Philippines Cauayan Mission

Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sick Days

Another week gone by already! Don't know how many times I've said that but hey, gotta use something to start the email and that's usually all that comes to mind!

Start off the week with something I mentioned in the letter last week, President, Sister Rahlf and their family will be visiting district meeting. So not all the kids were able to make it but we were visited by 2 of their sons and 3 daughter's-in-law. So the one that works at Klim was there, the only thing is he doesn't work at Klim anymore. He works with Under Armor now which is still pretty cool I guess. But anyway, they came and talked to us for about 15 minutes and shared some thoughts with us from their missions and life. The other son that was there lives in Coeur d'Alene. I can't remember their names but they were really cool and fun to talk/listen to. After the meeting we went and ate at Din's, our favorite restaurant in Alicia, with a couple other elders in the zone. After that we hopped on the bus and came back to Echague. 

Work this week was pretty good again being that we are still working around sicknesses. On the bright side it had been getting better. We were able to see quite a few people this week compared to last week. One important one being the Quisisem family. They had been doing pretty good and we have been getting close with them. We were supposed to have dinner with them on Tuesday but it didn't end up happening. While we were walking there the thought came into my head that we hadn't texted them all day and we haven't heard anything from them either. So we went there and it turned out they forgot which was totally fine. We sat and visited for a little while and set an appointment for the next day.
Wednesday we had a wedding to go to which was pretty cool. Bishop married them in the chapel. We were mainly just going for the food so we had a free dinner then turns out we missed it. They ate the food earlier than expected. Good thing we still had the Quisisem family though. Had a nice dinner with them but we did not share to them once again. Tatay wasn't there and it seemed like they didn't want to listen once again. We gotta work on that or just be straight up with them that we are there to share.

We went on splits on Thursday with the Elders from Jones. I split with Elder Reyes here in Echague and Elder Labrador went with Elder Kane in Jones. I never knew Elder Reyes before this cycle but have enjoyed getting to know him since we've been together. We have become pretty good friends in the 4 weeks we have been together in the zone.We had a good time together on splits and got to help him with their companionship. They don't have huge problems by any means but he wanted to go on splits for a little help. We were able to figure it all out by the end of the splits. We ate dinner on Thursday at a member's birthday party. Once again, spaghetti and pancit. At least this time I knew the meaning why we were eating spaghetti. We woke up a little earlier Friday morning to go play basketball for a little bit. That was super fun and nice to get moving again. I was so sore when I woke up the next morning. Shows how out of shape I was/am. But we had fun, came back to the apartment, got ready, read, ate lunch, then took off for Jones. Elder Kane was sick as well and didn't feel like traveling so we went all the way to Jones to switch back companions. We got there and Elder Labrador said he wasn't feeling good anymore so we went home and he rested. Anyway, his sickness got worse and we ended up resting a few days. It honestly sounds like he is coughing up a lung. He also has asthma so that's not helping him to much. He was going to make it work on Saturday since we are supposed to go with Bishop to work but Bishop ended up cancelling so we ended up spending the day resting again. He slept a lot which was good.

Sunday morning we woke up and he asked for a blessing. Gave him a blessing then got ready for church. We had new family come to church! I was so happy when I saw them come through the gates and I realized who it was. Tatay is less active and Sister is our investigator. They were all really happy to be there as well. We had a pretty good Sacrament meeting  then went into classes. Anyway, long story short, this family that came to church will now be taught by the sisters. They are actually in their area but right on the border and the sisters don't go there so we ended up contacting and finding them. It ends up better for them though because they like 8:30 church more so if the sisters teach them they will go to church at 8:30 instead of with us at 10:30. One other thing, there are a ton of members that are sick as well. We gave a couple blessings yesterday at church but like everyone is sick! Hopefully everyone will get better this week so it won't spread to more and more people. There must be something going around since everyone is getting it so hopefully it'll die off here soon. I guess that's pretty much it for the week. Quite a few sick days but this morning things seemed to start being back to normal. Hope you all have a great week this week. Love you all!

