Philippines Cauayan Mission

Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, November 30, 2015

Finishing November

Happy December everyone! Can't believe it's already the last day of November. Christmas is going to be here in no time! November has flown by and it ended with a pretty busy week! 

Started out normal with district meeting on Tuesday. Didn't really attend a whole lot of it since I had to help another Elder in my zone contact the doctor. We had to call to a landline and we don't have load to a landline with our phones so we had to go buy load at the store. Then when we finally called the doctor, they put us on hold for a while so of course, the load we bought ran out while we were on hold so we still couldn't contact the doctor! Phones are messed up here. They don't make any sense. Anyway, ended up finishing district meeting and the Elder just went through Sister Rahlf to get what he needed. After lunch, we were walking back to the highway to get on a bus to go back to Echague and we saw the two elders about the doctor. Turns out they were on their way to Cauayan to go to the hospital there. He was feeling the symptoms of a Hernia so he went to get it checked out. We did not have a good day of work on Tuesday. We got punted at almost all of our appointments. Then it started pouring rain! On the bright side, we decided to do some finding and we found a new less active. Other than that, that was basically it for Tuesday.
Wednesday we had MLC in Cauayan. It was pretty good. We had a somewhat Thanksgiving lunch so that was awesome! Ham(like the ham at home), mashed potatoes, corn, and a fruit salad. No stuffing though. In MLC, we started the discussion for new Standards of Excellence for 2016, new mission vision, then some other announcements. Sister Rahlf taught us about being a missionary at Christmas and then President Rahlf taught us about gratitude. It was a good lesson and very important. That is what we'll teach to the zone on Tuesday. Oh yeah, before MLC started, we went to the hospital to visit my two Elders that are there and bring them their clothes and stuff from Alicia since they learned they will be staying there for a few days. Finally got home Wednesday night back in Echague.

Thursday morning, we packed some stuff and went straight back to Cauayan for splits with the AP's. While we were planning, President asked us to help him in the mission home so we went in and helped him set up the Christmas tree. We went and ate lunch at McDonalds then went out to work. Using a car at work is amazing! I loved getting out of the car, teaching the lesson, getting back in the car and going to the next appointment. I walked more steps in the couple hours of work we had after MLC on Wednesday than I did the whole day of work on Thursday! My companion for splits was Elder Higgins. We are batch so we had a lot to catch up on since I haven't really been around him very much in the mission. Splits were great, learned  things from each other that we are both going to apply to our own work. Friday we did our accounting at the mission office. Talked about our companionship, area, then about Alicia zone. They showed me some KI's of the zone from 3 months ago and we have already progressed a lot in the past few months but there is still a lot of room for improvement. After the accounting, Sister Rahlf asked us to go to the hospital again before we went back to Alicia just to see how the Elders are doing. They had been doing good, as good as you can be sitting in a room all day. The test results had come back on Wednesday and he needs an operation and the operation is scheduled for Saturday. Told him just to keep in touch with us and let us know if he needs anything. 

Finally got back to Echague around lunch time on Friday and went right to work since it had been 2 days with basically no work in the area. Friday, Saturday and Sunday we were on splits with members. I barely taught any lessons at all this week with my companion! But it's great that the members are getting involved in the work. It helps us a lot! Because of the members help, we met 9 new less actives this week which totally paid off because most of them came to church on Sunday! Sunday we had 8 less actives attend church for the first time in a long time! Hopefully it will continue so we can get them returned! One of them even blessed the sacrament and I saw two more willingly paying their tithing. I thought that was awesome. Even though they might be less active, they still have their faith in Heavenly Father that he holds true to his promises as we obey his commandments. We are still struggling a little bit with investigators in the area. They seem to go out as fast as they come in. We do have this one couple that I think can progress. The two elders before me baptized the mom and the daughter. Ibarra family. The mom then left and went to Manila but is now back. Now we are working on bringing them back along with helping the father build his testimony of the gospel. We taught them on Saturday and they committed to church the next day. Then we had a member go by on Sunday morning to remind them about church. Turns out they didn't come and I was pretty bummed about it. Later that day on splits, I went by there to see how they were doing and only nanay was there. Then nanay told us that they left this morning and went to Alicia to go to church at the Mormon church! I don't know if it's true or why they went to Alicia but I hope they were able to attend even if it was in a different ward.

