Total Pageviews

Sunday, December 13, 2015

BYE BYE (for awhile)

December 13, 2015

Hello hello hello everyone!

I hope everyone has been doing well at home <3 It's crazy to think
that it's Christmas time?! Haha I play Christmas music from my iPod
just to remind me that it's almost Christmas. It sure doesn't feel
like it... I'm dreaming of a white one hehehe #bwabetito. 


I THOUGHT it was an average week on Tab North-- that is until about 10
minutes ago. I hopped on lds.org to write my weekly letter to
President Weir. There was a 2 line response from him:

"Thank you for your letter. I want you and Elder Musser to go to Tab
South and do a companion exchange for a few weeks. Elder Ellis will
come to Tab North and you and Elder Tekangui will work on Tab South."

LOOKS LIKE I'M HEADED TO TAB SOUTH :') As for how long and what to
even bring I'm not really sure. We are taking a boat tomorrow morning
at 5:30 A.M. When Saturday comes, Elder Musser and Elder Ellis will
head up to Tab North and I will stay on Tab South. Unfortunately, Tab
South doesn't have internet... Haha radio's are high-tech there. This
will be my last time talking to all of you before Christmas.... </3 I
hope it's a good one <3 Heck, maybe before my sweet 19th in good 'ol
January. Good thing Pres. Weir is keepin' us on our toes <3 Don't
forget about me :( 


AS FOR THIS WEEK.... It was a good week. Elder Musser was throwing up
out of both ends one day so we stayed home this Friday. Other than
that it was a normal week of work. We just finished doing a tedious
marriage today that was really frustrating. Our groom showed up to his
marriage completely drunk and smelling like cigarettes. He told us
that he had quit smoking a few weeks ago. Looks like his date will be
pushed back a few weeks. If there's one thing I learned it's that
Satan DOESN'T sleep. It's a good thing Heavenly Father doesn't either
<3 


As of right now, we have 6 people with dates for baptism. We continue
to work hard and make a difference in any way that we can! Right now
my brain is kinda fried thinking about packing and stuff and not
knowing what's going on so I think I'm gonna go. Ti na kaitibo n
taina. I tangiringkami ni kabane! (We'll meet in time! I love all of
you!). 


 -Elder Parrish

Sunday, December 6, 2015

FLUSHHH

December 6, 2015

Hello everyoneeeee <3

Is it really already December? Every day here seems about like Groundhog-Day when it's the same temperature EVERY day and when the sun rises and sets at the SAME time. I guess that's life on the equator :')

My caption basically says it all... This week something miraculous happened. As Isaiah would call it "a marvellous work and a wonder". 3 men came from Tarawa and fixed our toilet so that it flushes <3 I'm still not really used to it hahah sometimes I go flush it just to make sure it still works. Our fans also have worked their way up to almost lasting the night. Still bucket showers, but that's no big deal. I've grown pretty fond of those. It's safe to say that it's easy livin' (1st world?!?) out here on Tab North :')

This week was another good week. It had its ups and downs but I'm always grateful to be here. This week we were able to baptize 20 year old Iebeta. He seriously has such a good heart and a natural desire to do good. He told me that he wants to serve a mission when he hits his year mark. There's just some people you don't have to do much with. Super grateful for bright spots like him.

One of the harder things this week happened when we went to visit Kunimera. Kunimera is a 17-year old kid who's awesome. We thought that he was going to get baptized this Friday until we visited him-- there was some commotion as we approached and realized that he was 120% drunk. The funny part was that he told me he was "fasting" for fast Sunday and that he hadn't eaten. I told him not drinking was a part of it too hahah. Sorry buddy </3 It's crazy because in our lesson prior to that I felt impressed to say "Satan is going to tempt you so hard as you prepare to get baptized. Stay strong." Well, Satan won this one. We are going to meet with him on Wednesday and see what we can do. Just a minor setback right?!

Atarake update: We went to his house and taught a lesson as if there had been no problem :')

All in all, all is well! We should be having 3 or 4 baptisms in the next month. We continue to slowly find as we lose and we continue to work hard. Some days are harder than others-- you take the good days when they come. Some days you get all your lessons, the weather is perfect, and life is good. Some days lessons fall through, we get POURED on by rain and callin' it quits doesn't seem that bad. Whenever I'm sad I realize that my head is down looking at the dirt road as we bike. When I just lift my head up and see the ocean, palm trees and the island, nothing really seems that bad <3 

We are going to work hard this week before we prepare to head to Tab South the following week for another short trip! I hope everyone has a good week <3

-Elder Parrish 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sliced Ham and Spaghetti

