Wednesday, December 10, 2014

MTC pictures and fun mission call video

Nothing from Daniel in 3 weeks. Transfers are next week (December 18, I think) so we are hoping he will come in to Tarawa where there is internet and can email, send some pictures and maybe even have a Christmas Skype. In the mean time, I found these pictures last week that I hadn't seen before. When Daniel was at BYU, he lived in Building 9 at Helaman Halls and made a great group of friends. Many of them received mission calls together and some were in the MTC together. They called themselves "The Big House" and even have a motto, "Comfort and Dominance". They exchange a big group email with short snippets from their mission experiences. Anyway, I found these pictues of several of them together while in the MTC, and also this cool video one of the boys made of their mission calls. (These are the things that keep a mother patient when she doesn't receive email.) 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Letter received November 28, 2014

Kiribati: November 1st 2014 12:38 pm
American Time: October 31, 2014 5:38 pm

Hey guys,

What's up? I'm sitting here having just finished my studies and Matiare fell asleep because he and Takaio (YA prepping for his mission) stayed up until 12:30 last night talking apparently. Looks like today's going to be another hard one. It's good for me because I'm learning patience which I need haha and I'm also developing an eternal dislike for laziness, which happends to be a major characteristic of the Kiribati people cause there's just not much for them to do. It's chill though. I love Matiare. He's way great and so are this people. It would just be nice to go out and do what I came to do. Spread this stinkin gospel. I'm having a hard time keeping the thought that I'll regret my time here, and I should tell Matiare he's lazy and I'm in charge and we're going to work cause I'm tired of him. Hahaha that's not very Christlike though huh? which probably means it's the wrong thing to do ; )

Anywho, enough of that, don't want to create the impresson that I'm actually having a hard time out here huh? Cause it's really way fun and my language is coming along. Especially seeing as it's the only one I can speak haha?

Oh by the way, forgot to mention I'm writing this letter cause the internet's out and sounds like it won't be back this next Monday either. So just FYI I'm still alive although my strep throat spread all over my mouth. Didn't know it could do that haha?  But seriously I'm smiling way big right now and I hope Halloween and Beth's birthday went way well. Out here the "koro n ririki" is like a 3 to7 day nonstop sleepover party with only their closest friends, or in other words, everyone in that village attends and anyone else who wants to as well. Do you think we should start up that tradition when I get back, Mom? If you do the math, that means life out here is one constant "bootaki" (party). Guess that's what happens when your only job is fishing once a week for food and collecting "bin" (coconut) for money.

Other big events: hit 150 days out on the mish. Weird that one more month and I'm 1/4 of the way through my whole mish and I haven't even left my first area. But maybe that's just me.

I climbed my first coconut tree.  Haha sorry sorry Mom, but I was way thirsty and our "karau" (rain) was running out and I wanted a "moimoito" (immature coconut) which are way good. Well at least they are now. I used to hate them. Don't worry, it was a way small tree, so we're chill, right? If not, I'll just lie and say this never happened haha. Also my first journal got all the way filled up so on to the next, which should last a lot longer cause it's pretty sweet. Found it in the MTC.

Matiare, Takaio and I hit up the beach cause Matiare had to "beka" (poo). Turns out we found this way beautiful spot where you could see the whole coast. So we took pics. Haha pretty sweet. Oh also we saw a group of clear little fish jumping in the water so it looked like a huge sea serpent was going through. So again, pretty sweet. Taught a family how to play poker the other night with rocks for our money. I don't know if that is unmissionary-like behavior but it was way fun! I think that's enough for now. I'm going to go back to trying to leave the house now.

Last note though. If you ever meet a Bekah, know that her name means poop in Kiribati and you can tell her that! Just put that together. Love you all!

Elder/Castaway Pettingill (the younger)
This was the back page of the letter

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Beru-Week 18

Monday, November 10, 2014

Beru-Week 17

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sweet afro

A picture of Daniel with a member, showing off his afro that he is growing since he can't get haircuts on the outer islands.  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Beru-Week 16

Monday, October 27, 2014

No email this week but an unexpected message and picture

I just found this on Facebook today in my "other" messages folder:

July 27, 2014

Sister Pettingill, my husband, Trevar Daw served with your husband some 24 years ago in the Buenos Aires South Mission. Trevar was flying to Kiribati two weeks ago and had the pleasure of meeting your son on the flight there. I thought you might enjoy a picture!

