Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Week 28 ("as the Lord has provided everything we have, there is one thing that I CAN offer the Lord: my will.")

Lewis and Park!

Poor Sacajawea (our car) 
Mission is flying by....and time flies when you're having fun! The rain however, is something else. Apparently it has never rained this much in Zimbabwe since the 1980's...but the streets have been flooding and especially since most of the roads in our area are dirt ones, Sacajawea has been struggling for sure. There have been MULTIPLE times where the car has been almost stuck because of the mud or when the car just slides around because the ground isn't holding. It's insane! But yes, the car DID actually get stuck in mud. But, aish, the people of Zim are wonderful. In a matter of seconds, we had many guys taking off their shoes and rolling up their pants to get the car out. Eventually, a combi that was driving by had to pull us out of the puddle (well, more like a lake in my opinion) with a rope. But I was so shocked at how willing everyone was to just stop where they were going just to help a couple of sister missionaries out of the mud. We had at least 15 guys helping us out! I guess it just adds on to the Adventures of Lewis and Park!

Tanaka- This week we taught Tanaka and we followed up on his prayer. He told us that he really believed that his prayers were answered about the restoration of the gospel! He told me he just felt as if it were true and he just knew it in his heart. He's studying to be a lawyer and so as you can see, he loves the truth. BUT, apparently, he's been making some adjustments to his life to be in line with the teachings of the gospel and he told me some of his friends have been noticing and they also want to start taking the discussions! It's awesome that just by Tanaka's amazing example and change, his friends have the desire to change as well.

I found an asian looking Dora and got super excited

This past week, I've been thinking a lot about what I've done and where I've been in my life. And you know, there's been A LOT of change in my life. This time last year, I hadn't even received my mission call and I was probably preparing myself for the upcoming softball season (shoutout to Brown softball <3). As President Monson stated, "The most constant thing in life is change"...and it's one of the biggest blessings life has to offer! All the things that have happened in my life has refined me into who I am today. I have so much that I still need to work on, but one thing's for sure: I've learned a lot. On mission, I've seen myself not only physically change, since I look like a chipmunk now,  but spiritually as well. I've learned that the Lord can't spiritually change me against my own will because that would be contrary to my agency. BUT, as the Lord has provided everything we have, there is one thing that I CAN offer the Lord: my will. My entire mission so far, I've been focusing on trying to be the best missionary I can be, but I've learned that there is more to mission than that. I need to be the best "servant of the Lord" first, and then in the process, I'll be able to become a great missionary....and that comes with a lot of patience and humility and optimism! The Lord's grace is intended to enable us to more perfectly keep the commandments so that we can become more and more like Christ every day. Writing is most DEFINITELY a weakness that I have and so I'm not sure if this makes much sense, but at least I know what I'm saying right? LOL Just kidding.

Wish Sara all the best for her mission in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida!

I hope that everyone back home is doing okay! I miss and love you all and wish Sara all the best for her mission!

Sister Park

because I love my companion and she didn't know the chair was broken lol

P-Day activities...taking photos in Longchain


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Week 27: The Adventures of Lewis and Park (get it? Lewis and Clark?)

 my companion and I got drenched in the rain our first day in the area...

This week was quite an interesting one to say the least. We tried to come up with a companionship name by mixing our names together, but it sounded terrible. But Lewis and Park, because we're exploring Kuwadzana together! She's from Utah and she's a year younger than me. She came a transfer behind me on mission, but she was able to finish one year at BYU-Provo and she's studying nursing. Also, the car stays in the area and so I left the old car, Snow White, to get a new car which didn't have a name yet. But guess what we named the car?!....Sacajawea obviously. The area is a little different from Mabvuku..I feel like there are more dirt roads and depending on which area we're in, it depends on the kind of area we're working in. We're working in Kuwadzana 3rd branch and as of right now, this branch meets at a school. Our area is much bigger than Mabvuku and since we don't live in our area but in the other sister's area, we drive A LOT to get to our areas. We cover Kuwadzana Extension, Glaudina, Linchonia, Dziveresekwa Extension, Whitecliff, Snake Park, Rittle Ridge, White House, Granary, Garikai, and on and on, all the way to Norton. 

