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.

Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30, 2013

We tracked Santa to see that he visited Liberia, and he did!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and will have a good New Years!!!   I know that I had a great Christmas.  We had 3 FMs (free meals) in a row.   My gut was so full!!!  We had Cabbage, potato greens and then beans which sits heavy, so we suffered a little while and took most of it home so we could start calling home!

Calling home was great. It was fun to hear the reactions of everyone when they heard the way I speak. I will admit it, I speak funny!!! It was really good to hear from family. Katie and Adam, I hate you for not letting me know you moved to WA, and congrats to James and Danica about the new baby!  Happy birthday Sophie!!!!   It was really funny to hear Grandma and Grandpa react to getting a call from me, they weren’t expecting that one at all. It was so funny!!!

Saturday, we had two really good lessons with Moonah and James. Moonah told us that she believes that the Book of Mormon is true!!  That made our day!!!  James, I've known him since about June. This man has frustrated me beyond belief at times and then has made me a happy person also.

On Thursday, we got transfer news. Elder Lamont is going to Congo Town, Elder Seiya is going to Matadi, Elder Baldwin is going to New Jorgia and for me, I am going to Gardnersville and I’m going to be a Zone Leader. Here we go! We got moved late today so that’s why the email is short.
I love you all!

Elder Park
The White African

So me and Baldwin will still be in the same apartment!!!! Haha, I think that’s funny. He will be working in a different district though. Baldwin’s comp is Elder Estagoy, he's from the Philippians.

Elder Myaka's pic from the Christmas program

Gardnersville is about a 30 minute drive from Tinker Village. I don’t really know what lies in store for me. We moved today, my companion is Elder Myaka from South Africa. Elder Myaka only has 4 transfers left (a transfer period is 6 weeks). As zone leaders you and your companion are both zone leaders. It’s not like a district leader where you are on your own. There is just one district in my zone. It’s one of the smallest zones, just 8 people. Elder Myaka has been here for 2 transfers, so he knows the area pretty well.

I haven’t spent much time at the apartment so I will tell you more about it next week.I was so happy to move. I’m so happy I have new people to meet and new streets to walk!!!<

Monday, December 23, 2013

December 23, 2013

Collin is on the top left side, holding the "M" in Merry

It’s a good thing we don’t focus on the numbers, because when you look at our numbers, you would laugh and ask if we even did anything.  That may be the case, but this week was SWEET!!!!!

Tuesday and Wednesday were just normal, although I was on exchanges with our Zone Leaders. This time I was with Elder Morrison (Ghana). I didn’t really understand the reason for the exchange, it’s because there wasn’t one... annoying. Those two days were really boring because either people were gone, or they were too busy to sit with us because they are finding money for Christmas. So those days kinda stunk, but I had a lot of fun with Morrison.

Thursday and Friday were sweet!   We had a 2 day Zone Conference.   Thursday was the fun day, we played a game, they made us sound out animal noises and then we had to find the other elders/sisters with the same animal and then got to know each other better, trying to get a mission unity type thing going on.   We all got Santa gifts (Santa knows best!!!) all the Elders got socks. So funny. Some of us really needed more. We also got Christmas cards from the Kirkham’s and their family. People from around the states sent us Christmas cards, it was so nice to receive those. I actually got one with a return address, the guy lives on Bainbridge Island!!! Hahaha, it was fun to get that one. Then we had a talent show. Elder Pentreath (England and our AP) played the violin. It was really good. We did sing the 12 days of Christmas with actions that went along,  watching Pres. Kirkham was HILAROUS!!!! Even though we are serving the Lord, we are still just small pekins.

Friday was the spiritual part of the conference. It was really good. I can’t remember all of what was said but I took a lot of notes. I did like Elder Skouson's instruction. He talked about how we need to change the word 'correction' to the word 'improvement'. It was really good. We also got more Christmas cards from people. I love those. We even got one from the First Presidency!!

Saturday we didn’t have a baptism, but we went to the service. Elder Kaiser got his first. He's a little excited. Since we had to travel back into town there wasn’t enough time to go teach people, kinda sucked. But the devotional that Pres. Kirkham gave was amazing. It was all about the birth of our Savior. I learned a lot. He went into the details of it too.   Wow, I learned so much.  Pres. Kirkham is the best. He came to church with us Sunday. He talked a lot about how missionary work goes. He talked about how we desperately need to have members come and see people with us and meet people. It will definitely help the retention rate that isn’t very good. If members would just say hello to new faces, more people will stay. They will feel welcomed. I invite all of you members, please, if you see someone new come to church, take a second and say hello. 

This week is going to be great. I get to call home on Wednesday. I have a lot of people who have invited us over for food. I have left over money too so we are going to have the Park Family tradition of a big Christmas Eve dinner.  Man, I’m excited!!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from your friend in LIB!!!

Elder Park
The White African

I told him that our friend, Victoria Gallardo, got her mission call to Mexico, he said, "the Gallardos are so good. I love those guys!”

