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Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Paranoid Parent of Teenagers


3:15, the dog wakes me up. What’s her deal? She pees all the time lately. She’s getting to be an old dog, I guess. Wow! That was fast!

I get up to let her out because that’s what I do. That’s why I exist…to her. I am the one who will respond and always have, so no one else has had to. No one else is in practice for this kind of work—just me.

Okay, so here’s the problem. It’s now 4:03am. Nearly an hour I’ve been laying here. First, I climb back into bed with complete hope that I will be able to just dose back off….Then my feet start to itch. I’m talking full on itchiness. I try to ignore them. Sometimes this works and the itchiness goes away. Well, it does…kind of. There are other times that I give in and scratch them, and I scratch them and I scratch them, and somehow, that satisfies things so I can go back to sleep.

No sleep. I realize that when I went down to let the dog out, just as my feet hit the bottom stair, that a
door downstairs banged against the door frame—as if someone had pushed against it. Uh oh! Is someone in the house? Add to that the fact that as I go to check it out, I see a light on under the door to the garage. Has someone gone in or out during the night?

And so it begins….The mom worries. Ugh! Totally FORGET sleep. I’m so done!

My brain starts creating possibilities….If I were a teenager, what would I do? If I were a teenager who really had no understanding of a parents worries, what would I try to get away with?

Seriously serious situations enter my brain. The door bangs again—3, 4, 5 times. Okay, that’s it! There is no pattern to the banging, and it really is just one bang and then nothing and then another bang a few minutes later. Is there a window open because someone’s gone out of it? Is someone paying someone a midnight visit? What is going on?

Well, let’s just say I’m grateful for the flashlight app I downloaded on my phone, but I’m cursing the creaking stairs. Ugh! Darned old house. A dead give away for sure. They’ll hear me coming and quickly act like they’re sleeping…..At least that’s what I would have done at their age.

Yup. I know it all. I was one once. Loved my parents dearly, but y’know, a kid’s gotta be a kid—but not on my watch. Why do I think it’ll be any different for me than it was for my parents? Well, that’s exactly it!.... I don’t.

That’s why I’m up.



Just for the record....Everyone was in bed. No windows or doors were open, but my imagination still was and the door continues to bang.

Happy 5:30!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

#1's Weekly Email: Week #43

Just stare at the ground and keep walking. Or look up! that's an even better option. Just don't look straight ahead because it is Holy Week here in the Philippines...




This week was very very interesting. It was also very successful but yeah. Holy Week is an interesting thing here… 

Monday: monday was my companion's birthday. So it was a lot of fun. We did our normal p-day thing. Partied it up, you know. At 5 we went out to work just like every p-day and we went to Brother C's house and taught him. He's an interesting kid. If you didn't know, filipinos are really really good at dancing. And Brother C is a recent convert who is on a dance team. And because of that, he doesn't have any time. After the lesson to Brother C, we went to a family home evening at the home of our recent convert, Le. It was a ton of fun. And then we got to eat a ton of food :) I love the Philippines.

Tuesday: District meeting! That was a lot of fun. i like our zone. After district meeting we went and got Shawarma. Remember on the Avenger's at the end when Iron Man says that he saw a Shawarma sign and he thought they should go get some after the big battle was over? Well Shawarma is actually a filipino food and it's super yummy. It's kind of like a pita wrap but nevertheless, they are delicious. I ate two :) yummmm. After that we actually got the chance to meet up with the Cobb family. Brother (used to be Elder) Cobb was
wearing weird normal clothes and his mom was super nice and gave us all hugs and we all took pictures with them. I'm sure you've all seen them by now. They're a very sweet group of people. Then we went home and took a 15 minute nap and went out and worked. We first went and visited Sister Li. We taught her about the plan of Salvation. I love teaching that to recent converts because it has so much more significance to them now. They know that it's true and that all they need to do now is endure to the end and then everything's gonna be ok. it's awesome. And then after that lesson we were super punted. Dangit. but that's ok. We just went around and talked to everyone but EVERYONE was BUSY. Patay. But we did get to teach Sister P's daughter and son. Her daughter's name is Pr and she's 21 and her son is M and he's 20 but honestly you'd think he was 16... he's super immature and loves joking around. But we taught them anyways and now they both have goal dates for baptisms. Woohoo!

Wednesday: We went out in the morning and taught Brother J who is a die-hard Catholic. He's also a member of the Catholic church's choir. He's invited me to join them multiple times. Not gonna happen but thanks for the invite. Anyways, we taught him the word of wisdom and he was funny about it because he said he would live it. That's the weird thing about him. He knows all the stuff we teach him is true but he doesn't want to become Mormon because he's Catholic. Or that's what he says... Interesting. 

