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, May 26, 2014

May 26, 2014

Sinkor-Logan Town Combined Zone Conference
Back Row, L-R:  Elders Finau, Burr, Smith, Godi, Park, Montgomery, Witehira, Pishl,, Nakale , Price, Kamara, Connors, Osatohangbon
Middle Row, L-R:  Elders Dahlin, Okunrobo, Ideh,  Widdison, Sisters Muzambi,  Kithangu, Okeke, Iwenofu, Onwuka, Kiteto, Elders Elliott, Ayim, Bosomtwe
Front Row, L-R: Sisters Rametsi, Br. Missionary, Dever, Elder Dever, President Kirkham, Sister Kirkham, Elder Miles, Sisters Miles, Addo, Kizza 

Well this week wasn’t filled with teaching like the past two weeks were, but we had a very successful week none the less.

We had a great Zone Conference on Friday.  President Kirkham gave great instruction on how to increase the amount of lessons, as well as making our teaching pools a lot bigger with people that will truly keep the  commitments.  He showed us how to find people that are prepared.  It was great.

One way he did this was to demonstrate how to contact someone and within 4 sentences testify and invite.  We did a lot of practicing with that, using different ways to introduce.  Sometimes we used the fact that God has called a living Prophet, sometimes we talked about the Atonement and how it changes people.  There were many ways on how to approach people.  President also showed a great video, that I wish I remembered the name of, it was filled with the voices of the Apostles talking about how the Gospel changes people, how people can use the Atonement, how to find peace and happiness, it was a fantastic video.

Another thing that we talked about was why we use an Area Book.  For those that don’t know what that is, it’s a book that we use to remember who we meet, who we teach, who has been baptized, and who is less active.  This book is full of papers, and each piece of paper represents one person.  The reason why we have this is to help us know exactly what each individual needs to know.  We can use this paper to receive revelation on what to teach the person.  In 3 Nephi - Christ is talking to the Nephites and He tells them that He knows his sheep, and they are numbered.  This is how that is possible.  One thing that I was taught by an Elder a year ago when I was still brand new was how each paper represented one person,  and our Savior Jesus Christ died for each of them.  The way he demonstrated this was by having one Elder hold his arm straight out and placed the book in his hands and asked him to hold it.  This was representing how Christ had each of us in His hands. I may not be perfect at the area book I will definitely get better at it.

On Sunday we had a District Conference.  BIG NEWS!!!! We were all hoping for a stake, that didn’t happen. But, on June 8th Elder Curtis is coming and he is establishing a new District in LIB!!!  Man, it’s so exciting!!!   The church is truly growing here and it’s just awesome to be a part of it all.  This mission is the best and fastest growing in the world, as Elder Holland said,  “This is the African moment!!!”

The church is true and the book is blue!  I love you all.

Elder Park
The White African

Extra email: 

I’m teaching a lot of people, but not much was too impressive this week.  Only that one lady was wondering when we were coming back, I guess it had been a little while. so that was pretty cool and nice to hear.

OH!!! at District conference I got to see a lot of people from Tinker Village that I baptized!!   Wow I forgot to talk about that, that was such a rewarding moment to me.  I was so happy!  It was Elijah and Dorcus.   They are married traditionally but were baptized about 6 months apart.  I loved teaching them.  Dorcus was just so excepting of the gospel and was baptized quickly.  Elijah gave us a hard time, he made me study.   When I got to Tinker Village he was already being taught but only had a few of the lessons.  He would ask so many questions!!   It was a lot of fun.  I also gave Elijah one of my shirts a long time ago, rogues came into his house and took everything.  He wanted to come to church but didn’t have the priesthood, so i brought him one of my shirts and my comp at the time gave him a tie.  He is one of my Strongest Recent Converts.

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19, 2014

 It was a very successful week for us here in Congo Town. We taught a lot of lessons!! But not a whole lot to write about, but I will think of something to write.

