Actually been a really good one

Maligayan Araw na Pasasalamat! (Happy Thanksgiving Day!)
     How was Thanksgiving for each of you? Some in St. George, and some in Oregon? I bet it was a lot of fun! My week has actually been a really good one (minus the fact I couldn't be with family on Thanksgiving).
     On Tuesday for our devotional, guess who we got to hear from?! Elder Christofferson!:) It was so awesome! I forgot my notebook so I can't tell you a lot of specifics, but what I got from his talk was just a greater gratitude for being able to be on a mission right now. Just the privilege I have to be close to my Savior daily and to learn how to better recognize the Holy Ghost.  Another cool thing he talked about is how we are companions with all of the general authorities, that we have all the same responsibilities and authority that they have when it comes to preaching the gospel, except the fact that sisters don't have the priesthood!  And how we are all companions in the work together. That was kind of a cool thought.
     Then for Thanksgiving we got to hear from... Elder Russell M. Nelson!:) That was really good too. He just talked about different things we have to be thankful for. He also said to tell our families that he says thanks to each of you for sending a daughter/sister out on a mission and for the support you give. So yeah bet you didn't know an apostle said something specifically to each of you on Thanksgiving Day:)
     Also for Thanksgiving we had a couple of programs of speakers and musical numbers. We helped assemble like 10,000 first aid kits (which I think the brothers did also, didn't they?). Our job was being a human conveyor belt and passing cardboard boxes down a line. That's it... we were pretty helpful;) Then after all of that we got to watch the movie 17 Miracles! Which I saw in the theaters before I left but kind of fell asleep so this time I stayed awake for the whole thing, and it was really good! You all should watch it if you haven't! So it was a pretty good day! There was turkey, stuffing, potatoes, rolls, and pumpkin pie. It was... okay:) I was telling the lady who trimmed my hair this morning that it was good considering they had to make enough for all the missionaries here, but it wasn't homemade! But that's okay; it was good!:)
     But I was thinking about my family that day and thought about you all at The Smiths’ home putting your 3 corn kernels in the little kettle and sharing what you're grateful for and decided I wanted to share with you my 3 kernels:) So first, I am so grateful for my testimony. Something that I have come to learn even more since I've been here at the MTC is how personal and valuable my testimony is to me. Being companions with Sister Vickers I've noticed how different testimonies can be and how different we can come to gain a testimony. Sister Vickers is very intelligent, and from what I have observed, she has come to know gospel truths through study and just intellectually understanding principles.  She has a testimony from studying a principle, and when it makes sense to her, it just kind of clicks, and the spirit testifies to her. I don't know if I explained that as well as I wanted to. But then for me my testimony is based off of so many personal experiences that Heavenly Father has given me in my life, just tender mercies and revelation that I have received. And I am so grateful for all the experiences that I have had. I'm so grateful for all the trials I've gone through that have taught me so much and made my testimony what it is today. Like I said it's hard to explain, but the way my companion and I have gained our testimonies is very different.  I know my Heavenly Father knows what I need to experience and how I learn best, and I am so grateful for that because now I can share all of my experiences and bear my testimony with a surety to the people I meet in the Philippines.
     Alright second... I'm grateful for my family:) I think that's everyone's answer always, but I don't know how you can't think of that on Thanksgiving! I'm grateful for each one of you and am so lucky to have the relationships with each of you that I do. I know I could go up to each of you and talk to you about everything and anything, and a lot of people, even missionaries here, don't have that blessing in their lives. So thanks to all of you for the love and support you show me. (I kind of feel redundant with that line, but it's how I feel so that's why I always say it!)
