Philippines Cauayan Mission

Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! Life's still good in the Philippines! Just finished one big party for Christmas and now everyone's getting ready for an even bigger party for New Years! Christmas pretty much killed work for the week. Longest week ever work wise. Everyone we would try and talk to or visit would say they were busy getting ready for Christmas. A lot of people when we asked when we could come back said after New Years is when they will have time for us to visit them. From what I've heard from the members, New Years is a bigger celebration than Christmas was but hopefully we can get more success this week. On Christmas Eve, we had made plans to go out to an area where I had never been. We had talked to members about this area and they told us there were some less actives out there. They weren't lying because we found a lot more less actives but nobody wanted to listen because they were "busy" getting ready for Christmas. Something cool is the way to get there we can either walk straight through the rice fields or take a tricycle around them on the road. We thought it would be more fun to walk through the fields so that's what we did. Ended up covering my shoes in mud and it got all over my pants too! It was pretty fun though so it was worth it. Christmas day was pretty fun too. Ate at a couple of different member's houses. I've never been so full in my life. It was all really good food though. 
On Saturday, we had a baptism to go to in the afternoon. It was the sister's baptism though. The girl's name that was baptized is Leane. She has been coming to church since I have been in the mission. I didn't know she wasn't a member until about 3 weeks ago. I guess her mom didn't give the okay for her to be baptized so she never got baptized. The sister's told her since she is 22 years old she doesn't need permission from her parents so she finally got baptized. The baptism was really good and she was really happy. 
Sunday was a pretty good day. Church was pretty good. President Rahlf came to church here too. While we were in class, next thing we knew he walked in the door and said hello to everybody. President and Sister Rahlf are definitely awesome people and are perfect for leading the mission. Later in the day we visited the Lapid family. You might remember them from a couple weeks ago. So they live really far away but they have the means to be able to attend church. The lesson to them was amazing. We were able to teach the whole family together again and they all participated and asked good questions too! It is really fun to teach and visit with that family. The only bad thing is they are only all together on Sunday's so we can only visit them once a week. I'm really excited for them and I hope we can get somewhere with them before I end up transferring. 
I hope you all are doing well and have a happy New Year this week!
Love Elder Haacke
 Elder Haacke and his companion Skyping family from the local internet cafe on Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A New Companion

Pretty busy week this week getting close to Christmas! Doesn't really feel like Christmas at all. I can't believe it is here already. Biggest news of the week is I got a new companion! His name is Elder Taumalolo from New Zealand. He only has one more cycle after this one until he goes home. He's so awesome. We have a lot of fun together but when it is time to work he works hard. I'm really excited for this cycle!
Tuesday- We went around to different people for Elder Zabala to say bye to and he finished packing. We had a lunch appointment with the zone leaders in their area and they made potato salad! It was so good! They also spake pretty much fluent English so it was really easy to talk to them. Later that night we had our usual dinner appointment at the Plucena's house. We always eat the same thing there every week but it's okay because it's pretty good. 
Wednesday- We got picked up in the morning and went to Solano which is the transfer point for the missionaries down south. All the transferring missionaries continued up to Cauayan and the others stayed in Solano to wait until the new companions got there. We had to wait for a long time so we went to McDonald's then walked around Solano for a while. We went back to the church and still had a long time to wait. One elder brought Uno with him so we played a couple rounds. We had a ton of fun and then right when we finished the second round the missionaries got there. I went and met my new companion and then came back to Bambang. As soon as we got here we went out and walked the part of the area that was close by. He saw a lot of people he new before. About a year ago he was assigned in Bambang zone but over the hill from where we are now. He went on splits just once here in this area and everybody still remembers him from that.
Thursday- Just a usual day. Went out to work in the furthest part of the area. Everybody said either no, next time, or they just weren't there. We ended up doing some finding since none of the people we planned for worked out. After a long day of work we had dinner at the Peralta's house again. We ate a lot there then went back home for the night.
Friday- We had the Chrismas zone conference so we had to go all the way back to Santiago which is like 3 hours in the van. Christmas party was a lot of fun though. We listened to President and Sister Rahlf first. They always do an awesome job teaching. Then we ate lunch and after lunch was time for skits. As zones, we were given a bag of a lot of different things in it and we had to use them in a skit. We had half an hour to work on a skit. My zone acted out the Christmas Carol with Scrooge and Tiny Tim and all that. It was super funny and a real good time watching the other zones perform their skits too. Then to finish the meeting we had a testimony meeting and then came back to Bambang.
Saturday- Another good day today. Went to the other part of the area and worked there for a while. Branch 2 had their Christmas party but we thought we would join them in the celebration even though we are the missionaries in branch 1. They roasted a pig for dinner which was amazing. The skits that they did were also really funny. Overall it was an awesome day!
Sunday- Kind of disappointing at church. We didn't have any investigators there but one new less active came. Pretty cool because she told us to go away and shut the door on us just two weeks ago. Tried to visit them that night but every time we stopped by their house no one was there. 
Pretty good week again. We didn't get as many lessons as we have in the past but we found 5 less actives just by tracting and they were excited when we started talking to them. Also on Sunday we were out walking and, jokingly, I said lets go OYM that house over there. It was a really nice house that I have walked by quite a bit. Next thing I knew Elder Taumalolo starts walking over there and we "Tao po" the door. A guy comes to the door and invited us inside. We told him about the church and shared a Christmas message about Jesus Christ. We asked if we could come back and he said yes. Pretty excited to go back this week and start teaching him and his family.
Everything is going well here and I hope everyone is doing great back home! Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and I'll talk to you next week!
Love Elder Haacke

