Taiwan Taipei Mission

Taiwan Taipei Mission

Monday, December 29, 2014

Working Hard

Family and Friends,
This week has been great! I absolutely loved being able to do a three-way call on Christmas with my family in Idaho and Bryan in the Philippines. It was so good to see all of you and be able to talk to you!! I'm glad everything is going well! 
Family, It's crazy that you got so much snow that Church was cancelled?!? That has never happened before! Dad, it's nice of you for going and plowing everyone's driveways! I'm sure that took forever! Marissa, I am sorry you got the flu..that must be awful! Hopefully you will be cleared up soon! 

Here is the rest of the week after Skyping on Christmas...
As you know, I was Skyping during our dinner and when I was finished, I walked out and Elise Wilding (from Idaho Falls) was there!! She just got married this past year to Tyler Atkinson and we were at his parents home for Christmas dinner! She graduated a year before me from high school and is currently at BYU-Idaho. It was so good to see a familiar face from home! She told me that Will Whitman and Reagan Murdoch are engaged and also that Jessica Hansen and Tyson Dennert got engaged a couple days ago! That is crazy!! Tell them congrats from me! As I mentioned on Skype, there was also a possible investigator that came to dinner at the Atkinson's! His name is John and he has 2 children-a boy and a girl. He was very talkative and we got to know him very well! We read parts of the Christmas story from 3 Nephi 1 and gave him and his children a Book of Mormon. They told us that they would read it. We are hoping to get another opportunity to teach him soon. He seemed pretty interested and Bishop Atkinson was very helpful in explaining to him how much the gospel can bless him and his children. I love referrals like these because families know best when their friends are ready to receive the gospel.  

There is a family in our ward from England. They have lived in Colorado for the last 3 years. Friday night, we were able to have dinner at their home. Bro. Reynold just got back from a business trip to Shanghai, China!  I told him that I used to live there and we talked a lot about the culture there and about the different places to go a visit. 

Saturday we had a first lesson with a new investigator! Sis. Cook and her previous companion contacted her on the street one day when she was taking out her trash. Her name is Melissa and she is the sweetest lady I have ever met! She is very open and has a lot to talk about! She has three children-Brenna (14), Jeffrey (12), and Benjamin (10). Her husband and her moved their family out to Colorado about 3 years ago. She is a Sunday School teacher for her church and her husband, Randy is Jewish. The lesson we had was just with her and a little bit with her son, Jeffrey. He has a case of autism and his extremely intelligent and has so much to say. Our lesson went a little long because he had so many different stories about school and friends that he wanted to tell us. Melissa said that is was weird that he was telling us his stories because he is normally extremely quiet around strangers. It was really neat. Our lesson went fantastic. We taught the first lesson, The Restoration. The Spirit was definitely there. All the hard hours where we got rejected at doors all were worth it for this one lesson with Melissa. The coolest part is that when we asked her how she would feel if she knew that there was a living prophet on the earth today and she said, "Well, that would make sense!" We went on to explain that there is a living prophet at 12 apostles to lead and guide Christ's church! When we also taught about Joseph Smith and the First Vision, she said she had this very peaceful feeling. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she seemed very excited to read it. She is started her own company and she is opening/starting distributing on January 17th so unfortunately, she can't meet with the missionaries again until January 24, 2015. I hope she starts to read the Book of Mormon and feel of the Spirit as she reads from its' pages. 

The work here in Colorado is pretty difficult. There hasn't been a baptism in the area I am serving in in over a year. Most people are very against the church here or already have their own faith. Knocking doors is probably one of the scariest things I have ever done...but...I'm slowly getting used to it. But, I love what I am doing. I definitely is not easy. But I am learning and growing so much. The members here are fabulous and they take such good care of us. We got several presents for Christmas from many members--which was a huge surprise. Bro. Jenson (the one that talked to dad) has taken me under his wing and has really made sure I am doing great and praying that I receive my visa soon. 

This week in personal study, I have read in Alma about all the missionary experiences that the sons of Mosiah had. Sometimes missionary work is extremely challenging and you feel as if you are not making a difference but I love in Alma 26:27 where it says, "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." No matter where we are in life, the Lord is there to comfort us and give us peace. I love how the Lord promises Ammon and his brethren success if they listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I feel like this can be applied much to all of our lives. Listen to the promptings you receive and let the power of the Holy Ghost lead and guide you to do all things! 

I have loved this past week! I have loved being able to experience the first part of my mission in Colorado Springs. It's kind of funny because many ask me why my name tag is not in English..I tell them and most of them say, "Oh, I'm so sorry that you have to wait in Colorado." I always tell my companions I don't understand why they say this because I know this is where the Lord needs me to be right now. I have already learned so much and I have met some life long friends!
Thank you so much for all the emails and keeping me updated on the events occurring in your lives! It means so much to me!! I love and miss you all SO much!! Have a great week and stay warm!! 