     And third... I'm grateful for all of the missionaries here at the MTC and my teachers. I have learned so much from them, and it's such a blessing. That's one things that I love in this gospel is how as members we help each other out so much. I have been strengthened by their individual stories and what they have overcome, and it's just really neat to associate with such neat members of the church.
     Oh and I have to have a fourth, sorry... I am so thankful for my Savior. Since I got here to the MTC, I started reading the Book of Mormon over and highlighting all the references to Christ, all of the words that He speaks and all the Christ-like attributes mentioned, and I have already learned a lot. I don't get to read the Book of Mormon everyday because some days I have to get ready for my investigators, but I love being able to learn more about my Savior and feel His love. I know He's a HUGE reason that I am here and a big reason I'm so happy every single day! And that's one of the things I can't wait to share with my investigators the most. There's a scripture I found that explains one reason I am serving a mission... 1 Nephi 8: 11-12:
            11 And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the afruit
               thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever
               before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to
               exceed all the bwhiteness that I had ever seen.
12 And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with ex-
                         ceedingly great ajoy; wherefore, I began to be bdesirous that my
                family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was cdesirable
                above all other fruit.
When it talks about the fruit, I learned that that is referring to the atonement, and when talking about family, I just think about the humble Filipino people, and I just love that scripture! I'm so excited to get out to the Philippines! This week has definitely been a preparation week and has gotten me even more excited.
Happy, happy birthday, Brother Itri dear!
     First off, on Monday it was Brother Itri's birthday so we all decorated the class and got to class early and surprised him and that was way fun:) Then on Wednesday it was our last day with brother Ah Mu, so we got to ask a bunch of culture questions, and we did door approaches with him and Brother Moffat which was so fun. We'd all be in the class and send two missionaries out to the hall. Then our teachers would pick some crazy but realistic role of people over in the Philippines, and then the two missionaries would have to try to get into the house and teach a message. Some missionaries were able to, and some weren't, but it was just funny seeing all the different roles that our teachers would play that they saw in the Philippines. Then Wednesday for Brother Itri's shift he brought in a bunch of photos and just went over them with us and told us all about the Philippines and answered questions, and it was a lot of fun. There's definitely going to be a HUGE culture shock for me! But I'm way excited. I just have to enjoy milk and an actual warm shower these last couple of days! Yesterday was our in-field orientation day, and they just had a bunch of workshops on different subjects that will be helpful to know when we get there. Then today is our P-day, and we're just packing tonight! It's all coming to an end!
His face right after he saw that we decorated the classroom. 
He loved it!
     The MTC is now decked out in Christmas lights, and that's kind of fun! Oh and also there's the cutest little Filipino sister missionary that just got here that we talked to, and it was a lot of fun! She said that in the Philippines they celebrate Christmas from July to January:) So that will be fun!
     I'm excited to talk to you all from the airport! I hope you had the best Thanksgiving! I was definitely thinking about each of you. Well I love you a lot and pray for you daily in more than one language:) Talk to you soon!

