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.