Philippines Cauayan Mission

Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, June 27, 2016

Opening a New Area

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

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

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

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

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

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

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