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, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014
This week wasn’t the best for us... we had a lot of bounces and lot of people that we've had to stop seeing because they don’t keep commitments.

Wednesday we went to an area that I don’t know very well.  We saw a less active man named Mustapha.  His family hasn’t been in church for a long time so we work hard to get them back.  We had a great lesson with him and we talked about the role of families, and focused on the role of a father.  We talked to him about setting a good example for his children.  He has a couple of daughters that are at the age where they will start to look for a husband.  I told him that daughters tend to marry someone like their father, ( I don’t know what happened with Katie though.... :)(fyi, Katie is Collin’s sister, and her husband Adam could not be more different that Collin’s Dad!).  That was a real eye opener for him. I believe that he will start to come back to church even though he didn’t come on Sunday.

Thursday we did a service project for the Zeahn's.  This family feeds us every time we go there.  They always have food waiting for us.  We a cut their grass with 'whippers'.  It was a lot of fun till the rain came... it’s supposed to be dry season but it’s rained once a week for the whole month...  We did a lot though but the rain ended the project for us.

Saturday I went with Elder Kamara into his area on exchange. I met this man one year ago!!!   We went on exchange to celebrate our one year!  It was a fantastic day.  We got bounced a couple times but we still managed to have a lot of great lessons.  We even taught a lesson to Margret who I taught a couple lessons to in Tinker Village, before she moved.  I was so happy to see that the missionaries were still seeing her.  I was so happy!  I had another great experience that lasted the whole day.

Ever since I got to Gardnersville, it’s seemed like I have struggled to teach people, struggled to teach well with my companion too.   I won’t lie, we don’t have great unity in our companionship.  Saturday I realized why, it was because the Spirit wasn’t with us.  In Tinker Village I felt like I could handle every concern and teach to really help the people, and then here I struggled.  I guess I just got so comfortable and so relaxed and so dependent on the Spirit that I forgot it was there with me.  Saturday, it was back and it was great. 

Future missionaries that read this, have good studies with your companion, it truly effects your entire day after.   It’s what brings the Spirit with you. 
I hope you all had and will have a great week.

Elder Park
The White African

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014

The week was really a good and busy one, but sadly not a whole lot to talk about.

I went on exchange with my friend from the MTC and from Sierra Leone.  Elder Kamara is the DL for our district and I took him into my area on Tuesday.  It was really good, he is a great teacher and teaches simply.  We didn’t get to see that many people, but the few lessons we had were good.   We were teaching Grace, who was taught by missionaries a few years ago, we were talking about the Book of Mormon and solving her concerns.  At the end of the lesson we extended a baptismal date and it was hilarious how she answered, "Well of course!"   For this mission everyone accepts a baptismal date, but to have someone answer that way was just funny.

Wednesday we had to travel to Paynesville for interviews with President Kirkham.   It was really good.  It was a good thing we were early because he was early.   We mainly just talked about the Elders in my zone, so it wasn’t too interesting.  I even got to see some members of my old district.  Man I miss hem!!!

Thursday the Assistants came and went on splits with us.  I was with one of the legends of the mission. Elder Pentreath, who is from England, is by far one of the best missionaries I have ever gone with.  I'll miss him since he has only 3 months left.  It was a great day.  we were with Jerry who is a little confused on who exactly we are, yes we remind him every week, buts it’s because he's an old papi!!!  Instead of teaching just him, we saw his wife there and we were able to turn one investigator into a husband and wife.  We also found a woman who wants us to come teach her.  She was also taught by missionaries a while ago.   It was really sweet!!

Most people who fall away from the church here because of the lack of testimony they have when they are baptized.   It doesn’t matter who teaches the person, if they don’t have a testimony, they will fall

away.  Mary hasn’t been to church in about a year.  The Elders who taught her were great, those two are also legends.  It’s sad though, great teachers, no testimony.  It’s because she never prayed about the Book of Mormon or about Joseph Smith.  If you are a non member and are reading this, I beg you, pray about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, then act accordingly to your answer. 

Friday and Saturday consisted of us walking all day looking for an apartment.   We found one at the end of the day Saturday, great spot too.  Shows me how much prayer really works.  I was really tired and we stopped for cold water.  I said a small prayer asking for help so we can find an apartment.  Just a few hours later, and countless drops of sweat, we found one!  The couples will come today or tomorrow to look at it. 

 This week was good, I hope yours was better!


Elder Park

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

This week seemed to fly!!!!

The beginning of the week wasn’t too eventful, nothing too special.  Just normal teaching every day all day long.   We did have a zone meeting though.   It was good I guess, it was just relaying the message President Kirkham instructed us on during our Mission Council.

Friday is when things started to pick up and get fun.  Friday we were supposed to go on splits with the AP's but they had something unexpected come up and had to reschedule.  But for us, we still went on splits.  I went with Brother Wah who served in Kenya and has been home for about 6 years.  Crazy thing is, he had a baby born just a week earlier.  The baby boy is good and healthy!!   No name yet, I think they are waiting for when they bless the baby at church.  Elder Myaka went with a man who is preparing to go on a mission.  The day was really good.  We even got to see a man that we planned on seeing but since he is always working, we were doubting if it was going to happen.  Soloman Toe is really cool, he's heard a lot of things about the church, but wanted to learn for himself.   Those people are fun to teach!

