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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Heading Home

Well family and friends....

This is it–my last time emailing as a missionary. This past week we were able to have three baptisms and I think that we are going to be having two more baptisms during my last week as a missionary. I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Elder Veresoni here in Ambo. In the short three weeks that I have been here, I have seen countless reasons why the Lord has sent me here despite the high cost of airfare and other things to get me off of Fanning Island and back to Tarawa less than a month ago. I'm so so so grateful for how the last six months of my mission have gone and I'm so grateful for the past two years. I've worked hard until the end and I'm so excited to see everyone next week.

To be honest, it doesn't feel like I'm going home.  I feel like I should be sad and I feel like the fact that I'm going home should be hitting me, but it really hasn't. I have had this little thought in the back of my head for the past week that hasn't left me, which is that this won't be the last time that I'm going to be in Kiribati.  The next time I might be back here with my family and I think that's the only thing that is keeping me from going crazy.

I love this gospel.  I love the Lord and I love you all!  See you next week!

Elder Parrish 

Photos from the airport in Tarawa and from the Farewell dinner for the Elders from the July 29, 2017 MTC Intake.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Beginning of the End

June 25, 2017

Hey family and friends,

I just wanted to hit you guys with a quick update. I am currently serving in Ambo,Tarawa with Elder Veresoni (from Fiji) who is a convert to the church of only two years. His entire family is Catholic and didn't support him coming on a mission. He is the man and it's been awesome to work with him-- he works so hard and it was just the way that I wanted to finish my mission.

We have been here for about one and a half weeks and it's crazy what we have been able to do in such a short amount of time. I have decided that I want to just go as hard as I can until I finish my mission two weeks from today. Yesterday, we had seven investigators at church and we had tons of less active members come to church and it was so sick. This past week we had 10+ new investigators.  I have just been talking to EVERYONE and we have found some awesome investigators. I won't be here to see them get baptized, but just starting with them is good enough for me.

I have only been here for a short time, but I have seen so many reasons already why the Lord sent me here. I was able to catch up with a recent convert family who I baptized back on Maiana and it was so awesome to see them at church here on Tarawa doing well. I have been so blessed to see many of my friends and families from past areas where I have served. I have recent converts now who are serving as the Young Men’s president in Buota, as well as one who is serving as the Elder's quorum president in Buota and a lady who is the second counselor in the district primary presidency. Obviously not every one is strong, but it makes me so happy to see some families staying strong long after their baptisms.

The best way that I can describe the work on Tarawa is EASY. There are SO many people to visit and so many are prepared for the gospel. Sometimes it drives you crazy because you could lesson until midnight with investigators and you always believe that there are more people prepared for the gospel. It's so refreshing to work here after being on outer islands for so long and having not had an area like this my whole mission. The people here in Kiribati are so prepared for the gospel and the church will continue to grow long after I'm gone. It's a scary thought to me what I could have done if I would have been on Tarawa longer.

I just want to share with you guys that the church is true. Since the day that I opened my call, my heart has been full of gratitude for the opportunity that I have had to serve in Kiribati. These past two years, I have grown and learned so much and I have seen the Lord's hand in this work.  He has answered my prayers in times where things got rough. I'm so grateful for all of the people whom I have gotten to meet and for the ways that my testimony has grown. It's so crazy to think that I'm going to be home in two weeks, but I know that the Lord has other plans for me after this experience is over.  I am especially grateful for the foundation that I have built. Before my mission, I had such a weak testimony (how was I going to get one without doing anything?!?) I'm so grateful at this time for the testimony that I have gained. I have a long way to go, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to have a clean slate and to continue to serve the Lord and try to follow the Savior after I get home. This has been not just the best two years for my life, but the best two years OF my life.

The experiences that I have had will stay with me forever and a piece of my heart will stay on these islands and more importantly with the people whom I have met. Sometimes as a missionary, you wonder how much good you are really doing, but I know that I'm the true convert from my mission. You will always wonder if you could have worked harder and if you could have been more obedient and if there were things that you didn't do, but I feel and pray that my offering was acceptable to the Lord.

I love you guys and I'm so grateful for the support that I have had these past two years. I'll see you guys before you know it. I'm gonna go hard these last two weeks!