After teaching him we went back home and ate lunch. And then went right back out into the heat. 

We visited Brother T who is someone who contacted us on the street and said he was Mormon when he was a little kid. So we said we'd come back and visit him. And we finally did. We taught him Lesson 1 and he said he vaguely remembered it. He's kind of old and we're still trying to figure out if he's an actual member or not… 

Then we went and visited Sister Le again and taught her. She fed us fish balls which are super duper yummy. Then she brought her neighbor, D over and we taught him. He's super nice and wants us to teach him. So we did. And he said when he knows that what we teach is true, he'll be baptized. ok sounds good to me :)

We then went and taught Sister D M who is another recent convert. That lesson was interesting. After that we walked to the next appointment and taught the P family. 

Thursday: If you're ever here in Bataan in Holy Week you will see decorations of huge crosses. You will also see people crawling around in the street with bandannas covering their heads, shirtless, and people hitting them with a rubber strap. You will also see more men walking around shirtless, with a bandanna on their head, tied to a cross. And last but not least, more men walking down the streets, shirtless, whipping themselves and getting blood on everything.

But anyways, Thursday was another punted day. But we still got some lessons in. We found Sister M J who thinks that the only people who go to church are those that have sins. We also taught Sister Li again and Sister P and Brother M and then we went and visited Brother B. 

Friday: Good Friday. Me and Sister L went to Balanga for a leadership meeting. Yes! And the meeting was really good. I learned a lot. Then we came back and worked and I've got to speed this up because we're almost out of time. We went and taught Sister Le's husband D and that was interesting because he was drunk haha but it was fun. And then we taught some other lessons

Saturday: good good good

Sunday: It was fun and we got to teach Le's daughter, J and she was good too.

So yeah. Sorry. But this week was interesting and I'm so glad that I'm here. I love this work and I love the Filipino people when they're not doing crazy things to themselves. Yup.

Thank you for everything. Mahal ko kayo!
-Sister Hess 

Monday, April 14, 2014

#1's Weekly Email: Week #42





Man oh man. Lets just say that sometimes transfers are a very very very good thing.

I am now in a different city. And my new companion is Sister M, a Tongan from Alaska. I've got my first American companion! WOW! It's super fun but I've realized just how Filipino I've become. It's pretty weird.

So my week in review...
Monday:We had p-day and it was really fun. Last day with all four of us and so we went and had fun together. We did a family home evening and yup. Just had fun.

Tuesday:This day was interesting because we were all really preoccupied with the idea of transfer calls. We went out and worked and both W and D worked with us. We visited some investigators and I honestly don't remember the whole day. But at the end of the day we ended up in Balintabog with those crazy kids. On the way there both W and D told me that they had the feeling that I was gonna be transferred. But I didn't feel anything so I just shrugged it off. And then Sister T kept texting us and freaking out because we hadn't got the text yet and I was freaking out every time she texted because I thought it was the ZLs. And then they finally did text. And I got transferred :) I wasn't sure how I would feel about it but the initial reaction was just a big YES! and then I sighed a big huge sigh of relief. I think if I had stayed there one more transfer I might have gone crazy... So we headed home and I started packing and didn't get to bed until 12:30 that night.

Wednesday: We got up at 5:30 and headed to the victory bus station. We got on the bus and rode all the way to Olongapo. Then we got off that one and rode another bus. And then we got on a trike and went to Pizza Hut. Man oh man I miss American pizza. It was soooooo good. Then we went to the apartment. We went out and worked and taught Sister L who got baptized on Sunday. She's super sweet but all the people that we visited kept saying that they miss Sister Ma a lot. I don't blame them. She was here for a really long time. But the people here are really nice. This area is way different from my last ones because it's kind of like a city. But it's cool.

Thursday: Went out exploring the new area again. I got to meet Brother H Z who is the son of L. He's really funny and he told me that I need to only speak Tagalog to him and he will only speak English to me so he can have practice. Ok sounds good to me :) His family is great too. We also taught G, one of our 17 year old boy investigators. He's super funny. The whole day, everyone was shocked by my Tagalog. 

Friday: We went back to Sister L's house and visited some less-actives too. The less-actives here are really progressing which is weird but awesome and they're all gonna return next month :) yesss. 

Saturday: First session and second session of General Conference. i looooove General Conference. I learn so much every single time. 

Afterwards, we went and visited the B family who are less-actives too and are super funny. Brother B is a college professor and super smart. We talked about the different languages here in the Philippines for a while. Did you know there are more than 97 different languages in the Philippines? it's super awesome. 

