Hello Pamilya!
     This week we got to go to the temple, Wednesday morning for our temple day. And I got a special surprise when I got there. :) I walked in the door and who was sitting there in the waiting room... Sister Westover, from the MTC who's serving in Quezon City North. It was so fun seeing her and chatting about our areas and such, and then we actually got to be in the same session. Then after our session, after we changed, we ran into Sister Dennis also. It was so fun seeing them! Sister Dennis said that she saw our names on the check-in list so she waited for us after her session. We always said in the MTC that we hoped somehow we'd run into each other, and we already did. It was a lot of fun seeing them.

Back together again in the Philippines!
     Then we also had another temple tour on Saturday where we were assigned to be users this time for all the different groups. It was fun seeing all the different missionaries. I found out that one elder in my mission is actually from Logan. I forget his name, but he knew Cami. So other than going to the temple twice this week, it was just a regular week in Carmona B.
     So to try and explain a little better, I'm not in Manila. I'm like an hour or so away from Manila. And there are a lot more zones than I mentioned before , but I just don't know the names of them all. There are three zones on Palawan (more then I told you before because I didn't know before). I am in the San Gabriel zone, I think I mentioned that in my first e-mail. There are two districts in my zone. I don't really know how more to describe it. Carmona is where we are assigned, and we have our district meetings in Binan where the elders are serving. There are a lot more stores in Binan, and it's a bigger town. We actually are here in Binan today because we wanted to visit the palengkes which are markets where you can barter for things. I got a purse that's cute made out of bamboo looking stuff. There's also a McDo's here which we went there to eat and actually ended up finding someone to teach that is from Carmona and from our area. Her little girl (probably 2 years old) came over by us, and we were talking to her; it gave us an opportunity to talk to her mom, and she's very nice. We'll go visit her later this week.  Definitely didn't happen by accident. Neat how those opportunities happen.
     About chocolate... they do have chocolate here. Not all the chocolate in the US, but they have KitKats, M&Ms, Toblerone, Oreos, and I bet there are others, I just don't remember right now. But they don't have Fastbreaks, I know that. It's just really expensive here so whenever anyone gets chocolate, it's just a big deal. So yes, I enjoyed it a lot. It was Sister Culango's first time eating Reeses, and she really like that. So thanks again!
     My interviews were two different interviews. The one with President Stucki was the one I told you about, and yes I shared the background to that scripture. I will tell you my goals next week; I didn't bring them, and I'm out of time so just remind me. Sister Stucki just chatted about if we had everything in our apartment we needed and if we needed anything for our health purposes and such.
     So I don't know where the time went today, but I'm out of time. We had to e-mail our Zone leaders pictures for a slide show so maybe that's where it went. But I hope your week goes well. Oh and, Dad, can you send me the recipe for Swedish pancakes? Sister Culango wants to try them. And also carmel corn?:) Thanks!
     So to sum up my work fast, we taught a lot this week and a bunch of our investigators told us they would go to church, and we fasted for our investigators to go to church this week, and when Sunday came... there were none at church. :( So yeah that's definitely a struggle for us right now! It's rough, but this week we're going to focus on finding new investigators who will be a little more committed hopefully, but still visit our other ones, of course. So hopefully we'll find some good ones. Well I love you all so much. Thanks for the e-mail. I can't believe it's already February this week. Man, January just flew by! Anyway...
Nothing is impossible . . .
Mahal ko kayo,
Sister Stromberg


Happy Chinese New Year!