Many of the members that we wanted to work with this week were attending a funeral or busy with job interviews and so for the most part of the week, Sister Lewis and I just had to go to one area and explore it ourselves. But, the area is just as great as Mabvuku. We have already been able to find many new investigators this past week, who even came to church this Sunday! The branch president's name is President Gonzo and he's only 28 years old! He looks so young, but he is powerful, along with the members. The branch is really trying to have a goal of becoming a ward this coming year and so they are expecting a lot out of the missionaries. 

the Whitecliff Boys--Funwell, Dollar, Brandon, and Tapiwa (member)
 all the WC boys

dabbin--no we are not next to a river, the streets are just flooding...too much

This week is has been RAINING like nobody's busy. The power has been going out this entire week, but at this point, I'm happy to cook with a gas tank. BUT, because of the rain, poor Sacajawea has been through a lot. In our areas, the mud is VERY slippery and so on multiple occasions, I almost got the car stuck in the mud when going to appointments. I really hope that we don't ever get stuck, and although the rain is good for the crops, I just want it to be sunny again(:

Also, I got the Young Women's package this past week...I have no idea why it took so long to send, but send them my thanks! Our room is smelling nice and Christmas-y and the house has enjoyed all the candy(:

As we get to work with the members in the area, I really hope that I'll be able to stay long enough to help this branch become a ward. This transfer has a lot in store for us, and we're super excited for the many more adventures that await us! I love you guys lots back home!

Sister Park

Happy 97th Birthday to my Patriarch McEwan and Sister McEwan in my home ward!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Week 26: Transfer News to Kuwadzana ("How powerful is the Book of Mormon?! His conversion in one week, ONE WEEK....the sisters who will be in Mabvuku will be blessed to continue to teach him, but honestly, they will probably be learning a couple things from him as well.")

Map of Kuwadzana!

Transfer news: I honestly thought I would be staying in Mabvuku for another transfer, but sadly, I'm actually leaving! I will be whitewashing a new area with my new companion Sister Lewis. She came a transfer behind me and I will also be living with Sister Namugenyi and Sister Thomas who is also whitewashing their area. I'm really sad to see the house separated because aish, we had some good times together, especially in the kitchen..I will miss cooking with these ones. BUT, guess who my district leader is?! Elder Whiting!! AHH, I was super pumped I couldn't believe it! I've missed his sarcasm and I'm sure our entire district will enjoy him as our district leader. Although I will miss Mabvuku, I'm excited to see what is in store for me at Kuwadzana!

part of our MTC group back together again(:

sister richards is going to kwekwe...i'll miss seeing this one every week!

my MTC companion, Sister Beckstead!
Brother Ambrose- So I talked about him before in a previous email. I was touched by his story, but aish, the story continues. He has been struggling with drinking and smoking and that was something that we discussed about the first time we saw him. Two Sundays ago, he came to church, but he came to church drunk. It was fast and testimony meeting and he actually went up and bore his testimony which was QUITE interesting. But, when we saw him this past week, I couldn't believe it. This was the first time he was sober, and he was sober because that Sunday night when he came from church, he started reading the Book of Mormon we gave him. He was trembling the entire lesson because he had been sober all week and you could tell it was affecting his body. In one week, he was already almost done with 2 Nephi and he recited everything that had happened PERFECTLY. Like every single detail. His comments were so inspiring that even I had to write down some of the things he said...(I later learned that he had actually been part of the Ministry of Education...you can tell he has a high IQ...it's insane) This past Sunday, he came to church again, completely sober. Although he doesn't have much, you could even tell that he had tried to look nice. He was SO reverent and at the end of the sacrament meeting, with tears in his eyes, he told us "Sisters I don't know how to thank you, but I'm never going back to my old life. Never. Even though you're both leaving, I'm here to stay and you don't have to worry about me because you have shared an amazing gift with me." How powerful is the Book of Mormon?! His conversion in one week, ONE WEEK....the sisters who will be in Mabvuku will be blessed to continue to teach him, but honestly, they will probably be learning a couple things from him as well.

our district at our service project!

elder gombe is now the new district leader..he has a lovely singing voice (haha)

our house made mabvuku/tafara shirts

We got to do a service project this week where we helped a mama out who runs a school. The kids that attend are from infants up to 6 year olds and so most of the time, we helped her decorate the school and even draw pictures for them to copy so the kids could color in them. The elders helped cut the grass at her home and it was such a fun time together(:

baptismal pictures!

This week we got to baptize three people: Cairo, Madrid and Ivan. They were all so excited to be baptized they couldn't sit still...right before they were baptized, they were running down the hallway because they were so anxious! It was super cute and I absolutely love these boys!

brother davison and his wheelchair at church!!