Melanie Daw

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Beru-Week 14

Last week:
It was actually kinda rough. Matiare got sick with the fever/diarrhea that I had been having and then I got strept throat again.  Matiare was so sick Wednesday that we couldn't even go out and work and then the rest of the week was just well.  Funny thing is though that it didn't slow down like you'd think it would.  I spent Wednesday reading all of the old Liahonas I could find around the house and actually found one with a picture of the Boyces just married in front of the Sac temple.

Now that I say that, the week was also filled with more miracles than I can count. But let's wait on those for a sec.

a Kiribati crab
Remember the spider crabs? Well I was studying Saturday when boom I feel a pinch on my toe and then see the very nice sized crab run up the wall and take a defensive position. What did I do? I went for the blowgun.  Seconds later that crab had three darts run through it, the last being a killshot right between the eyes.  I was all like heck ya! Matiare was like "I bwati riki nakoim" (basically I could do better). So we taped a bunch of stuff to our door and went at it. Waste of time? Maybe but wayy fun.

Hahah of course right after I ran into a hermit crab that was bigger than the spider crab. so that was fun.  I haven't told you all about the swordfish have I?  Well there are tons here. We see little ones 
every day next to this one bridge. and a while ago this guy caught a big one and gave us some meat and gave me the nose and another one from previously. So yeah I'm gunna make some swordfish nose swords sometime.

Anyways spiritual experiences.  Despite all of the sickness that was hitting me, I kept on working and as a result many different prayers of ours were resolved in this last week. A couple concerning marriages that had different problems. Also at the time when for the first time I didn't think I could go on, I read Helaman 10:4 about how Nephi declared the gospel with unweariness. And then I remembered the old wrestle matches I had with Dad and how when I was younger I would get back from a workout and think I was so strong and then Dad would lay on top of me and instantly I would be 
powerless. All my strength, gone, useless because of Dad's, not so little, belly.  What could I do? Nothing, just call out for help. And who was always more than happy to help me to escape and pin Dad? Jacob, my older brother. Without him. I would lose every time. With him it didn't matter how heavy Dad was, we would win, every time.

I hope you all can see where I'm going spiritually with this.  Without Jesus we lose and Satan wins. With Jesus, we win, everytime and change what would be a bitter experience into a family bonding one full of happiness and laughter. Sorry Dad that you represent Satan here, or rather your belly ;)

If my testimony means anything from out here, then know that at the very moment when I thought it would break this last week, somehow calling out to my Savior has made it stronger, and so it is in life.

Hahaha love y'all and know that I'm safe and happy out here if not entirely healthy but if you wait for everything to be perfect before you get to work, you will be waiting at least another thousand years 

Ain't nobody got time for that.


Elder Pettingill (the younger)

PS tell Sister White muchos gracias or e beti nrabwa for the package 
the other week!


Tell us more about these phone interviews you have?  Are they every week?  Are they kind of a like a conference or just checking in to turn in numbers?  How long do they last? Radio. No phones. Every Tuesday morning for like half an hour...everyone chats till the zone leaders come and then they ask for all of our stats and if we need anything and then we leave. Not much.

When it rains there, does water get in your house?  What about the members?  Do their houses get wet?  No walls so yeah water gets in everybody's houses.

Does everyone have rats in their houses, or just you guys because you have more food?  lots of rats. They're sacred in the culture so people don't kill them but we do.

You said that there are some kids you are teaching who want to go to Moroni High?  Does that mean they pretend to be interested or do they really want to know about the church? Kids have some desire, but like most kids, they're just kids, but we're planting seeds and sending them off to an all Mormon school.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Beru-Week 13

So first off gotta share with you all that I'm being transferred!  I'm heading off to Onotoua this next week to finish training Elder Whitehead!  And yup that means no email until I come back. Haha weren't you just saying how it would be so hard to not be able to email your missionary Mom? haha looks like you jynxed yourself!

