Philippines Cauayan Mission

Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, August 1, 2016

Last Mission Letter

Well, this is it! Finished my last full week in the Philippines! Can't believe it's come to this point. Something I thought was never going to actually come has now come faster than I could've imagined. But I can not wait to see you guys later this week!

So we had the career workshop this week on Wednesday. Woke up early and left with Elder Walstad. We picked up Sister Edrington on the way to the bus station and met Elder Capulac there. Everyone we asked said the early bus was at 6 so we were there at 5:45 ish. When we got there they said it wouldn't leave till 6:30 which was going to be late so we just went out by the McDonald's and waited on the road for one to go by. While waiting, we decided to go get some breakfast at McDonald's which ended up being a great idea because I don't think I would have lasted the almost 3 hour trip on an empty stomach. The career workshop was actually pretty good though. Elder Jones taught it to us. I liked some of the things we talked about. It will be really helpful in the future, especially when it comes to job interviews. Also he mentioned that he had a son that went into finance so I stayed afterwards and talked to him a little about that. He's had a lot of success and Elder Jones just talked about how many different opportunities there are in finance. I think it mainly helped me confirm my decision to go into finance. But it was a good meeting and fun to be with my whole batch again. There are a total of 17 of us leaving the mission so quite a few of us. 

Most exciting part of the week was Marycris's baptism on Saturday. It was on Saturday morning, supposed to be at 9 but didn't start till 10. No surprise there right? So nothing new. But the zone leaders told us that the last baptism they had in Tuao was only attended by the branch president and other missionaries. I guess like four other missionaries came all the way to Tuao just to attend the baptism. So I as a little worried there wouldn't be anyone there to support Cris. Even her mom told me she wouldn't be able to attend but I said no she has to make a way to be able to come because it's her own child that's being baptized. She ended up being able to go so that was good. Surprisingly, quite a few other members came as well. Quite a few as in like 10 but that's a lot better than I was thinking would come. Speakers gave good, short talks and the baptism went well. It was a good experience for Sister Cris and she shared an awesome testimony at the end. She talked about how out of all the different churches she's gone to in the past, she's never felt the way she feels now. She's also met some other single adults in the stake recently and I guess they always text her and ask how she's doing. I'm glad she's already getting a lot of friends that will help her stay active in the church. 

Tatay Enomio is still doing pretty good. He has some Word of Wisdom problems but as soon as he learned they were against a commandment of God he said he won't do them again. As of now, he has avoided them so hopefully he keeps it up. Saturday was the last day we taught him and I told him that the next time the elders come back to teach him it will be someone else. He asked some questions and was determined to do anything to get me to stay but I told him my "contract" (that's what they call it sometimes) was up and I had to go home. Then he started tearing up which caught me off guard big time. I guess he expected me to be here for his baptism. But we took some pictures and said goodbye. 

So Saturday night, I needed to wash all my clothes since if I wash on Monday they won't have time to dry. So I wash all my clothes which took ages then I put them out on the clothes line to hopefully somewhat dry overnight and Sunday morning. So once I finished, a friend called and said there was a storm coming in that was supposed to be a pretty big storm. I looked outside and the sky was clear so I didn't worry about it. Then about 5 in the morning I woke up and heard the rain hitting the roof. I swear I jumped out of bed and ran outside so fast if you would've blinked you would have missed it. Luckily I think it had just recently started so at least my cloths weren't dripping wet yet but they were pretty wet. Brought them inside and stuck the fan on them and they still somehow got dry by the time church was over. That's another story though. So we got to church and there were about 10 of us. By the time the sacrament was passed we had gotten up to exactly 20 people including Elder Lechoco and I. Elder Lechoco and I were the speakers in sacrament meeting and that was pretty good. Also gave me a chance to say goodbye to everyone, even though there was barely anybody there. We sang "God Be With You Til' We Meet Again" as the closing him and the branch president pointed at me at the start telling me it was for me. To be honest, it wasn't even planned that way. I guess he didn't know it was my last Sunday even though I had told him many times. Ended up working out well though. In Tuguegarao South Stake, they cancelled class and sent all the members home after sacrament meeting because of the wind and rain but that didn't happen to us. We all ended up combining together for the two hours of class though since it would not have been worth it to break up into separate classes. Classes were actually pretty good though. Studied Alma 32 in Sunday School then in combined Priesthood and Relief Society we talked about how we can teach more like Christ, focusing on home and visiting teaching. After church, now raining even harder, we had lunch with the Dingil family. 

