Monday, February 23, 2015

Week of the Snake


Transfer week! I want to begin this letter with a cool story from the week:
Right by our apartment there is a pretty small park. In the park there is this cool looking snake that kids (and missionaries) can climb on. We walk by this park every single day and Elder Årsnes and I thought it would be really cool if we could teach someone on this snake. We jokingly made it a transfer goal when we first got together a while back. Well, Monday night we were planning and realized that Tuesday would be our last time to teach someone on the snake. We wrote "Snake Tuesday" on the top of our planners and were determined to make it happen! The next morning it was raining and Elders Årsnes and Gunther both threw up...which left me on splits with Elder Hurst. The adversary stepped in and things were looking bleak. We were pretty busy with  appointments most of the day (since we had two areas) and it wasn't looking like the snake teach was going to happen. On the way home that night from the center we said a prayer that God would prepare someone in the park that we could teach. As we walked by the park I stopped a lady and told her we had a message that could change her life! I asked if she had some time to talk and she said yes! "Can we go up into the park where it's a little more calm?" YES again. Needless to say, we went up in the park, sat on the snake, and taught her for 15 minutes about the Book of Mormon! We taught her again the next day and she was super positive! As goofy of a way it was to find a person, it showed me that God answers the prayer of faith! It's bold, goofy things like this that make the mission fun! 

Elder Reber is a good guy from CALIfornia. He is a math major and reminds me a lot of Erik actually. We got two new missionaries to the district that re-opened the area I opened with Elder Holden! 

I need to tell you a little about C.! He is the the guy from Congo I met a while back! We have been teaching him like crazy and he has been to church the last three weeks! He is the funniest, coolest guy I've ever met! I made the mistake of telling him my first name and now he won't call me Elder Parkinson haha! He soaks in everything we teach him it amazes me! We were riding the Trikk with him to church and this lady from Cameroon started talking to us. She said that she had heard of the mormon church and thought we believed in dead people instead of Jesus Christ! C. jumped in and bore his testimony of how he had heard weird things before he met with us, but now that he has read from the Book of Mormon and started meeting he know it's true! It was powerful!! This guy is going to be a bishop one day.

We have been seeing some miracles this week from our #Conquerthelist initiative. We were able to meet up with a few in active members that were very positive and committed to come to the activities we are starting up on Saturday nights! They were both people with awesome conversion stories that disappeared from church without the ward really knowing about it. It's made me realize how true President Hinckley's quote is about what members need to remain active: "1. spiritual nourishment 2. A call 3. a friend." As a way to help with #3 we are starting up movie and game nights at the center for investigators, less actives, and members every Saturday! This Saturday we are going to watch the Saratov approach, one of the only movies I've ever seen that has made me cry! 

One last spiritual thought. I was studying a lot this week about the importance of using the scriptures in prostelyting. I've really learned how teaching from the scriptures can help our investigators become self-sufficient. Mom, I think the one thing that you always seemed to tell me growing up was that I could find answers to my questions in the Book of Mormon. I remember, to be honest :), how often I would brush those words of wisdom off. Over the last year I have seen daily scripture study as the key to personal revelation in my life and in the life of my investigators. Going back to Cedrick. One reason he is progressing so well is because he feasts on the Book of Mormon! He had questions about the Plan of Salvation and he looked up Alma 40 all by himself and found answers! Those that bank on the door will get answers. That is my testimony. 

Have good week Parkinson FAM! 

Oslo P-day

Watch out Grandpa… I'm getting pretty good at pool.

Eldste Parkinson

Monday, February 16, 2015

Meet the Mormons


Not sure what happened, but this transfer is already past! Moves call was yesterday and I will be staying here in Oslo with my new companion Elder Reber! Bummed to split up with Elder Årsnes a second time, but the funny part is that he is now heading down to Kongsberg! Elder Reber is from California and has about 6 months left I think. I know him already from previous areas and he's a good guy.

It was a tough week at times as we struggled to keep contact with some of our key investigators. One thing we started up this week was taking our street contacting over to the University! We decided that was the best way to find young Norwegians, and it worked like a charm! Pretty much everyone was willing to talk and we were able to find a lot of cool people from that!

Probably the coolest thing that happened this week was an activity we had at the center on Friday night! In one or another way we were able to get a copy of the "Meet the Mormons" movie that recently came out back in the States. We showed it for young adults in the ward and investigators that we were able to get to come! Loved the movie! We had our investigator C. there and he had his eyes glued to the screen the whole time. It was cool how much it had to say about missionary work, both for the members that were converts, and the last story of the missionary mom. I loved the story of the man from Nepal, especially the fact that he found the church in Russia and was baptized there. It was good to hear for me, since the majority of the people that are interested in our message here in Norway are foreigners. C., for example, will only be here in Norway a few more months before he goes back to Kongo. But, I know that wherever these foreigners go, they will be instruments in building up the kingdom of God!

We had an interesting experience yesterday. Last night we called this young lady that we had met on Saturday to try and set up and appointment. She told us that she had time in about 30 minutes, which shocked us as we were expecting an appointment later in the week. We sat down in the center and asked if we could say a prayer and she told us that there was something she needed to tell us. And then she dropped a bomb...I am a newly converted Jehovas Witness! I have talked to tons of JWs on my mission, but had never been ambushed like this before. She had come prepared with questions and facts to prove us wrong. It was an interesting teach, but we handled it pretty well and avoided the bible bash that she was pushing for. The experience really helped me to appreciate and relate to how Joseph Smith felt before the restoration of the Gospel. So many ideologies and churches exist with the Bible being the only authority. I was studying from the Book of Mormon in the 29th chapter of 2nd Nephi, a chapter that I have read quite a few times, but understood a lot better when I read it this morning. It talks about how the "Lord won't forget his people." While reading this it helped me to see the Restoration as an act of love. God doesn't want his children to be confused by every wind of doctrine and through a living prophet and the Book of Mormon we once again have a sure source to truth!