We emailed back and forth about when the phone call would be on Christmas day. I made sure he knew he was supposed to call me first (he called his sister Katie first on Mother’s Day, by the time I talked to him his funny accent was gone. I want to hear it this time!). He said, "haha, okay I'll call you first. It’s really hard to talk 'serious' or normal as you'd say."

I asked him what he was going to make for his Christmas dinner since he mentioned they were going to have a big Christmas Eve dinner (which is a Park family thing – it’s really so nobody has to spend time cooking on Christmas day – just warm up some leftovers, so far none of us are very fond of cooking).   He wrote: “go to the supermarket. buy two chickens, make our own dry rub and cook it!! We haven’t totally figured it all out, but there will be a lot of junk food eaten.

BTW, I got the package from Elder Robb and one from you that had oreo's and new underwear.

As we were emailing back and forth, James (Collin’s brother), his wife Danica, and little Sophia arrived after driving over night from Idaho.   I was able to take a picture of Sophia and send it to him  from my phone while he was still online - and he got it!  I love technology!  Sophia was just a couple weeks old when Collin last saw her, a week before he left for the MTC. He said: "I better get a lot of pictures!!!   I want to see Stinky!”(Sophia might have been a smelly baby!) and then when he saw her picture he said “holy cow, she is BIG!!!!! look at those champers!!!!!”

Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16, 2013

Hahaha    This week...

This week was stupid fast.  We worked hard this week too.  Holy cow.  Last Monday I had a kick in the butt to myself.   We were better this week.   We still struggled with getting members to come with us but we are working towards that.

Tuesday - no district meeting which kind of messed us up since we found out that we should have had one late Monday, but we still managed to have a good day.   We had a great lesson with Sis Moonah about prayer.  We buy eggs from this lady, and one day she said, “come study with me.”  So we did!   She loves the things that we have to teach.  Talking to someone about the law of chastity is always a little scary because sometimes they don’t want us to come back.   We started our usual way and saw that the man was getting frustrated, so we changed it up and went and focused on marriage.   His whole countenance changed.  I am so thankful for how the Spirit will direct us in what to say.   When it comes, its powerful.

Wednesday- Exchange with Elder Kaiser.  I love this guy!  He is about to finish up with his training but teaches like he has been here for a while.  It was a really good day.  He even managed to get us food.
Cassava!  So good.

Thursday - we went to someone that we were planning on dropping, but found that she has a new interest in seeing us, which is good.  We had a good lesson later that day with a group of guys at a tire shop for the first time.  It was good to let them know who we were and what we did.  They had plenty questions!!   One of them actually showed up to church on Sunday!

Friday- we had a zone meeting.  President Kirkham came.  It was good, I actually needed to talk to him about some things that won’t be mentioned.   Sorryo!   After we got some food at a cobo shop.   I love going to auntie's!!!!   The ZL came back to our area to do some interviews for us. Richard was a success but Esau wasn’t found.  We went everywhere to find that guy.   Couldn’t find him!   A little frustrating since I called him the night before.

Saturday- was baptisms.   Richard wouldn’t answer his phone all morning so I had no idea if he was coming, but about 15 minutes before the service he came walking in.  Made my day!!!   The service went really well.   We only got two lessons that day but both of them were good.  Teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ is always fun, getting food is always good too.  Then having a lesson and talking about Joseph Smith at the end is great.   That lesson really showed me how much I've grown and learned on  mission.

Sunday was a little downer because Richard had to drive his brother to the airport and missed his confirmation, and only one investigator came to church.  Kinda sucks when people don’t show.  Oh well.  That’s mission life.

This transfer will be extended one week so people won’t be moving right before Christmas.   Which is good.   We don’t quite know what we are going to do that day but we'll probably go caroling.   Hahaha!

I hope you all had a great week.  Merry Christmas!!!

Elder Park
The White African

Extra emails:

I gave him little gifts for the 12 days of Christmas like I have done with all the kids that have moved out.  The first day is always $$ to go get Santa pictures.  Collin said,  “The twelve days are fun.  Day one is hard, still haven’t done that one yet.  no santas here....”  I told him he was going to have to get creative with that one!

I asked him what time he thought he might be calling on Christmas day, he said, “probably same time (he usually emails me about  8 or 9 am).  I don’t know,  last time (he called on Mother’s Day) my comp was African so I didn’t have to share the phone that night, this time, not so easy!”  His companion is from Idaho – pretty sure he doesn’t want to talk very long, right? asked him what made him laugh this week, he said, “this was a laughing week.  Lots of laughs this week.  Since we have 3 1/2 hours at night, we laugh a lot.  So it’s hard to pin point  one thing.

Monday, December 09, 2013

December 9, 2013

 Wow this week was another good week, even though it started terrible.

 Tuesday was good until we met our friend that should have been baptized already.  We were preparing him for baptism this last Saturday, but he told us on Tuesday that, well he didn’t get baptized.  It was really frustrating for us, we felt like everything was going really well, but, now we just have to keep working.

