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, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014
This week was fast but a little trying for me.  it seems like I need to work on some patience.
On Wednesday I went on exchange with Elder Zolo (Ivory Coast, Native French Speaker).  I absolutely love this guy.  I learned so much from him.   He was actually in the same apartment as me when I first came to LIB.   We were able to have a good amount of lessons on a short proselyting day.  He gave me some really good ideas on how I can improve and I have implemented them in the rest of the week and it was great. 
On Thursday and Friday we spent a lot of time in the apartment because we had a problem with our water, so since I am the District Leader, I had be there all day... so it was kind of a bummer.

We had some good lessons this week though.  Melvin is a less active member.  We're not sure the main reason why, most Liberians will tell us, but for some reason Melvin just won’t come to church.  We did meet his mother and father the other day, but they were very uninterested, and it seemed like they didn’t want us there at all, so we left.  It was very strange.  My companion noticed something that I didn’t which isn’t very good.   It was a mark of a society here in LIB so that’s probably the reason why they didn’t want us anywhere close.  It shows you how the Spirit effects people., the Spirit is so powerful and so important.   We did have a lesson with Melvin though.  We talked about the Priesthood,  it was good for him, he had somewhat forgot about it. 
Nacy is also a less active.  Her father was a Bishop at one point, back when they had a stake here.  It’s been about a year for her since she came to church.  With her we read Mosiah 2:22, 41, we asked her what her biggest desire was, read the scriptures, and then we had to say what it meant for her.  We talked about how the only way for you to receive the things that you want in life is to keep the commandments.  Then we talked about the commandments, but for her, she is stubborn, and won’t come to church.  she says that it’s too far of a distance,  she'll wait for when the new big chapel is built.  What sucks is that her brother has a car, (hard to see people with cars here) he is less active too.  This is a struggling family, but they know that the church is true, so I guess that’s a good thing.

I had a pretty good week how was yours??
Elder Park
The White African

I asked about when the new building would be done.  He wrote:  The new building has a two year contract on it so it'll be a while.   The reason why is because during the rainy season, they will stop working and things will spoil so they will have to  redo some things.
Less actives members are sometimes hard,  sometimes only one visit makes the difference.

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014
The week flew again!
I had a very humbling experience happen on Tuesday, being here in general is humbling, but during District Meeting, Elder Enwukweri gave a small instruction.  He asked us to talk small about our struggles we had before we came on mission.   I was the last one to talk, in my district I am the only white man,  everyone else is African.  Wow, to listen to their stories is stunning.  Hearing how they literally battled to go on mission and the determination to serve.  When it got to me, I literally couldn’t say anything.  I really didn’t have any trials or struggles, I literally had all the support I could ever want or ever needed.  I thank you all so much for your love and support.

These past 2 weeks I have worked harder than I have before and I am just physically exhausted.  Being here in Upper Caldwell, hmmm, no small work you have to do.   We live on a generator from 7 to 10:30pm.   We don’t have running water, but we have a hand pump that is for the community, that’s how we get our water.  Pumping that thing is hard!!!!  and then carrying 2 buckets back to the apartment  isn’t much fun.  It’s a lot of work being here.
My companion, Elder Godi, from Zimbabwe, came from and apartment where you didn’t have to work much, so he’s been really tired this week too.   It’s been a great week though, still taught a lot of lessons.  Abraham is awesome but he just wants to learn too much, but he's smart enough.   We just have to check his motives.   A lot of Liberians listen and learn from us but then run away and build their own church even though they fully understand the Restoration and the need for Priesthood keys.  It’s really frustrating at times.

On Sunday we had a District Conference for Bushrod Island District.  (i only have one more of these left on my mission!!) (time flies).  I was able to see a lot of members from Doe Community.  Doe Community was my first area.  Even though i didn’t spend long there, I love that place and I love the people.  I was also able to see some of the people I was able to baptize a year ago.  it literally brought tears to my eyes when i saw that they were still active.  I’m still speechless about it.  This mission is the best.  So many miracles happen.  I love LIB. 
I love you all and pray for you always.  I hope you have a great week

Elder Park
The White African

I asked him about being the only white guy in the apartment, he said:  “yeah, the only white man.  It’s not bad.  The Elders I’m with don’t seen color.  Only Elder Enwukweri jokes every one one time about it.  It’s not bad.  It’s my first time that this has happened.  It’s cool.  Enwukweri is from Nigeria, Nabende is from Uganda, and Godi is from Zimbabwe.

