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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 30, 2014

So how did it reach October already???

This week was pretty busy and I feel like we were working pretty hard but the numbers didn’t show.  Good thing it’s not all about the numbers.  We had some really good lessons with people though.

We are working with a guy that has been less active for about 7 years and he is just so excited about coming back to church, I really like working with him. He's also really excited to go to conference and feel the Spirit of the living Prophet.

We met with a recent convert, Brittany, who brought a non member friend to the lesson!!   I was so excited.  We had a great lesson with Jani about the Restoration.  There is still a couple things that she is a little hesitant towards, but that is not going to be a big issue.  I’m so excited to work with her and watch her grow in the gospel.

We have a couple other people we are working with and it’s been pretty fun.  We are slowly starting to teach more and more which is awesome.

OH i forgot.....  it POURED all day Saturday... we got soaked and so cold.  It was so weird, Thursday it was about 90 degrees, and now it is super cold...  I’m not too excited for this winter, but I know there is no way to avoid it.. not excited,   Give me dry season in LIB I beg!!!

When i got to the SLCCM (Salt Lake City Central Mission) I got a hand-me-down bike and something happened to the back wheel.  Yesterday a member had an extra wheel that he just gave to me!!  So happy that I didn’t have to spend money on the bike.  The members here are awesome.

Well sorry this is such a short letter, we are pretty busy today and not much happened.

Elder Park
The White Utah

A lady who was at the Mission Office sent me this picture of Collin and Elder Hale

A friend dropped pizza off at their apartment

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 23, 3014

Well this week was pretty crazy.

Tuesday i moved to my new apartment.  I live in the basement of a very old widow.  She is turning 94 in December…  she makes us say goodnight to her every day, and she makes us call her Granny.   She is so funny, she is still totally there, remembering everything that happens.  I was laughing the other day, she was watching a show on FDR and she told us that the year she got married was the year FDR passed away.  She remembers everything!!!  Also, she is a champ!  She still manages a garden, every day at about 9, we hear her walking around and she is weeding the garden.   She is so cool!!

Tuesday was pretty much just a cleaning day for us…  The Elder that I replaced went home, so he left a lot of stuff...  I mean a lot!!!  Most of it was food, and it was killing me to be throwing food away.  After living in LIB, I have a new sense of 'if I’m not gonna eat it, I don’t buy it.'  The previous Elder didn’t have that...  he was a great missionary, but just left a lot of wasted food.

It’s taking me a little while to figure out the area, only because it is so big!!   I cover 3 wards in the YSA stake.  so my area is pretty much the city of Murray and then some.   So I was lost most of the week.  Thank goodness Elder Hale knows quite a bit of the area.   Being on bikes does save some time, yesterday we went from 900 east and 4800 south to State and 6100 south in about 8 minutes going through a construction site...  i'd say we made pretty good time!

On Sunday church was canceled,  but that was because of the Ogden Temple Re-dedication.  (They broadcasted the meeting to the Stake Center buildings in the Salt Lake area)   It was so cool be around to do that.  There were three different sessions of it, and I went to the one at 1pm.  I missed out on hearing President Monson speak, but I got to hear Holland and Eyring, it was so cool!!!!!!!  i love listening to them speak.  Holland said something that really stood out to me.  It was about when he was in the area presidency in England, his son went through the temple for the first time, but he wasn’t able to go,  his wife got to go.   He said I really didn’t do much to prepare him, i just taught a couple FHE's and that was about it.  That’s usually how the fathers are with preparing sons for temple covenants and missions.  Mothers are the ones that prepare them.  That stood out to me so much.   Thank you mom for everything, and dad, thank you too buddy :)

On my mission i have met many people from around the world.  On Monday I was on exchange with an Elder from Brasil.  This guy is so funny.   I learned a lot from him.   It was somewhat of a long day but  that’s just because we were in my area and I really didn’t know anyone, and where anything was, so that was a little tough.   It was a good day though

My week was good.  It went by really fast too.

Elder Park
The White African... in Utah

I asked him more about his apartment and his new companion who is from Ephrata, Washington.  He said: 
"I really do like my new apartment, the carpet is a little weird, it also makes it a lot warmer, so that’s nice.  My comp has been out about 7 weeks so he's green.  I’m still working with him on things.  My comp is really funny and has a little bit of short man syndrome, so it’s great!  hahaha

I got a couple of texts from Utah phone numbers with pictures, taken by people who were feeding them, I think.   Big Thank you to those who feed my son!

