Go big or go home, but don't go home big!

Kamusta po Pamilya ninyo!
      So I keep talking about how powerful the spirit is in the MTC. I've written it in my journal and in letters to friends, and I'm pretty sure I've written it in past e-mails. Well I'm not the only one that feels that way! This past Tuesday we got to hear from Elder Richard G. Scott!!! And in his own words, "There's a power in this room that cannot be denied! Priesthood power and sister missionary power!" And there was! It was definitely the best devotional yet. It started out with the choir (which I am a part of) sang "This Is the Christ". I thought of you, Mom, when we were singing it because I know you really like that song! But it was beautiful!
     I sat next to this senior missionary sister and talked to her, and she was so cute! It made me think of Mom and Dad when they go on their mission and how I bet Mom will be in the choir:). We also sit and talk to senior missionaries at lunch, and I always think... man, Mom and Dad would be the best senior missionaries, just sitting there chatting with all the missionaries! Dad drinking all the chocolate milk;)
     But back to the devotional, Elder Scott talked to us about the prompting of the spirit, and it was so neat. He was so sincere, and you could just feel the love he had for all of the missionaries! He invoked (i think that's what he called it) a blessing upon us all during the devotional, and I don't think I've ever seen that, and it was really neat. He explained that usually he stays after to shake everyone's hand, but today he wouldn't be able to and was really sorry. Then he shook his hand at the camera and said "You all just received a virtual handshake." haha that made me laugh. But yeah it was really neat, and I received an answer to my prayers in his talk. You could just really feel of his love, and it was awesome!
     Other than that this week was just pretty normal. Oh on Sunday in Relief Society Erlyn Madsen taught the lesson, and she was so cute. Ja, her son played for the Lakers. Mark Madsen? Do you know him? But after Relief Society I get up and hear "ALYSSA!" First off I never hear my first name.  Then I turn around, and there are Natalie and Katy! I was SO surprised! But I guess Natalie's brother-in-law is in a branch presidency so they came to see him and went to Relief Society. It was really good seeing them! I just love those two! And Katy told me that she was submitting her papers that night! EXCITING!! So yeah that was a pleasant surprise for me:)
     The language is going alright. It's weird because some days I'll feel like it's really coming along, and I can teach and say what I want to say pretty well.  Then the next day I feel like I can't even understand what my teacher is trying to tell me, and I can't get my point across at all. So yeah I guess that's just the Lord's way of keeping me on my feet. I wrote in my journal that I decided that you just can't get comfortable in the MTC (and probably my whole mission). You feel like you're doing well, and then you get hit with something that you need to improve on or work on. But it's good! I need to keep learning and growing so I'm not complaining.
     To answer some questions: . . . Being in class all day is okay some days, and then other days it's pretty rough. Our elders get pretty noisy, and during personal time, language study, and comp study we go find another classroom with couches to study where we can actually concentrate so that makes it so we're not in our classroom all day long! My teachers are awesome though so they make it fun. We've had a couple of subs, and after having them teach us, it's made our whole class so grateful for the teachers we have! This one sub we had was the most AWKWARD progressing investigator ever! I can't even explain.
     Luckily enough I have not had to add extra fiber to my diet! I've been just fine. But I have overheard elders talk about that. And I weighed myself, and so far I haven't put on any weight! So that's good! I heard a good mission moto this week about that:) "Go big or go home, but don't go home big!" haha it made me laugh!
     I thought that was SOOO cute that Gabe blesses me that I can learn "Ta-olives" haha and I shared that with my district, and they all got a kick out of that! Man what cute kids! I wanna see pictures of Spiderman and cute little Hannah butterfly!:)
     In my district I am the only one going to Manila. In the other district in my zone there are two elders going to Manila, but that's all. Tell Ashley Fowles congrats on the call!! That's so exciting!! There’s a sister here, Sister Ycmat, that is going to that same mission so I asked her if she has any advice that she's learned about her mission, and she said... It's a very soft spoken mission in the Philippines (whatever that means:)).  Also she will learn Tagalog in the MTC, but she won't actually speak Tagalog on her mission. They speak a whole other language when you get there. That's all she really knows so far. But Sister Ycmat is great! I love her! And she was excited to hear that another girl from Utah will be going to her mission!
Sister Dickson, heading to Quezon City
(Cami's roommate sophomore year and probably mine when we get back!)
     But my time is up. But just so ya know I didn't break rules by going up to Ryan's classroom! My teacher told me that as long as it didn't distract me from my purpose I could see my brother! So yeah Uncle Scott doesn't know!;) And I found his classroom because I was up taking a picture with Elder Anderson by the Albanian room and just happened to be passing the Hungarian room! So yeah that's how it all worked! Elder Anderson knew I was coming to the MTC, but I didn't know he was still there so it was fun running into him! He's great!
Look who I found!?!  Elder Ian Anderson,
only here for a week and then on his way to Albania
     But I gotta go. Love you all so much! I pray for you all the time! In English and Tagalog:)


