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, May 30, 2017

This week was one of the longest weeks so far.  I don’t even know why because it was a fun/ productive week, but it feels like forever since I've emailed. But I do have some cool little stories and 1 big news.

We were walking through a sandy part of our area after teaching some lessons and 4 guys came towards us, 3 of them had knives. They stopped before we got to them under a Mango tree where we all rested for a little bit (they weren’t gonna stab us or anything haha). They started looking around for rocks or broken pieces of cinder blocks to throw up into the mango tree to knock down the ripe mangoes. We soon joined them. Imagine that, 4 people in sandals and tank tops then 2 guys in white shirts and ties all hucking stones into the upper reaches of a huge punong manga. We figured that we could either spend 20 pesos a piece on soda and some chips or peanuts, or take the same amount of time and have some fun at the same time. I bet that never happened in any American mission field.

Later we sat down with a member outside with a bunch of other ladies who were paying one girl to do their toenails. Nanay Esperon was teaching me inappropriate Ilokano (old language of Philippines) haha when a lady joined us and shrieked as she sat down next to me. "She’s insane" said nanay Esperon to me. I thought to myself “Thanks for letting me know, but won’t she get mad for you calling her insane right to her face??"  When we were all done, I went to shake everyone’s hands as usual, and out of politeness, I offered my hand to this ”insane" lady. As she grabbed it, she growled, put her war face on, bringing her other arm back and winding up to swing on me as she pulled me in. I got away super fast and put about 5 yards in between us right away cuz I was genuinely freaked out. After that we continued as normal.

Lastly we were teaching Brother Conrado and Eugene (who both have dates set for their baptisms on June 10!)  when his wife speaks to Elder Dosdos in Bisaya (the Cebuano language). I only understand that they’re talking about a big delicious chicken.  Later Eugene climbs in to a nearby tree and grabs the before discussed "big delicious chicken" and tatay Conrado ties his feet and wings and hands him to Elder Dosdos. They literally just gave us a live Chicken!!! We brought it home in a Jeepnee just like it was a perfectly normal thing to do. The next day we ate him for lunch. MASERAP! 

And lastly there is a possibility of me being transferred to a different mission in another country because ISIS has entered the Philippines. Mostly they are in Mindanao but have also entered Luzon. I don’t know a lot of details because we don’t watch the news but my companion and 1 other elder in my house are from Mindanao. It is a very serious and scary thing because we don’t know how bad it is, or what even is happening exactly. We do know that Martial Law has been declared so basically that’s like war combat? Sorry I don’t know specifics, but just the fact that it’s so close is unnerving. We have been told not to go to the mall in the nearby city as it would be a possible bombing target if ISIS were to come this far north. Sooo please keep the people of Mindanao and the Philippines in mind and in your prayers that their families will not be separated or harmed. 

Thank you all!!! Have a great week :)

Elder Hennessey


Baptismal clothes

"I didn’t do anything wrong, he just got the best of me" Our chicken

Jesus Rocks

Our zone jerseys, cost 300 pesos apiece. (The tan lines are real.)

An archway from Bahay na Bato - House of Rocks

Our new goat friends

Monday, May 22, 2017

This week was alright. We taught a total of 9 lessons this week which is pretty low, usually we hit about 16-22. This is because for one day I was sick with the fever, and didn’t go to work, but other than that we are re-evaluating our investigator pool. We went to a lot of houses, got told basically "not today" so we went finding. We met so many new people and out of the probably 30 houses that we went to, probably 3 or four will become investigators. But that’s just missionary work. You go out, work a long time, fulfill your duty, and on some days meet minimal success, but when you finally get invited in, the change that we are able to see in people’s lives is priceless. We share messages about Jesus Christ, but we really help people learn how to make their lives more complete and to find out what they are missing. No matter what our situation or position is in life we can always become happier and our burdens will be lifted if we learn of and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. 