November 29, 2015

Hello everyone!
I hope everyone had a good week of Thanksgiving! Black Friday was nutz this year!!! This Thanksgiving was definitely a little bit of a different Thanksgiving than what I'm used... In a good way :') No, I didn't get to eat Turkey, but I'm used to waking up every morning to roosters going crazy so that's something :') My Thanksgiving dinner this year consisted of a canned spaghetti and a canned ham heated up... Pretty good actually. Yes, the one day we didn't have a dinner appointment this week happened to be Thanksgiving. I guess it made me realize the REAL things I'm grateful for-- an eternal family, the gospel, and the opportunity to be on a mission. Not too bad ehhh? :')
It was a good week. Elder Musser and I were able to hit 25 lessons-- our highest lesson total since I've been here. This Saturday we should have a baptism. Iebeta is going to be baptized and we are really excited about it. He's 20ish and seriously was so prepared before we met with him. We also should have around 3 more baptisms this month if all goes as planned. All is well in Tab North.
This week we had a couple of interesting experiences. The first came when we went to do our first recent convert lesson with Atarake (baptized 2 weeks ago). During our lesson, (we were teaching the restoration), he FLIPPED. He started yelling and told us to not come back and that he wasn't from our church and that he "knows the truth" and that he doesn't have a testimony of Joseph Smith and just all these things. I haven't done many lessons but I don't think that's what you want from someone JUST baptized lolzzz. Someone could've literally shot me with a gun and I think the pain in my heart would've been the same. I think that's the first time I've really felt the pains of working with, teaching, and loving these people. It definitely rattles you a little bit when you hear those things. Slowly, he calmed down and came back from Mars or wherever his brain was holyyyyy. He went from saying he wasn't from the church, to never meeting us, to not going to church (it's held at his house), to not meeting with us for a year, to meeting with us this week <3 Hahah we are going to visit him again this Tuesday... Stay tuned :')
The other interesting experience is when we started lessons with a couple. Their mom is VERY Catholic and was really friendly until we started lessons with her kid and his wife. She left... When the lesson was over I went to shake her hand. I thought she said  "If you guys come back I'm deaf to everything you say" and just stuff like that. People are SO hardened sometimes... Everyone wants to talk to the white guys UNTIL they share the ONE THING they traveled to this countryto do. Goshhhhh. Someone play "Where Is the Love" By the Peas pleaseeee.
All in all, it was a good week. I guess if I had anything to say it would be look for SIMPLE opportunities to serve others. This week was Elder Musser's 20th birthday and I found the SIMPLEST ways to serve him on his b-day. I got his bucket of water for the shower and toilet, cooked breakfast and lunch, and gave him a simple Kiribati hat (see picture). As you guys probs know, we've struggled in the past hahah but it made such a BIG difference. Things are great right now-- all because I really LOOKED for SIMPLE opportunities to serve. Are we not all beggars (Mosiah 4:19). Yes, I'm a shining example of service <3 All in the spirit of Christmas :')
I hope everyone has a great week <3
Elder Parrish





Elder Parrish, Elder Musser, and the two Elder's from Tab South


Church Mwanaba (used for Christmas party etc.)


Elder Musser's birthday hat


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Campin' with the boys

November 22, 2015

Mauuuuuuuri Ngkami <3
This week was another good week. I'm staring to realize that pretty much every week is a good week as a missionary :') Crazyyyy that it's Thanksgiving this week... Plz enjoy turkey and gravy and be happy that it isn't turtle or eel okay?!

Hahah the funniest things happen every week... Having a guy who doesn't have any doors in his hut fix our doorknob (not sure how that adds up). I also am now rocking a nice buzz-cut <3 A guy promised to cut my hair before he had "work" so he woke me up before 6:30 ready to cut my hair. Unfortunately our solar power wasn't working so he just went to town with craft scissors. After he got half way done he had to go to work. I was wandering around half the day with my hair half cut. When we were about ready to get picked up by the boat I decided to take matters into my own hands heheh. I basically got my head shaved when he knocked on our door ready to finish <3 Looks like I might not be sending home pics of myself for a while!!
As I mentioned last week, this week Elder Musser and I were going to be heading down to Tab South. On Tuesday we took a small one engine boat and set out before sunset... Seriously one of the most beautiful and serene feelings. I felt SO close to heaven and so peaceful. It was our motorman, Elder Musser and I boating at sunset in perfect weather on an ocean of glass. I was thinking about my life and how of all the places I could be I'm traveling from 1 small island to another tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Never have I felt smaller but never have I felt more like the Lord knew me perfectly. Of ALL the places in the world I could be I'm in Kiribati at this time. I didn't do much but keep the commandments and go on a mission. I haven't done much. If we can just do the best in the role that the Lord gives us, big or small, he'll do the rest!
Anywaysssss, we arrived to Tab South and were welcomed by Elders Ellis and Elder Tekangui on the beach. We went to our "family" that we stayed with last time and got settled in. The rest of the week was great. I went on splits with Elder Tekangui every day. Elder Tekangui is a 27 year old Kiribati elder who is a recent convert to the church of only 2 and a half years. He speaks little to no English so it was a fun week of progressing in the language. I feel like there was lots of progress to be made. One of my favorite things is working with different people and learning different things from every single person. Elder Tekangui had such an interesting perspective as a native Kiribati person and also as a former member of Catholic and Protestant churches. I also gained a newfound respect for my companion Elder Musser. 
Tab South truly is an awesome area... We were able to find lots as well as teach lots. The people there are SO interested and prepared for the gospel. We had people coming up to us asking if they could have lessons. That area is going to blow up with baptisms in no time. It was also great because of the smaller size... It required less biking. It couldn't be more different from Tab North. There are tiny roads that go every which way and you're in the middle of nowhere for 20 minutes at a time-- but I loved it <3
The last time that I was in Tab South I was so blown away by the living conditions... This time when I went these things that were blowing me away seemed normal... Sleeping on a mat on the buia in the open air without a mosquito net was great... Getting up in the morning to bike for 5 minutes to get cleaner (not clean lolz) water was no big deal. Even getting up at 5:30 to bike to buy some fresh bread was fun. We also worked on building the elders house down there... I was climbing around on the frame and nailing these crooked sticks they build with in place. Also, if anyone needs to know any part of the phases of a coconut's growth just ask me <3 
On Saturday, we hopped on a plane and took the 15ish minute plane ride bike up... It was a great week and went by WAY to fasttttt. I'm already looking forward to next month :')
Just think of it this way: Every day that passes is another way that my buzz cut grows a little longer <3 

I'm doing great...I hope everyone has a great week!