. . . pretty awful

Kamusta Pamilya!
     Last Sunday was our first real Sunday here at the MTC. We went to our branch, and it was an awesome meeting. They sing hymns in Tagalog, say prayers in Tagalog, say the sacrament prayers in Tagalog, and also give two talks in Tagalog (which they just randomly choose two people out of the congregation to give them so you have to prepare one each week in case you get called on). Then at the end they have one or two speakers in English as well. It was really neat hearing all of the Tagalog. I think one of my favorite parts was hearing the sacrament prayer in Tagalog and just thinking that's exactly how it will be when I get to Manila. It was a great meeting.
     Oh and also before church I was given a calling! President Taylor pulled me aside and asked if I would be the music coordinator for the branch! So I get to choose the hymns that we sing and set up a special musical number each week for sacrament meeting. So that will be fun.
     Then also on Sunday we went on a temple walk, and I ran into my friend Kimmy Johnson (I think that's her last name) who was on my volleyball intramurals team two years in a row. It's so weird being in Provo, but it just doesn't seem like Provo at all! She seemed excited that she ran into me and said she wanted to write me! It was fun seeing her and chatting for a minute.
     Speaking of running into people, I finally ran into Sister (Joelynn) Palmer yesterday! She was a girl that I worked with at Jacob Lake, and I just love her! I thought she told me that she came into the MTC the same day as me, so I have been keeping an eye out for her for about two weeks.  Then when I ran into her, she said she just got here Wednesday. So yeah it was fun seeing her! She's just happy as can be and will be so good as a missionary on Temple Square!
Sisters Palmer & Stromberg on a Sunday temple walk
Jacob Lakers: Sister Palmer & Elder Wright
     So let's see, sometime at the beginning of this week we started teaching our second investigator "Joji," which is Brother Itri. We've just taught him one lesson, but it was pretty awful. He was so awkward, and it was just weird to be teaching our teacher who we know pretty well and joke around with. During our lesson he kept dozing off and would like cross his eyes and fall asleep, and it was just bad. But we will teach him again, and hopefully it will turn out better. During personal study I read the scripture Mosiah 3:3 and decided that if "Joji" falls asleep again I'm going to have him read that scripture:) So yeah that didn't go so well.
     But we are also now teaching brother Ah Mu as "Efron Vargas," and he is going a lot better, not as awkward. We got through the whole first lesson with him in Tagalog, and that's a first! We only have about 25 minutes to teach so we were pretty pleased. And he said he would start reading the Book of Mormon. So yeah that's how our teaching is going. My teachers are awesome though. They are a lot of fun, and especially brother Itri we can joke around with him and have a good ol' time. But then he is a really good teacher as well, and we get a lot done!
Elder Wilde, Elder Beckstrom, Elder Anderson, Elder Robinson
Elder Tumonavoa, Sister Vickers, Me, & Elder Hatch (from Nibley!)
     My district is also awesome. The elders are fun, and for the most part I just love them. There are some times when they can be a little immature and annoying, but for the most part they are great! We all have a good relationship where we can all joke around and tease each other and that makes it fun! Elder Tumonavoa from Samoa had to have surgery this week on his ACL which was sad:( He came from Samoa and had to have all of his medical work done here in the US, and they found that he tore his ACL a year ago and just never did anything for it so they had to fix that. He was bummed because he's one of the Samoans that just loves volleyball and plays every day in gym, and now he can't play for a year! Poor Elder! But he's awesome! He's always so happy and laughing... like most Samoans so he'll be just fine I'm sure!
     Tuesday’s devotional was Sister Beck and her husband this week, and it was a good one. She talked about temples and such.
     Oh yesterday we had our first experience with the TRC. And yeah it's a lot different than when I would go and volunteer. The BYU students just play themselves. For example, our first member we taught goes to BYU and just got back from his mission in Manila and is from Layton. Yeah, we just teach him like that. It reminds me more of just a visiting teaching lesson because they are already members, and we're not trying to commit them to baptism. But it was a lot of fun. We definitely spoke very choppy, like just trying to spit out our Tagalog words and not worry about grammar or anything, but it was just getting to know them and having a conversation in Tagalog. We did 2, 20-minute teaching sessions, and eventually when we get a little better, we'll just teach 1 40-minute lesson.
     This week I managed to catch a cold which was no fun:( I think it was because my companion got one first, and I'm with her 24/7 so chances were pretty good I'd get one too. But I've been drinking EmergenC, and it's about gone. So no worries.
     But my time is up. I was going to write some Tagalog to ya, but no time sorry! I love you all so much and am so grateful for your support! It made my day to get a dearelder from all of you yesterday! I have the best family EVER!! Hope all is going well!


