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Sunday, July 31, 2016

1 Year WHAAA?

July 24, 2016

Hey guys, I hit one year this Friday. Time flies when you're having fun. We had 3 baptisms this week, including one of my favorite families.They put up with persecution from the entire village and never doubted for a second. The father is a rock. It's pretty cool when you can come to an area and find the reasons the Lord has sent you there.

Two more weeks and I'm headed back to Tarawa. Crazy to see where the next year is gonna take me. I've got a couple of things I would like to see through before I peace out. 

Tekori: A mom with 3 little kids whose husband passed away last year when he had a spell cast on him by a person. She quit smoking last week and I think she should be ready for this week. It's been a cool change to see a person who has never really been religious prepared by the Lord through the passing of her husband. 

Terote and Tawaa: A couple who has made big changes. Both have also quit smoking this past week. I won't forget Terote's simple testimony when she told me how much of a change and a difference she has seen in her husband. They used to always get in fights and sleep on different buia's and no work was getting done in the house because he was getting wasted from kawa. He's made a big turn-around and I'm grateful to be a part of it. 

Seriously couldn't be more happy or more blessed. So so so grateful for the things that are TRULY important. The count DOWN begins.  Whaaa!!!!!

Elder Parrish

Friday, July 29, 2016

July 17, 2016

July 17, 2016

Dear Family:
Thanks for the email! I love you guys... It's pretty crazy how fast the time is going. 
The first thing that I need to say is that I am getting transferred on August 7th to go work in Tarawa in an area called Buota.   I found out this morning and I just laid in bed for like two hours and didn't want to move because I don't want to leave Maiana to go to Tarawa. This place is my home with my second family.  I'm just trying to tell myself that nothing is permanent and I'm praying we can get some of the stuff done that we would like to so that I can feel like I accomplished what I was sent here to do. I'll continue to work hard until I leave. I just really will miss everything about being on an outer island. Maiana has been great and working in a ward will present challenges and stuff that I'm not used to. It's definitely a different game and it will take some adjusting.  Elder Hoskins and I are both really sad to be leaving each other. Elder Hoskins is the man and I've had a lot of fun with him. Seriously, he is just a way great kid and a good friend. He is one of those people that I could see myself hanging with after the mission
We should have three families get baptized in the next few weeks before I leave if all goes as planned. We just need a few of them to quit smoking and then they should be about ready for baptism. The one family moved houses temporarily and I think that they should be back this week so it should be good.
Anyway, I love you guys and I'm going to enjoy it here on Maiana this week. Love the people, the fish, the ocean, the beaches and everything. I'm going to miss sleeping in the hut. (I know my back is going to be in for a treat when I get back to Tarawa.)
Coming up this week is Independence Day in Kiribati and it should be awesome... There is a march and tons of food and sporting events for cash prizes. The whole island is in one place so work should be a little hard, but we will make it work alright after the celebration is over. 
Also a bunch of the village kids broke in the house and ate all our food last week haha
It sounds like all is going well at home. I love you guys.

Elder Parrish

Note from Jill:

We received a couple of photos from the mother of Zach's companion.  They are attached.  His companion sent the following explanations of the photos:
Here is a baby we blessed.  (Elder Parrish didn't know how to hold her so I had to in the picture.)  The other pic is a kid we sent on a mission. He couldn't afford the ticket to go to Tarawa or for his passport or medical stuff so we paid for it all. Since we are acting as branch presidents, we get to do all that cools stuff like bless babies.  (She is actually a year old, but they are new converts.)

We also received the following email and photo from President Larkin, Zach's new mission president. 
Dear Brother and Sister Parrish  
I am the new mission president for the Marshall Islands Majuro Mission (arrived two weeks ago) and yesterday my wife and I visited a number of outer islands in the Kiribati region, including the island of Maiana where your son is currently serving. I just wanted to let you know he is doing well physically, emotionally and spiritually - and is fulfilling his calling magnificently. 
I have attached a photo from yesterday's visit - includes your son and his companion (Elder Hoskins) and my assistants, Elder Peeti and Elder Lessor, and myself.   
President and Sister Larkin
Marshall Islands Majuro Mission

Monday, July 11, 2016

July 3, 2016

July 3, 2016

Dear Family:

Thanks for the email!  You asked about when I might be transferred.  To be honest, I have about as much of an idea with stuff going on in the mission as you.  We hardly ever talk to anyone from Tarawa. Our new mission president, President Larkin, is in the Marshalls, but I’m not exactly sure when he’s coming here. The next transfer isn’t until the first week of August and I think that I might be staying. I’m pretty much at peace with whatever. I love Maiana and I also feel like there are things that I would like to see through before I head out. We are going fishing later today, so I’m super pumped.  It’s going to be more like deep sea fishing I think. 

