Monday, December 19, 2016

Week 22: Merry Christmas to you!!!

This week has had its ups and downs. But, the good things that happen always seem to outweigh the bad and so it's a blessing!

Lunch with Zone missionaries in Mutare

This week, the people in my zone were able to travel to Mutare for our Christmas devotional and it was BEAUTIFUL. Although we had to get ready at 3:30 AM in the dark and we had to shower with cold water since we didn't have power for three days (it was a struggle to look...and I guess smell presentable but we somehow managed!), the trip was totally worth it. Our zone performed as a choir and sang a song (yes, I actually sang and danced...but it was against my will because the piano didn't work and EVERYONE was participating). It was actually powerful because we did a medley of Once in Royal David's city and we rewrote the lyrics to the song "Hallelujah." It was a really fun performance.

View from Hotel Balcony
The reason why we traveled to Mutare this time was because President wanted to do something that required a lot of missionaries. The gospel hasn't been very receptive in Mutare because of rumors about the church and so for years and years, missionaries have been struggling to do the work there. So, President's idea was to change the name of the church in the area by having a whole group of missionaries contact people in the different areas. After our Christmas devotional, we contacted for three hours in one area. We slept at a hotel and although I was covered in bug bites, we woke up to monkeys sitting on our balcony! That next day, another zone came and joined us and so in total, we had over 50 missionaries working in Mutare! 

Beautiful Lush Green Mountains
The area was absolutely beautiful. As you're driving up to the city, you're driving down a mountain and so the view of the city is breathtaking. Because of the rains, the entire area is a beautiful, lush green and when you're working in the area, everywhere you look is a view. The mountains are so beautiful! The areas we worked in were areas where people were living in humble circumstances, but with views like this, I wouldn't mind at all.

But, yes, opposition in all things. We got home Saturday night and as I was driving home from town with my companion, we got in a car accident. Nobody was hurt, but as I was switching lanes, a car that was speeding and didn't have lights on ended up colliding with our car. We were so tired from the trip and the policed took almost three hours to get there which was absolutely ridiculous, but we got home safely. It was a blessing nobody got hurt, but ah, it sure was a frustrating experience. 

Also, my bag ended up getting stolen which is never too great. But I wasn't hurt at all and so it's okay. But like I said, the good outweighed the bad which always seems to be the case. The tender mercies of the Lord never seem to stop. D&C 122:7 states that although we will undergo trials that seem impossible to get through, "all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." Alma also states that the Lord will never "[tempt us] above that which [we] can bear" and I trust the Lord. He's been able to give me peace.

Since my journal was taken as well, I can't quite remember the details that happened throughout the week so hopefully next weeks report will be better!(: 

Sister Park

P.S. Please send Haram my love...after the way that this week ended, his words and the comfort from the Lord was exactly what I needed to pick myself up again. I didn't want to seem discouraged because I want to be strong for the household and I didn't want to be someone President or other sisters would have to worry about and I've found my strength again. The words I read and from remembering scriptures, I've found peace. I'm not discouraged, in fact, I've been able to see the positive in this. They also stole my Book of Mormon and so I hope that they will read through it, THOROUGHLY and read all my notes and who knows, maybe what was a saddening experience for me may be a joyous experience for someone else. I hope that especially since it's the holidays, you will put aside your problems and concerns and focus on serving at least one person every day. And even after the holidays, continue to serve others, even when it's out of your way. Although you may seem like your deeds and service goes unnoticed, its's recognized by the person who matters the most and that is the Lord. I hope you don't freeze in Utah and I pray you enjoy your Christmas holiday <3 Thank you for the strength you give me and the goes a long way!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Week 21: "LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF WALKING" and "Merry Christmas from Zimbabwe"

Rains turned the land into Green Field. Look! How large our area is!

Our District. Look how big our district is!

the elders need to work on their poses...

