Monday, November 2, 2015

Worth of Souls

WOW it's been a crazy one. It seemed like this week marked the end of an era in the mission. Over the last 4 transfers we've said goodbye to 3 very large groups of elders (a few extended). Most all of these elders graduated High School the same year as me, so I've seen them all as some of my best friends/peers in the mission. After each transfer there's always been another group getting ready to go home so it was weird for that pattern to come to an end. Even weirder is that my last two companions were among these groups! Those two guys really enriched these these last 6 months here in Sandvika and we went through a lot together. President Hill often describes love as "what you have been through together" and that totally rings home for me. I love my companions!

Having a missionary companion is a unique experience. All day every day, 24/7, you are with the same person except for when you are on the toilet or in the shower. It's evident to me that my love and appreciation for the opportunity to serve with all these companions has grown so much over the course of my mission. I think it's helped that I've started to appreciate companions as souls in the same way that we are trained to look at investigators/members as souls. As missionaries we're out laboring day after day to bring souls to Christ and I think sometimes we can be guilty of only focusing on the souls that have been baptized over the last year, when really there are 90 other souls serving a mission in Norway and 10-15 that you will get to serve with as a companion. I've learned so much from the examples of and experiences with other missionaries.

 "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God" (D&C 18:10).

In Priesthood meeting yesterday we were talking about self-reliance and welfare in the church. Benjamin raised his hand and told about his experience back in Sierra Leone when he first found the church. In the beginning they would meet under a tarp out in the Jungle every Sunday for meetings! Eventually, they received supplies from the church to start building an actual church building. It was cool as he described the balance of the church providing means and resources while also teaching the principles of hard work and self-reliance as they were taught how to build cement blocks, etc. In time, they also received boxes of church clothing and food from Utah and he described the joy when he received a pair of dress shoes that he could wear to church. It made grateful for the emphasis the church puts on helping those in need and gets me passionate about dedicating my life to service and humanitarian work.

Other things this week...3 new missionaries arrived! They all arrived in one group and things went pretty smoothly with moves. It's nice having another companion that can drive now and it enables me to co pilot to the airport as Rolfson gets familiar with the area. He's a stud by the way. He's big, athletic, spiritual and loves getting PASSIONATE about missionary work. Mmmmmm

It was pretty tear jerking visiting Benjamin and Fam for the last time before Elder Allen left. It was exactly 12 weeks ago (The Saturday after Allen arrived) that we found him. Their family has been the highlight and joy of those 2 transfers. We went over and surprised them with a song we wrote the night before to the tune of "Hallelujah." They left their piano at a friend's in Oslo, but Rolfson was on the guitar and Benjamin was on the drums! It was epic! At the end we all improvised by singing the chorus "Going to UTAH....Going to Utah...Going to Utah." It was memorable. The first recording didn't work, but Watta got half of it on the re-run (singing was pretty off in that one haha) but I'll try to get it to you.  

That's about it. I love you all back home! I'm hitting the big 20 this week. Never going to forget this last year. Being 19. Being a missionary. I'm holding on to every last day!

Eldste Parkinson 

Chocolate factory tour for pday

Happy to be a missionary!  - made some chocolate at the factory

Our legendary district:
Parkinson, Allen, Brink, Steed, Ulrich Firth