Philippines Cauayan Mission

Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, March 30, 2015


Another week gone by in the Philippines. I don't know if that's how I started my last letter or not but I'm out of ways to start and that's the only thing I came up with. But the week this week definitely had its ups and downs.
Tuesday I taught district meeting again. Taught about the importance of using scriptures as we teach. Quick fast forward here, I was planning this weeks district meeting yesterday and I could not think of anything to teach. Finally settled on something but wasn't sure about it. I decided I would hope President sends something to teach over email today. Well my faith paid off because he did. Guess what the topic is...using the scriptures. So it'll be a good review and be able to read some different scriptures about it. Anyway, after district meeting we split with the zone leaders for the day. I worked with Elder Larson. We had a ton of fun and taught 4 lessons together. It was a good time and learned a lot from each other. I definitely like the area they have. It seems like that a lot though. You always think other people's areas are amazing and just think your own area is difficult. 
We spent the night at the zone leaders apartment since Wednesday morning we woke up early to go to Cauayan. There was a meeting for all the zone and district leaders. Meeting was pretty good. Talked about qualities and traits of a leader. Then had a question and answer question which was good to know what to do in certain situations in baptismal interviews. After the meeting we went to McDonald's with the AP's, or Elder Iuli. Had a good time at lunch and got to catch up a bit with each other. 
Thursday and Friday were normal days but we were absolutely punted two days in a row. They were the two longest days of work ever. I have no idea what we we're doing wrong but nothing went the way we wanted. Upside is I talked to an American guy that lives here. I saw him on my first day here in San Pedro but didn't talk to him. We have gone by his house a few more times but he's never outside. On Friday he was outside and I went and talked to him for a bit. He is from South Carolina. Had a construction company but sold it to his lawyer, who is a member, and moved to the Philippines 3 years ago. He speaks no Tagalog so his wife is his translator he said. We had a nice little conversation but didn't lead anywhere to the gospel since he had to go back to his yard work. Built a quick relationship with him and looking forward to going back sometime.
Saturday our branch elders quorum activity got canceled. Pretty disappointed. We were going to go fishing so I was looking forward to it! Elder Pawin had a little LBM the night before and in the morning so he wasn't feeling that great. We still went out and worked. Had a pretty decent start. One investigator is taking the lessons pretty well so far but we've only taught her 4 times. They are super busy with tobacco harvest right now so it's hard to contact her sometimes but we had a good lesson with her on Saturday. We were also able to teach to Sister Lovely again and the lesson went well. She didn't attend church though again and neither did her family. Tatay has been in a different mood since about the last week of last cycle. They haven't been at church and every time I try and talk to him he just says he's "busy busy". I offer my help to him and he says he's fine then leaves. That's about how the last 4 attempts to talk to him have gone. The family was just returned to church last cycle, Lajo family, but they haven't attended lately. 
Church on Sunday was pretty good. Had 2 investigators at church. One is a new investigator that we met Friday night. Her name is Sister Princess and she's 13 years old. The family she lives with are members but that is the first time I've ever met her. The second was a relative of the same family that missionaries have taught in the past and we try to teach her when she is here but most the time she is in Manila. Elder Pawin and I gave talks in church also. I wasn't sure how my talk was gonna go. I started with apologizing since my Tagalog isn't very good and my branch president from behind me says, "English na lang!" He said it loud enough so like everyone could here it too. That's just how church is here though. I went on with my talk and did it all in Tagalog except a few words. When I finished 10 minutes had gone by so I was very satisfied with myself. 
Overall the week was alright. Didn't get very many lessons so in that sense I couldn't wait for the week to get over. As far as I know we have a full week this week so it should be better with more work getting done. Hope everyone has a good week!
Love Elder Haacke
 Backpack I had made like 5 weeks ago that just got finished. Pretty cool. 

 Basketball this morning. This is at the municipal building.
 Me and Elder Lavelua (my zone leader) on the tricy going to play basketball.