Sunday: General Conference again. I loved President Uchtdorf's talk and Elder Bednar's talk. Soooo good. After church we had L's baptism. She was super happy and so are we. And now I'm sitting here writing all of you.

I know this is the true church of Jesus Christ and I know that families can be together forever in this church. I love this work so much and I can see how much it has blessed my life. 

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support. I love you all

Mahal ko kayo! Ingat kayo palagi!
-Sister Hess

Sunday, April 6, 2014

#1's Weekly Email: Week 41

In times like this, I'm glad my daughter knows just who's got her back. It's been a tough couple weeks. From everything I hear, though, she's heading in the right direction. This is a kid who doesn't get down, so now that she's facing that, she's got to learn how to barrel through and keep her chin on but not carry the load alone. I have no doubt that she'll make it through just fine and there will be big rewards on the other side of that hill.

Enjoy!









Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Honestly, this week has been the hardest week of my whole mission. And I thought the 12 week training was hard.... Nope. Apparently, Heavenly Father still thinks that I'm not humble enough and that I need to improve faster.

I guess I didn't really tell anyone about my week 40 either. I'll just say it was good and that I learned a lot. If I say everything that happened this email will take me 3 hours to write. 

So week 41.... it was super interesting. 

Monday: So for March we had a goal of getting 200 baptisms or more in the whole mission for the whole month. We aimed high but we didn't hit 200. Instead we got our mission standard of excellence. We have 188 missionaries in this mission and we got 188 baptisms. Woohoo! So we all got to go the mission home. Every missionary here. It was so happy. We had a giant water fight and watched 17 Miracles and ate Lechon Baboy which is one of those giant pigs that they roasted on a spit. It was a lot of fun. And we didn't get home until 9:00 that night so we didn't work.

Tuesday: This was technically our p-day. Kind of weird to have a p-day on a Tuesday but it was ok. We got everything done and went out to work. We got to teach J R, one of our recent converts. He's super funny and I honestly think of him as one of my little brothers. Then we went and taught B who is one of our recently returned less-actives. He's bi-polar I swear. He was feeling really stuck up that night so we just teased him the whole time. It was quite entertaining. 

Wednesday: We had MLC finally. Got to meet up with everyone again at the mission home. And I learned a lot. It was a lot about recognizing our weaknesses and working harder than ever before because this is the work of Salvation and Heavenly Father is hastening his work so we need to work harder too. We then went home and got to go out and work again. We went and taught Sister J again. She's really funny and doesn't really realize that a lot of the things she says are really really rude but at least it's entertaining to teach her :) Then we went and taught C (one of our investigators). She's really really quiet but promising. She just has to realize that the Born Again church isn't the true one... Then we went to teach Brother D. This is where my week started going downhill. Brother D has recently been hanging out with a whole bunch of his friends that are skaters. Not sure what exactly has happened but he doesn't want us to teach him anymore. He says he's happy he met us but he says that it's probably not his time right now to become Mormon so he's going to return to how he used to be and wait until he's ready. WHAT?! Are you kidding me? Why did I just spend all this time caring about you and praying for you and fasting for you and teaching you, just to have to throw it all away? And then I got really sad and mad at the same time. 

Thursday: Still pretty mad and steamed up. But I got through the day. We went and contacted a bunch of referrals from the zone leaders. They weren't actually home but we got to teach members of their families. They're all so awesome and so promising and I'm so excited to teach the actual referrals haha We also taught L and he's doing pretty good. He still has a coffee problem but we're working on that with him. Then we went and taught the Balintabog kids and played with them again. 

Friday: We had a district meeting and this one was fun. And afterwards, we went to this burger place and got Yolanda burgers. Those things are HUGE. It's a three layer bun with hot dog, ham, two patties, cheese, lettuce, ketchup, egg, and a bunch of other stuff. The bun is maybe 6 inches across. And I finished that thing in 20 minutes :) hehe yessss it was so good. We went back out to work and contacted more referrals and had more fun.

Saturday: We got to go watch the women's broadcast and it was really good. I learned a lot from that too. Then we went out to work but we were sooooooooooooo punted. We taught the S family and that was fun but now our area is nearing the finals of their basketball season so EVERYONE was at the plaza watching the game. So we wandered and tried to find.... Unsuccessfully.

Sunday: I love sundays. Went to church and it was fine. Got to do a MCM afterwards. We then went out and actually got to contact one of the referrals. She just wants us to make her mormon right here and right now. YES. That's what Im' talking about haha so yeah. And then it started pouring rain. So yup. Completing my day in the best way :) (no that's not sarcasm). 

That was my week. Now that I look back it wasn't that bad. Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts. I love you all. Keep smiling. 

Mahal ko kayo
-Sister Hess

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