Mahal Kita,
Sister Stromberg


Gone by so fast, but been here forever?!?

Kamusta aking pamilya!
Flight plans to Manilla through Hong Kong
     I did get my flight plans last night, and it was SO exciting! I'm going on a different plane than anyone in my district, but I'm going to be with some other elders from our zone so I'll be just fine! No sisters though. My whole district is going to Korea, but I'm going to Hong Kong which I'm actually really excited about! We have like a seven hour layover there so I'm going to go find me some legit Chinese food while I'm there:) That's my goal anyway! haha. But yeah it was just really exciting seeing that I have a plane ticket, and I will be getting to Manila before I know it! I can't wait.
My Traveling Companions!
     I've loved the MTC, and I've learned a lot. I will miss all the sisters that I have become such good friends with here for sure! But the good thing is, is most of them will be going to BYU or living in Provo when they get back so we will all get together then!:) I will also miss the awesome devotionals, and, I'm not going to lie, I'm really going to miss drinking milk at every meal like I do here. I've kind of been taking advantage of milk because I know there will be none when I get to the Philippines. I asked a sister who served in Manila that just got hired, and she said they just have this boxed milk that isn't very good.
All the sisters in our branch + two from another
     This e-mail will be all over the place because I feel like I have a lot to say but not a lot of time. So last P-day I did something really fun... I got about an hour voice lesson:) haha. My roommate Sister Young that is amazing at singing, well we were playing songs, and she was singing.  She wanted me to try a duet with her, and she started teaching me how to breathe better and different things. It was a lot of fun. I told her when I get back (she goes to BYU), I'm going to find her, and she'll have to give me more voice lessons!
President & Sister Taylor on the day he was released
     Then on Sunday my branch president got released. It was an emotional day for him and his cute wife. It reminded me a lot of another emotional bishop who got released a few months ago;) So that was kind of sad! But one of his counselors became the president, and we already knew him so that was kind of a good adjustment. And we'll be leaving in a week so it wasn't too hard. But I did love President Taylor and his wife. Then on Wednesday one of our investigators, Efron Vargas got baptized! WoohOO! That was kind of exciting! And our other investigator, Joji Barizo has an interview tomorrow for baptism.
     This week for our fireside we heard from Richard Heaton who is one of the head dudes here at the MTC (We've heard from him one other time.), but one thing he told us that is pretty cool is that right now in the MTC they have 4,000 more missionaries then they did at this time last year. It's pretty packed right now! They've had to just, while I've been here, stick another bunk bed in all of the elders' rooms. Brothers, you know how little those rooms were (well at least that's what my elders always are saying) and just imagine them sticking a third bunk bed in those same rooms. So yeah kind of crazy but exciting how the missionary forces are growing!
     I also got to help host this week so that was fun helping sisters the first day they were here. Oh and the devotional this week was Tad R. Callister. He is SO smart! His talk was awesome. He talked about the apostasy and the restoration and just brought up more points about it and went more in depth with it then you learn from Preach my Gospel, and it was just really awesome! I learned a lot!
     Tagalog is coming along. Last night while my companion was using the bathroom, I was talking to one of our zone resource teachers, and he told me that I'm doing really well with the language, and I understand very well. So that was really nice of him to tell me that, and it made me feel good to hear that. On Monday this week we went a whole day with speaking NO English, and that was good. I would have done it more, but my companion hates doing it. haha. I barely convinced her to do it Monday with me. It's just a lot harder to do it when the people around you are speaking English. Oh and two things happened this week that make me think it's becoming a little more natural... the first is the other night my roommates told me that I was sleep talking in Tagalog. Then the other day when I was playing volleyball, the serve was coming to me and instead of yelling 'yeah, yeah, yeah" to call for the ball, I yelled "Oo, oo, oo" which is yes in Tagalog. haha It was pretty cool because I did it without even realizing I was saying that. So yeah the language is getting there. I just have a feeling it's going to be a lot harder/faster/and slurred together once I get to Manila. But I'm kind of expecting it so oh well.
     It does feel like my time here at the MTC has gone by so fast! But at the same time I feel like I've been here forever! haha I don't really remember life outside of the MTC. And yeah I feel so ready! As much as I've loved the MTC, I'm SO ready to get out into the real world and talk to real investigators and real people other than missionaries and teachers!
Aly and Ry in the MTC together!
Isn't there some rule against this?!?
     Ryan, it was really good seeing you! For a while I didn't think it was going to happen. My companion said you didn't seem too excited, but I assured her that she just doesn't know you and that was you excited and taking a picture of us. (I hope I was right! You better have been excited;) haha jk) Wish we could have talked a little longer, but guess you gotta do your job! Get those sisters ready to leave for Hungary this next week! That's exciting!  Mom, you asked how I happened to see Ry, well I was in the computer lab doing TALL which was in the opposite corner of his classroom. I was only on his floor because in my building the labs were full, and the other floors in his building were full too. Tagalog missionaries are taking over the labs! There are so many of us! So anyway I went to walk to the bathroom that's closer to his classroom, and one teacher turns the corner that's not him (his colleague), and then after him comes Ry around the corner! I'm not sure who saw who first, but we were just kind of both surprised to see the other. But it was fun chatting just for a second! And I made him give me a hug!:) It's the only hug from a guy that's legal! haha.
     That's fun that Kylan Knight's home. It's crazy to think all the guys my age are getting back. But when you asked about if the Filipino people are similar, as far as religion, my teacher told us "everyone and their dog are Catholic in the Philippines." So that's all I really know as of right now. And when you were talking about a lot of Filipinos might speak English, when I was talking to Sister Frost who served in Manila, she said that a lot of times they would speak to her in English because they wanted to get better at English, and then she would speak to them in Tagalog because she wanted to get better at Tagalog. So they would just talk back and forth in different languages:) haha. I thought that was kind of funny.  
     I've got to go. I love you all so much! Have a great Thanksgiving this week! My favorite part about Thanksgiving is family so it will kind of be rough not having that this year with me:( but I just will keep in mind all the things I have to be thankful for and how I'm going to the Philippines in A WEEK! And hopefully that will help!


Manilla is just BEAUTIFUL!

