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, July 28, 2014

July 28, 2014

No letter from Collin today.   I kept refreshing my email, but nothing came.   Later that day I received a note from Sister Berrett.   The Berrett's are a "senior couple" serving as missionaries in the Liberian Mission.   They take care of the missionaries, make sure they have what they need, and it's wonderful to know that they are watching out for our boys.  I love that Collin thought I might worry and wanted me to know that he was ok.  

Sister Berrett's note:

Sister Park - just got a call from Elder Park asking if I would let you know that when they went to the internet cafe, there was no internet so his whole apartment was unable to email today.  He knew you'd be worried.  He wanted me to be sure and tell you that 'HE LOVES YOU!'  (I'll bet you already know that!)  and not to worry.  I know this is not as good as getting an email from your missionary today, but hope it helps.   Sister Berrett

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014

Well the week was dry until about 3AM this morning and it hasn’t stopped raining since..

Last Monday we went to Matadi to have to football (soccer?) game with all the dying missionaries (missionaries that are at the end of their missions and going home).  It’s somewhat of a tradition now, on the last P-day, you go have a big football game against one of the branches.  It was a lot fun seeing those guys, I will miss them.   I saw two of my former companions, Marondera and Myaka.   I also saw some missionaries that were the first ones that I ever met in LIB.  I will miss them so much.

We got a free ride from a Member who lives in Ghana but was here for work.  After talking with him for a while, we came to learn that he was the first missionary so start proselyting in West Africa.  Issac Dadzie is want sweet guy.  He had so many cool stories, along with some very crazy stories!  He said there have been articles in the Liahona and Ensigns about him since the early 80’s.  I want to say 1983, but I hope that you will go and check it out!!  (I couldn’t find anything about him, maybe his name is spelled differently?  If anyone can find out about him, please let me know).

Okay, what happened this week… oh yeah…  SO MANY LESSONS!!!

Elder Jemba and I are on a role!  Wednesday and Friday were our best days with about 6 lessons a day.  We were just constantly moving and working.  I am exhausted!!! Thank goodness for P-Day.

We had a group of guy’s call us over one day and wanted to ask many questions.  So we sat under a plum tree (did he mean palm tree?) close to the ocean, in a circle, teaching them of the Restoration and answering many questions.  It was so much fun and I am so thankful that Spirit was there to help us answer and resolve the concerns that were brought up.

We have a woman that we are teaching that schooled in Guinea and can speak both English and French, but can only read French.  So we were scrambling to find the French pamphlets so we could help her.  We also got a French Book of Mormon for her and when we brought it her, her face lit up and she was so happy.  As we went over the book, we had her read some passages.  She totally understood everything that we were saying because she now could read it.  I am so thankful for power that the Book of Mormon has, and the effect on people it has.  It truly is the best book in the world.

This Saturday is LIB’s Independence Day, so not a whole lot of teaching will happen that day, so, we have to work very hard during the week.  But it will be fun!  I hope that all of you had a great week.

Elder Park
The White African

In an extra email:
My whole area is along the beach.   We oftentimes go down and just realize how powerful and merciful our Father is.

I wrote:  David asked how you were doing.   Actually a lot of people asked how you were doing since I saw friends from all over the stake.   What do you want me to tell them?  His answer:   “You  tell them that I am sweaty!!   But I’m doing great.”

I wrote:  I asked David what the weirdest or hardest thing about being home was, and he said being around so many white people, it’s kind of scary.   Didn't you say the same thing when we talked at Mother’s Day?  He said:    “Every time I see a white person, it’s like I forget how to speak.  It’s so awkward seeing them.”

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014

This week was fast, but it was great.

To start, we had a baptism on Saturday for Benjamin.  His mother got baptized about a month ago so it was great to be uniting a family.  Benjamin asked me to baptize him so i was able to physically help someone make covenants with Our Father in Heaven.   Every time that I am the one baptizing the person, that whole morning I remember a talk that Elder Holland gave about being 'Commissioned of Jesus Christ,' he was explaining that as missionaries we aren’t just changing someone’s life when we raise our arm to the square and say the words, we are also changing our own life.  I have always understood that what I was doing was important but I never thought of it the way Elder Holland explained it.   I heard that talk about a year ago, I love listening to it.  I was also able to be the one to baptize the candidate for the Sisters (the sister missionaries).   I was able to baptize two people on Saturday and I am so very thankful for being on a mission and helping people change their life, along with changing my own.