Sister Haacke

P.S. Remember that couple that I told you about on Skype that has served 5 missions as a couple? Two in Taiwan, one in the Cauayan, Philippines mission, and now in Colorado Springs? If you look at the picture of the zone, they are the ones on the far left right in front of Elder Diepeveen (from my district in the MTC).
My Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Rehm, are the ones in the middle on the chairs. 

 My companions and I with Santa at Zone Conference on Tuesday.
 My current Zone.

My companions, Sister Cook & Grant delivering some Relief Society handouts in the snow on the 26th.

Monday, December 22, 2014

From Colorado Springs

What a crazy week this has been!!! I love being a missionary!

For those of you who don't know, I received a paper from the Travel Office in the MTC on Thursday, Dec 18, regarding a reassignment while I finish waiting for my visa to go to Taiwan. I was reassigned to the Colorado Springs, Colorado Mission! I was so excited! They had us all leaving within the next 24-48 hours. So, Friday, Dec. 19, I left the Provo MTC at 9:30 and got on the TRAX system in Provo, Utah to head up to the airport with 3 other missionaries. It was crazy leaving the MTC. I was there for so long but I loved my stay. I learned so much!! Saying goodbye to Sis. Lindsay and the rest of my district was probably one of the hardest things. Bryan, you were right, leaving the MTC is SO hard. I think I cried more leaving than I did entering. It was amazing being able to talk to mom, dad, and Marissa on the phone in the airport. I can't wait to talk to Lachlan and Alexa this coming Thursday on Christmas!! 

So, Colorado....We arrived around 4:30ish. There was a total of 10 missionaries that were reassigned to the same mission as I. We got split up to get here because there was not 10 seats on a plane. The other 6 elders were supposed to get here before us...but, they missed their connecting flight in Denver. So, we got to wait for them for about an hour in the airport with our new mission president and his wife, Pres. & Sis. Rehm and the Assistants to the President. They were all really fun. It was like a mini reunion when they got off their plane. We were all so excited to see each other because we thought we weren't going to see each other after the MTC. President took us all to Golden Correll and then we went to 'transfer meeting' to find out our new companions! 
Because we came in the middle of a transfer and we have no idea when we are leaving, Pres. but us all in tri-companionships. My new companions are Sis. Grant and Sis. Cook. Sis. Grant is from Houston, TX. She has been out for 16 months and will be leaving her mission in February.  Sis. Cook is from Payson, UT and also has been out for a while-but not as long. She will return home in August 2015. They are both amazing Sisters and I have already learned so much from them.

We are assigned to the Jackson Creek Ward. 
We live in the basement of the Nickels' family. I actually haven't met Sis. Nickels yet but Bro. Nickels is very nice! We have our own little kitchen and living room. 

First off, I have never seen so many dogs in my life. EVERYONE has a dog! Most people have two or three dogs! AND they are huge!!!! I see them everywhere!
Second, gas in Colorado is $2.09?!?!!? When did it drop so low? Is it like that in Idaho too?
Third, I am assigned to an area with a car--so we get to drive everywhere.
Fourth, ELDER DIEPEVEEN (in my district from MTC) is also in my district here in Colorado!!! I got to see him last night! It was so fun to talk to him! 

Saturday: So with training, we have personal study, companion study, training, and then I have an hour of language in the morning. It was weird doing language by myself. My companions felt bad that they couldn't do much...but, it was great! I will be able to continue studying Mandarin while I am here waiting for my visa. Saturday morning there was a baptism for our ward for two 8 year-old boys. As missionaries in Colorado, they teach the 8 year-old's the discussions and invite them to invite their friends to come to their baptism. It was neat being able to meet a couple ward members there. I talked mostly to a couple. She is the primary president and he is the Young Men's president. They were so nice! It was neat being able to attend the baptism. It reminded me of when Alexa got baptized earlier this year! 
One of the investigators we have in our area is named Kami. She is currently out of town on a Disney cruise with her family. Sis. Cook & Grant offered to walk her dog while they were gone so after the baptism, we went over and got the dog. We went Tracting with the dog and she was not very cooperative. Haha since we had Holly (the dog), we didn't knock any doors. We talked to a couple people on the street and gave out He is the Gift cards and invited them to watch it. We talked to a mailman. He was younger and told us he doesn't have any religion he goes to but we told him where the church was and invited him to come. Sadly, he didn't come to church but hopefully we will run into him again...I guess we will see. We did some quick grocery shopping for me to last me the weekend and then went to a different area to tract. We were going to go visit one of the less actives we are visiting but Sis. Hayes wasn't home. This time, we knocked doors. This is probably one of the scariest things in the world!!! You have no idea what is behind the door! Almost no one was home-they were probably out getting some Christmas shopping done-but we handed out a couple He is the Gift cards. 
We visited a member, Jenn and her children, who live in the area. We had dinner at the Clay's home. I love Sis. Clay. She is from France. Her husband is in the military and is currently deployed to Niger. She has four boys. AND she is a health/workout freak! It was fun to get to know her and share a thought with her. 
After, I had my first lesson with an investigator. Her name is Sis. Johnson. Her husband has always been a member of the church. She has been taught the lessons about 20 years ago and went to church 4 years straight during that time but since then, hasn't returned. She is very smart and knows her Bible in and out. She works in the Library at the Air Force Academy. She has a hard time with the gospel and doesn't understand why it is the only true church on the earth. Her husband is a very faithful member and sits in on the lessons. Sis. Cook told me that he normally doesn't have very much to say but tonight, he said a lot! We planned to talk about Faith..but when we were done following-up with her, we quickly changed the topic to the Holy Ghost. The lesson was very good and the Spirit was definitely there. It was hard though because as soon as she felt the Spirit, she would get distracted by her two huge dogs! I guess that happens a lot here... I was quiet in the lesson. I said a couple things but not very many. It's so different teaching someone who is actually investigating the church and isn't a 'fake' investigator. Sis. Johnson is very artistic and creative. She helps students make cards up at the Academy. So, after the lesson, we all made a card. I will write in mine and send it home. You can definitely tell that it is homemade :). 

