Philippines Cauayan Mission

Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, August 31, 2015

New Area

Got a NEW AREA!! I'm clear at the top of the mission! Up in Tuguegarao North zone and my ward/area is the Amulung. Dad you were pretty close with what you saw by zooming in just the spelling was a little off. I'm loving the area so far and the ward is great and so is the comp!

Tuesday night, after saying goodbye to a few families ending with the Ramos family, we went to Roxas where we spent the night to be able to leave for transfer day early in the morning. Elder Latu had gone in to Cauayan Tuesday morning to do all the farewell stuff and do the last interviews and all that. So I guess he had seen the transfer board and new where I was going. He sent me a text Tuesday night saying I was going to Amulung up in Tuguegarao. I wasn't sure though if it was just his guess or if he saw something and new where I was going. Turns out he was right though. Wednesday morning we went to Cauayan and met with all the other missionaries that meet in Cauayan for transfer day. One of the first people I saw was Elder Brandon and since he is the housing elder he had the new placement sheet so he also told me where I was going. He then asked for my help in getting all the other people ready that were going to Tuguegarao so that we could leave right away. After the transfer lists were read for each zone, we got everyone's bags and loaded up and took off for Tuguegarao. The drive went a lot faster than I thought. I thought Tuguegarao was really far but I think it was only like an hour or so in the van. Got to Tuguegarao and met all the other missionaries at the transfer point there. Met my companion, Elder Gabelo, and all the other missionaries in the zone. 
My companion Elder Gabelo.
With everyone of my last companions the first meeting and the first 2 days have been more on the awkward and quiet side but it's different this time. It's only been a few days with Elder Gabelo but it feels like I have been with him for a long time since it is so easy to get along with him so it's awesome! We went and ate lunch as soon as we got there just at a small restaurant then went back to the church, grabbed my bags, and went home to Amulung. First impressions of the apartment...amazing! It is super nice! What makes it even better is it has air conditioning!! One of the few apartments in the whole mission that have it. Forgot to take pictures of the apartment but I'll get them to you next week. There wasn't much time for work on Wednesday but we were able to teach a recent convert then go over to the church to meet the members that were there for seminary. Thats pretty much it for Wednesday. 

Thursday was a pretty good day. Had district meeting in the morning. That was pretty good. This new district is the same size as the last one but everyone talks a ton more! It's so nice! The lesson is so much easier to teach since everyone shared experiences and stuff! After d-meeting we went and shopped then went home. Met a  few new members on Thursday and we had dinner with the Abalos family. Tatay Abalos is the 1st counselor I think, might be 2nd, but he is super funny. He's always crackin jokes and stuff. He gave a talk on Sunday and he was even making jokes during his talk! 

Friday was good as well. Did weekly planning, set some goals, then just worked. So beat my record of lessons in one day. Before it was 6 but on Friday we got 8 lessons! We worked all the way till 9:30 without eating dinner and loved it! The lessons were a good combination of investigators and less actives. After Friday, I could say that we had taught a good amount of lessons as a companionship and I love the way Elder Gabelo teaches. He is so good at relating things to them, using examples of people in the scriptures, asking inspired questions, etc! Hopefully I can learn a lot from him while we are together cause he is really good! 

Saturday morning we had a csp at Bishop's house then had lunch there. We just cleaned up all the weeds around his house that were covering the landscaping stuff. It was with the youth so I got to meet a lot of them. Also finally got to meet Bishop. We had gone to his house a few times but he hadn't been there. He seems like a really good guy and a good bishop. For lunch we did this one thing that is popular here. Forgot what it is called but you cook a lot of food, lay it all out on a banana leaf, then you all stand around it and eat with your hands. 
It was way good and I ate a ton! After that we played some games with the youth then went home. One lesson we taught that night was to Sister Riquelino. Her husband is a RM but went less active and she is not a member. Her husband has now been reactivated as the missionaries have taught him and his wife. Sister is the investigator and will most likely be baptized this September. She has one problem and will need an interview by President Rahlf or one of his counselors but I think she is ready for that and she wants to repent and change. It is nice because brother has also come back to church and is very supportive and encouraging to his wife. We hope to get the interview either this week or next week. 

Sunday came and I had to introduce myself to the ward. That was alright, nothing too special. Gospel principal class was great. So we had 5 less actives that are considered returned after this last Sunday so that was great. And out of nowhere there were 11 investigators at church! Even Elder Gabelo was surprised. Normally they have had it around 7 but this week it peaked so hopefully we can take advantage of that and lead to more baptisms!

