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, June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014

Too fast.  Didn't I just email??   This week was pretty good.   It was fast and the days blended together so I hope I will be able to remember everything that happened.

On Tuesday Elder Montgomery gave some of us assignments for our DistrictMeeting.  My assignment was to answer this question, "what is my responsibility in helping others become converted?"  I thought a lot about that question on Monday night to prepare to give a 5 minute talk on it in the meeting.  As I was thinking, I was reminded of D+C 123:12 which talks about how people were kept from the truth because they knew not where to find it.  As missionaries, we bring nothing but truth to people.  I also remembered Ezekiel 33 which talks about a watchman, how a watchman has to blow his trumpet when danger is coming.  We teach people to repent and be baptized because the end of time is near.   We have to teach by the Spirit because that is the true Teacher, not us.  D+C 20:37 says that people that want to be baptized must manifest before the Church that they have repented, we represent the Savior as well as the Church.  By helping people make and keep commitments, we help them manifest their repentance.   This is what I thought was our role as missionaries  in helping people become converted.

On Friday we had a service project in town.   There is one really big turf football (soccer) field called BYC Field, we did our service project next to it.   There is a paved road on the sides of the field but when they come together it not paved.   The road was really bad so what we did was go around the community looking for rock and sand that people were willing to give us and fill in the holes.   We decided the
road was too big to try and fix it all so we decided to fix half of it.   We stuck to filling the holes on just one side of the road so that all the cars had to do was to stick to that side and it would be great.   We also handed out pamphlets to the people that wanted to talk to us.   It actually was a lot of fun.  Hauling the rock and sand with a wheel barrow was a little tough because the tire was flat so it gave us a hard time, but we still managed.  LIB missionaries find a way to get things done!!!!

On Saturday Brother Trokom was supposed to be baptized but due to a couple of reasons we had to postpone it to this coming weekend.  Trokom is blind and when he got into the car to come to the Church, he told the cab man to stop him at our junction and then he'd walk down the hill, but the cab man forgot and took him a long distance away.   To make matters worse, he doesn't have a phone that we can call him at... but it’s okay this week will be great.

Sunday was full of people calling us and telling us to come over.  It was crazy.   Let’s just say, my gut was full!!!!  I am very thankful for the 3 people that gave us food.

Well that sums up my week, how was yours?

Have a great week, I miss you all and love you all!!!

Elder Park
The White African

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014

Family and friends… the time is going too fast

Not much actually happened but we were constantly busy.  The week was full of teaching.  Well let’s start with Tuesday, not much happened except we sat with Benjamin, his mother was baptized just a few weeks ago, this is probably one of the smartest 11 year old boys that I’ve met here.  He loves to read and understands everything.  We taught him about the Book of Mormon on Saturday before and when we got there on Tuesday he was waiting for us by reading it.  I love this kid.  We taught him the plan of salvation and he totally understood, the plan of salvation can sometimes be very confusing to people. Most people believe that after you die, it’s straight to judgment which isn’t exactly true.  When we talk about the spirit world, they get confused.  For Benjamin, he totally understood it!!!!

Our last lesson on Tuesday was with a Recent Convert who now has a hard time coming to church.  We had a great lesson with her, teaching that her Father in Heaven loves her so much that He sent His Son to die for her forgiveness.  It was a great lesson and at the end, I am sure that she finally started to feel the Spirit again.  It was very amazing to see her face change from the beginning to the end of the lesson.

Wednesday, we got two new investigators but not much else happened.  We did sit with Brother Issac’s son, Patrick.  It was a good lesson on the Restoration but he wouldn’t commit to coming to church since he doesn’t have the right clothes, we explained to him that it doesn’t matter what you wear to church, it’s all about your heart.  This is often times the problem getting people to come to church, they say they don’t have the right clothes, it doesn’t matter what you wear!

Thursday we had a fantastic lesson with Naomi about Enduring to the End and the Sacrament. She said “all I have to do is keep the commandments, and partake of the sacrament? Well that’s easy!”  In John 6 the Savior teaches us that when we partake of the sacrament, we will have everlasting life.  I absolutely love the promises that he gives to us.  After that we sat with Stephen and talked about the Book of Mormon.  It was very interesting, he already knew about Joseph Smith (about 10 years ago his friend gave him a copy of ‘Our Heritage’ and he loved it!) his question was about Mormon.  This never really happens so at first I was a little lost.  But then I was prompted to start looking in the actual Book of Mormon inside and was skimming over the first 2 chapters.  After doing that I found the verses that would help him.  I am so thankful for the Spirit and how it reminds us of the thing we have learned before.

Friday was just full of teaching so many lessons.  Saturday was a little slower but we had Trokom get interviewed for baptism!! Trokom is our blind investigator and comes to church every week! This guy is so cool, every time he comes to church.  His baptism is going to be this coming Saturday!!!

