Philippines Cauayan Mission

Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, October 26, 2015

Finally, A Real Letter

Hello everybody! Feels like a long time since I've written a letter home! That doesn't necessarily mean that this letter is going to be super long or anything but I'll do my best. We just got back from Maggot Dam (for the third time) so I don't have a whole lot of time.

Start off with the typhoon last week. It came in about 2:00am Sunday morning. We all woke up from the wind but I ended up falling back asleep no more than a few minutes later. Woke up in the morning, rain had pretty much stopped. Just a few drops every once in a while. Wind wasn't very strong at all either. Just like a usual Idaho breeze. Some people here were still saying the wind was super strong but I'm sitting there thinking it's barely even windy. Bishop texted and said church was cancelled. Thing is before that text, someone else texted and asked me to give a talk. So in the end, I got out of giving a talk in church! There were a few trees that had blown over during the night but people got right out with their chain saws and cleared the ones that were covering the roads. There wasn't flooding at all in my area. All the members were okay and not effected by the storm. The rice fields were all flattened though. Like back home sometimes some of the grain falls down like the end of July. It was like that with the rice but the entire field was flat. They've still been harvesting all the fallen down rice but it's not the yellowish color that it normally is when they harvest. The only time I saw flooding was on Monday when we were in the bus going to Alicia to p-day. As we went over a bridge, I noticed that someone built their house a little too close to the river and had about 4 1/2 feet of water in it. That's pretty much it about the storm. Not a whole lot to talk about. We didn't even get a service out of it.

This week on the other hand was alright. My first and only district meeting in Alicia for this cycle on Tuesday. It was nice not having to teach and also getting to choose which district I wanted to attend. I could get used to that! After district meeting, we ate at this Japanese place that doesn't even cook Japanese food. We all got burgers. It was a huge burger, not all that tasty but it was big so it was worth it.

Work here in Echague is somewhat slow actually. We don't have that many investigators. Just means we need to do a lot of finding. A couple cycles ago, the zone leaders area was switched with a different area so it was kind of reopened. We do have a few investigators that are progressing and actually have some that will be baptized this coming Saturday. First family I met here was the Ballad family. We don't teach Tatay yet but we do teach Nanay and the kids. Tatay is supportive though and we see him quite a bit around the house. Nanay and the daughter, Eliza, will be baptized this coming Saturday so that is pretty exciting! We are also teaching a boy named Aaron that is a part member. He is only 11 years old but is very intelligent. He will also be baptized this coming Saturday.

I can see the things I can work on while I am here in this area. We have 2 investigator couples that need to be married before they can be baptized so I will get to work with them and become a wedding planner. Also we have a Tatay that loves coming to church but still refuses to be baptized since his belief is that all churches are true. I'm looking forward to being able to work with these people and do my best in helping them come unto Christ! I will also be doing a lot of finding so we can increase our teaching pool. Also I will be working on dinner appointments in this area. As of now we just have them with Bishop every once in a while but I heard that they used to have them all the time before. Hopefully I can get things back to the way they were before!
Church was pretty good. Felt the love the members had for me as soon as I walked in the door. And I love them as well. Got to meet a lot more of them this last Sunday. I love the Bishopric. They are so funny but also hard working. We have a pretty good group of SA and youth here as well so that's always fun since they love the missionaries. I was able to speak for a little bit and introduce myself in sacrament meeting. I also spoke with a new sister return missionary that just got home this last week.

We also had a few baptismal interviews that we had to do this week. Had them on Thursday and Sunday so that took away from our time a little bit since we had to travel pretty far to get there.
Overall, pretty good week this week. Still learning the area and the people here but so far it is going good. Only have one more week the Elder Arorong will be leaving. Plus this week we have leadership training on Wednesday then zone conference of Thursday then a baptism on Saturday. Will be a busy week so I'm looking forward to it! Hope you all have a great week this week! 

Love you all!

Love Elder Haacke

 Elder Arorong and I at Maggot dam earlier.
 The water is way higher than the last 2 times because of the storm.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Buhay Pa!