Overall, I'm loving the new area. Ward is great, area is great and the companion is great. I am excited for what's ahead! Hope everyone has a good week this week and I love you all! 

Love Elder Haacke
Last pictures from San Pedro:
 Pic with the Youth
 Pic with the Single Adults.

 Pic with the Ramos family.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Transfer List

Proud to start this week's email off by saying this will be my last email being sent from Roxas! Got the transfer list earlier today and I am transferring this week so I will have a new companion and new area to tell you about next week! I don't really have any idea where I could be going so it should be a surprise!  

Happy anniversary to Mom and Dad! And happy birthday to Sam! Hope you all did/do something special for your big day! 
So start this week once again with district meeting on Tuesday. My last lesson before I can start using my lessons again. Since my district will be new in my new area I can reuse some of the lessons I've made in the past! This last week I taught about how what we can do to make new investigators become progressing investigators. Something I could probably work on myself as well. It was a good discussion though and every one participated well. Then we took some pictures since we new it was the last d-meeting of the cycle. The AP's called at the end of zone meeting and 2 of the elders in the zone are training this coming cycle so that was pretty exciting. Then we went and ate lunch and went back to San Pedro. We just stayed inside San Pedro for work since later that night we were going to go to the Gaspar family. We were just going to go to talk to Dianne and Melky about the plans for Saturday but then they invited us to eat dinner with them so of course we joined in! Dinner was good and we had a good time talking with them. Melky is the return missionary that just got home last month if you didn't know.

Wednesday we went out to Marcos for work. Not much of an exciting day., We planned for a ton of lessons that day. If I remember right we planned for 10 or 12. Long story short, we got two. Made for a pretty long day especially since we walked super far. We came back through Munoz and had dinner with the Ramos family. Before the Ramos family, we taught one lesson to a members friend. I guess she wants to join the church but during the htbt we found out she won't be able to because of her parents. For dinner we had these snail things that you find in the bottom of the rice fields. To eat it you suck out the snail from the shell. It is pretty hard haha I couldn't even do it so I just used a fork to pull it out. Wasn't the best tasting thing I've had so I mostly just stuck with the fish. After that, Tatay took us home then that was the night.

Thursday we found out there was a shooting like right near our house. Like 60 yards from the house is what people were saying the next day. The thing is the time they said it happened is within 20 minutes of us getting home but we never saw anything. I'm just glad I'm leaving this place before anything happens to me. During work on Thursday, almost every person talked about the shooting. At least it was something to use to start the conversation. So starting about Thursday afternoon, some clouds came in and it was a light rain all the way until Sunday afternoon. It was always just a super light rain though, it never got strong or anything. Along with the wind, it was always calm. 

Friday was pretty good. Nice and cool because of the clouds and light rain. Before lunch time, we went to Roxas to get Elder Latu since he was gonna work with us until Monday. We ate lunch in Roxas then went straight to work after lunch. We just worked in Munoz then went to the Gaspar family for dinner. Before dinner, we were able to teach Tatay Cabading. Lessons to him are always kinda difficult. This is the Tatay that said before that he wants to go to the terrestrial kingdom. It's hard to teach to him because he has no desire to improve his life. Oh well, we were also able to teach to Sister Jenny Mae. She is part member family and she wants to be baptized but she won't come to church. So highlight of the night at the Gaspar's house, I ate dog for the first time. It was actually pretty good to be honest. The only hard part is thinking of what you are eating. Also people say that it is really dirty so some people don't eat it.

Saturday we woke up early and went with Tatay and Melky Gaspar to the river to get rocks to use in the cooking we were gonna do later that day. That was pretty fun. Then we went back to the Gaspar's house and dug a hole for the fire. After that, we had some spare time so we went back home, showered, then went and worked in Mallig, Latu's area. That was alright but we were only there for 3 hours then came back to San Pedro, changed, and went back to the Gaspar's to cook. We were doing this since Latu was going home and I most likely was transferring. Latu showed us how to cook something that is popular down in New Zealand. You basically use the hot rocks and cook meat and vegetables. You cover the whole with a cover then dirt so the smoke doesn't get out then wait like 2 to 3 hours. After 2 and a half hours, we uncovered it, took a bite of the potato and it was still raw! Haha the meat was the only thing that was cooked. I still ate the potato cause I was pretty hungry but everyone else just ate the meat. I guess the fire wasn't big enough so there wasn't enough heat to last the full time is what they said. It was pretty late so we didn't have time to still cook it all but at least the meat was super good! It was thick too. Kinda reminded me of home. Normally the cuts here are super thin. 

