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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Back to Tarawa

Elder Parrish and two of the other Elders from his MTC intake who were serving on Kiritimati returned to Tarawa today where they will spend the last three weeks of their missions.  They are pictured here with their Mission President.

Dear Family and Friends;

Thanks for the email.  I am happy and healthy here on my layover in Fiji where we just got back from McDonalds.  I just had a huge grease bomb so we will see how my stomach takes it.

I will be heading to Tarawa tomorrow morning. Everything with flights has been going well. We just barely got in and we have only had a few hours here—not nearly as much time as when we came. 

Saying goodbye to Fanning Island yesterday was hard, but for some reason it wasn't nearly as hard as when I had to say goodbye to the outer island of  Maiana. I left Maiana without much notice, but this time I knew my time was up. The way that I left was honestly perfect and I was so happy with the timing of it.  It is crazy to think that I just said goodbye to outer islands.

I am really grateful to have had the chance to serve on Fanning Island and to have had the perfect amount of time there and to have been able to leave when I did having accomplished the things we accomplished.  We had some amazing farewells and the members SHOWERED me with gifts....  All of the members cried and I was so overwhelmed!!! I took so many pictures and videos and I'm way excited to show them to you and tell you guys about everything when I get home.  It will be worth a hundred times more than trying to explain it in an email.

I am not entirely sure where I will be serving back on the main island, but the rumor is that I will be serving on south Tarawa in a place called Ambo with a Fijian companion named Elder Veresoni. If you remember, that was where I worked with Elder Buhler for a week before I was transferred to Tabituea North and it was also where I was supposed to work before I got emergency transferred to Maiana.  Maybe there's a reason that this area keeps coming up.  I’m a bit sad because I will be far away from my former area of Buota and I had hoped to be able to reconnect with some of the members and recent converts there.  But I've prayed about it and I feel peace so it’s all good.  And I will definitely go to Buota on P-days and do what I can to strengthen my converts.

I hope that all is well at home.  It still hasn't hit me that I'll be home in a few short weeks. I love you and hope you have a good week! 

Elder Parrish

Sunday, June 11, 2017

My Last week on Fanning Island


June 4, 2017

Hey family...

                Sorry that I haven't emailed for a while. I guess the fact that I'll be seeing you guys in a month makes everything seem alright.  Right? If I'm being 100% honest, the internet was working last week but we went fishing--hahaha. I'll be with you guys for the rest of my life, but I only have a month left for fishing so that's taking precedence a little.

                A lot has happened since I have last sent you guys an email! Today I found out that I will be leaving to Tarawa a week from this Thursday. I will be leaving Fanning Island one week from tomorrow and I will have one day on Kiritimati Island before flying to Fiji and then to Tarawa. To be honest, my mission literally seems like it is over as I finish things up this week... I can't really explain how I feel. I guess it just definitely doesn't feel real. I am so so blessed and happy to be able to go back to Tarawa and to be able to spend one more month with the guys from my intake and with some of my awesome recent converts in Tarawa.

                During this last transfer on Fanning Island we have been able to accomplish so much and I'm so grateful to the Lord that he was able to keep me out here and to let me work hard until now. Everything has literally worked out perfectly this transfer and I'm going back with the perfect amount of time and leaving at the perfect time. I truly feel after this last week that the work that I was sent here to do on Fanning Island is finished. The Lord has seriously answered every single one of my prayers.

                I'm even more grateful to the Lord for the past five months that I have spent here on Fanning Island. In the past three months, Elder Rowsell and I have been able to complete five marriages, baptize four full families and bring a total of 20 people to the waters of baptism. This last week we were able to top things off by baptizing two people and the week before we were also able to baptize two. It was such a cool experience to see the blind member baptize his father and sister. I love our recent converts and I love these people here in Kiribati. This week there is going to be an awesome farewell with all of the members of the branch, which should be an awesome way to go out. I've made many friends here and it's going to be hard to say goodbye but I feel ready and I know that my time is up. I'm going to make the most of my last week on an outer island of Kiribati.

                I really am trying to work hard until the end and I love you guys so much! I hope that all is well at home and I will see you guys in no time!

Elder Parrish

Monday, June 5, 2017

May 21, 2017

Holy cow what's up!

I'm sorry that I haven't emailed for a couple of weeks.  We have been trying, but the internet has been down  We have spent hours each week trying to get on but it just hasn't loaded. It's been a test of patience but it's good that I got it to work for a second right now. I honestly have no clue if it's going to keep working the next few weeks or if it's going to be down. I guess if I don't email, then you guys will know that it's not working but that all is well out here. I only have a few more weeks left out here anyway and only a little over a month before I get to see you guys again!

Things are going well out here on Fanning Island. Last week we were able to have one baptism for a 30 year old man and it went great. Yesterday he was able to be given the Aaronic Priesthood, which was way cool to see. I think that this week we will be baptizing a family of three.  They have been to church like 12 times, but have been waiting on the Word of Wisdom. They are the family who is going to be baptized by their blind son, so it should be pretty cool to see.. 

I think that the following week, we will have one baptism and the week following we will have one as well. After that, I have no clue whether or not I will still be here. It's crazy how fast the time is going. This week was kind of bittersweet because we found some awesome new investigators but I know that I won't be able to see them baptized... I could be home for several months and find out that they just got baptized. It's crazy to think how fast the time is going. It still doesn't feel real. I'm sure that it will feel more real once I get off of this outer island, but the world still seems so far away and I'm enjoying every last bucket shower and every last night in the mosquito net.

I love you guys and I hope that you all have a good week!