Sunday: Yesterday was a great day! I loved being able to go to church. I joined the ward Choir Sunday morning and then we sang in Sacrament Meeting for Christmas Sunday. It was a beautiful meeting. I thought a lot about home and how you were all probably doing the same things. I missed not being able to be with you all. During Second hour, the missionaries teach the Gospel Doctrines Class. We have a couple where the wife is a member and the husband is not. He actually had a baptismal date at the beginning of the year but then his wife felt like he wasn't ready yet. We actually visited them a little bit later after church. On the way over, Sis. Cook told me that he follows all the commandments and attends church every week. We are going over on Christmas day to watch a video with them. Anyways, back to Gospel Doctrines...we talked about Charity and it went well. Relief Society was also great. After church, we did some visits. I got to meet a couple more families. One family named the Lovejoy's are in our ward but he is currently serving as the Bishop in the YSA. They are the sweetest couple. When they found our I was from Idaho Falls, they told me they had family there. I figured because I graduated with a Lovejoy...we connected and it was his nephew. It was funny. 
At church, I was able to meet the Jensen family. Their home is where we are going to be Skyping home on Christmas. Bro. Jensen is super nice and told me he has some tricks to make my visa come quicker. haha. He is excited to meet you all on Thursday. They currently have a son serving in Brazil who waited 10 months to receive his visa.  
We ate dinner at the Strate's. They gave us all Christmas presents. It was so nice! They gave us all an infinity scarf and a small, cute wallet. Their daughter just returned home from Pennsylvania serving a mission a couple months ago and attends BYU-I. 
Sunday night we met up as a district and when and caroled!! Caroling was so much fun!! The Elder's and Sisters I serve with are all so fun! We caroled a street in almost all of our different areas. Elder Diepeveen was there. We talked a lot and I was able to practice my Chinese with him as we walked from house to house. He is super happy and loving every second we have had out here. All the missionaries are so welcoming and loving!! It's like we are one big family. 

This morning, we had personal and companion study and then we went over to Sis. Clay's and did an AWFUL workout. Dang, she pushed us so hard! It snowed during the night last night so our warm-up was shoveling her driveway. Lets just say, I am going to be so sore for a couple of days. 

I have loved my couple days out in the field. I love being a missionary. I love being able to study everyday from the scriptures and be able to share with others the fullness of the gospel. Marissa, I am so proud of you for being a missionary at home to the Allen's granddaughter. Keep talking to her and become her friend. Get together and read the Book of Mormon together. You can also get a Restoration pamphlet and read through that with her. Keep me updated on your efforts! I am excited to hear what is going to happen! 

 I can't wait to talk to you all on Thursday, 
Bryan, I hope I will be able to see you too!! 

I love you all!!! 

Sister Haacke
 Us caroling last night. (My selfie isn't that great...I cut off some people.)

 My new companions the night of Transfers
 I forgot to add...Since it snowed during the middle of the night and the snow plows don't plow very good here, trying to come email, we got stuck leaving the neighborhood. It was actually hilarious. We were sitting there spinning on ice trying to go up a hill. It was pretty awful. Sis. Grant and I got out to push the car up...it took about 15 minutes. But we finally got to the top. There were so many cars that passed us and no one stopped to help! We all laughed about it...but here's to the beginning of many mornings pushing a car up a hill. 

 Our first picture in the Colorado Springs Airport.
 It is beautiful here...

Thursday, December 18, 2014








Monday, December 15, 2014

Reasons You Know You Have Been At the MTC too Long


As you probably all know, I am still in the Provo MTC. I just finished my 11th week here. This week was really good. I learned so much more this week than I think I ever had. I have met some amazing friends. Friends that I will keep in contact with probably my entire life. An Elder called up to Salt Lake this morning to see about our visas because we heard that they can cap you at 12 weeks at the MTC but we found out that that is not true. They told him that we will probably be in the MTC until after Christmas, get reassigned and then go to Taiwan after a transfer in a reassignment. Unless a miracle occurs...When I heard this news, my heart honestly broke. I was (and still am) very sad but what I have been reminding myself that this is the Lord's work and He will have me be where He needs me to be. I know He is aware of all of us who are waiting and He knows where we are going. As hard as being patient is, I really have learned more about myself and the power that prayer brings. The Lord had comforted me in my hardest times and I am grateful for that. It is hard but as a group, we will learn and grow so much. Sis. Lindsay and I were talking about it and we kind of made a joke that we were glad we get along because if we didn't, these would be the longest weeks of our lives. 

