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.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A few weeks ago Collin's Uncle Sparky got married to an amazing lady from Portland, her name is Kristi.  Kristi has a friend who has a son that was called to the same mission as Collin - and he was on the plane with Collin last Friday to Ghana!  Small world.  We have connected over the internet and she sent me this picture today and let me share it with you.  Those in the front row include the West African Area Seventy.   Elder Park is on the right, back row, second from the end,  the elder from Portland is on the left, back row, second from the end.            -Collin's Mom

A Short Email from Collin – answers to some questions I had:
I have less time today than i did yesterday. 
The food is good but we had tuna a couple days ago, I didn’t eat much but I did try it!   I stopped when I gagged a little. Haha.   I don’t have to worry too much about the germs here in the MTC but I will be careful about it when leave.
There is a chance I will fly to Liberia and not Sierra Leone.  I don’t know yet but I will find out soon, probably Saturday or Sunday I think.
My companion is from Cape Coast Ghana, about 2 hours away I think.
There are about 10 Americans here and I think 8 are going to Sierra Leone, the others are staying in Ghana.
Out of time.  I’m doing good, don’t worry.
Love you
Elder Park

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Every once in a while I get to be on a computer, no real set P-day (preparation day – used for doing laundry, writing letters, some down time) since we're only here 12 days total. We are going to the temple on Monday. I think it'll be just the missionaries there. 

My companion’s name is Elder Gyewu-appaih. (jew a piah). He's loud. We get along pretty well but he teaches a different way than i do, but we make it work. We teach “investigators,” basically just the teachers role playing, but even with fake investigators, I’m really feeling and noticing how the spirit guides. It’s incredible. Teaching is a lot of fun, but everything puts me to sleep. It might just be because of the time change, but i don’t know. I’m getting better at staying awake now that I've been here a few days. 

The days are super long. I wake up at 6 am and go to bed at 10.30 pm and every minute is mapped out. It’s tiring but sometimes fun. Teaching is fun, everything else is boring. I’m definitely glad Pres. Duce made me read Preach My Gospel. I feel like I’m a little better prepared to teach than the other missionaries, mostly the African. I’m not trying to toot my own horn or anything. This is probably the first time they've seen the PMG book. The Africans definitely humble me every day. They have nothing and are still so happy. You look at the stuff the Americans have and it’s shirt after shirt after shirt.... and these Africans have maybe 3 if their lucky. I haven’t been here a week and I’m already so grateful for the luxuries I have that I have taken for granted. 

The food is actually really good, a little spicy but not too bad. We actually had french fries the other day. I took a picture. I have been taking lots of pictures already. No princess beds (the netting things used over beds to keep out the bugs) yet because all the windows have screens so we don’t have to worry so much. I’m taking my malaria pills religiously.

I’m out of time, I wrote a letter home earlier. There’s a couple in there for friends.

Love you all.
Elder Park

If you are a lucky recipient of one of Collin’s letters, I will send them to you when I get them. He did not send any pictures, if and when I get them I will post them.

Collin arrives at the Ghana MTC

The first post!   This is Collin's Mom posting for him and this is the first post of my first blog, please be patient as I figure out how this all works.  The look of this blog isn't quite what I want it to look like yet, but I thought I should get this up and going and fix the look of it all later.

This is the badge that Collin will wear for the next two years

  January 23, 2013:  The night before Collin left.
January 24, 2013:  He is ready to go through security and be on his way.
One last look - might be blurry - but that is exactly how his Mom saw him.
It was fun to track his flights, first a 5 hour flight to JFK, a 5 hour layover, and then a 10 hour flight to Ghana.
January 25, 2013  He landed!  Thank you Delta Airlines!
He sent 2 emails on January 25th:
The first email: 
I love you so much. I made it to the MTC. I  haven’t slept much but I’m okay.
I got here around noonish. so like 6 or 7am your time.  The people here talk so fast it’s so hard to understand, but when they slow down its understandable.  There were 6 Americans that met up in New York: one from Oregon, California, Arizona, Kentucky, and Virgina.  Well people are waiting for this computer.  
I love so much thanks for everything
Elder Park

The second email:

Alright I have a little bit more time to talk.  I had a lady come up to me at SEATAC and call me Elder, it was weird, totally not used to it yet. 
On the airplane I didn’t talk to anyone, it was weird but it was nice. Just to be by myself and sleep. When I got to New York I was lost, there was so many people and the place is huge!!! I ended up having to take a shuttle to a different terminal, then my gate was like in the random, hidden place in some forgotten corner, that’s where I met the other missionaries.  Elder Gherkins is from mesa Arizona, me and him instantly got along. Elder Dahlin is from California but I think his family is going to move either to Arizona or Texas, he's pretty funny too.  Elder Lemont is from just outside out Portland,  I thought he was going to be really weird when I first saw him but now that I know he him, he's hilarious.  Elder Roach( Virgina), well you know the guy from the best two years?(Elder Calhoun or whatever?) it’s his twin, awkward dude, but we love him!!! Hahaha Elder Roach and the other missionary Elder Barker (from Louisville) are no in our mission so they are the outcasts, haha just kidding. We all get along really well, we had 5 hours to kill so we got comfortable.  There are some more American missionaries coming from Salt Lake but there was some ice storm or something which caused them to be late.  
When Chris said to hold onto your bag and don’t let go, he was right. I think we had 4 guys trying to help. One came up to me and said, when people help -  you give tips.  I said I didn’t have anything and he walked away.   
My companion is not here yet but he is from either Ghana or Nigeria, I can’t remember.   The people driving here are INSANE!!! Adam and Katie would be sick in 2 minutes, but since I live with Dad, I’m prepared! ahahaha love you dad.  The vendors here will literally come to your window and stick their product in the car and start saying what it is. We just smile and say no. The MTC is tiny! the chapel and the computer room have AC so I like those rooms.
I have run out of time and have to go.
Love you all!
Elder Park

(FYI :  Chris is a return missionary from Sierre Leone that Collin has become friends with.  He told Collin a lot about the mission, what to expect, and gave him some good advice too.  He even invited us to his home to meet his family and see a video he had.  Many thanks to him and his family for a wonderful evening.)