Philippines Cauayan Mission

Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cool Baptism Amongst Staying Busy

I can't believe it's time for winter again. I miss going to Action Motors this time of year and looking around at all the new gear. I made a list in my journal of what I wanted to do when I get back and going to Action Motor was one thing I wrote down. Can't believe it's already calling for snow in Island Park. I miss it but I have to admit I'm excited for you dad, and whoever is going with you. Haha so you learned we got pulled over by the police.  When we got pulled over I knew I wasn't going to get a ticket. I can get out of anything. A picture was a first priority. We decided to not say anything and when I left for my mission Tyler would post the picture. I am surprised it took him this long to do it. If I would have ended up with a ticket or a written warning then I definitely would have said something but I thought since I didn't it was okay. But hey, Samantha and Marissa knew a while ago so it wasn't just me that kept the secret haha. I don't think there are any other things I need to say now that I've left ;)

This week was pretty good! Weeks are getting faster and faster. We were supposed to go to the Banaue Rice Terraces today but yesterday afternoon the driver ended up in the hospital so it got postponed until next Monday. I didn't complain because I am lucky enough to be able to go my first transfer. Normally people are only able to go once on their mission. They typical p-day is, wake up, do laundry for like an hour and a half, clean the apartment then go do email. After that we have lunch then do some shopping for random cool little things. We then go grocery shopping and if we need anything specific we can do that like a haircut or something.

Monday- Had family home evening again but with a family in the sister’s area. There were 16 kids there so that made the games we played really fun! The kids were actually pretty well behaved and it was awesome to sit and sing a bunch of primary songs with them.

Tuesday- A normal day of work. Work actually went really well on Tuesday. Our scheduled appointments pretty much all didn't happen but we went to some new spots and found a ton of people to talk to and meet. We have already gone back to a couple of them and started teaching them. Hopefully they will continue with the lessons this week.

Wednesday- Busy day of work again. At night we had a funeral for an old lady that died. Funeral was pretty good then the branch president asked me and Elder Zabala to go with him to the hospital to give a blessing to a baby that wasn't doing very well. We got there and people are all in beds down every walkway outside the hospital. It was packed! Got to the baby and I saw how small it was and got kind of nervous. Turned out the blessing had already taken place so we didn't give it another one. I took advantage of the trip by using the scale out in the hallway. President Cacayan, me, and a couple other members went out and were playing with it. I've gained 9 pounds since I left. I think I need to exercise a little bit more.

Thursday- Had a service assignment in the morning. Helped a family move. Then the rest of the day was normal work.

Friday- Good day of work. Got a lot of lessons in so that was good!

Saturday- Had a baptism. Not our baptism but the sisters in our ward. I baptized the mom and Elder Zabala baptized the son. It was really fun and they were really happy. I felt a little bad for them since the water was freezing cold haha but I still think they had a good experience. We got back to the apartment and realized the keys were inside...spent an hour trying to break into our own apartment. I got super dirty since my companion didn't want to climb over the wall in the back. The fence was super sharp and snagged my pants a lot. I got the lock unlocked but the pin on the bottom did not want to move. Finally gave up and spent the night in the zone leader’s apartment. Then it was Sunday so we went to church and my white shirt was like a black shirt. It was soooo dirty but it was all I had! Finally after lunch we got back to the apartment and I thought about using a credit card on the front door. It worked and was super easy. Then we unscrewed the padlock from the door and got in. I don't know why I didn't think of it the night before! I could have saved a ton of time and saved a shirt!

Overall a really good week. Got a lot done and it went really fast. I am excited for this coming week and hope that we can progress with some of the investigators that we met this week. A lot of Filipinos will listen to the first couple of lessons because they don't want to tell you no. Then like after your third visit they say they don't want to change their religion and to not come back. We try our best but most are very dedicated to their religion. 

Hope all is well back home! 

Love Elder Haacke

P.S. I found a gagumba (spider) this week. I was climbing up a platform to get some fruit from a tree and the little boy told me to turn around and that spider was on the wall right behind me. As you could probably imagine I ran pretty quickly. The spider also ran then stopped again so I put my name tag next to it and took a picture. It was a little bit bigger than the palm of my hand. 