 This week we had a total of 23 lessons!! That’s 2 more than we had last week. We even had more members who able to come around with us as well. We had more “Member Present” lessons than “Other” lessons (which is where it’s just the missionaries). Our mission President wants us to start teaching more lessons. He said the average amount of lessons taught in a week 2 years ago was about 30 to 32, but now the average is only 16… He wants us to start working harder and harder. One way he suggested was that when we get bounced, to look around and whoever you see, go talk to them and share a very simple message about the Restored Gospel and how our Heavenly Father has called a true and living Prophet here in the last days. Elder Godi and I both aren’t very good at contacting people so we are completely stepping out of our comfort zone and faithfully trying to follow the council of our mission President. We have had a little success since we started doing this; it really helps our teaching pool too. We have gotten a lot more people teach or to go follow up on.

Last week we met a man called Emmanuel, he called us over thinking that we were Jehovah Witness’. So we explained who we were and he was interested to listen to us. We set a return appointment for Saturday, we get to where we met him and called him but his phone was off. So we stood there a moment thinking of what to do. Elder Godi says lets go talk to those people and ask if they know Emmanuel, I’m very thankful that he suggested that because the house we went to was his house. It was a small miracle. Finding people sometimes is hard since there are no addresses and a lot of people like to turn off their phone which sucks. But we found him and he is hilarious!! He seems like a great guy and even accepted the invitation to be baptized.

 Another miracle we had was how Trokom, a blind man, came to church on his own. I have no idea how he made it but he got there super early and even beat us on getting to church building. Trokom is really cool but he can talk a lot!!! Sometimes a feel that he talks more than us which isn’t bad, but sometimes the things that he talks about are not related to the topic at all.

 Speaking of church, there was a good amount of people there on Sunday because it didn’t rain. When it rains, not a whole lot of people come to church which is a little annoying but that’s LIB. The Gospel Essentials class was packed!! There were a lot of investigators and Recent Converts that came which was great. We even had a guy who lives in a different area come to church with us. I’m a little bummed that we had to refer him to different Elders in a different branch since he showed up randomly.

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!! (on May 18th)

 A couple weeks ago we found a man that was baptized in 1998 but was less active because of family reasons. We hadn’t been able to sit with him or his family till this gone Friday. So we now have a Part Member family to teach. The wife, who is of a different faith, was really receptive to the Message of the Restored Gospel. She even accepted a baptismal invitation. We are now teaching the whole family and even the children, who are of age, have baptismal dates. 

It was a very productive week and it went by super fast. I hope everyone had a good week as well!!

I love you all!
 Elder Park
The White African

Monday, May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014

This week was full of hard work and sweat…. The sun is hot man!!!

I wish all the Mothers in the world a Happy Mothers day. Calling my family was by far the best part of the week!!

Here is the letter that I sent to my Mission President. (because we had just talked to him the day before, he really didn’t have anything to write about)


This week seemed to be the hardest working week for Elder Godi and I.  We really felt like we were effective throughout the week.  We did a lot of contacting and finding, but we realized because some of the dates we had for the investigators from the Elders before were very long past, we couldn’t find them, so we found new people. We found one man whose father is a member but passed not too long ago.  He would often times go to church with him over in Caldwell.  As we were walking to our next appointment he called us over.  It was a small miracle because he said he loved the church but moved once his father died and could never find the missionaries.

We also were told about a Recent Convert we needed to see.  Problem was that we didn’t know where she lived.  So we got to the general place and just started asking people for her, since we didn’t have her number, we just starting to ask.   We eventually found her and it was great that we did, she was asked to teach in Relief Society on Sunday about the blessings that come from the Priesthood.  So we were able to help her prepare for that.

The branch is great.  President Wesseh is fantastic.  The branch is having the meetings that they should be having which is great.  We are working well with our Branch Mission Leader and he actually helps us.
I hope that all of you had a great week.

Elder Park
The White African

Extra emails:
I’m in the Sinkor zone and Zone conference will be on May 23rd.

I told him we finally got a Café Rio restaurant nearby, he said:  “I want Cafe Rio bad!!!”  He wants to go to Café Rio on the way home from the airport next January!  

He got to call home on Mother’s Day, we talked to him for almost w hours, and then he called Katie, Grandma and Grandpa.  “I’m glad grandma was excited I called, grandpa was hilarious!!”  I asked him what was so funny with Grandpa and he said:  “he asked how long i talked to you and I said about 2 hours.  He said,that’s terrible way to long!!   It was just funny."

