A little nervous just being here two weeks

Magandang Umaga!
     This week went by pretty fast. This week we actually had interviews with President. He flew in Thursday night, and then we had our interviews all day Friday and training from the AP's. There were a lot of missionaries, and I was one of the very last ones. You could tell that President was tired, and it was a pretty quick interview. But it was good to talk to him, and I had a little more time to chat with Sister Stucki. She's going to find out where I can buy my medicine here when mine runs out.
     So as far as the work, it went well this week. We are up to 15 investigators now with baptismal dates as of yesterday. But there are some that we need to help with WOW problems and some that need to get married first, but we have a lot that are wanting to progress and find out the truth of the gospel so it's been a lot of fun teaching all of them. We didn't have as many at church yesterday, but that could have been because it was raining. When it rains, Filipinos don't want to leave their houses. I went on my first splits yesterday with a branch missionary because we had a lot of appointments we had to get to and little time. I was a little nervous just because I've only been in our area for two weeks now, and I wasn't sure if I could remember where everyone was. But I went to the easier part of our area, and we did just fine. It was kind of fun, but I did miss teaching with Sister Afu at the same time. I really like teaching with her.
      Our branch is really fun. They had a little culture and talent night Friday night, and we stopped by and watched for a little bit. We have a lot of YM/YW and then a good group of returned missionaries here in our branch. It's different than Carmona because their YSA were all 18-20ish and hadn't left on missions yet. Here we work with RM's sometimes, or we'll work with Relief Society sisters or sometimes YSA from the other branches. There are two branches in Puerto (that's where we live), and sometimes they want to work with us in our area. Mom, to answer your question: yes, the church is in our area, Santa Monica. They have another church in Puerto for the other two branches. The people in Santa Monica some have electricity, and some don't. They all cook over a fire pretty much that I've seen. Then some have to pump their water from the ground. We did a CSP last week for an older lady in our branch, and she is very hard of hearing. We would pretty much yell at her, and she wouldn't even hear. Then she didn't even really tell us what to do; we just guessed, and we weeded her back yard with the machete looking thing again. We had dinner last night at a member’s house, and this mom just loves missionaries. She showed me all these notes from missionaries and pictures, and you can just tell she likes to get close to all of them. She has a son coming home this week from his mission who they said is going to be our new branch mission leader. So yeah our branch is great. I'm excited to get to know each of them more.
      Other than that not a whole lot went on this week, just the usual work. I'm really enjoying our investigators right now and am excited to see them continue to progress. Dad, Mom said something about you have had some cool experiences working with the missionaries... I want to hear. Too bad you can't come work with us here:) Incidentally, Sister Afu has been here for two transfers. They kind of have a pattern (I've heard) lately where they have one sister come to Palawan each transfer so you'll be here for four transfers and usually with two companions. But I'm sure it also depends on revelation that President gets, but they said that's usually what happens.
     Then as far as the phone call, I think I'll just call you Monday morning like we did for Christmas. Sister Dyer said that here they use Skype because in one of the computer shops they have cameras. So if you want, we can Skype, or I can call. If you do want to Skype, I need you to figure out what computer you would use and then set me up an account and just e-mail the username and password that I will use because I don't have the time to set it up. That's what Sister Dyer said she did with her family. So it's up to you. That way I could see my new nephews also...
      But anywho have a good week. Before we know it May will be here, and then Mother's Day will be here. That's exciting:) Thanks for the e-mails and updates. Love you all so much.
Mahal ko Kayo,
Sister Stromberg


Let's just say the field is white!

Hello, Hello!
     So it was so good to hear from you all this morning. I'm glad the babies are healthy and the moms both are as well. Beth those pictures you sent made me laugh. Gabe has the CHEESIEST smile in all the pictures... that goob:) haha. And Hannah is just getting older; her hair is different now; and she's just a cutie, along with cute little Aiden too. So thanks for the pics.

 Aiden, home sweet home
 Gabe & Aiden
 Hannah Reilly & Aiden Eli
 A handful!!!
     I've had quite the week here in Palawan. Let's just say the field is white... a lot whiter than in my last area:) We have a bunch of investigators that actually want to progress and are preparing for baptism, and I feel so blessed to be helping them. Our standard of excellence for investigators attending sacrament meeting here in our mission is eight, and I honestly thought it was nearly impossible because of how difficult it was in Carmona. And even Sister Afu said that before they never reached it here in Palawan. But yesterday at church, we reached it!!:) We got twelve investigators at church!! We were so happy, and it was so crazy at the same time. We were trying to make sure that they all understood what was going on and having a good experience so we felt like we were just running around the whole three hours. But it was such a good feeling.
     Also the members here are so awesome. I haven't had an opportunity to meet them all, but a couple of them have been giving us referrals, and that's where some of those investigators came from. And we have Relief Society sisters working with us, and it's just been such a good week. We have 11 investigators right now with baptismal dates and a whole lot more progressing. So yeah missionary work is just moving right along here in our area, and that's why I say the field is definitely white.