Wednesday I was on exchange with Elder Bell.   We saw a lot of people.   It was good.   We sat with Mama Wah (her son played for the LIB football team, and is a member), she has been struggling to know if the church is true.  Last week she went to her church from before.   We talked to her about how she felt there.  She said that she was more relaxed at our church than her old one.   We explained why that was, and obviously it was because of the Spirit.   We talked to her about how we felt it and how it speaks to us and everything, it was a powerful lesson.  She said at the end of the lesson that she knows that this church is true.  Hopefully she can be baptized on Saturday.

 Thursday was  leadership training.  It was good to really learn what my roles/ duties are as a District Leader.   The best part was when they gave us food,  free food is the best!

 Friday I was on exchange with Elder Sanders.  He has been out for about 4 weeks, very new and still figuring everything out.   We had a lot of good lessons.  I talked most of the day because he is still

 figuring out how to adapt his teaching skills to the understanding of the Liberians, which is super hard to do!!!  He also ate his first chicken foot on his mission.  It’s a rite of passage for us Americans.  We never forget our first time! Hahaha

 Saturday we had Olivia get baptized.  She grew up in the bush and doesn’t speak much English.  Her auntie and uncle are members, so they taught her most of the lessons in Gio.  It was really cool!   We also had a really good lesson with Richard who is planning on getting baptized this Saturday.  His friend was there, Terry, and Richard was bearing his own testimony to his friend, me and Elder Baldwin just smiled to each other.  It was such a good way to end the week.

 Sunday we had Moonah come to church for the first time.  She's 23 and was scared to death of the church.  So it took a lot for her to come.  It was good.

  The week started off sucky but ended sweet!  I hope your own week was good!

  I love you all!

  Elder Park

 The White African



 I asked him if he got the Christmas packages I sent:  “I got all three (? Interesting, I only sent two padded envelopes, one with decorations and candy, and another one to be opened Christmas day).  IT’S CHRISTMAS IN MY ROOM!!!   I HAD SO MUCH FUN SETTING IT UP!!!  Today we had a lazy day.  We had to wait at the apartment for a little while to get  a new pump for our water, and the internet was super slow.  Elder Lamont might not get to email today.  I’m lucky I did.  (I feel lucky EVERY time he finds an internet connection that is working!)

 I got the green taped one (I told him the one with green strapping tape was for Christmas day).  I was so tempted to open it but I want to have something for the actual Christmas day.  I love the candy count down, even though the chocolate is a little (a lotta) melted.  The tree is sweet!  Everything is awesome.  I have a snow flake above my desk!  hahaha

From a letter Collin sent:

This is Elder Baldwin and Elder Park
Pictures from the Mission Blog
 There was a conference in Monrovia, this was the greeting line.  Collin is 4th from the left
Members waiting for conference, an hour before the starting time
If you look hard enough you can see Collin just past the white haired guy in the middle
The Tinker Village Missionaries with President Kirkham

Monday, December 02, 2013

December 2, 2013
Very interesting week.

Wednesday I was on exchange with Elder Lamont.  It was so good!  We teach in similar ways so it was a lot of fun to have lessons.  We had a really good lesson on the priesthood with James this week.  He is getting really close to his baptism, hopefully this coming Saturday. 
We also had a good lesson with our branch president and a less active couple.  They haven’t legalized their marriage but they are married.  We talked to them about why marriage is important, and how they should have the goal of getting to the temple to be sealed to their family.  Elder Lamont and I shared how happy we are to be sealed to our families.  Oh what a blessing that is.

On Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving again! ( thanks mom for confusing me....).  We did it better this time though.  We bought a full chicken from the super market.   We lathered it up with garlic salt and teriyaki sauce, stuck it in the oven and waited.  It sounds bad but it was delicious!!!!!  Elder Bell made some mash potatoes.  We FEASTED!!!   I was playing the part of Griswald by getting to cut the chicken.  It was funny.

Friday was a Liberian holiday so all we did was eat.  No one was home for us to go and teach.  So it kind of sucks.   Saturday we learned how to play checkers the LIBerian way.   It’s actually a small different from how we play.  (yes, that’s how he wrote that, I remember him telling me that Liberians don’t have the word “little.”  I guess he doesn't have it now either)   They go super fast!  It was a lot of fun though.  We also played some on Sunday.

Sunday when we were walking back to the apartment, both Baldwin and I came to the same conclusion, which is this, our area has come to a stand still.   We feel like we are doing everything we can to help the people here but they just don’t understand that it is so important.  It’s their own salvation!!!!  We have a lot of people we see, but only about 4 are progressing anywhere.  I have never had this happen before.  I know that this is just part of mission, it’s now time to be on my knees even more seeking for guidance on what to do.  I know that my Father in Heaven will truly help us help our brothers and sisters progress in the Gospel.  That’s why we are here, that’s what I am here.

I love you all and pray daily for all of you.

Elder Park
The White African
Thanksgiving was awesome the second time around!

