12.10.2012

. . . have to leave all the people that I love so much



Maligayang Pasko!!
     It's been quite the week for sure! Very exciting and yet sad at the same time. But first off, the Dyers did attend our FHE, as you saw. haha That's crazy to think that you saw that; I didn't even realize that she was videoing, but yeah that was our lesson with the Sumilang family. I sure do love them. Did you understand any of it? Then on Tuesday Sister Dyer and I were able to go on splits while we had a ward missionary with Sister Richardson. The Dyers also got to go out with us, and they met Tatay Teodoro and our converts Mark and Maryann. It was fun to have them with us, and I'm sure they either have told you about it or will when you go to Sister Dyer's homecoming.


     Then Tuesday night we got a call from President Stucki telling Sister Richardson that she will be training this next transfer... which also means that I will be transferring. It was really weird knowing so far in advance! But yeah so this time I've had plenty of time to tell people and get ready. I just found out about 10 minutes ago that I'm transferring to the one and only MAKATI! Which, to tell you the truth, I'm SOOO happy that's where I'm going. I don't know much about it, but I know it's right in the center of the city, the one part of the Manila mission I haven't experienced yet. I've been assigned in the Province my whole mission, but this Christmas.... I'm going to the CITY!:) So yeah that helps a little, but as you know, I always have a really hard time with transfers! It's especially hard because I'm leaving right before Christmas, and I have to leave all the people that I LOVE so much! All the members that have become like family and then have to go and meet all new members and investigators a week before Christmas, it’s a little rough, but I know that it will all be okay. I love all the people in Noveleta so much and feel so, so blessed I have been here for four months. Members all have dinners lined up for us before I leave, and I've just once again felt so much love from these amazing people. It's also really, really weird to think that this is probably my last area. WEIRD! Okay so enough about transfers.
    The exciting news I was talking about earlier.... we had a stake conference yesterday, and I was able to see Cavite Stake split into two stakes!! SOO exciting! It was such a neat way to spend my last Sunday. Elder Ardurn came and spoke, and when they sustained the new stake presidents, he had them stand up and said he wanted to give them their first assignment in front of all of us. Then he told them that he was challenging them that after their nine years of being stake president, he expected that each of their stakes would split AGAIN! It's so neat to think of that! That's just how fast this gospel is spreading in the Philippines. It was just a really neat meeting and neat to be there for such a "milestone event," what they kept calling it.
     Okay, okay so I have one more experience that happened this last week I'll share with you and then wrap it up. So we went to visit one of our less active members, and when we got there, brother was outside working with his fishers' net, and sister was inside. Brother was too busy so we just went ahead to share with sister. Well when we got inside, sister just opened up and shared everything with us that had been happening with their family. She shared that brother comes home drunk almost every night. She shared that the past few nights when he comes home, they'll get in a fight, and he'll thrown things all around the house (She mentioned a knife being one of those.). She even showed us some of the sores and bruises on her hands and arms. Then she told us that when he goes out and drinks, there are girls involved, and there's another girl that is interested in brother and maybe brother interested in her, she's not sure. And it was just AWFUL! I can't expain all of it, but by this time we were both just all in tears. I HATE hearing about Satan ruining families. It's the worst thing, and the one thing here in the mission that makes me the saddest, and I can't help but just cry for these poor families. Then I got the impression to share about the atonement and read some of the scriptures from Alma 7 with her. Then in my scriptures I have my favorite pictures of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. It's the painting by Carl Bloche where he has the angel comforting him. Well as I was sharing about the Atonement, I showed sister that picture and asked her to look at the expression on Jesus' face, and when she looked at that picture, she just started crying even harder. She was so touched from that picture. She put it right in her Book of Mormon and shut it and now it's hers:) It was so neat! I love when there is something so special to me or something that has touched me like that painting has, and then I get the opportunity to share that and then touch someone else’s life. It really goes to show that you are in your area for a reason, and there are people that need to hear specifically from you. It's SO neat! The Atonement is so real, and I love sharing about it and helping these great people understand it a little more. The next day after we taught her, we went back early in the morning to do her laundry for her because of course with all those little cuts and scrapes on her hands that would be awful! So it was so neat to help. This work is great!
     It's kind of been an up-and-down week with being excited and being sad, but that's just life. It's also been sad because four of my companions are going home Wednesday! I'll sure miss them! I've been so blessed with the very best companions! All the way down to Sister Richardson who I'm going to miss a lot, and it will be hard to leave her on Thursday. But that's life. And that's been my week. I love you all so much and hope you have a great week! Oh and sometime could you send me another Carl Bloche picture? (if you want:) That's all. Thanks so much for all you do and the support that you show me! Take care!

