Monday, October 26, 2015

The gospel blesses families

Moves call was on Sunday! Elder Allen is headed back to Salt Lake and I'll be getting Elder Rolfson as my new comp! He's from Colorado and I already know him quite well so I'm way excited!! It's been pretty bittersweet with the transfer ending and reflecting on the last 12 weeks Elder Allen and I have had together. There have been tons of awesome people that we have become really close too. 

Sunday was awesome. I kept joking with Elder Allen that he must have been really obedient his whole mission because the Lord really blessed us with a special and memorable day. A true tender mercy. We had three awesome investigators that came to church, but the biggest surprise was B. showing up with his two boys. W. had to sleep following a night shift so B. was pretty unsure on whether he would be able to make. He said he would try and "by the Grace of God he would be there," which on my misssion has become a pretty flaky phrase haha. We were sittting in a packed combined priesthood meeting and B. strolled right in with his typical fly suit and tie. To add some icing to the cake the two boys were there in their own suits and took part in the Primary Program! It was touching to see those two smiley boys up on the stand and to imagine them in 10 years serving a mission. 

With Allen and some other missionaries in the ward leaving the ward showed a bunch of love and appreciation. I felt like a hundred bucks and I wasn't even leaving so I'm sure the rest of them must of felt the same. 

Ever since the office moved, it has been tough for us to find time/somewhere to eat dinner. We had gotten a dinner appointment for right after church on Sunday, which got us way excited!. While at church we got three more appointments for that day to go visit some members and say bye. To our surprise, every one of these appointments decided to include dinner as part of the appointment! And I am talking dinner with dessert. I feel like I've heard other missionaries tell these kind of experiences to me, especially from South America and the States, so It was weird to be experiencing it first hand. 4 dinners later and I almost needed a wheelchair to leave the last appointment. So much love from the members in this ward!!

It's been clear and obvious to me that the church has been putting a renewed focus on the importance of protecting the family unit. The primary program and other recent events have caused me to think a lot about the importance of family institution. It's been disturbing to me to think about the amount of immorality in the world and the negative influences that exist. So many sources of addiction and so many bad influences that can destroy the relationship between husband and wife and between parent and child. I'm so used to telling people that we came to earth to receive a body and experience, but we also come to be a part of a family unit. A unit that is there to teach the Gospel and the commandments! Our aging and beloved prophet gave the most simple clear message at General Conference: Keep the Commandments! As a member of the church it often feels like you are one against 100 in standards and values. I love this quote from preach my Gospel "only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction. Only the gospel will unite men of all nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family." We need the gospel and the world needs us to live it. Grateful for my family and for your support and example! 

We had an awesome splits in Kristiansand this week! Saw some way cool miracles and got to commit this golden Norwegian investigator to baptism! 

We've got three new elders coming this week! I love this work!

Eldste Parkinson 

Lil' B and Lil' D.

The H. family  :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

My Soul Delighteth in Plainness

This week flew by. We are headed into week 6 of the transfer! It's crazy to think I have been in this area for about 6 months now. I have really come to love the ward here and all the wonderful people that I have met.  

The weather is starting to cool down and the darkness is coming. At the same time, all the leaves are changing color and everything is way beautiful! Being here reminds me of the weather back in Minnesota. 

There is a family in the ward that we visit every Sunday! Two awesome convert parents and 5 kids! The oldest boy just turned 16 and we are starting to take him out with us every Sunday after dinner! We had a really cool experience yesterday taking him on a teach where we taught the Plan of Salvation. Not only is this awesome preparation for a mission, but it's also awesome for the people we teach to see the effects the gospel can have on a young persons life. He talked about how he bikes to seminary every morning before school and is starting to save money to serve a full time mission. It was lifting for me to see such a young dedicated member of the church and the direction and meaning he has found in his life by living the gospel. David, get out with the missionaries! :)

The wan got some good use this week. We were in Sandefjord earlier in the week closing an apartment and getting furniture and garbage transferred by wan to the dump. that same day we helped a member back in Sandvika to take their stuff to the dump. We also moved some mattresses to Drammen and helped Benjamin transport some more furniture. We have clocked quite the distance on the wan!  It's going to be weird to drive a normal size car when i get back to the states.

We had success with finding this week and got some awesome new investigators in the teaching pool. One of them was this lady that we found on the street from Liberia (turns out she is best friends with B.'s sisters). It was a powerful first teach. We put a lot of focus on the Book of Mormon and testified of it's truthfulness. When we asked what it could mean to her if the Book of Mormon is true she said, "It would mean everything! I love the Bible, but it would be so nice to have something new and pure and clear." I though immediately of this verse in 2 Nephi 31 which says: 

 3 For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding.

I loved studying a talk from this past General Conference from Elder Schwitzer called Let the clarion Trumpet Sound that talked more about the ideas in this scripture. he quoted a scripture saying, "for if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?" There are so many uncertain sounds in the world that lead to confusion and unsurety whereas the Book of Mormon offers a simple message that is clear and that resonates!

Scripture of the week: "This people draw nigh unto with their mouth, and honereth me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me" (Matthew 15:8). Don't just tell someone you love them. Show them you love them. Feed His sheep.

We are headed off to Kristiansand later today! Looking forward to a great week! 


Eldste Parkinson

Newly ordained priest AKA future missionary!