Elder Parrish

Sunday, June 25, 2017

June 18, 2017

Dear Family and Friends:

    All is going well here on Tarawa. It's actually super nice to be back to the main island. To be honest, for the first few hours when I got to Tarawa, I was in a little bit of shock-- I didn't realize that I had been COMPLETELY out of things for five months and I had no clue what was going on. The mission seemed like it had changed so much since I had left and it was just weird to come back to Tarawa and to feel like I didn't know what was going on.

    The day I got back, I wasn't able to go see anyone in Buota because I was taken straight to my new area, which is Ambo, where I'm working with Elder Veresoni. Elder Veresoni is from Fiji but speaks perfect English.  He is honestly so awesome. He was a recent convert of a year before leaving on his mission--his entire family is hardcore Catholic. He has been out about a year. He is a super humble guy and a really hard worker and I'm having a great time working with him.

    I got adjusted to our area so fast. I prayed to the Lord and I have been happy ever since. My only regret is that I don't have more time in this area. I'm sure it would be way awesome if I were here longer and could get to know people more. There are six missionaries in the ward where we are working, but we have our own area.  Our ward has 200 active members who are all way cool and there is awesome leadership. This is the first time in my mission that I am having this type of experience. I've been in Kiribati for almost two years and I am finally working in an area with a paved main road.  I am working in an area that is highly populated and I’m actually seeing lots of cars. It's been way great. I am enjoying working in this area and I am happy to be finishing my time here. We should have four or so baptisms before I leave, which will be a good way to go out. 

   Kiribati is such a small place and it's so awesome to be able to see the people that I've grown so close to here. I really hope that I will be able to get back to Buota once to be able to say goodbye to the people there, but I have been able to run into and to communicate with some people from Maiana and Buota and that's been really good.  I was SO HAPPY to be able to meet yesterday with my recent convert family from Maiana who now lives in my area, which is way awesome. There have been a bunch of little things and it's just fun to work in an area that is so different than any of the other areas where I have served.

    I haven’t been able to talk much with President Larkin yet, but I think that I will have a short interview with him tomorrow. I love you and I'm doing well. I can't believe how soon that I will be home. It still doesn't feel real and it definitely hasn't hit me. I'm going to enjoy the mission experience while it lasts because I feel like the time has just really gotten away from me. 

    Have a great week!

    Elder Parrish

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Back to Tarawa

Elder Parrish and two of the other Elders from his MTC intake who were serving on Kiritimati returned to Tarawa today where they will spend the last three weeks of their missions.  They are pictured here with their Mission President.

Dear Family and Friends;

Thanks for the email.  I am happy and healthy here on my layover in Fiji where we just got back from McDonalds.  I just had a huge grease bomb so we will see how my stomach takes it.

I will be heading to Tarawa tomorrow morning. Everything with flights has been going well. We just barely got in and we have only had a few hours here—not nearly as much time as when we came. 

Saying goodbye to Fanning Island yesterday was hard, but for some reason it wasn't nearly as hard as when I had to say goodbye to the outer island of  Maiana. I left Maiana without much notice, but this time I knew my time was up. The way that I left was honestly perfect and I was so happy with the timing of it.  It is crazy to think that I just said goodbye to outer islands.

I am really grateful to have had the chance to serve on Fanning Island and to have had the perfect amount of time there and to have been able to leave when I did having accomplished the things we accomplished.  We had some amazing farewells and the members SHOWERED me with gifts....  All of the members cried and I was so overwhelmed!!! I took so many pictures and videos and I'm way excited to show them to you and tell you guys about everything when I get home.  It will be worth a hundred times more than trying to explain it in an email.

I am not entirely sure where I will be serving back on the main island, but the rumor is that I will be serving on south Tarawa in a place called Ambo with a Fijian companion named Elder Veresoni. If you remember, that was where I worked with Elder Buhler for a week before I was transferred to Tabituea North and it was also where I was supposed to work before I got emergency transferred to Maiana.  Maybe there's a reason that this area keeps coming up.  I’m a bit sad because I will be far away from my former area of Buota and I had hoped to be able to reconnect with some of the members and recent converts there.  But I've prayed about it and I feel peace so it’s all good.  And I will definitely go to Buota on P-days and do what I can to strengthen my converts.

