Philippines Cauayan Mission

Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Short Note

Hello everybody once again! Only been a few days since we Skyped and not a whole lot has happened so I think that's pretty good justification to not have to write a long email!:)

So here are a couple pictures from the last couple days and earlier today. I guess we did get some news that I should tell you about. We got the transfer list today and none of us here in Echague are transferring so we are all looking forward to another cycle together.
Something else is we broke record attendance at church on Sunday! We hit 100! Crazy being that last week there were barely any people there. Anyway, it was super good because we had two visitors from the stake there. One of them came up to me and said, "Wow! The attendance has gone up a lot" and I was just like, "uhh yeah it has!" Haha it was a nice Sunday. Meetings were all pretty good and work was great as well. We couldn't split like we normally do because there wasn't enough priesthood to come with us but we still made do with what we had.

That's the big stuff for the week. I'll get back to the normal emails next week, just feel like I get a week off cause of Skype. :) But I love you all and have a happy new year!

Love Elder Haacke

 Skype from my side of the camera.
 Us on Sunday night waiting for the KI's to come in.

 The 6 Echague missionaries at lunch earlier today.
From left to right: Elder Romo, Elder Labrador, Elder Carrington, Me, Sister Delinila, Sister Villa.

 Pictures of the damage from the floods last week.

Monday, December 21, 2015


Hello everybody once again! The week for Skype has finally come! I can't wait to talk to you later in the week!
As for this week... All I can say is what a week we had this week! I can sum it all up in one word.. RAIN! I should just end my email right here because that's about all I have to say about this week. But I don't think that will be appreciated very much so I'll try to write a little bit more. 

The rain this week was honestly a killer. It made work not fun and not nearly as successful. We've had rain everyday since last Monday. Yesterday it rained, stopped for a bit, then was raining again before we went to sleep. Then today it is raining once again. I don't think I have experienced rain for this long my whole life. It actually brought down the entire zone. This week was the lowest ki's for the zone since I have been here. Some companionship's would say sorry as they sent us their ki's for the week since it affected them so much. There were a lot of not good things that happened this week because of the rain.

Lots of people lost a ton of rice and corn that they had planted. It actually led the last branch president of the other ward here in Echague to drinking for the first time in over 15 years. The other elders went to their house Thursday night for dinner and he was drunk because all his crops are gone and they need to start over.

There is a part in our area that crosses the river but the bridge is really small and low to the river. That bridge was covered by water for 2 days and while it was covered the bank on the other side going back up was destroyed. So those people couldn't come to town for a few days and a lot of people couldn't get back across to their home and had to be placed in Jones (a different city).
Clothes do not smell good when they don't dry normally after washing and because of the rain, they took forever to dry. So we've been wearing clothes that don't smell great all week. 

Good things that happened this week. On Thursday, President Rahlf was down in Santiago for the Christmas devotional for the zones down there. On his way back, they came through Echague and ate at a restaurant here. President called us and had us meet him there since he had something to give us. We met him there and he gave us some money that a past missionary had sent to Echague ward that we needed to give to Bishop so he could use it to help some families in the ward with Christmas. Then he bought us some pizza for us to take home! That was the awesome part. I've never eaten at this restaurant but I think I will now because it was super good! The cook is from Italy but also knows German so President got to show us his German.

Last Sunday we had a lot of less actives at church and 4 that were close to returning. This week there were 16 of us when we started church. Rain kills everything. But two of the less actives that were close last week were there and we considered them returned this week. It was the Quisisem Tatay and his daughter Roxanne. It would be nice to see the entire family return so we will work on that. All the other less actives that were at church last week will now restart on their count to be returned but we should be able to bounce back in the next few weeks.

Overall alright week. Hopefully this rain will leave soon and we can have a few days of good weather. We had a zone activity today. Just got together at the chapel and played games together, did white elephant gifts and ended with a big water fight. Turned out way better than I thought. I think everyone had a really good time. Looking forward to this week especially Christmas then Skype! Love you all!

Love Elder Haacke

Picture from zone activity. Seniors vs Juniors, this is the senior group.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Finding and Returning

Hello everybody! Another week has flown by here in the mission! Another week with ups and downs but there were a few pretty great things that happened this week that made it a great week!