Hey! Just real quick. We waited ALL day yesterday for the internet to come on and it never came. We went to every net shop in the city and they all didn't have internet so we couldn't email yesterday. I guess no one had internet because of the storm. That's why I jumped on the net for a bit right now just to send you a quick email. Week was good. As you know, had a storm this weekend. Church was cancelled but we really could have had church cause the storm was basically finished. Pretty windy and quite a bit of rain but not a ton. A few trees had fallen over but that's about it. Not even much flooding at all at least where I am at. It came in during the night so we slept through most of it. At 2 am 3 out of the 4 of us had woken up because of the wind but I fell back asleep about 3 minutes later so it didn't bother me too much. All is going well. Hope you all have a great week and I love you all!
Love Elder Haacke

Monday, October 12, 2015

Transition Week

Hello everybody once again. So got some news for the week! Pretty crazy I guess. I will be going to Alicia zone and my area is called Echague. My companion is Elder Arorong, I was in the same zone as him in Bambang. Actually went on splits with him once. So this cycle is only 4 weeks long then the next cycle is 8 weeks long. Elder Arorong will be going home after this cycle and my first week of this cycle is still here in Amulung. So we will only have 3 weeks together then I will be getting another new companion! So on Wednesday I will be going to Cauayan for a meeting then will continue on to my new area in Alicia. Feels like a lot happening in just a short time! I'm excited for all this to happen, should be pretty exciting.
This week on the other hand was alright. I don't have a lot to say about it so this email might be a little boring. My companions are Elder Gumayao and Munoz. They are alright. They'll be the new missionaries here in Amulung come Wednesday. I think everyone likes them for the most part. The one isn't to enthused about missionary work. He's a little lazy. Since the area here is huge, we haven't been teaching very many lessons, just introduce the missionaries, talk for a little, then leave. That is what the zone leaders advised me to do. I guess that's the reason I don't have a lot to say. We've just been going to a ton of different places to help them learn the area and get to know the members. We still have some places we haven't gone that we need to. This area is just so big and we've had something every morning since we have been here. From zone meeting, weekly planning, then conference for two days. So yeah, it's been busy but we are still getting around. 
So if you remember Elder Schwitzer from conference, he will be coming to the mission on October 27-29 so that will be pretty cool. Just like Elder Bowen came last year, it will be him this year. Pretty cool to see him talk in conference and now he will come the the mission in a few weeks. Rumor has it he will be going around to some apartments since he wants to see what they are like so hopefully he won't be coming to mine! 
That's pretty much all I have for the week, we are literally just introducing to everyone and all the different places. Only have tonight and tomorrow afternoon to finish it all up then I will be leaving! Haven't heard anything on how I will be going to Cauayan, hopefully the AP's will come and get me so I don't have to travel by a bus! That's what I'm praying for. 
Conference weekend was good. I really like a lot of the talks. I didn't bring any of my notes with me but one that I remember was I think Robert D. Hales. I just like how simply and plainly he spoke and how easy it was to relate to your life. Can't wait until the talks come out in the Liahona so I can read them again and learn a lot more! 
Overall it was an alright week. Finish up showing the area this week then I'll be off to the new area! I will be in an apartment with four elders for the first time so that should be cool! Hope everyone has a good week! Love you all!
Love Elder Haacke

Computer won't read the sd card so next time I will send pictures!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Bagong Balita For the Week

What a week in Amulung! Pretty crazy week this week! Went by insanely fast! And transfer list came today, find more out about that later!