ALSO, guess who finally was able to come to church?! Brother Davison!! The wheelchair came through and I'm so happy I got to see him at church before leaving the area...it truly was a tender mercy of the Lord.

I love you guys so much...transfer days are hectic and so sorry it's so short...until next week!

Sister Park

there was a rat in the house and we finally found it! Sister Z finally killed it...yes, I'm on top of the table.

there was a HUGE puddle that went up to my knees and i didn't know how deep it was so i fell in it and lost my shoe. Sister D had to look for it and fish it out with her umbrella (ignore how white my toes are...)

Week 25: "These people are SO dedicated." "it takes them aounrd 4 to 8 hours to walk to church...and church starts at 8 AM!

Hello hello!

This week FLEW by, but it's because I got to go to Bindura this week for exchanges with Sister Stegelmeier and Sister Jili. This area is "commotia" and so all the people who left for holidays came here. 

BUT, before we left, on Monday, we celebrated Sister Well's birthday even though it was on Tuesday. She finally turned 20! So to celebrate, I decided to make her a very American dinner: chicken parm, funeral potatoes, and green beans along with of course, a cake! It was dark chocolate (no surprise) and since things like betty crocker icing isn't really a thing, i just had to make it. but it actually turned out really nice! it was the least we could do and i hope she enjoyed it! I also made chocolate mint muffins for district meeting on Tuesday so we could sing to her again....as you can tell..our house shows love through food..which I'm not going to complain about any time soon!

Anyways, I went on exchanges with Sister Stegelmeier and I had such a good time! Bindura was BEAUTIFUL...it was so green because of the fields and mountains and truly humbling. The areas we went to really were rural areas. The homes were huts, and while some had cement walls, others had stick walls. The huts have stick roofs and when you went inside, the fire was in the middle and everything else went around it. The Spirit was so strong here and it was so peaceful...and so quiet (aside from like the chickens and the goats lol). These people are SO dedicated. Their recent converts mainly walk to church because of money and depending on where you live, Sister Stegelmeier said it takes them aounrd 4 to 8 hours to walk to church...and church starts at 8 AM! The level of commitment is amazing, isn't it? They truly were converted to the gospel! I was able to learn so much not only from Sister Stegelmeier, but from the people we taught as well.

This week I also got to eat maguru (tripe) and matumbu (intestines) with kovu and sadza and it was so nice! I don't think I've eaten anything like it before and it's definitely something I don't eat every day so it was quite the experience!

I'll keep it short this week, but I hope that you guys enjoy your week back home! Since it is winter back there, stay warm so you don't get sick! Love you guys and I appreciate all the cards/notes/letters (even if reading grandma's korean letter was such a mission since it's so foreign lol) but send them my love.

Lots of love from Zim,
Sister Park

Monday, January 2, 2017

Week 24: Happy New Year's ("I feel like theres a bunch of tennis balls bouncing around inside my chest.")

Walking in the maize (corn) field
I miss my grandma!

My family tradition: New Year's Dinner. My mom is an amazing cook

Happy New Years!!

I can't believe 2016 has already come and gone..it seems like it was just yesterday that I was welcoming in 2016...but it's okay! I'm sure that 2017 will be just as great, probably even better, as 2016. The year sure ended on a good note though!

New Year's Eve was really anti-climatic for me...I was super tired from the day we had and so was everyone else. The only reason why the new year was here was because you could hear the fireworks start to go off nearby and the music started playing "Mdara Vachaooya" by Jah Prayzah....I'm not going to lie, this is one of my favorite Zim dance songs and it's stuck in my head all the time because it plays in the streets all the time. Houses with speakers will usually always be blasting music and so walking from appointment to appointment, we just get to enjoy all the Zim dance music.

Nerdy looking Asian Missionary


Brother Davison: We're still trying to get him a wheelchair and I think it'll be soon soon before he can come to church! My companion and I enjoy teaching him because he's so welcoming and truly has a desire to learn more about the gospel. This past week we taught him about sustaining and following the prophet and asked if he would be willing to do that once he was baptized. His response was touching. "I would like to leave a conqueror and so of course I will try my very best." And it's something so profound: we can all leave this world as conquerors as long as we apply the power of the Atonement!

Brother Billard: I love teaching this guy. He always asks questions during our lessons and they're well thought out. At the end of our lesson this week, he expressed his gratitude for our teachings and told us how they were really inspiring for him. He said he could see the change in his life and he even encouraged his friends to come and talk to us to learn about the things that he had learned. It was so awesome because by teaching him, he's recognizing the joys the gospel can bring not only for him, but for others as well!