This week was A LOT of walking. LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF WALKING. Now that we're only focusing on Mabvuku 2nd, we have to fill up the other days that were dedicated for Mabvuku 1st. We've been walking to find new investigators and contact people so that we can have a bigger teaching pool in this ward. The Mabvuku 2nd bishopric and the rest of the ward are quite happy that they get our full attention now. Yesterday at church, many members from the Mabvuku 1st ward came up wondering why I wasn't in church with them and was saying how they thought I had been transferred to a different area because we didn't attend their ward...especially the recent converts and investigators. Ah, when it comes time to leave this area, I don't know what I'll do...I'll be a mess. Even just leaving one ward was heartbreaking but I know that it's in the best interest of the area.

Beautiful Sunset after heavy rain all day long!!!

This week was difficult in the sense that we had many fall throughs and the people that we were planning to have baptized this month are leaving for commotia (going to visit family members in the rural areas) and so they won't be back until January. But it's okay because there were many tender mercies from the Lord--speaking of tender mercies, Mom, the SPAM is much appreciated in the house. I was able to cook spicy fried rice with the spam and the household loved it! They want me to cook it at least once a week...and they also want me to cook the spicy chicken stew again. Honestly, when I come home, sometimes I'm exhausted and just want to eat something simple, but because these ones are being converted to loving Korean food, I find the extra energy to cook food for them. Plus, cooking in the kitchen is quite enjoyable with them and I cook a lot with Sister Ziqubu because we both love spicy food. I'm not going to lie, the food we eat in this house is POWERFUL. Last night, right before the power went out (another tender mercy!) we were able to cook pork with a nice marinade, chicken and pea salad, and mac and cheese...the Lord knows we love our food and didn't take that away from us, especially since it was a fast Sunday!

Cairo and Madrid: These are two brothers who have recently moved into our area. Their mother recently passed away and so they moved from Bindura to Mabvuku to live with their gogo. Besides the fact that they have awesome names, these two brothers are the absolute sweetest. You can  tell that they love each other and have such a good relationship with each other. They showed up at church yesterday and enjoyed it so much...I'm excited to continue teaching these ones!

This past weekend, we were able to have two baptisms, well I guess three, but one of them was a child of record. Tanaka and Hazel were baptized and confirmed this past weekend. Tanaka is such a bright kid who asks so many questions whenever we go and see him. As he came up out of the water, he couldn't stop smiling and he bore a powerful testimony. Hazel lives in Chizhanje and walked (~45 minutes) to the church ON TIME for her baptism AND confirmation. Since there heating water and such for bathing and things like that take awhile, I know that she had to go out of her way to arrive to church on time at 8 AM...but she did! I will send the pictures next week because the photos are on Sister Erickson's camera....

Christmas Greetings from Zimbabwe!!!

Creative (?) Christmas Decoration

Merry Christmas from my household

I miss and love you guys. The kids in the area probably think I'm Santa Claus because I've been giving out all the candy Mom has been sending. Also, now that it's official that I'm staying in Mabvuku, the Christmas decorations have been going up, and I even showed our Relief Society some ideas that they could do together as an activity. Sister Gondo, the Relief Society President, is overjoyed.

Mom visited LA temple with Sister Shannon and Sister missionaries

Givler family at LA Temple

Also, I'm overjoyed that Mom was able to go with the missionaries to the have no idea how much that means to them. Missionaries are always working their hardest, but when they work with unity and in harmony with the ward, ah, it makes the work so much easier. I'm glad that you have been able to help them in whatever way they can...proud of you fam!

Until next week,

Sister Park

The picture of Megan, she looks EXACTLY like Sister Colton....she's growing up!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Week 20: "A Historic week for the people for Harare"

our district at stake conference--elder guajardo and elder wilcken are both leaving our district!

Last week ended transfers! There were a lot of changes throughout the mission, but I will be staying in the same area with Sister Dyantyisi again! In fact our household will be staying the same so I will still be living with Sister Ziqubu and Sister Wells. The only change made to our area is, sadly, I have to give up one of my wards. Since Mabvuku 1st and 2nd have been so productive in missionary work, President put in the sister training leaders into our area: Sister Bergen and Sister Erickson. They will be overlooking Mabvuku 1st now and my companion and I are only over Mabvuku 2nd. Although I will still see the members every Sunday, it saddens me to think that I won't be able to work with the ward missionaries and members from that side....but I guess that's a good sign because it means that I'm doing my job as a missionary and leaving the area better than when I had found it.