This past week was wayy fun. Btw, it helped that I forgot I was even missing general conference and the one conference talk I got in the most recent package (Sister White's package came last week!) was plenty for me.  As much as I would have loved general conference, don't any of you think that God doesn't talk just as much to missionaries out here as he does in other places cause he does!  Just uses different ways ;)

Anywho, week started out with probably one of the most fun/relaxing pdays since I've been here. We made ourselves some hand made fishing rods and tried those out for a bit. We'll see if we get more time next week!  Of course we had a kain utu (FHE) with a family in this one unit, turns out it was actually a bday party and they had speakers. So we had a dope lil dance party which of course I RoCked.  Unfortunately, it also meant we got home late and, while I got to bed on time, Matiare didn't.

Consequences: Matiare slept in, then after doing our call ins on the radio (Missionary party cause everyone gets on from the outies) Matiare took another 4 hour nap and we didn't get out till after 3 to teach, and we have to stop at 6 because of the whole "sun goes down early and no lights." We don't get to go home but no one will accept lessons after dark.  So this last week wasn't the most productive for sure but it was a lot of fun and I saw countless blessings for being obedient despite the circumstances.

I decided this last week that there are two blessings we get for every time we follow the spirit or are obedient. A physical one and a spiritual one.  The commandments are a moral code that keep us safe physically just because we are simply living a good life. Yet without fail there comes a spiritual blessing from every good choice we make. We just often times don't see them because they are frequently unattached physically to our choices.  Hence when we search for our spiritual blessings, we see "The happiness which has been prepared for the saints." 2 Nephi 9:43

I love y'all and I want you all to know that my whole life is one filled with spiritual blessings. I am shocked everytime I am having a deep conversation with someone in Kiribati or they share a long story and I understand and can respond almost as if I'm speaking English (maybe not that well haha). Or when I dream in Kiribati since that is becoming a more and more frequent occurrence haha.

Again, I love you all and you are all so lucky to be wherever you are, so be happy in it :) Good luck speaking English!


Elder Pettingill (the younger)

PS That whole thing about me being transferred was a joke. I'll be here for a couple more months. I'm pretty funny huh?  Don't worry bout me out here Mom. I'm doing swell!


Who are you teaching? We're teaching thje family of a girl I recently baptized. Another family who's pretty much estranged from society because of a previous drinking problem who's friends with one of our member families, a few different kids who would like to go to Moroni for school, a dude who is the last one in his family to get baptized but his dad is a bad example so he's having trouble stopping his smoking and then we have 
some other potentials...So yeah we're working.

PS This lady's gunna try and post a pic of me and her a fb and then tag me so we'll see or maybe Klatt
An internet picture I found of kids fishing in Kiribati. Amazing! Look at this link for more pictures of Kiribati.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Beru-Week 12

First off, I told a couple of our members in a discussion that you two were going to get meet one of the Apostles (Rich and I saw Elder Neil L. Andersen this week) and their response surprised me. Translated it went, "People in America are so lucky. They get to see their bodies all of the time and even meet them sometimes, yet most of us here have only seen a picture here or there and some of us have never seen them at all." Basically implying "How can anyone in America not believe?"

That exerience really kind of defined so many different things I saw this week. For one, the fact that recently there have been a whole lot of problems that have come up with our branch president and his relationship with members, they really hurt my heart.  Anger is such a powerful tool of Satan's and so many people don't see that. And then I was reading through my journal as I was feeling wayy sick (from this fever/diarrhea thing that's been going around) and I came upon a quote I liked from an Elder Holland video I saw in the MTC about how we know that, in this last age, we will win.

Wayy comforting to know that the church here will succeed and it was an answer to my prayers for a miracle here. I didn't get some big manifestation that changed everything, but I got some knowedgle that was a miracle of comfort for me in knowing the church will win here in Beru.

To end on a funny note: One funny thing about this last week that might make some uncomfortable would have to be about the gas that came as a lead up to the full sickness I have. Let's just say it was bad. And turns out there are two positions that affect the ting (fart, pronounced sing). One, if you are sitting cross-legged, it is almost impossible and extremely painful to hold in the need to let that air out and two, sitting on a bike makes it almost impossible and still painful to try and let that air out. Just think about that and my current situation for a moment... Oh and the fact that farting is one of the most tabuaki (forbidden) things in the culture...

Let's just say I was in quite a dilemma for a bit there since I was either riding my bide to lessons or sitting in lessons...and then I found the poppers (you know the little 4th of July white things that make a loud sound?)  Well anytime I needed to fart real bad I'd just let it out and then if it turned out to be heard, boom, blame it on the poppers and it was almost always lost in the fascination of the American thing. I say almost because I may or may not have gotten us kicked out a house for farting, but it's alll good now. We're friends again. haha

Anyways love y'all. Stay strong and it is wayy true that you all are way blessed in America so take advantage of it!