Here are just a couple funny things we have learned over the last extra weeks we have been here. 
Reasons you know you have been at the MTC for too long: 
1. You know all the temple workers by name and what shift they are on when you enter and leave the temple. 
2. You know what they cafeteria is serving every Wednesday and Sunday dinners. AND you know the MTC cafeteria workers and their shifts.
3. The Sister's that entered the MTC when you were a Sister Training Leader and are now called as Sister Training Leaders. 
4. When you talk to other missionaries and you're telling them where you are going and how long you've been at the MTC and they call you, "Oh you're that group."
5. You have seen every movie or talk at least twice after Sunday devotional. 
6. You know the inside and outs of the MTC. 
7.When you starting speaking in Chinese assuming that everyone can speak your language. 
8. When you know how to say hello and thank you in 9 different languages.
9. When you see every single Sister you have hosted leave the MTC before you do. 
10. The mail room has to change your departure date 4 times and gives you a new unit number. 
We all just laugh about it and hope and pray we will be able to get to Taiwan soon...

About my week, this week was actually really good. I just have a couple experiences I want to share this week. 

Tuesday devotional: Elder Craig Zwick and his wife, Jan, came to speak with us. They had a great message. Sis. Zwick shared a cute video that her 4 year-old granddaughter made for missionaries. She kept on repeating, "If you are grumpy, sad, depressed just say a prayer and you will be close to Jesus!" It was the cutest thing. What was the neatest thing about the night, is that they brought LEXIE WALKER to sing to us!! Marissa, I was thinking of you the entire time. Lexie has such an amazing voice! She sang I am a Child of God, O Holy Night, and I Know my Redeemer Lives. She has a phenomenal voice and she is only 12!! Elder Zwick talked about the importance of Obedience--especially on the mission. He shared three principles we should always remember. 1. Follow the inspired Priesthood Counsel 2. Listen to the voice of the Spirit, 3. Obey God's commandments. After devotional, Sister Lindsay and I went up to see if we could shake their hands. We talked to them and then we had the opportunity to talk to Lexie. It was so funny. The first thing she said to me was, "Oh my gosh! I love your hair!" I laughed and told her the same thing back. She also has red hair. She is super cute.

Saturday morning, Sis. Lindsay and I went into a lesson with one of our investigators, Chen Di Xiong. He accepted baptism a couple days ago and then the lesson on Friday, he told us his wife wouldn't allow him to get baptized. We decided to center our lesson on Saturday about Christ and how he knows and loves him. We changed it last second so we didn't really have a plan but it ended up being one of our best lessons we have had here at the MTC. We ended up sharing Because of Him and Mosiah 4:9-10. Chen Di Xiong told us that he believes that the church is true. We bore testimony to him and told him to continue talking to his wife about becoming a member.  During the last hour of class, we had weekly planning. Bro. Chia was going to work with Sister Lindsay and I today. After we planned, he told us that our lesson today was really good and that it was the best that he can think of. He told us that in a 'real' setting, what we did was exactly teach to his needs and not just get through a lesson. He said that he could and can tell that we have really been working hard this week and our progress has been phenomenal. it was kind of funny because after he told us that, we were supposed to talk about our concerns/worries for each other and our companionship but we really didn't have any other than SYL more. 

Sunday: Sunday was a great day. I'll try and sum it up quickly...Sister Cheryl A. Esplin (2nd counselor, General Primary Presidency) came and spoke during Relief Society. She talked about our calling as missionaries for the church. One thing that really stood out to me was something she said saying, "When times get tough, just remember who called you. The Lord calls us and the Lord himself, will be with us." She shared a scripture with us that has shown her the love God gives and shows her. D&C 84:87-88. 
Sacrament Meeting: Pres. & Sis. Hacking (from MTC presidency) visited our ward today. Bro. & Sis. Davis have hit their 4th year mark serving at the MTC, so they got released. It was actually really sad. After sacrament meeting, we were saying goodbye to them and I cried when I hugged Sis. Davis. They have both taught me so much and have truly changed my life. I hope one day I will be able to meet up with them once more. Back to sacrament meeting, Sis. Woodfield asked me to sit by her today and translate the portions of sacrament meeting in Mandarin. I was happy to have this opportunity. I think I have mentioned this before, but after the sacrament, the Branch Presidency Member conducting the meeting announces two missionaries who will be speaking and they have no previous notice. Today, Bro. Seow conducted so he was saying it in Chinese and I was translating for Sis. Woodfield, when he was about to say the names of missionaries, I crossed my fingers and whispered, "please, not me" Next thing I know, I hear "Huang Jie Mei he Ma ZhangLao." I leaned to Sis. Woodfield and I said, "Oh no....He just said my name" We have 2 Ma ZhangLao in our zone so as they were clearing that up, I leaned to Sis. Lindsay and said, "Is there two Huang Jie Mei?" There's not, so I have the privilege of speaking today in Sacrament Meeting. I was so nervous because you have to give it in Chinese but as soon as I got up there, I was at peace and I was able to just speak from my heart. The topic today was the Book of Mormon. I used the Chinese that I know and talked about how we have receive personal revelation through the Book of Mormon and how it is the Word of God. I bore testimony about this Christmas season, my family, and how grateful I have been for this extra week in the MTC to learn so much more. Elder Matua spoke after me and then Bro. and Sis. Davis spoke for their last time at the MTC. It was kind of funny because a couple weeks ago Sis. Lindsay and Elder Liston were called on to speak when we got released from our calling as Sister Training Leaders. We made a joke that Elder Matua and I would be speaking this week. (Elder Liston and Elder Matua served as Zone Leaders when we were STL's). And of course that happened..Karma much?! Bro. Davis shared some amazing stories from his mission. Again, I can't wait to go and serve the people! 
Sunday night devotional was by the BYU's Mens Chorus. It was amazing! 