Brother Ambrose: He came to church last Sunday and wanted to have a lesson with us. We arrived to his lesson about 10 minutes late, but when he saw us, he started crying. He kept on saying over and over again how he was crying tears of joy because we had not forgotten about him. He kept on expressing his gratitude towards us and the tears wouldn't stop flowing. He was embarassed because he couldn't stop crying, but for me, to see how much showing up meant to him, it was something else. As he told us about himself, I was saddened by his story. He's been alone for quite a long time now....towards the end of the lesson, we prayed together. As the prayer ended, the sadness that was apparent before from explaining about his life was replaced with a look of joy. His smile was from ear to ear and said, "I feel like theres a bunch of tennis balls bouncing around inside my chest." 

Sister Jack!!! Amazing Sister!

 Chelsea...baptized three weeks ago by the tafara sisters...such a sweet girl!

New Year's Resolutions---there's a lot of things I need to work on but I think the two Christlike attributes I'm going to focus on for this coming year are patience and humility. Reflecting on this past year, I've realized the the times when I've been the happiest, when I've learned the most, when I've grown the most, has been when I've been patient and humble. No matter what the circumstances were, I was always able to find peace and joy, even when everything going on around me wasn't necessarily how I wanted it to be. Since I'll be focusing on striving to be a better missionary this entire year, I know that patience and humility will go a long way in helping me be a worthy missionary. I want to be ambitious for the Lord, positive in all my doings, obedient in all my doings. I want to be faithful with an unshakable testimony, reliant on the Lord for guidance and direction, diligent with a righteous purpose. Patient in my trials, remembering the Lord is refining me into the best person I can be. Humble in any circumstance, seeking for what I can learn from others.

This year has a lot in store, and I'm looking forward to what I can accomplish and how much I can hopefully grow. I'm sure it'll go by as quick as 2016 has gone. "Continue in patience until ye are perfected" (D&C 67:13) and the wisdom we obtain will benefit us eternally (D&C 130:19).

I love you guys and hope that you have made resolutions for the new year!

Sister Park

Week 23: A Special Christmas and my family made a fun of my different English accent^^

trying to get a better reception

Skyping with my family

my big brother and aunt

This week the report will be short since I already got to skype you guys yesterday! Thank you, especially Haram, for making fun of my accent...much appreciated.

at ward christmas party with household

Sister Gondo, RS President.
She's the one that makes cakes and she's the absolute best...such a great role model to have!
This week we got to celebrate Christmas with the ward members...although we had lessons planned, we still got to attend the ward Christmas party for a little bit and it was fun! The food was great and they were even playing fun games. Later that night, there was a Carols Night where members got to share some sort of talent and it was definitely amusing to see and be a part of.

Our Christmas lunch

Most grateful and memorable Christmas Dinner at Selchos 
By the time Christmas was over, I died from a food coma. After church on Sunday, we came home and cooked a meal: pork with marinade, butternut, rice, egg salad (blehhh), chakalaka, cooked cabbage, and peanut butter cookies...I was so full...but then we ate dinner with the Selchos that night because we were skyping at their home. They served a very traditional American meal and it was amazing: roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, cooked carrots, green beans, fruit salad, DINNER ROLLS, and then apple crisp for dessert. It was quite heavenly...powerful food made for a powerful Christmas. And I got to see and speak to you guys and the dogs so that added to it as well!(:

Ian and his family at the baptism. Look his big smile!

This week we got to baptize Ian. I was so excited for him to be baptized because he was so ready and so excited! He has the best smile ever, and he's already agreed to come do missionary work with us once he's baptized. He already has the desire to go on a mission as well and so it'll be so nice to have him come work with us! He has such a kind heart and a enjoyable personality. I think that trait that I like most about him is that he is humble and is always doing things to take care of his siblings. He has a good soul and I'm so happy I got to meet and know him! Also, funny moment, but when I asked how he wanted to baptize him, he thought really hard about it, and picked me! My companion and I started laughing and explained that only the brethren could hold the priesthood, but I was definitely thoroughly amused.

I don't have much to write but I hope all the pictures will show how enjoyable this week was! I love you guys so much and I hope you enjoy bringing in the new year!

Sister Park
(L to R) elias, ian, and takesure, my recent converts, working with us in the area!

owen rifa aka buju black...he is the definition of a stud..he's going to be a great missionary!
mah boys
 the view from a point in my area..the fields are beautiful!
sister ziqubu and sister dyantyisi!