     One of our investigators, Marshall, is like 50 years old, and man he just cracked me up. He's been their investigator for a while now and has a baptismal date but just hadn't gone to church. We taught him once this last week, and he's just quite the character. Right in the very middle of our lesson he starts asking me questions all about the Utah jazz and how there are a lot of black players on their team and starts asking me the most random questions. I can't really remember what else he said, but it was great. We went to his house Sunday morning to take him to church, but his wife said he was at the beach. But then he made it for our last hour of church and ended up really liking it and told us he would go to church next week and earlier this time.
     Then we have these three investigators Maryjane, Milene, and Ilene, and their husbands are all brothers. They all live in the same house. So we actually went and picked them up for church, and that was pretty crazy. They have a lot of kids so we stuffed I think it was 12 of us including the kids all on to one tricycle and went to church. Then we also have the referrals that came to church.
     Then we have this family the Aritano family who are so ready for baptism. It's a wife and her husband, but they have to get married before they can get baptized. And the problem with them is Felix doesn't have his birth certificate, and they can't get married without that. So they first have to save up money to go back to his hometown (wherever that is) so he can find his birth certificate, and then they can get married. And they are a really poor family so that might be a process, we'll see. But yeah I could just go on and on with our investigators, but that's all I'll tell you about today.
     To answer some questions... the first, that apparently you all are wondering for some reason:) haha, I left my one suitcase at the mission office, and the AP's were in charge of taking it to the mission home or something. It's what they do with all the missionaries in Palawan.
     I told you about my companion, but I'm really enjoying working with her. We have a lot of fun, being both foreigners here in Palawan! We have some pretty funny experiences. This last week we had one man tell us how he was a black belt and a security guard and how he owned his own 5 acre island and had his own vehicle and all he needed was me to be his wife now... yeah so I got proposed to. Then we had a drunk man come up to us one day and tell us he really wanted to change, and he wanted a Bible from us and all this other stuff. Then we get some pretty funny looks from our tricycle drivers as we try and fit into a tricycle, because Sister Afu being Tongan isn't necessarily small. But we are just working really well together, and so it was a really good week for us.
     My apartment is actually really nice. I'd say maybe a 9 or 10, on a scale from 1-10. The only thing about it is there are lizards climbing all over the walls and huge cockroaches everywhere. That's probably the only complaint. But it's not bad. The only other thing that's not too fun is my first week we had a brown out (power out) probably four times. Every time that happens it's really hard to sleep because you have no electric fan, and it's REALLY hot! But yeah other than that it's a really nice apartment. As I explained last week, our apartment is more in the city-ish part of Palawan that's a little nicer; then our area is about 30 minutes away, and that's where the bamboo huts and all that are. And yes we do have showers. The sisters actually just moved apartments maybe four months ago, and the other one I heard was really dirty and didn't have showers, but I'm lucky to be in this one.
     As far as for Carmona, Sister Ronquillo stayed with Sister Pacino, and they combined Carmona A with Carmona B so only two sisters are there now because I guess we're short on sister missionaries. So I'm anxious to hear how that's going because that is a HUGE area now.
     But hey, I'm actually out of time. Man time flies, and I feel like I didn't even answer all of your questions. If I didn't, just write them again. On the way from Carmona to Palawan I stayed the night with Sister Gupta in Makati, and she's Ish Erekson's convert from India, and she said he'd want to see the picture of us, and the other one Sister Verma from India wanted me to try on her "sari-sari" haha  
 Sister Stromberg & Sister Gupta
Don't make fun!
     Hope all is going well. Love you all so much and pray for you always. Take care! So yeah, that's all for today.