Hello, Hello!
     So if you didn't know, today is the Chinese New Year! Haha, and the only reason I know is because we had more fireworks at Villa Alegre (our subdivision) last night, haha, definitely not as much as on New Year’s, but we still had some.
     This week I had my second interview with President Stucki and Sister Stucki. Friday we met as a zone and had a short training, interviews, pizza from Pizza Hut:), and then district meeting. The interview went well, kind of shorter than I expected. We were asked to share our New Year’s goals and then share a scripture from the Book of Mormon that has changed our life. I'm sure most of you can guess which one I shared, but for those of you who don't know 1 Ne 7:12 but no time to explain why. Then for our district meeting we did practice teaching, and my district all commented on how good my Tagalog was. :) This last week I actually got a lot of compliments on my Tagalog, so that made me feel really good. I was at the temple and was just talking to a member that was sitting next to me in the waiting room, and after we had been talking for a while, she asked me if I had been in the Philippines for a year now. When I told her two months, she was very surprised and told me that my Tagalog was very good. So it's coming! :)
     With investigators this week we had a really neat experience with Mark on Tuesday. So before in December the day he was supposed to be baptized, his mom ended up in the hospital in another province, and he ended up going there and staying there for a couple weeks. Then when he returned and we visited him one day, he'd say he didn't have a desire to be baptized anymore; then the next time he would tell us that he did want to be baptized, and he was just really wishy washy about it all, which was so surprising because he has a testimony and knows it's true. Tuesday when we were teaching him, he told us that the night before he decided to watch the restoration movie. While watching it, he got a confirmation that this was the true church on earth, and he told us that he would do whatever it took to be baptized and asked us when he could get baptized. It was really powerful. So we set a date of 2/18 so he could go to church four times and then get baptized. Then on Sunday he didn't show up to church:( So we don't really know what's going on with him. I guess we'll find out tomorrow when we visit him.
     Then also Helen was approaching her third Sunday, I think, but she didn't go to church:( We don't know why either, so we will find out. We only had one investigator come, and she was an investigator we actually just met the night before. Saturday night we were eating dinner at a member’s house, and she was the "maid" for them and cooked the food. We talked to her and gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her to go to church the next day. We'll teach her this week so hopefully there's some luck there. Other than that none of our investigators showed up! Bummer. Also I mentioned earlier I was at the temple for our second temple tour. We had four investigators tell us they would for sure be there and two less active members, and then when it came to the day of... only one less active member came. Kind of a bummer. But what do ya do... keep pressing forward, I guess! haha One of these days we'll get our investigators to keep their commitments.
     Earlier this week we met the funniest lady! haha She's Filipino but married a Swedish man and lived in Sweden for a long time. So she actually approached us and has forgotten most of her Tagalog so she speaks in English to us. She is just loco! She told us that she was baptized in 1980 something; that she loves music and plays the harmonica and the piano; that she knows how to cha-cha, disco, tango; and who knows what else she was talking about. She even showed us right there on the street how to cha-cha. Then she got really excited when I told her that my name was Swedish. She had to tell us about every one of her kids, and, man, she was a talker. Then we asked if we could