This Blog is about Elder Hennessey's two year mission, in the Philippines Baguio Mission, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Monday, December 26, 2016

We had a wonderful phone call from Elder Hennessey for Christmas last night – 2 hours! He had lots to share and looks great. Can’t wait to do it again for Mother’s Day!

This is tatay (father) Visitacion. He is probably high 60's low 70s. But he has had multiple strokes and debilitating illnesses. Sometimes we have the honor of helping him go to the eye doctor because he is also blind. This is me helping him into his wheelchair, he clings like a koala! He is probably under 60 pounds but you have to be super careful since he is fragile. 
This was the second time we helped him. The first time we went was when I had been here for 2 months. Later in the evening I was joking to Elain, who is 20 and lives with him, but I wasn’t sure of the relationship. I said "Me and your grandpa are best friends now, we had a fun trip to the doctors" she said "lolo..? Tatay ba?" (Grandpa? You mean my dad?) I'd been in the area for 2 months and didn’t know he was the father of this family. He looks like a great grandfather! That was a really embarrassing story, but it just made them laugh a ton. I was worried they would be offended because the Pinoys sometimes get offended really easily.

That coin in a ten piso coin, 12 pesos is worth a soda. It’s the size of a quarter, which means the bee is almost 2 inches long. I hit it with the electric flyswatter and zapped it real good, but after I took the picture it hopped up and flew out the door.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dang that’s Crazy! (Told him of the winter storm this week) I'm glad I've never really had to drive when there’s ice because it’s so dangerous and hard to control, but there’s no worry of that for the next two years cuz 1, there’s no driving unless I become AP (Assistant to the President), or become an Office Elder, also unlikely. And 2 the record low temp here was in 2013, it was 49 Degrees..... I miss those winter days in Portland where it takes forever to go anywhere cuz there’s just a little snow, but mostly I miss the cold. 


It’s so unlike Christmas in America, partly because I am a missionary, and not spending all my time with family. But here they have been decorating for 3 months, people actually go caroling for the 2 weeks before Christmas; so much so that people put signs on their gates that say come back on the 24th. I'm sorry I wasn’t able to write Emails to you all, but know that I wish you all a very merry Christmas and hope you have a blast spending time with your families.

The food is one of my favorites to make; I call it Tunay na rice. Which means real rice, but it is actually just a can of tuna opened onto some rice :) It’s delicious. (No picture)

Dang :/ ask bishop to contact members nearby so Dad can get a blessing (Tiegue’s dad has been sick), I’ve given so many blessings already. The church is so different here, even though all of the doctrine is the same. It’s like their faith is new/fresher, and it’s more constant through the week. Partly because they get lots of visits from the missionaries but more so because they feel they really need the blessings of the gospel.

The picture of me with the grandma and little ones is Sister D…. She is 73. She manages her entire household at the top of the mountain. Last week I went to her house and she wasn’t there. After looking, I saw her walking up the steep trail with a 40-50 pound Bundle of sticks on her shoulder. I rushed to relieve her of the load but she said "huwag na, oklang, huwag na!" which means “don’t now, it’s ok, don’t now." When I tried to just take it off her shoulder she said "No its easier for me to just carry it, I'm almost there."  Afterwards she told me how she was up late last night cooking, UNTIL 1 AM, Then she went to sleep. UNTIL 3 AM. When she started cooking again. SHE'S 73!

In the picture, the way she is clutching her Book of Mormon isn’t by chance. She really clings to it. She is the best example I have seen while I've been here. In America it was Grandma Terry and Brother Hall, but here, she blows them out of the water. When we go to visit her, she always bears her testimony so strongly that she tears up. She tells us all the time of times when she’s witnessed the hand of God in her life and in the lives of others. If she is dry eyed and we ask her to say the closing prayer, her conversation to her Father in Heaven is so sincere and compassionate she always gets choked up and has to wipe her eyes afterwards. I hope we all can learn from her example and try to grow closer to our Father in Heaven.

For Christmas we sent a 12 Days of Christmas package. On the First Day of Christmas we didn’t send a partridge in a pear tree but a tree for him to decorate with photos of family and friends and Christmas messages. 

Look at the size of this rat compared to Tiegue’s sandal (yes he gets to wear sandals!) and it was IN their house!

Monday, December 12, 2016

This week was super crazy, and seemed longer than ever since there were so many things to be done.