Pics of the hanging bridge we went to last cycle the same day as Magot Dam. Just got these pics.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Goats at Church

Another week gone in the Philippines. Normal week this week but still went by really fast! Dad I'm not giving any conference or anything about family history? I just logged onto the website that one day and looked at all the family history stuff. Also I don't need another card. I was able to buy one here. 
My first district meeting lesson went pretty well on Tuesday. The AP's came to Roxas so Elder Luli got to sit in on my lesson also. I think I've told you about him right? But I taught about the importance of strong testimonies. I thought I was going to be short on time until I heard the other district singing their closing song so that was a relief. Other than that there isn't much I have done so far other than stuff with the key indicators. Still I'd rather not have to worry about preparing lessons and I'd rather listen to them but it is what it is! 
The work was alright this week. We were able to teach Nanay Dominga Cantor and it went really good! The lesson was super long but I thought it was alright since we were answering her questions. She keeps saying that all churches are true and there is no wrong church. We told her that all churches have truth but not the whole truth. We went on by teaching the foundations of the church that Jesus Christ established and then lead to the apostasy and restoration. She understood well and we felt good about how the lesson went. If you remember she was the one that we went by last week and had the Jehovah's missionaries at her house. Well after the lesson we walked out and there were the missionaries at the neighbors house. They sure did stare us down as we walked by. 
I think I've told you about Sister Lovely and Brother Orlando before. If not, Sister Lovely is part of a part member family and Orlando is a relative. Cousin if I remember right. We started teaching them right when I got to San Pedro but it has been a while now since we had been able to share with them. Saturday we were finally able to get time with them and continue. The connection wasn't really there and it kinda felt like we were talking to a brick wall. We decided to break out the card tricks. Something I've picked up on the mission so far. It helped build our relationship with them a ton and they listened 10 times better afterwards. The only bad thing is we used all the magic tricks we had so next time I'm not quite sure what we'll do! We just taught them about the Book of Mormon. We reviewed the restoration a little bit also since it had been a while. They told us they would be at church the next day but that ended up falling through. 
That's pretty much all for investigators that are somewhat progressing. We teach a lot of lesson one each week and then people don't want to continue so that is the struggle we have with investigators. All we can do is keep finding and teaching and doing are best to help them feel the spirit and want to know more. 
With the less actives, we were able to find 2 more less actives this week through contacting. I think one of them might have good potential to return. His wife isn't a member so hopefully as he returns it will bring her to church also. We haven't been able to teach them yet but hopefully they'll have time this week. Other less actives has been kinda rough. One had attended church twice in a row but didn't this last Sunday. He just got the chicken pox and he doesn't want us to teach him while he has it. Others we continue to teach but haven't returned back to church yet. Hopefully soon.
On Sunday, they had asked us to bless the sacrament so that's where we sat which is right next to the window. During a song, Elder Pawin tapped my shoulder and pointed outside. There were two goats that had come in to the church grounds and were about to go into the church. Well they continued and came into the church also. I guess you know you're in the Philippines when you have goats coming into your sacrament meetings. 
Alright week this week overall. Had it's ups and downs as always but we continue to press forward slowly but surely. Hope you all continue to do well back home! Love you all!
Love Elder Haacke
Elder Cruzit, Sister Esquera and I at zone meeting from last week. Those aren't my glasses by the way.

 Tarantula we found at the apartment.
Goodbye's with Elder Corcuera. The Gaspar family.
The Ramos Family.

