Blog Description

This is a blog for the family and friends of Collin Park. He will be serving a two year mission in the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he left on January 24, 2013. While Collin is on his mission his Mom will be posting pictures and letters as she gets them, the content will be straight from Collin (unless otherwise noted) - spelling and punctuation will be corrected of course! Commentary and clarification may be added by his Mom as needed.
UPDATE: Collin's mission was split in half! The Sierra Leone Mission included the country of Liberia when Collin first left. As of July 1, 2013, the mission was split along the border and the new mission created: the Liberia, Monrovia Mission. Collin will never see the country of Sierra Leone. He has been in Monrovia Liberia since he left the MTC in Ghana.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Because of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Liberia and Sierra Leone Missions were evacuated on August 4, 2014 and missionaries were reassigned to different missions. Collin was reassigned to the Salt Lake City Central Mission.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

November 4, 2014

What a week!!  Friday and Saturday were the best though!

So I got Elder Dahlke on Wednesday.  he's from Tennessee, he lives close to Nashville.  He has been out for about 3 months and he is already accepted into BYU when he gets back and after that he’s going to go into the Air Force to be some type of  physicist.   So the guy is smart!

Wednesday was also a very interesting day because we didn’t ride our bikes.  On Monday last week, Elder Dahlke got in to a bike accident and riding a bike was making his arm hurt a lot so we walked.  I haven’t walked that much since LIB.   We got a text from President that asked if we were walking, we said yes and then we had to call him... let’s just say we rode a bike the next day.

Friday we went to the Doctor’s, finally.  Elder Dahlke is now in a cast half way to his shoulder...  so biking is still a little interesting with him.  He fractured the radial head in his arm.  It’s really funny.  He can’t button his top button so I have to do that for him.   And he can’t tie is tie, so I do that also!   Hahaha, he just looks away in shame.

But that night was AWESOME!!!  We got to go to the Jordan River Temple!!   It was just what I needed.  I love going there and it’s been a long time since going.   The amount of peace I felt there was amazing.   It was also really nice to get away from  the world for a little while.

Saturday!  Saturday was awesome!  Jani N. was baptized!!!  Before the service she was very scared.   Her parents and grandparents were coming and they weren’t completely thrilled with this decision of hers.  So she was just very scared and nervous about all of it.  I understand why though.   The baptism went really smoothly and the Spirit was so strong.   It literally felt like you could cut it with a knife.    While she was changing Elder Dahlke and I did a little message.   We showed a video called "Lifting Burdens."  It talks about how we can draw strength from the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I know that the Atonement can change lives.   (here is a link to that video:   https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2009-10-38-lifting-burdens?lang=eng)

Sunday was a crazy busy day.   We were running from meeting to meeting.   It was really fun though.  Once church was all done we had a good dinner and then had another 2 lessons that night.  Being a missionary is so much fun.   You are constantly busy.   So much fun!!!

This work is so rewarding.   We see how the Gospel of Christ can change people.  We are teaching a girl from Elko Nevada and she going to be baptized hopefully next weekend!!

I hope all of you are having a great thanksgiving month!!   I challenge you all to think of some of the blessings that you receive daily,  and then to thank our Father in Heaven for them.

Elder Park
The White African.... in Utah

 Who would have thought Collin would see it snow on his mission?

 This is Jani on her baptism day with Collin and Elder Dahlke



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 28, 2014
This was probably the best week I have had since getting here to the States.

We were so busy all week.  We were running around so much.  It was a lot of fun.  We had 13 lessons on the week.  Jani is progressing so nicely, she had her interview on Saturday and is being baptized on saturday!! I’m so excited for her!  This Friday, Halloween, we are going to the temple, so it’s going to be an awesome two days.
A lot happened this week so hopefully i will be able to remember all of it.  OH!!!  I met a guy from Ghana!!  I’m teaching him, I’m so excited.  He is so cool.   He's been here in Utah for about two years and got here because of winning DV (lottery that the US does to bring people here to states and get green cards).  He's super open to listening to us, but he's just super busy.

