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, June 26, 2017

We went to the beach and played volleyball with other missionaries and the youth of Bacnotan Branch. They do have youth and YSA (Young Single Adult) programs depending on how strong the age group is. We have sports night every Saturday at 4. And there is seminary class from 5-6:30 pm, Tuesday-Friday. In Bacnotan we are very lucky to have a really strong YSA and Youth groups. This is one reason why it’ll be hard to leave Bacnotan next week when I Transfer on July 4th. 

This is Shari, an investigator, 16, in love with K-Pop, and has an AMAZING singing voice. We had an FHE (Family Home Evening) at her eatery outside of her house. She wants to be baptized but has to wait until she is 18 because her grandparents don’t approve. She is stronger (more active) than probably half of the youth who ARE members.

Some of the Nanays (moms) from Bacnotan ward, they love to feed missionaries and are super nice. (But they were a little awkwardly close in the photo if you can tell haha)

Pics from our Ward Family Home Evening. We did minute to win it style games, teams of 10. 

Some awesome things that happened in this awesome place was I finally saw fireflies!  I've never seen fireflies and so when I saw them a couple of night ago, I thought my vision was impaired. But I realized that I wasn’t seeing things, or rather, that the things that I was seeing were fireflies :) They were super cool and I took some time to catch them. It’s pretty hard since there’s only light for about a half second then it goes dark again. Probably easier if you brought your own torch with you. 

We went finding last week. This means we devoted large amounts of hours to just knocking or calling out “Apu” or “Tao Po" to houses. We tracked through 3 barangays, maybe close to 100 houses, plus anyone we saw on the streets. We have yet to go back and see if there will be any return appointments. But hopefully the next missionaries here will have lots of investigators here to work with.

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) 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.

Elder Hennessey says “Elder Rennaker is still rockin the Beanies 2 continents away. Email him!!"

This next one is a video of a goat with deformed front legs "walking on 2 legs". Some people might not want to watch.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

From this week there are 2 big things that happened. One changed my life, and the other changed the lives of 2 others. First, Conrado and Eugene are now baptized and confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And Their Muslim mamma came to church yesterday, which was a miracle in itself. 

The other news is that I now have a really bad allergy to Pork. I don’t know exactly all the limitations but Monday night we had a Bonfire and Elder Dosdos BBQ'd a lot of pork Tapa and we ate  a ton. Then at about 3 in the morning of Tuesday I woke up thinking I was being eaten alive by bugs. I was SOOO itchy, and I could feel bumps all over my skin. I thought I'd finally grabbed one of the bugs, and went to the bathroom to see it under a light when I saw my chest and back was covered in a Big raised rash, Elder Centeno said it looked like I had a textured red map of the world on my body. At first I thought I had leprosy, but I just covered it in Gold Bond Extra Strength Cooling Powder and in the morning it was mostly gone, but moved to my legs. Then Tuesday night I ate 3 pork shish kabobs for dinner with rice and within 5 minutes I was having a raised rash again appear on my legs, although not as bad this time. It was awful. I don’t know if it extends to beef, but as for the time being I just take a bunch of pills before I eat it and if it happens anyways...well let’s say Pork is worth the Rash covering my body :)

That’s all, Hope you aren’t suddenly allergic to one of your favorite foods. 

Elder Hennessey

Monday, June 12, 2017

We had a District baptism this week! That means everyone in the District had an investigator be baptized. It was such an awesome day to see Conrado and Eugene be baptized, and then testify about their conversion and all of the wonderful blessings they’ve noticed in their lives as they have started to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have many investigators but only a few actually have the faith to try all of our invitations to them: to read, pray and come to church. I wish I could give it to them as simple as a math problem: Church + reading the scriptures + prayer + eternal happiness, and all the blessings we could need in this life and the life to come. Now we have started to teach them about the Plan of Salvation, about where we all came from before being born, what our purpose is here and how we will all be able to be joined with our families again in the Spirit world and eventually Heaven. 

I was shocked a little bit because we usually speak tagalog at the church mixed with a little bit of English, but when Conrado and Eugene went up to bear their testimonies they did it in Pure English! Eugene went first then Tatay and we always feel soo good to hear how we have been able to share the blessings with their family, even if right now it’s just the two of them. The older sister Kimberly said she felt the spirit very strongly at the baptism and is starting again to seriously investigate the church through taking the missionary discussions. I will probably leave the area before the time she is baptized. 