Monday, March 16, 2015

District Leader

Busy week this week! Another cycle done and another cycle started. Time is flying! Busy week this week with transfer week and zone meeting! Like I said last week, my companion was going to transfer so I knew I was getting a new companion. Something new is that on Tuesday morning around 8:00, President Rahlf called and talked to me for a little bit, then he told me he was calling me as district leader. I knew that was the purpose of the call as soon as I saw who was calling. I wanted to be in leadership positions at the beginning of my mission but since then my desire has completely changed. I wasn't very excited for the call but of course I'm willing to do it and give it my best. 
Tuesday we went around to different families in the branch for Elder Corcuera to say bye. We took pictures with a couple families then went back to the apartment for him to finish packing. Wednesday morning, everyone that was transferring from Roxas met at the zone leaders apartment in the morning and piled in a van to go to Cauayan. Transfer day is my favorite since you get to see a lot of missionaries. I got to see 4 other elders from my batch from Provo which was pretty cool. Also got to see Elder Poulter again. I miss being in the same zone as him but at least I got to see him on transfer day. He's only got two more cycles which is crazy! Elder Corcuera's new area is up in Tuguegarao so he get's to enjoy the hottest city in the Philippines as summer arrives this cycle! My companion was coming from Tuguegarao so I had to wait a while in Cauayan for him to get there. That was alright though because we went to the mall in Cauayan and had KFC for lunch. Super good and nice to have something different than the usual Jollibee or Chicboy. My new companion's name is Elder Pawin. He is pretty cool so far. Sometimes it is hard for him to get out of the apartment on time so hopefully we can work on that this week. But other than that he is a good teacher and we still get work done. 
Had zone meeting on Thursday. It was alright. It was about How To Begin Teaching so it was stuff that we had heard before. It is still important though and definitely makes a difference in finding investigators that will progress and those that most likely won't. Did my first accounting with my district and I will do my first lesson tomorrow.
Couple experiences we had from the work this week. Friday we definitely lost the battle to the Jehovah's Witnesses. We go to walk up to the appointment that we had and they are sitting down listening to the Jehovah's missionaries. Go to the next appointment, they are sitting down listening to Jehovah's missionaries also! We say, okay we'll just do finding. So there is a guy painting his fence and we go up and start talking to him and he doesn't say too much. Try to start talking about the church and the message that we have. Ask if it is okay that we leave a pamphlet with him and he says no. Guess why...because he is a Jehovah's witness. End up going to an old Nanay's house that is a member and visit her for a while. Then we go try a couple more places then go back to the houses with the other missionaries earlier. This is a little more than 2 hours later and guess what...they are still there! I was pretty disappointed because one of them was Nanay Dominga Cantor that I have been pretty excited about. So we weren't able to visit her this week. 
A better experience we had was on Sunday. We worked with Nanay and Tatay Gaspar. They do a lot of missionary work as members and they know a lot more less actives than we do so they came with us and showed us a few more families we could visit. The second to last visit was to Nanay Helen. I had gone to her house on my second day in San Pedro but then we never went back the rest of the cycle so I had kind of forgotten about her. She is a less active. Anyway, in the lesson, she just broke down in tears and started talking about how she's never felt so alone and how much she regrets not praying and coming to church. As the lesson went on she was good and listened really well. She said the closing prayer and she broke down in tears again saying she will return. Didn't have any investigators at church and no less actives are considered returned this week. Praying for some more success this coming week in the work. Hope everyone continues to do good at home! Love you all.
Love Elder Haacke

Monday, March 9, 2015

Harvest Time

Last week of the cycle already! Big news of the day is I found out a few hours ago my companion is transferring. I'm not really excited for that. I liked this companion. We got along really well and we worked good together. My time with him flew by so fast. I can't believe the cycle is over already. The week once again went really fast!

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were full days of work. Progress with investigators wasn't good this week at all! Any investigators that were progressing didn't this week. We weren't able to contact Dominga Cantor this week who is someone I think can progress as long as we are able to continue to visit with her. Brother Dennis Ramos, I don't know if I've talked about him in the past but he went out of town and won't return for a couple months and he was progressing just hadn't gone to church. The investigators that attended church last Sunday didn't this Sunday. Very difficult week with the investigators so I don't have a lot to write about. Hopefully the week this week goes a little better even though it will be really busy with transfer week!