We made a better effort at setting return appointments. Elder hale and I had a great week.  We were always coming back to the appointment, so exhausted, so fun.   We would fall asleep so fast it was wonderful.

So we got a call last night.  Elder Hale is leaving me.  He is going to the Taylorsville South Stake.  I am staying in the YSA and I am getting Elder Dahlke who is from Tennessee.  So I don’t know how its gonna play out. I don’t know him too well, so I'll update you next week.

This week was awesome, but it was just full of teaching, so it’s hard to write about.  Sorry it’s so short.

I love you all.

Elder Park
the White African... in Utah

I asked for a picture of him with the quilt, this is what I got. 
This was breakfast on their P Day


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 21, 2014

This week was a struggle...

It was the week of continuously being cancelled on... it was really frustrating, so this letter is probably going to be short.   We did have a couple great lesson with Jani who is going to be baptized on Nov 1.  She is so cool, we met her in September and as of Saturday she was reading in Alma 5.  How awesome is that???  She's been to church about 4 times now.  I'm super excited for her.

We are teaching Brendon still and last night we had a lesson that was AWESOME!  We watched the Restoration video with him, and then talked about how it has helped us in our life.  We had Trevor there who is an RM who served in Mexico, having him there made all the difference.  We came to find out what Brendon’s concern was, what was bothering him and making him hesitant in making covenants with our Father in Heaven.  Now we know where to go, it was just a great lesson.  He is starting to pray about the Book of Mormon which is awesome!! and he committed to pray to know if Joseph Smith is a true Prophet.  I’m excited to continue working with him.

Last week I went on exchange with Elder Soelberg.  He's from Oregon and was going to school at BYU-H. How cool is that? He's still in his first transfer but doesn’t really seem like it, he's very mature and very smart.  He's going to be an amazing Elder.

On Wednesday we had Elder Clarke from the Seventy come.  He's like 3rd in command when it comes to missionary work.  Pres. Monson, Elder Nelson, then him, hahah.  He's super funny.  It was fun to watch him give President Moffat a hard time.  He talked about a lot of things.  Towards the end he said something that stood out to me that is very scary to think about,  he said in the next 5 years, a 1/4 of you missionaries will become Less Active.  That is just so sad for me to think about.  How can someone who is teaching people this gospel and seeing the change it brings to people’s lives fall away?  It doesn’t make sense to me.  I can’t begin to explain how much I have grown on my mission.   The things that I have learned, gained, the people I've met, I’m not willing to throw that all away.  I know that this church is true, I love it.  the Book of Mormon is the word of God, it is true!!

Elder Park
The White African... in Utah

He took a picture of his bed with the quilt I made him


Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014

This week was pretty good.   We are slowly teaching more and more.

We have a couple people we are working with.  Jani is awesome!!!  She is preparing for the 25th of Oct to be baptized.  There is still a couple things that we have to work with her on, but I’m sure she'll be  good to go.  She is already in reading in Mosiah and we have only been teaching her about 3 weeks now. so that’s AWESOME!!
!
Antonio, we met through the Sisters, he is sweet too.  There are just a couple things that are holding him back, but he's awesome.  He's been to church a couple times already, so now it’s just time to work and teach him a little bit and he's good to go!

The whole week was pretty good, we had at least one lesson everyday so that made me happy, but the high light lesson was on Saturday.  We got to take Jani with us to Temple Square!!!  I've been there so many times before, but this time was just different.   It was really cool to walk around and have the sisters there do the teaching, and the tour was awesome.   It was so cool being there. The Spirit was super strong there also.

On Sunday Elder Hale and I gave talks in the Parkway Ward.  We also showed up a couple minutes late too.   We had a meeting at the Cottonwood building which is about 10 miles away, and it started at 8:15 and church in the Parkway Ward started at 9, so we were racing to get back.   It was a fun.  I think I was all over the place with the talk and saying 'um' a lot, but everyone said we did good, and I didn’t see too many people sleeping so that’s good right?

