Monday, February 29, 2016

Ja jeg elsker dette landet

There really isn't much left to say at this point. I never expected to experience what I've experienced here on my misssion and I never expected to feel the way I feel for this country and all the people that live here. What a blessing to serve, bless, teach, struggle, rejoice, and love these last two years.
I couldn't of asked for a better last sacrament meeting. A convert spoke. I got to bear my testimony. There was an awesome musical number. President and Sister Hill were visiting and spoke. And then it all ended with my favorite song, "Vi vil bringe sannhet til jord."
I've deleted the last 9 sentences I've written so I think I've run out of words.
It's been the best two years and will be on my mind for the next 50. Thanks Norway and thanks to an awesome family that got me here.

Eldste Parkinson

Monday, February 22, 2016

Pioneers in Every Land!

Hey Everybody!

This week has been a blessing. 

We had Zone conference on Wednesday in Stavanger. My last one. Bittersweet. 

The highlight of it all was a special fireside we had last night. We called it "Pioneers in every land" and it highlighted the church's growth in Africa. We got over 60 people there (members, less actives, investigators, etc.) and it was an incredible program. My man Mike (a member here) led the meeting and talked about his conversion, mission experience, and building the church in Malawi. Tons of awesome videos and stories were shared about the first pioneers in Africa. We grow up in the church being very proud of our ancestors and the pioneers that sacrificed so much to cross the plains and establish the church in Utah. Yet, we often forget that these pioneer stories didn't stop when the church got to Utah. All over the world people continue to sacrifice everything in order to enjoy the blessings of the Gospel in their life. Here in Norway I've met so many people that have pioneer stories, both members and non-members. I was sitting between J. and B. at the fireside, listening to these stories, and realizing how real this all is to them. Getting displaced because of war, persecution, poverty. There is so much we can't understand or comprehend, but we can invite everyone to come unto Christ and partake of His restored gospel. That is the greatest gift we have to offer as Latter-Day Saints.   

The work is hastening and there is nothing more exciting.

“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

Eldste Parkinson 

With Brother Luke

Thursday, February 18, 2016

YSA Party Photos

We'll Bring the World His Truth!

This week has been a blast! 

On Friday we had a YSA Valentine's party in the church and we were able to get several investigators to come. Good food, good games, and a way competitive limbo once again. One of our investigators had told us the night before that he wasn't going to make it and he ended up showing up anyways. When I asked him why he cam he said, "I just needed to feel the spirit again!" That right there touched me. It made me think of that Mormon message where the guy was telling his conversion story and talking about his experience at the ward picnic. It was the "straightest party" he'd ever been to and he was shocked that they "prayed over the hot dogs." Nothing quite like a Mormon party. But, he felt something special being there, a feeling which the world can't match.

The Bergen Ward is sending off another missionary this week to serve in England. It was powerful to hear her testimony and the story of her family coming from Chile and reconnecting with the church here in Norway. After her talk all the YSA and missionaries went up and sang my favorite song, "Vi vil bringe sannhet til jord." Priceless.

We got to go out hometeaching last night with an older member of the ward that lives a ways out of Bergen. 30+ years ago the missionaries banked on their door and a few months later a family of 6 was baptized. As we were driving around visiting the people on his list I was touched by how much dedication and love this man had towards the church. Being a member here in Norway is not an easy thing and these members have offered so much to remain active and fulfill their callings. You see people every Sunday in church but have no idea what they've gone through and sacrificed to be there. #Latterdaysaints

Things are going well with the missionary work. A lot of investigators continue to slowly but surely progress. The biggest challenge right now is to maintain a love and a patience with everyone despite the urgency that I may feel as the clock is ticking. The other night I was feeling a little frustrated and found great comfort in these words from Mormon:
 46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity,ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

Love has to be the motivator for what we do and that is easier said than done. Sometimes you just got to hit your knees, forget yourself, and pray really hard to be able to love and see people as Christ does.  

Eldste Parkinson 

Monday, February 8, 2016


 JACOB 6:12
12 O be wise; what can I say more?

Love you all. Love this work.

Eldste Parkinson

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Mighty Change of Heart

Hey Family,

I was constantly reminded this week that this is not my work, it's the Lord's! There were so many experiences we had this week that confirmed for me that things are done in the Lord's timing and according to the agency of other people. It's all about how people choosing to respond to, or becoming humble enough to recognize, the spirit. And that's a process that's different for each and every person. And that's the process that will CHANGE people's hearts. 

