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, 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



Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013
This week was a really busy week.  We didn’t have as many lessons as we wanted or planned for but it was a good week. 
Wednesday was Zone Conference.  One of the best ones I have been to.  Elder Vinson is amazing.  He is from Australia but lives in Ghana.  He can teach!  I really enjoyed listening to him.  He talked a lot about how we are truly assigned by our Father in Heaven to be here, and the that Brethren are really watching this part of the world with all eyes.  He let us in on how they extend calls too, really cool!!!  He was able to extend calls with Elder Holland a little while ago too.   It was really cool to listen to him teach.  His wife talked about Hymn #185, "Reverently and Meekly Now."   This is one of about 3 hymns written in the perspective of our Savior.  Read the words, they are so powerful and meaningful.  It all but brought me into tears.  (I included the words at the bottom of this post)
Thursday we went on exchange.  Elder Tolar is a really good missionary, I love working with him.  We managed to get all the interviews done that we needed to do.
Friday we started our first Book of Mormon class.  We had a great turnout for the first time.  We had about 15 investigators there.  It was really good.  We just went over the introduction of the Book of Mormon.   We answered a lot of questions, it was really good. 
Saturday..... oh boy.  We got up early to start the generator of the chapel so it could pump water.  Elder Baldwin swept inside while I was outside cleaning the font.   It took forever because it was POURING!!!!!!!  It started raining at about 4 am and didn’t stop till about 1 pm.   We also combined with Harbel for the baptisms.  It was Harbel’s first baptism ever.  They had 9 people come and get baptized.  The baptism didn’t start till about 12, normally we start at 9...   Also only 2 of our 5 candidates showed up...  It was really frustrating because two of them had their phone off, one told us early that morning so it was okay.   It was a really spiritual service.   We sang "I know that my Redeemer lives"  it started right there. (I included the words to this Hymn too, one of my favorites)   Music really does invite the spirit into the room.  All my frustration about the rain, people not coming, everything, it was gone once we sang that song.  It was really good.  I ended up having to give a talk on baptism which was easy.  John 3:5, the importance of baptism, 2Nephi 31:13 and Mosiah 18:8-9 the covenant or promise we make. 
That evening we made Liberian Enchiladas.  It was soooooo good.  Nothing like home, but we managed. 
Sunday was a good day it.   Usually the rain stops people from coming to church, but we still had about 85 people come.  We had 5 investigators there also.  This branch is growing!!   I think they are going to split my area so we will now have 8 missionaries in one branch.  It’s crazy!
Sunday night we made spaghetti and french fries, with fry sauce.   Yes I know it was very interesting, but it was DELICIOUS.   It was also really cheap.  
Elder Baldwin is still doing good, still eating everything and still learning.  He has a lot to learn still but we had to learn things, we are still learning as we go!
Hopefully this week will be just as good and a little more successful. 

i love you all and miss you all
Elder Park
The White African
From  an extra email: 
I laughed hard at the pic.  ( I sent him a picture of his uncle Sparkie wearing a Red suit jacket – he had lost a bet when Utah beat BYU in a football game. )
I asked him about stress after hearing that it can be hard for missionaries to handle, this is what he wrote back:  Stress as a missionary is normal.  Some people can handle it, some can’t.   You know that I can do hard things, stressful things.  Right now I’m stressed because of training and being a district leader, but it’s normal.  I have even been given an assignment from the mission pres. to read a book about handling stress.  It was actually really helpful for me and it will help me be able to help others.
Collin mentioned a couple of songs in his email.  Here are the words to those songs:
Reverently and Meekly Now
1. Rev'rently and meekly now,
Let thy head most humbly bow.
Think of me, thou ransomed one;
Think what I for thee have done.
With my blood that dripped like rain,
Sweat in agony of pain,
With my body on the tree
I have ransomed even thee.
2. In this bread now blest for thee,
Emblem of my body see;
In this water or this wine,
Emblem of my blood divine.
Oh, remember what was done
That the sinner might be won.
On the cross of Calvary
I have suffered death for thee.
3. Bid thine heart all strife to cease;
With thy brethren be at peace.
Oh, forgive as thou wouldst be
E'en forgiven now by me.
In the solemn faith of prayer
Cast upon me all thy care,
And my Spirit's grace shall be
Like a fountain unto thee.
4. At the throne I intercede;
For thee ever do I plead.
I have loved thee as thy friend,
With a love that cannot end.
Be obedient, I implore,
Prayerful, watchful evermore,
And be constant unto me,
That thy Savior I may be.
Text: Joseph L. Townsend, 1849-1942
Music: Ebenezer Beesley, 1840-1906

I Know That My Redeemer Lives
1. I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living Head.
He lives to bless me with his love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.