Friday switched it up a little bit. We had service in the morning in the zone leaders area so we traveled to Roxas in the morning. We weeded a huge garden and watered all the plants. It's like a mini squash farm. The weeds really weren't that bad so it wasn't too bad to weed. We got our zone t-shirts also so we got to wear them at the service. Pictures are on someone else's camera from the service though so hopefully I can get those sometime. Elder Lavelua, my zone leader from New Zealand, got a huge package this week and had a ton of New Zealand chocolate bars in it so we went to their apartment after the service to eat some chocolate before we went back to our area. They definitely have the best chocolate I've ever tasted. Got back to the area and went and visited Nanay Macadangdang since it was her birthday. She was just laying down watching tv when we got there. She is turning 60 but she honestly seems like she is closer to 80. We had a good visit with her and ate some cake together then went on with the rest of the day. At the last appointment, to Brother JunJun, we were leaving and a coconut had fallen from the tree during the lesson. Brother JunJun took it and cut it up for us and we each got a cup and had a drink. I've never liked it in the past but since I've been here its become one of my favorites! So about 30 minutes before that visit, we got a text from an Elder in the Mallig area that said his comp just ran away from him and got in a tricy and left. So walking back to the apartment that night, we walk in front of the church and get to the corner where we turn to go behind the church, we turn around and there is the elder that ran off haha. Long story short they haven't gotten along all cycle so it wasn't a surprise. The one that ran off is kinda difficult sometimes. But he spent the night at our apartment and the zone leaders went out to the other elder and they went back to Roxas. So that means Saturday morning, we had to go to Roxas. We planned to stay there until lunch then just leave and go straight to the area we were going to work at. The zone leaders and the other elders went on splits and eventually worked out the problem. We took a jeepney to go back out to where we were going to work that day. The jeepney was packed fuller than full and guess who was the first person to get off? I was. I was at about the middle of the jeepney so I had to climb over people and boxes to get out the back. It was quite the experience. You could probably say I tackled those boxes. I thought I could step over all of them and so I went for it but didn't even come close. They were all probably just thinkin, "Dang Americans..." Haha I probably actually get that quite a bit. But the day was alright. Disappointing with the investigators though. Weren't able to share with any of them. Finally made the long trek back to the apartment.

Sunday we got to church at 8:20. It normally starts at 9 but I saw on the paper of the branch clerk that it is supposed to start at 8:30. I didn't know that before but I didn't think it mattered since everybody shows up for church at 9 and we are the only branch in the building. Well this time the second counselor of the mission, President Pasqua, was there so the branch president wanted to be at his best. That means sacrament meeting started at 8:30. We were outside standing, waiting for people to get there then someone came and told us we were starting. We walk in and there is only like 15 people there since nobody knows it is starting at 8:30. By the end of the meeting we were to the normal number but not even half got to take the sacrament. I passed the sacrament again. President Pasqua did give a good talk about the purpose of fasting and that we need to take it more seriously. The rest of church was good. We worked close to the church for the most part of the day. Then later went back to Brother JunJun since he promised us some more coconut juice. We got there and he wasn't there and his parents (nonmembers) were out in the rice fields. We decided to go out and talk to Nanay and Tatay until JunJun got back. We walked out there and while we were talking to them, Nanay asked me if I wanted to try harvesting. Of course I wanted to try it so I did. It was way harder than I thought! They were laughing at me haha but it was a lot of fun. Also helped break the ice a little bit with Nanay and Tatay since they never want to listen to us when we go over. JunJun eventually arrived and we shared to him but didn't get any juice. That's okay though since at least we were able to share.

Pretty busy week but didn't have the success we wanted. We'll have to work harder this week to try and get back on track. Hope everyone is doing good back home and it sounds like Sam is doing awesome! Love you all!

Love Elder Haacke

 The group we had for the one day mission.

Magot Dam that we went to last week.
 Magot Dam
The elders in my zone at Magot Dam.
 Nanay Rosalinda Macadangdang's birthday.

 A huge butterfly we found outside church yesterday.
 Tried harvesting on Sunday. A lot harder than I thought.