This last week we got the first taste of Tag-ulan, or rainy season, or monsoon season. Saturday night it rained lightly and we enjoyed a lot of thunder storms. Sunday it rained lightly on the way to church at 9 am, at noon it was super hot and humid, then at 3 it down poured for about 3 hours, then rained steadily for the rest of the night. At 3:30 I was admiring the rain from inside the safe dryness of the church building, It was so beautiful to me because it rains a lot in Portland, it was cooler, and because the jungle scenery outside of the church came alive and just seemed more like the true rainforests I’ve always heard of in the Amazon or someplace. We went out at 4 o’clock to work in our area so this means we got caught in the first Acid-rain downpour of the season. This is where I give a big shout out to Annee Magee for her gift of an umbrella. I used it and it kept my top half dry, but my pants and feet got soaked through and through from walking through puddles. It was a fun day though. We found 5 new investigators which is quite a bit because they felt bad for us to be out in the rain, but I’d say at least one of them, God-Frey actually has some good potential. 

Later today I'm going to get my Philippines Drivers license, so wish me luck :)

Have fun everyone!!

Elder Hennessey

Monday, May 15, 2017

Saturday we went with the youth to Tangadan Falls. We hiked probably an hour up, halfway was through rice fields, then the other half was jungle trails leading up to a waterfall, but the whole way I carried a 5 gallon dispenser type jug of water. It had a tiny leak so while I was walking it would drip onto my back, making it looked like I was soaked in sweat, which by the time we got to the top was true. We paid entrance fee of 30 pesos, then rented a bamboo hut to eat lunch 500 pesos, then everyone went swimming!!! Everyone BUT the missionaries that is. As missionaries, swimming is prohibited because too many times in the past there have been accidents or even deaths because of swimming. But if you ask the missionaries they'll tell you "it’s because Satan owns the water". (For more enlightenment please read Section 61 of the Doctrine and Covenants) We just sat on the edge and took some pictures while all of the youth said "Come on in, the waters great!" Even our Returned Missionary of a Young Mens leader said "Come on, I won’t tell, your Mission President is not here". But we resigned to just dipping our feet into the water. When/if I am able to come back to the Philippines, I will make up for the 2 years without.

After the hike, there was a Baptism, and that’s when it hit me, The Aching in my shoulders was too much to bear. I couldn’t even sit up straight (But it is super important to practice good posture, for more enlightenment ask Greta Hennessey). And after the baptism we ran to our closest area for a lesson with Conrado E. His lessons are amazing, we go maybe 4 times a week to him, His testimony of the Book of Mormon is super strong, he says he is willing and wants to follow any commandment because it comes from God. He even related a story to us about when he was double-crossed, and really was ready to kill this guy, but the only thing that stopped him was knowing that it was in the commandments "Thou shalt not kill". He is ready to give up his coffee in order to obey the Word of Wisdom, a law of good health for members of the church. He has come to church every week since we started teaching him and wants his family to join him.

Sunday I knew I was sick as soon as I woke up, it’s a bad sign when your body feels like it’s 50 degrees when you know that’s impossible in Hot season. I took some medicine and continued to church because we had a musical presentation for Mother’s Day. By the time we got there, my shirt was drenched with sweat. After church everyone was saying "it’s like something not right, are you okay?" When I say I have a fever but I’m fine, they joke that I miss my girlfriend or my Mom, and I just laugh because it’s easier than correcting them. It’s only when I shake their hand to go home that they get actually alarmed because my body is burning up, and afterwards I went home and slept trying to recover a little bit for my Skype call on American Mother’s Day. 

It’s always weird to me that I'm living 14 hours in the future. But no matter what time, day or place, hopefully we can take a second and think of all the wonderful things that our mothers have done for us. Again, Happy Mother’s Day to all!!

Have a good week, 

Elder Hennessey

This is a picture of the Galera Family. Brother was baptized as a young kid, and then went inactive for a long time. Me and Elder Salingay were able to find them, We were only able to teach them 2 times though. Elder Unice (my companion from the MTC on far left) was my replacement in Agoo and they continued to teach the family and this is the result! Even if I wasn't there to see the baptisms I am honored to have had a part in their conversion and their acceptance of the Gospel.