Elder Pettingill (the younger)

Ps Elder Matiare fully believes that I will be transferred in the next little bit to train someone in the new intake as they'll be coming soon! Haha we'll see?

Just one question answered this week:

If we mail you something to your island, what address would we use? I don't know.  The address Matiare has used is Beru, Nuka and then his name, but I guess that won't exactly fly in America. haha

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Beru-Week 11

First off, happy two months in Beru to me haha and I'm actually hitting my 4th month in the mission Dad! hahaha Weird to think I only get 5 more of these although it may feel short at the same time these past 4 months feel like my life, the whole things very kamangongo (confusing I think is the best translation?) Gotta love it though!

I got two more packages and they were filled with crackers (enough to last a lifetime haha thanks mom!) and dried fruit and oatmeal, already ate almost a whole bag of the dried fruit and nuts, kinda got myself sick a little bit so that will be slowing down but it was soo worth it.  Oh and the chocolate milk? I had to mix one little bottle with two cups of water for it not too be to rich for me haha so we'll
see how cinnamon rolls go if I ever get any  ;) But seriously thank you!!

This last week was a werid one. Went by soo quickly. Had soo many good experiences and then a few that just made me so sad concerning  just the church in general here. I got some very sweet comfort through revelation though and then the missionary standards from the President that let me know that we are doing a great job.   Also I read in Jesus the Christ about one of Jesus' parables - how all we can do is plant the seed and then till and water the ground every now and then but we have to trust its growth up to God.  Very helfpul.

On a brighter note: One funny thing this week this week was that this guy Takaio who sent in his papers to serve a mission, I decided that he should follow us one day for a bit for mission prep and Elder Matiare liked the idea so much that, after the first day with us, he has asked him everyday if he is free and most of the time he is. So in the past five days he has proselyted with us for 4 of them! haha different in Kiribati ehh?

Also got some real intense biking in this past week (haha shortcuts ;) which was wayy fun, I wanted to take a video on my camera for when I send my SD card home but my Sd card hasn't been working lately, says "Problem with card!" everytime I turn my camera on and asks me if the sd chamber is locked. Any advice?  I learned yesterday that I can send letters home to you guys for just 60 cents so I've been considering writing one and putting the SD card inside. What are your thoughts? I wanted to back it up before I sent it so it wouldn't be the end of the world if it got lost cause I don't know how reliable it is...

Hmm anything else? I love you all so much and I'm glad life is fun for use (you all, Australian) back home because it certainly is out here! Especially with my hair that is just getting bigger and bigger hahaha!

Anyways love you all!

Elder Pettingill (the younger)


Who are you teaching? We have 14 investigators. We'll see this next which of them will be progressing, we had to start all over since when Klatt left we ran out of investigators (all baptized). 

Do people have jobs there? People fish, some people work for the counselor (not an actual person basically the government here) and they collect bin (coconut) and then give them to little stores for stuff and the stores sell the bin to Tarawa for more stuff and money etc  Also some people who know how make the outsides for their cheap smokes.

Do the kids go to school? Yes there's two Primaries (elementary) one JSS (basically middle school but a couple more grades)  Rongorongo (High school, a  lot don't make it here cause they quit earlier or get expelled for drinking or being stupid.)

How are the crocks? Crocks are awesome, I'm glad they were a little bigger because the sun shrunk them right to my feet.

Is there a grocery store to buy food?  Do you have a enough money? Little stores, we buy noodles and crackers in bulk and then they sell some different meats as well. Plenty of money, trust me. Plenty.
A picture I found on the internet of a typical Kiribati store on the outer islands

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Hahah glad things are picking up for y'all back home cause we're wayy happier when we're me I know haha This past week flew by like no other. I judge weeks by emails home and it seems like just yesterday that I emailed all of you!

Some quick noteable experiences (I wanted to say highlights but as you'll see that word just doesn't work here).  I ran over a kid, I woke up with a rat on my face, started dating an old lady, burned all the hair off my arm, ah and an entire unit forgot I just got here because my language is good, and had one of the happiest weeks of my mission. I think I could probably just leave it at that but I think I'll explain a little bit.

