Elder Parrish served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was assigned to serve in the Marshall Islands/Kiribati Mission, Kiribati Mission Region, speaking Kiribati from July 2015 to July 2017.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
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 :')