Love Elder Haacke

Monday, January 18, 2016

New Record in Steps

Hello everybody. Another week has already come and gone and I get to write to you once again! Pretty simple week this week, nothing too out of the ordinary happened. 

Taught zone meeting this week. Went really well! The Sisters taught about Nephi and his story about going back to Jerusalem to get the brass plates. Then we taught about the the 'To Do's' and 'To Be's' of life and also of a missionary. We enjoyed teaching the lesson and we ended up having a pretty good discussion about it similar to what we had at mlc. It was pretty split on whether it was better to be a 'To Be' or a "To Do'. We enjoyed listening to everybody's opinion then bringing it all together and finding that you need the one to do the other. There are a lot of things we need to do in this life and there are a lot of things we need to become. In order to do one you need the other. If you just do and don't become, it's like being a hypocrite. You come unto Christ with your words but your heart is not there. And to be without doing just doesn't work. Faith without works is dead. All in all it was a very fun lesson to teach and I think the entire zone enjoyed it and could relate it to themselves. After that we went out to lunch with a couple other Elders then went to work there in Alicia. We had baptism interviews there but they weren't until around 5 so instead of going back to Echague and turning right back around to come back to Alicia, we just split for a few hours and worked in their area before the interview. I worked with Elder Odchigue. We had a pretty good time working together. He's a really good teacher. Great at sharing personal experiences. I love attending his district meetings as well since he is so great at teaching them and involving the members of his district in the lesson. We got the interview finished a little later than we wanted since the investigator was a little late coming home. Anyway, the interview went well then we finally made our way back home to Echague.

We had a sickness come through this week and hit all of us except for me. Not sure why, I guess I got lucky. But Wednesday morning the other three were just taking turns rotating in and out of the CR. Then it turned into coughs and runny noses. Then Elder Labrador's back was beginning to hurt to the point walking was difficult for him. This took a hit on the work this week since it delayed us getting out Wednesday and Thursday. We were still able to hit the appointments that we had set for those two days but we didn't do a whole lot of finding like we normally do. Wednesday there was a baptism in the ward so we went and witnessed then we hit a few appointments. We went to the Quisisem family and ate dinner with them. We were able continue strengthening our relationship with them which was great. We had them all committed to church by the time we left however the dad is the only one that ended up attending when Sunday morning came around. We have an appointment with them tomorrow so we'll get to follow up on that. Thursday was probably the worst day of people being sick in the apartment. It was a long day not really doing anything. Did a lot of resting, reading and playing cards. I guess it paid off though since they all seemed to be doing better Friday morning.

Friday we did splits just with the other elders in the apartment. This was my first time working with Elder Carrington and we had a way fun time together. We went to work in his area so I enjoyed meeting some new people and seeing some different places. Before we went out, we went to a lunch appointment with the Galera family. It's a family in the other ward but he came by the apartment in the morning and invited all of us to lunch. They are an awesome family and really fun to talk to. For work, we went to a really far area. Broke my personal record of steps during work. Ended the day with 22,000. We didn't just walk forever, even though sometimes it felt like it. We were still able to teach a few really good lessons. We shot hoops with a couple kids for a little as well just on a ring that was attached to the tree by the road. They thought it was awesome playing with two foreigners! Then like all the people in the neighboring houses came out and just watched the 5 of us shoot around. It was awesome. Anyway, we enjoyed the day together then finally got back to town and had dinner with the Rivera family. Made for a pretty great day.