President Kirkham has me focusing on the simple doctrines of the missionary lessons which is making teaching a lot easier and making the lessons shorter too.   It is also making a lot of the concerns some have stop coming up.   It’s great.   As I was studying, I came across 3 Nephi 27:13-21.   This is 9 short verses explaining what the mission of Christ is, and what his Doctrine is, and explains what happens to those that accept it, but then fall away. It’s a great passage to read with people.  I found it in the morning and later that day I was able to use it with a less active member, his whole attitude changed as we read it together.  I am so thankful for the scriptures, especially for the Book of Mormon.

Speaking of the Book of Mormon.   We sat with one girl, Britonline, and followed on from the previous lesson about the Book of Mormon.  She said she hadn’t read anything yet, so we decided to have her look at the pictures in the front, pick her favorite one and we'll read it.  She chose the perfect one.   She chose the crowning event in the whole book, when the Savior came to the Nephites.   We read the whole chapter of 3 Nephi 11.   The spirit did wonders with her.   We asked her what she thought of it after we finished, she said, Joseph Smith is a true Prophet and the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  It was great and all but left me speechless.   Once again, I am so thankful for the Book of Mormon.

This week was a great one and it went by way to fast!!!

I am so thankful for the Book of Mormon and the power of the Holy Ghost!!!.

The Church is True!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Park
The White African

I asked him a couple of questions, I sent a couple pictures of his friend and our neighbor who had just returned from his mission to Taiwan, and I asked him about his new companion.  He wrote: 

The weather was pretty good, not too rainy.  I got the pics and I’m totally jealous, and I somewhat forgot how a 1st world airport looked like.   We are doing good and working super hard.

I love you so much!!!!  (ok, that part was for Mom, but that was my favorite part!)

Monday, July 07, 2014

July 7, 2014

This week was very crazy and also very wet.  I don’t think that it has really dried out since last Monday…

Lots of things happened this week, where to start..?

Tuesday was pretty normal, we had a district meeting at our chapel.  It was pretty good.  We talked about how the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have come out and told us that we need to teach all 5 of the missionary lessons.  Normally it was just the first 4, and then after the baptism we teach all 5.  I think that teaching all 5 lessons before baptism will be a great benefit in helping with retention, which is a struggle here.  That day my shoes got soaked!!!  I had a thought that I should wear my rain boots but I decided not to… such a regret…

Tuesday night we got a call from the Zone Leaders telling us that there is an emergency transfer happening.  Elder Godi was moved to Paynesville Branch 1 and I receive Elder Jemba.  Elder Jemba is from Uganda and is from Elder Godi’s MTC.  This is round 3 with people from that MTC.  Elder Baldwin, Godi, and now Jemba are all from the same MTC.

Wednesday it continued to rain…  We had a good day in the field though, 5 lessons, and 2 new investigators.  Elder Jemba is somewhat aggressive, which is necessary here, I learned that I do need to be a little more aggressive, but I have to be careful though, we can’t force people to listen to us.  We contacted some new people too, so our teaching pool is growing!

Thursday, more rain. But it wasn’t so bad our shoes didn’t get completely wet.  We were able to get even more people in our teaching pool!   Elder Jemba has been on fire with getting people to accept baptismal dates.

Friday (Happy 4th of July!!!) we had interviews with President Kirkham at the mission office.  We didn’t want to wear boots since we were going to town.  It was raining when we left, but we brought our umbrellas anyway.  SO SMART!!!!!   We were in a middle of a lesson and it started to POUR!!!  It rained so much that we weren’t able to walk to a junction to get car for town, it flooded the road.  So we decided to wait and prayed that someone would generously pick us up and get us across the water.  A couple cars pass, one passed, stopped, backed up and asked where we were going, we told him and he said get in.  The man is a Muslim but felt bad for us and took us all the way to where we wanted to go.  I was so thankful!!  Even though we got a ride fairly quick, we were still SOAKED!! President was behind for interviews so we had to wait for ever.  I looked out the window and was so thankful that I was inside.  I have never seen it rain that hard for that long in my entire life.   We also got a free ride home to, it didn’t cost us anything to get and from town!

Saturday, more rain…  it also caused that Trokom was once again not baptized.  There are a couple things we have to talk about with him, but this isn’t the place to talk about so sorryo!

Sunday was normal.  Thank goodness it didn’t rain. It was actually really sunny, and since the water was everywhere, it was really humid… but that’s LIB!

I hope that everyone had a great 4th and was safe. I love you all and miss you!

Elder Park
The White African