Picture with an active family. They are a lot of fun to go visit sometimes. It's the Chikino family. One of my favorite families here in Bambang. Also you can see my new companion in the picture.
 Picture of me and Elder Zabala.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Biggest Snail

Pretty good week this week! Another really busy week and went by pretty quick again! Highlight of the week was Zone Conference on Thursday with Elder Bowen of the Seventy. Left at 8 in the morning and went to Santiago, ate lunch at Mcdonald's, then the Conference started at 1:30. He talked a lot about obedience and how it will effect your missionary work then later we talked about some doctrine. Mainly the oath and covenant of the priesthood, baptismal covenant, house of Israel, and the Abrahamic covenant. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot.I remembered to ask Elder Bowen if he knew Nate Blanchard and he did so we talked about that for a little. Also all of their kids went to Skyline as well. Then at the end they fed us dinner then we left and came back to Bambang. 

We found a couple new families this week that I am pretty excited about. One family is the Judosho family and we taught the mom last week then we went back yesterday and we taught the mom and the dad together. The son didn't want to join but the mom and dad were really accepting to what we shared. The other family is the Lapid family and they are really cool. They live really far away and on the top of a mountain. One day we had 5 appointments fall through so we went to the top and we found them. We've only shared with them once so far but they were there as a whole family and loved what we shared. They have one daughter who is 10 years old. She is a little shy but she listens and does everything we ask her. She has finished reading everything we have given them so far. Hopefully they will be home this week so we can visit a couple times!

Sunday night was the Christmas devotional at the church. That was really good and there were a ton of people there! After we went and visited two more people before we went home. At one of them, I saw the biggest snail I've ever seen.
 My comp said he's seen way bigger but I still thought it was pretty cool! 
Anyway it was a good week overall. Didn't have any investigators at church though. We were both pretty disappointed about that. Most people don't find it necessary when they can just go to a church that is right next to their house. That's the excuse we get a lot of the time. Hopefully they'll come though soon! I hope all is doing well for everybody back home! Love you all!

Love Elder Haacke
I was standing on the back of the jeepney on the way to Banaue. Half of the zone is on top while everyone else is inside.

