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

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