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!