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.

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014

I hope that everyone had a great Easter.  I forgot how Easter was here in LIB,  but it was good.  I was very surprised at how many investigators came to church yesterday.  There were about 6 people and a couple of them, 4 of them that were first timers.   One man I know but have never sat with him, but I've sat with his wife, decided to show up.  I probably haven’t even seen him for about 2 weeks and yesterday he randomly shows up at the end of sacrament meeting.  Miracles happen each day here!!

The week was really frustrating to be honest.  There were a lot of people that bounced us so it made it really frustrating.  We did have interviews with President Kirkham on Friday.   He gave me a couple things to improve on,  mostly just making sure that I extend the invitation for baptism on the first lesson every time.  That had always been a weak spot for me.  I just like to see if the person is truly interested and is willing to actually listen and change, most people aren’t, they just want to learn what the Bible says.  That’s not our purpose as missionaries.  Our purpose is to help others use the Atonement of Jesus Christ and have a remission of their sins, not to be dispensers of knowledge.

I never really understood Easter, and I didn’t really understand it till this week, to be completely honest.  I knew that it was to honor the Resurrection of Christ, but anything more that, I couldn’t tell you.  Back at home I remember that on Easter Sunday, the talks would be given by the best people.  Here they ask us to talk.  I was asked to talk along with Elder Nabende who has faithfully served an honorable 24 months and will be returning home on Saturday.  I focused my talk on the Atonement of course.  I spent the whole week learning about it and studying it.  I have so much love for my Savior.  John 3:16 is where I started.  Because our Father in Heaven loves us, he gave us His Son,  and if we believe in Him we will have everlasting life.   If we have Faith in him, we will repent of the sins that we have committed,  then we make covenants with God like at Baptism, and then comes the remission of our sins when we receive the Holy Ghost.  The final step is then to show our love for the Savior and keep the commandments, John 14:15.   I know that my Redeemer lives.  I know that each of us will be able to become like him if we just repent and make and keep covenants.  By doing this, we can also receive that glorious reward of everlasting life. 

I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  I know that when we learn and apply the principals of the gospel, we can get nearer to God than to anything else.  I know this church is true.  I love you all

Elder Park
The White African

In an extra email he wrote:
Sorry i emailed way early for you (yep, I wasn’t checking my email at 4:30), we have a busy day today.  We are going into town and getting transport is super hard so we left early.  I haven’t meet the Dever’s, but I might today if they are at the office (The Dever’s recently arrived in Liberia, they are also from Washington state, their niece is a family friend).   Transfers come this weekend but I’m 90% sure my comp and I are staying based on my interview with President Kirkham.   The living situation is still the same.   We are looking for a new apartment though. 

I sent him a picture from when Derek and I got lunch at the Café Rio restaurant that just opened nearby.  He wrote:
I’m jealous.  Last night for Easter dinner me and my companion spoiled ourselves and bought chicken thighs and fried them with jojos and a terrible pasta salad.  It’s going to suck coming home because my stomach was not correct after that....






Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014
Good afternoon everyone!!! Its 2:45 pm, slightly cloudy and humid as always!

This week was really good even though we didn’t accomplish our goals.  It was busy week too.  Very frustrating on Wednesday though ….  The reason behind that is we taught a less active girl that is younger than I am and has a baby (unfortunately, this is all too common here is LIB).  We’ve sat with her many times before and have very thoroughly covered what the Priesthood is with her.  We sit with her and her first question was, “what’s the Priesthood?” so frustrating.  But it was good, we explained it again and also how important it was, so hopefully she understands now.  To make it better, as we were walking back to the apartment, we ran into another less active man.  We asked him why he didn’t come to church and he just laughed.  It’s frustrating that people don’t always understand why coming to church is so important.  When we got to the apartment, I took my frustration out on the floor by doing as many pushups as a I possible could do, resting for a second and then doing it again.  I did a lot of pushups that night.  That was the only downer of the week though.  The rest of the week was great!! Sorry to start off on a sad note.
On Thursday I went on exchange with Elder Nabende who is going home to Uganda at the end of the month.  I look up to him so much.  I love this man!!  But that’s not the best part of Thursday. The best part is HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!!!!  (I love this kid!)