After that we went home so I could pack. So there is a bridge to cross when you leave or are coming in to Tuao and it is pretty low. It floods when it rains a lot so we were worried that might happen especially if it is supposed to rain harder. We talked to our neighbor to see if he thought it might flood or not and he said yeah maybe so we decided it would be better to go to Tuguegarao Sunday then to try and go Monday and not be able to because the river is so high. So I packed everything up really quick and we went out to the highway and waited for a jeep or van to come by. Long story short, waited for 2 hours and nothing came by! So we had no options and just went back to the apartment and slept there. Also, while we were out waiting for a jeep, water was apparently making it's way across the ceiling and dripping rapidly right onto my bed. So we went to sleep and the bottom half of my mattress was soaked. Then at like 5:45am, our neighbor comes over to the window and yells through the window that a lot of jeeps were going by. So that was a nice alarm clock! Anyway, because the rain stopped sometime overnight, the bridge didn't end up flooding so we could still get to Tugue this morning. And that brings us to today! Pretty good last week in Tuao. I can talk more about it this week when we're together! Can't wait for Thursday!! Love you all!

Love Elder Haacke
 Marycris's baptism.

 This is Tatay Enomio and his wife.
 Realized while washing Saturday night that I haven't sent a picture of me washing clothes my whole mission. So I went and got my camera and had Elder Lechoco take a pic.
 This is the last time I'll be washing by hand hopefully for the rest of my life!
 This is are apartment here in Tuao. Never took pics of the inside until earlier this morning so here it is!


Monday, July 25, 2016

Enjoying Every Day to the Fullest

HOLY COW! This is my last full week in the Philippines!! How crazy is that?! Easy to say but it doesn't feel real at all! But I have got to be honest, I can't wait to see you guys again! Sounds like you all had another good week. Glad Marissa made it home okay and had a good time on her trip. 

As for Elder Lechoco and I we had a pretty good week. We'll start the week off with zone meeting on Tuesday. I think I could say I kinda miss teaching zone meeting. Believe it or not but I had additions after additions. I know it doesn't seem like me at all but like halfway through I told myself to stop talking since I was saying so much. That's why I think I missed teaching it. But they talked about repentance. Not really surprised though. I read something on about having the new mission presidents focus on repentance. So we're getting right into it! It was a good lesson though and something we really do need to teach better. Sometimes we take it too lightly. 

So investigators are doing pretty good. Big news is Maricris passed her interview with flying colors so her baptism is all set for this Saturday, my last Saturday in the mission! Pretty excited. We had a review lesson with her Friday then her interview was on Sunday. She did pretty good in the review so we knew she wouldn't have a problem in the interview. I asked Elder Russell if there was anything we needed to focus on during the reteaching but he said she knew everything pretty well so that was good!
Tatay Enomio is still doing great! Still cracks me up every time I see him. Such a funny guy. Still going strong to meet his date in August. He was at church again yesterday but didn't stay for class. We'll work on that next week. We were able to continue with the lessons this week as well with Tatay. Sometimes he has a hard time remembering things and he can't read since it's too blurry so I think we'll just focus on helping him get a testimony through his church attendance. I think he already believes it is true because he really enjoyed church two weeks ago (his first time). One of the talks two weeks ago was really really good and he said he really liked everything she said. It was a good experience for him to have for his first time attending church. 

Sister Racquel didn't come to church this week. We also didn't even teach her. She lives pretty far away so we want to make contact with her before we go out to teach her. Her only available day is Saturday but we never got through to her all day so we didn't end up going out to that area. We also couldn't contact the fellowshipper that attends the lesson with us so we thought it wouldn't be worth our time to go all the way out to that area because she might not be there. Hopefully this week we'll be able to teach her again. 

The two families we teach out in Cagumittan haven't been progressing the last two weeks. We tried to focus more on them this week to see if they still have potential or not but we never taught them. Every time we went out there they had one excuse after another as to why we couldn't teach that day. So that was too bad. Those two families are referrals from a member and that member always asks us how they're doing so we had to break the news this week that they aren't doing that well. The member was sure they were going to progress and we also thought they were going to progress. I think it is because the first week every time we taught we had two other members with us, one of them being the one that gave the referral. Ever since then they haven't come with us to teach and I think that has been one of the causes that has led the two families to not progress like we thought they would. We'll try again this week then make a decision if it's time to drop them or not. 

Someone I really wanted to teach again this week was Sherwin Castillo. We have never been able to teach him again since the first lesson. Every time we've gone to his house he hasn't been there so we're wondering if he might have taken off somewhere. We'll try again this week and see where we get.

