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, February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014
I don’t have much time.   We went to town today to buy a few things. It took us forever to get into town and then it was just one of those days that EVERYONE wanted to talk to us.  But it’s okay, This is a letter that I sent to President Kirkham today:

This week was a challenging week.  First off, we had the zone conference (with Elder Curtis, the Africa West Area President came) which made it a little hard to go out and see a lot of people, but we did manage to see one less active afterwards which was good.  I really enjoyed the conference.  I learned a lot of new ways to help others learn how to recognize the spirit.  Even for me, I did that personal study on page 95 of PMG.  I did it before the conference and then again after.  I learned that a lot of my prayers are very vague and not too specific.

Church was a little rough for Upper Caldwell branch, I counted how many people were in the chapel during the sacramental hymn.  I counted only 20 minus a couple of the small primary children, and 4 of those were the Elders.  After church I talked with the branch president.  President Smith is very open to the opinions we give to him.  Even this week we are going to the Branch Council meeting on Sunday to talk about some things, mainly just about how people need to visit other members.  We will ask for help to find the less-actives.  Since the church is building the new chapel, we want to fill it.  Instead of increasing the membership, we are going to strengthen it.  Pres. Smith is totally on board with it.  I'm excited to see how this branch will grow in the next couple weeks.

On Thursday we had a service project at a part member home.  We cleared some land at the back of the house for the children to play football.  We probably are going to go play with them next P-day. They were very happy that we helped (that was so much fun!! it was super hot too, so the sun beat us bad way.   We got covered in dirt, but we are little kids at heart even though we wear the name Jesus Christ on our chest.)  (end of the letter to President Kirkham)

On Valentine’s day I wore a red tie, not much to show your holiday spirit as a missionary. dark trousers, white shirt, but I get to change the tie!!!  Around our compound there are a lot of small children, we play with them on the daily!!! It’s great.  One is named Henya (sp?) he looks so funny!  He's learning how to talk, so listening to him is hilarious.  Most of the time he just points at us and just says "You!" we do it back to him and he laughs.  It’s fun to play with the kids.

Random thought: most people, when they try to say my name, say Elda Paul.  So this is how I get them to say it correctly.  "Elder Park, like you are parking the car," it makes them laugh every time!!! Sister Helena always asks me if I've parked my car.  Upper Caldwell is a tough area for missionary work, but the people are great.  

I love my mission!!!

This isn’t the best letter but time is super small.  I promise next week will be better. I love you all!!!

Elder Park
The White African
I asked him about singing because I heard through the grapevine – his companion’s mom – that Collin liked to sing and sang a lot!   That made us all laugh!  He wrote:
The singing, there are times where I remember a song back at home so I just sing part of it while walking, it’s usually only a line or two.   Also, I sing at the beginning of companion study and at the close.   I sing all the time, mostly because I have to.  But yeah, I guess I sing. 

From an extra email I asked him why they call him Uncle Elder Park:  The Uncle Elder Park,  that was just one small girl that called me that.  But most of the time it’s just uncle.  It just shows respect to someone older than you.   Every woman I see, I call them ma.

Here is part of Elder Orton’s email this week, he also serves in the Liberia Mission:
"I wanted to share the numbers of the mission last week but I didn't have them with me but I do this week.  Worldwide last year, the church had 4.5 baptisms per missionary per year.  If you take out the U.S. numbers the average goes up to 5.7 per missionary per year. Within Africa it goes up to 10.5 per year. Then within West Africa it goes up to 12.7 per missionary per year. Within Liberia it goes up to 18.1 per year.  With these numbers the average missionary in Liberia would experience about 36.2 in one year and about 72.4 baptisms in the average mission.  Last year in Liberia we had 1201 baptisms and if you remember we didn’t really have that many missionaries here last year.  The mission wasn’t official until July.   It will be interesting to see how the numbers change. 
As of Christmas when I asked Collin, he was right on track with the Liberia number. 

Here is a picture he sent: 

Collin is top row, second from left

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