In fact, my companion and I got called into President's office on Friday to go speak to him about our areas and what I thought about him splitting our area. While we were finishing up, Elder Chatora (overlooks Africa Southeast) and Elder Hamilton from the Area of the Seventy arrived at the office. They were here to help decide the stake presidency for each stake and overlook the splitting of the stakes. However, as we were leaving the office, I was about to introduce myself when Elder Chatora said, "Ah, Sister Park...from Mabvuku...I feel like I already know you..." Elder Hamilton expressed the same warm welcome. I was shocked that they already knew me and found out that they had been asking about Mabvuku because it has been so productive. Before the area had been closed for awhile due to circumstances and President was hesitant about opening the area up again. But, Elder Chatora and Elder Hamilton had discussed with President Mkhabela and asked why Mabvuku was so productive because it came as a surprise to them. They had asked to meet the sisters who worked there. I felt so honored to meet the area of Seventy and it was touching! The Lord really is preparing the people in this area and I can't wait for what this transfer lies ahead now that we have two sets of missionaries working the area. 

"dropping it" is becoming a thing for whoever i meet
when people come to stake conference, yo...people look did my companion!

Combis taxi in Zimbabwe ("most people had to save up to take combis to go to stake conference")

This week was a historic week for the people of Harare because we got the opportunity to go to stake conference and it was announced that the Harare East stake (my stake) would be split into two: the Zimbabwe Harare stake and the Harare East stake. The forming of this new stake marks the 50th stake formed in the Africa Southeast area and it was quite a sight! It took place at a huge hall in town and although it was hot, the meeting was powerful. The choir consisted of about 80-100 people and when they sang the closing hymn, "God Be with You Til We Meet Again" in Shona, yo it was POWERFUL. It was also powerful because most people had to save up to take combis to go to stake conference and the turnout was amazing. Our Mabvuku 1st bishop, Bishop Gramu, was called as a second counselor in the new stake presidency....he is an inspiring man.

I'm glad to hear that everything is going well back home...I can't wait to hear from you guys next week! I love you guys...give the dogs kisses from me!

Sister Park

Article about cash shortage in Zimbabwe:

Cash is a BIG problem here and we've been struggling to get cash...but as of this past week, they have officially started incorporating bond notes..i'm not sure if it's going to help the economy that much but we'll see how it works out!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Week 19: "102 degree" and "Untraditional Thanksgiving Dinner"

Thanksgiving Dinner with my household

Ah, it's so nice to hear from you guys this week and to hear the good report! Reading all this good news is exactly what I needed to hear after the week that I had..what a tender mercy from the Lord!

This week has been something else. Mom, before I start this weeks report, I need you to breathe because I'm fine! On Tuesday, my companion was sick and another sister in the house was also sick and so I had to drive them to the clinic and so we didn't have a chance to go to the area. On Thursday night, I started getting a fever and by the time I woke up on Friday, my temperature was around 101 degrees. My zone leaders stopped by to give me a blessing but by the afternoon is was a little over 102 degrees. I knew I needed to cool down, but because we didn't have power, the fan wasn't working and so desperate times call for desperate measures: I took all the frozen vegetables and meat from the fridge and placed it over my body while laying on the tiles. After doing this, it stayed at around 100 degrees until later that night when it went back up to 102. I finally was able to go to the clinic on Saturday because my temperature wasn't dropping and they said that I had inflamed tonsils which caused my fever. They gave me medication and although my temperature is back to normal now, I've been getting really bad headaches which isn't letting me sleep and I'm wondering if it's because of the medication so hopefully once I have that sorted out, I'll be okay. But overall, I'm alive and I'm walking...and breathing. My point is that because our sicknesses, we could only go to the area twice this week!

But, I suppose one of the highlights of my week was Wednesday because I got to go on exchanges with Sister Jili, my grandmother! She trained Sister Richards and so it was so nice teaching with her because, well she taught Sister Richards and so they teach similarly. We got to teach many lessons together and we had a good time together. I got to learn a lot from her, not only teaching wise, but from her character as well. 

