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.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The following is from a letter he mailed home and it is written over a couple of days, so it is a bit random as he was trying to answer some questions I had sent him.  The days include his last days in the Ghana MTC.  The PICTURES BELOW THE LETTER were originally posted on the mission blog (there is a link to that in the right hand column if you are interested).

January 31, 2013

I hope I will answer all your questions.
The Food.  It’s mostly rice and a chicken leg and sauce stuff.  It’s actually pretty good.  The amount of food that they give is a ton of food!  You know I can eat a lot.  I have only cleaned my plate once.  Sometimes it’s gross or not appetizing or I’m not hungry and I won’t eat much, but I’ve tried every meal so far.  I look forward to having rice.  So far I really only haven’t tried or eaten the tuna, I ate around it, but I had a bite or two.  The rice I like the most is really similar to Spanish rice. 

I’m inside a lot.  I spend about 22.5 hours inside, not a whole lot of outside, but when I do get outside, man is it cool.  It’s actually cooler than inside.  It just gets stuffy inside.  The wind is amazing, feels so good.  Watching the African’s play “football” is fun.  They take it so seriously.  I played the first day but quickly learned, I need to adjust to the heat first.  I’ll play it again though.  I’m so out of shape and really bad at soccer.  I wish I played a little more with friends.

 February 1, 2013
Teaching is so much fun.  I love it.  I really do notice the Spirit taking over all the time.  I also draw onto some of the things that we talk about on Sundays.  I refer to some of those more spiritual/churchy conversations.  I love Sunday dinners, I miss them.  It’s weird not having those 2+ hour talks.  It’s hard not being able to talk to all of you.  I think of home every day.  During the day it’s easy not to think of home, but when I lay in bed, that’s the hardest.  Alma 37:36-37 helps me a lot.

The heat here isn’t what gets me, it’s the humidity because it’s like 1000% humidity here, way more than  Katie’s place (Wisconsin) or everywhere over there.  Nothing like I have ever experienced.  If it wasn’t for the humidity I’d probably sleep a little better and not wake up so much.  But for some reason, today (Feb 2­) was really nice, not humid. 

Getting used to the time change took about 4-5 days to get used to, but there are still some days when it is tiring.  Most of the teachers understand though, long days, completely different time zones, they give us a break, they just tell us to stand, that always wakes us up.

February 2, 2013
Being here is by far the best thing I’ve done ever.  I’m so happy I came out here.  I know it’s going to be hard but I’m already forming bonds that won’t be broken.  Elder Gherkins and Elder Losee, they are my brothers here.  We’re all going through the same thing, but everything is good here.  Everything is good.  As each day goes by I feel the Spirit so much.  I love it here.  It’s church all day.

Thank you so much for all that you have done for me.  I fall back on all your teachings, I miss you so much.  D & C 31:5-6 helps me know that you guys will be okay without me and tells me that even though I’m not perfect, even though I’ve made mistakes, it’s okay and my Heavenly Father wants me here.  It’s going to be hard but I can do it.  I’m so ready to be out there and doing the Lord’s work.
You need to hear about the testimony meeting today.  The people here have a different concept about missionaries.  At home we are honored when we leave and honored when we come home.  Here, the people try to talk them out of it.  They are told that they are wasting 2 years of their life. 
(Here are some examples of the missionaries from Africa:)
An Elder from Sierra Leone will have a hard time getting a job because he left.   His dad died 12 years ago and he is the only member in his family, he came none the less. 
An Elder from Liberia,  his mom died 2 months ago, he still came.  I wouldn’t be here if Mom died 2 months ago, I don’t think.

A Sister from the Ivory Coast was shot, the next day she went to her Bishop to start her paperwork to come on a mission.
It makes me feel like I took everything for granted and I know I did.  Just amazing, I wish I was as humble as they are.  But it’s just amazing, I wish I was as humble as they are but still have everything.  I wish you guys could see this place.  WOW!

Elder Parkoday (Feb 2­-­ced.  If it was and not wake up so much.  But for some reasonnced.  If it wassn'also draw into some of the thin
First meeting with President Roggia and his wife
His first companion is Elder Skousen on the far right
First meal at a zone conference.

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