Start the week on Tuesday again. Taught district meeting a little differently this week. Normally I just take something from Preach My Gospel and teach about that but I thought of something new for this last week. My ward mission leader gave me a talk about the apostasy and it totally helps you understand how everything happened. How the churches spread and how the doctrines changed over time. It's called Why 1820, forgot who it was by. Something W. Smith. But anyway, I like how President Rahlf takes a topic and really picks it apart and helps us learn it better as missionaries. For example, last last zone conference was about Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. We did a deep study about the two of them and learned things we can apply to our teaching when we teach that principle. So I wanted to do something like that but with the apostasy. I didn't really know how it would go but it actually turned out really well and the district really liked it. Definitely strengthened my testimony of why we needed a restoration and why it happened when it happened. Ate lunch as a zone, as always, then we came back to Amulung. Went to Santa Terresa to work which was alright. The one family we really wanted to teach, Alqasor family, was not there. We feel like they will really progress but we haven't been able to teach them often at all. We ended up teaching a few recent converts that live in that area to finish up their reteaching. Something I forgot that happened at district the missionaries that will be training next cycle will be called this day either before or right after district meeting. Long story short, Elder Gabelo is training! So that either means I am transferring and he his going to be here for 7 cycles or he is transferring and opening an area! So that was on our thoughts for the rest of the week. 
Wednesday, Elder Gabelo went to Cauayan for the trainers meeting so I worked with the zone leaders for the day in their area. We had a lot of fun as the three of us. Work was one of the longest days ever though. Talk about punted. Had 13 appointments and taught 2. So that wasn't the best thing ever but we still had fun together as we went about our way. Elder Gabelo got back in the evening, we met him at the stake center. Happened to be that a member in Amulung ward that has a car was there so we were able to get a ride with him back to the apartment. 
Thursday, about 10 in the morning a guy showed up at the apartment that we didn't know but was a member. Turns out he was from somewhere in Manila, name was Herman. So he was having a family reunion in the area so he invited us to go and eat lunch there. So of course, free food, we went and ate. Then he introduced us to EVERY person there. We got a lot of contacts this day. Then the family members that weren't there, we went to their houses and found them. He is the only member in the family and he wants us to teach all of them. None of them seemed interested at all but we will give it a shot so we can report back to Herman. Then we went back to Santa Terresa for work then to Gamad. Still weren't able to share to the Alqasor family, they were busy I guess. We were able to teach two investigators in a part member family though, sister Jenny and Jennilyn. They are identical twins. Then in Gamad we had a dinner appointment with the Padayuman family. That was super good. Had meat that tasted like meat. Not meat that is 75% fat. So that was awesome! Then we were able to visit with an investigator, Marinella, that is a friend of the Padayuman family. Pretty good day. 
Friday, my favorite, weekly planning. That took quite a long time, not really sure why but we didn't finish till lunch time. Went to work in Baculud then Estefania for the day. Sister Divine Grace lives in Baculud so we visited her to make final preparations for her baptism the next day. She was super excited for her baptism and was more than ready! We then visited a few other members that live in the area and were able to teach one investigator there as well. After we finished there, we came back to Estafania to finish up the day. Not a ton happened in Estefania, everyone shuts down early here. We were still able to share to a part member family, the Verpo family. We are teaching the daughter right now. Mom and older sister are members. Dad is not yet a member. We want to be able to share to Tatay but he isn't interested at all yet. He is still a good dad though to the family, we hope someday we can share with him as well. But the mom and two daughters have improved over the last few weeks. We have seen their relationships with each other strengthen and their activity in the church has improved as well. That was pretty much it for the day on Friday. 
Saturday morning was the baptism of Divine Grace and another girl that is 8 so we didn't teach her. Supposed to start at 9 but of course, Filipino time, started at 10:20ish. But it was still a great service. The best part was Divine's testimony at the end of the service. Normally the investigator just testifies for like 30 seconds then sits down but she bore an awesome testimony. She has progressed super fast and continues to progress every day. It was an awesome baptism! Another great thing happened on Saturday. For work we went to a super far area. We have an investigator there, Bert Delacruz. This was the first time for both of us that we have gone there. Anyway, he was there, taught him and he fellowshipped with us in teaching his neighbors. On the way back to the highway, he offered that we ride his motorcycle. We all hopped onto the motorcycle went on are way. The cool part was his comment while on the motor. He says Elders, if your ever walking somewhere far, just give me a call and I will pick you up. That way we can better hasten the teaching of the gospel. Haha it was awesome to hear him say that! We've only taught him twice but he has been coming to church and doing everything we say. It's hard to teach him since he lives so far. But I am sure he will be baptized and we will set a date with him this next week if we can share with him!
Sunday came around and was another good Sunday. Divine Grace was confirmed a member then she also shared her testimony again. All the other testimonies were super good as well. Testimony meeting went 30 minutes over time since there were so many that wanted to share! Class and priesthood were pretty good as well. Had splits for work. But before the splits, we went to one members house to give a blessing to her mom. They gave us a ton of noodles to eat so we were super full. Then we went off to work. I went to Santa Terresa and striked out with the Alqasor family. They weren't there again. We ended up teaching the twins, Jenny and Jennilyn, again. Then one of the sisters with us had to go home so we walked her home, then we walked back to where Elder Gabelo was working and met up with him. Alright day, church was really good! 
Monday, played basketball at the church this morning with the zone while the sisters played ping pong. Played until the transfer list came. First name on the transfer list... Haacke! Second name on the transfer list...Gabelo! WE ARE BOTH LEAVING!! I thought I had thought of all the scenarios that could happen but that was not one of them! Anyway, while at lunch, President Rahlf called me and gave me an update. So Elder Gabelo will be transferring this Wednesday, transfer day, and I will be delayed one week. I will be in a tri-some for one week to show the new elders the area then I will leave. Also, President called me as a zone leader. I'm exciting for what lies ahead but as for now, I'm going to enjoy my last full week in Amulung! So that's the bagong balita for the week. I'll probably find out where I'm going on Wednesday but won't get there till next week! Let ya'll know how it goes. Can't wait for conference this weekend! Hope you all enjoyed it! Have a great week and I love you all!
Love Elder Haacke
 My district, and some from the other district.
 The baptism on Saturday.