Monday, July 27, 2015

Gator huntin'

This week flew by!

During these slow summer months, the mission has put a big emphasis on finding. In our district here in Sandvika, by some way or another, we coined the phrase "gator hunting" as the finding slogan. Leave it to 19 year old missionaries to come up with that. We were able to see some cool miracles, both on splits and in our own area.  We had this appointment at the library this past week with a random number that I found in the phone. We were waiting at the library and nobody came. Then out of nowhere he texted me and said he was right out front of the library. We went out to meet him, getting distracted on the way by one of our investigators who happened to also be at the library. Still couldn't find him and then he called and said that he was right behind a car! It was pouring rain and he motioned for us to get in. Long story short we ended up just teaching him in his car and got a return appointment this week. Teach anywhere, right!?

I was in Drammen working with Elder Rolfson and Elder Taylor and we had a blast! There were lots of appointments set up, but we still wanted to make a focus of finding some new gators. I told them I wouldn't go home until we found 2 (This may not have been fair since part of me wants to stay in Drammen :) ). We worked hard, had some way powerful experiences and found 3 gators by the time I left! One was a JW we taught banking, one was found on the street, and the other was J. (the lady we helped move long ago) who they had lost contact with. When you set goals and do all you can to achieve them miracles always seem to follow! 

Since I have been here in Sandvika there has been sport on Saturdays at 12 every single week. I've suggested basketball and American Football, but unfortunately majority rules so we've been playing soccer every week. I was pretty horrible in the beginning but am starting to figure it out a little bit. It has started to get more popular as well and is a great opportunity to involve investigators and less actives to an activity. 

Our awesome healthy eating investigator P. finished the Book of Mormon and this week we gave him "Jesus the Christ" in Norwegian. I don't think I have ever gotten so many deep doctrine questions in my life than I have gotten from him. He gets really passionate about small details and is shocked when we tell him that his concerns are not part of our fundamental doctrine. It's kind of like trying to build a house without any foundation; it doesn't work. Even if all the decorations and window blinds and stained glass windows are more fun, it's not what's important. It's funny because people tend to focus on the decorations, the deep doctrine that you can hear out of context and turn you away from the church. Nobody sees the foundation! The foundation is the atonement of Jesus Christ and first principles and ordinances of the Gospel. That's what I want to teach! That's what is in preach my gospel. Not sure if that analogy even made sense, but it's what came to my mind and how I feel sometimes! I remember before I left on my mission I was excited for all the knowledge I would obtain on my mission. I think I felt a little inadequate as far as deep understanding of the Gospel went and wanted to, in a kind of selfish way, use my studies and mission experience to be able to answer the deep questions of the gospel. I quickly realized, however, that I am called to teach the doctrines taught in Preach my Gospel. And if we are focusing our studies on those we teach there is really no need to get to worked up about explaining things such as how Jehovah is the God of the Old Testament. Despite me thinking I understood the basics before I left, the mission has allowed me to re-learn and really come to understand simple doctrines like prayer, repentance, and faith. 

Here comes week 6 of the transfer! Have a great week!

Eldste Parkinson

"Maybe your mom will send more peanut butter if she sees this sad picture!" (says Sister Hill)
"Maybe mom needs to send socks and shoes?" (says Mom)

Me and the Wan  :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Love the People


How is everyone?? It's crazy that July is almost over, which is surprising because It has been a pretty cold summer. Summer may be gone before it ever came. We've been trying to utilize our short sleeve shirts regardless, though. It's kind of like back in Minnesota when everyone would be wearing shorts and a t-shirt out to recess on a 30 degree day just because it was 60 degrees warmer than it was in January. Speaking of Minnesota, we have been doing service for this member that is originally from Minnesota (although she came to Norway in the 80's). We talked about everything from wild rice, to homer hankies, to Duluth, to the Mall of America etc. 

We've started teaching some really cool investigators. I told you about one of them last week that we found as an answer to a prayer. We have taught him several times now and he has a way cool story. Several years ago he started a search for truth and he totally changed his life around. He knows the bible better than I know myself. He can be hard to teach sometimes because off how much he speculates and how much he gets caught up in the details, but this man loves to learn! As of Saturday night he only had about 30 pages left in the Book of Mormon ! He only eats fruits and vegetables and when I asked him what he ate in a normal day he said the following: half a watermelon for Breakfast, the other half for lunch, and 12 bananas for dinner! Needless to say, I walked in to the kitchen and there were probably 50 ripe bananas on the table, all of which are probably gone by now. I'm committed to trying this out one of the days this week. 

The other cool guy we just started teaching is named B. B. is originally from Mauritania, but has lived all over. We teach him in Norsk but he also speaks fluent French and English so sometimes we bland between the three languages :) It was weird because we had found him a couple of weeks ago on the street, but accidentally forgot to call him! Luckily one of the roles of the spirit is to bring things to remembrance and the apartment number he gave us popped into my head one day. Just this past week we were able to teach him three times. He has been smoking for something like 40 years, so we decided to teach him the Word of Wisdom on the second teach and gave him a blessing. He is a quiet man and doesn't say much in teaches, but the things he says are always really powerful and show that he understands what we are teaching. It's been a real joy to meet and teach this great man. 

We were in Trondheim again on splits with the zone leaders this past week. Got to help teach one of their awesome investigators and do some finding on the streets. Trondheim is an awesome city and they speak a real goofy sounding dialect that kind of sounds like Chinese to me. I've been chilling down in the South for most of my mission, so it's fun to get exposed to that. 

