Monday, December 29, 2014


Takk for sist! It seems like I just barely talked to you! Everybody looked way taller (even you dad) and older (except for you mom)! I realized afterwards how hard it is to really explain the mission experience over a skype call, but I think the visual image I got of all of you is what I will cherish the most! 

It has been  a very intereseting week missionary work wise. Norway pretty much shuts down for the holidays and it has been near impossible to get appointments set up with our investigators. We were in members homes nearly every night this past week, which helped us buld up relationships and put on a few needed holiday pounds. It was quite the blessing. The family we were with on Julaften (Christmas Eve) is the brother to the Isaksen family in Kongsberg that I knew so well! There are lots of cool Christmas traditions that it was fun to be a part of. For one, on Julaften you always eat a dessert called riskrem. Hidden in the dessert is an Almond, and whoever finds it wins a pig cake. Anyways, I was the lucky one this year and earned myself a pretty gnarly pig! They also have this ancient tradition of walking in circles around the Christmas tree singing Christmas songs. good stuff.

It has been a special experience to dedicate the Christmas season to serving others. Our district organized a caroling activity one night in which we were able to sing to several member and non-members. There was one older lady that we visited who has been inactive because of her poor health. We went into her house and she told us her favorite hymn, which we then sang with her and despite her poor health she sang along with us! Another day, we went to a care facility to give a blessing to a member that is dying from cancer. He could hardly move and was in a lot of pain. It was really neat to give him a blessing and see the peace it brought to his soul. As we were about to head home for dinner I saw a chessboard on his table and asked him if he played chess. He said yes and asked if I wanted to play with him. So, for the first time in many years, I played chess with this man and he beat me pretty good! "When you are in the service of your fellow beings you are only in the service of your God." 

2014 has been a very special year. I remember just 4 years ago I was David's age beginning school in Boise. I wasn't very sure what I was doing with my life. 2 years ago I was writing up countless college applications to schools across the country. I was devestated when the responses of every school was a resounding NO apart from one school: BYU. One year ago, I had just finished up my second semester of college, two semesters that allowed me to really develop a testimony for the Gospel and a desire to serve a mission. For almost all of 2014 I have been serving as a missionary in Norway doing a work that I know is good and true. Looking back, I am so grateful for the ways in which God has directed my path over the years. I have a testimony that God has a plan for us and is mindful of us every step of the way!

have a great week and a godt nyttår!

Eldste Parkinson

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


A really quick note because I will be talking to you tomorrow on skype! It has been really cool to experience the Christmas season as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! Every Christmas I remember has followed the same tradition of family, food, presents, etc. Being away from all that for the first time has allowed me to really contemplate the true meaning of Christmas and the role Jesus Christ plays in my life. I am grateful for my testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ! I am grateful for the opportunity I have to spread this glorious message to the people of Norway! On Sunday there was an awesome talk about the "Condescension of Christ:" A super big word. "Nedlatenhet" in Norwegian. As big and strange of a word as it is, it really helps explain Christ's role in our lives. God's son, who came into the world without sin, went below all we will ever experience and fathom in order to lift us all back to our Father in heaven. We watched a movie last night about the Nativity and it was interesting to think about how the Son of God, the King of Kings, was born in the lowest of conditions, amongst livestock. How grateful I am for His life and his sacrifice! 

The members are taking great care of us! We have dinner appointments lined up all this week! I appreciate the letters, packages, and prayers that have come my way! 

God Jul!

Eldste Parkinson

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Lord's strength

What a week! Elder Holden ended up being here through Friday and bounced down to Sandvika for the remainder of his mission. We had a blast serving together and were blessed with miracles on miracles. I am now living right in the heart of Oslo with my new companion elder Christensen. He has been out as long as Elder Abril, so I will finish training him the rest of this transfer. He is from Nampa, Idaho, which brings back memories of my first basketball game out at Nampa High School!

The work in Oslo is exciting! We have an awesome ward mission leader from Scotland who served his mission in Norway several years ago! A lot of great members and a lot of potential to reactivate.

We were able to teach our Icelandic buddy Ari a couple more times this week! He is awesome and getting integrated in with some of the young adults! We were teaching about prayer and invited him to close our lesson with a prayer and he just paused for a long time not knowing what to say. We asked if we could say one first to demonstrate and he blurted out "Yes, Show me!" He said a simple prayer after for the first time in his life and he was beaming after he said Amen. 

A couple more crazy stories: 1. Last Sunday on the metro to Church this man overheard two of the other missionaries talking with somebody about Jesus Christ. All the missionaries got off the T-bane (Metro) and started walking to the church as this man decided to jump off after us, epically running to the door sticking his hand in right before the doors closed. He came to church and we have started teaching him! From Eritrea/Ethiopia. 2. On Tuesday night Elder Holden and I had this former investigator we were going to try and visit. We had no phone number, just an address. We were on our way to the T-bane and started talking to this lady that we followed onto a Trikk (Street Car) that we figured would take us to the right area. We gave the lady a pamphlet before she got off and split up to talk some other people. Lo and behold, Elder Holden strikes up a conversation with this man from Nigeria and gets his name and number before we get off the trikk...Turns out this man was the man we were on our way to visit! What?!?! And Oslo is a little bigger than Kongsberg haha! I am not sure what will become of the two people from these stories, but God knows where His sheep are and will set us into their paths when we act on the promptings of the Holy Ghost! 