This came on Sunday, September 15th
His companion was still Elder Franco

This came on Sunday, September 21st
This is his new companion, Elder Hale

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15, 2014

Well this week was a busy one.

Wednesday we, as a mission, went to Ensign Peak.  It was really cool, the view is great too.  President Moffat also shared with us how the Saints did things when they first got to the valley and how Ensign Peak came about, it was actually really cool.  On the way there, I also saw the first Temple on my mission, besides the Ghana Accra Temple that I went to while still in the MTC.  I was so happy to finally see one!!

After going to Ensign Peak, we went to "This is the Place" State Park.  I remembered going to it a long time ago, but it was still really fun.   We had the whole park pretty much to ourselves.  The couple that is running the park is my mission president's wife's sister, hopefully that made sense.  The park brought in extra people to come and open some shops and things so that we could have a good time.  We also had some Native Americans come an do some dances for us.  It was really fun and really cool, but the entire time I was there, I was just thinking to myself, I never thought I would be doing this on my mission.  Of course I never thought I was going to be in Utah so I guess it comes with it.  It was a really fun day to kind of get a break from normal missionary work.

I had a couple lessons spread out during the week. so that was fun, not a whole of them though, so it was a little boring.  We had someone bounce us 3 different times so that was frustrating, but it was okay, we talked to her mother for about 30 minutes each time.  She's great!!

Saturday was the adult session of stake conference.  First stake conference of my mission!! Hahaha   It was great.  We watched Elder Ballards talk from Oct 2013 and then the stake presidency just started up a conversation about it.  It was really cool, great conversation too.  I encourage all to read that talk and reflect on it.  (   I think one of the best comments that was made was "it starts with us being prepared before the conversation happens.  We need to know enough about the church doctrine and beliefs to start a conversation with friends and teach them just a little to get them interested.  Then we can invite them to listen to the missionaries."  It was awesome!!!

The sunday session was also good.  Great talks about how to be a missionary with social media, and many other things.  We were supposed to get transfer news Sunday night, but for some reason they said wait... so we had a Zone Work out this morning, like we usually do throughout the week, but this is where we got the transfer news.

So ..... Elder Franco is going to the Taylorsville South Stake and will finish his mission there.  for me...

I will be going to the Murray YSA ward serving with Elder Hale who is from Ephrata Washington! i already know him and joke around with him all the time.  He is still in his training so I will finish it up.  I’m really bummed to leave my area, completely based on the members, the members in the 3rd, 8th, and 25th wards are amazing. I’m really excited to leave my apartment.  I won’t be so cold anymore!!!  hahaha

I hope everyone had a good week.  This week I am looking forward to see the Ogden Temple Re-Dedication on Sunday. it will be my first time doing this!!

Elder Park

The White African... In Utah

 Ensign Peak
(The side of Collin's head is almost visible, he was wearing sun glasses and he is standing  just at the base of the tower, on the right side, behind a blond girl, there is a sliver of his face showing

This is the Place State Park
Collin is standing in the middle of the balcony at the top of the stairs.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

September 9. 2014

Well another week down.   This wasn’t a great week, but there were a few good things happen.

We had a couple lessons on Wednesday.  Esther is a woman who we met a long time ago and gave her a Book of Mormon, but never could catch her at home so it was really tough.   Tuesday and Wednesday we had lessons with her and they were great.   Tuesday we talked all about the book of Mormon with her and then gave her a Restoration pamphlet to read, we also gave her some places in the Book of Mormon to read.   Wednesday we show up, she had read all of it and there were no questions, she totally understood everything.   We didn’t really know what else to teach, so we basically just reviewed it with her to make sure she truly understood it, and she did.   It was great.
Thursday we had a lot of appointments cancel on us, so it made for a long day...  but we did see Sir Williams and read with him.   We also met with Aiden who is a recent convert of a couple months.   He’s a super smart 9 year old.   We had a great lesson with him on being obedient to the commandments, praying every day, and studying his scriptures.   He then asked us about Cain and Abel in Genesis... how smart is this kid???   That family is really fun too.