For the fam: 

Only one thing: So in my branch, we have like 2 "Brother Know-it -alls" is the only way I can describe it. We get into some heavy debates every Sunday. I enjoyed this last Sunday since I could actually understand most of it. It was about if nonmembers can receive personal revelation or not. I thought of course they can. They receive a confirming witness of the gospel before they decide to be baptized or not but I didn't want to get involved in it. Preach My Gospel compares the gift of the Holy Ghost to a fire station. It says everyone can receive promptings from the Holy Ghost just like everyone can receive help from the fire station. Having the gift of the Holy Ghost is like living right next door to the fire station. So yeah, everyone can receive personal revelation haha I just find the debates to be pretty funny. The thing is, every person in there was saying that they can but the one person was saying they can't haha  We were going like way over the time of church so finally they decided to continue next week haha

Hope all is well at home. Love you all and love reading about your week!

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Campaigning Begins

Pretty great week this week! Busy with a lot of different things so it made the week go by faster!
Monday- P-day always goes by really fast! At night we had Family Home Evening with a part member family. Dinner was pretty good. I've been putting off eating fish here since it doesn't look that great but I had to eat it since it's what they cooked. It actually wasn't that bad but not my favorite. The Filipinos get really into the games for FHE. We played a couple games that I learned in the Manila MTC which was good so I had some experience. If you lose, you get a mark of lipstick on your face. As you can see in the picture I lost quite a bit.
Tuesday- Had zone meeting so that lasted most of the day. I love spending time with all the missionaries in the zone though so I didn't mind at all. Short day of work because of zone meeting.
Wednesday- We had to go to the mission home for a meeting for all the new missionaries. I had been waiting for this day to come since I got here so that I could see the other missionaries I came over with. My area is about a 3 hour drive to get to the mission home so we had to wake up super early. Visiting with the other Elders in my group was awesome. We are all about the same spot in learning Tagalog so that made me feel good since I thought I should be further than I am. Since we spent the day at the mission home, I thought I would start my campaign as a future AP. I wasn't able to talk to President Rahlf very much but I did what I could. I was able to talk to Sister Rahlf for a long time though! We talked about a ton of stuff. Her son works at Klim in Idaho Falls so we talked about that. They go to Island Park pretty often since they have a family cabin up there. Of course, we talked about snowmobiling then she asked me about skiing. I thought my campaign was starting off very well and I plan to continue it on the 30th of this month at zone conference. On our way back, we passed by a restaurant called Mrs. Bakers. It is the most Americanized restaurant in the mission. It even smells like an American restaurant. We had to stop and eat just because of what I've heard about it. Spent 710 pesos which is what I could buy a weeks groceries with but it was definitely worth it. Most missionaries only get to go a couple times during their mission so I am really lucky I got to go already. I'll try and go again when we go to zone conference since we will pass it!
Thursday- Just a normal day. Work was tough because we went to an area where people are hard core Iglesia members. They are super hard to teach since all they do is argue with us.
Friday-Had a baptismal interview for some investigators the sisters taught. My companion is the district leader, if I didn't mention that before, so I am a part of all the interviews. I am going to baptize the mom this coming Saturday since she is taller than Elder Zabala so he didn't want to. Right after the interviews it started raining right when we were going to work. Got soaked for the rest of the day and it never stopped.
Saturday- Had another interview in an area called Dupax. Still raining from the day before. It didn't stop until 5;30 that night. Like 29 hours of straight rain. Interviews took forever so we didn't get back to Bambang until around 6:00. 
Sunday- Church was good. Had a couple less active people that we had been teaching come to church so that was awesome. Other than that it was a regular day of work. Went back to the Iglesia area. I think the next time we go we will finally get through to one of them but who knows. Pretty good week overall!

People here are great! The longer I stay here the more I see people that remind me of people at home. We teach two brothers that remind me of me and Lachlan. They do everything together and always play basketball together at the church. Another family is a family of sisters. There is a little Alexa that always says funny little comments. Then a Marissa and Samantha in the same family also. The one that reminds me of Alexa is like my little sister. She always tells me she is going to help me learn Tagalog. Then a couple days ago she told me she read a book at school about Idaho! She always makes me laugh whenever we go teach them. All else is well here in the Philippines!
Love Elder Haacke

For the Fam:
I got two of Grandma and Grandpa's letters so far so you could let her know that. They actually get here pretty fast. Faster than I thought at least. It's just it depends how long it takes me to receive them from the mission home. Since I am so far away from it I don't get to it that often but it comes eventually. When you send a package, make sure it is through the post office, not UPS or Fedex. I will have to pay a lot to receive the package if it is through UPS or Fedex. Something good to share with others before they send a package if they're planning on it. 
 I am definitely jealous about the snowmobile thing. I think after my mission I will have learned to not care if there is deep powder or not just as long as there is snow so I can go! 
Love reading about the family, as I read it I picture all of you in my head doing whatever it is I'm reading about. It is kind of an "escape" from the Philippines for a little bit.   
Sam you only have service once a week?? We had it twice a week in the MTC. And that hose thing? Yeah we had a huge water fight with that and 5 gallon buckets of water. The bathroom was a great slip and slide when we were done. We also did choir while we were there. The choir director is pretty funny! You will enjoy it!
Love and miss you all! Hope everyone is doing great!
Love Elder Haacke

 Found a huge caterpillar yesterday. Biggest one I've ever seen!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

MTC Advice & Spaghetti

First off, Sam buy a SD card adapter at the bookstore. That's what I had to do. They are only 8 or 9 dollars. Makes it easy to use. Then at the MTC computers, after you put in your card, go to start, then utilities, then add removable media, then it will come up with this thing and you press enter, then it is normal from there. If that made sense. I don't know how you don't like the food. I thought it was great. Try the salad wrap line. After two weeks I started to feel really fat so I started eating those like 2 out of the 3 meals a day. Also Mom and Dad, if you could tell the Cobbs (or Caprice) thanks for the letter along with Bryon Reed since I don't have time to reply but I loved reading them.

This week went by a lot quicker than all of the other weeks so far. Learned a lot and kept progressing in the language. Slowly but surely it will come! Letters about the week were awesome as always. Love hearing about the family and now I can hear about Sam's experiences at the MTC.
Monday-The ATM in my city wasn't working so we had to travel an hour to the next city to get our support money. The other town is a lot bigger so they have a nicer grocery store and a McDonald's! I was super excited about the McDonald's until we walked in and they said no burgers since they were out of meat or something. Traveled all that way and couldn't even get a Big Mac. We go back on the 30th for zone conference though so hopefully I can get one then. 
Tuesday-Had district meeting in the morning then it was just a normal day after that. 
Wednesday-Had a service assignment in the morning with my district. We swept and cleaned up garbage on some streets near a members house. Afterwards she treated us to some spaghetti which was delicious! While we were eating, a boy came up to the gate and asked if we had any plastic to give him. I think he was homeless and wanted plastic to sale to get money. We said no then he asked for some food so we decided to give him a bag of spaghetti. While we were getting the bag ready a lady came running up to the kid and dumped his bag on the ground and it had two plastic crates in it that I guess were hers that he stole. She started screaming and yelling at him and he tried to run but she caught him. We were all just watching it and Elder Loitz was laughing his head off. I guess she was saying some really bad words that I didn't understand. That gave us some entertainment for that day!
Thursday and Friday all were normal days with not much happening.
Saturday and Sunday were great listening to conference. Saturday morning at 8 was the priesthood session then normal sessions at 11 then 2. Sunday started at 9 then 1. Conference was amazing and I learned a lot. It is definitely a different experience listening as a missionary. Also it went by way faster than it ever has. It was nice spending a full day with other American missionaries so I could talk to people so I had a really good time. I was surprised at how many Filipinos showed up since it was in English and most of them had no idea what was being said but hey good for them for coming! Over all it was a really good week this week and it got me excited for this coming week!
For the fam: So happy to hear about the week this week! That snowman from frozen is as big as you are Alexa! It definitely made me laugh when I saw it. Lachlan your picture in football looks awesome! Future Heisman trophy winner. You already have the pose down perfectly! Marissa I didn't hear anything about you but keep working hard in school! It's more important to get a good start then become lazy like me rather then start lazy and try and fix it later;) Sam seems to be doing great in the MTC and loving it! Reading her emails remind me of my MTC experience. Mom and Dad two quotes from Conference reminded me of you. L Tom Perry said, "Who could put a price tag on a mother" and I know that is so true about you mom. Dad I definitely missed you during Priesthood session. I thought about you a lot and always watching it with you. When Dieter F Uchtdorf said, "How we overestimate how well we can drive a car" it made me really think of you haha because that is something you always said. There were quite a few talks about the family and it made me think about how great of a family I come from. Sure do miss and love you all! Talk to you in a week!
Love Elder Haacke