Started off on Monday night, we had dinner with the Quisisem family and was able to build even better relationships with them, especially Nanay. We have been trying to work with her to come back but still have not been able to find the reason to her not wanting to come to church. Every time we are with her we laugh and joke a lot and she is very friendly to us. Even in the lessons she participates pretty well by commenting and asking questions. I guess time will tell with her but we won't stop what we are doing.

Tuesday we hopped on a bus and went to Cauayan for the Christmas devotional. It was a ton of fun! Learned a lot as well about the birth of Christ and the reasons behind the things that happened. For example, I never new why it was important that everyone had to be taxed. Why that played a roll in the birth of Christ I had no idea. If there was no decree sent forth taxing everyone in the land, Joseph and Mary would have had no reason to go back to Bethlehem. But because they had to go back to the land of his house, the prophecy was fulfilled that Christ will be born in Bethlehem. So everything that happened happened for a reason. Shows you the planning that has taken place in the pre-earth life. We had a great lunch, acted out the 12 Days of Christmas, did zone skits then ended with a great testimony meeting. Our zone skit was something else. I have winged a lot of presentations in my life and this just added to it. We just winged the entire thing and you could totally tell but we still laughed and had a good time. Also Elder Brandon's zone was there as well so I got to see him again before he goes home this Wednesday. Can't believe how fast time has flown since we were together a year ago in Bambang. He is going home a couple weeks early so he can be home with his family for Christmas. Over all the Christmas devotional was super fun and everyone had a great time.

We finally taught brother Neo again! We had seen him a few times lately by the way. Last time he was in his car while we were crossing the highway and he stopped his car right in the middle of the road and we talked right there while we were standing in the middle of both the lanes. Guess you can do that in the Philippines. But we were finally able to catch him at his house and sit down and share with him. It was another great lesson and he asked a ton of questions. It was awesome because while we taught prophets, he asked, "If there were prophets back then, there should be prophets as well right now right?" We just looked at each other and were like, "Exactly! Let us tell you about our living prophet!" Then while teaching about Christ's church and the apostasy, he asked,"So when and how are we going to get 12 apostles? Who's going to replace James and them? And what about God's authority?" Once again, we just looked at each other and were like, "Let us tell you about the restoration and about prophet Joseph Smith!" It was an amazing lesson and super fun to teach. We will be able to follow up his prayer next time we are able to visit him. Investigator wise, he is about the only one that is active like that in the lessons.
On the other hand, we are really progressing with quite a few less actives and continue to meet new ones! The Quisisem family has continued to improve. Next week, Tatay and one of the daughters will be considered returned. Roxanne (the daughter) has totally began to enjoy coming to church. That goes the same with Tatay. He has another less active friend, John Garcia, that we are teaching and bringing back at the same time. The other two daughters and Nanay still having taken the few steps to returning. The other two daughters are doing alright. They come to church sometimes but not like Roxanne and Tatay do. It's been cool to see the change in them and hopefully it will effect the rest of the family as well.

John Garcia has been doing good as well. He didn't come to church last week so his count had to restart but he came back this week. We have been working with him for a few weeks now and he is really coming around as well. His wife is abroad in Canada so he raises his two kids here. He has a job as well here but his wife just asked him to quit so he can spend more time with the kids and worry more about raising them.

We have another Sister that is returning as well. I have actually never taught her. Elder Labrador always teachers her when we go on splits. Every time I have gone with him there she has been busy. But she too has come 3 weeks in a row now so she will be considered returned next week. She made a mistake a couple years ago. She is young and already has a baby but since she has been coming back, the ward has showed so much love to her making her feel more than welcome.

In all, last Sunday we had 6 less actives there and 3 of them are very close to being considered returned. We also had the primary program on Sunday. It was fun to watch all the kids sing and speak their parts in the program. Something cool on Sunday was we traveled to Alicia to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional and we traveled with our 4 fellow shippers. Last week we traveled with them as well and they watched Elder Labrador and I each contact somebody on the way to Alicia. When we got off the all said they wanted to be able to do that someday. So this week, we got them ready and encouraged them to do it. Then they all did it! We all sat different places on the bus so we could each contact someone different and everyone did it! It was so awesome to see the progress of the ward missionaries and their confidence and desire to share the gospel!