visit her later in the week. So when we returned to teach her, I'm sharing about the atonement and find out she doesn't know what the Book of Mormon is; she doesn't know who Joseph Smith is; she doesn't know what the sacrament is... yet she was baptized. Yeah so we don't really know if she's an investigator or inactive or what. But she played her harmonica for us, and it was way funny. And she's leaving to visit her daughter for a month in Sweden. She said she wanted to go to church with us so we went to pick her up Sunday morning (like Ryan said he used to do), but when we got there, she said she was busy and couldn't come. So yeah, crazy experience with her.
     With Patricia Pascu this week (the fruit stand lady), I haven't told you about her in a while, but we're still teaching her, and she still gives us fruit every now and then:) This last week she gave us tamarin which I had never tried. It's pretty good! Anyway we set a baptisimal date with her for March, and on Friday we had a really good lesson with her. I love Nanny Pascu because unlike others when we ask her if she'll go to church, if she doesn't know, she'll only say that she'll try or hopefully she can go; whereas the others will say yes of course and then not show up. Well this last lesson she started to ask us more about church and what she would need to wear and different things. So she's showing more interest, and I think we'll get her to go to church here soon! So yeah those are our investigators. We have others with baptisimal dates, but we have to get them to church.
Yummy Mexican food at the Spencers?!?
     To explain my mission: I don't know exactly, but this is what I have gathered from what people have talked about. There are "city missionaries" and "province missionaries" and then missionaries that are on Palawan (the island). Only 8 missionaries are on Palawan (4 elders and 4 sisters). In the city there's a Makati zone and a Manila zone so I think they're just two different big cities. Then there are other zones as well in the city like Pasay (where the MOA is and I really want to go). Then for the provinces, that's where I am right now, they are cities that are away from the big city. So yeah that's really all I know. And no, there hasn't been rain for a while. Just hot. This last week a couple of nights I kept waking up in the middle of the night because I was so hot. This last week for the first time I used an umbrella... for the sun. Haha, Filipinos always use an umbrella to block the sun. Sister Culango always does, but I don't because, of course, I want to get tan! haha. So she was so excited the one day that I used an umbrella for the sun. She's so funny!
An umbrella to block the sun?!?
     Then about mail: I've gotten a couple of letters, oh and I got your package!!! Thank you so much! I got it when we were at the temple tour from the AP so on the bus ride home all the elders wanted chocolate! haha And I really liked that little booklet too! I'll have to use that next Christmas and share it with those I teach. And I didn't have to pay anything for it, so I guess if it's small and through USPS you don't have to pay a custom fee. And it wasn't even broken into. I think it said it arrived here in the 'Pines on 1/6 or something, and then I got it Saturday.
     The sisters I live with keep telling me that I need to cook American food for them. Well I can't cook my famous quesadillas because no cheese in our area and no Ranch dressing in the stores in our area, and I don't know if they have tortillas either. So do you have any suggestions? I was thinking mash potatoes, fried chicken and gravy because they really want potatoes and gravy, but I've never made that... haha just watched. I have an idea how to make it, but need some explanation. :) Or any other good suggestions on what I should make them with only a stovetop? Could I make Hawaiian haystacks with a frying pan? Or do you need a crock pot? If I could, I need that recipe:) haha. Sister Verma made us Indian food this last week with curry, and it was delicious!