Kamust po kayo, aking pamilya?
     This week on Sunday we had our first fast and testimony meeting. Oh and speaking of Fast Sunday, thank you all for fasting for me this last week. That's so thoughtful of you! So our testimony meeting was a really good one, all in Tagalog of course. But I understood what everyone was saying, and I even bore my testimony in Tagalog for the first time over the pulpit. So that was kind of neat. Let's be honest I'll probably be doing that for the next 16 months in the Philippines:) But for the next couple months I probably won't be able to understand as much as I did this past week. Oh well though:)
     This last week we had a district of four elders that left on Tuesday to go to Quezon City. It was actually kind of sad saying goodbye to them. We became really close with them. The elders were older in that district, three were 21 and older so it was fun getting to know them. One was from Australia and New Zealand and had the best accent ever! It was a lot of fun talking to him about Australia and culture and such. But yeah as we were saying goodbye to them and giving them a... handshake, the Samoan elders were all singing this Samoan farewell hymn that was SO pretty! It was neat. It made me realize that that's going to happen a lot on my mission. I'll be just meeting people and getting to know them well for a couple months and then having to say goodbye to them. So I guess that was just a first of many for me. And in the Philippines I'm sure it will be worse.
     We had TRC yesterday, and it was our first time teaching a 40-minute lesson. It was actually a lot of fun. We had two sisters that we have had a couple times before, and we really like them. So we just chatted and then talked to them about Ang Plano ng kaligtasan (plan of salvation). It was a good lesson. We mainly focused on the atonement part of the plan. It's fun at the TRC because they are members, and you can have a talk a little farther in depth about the gospel in contrast to teaching an investigator and teaching it simple. We only have one more TRC which is just crazy because the last Thursday is Thanksgiving, and we won't have TRC. I've heard that we'll be doing a service project and then a devotional or something. But I don't know for sure.
     This week Elder Wilde and I got called out of class to be filmed. They asked us different questions about our stay and the MTC and such. They said that it was going to be shown to all the Asian area teachers at a training or something.
     So a funny Tagalog word that I learned this week that I just have to share with you. Mostly I've just been learning gospel words, but one day I just wanted to learn some fun words that I'll use when just having a conversation and introducing myself. So I looked up the word "art" and guess what it is in Tagalog... sinning! haha yep that's the word.  Isn't that funny? I was like... well if that isn't a sign to not spend my time doing art while I'm on my mission, then I don't know what is:) haha. So yeah thought I'd share that.
     These past couple weeks on P-day I've been practicing the piano, and I've been accompanying Sister Dennis as she plays the flute. It's been a lot of fun, and I just love the flute. I think it's so pretty. But we don't have enough weeks for us to actually perform it, and Sister Dennis didn't really want to. But Sister Young who is our new roommate is an amazing singer! She used to be a vocal performance major, and she'll sing for us sometimes at night. She just has a gorgeous voice! So today we're going to go try and find some sheet music, and I might accompany her at a fireside or devotional or Relief Society. You have to audition, but we'll see how it goes.
     My knee was doing better this week. But then this morning it was hurting so who knows. It's really weird. But one day this week I was able to run almost a half of a mile before it started to hurt which is by far the longest I've been able to. So that was a huge improvement. 
     My friend Elder Alonui from Samoa that was in our district for like two weeks and then headed to Manila e-mailed Elder Tamonavoa (Samoan in my district) and told him to tell Sister Stromberg that Manila is just BEAUTIFUL! So that got me excited!!


. . . a rough one actually

     So it has been quite the week! First off on Sunday guess who came and spoke in Relief Society? Sister Dalton!:) One of my favorites and she did so good! She was just so sweet and really connected with all of us sister missionaries! She talked about how she felt a special bond with all of us because we have been with her through pretty much all of her callings. When she was in Young Women, we were in Young Women with her, and then when she moved into Relief Society, we also moved into Relief Society with her. She talked about when she did Personal Progress, we were also doing it with her. So she said that she just felt a special connection with us, and that was really neat. Also Sunday morning at 3:00 she said she woke up and received some personal revelation on what she should speak about so that was also really neat to think that she was teaching us exactly what the Lord wanted us to hear that day! She gave a good analagy with running... like usual:) I'd tell ya all about it if I had the time. Basically the moral of the story was: "You never make the decision to go back or turn around when you are in the middle of a hill." Kind of shared some stories about adversity, and then she ended by doing something that she said she's never shared with anyone ever before. She has a special list of her favorite scriptures that can bring comfort and peace to her. Well she shared that list with us. It was really neat to hear some of her favorites. She shared it with us to encourage us to make our own list to go in our scriptures so that when we are having a hard time, we can pull that list out. It was neat.
Elder Escobedo
     Then the rest of my week has been kind of a rough one actually. On Tuesday night I found out that one of my favorite elders in my district was going home. It was really hard to hear that! It's Elder Escobedo, and he sat next to me in class. He was super good at Tagalog and always helped me out with all of my questions. He was just a goof, and we would always joke and make fun of each other. He also was the elder that gave me my blessing on my knee. So yeah it was really hard to hear he was going home and wouldn't be in our class anymore. He didn't really share why but yeah.
Elder Escobedo (in suspenders) & Elder Anderson
     Then also this week, as you know from hearing from Nicole, my companion has been sick. She's been having constant migraines or headaches. She went to the health clinic at the MTC, and they didn't really help her. So she went to the BYU health clinic, and they gave her a shot and some Loritab, and that hasn't really helped her either. The Loritab didn't even take away the pain. Then yesterday night they drove us in a shuttle to Lund Optical (which it was SO weird being in Provo so close to where Kipper and Nicole live). They wanted to check her eyes to see if that was causing the headache, but it wasn't that either. So yeah she still is having pain, met with a counselor, is feeling a lot of stress, and has talked to the branch president about some options (going home being one of them:( ), and it's just been a crazy week. It's been really hard because I want to help her, but I don't know what I can do. So I'm just praying A LOT and then trying to find ways to help and talk to her and encourage her, but it's been really rough. Because of all of this I've missed a lot of class and studying and TRC, so yeah hopefully we can get something figured out. I feel so bad for Sister Vickers! So if you could please pray for her along with me, that would be great! I don't really know what to do for her other then pray at this point.
Some people pray in their closets (Matt 6:6);
some on their closets when both sleep on the top bunk.

