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.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Ok well this week was a weird one. It is my last week in Agoo 3rd branch. It is a weird feeling to be a missionary and know that you have so little time and yet you get so close with the families you teach. If you are working hard to be diligent in your calling they will trust you with their struggles, successes, concerns and dreams. As Missionaries, we are here to help people progress in the Gospel and to draw unto Jesus Christ. When people make it to church, or make big landmarks in their spiritual growth, we are so happy and share their joy. When they fall or have big problems and stressors in their lives, we worry and stress right with them. The Missionaries here in the Philippines are often times very close with the members because our areas are relatively small and we visit the members for FHE and the less actives to tell them to get their butts to church. Last night we ate dinner for the last night at Nanay Bautista's house, and when we had to say goodbye at the end of the night there wasn’t a dry eye around. I encourage everyone to invite the missionaries over at least once a month, better if its every 2 weeks because they really will help to bring the spirit into your homes. 

The old guy is Tatay Morada, he owns a Tindahan (little store) and we are currently working with him to become temple worthy so that he can take advantage of the Endowment; a special ordinance in the Temple that is a great gift to all who are worthy to the laws and standards of the church to receive it. His problem is selling cigarettes and alcohol in his store. These are against the Word of Wisdom so he would need to stop selling them from his tindahan. He also needs to stop having his store open on Sundays as we need to follow the 4th of the 10 commandments to keep the Sabbath Day holy. He likes to rationalize that it’s not really working cuz all he has to do is sit there and people come to him. But he understands why it is important to obey and has plans to close his shop completely to avoid the temptation of selling on Sundays. He reminds me of Grandpa Bill. Also he didn’t know about the Doctrine and Covenants (a compilation of modern day revelation (aka commandments) from Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith and other early leaders when the church was being organized.) before last month so When Brother liver went to Manila last week I asked him to buy a copy for Tatay. He reads from the Bible and Book of Mormon everyday and I know he will love the modern revelation and the stories included in the Doctrine and Covenants.

This picture is of a motorcycle accident of a less active member. The senior couple of the mission happened to pass by the accident and took a picture a little while after the people had left. They were astonished when I told them the guy on the motor was a member, and he did not have a scratch on him. He is an endowed member but not always the most faithful member. But when I heard the testimony Brother Manuel shared after the accident, I know I wanted to take a picture like the one above for him to hang on the wall in his 2 room home so he will always be reminded of what God has done to protect him. Part of our missionary work is teaching while we are in the areas, but also not forgetting the people we have met and helped to grow in the church. Hopefully this picture and inscription will be a good way for him to remember that "great is the worth of [ALL] souls in the eyes of God"

Other pictures:


Monday, February 20, 2017

Me photo bombing Elder Salingay while he takes selfies, drinking hand sanitizer and holding corn.

A nice picture of the missionaries in Branch Agoo 3A, accidently color matching.

Brother Ordinerio with his pet monkey. (The little store in front of my house has 2 monkeys and I’ll try to get a picture holding the one that doesn’t bite before I leave.)

This is a man working to prepare a field for planting of rice. 

Nanay (momma) Dulce back at it again. She cut the base of a probably 3" thick tree but it got caught in the branches and electrical wire; she’s climbing up those limbs trying to disconnect it. SHES 77!!! I went up after her and was standing about where her head is. Her little grandchildren started running around saying "Monkey Si Elder Hennessey" and laughing like crazy. Back at home I'd try to do a lot for my Mom and grandparents if it was something that should be done by someone more young, so I try to do a lot for Nanay, even though she always tells me not to and that she is capable enough. 

Me "praying" and pretending to kiss Chicken, the dog of Nanay Bautista. I got to name the dog because I told them an example of how weird Portland is: One day I was playing rugby at the park when a man started yelling chicken, I turned to see a man calling for his dog to fetch the ball, they laughed and thought the story was ridiculous, but the name stuck. 

More pics from Hike we went on earlier today, there are cooler ones from the photo op I took with Elder Faingaa but I don’t have those from his camera yet. 

Also a pic of us with our Branch Mission Leader (BML) Brother Oliver when we made buko, or sticky rice with coconut oil, it was MASERAP (delicious).

Haha I was wondering why Dad took a picture of the flower at his table but it is a dessert pala (surprise word)! And wow, please say to Greta that I thought her shells were things Dad had bought and brought back from Mexico because they are so realistic and maganda (beautiful). And wow that is crazy about the dam, it goes to show that inspections on big things are super important. Like all these bridge inspections, sometimes people say oh that’s unnecessary but this is a good example of why u need to inspect regularly. 

Holy wow, the resort Dad stayed at is crazy big, Elder Salingay looked at the picture and said "where is da swimming pool?" I laughed because he’s just such a weird guy, and I doubt he has ever been in a swimming pool before.  Our food here is probably that much topping for the rice, and then the whole plate is covered in rice. I learned how to cook sticky rice last week, literally over half of everything here comes from or is made from some kind of rice. I’ll cook stuff for you guys when I come back. I heard of one elder who got super sick the day he got back because he didn’t eat any rice and since his stomach was so accustomed to it bread and cereal wasn’t good enough. I eat a pretty even mix cuz I won’t eat rice for breakfast, unless its rice soup, which is just rice with 3x as much water as usual and u add sugar or salt....that’s it. 

7 more days till I hit 7 months. 

Love you all, 

Elder Hennessey

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ok so for starters, I finally had fresh Coconut. A member picked it off the tree and cut it open right in front of me. While the water inside is probably very healthy, it’s more of an acquired taste, but the fruit is WOW. The really ripe ones are soft, but I’m more partial to the kind of ripe ones because the inside is thicker and it tastes like almonds. Also the Mangoes here are WOW too. You think mangoes in America are good, nah, these ones are pinakamaserap (pinkaka = most, maserap = tastes good).

