Philippines Cauayan Mission

Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sunday Success

Hope you all had as good of a week as I did! Had a super fun week this week and once again it flew by! It started off good with a family home evening at a members house with also some less actives there. It was a the Gaspar family and was a ton of fun. We got to know each other then had a lesson and played a game. So the game we played was a new one for me and pretty fun since we had little kids with us. One person was blindfolded in the middle and spun around three times. While the person in the middle spins around, the people on the outside move around then get in a circle around the person again. The person then points and whoever they point at has to make the sound of an animal. The person in the middle chooses the animal that they do. Then they guess who the person is that made the sounds. So I was pointed at once and he said chicken. Honestly I thought it was a dang good chicken sound but they all started laughing and he ended up guessing it was me! So then I had to go in the middle and I told them to make a sound of a pig and I was able to guess who it was on my first try! So we had a ton of fun at FHE and then they gave us a ride home which was nice since it's like a 45 minute walk!
Tuesday we had zone meeting. The zone leaders taught us about the apostle Peter. I really enjoyed it since I don't know very much about stuff in the Bible. We just read a lot of scriptures about him from the New Testament. It was really good though. After zone meeting I went on splits with Elder Olson from my batch out of the MTC. We went and worked in his area and his companion came to my area. I was pretty excited since we both aren't amazing at Tagalog so I wanted to see how we would do! We actually did a lot better than I thought and it was a super fun day! We got punted at first so we were walking down a road and there was this huge house so we thought hey why not? We went over and I asked them if we could introduce ourselves to them. Tatay just stood up and walked inside but Nanay was really nice and invited us in and we ended up talking for a while. She was a Catholic but had attended church a few times before over at the church in my area. She was really cool and we ended up sharing the first lesson with her. We ended up only getting one more lesson that day to a less active in the branch but the day overall was really fun! And it was a good boost of confidence in the language! Even though I'm not perfect I can still talk to people and somewhat get my point across.
Wednesday we ended splits and got back to normal. Just a good normal day of work. We went to the Maligaya area to work which means happy in English. Too bad not all the time it is happy work in Maligaya. Only got two lessons but on the bright side, one of the investigators we taught is really improving and reading and says he has a testimony he just won't come to church. Also we were able to contact a few more less actives at night when the branch president joined us in are work. He had a list of less actives that live in the area that we don't know about but we were only able to visit three before we ran out of time. We ate dinner at President's house then made the 45 minute trek back to the apartment! 
Thursday I finished the Book of Mormon for the second time since starting back at 1 Nephi in the MTC. Something the mission has already done to me is made me more of a reader than I have ever been. I've gained a love for reading the scriptures and constantly learning more and more from them. Today was another usual day of work. We worked hard but again were only able to get a few lessons. I think we got 3 that day. At night we couldn't think of anywhere to go so we went to a members house and we were talking to him then we ended up playing chess. I lost...but I've never been that good at chess so it's okay.
Friday we had weekly planning. That is as awesome as ever! Dropped quite a few investigators but those were investigators that I haven't even met! Work was pretty good today then we went to a members house to celebrate her birthday for a while. She wanted us to come because she wanted a missionary to say the prayer on the food haha I guess a good enough reason to go get some free food! But I met a guy there that worked in America for 20 or so years so he was super good in English. I was talking to him in English and it was the weirdest thing ever! Almost harder for me to get to know someone in English than it is in Tagalog now! 
Saturday was awesome. We had the Elders Quorum President and one of the councilors work with us all day. They both had motorcycles so we didn't do a bit of walking all day! We worked in the 45 minute walk area also so we didn't have to make that walk this time! They were a big help though. They knew people that we didn't know and were able to meet and ask if we could continue to visit them. We met one less active that we didn't know and when we asked if we could share or talk to her and she just said straight up NO. Haha I'm used to it and so is my companion but our fellow shippers were shocked haha. I got a laugh out of it even though we weren't able to share to her. 
Sunday was the day to see the result of are labors during the week. We finally got an investigator at church. Even better we actually got two! They actually aren't people we have visited very often so that's why it was a surprise! We will definitely visit them this week and follow up with them. A less active family, the Edralin family, has come four times in a row now so they are considered returned now. Nanay and Tatay Lajo have come 3 times in a row together now so if they come next week they will be returned. One less active that was considered returned a few weeks ago had an interview with the branch president and he will get the Melchizedek priesthood next week. So the progress is there just a little slower than we would like. We can't complain though as it continues to get better each week. 
Another great, super fast week from the Philippines. Work was pretty good and made improvement this week. We have a couple things scheduled for this coming week that should be interesting so I'll let you know how it goes! Love you all! And Happy Birthday this week Alexa!! Loved the picture you drew of us on the motorcycle!  Let me know about the presents! 
Love Elder Haacke
I can't remember if I sent you this picture or not from my fist area. If I did...well here it is again! But this is Tatay Fernandez. He was a less active when I got there but by the time I left he was active and also bringing other less actives to church with him. He turned into a great missionary!
 The huge house we went to on Tuesday.

 How they clean the church.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Time is Flying

Fastest week of the mission by far this week! Sounds life is staying pretty busy back home. Sam I'm excited for ya to head out to Taiwan! Sounds like you have loved your time in Colorado though. I'm jealous for sure but the work is pretty good here in the Philippines as well! 
On Tuesday we didn't have district meeting like usual since we had zone conference on Thursday. Just a normal day of work! Highlight was I saw 3 more white guys go by on a motorcycle. I'm kinda turning into a Filipino in the fact that if I see a white person it just about makes my entire day! We were able to visit Brother Ray again and follow up with him from the last week. He listened well again and asked a lot of questions again. It was a good lesson and we were able to teach him again on Saturday. Later that night we had dinner with the Ramos family in the branch. Before dinner I was talking with Tatay and we were talking all about cows for like 20 minutes. I told him about my experiences with cows (the best I could in Tagalog) from the farm and it made me miss working on the farm! Brought back a lot of fun memories. Dinner was good then they gave us a ride back to the apartment!
Wednesday was a quick day. We only got to work for a few hours then we had to go over to another area called San Manuel to do a baptismal interview. San Manuel is one of Elder Poulter's old areas that he told me about. The people over there love him like crazy! He was their favorite so it gave me something to talk to them about. Also I met this kid named John Mark who is insane with the Bible! He showed me some of the notebooks and papers he has written about the Bible and relating it to verses in the Book of Mormon and the D&C. He is only 16 years old and he debates with all his school teachers and the principal with the Bible. I can't even describe it but it was crazy! We spent the night in San Manuel since the next morning we had to go to Cauayan for zone conference.
Thursday was zone conference! Zone conference is always a ton of fun and uplifting! Plus there is always good food! Something cool was my zone all matched for conference. All the elders got camo ties and the sisters got matching outfits too. It looked pretty cool. I think the picture is on the mission blog. Highlight of conference was that we got new goals for 2015. They're quite a step up from the goals from 2014 so it will take a lot of work to achieve them but that's not a bad thing. Dad, you know that clip you always use from Facing the Giants? President Rahlf used the same clip! Just made me think of you the whole time. Way back from zone conference we got a flat tire in the van. Good thing was we got it right next to a gas station with a nice store. Even better was that store had Dr. Pepper! Tasted soooo good! Been way too long since I've tasted that!
Friday I have no idea what happened. I read back in my journal and all I wrote for Friday was it went super fast and that I couldn't think of anything to write and I still can't remember what we did on Friday. Guess I should be a little better in my journal!
Saturday was a good day. Like I said earlier we were able to teach Brother Ray again.Had a good lesson about receiving answers and listening to the holy ghost. We had asked him to pray about Joseph Smith but when we followed up with him he said he had forgotten. I actually thought he was really gonna come to church but that didn't happen. Had dinner with the Ramos family again. Joined Tatay and talked to him again. This time he happened to be watching some UFC so that was are topic of conversation for the evening. 
Sunday we didn't get any investigators at church again. Pretty disappointing. The less actives that came last week all came again this week but we didn't get any new ones. Just got a sister back from her mission this last week so she talked for a little bit. It was kinda funny though because she could barely speak Tagalog. She invited us for FHE with her family later tonight so we're looking forward to that! We located one less active that we were told about a week ago from a member and we were able to teach her. Had a really good lesson just about God's love and what he wants for us then when she said the prayer she paused and just started crying. She said she knew of God's love for her and she wants to change and start living after his example again. 
Overall the week was really good. Zone conference made the week go super fast. I can't believe it is already p-day again. Hope you all continue to do well at home and I love you all! 
Love Elder Haacke
 Me with a caribou.  Kinda hard to see my face though.

My apartment:

Monday, February 9, 2015

Preaching to the Cows

First full week of the new area is already finished! Had a pretty good week!
Tuesday we had district meeting over in Roxas, ate lunch at the popular place called Chicboy, then went back to San Pedro and went to work! Learned a pretty interesting statistic at district meeting also. In the Cauayan Mission, there are 22,000 members. Of those 22,000, 18,000 are less active. Pretty crazy huh? In my branch right now there are said to be like 4 or 5 hundred members but there are only 70 to 80 people at church each week. Pretty crazy number huh?
So we had a pretty cool lesson on Tuesday. We taught about prophets, apostasy, then the restoration. We weren't going to go all the way through the restoration but all his questions just led right into the next principles so we just went with it! We were at this lesson for just under 2 hours. It was so awesome though to have the discussion we had. Definitely strengthened my testimony that everything we teach is so true. We never debated once and just had a nice discussion. In the end he told himself he knew our church is the true church and wanted to continue to learn more. Even then though he still didn't come to church this week and he wasn't there every time we went back to his house throughout the rest of the week. It was a really enjoyable lesson though and made my day! 
Wednesday had a normal day of work. Good day though. We were able to get a few lessons. They weren't' ones we planned for though. Most of the plans fell through that we had made so we just went from house to house. Ended the day good though with dinner at the branch president's house. He made some good food and a lot of it which was awesome! Oh also, met a little kid and went to give him a high-5 and I realized he had 6 fingers! Craziest thing ever. I tried not to point it out since I didn't know if he was self-conscious about it or not but it was crazy!
Thursday was a punted day. Only got one lesson all day and it made the day super long! Still were able to meet a few new people but the day overall was pretty long. We went to one member's house and he brought us over to a pool table and since it had been a bad day we thought, hey why not. So we played a game of pool which was super fun! Then the lesson finally came later that night. 
Friday was great. Made myself some pancakes for breakfast and I think that's what made the day go well! Just made me in an all around better mood to start the day and it stayed with me for the rest of the day! Normal day of work and we had dinner with the Ramos family then they gave us a free ride back to the apartment. All in all a good day!
The highlight of Saturday was we had FHE with a less active family that night. The Lajo family is a pretty cool family. Tatay is super funny and always says the most random things. Played some games, taught about the restoration, then had dinner. Also with the dinner they made popcorn! Tasted pretty good too! Haven't eaten that since I left home! Got a picture with them at the end, not quite sure what Tatay and Nanay are doing in the picture haha but they are a pretty cool family! 
Sunday was good as always. Almost had to give a talk in church then the speaker showed up in time. I guess it happens quite often in this branch that the missionaries talk so I guess I should always be ready! No investigators at church but there are 2 less actives that are considered active now since they've came 4 times in a row. Also the Tatay, Nanay, and one of the daughters of the Lajo family came but I don't know what happened to the rest of the family. Good week over all! Companionship is doing really good. We get along well and have a good time with just us two in the apartment! Hope everyone is doing well and love you all!
Love Elder Haacke

This is the church building from a canal we were walking across. Our apartment is behind the church.

 All the cows here are white and really small. Tried preaching to a cow on the punted day. 

Cool picture of a spider outside the apartment. The flash off the web and spider looks pretty sweet!

The amazing pancakes I made.

The Lajo family we had FHE with.

This is Elder Corcuera, my new companion. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Farewell Bambang

Farewell to Bambang this week! Packing was the worst thing ever. I didn't like it at all. To be honest I wasn't looking forward to transferring at all. But it all ended up good and I am loving my new area and my new companion already! Transfer day was on Wednesday so on Tuesday I went around and said goodbye to all the families I could. Also we got 3 dinners Tuesday night which was awesome but we were sooo full afterwards we could barely walk home! We even got food from a member in Branch 2. We were just walking home after the second dinner and he saw us on the road and stopped and said to go to his house since he had a lot of extra food. We weren't going to turn down some free food so we decided to go and he fed us a ton! Plus an awesome desert! 
Wednesday we all piled in some vans and went to the transfer point, met our new companions then went to our new areas. My new area is called San Pedro in Roxas zone. My area is like 15 minutes outside the city of Roxas. Roxas is quite a bit bigger than Bambang which is nice. The shopping stores that are here are a lot nicer also and have more things you can buy. Wednesday we went out to a far area and met some members there, taught a less active family, then had dinner with the branch President. There are also a ton of less actives in this area so we'll probably have more success with less actives than investigators but we'll work hard on both. 
Thursday we had district meeting. There are only 3 companionships in my district including my own so it is way smaller than where I came from. One elder from my batch is in my district though so we get to talk to each other a lot and see how we're doing. The rest of Thursday was busy with work which was good. Met a lot more of the members also!
Friday and Saturday were just normal days. Both spent learning more about the area and meeting new people. I can't believe how many less actives we have and we even met more that we didn't know about before these two days. There is a lot of work to do so it should be a pretty fun area and hopefully we have some good success! 
Sunday I got to introduce myself in sacrament meeting. The branch size is similar to Bambang. Didn't have any investigators at church but we did already have some of the less actives come which was good! 
I'm excited to be able to work in my new area. The members are pretty cool and there is a lot of potential with less actives! Oh I forgot to say my companion is Elder Corcuera. He is pretty cool and was assigned in my first area before so we were able to talk a lot about that. Hope everyone is doing well and have a good week this week! Love you all!
Love Elder Haacke
New home in my new area.