I hope you all had a great week

Elder Park
The White African... in Utah

Salt Lake Temple

Elder Park and Elder Hale


Granny's house


Elder Park, Elder LaMont and Elder???
Collin and LaMont previoulsy served in Liberia, Elder ??? was previously serving in Sierra Leone, so these are all West African Missionaries.  (I wish Elder Elliott had been in this picture, he was the fourth West African mission reassigned to Salt Lake, he was serving in Liberia too)

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

October 7, 2014

What a weekend did we have??  That was awesome!

This was the first General Conference I watched on my mission, but the funny part of it is, that it was also the last one I will watch as a missionary.   It was really nice actually hearing the leaders of the church speak.  Ever since returning to the states and realizing that I was able to see it, I’ve been so excited and it was totally worth it.

For those who might be reading this and don’t know what General Conference is, here is a link:

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/?cid=HP14GC&lang=eng

We have General Conference twice a year, there are 4 regular sessions, 1 session specifically for the women of the church, and 1 session specifically for the men.   Our church leaders give talks on a wide variety of topics that provide inspiration and direction for members of the church, music is provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and other choirs.  The Conference takes place in Salt Lake City but it is broadcast to many of our church buildings, is available on cable tv and over the internet.  We look forward to it every time.  These Conference sessions replace our regular church meetings that weekend.   The link above links you to all of the talks so that you can watch, listen or print them.

The best part of it is on Wednesday when we were having interviews with President Moffat, I told him that I have haven’t seen a General Conference since 2012, he paused, then handed me two Priesthood session tickets!!!!!  I literally couldn’t think of anything else.  I was so happy!!!  It was a great day.

All the talks were FANTASTIC!!  I really liked the Saturday morning session there were a lot of great talks. but all of them really awesome!!

This week was pretty good too, we are starting to have some good lessons.  We had one with Jani and we had it at the Bishop’s house.  After that he took us to lunch haha.  It was a great lesson about the Book of Mormon.  She even commited to being baptized which made our day!  Now it’s time to start working!!   after the lesson, the Bishop, who a return mission president, said that the way we explained the Book of Mormon was one of the best, if not the best he's seen from a missionary.   I was actually really surprised he said that because I thought we were all over the place, but that made me feel good.

We had a little scary moment Saturday morning with Granny (The missionaries live in the apartment in the basement of Granny’s house).   She had fallen and couldn’t get up, so she got her cane and started banging on the floor hoping that we were still there.   We heard it so we ran up the stairs and granny was so happy.   We decided after that that we would watch the afternoon conference session with her.   I love granny but just pray that she doesn’t hurt herself.

We are making some progress with some of our investigators.  The Spirit is really starting to work hard over here.   Yesterday we, as a zone, would stop at every hour and pray specifically to help someone that the missionaries were working with throughout the zone.  It was great because now, as a zone, we have 8 more people that are now preparing for baptism.  The Lord works in mysterious ways!

I hope that everyone enjoyed conference, I know I did!!

Elder Park
The White African... in Utah

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 30, 2014

So how did it reach October already???

This week was pretty busy and I feel like we were working pretty hard but the numbers didn’t show.  Good thing it’s not all about the numbers.  We had some really good lessons with people though.

We are working with a guy that has been less active for about 7 years and he is just so excited about coming back to church, I really like working with him. He's also really excited to go to conference and feel the Spirit of the living Prophet.

We met with a recent convert, Brittany, who brought a non member friend to the lesson!!   I was so excited.  We had a great lesson with Jani about the Restoration.  There is still a couple things that she is a little hesitant towards, but that is not going to be a big issue.  I’m so excited to work with her and watch her grow in the gospel.

We have a couple other people we are working with and it’s been pretty fun.  We are slowly starting to teach more and more which is awesome.

