Fit right in, blonde hair and all!

Hello Family!
     This week went a lot better than last. Last week was a rough one with the culture shock and the whole life style adjustment and the language barrier and just everything. But now I feel like I've adjusted to everything, and the only struggle is the language, which I feel is improving little by little every day.
     Yesterday was our Regional Conference, and that was really neat. We got to hear from President Stucki and his wife and Elder Teh who is a Filipino member of the Quorum of the Seventy and his wife. Also there was a youth choir that sang an arrangement of Joy to the World that was really, really neat. After the meeting I went and talked with Sister Teh, and she was so sweet. She's from the Philippines also, and she said that for only being here a week and a half I looked like I've already adjusted to the weather and everything. So that was nice of her. It was also really nice because they spoke in English:) haha all but Sister Teh and that was a nice break for me.

     This week we had a lot of dinner appointments with the members! And I stick by what I said last week that Filipino food is DELICIOUS! I still haven't eaten anything I don't like (knock on wood). Someone told me that you don't get fed very much, but we got fed four days this last week so it was great! It's also really nice because then you have an opportunity to really get to know the members. We had FHE last week with a couple that doesn't have kids yet, and they both served missions in the Philippines which was a lot of fun! We played games and all laughed together, and it was great. We have another FHE dinner appointment tonight. I don't know if I said we eat rice three times a day, but we don't:) haha. We don't have it for breakfast, but we always have it for lunch, and when the members feed us, we have it for dinner. Oh and I ate at Macdo's on Tuesday. haha That's what they call McDonalds here, and it was probably the first lunch I had without rice even though they sell plenty of rice there too.
     Also we have great youth in the branch here. I don't know if I mentioned this last week, but we have youth here that will come teach with us, and they are a lot of fun. It's fun when they come because then I get to know them personally, and then I have more people that I know from our branch. But the people here are SO nice and SO kind!
     When I said that they call me Brittney Spears, it wasn't in a demeaning way! haha Sorry I guess I didn't explain. Everyone talks about how beautiful I am, and when they said it, it was meant as a compliment. haha. But it's not me particularly, they think any American is beautiful. Brother Itri warned us before we left the MTC that you aren't as beautiful or handsome as the Filipinos will make you feel. haha and it's true! Ha and that’s also why they all just stare at me. It makes me feel really awkward, but at least it's not in a demeaning way. They are all very nice and compliment me and all smile and make comments to me. To be honest it's getting a little annoying, but it's just something I have to get used to I guess.
     So Mark is getting baptized this Saturday, and I'm so excited for him. He's 17, and he's ready. He has a testimony and a desire to keep learning and progressing and will be a good addition to our branch. Also on Saturday we are doing a temple tour for members and investigators. We take a bus there and have different stations where we teach about eternal marriage and baptisms for the dead and family history work and different things. It's mostly for investigators to get excited about going to the temple someday. Sister Culango said that it's really helpful, and she's had investigators that after they go to it, they are more committed and want to keep commitments so they can be baptized. So we'll see. I'm really excited for that and also to finally get to see the Manila Temple.
     On Thursday we have our mission Christmas party so that will be fun. Oh and I have to tell you about our new and my favorite investigator! Her name is Sister Pasko which Pasko in Tagalog means Christmas:) We found her last Tuesday working at a fruit stand, and we asked if we could teach her. And who taught her the whole first lesson... yeah that would be me:) But I definitely had a lot of help from the spirit, and if she had questions, Sister Culango helped clarify anything. And when she gave the closing prayer after we taught her, she said in it, “Please bless that the missionaries will return to teach me more” and that she really felt something as we taught her, she felt a burning. So yeah that was really really neat! And she was so happy and excited after we taught her, she gave us 2 papaya and 2 pineapples!! And let me tell you pineapples here are SOOO good! A lot better than in the US. So then we returned I think on Friday to teach, and she was busy washing her clothes and couldn't listen:( which was a bummer. It's so different from America because everyone is always washing clothes here, and that's the number one reason we can't teach people is they are too busy washing their clothes. It's kind of sad. But you could tell she felt really bad and wants us to come back. She said she started reading the Book of Mormon so we will see next time.
     Speaking of washing clothes yes I spent probably two hours earlier washing all my clothes, and now my knuckles are swolen and sore. You just need to be grateful the next time you put your clothes in a nice handy washing machine.
     We also have two investigators we taught last night, Prance and her friend Lady Lace (that's really her name), and they seem really interested. We taught the Plan of Salvation and especially Lace was asking us all these questions. We committed them to being baptized in January. They just have to go to church, and they'll be golden. We also have three boys we are teaching, the Archangel family, and they are close to baptism. We just have to talk to their parents for permission, and then we'll see. It will be interesting what their parents say because they are always partying at night, and there's beer everywhere. It's an interesting atmosphere. Then we found two more investigators this week and are teaching some others we're just not sure if they'll progress or not. We're teaching Hellen who wants to come to the Temple tour with her husband, and we're hoping that going there with her husband, she'll see the beautiful blessing this gospel can bring to families. So yeah teaching is coming along. I still don't understand everything, but I can understand more now than the first day. I still have a long way to go though.
     I've definitely felt the Holy Ghost with me when I'm teaching because when we practice teaching at home for comp study, it's choppy and hard, and then when I teach, it's more smooth, and I know that's through the gift of tongues. So, yes, life is good.
     Oh, Mom, funny story: I shared my rootbeer milk with Sister Culango, and she LOVES it. haha She wouldn't stop talking about it all day and said she hasn't had anything like that before. She kept saying oh have your Mom send me some;) haha It was quite funny. It was worth not drinking in the MTC so she could try it here!
Sister Culango & Sister Abunga
Gossner's Rootbeer Milk
A Big Hit in the Philippines!
     I'm already starting to see why I was sent here. In district conference Sister Teh was talking about the Filipino people and how they are always happy and can find joy in the littlest simplest things. They are so happy just to be with family and friends, and they are always laughing together. They live a simple life and enjoy what they have. I feel like those are some of the qualities I've been blessed with in my life, and I feel like I fit in well. I had one member this last week talk to me and my companion and said even though I can't speak very well or converse that well, she can see how happy I am to be here and excited and that all the members love that and want to get to know me because of that. She then talked about other missionaries who are more serious, and they are harder to get to know or gain a relationship with. So I already feel that I'm meant to be with these humble people and know that once I can speak Tagalog, I will just fit right in:) (blonde hair and all). haha.
Mahal Kita,
Sister Stromberg

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