Philippines Cauayan Mission

Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, August 1, 2016

Last Mission Letter

Well, this is it! Finished my last full week in the Philippines! Can't believe it's come to this point. Something I thought was never going to actually come has now come faster than I could've imagined. But I can not wait to see you guys later this week!

So we had the career workshop this week on Wednesday. Woke up early and left with Elder Walstad. We picked up Sister Edrington on the way to the bus station and met Elder Capulac there. Everyone we asked said the early bus was at 6 so we were there at 5:45 ish. When we got there they said it wouldn't leave till 6:30 which was going to be late so we just went out by the McDonald's and waited on the road for one to go by. While waiting, we decided to go get some breakfast at McDonald's which ended up being a great idea because I don't think I would have lasted the almost 3 hour trip on an empty stomach. The career workshop was actually pretty good though. Elder Jones taught it to us. I liked some of the things we talked about. It will be really helpful in the future, especially when it comes to job interviews. Also he mentioned that he had a son that went into finance so I stayed afterwards and talked to him a little about that. He's had a lot of success and Elder Jones just talked about how many different opportunities there are in finance. I think it mainly helped me confirm my decision to go into finance. But it was a good meeting and fun to be with my whole batch again. There are a total of 17 of us leaving the mission so quite a few of us. 

Most exciting part of the week was Marycris's baptism on Saturday. It was on Saturday morning, supposed to be at 9 but didn't start till 10. No surprise there right? So nothing new. But the zone leaders told us that the last baptism they had in Tuao was only attended by the branch president and other missionaries. I guess like four other missionaries came all the way to Tuao just to attend the baptism. So I as a little worried there wouldn't be anyone there to support Cris. Even her mom told me she wouldn't be able to attend but I said no she has to make a way to be able to come because it's her own child that's being baptized. She ended up being able to go so that was good. Surprisingly, quite a few other members came as well. Quite a few as in like 10 but that's a lot better than I was thinking would come. Speakers gave good, short talks and the baptism went well. It was a good experience for Sister Cris and she shared an awesome testimony at the end. She talked about how out of all the different churches she's gone to in the past, she's never felt the way she feels now. She's also met some other single adults in the stake recently and I guess they always text her and ask how she's doing. I'm glad she's already getting a lot of friends that will help her stay active in the church. 

Tatay Enomio is still doing pretty good. He has some Word of Wisdom problems but as soon as he learned they were against a commandment of God he said he won't do them again. As of now, he has avoided them so hopefully he keeps it up. Saturday was the last day we taught him and I told him that the next time the elders come back to teach him it will be someone else. He asked some questions and was determined to do anything to get me to stay but I told him my "contract" (that's what they call it sometimes) was up and I had to go home. Then he started tearing up which caught me off guard big time. I guess he expected me to be here for his baptism. But we took some pictures and said goodbye. 

So Saturday night, I needed to wash all my clothes since if I wash on Monday they won't have time to dry. So I wash all my clothes which took ages then I put them out on the clothes line to hopefully somewhat dry overnight and Sunday morning. So once I finished, a friend called and said there was a storm coming in that was supposed to be a pretty big storm. I looked outside and the sky was clear so I didn't worry about it. Then about 5 in the morning I woke up and heard the rain hitting the roof. I swear I jumped out of bed and ran outside so fast if you would've blinked you would have missed it. Luckily I think it had just recently started so at least my cloths weren't dripping wet yet but they were pretty wet. Brought them inside and stuck the fan on them and they still somehow got dry by the time church was over. That's another story though. So we got to church and there were about 10 of us. By the time the sacrament was passed we had gotten up to exactly 20 people including Elder Lechoco and I. Elder Lechoco and I were the speakers in sacrament meeting and that was pretty good. Also gave me a chance to say goodbye to everyone, even though there was barely anybody there. We sang "God Be With You Til' We Meet Again" as the closing him and the branch president pointed at me at the start telling me it was for me. To be honest, it wasn't even planned that way. I guess he didn't know it was my last Sunday even though I had told him many times. Ended up working out well though. In Tuguegarao South Stake, they cancelled class and sent all the members home after sacrament meeting because of the wind and rain but that didn't happen to us. We all ended up combining together for the two hours of class though since it would not have been worth it to break up into separate classes. Classes were actually pretty good though. Studied Alma 32 in Sunday School then in combined Priesthood and Relief Society we talked about how we can teach more like Christ, focusing on home and visiting teaching. After church, now raining even harder, we had lunch with the Dingil family. 

After that we went home so I could pack. So there is a bridge to cross when you leave or are coming in to Tuao and it is pretty low. It floods when it rains a lot so we were worried that might happen especially if it is supposed to rain harder. We talked to our neighbor to see if he thought it might flood or not and he said yeah maybe so we decided it would be better to go to Tuguegarao Sunday then to try and go Monday and not be able to because the river is so high. So I packed everything up really quick and we went out to the highway and waited for a jeep or van to come by. Long story short, waited for 2 hours and nothing came by! So we had no options and just went back to the apartment and slept there. Also, while we were out waiting for a jeep, water was apparently making it's way across the ceiling and dripping rapidly right onto my bed. So we went to sleep and the bottom half of my mattress was soaked. Then at like 5:45am, our neighbor comes over to the window and yells through the window that a lot of jeeps were going by. So that was a nice alarm clock! Anyway, because the rain stopped sometime overnight, the bridge didn't end up flooding so we could still get to Tugue this morning. And that brings us to today! Pretty good last week in Tuao. I can talk more about it this week when we're together! Can't wait for Thursday!! Love you all!

Love Elder Haacke
 Marycris's baptism.

 This is Tatay Enomio and his wife.
 Realized while washing Saturday night that I haven't sent a picture of me washing clothes my whole mission. So I went and got my camera and had Elder Lechoco take a pic.
 This is the last time I'll be washing by hand hopefully for the rest of my life!
 This is are apartment here in Tuao. Never took pics of the inside until earlier this morning so here it is!


Monday, July 25, 2016

Enjoying Every Day to the Fullest

HOLY COW! This is my last full week in the Philippines!! How crazy is that?! Easy to say but it doesn't feel real at all! But I have got to be honest, I can't wait to see you guys again! Sounds like you all had another good week. Glad Marissa made it home okay and had a good time on her trip. 

As for Elder Lechoco and I we had a pretty good week. We'll start the week off with zone meeting on Tuesday. I think I could say I kinda miss teaching zone meeting. Believe it or not but I had additions after additions. I know it doesn't seem like me at all but like halfway through I told myself to stop talking since I was saying so much. That's why I think I missed teaching it. But they talked about repentance. Not really surprised though. I read something on about having the new mission presidents focus on repentance. So we're getting right into it! It was a good lesson though and something we really do need to teach better. Sometimes we take it too lightly. 

So investigators are doing pretty good. Big news is Maricris passed her interview with flying colors so her baptism is all set for this Saturday, my last Saturday in the mission! Pretty excited. We had a review lesson with her Friday then her interview was on Sunday. She did pretty good in the review so we knew she wouldn't have a problem in the interview. I asked Elder Russell if there was anything we needed to focus on during the reteaching but he said she knew everything pretty well so that was good!
Tatay Enomio is still doing great! Still cracks me up every time I see him. Such a funny guy. Still going strong to meet his date in August. He was at church again yesterday but didn't stay for class. We'll work on that next week. We were able to continue with the lessons this week as well with Tatay. Sometimes he has a hard time remembering things and he can't read since it's too blurry so I think we'll just focus on helping him get a testimony through his church attendance. I think he already believes it is true because he really enjoyed church two weeks ago (his first time). One of the talks two weeks ago was really really good and he said he really liked everything she said. It was a good experience for him to have for his first time attending church. 

Sister Racquel didn't come to church this week. We also didn't even teach her. She lives pretty far away so we want to make contact with her before we go out to teach her. Her only available day is Saturday but we never got through to her all day so we didn't end up going out to that area. We also couldn't contact the fellowshipper that attends the lesson with us so we thought it wouldn't be worth our time to go all the way out to that area because she might not be there. Hopefully this week we'll be able to teach her again. 

The two families we teach out in Cagumittan haven't been progressing the last two weeks. We tried to focus more on them this week to see if they still have potential or not but we never taught them. Every time we went out there they had one excuse after another as to why we couldn't teach that day. So that was too bad. Those two families are referrals from a member and that member always asks us how they're doing so we had to break the news this week that they aren't doing that well. The member was sure they were going to progress and we also thought they were going to progress. I think it is because the first week every time we taught we had two other members with us, one of them being the one that gave the referral. Ever since then they haven't come with us to teach and I think that has been one of the causes that has led the two families to not progress like we thought they would. We'll try again this week then make a decision if it's time to drop them or not. 

Someone I really wanted to teach again this week was Sherwin Castillo. We have never been able to teach him again since the first lesson. Every time we've gone to his house he hasn't been there so we're wondering if he might have taken off somewhere. We'll try again this week and see where we get.

We didn't really do a good job of finding new investigators this week. I think we've slacked off on that a little since we've been in the area a little longer. Of course when we were new that was all we did because we both didn't know anybody but now we've slacked off a little which is too bad. We'll focus on it again this week since a lot of the investigators we have now aren't showing many signs of progressing. 

Church was pretty good on Sunday. We had two visitors from the stake that shared some good messages. Elder Lechoco and I taught Sunday School which went pretty well actually. Our sacrament meeting attendance was right around 50 again or a little more than 50. Pretty good since it rained the night before. Normally when it rains it has a big affect on church attendance but not this week. 

So the second half of this week they started cutting down trees that are disrupting power lines. By the way, power lines are a huge problem in this country. They are so unorganized. Anyway, so for safety while cutting the trees around the power lines, they cut the power from 8 in the morning to 5 at night. So yeah, that was not fun. Sweating like crazy during studies and then in lessons there is no electric fans to sit in front of. Luckily they are done now so we won't have that problem anymore. 
Also, we are supposed to be looking for a new apartment since the one we have right now isn't that great. The senior couples don't want us living there I guess. The landlord came last week and said they were going to fix it up but I guess the mission would rather have us find a new apartment then go through the hassle of fixing the one we have now. So Saturday morning, we went out with a member that has been looking for us and we visited some houses for rent. Long story short, didn't find anything. Actually there is one that might have potential but we haven't been able to see the inside of it yet so that might happen this week, hopefully. 

That's pretty much it for the week this week. Got a pretty busy week ahead of me. District meeting tomorrow where I just learned I will be teaching for about 15 minutes just giving some farewell thoughts. Then I will be heading to Cauayan early in the morning Wednesday for our career workshop. Then we have a baptism Saturday morning. The days will go by very quick so I better enjoy every bit of it to the fullest! Hope you all have a great week! Love you all!

Love Elder Haacke

We were looking for frogs while waiting for a tricy to come.
 This is my most recent haircut. Yeah, not even at all!  I'm making this last me till I get home cause I'm done getting haircuts here!
 Our apartment from the outside.
More Pictures:




Monday, July 18, 2016

Time Is Flying By

Hello once again! Can't believe it's already Monday again and time for me to write another letter! Coming up pretty soon on my last letter (next week) because I'm not too sure if I'm going to write a big one my last week. I'll just tell you about it in person instead! Dad mentioned last week that the time back home has slowed down a little waiting for me to come home but here it's just continued getting faster and faster. But we had a pretty good week this week. We were able to continue to progress some in the area and also continue to help those that we are already teaching continue to progress. 

This week started like it normally does with district meeting. I actually had a pretty good time during district meeting this last week. We talked about obedience being better than sacrifice. We had more of a discussion than we normally do which made it a lot easier to stay focused and we were all able to learn from each other. It was really enjoyable listening to others incites and also adding my own. One of the examples we read in the scriptures was about Cain and Able. Both were commanded to offer a sacrifice to God but only Able's was accepted. Then we discussed why. That was the cool part because even though we all read the same verses, everyone had a different application. Goes to show how the spirit helps us learn the things we need to learn and see the things that we personally could do better. Can't believe I only have a few district meetings left. Actually just one. Zone meeting tomorrow and district meeting next week. Still don't think I've wrapped my mind around the fact that I really only have a couple weeks left. It's kind of like when I left on the mission, it didn't feel real that it was actually happening then it just happened. That's how I feel right now but the opposite. I'll be going home soon but it doesn't feel like it but before I know it I'll be sitting on an airplane. Anyway, back to the week this week. Our investigators are doing pretty good!

Maricris is still doing well. She is picking up the concepts really well and every time we review things we taught in the the past she remembers them really well. Her interview will most likely be this Saturday if everything happens the way it's planned. Then her baptism will be the week after which will be my last Saturday! 

I can't remember if I told you about Tatay Enomio. We met him last week but taught him more this week. He's 87 years old but is still pretty strong. We were able to teach him twice this last week and the second time we set a baptismal date. He's a pretty funny guy though. We decided on August 20 for his baptismal date. Kinda funny though cause turns out his birthday is August 20! So that will be really cool if everything goes through. Even though he is really old he still understands what we are saying and is pretty good in Tagalog so communication isn't a problem. He came to church for the first time yesterday with his wife who is a member. 

Racquel is doing well. We are only able to teach her once a week because of school so the lessons go a little slower with her. She came to church for the second week in a row but we haven't given her a baptismal date yet. We most likely will this Saturday when we teach her if it feels right. 

We got a new investigator this week that is progressing pretty well. His name is Sherwin Castillo. He's 34. He had a family but has separated and now is with his parents. Anyway, while we were teaching him the first lesson, he broke down in tears. His Aunt, I think, has converted to the church so we focused a lot on what he has seen take place in her life and if he wants the same blessings. It was a really good lesson. Once it was over, Elder Lechoco turned to me and said he could really feel the spirit. I could too and I know so did Sherwin. He didn't end up coming to church but I think he will in the future. He has so much potential. 