OH i forgot.....  it POURED all day Saturday... we got soaked and so cold.  It was so weird, Thursday it was about 90 degrees, and now it is super cold...  I’m not too excited for this winter, but I know there is no way to avoid it.. not excited,   Give me dry season in LIB I beg!!!

When i got to the SLCCM (Salt Lake City Central Mission) I got a hand-me-down bike and something happened to the back wheel.  Yesterday a member had an extra wheel that he just gave to me!!  So happy that I didn’t have to spend money on the bike.  The members here are awesome.

Well sorry this is such a short letter, we are pretty busy today and not much happened.

Elder Park
The White African...in Utah

A lady who was at the Mission Office sent me this picture of Collin and Elder Hale


A friend dropped pizza off at their apartment

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 23, 3014

Well this week was pretty crazy.

Tuesday i moved to my new apartment.  I live in the basement of a very old widow.  She is turning 94 in December…  she makes us say goodnight to her every day, and she makes us call her Granny.   She is so funny, she is still totally there, remembering everything that happens.  I was laughing the other day, she was watching a show on FDR and she told us that the year she got married was the year FDR passed away.  She remembers everything!!!  Also, she is a champ!  She still manages a garden, every day at about 9, we hear her walking around and she is weeding the garden.   She is so cool!!

Tuesday was pretty much just a cleaning day for us…  The Elder that I replaced went home, so he left a lot of stuff...  I mean a lot!!!  Most of it was food, and it was killing me to be throwing food away.  After living in LIB, I have a new sense of 'if I’m not gonna eat it, I don’t buy it.'  The previous Elder didn’t have that...  he was a great missionary, but just left a lot of wasted food.

It’s taking me a little while to figure out the area, only because it is so big!!   I cover 3 wards in the YSA stake.  so my area is pretty much the city of Murray and then some.   So I was lost most of the week.  Thank goodness Elder Hale knows quite a bit of the area.   Being on bikes does save some time, yesterday we went from 900 east and 4800 south to State and 6100 south in about 8 minutes going through a construction site...  i'd say we made pretty good time!

On Sunday church was canceled,  but that was because of the Ogden Temple Re-dedication.  (They broadcasted the meeting to the Stake Center buildings in the Salt Lake area)   It was so cool be around to do that.  There were three different sessions of it, and I went to the one at 1pm.  I missed out on hearing President Monson speak, but I got to hear Holland and Eyring, it was so cool!!!!!!!  i love listening to them speak.  Holland said something that really stood out to me.  It was about when he was in the area presidency in England, his son went through the temple for the first time, but he wasn’t able to go,  his wife got to go.   He said I really didn’t do much to prepare him, i just taught a couple FHE's and that was about it.  That’s usually how the fathers are with preparing sons for temple covenants and missions.  Mothers are the ones that prepare them.  That stood out to me so much.   Thank you mom for everything, and dad, thank you too buddy :)

On my mission i have met many people from around the world.  On Monday I was on exchange with an Elder from Brasil.  This guy is so funny.   I learned a lot from him.   It was somewhat of a long day but  that’s just because we were in my area and I really didn’t know anyone, and where anything was, so that was a little tough.   It was a good day though

My week was good.  It went by really fast too.

Elder Park
The White African... in Utah

I asked him more about his apartment and his new companion who is from Ephrata, Washington.  He said: 
"I really do like my new apartment, the carpet is a little weird, it also makes it a lot warmer, so that’s nice.  My comp has been out about 7 weeks so he's green.  I’m still working with him on things.  My comp is really funny and has a little bit of short man syndrome, so it’s great!  hahaha

I got a couple of texts from Utah phone numbers with pictures, taken by people who were feeding them, I think.   Big Thank you to those who feed my son!


This came on Sunday, September 15th
His companion was still Elder Franco

This came on Sunday, September 21st
This is his new companion, Elder Hale