I tangaringkami ma nanou ni kabane! (I love you guys with all my heart!)

-Elder Bariti (Kiribati spelling whaaaaa)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Smooth Sallin'

November 16, 2015

Ahhhhhh, it's been a good week here in the Central Pacific. I hope it's been a good week for everyone back home <3 One of my favorite things is trying to explain to Kiribati people that when rain gets cold, it freezes and becomes a thing called "snow" (tino).... They're still working on getting that one. I hope you guys are coping with it a little better :')
First things first... I GOT A PACKAGE. WHAT'S GOOD AMERICA!?!? You got nothin' on me haha. I promise I have never been excited to see a yellow starburst (not even pink) :/ Hahah but I really felt SO blessed. Simple things... Every single day.

But YES, this week has been a GREAT week. My favorite week in Tab North by far. It has been overcast every day with a little bit of rain, making the large amounts of biking more bearable. When you add in a little bit of that ocean breeze I think that "paradise" would be a good word to describe it. This week, Elder Musser and I have been working hard-- as usual. Our week started off a little bit slow. To be honest, I was a little sad for the first few days. I felt like we were working really hard but weren't seeing the fruits of our labors. I was feeling like I wasn't helping people and wasn't improving this area... Slowly but surely the week got better and better. The culmination was on Saturday when Atarake was able to enter the waters of baptism. I had the sacred privilege of being able to confirm him a  member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in my broken Kiribati yesterday at his home where 1 of the sacraments is held up North. His simple testimony after his baptism was so rewarding and made me smile so big. This gospel brings such joy.
As for our investigators, things are going well. 14 PI's and we currently have 4 set for dates in December if everything goes well. This week we were able to pick up an investigator named Iebeta who just came to Tab. On the island that he was on previously, he was almost finished with the lessons. We are hoping to get him baptized before he returns. Tekea is working courageously to stop his smoking. Motirae and Bwebwe are two teenage studzzzz.
Yesterday was my favorite Sunday here by far. I love the small sacrament meetings that we are able to attend in the homes of members. I guess they really take to heart "home is where the heart is" lol. It's awesome when we are able to partake of the sacrament with a smaller group (20ish) people and then after get called upon to give talks and to "not know beforehand the things that we should say." We were able to do that in 2 homes yesterday <3 I'm quickly learning that teaching (with the spirit) is the key to a happy and a successful mission. Gosh I'm just happy like i can't explain it hahaha.
ANYWAYS, I'm going to STAY happy because this is going to be a GREAT week. We are taking a boat tomorrow to Tab South. We will stay there until Saturday when the plan is to fly back. It should be great to see the elders down there and to be able to help the work progress in that area as well. I'm excited to go on splits with a straight Kiribati elder.. I'll report back on my Kiribati (prayers accepted hahaha) <3
I'm typing the close to this email while staring at the ocean, palm trees and feeling a breeze. I'm doing a "service project" in the water right now so I gotta go hahah LOVE YOU GUYS. Sled or something (if that's still a thing?!) <3
Elder Parrish 



Sunday, November 8, 2015

Gone Swimmin' Take 2

November 8, 2015

FAM and FRIENDS <3

This week has FLOWNNNN by-- it's starting to form a trend. However, it's been a great week! I continue to slowly progress in the language and in developing charity and love for these people. How is everyone doing?! To start off this email I need to give a quick S/O to the best sis in the world... Happy birthday tomorrow to my BFF Linds! Always been the best listener and friend in the world. Only one more November 10th and I'll be home... Kinda scary. Everyone be sure to give my gurl Linds some love tomorrow as well as everyday <3

As the subject says... This week I went swimming...again. Sadly, we didn't have any baptisms this week. Let me explain:

Around a month ago a coconut tree fell and hit the Church mwaneaba (used for the Christmas and Easter parties etc.). It fell down, and with Christmas coming up the Elder's Quorum decided that we needed to get started on rebuilding it. It was decided that we were going to go to an "etimwakoro" (deserted little island) close to Tab North on foot at "ora" (low tide) and "koro kai" (cut trees) down for the mwaneaba's pillars. So, on Saturday, we left at 6 in the morning when the truck woke us up outside our house. There were 13 of us total who drove to the edge of the island and walked on foot for an hour or two to this small deserted island. We cut some trees and then were prepared to come back after pounding some coconuts and coconut meat... There was one problem... It was "iabuti" (high tide). Hahah to make a long story short, I spent the next 3 hours in water up to my shoulders in a lot of places making the tiring trek back. For some reason I also thought it appropriate to bring my backpack with my books and everything. We got the trees back by tying them with ropes and coconuts to make them float. Let's just say my hair didn't stay dry... Hahah there were some pretty solid waves that came and took me under.. It was a SLOW process. I FINALLY got to swim and it wasn't all that I had ever hoped it would be :/ jk it was pretty awesome. If anyone is wondering, the water and sand in the middle of the Pacific Ocean feels WONDERFUL. Hope you guys are all enjoying winter and the SNOW LOLZ <3 I'm planning the same service project for this next weekend :') 