No package yet.  But I have to go to the mission office on Thursday for a training. (wish me luck on getting there, there is no more bikes in town, it’s the fastest way to get around)  so I might get it then.  Something happened in another part of Liberia that made the law makers pass a bill that says that bikes can’t run in town.  I won’t tell you what happened.

I asked him what they do to celebrate Christmas there, he said:  they celebrate the way they celebrate any other holiday, they drink.  Some families do gather together.  I don’t know  for sure, haven’t been here for one.

Monday, November 25, 2013

November 25, 2013

Happy 10 months on mission to me!!!

This week flew by except for Saturday and Sunday, but those were really good days.

This week we worked really hard on getting some of the branch leaders to come and see some of our investigators.  We brought the Relief Society president with us to see two women, she was able to bear a
powerful testimony to help them understand that they need to pray about the Book of Mormon.  She even was able to see a less active sister too.  Working with members is a lot of fun.  It takes some planning but it totally pays off.  I invite all of those reading to find a time to go with the missionaries to see even just one person, your own testimony will grow,  and you will be able to help someone else’s grow as well.

Wednesday I was with Elder Okunrobo (Nigeria) on exchange, but that morning we had a nice little visit by President Kirkham.  That day went by super fast.

Thursday was Thanksgiving.  Elder Kaiser had a potato soup mix that we made in celebration.  Nothing too special, but it was fun.  Happy Thanksgiving, I hope that black Friday was fun and safe, and that you all can find good cool things on cyber
Monday(see the Extra's below)

Friday I was on exchange again with Elder Seiya (Seirra Leone),  that day we only were able to see one person...  we got bounced all day long, even our backups weren’t there..  we did all we could to find someone to teach.

Saturday was fun.  This weekend we had district conference, but it was a special one, we had Elder LeGrand Curtis, the Africa West Area President in attendance.  That was super cool.  He is such a good teacher.  He also brings such a good spirit with him too.  Saturday he talked about "hastening the work of salvation" but he focused on the Atonement, how even Christ didn’t want to fulfill it.  He trembled with pain and begged for a way out, but He understood that it was His Father’s will.    It was a really good talk.
For the general session on Sunday  we had two full buses full of people going.   There was almost a thousand people there too.   It was only for half of the members in LIB too.  It really shows how the church is growing here.   There wasn’t a seat empty.   Most missionaries were either standing on the sides or out in the hall.   As for me, I sat on the ground and tried to listen.  Elder Curtis talked about how important it is to truly repent, hopefully it sunk into some people.

This week flew by!!!  It was a great week too.  I hope that everyone had a great week too.

Elder Park
The White African

So, last Sunday I told him that Thanksgiving was “next” week, and he thought that it meant this week.  So I mentioned he was a week off when we got to exchange a couple of emails back and forth, so he said:   wow thanks mom, we celebrated it early!!!!!


THE LEGOS ARE THE BEST!!!!  I have the airplane on my best.    Hahaha  I love the pillow case too!!! (The package was his birthday package, at least it got there the same month as his birthday, not bad.  The new pillow case has superman on it, of course I made that for him.  The legos were Grandma’s idea, but I get credit for shopping and shipping them).
The weather is weird here.  During the day it doesn’t rain much.  At night the storms happen, but all day long it just looks like it’s going to POUR but it doesn’t, at least not on me.

I asked him about how many missionaries there were in the mission.   He said:  I do know
that there is no where to put any more missionaries.  We are full.  93 of us!

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013
WOW   This week was fast.

On Tuesday, I officially became a man, I am no longer a rotten teenager.  I am now a rotten 20 year old kid.  I spent my birthday giving instruction at district meeting like I do every Tuesday.  Then I had to go on exchange with Elder Nabende my Zone Leader.  It was good.  I have a few things I need to work on though.

Thursday we taught a few people but had to come back early to wait for the new missionary for Elder Bell.  Elder Sanders is from Springville Utah.   He's going to be a good missionary.  He is still adjusting to the heat, all the sweating, and all the dirt.  It was fun to just observe him.  It makes me think about how I was when I first got here.  It seems just like yesterday and I can completely remember it.  It’s funny to hear the small experiences he has every day.  He's really green, but it’s good.   We've all been there.  I’m looking forward to seeing him grow and develop.

Friday was normal.  Elder Baldwin and I taught the Book of Mormon class that we have every week.  This week was 1 Nephi 13, really interesting when you take time and study it.  Lots of prophecy in it too.  I am very thankful for the prophets that we had anciently and even the ones we have today.

Saturday was really just normal.   We saw a couple people that we haven’t seen in a long time.   We tried to help one woman haul rock so she could come to church on Sunday but when we got there, she wasn’t working so I was really disappointed.  I really wanted to haul and crush rock.  Even though we weren’t able to do that she still came to church.

We didn’t have a lot of investigators, but we had a TON of people at church again.  This branch is really growing.  A lot of the classrooms are getting too small for the amount of people that are
coming.  It’s really good and amazing to see.   Since I have been here for so long I have seen the branch almost double it’s size.  The missionary works here is evident!!!!

I  love my mission!  I love sweet LIB!!!