Saturday morning we got up and went to Alicia to attend a baptism. The service was pretty good. It was a good thing we went since there were only like 4 members there to support him. Baptism was good then we went to brunch at Jollibee. While eating, a bus pulled up and like 30 white couples got off. Just so you know, I don't know why but it is weird seeing white people here. Almost to the point that I don't even want to go talk to them. So... I didn't. Just watched them walk around and take pictures. Kind of interesting though since they were taking pictures of things that just seem normal to me now. I guess it means I need to take pictures of almost everything since you might really not know what we see everyday. Went back to Echague, took a 20 minute nap then went to work with Bishop. Super nice since we used his tricy for work. He used to work with the missionaries once a week but he had a surgery right before I got here and that kept him from work until this last Saturday. He is now going to work with us every Saturday and we will go out to Pag-Asa which is very far. Even though it's very far, we still have members that come to church every Sunday which is great! This was our first time going there since it is not worth it without a tricy. It would probably take a good 2 1/2 hours to walk there. So we contacted a lot of people and Bishop introduced us to some of the investigators that they taught before in Pag-Asa. Overall we had a great day with Bishop then ended the day eating dinner with John Garcia. It was his daughters birthday so he invited us over to eat. Finally learned the reason why they always cook spaghetti or pancit (noodles) when there is a birthday! You'd think someone would have told me this after over a year of being here but it symbolizes many more to come. The fact that the noodles are long is meaning you will still live longer and have many more birthdays to come. Totally makes sense now after about every birthday I have ever gone to here has had spaghetti or pancit. So that made my night when John told me that's what it meant!
Sunday was pretty good as well. Had few less actives at church again that are on their way to returning. The only bad thing was that sacrament meeting was super noisy. Kids were running everywhere and the parents just let it happen. Like they didn't even notice their kid was there! Anyway, we made it through and ended up having a pretty good priesthood class also about the peace we can find in Christ. We were able to split after church as well and work with some that are preparing to go on missions. I probably should have done that before I left but at least now I get to help others prepare. They are all so ready to go they are just waiting for the semester to finish in school then they plan on passing in their papers.

Overall we had a great week. President called a couple hours ago and told me that his family is here in the Philippines and they will be coming to district meeting tomorrow! That should be super fun. I'm looking forward to meeting them. Hopefully I meet the one that works at Klim and have him hook me up with some stuff. ;) Anyway, I will let you all know how it goes next week. Love you all and have a great week!

Love Elder Haacke

 Lunch appointment on Friday with the Galera family.
 Took Elder Carrington's GoPro for some nice pics on the tricy with Bishop.
Echague missionaries group picture at church. Some of my favorite Elders and Sisters in the mission!
 Splits on Friday. The road going out to their area.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Meetings With President and Sister Rahlf

Another week as already come and gone. Pretty crazy how fast the days go by! Glad your report on Sam and I in sacrament meeting went well. Dad I started laughing when I read what you said! Tried to picture it but I don't know if I'm picturing it right. Anyway, it made me laugh though!
Start this week at district meeting once again. We had interviews with President and Sister Rahlf. Elder Labrador and I got up early and got to Alicia by 7:30 to open up the Bishop offices for the interviews. We saw the one bishop leave on his bike right when we got there so we figured everything was unlocked and ready for interviews. Well, we went in and he had only unlocked the one office. So of course we started calling everybody we could but nobody was answering. I know President doesn't really like it when the rooms aren't open on time so I really wanted to get everything ready on time. The building we meet at isn't our church building so we didn't really know who to call. Anyway the other bishop showed up right after President got there so it turned out alright. We got interviewed first and it went well. Talked with Sister Rahlf about the area book and then she had some quotes on her iPad so she had us pick the one we like the best. Then President Rahlf shared a thought with us from the scriptures about Nephi. From 2 Nephi 4, Nephi talks about how he still feels like he has faults and he still needs to improve his life even after everything he has already done. We related it to us especially at this time of the year that there is always something we can change and improve on. Then we led into talking about goals for the year 2016. Too bad I didn't know I needed an endorsement last week since I could've talked to him about it in the interview but we did talk a little about school. He encouraged the fall track and just to go straight into school. After the interviews we had the normal district meeting. President and Sister Rahlf still weren't done with interviews after district meeting so those that hadn't been interviewed stayed there but we left and went to lunch.