The elder in my zone ended up getting his operation postponed to Sunday morning. He texted us before he went in to operation and said he was really nervous but he made it through and is doing good now. He is still in the hospital but should be able to come back early this week.

In all we had a very busy week but were able to make up for it because of all the splits we went on. We were very happy with the success we had with some less actives this week. Hope everyone has a great week this week and I love you all!
Love Elder Haacke

Monday, November 23, 2015


Hello everybody once again. Start off this week's letter with have a happy Thanksgiving this week! I will be thinking of all of you on Thursday, probably eating some nice turkey, potatoes and stuffing. I'll pray we get a dinner appointment on Thursday and that will be good enough for me! Speaking of turkey, I'm working on getting one of my favorite families here to kill one of their turkeys for Christmas. I think it's going to work! Don't know if it will taste the same as back home but I'm still looking forward to it!

Don't really know how to describe this week. I guess every week has it's ups and downs but at least we were able to end it on a good note! We struggled pretty hard this week in our area through out the weekdays. Ended up doing a lot of finding since so many appointments fell through. We are basically back at step one in Maligaya. That area has been difficult since I have been here and when we went there this last week we didn't have any success at all and didn't spend much time there. Two of our areas, Soyung and Gucab, have started to get a lot better this last week. We were able to follow up with some contacts that we had done and we ended up getting some new investigators out of it.

We had a few birthdays this week so that meant a lot of food! Wednesday was Bishop Trivino's wife's birthday then on Thursday was the Bishop's in ward 1 birthday. So yeah that was great, got a lot of food and got to spend time with some more members. Then Friday night we had dinner with the Gaffud family. One of the daughters worked with us a few days before and she invited us to dinner. We had ham! I'm pretty sure I have not had ham since I've been here! It's not the kind of ham you think of back home but it still tasted like ham and was super good. We got to build a good relationship with them since we aren't really close with them. They are such a great family that has been through a lot and is still super faithful to the gospel and the church.

We have also been able to progress some with the ward this week. We had a PEC meeting on Saturday night which usually never happens. Missionaries aren't supposed to be in the PEC meeting but Bishop asked us personally if we could attend so we could add some suggestions and be part in helping the ward grow. We mostly talked about missionary work. We made a list of 15 families or couples that are less active and made assignments to get them contacted and found. Also discussed a few other things about sacrament meeting and such but for the most part just missionary work. The single adults had an activity at the church that night so we ended up getting free dinner as well.

Church on Sunday was alright. There wasn't very many people there at the start but people eventually showed up. Class and such was alright. Nothing new I guess. Then we had another meeting with the auxiliary leaders to discuss missionary work and plan the Christmas party. We left after the missionary part since we weren't needed anymore. Basically talked more about the 15 families we are trying to contact. Work on Sunday was pretty good. Actually it was really good. One lesson was following up a contact so we just taught the first lesson. We had to find his house since we just contacted him on the street. As soon as he came out to open the gate, two of our fellowshippers, Rica and Cezar, turned to me at the same time and told me they were going to kill me. I had no idea why but turns out, they have both argued with this person before. He is a tricy driver and they are pretty pushy to get people to ride in their tricy, but I guess this guy is something else. Anyways, the lesson wasn't as awkward as I thought it was going to be since the past meetings with him and my fellowshippers hadn't been that great. It actually was kinda good cause Rica used the opportunity to explain what happened and said sorry. Another great lesson on Sunday was to a mother and a daughter that was baptized a month before I got here. The mom had since gone to Manila to work but we decided to go by the house anyway. Turns out, they were there! Along with the father of the family. They were happy to see us and we were really happy to see them. I guess she had just gotten back a few days before and isn't planning on returning to Manila. We taught a short lesson using the little flashlights on our phones since there was no lights. Just taught about our loving Heavenly Father and how we can always come unto him. Before we left, without even being invited, the dad promised to come to church next week! So that was awesome!

That's pretty much it for this week. Had a great week and am definitely looking forward to this coming week! Hope you all have a good one!

Love Elder Haacke

 Found a sign for the Patriots! First football related thing I've seen and it was my team!

Monday, November 16, 2015

District Meeting and Stake Conference

Hello once again! Another week gone by and November is half way over! That means Christmas is just over a month away! Thanksgiving isn't really a holiday here so I don't have much to look forward to in November. Plus all you hear is Christmas music everywhere so my Christmas countdown has started! Few more weeks to go until Skype!

