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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December 30, 2014

Well Christmas was good.  We ate a lot of food!   AND I was able to talk to my family!

Being this close to the end of my mission I really don’t know what else to talk about but I'll find something.

So it finally started to snow.  We did have a white Christmas and it is still very snowy, and it’s also very icy... I've only fallen a couple times...

Kameron is still looking good for her baptism on Saturday.  So we're all excited for that.  We are still struggling at the whole finding new investigators thing, it’s a little frustrating...

Christmas was good, but I ate too much...  we also got to sleep in!!  So happy, I needed that so much, it was great. I hope that everyone was able to take a second and think about the true meaning of Christmas sometime during the day.  I know I  did and I am thankful for being able to celebrate the birth of my Savior.

On Saturday I went on exchange with Elder Lyon who is the District Leader.  He is so funny.  He has a mini ping pong table so we played that for the whole night it was a lot of fun.

My week was a little boring, but the work goes on!!    

Elder Park
The White African.... in Utah
They built a fire in a fire pit with the sticks, he said it was fun

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December 24, 2014

So it will be a short letter today, sorry! 

We went to Temple Square on Thursday with Kameron and Blake.  It was really good, we focused on how families can be together forever and did the little section there that was amazing.  It was really good, both of them want to be with their families forever and want to go in the Temple. AWESOME!!!  we also stayed long enough to see the lights!  It was really fun to see them.  It was my first time being there with the lights on and I loved it!!   They also both came to church on Sunday.

Elder Farnsworth and I taught their Sunday School class. It was great it was all about out missionary work and their normal teacher asked to so we said of course.  It was really good. By far one of the best Sunday School lessons I've taught.  

Tuesday we had a mission Conference. It was fun.  We had a not so talented talent show.  There was some good laughs there. 

This morning we had Elder L Whitney Clayton of the Seventy came to speak to us. It was really good.  He is an awesome guy and a great teacher.  I learned a lot about the Star that appeared at the birth of the Savior.  I wish I was as smart as him.  It was great.

Have a wonderful Christmas!!!!

Elder Park
The White African.... in Utah

He was spotted at Walmart!

Collin is below the "M" and "I" in "Mission" on the back row.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 16. 2014

Well not much happened this week besides the fact that I moved to an new apartment to finish my mission in.  Elder Farnsworth has been here for about 2 transfers so this is his 3rd transfer here and 3rd in the mission field.  He's from St Louis.  He's pretty great.

Last night we re-did our room!  We had just normal beds but we wanted bunk beds to have more room, so we found one!  It was great we had so much fun putting it up, and now we have more room to do stuff in the room.  Our apartment was a one room plus a bathroom, so we needed some extra room.  We haven’t really told any of the mission leaders, so I we don’t know how that’s gonna go down, but we do have the old bed frames just in case!  It’s fun!

Last Tuesday I went and saw the Hezeltines!!  I was so happy that they were home!  It was fun to talk to them and catch up a little bit.   Yes we did do the LIB handshake!!  I love it and miss it too.  I teach it to almost all my new companions.

My new area is very small!!  I really don’t see the need for a bike.  It’s so small.  I cover the Whitewood Ward, Stonewood Ward and the Bennion Heights Ward in the Bennion West Stake. There are no apartments here either... so life is a little tough.

I hope all of you have seen the new Video that the church has put out! "He's the Gift"!!!

Have a great week!!!

Elder Park
The White African.... In Utah

I see the photographer in the bathroom mirror   :)

A little like home?!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

December 9, 2014

The week was good!

We had a small miracle happen on Friday!  It was fantastic!  So, Chris Goeckeritz is a very busy man and very hard to get in touch with, he also lives really far away.  So, we knew that he got off work roughly around 4pm, so we planned to get there at 4:30.  Our plans before that fell through, so we went there early at 4.  He wasn’t there, as we thought, so we sat on a bench because we didn’t want to miss him coming home.  I had a reeses in my pocket, (thank you office couple!)  I didn’t even have time to eat it and he came around the corner!  Holy smokes!  We caught him at home for the only 5 minutes he was going to be there.  It was amazing because he was going to be baptized the next day.

Saturday was a good day for us. Chris Lord and Chris Goeckeritz were baptized on Saturday.  They are both in the Cottonwood ward so we had a double baptismal service for them.  It was fantastic, the Spirit was amazing. Chris Goeckeirtz gave us a scary thought.  We called him at 6:15, the service was starting at 6:30, he said he was on his way.  So, at 6:25 he still wasn’t there.  So we started to worry.  We kept calling him, but no answer.  At about 6:45 our Ward Mission Leader said 'let us pray.'  About 10 minutes passed after that and we were on the verge of going to his house to see what was going on, but at 7 he finally got there. He had worked late and had a hard time getting there.   I was so happy he finally made it.  He was so sorry that he was late, but he is glad that he made it.  The confirmations for both of them were done very smoothly. Chris Goeckeritz affirmed to us he was on his way to the church at 8:30 on Sunday morning.

So, we got our transfer news last night, unfortunately I’m moving... I’m not very happy about it.  I’m moving to the Bennion West Stake.  I really don’t know anything about the area but I’m going to be with Elder Farnsworth.  I don’t much about him so I can’t say anymore!

We got some fish ties for a Recent Convert in our area. It was pretty funny!

I hope everyone has seen the 'He is the Gift' video!

Elder Park
The White African... in Utah

Baptism day with Chris G

Baptism day with Chris L

Elder Elliott's last day on mission.  
He was one of the three that came to serve in SLC from Liberia.

With Elder Franca from Brazil

With Elder Brogan

With Elder Paau

With Sister Blaisure

With Sister Taupau

Basketball on Pday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

December 2, 2014

 Wow it’s already December...

 Well we thought we were going to have a little better week than we did, but it was still fantastic!!! We had to say good bye to Dakota on Monday, she went back to Elko, NV and she has met with the missionaries so that makes me happy! Last week we didn’t get much of a Pday because we had to talk to an investigator that lives about 30 minutes away on a bike. Best part was, it was mostly uphill..... but, we had success! He was there!