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Stromberg

12.03.2012

. . . like home with Grandma Pat

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
     Wow, it's December now, and I got quite the surprise last night:) Yes the Dyers did make it here safe and sound. They made it in time to attend church yesterday in Noveleta. Bishop Dyer even took the opportunity to bear his testimony to our great ward. It was so fun seeing them. They told me that you were just down there in Orem chatting with them and that just seemed so weird to me that you were just talking and then days later I was talking with them. Sister Dyer gave me a big hug and said it was from you, so THANKS:) And then Bishop Dyer let me know that my dad didn't seem too happy that I was coming home in April; he wanted me to come home in March:) Haha, is that true? It's only one month, Dad, then I'll be home with ya'll! Oh and then Bishop Dyer was telling me that he and Mom have a lot of "mutual friends" in the college of business. Then we went to dinner with the Soletas, and the Dyers joined us. That was a lot of fun to sit and chat. Then that's when they gave me my package with that WONDERFUL FUDGE!! and the pecan rolls and all the delicious chocolate! You just have no idea how much I have been craving Fastbreaks lately! That got me really excited! Yeah I definitely felt the Christmas spirit yesterday and weirdly felt like I was home for a minute. When I tried the fudge, that really made me feel like I was home with Grandma Pat:) But don't worry, not in a trunky way at all. To sum it all up, THANKS!!
     And I'm sending a little something back with the Dyers so you'll have to get it when you go to Sister Dyer’s homecoming talk. It's not a lot, but it's about all I could find here in Cavite. I actually had Janeth get me something in Palawan for my name, but it hasn't made it back to the mainland yet. So I'm really hoping it gets here before they take off on the 12th of December, or I might have to mail it, and it will be late:( We'll have to wait and see. Oh and I've received all of the Twelve Days of Christmas except the Third Day. Hopefully it's still on the way and didn't just get lost.
     Moving on to missionary work:), this last week we had a lot going on! We had a great CSP this last Wednesday where we got to go out to the "beach" and help our investigator JohnMark with his job. He's our investigator right now who is closest to baptism:) He's SO awesome! He's 18. We used to teach his brothers and his mom, but his mom moved to Dubia, and his brothers lost interest I guess. But he will be baptized right before Christmas on the 22nd!:) He's such a stud! And because his mom doesn't live with them anymore it's kind of fend for yourself now with them, which here in the Philippines that is really rare. Your parents usually support you even after you're married and have your own family. But he is a fisherman and does that every day and has to get up SO early every morning and gets done late at night and is just such a hard worker. Well we decided we would get up early and go help him with his fish:) So yeah we went out and that just happened to be the one day that their fish weren't coming in until 9:00, and we were there at 6:00 a.m. and only had a couple of hours. So we ended up helping a bunch of strangers with all their fish! haha. I'll attach pics. It was a lot of fun, and hopefully we can teach our new friends when we return to that area! We also had a really neat lesson with JohnMark where he opened up to us and told us when he went to a friend’s b-day party, he was offered a drink. He really didn't want it and told them that but in the end up drank a little and then felt bad and left the party. Then he told us that he didn't feel worthy to be baptized, and he was just so sincere and concerned. Then we just had the neatest lesson about repentance and read some of the scriptures from Alma 36 about Alma the Younger (one of my favorite chapters). It was such a good lesson. JohnMark is so great because he's around the rowdiest crew all day every day. They are always smoking and drinking coffee, and he just sticks with his values and is doing his very best to get ready for his baptism. He had a problem with coffee before because that's what he would eat with his rice when he didn't have any money to buy real food, and coffee is really cheap here. But he's been sacrificing and hasn't bought any since we taught him the Word of Wisdom. Yeah that's why I say he's a stud because he's being such an example to all those around him and going against what's "cool" with all of his workmates. I just can't thoroughly explain. But I'm SO grateful for the Atonement and the miracle of forgiveness and to see the hope that our message brought to JohnMark that he could repent and continue to prepare for his baptism. ASTIG!  

    Then we have a new investigator, Tessie, who is the nanny of a member. We had such an awesome lesson with her, and she now wants to be baptized. She said that she prayed about Joseph Smith and got her answer that he is a true prophet, and, man, she's so awesome! She's so humble and in all of her prayers is just pleading that she can understand everything that we are teaching her and talks about that being her only concern is that she can understand everything, but she has been doing great. We're just taking it slow with her, and she's just such a sweetheart! I'm so excited for her!

     This last week it was Sis. Richardson's birthday, and Joyce and I arranged a surprise birthday dinner at the church! Man, that sure was hard! How do you keep something a secret from someone you're always with and you share a phone with and you literally can't be separated from?Yeah, we can thank Joyce for the most part, but Sis. Richardson was really happy and surprised so it was a lot of fuN! 

     Yeah okay well, I'm out of time; that always seems to happen. I'm really excited to talk with y'all on christmas. President Stucki wrote us today and said we could call or skype; it was up to us what would be more cost efficient and best in our situations, so skype sounds good to me. What do you think? I LOVE this Christmas season, and I'm getting so excited to teach everyone about our Savior! WE have a family home evening tonight that the Dyers will attend where we're talking about Jesus Christ, and I just can't wait!
     Well I love you all so much and hope you have the greatest birthday week! Happy Birthday Jasen and Dad and Ryan!! I wrote y'all letters so I hope they have gotten there or will very shortly!! Take care!

With Love,
Sister Stromberg

P.S.  Oh and I forgot to mention that transfer day is next week, and EVERYONE kept mentioning at church yesterday that I'm going to be transferred:( One of our ward missionaries even had a dream that I did:( It will be really hard if I am transferred right before Christmas! But I know that I'll be where the Lord wants me to be... so we'll see next week!

11.29.2012

these amazing Filipino people

Good Morning!:)
     What a great Thanksgiving week it has been! I have so much to be thankful for! So yes to start off, we have two new members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Jennalyn Alde and Khaycie Mendoza!:) YAY!! Khaycie's baptism was Saturday morning, and we did have a lot of Young Women attend and support her. It was also really neat because one of our less actives, Ehra Seballos (the one who we found because of that huge flash flood) actually gave a talk at the baptism. It was so neat to see her up there giving that talk. You would have never guessed that she had been inactive for years and just returned back to church less than a month ago. She did such a good job! And she actually just returned to activity yesterday! (Four weeks in a row). Then at the baptism we had the Young Women do a special musical number. They sang I Walk by Faith, and it was really neat. I'm so happy with how they are all fellowshipping Khaycie. It's almost like she's been a member for a while now.

   Then for Jhen, we had her baptism Saturday night after she got off work, and there weren't as many members there, but it was still a nice baptism. One thing that I love about Jhen is she loves to sing, and she loves the hymn book. It amazes me because she'll just be singing different hymns that she has memorized, and she just became a member. I don't know how she does it, but I can just see the love she has for these songs. Another thing I love is her favorite hymn is my favorite hymn as well, :) I Stand All Amazed. And so of course, we had to do that as a special musical number, and she was so happy to hear that. Then probably my favorite part of it all was after she was baptized, we sang Praise to the Man as the closing hymn, and at the chorus she just shut the book and sang it from memory and had the biggest smile I think I've ever seen!! It was SO neat!! Her baptism was just one of my favorites because we've just really connected, and I just love her so much! She's been through so much, and Satan has really tried to stop her from being baptized so many times! But she is so strong, and I know one of these days I'm going to hear that she received her mission call and getting ready to serve! That's how great she is:) So it was such a great day! Probably one of the longest days I've had here in the mission but one of the best!