2. He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul's complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.
3. He lives, my kind, wise heav'nly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while he lives, I'll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.
4. He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"
Text: Samuel Medley, 1738-1799. Included in the first LDS hymnbook, 1835.
Music: Lewis D. Edwards, 1858-1921

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16, 2013

This was a really good week for us in Tinker Village.
Last Monday we played ultimate frisbee on the beach, that was a blast!   It was really sunny, and it’s hot, and we had a good time.   We even stuck our feet in the ocean.  Lucky us!!  After that we met up the the AP's and had a good dinner with them.   We went back to Sam’s BBQ, the Peppered steak was so good!!  i wanted to eat so much more but my money finished for the day.  We're going back on the 23rd to say farewell to the missionaries going home on the 30th.

Tuesday I went on exchange with Elder Bell.  As a District Leader I have to go with each missionary to see how they are doing.  Elder Bell has really improved since he first came to Liberia.  I was really impressed with him. 
Wednesday was just a normal day, lots of walking and teaching.  It was really hot and I got a little burnt, but it was fun to teach when I didn’t have to fight the sound of the rain. 

Thursday we wanted to see this one woman, Tracy.  Earlier that morning she got into a huge fight with someone and almost did something that she would have regretted, thank goodness she didn’t.  A couple hours later we stop by, it had been a little while since we saw her last.  We wanted to teach her the gospel of Jesus Christ, but as we talked with her she explained what happened earlier.  She just wanted to know how she can be forgiving.   We explained to her how we can be forgiven through repentance and then talked about how important the atonement of Jesus Christ truly is, it was one of the most powerful lessons I have ever been a part of.  I even got a little emotional, she teared up, the Spirit was so strong.  It was an amazing experience. 
Friday we had a zone meeting which took up half the day, so we saw just a couple people. 

Saturday was a huge service project.  We cleaned up the side of one of the biggest roads in Liberia.  A lot of people saw us in our bright yellow 'mormon helping hands' vests.  It was a lot of fun.   We saw a lot of people, even met a man that lives in England, that was really cool.
Sunday, we had over a 100 people attend for the second week in a row.  President Kirkham came and worshiped with us, he showed up unannounced.  It was a really good service too.  It was the branches’ first conference.   It was a good day.   We had 9 investigators come to church too.  Happy missionaries!! 

This week is going to be good.  Zone Conference with Elder Vinson on Wednesday, and then we have a baptism on Saturday, 5 people this week.   We have been working really hard and it’s going to pay off.   This week, we will be double checking on the preparedness of the baptismal candidates.  It’s going to be a great week. 
Until next week my friends

I love you all

Elder Park
The White African


Extra info from a couple extra emails we sent back and forth:

I asked him what President Kirkham talked about:   President Kirkham just talked about the blessings that come from paying tithing and how when Liberia starts to pay it, we will be getting a stake.  That’s what the area presidency looks at, that and active Melchizedek Priesthood holders.

I am looking forward to the zone conference on Wedenesday,  Elder Vincent (70?) is coming tonight, touring the mission, inspecting apartments, ours is really clean, and then the baptisms on Saturday.  i also am going on an exchange on Thursday with Elder Tolar,  me and him are best friends so it should be a lot of fun.

Oh and transfer news is coming.   We live in a compound with many apartments that are all the same.  Mission people are coming today to sign a lease for another apartment and moving in furniture this week.  I’m pretty sure they are splitting my area since it’s huge and we don’t even touch half out it

Monday, September 09, 2013

September 9, 2013

This week went too fast.  All the weeks are blending together.  Most of the time I don’t know the date, is that a bad thing??

We have a couple really good people that we are teaching.  Winnie Yassah lives with the branch president and isn’t a member.  We taught her about the Restoration the other and day and at the end she asked us when the baptism was.  She'll be baptized at the end of the month.   It’s really fun to teach those that are prepared to receive us.  Elder Baldwin is getting a lot better at teaching.  He is still quiet sometimes just because he can’t quite understand what the people are saying.  He's getting there.   He actually answered a question that I didn’t know.  I was really impressed with him that day.
We had some really good lessons this week.  We just didn’t have a lot.  For some reason we always had something to go and do somewhere.  We were traveling a lot.  There are so many meetings that I have to go to as a district leader.  I feel bad for my companion sometimes because of it. 

On Wednesday we got stuck.  It rained CATS AND DOGS for 2 straight hours!! Holy Cow.  We couldn’t go anywhere.  Some Pastor came to us and started arguing.  We just sat, took it all in, and bore testimony and walked away.  On Saturday he ran into us again and apologized for how "heated" he was.   It was actually entertaining…  All I know is that the Book of Mormon is true and it testifies of the Savior Jesus Christ, and that Joseph Smith is a true prophet. 