 On Saturday it was pay day! We have been working with Antonio for about 2 months and Saturday he was baptized. I was so happy. I never really have been this excited for someone to get baptized. That probably sounds a little bad, but it’s true. I guess it’s because I worked for so long with him and answered so many questions. I loved working with him. He was really excited too. He got in contact with the missionaries by calling the number on the back of a pass along card and talked to a sister at Temple Square. The sister he talked to kept in contact with him ever since then and was able to come down for his baptism. It was really cool! Also, the sisters that took us on our Temple Square tour came! So that was really cool!!! It was just a fantastic day.

 Also, on that Saturday Chris Goeckritz and Chris Lord were interviewed and passed. It was a great day to be a missionary. So, this coming Saturday we have two baptisms. It’s gonna be another great day!

 At Antonio's baptism a set of sisters that are in our district brought a family that they are working with and we shared a message about our relationship with our Father in Heaven while he was getting changed and it really helped them from what the sisters told us. I am so thankful for how the Spirit works. They told us they wanted us to say something about our relationship with heavenly Father, which was completely different than what we were going to say, so we were totally winging it! On Sunday Antonio was confirmed. The Spirit was super strong.

 Also, a set of sisters asked if we had a sacrament meeting that started at 2:50, which we did. They said great we're coming! I was a little confused, but they brought two new investigators with them for us!! Fiston and John are from the Congo! They are so cool! We taught them that night and Elder Dahkle said I started to talk a little funny, my LIB english is coming back!!!

 Thanksgiving was great! We went to the Gibbs home, Rebecca Gibb is the lady in charge of the mingles for one of our wards. So, she volunteered to have us over for Thanksgiving. Man, it was fantastic! We had a little deep fried turkey, WOW delicious!! home made stuffing, soft serve ice cream that I ate way too much of. It was a good turkey day!

 I hope everyone had a great week and took a moment on thanksgiving to find out what you were thankful for, and said a quick prayer saying 'thank you'.

 Elder Park
The White African... in Utah

 the photo from last Thursdays "Beat The President" Fun Run.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

November 25, 2014

What a week,

This week was very busy for us.  We sat with Antonio on Monday and the sole purpose was to get him to see the need of a Prophet.  We were able to do that, we didn’t go into modern prophets on Monday because that’s what we wanted to accomplish on Wednesday.  We were able to help him also believe in Modern Prophets.  In his words, "it makes sense, It’s gotta be true!"  It was awesome!  He passed his interview on Friday afternoon.  That’s the happiest I've ever seen someone after they passed their interview.

Chris Lord is doing great too.  His baptism is on the 6th of Dec.  This man is the most sincere man I have ever met.  He has been having some challenges this past week but has been battling them.  I remember when I was little and playing baseball, Dad always made us do the ABC's, D is what Chris has, “Desire.”  He truly wants to change his life and he is thinking about sending missionaries to his family who are out of state.  He is just awesome.

Chris Goeckeritz is the hardest working 26 year old man.  It’s super hard to see him, but we find time! and he is going to baptized with Chris Lord on the 6th.

We picked up a new investigator on Thursday!  His name is also Chris... so many Chris'.   He's got a lot on his plate also and is working through things, and we are doing our best to help him.  I’m super excited to work with him.   We had a lesson yesterday and it was fantastic.  This man is truly prepared for this Gospel.  It’s weird though, he has lived in UT his whole life and is now just taking the lessons for real.  He has talked with missionaries many times but never let them come to his home.

The week was pretty busy, but a lot of fun.  The coming weeks are going to be fun also!.

Elder Park
The White African... in Utah  

Extra emails:  So I got a package from grandma yesterday, made me laugh! (I think she just put his address on a box of rice krispies and mailed it.  She always gave him rice krispies after his ball games). It’s so funny, my companion laughed too.

We are staying pretty busy and that’s every missionary’s dream: to stay busy
The work is paying off. We had our last transfer with no baptism and this transfer they are coming. (A transfer is a 6 week period, sometimes with a transfer happening at the end when one of the missionaries is relocated)   I love this work!!

I love you!
I have to go!

Elder Park

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 18, 2014

What a week!

The beginning of the week was a little boring, but Wednesday was good, but very cold!!   It was my 21st birthday!!   I’m legal!  hahah  A member took us to lunch at a little French restaurant which was actually really good.  Then it was full of lessons the rest of the day.  We saw Dakota (more on her in a second!), Ariane, and then Antonio.

A miracle happened on Wednesday!!   We grabbed a member as we were going to Ariane, and then all of a sudden, a lady yells Elders!!   So we went and talked to her.  She was a member visiting another member who didn’t speak any english but needed a blessing, so we helped her with that.   What was really cool and amazing was just before they called us over, they had prayed for help from our Father in Heaven and then they saw us.  It was amazing to see how the hand of the Lord works in our lives.

That night a member (who works at a bakery) brought me a cake!!  It was so cool!!  It had Boston Red Sox stuff on it and Packer and Seahawks as well!  It was so good and we are still struggling to finish it!!

On Friday we spent the day at the Temple (Jordan River)!!  A couple weeks ago, the mission said that when have someone get baptized within two weeks we can go to the Temple with them.  So we took Jani!!  It was so much fun to watch her do that.. even though we aren’t allowed to do any of the ordinances, we were able to watch and be there for her.  It was really cool to see someone do that for the first time!

Dakota Maes was baptized and confirmed this weekend. She is staying with her grandma for a couple months and was OYMed by the Zone Leaders and then passed off to us (“OYM” is a program called “Open Your Mouth” which encourages you to talk to people and share a message   Dakota’s mother grew up in the church but was never baptized. Dakota and her mother have been reading the Book of Mormon over the phone for the past several weeks. She is originally from Elko Nevada. Her mother drove all Saturday morning and made it for the baptism on Saturday.  It was awesome to meet her. Dakota is going to return to Elko in a few weeks and will help in getting her mother back into the church again.