On Friday we had the Elders Quorum President help us out a little with a lesson with Sir Williams.   We wanted him to be able to feel and recognize the Spirit more, so we took him to the Vine Street Building to have the lesson.   It was a great lesson, the Spirit was really, really strong.   That night we had a lesson with Gina and when we got there she was angry with something or someone, but we decided to go on with the lesson and by the end of the lesson she was fine and happy.   It’s amazing what the Spirit can do during lessons.   We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a whole, it was good.

Saturday we went to a baptism with Sir.   Baptisms are very different here than back in LIB.   Here it was just for one person, in LIB, it could be for 5 or more people, but it was great.  the Spirit was there and im pretty sure Sir felt it.   The rest of the day was kind of boring, but our 'dinner appointment' or FM was with a native Mexican and we had homemade flour tortilla's that are AMAZING!!!!    We need to go and ask her to cook some more for us, hahaha.

Fast Sunday was really good, the testimonies that were born were great, not a whole lot of stories or “thankamonies.”  (On the first Sunday of every month we have “Fast Sunday.”   That means that you fast for 2 meals and then make an offering/donation that goes toward helping those who may need assistance.   In our Sunday meeting on that Sunday we also have the chance to bear testimony of our beliefs.  Sometimes people get a little sidetracked and give a “thankamony” thanking those who may have helped them lately.)   Every  Sunday I go to 2 wards for sacrament and all the testimonies were great.   In the 3rd ward, after the sacrament, we had a special musical number performed by the ... ward!!  Hahaha, the primary children sang two songs then the RS and EQ sang "As sisters in Zion/Army of Helaman" it was way good.  Some how, some one came up with blending two primary songs and that combined song together and it turned out great.  It was definitely the highlight of the week.

Monday was tough, but it was okay, good days will come.

I hope that everyone had a great week. GO HAWKS and COUGS!!!!  (Seattle Seahawks and BYU Cougars - just to be clear!)

Elder Park
The White African... in Utah

Extra:   I asked him if they got that storm that did so much damage with flooding that had hit Arizona.  He said “CRAZY STORM!!!  LIB is worse though.  It was fun to watch a little bit though.”

I also updated him on some ebola news coming out of Liberia, he said, ”makes me cry.”

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

September 2, 2014

So when did it hit September???   This is weird.

My week was a fair one, we had a lot of appointments cancel, which is no fun, and then you have to somewhat scramble to figure out who to see.   It’s not like LIB where I can just look around and say 'lets talk to them.'  I didn’t get any doors slammed in my face this week, so that’s nice.  

Sir Williams (have i talked about him?)  is doing good.  He didn’t come to church though, he was with some people from California who are helping him find a job.  That was a little downer.   Then we had to fly on our bikes (not a big fan of these while in a suit...) to the Vine Street building to get to the 25th Ward Sacrament meetng.   It was a good meeting about Missionary Work.  It was also someone’s farewell so there was a lot of people there.   When we went to the 3rd ward, we had Gina and her Boyfriend come, both nonmembers.   It was really good to see them come.  

We talked to a lot of people this week and I lost track of the days…  so I don’t know how much I will write. 

Oh i went on exchange with Elder Hale, he's from Ephrata WA  and has been out about 4 weeks, hahaha, so green!   It was good.   It was nice to be around someone who is still fresh, they have a little different something to them. 

In LIB I got to know Elder Guyman, who lives in Taylorsville(?), his parents came and found us on Friday as we were going back to our apartment, they gave me so really good homemade bread and some butter.  We talked for about 10 minutes and they got to hear the whole story about us leaving.   They are very nice people.  They make great bread!

Well, that’s pretty much it for me on this week.   Let’s hope that this week will be even better!!!

Elder Park

The White Utah

I told him that I met the Guyman’s at a “families of Liberian missionaries” party I went to when I was in Utah.   She told me she was going to try and find the LIB missionaries.  He added: "That bread is so good!!!   I can't stop eating it!!"   then said:  "I bought a watermelon today.   I'm so excited for it!!"  I guess they don’t have watermelon’s in Africa?

Collin sent a couple of pictures that he took as he flew over London, he wondered if I could identify them.   Of course I could, Big Ben and the Tower of London are icons!   I got to visit London once, loved it.  I was surprised he recognized these and took pictures of them.   While we were in London we were surprised at how many planes few right over the city, but they do.

I wonder if this was the first American flag he had seen in awhile?

Right before I got Collin’s email I got an email from someone I didn’t know, but Collin had met her when he was buying a tie at her store and she took the picture and sent it to me: