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.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I will start this week by telling 2 dreams, these were both had by my investigators. The first one was by Felly, our 55 year old woman investigator. She was taking a nap around 4 pm when she dreamed that me and Elder Bagnall were lounging in her house, like I was leaned back in a chair with my arms holding my head like how people do, and Elder Bagnall was asleep on the bamboo couch she has. Then she woke up because her grandkids were being noisy. She says "Hey! Be quiet while the missionaries are here!” Her kids say, “There’s no missionaries here”, then she went searching around her house because she really thought we had been there. It’s pretty random but at least she was thinking about us while we weren’t there. She came to church last week but she is leaving for 2 weeks, she loves to read the Book of Mormon though, so she will be fine.

The second is a lady we've only taught one time, oddly enough she joined the lesson we were having with Felly. She asked me suddenly what her dream meant. She said that there was a loud voice that said “malapit na ang ukom sa mundo" At first I had to ask Elder Walsh (We had exchanges. Exchanges are when you don’t work with your regular companion.) what does ukom mean? (The lady asked me, I asked her if it was Tagalog or ilokano and she didn't know.) He said it was probably Hukom-judge, which roughly translates to the judgment is close to the Earth. She also said that in her dream there was flocks of black birds circling overhead and then flew down at the earth. She said she's had the dream 3 times and doesn't know what it means. I told her I wasn't sure but it would probably be a good idea to repent of anything she’s done bad. It gave me chills when she said it just because it sounded almost like she was going to die soon or something. I also told her to pray and ask God what her dream meant, I don’t know what kind of an answer she'll get but it’s worth a shot. 

About a month ago my companion Elder Salingay told me one morning that I was talking in my sleep the night before. But I wasn't speaking English, it was Tagalog. I asked what I had been saying and he told me I was teaching a lesson about LOC, Law of Chastity! This is one of the lessons we teach to people about how marriage is necessary and pleases God, and not to have serious physical relations outside of marriage. It’s funny that it was LOC but really cool that I was sleep talking Tagalog! If that’s not a sign that you are getting kind of fluent at a language (and being a missionary) then I don’t know what is.

Have a good week everybody! Sweet Dreams haha

Elder Hennessey

This is a picture I got from Elder Maners that I forgot to send. It’s just an example of the bridges we walk on. There’s 2 bridges in my area that are both super long and dangerous looking.

(This picture is from John & Jacci Jones - a Philippine food cart found near Trillium Charter School in Portland. They had posted on Tiegue's blog two weeks ago and Tiegue is commenting on the picture Kelli forwarded to him.)  

Oh My Gosh!! That food looks SO MASERAP!! haha I need to find where this food cart is when I get back. I have come accustomed to liking vinegar because there is lots of that here, I’ve never had shrimp adobo, never eaten tofu, but we also eat a lot of pancit. If we have a baptism, we usually bring pancit and buy some soda for afterwards. And lots of lumpia also, I wonder if it is more sweet or not to fit american taste better like they do at Panda Express. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

OK OK OK So this week, since last week was all spiritual, this week is no spirit at all. Jokelang! (jokelang means joke only, or only joking, just for you all to know) First if you remember back to week Monday November 28 there was a bug that looked like a cross between a cockroach and rat (I fibbed though, it wasn’t 5 inches, probably 1.5 only). I don’t know the name but my Philipino housemate identified it as a 'nut bug". They will climb into your bed and through the fabric to bite your mga itlog (eggs) [Use your imagination I guess!].  So whenever we find them we feed them to Kevin, our praying mantis, who I still don’t have a picture of but it is coming I promise. Two nights ago we found 3 of them in the house and while I was getting worried Elder Centeno, the pinoy said "season of the nut-bug." haha It’s funny but you can tell the season of bugs just by how many show up in your house in the evening. 