As far as the rest of this week, it was a lot of the same. The best experience happened in our lesson with Atarake. Atarake has been finished with his lessons for a while and has stopped smoking but didn't feel ready for baptism and especially for receiving the priesthood. He didn't know if he had a testimony. Last week we had a lesson with him where we read in the BOM in 3 Nephi 11. When we met with him this week he told us that when we taught him something pierced his heart. He wants to be able to be with his family forever. When he prayed he felt peace and comfort and now knows that this church is true. He asked when he could be baptized. He is on for this Saturday and we are pretty excited about it ;') 

This week we are going to keep working hard and hope that we can continue to find and grow with the people that we have! We are going to stay one more week in Tab North before heading down to Tab South next week for a short 5 day trip. All is GOOOOOOOD (Kiribati Flag Emoji WHAA).

Really Quick Spiritual Thought:

When I opened my call I thought that Kiribati would be perfect. I will be FORCED to be humble (I've always had a problem with pride lolz). This will be SO great to live in a 3rd world country for 2 years and to come back humble. It's really hit me recently when I read the scriptures in Alma 32: 13-16. It says something like "blessed are those who are humbled without being compelled to be humble". That hit me like the coconut tree hittin' the mwaneaba. We can all be humble given our circumstances and no matter where we are. Humility is definitely something I've been trying to improve on... Not just because I live in Kiribati and don't have the best living conditions all the time. 

Have an average week!!!!


Elder Parrish

Before high tide

Our humble abode

Chapel



Sunday, November 1, 2015

Gone Swimmin'

November 1, 2015

MAURI MAU-- Who am I kiddin' I still suck at Kiribati.
BUT... How is everyone!? As you can probably tell from the subject, either 2 things happened this week. Either I was a highly disobedient and went swimming (it's highly tempting), or I had my FIRST baptism <3 I'm proud to say that it was the latter :') It's crazy to think that it was Halloween this weekkkk. Mine and Elder Musser's Halloween consisted of buying 8 suckers and 2 sticks of gum <3 TRICK OR TREAT. 

As I said, this week I had the opportunity of performing my first baptism. On Saturday (Halloween) I was able to brink Tebaaia Nakebwe to the waters of baptism. It was an awesome experience. We went to his house at 4:00 (when the tide was right), and held a small baptismal service on their buia. Elder Musser and I both gave talks on Baptism and the Holy Ghost. We then proceeded to walk across the street to the ocean where I performed the Baptism. What a great feeling <3 Definitely one of those things you don't feel yourself gettin' used to. Also they might need to add it to the Word of Wisdom because it might have a little bit of an addictive nature :') 
As for the rest of this week, it was solid. We were able to see the 2 elders headed to Tab South off on Wednesday. We found out that there is a new district in the mission called the "Tabiteuea District" with Elder Musser serving as DL. This basically means that for 4 or 5 days a month we will fly down to Tab South and go on splits and training's with the Elder's down there. I'm excited about that.
Unfortunately, this week was our lowest lesson total since being here. We still hit 20 lessons but it was a tough week. It consisted of a lot of biking in the HOT sun (don't ask about the chaffing lolz) and some fallen appointments and even a couple lost investigators. However, the Lord has a way of providing new investigators when new investigators are needed. We have about 5 people that we have found or received this past week that we hope to start lessoning with this week. We are super excited <3

Also, with Christmas only a few months away and the shipping here a little sketchy I'm going to go ahead and give my Christmas List :')

-Mini Fridge
-Pocket A/C
-Water bottle that can make any drink cold <3
But for reals, after having a rainy few weeks it has been BLAZING hot. It's a constant battle of leaving behind WANTS for things I actually NEED. I have a tan line on my fingers from where they curl to hold the bike handles haha. We had a service project this week that consisted of digging holes to place tree trunks in for a man named Timoteo's. I wanted to die. I just felt TRAPPED by the heat. It's 24/7, 365, for the next 2 years. There are so many times where I'm like HOW but then I start to think... I'm alive-- I'm hot, but I'm not going die. There's no cold water, but there's water.
All in all, it was a solid week :') A baptism and some new people to teach. Another week in the books that I'll never get back. 1 day at a time. 
I hope everyone has a great week! As I improve in the language and continue to adjust to the culture and climate, i feel myself catching glimpses of falling in love with this place. This is the best thing I could ever be doin' and I'm grateful for the all the support! I hope everyone has a great week <3
-Elder Parrish