 We have a couple people that we are working with towards baptism!   So, we are super excited for the coming weeks!  It’s really fun to be a missionary right now.

Hope you all have a great week!!

Elder Park

Happy 21st Birthday!

The Seahawk logo must be on the other side?!
His favorite Sprecher rootbeer.   Mom dropped some off for him in August, did he save it?  or did he find more?  
nice thought - he came from Liberia to Salt Lake, not from Libya, but it made Collin laugh

and last, but not least:
Dakota was baptized

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November 11, 2014

That was a good week.  So much to talk about.

We took Antonio (preparing for the 22nd) to Temple Square along with Dakota (preparing for the 15th!!!!). It was a great time.  We focused on Prophets and then finished at the Christus.  It was great, the Spirit was strong.  We have been working with Antonio for a while and he has said he'll get baptized but he wouldn’t set a date. We invited him several times while we were there for the Nov 22nd  After I said one of the more “bolder” things, he finally accepted.  What I said to him was that he already knew the church was true, and that he just needed to take a step of faith and not to hold back. Then he accepted!  I was so happy that night.

On Saturday we had a pass over lesson with the Sandy YSA sisters in the south mission. We got Chris who was already on date for the 22nd this month.  This guy is so smart. He is already in 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.  The best part is that he remembers the stories.  He even quoted a couple D and C sections too, it was awesome, I’m excited to work with him.

On Sunday we had dinner with Bishop Summerhayes who has been working with an Investigator that we've meet, but he didn’t want to meet with missionaries yet. So, Bishop was helping him along and still trying to have him become comfortable enough to meet with us. This past Sunday he finally accepted the invitation to have us come.  We had a fantastic lesson with him on Sunday. The Spirit was strong.  Elder Dahlke did a fantastic job on teaching about the Book of Mormon and as I was listening, the strongest prompting of "just invite him."  I’ve been working hard to heed to the promptings, and I’m so glad I did.  He is now preparing for Dec 6th.

This week was just so amazing.  It was fantastic. I have again renewed my testimony that Heaven Father does indeed hear and answer our prayers.

We are working really hard even with Elder Dahlke's broken arm.  He is still able to ride a bike, but we just don’t go as fast as we normally do.  It makes things interesting though. There some really good laughs sometimes.

It’s really fun to be a missionary right now.   We are staying really busy, which is awesome!!

Busy missionary= happy missionary.

Sweet is the work!
Elder Park
The White African... in Utah

PS. Happy Birthday Derek!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

November 4, 2014

What a week!!  Friday and Saturday were the best though!

So I got Elder Dahlke on Wednesday.  he's from Tennessee, he lives close to Nashville.  He has been out for about 3 months and he is already accepted into BYU when he gets back and after that he’s going to go into the Air Force to be some type of  physicist.   So the guy is smart!

Wednesday was also a very interesting day because we didn’t ride our bikes.  On Monday last week, Elder Dahlke got in to a bike accident and riding a bike was making his arm hurt a lot so we walked.  I haven’t walked that much since LIB.   We got a text from President that asked if we were walking, we said yes and then we had to call him... let’s just say we rode a bike the next day.

Friday we went to the Doctor’s, finally.  Elder Dahlke is now in a cast half way to his shoulder...  so biking is still a little interesting with him.  He fractured the radial head in his arm.  It’s really funny.  He can’t button his top button so I have to do that for him.   And he can’t tie is tie, so I do that also!   Hahaha, he just looks away in shame.

But that night was AWESOME!!!  We got to go to the Jordan River Temple!!   It was just what I needed.  I love going there and it’s been a long time since going.   The amount of peace I felt there was amazing.   It was also really nice to get away from  the world for a little while.

Saturday!  Saturday was awesome!  Jani N. was baptized!!!  Before the service she was very scared.   Her parents and grandparents were coming and they weren’t completely thrilled with this decision of hers.  So she was just very scared and nervous about all of it.  I understand why though.   The baptism went really smoothly and the Spirit was so strong.   It literally felt like you could cut it with a knife.    While she was changing Elder Dahlke and I did a little message.   We showed a video called "Lifting Burdens."  It talks about how we can draw strength from the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I know that the Atonement can change lives.   (here is a link to that video:

Sunday was a crazy busy day.   We were running from meeting to meeting.   It was really fun though.  Once church was all done we had a good dinner and then had another 2 lessons that night.  Being a missionary is so much fun.   You are constantly busy.   So much fun!!!

This work is so rewarding.   We see how the Gospel of Christ can change people.  We are teaching a girl from Elko Nevada and she going to be baptized hopefully next weekend!!

I hope all of you are having a great thanksgiving month!!   I challenge you all to think of some of the blessings that you receive daily,  and then to thank our Father in Heaven for them.

Elder Park
The White African.... in Utah

 Who would have thought Collin would see it snow on his mission?

 This is Jani on her baptism day with Collin and Elder Dahlke

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 28, 2014
This was probably the best week I have had since getting here to the States.

We were so busy all week.  We were running around so much.  It was a lot of fun.  We had 13 lessons on the week.  Jani is progressing so nicely, she had her interview on Saturday and is being baptized on saturday!! I’m so excited for her!  This Friday, Halloween, we are going to the temple, so it’s going to be an awesome two days.
A lot happened this week so hopefully i will be able to remember all of it.  OH!!!  I met a guy from Ghana!!  I’m teaching him, I’m so excited.  He is so cool.   He's been here in Utah for about two years and got here because of winning DV (lottery that the US does to bring people here to states and get green cards).  He's super open to listening to us, but he's just super busy.

We made a better effort at setting return appointments. Elder hale and I had a great week.  We were always coming back to the appointment, so exhausted, so fun.   We would fall asleep so fast it was wonderful.

So we got a call last night.  Elder Hale is leaving me.  He is going to the Taylorsville South Stake.  I am staying in the YSA and I am getting Elder Dahlke who is from Tennessee.  So I don’t know how its gonna play out. I don’t know him too well, so I'll update you next week.

