Monday, August 10, 2015

The Lost Sheep

WOW. This is a week I'll never forget. My comp, Elder Duncan, and the rest of his big group left this past week. There were a lot of awesome misssionaries in that group that I will miss including my trainer, Elder Garrard. With that group leaving the mission became EXTREMELY young. The first big group of missionaries came this week, although that did not go quite as planned...

Here's what happened:
So, Tuesday night is when 13 missionaries were supposed to come in and on Tuesday morning, on the way to the airport to pick up missionaries for MLC, we got a call that their flight had been canceled! One visa waiting came that night anyways, but the rest of the missionaries came in different groups throughout the week. Due to poor communication with the MTC we even drove to the airport one time only to find that the missionaries weren't coming when we thought. 3 groups came at different times on Thursday and one group came Friday morning. To make things more complicated we had missionaries that got stranded in places like Alta and Mo i Rana because there "trainees" never showed up. We had to blow a bunch of money to fly them into other cities to be with other missionaries in the mean time as well as new plane tickets for all the missionaries that came late. It was a bit stressful, but things worked out in the end and come Friday everyone made it safely to their new areas. I counted that we drove to the airport 7 times between Tuesday and Friday haha and elder Allen doesn't have a license so I had to do all the driving. It was cool to see how despite the stress and uncertainty things worked out in the end!

These new missionaries are awesome! I don't know what it is exactly, but new missionaries seem to have this special spirit to them and so much eagerness. 

On Saturday we witnessed a latter-day miracle! Here's what happened:
We were with Elder Curtis for the day since he is going home several days later than everyone else. After banking on some doors we felt strongly we needed to be somewhere else and headed to the city. We split up so that Allen and Curtis were together and I was alone on the other side of the street. After a short period of time, I contacted this man who was coming down the hill with his two boys. I stopped him and after saying a few words in Norwegian he blurted, "It's the Latter Day Saint Church! I'm a member of your church!" This man, named B., is a originally from Liberia and he escaped to Freetown, Sierra Leone during the war. Missionaries contacted his family at the refugee camp and he was eventually baptized. Not to much later he was sent to Harstad, Norway (a tiny little city between Narvik and Tromsø). He lived there for 10 years and started a family, but was unfortunately unable to got to church because there is no LDS church in Harstad, just JW's and Baptists. 2 weeks ago he moved with his familly all the way down south to Sandvika and happened to run into me on the street! He speaks English, Norwegian, French, and Krio (the language J. was teaching me) so we were bouncing between all 4 languages haha. He came to church on Sunday for three hours in a way fly corduroy suit and will try and take his family with next Sunday. It was way touching to me see a lost sheep find it's way back after 10 years of being away.
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
 One of the coolest things he told me was how grateful he was to partake of the sacrament for the first time in 10 years. Such a tender moment. "I'm home."

 I'm so grateful to be here in Norway and for the miracles that we are blessed to see each day! Have a great week! 

Eldste Parkinson

My man, B!

Last picture with Elder Duncan!!