I love you all!

Elder Park
The White African

Extras:   (I asked him if he got his birthday package yet).   My companion received one this past week.   For me I just don’t wait for them, I just pretend they aren’t coming in hope of them coming faster.

(I was asked by someone if there were a lot of mosques where Collin was)  I can find mosques every once in a while.   Not a lot of them in my area, but in my old area I could.
(I told him he had to call me first on Christmas day, not his sister, he called her first on mother’s day – not fair, and some of his accent was rubbed off by the time I talked to him)  There are a couple things that I don’t say normal anymore,  even I can tell.   hahaha when I call home I will be exactly 11 months on mission.  I have found that not counting actually goes a lot faster, but I could count big number things like:  I have 7 boxes of doxy (the anti malaria stuff),  I’m almost done with 3.   I was given 17 planners, I’m on 8.

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013
This week was a good week, but it started slow.  Thursday was Thanksgiving for LIB, so not a lot of people were home that day.  It was okay because I had a big long leadership training meeting that day.  It was good.  We talked about how we need to retain more people.  That night we got transfer news super late!!!

NO ONE MOVED!!!!   I will spend another 6 weeks here in Tinker Village.  It will be until just before Christmas, so I will spend almost exactly 8 months here.  The time is flying!!!  It doesn’t seem like I’ve been here that long.  Time flies when you are having fun!

Saturday was good, we had 2 people get baptized.  Dorcus Johnny and Daniel Fomba.  They are sweet!  It was a lot of fun to work with them and see them change.  Daniel went from a punky 20 year old kid with a big afro to a clean cut kid that looks like he could go on a mission.  We are going to start working with him and preparing him for that.  We have our work cut out for us.  Also that afternoon the Elder's Quorum had a reactivation activity.  We as missionaries went with some of the elders and visited the less active members and invited them to a Q/A that afternoon and to church on Sunday.  It was really good.  We didn’t quite get the turn out we wanted but it was still good.
I went with the elder's quorum president, and boy, did we walk!!!!!  We walked far and fast.   Towards the end he said that he’ll have to take some pain killers that night because he hasn’t walked like that in a very long time.  I didn’t even think it was that bad either.  At church on Sunday he said he was really sore and I just laughed. 

At church we had a TON of people!   Over 130 in attendance, and we had one of President Kirkham’s counselors there, he was really impressed.  The eight of us (there are 8 missionaries in Collin’s district working in the branch) are really working hard is what I told him.  I think that we had almost 30 non members there too.
My week was really good and hope that yours was better.
I love you all and miss you.

Elder Park
The White African

In an extra email:  Yeah, I’m staying in the same spot.  My bed hasn’t moved either.  I have slept in the same bed, same spot, walked the same paths for almost 7 months and it will be longer now too.  We’ll get transfer news probably on the 19th of December.  I’m not bummed, well I kinda am.  I wanna see something new, be somewhere new.
(someone asked me about the stars over there, this was his response)  The stars are awesome!!!  So is the moon.  Even last night or the night before I was laying in bed and I looked out the window and the moon was just staring at me, big and beautiful, half moon, just shining on me as I slept.  It was really cool.

(I asked him if he had any plans for celebrating his birthday on the 12th)  Hmmmm, I get to give a district meeting instruction, go on exchange with my zone leaders, I think.  But, I’ll probably get a soft drink to celebrate!


Monday, November 04, 2013

November 4, 2013
Wow, this week was super fast!!!
First off, it was week 11 in Elder Baldwin’s training, so this week I was able to play newbie!!!  I had a lot of fun.  He took the lead in everything.  He played senior companion for the week.  I acted like I just came from the MTC.  I actually learned a lot.  I learned how I need to know the Book of Mormon more.  Even though I learned a lot, I think that he learned more.  This week is really a test for all missionaries, to test their knowledge, test their teaching skills, and to prove to themselves that they are able to be a missionary.  I feel like it was a good week.  It was a good experience for him because we got bounced a lot!!  He was constantly trying to figure out who to go and see.  Even on Wednesday,  while I was on exchange with Elder Bell, Elder Baldwin had to go with a branch missionary that has been with a missionary for a week.  They had a great day!!!  As far as Elder Bell and myself…. not so much.  Lots of people were gone or not able to see us.  Missionary work is awesome, but sometimes a little frustrating.  

When I first got to Thinker Village I was able to baptize Ojuku Harris.  Since then I have taught his family and they are all members too.  On Friday I got a note from Margret, his wife, saying that he was in the hospital and having surgery the next morning.  So I referred her to our branch president. Saturday we went to the hospital, I pray I never get really sick here…., he had surgery on his appendix.  I don’t know what happened, but something did.  We spent most of the day there.  I love this family so much, please keep Ojuku in your prayers.  I am going to see how he is later today, so I don’t know how he is right now. 
The rest of Saturday was good, just a normal day.