This week has overall been great. I love what I am learning and how much time I have to read the Book of Mormon. I know this book is true! It contains testimonies the the Lord is our Savior, Joseph Smith is a true prophet, and especially that this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true! I love it. I love what I am doing! 

I love you all!! I miss you so much! If I don't leave this week, I'll talk to you on Christmas!! 
Thanks for the letters this week! I love receiving them!!

Sister Haacke

P.S. As of right now, I have no idea what my departure date is for mail. My new unit number is 202. If you just put Taiwan Taipei Mission Unit 202, It will get to me. On dear elders, you can just put whatever date :)
P.P.S. Due to construction at the MTC, all the Sisters have to move from 17M to 3M. We have to move this afternoon. It has been really nice because Sis. Lindsay and I have been in our own room because Sis. Moe and Allen have already left but now we will be in a full room--6 girls--it will be a little different but good. 
P.P.P.S. There is still no snow on the ground...Half the time, it doesn't even feel like December?? haha...whats the deal with the weather?!?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Still Visa Waiting

Family and Friends,

你好 (Ni Hao) from Provo, Utah!!

Still just chugging along in the MTC...sadly...but I'm still loving it. We have been here a whole extra week but I've been blessed to still be learning lots. Our teachers, Bro. Chia and Sis. Ochoa, still teach us everyday...we have a normal schedule. Also, we are officially the oldest (longest staying missionaries) in the MTC right now. The missionaries that stay for 12 weeks all left last week. 
As for our visas, we still have no idea. They travel office is being so kind. They all know us when we walk in. Its kinda funny.  They are just going to continue to keep us here, at the MTC, until our visas do come. I will keep you updated as I get more information (hopefully today). 

I'm glad to here that you are all doing great. Family, I'm glad your week was busy and that the Community Christmas Party was fun. 

This week was pretty great. I learned  a lot and had some pretty cool experiences. It gets pretty repetitive at the MTC so I'm sorry if this is like the same email I sent home last week. 

Thanks for all the letters and packages. I really appreciate and love getting mail throughout the week! :) 

Every day we have been teaching 2-3 investigators. Since our district only has 5 people (2 companionships) there is time everyday to constantly be teaching. Our lessons have been going well. Some lessons are definitely better than other lessons though!! I have learned a lot from teaching investigators. Our less-active is also coming to church now so that has been really nice. 

Tuesday: For the opening song in class, we sang Angels We Have Heard on High, but, we sang it popcorn style. I was praying so hard I wouldn't get the Glory part. Luckily, I didn't get it Elder Bates did and then our teacher, Bro. Chia got the second one. It was super funny. In Chinese, Glory is rong2 yao4 (榮耀).  This is how we enjoy ourselves at the MTC. 
Tuesday night devotional was given by Elder David F. Evans and his wife, Mary. They set up microphones all over and we watched the Christmas Movie, He is The Gift, and had a really good discussion about it. My favorite part of the clip is when they show the scriptures and it says, 'Discover the Gift'. We have the Gift so we need to share it so others can discover it. I challenge you all to reach out, especially this Christmas Season to those who still haven't discovered the gift. 

Wednesday& Thursday: Wednesday morning, Sister Allen left for Canada. We got up early to say goodbye to her and to take her to the travel office. Other than that, it was a normal day of classes, and study. Thursday the same. 