From Banaue:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Early Christmas

Had a pretty good week this week and, just like all the other weeks, went by really fast!
Tuesday- We had are district meetings in the morning which were good then went to Chic-boy for lunch. We end up going there quite a bit because there are only 3 main restaurants here in Bambang. Went out to work after lunch which was alright. Didn't have much success at all during the first 3 or so hours but later in the evening it picked up and we were able to get some lessons in.
Wednesday- We had a service assignment in the morning which was pretty fun. We all broke off and did different assignments. Elder Brandon and I took the weed whacker and the machete and went up and cut down a ton of weeds. It took forever. We did if for almost three hours. The weed whacker was not that great though. It kept dying on us and the last thing we wanted to do was break it. While we were cutting down some weeds I found a bag laying in the grass with dad's name and my name on the bag. I thought it was awesome so I went and took a picture of it. 
Then the kids got a break from school for a bit so we played with a bunch of them for about 20 minutes which was a ton of fun!
Thursday- Had apartment checks today. We spent the whole morning cleaning and yes dad I even cleaned the bathroom. Scrubbed the floor for an hour. Didn't touch the toilet though, that thing is pretty gross. 
When the Shorters came to check the apartment, they also walked in with a box which was my Christmas package! I was pretty excited! Plus there is isn't anyone here to make me wait until Christmas to open it!
Friday- Just a normal day today. Work was pretty good. Started to go in a different part of an area that I haven't been to before so that was pretty cool. Found a few people to follow up with and got a couple lessons while we were there.
Saturday- Got punted for the most part of the day. Meaning that all the appointments we had fell through and didn't happen so we did some finding. We walked to the top of a mountain and started going down the backside and there were a few houses there so we tried there. The second one invited us in and were really nice and let us share to them. Then we found a couple other people to follow up with the next time we go there.
Sunday- Church was good. Didn't have any investigators there this week. Kind of disappointing. Went on splits later in the day with Elder Brandon and his companion. Me and Elder Brandon went together but only got one lesson. Walked so much. Then we joined the sisters and went caroling to some less actives in their area. That was a lot of fun actually!
Monday- We were able to go to Banaue this morning! A ton of fun! Didn't go hiking this time but went into a bunch of little shops up there. Got a few pictures from the look out point and some pictures of us on the jeepney on the way back to Bambang. Stopped in Solano and ate at McDonald's. First time I've eaten there since I've been in the mission! It was awesome! 
Pretty great week this week and it should be another good week this week too. We are supposed to have zone conference with Elder Bowen this week but as of now he is still stuck in Manila because of the typhoon. We got a little bit of rain up here and no wind. The temperature did drop quite a bit though and I actually put sweats and a long sleeve shirt on for the first time last night! 
Hope everyone is doing well and I love you all!
Love Elder Haacke

Monday, December 1, 2014

Another Good Week in the Phililppines

Sam I can't believe you're already headed out this week! Those 9 weeks flew by! Can't wait to hear about your experience traveling! The worst part for us was taking the TRAX system to the airport with 43 missionaries and all the bags. That was horrible so hopefully you don't have to do that! 

Another good week in the Philippines! Stayed pretty busy this week which made time go by really fast! Taught 31 lessons this week which is way more than the average we have been getting!
Tuesday- Not too much happened on Tuesday. Had district meeting in the morning, ate lunch all together then went straight to work after that. Had dinner at the Plucena's house. We're trying to get them to help us with missionary work by coming with us but they say they're always busy. That's the problem with the branch. Our member present lessons are pretty low cause we can never get anybody to work with us. The one brother that has worked with us in the past leaves on his mission this week to California so we won't be able to use him anymore.
Wednesday- A normal, busy day. Didn't have a dinner appointment but the last family we visited that night gave us a bag of pancit to take home and eat for dinner. While walking home there was a homeless lady on the side of the road so I walked over to her and offered her the pancit. She tapped my leg then showed me the coins in her hand. I thought she was offering to pay so I said no it's for you and that I don't want money. She did it again then I realized she was tapping my wallet and wanted money from me. I said no but the pancit is for her and she tapped my thigh a third time. I tried to explain that I can't give money but I want to give her this food and she said no so I just walked away. Pancit sure was good for dinner though! I couldn't believe she didn't want the food but oh well.
Thursday- Totally forgot it was Thanksgiving all day until I went to write in my journal at night. Didn't get a big feast but that's alright. 
Firday- Had service in the morning. Cut down or pulled weeds for almost 3 hours. And we have to go back this week to do it again. Not the most fun service project but there were many that were grateful when they walked by. Went and ate at Chic-boy after and it was their one year anniversary so it was packed. Got some free pictures taken and the food was still good though.
Saturday- Went to Dupax for another baptism interview. I like the area over there. Maybe someday I'll get to come back to Bambang and get assigned in Dupax. 
Sunday- Finally got two investigators to church. Hopefully we can progress with them this week and they will continue to come. Tatay and Nanay Fernandez made it 4 weeks in a row so now they're considered returned! Another less active family came again and he actually spoke. He said that whenever he gets lost he always finds himself back in this church then bore his testimony which was awesome. 
Great week over all and went by really fast!! Hopefully we can continue to get lessons this week and make some progress with some investigators! 
Love you all!
Love Elder Haacke
I totally spaced pictures this week. Time flew by then just last night I realized I hadn't taken any pictures! I'll do better this week!