Sunday was good.  We had a lot of people come, but I know there was even more that didn’t.  I am amazed at how this branch has grown since I got here at the end of April.  I’ve been here for 6 months, transfer news comes sometime this week, Thinker Village is my home away from home.  No matter where you serve, you fall in love with the people.  I will most likely get moved somewhere within the week, and mission continues!

I love you all, miss you all

Elder Park

The White African


In an extra email he said hello to Courtney.  Also, if you want to send a package, send Oreos and peanuts!  I think it’s funny that those are what he misses.

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28,

Very long week...  somehow disappointing too... and not much to write about. Sorry

Tuesday was a normal day.  District meeting as usual, we talked about how important the Book of Mormon is and how to help people gain a testimony of it.  Preach my Gospel teaches us to use the Book of Mormon as much as possible. It’s a goal for our district to do so.

Wednesday.  Holy cow I walked probably about 10 to 12 miles today... NO ONE WAS HOME!!!!  It was really frustrating.  There was a couple times during the day that we stood and came to the conclusion that we don’t know who to go see because EVERYONE is gone.  It was a little frustrating to say the least.

Thursday, I was on exchange with Elder Lamont.  He took me to his area. His area is new so we walked quite a bit because he is still trying to contact people.  We had some really good lessons with a woman named Gifty.  She is close to baptism.  Her friends now want to listen to us, so we had her come with when we went to talk with them.  We talked about the Book of Mormon.  She has a testimony of it, and wants to be baptized  now!  We also taught a man, he closed the lesson with a prayer in french!  Super cool!!!!

Friday was a depressing day...  Elder Robb had a really bad hip from playing football in high school, and being here made it worse.  He was sent home because the medical board of the church decided that it was better for him to go home and try and recover with a surgery rather than deal with the pain here.  Since he just got here, we spent the day getting him some African things.  We also went to the beach.  Hopefully he was able to enjoy his last couple hours with us.

Saturday we spent most of the day waiting for President Sayon to come, he never showed....,  that was a little frustrating because we didn’t have a good day...

Sunday came finally.  It was the primary program too!. (Every year the children at church ages 3-12 put on a program with speaking parts, scriptures, and songs).  I don’t care what you say about them at home, how cute and funny they are, these kids put the ones at home to shame.  I love the African kids.  It was just super cute, they sing funny because of the accent. They always call me “Uncle Elder Park.”   It’s awesome!!!

i hope you week was a little better than much but that's how it goes! I love LIB!!

Elder Park
The White African.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We got some actual mail in an envelope from Collin.   He wrote on the back of the pictures so I have included his descriptions.

July 2, 2013
This is when we built Victoria Cooper's house.  This is a mat house.  I was trying to fix/finish the roof after our carpenter cut himself really badly.  Should I be up there?  No....  Was I?.     Yes! 
And it was fun.  Do you see Collin up on the roof?
August 23, 2013
This was shortly after I met Elder Baldwin.  So far he is great.  He is slowly adapting to LIB.  The best thing is that he will eat anything, it's really impressive actually.  (Collin is training Elder Baldwin who is new to the mission.  What I love about this picture is the shoes.   Collin left with black shoes and a shoe shining kit.  I have already sent him new shoes.  This picture just makes me smile)
September 4, 2013
We had a Zone Meal.  This is what they call "GB."  I have no idea what it stands for.  It's made from cassava.  You use your hands to eat and you don't chew it.  Me, personally, I like to chew my food, but every once in a while I'll mix it up.
September 9, 2013
After emailing we went to the beach and played ultimate Frisbee with my new Frisbee.  It was a lot of fun.  Since we can't swim, we walked into the water.  It felt so good.  It was a great P-Day.
September 14, 2013
We did a service project with a lot of the branches.  It was a Liberia wide service project. I think it was a world wide service project day for the church.  It was a lot of fun.  The members really enjoyed doing it.  (Elder Park with Elder Tolar in the picture.  After September 11, the church has been having a service project day on the Saturday following.  We were doing a service project in a local cemetery here.  It was fun to see that we were doing sort of the same thing on the same day!)
From his letter: 
The weather fives us a hard time.  When it rains it is hard to see people.  A Lot of people get sick during the rainy season.  That's why they fear it.  There has been many times it has rained so hard that we literally can't go anywhere. 
....  It's amazing to take a step back and look at everything Heavenly Father has done for us.  It truly is amazing.  Take a moment and look at how He has blessed you individually and as a family.  It truly is amazing to see everything that He's done.
I love you all.  I pray for each one of you.  I know the Church is true and that my Savior lives.  The Book of Mormon is true.
Elder Park

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21, 2013

This week was fun and stressful.  Actually every week is stressful, so many people to see, and not enough time.  It also doesn’t help that Tuesday and Wednesday I was not in my area.  I was on 2 exchanges.  

Tuesday i was in Paynesville with the Zone Leaders.  Elder Nabende (Uganda) is a good leader, great missionary.  I learned a lot. 

On Wednesday I was with Elder Seiya (Sierra Leone).  He is very smart and always wants to learn more.  He has been a member for a while but is still learning a lot.  Hopefully I was able to help him learn something.

