Monday, June 22, 2015

Blast from the past!

Dear Fam,

Happy Father's day! Dad, thanks for all you have done over the years! Love you!

It's been a great week! It was awesome to be back in the North this week as we paid a visit to Trondheim on Tuesday. I got to see the Crabtree's for the first time in a long time. They continue to do great things in Tromsø and will be going home in September. 

The highlight of the week may have been going back to Drammen for a day on splits with Elder Shanklin. We had a day full of apointments and were able to visit a lot of people that I was very close to when I was in Drammen/Kongsberg. This included: 1. R. was the young man that was baptized back when I was in Kongsberg. I had the chance to interview him and became really close to him, partly due to our mutual love for basketball. While I was in Oslo he started struggling a little bit with different things and wasn't really the same guy when I came back to Drammen. He started coming back to church more and making small steps, but still didn't have that same light in his eyes by the time I left again. I was able to meet with him this last week and it was the same R. as before! It was so cool to see the effects of the atonement on his life. We talked a lot about enduring to the end and the importance of doing things "line upon line, precept upon precept." The process of change can be hard and sometimes slow, but man is it worth it. 2. That evening we were able to visit J. and his family and had an awesome lesson about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and baptism. This family has been on a journey searching for the truth. It's funny to think about all the times that J. said no to missionaries and the church in the years before he met us that one day on the bridge in Drammen. Now, it's as if we are a part of his family and whenever he prays at the end of lessons he always says, "I commend my brothers into your hands!" After the teach we had the opportunity to eat the African delicacy known as "fufu." It's this finger food that was way good. 3. T. and S. We were able to drop by and visit them as well. They are doing great. Love those guys! 4. The lady that we helped move a while back (the one with all the pictures) has started being taught. That was exciting to hear!

We saw some cool miracles this week in our own area. Saturday night we were praying for guidance about where God wanted us to go the next day. We needed three more investigators to reach our goal for the week. We felt impressed to go to a certain area right by the church. The next day, we said another prayer and decided on a road to bank on in that area. It was a big road, so we said yet another prayer to know where to start banking and felt another strong impression on where to begin. We banked on the first door and a man came out and started talking to us about his desire to believe in God, but the difficulty he has had as an engineer that believes so firmly in physics. We began to teach him and shared Alma 32:27-28 with him, inviting him to try our experiment for the next 4 weeks. The spirit was powerful as we promised him that if he would not cast out the seed, but rather listen with an open heart, he would receive an answer that God is there. He agreed to the challenge and we will be meeting with him again tomorrow! After that experience we felt strongly that he was the reason we were led to that area and so we jumped back in the car prayed for a new place to go. This time we felt like we should go to Asker (a nearby town) and find on the streets. Not too long later, both of us were at two different park benches teaching the gospel to someone that needed us. It was a testimony to me of the importance of actively involving God in our missionary work through prayer. God knows where we need to be.

I love the scripture in Alma 5:26 : "And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?"  I've been thinking a lot about this scripture this week for some reason. As a missionary you get to see so many people have spiritual experiences. I, myself, feel like I've been blessed with so many spiritual experiences. Yet, the question we always need to ask ourselves is: can we feel so now? Prayer, the scriptures, and living the commandments are three things that I know will help us to feel the song of redeeming love. However, I think just as important as continuing to have spiritual experiences is to never forget the spiritual experiences we have already had. I remember I was with R. awhile back and he was struggling a little bit and I looked at him and said, "remember when you stood in front of the whole congregation and bore (?) your testimony of the Book of Mormon? Remember how that felt?" In Moroni's promise in the Book of Mormon, before we are commanded to pray we are first told to REMEMBER how merciful the Lord has been since the beginning. I know that as we do this we will not be able to deny the reality of God and the miracles that we have both seen and felt. 
My man, R.!


My home away from home.

Have a great week! 
Eldste Parkinson