       Then yesterday I had the privilege of playing the piano for the Primary program. It was such a neat experience, and I just love little Filipino kids! Filipinos (doesn't matter what age) just don't care what others think and will sing their little lungs out. It doesn't matter if they have a good voice or a bad one, they just want to sing! I just love that about them. So even though there aren't as many Primary kids here in the Philippines as there are at home, they sing just as loud and as good! I have a video for Gabey, but a ward missionary borrowed my camera to prepare for Sister Richardson's birthday (It's this Friday.). So next week I'll be sending that to you, especially for Gabe!
     Then also last Wednesday we had our Mission Tour with Elder and Sister Nielson from the Quorum of the Seventy. They had us read 1 Ne 11-14, a little bit of 15 and 2 Ne 31 to prepare, and then he did a training on the revelation process that was really neat. He also just talked about the importance of PMG and had a little question/answer session. It was a really good training. It was really specific to the Philippines and the things that we need to do different in our mission to specifically help these Filipinos.
     Then Thursday... actual Thanksgiving! We were able to go to the Soleta family’s for lunch, and they fed us the best roast beef and mash potatoes which is SO rare! Filipinos don't eat that. They made it especially for us:) Bishop Soleta said he looked for turkey, but it was really expensive here. So that will just have to wait for next year. But they are just the sweetest family and treat us so well! Then after lunch we went and worked, just like any other day.
     Later we were able to have dinner at the Montemayor's house! It was fried chicken, rice, pancit, lumpia just the norm Filipino food, but it was great because out of all the families here in Noveleta they feel most like family to me! Of course they can't compare to my real family, but it was really good being with them:) I love them!! (By the way, I think Connie Montemayor told me that she added you, Mom, on Facebook.) So yeah that was Thanksgiving.
     Such a great week, and, Mom, you were right: the highlight of it all was the two baptisms and then having Ehra and Flor Espila return to activity yesterday with their fourth Sunday! I'm excited to see Sister Dyer this coming Sunday! She said if her parents’ flight doesn't get delayed, they will make it to church! I will for sure give Sister Stonick your contact information so you can make it to her report. They might be on the same day though. Sister Dyer's family is coming two weeks before transfer day, and Sister Dyer is going with them early and then will still do all the going home activities with her batch and leave at the same time as the other missionaries. But I'll give her your number, and you'll find out.
     I love you all so much! Oh and I thought of the three things that I'm thankful for this year, like I told you last year:
            1. The first thing that came to my mind is the Book of Mormon! This book is amazing and changes lives! It has changed my life, and I love teaching others and introducing it to others to change their lives so they can come to know their Savior, Jesus Christ.
            2. Family! That will always be on my list! I love you all so much and am SO grateful for all the love and support that you give to me. I couldn't ask for a better family! I couldn't ask for better brothers! Sisters-in-law too!:) And of course I have the CUTEST niece and nephews ever!
            3. I am so grateful for these amazing Filipino people! I have learned so much from them and continue to. They are the happiest, most humble people in the world! I'm so grateful that I have been living with them for a year now and will forever be grateful for the example they have shown to me!
So yeah those are my three corn kernels for the year:)
     Have a great week! Ry, have a great birthday! I sent you a card so hopefully it has gotten to you or will this week. Ja, too, I sent you one so HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Mahal na Mahal ko Kayo,
Sister Stromberg

11.19.2012

. . . so hard to hear

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!
     
What a great week it has been and what a great week we have ahead of us!:) I'm happy to tell you that, yes, Khaycie and Jhen passed their interviews yesterday, and we will be having two sessions of baptisms on Saturday:) haha Yep, not just TWO baptisms but two sessions. haha Khaycie is in Young Women, and they have this big activity for the YW anniversary so she has to have her baptism in the morning before the activities start. Then Jhen just got this new job which is absurd the number of hours she is working! She is required to work overtime which is from 6:00 in the morning to 12:00 at night, yeah 18 hours! Jobs here in the Philippines are so ridiculous, how much time they put in, and yet they don't get paid what they deserve. It's no wonder there are so many Filipinos working abroad. But anywho that means she won't get home until night time so we will have her baptism around 5:00 p.m. hopefully. So yeah I'm super excited for Saturday!
      But as for this last week, I feel like I just barely wrote to y'all because I wrote you Wednesday night and told you all about temple day and such. Well on Saturday it was our Temple Tour. We brought Bro and Sis Sumilang to the temple tour. They have a baptismal date coming up the end of December, but they aren't progressing the way they need to be. They are part of Couples for Christ. They say they want to be baptized and know the Book of Mormon is true, but they love the members from their community at Couples for Christ and can't leave them. So they're trying to do both right now which makes it hard because sometimes we'll come to teach them, and they'll be at a meeting for CFC and such. So yeah they really enjoyed the temple and said it answered some questions for them, and they really want to be able to enter the temple some day. But then yesterday they weren't at church. So yeah we have to figure this whole thing out with them.
      Then this week one of our members invited us to come and teach their new nanny which immediately I thought about Tina. Do you remember her? She was the nanny of a member in Carmona that we taught, and she was going to get baptized but the week before she moved back to her province. So yeah we'll try again. haha Her name is Tessie, and she is so sweet. She is my age; she's married, but they’re separated. She has a child that is currently living with her mom in Davao. We had a really good first lesson with her, and she really opened up. One thing she said that just hit me really hard... we asked her if there was a time in her life where she felt God's love for her; she said sometimes it's really hard for her, and sometimes she feels that He's forgotten her especially when everything's happened with her husband. Ah it was so hard to hear that, but then it made me SO happy that we have this opportunity now to help her feel that love that Heavenly Father has for her and help her see the hope that the gospel can bring to her life. I don't know I'm just really excited about her because I feel a special connection with her and a special bond with her! We'll have to wait to see what Heavenly Father has in store for her:) So yeah that's my exciting experience for the week.
      Then last night we had a fireside with the stake for newly baptized members and also investigators were invited, and Brother Ben got to be one of the speakers to share his conversion story. It was so neat. He's just growing so much. Last week he was talking with us, and he was saying how he just realized how great the priesthood is and how much of a privileged it is that he was called to be one of the Lord's servants to receive his holy priesthood. It was neat seeing him get so excited about it. A lot of other wards after the fireside were telling us how much they enjoyed his testimony and how they felt the spirit so strong when he was talking. It was a really neat fireside!
      So yeah missionary work is great! It's so fun hearing all the friends back home that are receiving their calls right now! It makes me so happy to think of the missionary force getting stronger! There was a time here in the mission where we had to close a lot of areas because the number of missionaries sent out had decreased a lot. Even in Carmona there used to be four missionaries and now are only two. So it makes me so happy to know we'll have more missionaries to help this work go forth stronger and bolder!:) I hope I'm still here in the mission when you start to see a difference in the number of missionaries here in Manila!
     Oh and I did receive some letters this week for the 10th, 11th, and 12th Days of Christmas! Yaay:) I'm so excited to read them! But I was a little confused because I thought it was supposed to start with the First Day of Christmas...? and on the 12th day it didn't have written "don't open until the 25th," so does that mean I can open that one?:) I think that's only fair! SO yeah I think that was your only question.
      Well I hope you all have a great week! This Wednesday is our mission tour, and we get to hear from Elder and Sister Nielson from the 70! I'm really excited about that! I'm so THANKFUL for every single one of you and couldn't be more blessed to have you a part of my life!!!!! Love you lots!