Spicy Korean Chicken Stew, Mashed Potatoes, 

We also had a Thanksgiving dinner...but let me tell you, it was a dinner that I had never before experienced..very untraditional to say the least...there was such a variety of foods but i guess all that mattered was that it was good food! Since none of us really like turkey, I made a Korean chicken and vegetable stew which they all loved so much (they all wrote the recipe). Side dishes included mashed potatoes, butternut, pasta salad, samosas, green beans, and ginger beer....okay so now that I'm writing it down I guess it wasn't too untraditional but it definitely wasn't a typical Thanksgiving dinner. The African sisters enjoyed though and we all had a good time and I guess this is a tender mercy of the Lord but the power didn't go out until we had finished our meal(:

Brother Jack: We met him on the streets this week and he welcomed us back for another lesson. As we got to know him better, I found myself really attached to him. Brother Jack had been trying really hard to study in the US and when I asked which schools, he said that he had been trying to apply for schools like Stanford and the Ivy League schools. As I continued to talk to him, I saw how bright he was and how much he valued his education. However, because of complications back home, he had to attend a college in Zim and he was expressing how bitter he was because of this. He kept bringing up how disappointed he was with how things turned out for him. And since I'm a missionary, I couldn't mention what school I had attended either because we can't encourage anything from our side. BUT, the Lord must have a different plan for him and that's what I told him. That he must have a better one set for him, one that will allow him to grow to his full potential. It was really neat to see his reaction  to what I said because although you could tell he still had some resentment, he was slowly accepting what I had to say...and he even showed up to church this Sunday! The things he was saying in our lessons...I think he really has been prepared by the Lord. He's been switching churches pretty consistently for years now because he hasn't found the "right one" and hasn't found what he is looking for...even though he says he doesn't know what it is. I hope that I will be able to help him come unto Christ!

I guess I don't have much to say this week since I was in bed for most of it so hopefully I'll have more to write about next week. I love and miss you guys! Take care((:

Until next week,

Sister Park

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Week 18: "Forget Me Not"

This transfer is going by so quick! It's crazy to think that I've been in the field for more than three months already!

the ward missionaries' farewell!

A sad, sad night!
Munya, Antony, and Larry, the ward missionaries, all left for their missions this week. They were definitely missed this week in the area, but Ghana and Kenya need them more than we do! I definitely hope that I'll be able to see them again because that would be something really special! I went to their farewell on Tuesday for a little bit and was going to leave soon because we weren't able to get money for the week but little did I know that they had asked Bishop for me to speak in their farewell! I was definitely shocked, but at the same time I was honored that they would ask me to speak and share my testimony with them and to those they love. These guys are the sweetest...they each wrote me a letter talking about our times together telling me "Forget Me Not." I LOVE this book by President Uchtdorf...when I went to work with Tatenda, another ward missionary on Thursday, we were about to leave his house when he ran back in. I thought he had gone to fetch a raincoat or something but he came out running with a blue book in his hand. He handed it to me and told me that Larry had left it for was the "Forget Me Not" book. I was overjoyed and touched because I had only mentioned on one occasion how much I had loved the book and Larry had gone out of his way to get it for me. Can you see why I love these ward missionaries so much?


Sister Vongai--She has her marriage certificate! Now, her and Brother Kuda are waiting on the rings so that they can have them for the wedding. I hope that I will still be in the area to witness the marriage ceremony! 

Brother Law: He's not an investigator, but he's a recent convert. He is the sweetest kid ever and always has such a huge smile on his face when he sees us. Well, I have started reading the Book of Mormon stories with him so that he can get a better understanding of the Book of Mormon. This kid loves the stories! When I finished one chapter in the Book of Mormon stories, I asked, "So we'll save the next story for next time, is it okay?" to which he replied with a firm, "NO. Let's read it now..." I ended reading 7 chapters from the book because at the end of each chapter, I'd ask the same thing to which he replied the same answer! And of course, his favorite story was when Nephi cut off Laban's head....