These two days were really good for Elder Baldwin.  This was his first time taking anyone into our area, kind of an eye opener for him.  When we finally went together on Thursday, I could immediately see a difference in him.  He learned a lot and isn’t afraid to step in.  I am really impressed with him.  (I asked him to explain this a little more, and this is what he wrote:  As a trainee, you trainer does most the work.  So, when the trainer goes on exchange, and you are now the 'senior companion' in the area, it’s very scary, but you also learn that you can do this work., that you are figuring it all out.  It was good for him.  He has a lot more confidence in himself now)

Thursday I had an interview with President Kirkham.   It was good.  Since I am the district leader, I mainly just talked about each member of my district.  It was good for him to hear a third party point of view on things.  It’s always good talk to him face to face.

Saturday we had baptisms.  We combined with 3 branches, there was a total of 14 people who got baptized.  This gospel is so true and can change everyone's lives if they just listen to it.  The people of Liberia are listening to it, changes are happening, families are benefiting.  I know without a doubt that this gospel will help everyone who gives it a chance. Me and Elder Baldwin were able to have one person baptized.  Sister Onihel is a very smart woman who asks a TON of questions, but because of that, she was able to learn truth.

One thing that our President has asked us to start having is an evening devotion every day.  We all gather and share some miracles that happened that day.  I never realized hope many miracles I am able to witness until we started doing this.  It really brings unity to the district.   We also end with a scripture thought and a kneeling prayer, then we all go our separate ways and go to sleep.

One miracle I want to share happened on Friday.  Sister veronica is a former investigator but we dropped her due to her lack of interest, but whenever we passed by we'd say hello.  She was a "big belly" as Liberians call pregnant women.  On Friday she had a beautiful baby boy.  When we found out we immediately went there.   We knelt down and had a kneeling prayer.  Even though we did not 'bless' the baby as we would in church, the Spirit was so strong, and because of the prayer, we know that Heavenly Father is going to protect that baby, that he is going to be a strong man and great husband one day.  The power in a kneeling prayer is so strong.

I know that Heavenly Father hears each of our prayers and will answer them according to His will.  I know that He loves all of us.

Have great week.  I love you all

Elder Park
The White African


Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14, 2013

On mission we keep really good records, and it involves recording numbers, and reporting them.  If you looked at the numbers for my companion and I, you would ask if we did anything this week. 

Let me explain why...

Tuesday was a normal day for all.  We had a district meeting as always.  I talked about the purpose of being a missionary.  

Wednesday, ha, the president of LIB flew into the country.  She was doing something with the UN.  Some people like her, some don’t.  We got a call just before we went out telling us to stay home.  There was going to be a demonstration or something that was going to happen.  We spent the whole day in the apartment.  All 8 of us.  I read, I washed, I slept, I read more, and I slept more.  A really boring day.  No lessons taught.   (I asked him about the demonstrations and he said they didn’t even happen, but they had to be on the safe side.  This is not the first time they have had to stay in the apartment because of things like this).

Thursday was a similar day, except for me I was sick (mom I’m okay, just a stomach thing, flu like symptoms.  I’m perfectly healthy now) (I’m actually surprised he added this, he told me before he left that he was never going to tell me if he was sick, he didn’t want me to worry about him – like that is not going to happen anyway!).  So two straight days in an apartment that is smaller than mom’s room....  mom, you are blessed, dad, love you buddy.  (I think he is referring to my quilt room, it’s a good size room to play in, but 8 would be a crowd!)

Friday, we had a zone meeting that took forever.  We talked about how we all need
to focus on our language, teaching, and also while we are in the apartment, we can’t be too relaxed with it. 

Saturday, I loved this day.  I called an investigator at about 11 am and told him we had a conference in town, and asked if he wanted to come.  He came to the Priesthood Session of General Conference!!!!!  SO COOL!!!  While we were in the taxi going, I was explaining what he would be seeing and hearing.  This man, James, has had troubles building a testimony.  We thought this would be perfect, and it was!!  He turned to me in the car and said, "Elder Park, I don’t have any doubts, when can I be baptized?"  This all but brought tears to my eyes.  Even though we were smashed in a car, the Spirit was there so strong!!!  It was amazing.  He loved the conference and we are planning for him to be baptized this coming Saturday.  Saturday made my week.  This is why I am serving a mission!!!  Sunday we were able to watch another session of conference.  I believe it was Sunday morning session,  but I’m not sure.   We had about 4 investigators there too.  It was a great weekend after a not very good week.  (FYI – Twice a year  we have General Conference where our church leaders speak to us.  There are 5 two hour sessions.  Because of technology, many of us are able to watch live either through cable tv or internet.  Collin is watching them probably because dvd versions have been sent to the mission.  Here is a link if you would like to check it out:  )

I love this mission.  I love the people of Liberia!  I love this church.  I know it’s true!

Elder Park
The White African

I sent him a picture of his friends, Josh Brewer and Hillis.  He was so happy to see that and hear how they are doing.  He said “That’s cool.  Life sounds good for them.  (Mine is better!!!)  Hahaha. 

