Dear Parkinson Fam,
It's been a great week of missionary work! We had a great zone conference meeting in Stavanger on Thursday that went all day. We led a training meeting in the morning and then President and Sister Evans led another meeting all afternoon. It was a great training meeting in which we talked a lot about teaching skills; everything from eye contact, to embracing silence, to asking inspired questions. We put a lot of focus on practicalling (don't think that is even a real word) and how we should use our study time to practice, improve, and refine our skills. That is something I hated at the beginning of the mission, but I'm finally starting to appreciate how important it is. We are promised as missionaries that God will fill our mouths "at that very hour" with the things that we need to say, but the prerequisite is the study and preparation that we put in beforehand.
The second half of the meeting was pretty emotional as we heard the last words from President and Sister Evans as well as several missionaries that will be going home in a few weeks. It made me realize that we aren't just called to our specific mission for the people we will find, but also for the missionaries we will associate with and the Mission President and his wife.
A lot of great things happening in the mission right now. There is an area not to far away from us (Romerike) that has not had a baptism for over 7 years. It's kind of been like the curse of Bambino. This past weekend a young woman was baptized there, ending the curse in front of an excited and energized ward! It made me realize how much power there is in baptismal services and the effect that can have on members, investigators, missionaries, really everybody. In Doctrine and Covenants it says that "in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest." Ordinances is really what this church is all about! I remember when Elder Bednar was here he told of how one day there would be branches/wards in Norway in which the whole Sacrament meetings will be spent confirming members of the church. And I quote Bednar, "no more boring talks!" I'm greatful for the restored priesthood that enables these ordinances to be performed as well as enables God's power to be manifest! I love baptism.
The members here have been awesome in opening up their homes for investigators! What's cool is a lot of it has been them reaching out to us, instead of us asking them. Now we just need to go find some more positive investigators that we can take!
A quick story. We went out on the streets to find a few days ago, committed to not leave until we had found a new investigator. I started talking to this girl pushing a baby in a stroller about the Book of Mormon and we had a nice conversation for awhile about faith in Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon's role in helping us to develop that faith. After I had gotten a return appointment I asked if I could say a quick prayer with her before we went on with our lives. She said yes. I asked if there was anything that I could pray for specifically that she needs. This question was followed by complete silence for the longest time. It must have been several minutes of her just thinking. Then she opened up and told me something she was really struggling with that she wanted me to pray for. It was cool to see the effect that that prayer had on her and even cooler to see the spirit slowly work on her until she was ready to say what she really felt. I know that as we listen with patience and love, people will tell us their hopes and desires and make it easier for us to relate the gospel to them.
We're headed to Trondheim tomorrow and Oslo on Thursday! It's been unbelievable serving God's children here in Norway and seeing the miracles we are blessed with each and every day. Thanks for the support and love. It makes a difference!
A pic from our Zone Conference in Stavanger. I'm in the back somewhere.