Hannah Parsons

Hannah Parsons, 17, will soon embark on her first missionary trip overseas to Okinawa, Japan. Photo by Carly Carver.

ASHLAND An Ashland 17-year-old will soon accomplish one of her biggest dreams and embark on her first missionary trip overseas to Okinawa, Japan.

Hannah Parsons has already graduated from home school and Ashland Community and Technical College with an associate’s in science. She will be leaving on Monday for her first missionary trip.

Parsons, who is the daughter of missionaries Renee and Rob Parsons, said she’s felt called to travel to Japan since she was a little girl.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Parsons.

Parsons said growing up with parents who were missionaries helped her truly connect with her faith and allowed her to realize that missionary work was something she, too, was called to do.

“Traveling with my family, it’s made it so I’m not scared of this, I’m just excited,” said Parsons. “I was always in ministry, it’s always been part of my life.”

Parsons has tried on several occasions to travel to Japan, but the timing was never right. Now that Parsons has the opportunity to go, she said she feels more relieved than any other emotion.

“It’s such a relief to know this is finally happening,” said Parsons. “Now I know, wow, this is possible, so what else is possible?”

Parsons was connected to missionaries in Okinawa, Japan through Chaplain Dan Godwin at King’s Daughters Medical Center.

Parsons said she will be working as a missionary intern at the Okinawa Church of God and assist with translating. Parsons speaks Japanese and hopes to help connect people.

“I just hope I can find something to help,” Parsons said. ”If I can just help one person, it would be amazing.”

Parsons will be staying at the church’s parsonage. She said she lived in a parsonage before while living in Virginia.

“Parsons in the parsonage,” she said with a laugh.

Parsons will return on Dec. 5 to Ashland. After returning home, she will attend Marshall University in Huntington to pursue a bachelor’s in biology and hopes to focus specifically on botany. Parsons is so invested in her studies of botany, she intends to take some lab equipment with her to Japan to study while abroad.

Parsons said she’s most excited about the opportunity to immerse herself in a new culture.

“I’m excited to figure out how to function in a different environment,” said Parsons.

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