We have a man we are teaching named Travis Kollie.  I think I talked about him last week but we had a great lesson with him.  He wanted to learn more about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. So we covered that very thoroughly. We were expecting to see him at church but he didn’t come, so he’s not fully progressing anymore… but we have someone else who is progressing.  Beatrice has been sitting with us for about 3 weeks now.   We had a fantastic lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week.  The Spirit was so strong.  It really showed how important and true the Book of Mormon is.  We used a lot of scriptures from all of the Book of Mormon to teach the 5 principals.   I think that because of that lesson, she decided to come to church for the first time yesterday.  She came late so we didn’t actually see her till the end of Sunday school, but she said she’d been there for about 20 minutes.  So much for calling us…  but after church the Relief Society Sisters talked with her for a second which makes every missionary just happen!  I invite everyone who sees a new face come to church, go up and say hello to them.  Make a friend!!

We had a couple more first timers come to church yesterday too.  I am always happen when people we invite actually keep their commitments.  What’s  even better is when you meet 2 people on Saturday, teach them a quick lesson and then they come to church the next day.  I love people that do that!!!
Saturday was interesting.  I had a cousin get married, shout out to you Kim!! Congrats!! And I also had a close friend get married too, Congrats Mackenzie!!!  I wish both the newlyweds good luck!  But what was crazy about Saturday was this, I went to a wedding too!  Hahaha it was great!  Brother Felix is the man, he is the one we call if anything gets messed up or broken in the apartment.  He did the civil marriage on Saturday so that he can then go the temple in a couple months.  It was really cool to see how people get married here.  Tradition is great.  They had it at the district center and that place was PACKED!!!!

Sunday, we had 52 partake of the sacrament, and then by the end of sacrament meeting, we had about 80 in the chapel!!! I was so happy!
This morning I woke up a little vexed.  Last night there was a crazy storm that made it really windy which I loved, but also it kicked up a lot of sand… so I woke to find a thin layer of sand covering my body and my bed.  Oh I was happy, but I was too tired to complain about it.  I just undid my net and then took my sheet outside and shook it and put it in the wash, I mean I put into the bucket…  that’s life here in LIB!

Mission is the best.  I love everything that I’m able to do here and the people I meet.  I love this Gospel. I know it is true.  I hope you all had a great week!!

Elder Park
The White African


Monday, April 07, 2014

April 7, 2014

Happy Birthday to the Truest Church on the face on the earth, yesterday.  (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized by Joseph Smith on April 6, 1830 by Joseph Smith, Jr.)

This week my companion and I were able to teach the most lessons I have ever taught in Upper Caldwell.  It was a great week and also very very hot!!!

A normal week here in Upper Caldwell we get about 18 to 19 lessons a week.  This week we got 25.  We were working really hard.   We decided not to stand,  but to find someone to teach.   In doing so we had to go out of both our comfort zones and contact for a little while.  My whole mission, I've only really done that once.  This mission is so unique in the fact that we don’t really have to contact much.  People walk up to us.  (I think my contacting he means going door to door to meet people)

While contacting we met a woman named Sarah.   She went to church with a member when she was very small but still remembers a lot about it, she lost contact with the church because she moved.  I’m convince that it was the Spirit that lead us up there.  I've never been there before and Thursday, we just started walking and we found her.  Miracles happen on the daily here.

What’s even more miraculous is the attendance in church, about 6 weeks ago, we counted the attendance in sacrament meeting: 20 members.  Yesterday it was 48.  The numbers seem small, but some Liberians are very stubborn.   All the missionaries were so happy at the end of church.  Sometimes, often times, we get disappointed at church, but yesterday, we were all happy!

On Wednesday evening we got a referral from the Caldwell New Georgia Elders.  Travis Kollie is so cool!!!  He is Lutheran, but hasn’t been to church in 2 years.  He knows a lot of LDS people that are in good standing and are still strong in the church.  He ran for the House of Representatives a little while ago.   We sat with him on Thursday and read a lot of scriptures about our belief of the Trinity.   He said he learned a lot.  This guy is prepared for this Gospel.  I love the opportunities we get to meet people here. 

Friday we met a man that started to ask us some simple, but doctrinal, questions.   It eventually led to him asking us this: "which birth is more miraculous?  One born with no mother no father, one born with a father but no mother, or one born with a mother but no father?"  i looked at him for a second, thought for another, and said we can say all 3 are the most miraculous.  I have had many questions asked, some very easy to answer and some that I have no idea what the answer is or might be.  This is one that I've never had in the whole of my mission.  I wonder if I'll ever meet that man again.  All I know is that our Father in Heaven works in ways that we can not comprehend.  That’s why he is God and we are his children.

My week was great, I hope that you all got to hear conference, I'll read it in a month or two!!

Elder Park
The White African

I sent him some pictures of the food we were eating during Conference – homemade cinnamon rolls and homemade café rio pork salad.  He wrote:  “I’m vexed about it...  I want good food and being able to sit on  a comfortable couch and watch conference....  i miss American food bad way.

He also added:

Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014
This week was fast but a little trying for me.  it seems like I need to work on some patience.
On Wednesday I went on exchange with Elder Zolo (Ivory Coast, Native French Speaker).  I absolutely love this guy.  I learned so much from him.   He was actually in the same apartment as me when I first came to LIB.   We were able to have a good amount of lessons on a short proselyting day.  He gave me some really good ideas on how I can improve and I have implemented them in the rest of the week and it was great. 
On Thursday and Friday we spent a lot of time in the apartment because we had a problem with our water, so since I am the District Leader, I had be there all day... so it was kind of a bummer.

We had some good lessons this week though.  Melvin is a less active member.  We're not sure the main reason why, most Liberians will tell us, but for some reason Melvin just won’t come to church.  We did meet his mother and father the other day, but they were very uninterested, and it seemed like they didn’t want us there at all, so we left.  It was very strange.  My companion noticed something that I didn’t which isn’t very good.   It was a mark of a society here in LIB so that’s probably the reason why they didn’t want us anywhere close.  It shows you how the Spirit effects people., the Spirit is so powerful and so important.   We did have a lesson with Melvin though.  We talked about the Priesthood,  it was good for him, he had somewhat forgot about it. 
Nacy is also a less active.  Her father was a Bishop at one point, back when they had a stake here.  It’s been about a year for her since she came to church.  With her we read Mosiah 2:22, 41, we asked her what her biggest desire was, read the scriptures, and then we had to say what it meant for her.  We talked about how the only way for you to receive the things that you want in life is to keep the commandments.  Then we talked about the commandments, but for her, she is stubborn, and won’t come to church.  she says that it’s too far of a distance,  she'll wait for when the new big chapel is built.  What sucks is that her brother has a car, (hard to see people with cars here) he is less active too.  This is a struggling family, but they know that the church is true, so I guess that’s a good thing.

I had a pretty good week how was yours??
Elder Park
The White African

I asked about when the new building would be done.  He wrote:  The new building has a two year contract on it so it'll be a while.   The reason why is because during the rainy season, they will stop working and things will spoil so they will have to  redo some things.
Less actives members are sometimes hard,  sometimes only one visit makes the difference.