Wednesday we had MLC. Got there pretty early so we could be the first to jump on the computer and update the baptism list for Alicia zone. We didn't update it last time so we had quite a few to update. For MLC we finished making a new standard of excellence for 2016 that we will introduce at zone conference in February. Also made a new vision statement for the mission. Then we had lunch. We ate KFC. They ordered each of us like a little party box with a variety in it. But it was super good. Then we went back to the meeting and Sister Rahlf shared with us about footprints. What kind of footprint we leave behind. And President taught us about magnifying our calling. Overall it was a good meeting and we finished everything we needed to get done. Zone meeting is tomorrow so we get to modify the message a little bit and share it with the zone. Ate lunch with Teikauea again and hung out with him for a while. He's down in Solano so the only time's I ever see him are at MLC.

Here's an update with the work from the last week. Brother Neo was out of town like all week. We knew he was going to Manila last week and coming home on Tuesday. We decided to visit him on Wednesday thinking he would be there but his wife said he took off again and went to Pangasinan. So we didn't get to teach him all week.

The Quisisem family is still doing great. We don't teach them a lot anymore but we do quick drop by visits every once in a while. They were all at church this last Sunday except for Nanay. We have a dinner appointment with them tomorrow so we will be able to continue to help them on their way back to church.

John Garcia is doing well as well. He wasn't there last week but he did come yesterday. He was in Cauayan last week so he wasn't able to come. He still only comes to the first meeting though then leaves so we want to help him attend all the meetings in the next few weeks.

We followed up some new investigators from last week and one of them stood out a little. His name is Jesus Resurrection. Quite the name huh? Anyway, we left the lesson 2 pamphlet with him and he read the whole thing. He's pretty old and he wife has already passed away so we thought he would like that. When we asked him how he like the message, he said he really liked knowing where we came from. So we had a lesson and talked about that and all was going well. He said he wasn't doing anything on Sunday so we invited him to come to church since he had time. That's when he just said straight up no. He was born a Catholic and will die a Catholic. We actually heard that from 2 different people as well this week. So anyway, there is still work to do.
We continued to get some more new investigators this week by just finding and teaching on the spot. I actually really enjoy doing that now unlike before.

We had the area broadcast yesterday that talked about the Philippines goals for 2016. It was pretty good. It's kinda funny though because most the Filipinos can understand English if it is pronounced well but Elder Ardern is from New Zealand and has a super hard accent so like nobody knows what he is saying but there is still a ton of people there. But it was still a good broadcast and got to see some of the other missionaries from the zone. Finally made it home and did the usual Sunday night KI's. Last night actually all came in before 10 for the first time since I've been here so that was super nice. Anyway, that's pretty much the week this week. Love you all and have a great week!

Love Elder Haacke

 Because of the new time of church, we all see each other every Sunday.
 Best tricy setup I've seen!