I hope that all is well at home.  It still hasn't hit me that I'll be home in a few short weeks. I love you and hope you have a good week! 

Elder Parrish

Sunday, June 11, 2017

My Last week on Fanning Island


June 4, 2017

Hey family...

                Sorry that I haven't emailed for a while. I guess the fact that I'll be seeing you guys in a month makes everything seem alright.  Right? If I'm being 100% honest, the internet was working last week but we went fishing--hahaha. I'll be with you guys for the rest of my life, but I only have a month left for fishing so that's taking precedence a little.

                A lot has happened since I have last sent you guys an email! Today I found out that I will be leaving to Tarawa a week from this Thursday. I will be leaving Fanning Island one week from tomorrow and I will have one day on Kiritimati Island before flying to Fiji and then to Tarawa. To be honest, my mission literally seems like it is over as I finish things up this week... I can't really explain how I feel. I guess it just definitely doesn't feel real. I am so so blessed and happy to be able to go back to Tarawa and to be able to spend one more month with the guys from my intake and with some of my awesome recent converts in Tarawa.

                During this last transfer on Fanning Island we have been able to accomplish so much and I'm so grateful to the Lord that he was able to keep me out here and to let me work hard until now. Everything has literally worked out perfectly this transfer and I'm going back with the perfect amount of time and leaving at the perfect time. I truly feel after this last week that the work that I was sent here to do on Fanning Island is finished. The Lord has seriously answered every single one of my prayers.

                I'm even more grateful to the Lord for the past five months that I have spent here on Fanning Island. In the past three months, Elder Rowsell and I have been able to complete five marriages, baptize four full families and bring a total of 20 people to the waters of baptism. This last week we were able to top things off by baptizing two people and the week before we were also able to baptize two. It was such a cool experience to see the blind member baptize his father and sister. I love our recent converts and I love these people here in Kiribati. This week there is going to be an awesome farewell with all of the members of the branch, which should be an awesome way to go out. I've made many friends here and it's going to be hard to say goodbye but I feel ready and I know that my time is up. I'm going to make the most of my last week on an outer island of Kiribati.

                I really am trying to work hard until the end and I love you guys so much! I hope that all is well at home and I will see you guys in no time!

Elder Parrish

Monday, June 5, 2017

May 21, 2017

Holy cow what's up!

I'm sorry that I haven't emailed for a couple of weeks.  We have been trying, but the internet has been down  We have spent hours each week trying to get on but it just hasn't loaded. It's been a test of patience but it's good that I got it to work for a second right now. I honestly have no clue if it's going to keep working the next few weeks or if it's going to be down. I guess if I don't email, then you guys will know that it's not working but that all is well out here. I only have a few more weeks left out here anyway and only a little over a month before I get to see you guys again!

Things are going well out here on Fanning Island. Last week we were able to have one baptism for a 30 year old man and it went great. Yesterday he was able to be given the Aaronic Priesthood, which was way cool to see. I think that this week we will be baptizing a family of three.  They have been to church like 12 times, but have been waiting on the Word of Wisdom. They are the family who is going to be baptized by their blind son, so it should be pretty cool to see.. 

I think that the following week, we will have one baptism and the week following we will have one as well. After that, I have no clue whether or not I will still be here. It's crazy how fast the time is going. This week was kind of bittersweet because we found some awesome new investigators but I know that I won't be able to see them baptized... I could be home for several months and find out that they just got baptized. It's crazy to think how fast the time is going. It still doesn't feel real. I'm sure that it will feel more real once I get off of this outer island, but the world still seems so far away and I'm enjoying every last bucket shower and every last night in the mosquito net.

I love you guys and I hope that you all have a good week!

Elder Parrish

May 8, 2017

Dear Family and Friends:

This is a way quick email... The internet was broken yesterday so I didn't get to send you guys an email. We will see how this next Monday goes but don't worry if you guys maybe don't get anything.

