Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Week 47: "Smile and remember that God is determined to make us more than we thought we could be."

our district is a mess...yes, elder brooks and elder shamanis are handcuffed to each other..and elders young yen and mwaja!

beauty of zim sunsets
Sister Bergen and I at zone conference
I've officially retired the rain jacket and have pulled out the winter coat...

We had zone conference this week and it was really good! Being in a different zone conference, I didn't realize how many new missionaries there actually are! It made me feel old, but it was super nice to see all the familiar faces I hadn't seen in a while as well. There's another asian in the mission: Elder Lin. He's from Taiwan and I'm not going to lie, it was very weird seeing another asian! His first words to me: "Sister Park! It's so nice to meet you..I'm not going to lie, since I've come on mission, I haven't felt homesick but seeing you has made me very homesick!" haha he's a funny one-he insisted on us taking a photo

Elder Lin haha

my first zone leader Elder Wilcken

Elder Larson is such a joker, but he's also from the better part of Cali! haha

Elder Gunther...we're taking this photo now so that when he's the star quarterback for BYU, this photo will be worth millions

 Reunion with my mother!
This week I was also able to play a bit of soccer in the area..it's much harder to do in proselyting clothes, but it was still fun. Sister Bergen was helping someone do their hair and since I don't have a single clue how to do hair, I decided to entertain the younger brothers. I'm VERY rusty, but it's a good thing these kids are only ~8 years old because it makes me still better than them haha

Nobesuthu-26 years old, single mother. She investigated the church a couple of years back, but was never baptized because she left to go study in school. She's separated from her husband, so she takes care of her daughter Charmaine by herself. We've started teaching her because she expressed that she wanted to set a good example for her daughter. She's very sharp and has the desire to learn and change her life. She's super sweet and loving, and her daughter is the absolute cutest!

 late night combi rides home with McDean

Yesterday I played the piano in church which I haven't done in a couple of months..perks of being in a ward again! Also, the primary kids were super cute, but they came running up to us with their "missionary tags" on and gave us a whole bunch of "we love you" letters with drawings of...still trying to figure out what they drew haha...it was super sweet though.

Also, I was able to speak with the sisters back in my previous area and my investigators are still getting baptized! The rest of Vanswell's siblings (Valerie, Kindness, and Truth), Trevor, Ashleigh, and Mai Wayne have all been baptized since I've been gone, and there are still more to come! I'm so happy for them!!

That's all for now! I'm healthy, I'm safe, other hardships are just a part of life. We believe in eternal progression! I've been very blessed on my mission, and I've found so much peace and contentment here. Phillipians 4:11 I'm sure HF will continue to guide me down the path he wants me to go. "Smile and remember that God is determined to make us more than we thought we could be."

Love you all!

Sister Park

Week 46: "As of this week, I've officially become a Zimbabwean: I killed a chicken!"

 our chicken in the car 

As of this week, I've officially become a Zimbabwean: I killed a chicken! I was about to chicken out, no pun intended, but I followed through. It's actually quite simple. I got chicken blood on my shoe, but it was worth it. (Sorry Mom) I helped Darlington pluck the chicken and he showed me how to take out all the things inside the chicken without spoiling the meat. We then cooked it and ate it with tsunga and sadza...it was so good!

the chicken head
Darlington showing me how to kill the chicken
We're keeping a cockroach farm in the kitchen.

Tapuwa- His mother passed away during childbirth because she was HIV+, but somehow he survived. He was tested young, and was found positive, but over the years, he's been tested negative and he's 18 years old now. As we were teaching the plan of salvation, he asked a touching question, "When I'm resurrected, will my mother be able to recognize me?" We quickly assured him that she would and tht it would be such a joyous reunion...he couldn't stop smiling for the rest of the lesson. It's simple truths like this that bring peace in our lives, the kind of peace that motivates us to face any challenge with renewed strength and overcome burdens with the hope that one day we will be able to rest in the presence of our Heavenly Father. Imagine the eternal love!
Prince- We've taught him a couple of lessons now but he has accepted a date to be baptized! He doesn't really speak any English and so we really have to rely on the Spirit for understanding. It's kind of amazing how Sister Bergen and I will teach because yes, the gift of tongues truly is a gift of the Spirit. We weren't sure if he was able to fully understand our mixed Shona/English, but whenever we asked what he understood about what we had just taught, he would recite everything we had just taught. My Shona is still not there, but in certain lessons, I will sometimes walk away amazed at...whatever... I just spoke in the lesson.
we found candy apples!

We ate cheesecake yesterday. Yes. CHEESECAKE. We made it at home and it was soooo good! I know there's better cheesecake back home, but I still enjoyed it so much!

 visited a history museum

taking pictures with the tanks...

 Don't worry, I'll just fly home with Sister Bergen!

Us landing in America...I'm home! (just kidding haha)

2. the chicken in a Chicken Inn bag..no pun intended
4. The chicken is dead!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Week 45: "GWERU! It's definitely different from Harare"


It's definitely different from Harare...it's a pretty small town! Here, people speak both Ndbele and Shona, but mainly shona. The area I'm in charge of is the Gweru ward which pretty much covers most of town. Our area is actually very big, so we've been using combis/walking for most of the week. BUT, it's definitely nice to take a break from driving haha

sister bergen and i!
this area is much tougher. for the past transfer, it was pretty much closed, We're pretty much starting from a clean slate for this area and so this week we've been contacting for most of the week. sister bergen and i have opened up the area again. the more productive areas are about 15 km out of town and most of them don't have money for transport. i think this transfer will definitely be humbling, but sister bergen and i are surprised because God has already been able to bless us with miracles/investigators! It's kind of difficult for our area because most people we speak to actually live in the other missionaries' areas so we've been sending lots of referrals this week.  