Mahal na mahal ko kayo,
Sister Stromberg

11.15.2012

JUST ABOUT SCREAMED FOR JOY

Maligayang Pasko!
     Well we might be all the way across the world, but we still seem to be tied together. So you all were talking about the great and wonderful primary program... well this last Sunday I was asked to stay an hour after church to be the pianist for our Primary and help them practice. And I can kind of relate to you, Mom, when you said your favorite calling was playing the piano in Primary. These kids are SO cute! And we too are singing Gabey's favorite "The Wise Man Built his House Upon the Rock." It's all in English except there's one song that's a new Primary song, "Bilang anak ng Diyos" (Or I think in English it's "As Children of God."), and that's the one song they sing in Tagalog. And, man, it's my favorite!!! I love hearing these cute Filipino kiddies singing! So I'm helping them practice one more time on Sunday, and then on the 25th is their program.
      So you're probably wondering what happened and why this e-mail is late this week. That's because it was our temple day today, and they just combined it with our P-day. So this morning to my surprise at the temple I was blessed to be in the same session as... Sister Culango:) That's the first time I've seen her for about 4 months because she just got back from Palawan. And sadly to say it might have been the last time I will see her:( . . . until I come back to the Philippines as an RM!! Yeah we had to say our goodbyes, and it was really sad because she goes home this December 12. Because she's assigned in the city right now, we won't see each other at the conferences or temple tours. But we were just really lucky we ended up in the same session because we were planning on being there earlier, but the sisters that went with us made us late. So it worked out just perfect. No more Nanay here in the mission. But my session earlier was SO good! I just love the temple so much, and life is just so great! I couldn't be happier.
      Then with our work it's still just pressing right along! We have two baptismal interviews scheduled this Saturday for Jennalyn and Khaycie, and then their baptism will be on the 24th. They're both super excited about their baptism and are so ready. Jennalyn has been through so much, and it's just about time she finally becomes a member!:) I'm so excited for her! Then we had the best surprise this last week at church. We had a lot of our investigators make it to church, and we were so excited about them all (16). As we were walking to our Sunday School class, one sister stopped me and said there was someone in a wheelchair downstairs looking for us. So to back up, remember the investigator I told you about that had no legs. Yeah that's Tatay Teodorro, and he's really, really interested. He even went to the internet and looked up all this stuff and checked out mormon.org and wants to know all about the church. Well we came from him Saturday night, and he explained that he hasn't left his house or used his wheelchair in a really long time and still has to clean it so he wouldn't be able to come to church until the 18th. Well yeah when that sister told us that, we just about screamed for joy and ran downstairs. Sure enough there was Tatay Teodorro!:) Then we had to get three of our priesthood to haul him upstairs, and it was just great!
 
     We also had about 21 less actives at church as well, so it was just a great day!:) Then last night we came from the family that we found at the cemetery the Day of Souls here, and they look VERY promising!! Our first visit sister didn't even really want to listen. It was just brother, but when we went to our second visit, sister had read two of the pamphlets we left, had questions, had all the kids out listening to us, and is just really excited. She also said that they were planning to go to church this last week, but when they read the pamphlet, it says you need to have a skirt and slacks and such. They don't have any of that so they didn't come (which of course we explained doesn't matter because most investigators just come in street clothes). So yeah I'm super excited about this Santos family and am excited to see them on Sunday!:) SO yeah work is just pressing right along here in Noveleta!
      Well that's about all that I have for today. Thanks for all of your e-mails and updates. November is going by so fast! We have this family that we get to eat Sunday dinner with every other Sunday, the Soleta family. They actually have kids going to BYU and have been to America before so every once in a while they'll cook American food for us. Well Bishop Soleta (old bishop) told us that he is going to find a turkey and have us over for Thanksgiving!!:) Yay so that's exciting! Oh and his daughter that's at BYU just competed in the United Nations competition that was held in Utah, and they showed us pictures. She was the winner! Go Philippines!:) Did you see that at all in the newspaper or anything? I don't know if that's big over there or not. Yeah that's just a little side note. But I better get this sent. Thanks for all of your love and support! I love you all so very much!:)

Mahal ko kayo,
Sister Stromberg

P.S. Oh yeah, I have another crazy experience so we were teaching one of our less actives this last week, and she started talking about the missionaries that baptized her husband and said one of their names was Tyson Bell. That name sounded SO familiar to me, so I asked her to show me a picture. Well she dug an old photo out of her husband’s baptism, and sure enough I know who that is. For Kip and Ryan, isn't that the one who's a supervisor at Independent Study who sits over by Keenan? If I remember right, that's him, and it was just so funny to see his picture when he was a young missionary teaching here in the Manila mission. Small world! Oh and speaking of small world, today at the temple I ran into a sister who played basketball with Amanda Jensen, and she told me Amanda's married . . . who knew? Ok, that's about all for today!

