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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,


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 

Monday, September 14, 2015


September 13, 2015

Family and friends.... WHAT'S UP?! <3 Yes, I am emailing from a computer. Yes, that means that I have internet (at least for a while). To start off, I am not in the outer island of Tabiteuea as I would've hoped that I would be today. Air Kiribati (the country's national airline) has 2 toy-sized planes. 1 of the planes is down and the other one has been flying like crazy. I went to the airport this morning at 5:30 in the morning to board my flight only to find out that they cancelled all flights for the next 3 days. Apparently the planes can only handle a certain number of hours and the 1 plane that is in operation has hit it's number for a few days. It looks like I will 

The first few days in Kiribati have been CRAZY. Part of it feels like a dream, and part of it feels like a nightmare. I have SO many moments where I think to myself "what the heck am I doing" or "I wish my mom and dad could see me right now." Like "I berita nakoim" (I promise to you) this place is like nothing that you have ever seen before. There are pigs, wild dogs, chickens, and people EVERYWHERE. The houses that people live in are crazy... They are generally "kiekia's" which are small stick houses with sloped roofs made from palm fronds and possibly tin. they have no furniture and we generally sit cross-legged on the ground on things called "Kie's" which are the woven mats. The people literally have no material things... I have seen probably seen 1 T.V. since I've been here. They have mats, things to cook, and that's basically it.

As you could probably guess, I've been in a little bit of culture shock. The life that these people live is so different from the life that I have ever lived and ever thought I would live. It's amazing to me that people live like this... but they're so happy and so friendly. We have been fed dinner every single night that we've been here. The food, as you can probably guess, consists of rice, a whole fish, some weird drink, and occasionally chicken. It's really good, just taking a little adjusting to. 

Sitting cross-legged is probably the HARDEST thing in the world. It hurts every square inch of my legs and even my back. We went to a SHORT "bootaki" (a party) for a couple getting engaged. It consisted of sitting cross-legged for 2 WHOLE hours and questioning every decision I've ever made. We were the some of the honored guests. There are a lot of in n outs of the culture that will take some getting used to. I'm ready to take it head on. I can't speak the language and it's really frustrating. I want to be able to help these people but until I speak the language I can't.

My first few days here have been crazy. We have been with the AP's and Zone Leaders the whole time. We easily can teach 5 lessons a day even with their responsibilities. We even had a people come up to us in the car this week asking if they can have lessons. The people are amazing :')  Hopefully the language will start to come along with the ability to understand the culture and a growing love for the food. Pray that I will be able to leave for Tab this Wednesday.. oh and also that I can sit cross-legged lolz <3


P.S. I bore my testimony in Sacrament meeting... Thanks Bishop </3

Sunday, September 13, 2015


September 10, 2015

FAMILY AND FRIENDS.... I AM ALIVE. Holyyyyyy cow it's been a lot of traveling. From L.A., to beautiful Fiji, to Tarawa, I am finally here. I walked off the plane and got nailed with the humidity and the heat. It's been a complete whirlwind of a day. I can honestly say that Kiribati is the most beautiful place and the people I can already tell are so amazing. It is SO 3rd world but the ocean, the trees, ahhhh <3

I'm sure the biggest question on everyone's mind is where I will be serving. Let me answer this question with some good and some bad news.

FIRST, the GOOD news:

I will be serving on the outer island called Tabiteuea (Tab for short.) It is pretty far South and is about an hour long plane ride. Luckily, I've heard that it has internet and maybe even phones. As far as an outer island goes, the living conditions will be pretty good. There is a little island off of Tab to the South called Tab South. This island is one of the most untouched islands in the country and if not the world. My companion and I will be starting on Tab North (the nice one) but we will most likely end up on Tab south for the long run which doesn't have internet or maybe even phones. We will at least be taking a boat or a plane every couple weeks to Tab South to stay there. It's all kind of cloudy but all I know is that I'm SO excited to serve in Tabiteuea. T My companion is going to be Elder Musser. He has been out for about a year and is currently on Tab. I have heard that he is one of the most obedient missionaries so I am super excited to meet him. I am supposed to fly out on Monday morning by myself at around 6 in the morning to meet him.

SECOND, the BAD news:

One of my checked bags (the smaller one) did not make it to Kiribati. The bags will possibly be coming Monday, but due to my flight it looks like I probably won't see that bag for a good 4 to 6 months or any of the things in it. Hopefully I can find everything that I need with what I have because the limit for bags is 30 Ibs to get to an outer island.

