Monday, September 28, 2015

This week...

Dear Fam,

It has been an awesome week! With all the stuff that has been going on, it was nice to have the whole week in our own area and we were blessed with a lot of new people to start teaching!

The weather has gotten really nice the last couple days and we had a great turnout for football on Saturday! A bunch of members and a few non member friends came out. Benjamin and Michael both came as well and it was way intense! I even managed this pretty sick header goal off a corner kick that belonged on Sportscenter top 10.  

I think I mentioned that we found this awesome young Norwegian guy last week that we have started teaching, and we were able to meet with him again this past week. He is the easiest guy to teach because he asks such good questions and thinks and ponders about everything we tell him. He was asking a lot of questions about the Plan of Salvation and we talked a lot about how the plan is like a 3 part play (I think it was Packer who said that?). We all showed up for the second act of the play and cannot remember anything from before. Yet, we have faith that this is not the last act; there is something more. To be honest, when you look at the world as a one act play a lot of things don't really make sense. The suffering, the pain, why things happen. Knowing that there is a 3rd act doesn't necessarily give me all the "why's," but I think once we get to act three we will be able to look back and recognize that "all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things."

I am so excited for General Conference! This is going to be my last one in Norway (at least as a missionary :) and that is a weird feeling! I have spent a lot of time reviewing the talks from last conference and trying to get prepared for this weekend. I think I have mentioned in the past how much more I have come to appreciate General Conference since I have been in Norway. It's almost like a spiritual Thanksgiving. I feel this thirst after to hear the word of the Apostles and prophets. 

It's like the verse in John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

One last cool finding story. It was Monday night at about 8 o'clock. We had visited a guy that wasn't home and banked some doors with out much success. We were both feeling a little fatigued and thinking about heading back to make some phone calls, but decided against it and headed into Asker sentrum giving us about thirty minuted to street contact with out many people on the streets. Right after praying and getting out of the car we saw two men standing about 20 meters apart from each other. We split up and contacted the two guys and got two separate 30 minute teaches. I talked to this awesome Norwegian business man. Our conversation began as small talk as he told me about his daughter being married this week and showed me pictures on his phone. I eventually pulled out a pamphlet and taught him about the restoration and he was blown away by it! Elder Allen had a similarly cool experience with a young Norwegian college student. The biggest lesson that I learned from that was the power those kind of experiences have and the burning energy that comes as a result! That experience set the tone for our whole week. 

Thanks for the love and support! I hope you have a great week!

Eldste Parkinson

District picture!!

The wonderful Crabtrees, who served in Tromsø, have finished their mission!

From our hike today.

Norway is beautiful!!

The Parkinson pose

Monday, September 21, 2015


The mission has been officially turned over! 14 new elders came into the mission on Wednesday, this time only in two groups...haha so despite not being as much drama as last time it was still pretty messy. 5 of the missionaries missed their connection in England and came several hours after the first group. There was also a bunch of luggage that was lost and didn't come until the day after, but in the end everything worked out! It's exciting to have so many new faces in the mission right now and I am looking forward to seeing the mission grow and change. One cool small world story. There is a new elder named Elder Stephens that just arrived and I found out he is a twin! And Guess where his twin is headed?! The Hungary, Budapest Mission! Erik, look out for a Stephens Elder coming to Hungary in a couple weeks! What are the odds of that?

Things have been going well here. We have been making slow steady progress with a lot of our investigators and have found some new people as well. On Saturday we were able to teach an awesome young Norwegian about God and developing a faith. A way sincere, humble guy that wanted so bad to have spiritual experiences. 

It has been raining hard this week!! Thursday was especially bad. We took the 3 missionaries to the airport early that morning and the wan's water capabilities were tested. but pulled through in the clutch. It at times seemed like we were cruising down the Nile river in a boat as huge tidal waves would nail us from the cars going the other way. Now we know why everything in Norway is so green! Pretty soon it will be snow :)

Another cool miracle that was more temporal than spiritual happened today. We rent out the basement right below this awesome part member family. We were over there last night sharing a message and we got talking about food in America and I happened to mention how much I miss Chipotle. Next thing I know I have an address to this place in Oslo that they had found that is supposedly really similar to Chipotle. We checked it out today for Lunch and it was so good! The manager is Australian and was asking us for tips on how to make it more like Chipotle since we are Americans. It's called El Cantino and I will definitely be returning! :)

This week I was thinking a lot about the importance of constant spiritual nourishment. I recently read a talk from elder Ballard that I think was given as an address to a bunch of stakes in Utah. Since I studied at BYU I gave myself permission to read it. He gave this awesome analogy in which he talked about A large and healthy sequoia tree that died out of nowhere on the BYU campus. What was the cause? The feeding roots died because the tree was accidently cut off from it's water source. It shows how although this tree looked perfectly normal, healthy and strong on the outside, it was really dying on the inside. We too need to be careful to insure that we are receiving constant spiritual nourishment in our lives, even when things are going well and we feel that maybe we can manage with out it. It was a great opportunity for me to recommit myself to my own personal conversion and my own personal study of the Gospel. When our roots are strong and healthy we will be better able to lift and support those that are struggling and in need.

I am starting my 4th transfer here in Sandvika, making this officially my longest area! LEGGO!