11.05.2012

"I have glorified thee here . . . ." John 17:4

Happy November!!
     First off... I MISS my mga pamangking!!!! (neice and nephews) Ahhh, those were some of the cutest pictures, and I just can't believe how big they all are! They're all so stinkin cute! Hannah's picture with her purple shrug, man she looks so much older!! Blows my mind! We have this one investigator, Bebenya, and she has the CUTEST little baby I've ever seen. He's always so happy, and he always tries to jump into my arms which is so hard because I'm not allowed to hold him:( That's just about the hardest rule for me! I asked how old he was yesterday, and she said 7 months. I thought, hey that's about the age of Cam and Aiden! Yeah, so I was thinking about those two cuties yesterday! That's one thing I can't wait to do is just hold babies and play with them and let them sit on my lap and all of that:)




 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     Anywho... so I did not get transfered:) YAY! I'm here another transfer with Sister Richardson, and I'm so happy about that. I hate being with a companion for only one transfer because it's just not enough. So I feel blessed, and we have a lot of goals. I'm excited to see great things this transfer in Novaleta! We have two baptisms set for Nov. 24th. Jennalyn is one of those, and when we told her this last week that that was her new goal date (because we've given her a couple now), she was SO excited that she gets to be baptized this November. So yeah I'm so excited for her. We're just working on getting her some real friends here in the ward to make sure that she stays active and continues to progress. Then Khaycie is the other one who has a lot of friends at church and is really involved and really has no problems and is excited for her baptism.
     We had a really neat experience this last week with a less active. So I told you that we had major flooding last week. Well when we were walking home through the flood, there was one part that was really deep. When we got there, some people that saw us told us that it was too deep to walk through and invited us inside their house to wait a little bit. So Brother Wilmar went ahead to check if it was too high, and we waited at their house, but it only ended up being like a minute. Well they were super nice and gave us a bunch of plastic bags to put over our bags so our scriptures didn't get wet, and then we had to take off through the floods. Well after we thought about how nice they were, and we realized that we needed to go back to them and teach them. So we went back this last week and taught them and had a really good lesson, and then at the end Sister Rose told us that her sister-in-law was a member and just lived right behind them. So we asked her if she could show us her house, and they did. We met Sister Hazel and her daughter Era who are both members. They moved here to Novaleta six years ago and still haven't gone to church. So we actually had a youth temple trip the next day that we invited Era who is 14, and she went and had a really good time they said. Then they both came to church on Sunday!:) And we have a FHE scheduled with them later tonight! It was so great! It was almost just like they moved here and didn't know anyone and didn't want to just go to church not knowing anyone. But Sister Hazel said our first lesson how much she misses hymns, and so we sang her favorite hymn "Hold to the Rod" and taught her about Lehi's dream. Yeah, it was just so great, and I know none of that was an accident! Heavenly Father totally just led us to this family that needed to be found and nourished by the word of God! Now we just need to meet her husband because she said that he's a member too but is always at work. But I'm super excited about this family! So yeah great things are happening! You all were right when you said it sounds like Novaleta is such a great area! SO fruitful!
     This past week I have been really thinking about goals that I wanted to make for myself for my last six months here in the mission. I just can’t believe how fast one year went by, and I don’t want these next six to speed right by and not be able to finish out giving everything I have just sprinting right to the finish line. So as I have been pondering on some goals, I came upon a scripture in personal study that I really just loved. It explained how I want to feel when April rolls around. It’s in John 17:4, and Christ is talking to Heavenly Father as he says, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” And it’s just really simple, but as I apply it to myself, I hope that at the end of my mission I can say “I have glorified thee here in the Manila Philippines Mission: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” Simple scripture but it really touched me when I read it. I’ve been reading John in my personal study, and then in the Book of Mormon I’ve been reading 3 Nephi. Man, it’s been so powerful getting to read the words of Christ each day from these two amazing books! We have a great and marvelous work to do here to glorify our Father in Heaven, and what a privilege it is to be here representing our Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s my constant prayer that I’m living up to the missionary my Heavenly Father wants/needs me to be.
     Oh I almost forgot... you asked about Halloween. Ah I should have taken pictures but here Halloween isn't the big deal; it's All Soul's Day the day after that is. There were a couple trick-o-treaters, but that's all we saw. It was actually the kids of Mark and Maricris, our investigators. But for All Soul's Day it's like a Memorial Day and a fair combined. EVERYONE is at the cemeteries. They have tents set up over the top of the graves so people can just sit around and eat and hang out, and they have all different kinds of venders. Then they have candles everywhere so when it's dark you can still see, and yeah it's crazy! We went and did some finding there for a couple hours, and yeah Filipinos are partiers, that's all I can say. They like to have fun.
     But we found this one family that looks like it will have a lot of potential! They were really excited to talk to us, and brother said that he went to church when he was little every once in a while and knows a little about it. We're going to them tomorrow! So yeah I'm really excited about them. Then the others we mostly just found referrals for other missionaries. So yeah that's Halloween here.
     Oh and Sister Stucki sent us instructions how to register for an absentee ballet, and we did it so we'll see if our fax worked this next week if we get an e-mail. Sister Stucki wanted to make sure that all the American missionaries voted. So yeah I think that's about all. I love you all so much and love seeing pictures of all of you! Have a great week!:)

Mahal na mahal ko kau,
Sister Stromberg




10.29.2012

The rains came down and the floods came up . . .

          HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!