So the thing is here kids will all be in a huge group playing in the street and then they'll part when people need to go through. Except for the missionaries they don't part. They run full sprint at us trying to give us high fives, especially me cause I'm white (actually more brown/tan and I can say that pretty confidently now.)  I, of course, have mastered riding no hands through the pack so I can give high fives on both sides...well on Wednesday a little kid decided to wait until the last possible second and then dart in front of me and just stand there to greet me and hence got hit, big time. Wasn't injured but he got a nice scare being pushed by my tire till I could stop and of course his Dad having seen this grabs him and gives the crying kid a couple wacks with a stick for being stupid. The whole thing has me scratching me my head.

Matiare likes to make everything into a trash can and so thus there is a lot of trash all over the house and thus a lot of rats. In case you've all forgotten, I have a keen fear that a rat's gunna eat my feet and I've only recently started sleeping with my feet uncovered. Of course a rat found a hole in my mosquito net and climbed on my face for some reason. You could say I woke up with quite a scare in the middle of the night, pitch black and knowing there was a rat somewhere in my bunga (mosquito net).  Didn't lose the soles of my feet though so that's good.

We got new Kiribati song books so I've been handing them out to everyone and writing a little note to each person with my name when I give it to them. Haha I gave one to this one lady named Taouea (T ow way ya) I baptized a couple weeks ago and I wrote "Man Pettingill, Tangirau"  From Pettingill-- my love.  Everyone quickly found out about it and we've been laughing ever since and making jokes.

Burned the trash the other day in our trash can. Turns out it got really hot because when I went to put a piece of metal on it to keep the smoke and flames down, I passed the bottom of my arm over it and instantly every single one of my hairs on the bottom side got singed off. It was a very interesting and weird experience haha.

Went to church the other day and the unit leader said "We've been wondering where you've served before because none of us can remember you telling us?"  Haha I laughed and reminded them that this was my first place and then they were all like "Ohh yeah we remember you just getting here and not knowing too much. Wow you learn quick unlike the other missionaries before"...It felt really good to know that my hard work and straight immersion have really paid off in my language!

This last week I realized that stressing about things like working harder isn't going to change anything and it just builds up and then escapes in a moment of depression.  Well, really focusing on not stressing has helped my positive attitude to have a lot less holes in it, and I really enjoyed this past week and it went by very fast.

Anyways, love you all. Live your best so you can take the best road in all of those available for you that have been prewritten by a loving Heavenly Father, because it leads to so much joy!

Elder Pettingill (the Younger)

P.S. Got two more packages today! haven't opened them yet but they were totally unexpected and very warmly welcomed ;) haha thank you sooo much!

P.S. looks like pictures still don't work


Have you been able to explore the island yet?  we have and I forgot to take pictures because we were tracting/looking for people.  But we found these crazy bush like things and a sweet beach and there is a small island close to Beru that I would like to go one of these days. Oh and we're going to the place where people get the bocaboca this week so I'll let you know about that.

Will you walk or take a boat to the island?  We'd be able to walk out to it. Boats are off limits unless specifically authorized

Does you companion have someone to email or does he just study while you email?  He does. He's great and by the way my times up. We're gunna go head to whatever Matiare leads I guess. haha He's very dominate about Pdays turns out. Im fine, I just want to relax I'm so tired. haha Love you all and see y'all in a week!

Groups of Kiribati kids

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Beru-Week 9

Rain: There really should be a different word for when it rains here especially since the Kiribati word is "Ebwaka te karau" (it falls the make peace) haha because it does pretty much everything but make peace. Especially when a random rainstorm hits at 4 in the morning and it wakes you up and you get to be cold for once haha.  Of course I had to run oustside to make sure we caught the rain for our clean water.  Filled up all 3 of our buckets 2 plus times over. My companion laughed when he saw me come back in drenched and very sandy but I see he had no problem drinking the water!

Mari: cute little girl who just couldn't get the concept of keeping her hands closed when she asked me "enakiia?" (where'd it go?) after switching her marble behind her back haha. She'd pull them out and have her hands open showing me where it was. Very funny

My comp tries to use English words when he can but I'm so used to hearing Kiribati I don't understand him most of the time when he uses it because I'm expecting Kiribati haha!