I think one of my favorite things about the mission is all the cool people we meet! They may not all get baptized and they may not always agree with our message, but they have helped me to be more open to other ways of thinking and other ways of living. We are all brothers and sisters from the same God and the more we leave our comfort zone and serve our fellow men, the closer we will come to Christ. I'm really trying to be more objective in the way I look at people so that I can see things from their perspective and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. 

Elder Duncan is down to his last couple of weeks before he heads home, and a bunch of other missionaries will be going with him. We've got 13 new elders coming at the Aug. 5 transfer and about 14 the transfer after! It's been a blast having a comp so passionate and committed to this work! 

Everyone is on vacation right now in Norway. I joke that we should just send all the Norwegian missionaries to Greece for a couple weeks and we would probably find more Norwegian speakers to teach. 

Thanks for everything! Have a great week! :) 

Eldste Parkinson

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tender Mercies


I've been thinking a lot this week about how lucky I am to have such an awesome family! Thanks for your letters, updates, and love. It lifts me. 

This week was full of travel. We were in Trondheim, Stavanger, and Tønsberg this week, which completed the tour of the mission! It was cool to see all the missionaries, a lot of whom I hadn't seen for awhile. I love being a missionary, and I love being around missionaries.

We had a bunch of time to talk to the Hills as we waited for planes drove to the airport etc. and I found out that we have a lot of connections. They have a son that served in Hungary as a missionary, so, Erik, you'll have to see if you can find and Elder Hill in any of your area books :) I also found out that Sister Hill's family comes from Minnesota of all places! When I told them that my middle name was Hales, I found out that President knows A LOT of my family tree. He started naming people and one of the names was Robert Hales (Grandpa). Not only did President know him, but he was one of the doctors that cared for him as he was dying from cancer. It's interesting because it's a story I have heard Mom tell a hundred times, about when Grandpa was a experiencing a cough and went to check his x ray results with someone and saw immediately that there was cancer all over his lungs. Turns out, President Hill was that someone that checked the results with Grandpa. My mind was blown and my heart was touched when I learned that. Because Grandpa died so long before I was born it can be hard sometimes to picture who he was and what he was like, which made it really special to be able to talk to someone who knew him and admired him. "Robert Hales was a kind Man." I remember when I was set apart as a missionary one of the things I remember that was said in the blessing is that my ancestors would play an important role in my mission. Since I have no ancestors from Norway I wasn't really sure what that would mean. Over the last few days, though, I have felt a closeness to my ancestors that I have never felt before. The phrase that keeps coming to my mind when I think about this experience is "Tender Mercy."

We had a cool experience yesterday after church! After trying back someone that wasn't home we hopped in the Wan and said a prayer for some direction. We thought of a name of a former that neither of us even knew, but had heard about from some other missionaries. They had told us that he left and wouldn't be coming back to Norway, but we thought we'd give him a try anyways. As we were getting out of the car a man was walking out of the driveway with his dog to go on a walk and it turned out to be him! He immediately invited us in and we went on to teach him and answer a lot of questions he had. We told him him right at the beginning that we came because of a prayer we had said about 20 minutes earlier. He became quiet before eventually telling us that he had also been praying to God for help in understanding more about Jesus Christ. We will be meeting with him again on Wednesday! 

We met a cool guy at a school on Friday. We were expecting him to be alone, but he ended having about 8 friends with him. 1 of them was a big basketball player and so I started playing with him on this way ghetto (probably not the right choice of word considering we are in Norway) court. It turned into a 1 on 1 H-O-R-S-E dunk contest and it was way fun. Best of all, my pants didn't rip. 

This is a work of Love. I love the Norwegian people. I love the people we are teaching, my companion, my Mission President and his wife, the members, the non-members, and my savior Jesus Christ. Love leads to service. Service leads to happiness. It's that simple. Kjærlighet. 

Have a great week! Jeg er glad i dere :)

Eldste Parkinson

There is this town near the Trondheim airport called "Hell"  :)

North Zone

The Office

Travel Budz

West Zone

Monday, July 6, 2015


Hey! Sorry for the late letter! My computer crashed and we had to take a flight early this afternoon, which didn't give me any time to write! I'm writing from the church in Trondheim!

This week has been one of the craziest/most memorable of the mission! On Tuesday we picked up President and Sister Hill from the airport. It was a rather incredible experience to watch these two mission presidents embrace and see as the mantle literally transferred from President Evans to President Hill. With all the anticipation of this transition it was rather surreal to see it happen in such a precious, short moment. I love President and Sister Hill already! They have great personalities and are so committed to their callings. My eyes have been opened in the recent days to the sacrifice a mission president (and wife) makes when they accept their call. Family, house, work are all put on the altar for three years. for us young people we really aren't sacrificing much because we don't have very much! So much respect for the Hill's and all the other mission presidents all over the world! 

Quick spiritual thought before I dip. I was reading (once again) 1 Nephi chapter 8 about the tree of life. I swear that chapter has so many hidden nuggets! Here's the verse I liked this week:

 30 But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the arod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.

The phrase that stuck out to me is, "they came forth and fell down." That imagery is so powerful to me! This whole life is a struggle forward! I think sometimes we expect the gospel to just fix our problems so we can cruise right in to heaven in cruise control. But this life is the time to prepare to meet God! The 5th principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is enduring to the end and I hope that by the end I will have given so much that I'll only have one step left to give.

I love you all! 

Eldste Parkinson