Mahal Ko Kayo,
Sister Stromberg


First transfer

     Happy Martin Luther King's Day, definitely didn't remember that was today. So one exciting thing that happened this past week is last p-day: I finally got to play basketball! The kids here play all the time. There are courts all over, and I've always wanted to play when I pass them by. Well last p-day at the court in our subdivision I played with 3 boys, 2 vs 2:) haha. It was JP (one of our ward missionaries), Mark (who is our investigator right now), and then Mark's cousin Jay (who is not a member and isn't interested). It was so much fun. The other sisters just watched.
I always wanted to play . . .
     Yes, transfers have come and gone. Monday night our District Leader called us to tell us individually if we were staying or leaving. Then Tuesday as part of our district meeting, they told us where those who were leaving were going. From our district it was just Sister Duncan who got transferred, and then Sister Verma is now living with us. She's from India and has been in the mission for almost one year. She's making Indian food for us tonight, so I'm excited for that. She also told me that she wants to go to BYU after her mission so that will be fun to get to know her and then see her in Provo. But yeah everyone else in my district is the same. I'll attach a picture of my old district that we took Tuesday.
My first district in Manilla
     This week we had an area broadcast on Saturday where Elder Teh, Elder Ardern and Elder Nielson (from Idaho) talked to us. It was broadcasted to all of the Philippine missionaries, as well as the leadership for all the wards and stakes. It was a very good broadcast. It was all about establishing the church here in the Philippines. In the last fifty years the number of increased members of the church here in the Philippines is the most of any other country. But there's a big problem now that of that number only 22% of the members are attending church regularly. They talked about how it's a big problem that we need to fix. They just taught us what we will be focusing on as missionaries and as a ward/branch to try and help. Our focus is on teaching less actives and bringing them back to church. A quote that they shared that I really like is: "If not now, when? If not us, who?" It's kind of neat that we are all working together throughout all the Philippines and doing the same work. So far Sister Culango and I have brought back two less active families (attending church four Sundays in a row), and yesterday four less active members attended church for the first time in a long time, after we visited them. So that was really exciting. Then with our investigators this week, we got one of them to go to church. It was Helen, and she brought her husband with her as well. She's the one that has to go to the other church to save money because it's closer. It's kind of a bummer because we don't get to see her at church and talk with her, but at least she's going. I'm not complaining:) The elders that go to that branch texted us to tell us, and we were really excited. Our other investigators we just can't quite get them to come. Mark keeps talking about how he wants to get baptized, and I thought for sure he'd be at church, but he didn't show up. We have another temple tour this week so hopefully we can get some investigators to go to that and that can stir a desire in them to get to church! Sister Culango said she's had investigators before that after they saw the temple, they started coming to church. So we'll see.
     This Saturday we did our first service project. We've been asking different members and investigators if they need help with anything but haven't been able to find anything. Well finally we talked to Sister Vilasco, who was one of the less active families who we helped come back to church and who also has 7 kids. They are the ones who live very far from the church, and they all walk each week. They start at 7 to get there by 9. And we went to their house and washed the little kids’ clothes, cleaned the floor, and cut a bunch of wood with a saw (I'm not really sure what that was for.). And when I say cleaned the floor, it was a new experience for me:) ha. So you use half of a coconut pushed down on the floor and rub it on the floor to get off scuffs and to make it shiney. haha Very interesting. I wish I would have gotten a picture, but I didn't. Next time. So yeah that was a lot of fun.
My first service project
     Hope you all have a good week and enjoy the Monday holiday. Dad, my Tagalog is coming along. It's interesting because some of the members and investigators I can understand very well, almost all that they are saying, and then other investigators it is still really hard to understand them. Sister Culango and I figured out it's usually those who are originally from Cebuano speaking parts of the Philippines, and they learned Tagalog after Cebuano that I can understand. It's just the way they talk, and I'm sure the reason I understand them well is because that's how Sister Culango speaks, and I'm with her 24/7. So yeah, it’s kind of interesting, but it's coming.
Mahal na mahal ko kayo,
Sister Stromberg