Brother Foyo: We had received a referral from the sisters this week to contact Brother Foyo because he wanted a Book of Mormon. The first time we went to his house, he wasn't there. However, I had been to his area before and had always felt compelled to speak with a certain man, but never did because we were usually rushing to appointments. However, as we were walking in the area, I saw the man again and felt compelled that we should talk to him again and I listened to the prompting this time and guess what...he turned out to be Brother Foyo, the referral the other sisters had given me! He already knew my name and he said," Sister Park, I have been waiting for you to speak with me..." I'm excited to teach this one and I'm glad I had followed the prompting!

 I taught them how to "drop it"...these picture was pretty epic

Brother Takesure's Baptism. Look! this guy tilted toward me but....

 Brother Elias"s Baptism. He tilted toward my companion!
This week, Brother Takesure and Brother Elias were baptized by Simba Jeri, an RM from the Zim mission! It was a joy teaching these two young men, both 17 years of age, because they both already have a desire to serve missions. Whenever I taught these two, we'd usually have another priesthood holder, Tapiwa, present in the lessons. Tapiwa is preparing to leave for his mission in January to Durban South Africa. But, whenever I wasn't saying anything in the lessons, I'd always just sit and smile at how much soon to be missionaries I was teaching. Also, Takesure is taking taekwondo--when we finished our first lesson together, he told me "thank you" in Korean and yo, I was shocked. These are good guys with good souls and I'm so happy I was able to be part of their conversion experience.

This Cake is the Bomb!!!
I hope all is well back home...I was a little jealous of Wooram's cake because ah, Paris Baguette is the bomb! Also, I've introduced Thanksgiving to the African sisters and they are excited for Thanksgiving dinner! I will send photos of how the food turns out this next week!

Otherwise, remember that I love you guys so much and don't worry about me. Mom, go to the spa or something. Dad, if you're stressed, go buy another tree without Mom's permission and plant it in a random spot in the yard...I hope you guys have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sister Park

I think since I've been on mission, I've sang Book of Mormon stories and Popcorn Popping and Do as I'm Doing at least 500 times. Every time these kids see me they want me to sing the song!
Look at the kid on my left!

my fan club...i especially LOVE the rasta, Talent! 

Mom, I'm very unamused that you sent a hat...i hate hats...i hope you're happy though
am i african yet?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Week 17: "All I need to overcome any trials is the Lord, and I already have him on my side and so, all is well!"

Sister Delight at her baptism

All is well in Mabvuku and Tafara! It's been raining a ton this week and the weather has been funny'll be ridiculously hot one hour and the next hour it'll be pouring...I've learned to always walk around with my raincoat now but overall, all is well!

I heard Donald Trump is our new president....moving right along..

There's nothing too exciting to report about...mission is so much fun though! I work hard, but I always pull my occasional pranks. But I just realized this week how much of it has added of right now, my ward missionaries think that I was a quarterback for my high school football team (i told them not to mess with me...) and they think that I was a professional chicken hunter back home. When I told them this, they started laughing because they thought it was ridiculous but then we walked by a chicken and I crowed at it and the chicken started clucking back in return. They almost lost it..

Brother Simon: We had given him the Book of Mormon last week and so when we saw him this week, we asked how his reading went with Moroni 10: 3-5. He told us that he felt so much joy reading it and that he knew the book was true even after reading only verse 3! He said that he had never felt this way and he was almost jumping out of his seat because he was so excited about his experience! In his own words, " the Book of Mormon is powerful. One verse in the Book of Mormon and prayer is all you need to know this book is true!" I've been blessed with investigators like this and I'm grateful the Lord has entrusted me with them...the next step for him is to get his marriage to go through and this will take A LOT of faith and prayers!