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014
The week flew again!
I had a very humbling experience happen on Tuesday, being here in general is humbling, but during District Meeting, Elder Enwukweri gave a small instruction.  He asked us to talk small about our struggles we had before we came on mission.   I was the last one to talk, in my district I am the only white man,  everyone else is African.  Wow, to listen to their stories is stunning.  Hearing how they literally battled to go on mission and the determination to serve.  When it got to me, I literally couldn’t say anything.  I really didn’t have any trials or struggles, I literally had all the support I could ever want or ever needed.  I thank you all so much for your love and support.

These past 2 weeks I have worked harder than I have before and I am just physically exhausted.  Being here in Upper Caldwell, hmmm, no small work you have to do.   We live on a generator from 7 to 10:30pm.   We don’t have running water, but we have a hand pump that is for the community, that’s how we get our water.  Pumping that thing is hard!!!!  and then carrying 2 buckets back to the apartment  isn’t much fun.  It’s a lot of work being here.
My companion, Elder Godi, from Zimbabwe, came from and apartment where you didn’t have to work much, so he’s been really tired this week too.   It’s been a great week though, still taught a lot of lessons.  Abraham is awesome but he just wants to learn too much, but he's smart enough.   We just have to check his motives.   A lot of Liberians listen and learn from us but then run away and build their own church even though they fully understand the Restoration and the need for Priesthood keys.  It’s really frustrating at times.

On Sunday we had a District Conference for Bushrod Island District.  (i only have one more of these left on my mission!!) (time flies).  I was able to see a lot of members from Doe Community.  Doe Community was my first area.  Even though i didn’t spend long there, I love that place and I love the people.  I was also able to see some of the people I was able to baptize a year ago.  it literally brought tears to my eyes when i saw that they were still active.  I’m still speechless about it.  This mission is the best.  So many miracles happen.  I love LIB. 
I love you all and pray for you always.  I hope you have a great week

Elder Park
The White African

I asked him about being the only white guy in the apartment, he said:  “yeah, the only white man.  It’s not bad.  The Elders I’m with don’t seen color.  Only Elder Enwukweri jokes every one one time about it.  It’s not bad.  It’s my first time that this has happened.  It’s cool.  Enwukweri is from Nigeria, Nabende is from Uganda, and Godi is from Zimbabwe.

Living here isn’t easy, especially in my apartment.   It’s nick name is the outer darkness apartment....
Below is a picture sent to me by Sister Berrett, one of the senior missionaries serving in Liberia.

 Elders Enwukweri, Nabende, Park and Godi

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014
This transfer period was probably the fastest transfer of my mission, these past 6 weeks flew.   We got our transfer news on Saturday night, but I will hold off on spilling the beans!

This week was also the best week of the transfer.   We worked harder than I have worked in my entire mission.   I was exhausted, I am exhausted.. 
On Tuesday there was an exchange with my Zone Leaders.  I went with Elder Dahlin, who was the last of my MTC  I could serve with.  I have now been able to serve at least one day with everyone from my MTC group.   That’s super cool!!!  We had a great day and he was able to give me some really good advice.  Elder Witehira went with Elder Zolo (ivory coast).  i don’t know what they did, but ever since then, Elder Witehira has been on fire.   I love that guy!

Wednesday was just a normal day, but on Thursday I went on exchange again.  This time with Elder Enwukweri from Nigeria, he's only 3 months older than me on mission but sometimes acts older.  Some people get tired faster than others.  It was a good day though, he was a little sick but still wanted to go around.   In this mission, we missionaries don’t like staying in the apartment because of how hot it gets inside during the day.  So we weren’t gonna stay. 
Friday we planned on seeing 7 people.  Out the 7 we planned for, we saw one of them, but we still had a fantastic day.   We saw a lot of really good people.  Sister Theresa is super nice but she won’t really listen to us anymore.  The Jehovah Witnesses kept giving her free things so she wants to go  there.  (I asked what they had given her, he said:  “They gave Theresa a really cool looking bible.  Bibles are somewhat hard to get around here.”)