This last week of complete immersion has been a ton of fun and learning. By learning I mean there have definitely been some tough times for me because i just want to work but Elder Matiare is not always as driven....but I love it out here and the time is definitely speeding up! Can't believe this week 8 here in Kiribati either!

Anyways love y'all and remember "We all have times when we need to know everything will be alright...that is exactly what this gospel gives us!" - Jeffrey R Holland quote in the Liahona.
A picture I found on the internet of a pig being prepared  for a Kiribati meal

Elder Pettingill (the younger)

From the new "unfiltered" email that is now only sent to the boys (fortunately, I know how to log in to Rich's email!)  Elder Klatt left his blow gun and one day during studies a couple of pigs were walking by our house. So we chased after them and shot them a couple times trying to get them for dinner haha. They got away but Elder Matiare and I made a pact if more come we will be eating pig that night.


How is it going with Elder Matiare? Elder Matiare is awesome! He's wayy fun and I really like him!  He's from an island here in Kiribati but grew up on Tarawa attending the Moroni high school after his parents died (moved and lived with his mom's sister and got baptized) two older siblings have served and oldest is married. The one right under him just entered the mission field. Oh and he only has 5-6ish months left so this''ll be his last area before returning to Tarawa to finish his time.

What are some of the cultural differences with your companion?  I get antsy and Matiare likes to have long conversations which is a blessing in so many ways until it comes to staying on time with our's all good though. It's teaching me to be thankful in all sitautions. It's just tough when added on top of everything, but hey, I wouldn't get to come to Kiribati if I couldn't handle it right?  Never realized the power of a promise (the Book of Mormon is full of promises) till now. They keep me going.

So I was wondering more about church there?  Tell us more about how the units run. We teach Sunday School then go ahead with church (Sacrament Meeting). No one has callings except branch presidency but different kids lead the music.  A couple of the units ask people to give talks or me or Elder Matiare will give one. Fast sunday is kaoti kaoua same as here.  The real only different one is Nuka because it's the main one and has the most people (which means 20-25 instead of 15-20) No other meetings after church. 

What are baptims like there? Baptisms are just whoever from that unit shows up and the leader, opening song/prayer and baptism and then after boutaki (meal/get together).

How are you feeling?  What can we pray for? I'm great! There are hard things like always and they are different all the time in their nature, which seems like Heavenly Father's way of well-rounding me. But I'm pushing through it and keeping a thankful heart, and doing what I can really helps. And if you could pray that we'll be able to find and help more people (more investigators) and that we will be able to better use our time wisely from now on.

Here is a link to an Ensign article from 2000 telling more about the church in Kiribati. 

Below are some pictures of Moroni High School where Elder Matiare attended school on Tarawa (the main island.)

basketball courts with school in background
apartments for school employees and missionaries
school basketball team
girls' dorms--there is a cafeteria between the girls' and boys' dorms

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Beru-Week 8

I learned on the internet that the Kiribati region is known
for its pristine coral reefs and giant clams. 
Rich discovered that the clams can grow to over 
4 feet and weigh up to 500 lb.
How about I start with a story?  Saturday morning I was thinking of what I wanted to for my 30 minutes exercise and then I remembered all of the stories I'd heard of different missionaries finding like cinderblocks and stuff and bench pressing that for their workout and then I remembered we have a huge clam shell sitting outside our house and I just knew I was gunna bench it and get a picture of it.  Turns out clam shells that are 4ish feetlong are really heavy but after quite a bit of struggle and Elder Matiare (Ma sa dee)'s help I got it into bench press position and knocked it out a whole 1 repetition for the picture and then gave up. I think I'll stick with push ups and such for awhile.

Second thing: looked in the mirror this week and realized I'm totally hitting mini afro stage if I poof out my hair! You can sure betcha I'll be bragging for ages about how the only time I ever grew an afro was on my mission haha. (There are no haircuts on the outer islands so the missionaries just grow their hair until they come in.)

3rd thing: There's this old lady here who thinks we're her kids and is very free with using her huge stick on us if, actually not if, always when she sees us. Luckily the kids in "her territory" are like body guards and will throw rocks at her now if she sees us and in return we'll give them gum.  Now that I think about it though the whole thing seems very similiar to paying a gang "protection" money.