     Oh I did initiatories today in the temple for the first time, and it was so neat! This lady who helped me was wearing your temple dress, Mom, and it made me think of you:) But yeah it was neat to be reminded of those beautiful blessing that we are promised in the temple! I didn't remember there being so many blessings the first time I went through. I just love the temple!

Mahal Ko Kayo!
Sister Stromberg :)


Only one more to go!

     This week has been another good week at the MTC. And it went by super fast too! I can't believe it's already P-day and that as of today we've been here one month, and we only have one more to go! We had an Elder Alanuio that had to join our district for a couple weeks because he wasn't able to leave with his district that left two weeks ago. He's leaving in the morning, and he's going to the Manila mission. Last night our teacher was saying goodbye to him, and it was just super exciting and made us all so excited to be the ones leaving for the Philippines!
     In class there wasn't really anything too exciting. We're still just trudging along with the Tagalog. And we're still teaching Efron Vargas and Joji Barizo as our investigators. Efron has a baptisimal date on November 15th, and then Joji is thinking about baptism but has to talk with his wife first, so that's the status on progressing investigators.
     The devotional this week was Elder Hallstrom and his wife, and they did an awesome job! Elder Hallstrom said he felt the need not to really prepare this time and just talk from his heart and make it personal, and it was just what I needed. I said a little prayer before the devotional asking that I would hear something from his talk that would help me to be a better missionary, and I totally got an answer to my prayers. It was nothing huge but just something little and specific that I need to do better with. He just emphasized "What kind of missionary do you want to be?" and talked about obedience and your companion and just all kinds of little things that we can improve on. It was awesome!
     We also sang our choir director's favorite song, "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer" which was so pretty! I realized this week that we all probably had the same choir director! His name is Brother Brenchly or something like that, and he said he's directed the choir for like twenty-something years now so that's kind of cool to think we all sang with him. He's a way funny old man!  When Betsy talked about the devotionals, that she remembers when she was at the MTC and how music was the thing that brought the spirit the most, I can totally relate! The music that is sung here is definitely my favorite part! The times that I have found myself tearing up is during a song! There's just something special about a big group of missionaries all singing together. This last week we sang "We'll Bring the World his Truth," and when it got to the line "We will be the Lord's missionaries, to bring the world his truth," man, POWERFUL! It's so much different than singing it in Primary when you're singing it and you really ARE the LORD's missionaries! Yeah it was really cool!
     Another thing that I learned this week that I thought was really neat, we were actually told this two different times from two different people this week. I learned that you have two names on your nametag--both of which you are representing. The savior JESUS CHRIST which is the most important and the most significant; with that one we all know that we have the privilege of representing our Savior and what a blessing that is! Then the second one is STROMBERG. And they talked about how we have the opportunity to represent our family as a missionary and talked about it being a legacy, and I just thought that was so neat! When they were telling us that, I just thought how I'm so lucky and proud to be wearing the STROMBERG name! I've had amazing examples before me from those wearing that name, and I love that I get to wear it for the next year and a half! So yeah I hope I explained that well. It was neat to think of it like that and think of my family:)
     I don't remember if I told you, but Sister Allen and Sister Maiava had to move out of our room a couple weeks ago because their branch president wanted their branch to all be in the same room. So this week we got two sisters going to Germany who moved in with us. And let me tell ya... they are... interesting:) haha. They definitely just make us laugh. Their names are Sister Young from Nebraska and Sister Dean from like Spanish Fork or somewhere.
     I love you all and am so grateful for your support. I pray for you all each day, actually many times a day! Nagpapasalamat po kami para sa mga pamilya namin! That's what I say!:) Hope all is well! Only one more month, and I'll be on my way to Manila!!!:)
Oh, and a little surprise for Ryan!