Church was funny, the topics were…….. interesting but I will leave it at that!!! Sorry ya??

I hope that you all had a great week!!!

Elder Park
The White African

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014

Another one bites the dust. This week was almost too fast.  It was a little crazy since we were in a threesome for a few days so Elder Montgomery could get his companion on Thursday.

Tuesday we planned to spend the day in my area.  Tuesday morning, Liberia decided it wanted to take a shower. I haven’t seen it rain this hard in a very long time!!!  Holy cow did it rain hard… no matter where you are from in the world, getting caught in the rain here just sucks….  If it is raining before we leave, it’s super hard to go out at 10, so we stayed in the apartment for a little while.  The rain makes it a little difficult to get everywhere we wanted to, but we still had a good day.  We had 3 new investigators who excepted baptism dates, one has a brother who we are already teaching but he said that he was very confused with the amount of different churches and which one to go to.  PERFECT!!!!

Wednesday we went to the “ol(d) road” in Elder Montgomery’s area.  We had a great day there minus getting a little wet because of the rain.  We were supposed to have a Book of Mormon class to end the day but that turned into a little farewell for missionaries leaving from that branch.  It was great, they had two missionaries leaving, one on the gone Friday and then the other one next week.  It was really cool, we even got a soft drink and a sandwich.  On our way back to the apartment we got a free ride from President Harris!!!  My former Branch President from Tinker Village.  It was good to see him.

Thursday Elder Hervie from Ghana arrived!!  He is great, a little quiet but I think it’s just because he is still trying to figure everything out.  He’ll be a great missionary!!  We got to have a couple lessons that day.

Friday we had a meeting which took up a lot of time so not much teaching

Saturday was a power day!! We slammed 6 lessons in!!   We met a guy named Joseph who had a friend go to Nigeria on a mission and has returned but still talks about the Book of Mormon, we had a short lesson about the Restoration while the rain was falling on us.  We were able to go over the First Vision with him and he wanted to learn more, the only catch was, he didn’t live in our area.  So we passed his name on the Elders where he lives.  Another cool thing is, he’s going to visit his family in the states, I asked him what part, UTAH!!! Hahaha it was cool!!

Sunday was a little disappointment because we didn’t have many investigators come to church, but a lot of people have a fresh cold and stayed home. The weather is changing so people are starting to get sick…  Don’t worry mom, I’m staying healthy.

This week was really good and hope that you had a good week

Elder Park
The White African

Monday, June 09, 2014

June 9, 2014

Another week in the books.

This week was full of us coming back to the apartment.   It was either because someone was coming to drop something off or they were coming to fix something.  It took a lot time away from teaching but that’s just how it happens in LIB.

A couple weeks ago at Zone Conference, President Kirkham taught us what is called “Pray Now.”  When he first explained it, I was thinking that there was no way this could work, but since he talked about it, it must work.  So what you do is this, when you meet with an investigator and you follow up on the previous lesson and the commitments, especially about the Book of Mormon, if they haven’t prayed or haven’t received an answer yet, we kneel down right then and pray.  Elder Godi and I have tried it few times, but it never really was effective because we didn’t explain how we receive our answers from our Father in Heaven.

On Tuesday we tried it again with Sister Naomi.  We did a good job explaining how the Spirit will teach her, and then knelt down.  We were teaching her outside under an umbrella, the ground was soaked because of the rain but none the less, we prayed.  It was a powerful experience that I am so thankful I was a part of.  Naomi now knows for sure that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God.

Since we are talking about Naomi, she got baptized Saturday!!!!  Holy cow it was awesome!!  But it could have gone terribly wrong….  The baptism was at 10 and at 9 we realized we had no baptism clothes for Naomi… so Elder Godi and I took off to Old Road Branch to get some.  Getting transportation here is so hard…  (I asked him more about this and he wrote:   I had to walk to Peace Island Junction, about a half mile.  From there I got on bike to the Old Road.  I got off and walked inside to the chapel, 5 minute walk, got the clothes ,then walked back to the Old Road where I got bike back to Peace Island junction.  I then walked another half a mile up a hill to the church.   I was covered in sweat).  The baptism started a little late but it was still a great service.  I was also to be the one to baptize her.  It’s a long time since I physically went into the water and baptized someone, but it was such a great experience. We had a lot of support from the members too.  It was just a great day.

Jumping back to Wednesday, I went on Exchange with Elder Montgomery.  This guy is great.  I really enjoyed the day, but a good chunk of it was us at the apartment waiting for Felix to come fix a pipe for us… ( I asked what broke, he wrote:   while a man was cutting our grass he broke the pipe taking water into my bathroom).    We had a very interesting lesson, and then a great lesson about the Book of Mormon with Francis, a 17 year old girl.  She’s great, the whole family is, but since there are a couple things happening, the parents aren’t able to get baptized yet.

On Sunday we had a crazy amount of investigators come!! 7!!!!  It was awesome.  David came which was a total shocker.  George Komoyahn was baptized in 1998, but hasn’t been to church in about 10 years.  We are teaching his family, Sunday he and two of his kids came.  It brought such a HUGE smile to my face when I saw him.  Along with Naomi getting baptized, it was definitely the high light of the week.

This week was a filled with miracles.  Being a missionary, you see so many, you truly see the hand of the Lord in everything.  I am so blessed to be serving Him.

Have a great week!!!

Elder Park
The White African

P.S.   Transfer news:   Elder Godi and I are staying together another transfer.  Montgomery and Witehira are both training but only Montgomery is staying with us.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

June 2, 2014

This week I walked a lot. My legs are TIRED!!!!! But it was still a good week.

We were teaching a lesson on Saturday with Emmanuel and Soloman, as we were waiting for them to grab their Book of Mormons it hit me, this mission is the best.  I was about to teach a lesson under a mango tree.  In the whole of my mission, I can count on one hand how many times I have taught a lesson inside a house.  No one is inside because it’s just too hot inside.  So we always get to teach outside.  Sometimes it’s very  distracting but the breeze is always very nice!!!  I have had many lessons under a coconut tree, palm tree, you name it, I’ve taught under it, most likely.  This mission is awesome. I can also get banana’s that were on the tree about an hour earlier for just cents. I can get a pineapple for about $2 that was freshly cut.  It’s so cool what I can find here

I have been working hard at getting better at inviting people to baptism on the first lesson.  On Saturday we met a man named Soloman (same as above).  As we sat with him we got to know that he was/is a missionary of a different church based in the bush.  He asked us about the Book of Mormon so we explained what it was and how we got it.  He seemed to accept it pretty well.   At the end of the lesson we invited him to baptism, and he accepted after we told him we can baptize more than once and we gave him Acts 19 to read.  We invited him to come to church but it didn’t seem to promising that he would come.  At the beginning of Sunday school, he walks in.  It was such a surprise to me.  I’m really excited to see him again on Tuesday.

We have a part member family that we are focusing on, George Komoyahn and his family.  We had a great lesson with them on Friday about the Book of Mormon.  They (George’s family) didn’t have any concerns.  As we walked away, Elder Witehira and I (companion exchange) were talking about the family and how ready they are for the Gospel.  I am so happy to be able to talk with this family.  The Komoyahn family is preparing to be baptized on the 5 of July.  Keep them in your prayers!!!!

On Friday I was on companion exchange with Elder Witehira.  It was a great day.  We were bounced a couple times but we still managed to get a good amount of lessons.  We knew how each other worked and taught with great unity.  Elder Witehira is a fantastic missionary.  I really enjoyed the exchange.  We were also laughing pretty much the whole day too!! The day went super fast and I was a little bummed when it was time for us to get back to the apartment.

Sunday was a good day too, lots of people came.  Naomi came, but she came late.  But since she came, it means her baptism will be this coming Friday!!! as long as her interview goes good.  I’m so excited for her.  She has changed a lot!!! She is a sweet and wonderful woman and this will be great for her.  Please keep her in your prayers as well!!

I hope that you had a great week

Elder Park
The White African

Extra emails:

Well we are planning to have a baptism this week for sister Naomi.  So I‘m pretty pumped!!   We are meeting a lot of new people which is awesome.  Trokom, my blind investigator, is progressing really nicely!   I’m teaching a part member family. the wife, son and daughter all have baptism dates!!!!!!  I've never had this happen before.

Lots of things made me laugh this week.  I was on exchange with Elder Witehira on Friday and we were
laughing all day.   In the apartment we have realized that when we get home, we'll all most likely be socially awkward.  It’s fun.

Driving is something that I can’t wait for, I’m so tired of walking everywhere.

Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26, 2014

Well this week wasn’t filled with teaching like the past two weeks were, but we had a very successful week none the less.

We had a great Zone Conference on Friday.  President Kirkham gave great instruction on how to increase the amount of lessons, as well as making our teaching pools a lot bigger with people that will truly keep the  commitments.  He showed us how to find people that are prepared.  It was great.

One way he did this was to demonstrate how to contact someone and within 4 sentences testify and invite.  We did a lot of practicing with that, using different ways to introduce.  Sometimes we used the fact that God has called a living Prophet, sometimes we talked about the Atonement and how it changes people.  There were many ways on how to approach people.  President also showed a great video, that I wish I remembered the name of, it was filled with the voices of the Apostles talking about how the Gospel changes people, how people can use the Atonement, how to find peace and happiness, it was a fantastic video.