     We had quite the experience here in Novaleta this past week. As you can see, I experienced my first flash flood. And, yes, what a crazy day it was! It started as just a normal rainy day which isn't out of the ordinary. As we were working, the rain got a little harder, but, like I said, it still wasn't really different from other days. Then as we were in our area of San Juan, it has this big drainage river type thing, and little by little it was getting higher. Well we were at Ben and Amelia's house waiting for Brother Wilmar to get there because he and John were teaching the new member lessons to them but wanted us to help them the first time. When Brother Wilmar showed up at their house, he said that the river had raised all the way to the top, and he could reach his hand over the side and touch the water. Which of course we were surprised, but we kept on working and taught Ben and Amelia. Then we went to one more appointment with Maricris and Mark to teach them and then headed home. By that time there were floods everywhere. The pictures I'm sending are from right after we taught Maricris, and it's not really too high in those pictures. But as we were going home, we had to tricycle some of the way—which the tricycle was driving through all the water and started smoking because there was so much water entering into the engine and such. Then when we got dropped off by the tricycle, we had to walk the rest of the way home, and the water was up to the middle of our stomachs!!! Ahh it was so crazy!! We had to carry our bags up on our shoulders so our scriptures wouldn't get wet and then hold our umbrellas with the other hand and just trudge our way home. It was a good thing we had John and Brother Wilmar with us because they would go first and make sure it wasn't too deep and were a big help!! But yeah all we could really do was laugh as we were walking through flood up to our stomach and think... only in the Philippines:) haha What an experience.
 
    To say the least, our plans changed completely that day; the next day we spent a chunk of time at a member’s house trying to get all the water out of her house. We would fill up buckets and then walk up to the road and throw it out and then get another bucket full and did that for a good hour or two. So yeah what a great CSP:) haha. I wish I would have gotten a picture when the water was higher but that wasn't really the first thing on my mind, to tell you the truth! And another thing was the water was SO gross!!! After washing my garments three times, they still won't go back to being white. What a day! 

We did a CSP in "Longbeach," and this is the walk out to it.
                    It's probably the prettiest place in our area :)
                            The fishes in this area are everyone's job here,
                           to catch fish early, early in the morning
                            and then they dry them out in the sun all day.
    As for our investigators, we had this one day where we kept meeting the funniest people. Annamarie worked with us, and I just love that girl. She's 19 and is now thinking about going on a mission since the whole change with the ages, and so she's been working with us a lot more. Well one day she was holding a restoration pamphlet over her face to block the sun from her eyes, and a guy just came up and grabbed it out of her hand and asked if he could read that. haha He then continued to explain how he loves reading things like that and is looking for the truth. He said he's been searching for awhile but hasn't quite found it. We then gave him a Book of Mormon and set a return appointment and will go back to him this week. But what a funny guy. He also went off about how we're not supposed to eat blood and how it says that in the Old and New Testament many times and a lot of other really random things.
     Then that same day, as we're just walking out of this one area, we see this man standing on top of this tall building, and he's yelling at us in English saying, “STOP! WAIT! I NEED TO TALK TO YOU!!! WAIT!!!” Then he runs down and just is so excited to tell us that he's from California, and we talk for a little, start to share with him, but then he says that he's a minister and has been for 40 years now and pretty much isn't interested in our message. So yeah another quite strange experience! haha And there were others I'm just not thinking of right now.
      But as far as our progressing investigators, Khaycie is our next baptism on the 17th of November. She's awesome and has no problems, so I'm just sure it will happen on her goal date! Then we had some progression this last week with Jennalyn which I was so excited about! She's so great and has a testimony for sure, but Satin has been working on her big time. This past month she ended up with a husband (or live-in because of course they weren't married), but she didn't want to tell us. It all came from her siblings and her aunts that had no problem telling us all about it, even though we didn't ask. But she was very secretive and denied it, and it just made it really hard for us. Well she had some real bad family problems and didn't know who to go to, so she came to us for comfort. We tried to comfort her, and then a few days later when we went to teach her Uncle Reynando and Hazel, she joined in on the lesson and came up to me and said that this past month she's had so many problems and trials, but now they're all gone. She said she's ready to focus on the gospel and preparing for her baptism. Then her aunt said that she doesn't have a husband anymore; she decided she didn't want that. (It sounds funny in English, but they called him her husband and how he's not.) Then yesterday she sat by me in Sunday School and talked about how she really wants to go on a mission and how she wants to work with us sometimes and different things. She's getting back into the swing of things and the way she was before. So yeah we just have to work on repentance, and then we'll be going somewhere with her:) I'm excited for her!! Her baptism will either be last week of November or first week in December! She's joining us tonight for family home evening at her uncles’, and I'm really excited for that!
      So yeah that's the crazy week that we had here in Novaleta. Oh and the crazy thing is in the other areas in our zone, they didn't have any floods; it just happened here in Novaleta. I don't really know how that works. But yeah this Thursday is transfer day, and I haven't heard anything yet so I'm hoping that means I'm still here in Novaleta. I would cry if I had to leave after only two transfers. I love these people too much and have so much more I want to do to help them! But I did hear that Sister Culango is transferring back to the mainland for her last transfer, so I'm SUPER excited about that! If she didn't, I wouldn't get to see her before she goes back to Davoa! So I'm super blessed!:) I miss that girl! We will be getting a new district leader and zone leader so that will be kind of exciting!
      Well, family, I hope you have a great Halloween! Mom and Dad, I'll be thinking of you again on the 31st, and you better not go driving late at night! Love you all so much, and I pray for you each and every day. Hope all is great for you all! Take care.

Mahal ko kau!