This week, however, was an alright week. A few days were not great but we still had some enjoyable days and still felt good about the week.
Had district meeting once again on Tuesday. The district leader, Elder Odchigue, talked about how being humble and following the mission guidelines is key to being a successful missionary. One example that I liked was he had someone draw a tree on the board. Then he told another missionary to go up and draw another tree but this time it was as if he was designing his own world and could make a tree look however he wanted. As he started to draw it, it didn't end up working. He couldn't think of how to design a tree that was totally different to the tree that every one knows. It ended up looking a lot like the first tree. He used this example to show that we have guidelines in the mission and that is how we are supposed to live. If we try and do it our own way, it just won't work. That goes with life as well. If we try to bend the commandments that God has given us, it just won't work. We won't be entitled to those blessings that God is willing to give us. Overall, it was a great lesson by Odchigue. Plus my last companion, Elder Gabelo, is in that district so I got to spend some time with him again so that was fun.

This week was up and down work wise. We were really excited to get back to Brother Neo this week and follow up with him. Every time we went out there he was gone. The nanay that was there did tell us that his wife has come back from Hong Kong for a few days so I can't blame him if he is out spending time with her. We are going to visit him again tomorrow and hope he will be there. We really want to meet his wife as well so hopefully she will be there. Last time we took a picture and he sent it to her.

Still are doing a lot of finding in the area. On Thursday, Elder Carrington and Elder Labrador had a meeting in Cauayan so I was companions with Elder Romo for a day. We spent a lot of that day following up contacts that we had done the previous week in Maligaya. We did not get a single lesson/new investigator from a single one of them. Maligaya is the more rural part of our area so I don't think we will be going there very often any more. There is only one member that lives there but he just left and went to Utah a week ago. Elder Romo and I split the day in half as in we'll work in my area for half then work in his area. They hadn't gone to a part of their area that's where we went and we just contacted like crazy to try and get to know the area. Finally ended the day meeting back up with Elder Carrington and Elder Labrador at a dinner appointment with a member in the other ward. Ate a ton of food then finally went home. Another thing, the best dentist in the mission lives in Echague and we went and Elder Romo had an appointment with him since his retainer broke. It was a pretty nice dentist office. I definitely still like the ones in America a lot more but I was pretty impressed with it.

Saturday and Sunday we had stake conference. The temple president of the Manila temple, President Amistad, attended stake conference on Saturday night. His talk was awesome! He was super funny. We were laughing almost the whole time but he had some really good lines in his talk. One of them reminded me of my conversations with dad lately. I keep telling him marriage is far far away but he says he thinks it will happen in two years and the ward thinks it will happen sooner than that. President Amistad's quote was, "Don't rush, but don't be late." I thought that was a perfect answer. I won't rush but I won't be late. There weren't too many people there on Saturday night which was actually kinda nice. It was really easy to focus and listen to the speakers. Sunday on the other hand was something else. It was packed as could be. Could barely hear the speakers at all and even with air conditioning it was still hot since there were so many people inside. Didn't really get that much away from the Sunday meeting but I really really enjoyed Saturday night. It wasn't required that we attend as missionaries but I am glad we did!
Had 3 members work with us on Sunday which was a lot of fun. Brother Mark Jun and Sisters Michelle and Arlene. They are super cool and Michelle and Mark Jun work with us pretty often. Working with members is always so much better than just the missionaries. The members know the area so well and helps us meet new people each time, especially since I am still only a month into this area. Sunday night we had dinner with Nanay Felix. We have planned this dinner since I was with Elder Arorong and the night finally came. It was just Nanay, her grandson, Elder Labrador and myself. We had a good time talking and joking with Nanay and eating some great food. I think sometimes she gets a little lonely at the house so we joked and laughed a lot while we were there.

That was pretty much it for the week. We are continuing to get more dinner appointments each week which is great. This week we have one tomorrow, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. There was only Sunday dinner when I got here so I think we've improved quite a bit! Hope everyone has a great week this week! Love you all!
Love Elder Haacke

