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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Quick Update!

April 17, 2016

Dear Family and Friends:

It`s been a while strangerrrz since I've been able to do a group email.

This is gonna be a quick update 4 you all. I am alive and I like living in a hut and sleeping on a mat.  I can`t remember what running water and light switches are like, but I think I like this better.

I have a nice little belly going due to steady doses of fish and rice. Exercise in the morning has been a struggle. There are no basketball hoops here if anyone was wondering. I got my hair chopped off today by some guy while I was sitting on the ground. Safe to say yous (My Australian companion is rubbing off on me) won`t be seeing any pics for a while.

We have been trying to walk this large island for the past three weeks given the fact that Elder Vaai`s bike broke and there are currently no bikes available in the whole country.  I would say we walk an average of like five miles or more a day. Street contacting has been going well given the fact that a coconut tree hasn`t said no (since that`s about the only thing we see walking for long stretches between villages).

The work is going well despite the transportation. We had eight investigators at church yesterday, which I think sets a personal record. We also threw a party for all of the members of the church here. Elder Vaai killed and cooked a pig in a ground oven and there was Kiribati dancing and games. It was a goooood time! Lots of trials and lots of struggles and lots of times where we continually fall short, but an overall feeling of joy and happiness. Two more weeks with Elder Vaai and it will be time for a new companion. 

Quick Story:

Acting as Branch President has been an interesting thing. Right now we are holding church at five locations on the island. Transportation has been a big problem. We went to bed Saturday night not knowing how to physically get sacrament meetings done the following day. Safe to say that the sacrament was GOING to get done somehow. Yesterday, there was a lot of running through stretches of nothing and walking and not knowing where transportation was going to come from.  But we felt blessed that the 60+ members who go to church got their weekly chance to be filled (3 Nephi 20:8).

Love yous all and wish yous were here!!! Too many storiessssss.

I best be hearin` from yous all soon!

Elder Parrish

Friday, April 22, 2016

Broken Bike!

April 10, 2016

Family and Friends:

Zach did not send a group email again this week.  Apparently, his time on the internet is very limited so I am sharing the short email he sent to Blake.  Also, the prospects for getting bike parts don't look good.  I thought about trying to send some myself, but the package we sent to Zach several weeks ago is still stuck in Fiji.  There are only two flights in and out of Kiribati each week.  Both go through Fiji on Fiji Airlines.  But for about three weeks, there were no flights in or out of the country at all.  Fiji Airlines was refusing to fly to Kiribati until the Kiribati runway lights were fixed.  But the parts they needed to fix them were sitting on the tarmac in Fiji.  When there are no flights for that long, everything gets incredibly backed up.  We hear that many of the islands are completely out of rice and flour.


Dear Dad,

Sorry for not emailing last week, but the internet was broken. We didn't have cell phone coverage or internet for almost two weeks. It just got fixed late last week. There was a problem with the cell tower. Sometimes things like that happen when you rely on the sun for electricity. The reason I keep emailing so late is because the computer that we use belongs to the guy whose land we live on. He lets us use it when he gets home from work, but he has to power up a generator and stuff to even get power to charge the laptop I'm using.

To be honest, it's been a crazy past few weeks. They've definitely been some of the hardest and most trying weeks that I've had as a missionary since I've been to Kiribati. I'm still super happy, but I'll explain why it's been so tough.

The thing that has been making things really hard is the fact that we have no bikes. Elder Vaai's bike broke and so we have been walking for the past two weeks. We have only made it to the village down south one time in the past two weeks to work because it is a three hour walk one way. The village we work in up north is a solid 45 minute walk and the closest village down south is an hour walk and we don't really have any investigators there. It's been really frustrating since we had no way to communicate with the mission leadership about the bike. When we finally did get in touch with the people in Tarawa, we learned that there are no bikes on Tarawa either and they can't even get any parts. It's definitely been a little frustrating and we don't know when we will get help. 

Despite the bike issues, I'm really happy and doing great. My personal conversion is coming well and I have such a desire to help these people to grow. I restarted the Book of Mormon again.  I have a desire to be obedient--just a real desire to help people grow in this gospel. The highlight of these past few weeks was our baptism. We baptized an awesome 18 year old girl and she wanted me to do it. 

All is well! I promise I'm doing well. I am so happy and love being a missionary. I hope that all is well at home! I love you!

Elder Parrish  

Monday, April 11, 2016


April 3, 2016

Dear Friends and Family:

We did not receive an email from Zach this week.  We are assuming he had no internet access.  However, we recently received some flash drives that he mailed to us when he stopped at the main island on his way to Maiana.  Since I have no email to share, I thought it might be fun to share some of the photos.


Monday, April 4, 2016

March 27, 2016

March 27, 2016

Dear Family:

Thanks for the email! It took a lot longer to get on than I thought today because we thought the internet was broken. 

The work is going well! This past Saturday, we were able to baptize a 19 year old girl.  I was able to baptize her in the ocean. Her commitment and determination are really amazing.  She literally lives at the Catholic Church where her step-father is a missionary.  She hid from her parents the fact that she was taking lessons and getting baptized. They still don't know! 

We had the potential of having four baptisms this week, but three of them fell through because of problems with their church attendance. We should have a baptism this week for an 18 year old girl and then hopefully get a bunch more in the next few weeks. I'm excited to get some investigators baptized so we will have time to find new investigators and hopefully teach some families.

You asked about the family whose land we live on.  Our house is on the opposite side of the street from their house. It's an interesting story. There is an older couple who have been members for 30 years, but aren't really active. They left the church after something happened in the 1990's and the church was taken off of Maiana. They have a daughter who is married to an RM who served in Fiji and they have two kids. They are the real reason we are here. The RM was the only member from his family, left on a mission, and when he got back, he was able to baptize both of his parents who had been very devout Seventh Day Adventists.

As far as things with Elder Vaai, all is well! I get along with him on a personal level. He will finish up here sometime in April.  We don't have a date yet, but think it will be towards the end of the month.  It will be interesting to see what happens at the transfer. It's definitely a growing phase for the mission as my group becomes the oldest after about August. 

All is well here.  I'm happy all the time. I love you guys! The time is FLYING by. Have a good week!


Elder Parrish