Here is B's African spinach. Way good, but way hot! Elder Allen and I had a huge water pitcher between the two of us and we were pounding water beacause it was so hot! I must of had 10 glasses of water. And water and African Palm oil don't mix well in the stomach...

Monday, October 12, 2015

the Lord always provides

It has been a great week here in Sandvika and I feel like I'm still on a spiritual high from General Conference. I finally got to listen to the last session on Tuesday in the car on the way to and from the airport. There were so many inspiring talks in that session. I loved the concept of ponderizing from Bishop Durrant's talk and have already started doing that. This weeks scripture is Matthew 6:24 which says, 
 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hatethe one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

I love the idea of using the scriptures in such a simple and focused way! Think of how much you can learn from ponderizing a scripture each week and especially how easy it can become to make the scriptures a part of what we do and think about. 

We had the opportunity to watch the movie "Freetown" with B. and his family this week. It's movie that recently came out about 6 missionaries fleeing from the rebels and war torn Liberia to safety in Freetown, Sierra Leone in 1989. It was special to B. and W. because they both experienced making that same journey as 8/10 year old kids. It was very real for them. It was even more special because Freetown is where B. was baptized. And get this! As the movie began W. pointed to one of the missionaries and screamed, "that is my cousin! That is my cousin!!" Turns out the actor of one of the lead missionaries in the movie is her cousin that she grew up with in Freetown! It was cool to share that moment with her and the family. The message of the movie was really powerful and touching for me; 6 missionaries with so much faith and such a strong desire to preach the gospel. The saints in Africa are modern day pioneers. If you haven't yet, go watch that movie!

We were blessed with some awesome surprises on Sunday with quite a few investigators coming to church. The biggest surprise was a man you may remember from before named N. We had stopped teaching him a while back and he moved back to Portugal. On Sunday, out of nowhere, he showed up to church! Apparently he came back to Norway 3 days ago and the church was the first place he wanted to go! 

In continuing the theme of the Freetown movie I've been thinking a lot this week about how the Lord always provides when we have faith in Him and as we earnestly strive to do our part. When things our tough and I feel myself questioning why things happened the way they did I've been trying to ask myself the question, "have you done all that you can do?" I've noticed that as I focus on staying humble and doing my best to work hard and follow the spirit, the blessings and miracles just seem to fall into place. Disappointment seems to naturally cause you to turn inwards and turning inwards always leads to stagnation. As we constantly look to Christ we will naturally look forward to the future with faith in spite of what has happened in the past!

Have a great week!! 

Eldste Parkinson 

Monday, October 5, 2015

The True and Living Church

Happy Birthday, Dad!! I thought of you while I was watching conference! Thanks for your devotion to our family and the Gospel!

This week reminded me of how much, and how indescribable, the joy is that comes from the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. And there is NOTHING better than dedicating all your time and talents to spreading that joy and hopeful message with other people.

I want to share a cool experience we had Monday night, which just like last week, served as a springboard for the rest of the week. It was 8 o'clock Monday night (again) and we were heading back from a members home to go contacting in the city with the other elders until the end. I was working with Elder Steed, an awesome young missionary from a tiny town in Utah. We were going hard, talking to everybody, being passionate and not really seeing any results. It was a little before 9 and time to go home, but the other elders were on the bench teaching somebody, so we kept going! We end up stopping this 25ish year old Norsk guy with headphones in and a hat on backwards. He tells us to wait a second while he ends his phone call and hands us his hat while we were waiting. And guess whose logo was on the hat?? BYU COUGARS. Turns out he went on a trip for school and ended up in Utah at some point. He's been wearing the hat for the last 3 years and can't wait to learn more about the church. 

I found a way to play some more basketball this week as well! There is this philipino guy that we found last week and started teaching. He invited us to the rec center and we played with all his philipino friends! I was way taller than everybody haha, It was blast and we've got several of them we are hoping to start teaching soon!

A missionary motto I really like is to always have your line in the water. On Friday, I was on splits with Elder Jacobs and we were helping a part member family in the ward move. One of the professional movers there immediately caught my eye because of how much he was smiling. Over the next couple hours I talked to him quite a bit about a lot of random things including the church. As we were leaving I went to say bye to him and he said, "Where is your church? I would love to learn more!" No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can always find people to teach. We referred him over to Oslo to be taught by the elders there. 

We visited B. and W. quite a bit this week and were able to teach about the plan of Salvation. We felt impressed to focus the whole lesson on the Spirit World and shared some scriptures from the bible and taught that doctrine. She was blown away. It's such a beautiful and logical truth. It all ties back to the first principle we teach people: "God is our Loving Heavenly Father." His plan is a plan of love and hope. It's not just for people born into Christian families or born into our church, but it is for every single human being that ever was or will be. As we work to prepare for the second coming here on earth, the same is happening on the other side of the veil! Everybody receives their fair chance to accept the gospel and its ordinances in their fullness. When we asked W. what it would mean if this was true she said, "I would shout from the rooftops!"

Conference was awesome! The Priesthood meeting may have been my favorite. Especially the talks by Anderson and Eyring. So much good that comes out of those talks. I know this is the "true and living church." True because the doctrine is pure and living because God is at the helm and directs a living prophet and 12 apostles. We need His church, we need His leaders, and we need each other. 

Have a great week!
Eldste Parkinson 

B. at Priesthood session!  So fly!