Marami trials!

 Hello, Hello!
   I don't really know when you stop being a greenie, but our transfer day is Wednesday. Pretty crazy that it's already been a whole transfer! It went by so fast, and I'll be really sad if I get a new companion already. Sister Culango and I have so much fun together and work hard together, and it would just be sad if our time together was already over. But we shall see what the Lord has in store for me, I guess. Our zone leaders are calling us later today to tell us who is being transferred, and then whoever is being transferred will go to the transfer meeting in Makati to find out where to and who's their new companion. I kind of have a feeling I'll have Sister Culango for one more transfer because they have a new 12-week training program. I don't know if I've mentioned it, but it's just a booklet with instructions on what to study; you have two hours of companionship study during your first 12 weeks and just different things you have to accomplish that week during proselyting. And I just think they try to keep you with your trainer for the full 12-week program. But we will see.
   This week was the first week I think that we didn't have some kind of an activity such as temple tour, temple trip, branch Christmas party, mission Christmas party, training for new missionary, etc. So I really got to know the meaning of hard work!! During December we also had a lot of dinner appointments because of Christmas, but this week we didn't have any. So work, work, work from 1-9! And it felt really good. We found a couple more new investigators who are interested. One's name is Ivy, and she's 22 and is married with two kids. When we taught her about the Book of Mormon, she got really excited and asked us where she could buy a copy! Then she got even more excited when we told her she didn't have to pay for one that we would give her one. So she's excited about that. All of our investigators are progressing and seem really interested, but our one problem is none of them will go to church! It's actually kind of annoying, haha. Because they all talk about how much they want to go to church, and they all tell us that they will be there and will see us there, but when Sunday comes... wala! We don't have any come. Then for yesterday it was raining pretty good so when we asked them why, it's because of all the rain...:( I don't get why that's an excuse, but Sister Culango said that's just how Filipinos are that they don't want to go anywhere when it's raining. So yeah we have to keep pushing back all of our baptismal dates because our investigators need to go to church 4 weeks in a row before their baptism. So it's just a little frustrating, but we will still keep trying and hopefully next week. Zaldy worked with us this week quite a few times. I think I've mentioned him before to you, but he's our ward mission leader. He's 19, and he's about to turn in his mission papers. He's a stud and has worked with the missionaries for years now, so he knows all the lessons and helps us teach. We're letting him come swim in our pool today haha (maybe a little bribery to work with us! haha). No, we invited some of the other YSA to if they want. Yeah I don't know if I told you, but we have a nice swimming pool in our club house... but it's a waste for us.
A waste!?!
     Haha, this one day these two girls just started following us and talking to us as we were walking, and they grab onto my hand and just walk along with us while holding my hand. ha They were so funny. One of them was full of attitude! You can probably tell which one from the picture.
Sister Stromberry's new BFFs
   So yeah, I don't have a lot else to tell you. I haven't received the Christmas package yet. I will let you know when I do. As far as my health... I'm doing great. My knee isn't bugging me at all, and my pills are doing great. No complaints. The only complaint I guess is I get eaten alive by mosquitoes:( But I started using spray more often and am doing better. One day I had a bite, and it didn't look like a mosquito bite so I asked Sister Culango, "What's this?" She answered, "Trials!" haha It made me laugh. So now after we go to one house that has a lot of mosquitoes, and I'm itchy she'll ask me what’s wrong, and I'll say, "Marami trials, Sister!" (lots of trials) haha. She cracks me up.
   Dad, good luck with the PMG class. That's exciting that the Foxridge ward is getting involved in missionary work! Advice for the ward: if missionaries are teaching investigators within the ward boundaries, and they ask for help fellowshipping and such... help them! haha. We have coordination meeting and ask the members to help, and they don't do a thing. It's actually really hard. Especially because we are focusing so much on "establishing the church" and trying to bring back in-active members and need help from the members. In our district meetings they emphasize you need members to help you, and it's just not happening in the Carmona branch quite yet. But we're trying to change that. We got one Relief Society sister to work with us tomorrow for the first time so that's a start. 
   Oh, someone asked about the weather... it's supposedly their cold season now or something, but it's not cold. At night it's the perfect temperature! Today as I was changing my sheets, I thought, “I don't know why they told us to bring that blanket because I will never even take it out of my suitcase.” I'm still always sweating. I have a small tan line from my watch, and it's definitely not cold by any means. But anyways, I hope you all have a good week. I love you all so much! Thanks for the e-mails each week; I love hearing from each one of you!

Mahal Ko Kayo,
“Sister Stromberry”
(as the little kids here call me sometimes)


