I think I'm going to try and make Swedish pancakes for Valentine's Day for the sisters! haha We'll see how that goes.
This last week has been quite the week actually. On Tuesday was my first zone conference. It was really good too! We got together with two other zones, and President, Sister Stucki, and the AP's spoke to us and did some training with us. Then two different times we split up to do some practice teaching situations. Then we had a lunch that was catered (but wasn't actually that good), but they had chocolate cake that was delicious, of course! And yeah that was our zone conference!
We got our pouches that day. I had two from Uncle Randy, a post card and a pouch that was sent I think a couple weeks after, and I got both of them at the same time... so I think that pouch is faster. I also finally heard from Sister Vickers. I was actually really starting to worry about her, but I got a letter, and she's doing great, a lot better she said than in the MTC, so I was really happy to hear that.
Then on Thursday I experienced my first companionship exchange! The last temple tour we talked to one of the AP's and requested an exchange. In our mission they have two sisters who are assigned specifically to help with exchanges, and each week they'll go and do exchanges with sisters. They are sisters that have been in the mission for a while and are experienced and are just really good missionaries. I wanted to do an exchange to make sure that I could lead my area and do everything without Sister Culango, in preperation for if I get a new companion here in Carmona. And it went really well. I had Sister Torres from Iloilo (the mission where Ashley is going) who has one more transfer here in the mission. She taught me a lot, and I was very grateful for the opportunity. She just plans differently than Sister Culango and teaches differently and goes about getting referrals differently and so because all I've had to learn from thus far is Sister Culango, it was just good to learn from someone else. It kind of got me excited for a new companion (even though I love Sister Culango). It will just be good to grow in different ways with different companions. Then she gave me some really good feedback on what I was doing well, and it was just a good day. One thing that made me laugh, is while we were walking towards the end of the day she turns to me and says... "It's hard for me to believe you're an American. You seem just like a Filipino to me." haha It made me smile. So yeah it definitely helped me with my confidence that I'll be just fine without my nanay!:)
Sister Torres from IloiloThen the excited news for this week... THREE INVESTIGATORS CAME TO CHURCH!!! Oh man I was so excited. We have this investigator, Lace, who is 17 and so smart. She's studying accounting right now. And we brought just the right member with us the last time we taught her (Eva), because it turns out that they go to the same college. And so Eva has been so good in fellowshipping her, and I think that might have made the difference in getting her to church. But Saturday night I was just praying and thinking a lot about Lace; out of all of our investigators she was the one I wanted to see at church. And then she came!:) It really was such a good feeling. She's so funny. The last time we taught, after our lesson she told me that she always wanted to study art and went and got her sketch pad and showed me and asked me for advice:) haha. Then at church she told me that her professor told her class that Americans are afraid of eating, and wanted to know if that's true... haha funny girl. I hope she'll continue. Then our investigator Tina who is the Nanny for a member in our branch came with the Que family to church. I wasn't expecting that because both times we went to teach her this week, she "hid from us." We found out later from Sister Que it was because she hadn't read her Book of Mormon, and she was embarrassed to tell us that. But she came to church, and we were so excited. Then the last one was a referral that we actually haven't taught yet. It's a girlfriend of a member, so we'll see how that goes this week. So there's improvement.
This week is the 12th week in the 12-week program for new missionaries, and then I'm done with that. Week 11 was probably the hardest because you have to plan every night, and then you have to "take the lead" in teaching every single lesson you teach all week. So yes I'm about ready to be done with the training program, and that's exciting!
Other than that there's not a whole lot else. The other sisters here in Carmona had a baptism on Saturday that we went to, and it was so neat. It was for a little 9 year old boy named Jon, and whenever he sees me, he'll yell, “Hi, Sister Stromberry.” He's way cute. Well his dad is actually blind and was able to baptize him, and it was just a neat experience seeing his dad able to do that for his son even with his disability.
To answer your questions: I did not feel or even hear about the earthquake here. And, Nicole, you said that you feel like all you do is plan and teach and plan and teach... Well I'm right there with ya:) haha That's all I feel like I'm doing too! Dad, that's fun you work with the full-time missionaries. Do you go out and teach with them? Do you know the Filipino family in our ward? I don't remember their last name, but I got a Christmas card signed from a bunch of members from our ward, and there was a Filipino family who wrote to me in Tagalog. Anyway have a fun Valentine's Day tomorrow. Love you all lots! Take care, and have a good week.
Mahal na mahal ko kayo,