This past week was an awesome week! It was definitely one of the most rewarding weeks that I've had as a missionary. We had the privilege of seeing two full families get married on Tuesday (my 5th marriages on Fanning).  On Saturday, both families (a total of eight people) were baptized. Both families have made a 180 degree flip and it was so cool to see.  They have the type of convert stories you could tell at your homecoming :) After their baptisms and during Fast Sunday at church, they bore some of the coolest testimonies. It's so true that the gospel is best when taught to families. I think that they are both going to be staying strong in the gospel for a long time.

This week I think that we should be having one baptism for the 30 year-old husband of a part-member family. His wife is a member and he is the man and has a solid testimony so it should make for a good week. The week following we should have another family of three getting married, but they have had minor problems with the Word of Wisdom so hopefully they should be ready. They have also changed so much and it would be awesome to see them get baptized by their blind son.

I'm so grateful to be a missionary... I get so scared thinking about coming home in two months. It doesn't even feel real. I love you guys and thanks for all the prayers. See you guys in two!

Elder Parrish

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Hey fam!!

This will be a quick email.  We got news for transfers this week! The big news is that I will be staying on Fanning Island for my last full transfer as a missionary. I was really torn because I want to go back to Tarawa before I finish my time, but we have so many exciting things going on the next few weeks and I would have hated to leave before our awesome investigator families are baptized. I guess the good news is that I now will be here to see that happen.

This last week we had a baptism for Arawatau, a 24-year-old single dad who has two kids.  He is such an awesome recent convert and was so prepared for the gospel. He changed tons as we lessoned with him and I think that he will be a strong member for a long time.

Like I said, we have some super exciting things going on the next few weeks! This week we have a couple getting married and then they will be ready for their baptisms the next week.  They are in their 50's and have a daughter. The cool part is that they have a 17-year-old blind son who has been a member of the church for a year who has led his family to the church. He will be performing the baptisms this week and I think that it will be awesome to see.

The week after this week, we have two more families getting married and baptized with their children for a total of 8 baptisms. So many miracles have been happening out here with these investigators quitting smoking and drinking. Our investigators have had some of the hardest lives before, but they have all changed so much. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be here and to see all these people that I have started lessons with come enter the waters of baptism.

So many exciting things happening and I'm so blessed and happy to be here. I'm so grateful that I can continue to stay away from the world and the thoughts of going home and that I can stay here for another transfer on Fanning Island.

I hope that everyone has a good week!

Elder Parrish

Monday, April 3, 2017

Dear Fam and Friends;

     Yesterday we had 20 investigators at church. We FINALLY broke 20! That's so manyyyy investigators that it was a little overwhelming.  It's a bit stressful to be at church when you have 20 investigators there and you can only sit by a couple of them.  The Gospel Principles class that we hold has more people than the Sunday School class that the regular members attend. These investigators are all like members--we don't even worry about them coming to church. They all have various problems, but I have faith that they will all get there.

     Within in the next few weeks, we should definitely have some baptisms. One couple is getting married this week and we have an older couple who will be baptized the following week. The Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) missionary came back to Fanning Island after being gone for a while and was shocked to find that all of his people were going to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. To make a long story short, it's been like a quiet battle. We will visit the people and then he will visit them.  He will try to take them to his church on Sundays and we will try to take them to our church. But I'm happy to say that yesterday all of the former SDA members came to our church.

     One of my favorite investigators who I haven’t before mentioned is Mireta. She is literally a golden investigator. What we teach is so familiar to her and she believes everything. She only has one problem. Her husband is the President in the local parish of the Catholic Church (a really high calling) and an Anti-Mormon... The Catholic Church has such strict rules on marriages that if you are married in the church and then go to another church, the rest of the family is tied up because you went to a different church. To make a long story short, it's been difficult because she has wanted to come to our church for so long, but hasn't known what to do.  And she hasn't been able to talk to her husband because he has been on a different island. Yesterday, she came to church. I'm not sure what will happen if her husband finds out, but it was such a cool experience to see her come. She bears her testimony to all of the members of her fund-raising group in the Catholic Church and she's just the best. It was definitely a big step for her to attend.

     This is kind of a scattered email, but I hope that everyone has a good week!