We didn't really do a good job of finding new investigators this week. I think we've slacked off on that a little since we've been in the area a little longer. Of course when we were new that was all we did because we both didn't know anybody but now we've slacked off a little which is too bad. We'll focus on it again this week since a lot of the investigators we have now aren't showing many signs of progressing. 

Church was pretty good on Sunday. We had two visitors from the stake that shared some good messages. Elder Lechoco and I taught Sunday School which went pretty well actually. Our sacrament meeting attendance was right around 50 again or a little more than 50. Pretty good since it rained the night before. Normally when it rains it has a big affect on church attendance but not this week. 

So the second half of this week they started cutting down trees that are disrupting power lines. By the way, power lines are a huge problem in this country. They are so unorganized. Anyway, so for safety while cutting the trees around the power lines, they cut the power from 8 in the morning to 5 at night. So yeah, that was not fun. Sweating like crazy during studies and then in lessons there is no electric fans to sit in front of. Luckily they are done now so we won't have that problem anymore. 
Also, we are supposed to be looking for a new apartment since the one we have right now isn't that great. The senior couples don't want us living there I guess. The landlord came last week and said they were going to fix it up but I guess the mission would rather have us find a new apartment then go through the hassle of fixing the one we have now. So Saturday morning, we went out with a member that has been looking for us and we visited some houses for rent. Long story short, didn't find anything. Actually there is one that might have potential but we haven't been able to see the inside of it yet so that might happen this week, hopefully. 

That's pretty much it for the week this week. Got a pretty busy week ahead of me. District meeting tomorrow where I just learned I will be teaching for about 15 minutes just giving some farewell thoughts. Then I will be heading to Cauayan early in the morning Wednesday for our career workshop. Then we have a baptism Saturday morning. The days will go by very quick so I better enjoy every bit of it to the fullest! Hope you all have a great week! Love you all!

Love Elder Haacke

We were looking for frogs while waiting for a tricy to come.
 This is my most recent haircut. Yeah, not even at all!  I'm making this last me till I get home cause I'm done getting haircuts here!
 Our apartment from the outside.
More Pictures:




Monday, July 18, 2016

Time Is Flying By

Hello once again! Can't believe it's already Monday again and time for me to write another letter! Coming up pretty soon on my last letter (next week) because I'm not too sure if I'm going to write a big one my last week. I'll just tell you about it in person instead! Dad mentioned last week that the time back home has slowed down a little waiting for me to come home but here it's just continued getting faster and faster. But we had a pretty good week this week. We were able to continue to progress some in the area and also continue to help those that we are already teaching continue to progress. 

This week started like it normally does with district meeting. I actually had a pretty good time during district meeting this last week. We talked about obedience being better than sacrifice. We had more of a discussion than we normally do which made it a lot easier to stay focused and we were all able to learn from each other. It was really enjoyable listening to others incites and also adding my own. One of the examples we read in the scriptures was about Cain and Able. Both were commanded to offer a sacrifice to God but only Able's was accepted. Then we discussed why. That was the cool part because even though we all read the same verses, everyone had a different application. Goes to show how the spirit helps us learn the things we need to learn and see the things that we personally could do better. Can't believe I only have a few district meetings left. Actually just one. Zone meeting tomorrow and district meeting next week. Still don't think I've wrapped my mind around the fact that I really only have a couple weeks left. It's kind of like when I left on the mission, it didn't feel real that it was actually happening then it just happened. That's how I feel right now but the opposite. I'll be going home soon but it doesn't feel like it but before I know it I'll be sitting on an airplane. Anyway, back to the week this week. Our investigators are doing pretty good!

Maricris is still doing well. She is picking up the concepts really well and every time we review things we taught in the the past she remembers them really well. Her interview will most likely be this Saturday if everything happens the way it's planned. Then her baptism will be the week after which will be my last Saturday! 

I can't remember if I told you about Tatay Enomio. We met him last week but taught him more this week. He's 87 years old but is still pretty strong. We were able to teach him twice this last week and the second time we set a baptismal date. He's a pretty funny guy though. We decided on August 20 for his baptismal date. Kinda funny though cause turns out his birthday is August 20! So that will be really cool if everything goes through. Even though he is really old he still understands what we are saying and is pretty good in Tagalog so communication isn't a problem. He came to church for the first time yesterday with his wife who is a member. 

Racquel is doing well. We are only able to teach her once a week because of school so the lessons go a little slower with her. She came to church for the second week in a row but we haven't given her a baptismal date yet. We most likely will this Saturday when we teach her if it feels right. 