Monday, November 9, 2015

Busy Transfer Week

Start of another cycle already! I just realized that this one is my 11th in the Philippines! So crazy! But I think this cycle is going to be a great cycle! Tuesday was Elder Arorong's last day. I guess not really, he left in the morning around 7:40. I spent the day with Elder Romo and Elder Carrington, the elders in my apartment. We had a fun day together. It's a little weird sometimes working in three but we had a good day. They had a lunch and dinner appointment so I was fine working in their area for the day. Dinner was more of like a ward get together for Sister Ilago since she was going to transfer out of the ward. Dinner was good and I got to meet a few members from the other ward along with the Bishop. I'll just say getting to know the bishop was a great idea because he ended up inviting us to dinner on Wednesday night. He is the bishop of the other ward but his house is in my area. Turns out we now have dinner with him every Wednesday! Anyway, back to Tuesday. Totally forgot that since Arorong was gone, I need to plan the vans and stuff for transfer day the next day. Made a few calls to figure out how it works here in Alicia then called the driver. He has a nice van and his son has a little pickup. Everything went well for transfer day, other than the guy that has a pickup decided to show up in a car! What use is that?? The pickup was gonna be for the luggage and the van for the missionaries then he shows up in a car? We ended up making it work but we might as well have all just made it work in the van instead of taking the car and having to also pay him for only taking one companionship. Best part of transfer day is reading the list of where the missionaries in my zone are going and who their new companions are. It's always really loud and everyone goes crazy and everything so it's a good time. After I read off the list, I helped get the missionaries to the right vans then send them on their way to their new homes. Then we went to the mall to eat some lunch. I was with Elder Brandon. This is his last cycle. Crazy. Feels like yesterday I just met him in Bambang. But we ate at KFC, the only one in the mission. It was super good. Went back to the church and waited for the other vans to arrive coming from the other 2 transfer points in the mission. My new comp was coming from Tuguegarao. It is Elder Labrador! We were in the same zone in Roxas for three cycles and we went on splits once while I was there. I was his district leader in Roxas. We were pretty excited to be companions so we should get along great and work hard together. Finally got back Wednesday evening and went around to members that were close and introduced Elder Labrador to them. Then we had dinner with Bishop then went home.

Thursday was zone meeting, my first one. It is also Elder Labrador's first one and he wasn't even at MLC so I had to teach him what to teach. In the end, we got through it. Probably not the best or most fun zone meeting ever but that's good so no one has expectations for next time. Ate lunch over in Alicia then came back to Echague. Went around and met some more members and learned where they live and while we would visit with them we would ask them of any less actives in the area. For the last few days, that has been working really good. We have been able to meet a few more less actives and also strengthen relationships with the members. Even got one Nanay to make the missionaries a dinner calendar! Before the night ended on Thursday, we went to our most recent recent convert, Nanay and Alyssa Ballad to start the reteaching to them.
Friday was a good day. We had two SA work with us and they were a huge help. They showed us some of the area that I didn't know. It was a lot of fun having them work with us. One of them was a new RM and the other one is preparing for a mission. I think they will start to work with us a lot more so that will be nice. We were able to do a lot of contacts on Friday and also teach some first lessons to some people. Finished the night teaching Aaron, the other one that was baptized a week ago.

Saturday was alright. Just the usual day. We worked in an area called Soyung and an area called Tuguegarao. Best highlight of the day was in Tuguegarao, we were doing some finding/exploring basically in the middle of no where. We just turned down a random road with a few houses on it and started contacting. No luck. Got turned down by everybody. Then we went by this one house and met this brother named Neo. He's 31 and has one little girl. His wife is working abroad in Hong Kong. We got to know each other a little bit then started the lesson. He is familiar with the church. He has had a couple friends that are members. We started sharing the lesson then he started asking questions mostly about how can we return to heaven. We explained the gospel and the steps we need to do to return to Heavenly Father. He then asked us some questions about repenting and how we know if we repented. We answered it then he ended up opening up to us and sharing with us the things that he has done. Turns out, while his wife has been abroad, he's fell into temptation a couple times and been with other women a couple of nights. He feels terrible about it and he says he doesn't know how to repent. The way I described this story makes it seem like nothing special but this was one of my favorite lessons in the mission. We were just able to discuss things and teach while doing that. I know the gospel will be perfect for him! He said he was going to come to church on Sunday as well...but that ended up not happening. Saturday night we were supposed to have a meeting at the church to discuss missionary work. We got to the church and there was no one there. We called Bishop and I guess they decided to reschedule it and not let us know so we just ended up going to a restaurant for dinner.
That brings us to Sunday. Church was good. Elder's quorum was something else. They ended up debating/arguing on what activities were okay and what were not. I ended up just telling my companion that we should go to the hall and let them fight it out. Neo was supposed to come late, around 10:30, since he has a part in his church that he can't miss. He is Catholic by the way. But he texted us and said that his wife wanted to Skype and see their daughter so he wasn't going to make it to church. The meeting that was rescheduled for Sunday after church ended up not happening at all. We had some SA work with us again on Sunday and we went to the last part of the area that I haven't been to. Walked crazy far to get there and there is only one member there. They are somewhat less active but make a showing at church every once in a while. Got there and they were busy so we couldn't even share with them but at least we met them and talked to them for a little. Had a dinner at night then that was it for the week! Hope everyone has a good week this week! Love you all!