First of all on Tuesday I said goodbye to Elder Gamboa, and got a temporary Companion, Elder Centeno, He's been out 15 months, likes to go out late and sleep really early, but he’s a cool guy, and I learned from him on how to teach differently. Wednesday we went to San Fernando for training on how to train a newbie (San Fernando is about 27 miles away and travel time is an hour by bus). Thursday I worked with Elder Centeno again, but not in my area. Friday we went to San Fernando again to pick up our trainees. But I had to give Elder Salingay away because I had an extra meeting for leadership stuff. SO Saturday was the only day we actually worked in our area.

Elder Salingay is cool. He’s a little weird, but he loves being a missionary. He's got what we call MTC FIRE, a burning desire to share the gospel. It’s pretty nice because he pushes himself to talk to people, I kinda just walk next to him and help when he falters. His teaching skills need some work, but that’s fine, we've got 3 months to work on it. 

I gotta go but that weird tree is what we call maasim (sour).  It is such a weird tree cus the fruit just grows on the trunk. (He didn’t send this picture)

Love ya

I just wanna be home and run outside in a t-shirt and shorts. I miss the cold way more than I expected(Kelli told him about the winter storm we just had)



Monday, December 5, 2016

Dang, I miss some Eggnog right now. I haven’t had milk since I've been out in the field. That’s cute, if I was there I'd race you to the back door and not let you carry anything, you shouldn’t have to. That’s why you had kids right? lol jokelang! (just a joke) (Kelli wrote him that she thought of him whenever she brought wood in and when she drank eggnog JElder Lloyd says thank you and he loves you for sending a rugby ball haha, I showed him the unpumped ball here in the computer shop and he couldn’t wait to pump it up.

This picture is a glass drinking jar that they sell at Pandayan Bookstore. While Elder Gamboa was buying something, I rested my elbow on a shelf full of them. The shelf broke, and they all fell to the floor, exploding like fireworks around my feet. When I looked down there was a little part of my mind that thought the green, red and blue glass looked cool, but most of my mind was sinking fast. They each costed about 50 pesos, and there were 22, I had to pay for the broken goods, my total bill was 1115 pesos ($22 USD). One of them didn’t shatter, but just got a big ol crack in it, so I have a remembrance of my bull in a china shop experience sitting on my desk as a new pen holder. I hate it, haha.

The night before our Christmas conference Elder Beck and Villiamor spent the night so they wouldn’t have to travel so far to get to San Fernando early in the morning. Before going to sleep I washed my face as usual, turned to get my towel when Elder Beck's face lights up and he says "Woahahao!!" pointing to my chest. I looked down to see the biggest spider I've seen so far on my undershirt about 6 inches away from my face. As expected I frikkidy freaked out, screaming, jumping, running and flailing my arms all over. The 3 other elders saw the whole thing and thought I was overreacting. I was not, my actions were perfectly justified. 1584 (looks like a flammable liquid in picture) is how I put it to rest, it deserved it. I was SO terrified. 

The last 3 are of our combined baptism with the Sisters; the two men are their investigators, and the two girls are ours. The new convert can choose who they want to baptize them: any worthy priest or melchizedek priesthood holder from the missionaries, to branch president, to big brother. I was asked to baptize the older man, so I practiced the baptismal prayer in Tagalog for it to have more meaning to him. In our final lesson with each of our candidates, I quietly asked Elder Gamboa if they said who they wanted to baptize them, he said him, that he had asked while I was away on transfers. I didn’t really believe him but I didn’t ask them directly, I should have. I'm pretty sure he’s just "baptism thirsty" not really an attractive quality for elders. If I am asked awesome, but I'm content with them "just getting in the water". Afterwards we all went out for ice cream at Jollybee.

Ok, so this week is the last of my 12 week training, a program to help new missionaries learn how to serve under the supervision of a senior trainer companion. My trainer was Elder Gamboa. He trained me right after his own training by Elder Walsh and became District Leader too. That same thing is happening to me. This week I will have the responsibility of teaching a new missionary (hopefully a philippino) and be responsible for taking care of and watching over 4 other companionships. All of my batch is training, meaning that almost my whole district has little, or next to no experience as missionaries. I accepted the calling from the Assistant to the President, knowing that it would be rough, and probably a little more stress than I'd like to handle, I still struggle with the language sometimes! But I know that "Whom the Lord calls, he qualifies". Wish me luck!