Friday: Friday was an interesting day. Sister Lindsay got called down to the travel office so we were down there for about a hour in the morning. Her birth date was filled out incorrectly on her visa application so we had to sit and redo the entire thing online. They said it wouldn't have to be sent back to Taiwan--just to San Francisco. They were going to Scan & Fax it over so hopefully she will be able to leave the same time the rest of us do. While we were down there, they told us that today, the agent in charge of getting our visas was meeting with the government. So whatever that means..are visas are close to being complete...hopefully. Friday was full of class, teaching, and learning more language. 
Friday night was a really special night. Since we are in the MTC Choir, we got to leave our second block class a little early. Friday night, the MTC Choir was able to surprise all the branch presidencies and their wives. They had the Branch Presidency Christmas Dinner in the gym. The UVU Institute Choir sang during it and the very last song, they had us all enter from the doors all around the gym. We were waiting outside for about 45 minutes so by the time we got in there, we were all ice cubes but, the Spirit that was already present in the room was phenomenal. We sang Silent Night and what we did was all go in between all the different tables spread out around the gym. It was so powerful. The Spirit was so strong. During the 3rd verse, I looked down at a Brother sitting somewhat in front of me and he was wiping his eyes with his handkerchief. Of course, I was already trying to hold in my tears (yup mom, I'm just like you :) ) and so this made me shed a tear or two. After the song was over, we went and found our branch presidency and talked to them for a while. They thanked us all for being apart of the choir and how cool is was to see all the missionaries walk in. Everyone kept it a secret so it was a total surprise and they said it was super cool. I was so glad I was able to be apart of that. Most of our zone stayed to help clean up after. We were able to meet some of the UVU choir members. I talked to one Sister who served in Taipei and also one who served in the Philippines! 

Saturday: Saturday, we have all our personal, companion, and language studies at night instead of in the morning and towards the end, an Elder walked in looking for someone. We got started talking to him and he told us he was going to Cambodia. I told him I have a friend that I lived with in China, Sister Lindley, serving in Cambodia right now. He asked where I lived in China and guess what?! He also lived in Shanghai!! He moved there his sophomore year and graduated over there. He also went to Shanghai American School-Pudong!!! We talked so much about school. He asked if I remembered Timothy Young (this is his best friend from high school) and I remembered him! I started listing off some names that I remembered--Heidi Lund, Matteo Gardini, Laura Grenon, Billy Lomason, etc. and He knew most of them...the ones that had stayed in Shanghai!! It was so cool!! He told me about church and how the church rents out a conference room now in a plaza every Sunday. He told me that there are 3 branches now (dad, I'm sure you know all of this) I asked him if he knew a couple of the families I remembered..I didn't remember many and he didn't know most of them but the Buttar's family was in his branch! He and his family just barely moved back to the states before he came on his mission but it was so cool to talk to him and reminiscence about living in Shanghai. It makes me want to go back to bad some day after my mission!! It has changed so much there but it would definitely be cool to go back soon!!

Sunday: Today was quite an amazing day. Since it was Fast Sunday, we had Mission Conference. Brother and Sister Radebaugh (a district president), Pres. & Sis. Roach (MTC presidency), and Pres. & Sis. Nally (MTC president) all spoke to us. It was meeting full of the meaning of Christmas and Our Savior, Jesus Christ. One of my favorite parts was the special musical number sung by and Elder. He sang I Stand All Amazed. It was a beautiful arrangement. The part that stood out to me the most was the first line of the 3rd verse. He sang, "I think of His hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt," and then He added, "My debt." While being here at the MTC, I have learned so much more about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I will probably never fully understand the power that the Atonement has but, I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and the example He is in my life. We all use the power of the Atonement differently and apply it to our lives differently. One thing to always remember, if life ever gets to hard or you feel like you are about to just give up, give all your burdens and hardship to the Lord. He has already bled, suffered, and died for us. He knows how we feel everyday. He knows our hopes, dreams, and desires. If we allow Him to enter into our lives, he will be able to help and bless us. I know this to be true! 
After mission conference, we had a combined District Meeting with the other district that are waiting for their visas with us in our zone. There are only 4 Elders left in that zone-Elder Liston, Elder Matua, Elder Dorius, and Elder Brinton. During this district meeting, we went around and shared what really stood out to us during Mission Conference. We shared Christmas memories from home as well. 
Sacrament Meeting was also really good. I was able to bear my testimony in Chinese today. Even though it wasn't perfect and I was super nervous, I was glad I got the opportunity to bear my simple, Chinese testimony. After Sacrament Meeting, I was able to sit and talk to Pres. Woodfield (my branch president) outside in the hallway of our classroom. He shared some missionary experiences from his mission with me. He served in Berlin, Germany. He is such a neat man. His wife is also amazing. I have been so grateful to have the branch presidency I have. They all mean so much to me and have always been so willing to help. I can't wait to enter the field and have similar experiences like Pres. Woodfield. 
For devotional, Sunday night, we were able to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. I really enjoyed the entire thing. I especially enjoyed Elder Eyring's talk about the Light of Christ and how it is an influence that we can recognize by its' effects. I hope you all were able to watch it last night! 
We decided to stay, District E and my District to watch Meet the Mormons for the 3rd time. While we were waiting for it to start, I talked with Elder Liston about how much the MTC has changed us and how we are so looking forward to entering the mission field and being able to serve those people in Taiwan. It was kind of funny because he brought up how emotional the MTC has made him become. and I totally agreed with him. We both have never seen each other cry but I told him that if he is crying in one room, I am probably crying in the room next to his. We both laughed and he said, "Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one." 
The MTC is such a great place. I am so excited to leave and enter the field but I have learned so much and made some great friendships here. I know that this work Bryan and I and the rest of the missionaries are doing is true. I am so grateful I am able to be one of the Lord's representatives in this time of my life. I hope you all have a great week!! You all mean so much to me! Thanks for all you do! I sure do love you all!!! 