How's it been living Straight Kiribati?  Well first I'd like to point out how ridiculous my situation is. It just hit me after a question Ashley Mork asked in her email. "How do we know if we are following the path the Lord has for us?"  If there is anyone who has been trying to follow the Lord's path, it has been me. I mean I am an 18 year old skinny imatang (not Kiribati) from America living on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere without a single other person who can speak any real English.  I'd say my choices having either been very right or ridiculously wrong; there is no other explanation for how I could have ended up here.  And based upon this last week with Matiare  I know I am on the right path in the right place.

Example: two investigators I was unsure about baptizing this last Saturday because of different circumstances. In a way I've kinda had to be senior comp this last week b/c Elder Matiare didn't know anything other than the language and that we eat the bocaboca about Beru. So the decision was up to me and I sure did pray. I realized I just needed to move forward and the Lord would make sure I made the right choices.  Needless to say one of the investigators smoked again two days before the baptism and I just knew he needed more help so we moved the date. Then the other investigator showed so much faith she waited after dark for an hour at a member's house for us because we were late so she wouldn't miss the lesson.

Lesson learned: "Press forward with faith and the Lord thy God will direct you in all things what you should do."

The zone leaders and Elder Wall from our senior couple came out yesterday for branch counsel, which we learned was happening Saturday night right after our baptisms. So we raced and got a car for everybody, saw a couple blatant miracles, and boom everything fell right into place for the next day!

Anyways thank you sooooo much for the packages.  Everything in them is priceless to me and unfortunately I wasn't as good at saving the candy as much and got a little sick from it at one point, but everything else I am going to make last for awhile haha and the apple sauce packets? Oh they take me back to the good old High Adventure days when we ate them everyday until we got so sick we couldn't eat them anymore. And yet the first day when I had a bowl of them with peanut butter in it was like pure heaven. Soo good and filling and the same with everything else. Love it.  Ohhh and also the letters? I got 4 of them and unfortunately, I also was pretty bad at saving those and already read them all!  Thank you very much, they were awesome. Quick couple comments: me and Klatt killed 11 rats in our house with a blow gun Mom so I think you should be able to take care of 1 pretty easily in America, although they're pretty stupid here ;)

Letter from all the kids was awesome haha loved it.

Island paradise? Let's just say that isn't exactly true because although I have the joy of paradise, trust me I worked hard for every bit of that joy.

Yeah but haha long letter for a long but awesome week. Made me wayy thankful for everything I have and have had, especially my family back home who speaks English! Love y'all! Kiribati is coming along great, in fact Matiare couldn't believe I'd only been here in Beru a little over a month!

Elder Pettingill (the younger)

PS a little fun tibit I know you'll appreciate. There are two more intakes coming this year to Kiribati and the second one will be getting here December 21 which means (after a convo with one of the zone leaders yesterday) that probs around that time I'll come back in to Tarawa and thus Christmas promises though we'll see haha ;)

Answers to questions:

How many packages did you get: 3

What do you want for the next packages? More oatmeal, and yeah Pb is always good and yes fruit cups and some trail mix/dried fruit would also be wildly appreciated! and yes there's a stove to cook on and we use kerosene to cook and you can buy it pretty cheaply from different people who sell it around the island. Really enjoyed the spaghetti, also yeah oatmeal for breakfast is great but just snacks for throughout studying and I'm fine with candy. My stomache is more sensitive to it now than ever so just a little is perfect! but like cookies or something like that would be awesome! and yes I would love a general conference issue! I love reading talks. Thank you so much.

How long have you had your new companion? He came on Tuesday!

Friends and family (especially the women) are worried that you are having a hard time. What should I tell them? I'm sorry I don't mean to make you all worried. I really try to edit my emails so I don't send anything too worrisome for you. Besides the whole I only speak Kiribati thing here is a lie. Every personal prayer I say is in English and those are the best conversations I could be having anyways! 

Just tell them that for every hard thing I see twice as many if not more blessings, if not in my life then farshore in others. I mean look at me, I can not only have a solid conversation months before most others can, the sitting doesn't bother me, I actually enjoy sleeping on the ground, huge spiders crawl over my hands when reaching for medicine and I only get slightly shaken, haven't gotten stung by a scorpion even though I slept with one, we've had rainwater to drink consistently, I love all of the people here and the only time things are hard here are when I decide to let them be hard. You're right, I've been prepared for this place wayy wayy before I came here.

