Philippines Cauayan Mission

Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, April 27, 2015

Soaking Rain

Dad that was an interesting way to start out the weekly letter this week! I ruined it for myself though since I always scroll down to the pictures first so I saw the p.s. at the end so it was the first thing I read. This week went by super fast. As I have been thinking about what to summarize for the week I haven't been able to think of many things to write about. Transfer day was on Wednesday this week but not a whole lot changed in my zone since only two people were transferring. Elder Brandon if you remember from Bambang, came and took Elder Frank's place and a Sister from Bambang also came to my zone so I knew both the missionaries coming in. Something I look forward to every transfer day is meeting new missionaries but that didn't happen this transfer day. Since it was transfer day this week we had district meeting on Thursday instead of Tuesday. I taught about "Our Purpose". Teaching district meetings have gotten way easier for me since the first one. Now I just write down a few notes and just talk from that and have some activities and role plays then the time is up. I thought it would take me forever to get used to teaching district meetings since teaching has never really been my thing but I actually got it down pretty fast. 
So Tuesday for work we went to one of the furthest areas, Maligaya, since we had scheduled a dinner appointment with our branch president there. At about 6, clouds started coming in super fast then pretty much within a blink of an eye it started pouring rain the hardest its rained since I've been here. We ran to Presidents house and just decided we'd have dinner a little earlier since we had no more appointments and it was pouring rain. While at dinner we sat down with President and talked about some less actives that he knows that we can contact. He gave us a couple names to find in the area Marcos but we weren't able to go out there this last week. Well the rain never stopped while we were eating and we had a 40 minute walk ahead of us. Elder Pawin left his umbrella at the house and my umbrella broke in my first cycle in Bambang and I haven't gotten a new one. We were soaked to the core once we finally got home.
Saturday I had my second baptismal interview. This one was a lot better than the last. It also helped that this person was 20 instead of 11 like the last one. During the interview, she knew the questions before I would even ask them! Once we finished I was talking to the Sisters that have been teaching her and they said they went over the interview about 7 times with her so no wonder she knew all the questions haha.
Still didn't progress with any investigators this week and we are still trying to find new ones that will progress further than the first two visits. We did have two less actives at church so that was really nice to see after all the bad luck we have been having the past weeks. One of the talks given in church on Sunday I thought was really good. Pretty much the first time I've really stayed focus on a talk during sacrament meeting since I've been here since normally they just read straight from the Liahona. But the speaker talked about the priesthood and she talked about how she has her own doctor right at home because of the priesthood he holds. She specifically mentioned how she doesn't have to rely on the missionaries to give blessings which is the part I liked. Of course we always will go when we are called but the members here rely way too much on the missionaries. We are always the go to people even though there are elders quorum members as their neighbors and we are like 30 minutes away. 
Overall this was a pretty good week and a little more successful than the past weeks we have been having so we were happy with it. Hope everyone continues to do well at home. Love you all!
Love Elder Haacke

Some old pictures:

 Went to KFC on transfer day (last transfer day in March).
Decided to have my district meeting outside this week since all the fans didn't work inside the church. That is my district except for Elder Latu who is taking the picture.
Elders Iuli, Lavelua, Latu, Frank, and I in the back of the AP's pickup when Iuli came and visited district meeting.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Iffy Week

