Philippines Cauayan Mission

Philippines Cauayan Mission

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.
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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