     Elder Parrish


Sunday, March 26, 2017

March 19, 2017

All is going well out here on Fanning Island. I am really enjoying myself.  I am so used to the life here on outer islands and I am enjoying every moment of it.

We were able to baptize a young couple this last week, which was awesome to see and a way cool experience.  It was my first time doing a baptism in the ocean since last July! I think that we are going to be having some more baptisms in the next couple of weeks, which is way great!  We are starting to clear up a lot of time for finding new investigators so all is going well. We have gotten a little bit of help on the paperwork for the marriages that need to be performed, but we still need to get a few of them figured out, which has been really hard.  We still need a lot more help if we are going to get things done.

This week was a little hard because we had to leave our area for a day and a half to help out with transfers since one of the elders on the other side of the island had to leave.  We are working in a threesome until his new companion comes in a week and a half.   Hopefully this week we will be able to stay in our area and go on splits so that we will be able to get more done. 

Last week we went fishing but didn't catch tons of fish... I think that we are going to be going again today and that we should be able to catch some more.. it should be fun.

Time is flying by... I'm currently almost finished with 1 Samuel in the Old Testament and I love it. I don't know why I never read the Old Testament before.

Love you all.  Have a great week!

Elder Parrish

Saturday, March 25, 2017


This week we were fortunate to receive some photos that Elder Parrish's last companion, Elder Murri, sent home with a returning missionary.  Enjoy!

The church property.  The house where the missionaries live is on the left.  Sacrament Meeting is held in the Maneaba (Center).


Doing service in the Kiribati pits with the native root called called "bwabai."

Going to pick up Elder Johansen

Goodbye Elder Murri!

March 12, 2017

Dear Friends and Family,

Fanning Island is greattttt! Elder Rowsell and I are enjoying our time out here working hard and having some fun. Last P-Day we went fishing and I caught the biggest fish that I have caught on my mission. Like a 30 pound fish--it was soooo sick! We are going out to get some bone fish today. <3 I love working out here and the work is going great.

We haven't had fewer than 16 investigators in each of the last three weeks at church.  Yesterday, we had 90 people overall at church, which was the most we have had in attendance at the Fanning Branch in months.  It was way cool to see so many people at church.  Pretty much all of our investigators have come to church and are progressing at this point... Sometimes things change week to week with our investigators, but all of them are searching for truths and I think they will all get to the finish line at some point.  We have four or five families who are pretty much READY.  And we have a list of 10 marriages that need to be performed before the investigators can be baptized, which is really overwhelming. But the hardest part is knowing that it's out of our control... We are relying on people from Kiritimati and government workers to get the paperwork through for the marriages. We are praying and hoping that things will get there at some point.

The one family I want to talk about is Tekannoe and his wife Neinang and their 3 angel daughters (ages 14, 12, and 10). They haven't been super religious in the past and Tekannoe has been a drunk for years.  But when we started lessons, they began to change until they have completely changed and are currently keeping the Word of Wisdom and are waiting to get married. They hold family prayer, read their scriptures everyday and have come to church the past three weeks. It's been a complete 180 degree change and it's so cool to see. Pray for these marriages so that these baptisms can start flowing.

I Love you all.  Have a great week!

Elder Parrish


1.  Missionaries at the District Conference on Christmas Island that Elder Parrish              attended a few weeks ago
2.  The Fanning Island Branch at their Meeting with Elder Johansen of the Area 70            who recently visited
3.  Biking to Church
4.  Recent Baptisms
5.  Fishing
6.  Full boat

Sunday, March 12, 2017

March 5, 2017

March 5, 2017

Dear Family:

Thanks for the emails.  Last week was a good week!  I would love to send you some photos of Fanning, but the internet here is way slow and I think that I would be wasting time trying to send any. I guess that you guys will get to see them soon enough since I’m down to four months left!  It's crazy how time flies.

Nothing too mind blowing happened this last week.  You asked about my area.  Fanning is a big island, but a lot of Fanning is unpopulated and so our area isn't too huge! Maiana and Tab where I previously served were definitely a lot bigger in area than Fanning, but we still bike an average of about two hours a day.