Love Elder Haacke

Monday, November 2, 2015

Conferences with Elder Schwitzer

Last week of the cycle already! Just a four week cycle so that's why it went so fast! Next cycle is 8 weeks so it will be a while before I say this again. Of course, Elder Arorong is going home now so I will be getting a new companion on Wednesday. Don't really have an idea who it could be so should be interesting. Elder Arorong leaves tomorrow morning and goes to Cauayan for the day then will sleep there so I will be with the other 2 elders in my apartment for the day. I'm not complaining though since they have a lunch and dinner appointment tomorrow and we don't have any!

The week this week was pretty good. We were blessed this week to be able to have Elder Schwitzer and his wife visit the mission this week. They are awesome people! Very approachable and he had lots of jokes while he taught. Elder Bowen was a little scary to approach sometimes when he was here but it felt totally different with Elder Schwitzer. On Wednesday, we had MLC with him and his wife from 2:30 to 6:30. First MLC in the mission. I guess the new ones in MLC get to sing the first line of a song in front of everybody. Since it is the 'ber' months, the topic was Christmas. I sang the first line of Jingle Bells since that was the only thing that came to mind. You could say I completely destroyed it. Yeah, never was a singer. But after I totally got rid of the spirit with my singing voice, we still managed to have a great meeting. Being in MLC is alright. It's nice to get a voice on something if you want. That's what we started out with. They choose a topic then every one voices their opinions of what they think about it. That part was okay. For the most part the opinions were pretty good but every now and again there was an opinion that I thought was pointless. President and Sister Rahlf taught us about having a vision. Then we reviewed the vision that we have right now for the mission. We will be making a new standard of excellence in December so we are starting to talk about it now. Then Elder Schwitzer taught us about qualities of a good leader that he has seen as a member of the seventy. It was cool because from each trait or quality, he would tell us from who he got it. Most of them were from members of the Quorum of the Twelve. It was a great meeting and awesome listening to him share to us. We then ate dinner in the mission home then the AP's brought us back to Alicia. Got to hang out with my friend Elder Teikauea as well since he was called as a zone leader the same time I was. I hope I can be comps with him one day. That would be awesome.

We finally got home that night and went straight to bed since the next morning we woke up at 3, got ready, and took off to Solano for zone conference. It was supposed to take like 3 hours or so to get there. We aren't supposed to be there till 8:30 but we CAN'T be late. Anyway, it only ended up taking like 1 1/2 hours to get there so we got there super early. Ended up just walking around with nothing to do. Did end up going to eat at McDonald's then President and Elder Schwitzer showed up there as well to eat. Conference was great. Learned about ways to contact people, how to use the scriptures, then Elder Schwitzer's main lesson was about repentance related to the plan of salvation. Over all, it was a great day!

Gonna jump to Saturday since I am running out of time. We had a baptism this last Saturday. Went great! Nanay and Alyssa Ballad were baptized along with Aaron. They were all very happy and had a great time at their baptism. The whole zone put together there was 10 baptisms on Saturday which was great to help us get a lot closer to the zone goal.

Sunday was good. Great fast and testimony meeting. Not a whole lot of people were able to testify since the ones that did share shared for like 10 minutes each. Plus we conferred the Holy Ghost to them that were baptized which we were able to assist in so that was cool. Rest of church went pretty well. Priesthood was the usual...plan the activities they want to do this month. Next week the lesson will probably be reviewing the activity and making changes to it. I think it's kinda funny.

That's pretty much it for the week. We went to Robinsons today, the mall in Santiago. That's why I'm netting later than we usually do and don't have any more time. At Robinsons, Elder Carrington and I each bought our own pizza and tried to finish it. 
Last time I'm doing that. Never felt so sick in my life! But it was still a good time! Hope everyone has a great week! Tell you all about the new companion and the changes in the zone next week!

Love Elder Haacke