Its sounds like all is going well! I’m shocked that it’s the 4th of July. Kiribati Independence is on July 12th here which is going to be pretty sick even though there aren’t any fireworks. All is pretty much going well here on my end! We weren’t able to baptize that family... It’s a long story but hopefully we will be able to baptize them in the next few weeks. I continue to be shocked as well at how fast the time is going.

The other churches here on Maiana definitely present a challenge.  It’s just really hard being the only missionaries on a pretty big island. Eighty members is a decent amount, but it is a small number compared to the number of members that the Catholics and Protestants have here. I always take comfort when I think how incredible the church is on Tarawa. It’s just a different ball game because EVERY member of the other churches is counted on by their congregations for fundraising etc.  If their members takes lessons from the missionaries, everyone will know about it and they will be shunned. You’re seen by the ENTIRE village if you go to teach a family because the houses are open, and multi-generational families live in one house.  The older generation generally dislikes the church and won’t let the more open younger generation lesson. All is well though, and I believe that if we are smart about it then we can see some miracles. If no strong members of the Catholic or Protestant churches converted to Mormonism then there would be no members here on Maiana or on Tarawa or in the world. 

I’m feeling a more visible spirit with me all the time that I love. Have you read the book titled “Three Degrees of Glory” by Melvin J. Ballard? I’ve been reading it and it’s blowing my mind-- teaching me so much. It’s been interesting to study because we are teaching a mother and her three kids whose husband and father died last year. They are progressing towards baptism and it’s been fun to study.

I love you and I hope that all is well at home! All is well here on Maiana.

Elder Parrish

Note from Jill:

This week, the family of Zach’s current companion forwarded his email to us.  It was interesting to get his perspective.  I know Zach has really enjoyed working with him and it sounds like they are really getting along well.  Here is his letter:

This week has been good. Elder Parrish and I are really hitting our stride in our companionship.  I  think he probably only has a little while longer here on Maiana, but I’ll miss him when he’s gone. He definitely exhibits every attribute of good missionary and 99% of the time I love him. We are really getting some work done. I love it.

One thing that really stood out to me this week was how much I feel Kiribati is really like Palmyra of Joseph Smith’s time. We have the Catholics and the Protestants bashing each other and bashing us.  We can’t teach a single person without the Catholic or Protestant ministers visiting them and bashing our church. There’s so many sheep with no shepherd here. It is honestly the same as Joseph described:  religious confusion. It’s no wonder he had a question. I’m so glad I was born as Nephi of goodly parents and raised in the gospel. I’ve never been more solid in my testimony.  I’ve never been more confident and bold in sharing it either. I’m not scared to meet with anyone, whether it be minister or average person. Bring them on. Parrish and I might not be able to convert everyone, but we sure can bear our testimonies.

I guess that’s all for this week!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Crazy Week!

June 26, 2016

Quick Update:

Crazy week with some of the biggest ups AND the biggest downs. Let's start with the positives:

Three Baptisms: 

Rootia went from a Book of Mormon burning Pentecostal member to a baptized and confirmed member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints this week. The best part? She did it right next to her 20 year old son.

Bakoanuea (a teenager) also was baptized this week. Pretty crazy to see him baptized knowing that he has lessoned with Elders for about three years. He's got what it takes to endure.

Riona (Liahona in English) and his wife are going to get baptized this week despite INTENSE persecution from family and THE ENTIRE village. People are telling them that "they want to be rich" and that they are "scared of fundraising" in the protestant church and that they are running away to "Te Moomon."  They are seriously SO solid and just NOT phased. It just goes to show that if you've found the truth, then you'll do WHATEVER IT TAKES. Love that fam!


One family that we were lessoning with was visited by the Catholic missionary and was told that they couldn't lesson with us because "they already have a religion."

Lessons with another family were going well until the father got a call from his dad in Tarawa who said if he lessoned again with us then he would have to find a new place to live. 

There's a pretty large amount of Anti-Mormon stuff floating around from religious leaders of other churches. They are all things with no credibility that have been started/made-up by Catholic Fathers etc. It's difficult because these Kiribati people believe things when they hear them since they have zero idea of America and have a hard time discerning truth from lies.  Here are some of the biggest lies floating around:

-Joseph Smith stole gold to start the church.

-He was killed in a prison after he broke a bunch of laws.

-He went to get the plates on a horse and there were no horses in America when Joseph Smith was alive.  HAHAH--that's a well thought-out one.

That's only the start, but I've got a great idea of what Joseph Smith felt in the 1800's when people were "carried about by every wind of doctrine" (Eph 4: 11-14) and had a hard time finding the truth because of the bashing going on. The gospel is going to rolllll forth as Daniel puts it.

Love you guys and I hope all is going well at home!

Elder Parrish