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, 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