Sunday was pretty good. I gave a talk which went pretty well. I was the concluding speaker. I talked about some of the things I liked from King Benjamin's address. Also, since one of the other speakers didn't show up, I got Elder Latu to speak with me last minute. Church was a little low in attendance because of the rain. Even though it was just super light rain, some people use it as an excuse not to come. Class was good as was priesthood. I took pictures with the single adult class and the youth. I've gotten pretty close with a lot of then since I've been here so that's been pretty cool. I was pretty sure I was going to transfer so I said goodbye to all the members. Kinda felt like a joke that I am leaving since I have been here for so long but the time has finally come. I'm looking forward to a new area to work in and I can't wait to tell you all about it next week! Love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love Elder Haacke

Monday, August 17, 2015

Samurai Protection

Another week done and gone already! Went by super fast again. So I realized just barely I've been in San Pedro for about 200 days! That is crazy long time but it has gone crazy fast! Had an alright week this week again. It was pretty enjoyable again and we had a few successes. 

Start on Tuesday again. This week we had zone meeting so I didn't have to teach. Zone meeting was pretty good and pretty funny. Lots of people had jokes to tell and the lesson was good too. Learned a new way I can help people recognize the spirit so I can add that to my teaching. That was the topic of zone meeting, recognizing the spirit. The zone leaders did a good job teaching it to us as well. We had zone lunch at Mang Inasal, the place we always go now that it is open. It's pretty good though so that's good. It's a chicken place. 

This week we had another full week with nothing happening during the week. Started work this week in Munoz, we had an okay day there. Nothing too special. We were able to teach Brother JunJun who has gone less active a little. He was reactivated when I first got here but after they asked him to give a talk in church he barely comes anymore. He now has school on Sundays so he isn't able to come but he said his schedule will change soon and he will be able to come. It helps that his friend, Mario, that we just met the other week has started to attend church again as well so now he has a closer friend at church. All the other appointments we had with less actives or investigators that day fell through so we just went to some members that live over there and talked and shared with them. Then we had dinner that night with the Ramos family. Tatay then took us home after in his tricy. He was scared to take us home though because I guess there was another hold up last week along that road. It was the neighbor of the Ramos family that got held up I guess. Nothing has yet happened to us every time we walk back at night though so I don't know why he is always scared. Haha he always takes his samurai with him every time he takes us home. I don't know if I told you that before but I think it is pretty funny. 

The next day we just worked in San Pedro. As we left the apartment to go to work, we saw our first two appointments leave on their motor heading down to the highway. Looked like it was gonna be a long day. We only got one of the appointments we set out of the whole day. The Ramos family wanted some avocados so we went and got a bag from the house and walked to Munoz. We just figured we'd do some contacting for the rest of the day and deliver the avocados to the Ramos family. 

The next day we went to Maligaya for work. Before we went to Maligaya we went to Sister Ramos' house first. This is a different Ramos. There are a lot of Ramos here. But we visited with her for a little then shared with her. She's a member but not super active. Just comes every once in a while. Her daughter comes almost every week though. It was a pretty fun visit. She told us about all her strategies of hiding from the Jehovah Witness missionaries haha. When we got to Maligaya we visited sister Antonette. She is one of the SA in the branch. We had never gone to her house before and just found out where it was so we visited her and taught her. After that we had a member join us that lives in Maligaya. With her help we were able to contact three new less actives that we hadn't met before. So we were able to share with one of them, Tatay Juanito. So during the lesson, he shared how he gained a testimony of the power of prayer. So he starts by saying that his back hurt a lot and that he had no money to go to the doctor so he prayed. Then he looked up and saw two people coming down in a cloud. The one had rays of light coming out of his fingers like a flashlight. The personage touched his back and he was healed. Then the second story was when his wife was sick and he prayed. He then said that Jesus Christ visited him and talked to him. So in the lesson when I was listening to this, in my head I just started laughing but then I thought this is how the people probably acted back in Joseph Smith's time. I guess I don't know if his experience is true or not but at least his testimony of prayer is really strong. We ended the night by teaching one last lesson to the Lajo family then we went to Presidents house and ate dinner.

The next day we worked a little in San Pedro then worked again in Munoz. We knew we had to go to Roxas later that day to get Elder Latu so we just worked in areas that were close to the highway. We only got one lesson, to Nanay Macadangdang in San Pedro. We also brought her her water for her to drink. I feel bad for her. Her relationship with Tatay isn't good at all, she can barely walk, and her kids aren't close to her at all. She always talks about how her kids never visit her or anything. Eventually we went to Roxas, got Latu then went back to San Pedro. 