Elder Parrish

May 8, 2017

Dear Family and Friends:

This is a way quick email... The internet was broken yesterday so I didn't get to send you guys an email. We will see how this next Monday goes but don't worry if you guys maybe don't get anything.

This past week was an awesome week! It was definitely one of the most rewarding weeks that I've had as a missionary. We had the privilege of seeing two full families get married on Tuesday (my 5th marriages on Fanning).  On Saturday, both families (a total of eight people) were baptized. Both families have made a 180 degree flip and it was so cool to see.  They have the type of convert stories you could tell at your homecoming :) After their baptisms and during Fast Sunday at church, they bore some of the coolest testimonies. It's so true that the gospel is best when taught to families. I think that they are both going to be staying strong in the gospel for a long time.

This week I think that we should be having one baptism for the 30 year-old husband of a part-member family. His wife is a member and he is the man and has a solid testimony so it should make for a good week. The week following we should have another family of three getting married, but they have had minor problems with the Word of Wisdom so hopefully they should be ready. They have also changed so much and it would be awesome to see them get baptized by their blind son.

I'm so grateful to be a missionary... I get so scared thinking about coming home in two months. It doesn't even feel real. I love you guys and thanks for all the prayers. See you guys in two!

Elder Parrish

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Hey fam!!

This will be a quick email.  We got news for transfers this week! The big news is that I will be staying on Fanning Island for my last full transfer as a missionary. I was really torn because I want to go back to Tarawa before I finish my time, but we have so many exciting things going on the next few weeks and I would have hated to leave before our awesome investigator families are baptized. I guess the good news is that I now will be here to see that happen.

This last week we had a baptism for Arawatau, a 24-year-old single dad who has two kids.  He is such an awesome recent convert and was so prepared for the gospel. He changed tons as we lessoned with him and I think that he will be a strong member for a long time.

Like I said, we have some super exciting things going on the next few weeks! This week we have a couple getting married and then they will be ready for their baptisms the next week.  They are in their 50's and have a daughter. The cool part is that they have a 17-year-old blind son who has been a member of the church for a year who has led his family to the church. He will be performing the baptisms this week and I think that it will be awesome to see.

The week after this week, we have two more families getting married and baptized with their children for a total of 8 baptisms. So many miracles have been happening out here with these investigators quitting smoking and drinking. Our investigators have had some of the hardest lives before, but they have all changed so much. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be here and to see all these people that I have started lessons with come enter the waters of baptism.

So many exciting things happening and I'm so blessed and happy to be here. I'm so grateful that I can continue to stay away from the world and the thoughts of going home and that I can stay here for another transfer on Fanning Island.

I hope that everyone has a good week!

Elder Parrish

Monday, April 3, 2017

Dear Fam and Friends;

     Yesterday we had 20 investigators at church. We FINALLY broke 20! That's so manyyyy investigators that it was a little overwhelming.  It's a bit stressful to be at church when you have 20 investigators there and you can only sit by a couple of them.  The Gospel Principles class that we hold has more people than the Sunday School class that the regular members attend. These investigators are all like members--we don't even worry about them coming to church. They all have various problems, but I have faith that they will all get there.

     Within in the next few weeks, we should definitely have some baptisms. One couple is getting married this week and we have an older couple who will be baptized the following week. The Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) missionary came back to Fanning Island after being gone for a while and was shocked to find that all of his people were going to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. To make a long story short, it's been like a quiet battle. We will visit the people and then he will visit them.  He will try to take them to his church on Sundays and we will try to take them to our church. But I'm happy to say that yesterday all of the former SDA members came to our church.

     One of my favorite investigators who I haven’t before mentioned is Mireta. She is literally a golden investigator. What we teach is so familiar to her and she believes everything. She only has one problem. Her husband is the President in the local parish of the Catholic Church (a really high calling) and an Anti-Mormon... The Catholic Church has such strict rules on marriages that if you are married in the church and then go to another church, the rest of the family is tied up because you went to a different church. To make a long story short, it's been difficult because she has wanted to come to our church for so long, but hasn't known what to do.  And she hasn't been able to talk to her husband because he has been on a different island. Yesterday, she came to church. I'm not sure what will happen if her husband finds out, but it was such a cool experience to see her come. She bears her testimony to all of the members of her fund-raising group in the Catholic Church and she's just the best. It was definitely a big step for her to attend.

     This is kind of a scattered email, but I hope that everyone has a good week!

     Elder Parrish


Sunday, March 26, 2017

March 19, 2017

All is going well out here on Fanning Island. I am really enjoying myself.  I am so used to the life here on outer islands and I am enjoying every moment of it.

We were able to baptize a young couple this last week, which was awesome to see and a way cool experience.  It was my first time doing a baptism in the ocean since last July! I think that we are going to be having some more baptisms in the next couple of weeks, which is way great!  We are starting to clear up a lot of time for finding new investigators so all is going well. We have gotten a little bit of help on the paperwork for the marriages that need to be performed, but we still need to get a few of them figured out, which has been really hard.  We still need a lot more help if we are going to get things done.

This week was a little hard because we had to leave our area for a day and a half to help out with transfers since one of the elders on the other side of the island had to leave.  We are working in a threesome until his new companion comes in a week and a half.   Hopefully this week we will be able to stay in our area and go on splits so that we will be able to get more done. 

Last week we went fishing but didn't catch tons of fish... I think that we are going to be going again today and that we should be able to catch some more.. it should be fun.

Time is flying by... I'm currently almost finished with 1 Samuel in the Old Testament and I love it. I don't know why I never read the Old Testament before.

Love you all.  Have a great week!

Elder Parrish