Last week, we did have two baptisms, which was nice (my first baptisms on Fanning) and we should be having some in the next few weeks, which will be great. The two baptisms we had were of two kids whose parents were both members so it was cool to see their father perform the baptisms. He was the first missionary in Kiribati and a former student at the Liahona High School.

We had 16 investigators at church, including a couple of awesome families, but it's difficult because most couples in Kiribati don’t get married and these couples won’t be able to be baptized until they are married.  Even when the couples are happy to get married, the process for getting that done here is not an easy one. And it is a bigger problem when the person who doesn't want to get baptized out of the couple refuses to get married to the person who wants to be baptized.  I guess that we will just keep working and see what we can do.  Missionaries who will be coming after us will be able to see some of the fruits of our work here on Fanning once these marriages are performed.  I guess that's what happens when you spend most of your time teaching adults and families.

My new companion Elder Rowsell is a great guy and we get along with no problems.  He's way laid back and we have been working hard and having a good time together. 

I don’t have much time today because we are going to go fishing.  We haven’t been able to go because there hasn’t been any gas on the island until some just came on a ship.  I'm pretty excited! 

It sounds like all is going well at home! I love you and I hope that you have a good week!

Elder Parrish

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

February 26, 2017

February 26, 2017

Hello everyone!!

These have been two of the sickest weeks of my mission! I can't wait to tell everyone about all of the exciting things that have happened/are happening.

Two weeks ago, Fanning Island was visited by a member of the Area 70, Elder Johansen. It was almost a disaster because we woke up in the morning and it was POURING rain. Kiribati people DO NOT deal with or work in rain so we were having a hard time getting them motivated and making it to the airport on the boat and we had no clue if the airplane was even going to come. To make a long story short, we were SHOCKED cuz when we got to the airport the airplane was there and we had made a member of the 70 wait on us for like 20 minutes. HAHA--just one of those things we had to laugh off cuz we didn't know if we were going to get killed. We didn't end up having much time with the members because the plane was supposed to take off at 12 and the weather still wasn't great, but the weather cleared up quite a bit and we got tons of members to come at the perfect time to meet and greet with a member of the 70.

There were so many little miracles. Elder Johansen is such a powerful man-- He is from Tonga and he is exactly what the people of Kiribati need. He spoke and he said that "the job of a 70 is to pave the way.... He was the first to come on Fanning. There will be other leaders to come on Fanning, mission Presidents, and maybe 70's, until the Savior Jesus Christ comes himself to Fanning." As I looked out I saw everyone crying.  It was so powerful!

Due to the weather, we didn't get to charter the plane to Washington Island as we had planned, but we returned to Kiritimati Island where we had an awesome weekend. On Saturday, we attended the Priesthood Leadership session and had an awesome activity at night with local dancing and singing and then on Sunday we had a conference with all of the saints on Kiritimati.  On Monday, we had an awesome meeting with Elder Johansen before we flew back here on Tuesday. It was so awesome to meet with members and other missionaries on Kiritimati island. I was able to hang out with some of my best friends from my intake and then I was able to have one of the coolest weeks of my mission.

We flew back to Fanning Island this past Tuesday. I came out here with my new companion, Elder Rowsell, who is from Idaho and has been out for about four months. He is a way cool guy and we should have no problems.

The work here on Fanning Island is CRAZY good. We had 19 investigators--yes 19 investigators--at church. We had like 5 families come to church. It was INSANE!  Everything came together and ALL of our investigators came to church. We have many hills to climb with the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity (marriages especially), but people are coming unto Christ. It's nice to see these things happen and to know that you are fulfilling your purpose as a missionary. It's awesome to see how this area has changed even in the one month that I've been here. We will be having two baptisms this week and hopefully a family the following week.

        One quick story:

A couple of weeks ago, we were lessoning with a family. They are members of the Protestant Church and the minister had been getting mad because they had been meeting with missionaries. We were at their house teaching them about the restoration when the minister showed up at their door. We had the picture of the first vision with our bibles open to James 1:5. We had just said "amen," when the minister came up to us and told us that we couldn't visit this family anymore because they were members of her church. She said that she didn't visit our members. I told her that we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people and try to help them increase their faith. She told us to never come back, but we didn't back down. To make a long story short, she left the house and we closed our lesson in prayer with this family. The father gave a powerful prayer asking for the truth. This family came to church yesterday and are preparing for baptism this month and happily accepted their date this week. Such a COOL experience. I had literally told Elder Murri earlier that day that I really wanted to have a conversation with a minister before I finished my time and it happened like two hours later. So funny how the Lord works!