In the lot next to us there is a house being built.  They had just finished digging the foundations on Wednesday when I noticed one of them through the window grab a live chicken. I thought it was pretty normal and that he was gonna cook lunch, I saw him cut the neck, then go over to the side of the trenches and shake the blood in the bushes, Pretty normal right? So as to not get blood everywhere. But then he went around to all of the trenches and shook blood everywhere. I asked Elder Centeno why he did that and he sad to kind of "bless" it, to make it strong and long lasting. He also said that sometimes they will even put chicken's blood on (not in) new cars to "bless" it. This was a very strange cultural kind of ceremony, but it was neat to learn about. 

I was reading from the Liahona in my room. I was using my flashlight to read because there had been a brown-out (they don’t call it black-out here, funny Filipinos) when Elder Dosdos comes to the doorway and goes "psst, pssst!" to get my attention. I say what he says "did you hear that? I just heard a girl cry/ moan coming from the Zone leaders room" I hopped up out of bed grabbing my flashlight and got all tensed up. Elder Dosdos must be more intune with this stuff, or have better hearing than me, but I didn’t hear anything. And I probably only got chills because he spooked me. The next morning he told me "I wasnt joking about the girl crying last night, I know what I heard." I replied "I know you’re serious, I didn’t hear anything but I believe you, but I’m not gonna get too spooked as long as I'm not the one who it appears to haha" I have to chuckle because I don’t know if there was anything or not, but I've learned to trust my pinoy companions on stuff like that. Better to be safe than sorry. 

Love you all!!! Hope you are still feeding the missionaries. If you haven’t yet, it’s ok, I bet they'll be hungry again very soon.

Elder Hennessey


"Wacky" picture Kimberly, Me, Conrado, Eugene Elder Dosdos and Nanay Amy E.

Holding the chicken that Conrado's family gave to us last week. 

All of us in white at the baptism. Plus Bishop Baro

The biggest Mango I've ever seen, this one was at least 2 times as big as normal mangos, and a little more sour, but still maserap!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

This week we had the interviews of Brother Conrad E. and his son Eugene. They both passed! So next week, Bacnotan ward will be having 2, maybe 3, baptisms depending on one of the investigators of my kabahay (my house mates). 

Last Monday, after P-day (personal day) we were about to get ready to go to work, when a storm passed right over our house. The winds were insane and it was dumping rain. We didn’t go out for fear of having a tree fall on us, or having lightning strike our umbrellas. Even after the storm passed we still got Thunder and lightning for a long time, it was the loudest thunder I've ever heard! It was so big that sometimes the thunder would make our house rumble, and you know the lightning is close when there's only a split-second between the lighting and thunder. 

We decided to sleep in the main room of our house, instead of our bedroom for 2 reasons: 1, because we didn’t have electricity for our electric fans, and the only air we would get would be coming in from the open door to our balcony and 2, because the night before Elder Dosdos saw something standing in our doorway watching us as we slept. He said it was about 4 feet tall, so it couldn't have been me or Elder Centeno, and that he kept checking again and again to see if it was still there. He said he saw it for 5 minutes, just standing and watching... so we sleep in the other room now. It’s more fun, more airy, and there’s safety in numbers.

In some of the houses, in less populated areas or older homes, the elders sleep with their name tags on their shirts to protect themselves from any visiting spirits. Sister Denis said we probably saw it because there is a cemetery within 60 yards of our house. Here in the Philippines, ghost stories are not just for fun to scare people, they’re real. 1/3 of the Hosts of Heaven were cast down to earth, and while they don’t have bodies, they serve their master, who wants all of us to become miserable just like they are. In order to keep our house safe we put up lots of pictures of Jesus Christ on the walls, and we always play hymns from the speaker to keep good vibes. Since last Sunday, Elder Dosdos, or the rest of us, have not seen any more visitors in our home.  

On a happier note we're in Mango season here in the Philippines. That means no matter what area I’m in, I can find ripe mangos for free. In the market they're 60 pesos a kilo ($.55 per pound), which is way better than last month’s 110 per kilo.  But I've learned that even if they're green on the outside, you can just bite right into them eat the inside and spit out the skin. I realized also that next year right before I come home I'll get one more Mango season!! The blessings really are true if you serve the Lord haha ;)

Hope you are having a good time, and hopefully there are no problems with ghosts where you're at.

Elder Hennessey