The sisters & the elders

     Sorry about my email last week: no time + keyboard stuck in Dutch = a crazy email that probably didn't make a lot of sense.
Sister Stromberg, Sister Westover & Sister Vickers
     So to tell you about the sisters I live with: Sister Vickers is great. It's kind of fun because if I were to have met her at BYU, I'm sure we would have gotten along, but I don't think we would have been close friends. We're just different. But that's what's great because since we're companions, we've gotten close, and she makes me laugh! Sister Westover is from Arizona, close to Sedona. I was hoping that she would know Eve & James in Sedona, but no luck. She does know about Jacob Lake though and has been there. She played soccer for Mesa Community College. Then Sister Dennis is from Winnamucca, NV. Didn't we pass that on the way to Sparks? She's the one that played volleyball at a community college in Nevada. Then there's Sister Allen that I mentioned in my email. She is so sweet. Her companion, also in our room, is Sister Miara who came from Samoa and speaks very little English. Poor Sister Allen has just been so patient. Man, that would be hard for both of them. So yeah, that's my room!
Sister Vickers, me, Sister Westover & Sister Dennis
     This missionary, Sister Morton, is also awesome, and we have had some good conversations. She is in the other Tagalog zone, going to the Philippines, and played basketball in college so during gym one day we played, and I got to guard her. Some elders played, and it was way fun! Some sisters said they heard elders saying, "Wow, those sisters are good!" :) It was sooo fun! I also got Sister Dennis to come with me this week to play volleyball with all the Samoan elders who are way good. But we definitely held our own! I have Jacob Lake volleyball to thank for that. :) haha
Tumonavoa, Wilde, Stromberg, Vickers, Hatch, Robinson,
Anderson & Beckstrom
     The elders in my district . . . well there were eight, but now 6 :( because one went home to "take care" of some stuff, and his companion was transferred to a different district. Elder Anderson is from Tennessee, I think, but went to BYU where he was good friends with Elder Nore. Elder Robinson (not related to Jack) is from Wyoming; Elder Tumonavoa is from Samoa; Elder Wilde is from, I think, Pleasant Grove or somewhere; Elder Beckstrom is from somewhere north of Provo, I don't remember where; and Elder Escobedo is from Las Vegas. In another district, there's an Elder Andrus going to the Philippines (not related to Amy!), and he knows Andy Smith, Morgan & MaKenzie, Kylee Webb & Brenna from Dixie.
Some of the elders in my district . . . not all
     Oh, and I just got out of class, and yes, Brother Itri's mother is Jill Itri! Small world, Mom, you'll have to tell Jill if you still have a connection with her. Brother Itri asked me your name so maybe he'll say something to her. If you talk to her, you can tell her that her son is an awesome teacher! I really like having him teach us. He knows what he's doing (but then he's the only MTC teacher I've had so what do I know :) ). Except we did meet our second teacher last night, Brother Ahmu, who was also our investigator, "Michael Quinto." We've taught five lessons to now and committed to baptism, ALL IN TAGALOG! We're on a roll!
     But I need to start wrapping up. Oh, I told you that Chad Lewis came for my first devotional. It was so good! Also his wife, former BYU volleyball all-American, spoke. As Sister Vickers said, "Biggest pep talk of her life!" ha, that made me laugh. But he talked about his mission and sharing the gospel and just told really cool stories. You would have all loved it! One part that you'd appreciate: he was an ambassador for the NFL in China or something like that, and for the Superbowl they wanted him to translate. Well he told them he only knew gospel language in Chinese, not football language, but they wanted him to do it anyway. And then he went on to tell us he said, "I testify that Tom Brady throws true passes!" haha thought that was pretty funny!

