July 3, 2016
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.
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!