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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

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