Love you all so much,
Sister Stromberg


It's better to look up

     First thing´´s first: )this keyboard is in dutch and the symbols aren´´t working right, and I don´´t have time to figure out how to fix it, so sorry'
     You were right, I did sound a bit stressed and busy.  I was a little overwhelmed as of Saturday morning when I last wrote, but things have gotten better.  That night we had some free time for the first time, and so we got to just sit in our room and chat as roommates, and that was SO good! We got to really get to know each other more than just where are you from? what´´s your major? where did you go to college? And WOW I have amazing sisters that I live with. One in particular has just gone through SO much in her life, and she´´s just 21.  I am just amazed at her faith and that she has chosen to serve a mission. Her name is Sister Allen, and she actually shares a bunk with me. And what´´s kind of funny about her is apparently she and I talk to each other every night in our sleep±' haha. and I guess we´´re really entertaining to the other sisters in our room. One night we even were trying to speak Tagalog to each other! haha
     So then, General Conference was SO GOOD! And seriously just what I needed! The one that I just loved was by Carl B. Cook when he talked about being in the elevator when Pres. Monson told him, ``It´´s better to look up.`` I just loved that! Because he said he was feeling overwhelmed and inadequate with his new position, and well, I had been feeling overwhelmed with this new language, but it´´s so true that I just need to remember to ``look up``! My Heavenly Father would not have called me to serve in the Philippines if I was not capable of learning this language! So I know I just need to work hard and do the best I can, and I will be helped the rest of the way! There were a lot of other talks also that I just loved!
     OOoo but this was way cool. I´´m sure that the brothers all did this, but they did this special rendition of ``Called to Serve`` where all the missionaries sang it. They put up a picture of the strippling warriors and tell you to imagine that all of us are the army of God, and we are coming up over a mountain. The first verse we sang quietly; then the next louder because we got closer to climbing the mountain; and the last one we stood up and sang the loudest. Let me just tell you the spirit FLOODED the room! It even made me tear up, and once again I was caught crying, singing ``Called to Serve`` in the MTC! haha What a surprise, right? But man it was POWERFUL, just being surrounded by missionaries representing Our Savior.
     Also I´´m in the MTC choir, and we sang Tuesday night at devotional. Ooo Sunday Chad Lewis came and spoke, and it was AWESOME! I´´ll write about that later I guess because time is up±) Man bummer! This goes by way too fast.  I love you all so much and am so grateful for all of your support! Gotta get off±)

