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, April 28, 2014

April 28, 2014

Hello from LIB!!!

This week was so frustrating.  Elder Nabende went home on Wednesday so the three of us that were left, were put into a three-some...  oh how  I hate those.   So Elder Enwukweri and Godi and I were trying to figure out how to teach the whole week long.  It was very hard and stressful.  One day we would focus in one area and then the next day we focused on the other area…  so not a lot of time in my own area.

At the beginning of the year our mission President challenged us to read the Book of Mormon by May 1st.  So I've been working that and on Thursday I finished it.   I did Moroni's challenge at the end, and the Book is TRUE!!!

So we found out transfer news on Saturday. Elder Godi and I are still companions.... but we both moved to Congo Town!!!   We are going into a white washed area so we have a lot of work to do.   So yeah for us!!   I will tell you more about the apartment next week, but I have LEC so I have power whenever I want it.  (I asked him what LEC was and he said:  “its power that comes from the government that we pay for, it’s really cheap compared to generators, and we have it all night.   During the day we turn it off to save money since we aren’t in the apartment.   So basically it’s electricity that works normal”).   We have a deep well and also a water tower with a 1000 gallon tank.

I moved really far actually but I’m really glad I moved.  Elder Witehira and Montgomery will be sharing the apartment with us.

My time has finished,  I’m sorry I wasn’t on longer…  it’s been a rough day, not going to lie, moving, cleaning, atms not working, cafes not working.  stressful.  I love you none the less.

I love you!!!

Elder Park
The White African


Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014

I hope that everyone had a great Easter.  I forgot how Easter was here in LIB,  but it was good.  I was very surprised at how many investigators came to church yesterday.  There were about 6 people and a couple of them, 4 of them that were first timers.   One man I know but have never sat with him, but I've sat with his wife, decided to show up.  I probably haven’t even seen him for about 2 weeks and yesterday he randomly shows up at the end of sacrament meeting.  Miracles happen each day here!!

The week was really frustrating to be honest.  There were a lot of people that bounced us so it made it really frustrating.  We did have interviews with President Kirkham on Friday.   He gave me a couple things to improve on,  mostly just making sure that I extend the invitation for baptism on the first lesson every time.  That had always been a weak spot for me.  I just like to see if the person is truly interested and is willing to actually listen and change, most people aren’t, they just want to learn what the Bible says.  That’s not our purpose as missionaries.  Our purpose is to help others use the Atonement of Jesus Christ and have a remission of their sins, not to be dispensers of knowledge.

I never really understood Easter, and I didn’t really understand it till this week, to be completely honest.  I knew that it was to honor the Resurrection of Christ, but anything more that, I couldn’t tell you.  Back at home I remember that on Easter Sunday, the talks would be given by the best people.  Here they ask us to talk.  I was asked to talk along with Elder Nabende who has faithfully served an honorable 24 months and will be returning home on Saturday.  I focused my talk on the Atonement of course.  I spent the whole week learning about it and studying it.  I have so much love for my Savior.  John 3:16 is where I started.  Because our Father in Heaven loves us, he gave us His Son,  and if we believe in Him we will have everlasting life.   If we have Faith in him, we will repent of the sins that we have committed,  then we make covenants with God like at Baptism, and then comes the remission of our sins when we receive the Holy Ghost.  The final step is then to show our love for the Savior and keep the commandments, John 14:15.   I know that my Redeemer lives.  I know that each of us will be able to become like him if we just repent and make and keep covenants.  By doing this, we can also receive that glorious reward of everlasting life. 

I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  I know that when we learn and apply the principals of the gospel, we can get nearer to God than to anything else.  I know this church is true.  I love you all

Elder Park
The White African

In an extra email he wrote:
Sorry i emailed way early for you (yep, I wasn’t checking my email at 4:30), we have a busy day today.  We are going into town and getting transport is super hard so we left early.  I haven’t meet the Dever’s, but I might today if they are at the office (The Dever’s recently arrived in Liberia, they are also from Washington state, their niece is a family friend).   Transfers come this weekend but I’m 90% sure my comp and I are staying based on my interview with President Kirkham.   The living situation is still the same.   We are looking for a new apartment though. 

I sent him a picture from when Derek and I got lunch at the Café Rio restaurant that just opened nearby.  He wrote:
I’m jealous.  Last night for Easter dinner me and my companion spoiled ourselves and bought chicken thighs and fried them with jojos and a terrible pasta salad.  It’s going to suck coming home because my stomach was not correct after that....






Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014
Good afternoon everyone!!! Its 2:45 pm, slightly cloudy and humid as always!

This week was really good even though we didn’t accomplish our goals.  It was busy week too.  Very frustrating on Wednesday though ….  The reason behind that is we taught a less active girl that is younger than I am and has a baby (unfortunately, this is all too common here is LIB).  We’ve sat with her many times before and have very thoroughly covered what the Priesthood is with her.  We sit with her and her first question was, “what’s the Priesthood?” so frustrating.  But it was good, we explained it again and also how important it was, so hopefully she understands now.  To make it better, as we were walking back to the apartment, we ran into another less active man.  We asked him why he didn’t come to church and he just laughed.  It’s frustrating that people don’t always understand why coming to church is so important.  When we got to the apartment, I took my frustration out on the floor by doing as many pushups as a I possible could do, resting for a second and then doing it again.  I did a lot of pushups that night.  That was the only downer of the week though.  The rest of the week was great!! Sorry to start off on a sad note.
On Thursday I went on exchange with Elder Nabende who is going home to Uganda at the end of the month.  I look up to him so much.  I love this man!!  But that’s not the best part of Thursday. The best part is HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!!!!  (I love this kid!)