Sister Haacke

Saying good bye to Sister Allen. Yes, we all look ridiculous. Elder Bates looked like a homeless man so I decided to take a pic by him.

 The picture of us 5 was taken right after Sister Allen left. We started with 8 in our district...now we are down to 5.

We all decided to "mourn" our visas this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday...mostly as a joke. Thursday even our teachers joined in.

Tuesday Picture: back (left to right): We all look like we are going to kill someone...Elder Diepeveen, Elder Liston, Elder Matua, Elder Brinton, Elder Bates. Front: Me, Sister Hendricks (other Chinese zone), Sister Good (other Chinese zone), and Elder Dorius.

Our temple walk:

 Sister Lindsay and I with our branch President, President Woodfield.

 Selfie Time w/ Elder Liston, Sister Proffit, Sister Good, and Sister Hendricks.

 Our zone.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving at the MTC

My dear family and friends, 

What a week this past week has been. It has been so inspirational and uplifting.
I'd like to first start by saying thanks for all the letters and packages. I really appreciate them and love receiving them each week. 
Bryan: Seems like you have had another amazing week in the Philippines. I loved reading about the experiences you have had this week. Thanks for being such a great example to me. Even though your my younger brother, I look up to you so much! I think and pray for your success daily. Love you!! 
Marissa: It sounds like you are doing great this week! In the family letter, mom and dad wrote about how you had a singing lesson with Dean Kaelin in Salt Lake. That is phenomenal. Please write me a dear elder and tell me EVERYTHING! Please tell me about your opportunities to also try out for the Voice next year. That is so great. I am so excited for you and where your singing talent will take you. I'm so proud of you sis!!
Mom, Dad, Lachlan, & Alexa: I loved reading the family email this week. Thanksgiving seems like it was a blast. I did miss the good food and the opportunity to spend time with family. Rocky looks adorable! And it looks like you had a ton of fun at the BYU Basketball game with the Haacke's. 
My week: 
So, you probably are all wondering what in the world is going on with our VISA'S!!  To be honest, we don't really know either. Today, was supposed to be our departure date so it's been kind of funny that we are all still here...wondering if we will ever be able to leave the MTC. We went and talked to the Travel Office this morning to see if they had heard any additional information. They said that we will be here, at the MTC, for at least another week. They officially cancelled our reassignments (For those of you who don't know, my reassignment was to Colorado Springs, Colorado) and we will just be waiting here at the MTC for our visa's. Sis. Good's dad has been sending her emails about the updates as well. He has been calling the Travel Office in Salt Lake. What we heard today from her dad is that they filed our visa papers on Nov. 1 and it normally now (with the new requirements) takes about 30-40 days for the visas to be processed. So we are close, we are all just praying and hoping we will get our visa's soon....Mom and dad, if you hear anything, be sure to let me know :)
Tuesday: Tuesday morning at 3 AM, we all got up to say goodbye to Sister Moe. She left for the New York North Mission. Our entire district met at the Travel Office to spend our last 30 minutes together. Even though it was 3 in the morning, we were still able to laugh and have a good time. Saying goodbye to Sis. Moe was hard. To be honest, I shed a tear or two. She has become like family to me. Since Sis. Moe has left, Sis. Allen, Sis. Lindsay, and I have been a tri-companionship. Sis. Allen leaves this Wednesday morning for Canada so after that, Sis. Lindsay and I will just be companions again. It is weird saying goodbye to everyone that is in our district and the other district that came in with us when we are still going to be here for 7-14 days. Tuesday night devotional was given by Elder and Sister Dallin H Oaks. It was so great. Sis. Oaks gave 5 main tips about being a great missionary. They were 1. Focus on our Savior, Jesus Christ; 2. You're NOT alone; 3. LOVE your companion; 4. Be Obedient; & 5. Make the Book of Mormon your best friend. Elder Oaks likened our missions like a pen. A pen doesn't work unless you put it to use. He asked what is really means to be a instrument in the hands of God. He was really inspiring and gave some great counsel. 
Wednesday: Wednesday was just a normal day of classes and investigators. Every day, we teach atleast one investigator and now since there is just two companionships, in our district, we teach two or three different investigators every day. Wednesday was the last day we taught Lu Jie Mei. We got two new investigators, Chen Di Xiong and Qiu Jie Mei. I'm looking forward to teaching them and learning and growing from every lesson we give. 
