Philippines Cauayan Mission

Philippines Cauayan Mission

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

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