This week was awesome, but it was just full of teaching, so it’s hard to write about.  Sorry it’s so short.

I love you all.

Elder Park
the White African... in Utah

I asked for a picture of him with the quilt, this is what I got. 
This was breakfast on their P Day

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 21, 2014

This week was a struggle...

It was the week of continuously being cancelled on... it was really frustrating, so this letter is probably going to be short.   We did have a couple great lesson with Jani who is going to be baptized on Nov 1.  She is so cool, we met her in September and as of Saturday she was reading in Alma 5.  How awesome is that???  She's been to church about 4 times now.  I'm super excited for her.

We are teaching Brendon still and last night we had a lesson that was AWESOME!  We watched the Restoration video with him, and then talked about how it has helped us in our life.  We had Trevor there who is an RM who served in Mexico, having him there made all the difference.  We came to find out what Brendon’s concern was, what was bothering him and making him hesitant in making covenants with our Father in Heaven.  Now we know where to go, it was just a great lesson.  He is starting to pray about the Book of Mormon which is awesome!! and he committed to pray to know if Joseph Smith is a true Prophet.  I’m excited to continue working with him.

Last week I went on exchange with Elder Soelberg.  He's from Oregon and was going to school at BYU-H. How cool is that? He's still in his first transfer but doesn’t really seem like it, he's very mature and very smart.  He's going to be an amazing Elder.

On Wednesday we had Elder Clarke from the Seventy come.  He's like 3rd in command when it comes to missionary work.  Pres. Monson, Elder Nelson, then him, hahah.  He's super funny.  It was fun to watch him give President Moffat a hard time.  He talked about a lot of things.  Towards the end he said something that stood out to me that is very scary to think about,  he said in the next 5 years, a 1/4 of you missionaries will become Less Active.  That is just so sad for me to think about.  How can someone who is teaching people this gospel and seeing the change it brings to people’s lives fall away?  It doesn’t make sense to me.  I can’t begin to explain how much I have grown on my mission.   The things that I have learned, gained, the people I've met, I’m not willing to throw that all away.  I know that this church is true, I love it.  the Book of Mormon is the word of God, it is true!!

Elder Park
The White African... in Utah

He took a picture of his bed with the quilt I made him

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014

This week was pretty good.   We are slowly teaching more and more.

We have a couple people we are working with.  Jani is awesome!!!  She is preparing for the 25th of Oct to be baptized.  There is still a couple things that we have to work with her on, but I’m sure she'll be  good to go.  She is already in reading in Mosiah and we have only been teaching her about 3 weeks now. so that’s AWESOME!!
Antonio, we met through the Sisters, he is sweet too.  There are just a couple things that are holding him back, but he's awesome.  He's been to church a couple times already, so now it’s just time to work and teach him a little bit and he's good to go!

The whole week was pretty good, we had at least one lesson everyday so that made me happy, but the high light lesson was on Saturday.  We got to take Jani with us to Temple Square!!!  I've been there so many times before, but this time was just different.   It was really cool to walk around and have the sisters there do the teaching, and the tour was awesome.   It was so cool being there. The Spirit was super strong there also.

On Sunday Elder Hale and I gave talks in the Parkway Ward.  We also showed up a couple minutes late too.   We had a meeting at the Cottonwood building which is about 10 miles away, and it started at 8:15 and church in the Parkway Ward started at 9, so we were racing to get back.   It was a fun.  I think I was all over the place with the talk and saying 'um' a lot, but everyone said we did good, and I didn’t see too many people sleeping so that’s good right?

I hope you all had a great week

Elder Park
The White African... in Utah

Salt Lake Temple

Elder Park and Elder Hale

Granny's house

Elder Park, Elder LaMont and Elder???
Collin and LaMont previoulsy served in Liberia, Elder ??? was previously serving in Sierra Leone, so these are all West African Missionaries.  (I wish Elder Elliott had been in this picture, he was the fourth West African mission reassigned to Salt Lake, he was serving in Liberia too)

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

October 7, 2014

What a weekend did we have??  That was awesome!

This was the first General Conference I watched on my mission, but the funny part of it is, that it was also the last one I will watch as a missionary.   It was really nice actually hearing the leaders of the church speak.  Ever since returning to the states and realizing that I was able to see it, I’ve been so excited and it was totally worth it.

For those who might be reading this and don’t know what General Conference is, here is a link:

We have General Conference twice a year, there are 4 regular sessions, 1 session specifically for the women of the church, and 1 session specifically for the men.   Our church leaders give talks on a wide variety of topics that provide inspiration and direction for members of the church, music is provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and other choirs.  The Conference takes place in Salt Lake City but it is broadcast to many of our church buildings, is available on cable tv and over the internet.  We look forward to it every time.  These Conference sessions replace our regular church meetings that weekend.   The link above links you to all of the talks so that you can watch, listen or print them.

The best part of it is on Wednesday when we were having interviews with President Moffat, I told him that I have haven’t seen a General Conference since 2012, he paused, then handed me two Priesthood session tickets!!!!!  I literally couldn’t think of anything else.  I was so happy!!!  It was a great day.

All the talks were FANTASTIC!!  I really liked the Saturday morning session there were a lot of great talks. but all of them really awesome!!

This week was pretty good too, we are starting to have some good lessons.  We had one with Jani and we had it at the Bishop’s house.  After that he took us to lunch haha.  It was a great lesson about the Book of Mormon.  She even commited to being baptized which made our day!  Now it’s time to start working!!   after the lesson, the Bishop, who a return mission president, said that the way we explained the Book of Mormon was one of the best, if not the best he's seen from a missionary.   I was actually really surprised he said that because I thought we were all over the place, but that made me feel good.

We had a little scary moment Saturday morning with Granny (The missionaries live in the apartment in the basement of Granny’s house).   She had fallen and couldn’t get up, so she got her cane and started banging on the floor hoping that we were still there.   We heard it so we ran up the stairs and granny was so happy.   We decided after that that we would watch the afternoon conference session with her.   I love granny but just pray that she doesn’t hurt herself.