We got a new investigator this week that is progressing pretty well. His name is Sherwin Castillo. He's 34. He had a family but has separated and now is with his parents. Anyway, while we were teaching him the first lesson, he broke down in tears. His Aunt, I think, has converted to the church so we focused a lot on what he has seen take place in her life and if he wants the same blessings. It was a really good lesson. Once it was over, Elder Lechoco turned to me and said he could really feel the spirit. I could too and I know so did Sherwin. He didn't end up coming to church but I think he will in the future. He has so much potential. 

So something kinda weird that happened this week was after church on Sunday. We were sitting down about to start the lesson to Sister Maricris along with Nanay. Then before we started, Nanay says she has some questions. So we talk about those for a little but they were like really deep questions. The first was about Jesus' resurrection and if others were resurrected as well. It's very clear in Matthew that other's were resurrected right after Jesus was so that wasn't hard to answer. Then we explained the first resurrection a little more and the millennium then the second resurrection. Just a more in depth version of the Plan of Salvation. The second question was a little more out of the ordinary. She asked how God got his body. So this isn't something that we can just go right to a scripture and show her what the answer is. We answered it to the best of our ability by just explaining that Joseph Smith and Lorenzo Snow both said that, "As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be." So that means he became a man at one point. We said that that most likely happened on a different world, not the one we live on today. That's where she went off. She didn't like that answer at all and she was pretty rude about it. She's like, nope I don't accept your answer. I'm sitting here like okay, are you arguing with your own belief? But it made me a little upset the way she was talking to us. We told her before we started that we don't know everything but will do our best but apparently she expected us to know everything. Then told us that before we go teach people we need to learn it for ourselves first. By that point I could totally feel anger started to build within me. I was like, Nay if you don't want to accept our answer it's your choice but that's pretty harsh what you're saying to us. And this is all before we are supposed to teach Maricris who is just sitting there on the side listening to all this. So anyway, the lesson to Maricris was not great at all. I think it's cause our minds were caught up in what we had just discussed. But we've studied some more stuff and we'll go back with some more references. 

Anyway, that's about it for the week this week. Pretty good week this week and everyone is still progressing well. Hope you all have a great week this week!
Elder Haacke

Monday, July 11, 2016

New Mission President

Hello everybody once again! Looks like everyone had a good Fourth of July. Too bad the weather wasn't too great but it still looks like everyone had fun. We had a pretty good week here in Tuao as well. Also got to meet the new mission president, President Hiatt, this week. I'll start this week's letter there. 

We found out last Monday that we were going to have a little conference the next day in Ilagan so we can meet President Hiatt and his wife. Burgos, Ilagan and the two Tuguegarao zones all met in Ilagan Tuesday morning. It's about 2 hours away and we all crammed into one van so that wasn't the funnest thing ever. At least I was by a window except it was in the very back. Going there wasn't too bad since it was still pretty cool but later in the afternoon coming home was not enjoyable at all. It was so hot inside the van even if I was right next to the window. It was just hot air. But we eventually made it back and all was well. We went straight to the hospital after we got back to Tuguegarao so I could get my x-ray. You know what that means right?? I'm close to coming home!! But the hospital thing was a pain. They didn't want to take our card we use to pay for medical stuff until like 20 minutes of going back and forth to different rooms talking to different people. I figured they would know that they accept the card because they're the only hospital in all of Tuguegarao that does. But anyway, finally got the x-ray done and all ready to give to the senior couples. And that's all of Tuesday. It was a very tiring day even though we didn't do very much but all the traveling and other stuff made it a tiring day. 

So work wise we had a pretty successful week! Maricris is still making great progress towards her baptism. We still teach her almost everyday. Along with her mom and her little sister that sits in when she's there. She continues to do all the things we ask her to do and she is reading well in the Book of Mormon. She actively participates at church even though yesterday was only her second Sunday. She already seems so comfortable at church and being with/around all the other members. So we'll just continue to help strengthen her faith and knowledge of the gospel and she'll be more than ready when it's time for her to be baptized. 

So this week, we got a couple referrals from the members which was awesome. Nanay Pagulayan had a couple families she wanted us to teach last Wednesday so we gladly met up with her and went to those families.  The Tuazon and Zalon families. We teach them together but so far we have only taught the two Nanay's and all the kids. There's like 8 kids in all. We teach pretty slow to them since they don't pick it up very well, even the two Nanay's. But we committed them to come to church and 6 of the kids did. The other two kids said they were gonna follow but never showed up and the Nanay's were busy washing. But almost all the kids were there so that was cool. 