There's this awesome Norwegian student we found a few weeks ago that we started teaching. He is this really smart computer programming major and naturally very skeptical to most of the things we teach. After the first teach I felt a little frustrated with all of his questions that he was asking and his disagreeing with so much of what we taught. But, he committed to read, pray and meet again. He came back a week later and said he hadn't really felt anything. We taught the Plan of Salvation this time, he asked tons of great, and sometimes annoying, questions throughout the lesson. It went better, though, and he even kneeled and said a prayer at the end of the lesson. This past Saturday we taught him again. We taught a lesson, much more directed by the spirit this time and he dropped this golden question. "You keep talking about the Holy Ghost. How can I feel it? How can I recognize it?" This question struck me right to the core. He said it so sincerely. He may be naturally skeptical, he may ask difficult questions. At first, I let that frustrate me, but now I love it! It was a good reminder to me that "prepared people" don't just show up asking for baptismal clothing and nodding "yes" to everything I say. "prepared people" listen and act (keep commitments). My man Ø. came to church yesterday for 3 hours and I can't wait for our next appointment

Story number two goes out to the Congolese family I've told you about before! To remind you, J. is a member and his wife is not. The whole time I've been here we've tried incredibly hard to get J. active again and start teaching them regularly, but it's been so hard! We've got in a few times and shared some messages, but then future appointments are always canceled and he hasn't been able to make it to church. It seems like 90% of the time we drop by his wife answers the door and tells us J. isn't home. I've felt bad for disturbing her so much, but we have kept trying anyways. On Thursday we dropped by and J. answered the door! We were able to go inside and share a message with them and the spirit was thicker than the ice in a Minnesota lake in the winter. After that, J. asked us to call him an hour before church to help him get up and he we said we would come knock on his door! We came by Sunday Morning, and the wife said he was at his brother's, we headed out to his brother's but the bus schedule and the blizzard prevented us from getting there before church started. After church we dropped by to see what happened and J. told us he had gotten called in to work until 4 am. But here's the miracle: he went on to tell us that his wife and him had been talking and that she wants to start investigating the church! She came out and told us that she wants to come to church and asked for chapters to read from the Book of Mormon. No idea where this will go cause that's not up to me, but I think each time we knocked on that door the spirit was working on her. Finally she's ready!

We had this guy Elder O. and I taught my first week here. He was way positive but said he needed more time. I kept seeing him on the bybane and thought it was fate, but he kept giving me the same answer. This week we got a random text from him about a crazy experience he had praying and that he wanted to meet! I'm telling you, it's the spirit. 

A. (our chinese investigator) came to church this Sunday spiffed out in a suit! He is a heavy smoker and we have yet to mention the word of wisdom to him. However, get this: completely randomly during Sacrament meeting he turned over to me and said, "I need to stop smoking!" It's the spirit!

Guess who I met on the street yesterday?? B's sister. She said we could come over sometime this week! 

There was a hurricane that came through on Friday so we got banished to our apartments/the church. It turned out to miss Bergen so that was a bit of a bummer. There has been a nice assortment of hail, snow, sleet, and rain to keep you on your toes. 

Here is a quick scripture from Alma 5:
 13 And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers,and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, andthey humbled themselves and put their trust in the trueand living God.

I know this change of heart comes from the Holy Ghost and that we never know when the Holy Ghost is working upon someone's heart, so we should never stop preaching the word!!

Love you all, 

Eldste Parkinson 

P.S these are long because they are functioning as my journal as well...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Action Packed

WOW! This has been one of the most action packed weeks of my mission! I sent Elder Osguthorpe off to Tromsø on Wednesday. We had a couple awesome last days together, and despite a lot of our plans falling through, including one man that managed to cancel three different times with us in one day, it felt fulfilling. Tromsø is lucky to have him!

3 new elders came to Bergen this week and the Bergen district is officially stacked! Elder Hoopes, Beck, and Hailes are newbees. Elder Hailes arrived from Narvik in the afternoon after a long trek and we were quite busy the rest of the week with teaching appointments. The first one was actually an interview with 4 high school students that are doing a project on Mormons. We met them at the teaching appartment and they actually filmed us answering a bunch of questions that they had prepared (Don't worry, I screened them first). They had studied us up on the internet, but at the end they mentioned how little they actually knew and how much more normal we were then they thought haha. One of them said during the interview "Are all mormons this funny?" There is so much power in our example. "Be an example of the believers." 