Mahal kita,
Sister Stromberg


First email: 10.1.2011

     I can't believe it's my turn to be the missionary and to write you e-mails! So last time you saw me, I was red-eyed and not looking all that happy. But I'll assure you that I am loving it here. It has definitely been an adjustment, but I know this is where I am supposed to be and am so grateful for this opportunity.
     Sister Vickers is so sweet and so smart, and I'm so excited to get to know her more and learn from her as we grow together as a companionship. I told you one connection in my letter we made, but there are two more. We both ran the 300 hurdles and loved them! And the next one is pretty crazy: we were sitting waiting for general conference to start, writing letters, and I looked over and she's writing to a "Sister Carrie Carlson." Well I totally know her! She was in my typography class last winter semester, and we actually became pretty good friends in that class. I knew she was serving a mission in Mesa, and she wanted me to write her, but I just never have. So yeah crazy that my companion was writing her because they were roommates and just really good friends! What are the odds! Then by making that connection we made a few other connections with mutual friends that we have through the art program! Crazy!
     Sister Vickers and I are the only sisters in our district. I think we have 8 elders in our district, maybe 10. Elder Hatch from Nibley is in my district, kind of a quiet kid so that's probably why I never got to know him when he was a sophomore and I was a senior at MC. Then we have two more sisters that are in our zone, Sister Westover and Sister Dennis. They are so fun! Sister Dennis played volleyball at a JC so we have fun in gym together. :)
Sister Dennis, Sister Miara, Sister Westover, & Sister Stromberg
Sister Allen & Sister Vickers
     I tried running on Thursday for gym time, and unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to run at the MTC. :( My knee hurt probably just as bad as it did while running the half marathon! But that's okay, I'll just have fun beating all the elders in volleyball and basketball. ;) I also used the bikes they have, and that was just fine.
All-Americans at the MTC?!?
     So we just got done watching the first session of General Conference and TEMPLE IN PROVO?!?! Isn't that just crazy! I bet you didn't see that one coming! But I'm excited. I hope it's done by the time I get back. I was thinking that'll be nice for baptisms, that's for sure. You won't have to wait 3+ hours to get baptized for 3 people! I loved L. Whitney Clayton's talk about how the Gospel will fill the world. It was powerful! I also loved President Uchtdorf's talk, when he talked about how he learned when he was in Texas, not knowing English very well and feeling alone and unimportant, that all he could do was his best and he would be just fine.
     I hate to admit it, but yesterday was quite the day of Tagalog. They just pounded us with it and shoved more and more Tagalog down our throats!! We taught our first investigator, which was... interesting. We challanged him to read the Book of Mormon, and he might have accepted that challange. I'm not really sure. We prayed with him... but in English. :) Yeah he looked a little confused. Then later on they took us to the TALL lab, and we started that. I  think TALL will be my best friend here in the MTC. Then in class they taught us to pray and to bear our testimony and yeah just a whole lot of Tagalog. When Ryan told us that they only speak to you in Tagalog the first day... well he failed to mention that your teacher only speaks to you in Tagalog for the first THREE days! Then he spoke 1 hour to us in English, which was heaven, and then back to only Tagalog. So yeah, I was feeling a little overwhelmed with the language and didn't realize how hard that will be for me. You don't have to memorize paintings or drawings... so I haven't had to memorize things for quite some time. But then with the help of Preach My Gospel and the scriptures and Pres. Uchtdorf's talk, I know that if i just do my very best, I will be able to learn this language with the Holy Ghost and my Heavenly Father's help.
     But don't get me wrong I love this place. I was reading PMG, and I loved this section... "The setting apart may be taken literally; it is a setting apart from sin, apart from the carnal; apart from everything which is crude, low, vicious, cheap, or vulgar; set apart from the world to a higher plane of thought and activity." And I know that is so true. Being a missionary and devoting your time to the Lord is such a blessing. There is so much peace here, and the spirit is with us everywhere we go. I just love it. General Conference was even more powerful, spiritual, and amazing being in a room full of missionaries of the Lord.
     AHHHH I have TWO minutes! My teacher is Brother Itri, and he is the man! He has taught here for like over 3 years so he definitely knows what he is doing! Ryan, if you ever run into him, give him a hard time and tell him to go easy on your sister. ;) Oh and I ran into some Hungarian sisters, but they said that Brother Erickson is their teacher. But they know you and that you were strong... well I think that's what they said. It was all in Hungarian, and they flexed when talking about you, so who knows, maybe they said you need muscles. ;)
     LOVE YOU so much! I have to go.

First Letter Home: 9.28.2011

     Not that I didn't know this already, but WOW! my Heavenly Father is so aware of me! After I left, one of the first things I did was go to get my picture taken, and who took it?!? . . . Sister Jaclaslavonian, the sweet senior missionary that worked at the TRC Friday afternoons when I would volunteer there. She just gave me the biggest hug and was so happy for me and so excited and totally cheered me up! And I know that's no coincidence she was there today. :) Then when I went to pick up my Tagalog packet, there was her husband, Brother J. It was just so neat because I told Mom I didn't think I'd get to see them, but they just welcomed me right away and made me feel at home! (Well, as "at home" as possible in the MTC.)
     My companion and I both agreed that it feels like we are back to freshman year, living in the dorms all over again. My companion's name is Sister Vickers, and she's from Michigan. But want to hear this connection? She just finished her third year at BYU majoring in photography. And we both had the same core art teachers (Ron Richmond & Allen Ludwig). So, yes, we're both art nerds. :)  Love it!!  She kind of reminds me of a mix between Amy Schwab and Amelia O'Neil. But then I've only known her for a few hours so we'll see!
First companionship picture EVER!
     This was supposed to be short, so I'll finish filling you in later. It's past my bedtime. I love you so much! Thanks for all the support in getting me here. I'm a tad overwhelmed with all this change, but I can tell I'll love it here! Oh, I saw Elder Wright (from Jacob Lake), Elder Nore (from Independent Study), Elder Gunnell (from MC), Elder Duffy (from BYU), Elder Kendrick (from MC), & Elder ? (Axle from TX--don't know his last name) all in one day!
Dawnielle's good friend, Elder Axel Boyer, & his comp
with me & my comp
Independent Study Reunion
with Elder Nore & Hermana Bosco!

. . . Gone

On September 28, 2011 at around 1:30 p.m. Sister Stromberg entered the Provo Mission Training Center, after saying good-bye to her family and being wisked away by her "hosts."

Alyssa's choice: Zupas

Can we play just a little while longer?

We love ALY!!!

Bye, Sister Stromberg,
The people in the Philippines will love you too!