We got another referral from JulieAnn, one of the single adults in the branch. Her friend, Rocquel, wanted to be taught by the missionaries and learn more about the church so we were happy to do that. The only free time they have is Saturday so getting through the lessons might take a while. At least she has a good friend in the church so that will help her do the commitments that we leave her. She also was at church yesterday and enjoyed her experience so so far she's doing really well!
And another investigator that has a lot of potential is Edna and Tony Blanche. We met them this week and they have been taught by missionaries before. They even attended church before but they were never baptized. They didn't come yesterday but we will focus more on them this week because I think they have a lot of potential to progress. 

Saturday we had a "One Day Mission" in the morning until lunch time. Supposed to start at 8 which really started at 9 but it was good because there was a total of 16 that showed up. More than I thought since it was kind of a rush and not much planning behind it. At first, their plan was to divide into two groups so that each group had a missionary with them. We quickly changed that plan since that would not have been effective at all. We ended up dividing into 4 groups of 4 but there were only two tricy's. All the areas are pretty far except for one. So one walking group took that closer area and I took a different one that was further away. Supposed to be 4 groups of 4 but when they found out where we'd be going they deserted me and left my with an 18 year old that knows just as much of the area as I do. Actually, I probably know more of the area than him but we still got a lot of work done. We did more finding and first lessons since we didn't know any less actives in that area. In all, it was nice to see the members come together and go out and work. We finished around lunch time and had a free lunch at someone's wedding that a few members knew. We had no idea who it was but hey, welcome to the Philippines. You see a party that has food, you invite yourself! So that's what we did!

So we had a pretty progressive week this week. Kinda makes me wish I was staying here longer cause I think August will be a good month and have some baptisms in it. Also the branch progressed this week, probably thanks to the one day mission. Attendance was up to 54 so we are consistently increasing. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going this week. Hope you all have a great week! 

Love Elder Haacke
Didn't take many pics this week except at the wedding. The girl in the picture is Sister Angel. She is Maricris' little sister.

Elder Romo, Carrington, Fernandez then me.
Elder Romo and I with Elder Mansor.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Getting Things Rolling

Happy 4th of July everybody! Can't believe it's this time of year again. June is gone and I know July will go by just as fast. Then August 4 will be here before we know it! 

As for the week this week, it was pretty long. We're still trying to get things rolling here in our area. We still have only gone to a few of the barangays here in our area. The boundary of Tuao is HUGE and we've only gone to a little bit of it. We mainly go to the barangays that have been shown to us. We went to a couple new ones but just felt lost while we were there. The information left for us about the area wasn't a whole lot so we are having a hard time getting going. The members are really nice but they don't come out to work with us. We planned a one day mission for this coming Saturday so hopefully all the members will come out and we'll split into a lot of groups get the area covered well.

Started the week with district meeting on Tuesday. That was pretty good. Elder Russell is my district leader and he's from Rexburg so we talk a lot about home. He's good friends with Caleb Allred if you remember him from soccer. He's a good teacher and we have a pretty fun district. Last Tuesday we talked about how to teach Faith and Repentance. Sometimes it's easy to skip teaching the importance of those two principles and just going straight to baptism but those principles are very important. We've been taught that a few times here in the mission and I think I've done a good job emphasizing the importance of those principles, especially repentance. But it was a good district meeting. We then traveled home which once again took forever. Totally sick of these two hour rides just to get to our area. Good thing I'm only here for one cycle so I just tell myself to endure it until then.
I don't really want to give a description of what happened everyday because like I said earlier our week was pretty slow. I do want to tell you about one of our new investigators that is really progressing. Her name is Maricris Pamittan. She's 24 yrs old and her mom and little sister are recent converts. We just started teaching this week and now we teach her basically everyday. They live somewhat close to the apartment so we make them our first appointment of the day before we go to whatever barangay we are going to work in that day. So anyway, she is doing everything we ask her do to. She's read every reading assignment. And she only has one day to do it since we come back the next day. And she prays really well. And she has good support from her mom and sister. We extended a baptismal date on Saturday for July 30 which is right before I go home so I'm hoping and praying everything goes well. So far it's going great. She came to church yesterday and really enjoyed it. Also it was a great sacrament meeting. Remember how I said there are a lot of older people in this branch? Well that means it's not near as noisy as in my last areas and almost all of them bore their testimony. There was never a period of down time where we were waiting for someone to go up and bare their testimony. So it was a great sacrament meeting for her first time at church. We are really happy with the progress she's making and we are excited to see how she continues to do.
Other than Maricris, we don't have any other investigators that are progressing. We had another referral that looked good and we were going to contact it on Saturday with the member that gave it but it ended up falling through. The referral just got a job here in Tuguegarao and isn't going to come back to Tuao for a while.
So I want to tell you about this one family here in Tuao. Nanay and Tatay Pagulayan. Nanay is the relief society president and Tatay is just straight up hilarious. We felt like trying to eat lunch with a member this last week so we called them and set an appointment. They were also happy to have us at their house for lunch. We had lunch then after, Nanay made hot chocolate out of  pure chocolate. As in like picked from the tree, dried then crushed into powder kind of chocolate. Anyway, the best part of the visit was talking to Tatay. He can go off on these random stories for ages. And he kept telling us to take a nap at their house since it was so hot outside. He's been a member for a long time so he tells a lot of stories about how the church started here in Tuao. We went from that to talking about zodiac signs then what day we were born and so on. No idea why but he remembers he was born on a Tuesday. But they are awesome and we look forward to continue building our relationship with them.
Church on Sunday was pretty good. Like I said earlier, sacrament meeting was great. Then classes went well as well. Maricris was our only investigator there. Don't really have any others that are close to coming but we'll see how this week goes. That's pretty much it for the week this week. Hope you all have a great week this week. Talk to you all again soon!