Monday, May 8, 2017

This week, in our ward here in Bacnotan, we had two RMs (return missionaries) come home. They entered the MTC (mission training center) on the same day and also came home on the same day and are still very happy to go house to house sharing messages. Brother Dale R. is super cool and shows me all kinds of games for Family Home Evenings and coin tricks to impress the little kids. I'm still really bad but that’s what Personal Study is for, right? Practicing magic tricks :) The missionaries in Portland will be extremely lucky to have 3 RMs coming home within the space of 1 month. I’m also excited to work side by side with Elder Rennaker so I can learn from him and Tanner, and learn of all the experiences they’ve had.

If there are any young men or women that are thinking of serving mission, going out with the missionaries for 1 appointment a week, or a whole day will be suuuper beneficial to your preparation.  And when you get out into the mission, you will not have as big of a shock to missionary life. 

Sorry it’s a little short, just know I'm alive and happy and next week is Mother’s Day so HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!! Love ya lots, take care, chow!

Elder Hennessey

This may be from the birthday party he mentioned last week.

Monday, May 1, 2017

This week something happened to which afterwards I just had to say to myself "I love the Philippines"! Today started the week long festival that is happening in the Province of Bacnotan. We had planned as part of our Pday to wakeup at 5, to get to the church and play basketball at 6, since by 8:30 it’s as hot as noon-day. At 4:20 am, I was woken up to the sound of chimes drums and other percussion instruments. I was so confused, as I had gone to bed a little late the night before, my first thought was I was in China. I ran outside to the balcony to see what the noise was to see a dump truck with probably 25 youth playing awesome, really loud parade music. At 4:20 AM! Elder Walsh also woke up and came to the balcony and instead of being annoyed, I just turned to him and say: "I love the Philippines SO much!' Not in the least bit annoyed, I watched as the dump truck full of the school band turned the corner and continued on its route through the neighborhood (barangy), all as the tiniest bit of sun started to light the sky. Luckily I fell right to sleep afterwards and got the rest of my beauty sleep. 

Another part of the Festival we experienced earlier today was the launching, parading, and showcasing of fishing boats. Probably 40-60 boats with decorations went up and down the coastline of Bacnotan, and finally landed right where we were watching from, Paratong, which is a 4 minute walk from our house. Also at the beach was music and volleyball. Elder Centeno took a video but I'll try to get it next week, (sorry). We will be returning to a different beach mamaya (later) for lunch at the birthday party of one of the kids of Donna, one of our investigators. 

Elder Dosdos and I were walking home (for 30 minutes, from our closest area) when he shared one of his hobbies from before the mission. This was cool because usually foreigners and Philippinos, while they can get along just fine, their interests and conversation topics vary sooo much. It was interesting and funny to hear him talk about his hobby of breeding "fighting fish". He explained in depth the breeding, growing, fighting, food, and habitats of his fish. One of them I identified from his description as a Beta fish, which made sense cuz I’ve heard that they will fight each other. He said feeding them and watching them was very peaceful for him, which is weird, cuz for me they’re just fish. I don’t know why you would breed fish here if you aren’t going to do one of 2 things: sell them, or ulamin them (ulam = topping of rice, ulamin means to make it into ulam). But it was funny to see into the mind of of my very Philippino companion.

As far as spiritual goes. I encourage you all to search for a video called "Love and Law - Dallin H. Oaks". This is about how to insist that people live their lives according to personal, or gospel standards, but doing so in a loving way. I would say we all can learn more about how to do this, and we all can learn from the words of the Apostle Dallin H. Oaks. It is a wonderful segment for parents, family members, and anyone else who is struggling with a relationship. Our families are eternal, so we might as well learn to love them no matter what their choices are in life. Think of one person, even if they aren’t too far from the right course, and try to apply these principles to corral them back into the fold of the family, of the team or group, or back into the loving embrace of Jesus Christ. 

Tha-thatha-thats all folks,

Thanks for reading, hope you have a wonderful week. 

PLEASE invite the missionaries over for dinner. PLEase Please Please! Ask them any and all questions you have. Ask them what is FHE (Family Home Evening) and how do you do it. And make brownies for dessert :) haha jokelang, that part depends on you. But you and them will benefit so much from 30 minutes - 1 hour one night this week. 

Take care!

Elder Hennessey