Everything is easier (like in the talk you sent me) when you look at all of the blessings and not at all of the hard things, when you are excited for every day instead of dreading the trials you'll meet, when you know the Lord has promised me health enough to work every single day if I make smart decisions instead of looking at every little infection/scrape I get. Mom, I still haven't reached that point of just breaking down and crying because there has always been something to help me in the times I've felt like it.

Besides I'm getting a nice tan here too ;)

It's nice to hear that the Lord is watching out for you! Yes he is! Haha I love you mom. I'll talk to ya next week!

Monday, September 1, 2014



Hahah so first off, the APs did not come yesterday because the charter plane they would've flown on was broken soo instead it is coming this Tuesday and Klatt will be leaving then and Matiari (Ma sa dee) will be coming in then! The world of just Kirbati is about to begin! I have loved having Klatt as my comp and he works wayy hard and it has been fun. It'll be nice to get a Kirbati comp so I can get the language down as fast as possible.

a loaf of 'mud'
Haha Dad you said it was about 5 months in till you were fluent in Spanish? I think the average here is about 6-8 months till they are confident, but I wouldn't say fluent and that's after living day to day with only Kiribati. Let's just say Spanish is a little easier ;) but no complaints here I love this place!  The food I love. I ate DOG 3 times this week, and one time I got to wash it down with the bocaboca (the mud, theres's a drink and a food. I've only had the drink so far, consists of seaweed, coconut and mudand another time they gave us parts of the stomach mixed with curry, I'd say it tastes most like corn beef but the experience is in no waay the same. ;) And then the fish and rice combo is hard to beat especially when they mix the rice with bin (coconut) and hot water and it tastes like oatmeal. Kangkang (yumyum)

The first 3 packages should come on the plane tomorrow and then after that who knows. ALSO, they are no longer sending packages down from Marshalls to Kiribati or at least in the next week or two they will stop so if you sent packages right away they might get sent down but after that they said you'll have to send them to Kirbati which is pretty expensve. It just got to be too much money sending packages down all the that's a real bummer.

I ride back and forth across an island all day everyday on a bike at the very end of its life (we should get new ones hopefully soon) and then sit cross legged the whole time in the house, then get right back on our bikes and repeat. Then I come home to sleeping on a couple of matts on our very solid yeah I am wayy glad I was in shape and flexible before coming here! I think I'm finally getting used to it all and I can finally sleep on my side without that whole side going numb after awhile haha!

Little kids are the best! If they see us riding our bikes they will all chase after us and try and give us high fives! I've gotten pretty good at riding with no hands so I can give high fives to kids on both sides! Members' little boys will come and jump all over me and the girls will sit on my lap or snuggle up next to me or will try to get me to play jacks with them.

Funny thing about the animals: They are all smaller except for the spiders, the crabs (haven't seen any massive ones but I got a pretty solid one with my bike the other day riding home, and the hermit crabs are all huge here) and the geckos (the ones that come out at night are the same color as toys that will glow in the dark, like the whitish green, wayy sweet). Everything else just doesn't have enough food to get as big as in America.

This week was a really pretty good one. We saw a bunch of miracles, worked pretty hard until Klatt had to set up all of his goodbye parties and stuff. The swelling on my face has gone down a bunch, although everywhere else it's gotten worse haha.  We had four sweet baptisms this week, a husband and wife and then the wife of a member and then the son of two people who can't be baptized quite yet because his old wife (Catholic) won't sign the divorce papers so he can marry his actual wife. Their daughter'll get baptized next week though which will make 3 of there 4 baptism age children baptized. Wayy faithful!

Experience of the week: pulled Elder Klatt on his bike because his tire got bent and he couldn't pedal it by himself...we looked pretty funny going across the island him holding on to a stick and us both just pedaling our hearts out! so tiring especially since he stopped pedaling at one point the jerk!

One more story: spiders average size here is palm sized but one night we were riding home at 7:00 so naturally it is pitch black and I felt something on my ear, look over and a spider who at that moment looked as big as me and probably was just a little smaller than my face was just hitching a ride on my shoulder. That and every single spider since has felt a very quick and precise death 

Love you all! and remember if you feel the spirit you are doing what God wants of you!

Elder Pettingill, (the younger)