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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