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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mauri Riki

October 25, 2015

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.