Monday, October 07, 2013

October 7, 2013

This week was a really good week, busy but really good.

Tuesday was moving day for everyone.  Elder Lamont, Okuronbo(?)(Nigeria), Saiya (Sierra Leone) moved into the compound.  Elder Tolar had to leave us.  Later that day my companion and I showed them their area, gave them a list of people we have contacted and had taught, we showed them their houses too.  Hopefully they will be able to have success there. 

Wednesday was just a normal day for us.  We had a lot of lessons this week because there wasn’t too many distractions.  Thank goodness, we finally got back to teaching. 

Thursday we got the new missionaries!   We got more Americans.  Elder Robb from Utah, and Elder Kaiser from Colorado.  (Elder Robb is in my apartment)  They are both way taller than me and it’s a little frustrating because I’m the second shortest....  Oh well, I go home before both of them. hahah.  we had a long time that we just sat in the apartment reading till they got there.  Thinking back,  we should have gone out and met with some people but oh well, new missionaries will come sooner or later.  I'll make that decision again. 
Friday was also normal again.  Lots of teaching which makes me happy.  We keep meeting with new people.  That’s the easy part.  The hard part is finding out how interested they truly are.  Most people aren’t.  That’s the frustrating part.   We have a lot of one time lessons.  That evening we had the Book of Mormon class.  This week I didn’t teach.  I was happy because I was exhausted!! Missionary work is no small thing.  It’s tiring, but I really enjoy it.  The Book of Mormon class is for investigators (non members that we teach) and for recent converts (people just baptized).  It’s a class that just helps people learn what it’s about and what it says. 

Saturday nothing special happened.  We got bounced a lot but we still found a way to have some lessons.  We even had a few first lessons, hopefully they will still be interested.  We had plenty lessons, but we eventually ran out. No one was home.   So we stopped.  We got home about an hour before we had to but it was good.  I was able to talk to some other elders and solve a problem between them.  Like mom’s and how they have to solve everything, that was what I had to do. ...  children :)  Funny thing is I am younger than both of them. 

Sunday we had about 100 come to church again.  It didn’t rain till later that night which was good. Lots of people came.

I hope those that saw conference loved it and learned a lot.  I might be able to see parts of it this weekend.  If not I have to wait and read it.  I miss general conference.

I love you all and miss you all

Elder Park
The White African


 In an extra email he wrote to me:

I love you!!  I heard some Jon Schmidt music today and it made me think of you.  Little home sick this morning, but I’m fine. 
(I had asked about Elder Price because I got to meet and become friends with his Mom.  Elder Price just left the MTC too).  Elder Price is in a different zone and on the other side of Monrovia.  He is being trained by a South African, I think that has a click in his name.  (In an email that Elder Price wrote, he said:  My companion's name is Elder Manqana (the q stands for a *tongue click where you suction your tongue to the roof of your mouth and hit it down on the bottom*). He's from South Africa.)

I got your package last Monday after emailing. THANKS FOR THE OREOS. Only a couple are smashed. 
My time is finished.  I love you!!!

Elder Park


Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013
First, I got a picture from the Mission Blog to share:
Elders  Abbott, Baldwin, Park, Tolar, and Bell

This week was crazy!

Transfer news!  Me and Baldwin are staying the same.  Elder Tolar is leaving and becoming a district leader.  Elder Bell and Lamont are training new missionaries.  They will be getting here Wednesday or Thursday, not too sure.  The mission is splitting my area, so we now
how 8 missionaries in the Tinker Village branch and I am still the district leader. They bought/rented another apartment in the same compound, so all 8 of us will be there,  just 2 seperate apartments.  The current is to both apartments, so we don’t have to do anything now with it!!!!  This means I will be in this area for over 6 months.  Time is flying! 

This week we didn’t have a lot of teaching, yet again...  Friday we got a call from President Sayon, he put current in our apartment (I wonder if Collin forgot that we call that electricity! 
J ).  Now we don’t have to worry about the generator and we get it exactly at 7 pm and it turns off at 6 am. It’s SUPER nice.

That night we had a Book of Mormon class again.  I taught 1 Nephi 1-2.  Having this class really helps investigators and recent convertsreally learn was the Book of Mormon is about.  This class is awesome.

Saturday we had baptisms, a couple that missed the week before.  It was good.  I was able to play the role of 'John the Baptist.'  The service was great but the attendance was really low, besides missionaries, there was only one other member.  I was the one presiding when it should have a been someone from the branch.  I let the branch president know.  On Sunday he let the branch know.   We had about 70 people there,  but I am not totally sure.

After the service, we had to go to redlight to get our money and apartment food.  We are feeding 8 missionaries now so it was an all day experience.  We had a really good meal with a member afterwards.  It was a good day.

Sunday was spent doing a lot a paper work.  I was getting all the records ready for the new area filled out and complete and updated.  I really need to get better at that.

This week will be crazy too!  But it'll be fun.  I love you all

Elder Park
The White African