Thursday: THANKSGIVING!!! Thanksgiving day was absolutely amazing. It was a day full of powerful testimonies and a day to reflect on how grateful I am for everything in my life. It was a day that I have even a further desire to become the best person I can be. Thursday, at first, I really missed my family and spending time with you all--but as the day went on, I thought of how grateful I am for you, your support, and how I will not only be able to live together with you in this life but also in the life to come. I thought about the families that I will be able to teach this great message to and how blessed their lives will become. Thursday morning, we had a special choir practice for the General Authority Devotional. The song we sang was Come Thou Fount. The MTC choir has never sang  this song because because I guess it is really hard. There was a rumor going around the MTC that Elder Bednar was coming to speak but no one really knew who it was going to be. During prelude music, President and Sister Nally walked in and then Elder and Sister Bednar walked in! I was so excited! Both this devotional and the devotional was a broadcast to all the other MTC's around the world. It is really cool when it is a broadcast. It was a neat experience to be able to be apart of that. Sister Susan Bednar talked about our families praying for us on a daily basis. She compared, us a missionaries, to the Sons of Helaman in the Book of Mormon. One thing she said really stood out to me. She said, "We have an obligation to be true and give our heart to the Lord...Remember you represent yourself, remember you represent your family, remember you represent the Savior, and remember you represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Elder David A Bednar first quickly talked about agency and to act and not be acted upon. He then had a huge question and answer session. Since it was a worldwide broadcast, he handed out hundreds of cell phones to the Provo MTC audience and the other MTC's got cellphones/tablets that they were able to email questions and all the questions would be sent to the iPad Elder Bednar had. I learned a lot from listening to the questions and the answers Elder Bednar gave. One question that really stood out to me was, "As missionaries, we say so many prayers during the day. How can we better our prayers to be less repetitive?" Along with that, there were many other questions answered. The very last question that was asked had something to do with Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon. He bore powerful testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith and the Restoration of this Gospel. The Spirit was definitely in the room. It was so profound. 
After lunch, we were split into two different groups according to our branch number. The first session my branch was in was the service project. We got assigned to groups of about 8 or 9 and we assembled Lentil Casserole bags for the Provo Food Bank. I was incharge of holding the bags under the funnel. It was really fun! Last year, the MTC made about 350,000 bags so we had a goal to beat that this year-which we did! We made 368,048. It was so neat to be able to be apart of such a large service project. The Second Session was a Thanksgiving Program put together by President and Sister Nally. Several Missionaries acted out the story that was read by Sis. Nally. It was super funny. After the sessions were over, all the missionaries met in 19M and there was a "Special Movie" that was going to be showed. For prelude, we sang all these different, fun, songs from the Primary Songbook. We, as the 2 Chinese zones, did the actions to the songs,we had a ton of fun. The Special Movie they showed us was Meet the Mormons!! When they announced it, everyone went crazy!! Meet the Mormons was SO good!! If you haven't seen it, GO see it!! I loved it. In fact, they were showing it as one of the movie options after the devotional Sunday night and my district went to go see it again!! After the movie, they had us all go by building 1M and they turned on the Christmas lights! As a zone, we were standing kind of in the middle of everyone and Elder Dorius started singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town and so we all started singing. Everyone stopped and looked at us and took pictures. It was really fun. People probably thought that we were crazy...but, we have so much fun as a zone. The MTC truly did spoil us for Thanksgiving. I am so grateful for all of you. Thanks so much for your prayers and thoughts! I love you all!!
Friday: Friday, we went to In-Field Orientation. It was 9 hours! So , super long, but I learned a lot about the field, making goals, and involving members. 
Saturday: Normal day of studying, classes, and teaching investigators. Our less active agreed to 'come' to church with us so we were really excited about that. 
Sunday: Sunday is always my favorite! For Relief Society, Sheri Dew came to speak to us. Her talk was very powerful and filled with so much Spirit. She talked about the priesthood and  the power Women have with the Priesthood. Sacrament meeting, I played the piano again, and District E and my district sang our "Goodbye Song". We sang a song that Elder Whitney wrote himself. It was really pretty. It was about serving missions and relying on the Lord's help. Since we were supposed to be leaving today, we got to go to the Departure Devotional which we just got advice from the MTC presidency about the field. President Nally gave us 6 things to remember. (a lot like the ones Sis. Oaks gave us). 1. Love your companions no matter what; 2. Write in your Journal everyday; 3. IT IS HARD; 4. It is the Spirit's job to convert; 5. Have no regrets; & 6. Increase your testimony of the Savior and Joseph Smith everyday and bear it frequently. Sunday night devotional, BYU's Vocal Point came and sang. They are phenomenal! It was a great devotional!!
This morning, I saw Marilyn as she was walking in the temple. I am so glad I have been able to see her these last couple of weeks. I love the temple so much!! 
Overall, this week has been really good. I'm sorry this is really long! If you made it to the end, congrats! I sure love and appreciate you all. I love hearing from you! 
Sister Haacke
 Saying good-bye to Sis. Moe.

 Thanksgiving temple walk.


 Us walking up to the temple.

 Missionaries departing this week and also the  missionaries all staying extra week in the MTC to get to Taiwan.

 Us with Brother Averett from the Branch Presidency.

Humanitarian project.

 Christmas lights with Sisters in our same building.

Sis Lindsay, Sis Allen, and I.