    All is well and people are changing through the gospel! Have a great week!

Elder Parrish

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


February 12, 2017

Hey fam and friends,

It's been a while since I've done a little bit of an update. It's crazy to think that this week will be the end of my first full transfer serving on Tabuaeran or Fanning Island. It's been a super fun transfer serving with Elder Murri as my companion. I'm super sad to see him go. I will be getting a new companion named Elder Rowsell who is from Idaho and is from the same intake as Elder Murri.

This week is a pretty special week because there will be a member of the Area Seventy coming as well as President Larkin and a couple of other people. They will be flying a charter plane here on Friday and spend about three hours here before we go and visit “Teraina” or Washington Island. After several hours there we will all fly back to “Kiritimati” or Christmas Island and have an awesome weekend with a district conference before I will return to Fanning the following Tuesday with my new companion. This will be the first time that the Mission President--let alone an Area 70--will be coming to Fanning Island so it will be pretty special.

This past transfer has been awesome even though Elder Murri and I haven't had any baptisms yet. I love serving on outer islands. There is nothing better than taking bucket showers in the open air and sleeping on mats inside of mosquito nets. This past week we literally slept in hammocks under the stars and got destroyed by mosquitos. We have gone fishing in the beautiful lagoon and we have gone fishing with hand nets. We have done service and learned how to work in the Kiribati pits with the native root called "bwabai" and we have learned how to work on the "seaweed" which is an export native to Kiribati. I feel right at home.

We have seen so many people change and we have some amazing investigators. The branch has many problems, but I wouldn't change our investigators for a thing. We had ten investigators at church yesterday and the work is really starting to go well. Here are a couple of my favorite investigators.

Tenikoraa: She is so smart and she literally just knows that the church is true. She has prayed to know the truth and her prayers have been answered.  The problem that is keeping her back from baptism is the fact that she is a Deacon in the Protestant Church. It's been so interesting to watch her fight between what her heart knows is true and what her mind wants. She is shy to come to church and the Minister keeps asking her what is wrong. I hope that she can get over her fear and ultimately come to church, but she is still an awesome person. We would love some prayers her way.

Terewaa: Terewaa is a 75-year old man who is so sickkk. He is one of the oldest and most respected men on the island. In the Kiribati culture, old men are the most important of all people and it's been awesome to work with him. He is progressing so well and even came to church yesterday and had to bike under the blazing sun to get to church. The members were so excited when he came to church and they all went to shake his hand. The only thing keeping him back from baptism is the fact that he isn't married and his wife refuses to get married to him unless it's in the Catholic church. We are praying that something will give and that he will be able to get married by the government.

I love all of our investigators so much and I know that next the next transfer will be a great one as we start to see some of the fruits of our labors. I love this people and this language and this culture.

Funny story: Tabuaeran is known for not having very much cargo so when the cargo ship came this past week, the island basically shut down. Elder Murri and I went and dropped a bunch of money on chips and chocolate, hahah, but that's not the story.  We asked the workers on the ship if we could eat with them and they let us on the ship to eat and chat with the captain and the workers. We had an awesome dinner on the ship in the bay eating mashed potatoes and pork with a side of corn–the best food that I've had in almost two years. My stomach was destroyed that night when I kept waking up going to the bathroom. (Maybe I should have eased into the white people food.)  It was way interesting talking to the workers on the ship all of whom had very different backgrounds and difficult and kind of hard lives. Elder Murri and I commented that we felt so different from these people. We truly felt like "the chosen generation and a royal priesthood."  We feel in the world but soooo out of it at the same time.

It's so great to be a member of the church and to have direction in my life and a sense of where I'm going. Lots of exciting things happening right now. Livin' the dream! Talk to you guys from Kiritimati in a week!

Elder Parrish 


1.  The Cargo Ship
2.  Meal on the Cargo Ship
3.  Chips and Chocolate