Mahal ko Kayo!
Sister Stromberg


I was overwhelmed with the love that I felt back

     So yes, my week has been quite the week! I can't even believe all that happened in such a short time, and now once again I'm living quite the different lifestyle. I'm kind of going through a culture shock again. Yes, that means I did indeed get transferred... no April fools’ joke. And I happened to get assigned to the most coveted area in our mission, the area that is well known as the celestial kingdom of the Manila Mission. Yep, I'm now on the island of Palawan!:) The AP's called me up Monday afternoon to tell me where I was getting transferred to and told me I had to be at the mission office the next night at 7:00 to have my bags weighed. And let me just tell you that was a nightmare in and of itself! If you remember, it was hard for me to pack coming from the MTC with 2 bags weighing 50 pounds each, and this time I could only take 1 bag weighing 40 pounds. Last time I said that I learned what I could live without . . . ; this time I pretty much had my clothes and a couple books. haha That was about it. I had to buy everything else here when I got here. So then I left early Wednesday morning on an airplane from Manila and arrived here in Palawan around 10 am.
Sister Stromberg & Sister Afu
     But before I talk about my new area, first, man, it was so hard to leave Carmona. I absolutely loved our branch and all the people that I got to know there. But let me just tell you, I was overwhelmed with the love that I felt back from them Monday night. I received so many nice texts and phone calls expressing their gratitude and love, and, man, there was one point I couldn't help but tear up. Then the Branch President sent me the nicest text saying he had been receiving texts all day that I was being transferred from all the YSA. Then some of them stopped by on Tuesday to say goodbye, and man it was just hard saying goodbye. I felt so blessed to have been assigned there for 4 months. And it was also hard to say goodbye to Sister Ronquillo, especially only having one transfer with her. But I know it's all part of the Lord's plan for me.
The two foreigners :)
     So back to Palawan . . . my new companion is Sister Afu, and I just love her already! She's Tongan but from New Zeland, and let's be honest, you can't go wrong with Tongans or Samoans.  They're always happy and up for a good time:) haha. And this time I don't look like a giant next to my companion. haha. No, but I've already learned a lot from her. She is very humble and very selfless. And she has a sweet New Zealand accent:) And it's kind of fun to be two foreigners; sometimes we both don't understand something and just can laugh about it later, and I'm excited for this transfer.
 Santa Monica area

     So on Palawan there's a city Puerto Princesa, and that's where we live. It's not big by any means, but that's where the grocery stores are and some motels and different restaurants. Then our area, Santa Monica, is 30 minutes away from the city, and it's BEAUTIFUL!! But I thought the people in Carmona were so poor and had so little . . . ; this is like Other Side of Heaven status. A lot of them live in bamboo huts. But they are just the nicest people. I haven't really met a lot from my branch yet because of general conference, but I met some. We had one Relief Society sister work with us last night, and she was so funny. She just cracked me up. But what's so different here is the church is so new here in Palawan. I feel like almost everyone I've met are all converts, and all were baptized within the last ten years or so. It's so exciting though. We have about 12 progressing investigators right now, and eight of them have baptismal dates so that's exciting. We have these two little boys Ronron 10 and Carl 11 years old that we're teaching, and that's been a new experience for me teaching them.  They're preparing for baptism.  The rest I'll have to tell you about another day.
Sister Stromberg & Sister Dyer from Orem
     I'm living with two other sisters, Sister Campoto and Sister Dyer. Sister Dyer is actually from Orem and is really good friends with Natalie. So, Bets, you'll have to tell your sister who I'm living with on a little island. I was going to send a picture of us, but there's something wrong with my camera. But don't worry; I'll get it fixed and send some pics to ya. We are in a branch with two other elders also. But the sisters invited us to a branch activity with them, and it was so fun! We went to one of the beaches and ate and played games, and they even had a volleyball tourney. They just tied a net to two palm trees, and that's where we played. After the first play, the branch president said about me, "Wow, she knows how to set." haha It made me laugh. Bummer I can't send you the pictures, but I'll work on that. So yeah as hard as it was to leave Carmona, being here in Palawan has definitely been a blessing. When we got here, we had an orientation with the couple missionaries, and they assured us the privilege it is to be assigned here in Palawan.  I just feel very blessed.  

"Wow, she knows how to set." haha
     As far as conference... it was kind of interesting because that day we didn't have any power so we had to hook up a generator for everyone to watch conference, and it kept going in and out. It just happened to go out in the intense part of Elder Holland’s talk and also right in the middle of President Monson's talk. Great timing, huh? ha. But that's okay. I really like Elder Oaks’ talk about the plan of salvation and sacrifice and the atonement. And then I really like Pres. Eyring’s talk as well, but I always like his talks. He's just so sincere and so heart felt when he shares his testimony. Then one line that I thought was quite ironic was in Elder David Baxters talk he said, "Providence will move with you" haha, and I just thought it could have a double meaning for me. Meaning my family will move with me, or something... ha. Who knows, maybe I'm crazy?
     Oh and tell Gabey HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! and that I love him and miss him a lot!! I'll try and send something if I have time later on. I don't really know what our P-days consist of. But I love you all, and hope you have a great week. Thanks for the support.
Mahal ko Kayo,
Sister Stromberg


Black Eye?!?