Before I start, got the Easter package this week. Thanks! I downed the Sixlets! Tried to make them last but it didn't work very well.
But another cycle down! Scary fast! Got the transfer list earlier today. There are only two missionaries in my zone leaving. One of them is because he is going home so that was a given. My district will be the exact same for next cycle so I won't be losing or gaining anybody. I really like the Elders and Sisters I have in my zone right now so I'm not disappointed at all. The week this week was another iffy week. Not much luck but we did what we could.
Tuesday, we had the last zone lunch after district meeting. Went to Chicboy again. Getting sick of that place...but it's always fun with the entire zone! We knew that Elder Frank was going home so it was the last one with him and we didn't know who else was going to transfer. Lunch was pretty good then we went straight into splits. I was going to have to go to Elder Latu and Elder Cruzit's area later that day for the baptismal interview so I just decided to make splits out of it since I hadn't split with them yet this cycle. I worked with Elder Cruzit and we had a pretty good day! We dropped by one members house that had a referral to give to us and they also told us that Sister Weber (a teacher from the MTC) was coming back to Cauayan Mission the first week of May and going to visit them. They were super excited about that. After a few appointments we went back to where the interview was going to be. I've seen interviews be an hour long and I've seen interviews be like 6 minutes so I wasn't sure how it was going to go. The interview went well which was super nice for my first interview. Lasted about 15 minutes maybe. Always nice to get the first one over with. I think the next ones will be a lot easier now. 
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were normal days of work. Didn't go the best either. We got a referral that sounded promising. It was a family that had been waiting to listen to the missionaries for over a month. Would have been nice if we would have gotten the referral a month ago huh? Well we went to go contact them the day we worked in that area and they weren't there. We'll probably go back there tomorrow so hopefully they will be there. The people that we were able to teach this last week wasn't anybody new. Nobody we teach wants to progress. It feels like people will just listen to you because they don't want to say no. It seems like that with less actives and investigators. So normally that would mean find new investigators right? Well we find new investigators then they only want to listen to the first couple because they don't want to say no then they give you an excuse to stop listening. I think almost a month now it has felt like that here in this area. But also it seems like it's almost always like that here. I don't know if I said this before but even the members know. They always ask us how the work is and before they even let us answer they say "There's no progress right? Difficult here in San Pedro. There's always nobody progressing." So it's like the members already know what it's like but they still don't want to help at all. But when it comes to stuff like that you can really just worry about yourself and try and kill the work and get some success. We keep praying for it and hope it comes soon. 
Saturday morning we had a service over in the ZL's area. We did more weeding but it wasn't as bad as the last one with the chili plants. Having a service assignment is always fun to switch up the week a little bit. Finished the service around 11 so we thought we'd hit lunch real quick with Elder Frank before he left. Just some of the Elders that we are close with. I heard a lot about Elder Frank when I was in Bambang and I finally got to meet him when I came here to Roxas. I had a good couple cycles with him and it was cool to say bye. 
This week went by super fast even though we didn't get the success we wanted with the work. Hope everyone has a great week this week! Love you all!
Love Elder Haacke