Love Elder Haacke

Smallest pig I ever seen. Good for about one piece of bacon.

 Elder Lechoco and I
So here in Tuao, this is how we get from one place to another. By horse drawn carriages.
This is the Pamittan family. Next to me is Nanay and Maricris then the little sister Angel on the side. Also our friend Jeremy.
Nanay and Tatay Pagulayan

Monday, June 27, 2016

Opening a New Area

Hello everybody! Can't believe we're coming up on the end of June! You know what that means...we're almost to my last full month in the mission! Anyway, I'm here in my new area! I'm back in Tuguegarao North zone and my are is Tuao. I no longer have any calling in the mission, just a normal missionary. My companion is Elder Lechoco coming from San Pedro, Roxas; my second area. That was his first area. So we're opening the area here in Tuao so it's been a little hard. I'll tell a little more about that later in the email. 

For my last day in Burgos, we started with a csp in the morning. We helped a member start building their house. It was just Elder Dialino and I along with a couple members in Branch 1. It was actually a pretty fun csp to be honest. The way they mix cement is actually pretty cool. Elder Dialino and I brought 13 loads of sand over then they would mix the sand with the cement powder then make it into a pool and add water. Then we just took the cement in buckets to where we needed it. We just made the foundation and started the walls but only got 2 rows high of hollow blocks before we had to go so I could do the things I needed since it was my last day in Burgos. For the rest of the day we went around to as many members as we could so I could say bye. Since I wasn't planning on getting transferred, I didn't say bye at all at church on Sunday so we were in a hurry Tuesday to try and get to as many as we could. I definitely had a good time in Burgos and love the members there and hope the best for them. Elder Dialino sent me an email today updating me a little about Burgos. I guess Nanay DelaCruz couldn't sleep the night I told her I was leaving. He said that she really misses me. Never met a more diligent reader of the scriptures. Also the meetings at church still happened so I know that the members are still in good hands there in Burgos. 

Wednesday morning we had a member take us on their motorcycle to Cauayan for transfer day. I found out where I was going and also met my new companion since he was coming from Roxas. We stayed in Cauayan for a while, waiting for a van to come that we were going to put our luggage in. When that van came, we put all our bags in it then all the missionaries going to Tuguegarao just commuted. I traveled with Elder Walstad since he got transferred and is in Tuguegarao as well. We ended up beating the van with the bags so we had to wait in Tuguegarao for our bags to get there. I've seen two members so far from when I was assigned in Amulung so that was pretty fun. The one is going to serve her mission in Chili which is awesome. I think she'll really enjoy it. So when we got here we found out that Tuao is the furthest away area in Tugue North zone and by the time our bags were there it was too late to travel back to Tuao. Well, we could have made it there but the zone leaders wouldn't have been able to make it back to Tugue since the jeeps in Tuao stop around 5:30. We ended up spending the night in the zone leaders apartment Wednesday night then traveled the next day after district meeting.
So like I said, Thursday we had district meeting in the morning, ate lunch then took off for Tuao. I thought travel was bad last week going back to Burgos from Cauayan. That was just preparing me for what I was going to face here! We sat in the jeep waiting for it to fill up for a little over 1.5 hours. I timed it. Then the ride was another hour and some change so in all it was a long time! Got there around 4:30. The zone leaders showed us where the apartment was and took us to a members house. Once we got there they left us so that they could still get back to Tugue before there were no more rides. The member then took us to visit a recent convert so we talked to them for a while and they helped us learn a little about the branch. Then we just did some walking around to see what was in the area. 