Overall we were very happy again with our week this week. I am loving this area and my companion is great! Christmas is getting closer and closer so let us all do our part in sharing to others the real meaning of Christmas! Love you all!

Love Elder Haacke

 Elder Brandon and I

Alicia zone at Christmas conference

Monday, December 7, 2015

Finding Sucess with Inactives

Happy December everyone! Less than 20 days until Skype! I'm looking forward to it so much! Don't count on me having the same account as last Mother's Day or last Christmas. I will be making a new one once again since I have no idea what my username or password was for either of those two accounts. I'll let you know my new username so you can add me when I make my new account in a couple weeks. Oh by the way, got the letter with the kids' school pictures. I can't believe how much they have changed! They are growing up way too fast! To be honest, almost made me want to cry when I compared the first pictures I got of them to these most recent ones! Can't even imagine what 8 more months is going to do to them!

Another week down and another week closer to Christmas. Everyone is already saying Merry Christmas to each other like it is Christmas day. Everyone except this one Nanay at the Christmas party Saturday night. It made me laugh when I heard it. Everyone was saying good-bye and Merry Christmas then when it got to this one Nanay she's like, "It's not even close to Christmas yet!" Then she just walked out. I thought it was pretty funny! But Christmas season in the Philippines is so awesome. You can honestly see the difference in the people. Everyone is just all around more happy! Then we get to go around and teach them the reasons why they are happy! All around just a super happy season.

Work was okay this week. Still are not having good luck with investigators. We don't even have that many. The sad thing is, members always ask us how the work is doing and they only ask about investigators. We have to tell them we are struggling with investigators but then I'm like let me tell you about the less actives that we're teaching! But by that time you can just tell they don't have the desire to listen. They just focus on baptisms instead of retention as well. It's not bad because baptisms are important as well but they don't see a lot of the progress that we actually are doing. That's okay because we are happy with the progress and the Lord knows what we're doing. The Quisisem family has had heaps of progress! They came to church the last two Sundays and the children are starting to build relationships with the other youth and single adults. We have also been able to build a strong relationship with them just in the last week. We just need to work with the mom to come back. She hasn't attended church with the rest of the family. She came to the Christmas party and had a great time. She even participated in one of the games and ended up winning! We have a great relationship with her as well but for some reason she doesn't have the desire to attend church. They are probably the most progressing less actives. We have quite a few that we are teaching and even came to church last week but a lot of them didn't return yesterday for church.

Saturday night's Christmas party was great! They just planned last Sunday after Church that it would happen this Saturday. Great planning right? So it was never announced in sacrament meeting. All week, we were asked to go around to all the members and spread the word that it was happening this Saturday. With late planning and nobody knowing about it, it turned out to be pretty well! When we got there, there were more less actives than members! It was great! We met a lot of new people and spent a nice night together. Had lots of people there and a lot of fun with the performances and games.

Sunday morning, get to church, no people. There was barely anyone there! I'm thinking, what happened to everyone that was here just 12 hours ago?? Then Bishop announced that we were starting and there were only 24 of us! Bishop was the only one there in the Bishopric. Probably the lowest there's been at the start of the meeting since I've been here. I was shocked. By the end of the meeting, it had gone up to around 80 which is about where it is normally. Almost everybody was late. Like a Christmas party hangover or something. But church was still good and we had some good lessons. Even in Elders Quorum we had a good lesson! Focus was home teaching related with pure religion.

Sunday night we went to Alicia and President and Sister Rahlf had a devotional for Alicia stake. They taught about the birth of Christ and the importance of some of the people and objects in the story. One of the things I learned was that angel Gabriel is prophet Noah in mortal life. I never knew that! Alicia zone has Christmas devotional tomorrow so we will learn more about the birth of Christ and President will expound more on the significance of the people and objects in the story. Definitely looking forward to that!

Over all we had a good week and continue to find success in teaching and returning some less actives. I hope you all have a great week this week. Love you all!

Love Elder Haacke

Imagine harvesting all this corn by hand! At least its in batches so they don't do it all at once but still, that would take forever!

 The elders at the ward Christmas party.