Living here isn’t easy, especially in my apartment.   It’s nick name is the outer darkness apartment....
Below is a picture sent to me by Sister Berrett, one of the senior missionaries serving in Liberia.

 Elders Enwukweri, Nabende, Park and Godi

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014
This transfer period was probably the fastest transfer of my mission, these past 6 weeks flew.   We got our transfer news on Saturday night, but I will hold off on spilling the beans!

This week was also the best week of the transfer.   We worked harder than I have worked in my entire mission.   I was exhausted, I am exhausted.. 
On Tuesday there was an exchange with my Zone Leaders.  I went with Elder Dahlin, who was the last of my MTC  I could serve with.  I have now been able to serve at least one day with everyone from my MTC group.   That’s super cool!!!  We had a great day and he was able to give me some really good advice.  Elder Witehira went with Elder Zolo (ivory coast).  i don’t know what they did, but ever since then, Elder Witehira has been on fire.   I love that guy!

Wednesday was just a normal day, but on Thursday I went on exchange again.  This time with Elder Enwukweri from Nigeria, he's only 3 months older than me on mission but sometimes acts older.  Some people get tired faster than others.  It was a good day though, he was a little sick but still wanted to go around.   In this mission, we missionaries don’t like staying in the apartment because of how hot it gets inside during the day.  So we weren’t gonna stay. 
Friday we planned on seeing 7 people.  Out the 7 we planned for, we saw one of them, but we still had a fantastic day.   We saw a lot of really good people.  Sister Theresa is super nice but she won’t really listen to us anymore.  The Jehovah Witnesses kept giving her free things so she wants to go  there.  (I asked what they had given her, he said:  “They gave Theresa a really cool looking bible.  Bibles are somewhat hard to get around here.”)

Saturday, we taught a lot of people about the Restoration.  It was a good day.  We felt proud of ourselves when we closed for the day.  Lennox is cool.  Very eager to start listening to our message. 
Sunday was just normal.

Elder Nabende will finish his mission in Upper Caldwell.  Elder Enwukweri will be the one to 'kill' him. (missionary lingo for being the last companion someone has on mission).   These two share the apartment that Collin lives in.
Elder Witehira is going to Congo Town to be with a Zimbabwean.  Me, I received Elder Godi who is also from Zimbabwe as my new companion.  Round 2 with an elder from Zimbabwe!!

My week was great! I hope everyone else had a good week too.
Elder Park

The White African

I’m bummed Witehira left, by far my favorite companion on mission.  Yeah this was his first move im happy for him though.  Transfers happened this morning.  Elder Godi loves rugby. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014
What a good week

Tuesday I was able to go on exchange with Elder Nabende (he's from Uganda).  He took me into his area.  This exchange was unusual.  I have been on exchanges many times with him when I was in Tinker Village since he was my Zone Leader, but this time I was the one conducting the exchange.  It was really good, we saw a lot of people.   Our first lesson was with Dianna (I had a great lesson with you Mom!!), this woman is really nice, very polite and very educated.  She has spent a lot of time in Nigeria and Ghana and has met with missionaries over there, but moved and lost contact.  She is also the one that we bought lunch from.   She had a very strange soup that day too, it was made out of banana's.   It was really good actually!

On Wednesday we met with Sister Tyler.  Her husband has been a member for about 2 years, but spent a lot of the time less active.  A couple Sundays ago they both randomly showed up to church so we jumped on it!   This woman is fantastic!!  She's an older woman, but is going to college to further her education in nursing.  When her husband was baptized, she didn’t have a problem with it, but wanted nothing to do with the church.  But over time she became a little interested.  That’s when we came in.  Before we gave her a Book of Mormon, she was scared to even hold, now she's reading it!!  Although she is traveling for the next couple weeks, I have a feeling that she will bring her Book of Mormon.