10.22.2012

Have our hands full in Novaleta

Magandang Umaga:)
Maryann, Axel, Vincent, and Mark
      Another week has flown by, and I'm here again in our little computer shop writing you all another update. We've had another great week here in Novaleta. And yes, the baptism did go through this weekend, and we have 4 new members in the Novaleta ward:) It was such a fun baptism. It was fun seeing our little eight year olds, Vincent and Axel and how excited they were. Little Vincent when he was bearing his testimony, he talked about how he hopes that he can grow up and be a missionary like us. It was the cutest testimony. Then Mark and Maryann also shared a simple strong testimony that was so neat to hear, especially because these kids are SO quiet and shy. We really had to work with them to talk and get involved in the lessons. But they have grown a lot and now have made friends here in the ward, and it's been so neat to see them change.
      And another neat thing to see was Brother Ben, our last convert, baptized them! It was so cool! And Brother Ben also received a calling last week of secretary in the YM. Janeth told me earlier today that brother Nic in Santa Monica received a calling to be 1st counselor in Sunday School!! It's so great to see them already progressing so much in the church! YAY!!:) 
      Oh and, Mom, for the musical number I played the piano (of course), and Sister Richardson sang one of my favorite primary songs, "I Like to Look for Rainbows:)" So yeah it was a neat service. 
     Then our other investigators are just coming right along.  Maricris and Mark right now are just trying to save money so they can get married.  We have another 18 year old, JohnMark, who is a stud!  He works out at sea each day catching fish and then cleans them all and dries them and packages them, and it's hard core.  They start at like 4:00 in the morning and go’ till night time whenever they get finished with it all.  Well he asked his boss if he could leave work just long enough to go to church, and he agreed to!  Then in Sunday School he shared how he does the same thing at work each day and how he knows that the most important thing he could be doing with his life is going to church on Sunday so he just explained that to his boss, and he let him go!  So yeah I'm super excited about him!  We taught his mom before, but she actually moved to Dubai a couple weeks ago. These boys are on their own now.  So yeah this is what he needs right now.

 
     Then I told you all about Analie, and she's just as excited as ever for baptism. We're just working with her husband.  But the thing with Analie is last week she told us that they have to move.... of course (It's not like that's not happened before.).  But she asked us to help her ask around for available housing here so hopefully they'll just move somewhere here in Novaleta.  We'll see what the Lord has in store for them! 
     Then we also have the Sumilang family who when we go to teach them we feel like we're playing 20 questions.  They have so many questions about the church and the restoration and the Book of Mormon!  haha But that's great because we can tell that they really want to learn and understand everything and are interested. 
    Then we also have Khaycie who will be baptized for sure in November.  She's a niece of one of our active members here who has been coming to church for about a year, and her older sister is already a member. Now she also wants to be baptized so it's just manner of teaching her all the lessons.  She's 13 and also a little quiet.  Before she never wanted to listen to the missionaries, but now she really wants to learn and prepare for baptism.  So it's really fun helping her!:)  So yes we have our hands full in Novaleta, and we're loving it!! 
     We met a new investigator this last week Tatay Teodoro who is such a neat guy.  I was so impressed with him.  He told us that he died before actually but that the Lord brought him back to life because he knows he has a purpose here on earth, and it wasn't his time yet.  He doesn't have any legs and is just really humble and excited to read the Book of Mormon.  We actually just started talking to his wife as we were walking down the street, and she took us back to her house and introduced us to him.  It was really neat, and I'm super excited to go back to him this week.  He knows a whole lot about the Bible so it's really fun to teach him. 
     So yeah that's the update this week.  That's neat the things you told me about Maria.  She actually did tell me all about her Filipino convert in one of her letters. I just thought that was so neat.  I'm excited for her in her new stage of life:)  She's great!  Thanks for the updates on her talk since I couldn't be there myself.  Pretty soon you'll be able to go to homecomings of my companions maybe:), Sister Dyer and Siser Stonick. 
     Well hope you have a great week!  Kip, you asked about Halloween here, and they have All Soul's Day on November 1st. They say that EVERYONE is in the cemetery and that no one is at home, so you get no lessons on that day.  Everyone just spends the day there, and some even camp out there.  Brother Wilmar wants us to get permission to have a movie showing at the cemetery of "A Man's Search for Happiness" and then hand out a bunch of plan of salvation pamphlets that day in an attempt to find new investigators.  haha So who knows? We'll see what the zone leaders say to that idea.  
     Later today we're having a zone activity and all playing volleyball and basketball, so I'm sure excited for that!:)  So yeah good to hear that you are all doing well!  Mom and Dad, it’s good to hear that you got your heater fixed. I can't really relate when you said that you froze for a few days because I think I've forgotten what that would feel like:)  But I'm glad you're all prepared now for good ol' Cache Valley winter!  Love you all so much and have a great week!

Mahal ko kau lahat!
Sister Stromberg

10.15.2012

"And having set our “hand to the plough,” we will never look back until this work is finished . . . ." --Elder J. R. Holland