Monday, April 13, 2015

Love Being A Missionary

Good to hear from everybody again! Seems like everyone is doing good and Sam is absolutely loving the mission! I am too! Even though some weeks are tough (last week) the Lord's work will never stop!
This last week flew by since we had conference for two days. Work was alright this week. No progress again with any investigators that I have talked about in the past so that was unfortunate but it still feels like we had a good week this last week. On Wednesday we went out to a part of the area called Marcos. Elder Corcuera and his companion here before me stopped going to the area because they said it was too far and not worth it. I never went there with Elder Corcuera since he never wanted to but with how the work has been going lately, we decided we should go back out there and try it again. We had no idea where we were going and some farmers we passed on the way just looked at us and said we have a long walk ahead of us. Actually, the walk wasn't that far at all. About a 30 minute walk was all. Kinda weird since the other part of our area that we have always gone to is like a 40 minute walk and Corcuera always told me Marcos was way further. We got to Marcos and just did finding the whole time since we had no people to contact there. It's not a huge area but there are enough houses to make the trip worth it. We made a loop on the way back to the apartment and went by Nanay Dominga Cantor(Inv), Brother JunJun(recently returned LA), and Tatay Cabading(LA) who all were not there. We didn't get many lessons but we contacted a lot that we can follow up with this week.
Thursday and Friday were alright days. Just usual days of work. Still had no luck with the Investigators in the area but we tried our best. I was supposed to have my first baptismal interview Friday night. We went out to Mallig (different elders area in my district) to do the interview. We met up with the Elders and went to the investigators house and she wasn't there. We waited for about 20 minutes and she never showed up so we just told the mom we'll reschedule it for this coming week. 
Saturday and Sunday was awesome. Absolutely loved General Conference! There were a ton of talks centered on the family on Saturday especially. Saturday night after the Priesthood Session, Elder Brandon called and we talked about conference for a little bit. He's still up in Tuguegarao but I think he'll transfer next week. Speaking of that, transfer week is next week. How fast was this cycle! This is the last full week of the cycle then its transfers again! Can't believe it! I don't think I'm going anywhere so I'll probably be the same for another cycle. 
After conference on Sunday since we were in Roxas we just went on splits so we didn't have to go back to San Pedro then come back in the morning. I went with Elder Lavelua and Latu. We had a ton of fun and taught 3 lessons which was awesome for the short time we had. One was a little over an hour but was an awesome lesson to their investigator. Two of my favorite elders in the zone and we got to split together. It was super fun teaching together. Then we had dinner with a family in the Roxas branch at night. They were a sweet family! We could've sat and talked all night! Maybe it is because of splits that my week feels better than it really was. Got to end the week with an awesome splits! 
Being a missionary is such an amazing opportunity. We were talking about it on splits yesterday. Just about how awesome it is to meet all the people we do and build relationships with them and see them change and find a happiness you can't find anywhere else except for in the gospel. I have come to know without a doubt that there is no better work than sharing the gospel of helping people come closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Hope everyone has a great week this week! Love you all!
Love Elder Haacke
 Service from last week:

 Another service from last week.

A harvested tobacco field. They hang it up to dry in those tents. First time I've seen a tobacco field is here in Roxas.

The family we had dinner with while on splits.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Second Area Trials

Don't really know where to start so I guess I'll start with the storm. On Wednesday, President texted and said we can go withdraw our support money to be able to prepare for the storm that was going to come on Sunday. Fast forward to Friday (I think) and we were talking about it with some people and they said it was a category three storm. We asked every person we talked to about it since everyone was saying something different. Final conclusion on Saturday night was a category 2 that was going to arrive at 4:00 Sunday morning. Well, woke up Sunday morning, looked up at the sky and there was still some blue! Darker clouds did finally come in and it started raining while we were at church. Rain wasn't even that hard though and there was no more than a breeze of wind. Huge let down. I was looking forward to it all week. Hopefully we can get another one soon. I think "typhoon season" is more in July but I'm not sure.

Another rough week with the work. Haven't gotten very much luck here in San Pedro. I was told many times back in Bambang that a trial was going to come in my second area. I don't know if this is it or not but right now the area is not good at all. Last cycle we returned five less actives right? Three of them haven't came to church for 4 weeks in a row for random reasons like getting a haircut and stuff. Investigator wise it hasn't been going well either. Our main potential investigator, Sister Princess, is moving to Roxas this week so she will be in other Elders' area so we will refer her to them.

Had a service assignment on Wednesday that was pretty fun. Well the part of being with everyone in the zone was fun. It was over in the sisters' area. We went to a families chili field and weeded between the rows of chili plants. It was a lot to do and super hot but we still made it fun.

Friday was a pretty weird day. Holy Friday or Good Friday? Something like that. But there was like nobody outside. There were no people in the fields and the zone leaders told me even the Savemore (like a Walmart in America) in Roxas was closed. When we asked if we could share with some people they told us no since it was Holy Friday. Then when we stopped for some drinks at a little Tindihan, a group of about 30 people walked by carrying a statue with candles lit at the bottom of it. They went over to the community basketball court and started doing some worshipping there. First time I've seen something like that.

Another week of ups and downs for sure. I can't wait for conference next week though. It's always uplifting and inspiring. Can't believe it's already been 6 months from last conference. Time is so fast out in the mission field! Hope everyone had a happy Easter! Love you all.

Love Elder Haacke