Monday, November 23, 2015

Miracles and Surprises!

HEY Parkinson fam!

It's been an awesome week loaded with miracles and surprises. I'll hit you with the biggest surprise first...I'm moving to Bergen! The transfer doesn't end for another two weeks, but I'm going to be heading over there a few weeks early. I'm way excited!! I've been here over six months now and it's going to be weird serving in a different city with a diffrerent ward and different responsibilities. At the same time, though, I don't think there's any other way I'd rather finish my mission. I'll be serving in a way young district with a young companion (been out about 9 weeks) named Elder Osguthorpe! I'm way excited to go hard for the next 3 months out there! I'll be leaving on Friday. 

This week we had Zone Conferences! Tuesday we were in Stavanger, Wednesday in Trondheim, and Friday in Oslo. Fun to see all the missionaries, old companions, etc. All the meeting were awesome. We taught a section about using time wisely and raising our vision. We talked about the path of conversion and likened it to a flight of stairs. It's a hard path, but we've got the steps in Preach my Gospel and we've got members to help walk with them and give them a booster. The whole thing really helped me understand my purpose better as a missionary and to see the big picture of conversion instead of just focusing on the step of baptism. I can't really adequately explain myself sometimes haha but studying for and presenting this really got me passionate! 

Monday night we had dinner at B's house with his mom! I forgot to mention last week the reason that his mom was there in the first place. She was supposed to be taking a flight to Liberia the Friday before, but missed her flight! It was pretty devastating actually because she lost over 10,000 kroner on the flight. As a result she was staying with B. that week trying to put together money for a new ticket. It was powerful to hear some of their stories and experiences from the war. We said bye that night and left the next morning for the airport to travel to Stavanger! Thursday night we were driving over to visit B. and as I drive into the parking lot, I kid you not, I get a call from his mom who is at the airport waiting for her flight. She thanked us for everything and asked for the address to the church in Liberia and contact information for the Mission President, members etc. so that she could visit the church while she is there! It's interesting how you can't put a price tag on the joy that comes from the restored gospel. 10,000+ kroner hurts, but there is nothing so "exquisite and sweet" as the joy she felt and I felt on the phone that night. 

We had another sheep rescuing experience this week. This one goes way back to the beginning of the mission. Do you remember R.? R. was the first man I taught a lesson to in Norway. I remember it like it was yesterday; teaching him the restoration and inviting him to be baptized while sitting in the Tromsø church. Several months after that (a little after I left) Rogers was baptized. Although, not to long after that he fell away and nobody knew what happened to him. While in Trondheim for zone conference the sisters let me know that they got a hold of R. and said that he is living in Oslo and mentioned my name! I gave him a call and was able to meet with him on Saturday with a couple Oslo missionaries. Man, and that reunion as he walked off the Tbane at National Theatret was Epic! We taught him, the spirit testified, and he was excited to be reunited with the church. Definitely a moment I won't forget. 

We found some other awesome people this week. We started teaching this man from Croatia that we found on the streets a couple weeks ago. He just came to Norway and is trying to get on his feet, but loves everything about the church! We walked to church with him and he had a great time. There was another young Norwegian/Canadian that we started teaching this week as well! He's a big hockey player and has a had a really unusual life for a Norwegian 18 year-old. As he prayed at the end you could feel his sincerity and desire to receive a confirmation from the Holy Ghost. 

Thanksgiving is this week! We had a ward dinner after church to celebrate. I got to stand up and talk a little about what thanksgiving is and what our family would do to celebrate. Although most of the focus was on food it was a good reminder of the real meaning of thanksgiving: showing gratitude. It brought back memories of going around the big table and saying things we are grateful for. That simple exercise is such a good tool for changing attitude and softening the heart. Our croatian investigator can fit all of his things in one duffel bag and yet he is still a more grateful man than I am. 

I know God blesses us when we do all that we can. I saw time and time again miracles and tender mercies that were direct results of going hard until 9:00. Sometimes you meet hurdles, sometimes it's freezing outside and you forgot your gloves, but it is always worth the pain to find the one. It's hard because we always have to show our faith first. All we see is the hurdles at first. But God says, "Prove me herewith!" He is ready to bless us!

I hope you all have a great week! 

Eldste Parkinson