Sister Vongai: I have been teaching this mama since I got here and we've been trying to get her married so she could be baptized! Her husband, Kuda, has been a member, but because his job doesn't pay well, he hasn't been able to come up with the money for the marriage license. Most of the money he earns has to go towards paying off lobola and providing for Sister Vongai's family and his own. But, a miracle a truly happened. We went over to a lesson to go read the BOok of Mormon with her and Kuda as we usually do. Lately, I've been quite persistent and asking about the marriage because Sister Vongai's desire to be baptized is so strong! But, this time around, I thought I would lay off of it and just ask about the progress next week. We read 2 Nephi 2 together and as we were discussing about the scriptures, Brother Kuda bore a powerful testimony about how he knew that God was there and that he truly provided miracles...I didn't think much of it at the time. We closed the lesson and then Brother Kuda asked if we would go look in the distribution center for the nice CTR bands because he wanted one. THEN, he said, so nonchalantly, "Yea, I want this band because we should have our marriage certificate by next Friday and I won't be able to have rings for the ceremony..." I just stared, I couldn't believe my took me like 10 seconds to process that!! The joy that I felt in my heart was unbelievable. We've been trying to get this couple married since the beginning of August, and it might actually be happening now! I literally almost cried in the lesson and I couldn't sit still the entire day...the thought of Sister Vongai finally being baptized would truly be amazing! Now I am PRAYING that no complications arise and that she will be baptized soon soon! When I got in the car, I understood why Kuda had said what he had said in the lesson....the Lord must have provided him with the means of getting the money and I'm interested to hear what exactly happened. I absolutely love this family and hopefully I'll be able to send pictures soon with her in her white jumpsuit!

Sister Luwichi and us in the fields

Our household with kids
Adorable Natti Luwichi
This week we also got to help out The Luwichi Family and we worked in the fields! Because the rains had poured this week, everyone was out in the fields plowing, and planting seeds in the ground now that there was enough moisture. It was so much fun, and it was very relaxing...Dad, this reminded me of whenever we would mow the lawn together, or you'd make me climb trees to cut off was so nice to be doing like manual labor!! And also the weather was perfect because there was an overcast so it wasn't hot but it was a good time! Since we finished so fast, we helped the other gogos who were out in the field so that they could finish quicker because ah, people as old as they are should be sitting at home in a rocking chair relaxing!!

Farewell to my favorite ward missionaries: Anthony, Larry and Munya
The only reason why I didn't want to be in Mabvuku this transfer so that I wouldn't have to say goodbye to these three, but ah, the time has come. We ate mazondo (cow legs...Dad I think you would like it, it's kind of fatty, but it's nice!), beans and was nice! And then they danced and yo, it was so amusing watching all of them dance. It was a good time with them and ah, I will miss these ones.

Steven, one of my favorite ward missionaries

it was so messy but it was good! eating with utensils is going to be kind of weird when i go home!


Guys cooking sadza
Later that night, we went over to one of the ward missionary's homes because three of my favorite ward missionaries are leaving for their missions this week! I will truly miss Antony, Larry, and Munya...they all have such different personalities, but they each bring so much to the table. They helped the work here in Mabvuku and they would work with us every single day I've worked in Mabvuku 1st. They are such a good time, but they have such powerful testimonies...the people of Kenya and Ghana are going to be lucky having these missionaries there. They've grown to become like my brothers here in this area. 

This weekend, Sister Delight got baptized! She was all smiles that day...don't mind me because I look like a mess since I came straight from the fields, but she was so happy that day. She has such a sweet and beautiful soul it's amazing. Meeting people like her make mission so joyous! The Lord has prepared so many people here in Mabvuku and I get to be a part of their conversion and experience! The love I have for this people is unreal, and it's weird but I have love already for the people the Lord will eventually place in my path. I have love for my future investigators. 

So like I said, all is guys don't have to worry about me. Every missionary faces their own difficulties, but I know why I came here on mission. I've made sure to have a strong testimony and I work to maintain my faith because we need faith in order to face the unknown. While knowledge pertains to things of the past, faith pertains to things of the future and as long as I trust in the Lord, he will be able to guide me. Faith brings miracles! So I am fine. Teaching the families I've been teaching is such a blessing because I'm reminded every day of the fact that you guys had been in their position before. And look at where I am now....I'm serving a mission! I'm truly grateful every day that you two were humble enough to take lessons from the missionaries so that I could be a part of this gospel. As the scripture in Deuteronomy 31:6 says, "Be strong, and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." All I need to overcome any trials is the Lord, and I already have him on my side and so, all is well!

I miss and love you guys!

Sister Park

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Week 16: "Life is hard here, but I don't think I've experienced so much peace in my life."