We are making some progress with some of our investigators.  The Spirit is really starting to work hard over here.   Yesterday we, as a zone, would stop at every hour and pray specifically to help someone that the missionaries were working with throughout the zone.  It was great because now, as a zone, we have 8 more people that are now preparing for baptism.  The Lord works in mysterious ways!

I hope that everyone enjoyed conference, I know I did!!

Elder Park
The White African... in Utah

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 30, 2014

So how did it reach October already???

This week was pretty busy and I feel like we were working pretty hard but the numbers didn’t show.  Good thing it’s not all about the numbers.  We had some really good lessons with people though.

We are working with a guy that has been less active for about 7 years and he is just so excited about coming back to church, I really like working with him. He's also really excited to go to conference and feel the Spirit of the living Prophet.

We met with a recent convert, Brittany, who brought a non member friend to the lesson!!   I was so excited.  We had a great lesson with Jani about the Restoration.  There is still a couple things that she is a little hesitant towards, but that is not going to be a big issue.  I’m so excited to work with her and watch her grow in the gospel.

We have a couple other people we are working with and it’s been pretty fun.  We are slowly starting to teach more and more which is awesome.

OH i forgot.....  it POURED all day Saturday... we got soaked and so cold.  It was so weird, Thursday it was about 90 degrees, and now it is super cold...  I’m not too excited for this winter, but I know there is no way to avoid it.. not excited,   Give me dry season in LIB I beg!!!

When i got to the SLCCM (Salt Lake City Central Mission) I got a hand-me-down bike and something happened to the back wheel.  Yesterday a member had an extra wheel that he just gave to me!!  So happy that I didn’t have to spend money on the bike.  The members here are awesome.

Well sorry this is such a short letter, we are pretty busy today and not much happened.

Elder Park
The White Utah

A lady who was at the Mission Office sent me this picture of Collin and Elder Hale

A friend dropped pizza off at their apartment

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 23, 3014

Well this week was pretty crazy.

Tuesday i moved to my new apartment.  I live in the basement of a very old widow.  She is turning 94 in December…  she makes us say goodnight to her every day, and she makes us call her Granny.   She is so funny, she is still totally there, remembering everything that happens.  I was laughing the other day, she was watching a show on FDR and she told us that the year she got married was the year FDR passed away.  She remembers everything!!!  Also, she is a champ!  She still manages a garden, every day at about 9, we hear her walking around and she is weeding the garden.   She is so cool!!

Tuesday was pretty much just a cleaning day for us…  The Elder that I replaced went home, so he left a lot of stuff...  I mean a lot!!!  Most of it was food, and it was killing me to be throwing food away.  After living in LIB, I have a new sense of 'if I’m not gonna eat it, I don’t buy it.'  The previous Elder didn’t have that...  he was a great missionary, but just left a lot of wasted food.

It’s taking me a little while to figure out the area, only because it is so big!!   I cover 3 wards in the YSA stake.  so my area is pretty much the city of Murray and then some.   So I was lost most of the week.  Thank goodness Elder Hale knows quite a bit of the area.   Being on bikes does save some time, yesterday we went from 900 east and 4800 south to State and 6100 south in about 8 minutes going through a construction site...  i'd say we made pretty good time!

On Sunday church was canceled,  but that was because of the Ogden Temple Re-dedication.  (They broadcasted the meeting to the Stake Center buildings in the Salt Lake area)   It was so cool be around to do that.  There were three different sessions of it, and I went to the one at 1pm.  I missed out on hearing President Monson speak, but I got to hear Holland and Eyring, it was so cool!!!!!!!  i love listening to them speak.  Holland said something that really stood out to me.  It was about when he was in the area presidency in England, his son went through the temple for the first time, but he wasn’t able to go,  his wife got to go.   He said I really didn’t do much to prepare him, i just taught a couple FHE's and that was about it.  That’s usually how the fathers are with preparing sons for temple covenants and missions.  Mothers are the ones that prepare them.  That stood out to me so much.   Thank you mom for everything, and dad, thank you too buddy :)

On my mission i have met many people from around the world.  On Monday I was on exchange with an Elder from Brasil.  This guy is so funny.   I learned a lot from him.   It was somewhat of a long day but  that’s just because we were in my area and I really didn’t know anyone, and where anything was, so that was a little tough.   It was a good day though

My week was good.  It went by really fast too.

Elder Park
The White African... in Utah

I asked him more about his apartment and his new companion who is from Ephrata, Washington.  He said: 
"I really do like my new apartment, the carpet is a little weird, it also makes it a lot warmer, so that’s nice.  My comp has been out about 7 weeks so he's green.  I’m still working with him on things.  My comp is really funny and has a little bit of short man syndrome, so it’s great!  hahaha

I got a couple of texts from Utah phone numbers with pictures, taken by people who were feeding them, I think.   Big Thank you to those who feed my son!

This came on Sunday, September 15th
His companion was still Elder Franco

This came on Sunday, September 21st
This is his new companion, Elder Hale

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15, 2014

Well this week was a busy one.

Wednesday we, as a mission, went to Ensign Peak.  It was really cool, the view is great too.  President Moffat also shared with us how the Saints did things when they first got to the valley and how Ensign Peak came about, it was actually really cool.  On the way there, I also saw the first Temple on my mission, besides the Ghana Accra Temple that I went to while still in the MTC.  I was so happy to finally see one!!

After going to Ensign Peak, we went to "This is the Place" State Park.  I remembered going to it a long time ago, but it was still really fun.   We had the whole park pretty much to ourselves.  The couple that is running the park is my mission president's wife's sister, hopefully that made sense.  The park brought in extra people to come and open some shops and things so that we could have a good time.  We also had some Native Americans come an do some dances for us.  It was really fun and really cool, but the entire time I was there, I was just thinking to myself, I never thought I would be doing this on my mission.  Of course I never thought I was going to be in Utah so I guess it comes with it.  It was a really fun day to kind of get a break from normal missionary work.

I had a couple lessons spread out during the week. so that was fun, not a whole of them though, so it was a little boring.  We had someone bounce us 3 different times so that was frustrating, but it was okay, we talked to her mother for about 30 minutes each time.  She's great!!

Saturday was the adult session of stake conference.  First stake conference of my mission!! Hahaha   It was great.  We watched Elder Ballards talk from Oct 2013 and then the stake presidency just started up a conversation about it.  It was really cool, great conversation too.  I encourage all to read that talk and reflect on it.  (   I think one of the best comments that was made was "it starts with us being prepared before the conversation happens.  We need to know enough about the church doctrine and beliefs to start a conversation with friends and teach them just a little to get them interested.  Then we can invite them to listen to the missionaries."  It was awesome!!!

The sunday session was also good.  Great talks about how to be a missionary with social media, and many other things.  We were supposed to get transfer news Sunday night, but for some reason they said wait... so we had a Zone Work out this morning, like we usually do throughout the week, but this is where we got the transfer news.

So ..... Elder Franco is going to the Taylorsville South Stake and will finish his mission there.  for me...

I will be going to the Murray YSA ward serving with Elder Hale who is from Ephrata Washington! i already know him and joke around with him all the time.  He is still in his training so I will finish it up.  I’m really bummed to leave my area, completely based on the members, the members in the 3rd, 8th, and 25th wards are amazing. I’m really excited to leave my apartment.  I won’t be so cold anymore!!!  hahaha

I hope everyone had a good week.  This week I am looking forward to see the Ogden Temple Re-Dedication on Sunday. it will be my first time doing this!!

Elder Park

The White African... In Utah

 Ensign Peak
(The side of Collin's head is almost visible, he was wearing sun glasses and he is standing  just at the base of the tower, on the right side, behind a blond girl, there is a sliver of his face showing

This is the Place State Park
Collin is standing in the middle of the balcony at the top of the stairs.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

September 9. 2014

Well another week down.   This wasn’t a great week, but there were a few good things happen.

We had a couple lessons on Wednesday.  Esther is a woman who we met a long time ago and gave her a Book of Mormon, but never could catch her at home so it was really tough.   Tuesday and Wednesday we had lessons with her and they were great.   Tuesday we talked all about the book of Mormon with her and then gave her a Restoration pamphlet to read, we also gave her some places in the Book of Mormon to read.   Wednesday we show up, she had read all of it and there were no questions, she totally understood everything.   We didn’t really know what else to teach, so we basically just reviewed it with her to make sure she truly understood it, and she did.   It was great.
Thursday we had a lot of appointments cancel on us, so it made for a long day...  but we did see Sir Williams and read with him.   We also met with Aiden who is a recent convert of a couple months.   He’s a super smart 9 year old.   We had a great lesson with him on being obedient to the commandments, praying every day, and studying his scriptures.   He then asked us about Cain and Abel in Genesis... how smart is this kid???   That family is really fun too.

On Friday we had the Elders Quorum President help us out a little with a lesson with Sir Williams.   We wanted him to be able to feel and recognize the Spirit more, so we took him to the Vine Street Building to have the lesson.   It was a great lesson, the Spirit was really, really strong.   That night we had a lesson with Gina and when we got there she was angry with something or someone, but we decided to go on with the lesson and by the end of the lesson she was fine and happy.   It’s amazing what the Spirit can do during lessons.   We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a whole, it was good.

Saturday we went to a baptism with Sir.   Baptisms are very different here than back in LIB.   Here it was just for one person, in LIB, it could be for 5 or more people, but it was great.  the Spirit was there and im pretty sure Sir felt it.   The rest of the day was kind of boring, but our 'dinner appointment' or FM was with a native Mexican and we had homemade flour tortilla's that are AMAZING!!!!    We need to go and ask her to cook some more for us, hahaha.

Fast Sunday was really good, the testimonies that were born were great, not a whole lot of stories or “thankamonies.”  (On the first Sunday of every month we have “Fast Sunday.”   That means that you fast for 2 meals and then make an offering/donation that goes toward helping those who may need assistance.   In our Sunday meeting on that Sunday we also have the chance to bear testimony of our beliefs.  Sometimes people get a little sidetracked and give a “thankamony” thanking those who may have helped them lately.)   Every  Sunday I go to 2 wards for sacrament and all the testimonies were great.   In the 3rd ward, after the sacrament, we had a special musical number performed by the ... ward!!  Hahaha, the primary children sang two songs then the RS and EQ sang "As sisters in Zion/Army of Helaman" it was way good.  Some how, some one came up with blending two primary songs and that combined song together and it turned out great.  It was definitely the highlight of the week.

Monday was tough, but it was okay, good days will come.

I hope that everyone had a great week. GO HAWKS and COUGS!!!!  (Seattle Seahawks and BYU Cougars - just to be clear!)

Elder Park
The White African... in Utah

Extra:   I asked him if they got that storm that did so much damage with flooding that had hit Arizona.  He said “CRAZY STORM!!!  LIB is worse though.  It was fun to watch a little bit though.”

I also updated him on some ebola news coming out of Liberia, he said, ”makes me cry.”

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

September 2, 2014

So when did it hit September???   This is weird.

My week was a fair one, we had a lot of appointments cancel, which is no fun, and then you have to somewhat scramble to figure out who to see.   It’s not like LIB where I can just look around and say 'lets talk to them.'  I didn’t get any doors slammed in my face this week, so that’s nice.  

Sir Williams (have i talked about him?)  is doing good.  He didn’t come to church though, he was with some people from California who are helping him find a job.  That was a little downer.   Then we had to fly on our bikes (not a big fan of these while in a suit...) to the Vine Street building to get to the 25th Ward Sacrament meetng.   It was a good meeting about Missionary Work.  It was also someone’s farewell so there was a lot of people there.   When we went to the 3rd ward, we had Gina and her Boyfriend come, both nonmembers.   It was really good to see them come.  

We talked to a lot of people this week and I lost track of the days…  so I don’t know how much I will write. 

Oh i went on exchange with Elder Hale, he's from Ephrata WA  and has been out about 4 weeks, hahaha, so green!   It was good.   It was nice to be around someone who is still fresh, they have a little different something to them. 

In LIB I got to know Elder Guyman, who lives in Taylorsville(?), his parents came and found us on Friday as we were going back to our apartment, they gave me so really good homemade bread and some butter.  We talked for about 10 minutes and they got to hear the whole story about us leaving.   They are very nice people.  They make great bread!

Well, that’s pretty much it for me on this week.   Let’s hope that this week will be even better!!!

Elder Park

The White Utah

I told him that I met the Guyman’s at a “families of Liberian missionaries” party I went to when I was in Utah.   She told me she was going to try and find the LIB missionaries.  He added: "That bread is so good!!!   I can't stop eating it!!"   then said:  "I bought a watermelon today.   I'm so excited for it!!"  I guess they don’t have watermelon’s in Africa?

Collin sent a couple of pictures that he took as he flew over London, he wondered if I could identify them.   Of course I could, Big Ben and the Tower of London are icons!   I got to visit London once, loved it.  I was surprised he recognized these and took pictures of them.   While we were in London we were surprised at how many planes few right over the city, but they do.

I wonder if this was the first American flag he had seen in awhile?

Right before I got Collin’s email I got an email from someone I didn’t know, but Collin had met her when he was buying a tie at her store and she took the picture and sent it to me:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 26, 2014

Well this week was better than last week, I will have to admit that. We are teaching a little more too so I guess that’s what is making the difference.

 On Wednesday my district went to President Moffat’s house for lunch and we got STEAK!!!! Holy cow, I miss steak, it was so good!! Weird part was that there was no bones... strange. We then had our district meeting there, it was pretty good. We role played solving people’s concerns. After the meeting we weren’t able to get a hold of many people, and most of our lessons bounced, so we struggled a little bit. We ended up running into Tanya, who is a Former Investigator, who is somewhat becoming a new investigator. We talked about a lot of things, and then it turned into talking about her coming to church. She was very scared coming to church, so we said, “well, we have a key, there is no one there, let’s go inside so you can see it.” It was a great experience. It’s really fun seeing someone who isn’t a member feel the Spirit. We are still working hard with her.

Thursday was a struggle, but we met a guy who just moved from California 2 weeks ago and he agreed to be baptized. He came to church on Sunday and it was great. There is still a lot we’ve got to work on with him, but he is totally willing and excepting everything we are saying. So I am pretty excited for working with him.

 On Friday we had a lot of appointments lined up so I was so excited to teach! I got my hopes up and most of them fell through. So that was a little downer. Saturday was a 'non LDS' neighborhood party and BBQ. It was a lot of fun helping out with that. There was a mini triathlon and we helped supervise the biking and running parts of that. We got a lot of goodies because of that. We did sneak away for dinner and got RIBS!!!! There's the bone I was looking for! Haha, I thought about eating the bone, but I thought twice about that. We got really good left overs. :)

 Sunday was full of church and meetings... I swear church starts at 7 and ends at 4... this whole thing of being over 3 wards is not so fun... but by the time church and meetings are over it’s almost dinner time!!! Bishop Brinton gave us dinner and it was great!!! Chicken with no bones is really nice too. We got a 1/2 gallon of probably the best vanilla ice cream I have ever tested, it’s so good!!

 It’s still really weird to me teaching on Mondays... but we got 2 lessons in. Very interesting lessons, but nonetheless, effective! Today we got invited over to the Wood’s house, they are the Senior Couples that serve my stake and district, we had a great lunch with them. Then we went ice skating as a zone. I never thought I would be ice skating on my mission. That never came across my mind. Very cold in there too. Thank goodness you brought me a sweatshirt mom!! love you! 

Well that was my week, how was yours?? (I think that is a hint, he would like some letters!) 

 Elder Park The White African... in Utah

Is he homesick?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 19, 2014

Well this was in interesting week.

I feel like a greenie all over again.  The way we work is so different than in LIB.  It’s still getting a little while to get used to the work over here.  Elder Franco and I are working hard to try and get new investigators, trying to get investigators here is probably one of the most hardest things I have done.  Everyone here who is not an active member is either LA (less active) and has something against the church, or they are anti and have already listened to the missionaries.  It’s really tough to find people here.  But, nonetheless, I will succeed at being a Utah Missionary, because I have done tough before.

Most of the morning hours we just ride our bikes contacting people on the street. I talked to one guy who gave me the low down on fishing.  I think we talked for about 15 minutes just about fish, well he talked, I know nothing about them.  It was really funny to me. 

In the evening hours we have a little more success.  More people are home and will open the door, but sometimes they close very quickly…  I don’t get it.   Why are Americans so rude???   I’m just joking, we are just so caught up with technology, it’s gross.  We did talk to a LA woman last night for about 10 minutes.  She really likes roller coasters!!  She said the reason why she doesn’t go often to church is because she travels so much for work, and is usually traveling on Sunday which is a bummer, she wants to come back but work is forcing her not to go. 

Every night we get fed from members so I hardly ever cook.  Yesterday we ate with the Gilmore's who actually served a couple mission in Nigeria.   It was so fun to talk with them.  They know the toughness of a West Africa mission!!!

I know these emails aren’t as long as they normally are, but not much happened this week. 
Well I love you all and hope you had a great week.

Elder Park
The White African… in Utah

We had already planned a trip to Utah, so we were able to drop his other suit off, a quilt I had made for him, some warm clothes, and some goodies.  In an extra email he said:  Thank you for the underwear and the goodies.  Are trying to make me fat??  Hahaha   The quilt was AWESOME!!!!!!!! I love it and have been warm every night since!!   (I gave him some Sprecher Rootbeer) 

Did you like the things I left for you?? I beg!!  Don’t throw the white shirts away!!!!  (He didn’t leave Africa with much, but he did bring home some very tattered white shirts, the collars were really just falling apart.   He also brought an amazing wood carved Nativity set.  I’ll be using it this Christmas, but it will be his after that).

Collin is wearing suit and a blue tie, 4th row, behind and to the left of a lady with a light pink sweater

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


What a roller coaster of a few weeks.  I’m sure by now most of you have heard that both the Liberia Monrovia Mission and the Sierra Leone Mission have been evacuated and all the missionaries have been reassigned to new missions.   I have been reassigned to the Salt Lake City Central Mission.   What a difference!

This morning as I was cleaning up the apartment, which has A/C and is under a doctor’s office, I just thought to myself, how did I get here??   Why am I still uncomfortable even though I am in my native country?   I got so used to sleeping under a net, sweating all night, sweating all day, talking funny, living with 2+ other Elders.   Now I just ride a bike, I hardly sweat, and I am freezing after about 5 minutes in the apartment.   It is totally different.   I did laundry in a washer and dryer, since when can my clothes be washed and dried in about 2 hours??   That’s just crazy.   I also was looking at 4 of the 7 shirts I brought with me from LIB.  I can’t wear them because the collar is just ripped up, if I had realized that before, I would have left them or given them away.   As I was folding them and putting them into my suit case, I had a little moment to myself and just remembered the LIBerian people.  I miss them so much.   They had such great and simple faith.  I really hope and pray every day that Ebola will leave that country and missionaries will be able to go back to that beautiful country.

Okay, so how did I get to Salt Lake?  Friday morning we were told to pack our bags, no more than 23 KG (50ish pounds).  Saturday we got picked and went to the mission home for a couple hours then took a long bus ride to Harbel where the airport is.  As we got there, the private plane that the church rented out through Delta wasn't there, and Ghana didn't want us to come there.   So, we had to go back to the apartments.  Sunday no church, no leaving the compound.  All West Africans were able to leave.  Monday all the Americans got picked in the morning and went to the mission home, and the we traveled to the airport.  East Africans flew out on Tuesday.  Americans went to Brussels (Belgium) and started to split away after that.   I went to London next, waited around for a couple hours, met missionaries returning home... then flew to Seatac for about 4 hours.  Then landed in salt lake at about 11:10.   Very long Monday and Tuesday for me.

President Moffat is my new Mission President, he met us by baggage claim, he was just shocked at the way we looked.  Exhausted, red eyed, scruffy (no shaving), no money, the money we did have was in euros and pounds or LD, our shirts were stained brown, collars were all ripped up.  He asked if we were hungry, we asked for rice.   Since it was midnight at this point, everything was closed and we just went to the hotel for the night.

The next day there was a transfer meeting and President Moffat introduced us and explained why we were there.   It was funny, before we were introduced, many elders were asking us who our trainers were, thinking that we just came from the MTC.   We laughed and just said wait a little while, the looks on their faces when we said we were from LIB was hilarious.  I was given bedding from Sister Moffat since I left mine, she gave me a couple new white shirts, a pillow, and a hand-me-down bike and helmet.

Teaching here is very different, i am still getting used to it.   I have had a couple people ask me where I am from so I say Seattle, then they have a very puzzled look on their face.  So, I have to explain that I was in LIB for 18 months and that’s why I talk funny.  I didn’t really notice it, but I guess I do have accent.

My new companion is Elder Franco from Anaheim, California and has just about 2 months left.  It’s been interesting adjusting back to a 1st world country so quickly.  Everyone reading this:  we have a very blessed life style.

I love you all and please pray for the Liberians.

Elder Park
Still the White African  (I love this line!)

In extra emails:

I asked him what was different here: 
This is actually a blessing I think.   If I would have gone straight home, I would have been bored and even more confused about the change, but here I’m still busy so I really don’t have time to worry about it.  It is very different, but I’m doing good.

How is the missionary work?   I’m just tired of not teaching people.  I maybe taught 8 lessons last week...  i was doing that in less than 2 days...

He did get a package his aunt Jennifer sent and a package that I sent before he left Liberia.  Thank you for the Oreo's, but I didn’t have much.  I had to get about 12 kgs out of my suitcase and wasn’t watching closely and they were eaten.

How is the American food treating you:   The only food that is giving me a hard time is candy and dairy,  but I have a little milk every day to help,  and cheese on a sandwich for lunch.   We have dinner almost every night with members.

I am in the Murray Utah Stake, covering the 3rd,  8th and 25th wards... yes I’m over 3 wards...  Church for me starts at about 7am with meetings, and ends at about 3.   Then it’s time to go find people to teach.   We have two buildings, two wards meet at the same time so we switch off every week.  Most companionships have 2 to 3 wards to cover.

How are Elder LaMont and Elder Elliott doing?  (There were 4 missionaries from West Africa that were reassigned to the Salt Lake City Central Mission.   Elder Elliott and Elder LaMont traveled with Collin from Liberia, another one came from the Sierra Leone Misson).  Did you meet the one that came from Sierra Leone?   I will meet all the West African elders tomorrow and again on Thursday for a special training for us.

When people ask about you, what do you want me to tell them now?  Tell people I’m trying to adjust but I’m happy and staying busy.

This is their last picture together at the Mission home.  Collin is standing just to the right of center, wearing a blue tie.

Removing weight and repacking, they needed to stay under 50 pounds

Collin is kind of in the middle of the picture, he wasn't looking to happy.  They were waiting for instructons.

Elder Elliott, Sister Kirkham, and Collin

Elder LaMont, Elder Park, and Elder Elliott
All three were assigned to the Salt Lake City Central Mission

Saying goodbye

Sister Kirkham and Sister Berrett
So many thanks to these wonderful ladies who have watched over the missionaries and provided some of the pictures I have posted on this blog.
Elder Berrett and President Kirkham

President Kirkham
Packed and ready to go

loading up the vans, the second attempt.
Sign at Roberts International Airport in Liberia