I LOVE EVERYONE. THANKS FOR ALL THE SUPPORT. Hopefully, I will hear from you guys on Monday and I will have some good news.

:') Elder Parrish :')

Pictures of Zach and his district in the airport. It was great to talk with him on the phone!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Tiabo Provo MTC

September 4, 2015

Hey everyone <3

Guess what?!? I've been at the Provo MTC for 5 and a half weeks and I peace out on TUESDAY for KIRIBATI! WHAAAA?!? I'm seriously so excited :') The time that I have spent at the Provo MTC has been priceless. I can't picture myself having been anywhere else for the last while. I've learned so much and I've developed a huge love for PMG and for the Scriptures. I wouldn't have been at all prepared to teach real people if I would've been here for 12 days so I'm grateful for the time that I have had :')

Not much has happened here this week... It's kind of been like every other week. We are saying bye to the Samoans tomorrow :/ They have been here with us since day 1 and I'm going to miss all of them. We had in-field orientation yesterday which was a good experience. The skype TRC was also another highlight of this week.

My main focus right now is packing and getting prepared to leave! I'm SO excited... a little nervous but mostly excited. The only thing that scares me is not knowing who my trainer will be or what island I will be serving on. I could be ANYWHERE next week with ANYONE and I can't wait to find out.

More than anything, I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve the wonderful people of Kiribati. I have developed a love for them just by taking to some of the Kiribati missionaries in the MTC. They are a great and humble people and I can't wait to be taught by them. My REAL mission starts on Thursday (when we get to Kiribati) and I can't wait. I don't have one minute to waste or one minute to not work hard because I need to bring those people the gospel and I'm going to try my best and hope that the rest falls into place!

Thanks for all of the support <3 I love you guys!

The phone number for my temporary airport phone is: (385)-290-8576. Drop me a text and wish me luck! 

Whether it's 1 week or 6 months, know that I love all of you guys and that I wouldn't be anywhere else <3


Elder Parrish

My fav Kiribati elder headed to the Phillipines. Gonna miss all my new friends </3

Gonna miss my BFF </3 #WOLFSHIRTSFORDAYS (Elder Hudson, Zach's friend from high school who is called to serve in the Czech, Slovak mission)


August 28, 2015


 For those who care it's been 1 WHOLE month in the WONDERFUL Provo MTC. Where did all the time go?! It hit me for the first time today that It's almost September. If the next 23 go by as quickly as this month has then I will be home before any of us know it... I've been out only a month and that's already a scary thought. This past month I have learned SO much. More than anything, I've learned more about my potential and who I can become and who I NEED to become. I haven't changed overnight... It's a slow process. But I'm trying every day to be a better person than I was the day before and I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary. 

Not much happened this week. We said bye to the Tongan Elders on Sunday which was tough... I love those guys. Gonna miss our crazy water fights and other stuff but they will be great :')  The language is slowwwww. Sometimes I get really frustrated because I feel like I'm not making progress and I'm not where I should be after a month. On Wednesday I was really frustrated at myself, but then on Thursday I was back happy and feeling good about the language. I could be in the MTC for a year but at some point I need to get to the field to be able to pick up the language the way that I want to.

The biggest news is the fact that WE GOT OUR TRAVEL PLANS TODAY. We leave on September 8th (a week from Tuesday) and we are flying Fiji Airways. We leave from here around 1:00 and then leave from here around 6:50 ish. We then travel from LA to Fiji, and from Fiji it's a 3 hour flight to Tarawa. I'M SO EXCITED. It's going to take 2 days to get there to the date line and stuff but this is all starting to become so real. I love it here but I can't wait until I can touch real lives in the field.

Other than that it's been a solid week :') We Skyped a member from Tarawa and taught her a lesson. That was a good experience hahaha. I still wreck in bball for those who care lolz. Elder Hudson showed up here as well <3

ALSO, I LOVE reading the scriptures. I finished the BOM this week. It doesn't matter if you've read it or not... You should read it. I promise that you won't regret it <3

Well that's about it. Next week might be the last time hearin' from you guys for a while (gulp) so drop me an e-mail wishin' me well in case I get sent to an outer island <333 Maybe with a phone number too if you're tryna get called in the airport.

Overall, I'm SO blessed and SO grateful to be a missionary. I'm grateful for all the trials.

:') <3 Elder Parrish :') <3