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...