So something kinda weird that happened this week was after church on Sunday. We were sitting down about to start the lesson to Sister Maricris along with Nanay. Then before we started, Nanay says she has some questions. So we talk about those for a little but they were like really deep questions. The first was about Jesus' resurrection and if others were resurrected as well. It's very clear in Matthew that other's were resurrected right after Jesus was so that wasn't hard to answer. Then we explained the first resurrection a little more and the millennium then the second resurrection. Just a more in depth version of the Plan of Salvation. The second question was a little more out of the ordinary. She asked how God got his body. So this isn't something that we can just go right to a scripture and show her what the answer is. We answered it to the best of our ability by just explaining that Joseph Smith and Lorenzo Snow both said that, "As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be." So that means he became a man at one point. We said that that most likely happened on a different world, not the one we live on today. That's where she went off. She didn't like that answer at all and she was pretty rude about it. She's like, nope I don't accept your answer. I'm sitting here like okay, are you arguing with your own belief? But it made me a little upset the way she was talking to us. We told her before we started that we don't know everything but will do our best but apparently she expected us to know everything. Then told us that before we go teach people we need to learn it for ourselves first. By that point I could totally feel anger started to build within me. I was like, Nay if you don't want to accept our answer it's your choice but that's pretty harsh what you're saying to us. And this is all before we are supposed to teach Maricris who is just sitting there on the side listening to all this. So anyway, the lesson to Maricris was not great at all. I think it's cause our minds were caught up in what we had just discussed. But we've studied some more stuff and we'll go back with some more references. 

Anyway, that's about it for the week this week. Pretty good week this week and everyone is still progressing well. Hope you all have a great week this week!
Elder Haacke

Monday, July 11, 2016

New Mission President

Hello everybody once again! Looks like everyone had a good Fourth of July. Too bad the weather wasn't too great but it still looks like everyone had fun. We had a pretty good week here in Tuao as well. Also got to meet the new mission president, President Hiatt, this week. I'll start this week's letter there. 

We found out last Monday that we were going to have a little conference the next day in Ilagan so we can meet President Hiatt and his wife. Burgos, Ilagan and the two Tuguegarao zones all met in Ilagan Tuesday morning. It's about 2 hours away and we all crammed into one van so that wasn't the funnest thing ever. At least I was by a window except it was in the very back. Going there wasn't too bad since it was still pretty cool but later in the afternoon coming home was not enjoyable at all. It was so hot inside the van even if I was right next to the window. It was just hot air. But we eventually made it back and all was well. We went straight to the hospital after we got back to Tuguegarao so I could get my x-ray. You know what that means right?? I'm close to coming home!! But the hospital thing was a pain. They didn't want to take our card we use to pay for medical stuff until like 20 minutes of going back and forth to different rooms talking to different people. I figured they would know that they accept the card because they're the only hospital in all of Tuguegarao that does. But anyway, finally got the x-ray done and all ready to give to the senior couples. And that's all of Tuesday. It was a very tiring day even though we didn't do very much but all the traveling and other stuff made it a tiring day. 

So work wise we had a pretty successful week! Maricris is still making great progress towards her baptism. We still teach her almost everyday. Along with her mom and her little sister that sits in when she's there. She continues to do all the things we ask her to do and she is reading well in the Book of Mormon. She actively participates at church even though yesterday was only her second Sunday. She already seems so comfortable at church and being with/around all the other members. So we'll just continue to help strengthen her faith and knowledge of the gospel and she'll be more than ready when it's time for her to be baptized. 

So this week, we got a couple referrals from the members which was awesome. Nanay Pagulayan had a couple families she wanted us to teach last Wednesday so we gladly met up with her and went to those families.  The Tuazon and Zalon families. We teach them together but so far we have only taught the two Nanay's and all the kids. There's like 8 kids in all. We teach pretty slow to them since they don't pick it up very well, even the two Nanay's. But we committed them to come to church and 6 of the kids did. The other two kids said they were gonna follow but never showed up and the Nanay's were busy washing. But almost all the kids were there so that was cool. 

We got another referral from JulieAnn, one of the single adults in the branch. Her friend, Rocquel, wanted to be taught by the missionaries and learn more about the church so we were happy to do that. The only free time they have is Saturday so getting through the lessons might take a while. At least she has a good friend in the church so that will help her do the commitments that we leave her. She also was at church yesterday and enjoyed her experience so so far she's doing really well!
And another investigator that has a lot of potential is Edna and Tony Blanche. We met them this week and they have been taught by missionaries before. They even attended church before but they were never baptized. They didn't come yesterday but we will focus more on them this week because I think they have a lot of potential to progress. 

Saturday we had a "One Day Mission" in the morning until lunch time. Supposed to start at 8 which really started at 9 but it was good because there was a total of 16 that showed up. More than I thought since it was kind of a rush and not much planning behind it. At first, their plan was to divide into two groups so that each group had a missionary with them. We quickly changed that plan since that would not have been effective at all. We ended up dividing into 4 groups of 4 but there were only two tricy's. All the areas are pretty far except for one. So one walking group took that closer area and I took a different one that was further away. Supposed to be 4 groups of 4 but when they found out where we'd be going they deserted me and left my with an 18 year old that knows just as much of the area as I do. Actually, I probably know more of the area than him but we still got a lot of work done. We did more finding and first lessons since we didn't know any less actives in that area. In all, it was nice to see the members come together and go out and work. We finished around lunch time and had a free lunch at someone's wedding that a few members knew. We had no idea who it was but hey, welcome to the Philippines. You see a party that has food, you invite yourself! So that's what we did!

So we had a pretty progressive week this week. Kinda makes me wish I was staying here longer cause I think August will be a good month and have some baptisms in it. Also the branch progressed this week, probably thanks to the one day mission. Attendance was up to 54 so we are consistently increasing. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going this week. Hope you all have a great week! 

Love Elder Haacke
Didn't take many pics this week except at the wedding. The girl in the picture is Sister Angel. She is Maricris' little sister.

Elder Romo, Carrington, Fernandez then me.
Elder Romo and I with Elder Mansor.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Getting Things Rolling

Happy 4th of July everybody! Can't believe it's this time of year again. June is gone and I know July will go by just as fast. Then August 4 will be here before we know it! 

As for the week this week, it was pretty long. We're still trying to get things rolling here in our area. We still have only gone to a few of the barangays here in our area. The boundary of Tuao is HUGE and we've only gone to a little bit of it. We mainly go to the barangays that have been shown to us. We went to a couple new ones but just felt lost while we were there. The information left for us about the area wasn't a whole lot so we are having a hard time getting going. The members are really nice but they don't come out to work with us. We planned a one day mission for this coming Saturday so hopefully all the members will come out and we'll split into a lot of groups get the area covered well.

Started the week with district meeting on Tuesday. That was pretty good. Elder Russell is my district leader and he's from Rexburg so we talk a lot about home. He's good friends with Caleb Allred if you remember him from soccer. He's a good teacher and we have a pretty fun district. Last Tuesday we talked about how to teach Faith and Repentance. Sometimes it's easy to skip teaching the importance of those two principles and just going straight to baptism but those principles are very important. We've been taught that a few times here in the mission and I think I've done a good job emphasizing the importance of those principles, especially repentance. But it was a good district meeting. We then traveled home which once again took forever. Totally sick of these two hour rides just to get to our area. Good thing I'm only here for one cycle so I just tell myself to endure it until then.
I don't really want to give a description of what happened everyday because like I said earlier our week was pretty slow. I do want to tell you about one of our new investigators that is really progressing. Her name is Maricris Pamittan. She's 24 yrs old and her mom and little sister are recent converts. We just started teaching this week and now we teach her basically everyday. They live somewhat close to the apartment so we make them our first appointment of the day before we go to whatever barangay we are going to work in that day. So anyway, she is doing everything we ask her do to. She's read every reading assignment. And she only has one day to do it since we come back the next day. And she prays really well. And she has good support from her mom and sister. We extended a baptismal date on Saturday for July 30 which is right before I go home so I'm hoping and praying everything goes well. So far it's going great. She came to church yesterday and really enjoyed it. Also it was a great sacrament meeting. Remember how I said there are a lot of older people in this branch? Well that means it's not near as noisy as in my last areas and almost all of them bore their testimony. There was never a period of down time where we were waiting for someone to go up and bare their testimony. So it was a great sacrament meeting for her first time at church. We are really happy with the progress she's making and we are excited to see how she continues to do.
Other than Maricris, we don't have any other investigators that are progressing. We had another referral that looked good and we were going to contact it on Saturday with the member that gave it but it ended up falling through. The referral just got a job here in Tuguegarao and isn't going to come back to Tuao for a while.
So I want to tell you about this one family here in Tuao. Nanay and Tatay Pagulayan. Nanay is the relief society president and Tatay is just straight up hilarious. We felt like trying to eat lunch with a member this last week so we called them and set an appointment. They were also happy to have us at their house for lunch. We had lunch then after, Nanay made hot chocolate out of  pure chocolate. As in like picked from the tree, dried then crushed into powder kind of chocolate. Anyway, the best part of the visit was talking to Tatay. He can go off on these random stories for ages. And he kept telling us to take a nap at their house since it was so hot outside. He's been a member for a long time so he tells a lot of stories about how the church started here in Tuao. We went from that to talking about zodiac signs then what day we were born and so on. No idea why but he remembers he was born on a Tuesday. But they are awesome and we look forward to continue building our relationship with them.
Church on Sunday was pretty good. Like I said earlier, sacrament meeting was great. Then classes went well as well. Maricris was our only investigator there. Don't really have any others that are close to coming but we'll see how this week goes. That's pretty much it for the week this week. Hope you all have a great week this week. Talk to you all again soon!

Love Elder Haacke

Smallest pig I ever seen. Good for about one piece of bacon.

 Elder Lechoco and I
So here in Tuao, this is how we get from one place to another. By horse drawn carriages.
This is the Pamittan family. Next to me is Nanay and Maricris then the little sister Angel on the side. Also our friend Jeremy.
Nanay and Tatay Pagulayan

Monday, June 27, 2016

Opening a New Area

Hello everybody! Can't believe we're coming up on the end of June! You know what that means...we're almost to my last full month in the mission! Anyway, I'm here in my new area! I'm back in Tuguegarao North zone and my are is Tuao. I no longer have any calling in the mission, just a normal missionary. My companion is Elder Lechoco coming from San Pedro, Roxas; my second area. That was his first area. So we're opening the area here in Tuao so it's been a little hard. I'll tell a little more about that later in the email. 

For my last day in Burgos, we started with a csp in the morning. We helped a member start building their house. It was just Elder Dialino and I along with a couple members in Branch 1. It was actually a pretty fun csp to be honest. The way they mix cement is actually pretty cool. Elder Dialino and I brought 13 loads of sand over then they would mix the sand with the cement powder then make it into a pool and add water. Then we just took the cement in buckets to where we needed it. We just made the foundation and started the walls but only got 2 rows high of hollow blocks before we had to go so I could do the things I needed since it was my last day in Burgos. For the rest of the day we went around to as many members as we could so I could say bye. Since I wasn't planning on getting transferred, I didn't say bye at all at church on Sunday so we were in a hurry Tuesday to try and get to as many as we could. I definitely had a good time in Burgos and love the members there and hope the best for them. Elder Dialino sent me an email today updating me a little about Burgos. I guess Nanay DelaCruz couldn't sleep the night I told her I was leaving. He said that she really misses me. Never met a more diligent reader of the scriptures. Also the meetings at church still happened so I know that the members are still in good hands there in Burgos. 

Wednesday morning we had a member take us on their motorcycle to Cauayan for transfer day. I found out where I was going and also met my new companion since he was coming from Roxas. We stayed in Cauayan for a while, waiting for a van to come that we were going to put our luggage in. When that van came, we put all our bags in it then all the missionaries going to Tuguegarao just commuted. I traveled with Elder Walstad since he got transferred and is in Tuguegarao as well. We ended up beating the van with the bags so we had to wait in Tuguegarao for our bags to get there. I've seen two members so far from when I was assigned in Amulung so that was pretty fun. The one is going to serve her mission in Chili which is awesome. I think she'll really enjoy it. So when we got here we found out that Tuao is the furthest away area in Tugue North zone and by the time our bags were there it was too late to travel back to Tuao. Well, we could have made it there but the zone leaders wouldn't have been able to make it back to Tugue since the jeeps in Tuao stop around 5:30. We ended up spending the night in the zone leaders apartment Wednesday night then traveled the next day after district meeting.
So like I said, Thursday we had district meeting in the morning, ate lunch then took off for Tuao. I thought travel was bad last week going back to Burgos from Cauayan. That was just preparing me for what I was going to face here! We sat in the jeep waiting for it to fill up for a little over 1.5 hours. I timed it. Then the ride was another hour and some change so in all it was a long time! Got there around 4:30. The zone leaders showed us where the apartment was and took us to a members house. Once we got there they left us so that they could still get back to Tugue before there were no more rides. The member then took us to visit a recent convert so we talked to them for a while and they helped us learn a little about the branch. Then we just did some walking around to see what was in the area. 

For the next couple days I don't have a lot to talk about. We've been doing our best to try and get to know the area and the members. The area is actually really big and the houses are really far away. It reminds me a lot of Amulung since that area was huge as well. While walking around on Friday, we ran in to the branch president just on the street so we set plans for him to show us around Saturday morning. He took us to a couple of barangays that we hadn't been to yet and showed us the houses of members there. There are just a couple of members in each barangay. And all the barangays are really far away from each other. That would be a simple description of Tuao. So I don't have a lot to talk about I guess. Opening an area is harder than I thought but I think we'll get things rolling this week. 

Something that surprised me at church on Sunday was that a lot of the members are old. Most the time there are a ton of young kids in the branches where I have been assigned in the past but here there are a ton of old people. Which I think is actually pretty good so that there is a permanent teacher in every class. Both Elder Lechoco and I were the speakers in sacrament meeting so that we could also introduce ourselves since even to that point we still hadn't gone to the majority of the members. Church was good though and the members are very nice. The attendance was around 40. I guess last cycle it all of a sudden dropped off a cliff and went from 60+ to around 40 out of nowhere. So we have some things we can work on in this area. I'll have more to write about next week after we get a full week of work in. Also our new mission president comes this week so that will be cool! Really looking forward to meeting him and his wife! That's basically it for this week. Tell you more about the area next week as soon as we can get it a little more figured out! Love you all and hope you have a good week!

Love Elder Haacke
 The csp at the Martin's house.
 Nanay and Tatay Caratiquit
 The Dannug Family, Tatay wasn't there.
 Ian and Nanay DelaCruz
 Belinda, Benilda and their kids. The little girl on the left has an identical twin but she wasn't there.
 Cordova family, or at least those that were there Wednesday morning.
 Ancheta family. I got the closest to them in Burgos and will miss them a lot!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Surprise Transfer

Wow do I have some news this week! Totally surprised me but as you know, this is transfer week and we got the transfer list this morning. I'm transferring! Going to be honest though, I'm pretty disappointed about it. I've gained a love for the people here and this area that I haven't had in any other area. I really wasn't planning on getting transferred since I haven't been here for very long. Definitely going to miss this place like crazy. Guess we'll have to see what the Lord has in store for me. As of now I have no idea where I could go so it will be a surprise for all of us come next week! 

As for the week this week, we had a busy one so it went by very fast. We went out to work in the morning on Tuesday. We went to Ilagan in the afternoon for our specialized training/farewell with President and Sister Rahlf. They taught about the Atonement which was super good. President Rahlf is very good at teaching about the Atonement. He has studied it very well and for a long time so it's really fun to listen to him teach it. Along with teaching the Atonement, they gave some going home thoughts which were really good and helpful. They didn't go into detail about things but mentioned a lot of things that will be helpful in the mission and in life. President and Sister Rahlf have been amazing 'mission parents' and great examples to all of us. I have definitely admired the attributes they have and will strive to apply the things I've learned from them to myself. Definitely will miss them but I'm sure the new mission president will be just as good. Tuesday morning we only got one lesson with Nanay DelaCruz. It was hard since school has started now. Nobody was there but at least we tried. We left right after lunch and went to Ilagan and didn't get home until 8 so that was pretty much all of Tuesday. We were supposed to have dinner with the Pinon family but they said they were going to go to bed so we weren't able to go. We ended up having breakfast with them in the morning instead so it all worked out. 

Wednesday was a pretty good day. We had a good lesson with Nanay Acopido. She knows how much the church will help and bless her life but we are still having problems with her husband. She has had a lot of friends that have become members of the church and she has seen their lives change so she knows the same could happen for her. Tatay still won't give us time to teach him which is too bad but we won't give up on them. We were also able to teach Nanay Luce on Wednesday. We are starting with the Plan of Salvation which I think she really enjoyed. We just talked about the Pre-Earth Life until the Fall of Adam and Eve which we had a really good discussion about. She asked quite a few questions about the Fall but we were able to answer them pretty easily. The Fall is something that I've started to enjoy teaching. Just because almost everyone else doesn't understand how necessary the Fall was and why it was part of God's plan. Luce is still progressing well but hasn't attended church. We invited her to baptism a week or so ago but she said she needs to think about it first. Her husband told us not to come back but we didn't listen. We went back again on Saturday and was able to teach her again about our life on Earth. 

Thursday we got up early and left for Cauayan. We had splits with the AP's which was pretty good. My companion was Elder Navarro and we had a pretty good time. He is from Boise so we were able to talk a little bit about home. It's always nice to see different ways of teaching and we were both able to see things we liked in each others teaching. It rained super hard on us at one point so we got pretty wet. Just made us contact someone really quick so we could hide in their home while the rain passed. Later that night when talking to the others they said it didn't even rain where they were at. So it was just us that got dumped on. It was alright though, we still had a good day. Also we ate lunch at KFC so that was super good. And they got a new apartment which has air conditioning and a warm shower so that was something I haven't had in a while. 

Friday morning we got up and took off back to Burgos. Travel took forever! 3 hours! Takes like 30 minutes in a car but jeeps take forever. We waited for ages for the jeep to fill up before we finally got to leave then we had to get off and wait for the second jeep to fill up so we could leave. Took forever and was so tiring but we finally made it back to the apartment. I don't know if you remember the Lopez sisters or not. We taught them back in the day but it's been a long time since we've been able to teach them since they went and stayed in Roxas for a while. Well we taught April again and she remembered basically everything we had taught so far. We reviewed a little of the Plan of Salvation then finished teaching it since that's where we stopped last time. We also gave her a baptismal date for July 23. She promised to attend church but she didn't end up going. Her baptism is still far enough away that she'll be able to attend church enough times to be baptized. Also we got a new investigator on Friday that had some potential. Tatay Benancio Salazar. We met him right when he was coming home from the bukid but he still gave us some time to share with him. We actually gave him a baptismal date as well for July 30. We'll have to see if he progresses to be able to make that date or we might have to push it back. We've only taught him once so far so we'll see how the second visit goes. 

Saturday we did weekly planning since we didn't have time on Friday. Don't really like it that much but we got it done! We were able to teach the first counselor again this week. He's having some problems right now so were trying to help him by sharing with him every week. We are also communicating well with the Branch President about his progress in getting rid of his habits. He hasn't made a lot of progress but we're only a week into it so we'll see how this week goes. Also like I said earlier we were able to teach Luce again on Saturday and also the Biernes family. We weren't planning on sharing with the Biernes family but when we went by to see how they were doing he said he had some questions about the Book of Mormon so we decided to make a lesson out of it and get his questions answered. Nestor still can't walk but he says he's feeling better and progressing well. This is the guy that got stabbed a couple times if you didn't remember. His questions were more on what the Book of Mormon was about so we explained it a little better then just gave a simple scriptural thought. 

Sunday was pretty hard. We had a visitor though that was a missionary here back in the day. I was in the same zone with him my first cycle in Roxas then he went home. It was pretty cool to see him again. He has a girlfriend back in that area he was assigned in Roxas so they visited Burgos since it was close. Other than that, church was pretty hard. We didn't have priesthood class since nobody was there. Just the priesthood holders in the Cordova family and us two missionaries. So we just had Sunday school which was last second as well since the teacher wasn't there. Sacrament was pretty good though. The speakers were well prepared and gave good talks. Our attendance was lower than last week. I counted around 50 or probably just over 50. Pretty low compared to last week so that was too bad. We had another meeting with President after church. We were able to discuss some things that we noticed the branch needs. I encouraged him to call a branch clerk to make his job as branch president not as hard. The person he suggested for clerk was exactly who I wanted him to say so he'll get called next week and I know he'll help the branch a lot. Too bad I won't be here to continue to help out the branch here in Burgos. I know the branch has the potential to grow and become a strong, established branch. The only thing lacking is some organization and action from the members and this branch could get back on it's feet. I'll keep in touch with Elder Dialino so I can stay updated even when I'm in my next area. Love this area but I guess we'll have to see what's in store for me this week. I'll update you all as soon as possible on my new area and new companion! Hope you all have a great week!

Love Elder Haacke

 We ate frog at FHE last Monday with the Cordova family. Not my first time but it is my first picture with it. It is actually really good.
 My area is definitely out in the rice paddies but I love it! All the fields will probably be planted by this week. There's just a few left that haven't been planted yet and are still being prepped.
 Elder Romo and I in Ilagan. May have been the last time I see him before I go home.
 Me with President and Sister Rahlf after the tie cutting. Chose the purple tie to get cut.
Took a tricy all the way back to Burgos since there were no more jeeps. I rode on top so it was nice and cool.
 This is us earlier this morning. We all went to the chapel and played basketball and volleyball. Last p-day together before three of us transfer!
 More from this morning.

Last pic before I leave, also from the training. Dad, this is Philip Walstad's son if you remember him from Nuskin. We've become pretty good friends here in the mission and will probably hang out a few times after the mission since he lives so close to BYU.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Sacrament Meeting Attendance

Hello everybody! Glad the first week of Summer went well for everybody. Sounds like everyone is really busy already. Also thank you dad for counting how many times the second hand needs to go around before I come home. That time will be here before we know it!

So we're back here once again at the net shop that doesn't read my card. The other one doesn't have internet again. An internet cafe with no internet...welcome to the Philippines! Just kidding, but hopefully it'll be back up next week. 
So we got back to a normal schedule this week. It was pretty nice but it actually went kinda slow as well. Looking back now it seems like it flew by but I remember feeling at some points during the week that time was going so slow. Anyway, I'll share a few things that made up our week this week. 