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mauri Riki

October 25, 2015

HELLOOOOOOOO <333
Hahaha well it's been another week (that's 7 days hehehe) :') The days go by slowwwww but every week I'm sitting in this little room sweatin' out of a lot of pores and emailing and it seems like it was just yesterday <3 It's crazy to think that this week I will hit my 3 month mark in the mission (that's 1/8 of the way done for all you math whizzes) <3 Crazy to think how much (and how little) has happened in these past 3 months.
As for me, this week was a good week. We got around 25ish lessons and we should have 2 baptisms for this Saturday-- Atarake and Tebaia. Atarake is an old man who walks with a limp but he has endured with stopping smoking and should be prepared to go. He has a fear of getting the priesthood so that's something we have been trying to work through. Tebaia is a 10-year old who's a straight G. He comes from a family of members but he's wayyy smart and should be set for this Saturday. To be continued <3
As for the rest of the area, it's a LOT of biking. We bike anywhere from 2 to 3 hours a day. It's either rainy or burning hot. Either way, I'm "maimai n tai nako" (wet all the time). We literally have investigators at each tip of this LONG island. Although there are plenty of investigators to keep us busy, not tons are progressing right now. This week we are probably going to do a bunch of member visits to see if we can get some referrals. Whatever we do, we need to SPICE THIS PLACE UPPPPPP.
As for the living conditions, Tab North is seeming pretty danggggg nice. We don't even have to go to a well for water <3 Just outside yayy! The toilet, even though it's flushed with a bucket, is indoors yayy! We have fans that work for 45 minutes yayy!! So many little blessings if you really look for them <3
One of my favorite/hated parts of the work here is the biking. So much time to think. I guess my favorite part of the day is at night when we are biking home. It's finally cooled off enough to where there is a breeze from the dark ocean that's always in our sight. Our only light is the bright moon. It's silent except for the swaying of the palm trees and the smell is of the salt-air and distant fires for people cooking their food. There are glimpses, I mean GLIMPSES of seeing this place for what it really is <3
I guess as for kind of my spiritual experience this week I would just like to talk about fasting. Earlier this week I was just kind of down and still a little confused and I prayed to know whether or not I needed to fast. As I proceeded to read in the scriptures about the only words that were sticking out was "fasting and prayer". I took that as a pretty good sign. I started my fast. The next day proceeded to rain and to be not as hot. It made my fast a lot more bearable. After my fast, this week really picked up. Fasting WITH prayer make a pretty good combo <3

Well, it looks like that's about for me. I'm sure I'll be back here sweatin' pretty good before we know it <3
Enjoy that fall breeeeeeze and the leaves changing... Heck, enjoy whatever in the world comes your way <3
-Elder Parrish 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The week I spent in Tab South

October 19, 2015

Mauri mauri mauri aomata ni kabane! (hello everyone)
How is everyone doing at home and various parts of the world?! We are still under the same moon I promise (Just an 18 hour time change) <3 

This has been a little bit of a crazy week! You've probz realized that I'm emailing a day late. As I mentioned last week in my email, Elder Musser and I were going to go Tab South this past week. Last Wednesday, we hopped in a tiny single engine fishing boat and boated south down the coast for Tab South. After a 3 hour boat ride, we arrived. To answer your question, no one was there to greet us. How would they even have any idea that we were coming w/o internet or phone coverage? They had been expecting us for weeks but because of the problems with my plane to get here we couldn't go earlier. Regardless, we were there and there was no stopping us!! heheh
Anyways, we showed up to the "Unit Leaders" house, which consists of 2-stick houses, a "buia" (raised open air hut), and a bathroom (picture "The Other Side of Heaven"). We found out that the stick house being built for the elder's hasn't even been started let alone finished. We could tell they were a little surprised to see us but nonetheless we had arrived at home! 
The rest of the week is about how our stay in Tab South started. Every night, we slept on the buia on "kie's" (the woven mats) under "bongos" (mosquito nets). There was a well a little ways away that we would use to get water to flush the porcelain hole and to get water for showers and such. Hahah try taking a bucket shower with dirty well water and tell me if you feel like you get any cleaner. 1 night I was a little sick from something hahaha I don't want to know what animals were living inside that bathroom when I was using it for a good portion of the night.

It sounds a little bit scary but it really wasn't that bad... It's just different! I was able to live like a Kiribati person and I was able to experience the things that they do every day-- for just 1 week. The family that we stayed with was seriously so amazing and so kind. They fed us every meal and when I wasn't feeling well they were so kind. I really learned a lot about the culture and I felt my language forced to improve as we were literally living Kiribati 24/7. Studies were a little interesting when you are literally living in a families living room but it was an awesome week and it was hard to say goodbye to Tauetebong and family-- in Kiribati when you leave you don't know if it's the last time you'll see that person.

As for the rest of our week, it was good. There were lots of visits and lots of lessons taught. There is already a great pool of investigators there and when Elder's come next week they're going to see loads of success. The people there are so curious and so ready to receive the gospel. there aren't enough hours in a week to teach the amount of people in Tab South that would want to be taught in 1 day. I'm super excited for the Elder's to open that area and continue to prove that this gospel is going to the "isles of the sea." I'm grateful I was able to play a small part in getting it ready. 

Other than that, it was a good week. 

Never take for granted how amazing your local ward and stake is. Seeing Tab South in the very baby stages of development was truly humbling. It takes good members and people that are willing to make the church flourish and grow in your particular area. As of now, there are a total of 20ish members of the church on Tab South. Sacrament meeting 1 was held in Tauetebong's buia with approximately 6 adults and a 8 or 10 kids. We blessed and passed the sacrament and then Elder Musser and I gave talks. We then proceeded to do the same thing to another family in a different village consisting of 1 adult. It was a pretty humbling and I'm grateful for the opportunity.

Well, that's about it for me! Time to settle back into the normal lifestyle in our MANSION on Tab North with a table to study. Great experiences this week... ALWAYS "Wareki Am Bwai" (count your blessings). I'll never forget the week I spent in Tab South.