Talking of seasons, we here in the Philippines have entered into Tag-inet, hot-season. I don’t know how much hotter it has gotten, but we're not at the pinnacle yet. They say it’ll continue to get hotter till the end of May, then, unexpectantly, it will downpour. Like downpour so much that missionary work is cancelled. Rain so hard you can’t hear your companion yelling at you when he’s right at your side. And so wet that you never are dry. I'm looking forward to it :)

Last week we taught a bakla/gay guy, there are many baklas here. (I hope I am not being insensitive to anyone I’m just talking how people talk here, I’m not being rude at all just speaking like pinoys, straightforward) We taught him and his lady friend and gave them pamphlets with our number on the back, later that night he texted us, my companion warned me to stick to the purpose because he probably just wants to chat and not talk about the gospel. And so I kept it on topic, but he said something to me in English, about sleeping, but got his pronouns all mixed up so it came out really rude and inappropriate. I'm not one to put up with stuff like that so I stated to him "as missionaries we are representatives of Jesus Christ. If this conversation is not focused on our purpose, His life, I'll end it right here." He acted as if he did not understand his error but then continued to be bastos/rude to us. It’s hard sometimes to know if people’s purpose in talking to us is sincere or not. But we don’t pick and choose, all are welcome to hear and to join his fold, but God will not be mocked. That was just a little annoying thing; Elder Bagnall said it has happened to him a fair amount in his mission, it’s just annoying having to deal with things like that when we're trying to be focused on serving everyone. 

Every night now at 10:30 and in the morning at 6:30 we have Family (district) prayer. Where we call the sisters and put it on speaker phone then one person prays. It has helped us to be closer as a district and to go to bed and wake up on time. I would say that is partly why we had so much success yesterday at church. We had 11 investigators come to church! Yes that is partly because we have 2 companionships in the one ward but still, 11 is WOW! It’s so nice to be in an area that is easy to see the progression, easy to see that the people are ready and that we are more able to fulfill our purpose. I would like to encourage everyone to try and hold family prayer in their homes. Of course family scripture study too, but at least prayer. There is a spirit of unity that enters the home when all come together to pray, and the Spirit is invited into the home to reside and to help all the residences to love and to grow. Try to set a time that will work best for you, and try for a couple of times a week, then every night. You will feel a difference. 

Hope you guys had a great week and will be able to enjoy another great one. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

This week has been another outstanding 7 days in Baguio Mission. Here in Bacnotan ward the work is...kind of progressing. Actually, in order for an investigator to be termed "progressing" they need to be coming to church. The two other companionships had investigators come to church but we didn’t, it’s ok though, there’s always next week. And as long as we are out working and testifying that is all we can do.

One Investigator we went to this week was Brother Jerry E. We went to him, he’s pretty rich, at least he has a nice house and is very well off. His first question right at the start of the lesson was about Joseph Smith, and what he did for work before he was prophet and what qualified him to be a Prophet of God. We like to try and teach the lessons in order and usually don’t get to Joseph Smith until the 3rd lesson. But we taught him about Prophets of the Old Testament, and how Christ always gives the world prophets to lead the people, and the Organization of the church... ANYways the best part came at the end, when we asked him to pray about it. He told us he feels like the prayers he has been taught (the Catholic Prayers) are not sufficient, or they don’t feel personal enough. We taught him to pray the way Jesus Christ taught, 3 simple steps:
1. Address your Father in Heaven. When we pray we pray to God, Our Eternal Father.
2. Express the feelings of your heart to him, your Father. This is the meat of the prayer, where you say you’re thankful for ___ and the things that you need "please bless me with -___/ please protect my family etc. But we can also ask questions. We are His children, we can ask and receive anything and everything that he sees fit for us. Generally I tell people to start simple, with yes or no questions. Example: Are the things taught to me by the missionaries true? Is this the right thing for me to be doing? Are you really there? Do you love me? 
3. Close your prayer: "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen".

Of course this is just a halimbawa/example, but if we read in Matthew 6 we will see that this is the way he wanted us to pray. But we are not yet done, if we really want an answer we need to listen for a response, our answer will come through the Holy Ghost, Galatians 5:22, the fruits of the spirit. It is always possible to know if something is true or not, by asking the Creator of all things, with sincere intention TO FOLLOW THE ANSWERS WE RECIEVE, in the name of Jesus Christ. If we are not ready and willing to follow, why would he give us an answer?

Answers may not come like a lightning bolt, but if we are willing to wait, and to persevere, and are ready to believe and act on the promptings we receive, we will be blessed to grow closer to God the Father.

So that was pretty long but that’s what I do all day. Invite people to pray and to testify of what we have taught them. There is no wrong time or place or reason to pray, as long as you are sincere. Hopefully you all will try this way of prayer, and if you are already actively using this, that you will remember the ability that you have to ask and receive, to knock and be given. 

;) Have a Great week everyone!

