. . . almost like a celebration

Kamusta kayo!
     I can't believe it's already February. We have transfers coming up in two weeks, and I just can't believe how fast this transfer has gone by. And it's very likely going to be my last transfer with Sister Culango. I just love her. But it will be good for a little change at the same time.
A tricycle with the name Ryan on the front!
     So Mom, you talked about lots of funerals going on, well this week I had two experiences with funerals here in the Philippines. First one is just funny. We were walking to an appointment one day, and here down the street comes what looks and sounds like a parade. There are three vans in the front, then a band, lots of people walking, and a TON of tricycles. But then what's in the middle of it all... a hearse!! Yeah it was for a funeral, but there was a band, and everyone looked happy almost like it was a celebration. Weirdest thing I've ever seen. haha I don't know about Carmona:)
     Then the second experience was actually really sad. In the Valencarina family, Tina is a recent convert that we try to teach once a week, and she's 21. Then there's JP who has been a member for over a year now and works with us to teach, and he's 19. They are both so awesome. Well Friday morning we got a text that their mother passed away (at age 43) from either liver cancer or ulcer; I don't really know because I heard both. It is so sad. They don't have a dad right now either, and they have one other sibling who is 9. I feel so bad for them. :( And what they do here is kind of... unique; they have the casket in the family’s home for like 7-9 days, and then people can just stop by whenever for that period of time to give condolences and what not. So we stopped by yesterday after church and talked to them for a while. Very sad. So yeah that was my experience this week with funerals.
     To answer someone’s question: no, I'm not in Manila. I'm in a town called Carmona, and it's not a big city. In fact, it's away from the city in what they call a province here and is made up of a LOT of very little homes and a TON of people.
      This last week we didn't have any temple tours, meetings, and what not, so it was a good week to do a lot of work. We reached our goal of 18 lessons to investigators and 14 to RCLA so we were excited about that. Dad, to answer your question: we do still do some tracting to find new investigators every week. We're always looking for new investigators. Then we have a list of all the members in our branch which is like 600, but the records here aren't the best so they don't always have current or correct addresses, so when we have time, we try to find where less active members live as well. And then we visit the less active members we do know. We are focusing on reactivating a lot, and this last week we had a member come back for the 4th Sunday so that makes five members that we've helped come back to church. And as far as our investigators... still we had 0 investigators show up for church. :( So that's why we have to keep finding new investigators so that hopefully we can find some that will want to go to church. Hopefully next week. Tomorrow we have zone conference in Desma, and that will be my first one. I'm excited for that.
     Oh I just remembered! The Indian sister that's living with me, Sister (Pavetra) Verma, knows Ish Erickson. And another sister that's in my mission who I haven't met yet because she's in Palawan right now was one of Ish's converts. So you'll have to tell him if you see him! Kind of exciting. Small world!
     I had a really neat experience this week teaching. We had an appointment that was a referral from Sister Murrillion. Sister Murrillion is so funny; she's an RM with 3 kids and is OBSESSED with David Archuleta. Every time we talk to her, she has something more to tell us about him. Apparently he's going on a mission, and the rumor is that he either got his call to Manila mission or Quezon City mission (I don't really believe it, but who knows). Then a couple weeks ago he was in the Manila temple here doing a session. He signed a contract here with a TV station to do something, I don't really know, that's why he was here. And yeah Sister Murrillion always has something to tell us about him. Anyways she gave us a referral and came with us to teach Gem. And when I shared the Joseph Smith story and told the first vision, I felt the spirit SO strong! It was so neat! I love telling the story about Joseph Smith! She has to work on Sundays now so that's why she wasn't at church, but she was very receptive and interested so I'm excited to go back to her on Saturday.
     So yeah I'm about out of time. Anyway I love you so much! Have a good week! Thank you for all the prayers, and I'm praying for you all daily! Oh and did groundhog see his shadow?? haha
At the Seguenza family's home where we're going tonight for FHE;
they're a super nice family, and the dad is a really good cook. :)

Mahal ko Kayo,
Sister Stromberg

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