The week was a good but trying week.  Elder Baldwin is learning a lot and is adjusting really well.  Most importantly, he is adjusting to the food.   He literally tries anything!! 

i love all of you and miss you all.  Pray for the people here in LIB.
Elder Park
The White African


 From the extra emails we passed back and forth:
I GOT THE PACKAGE!!  (I had gotten him a pair of really nice, not cheap, Ecco shoes and sent them via DHL for a really outrageous price, so this was really good news as DHL had lost them for four days.  This was really good news.)  Sister H came to church with us bearing gifts for me, the shoes fit and add about 3 inches on me!  Hahah.  (I sent a Frisbee and a BYU football shirt with the shoes)  The shirt was awesome, fits perfect.  The frisbee was a great idea.  We will love it here!
I asked him what he ate at Sam’s BBQ (he sent a picture in front of the place):  Sam’s BBQ, I ate a really good chicken sandwich.  We are actually going there today.  Elder Tolar turned 6 months yesterday and Elder Baldwin turns one month today.  We are celebrating by going to the beach and playing frisbee (thank you!!)  and going to town to eat, i will have a .... STEAK!!!!!!

Tell Derek to have fun in seminary and to pay attention more than I did, be there 100% every day in the seat AND mentally.  I wish I had.  (Collin had 100% attendance at early morning seminary, every day in the seat for all four years of seminary, no make up days, but I guess he could have been a better student while he was there).
Sunday dinners are an every week thing in our apartment but we don’t have gospel conversations.  We talk about pday, home, family,.... and girls...... we are still boys and we like to have fun conversations.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

September 7, 2013

It's always a good day when you get actual mail from Africa.  The letter (dated August 19, 2013) was super short, not even half a page, but it came with 3 pictures.  In his letter he said:  "My apartment is great, my district is awesome.   I have some of my closest friends with me.  Not much to report on.  Same old thing for me:  teaching, studying, sleeping.  Day in, day out." 

Here are the pictures he sent and what was written on the back:

July 2, 2013
After building a house we took some pictures.
July 8, 2013
It rained while we were washing.  We were all freezing.  But after we looked good, or as the Liberians would say, were were "bluffing."

July 29, 2013
We went to celebrate Elder Marondera's one year, and my 6 months. 

Monday, September 02, 2013

September 2, 2013

Wow this week was crazy busy.
The cafe is really slow, I don’t know how much I'll be able to write about.

This week was a tough week too.  We didn’t have as much success as we normally do, but we never gave up.  Elder Baldwin is a champ.  He is adjusting very quickly.  He is learning so much and it shows when he is teaching.  He is getting used to the way we live here:  No power till 7:30 to 8 PM, bucket showers, cold showers, the food.  He has already had to eat some crazy Liberian dishes.
This week was also filled with a lot of meetings.  Tuesday we had district meeting, I talked about how we need to be humble as servants of the Lord, we need to realize that we aren’t doing anything, it’s the Spirit and the Lord.  Also how we need to pray, and how important prayer is. 

On Thursday I had leadership training.  More papers for me to fill out... gotta love it.    It was good though.  We also talked about how to help others deal with stress, missionary work is stressful.  Good leaders will be able to help others deal with the stress.
Saturday it rained so hard!!!   But while we were out the sun came and it burnt both Elder Baldwin and myself.  I got toasted!!!!    My neck was fried!!  It was a hot and not very successful day.  Lots of walking.  We probably walked 10 miles on Saturday.
Sunday there was a small hurricane that came through.  It rained long and hard during church.  I was surprised that we had 71 in attendance. 
Over all it was a very trying week, but everyone has those weeks.  Let’s see if this week will be better.

Elder Park

In an extra email he sent, he asked for a couple things that he needed and then he wrote:  I have started Sunday dinners in my apartment.  It’s known as P Day Eve.  We eat together and just talk till about 9:30.  It’s actually really fun.  We had some good laughs last night.
In our family we have been having Sunday dinners for quite awhile and they have become quite an event, lasting much longer than the food ever does.  We discuss what heard or what we learned about at church, sometimes there is some additional teaching that happens, and then we just keep talking.  These “dinners” can last for hours, we love them.   It’s a great way to come together as a family and be ready to start a new week.  Sunday dinner is one of the only things that Collin has said he really misses.   Now that he is the district leader, or “mom of the apartment” as he described it, I was glad to see that he brought this tradition to his missionary apartment.