Our branch is experiencing a little bit of a hardship, the missionaries have rules that limit the time we can spend in members homes but the members will get offended if the missionaries don’t visit close to every week. We are trying to let the members understand that healthy people don’t need to go to the doctors, the sick ones do. So if the members are strong they don’t need us as much as the less actives and the investigators, and we can’t afford to babysit the members every week. They started to have FHEs (Family Home Evening is a time were church members will have a lesson or activity all together in their home, once a week usually) without inviting us, which is great, but it would be better if they invited the less active members too, because right now it’s just the 4 most active families, and they're kinda excluding everyone else. We'll get them to understand and invite others though, to share the spirit of a united branch.

Another thing is that it’s been hard to meet with our Branch President.  We want to meet with him to discuss our investigators and to talk about his goals for the branch, but the last 3 appointments that we've had to his home he has said he’s too busy or just not been there. We should have a meeting tonight, hopeful we can discuss things to get the whole branch more active and to help our investigators feel like they’re really joining a family when they come to church.

One of the people we are teaching right now is named Carlito B., I'll take a picture with him and the path before I leave the area but he is the father of 13 kids, and a lot of grandchildren. His house is at the top of the mountain and he loves when we visit. He says he believes everything we tell him because we wouldn’t come all the way up to his house to lie to him. He’s a good guy, but he is embarrassed to come to church alone. This is common with Philippinos, if they don’t have a friend or a companion they will be embarrassed or shy. Hopefully this next week he will be done harvesting his corn and rice so he will have time to come to church. We ask him to pray, but he says he doesn’t need to because he already believes and he feels the spirit. And when he does pray, he doesn’t feel the need to ask God because he already thinks we're true. So the next step is to get him to understand receiving answers and the need to come to church. I have high hopes for him and for the rest of his family following his decision, although nothing will happen until after I’ve left the area. It’s ok though, as long as I do my best to plant the seed and toil the ground, my part is complete. 

The pictures are more from the pig roast. I don’t have a tie because I was borrowing one of Elder Beck's because I am getting bored of my own colors, he said if I get oil on it I have to trade him, so I just loosened it off for a while for safekeeping. 

A picture of me from behind in one of our areas, that really is how jungle-y our area is in some places. 


The other ones are in the home of Family Visitacion, we always take a serious picture and then a wacky one, I’m getting really good at the wacky ones :)

I think this picture is at home, Tiegue being silly "drinking" something that's not really a drink. :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Last week we watched a broadcast for all missionaries. The broadcast was the Missionary Executive Committee having a discussion where they would watch little segments of talks to missionaries and then there was a coordinator who would ask the committee questions on how missionaries can be more effective, or what they should do if they are faced with certain problems. It was good, one thing that I took from it was that Faith is a principle of Action, faith is not complete if it is idle. Faith is the belief that something is real, and if we believe that the Doctrine of Jesus Christ is real than we need to prove it through our continued effort to draw near to him, to repent and become more like him. The counterpart is that Fear is a principle of Inaction, if we are afraid that we cannot do something we do not try, which means we never improve. They spoke on this in regards to knowing if someone is ready to act on the answers/lessons that they receive, if they are not going to act, their faith is not ready yet; that maybe we should spend time finding other interested people.

Also they changed our P-day schedule, Preparation day, for all of those who don’t know, is normally Monday. It’s a day when missionaries do everything they need to:  washing clothes, haircuts, grocery shopping, emailing home for 2 hours, and fun activities if they have more time. After the conference they announced that All missionaries' pdays around the world would start at 8AM, and go until 6 pm, when we need to go out proselyting.  This is an awesome change because before we had 3 hours of studies on Mondays, meaning we go out at 11. They are hoping that giving us more time will prevent us from going to the store on other days even for quick trips. Also on regular weekdays, we have freedom to choose when we do studies, in the morning, midday or night, because of course in different places in the world they have different schedules. Here, everyone takes naps at noon because it is too hot, where as in the morning people are awake and actually friendly. Me and my companion are gonna start waking up an hour earlier, so we can take a nap at noon because everyone else is asleep too, mas maserap ang tulog sa tanghali.

This past week I also had the opportunity to companion exchange with Elder Faingaa the new missionary that has been being trained by Elder Maners, who is in my batch. He came to my area and throughout the day I was able to see how he has been getting a grip on the language. He'd told me before we went out to work that I should lead in all the lessons and he'd join in when I wanted him to. I came to realize that his language skill is just a little bit higher than Elder Maner's when we first got to the Philippines, but he's been here for 2 months now. Before we became trainers President Bengal told us that this is the most important calling in the mission. Comparable to when you let your kid go into daycare or have a baby sitter come over for the night, you’re putting your child in someone else's hands. Of course we're adults, but our mission age when we first get here is young, we don’t know anything. And it depends on our trainers to teach us to be obedient, learn the language and the lessons, so that we can then have a successful 2 years/18 months. President Bengal said that anytime we have interaction with other people we influence them, and God has sent his children down to earth to be influenced, hopefully for the better. We are members of the church and as friends have a responsibility to influence people for the better through our examples, to teach and edify, and to give helpful direction when needed. 

A sweet spider that makes an X in it’s web. They call it a pari pari spider, or priest, because the white X looks similar to a crucifix.


Also the pig we roasted at a members house. Before Elder Beck left his old area he gave money to a member to buy a pig and roasted it, all the missionaries of our district were invited to attend and have a feast. It was super good. 


Also us at McDonald's, me going crazy, enjoy :) (Tiegue is 2nd from right)

Tiegue is the one being "tossed" into the water