For the next couple days I don't have a lot to talk about. We've been doing our best to try and get to know the area and the members. The area is actually really big and the houses are really far away. It reminds me a lot of Amulung since that area was huge as well. While walking around on Friday, we ran in to the branch president just on the street so we set plans for him to show us around Saturday morning. He took us to a couple of barangays that we hadn't been to yet and showed us the houses of members there. There are just a couple of members in each barangay. And all the barangays are really far away from each other. That would be a simple description of Tuao. So I don't have a lot to talk about I guess. Opening an area is harder than I thought but I think we'll get things rolling this week. 

Something that surprised me at church on Sunday was that a lot of the members are old. Most the time there are a ton of young kids in the branches where I have been assigned in the past but here there are a ton of old people. Which I think is actually pretty good so that there is a permanent teacher in every class. Both Elder Lechoco and I were the speakers in sacrament meeting so that we could also introduce ourselves since even to that point we still hadn't gone to the majority of the members. Church was good though and the members are very nice. The attendance was around 40. I guess last cycle it all of a sudden dropped off a cliff and went from 60+ to around 40 out of nowhere. So we have some things we can work on in this area. I'll have more to write about next week after we get a full week of work in. Also our new mission president comes this week so that will be cool! Really looking forward to meeting him and his wife! That's basically it for this week. Tell you more about the area next week as soon as we can get it a little more figured out! Love you all and hope you have a good week!

Love Elder Haacke
 The csp at the Martin's house.
 Nanay and Tatay Caratiquit
 The Dannug Family, Tatay wasn't there.
 Ian and Nanay DelaCruz
 Belinda, Benilda and their kids. The little girl on the left has an identical twin but she wasn't there.
 Cordova family, or at least those that were there Wednesday morning.
 Ancheta family. I got the closest to them in Burgos and will miss them a lot!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Surprise Transfer

Wow do I have some news this week! Totally surprised me but as you know, this is transfer week and we got the transfer list this morning. I'm transferring! Going to be honest though, I'm pretty disappointed about it. I've gained a love for the people here and this area that I haven't had in any other area. I really wasn't planning on getting transferred since I haven't been here for very long. Definitely going to miss this place like crazy. Guess we'll have to see what the Lord has in store for me. As of now I have no idea where I could go so it will be a surprise for all of us come next week! 

As for the week this week, we had a busy one so it went by very fast. We went out to work in the morning on Tuesday. We went to Ilagan in the afternoon for our specialized training/farewell with President and Sister Rahlf. They taught about the Atonement which was super good. President Rahlf is very good at teaching about the Atonement. He has studied it very well and for a long time so it's really fun to listen to him teach it. Along with teaching the Atonement, they gave some going home thoughts which were really good and helpful. They didn't go into detail about things but mentioned a lot of things that will be helpful in the mission and in life. President and Sister Rahlf have been amazing 'mission parents' and great examples to all of us. I have definitely admired the attributes they have and will strive to apply the things I've learned from them to myself. Definitely will miss them but I'm sure the new mission president will be just as good. Tuesday morning we only got one lesson with Nanay DelaCruz. It was hard since school has started now. Nobody was there but at least we tried. We left right after lunch and went to Ilagan and didn't get home until 8 so that was pretty much all of Tuesday. We were supposed to have dinner with the Pinon family but they said they were going to go to bed so we weren't able to go. We ended up having breakfast with them in the morning instead so it all worked out. 

Wednesday was a pretty good day. We had a good lesson with Nanay Acopido. She knows how much the church will help and bless her life but we are still having problems with her husband. She has had a lot of friends that have become members of the church and she has seen their lives change so she knows the same could happen for her. Tatay still won't give us time to teach him which is too bad but we won't give up on them. We were also able to teach Nanay Luce on Wednesday. We are starting with the Plan of Salvation which I think she really enjoyed. We just talked about the Pre-Earth Life until the Fall of Adam and Eve which we had a really good discussion about. She asked quite a few questions about the Fall but we were able to answer them pretty easily. The Fall is something that I've started to enjoy teaching. Just because almost everyone else doesn't understand how necessary the Fall was and why it was part of God's plan. Luce is still progressing well but hasn't attended church. We invited her to baptism a week or so ago but she said she needs to think about it first. Her husband told us not to come back but we didn't listen. We went back again on Saturday and was able to teach her again about our life on Earth. 