 Don't forget to drop me an email :')  

Elder Parrish

Sunday, October 11, 2015

HUMBLED! (from Tab North)

October 11, 2015

Friends and familyyyyyy, 
How is everyone? I miss you guys SO much. These days are going by slow, but it seems like just yesterday was last P-Day. One thing I do know is how blessed I am to have amazing family and friends. Maybe if you guys weren't good fam and friends I wouldn't be missing you guys all the time </333 ;'(
First things first, I am writing this in TAB NORTH. Whaaaaa?! I was supposed to call this place home a month ago but yesterday I was able to officially call it my home <3 We chartered a small 5-seater plane and flew over the ocean for an hour and 15 minutes. What a beautiful thing to see the pretty ocean and the islands of Kiribati that we flew past. To be honest, one of the weirdest and worst feelings that I've felt is the feeling of seeing that plane take off.... I was left on a dirt strip with nothing but my bags, my nametag, and my companion. NEVER have I felt so alone. To get an idea of where I am, I want everyone to picture a deserted island... WOW! That's exactly where I am! It's crazy how easy it is to picture it! This place is nothing but trees and ocean. There are 9 villages on Tab North but given how spread out they are it's pretty much trees. It's a crazy feeling knowing that you are 1 of 2 white guys on the island in the middle of the pacific ocean a longggg ways away from civilization. I don't suggest trying to feel it any time soon.
As far as our house goes, it's pretty nice. We have a sink in the kitchen that works. We take bucket showers and flush the toilet with a bucket. The solar-powered fans work for like 45 minutes a day YAYYYY. It's whatevs it's not hot on the equator right? 

As you can tell, It's been a crazy 24 hours. Trying to adjust to this place I can already tell is going to be difficult. Serving a mission is the hardest thing that I have EVER done in my life and I'm hoping it will be the hardest hahaha cuz I don't know how things could get harder than this. I am SO truly being humbled. I am knocked to my knees and I don't know when I'm going to be able to get back up.
As far as my last week in Tarawa went, it was a lot of fun. I got to catch part of conference-- awesome experience. One day, I took an hour and a half boat ride to an island called Tarawa Ieta with a ZL so he could conduct baptismal interviews. The wind and sea-spray felt amazing as well is being out in the blue lagoon and the ocean. This country is so beautiful. I don't want it to ever get old. 
As far as plans for this week go, we are taking a plane to Tab South tomorrow. We will be staying there for a week. Elders are coming to stay there full time on October 26. We are going down to prepare things for them and to see if their stick house is completed. It should be an interesting week in a place even less developed than Tab North. Sounds like another humbling week. We should be returning a week from tomorrow if all goes as planned.
The work in Tab North is going well. i haven't been here for much but there are a lot of investigators and they were able to teach a 20+ lesson week. I'm trying to stay positive (it's a struggle), and find the way that I can strengthen Tab North in my stay here. Quickly finding that a relationship with Heavenly Father is about the only relationship that I might have for a while.
My companion is Elder Musser from LV, Nevada. He's a red-headed, 1 year home-schooled, ex F-LDS church member. He wants to be join the army. We get along alright. Clearly we are very different people but he works hard and is very obedient. 
Well, my time on the one computer with decent internet on the island is running shortttttt. Wantin' to send my love to everyone no matter where they are. Count your blessings-- I promise you aren't doing too bad.
Elder Parrish

P.S. Email me plz I want to hear from everyone next weekkkkk         

Sunday, October 4, 2015

No one ever said it was going to be easy...they only said it was going to be worth it

October 4, 2015

FAM and FRIENDS and people that don't fit in either of those,

Hahaha I'm not gonna lie I was lookin' forward to emailing all you guys this week <3 It's been a toughhhhh week to say the least. I will hit my 1-month mark of being in the field this Kaabong (Thursday), and I still won't be to my island haha. Last week after I emailed I started feeling sick. A little bug has been going around. I had some headaches, chills, and a fever for a couple days but I've been feeling good again! It all kinda hits you at once... I moved areas and was in a house with Elder Buhler.... To give a little background, this is one of the nicer missionary houses... There was no working shower (we used buckets), and we had to pump to get clean water for drinking. The power would work during the night and then shut off for the whole day and it would become like 110 degrees and HUMID when we were trying to study. MORAL: NEVER like really NEVER take for granted anything in America. hahah I was so SOFT before my mission. Like SO soft. I was staying in a mansion for Kiribati standards and I was SO humbled. Those were probably some of the best conditions I'll have too so YAY. Excited to be able to be humbled <3

As far as the work goes, it was tough this week too. We were basically dropped in an area with only a couple investigators and were told to work. Sometimes it was hard to get the motivation to get out and work when you don't know the area, members, or people but it was good. We still hit 20+ lessons this week. 

You find that the Lord really does place people in your path and guides you. This week we were walking to a far away lesson in which we would usually take a bus. The Catholic Church decided to do a car parade in which they get a line of cars and trucks FULL (full in Kiribati has a different definition) of people and go 5 mph on the only road in the country and chant prayers. They basically help up every car in the country. Boy did we get some funny looks haha. Needless to say, we decided it would be faster to walk. As we were walking, a lady stops us and we start talking. It turns out that she wanted us to teach her as well as her husband, so we set up an appointment. A place we would never have been if there wouldn't have been that march. 

We had several of these type of experiences this week. It's these little experiences that help you realize that you MUST truly rely on the Lord. Never have I turned to Him more or needed Him with me more than I feel like I do serving my mission. The words of one of my favorite hymns "I Need Thee Every Hour" are constantly running through my head-- except I change the words to "every minute" and "every second".

