Monday, March 30, 2015

On to the Next One

Hey fam!

We got dumped on by snow earlier this week, which was quite surprising. Public transportation had a tough time responding to that. It seemed like we spent most of Thursday pushing/lifting smart cars out of the snow. But, the snow has disappeared almost as fast as it came, so we'll see how much more winter Norway's got. 

Yesterday was moves call and there was some big news. I am headed from Oslo and will be going back to the Drammen ward!! It was a big and exciting surprise. I will be serving right in Drammen instead of in Kongsberg and will be with a very experienced missionary named Elder Shanklin! As exciting as it is, I'm going to miss this ward, the city, the missionaries, everything. It's been a special three transfers here. I realized that I have served in every area of my mission the exact same amount of time, which has been just right for me. There was a baptism yesterday for an awesome man named D. who I had the opportunity to interview. He comes from Croatia and has been largely taught through skype. It was an awesome baptismal service with 4 different languages being used: English, Norwegian, Russian, and Croatian (thanks to skype and some Russian speaking members in our ward). It was a unique and powerful experience and to add to it, one of the several investigators that was present at the baptism decided that she wanted to be baptized next Saturday! After a long period of hard work, emotions, and patience, D. seems to have gotten the rock rolling here in Oslo that is quickly picking up momentum!! 

A few weeks ago I mentioned a cool experience finding a family on the trikk on the way to Church. We were able to start teaching them this week and it was an awesome experience! They were asking the kind of truth seeking questions that you love to hear as a missionary! How can I recognize an answer from God? How do I pray? These kind of simple questions are the ones that show real intent! 

Being the last week of the transfer, we put a big focus on finishing the conquer the list initiative! It was cool to get that done and to reflect on all the miracles that we had and members that have started to come back because of it. Saving sheep is at least as important as finding them. I feel like the Oslo ward list has kind of been this monster in the closet that gives everyone nightmares. Slaying the monster helped us as missionaries, but perhaps most importantly strengthened our relationship and trust with the ward. 

One thing I have gotten passionate about lately is using analogies as we teach. I've been thinking a lot lately about the importance of simplicity and teaching for understanding. That's exactly what Christ did when he taught. I always knew that the church had a weird vocabulary that can be hard to understand. But even more commonly used words like prayer, God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, baptism can be hard to really understand given all the mixed ideas out there. I'm grateful that my loving Heavenly Father restored these simple and practical truths so that we can use and share them with others. The restoration isn't just about truths that other churches don't have, it's also clarifying those simple doctrines that everyone misunderstands. It's these simple truths that are the foundation of my testimony and what I can always turn to when doubt or opposition comes. 

Anyways, have a great week! I'm glad you had a great trip to NYC. I love and miss that place and am reminded about it everyday by all the NY Yankees hats I see in Norway (despite the fact that nobody knows who the NY Yankees are !). General Conference next week! I'll be watching in the same chapel as last time! And if there is General Conference there must be the final Four! No idea what's going on, but I'll take whatever Big Ten team is left! 

Eldste Parkinson

Last day playing ball!