We have a man we are teaching named Travis Kollie.  I think I talked about him last week but we had a great lesson with him.  He wanted to learn more about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. So we covered that very thoroughly. We were expecting to see him at church but he didn’t come, so he’s not fully progressing anymore… but we have someone else who is progressing.  Beatrice has been sitting with us for about 3 weeks now.   We had a fantastic lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week.  The Spirit was so strong.  It really showed how important and true the Book of Mormon is.  We used a lot of scriptures from all of the Book of Mormon to teach the 5 principals.   I think that because of that lesson, she decided to come to church for the first time yesterday.  She came late so we didn’t actually see her till the end of Sunday school, but she said she’d been there for about 20 minutes.  So much for calling us…  but after church the Relief Society Sisters talked with her for a second which makes every missionary just happen!  I invite everyone who sees a new face come to church, go up and say hello to them.  Make a friend!!

We had a couple more first timers come to church yesterday too.  I am always happen when people we invite actually keep their commitments.  What’s  even better is when you meet 2 people on Saturday, teach them a quick lesson and then they come to church the next day.  I love people that do that!!!
Saturday was interesting.  I had a cousin get married, shout out to you Kim!! Congrats!! And I also had a close friend get married too, Congrats Mackenzie!!!  I wish both the newlyweds good luck!  But what was crazy about Saturday was this, I went to a wedding too!  Hahaha it was great!  Brother Felix is the man, he is the one we call if anything gets messed up or broken in the apartment.  He did the civil marriage on Saturday so that he can then go the temple in a couple months.  It was really cool to see how people get married here.  Tradition is great.  They had it at the district center and that place was PACKED!!!!

Sunday, we had 52 partake of the sacrament, and then by the end of sacrament meeting, we had about 80 in the chapel!!! I was so happy!
This morning I woke up a little vexed.  Last night there was a crazy storm that made it really windy which I loved, but also it kicked up a lot of sand… so I woke to find a thin layer of sand covering my body and my bed.  Oh I was happy, but I was too tired to complain about it.  I just undid my net and then took my sheet outside and shook it and put it in the wash, I mean I put into the bucket…  that’s life here in LIB!

Mission is the best.  I love everything that I’m able to do here and the people I meet.  I love this Gospel. I know it is true.  I hope you all had a great week!!

Elder Park
The White African


Monday, April 07, 2014

April 7, 2014

Happy Birthday to the Truest Church on the face on the earth, yesterday.  (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized by Joseph Smith on April 6, 1830 by Joseph Smith, Jr.)

This week my companion and I were able to teach the most lessons I have ever taught in Upper Caldwell.  It was a great week and also very very hot!!!

A normal week here in Upper Caldwell we get about 18 to 19 lessons a week.  This week we got 25.  We were working really hard.   We decided not to stand,  but to find someone to teach.   In doing so we had to go out of both our comfort zones and contact for a little while.  My whole mission, I've only really done that once.  This mission is so unique in the fact that we don’t really have to contact much.  People walk up to us.  (I think my contacting he means going door to door to meet people)

While contacting we met a woman named Sarah.   She went to church with a member when she was very small but still remembers a lot about it, she lost contact with the church because she moved.  I’m convince that it was the Spirit that lead us up there.  I've never been there before and Thursday, we just started walking and we found her.  Miracles happen on the daily here.

What’s even more miraculous is the attendance in church, about 6 weeks ago, we counted the attendance in sacrament meeting: 20 members.  Yesterday it was 48.  The numbers seem small, but some Liberians are very stubborn.   All the missionaries were so happy at the end of church.  Sometimes, often times, we get disappointed at church, but yesterday, we were all happy!

On Wednesday evening we got a referral from the Caldwell New Georgia Elders.  Travis Kollie is so cool!!!  He is Lutheran, but hasn’t been to church in 2 years.  He knows a lot of LDS people that are in good standing and are still strong in the church.  He ran for the House of Representatives a little while ago.   We sat with him on Thursday and read a lot of scriptures about our belief of the Trinity.   He said he learned a lot.  This guy is prepared for this Gospel.  I love the opportunities we get to meet people here. 

Friday we met a man that started to ask us some simple, but doctrinal, questions.   It eventually led to him asking us this: "which birth is more miraculous?  One born with no mother no father, one born with a father but no mother, or one born with a mother but no father?"  i looked at him for a second, thought for another, and said we can say all 3 are the most miraculous.  I have had many questions asked, some very easy to answer and some that I have no idea what the answer is or might be.  This is one that I've never had in the whole of my mission.  I wonder if I'll ever meet that man again.  All I know is that our Father in Heaven works in ways that we can not comprehend.  That’s why he is God and we are his children.

My week was great, I hope that you all got to hear conference, I'll read it in a month or two!!

Elder Park
The White African

I sent him some pictures of the food we were eating during Conference – homemade cinnamon rolls and homemade café rio pork salad.  He wrote:  “I’m vexed about it...  I want good food and being able to sit on  a comfortable couch and watch conference....  i miss American food bad way.

He also added: