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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Another Week on Maiana

March 20, 2016

We didn't receive a group email again this week.  Here is the email Zach sent to Blake.

Dear Dad:

I'm running short on time today because we are headed to go net fishing.  Don't worry President Weir said it's okay and the water is really shallow. The problem today was I was having a WAY hard time again trying to get the internet to work. 

All is going well here on Maiana. I get along with Elder Vaai on a personal level.  He's a good guy. It is an awesome story about how his family left Samoa to move to Australia to give him a better life. I think it's been hard on his parents up to now trying to support a family, not speaking English and having little education.  I only have a month left with him, but I'm learning a lot about the culture and the way he's social with people in the villages etc. 

We stay busy with work.  We are teaching lots of teenagers. We were supposed to have three baptisms this upcoming week, but two just fell through so we should have one this week. I'm praying that we can find some families to teach.  These islands are crazy. There is so much opposition from members of other faiths.  I heard stories yesterday of when the church first came here.  Satan works so hard to create hatred towards the church.  When we teach seminary to kids, they are then forced to eat lunch with Catholic and Protestant ministers. It's hard when everyone is Catholic and Protestant and when you are in the minority. It's crazy!  But I have had some great opportunities.  I have led church the past two weeks and given 15 minute talks without using notes.  You definitely feel a responsibility for these things and for the members when you're the missionary who leads church, songs, rounds up people for church, etc.

Last Monday night, we showed up to a family home evening with a member family and there was a religion called "All Nations" there.  They were invited to do a mixed Family Home Evening for different faiths.  They were singing and playing guitar and shaking their heads and saying AMEN and doing all this stuff. Their woman minister proceeded to give one of the seriously best lessons I have heard on love and charity from 1 Corinthians 13. I wish you guys could've been there. 

I love you! I hope you have a great week.

(A few hours later, Zach got back on the email and sent us the following.)

I just got back from net fishing.  We went out on a motor boat to the lagoon and set up a HUGE net and then beat the water to scare fish into the net. We then circled around and checked the net. 12 pretty big fish stuck. We then bit their heads off to kill the fish and then untied them from the net. They're cooking it right now for dinner!  (This is a little different than when we went fishing in Alaska with Grandpa.)  Pretty cool!
These answers were in response to Blake's email in which he asked the following questions:

Blake:  Are you content?  Is the mission what you thought it would be?  How fluent are you in the language at this point?

Zach:  I'm doing well personally! My happiness on a mission isn't really what I thought it would be. It turns on whether I feel like I'm helping people grow and progress towards baptism. It's 100% based on investigators, etc. I get sad only when investigators or the wickedness of people get me down. Whenever I'm sad, it passes pretty quickly because of my surroundings.

The mission is everything and nothing like I expected. You can't prepare for it and now that I'm here, I can't explain it. The language is good. I'm pretty solid.  I have no problem in one-on-one conversation, but sometimes in a group setting where it's loud or lots of things are bouncing around, I struggle. I just need to learn more words etc. I understand the grammar pretty well. It is still an ongoing process, but lessons haven't been a problem and that is all that really matters at the end of the day. I still would like to get A LOT better, but little by little. I've had ZERO health problems. I couldn't get sick if I tried. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016


March 13, 2016

Sorry it took me so long... The internet is great .... IF I can get it to work.

Things are going great here.  It is always a weird feeling hopping off of the plane and getting away from civilization and not knowing anyone, but then becoming a part of their world.  It took about a day to adjust, but I'm doing great.  The living conditions really aren't bad. I like living like this.  I love living in a hut with no electricity or running water and taking cool bucket showers! I love this culture and I love this language and I love the fish! I even love our pet cat who lives with us and kills mice! I've never slept better than I've slept this past week on a mat.  I'm super duper happy and motivated to work hard and help these people and find investigators.

We have plenty of investigators to stay busy. It's weird because they are almost all teenagers. There are tons of part member families where parents refuse to listen. Hopefully we can also find and prepare some families or some adults. We should have a couple of baptisms this month if all goes well.

Thanks for the update with things at home! That's so crazy about mission calls and baseball and soccer. That stuff seems like yesterday and so long ago at the same time. What you said about me being a third of the way through my mission really scared me. I have a long way to go to grow and be where I need to be. Time is flying way too fast!

We hold church at five places on the island. Yesterday, we split. I held and conducted church at three places and gave a long talk and collected tithing etc. We had a combined attendance of 60 at church. In my opinion, this place isn't yet ready for a branch, but it's great to be able to work and report to yourself and to know that a lot of how the work and church attendance goes will depend upon how committed I am to work and find and teach and baptize. When I leave this area, I will know if I have been able to help.

I hope this explains some stuff! I'm super happy and I hope all goes well at home! I love you!

Elder Parrish

Sunday, March 6, 2016


March 6, 2016

I'm emailing right now whaaaaa!! You guys already forgot about me....

I hope everyone had a good week at homeeeee. I thought I wouldn't be
able to email for about 4ish months but I found out when I got here
that Maiana got internet literally like 2 weeks ago #blessedddd. We
were having an interesting time trying to get the email to load but we
finally got it to work. Hopefully it will be able to work most of the
time <3

ANYWAYS, I got here on Friday afternoon when I took a 10 minute plane
ride south from Tarawa. I was welcomed and then I went back to see our
hutttt. Our house is actually pretty sick. There is a small stick
house with 2 raised stick shelf things for our beds which are on
either side of the door when you walk in. We also have a stove inside
the house. I guess it's about all we need. We also have a stick
bathroom with a concrete block for the toilet. We then have a small
buia or raised open air platform type thing that you can use to sleep
on or do whatever. We are about 10 feet from the ocean. We go across
the street to get well water and we go up the street to get rain water
for drinking.

Unfortunately, we haven't had time to get out and do tons of teaching
since I've been here. We had a baptism on Saturday which was pretty
cool but took a lot of time. I then watched Elder Vaii kill a pig and
skin it as a "welcome gift" type thing for me hahah. We had a pretty
big dinner of pig with some members in a village up North to welcome
me to Maiana. Yesterday we didn't get in even 1 lesson because we held
church in 4 areas. Maiana is a big area and it's tough to bike almost
the whole island and to hold church in 4 areas. We had about 50 people
combined at church from those 4 areas.

As far as my companion, he's good. Elder Vaii is a 20 year old Samoan
who grew up in Australia. He speaks fluent Samoan and English and he
is a BIG dude. Hahah I'm not gonna put a weight on him but he's big.
He likes rugby along with killing pigs and dogs for our food here
lolz. He finished his time as a missionary this May. I will probably
be with him for a little less than 2 months because this is his last

I wish I knew more but I haven't been here this long! I'm excited to
get out and teach this week so that I know more about the work and the
investigators. I'm all settled in now and all is well! Now that you
guys KNOW I have some form of email I better be hearing from you all
next week. 

Elder Parrish

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I'm going to MAIANA

February 28, 2016

Hey fam!!!

This is probably going to be the most surprising email that you guys are going to read for the rest of my mission.... Also maybe one of the last ones that you'll read from me for a while! This past Friday we were sitting in a lesson when Elder Musser received a text. This text said that I would be coming in to Tarawa TODAY (this email is being written from Tarawa) 1 ENTIRE week early. If that wasn't surprising enough it also said that my assignment has been CHANGED. I will no longer be working on Tarawa. I will now be working on MAIANA which is an outer island a little bit south of Tarawa. I AM SO PUMPED. I head out this Friday to a place that I couldn't be more excited to serve. Maiana is an outer island that was recently opened a little over a year ago. As of right now, there is not yet a branch or anything that has been started on this island. We will be living in a tiny stick house with a small buia type thing next to it. As far as internet goes, I've heard that I'll be lucky to email once or twice in a several month span. There's next to none. My companion will be Elder Vaii who is a Samoan that is about two months away from finishing his mission. I have had a feeling from the first day that I have heard of the island "Maiana" that I would be serving there. I couldn't be more excited and I feel like there's work for me to do there. It's crazy how much things changed this past week. I went from thinking I had one more week on Tab to leaving with Elder Musser and having a changed assignment to Maiana working in a hut and with no branch. Sounds like a good trade to me <3 

It was extremely difficult to say goodbye to my amazing friends (and family) in Tabiteuea Maiang. I got a little teared up this morning saying goodbye saying to the amazing people that I've been so blessed to work with this past 5 months The saints there had a much bigger impact on me than I ever could've had on them. It was a good feeling leaving knowing that we worked hard and prepared the area for the new elders. Elder Musser and I were scrambling to get things ready to be "whitewashed" for the new elders that will be coming this upcoming Saturday. After 4 and a half months with Elder Musser it was good to touch down on Tarawa. I'm in reverse culture shock for a quick 4 days before I fly out this Friday. I <3 all of you and I couldn't be more excited to serve in Maiana. I hope everyone has a great next few months! Don't forget about letters <3 :')

-Elder Parrish