Tuesday we taught zone meeting. The topic was "Unto What Were You Ordained." We found a lot of scriptures that answered the question. I thought it was pretty cool that not a single scripture was repeated. No one even used a scripture that was used in MLC. Combined from the zone meeting and MLC there was 20+ scriptures that answered that question. Goes to show the scriptures really have the answers to everything, just need to study and search them. 
We went to Nanay Luce's house everyday this week except for Tuesday and weren't able to teach a single time! Most the time it was Tatay that came out or was already outside to talk to us. What happened yesterday was kinda funny though. We went there and Tatay was the one that came out. I tried to get him to let us teach him but the right time hasn't come yet. Anyway, the excuse yesterday was that Luce was sleeping. Everyday it's a different excuse. She's attending a funeral, her stomach hurts, she's cooking and so on. So after he said she's sleeping yesterday we were pretty disappointed and we didn't reply right away. Then Tatay's like, "Don't think that I'm trying to hide her, what I'm saying is true." In my mind I'm like, "Tay, that's exactly what we're thinking!" So we got a little laugh out of it and told him it's okay and that we'll come back another day. 

One less active that we've really been focusing on is Tatay Romolo. We've taught him twice a week since I've been here in Burgos. We always have pretty good lessons with him and he is doing good with his scripture reading and prayer but he's not coming to church. The lesson on Saturday was really good and the Spirit was definitely there. He always tells us that someday he'll come back to church but now isn't the right time but this time he told us he'll pray to see if the time has come to come back to church. We were almost certain that he was going to come the next day. Long story short, he didn't come! I don't know how the lesson could have gone any better or what we can do different but I guess we'll just keep on doing what we are now and hope for the best. 

We had our last service at Roland's kitchen last Wednesday. School started today so whether it's finished or not he has to start. We got basically everything done on Wednesday though. It was just me and my companion that participated. When it rains it still gets a little wet where people sit and get there food which then turns to mud so we took a ton of little rocks and spread them out to make it a little less muddy when it rains. We went there this morning and it was pretty muddy so what we did didn't help much but it looked nice after we finished! 

So the week this week was pretty good. Investigator wise we didn't do too great but we had a lot of less actives at church once again. Many repeats from last week. Our attendance was around 80. I counted like 74 but others that counted were around 78 or 82 so we'll go with 80. The branch president talked as the concluding speaker and said there was 108. No idea where that came from cause I didn't get anything near that and neither did anybody else. But hopefully we'll be able to get these meetings set and everyone in the branch can take part in helping it progress and helping are attendance continue to increase. 

I hope everyone has another great week this week. Can't wait to talk to you all again next week!

Love Elder Haacke

Monday, June 6, 2016

Busy Week

Hello everybody! Sounds like everybody had a great week this week. Can't believe school is already out. Time goes so fast! I bet all the kids are super happy, except for Sam that is. We had a pretty busy week this week. I'd have to say this was the first time in a while where I actually felt kinda stressed over all the people we need to teach and how to fit them into our schedule. We were busy with csp's, MLC and a baptism we participated in. Basically we had something every morning that we had to go to. In the end, we managed to get it all in but I'm really looking forward to getting back to normal this week. 

Start out on Monday night last week. We had FHE with the Cordova family again. They love having us over for FHE. They also LOVE playing Uno so we end up playing a lot of Uno with them. It's kinda funny though. If they know we're coming to their house, they set up the chairs and table before we even get there so that when we arrive we can start playing right away. So we played some Uno, shared a message then ate dinner with them. 

Tuesday we had our last interviews with President and Sister Rahlf. We got to the church early and made sure there was two rooms with air con for the interviews. We open up both the offices and both of them had an insect that had died and was getting eaten by a ton of ants. We cleaned them up and for the most part all the ants went away. When President and Sister Rahlf got there, we opened up the first office and it was still clean. When we opened up the second one for President Rahlf some of the ants had returned and were running all over the place. So President found my Branch Presidents cologne and sprayed it all over the place in his office to kill the ants. It was kinda funny and sure made his office smell good! Interviews went well. I feel like there is always so many things I want to talk to President about but when it comes to interviews, nothing comes to my mind. It was still a good interview though. Talked about attributes of Jesus Christ and he advised to always have a continuous study about Him. We then moved on to district meeting, ate lunch and went out to work. At work one of the people we were able to teach was Tatay Dannug. He's less active but his family is active. His son was considered returned this last Sunday since he had been there 4 weeks in a row now. Tatay was also there yesterday and when we visited them after church he was very happy. We asked him how attending church was and he said, "Happy! Very happy!" So that's good! Not really sure why or what happened but we were happy for him. Wednesday we got up and went straight to Cauayan. Attended MLC the whole day. Meeting was good and the food was great! :) Also got to see again a lot of my friends that are in far zones. President and Sister Rahlf also talked a lot about how the transition is going to work with getting a new mission president. I remember thinking that the time we get a new mission president was still so far away but it's come so quick! President and Sister Rahlf have talked and Skyped a lot with President Hiatt and his wife. From what we've heard, they seem very excited to come to the mission. We didn't get home till around 7:30 so that took our entire day. 

Thursday we had did service at the school. School starts on the 13th and what they do here every year is about 2 weeks before school starts, they have community service at the schools to clean it all up and get it ready for the school year. The schools are basically abandoned when school is not in session. Weeds grow like crazy and everything becomes a mess. Our branch president told us we HAD to participate at least once. So we called a couple other missionaries and they came with us. He was supposed to be there as well to show us what to do but the night before he said he couldn't come. So we basically just showed up at the school and said, "What can we do?" They gave us some tools and we basically just swept up a ton of leaves and put them in piles. At least they gave us a free snack! We still had some fun though. Played baseball with the broom stick and some mangoes. After that we went home and got ready for the day. We had another elder come home this last week, Elder Cordova. When he left only one other member of his family was a member and now they are all members and really really active. One of the families that are helping this branch stay alive! But he worked with us on Thursday since he hadn't been released yet. He had like a really hard time speaking Tagalog since it's been two years since he has spoken it. Even I had to help and correct his Tagalog. But that just means he served well in his mission. We decided to contact some nice houses on Thursday. We got a few but were only able to set return appointments. Finally we found one where they were outside so we went up and introduced ourselves. Apparently all the people that were there weren't the owner of the house but just the helpers that keep it clean and stuff. We were able to teach one of them though, her name is Jessie. She has one daughter that we also met but we haven't met her husband. She didn't show a lot of interest but we'll have to see how she's doing when we go back this week. We also had three baptism interviews to do on Thursday. I did two interviews and my companion did the other one. All the interviews were successful and I had the chance to baptize two of them on Saturday.

Friday we had another csp at a different school right next to our apartment. We helped clean and fix Brother Roland's kitchen again. This time we focused more on the outside. I dug a path for the rain water since it was going right into the kitchen then made a hole in the cement wall for the water to go out. We're going back this week on Wednesday to finish it all up since school starts next week. Apparently my ditch didn't work though. We talked yesterday and he said the rain still got in the other night so looks like I know what I'll be doing Wednesday morning! For lunch we went to a birthday party and they had a ton of food which was great. There were a lot of other members there as well. Had a fun time talking to them all and once again, played a couple games of Uno. It was Rex Cordova's birthday so that's why we played some Uno as well. They are literally in love with that game. We just worked in Cullalabo on Friday. We taught Nanay DelaCruz again. She is such a fast reader. She's reading faster than we are teaching. She says she always wakes up in the middle of the night and uses a flash light to read. Probably the most diligent scripture reader I know here and she loves it as well. Also got to teach Sister Clarita. She is less active that is from Caliguian branch but she works at a house that is in our area so we visit her every once in a while. We haven't been able to teach her since Elder Dialino has been here so it was good we were finally able to leave a message with her. We committed her to coming to church and she promised she'd be there but it didn't end up happening so we'll follow up this week. 