Monday, January 4, 2016


Well it's the start of a new year once again. Crossed off the last month of 2015 on my calendar this week and I just sat and thought about the time the mission gave me that 2015 calendar. We got it at the Christmas devotional in 2014 and I was standing with Elder Walstad from my batch and we looked at each other and basically said at the same time that we have to finish this entire thing. It seemed so far away and that it might never even happen but all I can say now is it went by in a blink of an eye! (That rhymed by the way:)) And with it being January 3rd yesterday, I have 7 months exactly until I leave. If one year went by that fast, I can't even imagine how fast 7 months is going to go! But I am looking forward to this new year and to the things that lie ahead!
So a few weeks ago I summed up the entire week in one word...rain. This week I'm going to sum up the entire week in one word...spaghetti! Can't even tell you how many times I ate spaghetti this week! As in like multiple times each day! I've eaten enough spaghetti to last me the rest of my mission. The good news, we had lots of appointments. Bad news, ate spaghetti at just about every appointment! Haha life in the Philippines.
But with this week being New Years, it was very enjoyable and people are still going around with smiles on their faces constantly wishing others a happy new years. The week stayed busy with it being New Years and also transfer day on Wednesday. Transfer day went pretty well. Other than the fact that they changed it a little bit so instead of the zone leaders waiting for the other missionaries to come from the other transfer points in the mission then all going back together, the zone leaders have to commute back home by themselves right after we read the transfer list. Definitely did not like that since before we could go eat in Cauayan. (The only place with KFC.) So after we read the transfer list, we helped the missionaries get their luggage in the right vans then we hopped on a bus and went back to Alicia while the other missionaries waited for their companions to come from the other parts of the mission. So transfer day was a pretty short day for us and we didn't really do that much. We did get to see a few other missionaries which was nice. My anak (child) in the mission, Elder Estuaria, is training so I now have an apo (grandchild) in the mish! So that's pretty cool. I hope I'll get to be in the same zone again with them before 7 months is up.
Thursday we had district meeting and got to meet the new zone. I had everyone come up and introduce themselves since we have a few new missionaries in the zone. Not new to the mission but new to the zone. Also we had the AP's attend the Alicia district meetings so that was cool. Had a good meeting, finished accounting, ate some lunch then went back to Echague. We only had a few hours since we had a lock down at 6:00. We worked for a couple hours then had a dinner appointment with the Dumaliang family at 5:00. We invited the other elders and the sisters in Echague so we all had a new years eve dinner together. Dinner was good and had a couple different food options but of course one of the choices was spaghetti. After dinner we went back the apartment and just chilled, talked, played cards, etc. I'd say the firework show was a little better in Bambang than it was here in Echague, but that's alright. We still had a good time as the four of us just hanging out together.
New years day was pretty great actually. Had a lunch appointment with the Layugan family along with the other four missionaries in Echague, then we went out to work. First we visited are investigator Brother Neo. Got there and he's like, Hey elders this is great, we have extra spaghetti from last night! So before we taught... had to sit down and eat some spaghetti together. Then the lesson went great. It went a little long like it normally does with him just because we start to talk about so many things. We taught about Joseph Smith and introduced the Book of Mormon. He learned a lot from that visit. Mainly that he always thought Mormon was the God that we worshiped. So we were able to share with him who Mormon really was and then asked him to read and pray about it. We will talk more about the Book of Mormon with him next time. But teaching him is always a lot of fun since he asks so many great questions. The only fear I have is if he will begin to take this just as a bible study more than us asking him to make commitments and progress in gaining a testimony of the gospel. I think we'll do some more HTBT next time to try and get that point across. After are visit with him, we went right to another appointment with the Gaffud/Acosta families and once again, ate some spaghetti. Had a good time visiting with them and talking to one sister that served in Arizona. Worked a little more in that area before we went to the last appointment of the evening where once again, we ate spaghetti. Never eaten so much spaghetti in one day my entire life but I guess that's just how it goes. We were very thankful though for everyone being willing to look after the missionaries during the holiday season.
Rest of the week went well. Actually went to some new areas this week which was cool. I've been here for 3 months and still haven't been everywhere. Come to find out our area is HUGE. We just have some areas that are crazy far. Sunday we went out to one of them and we had to walk all the way back since there wasn't a tricy. That was a great experience. Took an hour and a half of walking nonstop to get back to town. But we still had a good time just like we always do while out at work. Plus we had one member with us, Brother Cesar, to show us where to go out in that area.
All in all we had a great week. Church was pretty good as well. We start at 10:30 now which won't give some people any more excuses to be late. Something that's been a problem in the ward. The only problem was it was super loud every time the other ward got out to go to their next class. Hopefully we can fix that in the next couple weeks. But just want to say Happy New Year again to everyone and I love you all!
Love Elder Haacke

 Elder Labrador and I inside the tricy.

This is a bridge going out to a far area. You can see how much mud covered the road when the river was high a few weeks ago. It reminded me of snow drifts covering the roads back home. I guess mud takes the place of snow in the Philippines!
 Elder Labrador and I at a house we contacted. Decided to take a pic while there.

 Brother Cesar, our hard working, diligent fellow shipper.
The road going out to Anafunan. Pure corn fields.