Monday, May 25, 2015

Like a Rollercoaster!


Dear FAM 
As a missionary you become pretty used to experiencing a lot of ups and downs. At one moment you can be the happiest person on earth until you receive a drop message from an investigator and suddenly your feelings are flipped upside down. I've come to appreciate these ups and downs as learning experiences and opportunities to get back up stronger than you fell down. This week seemed to be a quite violent rollercoaster, but in the end it is the good things that happened that I will remember most! 

We had a lot of success with finding this week and I really felt like the spirit was guiding us to specific people that we could help! We had one experience a few days ago when we went out to visit a potential that we found in the Area Book. We knocked on the door and this teenage kid answered. He told us that his whole family was devout Muslims and that they were not interested at all. He told us to leave and we asked him if he knew someone that could be interested in our message. Without putting much thought into it he kind of sarcastically pointed at a small group of apartments in the distance that we should try.Why not? We tried the first two doors and nobody was home, but something very special happened with the next two doors! They both let us in and we got to teach them! At the second one the Dad told us that he felt like we had brought angels with us to bless and protect his home! It was cool to see the way in which God directed us to these two families that needed to hear  our wonderful message!

On Thursday we had a particularly tough day. Ironically, it wasn't with missionary work, but with some other stressful things in the office. I was feeling rather inadequate and useless towards the end of the day...and then out of nowhere I got a phone call from Thomas (The Icelandic boy I was teaching back in Drammen). He told me that he and his brother wanted to invite me to their baptism on Saturday! I was shocked and overjoyed by the news! We made the trip down to Drammen on Saturday evening and were able to take part in one of the most powerful baptismal meetings I have been to. The pure joy in these two boys faces after they had come out of the water is something I will never forget. And it was a joy that I immediately desired for everyone. With them getting baptized one after the other it brought back memories of the day Erik and I got baptized back in MN. It was a special day on the mission that is summed up by the words I whispered to Elder Duncan right at the end of the meeting: "The church is true."

One thing I have appreciated this week is the power of silence. I think early on in my mission silence was something that made me uncomfortable. In reality, silence is what allows people to recognize the spirit and receive revelation! We had one experience this last week where we invited an investigator to pray for an answer at the end of the lesson and he wouldn't do it. We decided to kneel down and each say a prayer. I said one, Elder Duncan said one, and the member with us said one. After the 3rd prayer we waited in silence for a long time before the investigator gave one of the most heartfelt prayers I have ever heard. In the Book of Mormon, Ammon waited in silence for a whole hour after asking King Lamoni a question. In New York they built 10 feet (something like that) thick walls in the Temple to make sure it was free from noise. The spirit often whispers in silent settings with a silent voice. 

I was able to go to Oslo a few times in the last little bit. It was nice to see familiar faces! I was able to go on a few teaches with A. from Poland and he's doing great! I love this country and the people that live here!

Have a great week!
Eldste Parkinson

T and S on their big day!

Another picture form the baptism!

Monday, May 18, 2015



It's been quite the week! I've been thinking this week about when I entered the MTC and how long the first few days were and how fast the learning curve was. In a way, my first few days here in Sandvika have felt a lot like that. Long days filled with so many new things to learn. My new Comp is Elder Duncan from Utah! Another tall guy that is way passionate about the work and way fun to serve with!

One thing we decided right at the beginning of the transfer is that we are going to do everything in our power to spend as much time as possible NOT in the office. Because we have so much office work to do (buying plane tickets, planning meetings, discussing transfers) it can be easy to get trapped in the office and not really have time to focus on our own area. But, It's been cool to see the Lord bless us this week as we have used as much time as possible to proselyte.

We get to drive this huge 9 passenger van (we call it "the Wan"). This is mainly so that we can drive lots of missionaries at a time as well as their luggage. One thing that is hard when you have a car area is that you can't really find on the least that's what I thought. Eder Duncan and I have started this new contacting method that has actually been pretty successful. We'll be driving somewhere and we'll drive by someone walking along the road that looks cool (hungry for the gospel). We quickly pull a U-turn and park the car somewhere pretty sketch and as Elder Duncan mans the car I run out and contact the person! It really gets you motivated to make it the best possible contact when you consider the circumstances leading up to it. We saw some cool miracles from this "Wan finding."

Sunday was the big 17. Mai celebration! We, along with half of the missionaries in the mission, got to go up to Oslo for it! The weather wasn't great, but it was an awesome experience! We had tickets at the Kings Palace for the big parade and I got some good pics that I'll try and send! Norwegians are really passionate about their national holiday and it was great to have a reminder about the blessings and importance of freedom. 

I have been thinking a lot lately about our purpose as missionaries. Over the last 15 months I have invested so much time in becoming more skilled with the language, developing teachings skills, being more familiar with the scriptures, etc. I am grateful for all that I have learned and for all that I have left to learn. But, looking back, as important as skills are, I think the best way to gage our success is by our personal conversion to Jesus Christ and our love for the people we are serving. And I think it is those two things that are going to make the biggest difference as we strive to help others develop their own conversion. 

Everybody needs to check out the new Mormon message LIFT. I think it is by far my favorite Mormon message yet. "Looking outward heals the souls." Elder Duncan and I have been using it as our pump up video right before we leave the office!

have a great week!
Eldste Parkinson

17 Mai Celebration

Elder Duncan and some Norwegians in their "Bunad" dresses

More Bunads

RUSS. Students in their last year of high school do this thing called "Russ" the few weeks before 17. Mai in which they wear these same overalls every single day! I don't quite understand why, but it's a big thing here. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Long time no see!

