Manila MTC: While we were at the MTC we stayed in a hotel because they didn't have room for us at the MTC. The hotel was pretty nice, had AC, and had really good food so we didn't complain. The purpose of us going there is to do the fingerprinting at the immigration office and all that stuff before we go to our missions. That way we don't have to leave our mission sometime and go back to Manila. We got to go to the temple while we were there and also to the huge memorial. Other than those two things we pretty much sat in a classroom all day so it wasn't much fun. Wednesday morning we all split up and went to our missions. Since I was Cauayan I got to fly but everyone else in my district had to ride a bus. They dropped my group off at the airport then left so all we had were our bags. We didn't know where to go so we just walked around for a little while then finally ran into some missionaries that were also going to Cauayan that had the stuff we needed to get tickets. We ate at the Wendy's in the airport and got some Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Last American food we'll have for a while!
Mission Home: When we got off the plane and got our bags, we went outside where the mission president, his wife, the AP's, and some senior couple missionaries were waiting for us. Then we went to the mission home and introduced themselves and ate lunch. We ate potatoes believe it or not! Only potatoes I've had since I left Provo. I thought this one thing was a potato in the Manila MTC until I bit into it. It definitely was not a potato and actually pretty gross. Eventually we met our companion then got in different vans and went to our area. My area is about a 3 hour ride from the mission home so it took us a while before we got there. My area is called Bambang 1 which is as far south as you can go in our mission.
Bambang: We had district meeting Thursday morning so I was able to meet all the other missionaries around where I am. There are 4 of us from Eastern Idaho so that was pretty cool. One from Rexburg, Rigby, Pocatello, and me from IF. After district meeting we went to a chicken place to eat which was really good. Then went to work until around 8. It gets dark at 6:00 here and everyone closes down by 8 so we go back to the apartment and study and prepare for the next day. Friday was a normal day but Saturday we had family week which only happens once a year. It is a big party with all the members from the different branches in the area. Started in the morning with a walk down the middle of the street haha I thought it was so funny because cars were backed up so far since we were in the way. When we got to the church, we set up a couple tents then played a lot of basketball while people cooked the food. Basketball was a lot of fun. The Filipinos are pretty good! After lunch, they had a program and a Karaoke party. That was lasting forever so I went back outside and played soccer with some little kids and two missionaries from New Zealand. They have some awesome accents. The whole party got over around 5 then we went back and showered so we only worked for about 2 hours that night. On Sunday, church starts at 8:30 and we left around 12:30 to go to lunch at a members house. I had to go up in sacrament meeting and introduce myself and bare my testimony but I think I did pretty good. The food at the members house was great and we had ice cream afterwards. The ice cream here is amazing! Best ice cream I've ever had. I'll probably go stock up on some later today since we have a freezer in the apartment!
That's pretty much all that has happened so far. Our apartment is really nice for the area. me and my companion, Elder Zabala, are the only ones that stay in it. Showering with a cup and a bucket isn't near as bad as I thought. Doing laundry with a bucket and a board isn't that bad either it just takes a lot longer. The area is amazing and very pretty. I've been blessed to be in such a pretty area for my first transfer. Hope all is well at home! I loved reading the emails about what is going on. Love you all and talk to you again in a week!
Love Elder Haacke