Thursday we struggled small, and when I say small, I mean a lot.  No one was home.  Our mission president has said, if you get bounced, look around and teach whoever you see.   So we tried that, still didn’t work.  Everyone was either busy or there was no one there... but, we managed to see a couple people and even find three less actives.  We were able to clear a lot of doubt about Joseph Smith, teach someone about the Restoration, and then help someone know the truth about the Book of Mormon.
On Friday we had a Zone Meeting.  At the end of it, it started to rain...  March is supposed to be the hottest and driest month of the year, but that day, it decided to rain.  It was really annoying too,
We had a great day planned.  We met with Sunnie.  This guy is great.  He's very young, but super smart and ready for the truth.   We have met with him about 3 times this gone week and he's just eating it up.  He loves the Book of Mormon, which he was also a little scared of at first.

Saturday, well I won’t talk about Saturday because it was just a bad day.

This whole transfer we have focused on the Book of Mormon, almost 90% of our lessons have been somehow connected to the Restoration of the Gospel.   This transfer has flown too.  This is now week 6 of the transfer, which means we will find out who is getting transferred on Thursday, hopefully.

I hope that all is well with whoever reads this.  I love you all

Elder Park
The White African

I posted the picture from last week on face book, the one showing him doing his laundry, I asked him if there wasn’t someone he could hire, he wrote:

Hahaha, sometimes, depending on the area, people will come wash for you, sometimes for free and sometimes not.  I've had both.  One area was 10  LD (12 cents) for every clothing item, and then a different area, 100LD for everything (just over $1).  My future wife will love me,  especially because I won’t make her wash everything buy hand.  The woman here,  wow, much respect!  Those ladies can wash!!!  It literally takes all day for some people because of the amount of clothes.    I have to wash by hand, hang it on the drying rack, wait all day, sometimes two days, and then fold all of them...  sweet LIB

Monday, March 03, 2014

March 3, 2014

This week FLEW!!!!!!!   Holy cow did it go fast!

On Tuesday as I was preparing for our District Meeting, I got a call from President Kirkham... ever since 2014 started, I've seen him and talked with him more than I did for the first 6 months of his presidency, it’s weird.   He said he wanted to come to our district meeting... here I am saying, oh goodness, I didn’t prepare very well...  but it was okay he took most of the time anyway.  He was talking to us about how we need to strengthen the branch, he even asked us if he should move the missionaries out.  Our reply was simple, we all said, President, we didn’t come to serve because it was easy, we aren’t complaining about how hard and dry this area is.  If you take us out of the area, it will be the downfall of this branch, and more people will be going less active.  We don’t want to move.  President didn’t say much after that.  That also leads into what I was going to talk about, about how successful missionaries become successful.  Example: Ammon and the Sons of Mosiah,  they suffered beyond belief, look at the end result of their 14 year mission.  We are just serving for 2, we can suffer small.

On Wednesday we saw so many people!  It was one the best days of the week.  We only saw 3 of the 7 people we planned for, but it was sweet.  After one lesson, our question was, 'who's next?'  We were constantly looking for someone to teach.   We had a great lesson with Ophelia who has a problem with forgiving people, so we shared with her how Christ forgave those that killed him.  It was great lesson.

Thursday was awesome!  I have wanted to do this for the whole of my mission, go out with just a Book of Mormon, Thursday we did it!   Oh it was so fun, it really tested our knowledge of the Book of Mormon.  It’s also a testimony builder too.   Most Liberians don’t understand what the Book of Mormon talks about, so when we did nothing but use it, it was great.  Daniel knew almost nothing about it, so we talked about it.   Almost every lesson we had focused on the Book of Mormon.  It was a fun day.

This whole week was good.  We were always trying to see one more person, have one more lesson.  It made the days fly.  President Kirkham has set a goal for us:  double our lessons.  It is not going to be easy, but Elder Witehira and I are up for the challenge! 

Missionary work is divine!  and amazing!!!   I love this mission.

I love you all and hope you have a good week!

Elder Park

The White African


This is Elder Witehira and Collin
 Elders Enwukweri, Nabende, Witehira, Park
The first two pictures were sent to me by Sister Berrett - many thanks to her!
Collin sent the next pictures:
This was Collin's little friend in Tinker village - of course he had to pose!
The Karate kid!
Still a kid - love that smile!
Yep, this is how he does laundry, every week!  He really is looking forward to using a washing machine when he gets home.