Happy Mothers day! It was great to see all of you on skype yesterday!! It is crazy how much has happened since last mothers day when I skyped up in Tromsø. Everybody is taller!

As I mentioned yesterday, we had moves Call and I was shocked by the news that I will be leaving Drammen after just one transfer. To be honest, I was pretty bummed at first because of how much I was enjoying the work here and for the awesome people that we have been able to work with. But, I was quickly reminded about the importance of going where you are called and trusting in the Lord! I will be living in Sandvika and serving as an assistant to President Evans during his last transfer as the Mission President. It will be an excellent opportunity to learn and serve during the big transition that the mission will be having. I will be serving with another awesome missionary named Elder Duncan!

For some reason I'm having a really hard to remember things that happened this week. It is all a blur. We were able to bring some youth out on teaches this week, which was a way cool experience. It was funny because with all the appointments we took them to we were either kebabed (the missionary term for when the investigator doesn't show) or had very poor/difficult lessons. I learned,though, that the most important thing is that we were out with them and helping them to feel like missionaries while building relationships with us as more than just a tall American with a name tag. Getting the youth on missions is the most sure way to help the church here in Norway to grow. It really made me grateful for all the positive influences I've had in my life that helped me get on a mission.

We spent a lot of time this week in members homes. We really tried to apply the Bednar principle of "being agents and not objects" by inviting members to make their own commitments and a family mission plan. For some reason all these visits made me think about the importance of a home. I think I mentioned a few weeks ago about the difference between a home and a house. It is so cool to see and feel the spirit in the homes of these members that I know comes from centering the home around the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We started teaching an awesome family from Burma that was way stoked about the Book of Mormon, but way disappointed that we don't have it in their language. It was a hard for me see such sincere desire and to not have what they wanted! We were able to promise them that they would be able to understand the language of the spirit! I keep learning how undestanding with your heart is so much more important than understanding with your head!

The big 17th of May celebration is this Sunday! We will be going to Oslo for the parades and stuff! I will make sure to take tons of pics. 

Have a great week! 

eldste Parkinson


The Parkinson Pose

Companions Rearview
J. and family

Elder Arsnes - he goes home in June!

Good-bye Drammen!

Monday, May 4, 2015

In the Service of your fellow men


What's up fam!

We made a discovery this week that we think will revolutionize missionary work in Drammen, and maybe even all of Norway. Wait for it... Every Tuesday night, Rema 1000 (the main grocery store here) started giving us free meat and bread that they otherwise would of thrown away! The meat is all way expired, but because it has always been in the freezer it's fine to eat! My whole mission I have eaten the same cheap meat with everything: Kylling Kjøtdeig (ground chicken). This week we had hamburgers, a foot longs salmon, and all these pig meats that i don't know how to translate properly. Huge blessing. It may have helped that a member owns the store and several other members work there. 

We were blessed with some great service opportunities this week! On Monday we tried back a lady that we had found last week and she didn't answer the door! We thought she was home and just trying to avoid us. We tried the house right behind it before walking back down the driveway and seeing her in front of the house! We said hi and she told us that she was way too busy and in the process of moving. She seemed stressed, so we asked if we could help out. After a little hesitation she said yes and we started helping her carry bags and boxes to our cars. She had to be out of the house the next day, so we came back the next morning and helped with some of the bigger things that needed to be taken on a trailer. To my surprise, we found out that this lady is the sister to E. (one of my favorite investigators from Kongsberg)! To add to that, E. came and helped out Tuesday morning with a few other friends from Sierra-Leone. Together we managed to do one of the most seemingly impossible moves ever. Taking couches out of windows, and fitting things up stairwells that I'm pretty sure went against the laws of physics! It was cool to be able to serve and be an answer to that woman's prayer, a prayer she may have never said. We are hoping to start teaching some of the people that we met that day, but regardless it was an experience that really helped me to better understand my purpose as a missionary.

We continue to work with J. and his family! They have some tough obstacles to overcome, but it amazes me how much God has prepared this family for the restored gospel! Just this past week J. mentioned how his brother (Not sure if this means biological brother or african brother) has started meeting with missionaries in Sweden and has committed to get baptized! That was incredible to hear! The word J. uses to describe the Book of Mormon, the Restoration, and everything we have taught him is "clear". It is all so clear! I think that is one of the best ways to describe truth and to describe our message! I have gotten this family and some other friends/investigators here in Drammen to start teaching me Krio (native language in Africa). The language is amazing!!

Our train station investigator, M., continues to make good progress. He has been going through some tough times, but it amazes me how humble this man is! I asked him how he was doing on the phone one day and he said things had been hard, but then he quickly said, "it could be worse, though. The Christians in Iraq and North Korea are suffering much more. will you pray for them?" Such a great Christ like example to me of looking outward.

This transfer has flown right by! Moves call is this Sunday (Mothers day)! I can't wait to see everyone on skype! I'll let you know what time I'll be calling!  Have a great week and look for those small opportunities to serve! Seeing the gosepl is so much more powerful than hearing it!!

eldste Parkinson

No rear view!

The couch went out the window
More move pictures

View from our neighborhood

Best parallel park ever!