøien, we were one day walking up a hill to an appointment with a member. We were running late and I had on some tunnnel vision. Out of the blue this guy contacts ME in english asking us what we do. I told him about the Book of Mormon for about 2 minutes before telling him we had to run to an appointment. We got a phone number, taught him the next morning, and one more time that same week. Then, he got way busy and had some tough things happen in his life. I probably banked on his door 20 times in the last 2 months and we were never able to teach him and every appointment we got fell through. This past week we were finally able to come inside and had an incredible teach! Emmanuel is a truth seeker and the spirit testified to him time and time again in that lesson! 
We visited a lot of members this week and were able to regain contact with quite a few investigators. Elder Abril will be staying put in Kongsberg and will do awesome things! He has developed skills so fast and definitely taught me more than I could ever teach him. Training was a great experience.
A bunch of missionaries gathered together today and we had a good old American Turkey Bowl! We'll be having a get together tonight with members and some investigators in Kongsberg! I'll attach a bunch of photos!
Eldste Parkinson

Biskop Waal! 

​The awesome Ward Mission Leader Glenn and Fam!

Thought I would forward a photo the Isaksen family sent me! They have taken great care of me!

Drive to Tønsberg!

Sister Isaksen brought us back all this from Sweden! Props to having a Svensk companion. Meatballs included!
The awesome Nystad family! Go Pack go!

Monday, November 17, 2014


SHOUT David with the 15th birthday on Saturday! I sent something in the mail, so I hope it gets to you before the big day! It will be special to have Hannah back a few days before. I hear you are getting pretty tall, Dave. Dunkin' yet? We will be playing some bball in the church later today. Most of the elders in the district played high school ball and we keep saying that we should put together a squad and take on the little Norwegian pro teams haha.
We had a great Zone Leader Training on Tuesday in Tønsberg. We drove on this tiny little winding road to get there and it was way scenic. We talked a lot about teaching skills especially when it comes to resolving concerns. One important thing I learned is that our job is to "help other people resolve their concerns," not simply "resolve their concerns for them." Often I become used to certain concerns and try to use rote, textbook answers that I have given before. It really comes down to teaching in the way that Elder Bednar taught us while he was here: help investigators become agents rather than objects by listening, asking inspired questions, and allowing the spirit to teach them answers to their own concerns.
We had a difficult time teaching people this week. Appointment after appointment fell through, something you become used to as a missionary, but this week seemed especially brutal. But, all disappointments really help you to appreciate the few flecks of gold you did have. We had an awesome teach with one of our newer investigators named Jacob. He is a really nice man from Sierra Leone! Thanks to the car we were able to visit a less active that lives out in the boonies. Literally the middle of nowhere haha. The address wouldn't even show up on the GPS so we had to ask around before we eventually found the street. We didn't know much about her, but we banked on the door and were able to teach the whole family (4 kids and a husband)! She is a convert of about 14 years and still reads daily in the Book of Mormon, but her family has unfortunately never jumped on board. It was a really cool and unexpected teach.
Sunday was the Primary Program. The Primary in this ward is about twice as big as the whole branch in Tromsø haha. The missionaries got to go up and sing the song "Vi vil bringe sannhet til jord" (We'll bring the world his truth) with the primary which was cool. All the elders in the ward are really tall so it was a cool image with all these kids as tall as our kneecaps.
Norwegians start celebrating Jul (Christmas) really early. Stores are all filled with Christmas items and grocery stores have all this cheap food that is special for Christmas. Plus, we have been listening to this christmas MO-TAB CD on repeat in the car. Ready for the Holidays! 

Not much else to say! Have a great week!
Eldste Parkinson

Monday, November 10, 2014

Members and Missionaries

First off, thanks for all the birthday wishes! It was a great day and even better with all the love from back home! It snowed quite a bit, which made it a memorable day! 