     Well here we are again . . . I feel like I just wrote to you, but what do we know, one whole week has gone by.  This week went really fast.  I can't believe it.
     Conference was SO great!  We did get to watch all four sessions but not the priesthood or general Relief Society meetings.  But in one of our appointments Brother Wilmar shared his favorite talk which happened to be Bishop Stevenson's talk.  So I got to hear a little about that one.  There were a lot of really good talks, but I would have to say my favorite talk was Elder Holland’s.  I even got pretty emotional when listening to that one.  He actually gave a talk kind of similar to that in the MTC for mission presidents. We watched that our last zone conference, but this one was even more powerful.  I loved his closing words where he's talking for all of us and says "Yea Lord, we do love thee, and we will never look back until this work is finished" or something to that affect:)  Ahhh it was just so powerful, and I loved it.  But I also really like President Uchtdorf's and President Monson's and, Mom, you're right I did really enjoy Elder Bednar's about testimony vs. conversion.  There were just so many neat ones.  But I think one of my favorite parts is that we had nine investigators there also listening to the talks in Tagalog!!  It was so neat because it wasn't at our church; it was in Rosario which is a 20-30 minute bus ride, but our investigators still found a way to get there!  Jennalyn said she really enjoyed seeing our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson.  So yeah great experience . . . as always.
     Then for our other investigators . . . we have a baptism coming up this Saturday!!  Yay!!  Mark and Maryanne passed their interview, and then we also have three 8-year-olds getting baptized as well, so it is going to be such a neat baptism.  We are in charge of a musical number again, and I was thinking it would be fun to do Primary songs because they are all younger.  We'll see what we pick. I'm so excited for Mark and Maryanne though!  I have seen them both change so much and grow.  Maryanne is starting to get more involved with activities in the church and make friends, and it's so fun to see that.  And I'm so excited to see Mark receive the preisthood:) 
     With Analie, we taught her husband for the first time last night, and he's super quiet and didn't really want to open up to us or talk or answer questions. So we've got a big task on our hands to help him see the importance of our message.  I know in time it will all work out because that's exactly what happened with Maryjane and Nic in Palawan.
     We have another couple right now Mark and Maricris who Mark is a less active member, and Maricris is our investigator.  They just had their first baby who is ADORABLE!  But their concern right now is they're not married so we have to get them married.  She's going to skype with her mom who lives in Japan tomorrow to get permission to get married and then the planning will start:)  So we'll hope for the best from her mom tomorrow.
     Then we have Reynando and Hazel, aunt and uncle of Jennalyn, who have been coming to church pretty persistently and are really interested.  Last night we taught them WOW, and brother apparently is an addict to coffee but said he will do his best to stop.  They are also very active in their religion, Couples for Christ, right now so they're trying to do both right now. That's one thing we're working on is helping them pick one or the other kind of thing.  So yeah those are our most progressing investigators right now.
     We did a service project this last week in Cavite City and helped a member move.  We did it with a bunch of other missionaries, and I found out that my zone leader Elder Gillette is really good friends with McKenna Lewis, just a random little connection.  Then this morning for the second week in the row we got together as a district with our ward missionaries and played volleyball!  It has been so much fun!  I just love our ward missionaries right now.  Before they weren't really working with us, but yesterday we had a lot work with us. We were finally able to split me and Sister Richardson, and it was so great!  They're getting more involved in missionary work, and we have a bunch right now working on entering their mission papers!  It's so exciting! 
     Okay well, I love you all so much.  Thanks for all your support and all of your prayers.  Have a great week!!

Mahal ko kau,
Sister Stromberg

10.08.2012

"I'm going to starve in this church!"


Yay, General Conference!
     Thanks for all of your e-mails and responses about general conference. We're all really excited here to watch it. One of our members, Bishop Soleta, who actually has two daughters living in Utah right now filled us in on Sunday about the age of missionaries changing. Ahh, I just think that is so crazy but also SO neat! It gets me so excited to think that we can get more missionaries out there with this revelation. But yeah, I don't know too much about it because I haven't watched conference yet.
     So it's been another great week here in Novaleta. I really, each week/day, feel so grateful to be assigned here where the work is just progressing, and the ward is so supportive. We have our next baptism coming up Oct. 20, and that is Mark and Maryanne who will be interviewed this weekend. I'm so excited for them. Mark especially has just changed so much since we've been able to teach him. Even though they are both still young (14 and 16), I know that the choices that they are making now will affect their whole lives. They're both really shy though, and it's been a challenge to get them to open up and talk in lessons. But I can see that they're learning and getting excited for their baptism. I just hope that they will open up to our district leader during their interview and not just be silent and shy. haha So yeah, if you could just remember these two in your prayers this week. Mark is the one I told you about that before had some gender issues and had really long hair and wore girlish clothes, and it's just been so neat to see him change and get back on the right path especially at this stage in his life. Maryanne is the one that is really quiet and right now we're just really focusing on getting her friends at church to help her open up more, even if it's just to them. So yeah they're our focus right now. We actually have an FHE later tonight with them so that will be fun!
     Jhennalyn was supposed to also get baptized the same day, but she just went "missing" for a couple weeks. She left with a friend to work in a different city and didn't really tell her family a lot about when she would be back. It's really weird. I want to know more about what happened, but she just got back yesterday. We swung by her house last night for our last appointment, and she didn't say a whole lot about what happened. She said that she was okay and that she's back here for good, and we set up an appointment for Wednesday. She also asked if her baptism was still a go for Oct 20. But because she hasn't been to church for three weeks now, we'll have to move it. So yeah just one of those trials I guess that always happen before baptism. But she's awesome and has a strong testimony, so I'm not worried. It will happen when the time is right:)
     As far as Analie, she is still just awesome and golden as ever. This last week she read the Book of Mormon through 1 Ne 9 and then didn't understand it all so started all over and read it again. haha Then she said that she prayed about it and received her answer. She said it felt like "koriyente" (which is like electricity), but also she said that it felt so good. She was so happy, and she knows the Book of Mormon is true and knows this is the true church. Ahhh, it's so awesome. All our lessons are so great, and she asks so many questions. She is learning so much and is so excited. She said for sure she wants to get baptized, but the only concern here is she said that she wants to wait for her husband to also get baptized at the same time. We only met him once, when he came to church with her, but haven't had the opportunity to teach him yet. He's always at work in Manila, but hopefully this Sunday we'll get a chance. He also has a big problem with Word of Wisdom, they told us. So I'm excited to start teaching him to help this great family!! I asked Analie what he thought about church when he came that once, and it was actually really funny because the Sunday School lesson was about fasting so that's one of the first things that he learned; when his wife asked if he liked it, he said, "I'm going to starve in this church!" haha. I thought that was great, and I guess you can't blame him if that's the first thing that you learn about our church. So yeah those are probably the only updates I have time for right now.
     But life is great. We haven't really been able to visit active members here in this area and share with them since I've been here which I love doing that. I think it's just been hard with all of our investigators. But last Sunday we passed around a calendar of when members were available and got to do our first visit last week to an older sister, and it was SO good! I love visiting these sweet members. And yeah I don't know what else to tell ya because my time is about up.
     I hope you all have a great week. Bets, thanks so much for sharing in your e-mail. I love reading your e-mails and your insights and thoughts about your mission. My mission has already gone by SO fast, and yeah I'm the same way and don't want to have any regrets! Ja and Beth, how is your cute baby Aiden? Nicole said you all fasted for him and little did I know that, but I fasted for him also yesterday (along with investigators). I would love an update on him. Okay well, have a great week!:) Love you all so much!

With Love,
Sister Stromberg