Aiden Eli Stromberg
     Oi, I can't believe I have another little nephew! How exciting. But poor little Aiden in the NICU, and poor Bethany has to go through all of that again. :( I'll be praying for you! Oh and you too, Jasen:) I can't believe how blonde his hair is! I think that's what Jasen gets for all the dumb blonde jokes he would tell me all growing up! haha. But I'm so happy for you!
 Lil' cousin Cameron
     And Ry and Bets, thanks also for the pics of cute Cameron! My nieces and nephews just doubled within the last month. And kind of ironic, Mom and Dad, that now you have 3 grandsons and 1 granddaughter along with your 3 sons and 1 daughter; all I've got to say is someone better watch out for poor little Hannah. It's rough being the only girl;) haha jk.
Black-eyed Stromberg
     So I have some news for you all... yes as you can tell from the subject of my e-mail I did indeed get a black eye this last week. Yeah after all my years of playing sports and not getting a black eye, somehow I happened to get one on my mission. It was on Monday for FHE. I told you last week we were going to play basketball. Well it was me, two ward missionaries, and our investigator Mark. And yep, it just happened to be our investigator that was the one who gave me the black eye. So no big deal; I was just walking around for a week spreading the Gospel with a black eye. It looked really... nice. But it's finally almost healed. But it was fun, of course, none the less.
The FHE crew
 Mark and the ward missionaries
    Then as far as this week, the work here in Carmona is progressing. We finally are getting to the point where before we were just finding new investigators, and now those new investigators are starting to progress. They're starting to get excited about the message we are sharing with them, and they're reading. We just have to see now if they'll commit to going to church now. Mark this last week told us that he is ready again to prepare for baptism, and we set a date with him. His cousin Jackilyn we've also been teaching, and she accepted the baptismal date also. She actually when she was on vacation started reading the Book of Mormon and read all the way to the middle of Alma and knows the Book of Mormon is true. So now we have those two that we are helping get ready for baptism. Jacki is pregnant and wants to wait till she has her baby to be baptized. Both of their dates right now are in May, but we might end up moving Mark's date up if he's ready. We just have to get them in a habit of coming to church, and they'll be ready.
     We have this other family, the Pana family, who the mom is a member, but she is less active. And they are the nicest family, and they are just always so happy as we've been teaching them. The dad is Catholic, and we've heard he's pretty set in his ways. But he's really nice, and they have two kids in high school that seem interested so we'll see.
 Sister Ronquillo, ?, and Sister Stromberg
    UI!!! I just got a call, and I'm being transferred. And to tell you the truth, I didn't want to hear that. I didn't really feel like I would be transferred, so yesterday at church I didn't really tell anyone about transfer day because I just thought I'd be here one more transfer. But I will find out tomorrow where I will be going and such. And the weird thing is Sister Ronquillo is being transferred too. So they're either shutting down our area or shotgunning and sending in two new missionaries, which makes me nervous:(  We've been working so hard these last few weeks and have found all these new investigators and are working with them, and now we don't even know what will happen with all of them. So yeah, my mind is kind of all over the place right now. But I know everything will work out. Of course it will because this is the Lord's work not our work and wherever Sister Ronquillo and I are going is where we're supposed to be. But man transfers are rough. I'm starting to not like them! It will be really hard to leave Carmona, especially not getting to say goodbye to everyone. But I've been very lucky to be assigned here, and I just love all the members here in our branch. I'm sure my next area will be the same way. It's definitely a bittersweet feeling.
                                 All the sister missionaries in Carmona B!
   Well my time is about up now, and I have a million things to do before I leave Carmona Wednesday morning now so I better close up. I love you all. Thanks for the updates. Kip, you are a goof. Who do you think you are telling me Aiden looks like me and get me excited and then saying, “just kidding” :) haha. For the rest of you, so sorry I'm out of time. Take care. Ja, I'll be praying for your new little boy and your family! 
 Baby Aiden in the NICU
Mahal ko kayo,
Sister Stromberg