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.
The road going out to Anafunan. Pure corn fields.