Saturday we had a baptism in the morning we attended. Like I said earlier I had the opportunity to baptize Angelica and Kylene. The water was pretty shallow so when I baptized Kylene her feet came up. I ended up doing what Dad did to me when I was a little kid and stepped on her toes for the second one. Everything was good after that. Rest of the baptism went really well. Speakers gave good short messages and everything went smoothly. Best part of Saturday though was teaching Nanay Luce. First time we got to teach her all week and I was looking forward to it so much. We followed up her prayer and had a better discussion about the Holy Ghost. She said she is searching and really thinking right now about which is the true church. Our lesson was great and we tried committing her to baptism but she said she is still thinking . She explained her answer and we respected it but we told her that she needs to come to church to really get a better understanding of what our church is like. She said she'll pray about coming to church. 

The next day she still didn't end up coming. Too bad because this was one of the best Sundays we've had. There were a lot of members there and we had good classes as well. That was the most full I've seen the sacrament meeting since I have been here. The testimonies that were shared were really good. There was actually more that spoke Tagalog than Ilocano so we were able to understand them. We did have one investigator there, Sister Florence. We haven't focused a lot on her since she hasn't been here lately but it looks like she's back so we'll start teaching her again. Something else that was really good was we had 8 less actives at church that we are teaching. Three are now returned and the others are progressing. Two that really had good experiences were Tatay Pinon and Tatay Dannug. I mentioned Tatay Dannug earlier. Tatay Pinon even gave the opening prayer in sacrament meeting. We are planning on visiting the Pinon family later tonight so we'll talk more about church. 

Over all we had a very busy week but still finished off strong with a lot of members attending church. Hopefully we'll be able to have the same this week but also with some investigators! Hope you all have a great week!

Love Elder Haacke

Monday, May 30, 2016

Investigators Progress

Can't believe May is come and gone! Got one day left and it's already June! This will be President and Sister Rahlf's last month. They put their departure on the mission calendar they just sent to us. They leave the last day of the month. Pretty crazy how fast time goes by. I bet they are thinking the same thing but I'm sure at the same time they are ready to get back to spending time with their family. I will be giving the scriptural thought this Wednesday in MLC which will be the last one with President and Sister Rahlf. Hopefully that means we have a celebration. :) We also have our last quarterly interview with them tomorrow before district meeting starts. 

Before I get too far into this weeks letter, I want to wish Mom a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I liked the picture of Mom's birthday with Alexa bumping the present on Mom's head. Looks like it was a good birthday.

So this week was a pretty good week. We had some investigators really progress this week. Not to the point of coming to church but we are seeing their interest increase. Our most progressing investigator is Nanay Luce Estella. We met her a couple weeks ago along with Sister Marissa who was also our new investigator. We found out this week that Marissa is actually a member. She didn't want to tell us she was baptized back in 2007. But I think it was good for her to hear the lessons again just like she was an investigator. Anyway, back to Nanay Luce. We taught her three times this week and each lesson was pretty good. She read the entire pamphlet that we gave her and is started on the introduction of the Book of Mormon. We still don't know for sure if she's received a confirmation about Joseph Smith and the restoration. The last lesson we had with her was the Book of Mormon so we'll follow up with her next time how it has helped her gain a testimony. We really enjoy teaching her even though sometimes it seems like she's not even listening then she'll ask a great question about what we've been saying. She's really pondering about the message and we're praying she follows her feelings instead of listening to the people around her.  She lives in a compound of houses that are all Espiritista including herself so we think that will be the only thing that holds her back. 

We got another new investigator this week that is showing potential. His name is Mark Ramos. He's 26, married and has a little boy. We taught him twice this week. His wife hasn't listened to us yet. We only met her the second time we taught. She didn't want to come sit by Mark but she was sitting within listening distance. Half way through she left and went outside which was too bad. Then she came back with a bottle of Coke and some snacks for us. So that was great! Hopefully she'll sit down and listen next time along with her husband Mark. 

Marinel Lapao, our progressing investigator last week, has gone down hill. She's kinda being immature when we go visit her. I don't even want to go back unless we have Fatima with us. Fatima is good friends with Marinel so she can help Marinel focus and realize how important this really is. 

Saturday we had an Elder's Quorum activity. Supposed to be sports activities in the morning then we cook lunch at the church and eat there then split up and go visit less actives for a couple hours. Basically ended up being a little get together with the Ancheta family, Brother Bautista and Julius. Julius isn't even from here. He's from Manila but is visiting his wife's family here in Burgos and he still came to help the Elder's Quorum. We played some basketball, ate lunch then everybody went home. Didn't even end up going out to work since there was nobody there. The food was already bought so we had to cook it and those that were there got to eat it. So there was a ton of food and not a lot of people. So Elder Dialino and I just went home, studied for a little then went out to work on our own. We'll have to try again next month to get a good Elder's Quorum activity put together. 

So it rains basically everyday now. If not everyday then at least 6 out of the 7 days of the week. Normally starts in the evening and rains for a couple hours. Normally hits us as we're walking to dinner and walking home. And even with umbrella's we still get soaked every time. Gotta love it! 

Sunday this week was kinda a mess. So the branch president wasn't there. He didn't say he wasn't gonna be there until Saturday night. He is supposed to teach the combined class since it is the 5th Sunday and there was a lesson given to him by the Area Presidency. The fact of him being gone wouldn't and shouldn't be a problem but he didn't assign other people to fill in for him. President Ancheta ended up being the teacher last minute and we discussed the area goals. Also President doesn't really involve his counselors in almost anything so they too didn't know what to do. I was standing outside the room they were in as they planned sacrament meeting. I heard someone say, "Who are the speakers?? Was anyone assigned??" Then without even giving time to think if someone was assigned, someone else is like,"Straight to the missionaries!" So Elder Dialino and I were the speakers in sacrament meeting. I decided to use the time to give a little chastisement/correction. I talked about missionary work but I also used the verse in Alma when Moroni is chastising Pahoran for not sending help. He talks about needed to first clean the inner vessel. I related it to the branch. We need to make it a place so that when an investigator comes, they will see that it is a place they wanted to attend church. Honestly, not having an investigator at church yesterday was more of a blessing. We were supposed to start at 8:30 right? Well it's like 9:15 and there are 10 people there. If an investigator came yesterday then never came again, I don't know how much I can blame them. I talked straight forward about being on time and being ready to participate in classes. Hopefully what I talked about will have an effect on the members. President Ancheta told me it was good what I said. Guess we'll have to see next week. 

Didn't really give a detailed day to day letter this week but those are the updates on our investigators that are making progress and also a little update on the branch. Hope you all have a great week! Talk to you again next week! 