I learned a lot these last few weeks about relying on the Lord. We worked really hard and honestly didn't have time for meals sometime because of travel and unexpected things that came up. But no matter how tired or hungry I was, once I started talking with others about the gospel or teaching lessons I felt more strength and energy than any energy drink, drug, or full night sleep could of given me. It makes me think of my favorite scripture in Isaiah and another one I have found recently:

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strengththey shall mount  up with wings as eaglesthey shall runand not be weary; and they shall walk,  and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

12 And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my   gospel as with the voice of trumpboth day and night. And will give unto him strength such as is not known among men. (Doctrine and Covenants 24:12)

I'm grateful for the joy this gospel gives me and for my opportunity to dedicate 2 years of my life spreading that joy across Norway!

Have a great week!

Eldste Parkinson

Monday, December 8, 2014

My dog is named Grimsey!

Hey Fam,

It's been an unbelievable week! We found out that there will be a mini moves on Wednesday. Elder Holden will be moving to Romerike and I will be joining Elder Christensen here in Oslo. Our area will be closing after two weeks, but will probably open up again next transfer. We are a bit bummed, but the work is going great here!
Saturday may have been the coolest day of my mission!

We had some really awesome experiences. We had a sweet teach with this guy from the Congo and his Norwegian girlfriend. We taught an awesome lesson in which we talked a lot about authority and at the end of the lesson we gave the girlfriend a priesthood blessing for her injured back and the spirit was really strong! 

We did a street stand to invite people to the language class we are starting up. It's crazy how big Oslo is compared to the other places I have served. Felt like I was in NYC. There was this guy that wasn't happy about our street stand and stood with his bike blocking our sign for about 45 minutes. We all would try talking to him and he would just want to bash so we let him be. It got me pretty fired up, but I'm glad I kept my cool. Ironically I was reading in the scriptures the next day about how Christ tolerated everything without even opening his mouth. Turn the other cheek. 

God blessed us with another awesome teach after the street stand, though! This awesome Icelandic guy who moved here about 4 years ago! It was probably one of the most powerful teaches on my mission. He was asking us the most sincere questions and the spirit hit him so strong! I was able to talk to him for a while about Iceland and he said he is from Akureyri! Did we go there? He said he has been to Grimsey island and I told him that my dog is named Grimsey! He is so prepared! We had another teach that night with our progressor named Ørjan! He is the nicest guy and is making good progress towards baptism!
It's been exciting to start using the "He is the Gift" video in our proselyting! We got into several houses by just asking if we could show them the video! If you haven't seen it yet it is on It's been a great motivation to really focus on being a Christ centered missionary.
One nice thing that is nice about serving in Oslo is that we have access to this Young Adult Center right in the middle of the city. It has a huge kitchen, couches, ping pong table, etc. Institute is held there as well as other activities. It is a great place to teach investigators and there are tons of young members that are there all the time!
It is starting to get colder and looking like Christmas! I appreciate all of the love and support! It keeps me warm :)
Eldste Parkinson

Isaksen family and Hisam


Emmanuel -- love this guy!

Winter is here

Monday, December 1, 2014

A few more Thanksgiving pictures...

Thanks again to the Rasmussens!!

Thanksgiving Photos

Sent from a senior couple in Oslo with the comment: "Love These Great Missionaries!"

Tom is near rear on right side

Week 1 in Oslo!

We had a great last couple of days in Kongsberg. We had an awesome FHE at the Isaksen's house with an investigator named H and some other members. We found H a week before I left and were able to teach him 4 times in one week! Awesome guy that has committed to prepare for baptism! A huge miracle. It was cool to teach him one last time right before I left!

It's been a sweet first week in the big city of Oslo! We are actually living in Sandvika in an apartment that the AP's were living in, which is about a 25 minute train ride from the city. There are 8 other missionaries in the Oslo ward and one senior couple! It's an exciting feeling to be starting completely from scratch without any prior obligations. The ward is huge (about 700 members on the list), but only about 180 of them are active. There is so much potential for this city to just take off!!

Elder Holden is a cool dude! From Rockford, Illinois and already has completed a bachelors degree in Finance. He is a great missionary and really helping me develop skills and get more excited and consecrated to this work! It's also fun to be serving with someone from the Midwest! 

We have spent a lot of time on the streets talking to people! It is such a contrast to the abandoned streets of Kongsberg that I had become so used to. We have been blessed with many tender mercies as we open up this area. First, when looking through some drawers in the apartment we found some old Oslo area books that we able to find some very cool people in! One being this part member family from Vietnam that we were able to teach yesterday! Another miracle happened when we were sitting in the Institute Center downtown looking up an address on the computer. This random guy, turned out to be a previous investigator, walked in asking if he could meet with some missionaries. We had an awesome teach in which we were able to commit him to baptism! There were difficult times too, when appointments would fall through and nobody would stop and talk to us, but I have come to be grateful for those struggles. I recognize that God tests us and tries us in order to qualify us for all the blessings he has in store. I am grateful for the opportunity to be consecrated to this work and for the powers from heaven that are available to us when we bury our weapons of war like the the Lamanites did and commit to follow Christ! 

I love you all!

Eldste Parkinson