Elder Hennessey

Questions and Answers with Tiegue:

Question:  You've been out 7 months now! Are you basically fluent?
Tiegue:  I’m not bragging, I’m actually tryna be humble, but I’m really close to being fluent. Hahaha basically because I’ve only had pinoy companions so far, so I speak a lot of tagalog in the house, but I’m not doing a lot of language study, I usually just read stories in the tagalog Ensign with the English next to it to look at words I don’t know. The second language, ilocano, is hard to learn because everything I learn has to be from the members, there are no books to help with learning. I can almost pray in the 2nd language though. I’m gonna be TRI LiNGUAL!!

Question:  What about Spanish...quad lingual!
Tiegue: I forgot everything about Spanish, and it’s not helpful that Tagalog and Spanish are really similar because it just makes me unsure of my Spanish. I basically don’t know anything hopefully it'd be easy to pick up if I wanted to start again. Like a refresher course.

Question:  So do you have a new lady for your laundry or are you gonna be doing it?
Tiegue:  I’ve got a new lady, its only 200 pesos.  I’ll probably just do it every week

Question:  Yeah, that's almost $4, good deal!  Do you tip in the Philippines?
Tiegue:  I don’t think u do, but I try to be as generous as possible to members and poor people.

Question: How's your health?
Tiegue:  Good basically, I started to jump rope and do a little bit of weightlifting in the morning for probably 20-30 minutes a day.

Question: Are you still DL (District Leader)?
Tiegue:  Opo, yes.  That’s how u say yes in tagalog, or oo only but opo is respectful.
Question:  Is that harder being in a new area and being with new missionaries?
Tiegue:  Not really, my district is really small, it’s me and my comp, another companionship who lives in the same house, then Sis Dennis and Walters who are in my same ward.

Question:  How do keep leftover rice?
Tiegue:  We never have leftover rice lol!  Na we just leave it on the table, but after you cook it, if it’s still warm, you don’t put the lid on because it would get moldy. Usually after it’s cooled, we just cover it and maybe make fried rice or just toss it. But there is a breakfast thing - it’s rice with 2 times as much water so basically rice soup and u just add sugar and its breakfast. If there’s rice from the night before I’ll do that sometimes.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Magandang hapon po everybody!!

This week was super nice, many changes happened. On Monday night I was told I will be transferred to Bacnotan Ward, in Bacnotan, La Union. Sister Dennis who was in the same branch with me in Agoo got transferred right along with me into Bacnotan. I don’t know what President Bangal is thinking, or if he is trying to play matchmaker or something, but needless to say if we both stay 2 transfers here, me and sister Dennis will have been together for over half of her mission. I think it’s really funny, but it is nice to have my mission sister still with me in the same ward. I have now been District Leader longer than I have been a regular missionary. 

Wow! The differences between branches and wards are incredible. In Agoo we had a lot of members but we were split into 3 branches so the members are really spread out, Agoo 3rd Branch had about 482 members and maybe 100 were active. It’s really hard sometimes to keep everyone active but here in Bacnotan the members are outstanding. Also the people are super nice, if we meet people outside of their house they invite us to sit and chat for a while. And 2/3 of the Member Lessons we have, they give us snacks like soda and little crackers. 

My house though... Is awesome!  I finally have kabahay instead of bahay which means its more than just 2 missionaries there, basically we have housemates. Elder Bagnal is my kasama, he’s 19 months in the mission, pretty cool, kinda has BO, likes to discuss deep doctrines, and is from Arizona. Elder Walsh is my Lolo (grandpa) he trained my trainer, he’s from England and has the worst tan lines I’ve ever seen. His kasama is Elder Centeno the only Philippino in our district of 6 missionaries. Since Bacnotan is so big and there’s only 1 ward all 6 of us missionaries serve in the same ward, that’s kinda a lot but it makes sense because there are probably about 25 barangays, or neighborhoods. Our house is more like a vacation flat, we’re on the 3rd floor of a building and we can see the beach from our BALCONY. We have 2 pets, a kitten without a tail and a praying mantis that layed eggs last Monday. We catch spiders and other bugs to feed Kevin, the Mantis, and Stephen gets raw chicken scraps. They’re both girls but have guy names. 

Sorry that I don’t have pictures but my camera’s not working. I'll try to get one tonight so I can make you all wish you were serving missions in the Philippines!

I gotta go but I hope you have an awesome week!

Elder Hennessey