All in all, it's going to be alright. This isn't easy-- it's HARD. It isn't always fun-- It's been A LOT of work. I'm nowhere near where I need to be but I'm trying to get motivated and I'm trying to be a good missionary. I'm so grateful to be here and to have one goal every day: To strengthen my own faith and testimony and to try to help others in the limited capacity that I can. 

ALWAYS count your blessings and ALWAYS look for the Lord's hand in your life. I'm gaining a testimony of that quickly and seeing that a lot of this isn't happening by "coincidence".

Quick Story:

We got invited into the home of a STRONG Itibong (7th Day Adventist). She grabbed her notebook and pen and wrote down every scripture and thing we said. After we got into a huge argument about what day we should worship and all this stuff. Of course, we left and that was that but it's just crazy. I'm an 18-year old kid out here trying to preach the gospel to people "learned of men", and I don't speak their language at all. It's HARD and tests your faith but I'm trying to grow what I have. 

I BETTER be hearin' from everyone next week. Send a PRAYER my way that I can get to Tab. 

Luvssss 2 all,

Elder Parrish 

P.S. What an amazing experience we have to listen to modern day prophets with conference this week. So blessed to have prophet's in this day and age.




Monday, September 28, 2015

WHAT'S UP...from Tarawa

September 28, 2015

Hello everyone <333

I hope everyone had a great week back at home and is looking forward to a wonderful new week of school and work yayyy <3

If you took the time to read the caption lolz I think you understand that I still haven't gotten off the main island of Tarawa. As I wrote last week, I thought that we were going to take a chartered plane this Saturday. It was going to take care of 3 transfers by stopping at 3 islands. It got pushed back to Sunday. When we went to the airport at 8 in the morning, the cute 'lil 5-seater plane was going through pre-flight checks. About 30 minutes later the pilot comes to us and tells us that the radio in the plane is broken!!!! If you see how small the landing space is on these islands you would agree that it was probably best to wait until it was fixed. He also claimed "there was nothing wrong with the plane" hahaha I'll believe it when I see it. By the way, this was in English so I understood <3 He said we were going to push the flight back to Monday. Later we got a call saying Tuesday and we haven't heard since so I'm holding out hope that it goes tomorrow. All is good in the islands <333 It's hard to be stressed when you walk around and see people passed out on dirt floors just hanging in the middle of the days. I wasn't even surprised, but at the same time I wasn't mad. I'm pretty much accepting what comes and loving it <'3

but PRAY that the flight goes tomorrow... or sometime in the next week... or even the next few months <33

In other news (which isn't much), President and Sister Weir came to Tarawa this week. They are only staying for a week so I should be gone by the time that they leave. They are seriously GREAT though ;) We had a zone conference with them on Friday afternoon when they went in. There were about 30 missionaries there (all the ones on Tarawa.) To make a long story short, we are doubling the standards of our missionary work. The goal is now 1 baptism/week/companionship. Tough, but we can do it <3 I also had an interview with him the next morning which was short and sweet. All is good.

Other than that, it's been another week rolling with the ZL's and the AP's. The climax came when the ZL's were able to bring 8 people into the waters of baptism, all people which I have taught 10+ times. Although my help was minimal, it's awesome to see people change and it made me even more excited to get to my area where it's 2 of us on the island with the responsibility to leave it a better place than we found it. 

The language is coming along really well. I'm nowhere near where I want but progress is all I can ask for and I feel that it's progressing pretty well. If the Kiribati people take the rocks outta their mouth I think I'll be doing pretty well <3 In lessons this week, one of the AP's (Elder Openshaw) would just say "Now we are going to have Elder Parrish explain ______". Hahah it was great to see how much I could say when I was placed on the spot. 

Anyways, LUVS 2 ALL. I miss and pray for everyone "ni katoa bong" (every day hehehe). Life is good <3 Don't let lizards in your car and definitely don't let a coconut hit ya in the head cuz those kill down here. Also, if you have any cuts make sure to put some triple antiobiotic <3

:') Elder Parrish :')

P.S. Drop me a quick prayer my way that I can get to Tabiteuea. SO BLESSED <3 And happy <3 And being a missionary is good <3 and felling the spirit too <3 and (trying) to help people <3 Still have LOTS to work on.

About four hours later we received another email from Elder Parrish with an update as to his situation going forward. Although he is disappointed he won't be in "Tab" quite yet, he is happy to be put to work where he is. He said:

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to give a quick update on what is going down... So we just got an email from the guy who is running the charter. The part he needs won't be shipped in from New Zealand until at least next week so I'm stuck here in Tarawa. I'm telling you this so you guys know that I'm not in Tab this week. The odds of getting an Air Kiribati flight are highly unlikely because the next available Tab flight wasn't until late October. 

When I found this out, I was extremely frustrated as you could probably guess. I was SO frustrated. I for the LIFE of me can't figure out why the Lord has been doing this to me. I know for a fact that this isn't happening by "chance". The hardest part is knowing this is happening for a reason and that God does have a plan but not knowing "why" or knowing "when" I will find out what the reason is.

The good news is that Elder Buhler and I (been out over a year), are going to be heading to the area called Teorteareke. It is a super good area that is generally the AP's but there has been little time for them to work in the area. We are heading to our own house tomorrow and he will be my "trainer" for as long as it takes to get a flight to Tab. After a short meeting with Pres. Weir, it sounds like I will still go to Tab as soon as possible.

As frustrating as this is, I'm making the best of it and I'm trying to find the reason. All is well... This will be great to be with a sick elder in my "own" area (at least for a week) <3 It's going to feel like I may be playing a small part in helping people now-- the reason I came on a mish.

