What is the favorite thing you eat? Milk fish and red snapper. He says the fish is "way good".
What keeps your investigators from progressing? Smoking, alcohol, short attention span so they don’t understand the lessons and remember their commitments
How is the church organized? Banana is the largest branch with 120 active members, including 30 Priesthood. Then there are 5 other branches, including small island groups. It’s a district not a stake because the other branches are pretty small. One of the branches has only 3 Priesthood holders.
Do you eat more fish or rice? Rice! Members feed us pretty much every day, and they like to give us canned American food like spam or corned beef with rice.
They flush the toilet with bucket of water. There are currently about 20 fisherman at the hotel where they live. They are mostly from Australia and Alaska. They don’t usually talk with them because they are gone from early in the morning to late at night.
He has met the mission president 4 times, had 2 interviews, and will see him again in September if he is still on Christmas. There are 10 missionaries on Christmas, including 2 sisters, 1 senior couple, and 6 Elders. They hold District Meeting every Thursday from 10:30 am to noon. They used to have to leave by 9:30 am to find some way to catch a ride to get there by 10:30 but now there is a mission bus that will pick them up. They usually get together on Mondays as well.
How do you find people to teach? It has been harder work on Christmas to find good people to teach. They most get member referrals. Tracting is not effective.
There is an American store where they can buy lots of food, including ice cream, but it’s very expensive.
What kind of ice cream is there? There is neopolitan, drumsticks, vanilla, and swirl.
What advice do you have for missionaries coming there? Be sure to bring a smaller bag or a carry on so you can take things out to the outer island. You leave everything you don’t need there in the Zone Leader's apartment and just get what you need from it when you come in. You don’t need a camel pak. Everyone gives you water or something to drink. You do need a water proof back pack. That has saved him.
How much have you been sick? He has had no stomach problems since Tarawa. He likes all the food now and doesn't have a problem with drinking the water. He did have another foot infection and needed an antibiotic. Elder Stone has a foot infection now so he is taking an antibiotic. They drink a certain part of the coconut to deal with diarrhea.
It feels like he has always been there and like he will never come home. He is happy and loves his mission.
Mail comes on a plane from Fiji every so often. That’s how the letters get to him at the Christmas address. He loves getting letters!
Favorite thing is to go fishing. He saw two sting rays last week on pday. A fishing pole costs $100 so instead they tie fishing line to a coconut and toss it out in the waves. For bait, they use hermit crabs or clams that they break open. The hermit crabs are about as big as his hand. The fish they catch are about 3-4 feet long.
Regarding coconut trees, there are steps cut into the trees and they are often only about 6-7 feet up. People gather coconuts to sell. They ship them to Fiji in exchange for cash, receiving 10 or 20 cents a piece. If you cut them open and dry them, you get 50 cents a piece. The missionaries don’t do a lot of service because it is often people wanting them to cut open their coconuts so they can make money from it.
They are preparing Banana for a church meeting place. They have the piece of land and are clearing it of stumps from coconut trees. It’s moving at Kiribati pace, which means slowly.
President will come visit Kiritimati in September. Also, there are supposedly 12-15 Elders coming to the mission in September.
What is the biggest thing you have killed? A crab. Why do you kill the crabs? Because they are at the front door when we walk out and are attacking us.
What does the water taste like? We run it through our filter so it’s great. Before that it’s brown or yellow.
Daniel said he is super happy and loves his mission. He thinks about home sometimes but he loves being there.
If anyone gets bored, he said would love a letter from you!
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Elder Daniel Pettingill
Island of Kiritimati
Republic of Kiribati