This weeks country of interest is...China! Last Sunday night I found a guy from mainland China that is studying here. I told him about the Book of Mormon and we ended up teaching him this past Saturday! We talked a lot about faith and read from Alma 32 together and he was getting literally blasted by the spirit (he jumped out of his chair a few times haha). We prayed with him at the end and set another appointment for Saturday. When I was confirming the appointment he told me that he didn't think we could meet, he hadn't read and didn't feel prepared. I convinced him to come anyways and it turns out he had read all the way through 1 Nephi 4. The reason he didn't want to meet was because he was so frustrated by the story of Nephi killing Laban. And when I say frustrated I mean FRUSTRATED. It had been eating him up ever since our last meeting. We tried talking it through with him and helping him understand, but it wasn't really working. We finally said, Adam you need to receive your own answer from God." With that thought in mind we watched the 20 minute restoration film and then bore some powerful testimony at the end. It was cool to witness such a dramatic change from his frustration to the calm, peacefulness of the spirit. To top it all off, he kneeled down with us at the end of the lesson and said his first prayer ever. I could see and witness that day that people need the peace and joy that the gospel brings. He ended up coming to church with us yesterday for all three hours!

A lot of our investigators are progressing right now which is exciting! B. has been a bit busy with school, but he's doing great and we had an awesome convert with us on a teach this week. Had another awesome teach with A. There were a bunch of people that we were able to teach for the first time as well and it's weird how it never get old teaching the first lesson. 2 years later and there is still nothing better than reciting the first vision. 

We have been using the senior couple (Elder and Sister Cardon) a lot on our teaches this week. They are awesome and get so excited about our investigators and are so eager to help. All the other area here in Bergen are starting to flourish as well and we are hoping to get some baptisms here in February!

We have struggled this week with this whole eating thing. Elder Hailes is as petal to the metal as I am so sometimes we just forget (I think I got that trait from Dad), but the noises coming out of my stomach remind me and everyone else in the room. Takket være Eldste Holden I've been taking protein bars with me in my backpack. I refuse to step on a scale.

I just love life. We've been blessed with a lot of experiences and I feel a lot of confidence in my testimony right now. I can feel the spirit guiding and confirming what I say in lessons. The missionary broadcast was inspiring and spot on. I feel an increased urge and responsibility to always have Christ's name on my lips as I teach, talk to and serve my brothers and sister here in Norway. 

Eldste Parkinson

Monday, January 18, 2016

Headed to Overtime

What's up to the Parkinson fam!

The transfer comes to an end this week good friend Elder Osguthorpe is going to be headed up north to Tromsø on Wednesday! He is going to kill it and it's been a blast being able to serve with him. His replacement is named Elder Hailes! He came in the same group as Osguthorpe and has spent the first 4 months of his mission up in Narvik. It's going to be exciting to work with another young stud in the mission. 6 more weeks and we're headed into OT!

We had a ZLT and interviews this week in Stavanger. Always good to see President and Sister Hill as well as the other missionaries in the zone. The meeting focused in on two important principles/commitments that we give to investigators: prayer and baptism. After the meeting I was surprised by my main man Elder Holden (AKA Christopher)! He is living in Stavanger with his wife and they are expecting a baby. It was just one year ago that he finished his mission. Crazy. Nice to talk to him, get some wisdom and a bunch of protein bars and drinks. He's the man. 

The day after ZLT we were able to apply a lot of the things we learned in a lesson we had with B. We had the Zone Leaders with us on splits so I was able to teach with Elder Gingrich! We went into the teach with the gameplan to ask a lot of inspired questions and help him overcome his concern of being baptized again. It was cool to see that the more we asked questions and listened to what he said, the more he opened up to us. It was a way powerful teach and at the end we committed him to baptism in February! We said a kneeling prayer at the end of the lesson and we asked B. to say it. The prayer was humble and sincere and after we said "amen" there was complete silence for a legit 10 minutes! The spirit was so tangible and when B. finally got up and left he looked like Joseph Smith walking out of the grove of trees. It was incredible!

The language class kicked off on Wednesday and we had about 15 people there! We were hoping for more, but you can't complain with that. 

I had a funny experience yesterday where I got on the bybane and started talking to this guy. Turns out he is from Ghana. After I sit down a bunch of other guys from Ghana start getting on, almost all of whom I already knew from previous contacts. "What's up Ernest, Moses, Gideon...!" We rode the whole way together and had a blast. They kept feeding me these deep fried things that were super good. "It's good, yeah???" Haha it was something else. Now I know when their church ends on Sundays and I committed them all to come to the language class. 

As we continue to find people from all over I can feel the reality of the Gathering of Israel. Let's find those sheep!!

Have a great week!
Eldste Parkinson 

Monday, January 11, 2016

He shall direct they paths

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

As I was reflecting on this last week that is the scripture that came into my mind. I felt like we were directed throughout the week to be where we needed to be and find and teach those that needed us. A lot of spiritual experiences. 