Eldste Parkinson 

3 missionaries going home

Found my burrito!

Carrying a wan seat

Monday, September 14, 2015

4th Quarter Miracles

Another transfer in the books! Elder Allen and I will be staying together for another transfer here in Sandvika! Looking back on everything it has been quite the eventful/memorable transfer. We had the craziness of the 14 elders arriving, the moving of the office, the visit from Elder Johnson, finding B. and his family, etc. A lot of unique experiences that I know I will remember long beyond the mission. So grateful!!

This week was a week of traveling. We went on splits 3 times this past week and got to work with a bunch of awesome missionaries in a bunch of cool areas! On Monday I switched places with a missionary up in Oslo for the evening of prostelyting and had a blast! We found some cool people and it was cool to spend the night in the same apartment that I lived in for 4 months. On Tuesday we headed up to Narvik, which is a small town way up north (not to far away from Tromsø). It was my first time being north of Trondheim since I left Tromsø and it was awesome to be back! The area is small enough that they have to walk long distances to get to places that haven't been banked already or to try back/visit people they are teaching. And by long walk I mean 1.5 hours each way with not much in between (there are no buses and biking isn't safe with the snow).  It was good reminder to me of the sacrifice and hard work that can be required in missionary work and I was lifted from being able to work with such dedicated missionaries. 

Thursday, we headed up to Trondheim and worked with Elders Corrigan and Arnold for a day. We had some cool finding experiences that followed the typical format: not much success in the beginning and an outpouring of blessings at the end. "4th quarter miracles" (Which, according to what I've heard, describes the way BYU has been playing lately :). At the end of night I went to dinner at a member's house who just happened to be Elder Årsnes' brother!! It was way awesome to talk to him and we ended up teaching his friend that he referred after dinner!

Come Saturday, we were finally back in our own area and had quite the eventful day that seemed to be characterized by changing our clothes in the car. We went to sport in afternoon and then we had to go straight to a 8 year old baptism in the ward (car change number 1). Right after the baptism we headed to the Minnesota member's home to dig up some more roots in her yard for about an hour (Car change number 2). Then, we booked it to an appointment with a potential investigator that we had found earlier in the week and taught an awesome Norwegian couple (change number 3). To end the day we visited B. and the fam and ate some of his delicious food, while having a good conversation about how we can best help them. It was a busy high paced day and I'm pretty sure we didn't smell very good by the end of the day, but it was quite the fulfilling feeling to have the opportunity to serve so many different people in so many different ways.

I've been reading a lot in the Doctrine and Covenants this week and especially loved chapter 10 about the Lord's wisdom being "greater than the cunning of the devil."God's great plan and ways of accomplishing his goals is something that can be so hard to comprehend from our limited perspective and experience. But, we do have the opportunity throughout this life to see this principle as we experience trials, difficulties, and mistakes that turn into blessings as we keep pushing forward and relying on Him. It's our faith in Christ that allows for us to continue forward with out seeing and understanding the whole picture.  In Mosiah 4 it says, "Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has allwisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend."

Thanks for your support and prayers! Make it a great week!

Eldste Parkinson 

Narvik. Can't capture the beauty on camera

On the streets of Narvik

Narvik Splits!! Elder Kemp and Elder Bjornn

The airport in Narvik is smaller than a gas station...I think 2 tiny planes come each day :)

From our hike today -- Karate Kid

Companion Love

Monday, September 7, 2015

Feed My Sheep

HEY Parkinson fam!

It's going to be a short one this week! We have been really busy trying to catch up on stuff that we procrastinated till after the Johnson Conference and the office was moved. Things are starting to get settled here, though, and we are learning quickly when and where the traffic is in Oslo. 

We had an awesome splits over in Stavanger this week. We did a lot of finding and some cool experiences. In order to break up our day a little bit we decided to go out on the streets at 9 in the morning for an hour and finish up our studies afterwards. It was raining and cold and we were not having much success. As we were getting close to the end of the hour we saw a man off in the distance that I felt an urge to talk to...only problem was that he was going the wrong way. After a couple second hesitation we both just started chasing him down and yelled "Unnskyld" ("Pardon") super loud about 4 times. He finally turned around and it turns out he investigated the church a while back and lost contact with the missionaries. He invited us into the library and we taught him right then and there and he became a new investigator! That experience was a big energy boost for both of us. Being bold and doing crazy things to follow the promptings of the spirit is a key to getting excited about missionary work and avoiding complacency. I still remember those kind of experiences from the beginning of my mission and they still provide those needed sparks today!

This week I read the talk entitled "Feed my Sheep" by Ulisses Soares. It's an awesome talk that is very applicable to missionary work. I have been thinking a lot about the power of love as well as the effort required to receive God's love. It's been one of the main focuses of the mission since President Hill came and something I have been focusing on as I read through the Book of Mormon. I loved this quote from the talk:

 "People are most receptive to our influence when they feel that we truly love them, and not only because we have a calling to fulfill. As we express true love for people, they will be able to feel the influence of the Spirit and may feel motivated to follow our teachings."

We are heading into week 6 and are getting 14 new elders the week after! Hoping that there arrival goes a little smoother than last time.

Love you all!

Eldste Parkinson

Beautiful Norway!!

Cleaning up the streets with a YSA member