Saturday we had a meeting with the District Presidency.   This meeting is just so the District Presidency can see how us missionaries view the branches and what things we think they can improve on.  The two branches in my Zone are great.  They just got new leadership and are firing on all cylinders.   We really didn’t have much to talk about in our Zone.   One goal that the District has set for 2014 is to have more families come to church.  They will ask the branches to give us family referrals.  Families are what grows the branches and makes them strong!   They also want all the young men eligible for mission to serve a mission, which means more people will come with us when we teach.   Here, if you don’t go with the missionaries often, you don’t get papers to fill out.  Different culture, but totally cool!!  They have a lot more but those are the big ones that really involve us missionaries.

Getting home from that was a nightmare, but before that we walked around town and did some things, (family, you'll enjoy!!!)   Getting taxi (or the liberian way 'getting car') is always a fight, and I mean almost a legit fight. So what we do so we don’t have to fight, we give someone about 15LD and they get a car for us!  Hahah   We still stood there for about 45 minutes to an hour....  and we didn’t actually get a car, we got a motorbike that has been modified to have 4 people sit in the back,  kinda like something you'd see taking people around in the city, like the ones where the guy rides the bike with a seat in the back.   There was room for 4 but this is LIB, we got 6 in there!!!   It was the worst ride I've ever been on... oh well I got back safely.

This week was an historical week for the Monrovia Liberia Mission, and I think it’s an historical mark for any mission in the world.   We had more Member Presents lessons than Other lessons.  That means we had more members come teach with us in a single week than ever before.  (Other lessons are when there is no one there, just missionaries and the investigator).  The Total MPL was 395, the OL was 311.  That was just for one week!  Miracles are happening here in LIB.

I hope that everyone had a great week.
I love you all!

Elder Park
The White African
I asked him why he was writing so much earlier, I used to get his emails around 8 am my time, but now they are coming in around 4 am, so I don’t get to send and receive any back and forth emails with him.  After he read the letter I sent to him he sent another one with answers to some of my questions.  My comp (who is South African, doesn’t have anyone to email)  likes to play football when I want to email,  so I give in and
have to email earlier.

I asked about the youth program in his branch.  The youth in my branch is small, only about 15 total.  They have one class that they all are a part off.  They sometimes use the new curriculum, but one thing people struggle with here is preparing lessons.   So often times the lessons aren’t the best.  Sometimes they do a lesson on an article from the Liahona though.  But still, not prepared.   The YW do the theme and whatever else they are supposed to, but none of them have it memorized.   Many members, all ages, are really good at being a Sunday Mormon.

No package yet, but I got one from Jennifer about 2 or 3 weeks ago, tell her thanks for me.  I got a letter from you on Friday,  thanks!!!   I also got one from the RS pres from Seattle Hill, tell her thank you.   Letters are never opened.   I think I've said that before.
Finding out they (Katie and Adam) moved was cool.  I hope that Adam will find the job he wants.   love you!

Monday, January 06, 2014

January 6, 2014 Welcome to 2014!!! This week was an adventure. Moving in, learning an area, going to meetings.  It was an interesting one to say the least.

Moving in is a process.   For me, I like to be organized (learned that one here).  In this apartment it’s a little different than what I’m used to.  I sleep in one room and I study in another.  I live in an apartment with a total of 8 Elders. Four of us share a room and I get to sleep on a bunk bed which I haven’t done in a long time.  It’s pretty cool though.  I’m still in the process of getting things organized the way I want it.

The apartment is really big so it doesn’t seem like there are 8 Elders here.  We share a compound with the New Georgia branch's chapel so there is always people coming in.   It’s a little different.   We are on a generator so I only get power from 7 to 10:30, living large!!!  We have a water tower that holds a ton of water, but since there is 8 of us, it only lasts about 4 days, then we just turn the gen on and pump water.

The area is well.  Let’s just say we pray for the Spirit to guide us each day.  I am at a loss as to how to get around this area.  This area is really 'bushy' as we call it here.   There is no order in how the houses are built. If there is an open spot, people will build there.  Our chapel is really cool. When you think of an African church, well, Gardnersville has it!!!  This place is so cool!!  The walls to the chapel are half walls and then poles going up for the roof so people can look inside and we can look out.   The breeze is the best part!!   No microphone, you just talk loud!!.   The rest of the class rooms are just built from mats.   I heard when it rains, everyone gets wet.  This place is awesome.   You sit inside it and you look out and all you see is a dusty road on one side and palm trees on the other.  I love it!!!  The branch seems really supportive to missionary work too so it’s going to be great.  So far, I’m liking my area.

As a ZL we have a mission council, this is just were we get instructed by President and the AP's on how they want the mission to go.  It’s really cool actually, that happened on New Years, and then this coming Saturday I will be meeting with the District Presidency to talk about missionary work.  That happens every month.  I’m still trying to figure out all my responsibilities though.  It’s a work in process.

I hope everyone had a good week and happy New Year.

Elder Park
The White African

January 1, 2014   District Council
Collin's first as a Zone Leader