Wednesday we were out having a street stand in the baltic cold temps. Lots of good gospel conversations. Sometimes street contacting is a little like american football: you have to take the right angle in order to get the tackle. I saw this guy off in the distance and took my angle at a pretty brisk speed walk. I didn't make the tackle, but I yelled out ahead of me anyways and started talking to him. Get this: turns out he was baptized into the church back in Freetown, Sierra Leone!! He hasn't had contact with the church really in Norway and I couldn't find his name on the list when I checked later.We started speaking krio and talking about fufu and he was the coolest guy! Got his number so we'll see what happens, but I felt the Lord direct my path.

My man B. from Swaziland got back from vacation on New Years and we've started teaching him again. On Friday we experienced the most ideal setting for a member present teach. We took B. with us over to a members home (the one that served his mission in Swaziland) and ate some african food and had an awesome teach. B. is really progressing and keeping his commitments which is so cool to see. We asked Bheki if he believed Joseph Smith was a prophet and after a period of silence he said a resounding "YES." The highlight of it all was watching the member bear his testimony and share his conversion story and seeing the fascination on Bs face. 

Remember that refugee dinner I told you about back before Christmas?? That was a huge mission highlight for me. I met a lot of cool people that night and there was one kid that I felt a special bond with. A 19 year old from Ethiopia. A week later, I got off the bybane and was walking along the side of it with the other missionaries and I saw him! I jumped back on with Elder O. and talked to and laughed with him for a stop before we got off again. Several days later we were headed to a 11 am appointment with a less active and he was waiting at the bybane stop. I talked to him again the whole ride and this time was able to start sharing a bit of the gospel with him and give him a pamphlet. Funny thing was that the less-active sent a message and canceled the appointments as we were on the bybane, so we turned around and headed back. Yesterday, we were able to meet up with him in our teaching apartment downtown and it went great. Really prepared kid with such a great spirit about him. 

Tons of other awesome experiences this week. We went back to that "promised land" banking area and got in with a family. We taught a first and were about to leave and walked downstairs to a table set with places for both of us to eat dinner with them! We taught Mats quite a few times this week and he's been doing awesome. He's living with his girlfriend so we're trying to help him get married! 

I want to give a shout out and thank you for the Christmas package you sent. To be honest, I kind of laughed when I saw the hand warmers because it was so warm at that time I didn't think I'd ever use them. To my surprise, though, the temps dropped well below zero this past week and it's been FREEZING. So I've been using those hand warmers in my shoes and gloves. The heating in our apartment consists of one space heater so we've been very grateful for our dynas (big comforter blanket) this week and have been studying with winter coats and gloves.

I'm grateful for the direction and meaning my life has when I follow God's commandments and seek to receive the Holy Ghost in my life on a daily basis.I'm grateful for the confirmations God gives us when we are on the right path and the patience that He for us when we stumble, diverge, or get lost. I know who I am, I know God's plan, I'll follow Him in faith :) 

Thanks for the love! I feel it! Have a blessed week !

Eldste Parkinson

B., M., and Elder Osguthorpe. Notice the lack of eating utensils :)

Bergen Hike

Bergen Hike

Monday, January 4, 2016


Happy New Year! And more importantly, happy birthday to Harriet! 2016 has brought blue skies and sunshine the last couple days. It's also brought everybody back from vacation or the "hytte" so things are taking off. 

I think I told who lives in this student housing apartments pretty close to the church. After our first visit with him we felt pretty strongly that we needed to bank the rest of the apartment. Earlier in the week we banked a bunch of them and it went incredibly well. A bunch of young families that we got appointments with. Last night, we went back and it was magical. We were able to visit two of the try backs and then we banked a couple more doors and got let in by this 19 year-old that pretty hesitantly let us in to teach. It was kind of one of those "you've got 10 minutes to try and change my mind." The spirit was powerful during the teach and by the end he was super excited to read the Book of Mormon, come to church and meet again. We're exciting to keep working in this neighborhood. It may get translated. 

It's been exciting to make a big district focus on getting investigators to church. We figured it would be a great way to get the members excited and involved in missionary work as well as a way to help our investigators progress. To keep us accountable and excited we started something we are calling the "Bergen Bønn" (Bønn means prayer). Saturday night after planning we do a conference call as a district and announce the investigators that should be coming to church the next day. Then, somebody says a prayer naming everybody by name to show our collective faith that they will come the next day! It made church a lot more meaningful and exciting.

We are getting a language class started up next week which is going to be awesome! We've been advertising like crazy and are hoping to set a missionary language class record.

I just love the people we are working with right now. I feel so much desire for them to accept, live, and share this Gospel. Life is so much more meaningful when your time is spent worrying about other people and their needs. It really helps you to understand how God must feel about each one of His children.

Have an awesome week! 

Eldste Parkinson

Here are some pictures of the refugee dinner at the church around Christmas time.