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Working and Jamming

It was a great week in the field! Really long but had some good experiences. Sounds like everything went well with getting Sam off to the MTC. Love the weekly emails and hearing about how the family is doing.
Monday-My first p-day in the field. After we got done emailing in the morning we went to Jollibee which is like the Mcdonalds of the Philippines so that was super good. Then we went and did some shopping for random things. And I had to get a watch since I somehow lost mine in the Manila temple. One of the stores we went into was playing the song "It's 5 0'clock somewhere" so I started singing along. It had been a while since I had heard a country song.
Tuesday- Had district meetings in the morning. Fun talking to all the missionaries in the zone again. Talked to one missionary from Australia for like an hour outside which was pretty fun. Talked a lot about home. Had 4 appointments that night that we taught then dinner at a members home which is always good.
Wednesday- Elder Zabala had to go up to Cauayan city for the day for district leader training so I went with the zone leaders, Elder Johnstun and Elder Iuli. They are awesome and a lot of fun. Ate lunch at Jollibee again then went to work. I could understand a lot more of the lesson since they spoke a little slower than Elder Zabala. The day was long but got a lot of lessons in and met a lot of new people.
Thursday- Just a normal day on Thursday. Only got three lessons though. Either everybody was gone or said to come back another time so it was also a long day.
Friday- Another good day on Friday. One of the lessons we were going to is way back in the trees and there is a chicken farm back there. Really weird but inside the fence to the chicken farm they were blasting music and the song they were playing was the "Turn Around Bright Eyes" that Dad always sings at home. It made me smile and think of him always singing it and how Marissa reacted haha. 
Saturday- Pretty good day lesson wise but really met a lot of new potential investigators that we'll go back and teach tomorrow. Found a lot of people that are interested in the gospel so we were pretty excited!
Sunday- Was fast Sunday. Didn't really understand most of the people's testimonies but they seemed like they were really good! First time I've done a full 24 hour fast. It was not that fun especially not drinking water in the heat but it felt good late that night when I had finished it. In the afternoon, we were teaching one lesson and the neighboring house was blasting some music. Lot's of people seem to do that here. It was pretty hard to feel the spirit when "Don't stop Believin" and "Welcome to the Jungle" are playing in the background. I thought it was pretty funny though. I hear a lot more American music than I thought I would hear so it is pretty nice!

Pretty good week overall! . Language is kicking my butt still but I had a good experience Sunday afternoon teaching a family. After I said my testimony the nanay (Grandma) told me how happy it made her seeing me trying to speak Tagalog even if it wasn't that great and not very long. She told me a lot of new American missionaries come here and just use English because a lot of people can understand English here they just don't speak it but she can't understand it. It made me feel better about myself and boosted my confidence a little. It's so easy to get down on yourself but then I know that a lot of the Filipinos, especially the kids, are looking up to me so I just always smile and do the best I can. Hope to have another great week! Hope all is well at home! Love you all!

Love Elder Haacke

It looks like he has everything he needs--scriptures and M&M's!