Thursday we got up early and left for Cauayan. We had splits with the AP's which was pretty good. My companion was Elder Navarro and we had a pretty good time. He is from Boise so we were able to talk a little bit about home. It's always nice to see different ways of teaching and we were both able to see things we liked in each others teaching. It rained super hard on us at one point so we got pretty wet. Just made us contact someone really quick so we could hide in their home while the rain passed. Later that night when talking to the others they said it didn't even rain where they were at. So it was just us that got dumped on. It was alright though, we still had a good day. Also we ate lunch at KFC so that was super good. And they got a new apartment which has air conditioning and a warm shower so that was something I haven't had in a while. 

Friday morning we got up and took off back to Burgos. Travel took forever! 3 hours! Takes like 30 minutes in a car but jeeps take forever. We waited for ages for the jeep to fill up before we finally got to leave then we had to get off and wait for the second jeep to fill up so we could leave. Took forever and was so tiring but we finally made it back to the apartment. I don't know if you remember the Lopez sisters or not. We taught them back in the day but it's been a long time since we've been able to teach them since they went and stayed in Roxas for a while. Well we taught April again and she remembered basically everything we had taught so far. We reviewed a little of the Plan of Salvation then finished teaching it since that's where we stopped last time. We also gave her a baptismal date for July 23. She promised to attend church but she didn't end up going. Her baptism is still far enough away that she'll be able to attend church enough times to be baptized. Also we got a new investigator on Friday that had some potential. Tatay Benancio Salazar. We met him right when he was coming home from the bukid but he still gave us some time to share with him. We actually gave him a baptismal date as well for July 30. We'll have to see if he progresses to be able to make that date or we might have to push it back. We've only taught him once so far so we'll see how the second visit goes. 

Saturday we did weekly planning since we didn't have time on Friday. Don't really like it that much but we got it done! We were able to teach the first counselor again this week. He's having some problems right now so were trying to help him by sharing with him every week. We are also communicating well with the Branch President about his progress in getting rid of his habits. He hasn't made a lot of progress but we're only a week into it so we'll see how this week goes. Also like I said earlier we were able to teach Luce again on Saturday and also the Biernes family. We weren't planning on sharing with the Biernes family but when we went by to see how they were doing he said he had some questions about the Book of Mormon so we decided to make a lesson out of it and get his questions answered. Nestor still can't walk but he says he's feeling better and progressing well. This is the guy that got stabbed a couple times if you didn't remember. His questions were more on what the Book of Mormon was about so we explained it a little better then just gave a simple scriptural thought. 

Sunday was pretty hard. We had a visitor though that was a missionary here back in the day. I was in the same zone with him my first cycle in Roxas then he went home. It was pretty cool to see him again. He has a girlfriend back in that area he was assigned in Roxas so they visited Burgos since it was close. Other than that, church was pretty hard. We didn't have priesthood class since nobody was there. Just the priesthood holders in the Cordova family and us two missionaries. So we just had Sunday school which was last second as well since the teacher wasn't there. Sacrament was pretty good though. The speakers were well prepared and gave good talks. Our attendance was lower than last week. I counted around 50 or probably just over 50. Pretty low compared to last week so that was too bad. We had another meeting with President after church. We were able to discuss some things that we noticed the branch needs. I encouraged him to call a branch clerk to make his job as branch president not as hard. The person he suggested for clerk was exactly who I wanted him to say so he'll get called next week and I know he'll help the branch a lot. Too bad I won't be here to continue to help out the branch here in Burgos. I know the branch has the potential to grow and become a strong, established branch. The only thing lacking is some organization and action from the members and this branch could get back on it's feet. I'll keep in touch with Elder Dialino so I can stay updated even when I'm in my next area. Love this area but I guess we'll have to see what's in store for me this week. I'll update you all as soon as possible on my new area and new companion! Hope you all have a great week!

Love Elder Haacke

 We ate frog at FHE last Monday with the Cordova family. Not my first time but it is my first picture with it. It is actually really good.
 My area is definitely out in the rice paddies but I love it! All the fields will probably be planted by this week. There's just a few left that haven't been planted yet and are still being prepped.
 Elder Romo and I in Ilagan. May have been the last time I see him before I go home.
 Me with President and Sister Rahlf after the tie cutting. Chose the purple tie to get cut.
Took a tricy all the way back to Burgos since there were no more jeeps. I rode on top so it was nice and cool.
 This is us earlier this morning. We all went to the chapel and played basketball and volleyball. Last p-day together before three of us transfer!
 More from this morning.

Last pic before I leave, also from the training. Dad, this is Philip Walstad's son if you remember him from Nuskin. We've become pretty good friends here in the mission and will probably hang out a few times after the mission since he lives so close to BYU.