Happy New Year

Happy 2012!!!
   Funny story about 2012... the other day we had an investigator that asked us if we believe that the world will end 12/12/12. Well Sister Culango's date when she is going home is 12/12/12, so she was quick to say I hope not because that's the day that I will return to my family. haha It made me laugh.
    Anyway, Happy New Year! Man, you don't know a New Year’s celebration until you've been in the Philippines! Seriously they know how to bring in the New Year. It is bigger here than even Christmas is. We had to be back in our apartments by 6:00 p.m. But at 11:55 we woke up to not toast in the New Year (Fast Sunday), but to my surprise see all the fireworks! We live in a well-off community which is different from where we proselyte. It's a gated community so our neighbors have cars which is unusual here. That being said, they had a lot of fireworks! And when I say fireworks, they're the kind that you see in Romney Stadium and at the Stadium of Fire that you have to have a license to fire. But here all of our neighbors were lighting them off. It was crazy! And they made it so all of their car alarms were going off, and their car lights were blinking on and off, and, man, it was just very different here. And even Sister Culango said that, for her, New Year’s Day is a bigger deal than Christmas here in the Philippines. It seems a little weird for me, but that's just how it is. So yeah you couldn't have missed that it was 2012! Haha It lasted for hours! President and Sister Stucki visited our ward the next day and said in Makati because it's in the city, there was so much pollution that in the morning, there was just a big cloud of smoke from all the fireworks. Sister Stucki said she was thankful that the mission home was still intact the next morning! haha.
   This last week I finally had the opportunity to do a session in the Manila temple! What a blessing! We went as a whole zone. It was really neat because the sister I did work for is a Filipino. And I just thought it's neat that I'm building relationships and ties here in the Philippines with the Filipino people that will last into the eternities, but also because I get to go to the temple each transfer, I have an opportunity to make ties with those Filipinos who have passed from this life and will get to meet them later on. It was also neat being in the temple and just looking around at all the Filipinos dressed in white. Most of the time I am associating with investigators and less actives, and so it was neat to see those members who are strong in the church and who get to attend the temple. It was really neat, and I'm very grateful for that opportunity I have to go so often while I'm here. After our session that was the first time I've been at the temple at night, and they had Christmas lights up. Not like Temple Square, but it was really pretty and fun to see that.
     Then on Friday we went to the mission home for a training for new missionaries and their trainers. I told Sister Stucki that I know Carol Pickett and her family, and she got excited. Sister Culango and I helped her make lunch for the missionaries. We were in charge of grilling the hotdogs, and they were so delicious! There was real ketchup and mustard (not the sweet kind that we get), and it was so good. Also Doritoes and Oreos and American food! Yum!
    With our investigators this week, they all seem to be progressing towards baptism, and they tell us that they are going to church and then yesterday... none at church:( It is so sad! Especially when they assure you they'll be there and then they don't show up. We visited them after church, and they said it was because of New Year’s and that makes sense. So hopefully now that the holidays are over, they will all settle down and go to church:) haha
    But it was such a surprise, last night when we got back from working, we got a text from the elders in the next area over saying that one of our investigators, Helen, and her husband and two kids came to their ward instead of ours! We were SO excited to hear that! There's hope! They will probably always go to that church because they just have to ride one jeepney to get there, and for our branch they would have to take a jeepney and then a tricycle. So it's cheaper for them to go to the other church. So yeah our focus now is just to get our investigators to church and the less active members as well.
   There were quite a few less active members that told us they would go to church and then didn't as well. But on a high note we visited an in-active member’s house on New Year’s Eve, and her sister was there who is also in-active. They fed us lunch, and we shared a message with them, and they went to church Sunday for the first time in a long time. So that was exciting to see them there. This weekend to relate to New Year’s we shared Alma 5 with a lot of the less active members and recent converts. It is such a powerful chapter that I have come to love here on my mission. It really makes you think about what you need to improve in your life to make sure that you are ready to meet the Lord.
    Oh another kind of funny thing, we've been teaching the Laosantos family (the ones we met at Jollybee), and we extended a baptismal invitation to them. Nanay Annette accepted, but Tatay Rolando said that his concern was that he would get baptized, and then we would get transferred, and then he wouldn't know what to do. Basically making it sound that he was only going along with it all because he liked us, and he liked us teaching him. He's very, very smart and knows a lot about the Bible and is reading the Book of Mormon. When we taught him the POS, it took us 2 HOURS to get through it because he had so much to say! He just talks and talks and talks, and sometimes we feel like he wants to teach us instead of us teaching him. haha He's quite the character. So yeah who knows what's going to happen with them. They are just funny. Their cousin Arlene has been at their home for a couple of lessons, and yesterday when we asked her what religion she was... haha and while holding her Book of Mormon, she said that she was a iglesia ni cristo but now she's "this" pointing at the Book of Mormon. ha Kind of funny! The whole family is really nice and feeds us every time we are over, but we'll see what happens with them. It would be neat if the whole family would continue together and be baptized all together. We'll see.
     Well I love you all! It's weird to think I will be here for the entire year of 2012 without seeing y'all. But it really is a blessing; I wouldn't want to be anywhere else! Oh and one more quick funny story... earlier during companion study I read Alma 8, and Sister Culango said that the missionaries that used to visit her house said that they wanted the members to be like Amulek in that chapter. haha It's funny; you'll have to read it! Well Happy New Year!
Mahal Ko Kayo,
Sister Stromberg