Church was pretty good. I was pretty nervous at first. There were only like 15 of us there and it is supposed to start. Then like 10 minutes later everyone showed up at the same time. The total was 75 people in sacrament so that was good! The Barcelo family was there again so they just have one more then they are considered reactivated. Tatay said the opening prayer in sacrament and did a god job. Nanay Edralin wasn't there but the two from Marcos came again! Pretty exciting to see them there. So during church, I knew the secretary was gonna ask me to give a talk next week so I was trying to avoid him the whole time but it didn't work. He found me and now I'm stuck giving a talk next week. The thing is Elder Estuaria and Latu don't have to. It's just me! Oh well, it will be okay. I actually don't mind it that much at all. 

That's pretty much it for the week this week. Family, this has got to be one of the longest emails I have ever written so ya better be grateful! Haha but I love you all and hope you have a great week! 

Love Elder Haacke
 Taking a pic with basically the only thing I have to take a pic with...rice.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Reactivating Efforts

Hello once again to everyone. Sam can't believe you got a typhoon already! Not fair at all. I've waited almost a year now and still haven't got one! Yeah dad we did get some rain here Wednesday and Thursday but it only came in the evening. It was cloudy almost every day this week and super humid! There was no sun but I was sweating more than I usually do just because it was so humid. 

Started the week this week on Tuesday. We had district meeting and President and Sister Rahlf came to do interviews. For district meeting I taught about finding. It was alright. Nothing too special I guess. Interviews were pretty good. I'm trying to think of something to say about the interviews but I can't think of anything. It was a good talk with both of them but not really anything to tell about. Got sung happy birthday to in district meeting when President left. He came in and they sang to me before they took off. 

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday were all good work days. Feels like the first week I've had without something in the middle of the week in a long time. Work was pretty enjoyable this week. We taught a lot of less actives this week and visited quite a few members that we don't normally visit. Wednesday we were able to finally teach Sister Flordeliza! It was a good visit and good to catch up since it has been forever. We taught about the Book of Mormon and then about prayer. She listened really well and asked questions when she needed to. She committed to read the reading assignment we gave her. We held off on trying to give a baptismal date since it didn't feel right but it was a good lesson. 

One less active family we met was the Barcelo family. We had no idea where their house was but we finally found it this week and were able to share with them. They had come to church the week before and they also came to church yesterday so they are on track to returning! 

The Edralin family is another family that has gone less active and we were able to share with them this week. They too came to church yesterday but it was only Nanay. Tatay has been gone every time we've gone to their house and he also didn't come to church. The Gaspar family is a good help with the Edralin family though. They are going to pick them up for church now so that will help them be able to attend. 

Saturday was our return appointment with Sister Flordeliza. We got there and her husband was there also so I thought it was great. We shook his hand and Elder Estuaria asked him how he was doing but he didn't answer and just left. Then Sister Flor explained to us the situation. He is making us stop teaching her. I guess he won't allow it anymore and he is not interested at all. On the good note, Sister Flor wanted to keep her Book of Mormon and she said she will continue to read it. We will still go by her store and see how she is doing and hope for the day we can continue with her in the lessons. Saturday night we went to Roxas and had dinner at the Aquino family's house. Elder Larson and his family was here so they were there also for dinner. It was the last goodbye since he would be touring the mission with his family then heading home. He's been a great friend and plan to see him again once I too get back. Since there were no rides going back to San Pedro, we slept in Roxas at the zone leaders house then woke up early to make it to San Pedro in time for church. Elder Latu was with us once again for Sunday. We only attended sacrament meeting then left and went to Mallig so we could attend the sacrament meeting over there. Attendance at sacrament was right about average or mid 60's. The Barcelo family came to church making it two weeks now so that was awesome. Two members from Marcos (the far area) came to church as well and walked the 45 minute walk to get there! Then Nanay Edralin also came to church with her granddaughter. So we had some success with the less actives this week which was awesome! We got a lunch appointment with a family in Elder Latu's branch so that was nice. The family knows Sister Weber (a teacher at the MTC) really well and they told me all about her. She was assigned in Mallig when she served in the Cauayan mission so that was pretty cool. We then spent the rest of the day working in Elde Latu's area. We really enjoyed working together as the three of us. Laughed a lot while walking but also taught some really good lessons. The week overall was a pretty good and enjoyable week! Love you all! 

Love Elder Haacke