That was a lot longer than it needed to be but I wanted to keep you updated.

as always,

Luvs

Elder Parrish 

P.S. ALL IS WELL. Don't worry 'bout a thing <3

Standing water a foot deep everywhere. The rain here is crazyyyy

Another birthday party



And another birthday party



Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I'm Alive!

September 20, 2015

My dearest fam and friends.... Hello <33
Well, this has been a week. An interesting one too I might add. First things first, I am STILL on Tarawa #blessed #psych

Here's what happened:
This whole week I have had a weird feeling that I wouldn't be getting to Tab. I didn't know why... Mainly for 2 reasons. 1. I have ZERO faith in Air Kiribati. 2. I felt weird about it. I didn't know if I was supposed to be there yet. Regardless, Wednesday morning I went to the airport. I went through their customs (consisting of a metal detector for guns hahah) and got my bag checked (if you could call it that.) and then went to the boarding area. I boarded the plane. It is about a 15 seater plane. Of course, I was the only person who didn't have anyone sitting by them ;// Ugh it's nice to be popular. For the first time, I thought the plane MIGHT leave. Of course, as the plane was started and ready to take off, a guy came on and said that their was a hydraulics leak that they needed to look at. Eventually we were told to exit the plane. After 45 minutes of waiting (I took a nice nap) we were told that the flight has been cancelled. I was SO frustrated/sad. WHY ME!?  After the initial anger, there were a few positives. I learned that the Lord does have a plan and that having that plane cancelled again was part of it. I may have something to learn in Tarawa or the Elders on Tab may have something to learn. President Weir also gets in to Tarawa on Thursday so I will have the opportunity to meet him. This is actually exciting given the fact that there have been Elders here for almost a year and a half that have not yet met President Weir. I still have SO much to learn.
Other than the frustrations of Air Kiribati, it was a good week ;) I am happy to say that it looks like I will be leaving for Tab this Saturday taking a chartered flight which is NOT Air Kiribati <3333 Don't worry... I'm not getting my hopes up. Everyone cross your fingers (pray) that I will be able to get there :)
It was been great to hang out with the ZL's every day. They are both GREAT at the language and GREAT teachers. There are 2 other Elders waiting for flights like me. We generally split up the ZL's and us and go teach. We have been teaching around 5 lessons a day. I have gotten some great ideas and I have so much to learn and do. The language is coming along super well :') Even though the people still sound like they're talking with rocks in their mouth I'm picking out more and more. I can generally track the lesson and what's happening. My testimonies and prayers are getting better and better. I feel like their is hope (even if it's just a glimmer) <3 So yeah, I'll probably be fluent by next week. The hardest part about the language is wanting to be good NOW... But everyday when I look back I see the progress that I have made and it's all that I can ask for.
As far as other stuff goes, there's probably one thing you guys should know. This place is NUTS. Like I wish you all could come here just to see it but you can't :// My explanations don't really do it justice. Here's a few things.
1. We went to about 3 more Botaki's (parties this week.) All of them were for birthdays. The people here love the missionaries so much that they make sure the Elders are there on their birthdays. They want us to eat first and there's a big ceremony where you say nice stuff about the person who is having the birthday and stuff. Hahaha at first it was weird for me.. I hardly know these people and they make us the guest's of honor at their birthdays and big celebrations. It wasn't until I realized that they don't care about who I am or if they know me. They care about the name I wear on my chest everyday. They care about Iesu Kristo and I am his representative. These people are so amazing.
2. Often times after lessons they offer us te amwarake (food) and Mooi (drink). It is 100% against the culture to refuse and you have to finish whatever they give you. It's tough. We were in a lesson teaching when we heard a bunch of thuds outside. This guy had scaled a HUGE coconut tree and was cutting down coconut trees for us to drink after the lesson like WHAT!?
3. It has been raining SO much. Every day that I have been here it has rained for at least a few minutes. This isn't the Utah rain I'm used to. When it rains, it POURS. Because people don't have cars, they don't do much when it rains. They thought it gave them an excuse to miss church haha. I get SOAKED every day, whether from sweat or from rain. I'm so dirty every night but I love it. The more I lose myself in the work and stop caring about being dirty the more I can help others.
This place is SO beautiful. The trees, the ocean, the breeze, the huts... It's so beautiful. But then when we go to teach a lesson and sit on dirt floors, see rats running by and in their food, flies EVERYWHERE, mosquito bites, centipedes in my drinks, dirty everything, it is SO humbling I wish I could describe everything that happens here to you guys... but the fact is that I can't :/ These are only a few of the trials, and I haven't left for the outer island of Tab yet.  I hope this answers some of the questions. Every day I ask myself "Will this ever be normal for me?" Naked kids everywhere, shoes and shirts optional, nursing in public isn't a big deal. The answer is I don't know. But I do know that I love this place and I'm starting to love this people and this language. I'm so grateful for every trial that I've had, and will have (there will be many), because it is making me stronger. As hard as change is, change is good. Change means that we are growing and become more the person we need to become. As much as we think that we know who we are, we truly don't know who we are until we come unto Christ and let him change us into who he has planned. The real us is so different from the person that we think we are. I'm excited to get a little bit closer to the person I'm meant to become this week <3
Have a great week <333
:') You know I will chillin' on the beach everyday sippin' coconuts :')
LUVS (as always)
Elder Parrish