It's starting to feel like summer will be coming soon! Hope I don't jinx it!

Eldste Parkinson

Monday, February 9, 2015

Faith to Find


This week has been a blast! God blessed us with quite a few new investigators this week! The cool thing was that a lot of them were found as back up plans! Appointments would fall through, we'd show faith that there was someone else we were supposed to find, and God would always bless us with a miracle! I thought I just share a couple cool finding experiences we had:

On a bitter cold day last Monday, we had all our appointments fall through in the evening and decided to go out and try some less-active members! Most of them were not home, but we made a focus of contacting and finding people on the way. I stopped this lady and asked her what God meant to her. She said it meant everything and proceeded to tell us about how her faith has helped her and her son through very hard times. Elder Årsnes asked how old her son was and she just started crying as she told us 7 and a half. We started bearing testimony of the power the restored gospel has to bless families and she told us that she had prayed earlier that day for God to send someone to her that could help her family. We said a prayer with her right there on the street and she took a pamphlet to read. She has since told us that she needs some time to process things, which doesn't bother me at all considering how delicate and precious of a soul that she is. That was a way powerful experience for me. 

During the week we were out street contacting at a very busy time right in the center of Oslo. It was weird because nobody was even looking at us when we tried to stop them. Elder Årsnes would keep pinching me to make sure I wasn't wearing an invisibility cloak. I suggested that it might be the new deodrant I got. There came a point that We both felt strongly that we needed to get out of there. I suggested we just get on a TBane and we felt good about going to a place called Tøyen. After a few minutes of contacting we stopped a guy who is totally prepared, from Bolivia, has a family, looking for a church, and we got tons of spanish members! Now we're teaching the guy!

One last one. Yesterday we were on our way to a middag appointment and we were crossing a street. I felt this urge to talk with a certain guy and stopped him right in the middle of the street. Turns out he is a new member that moved here a few months ago from Italy, but hadn't yet found the church here in Oslo! He had just been through the temple for the first time right before he left! He even lives with a non-member cousin that he is going to introduce to us today!!

I was thinking about what Mom said about Ministering angels and how people are being prepared from both sides of the veil! This week testified to me that this is true! This is God's work to save HIS children. By living worthy of the spirit we can be led to those that are prepared to receive the restored gospel and take the next steps towards eternal life! What's so cool is that we all have the opportunity to have these kind of finding experiences and spread those ripples of goodness throughout the world. 

On Thursday I hit the one year mark! I didn't burn anything, but I may need to throw away some white shirts pretty soon. I talked to the Crabtree's on the phone the other day and Tromsø is on fire right now! I'm always reminded that there is nowhere I would rather be serving a mission than right here in Norway!

Eldste Parkinson

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

parlez-vous francais?


First off, speedy recovery to David! It looks like you balled a little to hard! And, Good luck in Budapest to the other Elder Parkinson! The other elders here in Olso just started teaching this awesome man from Budapest. I'll see if I can milk out some referrals for you. 

It's been a busy week! We have another awesome investigator from Africa! He's from The Congo, speaks pretty good English, but his native language is French. We watched the 20 minute Restoration movie the other day (in French) and it blew him away! Right when it was finished he said "That was clear as water!" He was able to explain it all right back to us and was stoked! It's funny because he said he lived pretty close to a Mormon Church in The Congo, but had no idea what it was all about. And then in Norway of all places, on a several month work trip, we find him in a park! It's been fun trying to re-learn some of my French since we started teaching him, which has been difficult. Norwegian replaced everything. Just yesterday we were about to cross a street and I turned around and contacted this guy from Senegal and he only spoke French! I started out speaking this awful blending of English, Norwegian, and French. I was able to pull the French together enough to teach him about the Book of Mormon and get an appointment set up for this evening with him and his buddy! Miss that language!

We had the opportunity to attend the funeral this week for a man in the ward that recently passed away after a fight with cancer. It was the same man that I played chess with right around Christmas time. He has an unbelievable story. He was a long time member of the church, wrote himself out, and recently decided to come back not to long ago. He was re-baptized, received the priesthood, and just a few weeks ago, against doctors orders, drove with a member to Stockholm to receive his endowment in the temple. Whenever we would visit with him he would always talk about soon being in Åndeverden (the Spirit world). Knowing him and being at the funeral really strengthened my testimony of the Plan of Salvation. I remember all those lessons back home with Bishop Stephens when we would go through this plan and draw it out on the whiteboard. I had the diagram down! It's been cool to see this plan in action on my mission and to understand more than just what it is, but what it means. The hope, the comfort, and the love it can give to both a cancer stricken old man and a 19 year old missionary. How blessed I am to be able to share this Plan of Happiness with others!

We played basketball on Saturday with B. and a member! We are going to start doing it every Saturday morning and will try and involve more investigators! My favorite king of prostelyting activity :)

Elder Årsnes and I have been having a blast here in Oslo! So many prepared people and so many cool experiences each and every day! i'll try and attach some photos today! I hope you guys have a great week! 

Love always, 
Eldste Parkinson