Monday, January 26, 2015

A good day to be a missionary


It's a good day to be a missionary! We had a sweet week and have seen a lot of miracles! Sounds like it was an exciting week back home! Dave: congrats on that Obama handshake! Imma one up you and try to get one from the King of Norway :)

B. He has been doing awesome. He works night shifts until 8 am and still finds a way to come to church. DEDICATION! I found out he is a big bball fan too, which has made me happy! I started calling him Kobe and he's calling me Steph Curry, it's great. We are going to try to play some ball on Saturday at the church!

We had a training meeting with the assistants this week about finding. After the Kopischke conference we are really working on refining our skills and making some big changes. For example, with street contacting it had become a habit for missionaries to always begin the same way: "Vi er to misjonærer fra Jesu Kristi Kirke av Siste Dagers Hellige..." Completely abandoning that. Instead, we are working on starting up conversations by talking about people's family, asking questions, etc. Something I started doing is contacting people with dogs. If you are petting their dog they can't go anywhere :)

We have seen some huge miracles as we've been working on conquering the ward list. Just yesterday we were able to teach two part member the same time! Two less active brothers happened to be visiting each other when we dropped by! What made it more awesome is that they remembered Elder Årsnes from when he was a little boy. All mormons in Norway know each other. 

One thing I have tried to put a focus on lately is boldness. When elder Kopischke was here he defined boldness as "clarity." I really liked that definition. It keeps becoming more and more apparent to me how over complicated I always tend to make things. It's partly because I am so passionate about this gospel that I want to just tell people everything I know! I'm trying to be more willing to keep things short and simple, even if the person I am teaching wants more. It's the same reason God doesn't reveal things to us until we are ready and able to receive it!

I've also been reflecting a lot lately on my expectations for my mission before I left. I really had no clue what being a missionary was. But, the one thing I was expecting and looking forward to was the opportunity to serve. I think that is one reason I was hoping to go to Africa or some isolated island where people really needed service. I've really come to appreciate how much everyone needs service and how many different ways service can be given. Every conversation we have on the street is an opportunity to invite the light of Christ into somebody's life. Just yesterday, we talked to this awesome American guy from Portland who had a Mormon brother. He was visiting Norway on vacation and was touched that he ran into us. He said that he had just been thinking during his vacation that he needed to start visiting his brother's church more. Simple acts of service like that are really what make your mission. 

Excited for a great week! Lots of stuff planned! 

Eldste Parkinson 

Monday, January 19, 2015

A visit from Elder Kopischke

Our mission was blessed this week with a visit from another General Authority: Elder Kopischke. BLOWN AWAY. We had a 6 hour meeting with him as missionaries that was basically a question and answer session. One thing that impressed me is that after every question he would first open to the scriptures and share a verse that would give a direct answer. It was inspiring how he knew his scriptures so well! One phrase that he kept using over and over again is "raise your vision!" As I get close to my year mark it is a good time to really reestablish my vision for the rest of my mission. It can be easy to get discouraged and lower your expectations, but as Elder Kopischke said, "never bury your dreams!" The missionary work in Norway is prime for take off and I know with the missionaries, members, and a little patience real growth is going to start like never before!

The same day as the Missionary conference he had a fireside for the young adults at the Institute center. We had an investigator that came so we were able to be with. It was powerful. One question that was asked was how you don't 'burn out' in the church when it demands so much of you. I have thought a lot about this as a missionary. He shared a scripture from Mosiah 4:26-27 that I really liked which helped to answer the question! A lot of it comes down to our weekly cleansing though the sacrament. 

Our best investigator at the moment is my man, the guy that jumped off the trikk and followed us to church! We have established a great relationship and he has made lots of friends in the ward! He asks great questions and really recognizes the promptings of the spirit. 