Saturday, we taught a lot of people about the Restoration.  It was a good day.  We felt proud of ourselves when we closed for the day.  Lennox is cool.  Very eager to start listening to our message. 
Sunday was just normal.

Elder Nabende will finish his mission in Upper Caldwell.  Elder Enwukweri will be the one to 'kill' him. (missionary lingo for being the last companion someone has on mission).   These two share the apartment that Collin lives in.
Elder Witehira is going to Congo Town to be with a Zimbabwean.  Me, I received Elder Godi who is also from Zimbabwe as my new companion.  Round 2 with an elder from Zimbabwe!!

My week was great! I hope everyone else had a good week too.
Elder Park

The White African

I’m bummed Witehira left, by far my favorite companion on mission.  Yeah this was his first move im happy for him though.  Transfers happened this morning.  Elder Godi loves rugby. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014
What a good week

Tuesday I was able to go on exchange with Elder Nabende (he's from Uganda).  He took me into his area.  This exchange was unusual.  I have been on exchanges many times with him when I was in Tinker Village since he was my Zone Leader, but this time I was the one conducting the exchange.  It was really good, we saw a lot of people.   Our first lesson was with Dianna (I had a great lesson with you Mom!!), this woman is really nice, very polite and very educated.  She has spent a lot of time in Nigeria and Ghana and has met with missionaries over there, but moved and lost contact.  She is also the one that we bought lunch from.   She had a very strange soup that day too, it was made out of banana's.   It was really good actually!

On Wednesday we met with Sister Tyler.  Her husband has been a member for about 2 years, but spent a lot of the time less active.  A couple Sundays ago they both randomly showed up to church so we jumped on it!   This woman is fantastic!!  She's an older woman, but is going to college to further her education in nursing.  When her husband was baptized, she didn’t have a problem with it, but wanted nothing to do with the church.  But over time she became a little interested.  That’s when we came in.  Before we gave her a Book of Mormon, she was scared to even hold, now she's reading it!!  Although she is traveling for the next couple weeks, I have a feeling that she will bring her Book of Mormon.

Thursday we struggled small, and when I say small, I mean a lot.  No one was home.  Our mission president has said, if you get bounced, look around and teach whoever you see.   So we tried that, still didn’t work.  Everyone was either busy or there was no one there... but, we managed to see a couple people and even find three less actives.  We were able to clear a lot of doubt about Joseph Smith, teach someone about the Restoration, and then help someone know the truth about the Book of Mormon.
On Friday we had a Zone Meeting.  At the end of it, it started to rain...  March is supposed to be the hottest and driest month of the year, but that day, it decided to rain.  It was really annoying too,
We had a great day planned.  We met with Sunnie.  This guy is great.  He's very young, but super smart and ready for the truth.   We have met with him about 3 times this gone week and he's just eating it up.  He loves the Book of Mormon, which he was also a little scared of at first.

Saturday, well I won’t talk about Saturday because it was just a bad day.

This whole transfer we have focused on the Book of Mormon, almost 90% of our lessons have been somehow connected to the Restoration of the Gospel.   This transfer has flown too.  This is now week 6 of the transfer, which means we will find out who is getting transferred on Thursday, hopefully.

I hope that all is well with whoever reads this.  I love you all

Elder Park
The White African

I posted the picture from last week on face book, the one showing him doing his laundry, I asked him if there wasn’t someone he could hire, he wrote:

Hahaha, sometimes, depending on the area, people will come wash for you, sometimes for free and sometimes not.  I've had both.  One area was 10  LD (12 cents) for every clothing item, and then a different area, 100LD for everything (just over $1).  My future wife will love me,  especially because I won’t make her wash everything buy hand.  The woman here,  wow, much respect!  Those ladies can wash!!!  It literally takes all day for some people because of the amount of clothes.    I have to wash by hand, hang it on the drying rack, wait all day, sometimes two days, and then fold all of them...  sweet LIB