Another thing that we talked about was why we use an Area Book.  For those that don’t know what that is, it’s a book that we use to remember who we meet, who we teach, who has been baptized, and who is less active.  This book is full of papers, and each piece of paper represents one person.  The reason why we have this is to help us know exactly what each individual needs to know.  We can use this paper to receive revelation on what to teach the person.  In 3 Nephi - Christ is talking to the Nephites and He tells them that He knows his sheep, and they are numbered.  This is how that is possible.  One thing that I was taught by an Elder a year ago when I was still brand new was how each paper represented one person,  and our Savior Jesus Christ died for each of them.  The way he demonstrated this was by having one Elder hold his arm straight out and placed the book in his hands and asked him to hold it.  This was representing how Christ had each of us in His hands. I may not be perfect at the area book I will definitely get better at it.

On Sunday we had a District Conference.  BIG NEWS!!!! We were all hoping for a stake, that didn’t happen. But, on June 8th Elder Curtis is coming and he is establishing a new District in LIB!!!  Man, it’s so exciting!!!   The church is truly growing here and it’s just awesome to be a part of it all.  This mission is the best and fastest growing in the world, as Elder Holland said,  “This is the African moment!!!”

The church is true and the book is blue!  I love you all.

Elder Park
The White African

Extra email: 

I’m teaching a lot of people, but not much was too impressive this week.  Only that one lady was wondering when we were coming back, I guess it had been a little while. so that was pretty cool and nice to hear.

OH!!! at District conference I got to see a lot of people from Tinker Village that I baptized!!   Wow I forgot to talk about that, that was such a rewarding moment to me.  I was so happy!  It was Elijah and Dorcus.   They are married traditionally but were baptized about 6 months apart.  I loved teaching them.  Dorcus was just so excepting of the gospel and was baptized quickly.  Elijah gave us a hard time, he made me study.   When I got to Tinker Village he was already being taught but only had a few of the lessons.  He would ask so many questions!!   It was a lot of fun.  I also gave Elijah one of my shirts a long time ago, rogues came into his house and took everything.  He wanted to come to church but didn’t have the priesthood, so i brought him one of my shirts and my comp at the time gave him a tie.  He is one of my Strongest Recent Converts.

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19, 2014

 It was a very successful week for us here in Congo Town. We taught a lot of lessons!! But not a whole lot to write about, but I will think of something to write.

 This week we had a total of 23 lessons!! That’s 2 more than we had last week. We even had more members who able to come around with us as well. We had more “Member Present” lessons than “Other” lessons (which is where it’s just the missionaries). Our mission President wants us to start teaching more lessons. He said the average amount of lessons taught in a week 2 years ago was about 30 to 32, but now the average is only 16… He wants us to start working harder and harder. One way he suggested was that when we get bounced, to look around and whoever you see, go talk to them and share a very simple message about the Restored Gospel and how our Heavenly Father has called a true and living Prophet here in the last days. Elder Godi and I both aren’t very good at contacting people so we are completely stepping out of our comfort zone and faithfully trying to follow the council of our mission President. We have had a little success since we started doing this; it really helps our teaching pool too. We have gotten a lot more people teach or to go follow up on.

Last week we met a man called Emmanuel, he called us over thinking that we were Jehovah Witness’. So we explained who we were and he was interested to listen to us. We set a return appointment for Saturday, we get to where we met him and called him but his phone was off. So we stood there a moment thinking of what to do. Elder Godi says lets go talk to those people and ask if they know Emmanuel, I’m very thankful that he suggested that because the house we went to was his house. It was a small miracle. Finding people sometimes is hard since there are no addresses and a lot of people like to turn off their phone which sucks. But we found him and he is hilarious!! He seems like a great guy and even accepted the invitation to be baptized.

 Another miracle we had was how Trokom, a blind man, came to church on his own. I have no idea how he made it but he got there super early and even beat us on getting to church building. Trokom is really cool but he can talk a lot!!! Sometimes a feel that he talks more than us which isn’t bad, but sometimes the things that he talks about are not related to the topic at all.

 Speaking of church, there was a good amount of people there on Sunday because it didn’t rain. When it rains, not a whole lot of people come to church which is a little annoying but that’s LIB. The Gospel Essentials class was packed!! There were a lot of investigators and Recent Converts that came which was great. We even had a guy who lives in a different area come to church with us. I’m a little bummed that we had to refer him to different Elders in a different branch since he showed up randomly.

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!! (on May 18th)

 A couple weeks ago we found a man that was baptized in 1998 but was less active because of family reasons. We hadn’t been able to sit with him or his family till this gone Friday. So we now have a Part Member family to teach. The wife, who is of a different faith, was really receptive to the Message of the Restored Gospel. She even accepted a baptismal invitation. We are now teaching the whole family and even the children, who are of age, have baptismal dates. 

It was a very productive week and it went by super fast. I hope everyone had a good week as well!!

I love you all!
 Elder Park
The White African