Love Elder Haacke
 Finally planting season again so the fields are once again becoming green.
 It's hard to tell in the picture but this was a pretty cool cloud. Had a rainbow coming off the edge of it. It's hard to see the other colors in the picture but the colors were pretty distinct in real life.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Blessed in the Rain

Hello once again! Another week gone down already. I hope you don't think I'm counting down the weeks for when I go home, I'm really just counting how many more weekly emails I have to write! I believe I have 10 left, if I write one on my last week. Which is up in the air if it will happen or not so we'll go with 9 to go! 

This week was actually a pretty good week though. The week started off pretty slow just like last week but everyday had improvement and we got things picked back up again by the weekend. 

Start off the week on Tuesday. Elder Hardy taught a different lesson for district meeting, not just the usual pick a trait from the Preach My Gospel and talk about it. He did more of a doctrinal lesson which was actually pretty interesting. He taught us about the Urrim and Thummim. What it looks like, how it was used, where it came from. Stuff like that. It was actually pretty interesting and I enjoyed listening to him. I will be teaching tomorrow so now I'm thinking if I'll try and do something like that. We got three new investigators while at work on Tuesday. Two of them are related to Tatay Edwardo Passion who I talked about last week. Out of the three, one of them is progressing more than the others. That is Marinel Lapao. Her husband isn't too interested in listening to us yet but we have a good fellowshipper lined up to help us with that this week. She is going to Baguio later today so hopefully she'll be able to fellowship with us later in the week. Tuesday night the sisters in Caliguian invited us to dinner so we went with Brother Roland and the sisters in the other branch in Burgos in Brother Rolands kulong kulong (like a tricy but with no top) and traveled to Caliguian. It's not far so it was okay to go but while we were on the way, it started pouring rain! Like crazy hard. We had umbrella's out while driving down the road but that served basically no purpose at all. We were drenched like we just went swimming in proselyting clothes. When we got up from the chairs at dinner, there was a nice puddle underneath each of our seats. Luckily the rain stopped while we were eating and we were able to go back to Burgos a little more peacefully. 

Wednesday we went to the school in the morning and helped brother Roland clean his kitchen. That's where he works and school will be starting here in a week or two so we went to help him get his kitchen all set up and cleaned up before it starts. We'll go back this week on Thursday to finish it up. I don't even know if you could call that room a kitchen though, it was filthy. I'll take some pictures on Thursday. We had to shovel out dirt that the rats had brought in. I'll just leave it there. But we will eat there at his place a lot once he gets up and running so we're pretty excited for that. Wednesday was a long day of work. We didn't have very much success and so time went by pretty slow. We were still able to teach Tatay Romolo and Monique. They are both less active. Since Elder Dialino has been here, we have been working really hard with Romolo to come back to church. I guess he saw a leader of the branch doing something that wasn't right and now he doesn't want to attend because he doesn't want that kind of person running the branch. Any guesses on who that leader is?? We don't know what he saw or what specifically happened but we trying to help him put it behind him and come back. 

Thursday was when work started to get better and it finished strong through the whole week. Best lesson on Thursday was with two new investigators we just met that day. Roenna and Nestor Biernes. Nestor was stabbed a couple times 3 months ago. Him and some others were drinking and things got a little heated and he got stabbed a few times. Now he just lays/sits in bed all day and slowly heals. He got messed up in the inside as well. He has a catheter right now. He made sure we knew how much it hurts when he replaces it with a new one every two weeks. Made me laugh. But he's just grateful to be alive at this point. Our lesson went really well with them and it's a perfect time for him to start reading the Book of Mormon since he's got nothing else to do! They have two kids, the oldest is a boy that's 10. They are really receptive so far and I think Nestor wants to attend church. We'll just have to continue teaching him until the time comes that he will be able to walk again and be able to go to church. 

Friday was a normal day. Didn't really have any stand out lessons. Taught Nanay DelaCruz again. She's awesome. She doesn't like that section 76 of the D&C is like 119 verses long but she's making her way through it. She makes me laugh every time we visit her. She'll probably be done with it by the time we visit her next. 

Saturday was the best day of work we've had since the cycle started. We went back to the same area we worked on Wednesday. We had no luck on Wednesday but it totally changed on Saturday. We were 3 for 3 on our first three appointments. Almost never happens. Our third lesson was with a new investigator. We contacted her on the street last Wednesday then followed up on Saturday. Were able to share a good message with her but her baby was pretty distracting so that made it hard for her to focus. We'll go back this week and see how it goes. So after that third appointment, it started pouring rain! Like we left her house, got like 15 yards down the road and it was pouring. We ran to a tindihan (a little store) and waited under the tent for a little while. It continued to rain harder and harder and the lightning and thunder was crazy. We were already pretty wet from running to the tindihan so after we had a little snack we decided to leave and just get more wet. Then as we were about to leave, the rope holding the tent up broke from the weight of the water on the tent. Then all that water went straight on Elder Dialino! It only landed on my leg but it got his entire body wet! The lady in the tindihan and I were laughing so hard! There's a picture of the tindihan we were at. I'm still standing underneath the tent that fell. So after that, we went to Tatay Romolo's house but he wasn't there. His house had like 3 inches of water in it. I guess that always happens when it rains hard so they don't leave stuff on the ground. So anyway, our day started really good then got destroyed by rain. We were soaking wet as well. Water was squirting out of our shoes every time we took a step. Believe it or not we were still able to have a pretty successful rest of the day. Definitely had the temptation to just go home since it was still raining but we were blessed by staying out. We were able to get three more lessons even with the rain and one of them was to a less active who has never let us share with her since I've been here. I think she felt bad since we were soaking wet. Blessing for staying out in the rain. 

Sunday was pretty good as well. It took a while for people to show up at church. I think a lot of people had water problems so they didn't go to church since they were cleaning up. Also some people we went to later in the day said the got wet which made them get sick so they couldn't go. Anyway, I'm pretty sure the speakers were good. Everyone seemed to enjoy the talks. I, once again, used the time and made my grocery list for later today since I had no idea what they were saying. I was sitting by Josan and he saw me making my grocery list and laughed at me. Told me I should learn Ilocano but Tagalog is good enough for me. 

We didn't have any investigators at church this week which was too bad. We did have our three young men there that we're working with. Jayvie, Josan and Ian were all there. Pretty sure buying that basketball is paying off. They've been coming to church ever since we started playing. We did a surprise visit on Jayvie and when we walked up he had an English and Tagalog Book of Mormon on his lap and he was reading. Made me happy to see the progress he's making on his own. 

Overall the week was pretty good. Started with some struggles but we worked through it and finished strong. Pretty happy with the week this week and with the new investigators that we got this week. Should be another good week this week! Hope you all have a great week!

Love Elder Haacke
 The tindihan where we waited. The tent above us is what fell and soaked Elder Dialino.

 The tent that fell. That's me still under it. Funniest thing ever.
 Saturday's storm. This was a break in the storm, then it started pouring again until the evening.

 Punted day at work. Elder Dialino decided we should take a picture of what a punted face looks like.
 Stayed at this waiting shed Tuesday night for a little while as we waited for Roland to pick us up. My comp told me to model the Royal (soda I'm drinking).
 This was us at dinner Tuesday night. Hard to tell in the picture how wet we really were but you'll just have to trust me we were soaked to the core.

 Elder Dialino and I with Tatay Abad. We had him take us on his motor to our dinner appointment since we were going to be late!

 Last three pictures are cleaning Roland's kitchen.