Monday, March 2, 2015

It's Getting Hot

Well this week wasn't the best week ever. Not a horrible week but we had a couple punted days that lasted forever! Thought a lot about Sam this week since I knew she was going to arrive in Taiwan. Sounds like you are having an amazing time so far Sam! But I don't have a lot of time this week since we went on a zone trip this morning to Magot Dam so I'll try and type as much as possible before I have to go. 
Week started out same as usual with district meeting on Tuesday. So there is one American member in my mission that goes to Manila and has a person he gets pearls and other cool stuff from and brings it back to the mission to make it available for us to buy as missionaries. He is the one I bought my first Carabao belt from. Well I got another one this week and it is pretty sweet! The first one I got was all black and this one is more brown and has more grooves in it so it actually looks like it is hand made. After district meeting we went back to San Pedro since we had a meeting with the Branch President to finalize the plans for the one day mission we were going to do on Wednesday. That lasted forever since we had to take the list of members that don't have their addresses in the MLS system and print them out and put them in envelopes to hand out to the members on Wednesday. It sounds pretty simple but I have no idea why it took so long. Finally got out to work at like 4:30 but only got one lesson in before dinner. I guess at least we had a good dinner again with the Ramos family and a ride back to the apartment! 
Wednesday was the one day mission with the branch. We had around 20 people show up which was pretty good for a Wednesday. Everyone said Wednesday was the best day for most of them. Then some of those that said that didn't even end up showing up. But anyway, we divided into groups and handed out the names to go find and visit. Elder Corcuera and I split and went to different areas. We were able to find the people we had and visit with them pretty quick so then we went around and the members showed me less actives they knew that we could visit. So the goal of this was to be able to locate a lot of the less actives from MLS that we didn't know where they were. Some of the people come to find out had died and many were abroad. Something I thought was really cool was that everyone there was really really excited with the missionary work. They all wanted to keep going so hopefully that means we can get a couple more members to start coming with us!
Thursday was the hottest day so far of my mission that I could remember. I think summer is here in the Philippines. The rest of the week after Thursday was just as hot. Felt like I was literally sitting in a pool of water but really it was just sweat. Kind of gross. We were able to endure the heat though and had a good day with 4 lessons so we were pretty happy. We were also able to follow up with some of the people we met from the one day mission. 
Friday was pretty interesting. One of the lessons on Friday was to Nanay Dominga Cantor. We have only taught her one other time. As soon as we started she started asking questions about the Book of Mormon. Next she pulled out this super old Book of Mormon and showed it to us. She doesn't remember when or how she got it. On the inside cover was a testimony on paper of the Book of Mormon from a Smith family in Providence, Utah. Their testimony was in English but the Book of Mormon was Tagalog. The picture with the testimony was also an old picture so who knows when or how it got to the Philippines but I thought it was really cool! She loved the lesson we shared with her and we answered all the questions she had about the Book of Mormon. She said she will continue to read it so we will follow up with her this week. 
Saturday since it is the last Saturday in the month we had the Elder's Quorum activity in the morning. We played some basketball then cooked hamburgers. They actually were pretty good! So fun thing from Saturday. While at the church for the activity my branch president was trying to figure out family history and he asked for my help. I have never done it before so I didn't really know what to do. I logged in though and saw that I had some stuff in there. Long story short I wanted to follow my name 'Bryan' so I followed Grandma Haacke's line back as far as I could. I eventually got to the end and the name 'Bryan' was still there and the date was in the 1600's! Pretty cool I thought. I could see myself getting into that when I get older and have some time! 
Sunday we had a pretty good turn out for church. Two more less actives are considered returned now and are doing great! Had two investigators at church again. These two are a different two from the week before but these two are ones that we have been teaching. They are both 15 years old. One is in a part member family and the other is her friend. Hopefully this week we can get some improvement with some other investigators but we are still happy with the success that we have been able to have with the less actives here in San Pedro! 
Hope everyone has a good week this week! Love you all! 
Elder Haacke