We had quite a few service opportunities this week, which was awesome! We helped the Isaksen family with their garage project and helped another member move. Unfortunately, this member lived on the 5th floor of an apartment complex with no elevator so that was quite the workout. It was nice to be spending time with members and really building up relationships with them. Member work actually happened to also be the theme of our Zone Conference this week. It was a really inspiring meeting and really cool to see everyone begin to catch the same vision. It is especially applicable to the Drammen Ward, a ward that every missionary in the mission wants to serve in because the members 'get it'. The fruits of this new vision may not be seen right away, but it will allow for real growth here in Norway.

Thus, we spent a lot of this week visiting members. One thing we have been focusing on is introducing preach my gospel to families and helping them to read it together. Something cool about Preach my Gospel is how plain and simple it is when it comes to the gospel. Every answer we could possibly need to give someone concerning the church is in the book and could be learned in primary for that matter. 

We met with the Burmese family again, but they continue to be hard to teach/communicate with. We were able to find some first presidency messages in Burmese for them to read so hopefully that helps in some way or another. Daisy, the member from the Philipines, was finally able to come to church! Now we just need to get her friends there! 

As a district we are putting a big focus on less active work as well! Often we get so excited about finding new people, but completely forget about those that have gone astray. It has been cool to see a lot of members in the ward come back to church for the first time in years. There was one man that even bore his testimony last week and publicly thanked the missionaries for inviting him back. Sometimes all it takes is an invitation. 

I love you all and I love this work! Hannah, good luck on the home stretch! 

Med Vennlig Hilsen, 
Eldste Parkinson

3 generations right here. My papa elder Garrard and my son elder Abril.


Homemade cake. All we had to to do was take off the ice cream lid!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Happy 19th

HAPPY 19th to the other Elder Parkinson in Ungarn (Hungary in Norwegian)! It baffles my mind to think that if it weren't for the age change we would both still be in college. Scary thoughts.
We got the car this week and it has revolutionized our proselyting. It makes it a lot easier to visit members and try back investigators we have lost contact with. Nancy, our investigator from Ghana, continues to progress. It was neat to have a reactivated member on the teach that was able to bear some powerful testimony which allowed the spirit to testify to her of the truth. Now, we just have to overcome the same problem we always have: getting her to church. Our other most positive investigator of late is this truth seeking guy from India. He is fascinated that our church is led by a prophet and is working towards baptism. It is interesting how most of the people we teach are not from Norway.
We had splits in Drammen on Saturday. I got to work with Elder Skøien, my old comp, and Elder Naumu who served in Alta when I was in Tromsø. It's cool how much energy splits brings into missionary work. GETS ME PUMPED!! 

We had a really cool experience last night. First, I have to backtrack a little bit. A few weeks ago I met this family from Burma with Elder Skøien. We ordered the Joseph Smith pamphlet in Burmese and dropped it off earlier this week. After a ward activity fell through last night we decided to go and try back this family. They let us right in and we started talking about what they read and the message of the restoration in very simple Norwegian. We would ask the father questions and he would always try to change the subject to the gold plates he read about in the pamphlet. So, we taught him about the Book of Mormon like he wanted and his eyes were just lit up the whole time! This full grown man was, I kid you not, literally jumping up and down with excitement! When we told him that the book is not yet translated to Burmese they were very frustrated. The sincerity of this family to be able to read the Book of Mormon really touched me. They are going to try as well as they can in Norwegian and we will try to get them in contact with members from Burma. This church is literally flooding the earth!
I am coming up on my 9 month mark. I am not really very big on milestones like that, but it keeps hitting me how fast this time really goes. Especially with Hannah on her last few weeks!
There was another baptism up in Tromsø which made me happy and a little homesick for my birthplace! I have really enjoyed these first two areas of my mission. Elder Abril is doing awesome! Great guy. It is crazy how fast he has adjusted and how eager he is to work! I feel like I have way more to learn from him than he has to learn from me! Especially when it comes to Swedish, which I make him teach me! Funny: 'å spørre' in norwegian means 'to ask' while in swedish it means 'to beat to death'. That misunderstanding led to a funny encounter with somebody.
Have a great week! Lots of Love!
Eldste Parkinson  

My two Iranian buddies! The one on the left just moved to Germany!