Another cool experience: a couple weeks ago Elder Christensen and I were helping a family move. We took longer than we thought and almost missed our T-Bane going back to town. I ran probably my fastest 800 meter of my life. One the T-Bane I sat next to this guy that I began talking to. He is originally from Uganda, but studying at a university in Stockholm. He said he spontaneously decided to come to Norway for a day to see some sights. I eventually started talking to him about the Book of Mormon and he agreed to walk to the institute center to receive a copy. We taught him quickly, the spirit was strong, and I got his contact info to send on to Sweden. When I checked my email I got this awesome response from him:

"Hi Thomas,
Thank You for the email.  Am doing quite fine and enjoyed my final day in Oslo and hoping to return there in the near future as i feel there was still alot to discover in Oslo.
I have been reading through the precious gift from you 'Book of Mormon' and have to admit each chapter has been a revelation i had no prior knowledge about, am yet to contact the local church to meet someone to i can further share with but hope to do so with in the coming days.
I once again wish to appreciate your missionary work and having spared your time for a chat with me in Oslo.
My Best wishes"

It's the best when you find awesome people like that!
Have a great week! 

Eldste Parkinson

P Day  ~ snowy, blustery day...just staying in today!

Monday, January 12, 2015

From Tromsø to Oslo


Well, Elder Årsnes and I are back together for round two! It's been fun reflecting on our time in Tromsø and it makes me realize how much I miss that place! Elder Årsnes grew up in the ward just north of Oslo, so he already knows the Oslo ward better than me! 

We have set a district goal this transfer to conquer the ward list. One of the problems with the Oslo ward is that it is so big. 750 members! And only 180 that come every Sunday. It can be intimidating for new missionaries to come here and face the impossible task of getting to know the ward, and the even harder task of doing reactivation work. During this six weeks we have committed to identify all 750 members and then record a little about them so future missionaries don't need to waste time trying back members that have moved or are 'ikke interessert.' Oslo is a ward with so much missionary potential! I know once it gets that strong foundation things are going to take off!

We rarely do banking here in Oslo because we spend so much time in the city, but yesterday Elder Årsnes and I had some fun banking on some apartments. It made me think of Erik because there are no houses, just block apartments like Erik describes in his letters. It was interesting because we were on our way to try back this family from Rwanda and I happened to sit by one of their sons on the T-Bane ride over there! It was cool to share a Book of Mormon with their family and to see how God watches out for the people that we teach. We found a couple other families that night that we were able share a message with as well. Nothing better than finding those that are willing to listen with open ears/hearts!

I had a a bit of a sore throat that I am recovering from this week. It was a little frustrating with street contacting not being able to speak very loud and having my voice crack a lot. I actually scared a few people haha. 

I'm doing great and loving it out here! Got a bunch of snow this week! Someone in the ward said it was -45 in Minnesota? Dang! We have a zone conference with Elder Kopischke on Friday! Group Pday on Thursday, but we got a little time to write today!

Eldste Parkinson

Monday, January 5, 2015

Godt nyttår!

Hey FAM! 

i wrote half the email before I remembered that yesterday was...MOVES CALL. I'm staying in Oslo and Elder Christensen is taking off to Hamar. Puts an end to the potato connection. My new comp is Elder Årsnes! That's right, round 2! I'm excited to be working with him again!

It was a fun experience being in Oslo for the new year! Fireworks are a big thing up here and almost every single house in the whole city was setting off some pretty legit fireworks. Unfortunately, there was a bunch of fog, which made it hard to see them. We spent New Years Eve with an awesome family from England! 4 young kids. It brought back memories of having the missionaries over on New Years eve back in Minnesota. I think this was my first time not seeing the ball drop! 

It has been a busy week of ups and downs. It has been tough losing kontact with some investigators over the holidays and we have put a big focus on finding new investigators. it has also been good to thing to focus on goal setting with the New Year! i have been comparing it to a maze. Having no goals is like a maze with no exit. You may be stoked to share the gospel and full of energy, but you won't be very effective and will spend most of your times running in to walls and dead ends. Goals/Planning allow you to have direction as well as the companionship of the Holy Ghost. One thing I have been getting passionate about is finding on the way. I have stopped doing contacting stints where you just walk aimlessly around the city talking to everyone with a pulse. Instead, we always try to have a "point B" (a less active, former investigator, potential, active member) that we can visit and then have the faith that god will place people in our paths that our ready to receive the message! 

We will be getting another visit from the 70 in a couple weeks: Elder Kopichke! Looking forward to an awesome transfer!!

Eldste Parkinson