cooking the usual: sadza, chicken and covo!
We live with the other Gweru sisters in the same house. This transfer was so inspired though because I'm living with Sister Smith!! Why am I so excited?! Because she can cut hair! So yes, she cut my hair this week...Sister Bergen was in denial because she wanted my hair to stay long, but I was all smiles! At that point, I didn't care if I looked like an elder with short hair, it just needed to go!
Learnmore/Ruth: We were able to teach them this week and they are a wonderful couple. They came to church on Sunday and have agreed to be baptized! However, they will need to be legally married first and we hope that the in-laws will agree for their legal marriage. They are very prepared, and I hope they will continue to progress towards baptism!
Brother Zhou: As we taught him, we found out that he had actually been taught by previous missionaries, but wasn't interested. But, we still asked if we could teach him to which he agreed. At the end of our lesson, he expressed how everything made sense this time around! He even came to church on Sunday. The only complication is that he is moving around back and forth from here to kumusha and so we'll be teaching him at a much slower rate. But he agreed to be baptized! We will just have to communicate well with him so we can continue to teach him!

before the haircut

. during the haircut

after the haircut...i was about to cry because i was so happy my hair was gone
For week one in the area, it was great and the Lord was able to bless us with success. The ward kindly welcomed me into the ward by having me give a talk (haha), but at this point, I don't really mind giving talks anymore. We were able to have nine investigators come our first week which was pretty amazing! I hope the following weeks will continue to produce similar results.

I hope everything is great back home. Love you guys!

Sister Park

(Also, I will probably be sending shorter emails since I'm emailing in an internet cafe now...)

Week 44: "I have been transferred to Gweru!"

 the DZ extension group!

mah boys
Transfers are here! Sister Mzunga will be staying in our area, and I have been transferred to Gweru! From what everyone is telling me, Gweru is COLD and winter is about to start! My companion is Sister Bergen who will be going home next transfer!

Exchanges with Sister Hopkins! (Ignore the pants...we were driving home toooo late haha)
This week was a blur...again. We went on exchanges with Sister Hopkins and Bondo in Mabvuku, and so again, I got to see all the people whom I love so much! I'm sure they will get sick of me since I've been visiting back so many times and they keep having to say goodbye, but Mabvuku has a special place in my heart.

 The sunset was so beautiful!
Mai Wayne-We were visiting a LA but when we arrived at her home, she hadn't come back from school yet. However, her sister, Mai Wayne, was there and so we asked if we could teach her until we got home. As we discussed about the gospel and the Restoration, there was a huge smile on her face. As the lesson was about to close, she asked us if she could be baptized! I asked her if the missionaries had ever tried to teach her before to which she replied no. She told us that they were always there for her sister, and so she had never been taught. As a single mother, I can tell she has struggled through parts of her life and even I am at fault of this, but sometimes we'll tend to forget about the other people in the room and just focus on the one investigator we're teaching. Mai Wayne came to church yesterday and enjoyed it so very much!
 Brother Zoro with his sling...he was showing us how he kills birds!

Sister Katsande-I love her so much! This past week, we were able to start teaching her about the Restoration and as we were teaching, she opened up to us about some tragedies that had happened in her life. It made her question how much God actually loved her and why he would allow for things like that to happen. But as we studied scriptures in the Bible and Book of Mormon, she told as she finally felt at peace with what had happened in the past. Her husband is currently in South Africa right now, but once he comes back, I'm sure they will get married and then she can get baptized!
Sister Katsande (right) made us these beautiful skirts! Sister Chaibva (left)

Blessing- Golden Investigator right here. He's come to church twice now this past week we were able to go visit him in Whitecliff South. We got to know him and he expressed his desire to go on a mission. He told us that he knew Tapiwa was preparing to serve one, and since they're friends, he wanted to serve the Lord and follow the example of his friend. Five minutes into the lesson--"So when can I be baptized?!" This one was soo prepared. Also, this one claims he's faster than Usain Bolt. Just for fun, I challenged him for a race haha..to bad I'll be leaving for Gweru though!

Sister Mwanawasauka and Sister Domingo
Vanswell- The rest of his three siblings will be getting baptized this week! As we were going over the lessons for review, I decided to have Vanswell teach them to see how well he understood and applied the lessons. All I can say is that this one is going to be a GREAT missionary. His mama also wants to baptized, but she will have to wait until her husband comes back so that they can get legally married first. From his teaching, I could see how much the kids respected him. Their father lives in South Africa for work, and only visits them maybe once a year. It's obvious that the responsibility of the house then falls on Vanswell since his mother can't move much due to her stroke. He is going to be a GREAT father. Teaching law of chastity: "Do you want to get baptized?! Then stop dating boys, and you....stop looking at the hips!" Word of Wisdom: "People who can drink alcohol/smoke and can still think clearly and function...they are not human beings! Don't do these things" My companion and I were laughing the entire lesson..it was so powerful!

when you can smell Elder Barrus' armpit from where I'm standing...just kidding haha

Tawanda and Sonya Chaibva, the newly weds!

It's sad to leave Kuwadzana and it's especially sad to leave my investigators. June will be a VERY productive month in Kuwadzana, but the Lord needs me elsewhere. And the bright side will be that I get to see a different part of Zimbabwe..I will miss the food in town, but this is probably for my own good. Even my mission president always jokes around with me about how much I can eat...I don't know if that's a good thing haha

Hope you have a great week! Travel safely home!

Sister Park
Sister Bondo and Mzunga!