Notes from the Mother’s Day call:

We play baseball batting practice with Easter Eggs every year.  He asked how many eggs we hit this year.  I told him I brought about 8 dozen.  Did I realize we smashed 48 breakfasts?

“I only put deodorant on so I don’t forget how”

He’s in a nicer area of Liberia, the former president of Liberia used to live about 5 minutes from his apartment,  the “Palm Springs Resort” is nearby, so is the Chinese Embassy.  This area has a lot of hills so he gets a workout every day. I asked him if the President still lived there, and he said no.   He was corrupt and because of what he did during the war the English have put him in a prison in England for war crimes.

“love handles” are called “rice bags” by the missionaries because they eat so much rice.

He would rather get malaria than some of the other diseases they have over there.

It didn’t matter what Derek would brag about doing here, Collin would always say “but I’m in Africa!”  He loves it there and doesn’t mind missing movies, ball games, or many other things, because he gets to be in Africa!

One more phone call and then he will be coming home!   

Monday, May 05, 2014

 May 5, 2014

This week, what an adventure.

At home, they say:   April showers bring May flowers.  Here it is:  April sun brings May storms.
Well to start off, rainy season has begun, so now it’s time for jumping over puddles and running.  Life as a LIB missionary is sweetoo!!   This week also has been very interesting too, lots of things have happened.  Hopefully I will be able to remember everything.

Since we are in a white washed area, we had to completely rely on the members for help.  We have an area book that holds all the information, but since there are really no addresses here, if you don’t know the house, you’ll never find it and the person will be lost… which isn’t good.  The addresses here are like “Kpeleh Town,” but then you realize that Kpeleh town is about a square mile big.  LIB is sweet!! So what we did was this, we called Emmanuel Kolleh, who was baptized in September and is preparing to start his mission papers, he showed us pretty much the whole area in one day. This guy is great.  I thank him so much for what he did to help us.  We did that with different people throughout the week. 

We called our Branch Mission Leader who is a returned missionary of about 5 months, man this guy is good.  He was nonstop contacting people.  To be completely honest, contacting is still very hard for me.  Most of my mission people have just come up to me and asked who we are and what we do.  I learned a lot from him.

In Congo Town there are about 5342346 times more people than in Upper Caldwell (his last area) so I have a feeling that it is going to be a lot easier for the work to progress.   We met a lot of our brothers and sisters who are investigating the church throughout the week, one of them is Brother Trokom.  This guy is blind!!  He is so cool.  He has a copy of the Book of Mormon in braille and it’s so cool watching him read it, it’s crazy how blind people can do that.  He didn’t come to church yesterday which was a bummer because he had been to church the two weeks before.

My apartment is nicknamed ‘the Mansion’ by the couples because of how huge this place is.  It has 2 master bedrooms, 2 other bedrooms and an extra bathroom, big kitchen, we have a deep well and a water tower that holds about 1000 gallons of water, 3 dogs that love us, 2 security guards that come at 7pm and leave at 7am.  The compound is on the top of a hill so the view is awesome!  One side is the ocean which is about a 10 minute walk. The other is a view of Peace and Pagos Islands.  It’s a beautiful area.  Congo Town is great!!!

I know I’m leaving something out and I’m sorry but I can’t remember.  I hope you had a great week and I love you all and miss you.

Elder Park
The White African

From additional emails:

I asked him about the security guards:   “We live in the compound with the owner and he had people break in and steal from him a while ago.  The guy has money since he lived in the states for a while and he's old so he can’t defend against rouges so he hired people to.’ 

Collin’s boots were stolen last year off the front porch, so I asked if he had gotten more:  “I got more boots a while ago.  I still hate them though, they hurt my feet.  Last year I managed most of the rainy season without them so I’m planning for that this year!”

I asked him if there were a lot of people at church:  “church attendance was good, lots of people.  The place is nice.  It’s fairly new and still looks good!!"

“Congo town is on your way from Central Monrovia going towards ELWA junction which leads you to Tinker Village.   This place is sweet!”