No murmuring words escaped His tongue

Happy Memorial Day!
     So it's been quite the week. I'm a day late in e-mailing because we had Zone Conference yesterday. Last week they had a special Zone Conference where Elder Russel M. Nielsen actually came and talked to our mission... but that was only for the missionaries on the mainland. Unfortunately missionaries on Palawan weren't included in that :( But that's life I guess.

     This last week was a very long week and a very rough week. I'm just going to get that out there now. Missionary work isn't all fun and games all the time. So first we found out that our investigators Rejina and Felix who are super ready for baptism but were just trying to get them married, well they moved. They moved last Saturday and didn't tell us or anyone else. Their landlady came to our church on Sunday looking for Rejina and told us they left the day before and haven't paid their rent or anything and took all their things with them. I called her, and it was really had to hear on the phone where she was, and I told her to text us her address, but unfortunately we haven't received anything. Then when I called again the phone was not in use. So that's kind of all up in the air right now, and we have no idea what happened.
     Then we found out yesterday that Sharly and Normalyn (his sister) moved as well this last week to Bayan out of our area and our branch. And that was even more of a bummer to me because they've been one of my favorite investigators to teach. He actually reminded me of Kip sometimes. I've just felt the spirit so strong in their lessons and got some really neat impressions about them, and I know they will be baptized. I was way sad when I received his text that they had moved.
     Then there have just been a couple of other things on my mind that had been bothering me, so it was a tough week. But this isn't all a sad story. It actually has a good side of it as well. So as I was sitting in sacrament meeting, I was thinking about some things that have been bothering me and were on my mind, and then we started singing the sacrament hymn, "Behold the Great Redeemer Died" and the line stuck out to me so much... "Although in agony he hung, no murmuring word escaped his tongue. His high commission to fulfill, He magnified his Father's will." And I was totally set back and in a way chastised for my attitude, and it really hit me how I needed to change my attitude and how I need to be like my Savior and let "no murmuring word escape my tongue." That's one thing that I love is just how much we can learn if we'll just turn to our Saviors example. I'm so blessed to wear his name everyday and be his representative, and I don't want to misrepresent him. Like the song, I have 'a high commission to fulfill' as a servant of the Lord, Jesus Christ. So although I will miss my investigators that I love so much, I know that it's part of God's plan, and they will all four enter the water of baptism. Missionary work can be rough, but how else would we be able to understand what the Savior went through for all of us? So that's kind of a jist of my week.
      Then we did have a really good Zone Conference yesterday. I was the pianist, and I got the opportunity to bear my testimony which is always so good. Also I received a package from Jacki yesterday which was awesome! It was just what I needed:) I love that girl!
Today we had a Zone Activity again
because everyone was up here for Zone Conference
so we went to the crocodile farm.
 It was a lot of fun.

Me, Oscar, and Sister Stonick
(Oh, wait; Oscar was in Arkansas and was much smaller!)
I also ate crocodile for lunch which was actually really tasty!
     Oh and I finally got to use my art skills here in the mission somehow :) We met a lady this last week and ended up talking to her, trying to teach her, but she said she was really busy with a project. So we asked if she needed help (CSP), and she said she really did. It was drawing posters for her little daycare class. So that was about the funnest CSP I could do. So yeah that's about all I have for this week.
     Thanks so much for the pictures. It was so good seeing the babies and everything. SO CUTE! Bets, thanks for the object lessons; I haven't read them all yet, but I bet they'll be great!:) We're always looking for something a little fun for FHE's and such. Ry, good luck with the start of school. School here is starting up for everyone this next week, I think, and raining season is right around the corner! I think four days this last week it just rained and rained. So we'll see how that goes.
     My new AP knows Natalie and their friend Spencer really well. Thanks for the updates from you all. Hope life is going well for each of your families. Don't think this e-mail was a downer e-mail; it was a rough week, but it's just part of Heavenly Father's plan for me to be stronger. So I'm grateful for it. We'll just work harder to get some new investigators. Oh and Mom's questions... Sister Afu got transfered to Sister Stonick's last area Naic, Cavite which everyone says is so pretty and an awesome area. Sister Stonick is really good with Tagalog. She's trained twice here in the mission. So yeah I hope that's all. I love you all so much and am so grateful for your support. Take care always!

Mahal Ko Kayo!
Sister Stromberg

Really hard saying goodbye

     Man, what a week! First off, Mom, Parawan is actually in Utah... I'm in Palawan:) haha That made me laugh. But anywho yes transfer day did happen. I have my first American companion. Her name is Sister Stonick, and she's kind of from Utah and kind of from Michigan. She doesn't really like to claim Utah for some reason, but her family lives in Sandy right now. She's the same batch as Sister Afu and Sister Culango and actually knew Elder Knight in the MTC. I'm sure that I will learn a lot from her, just like I have my other companions.
     It was really hard saying goodbye to Sister Afu just like it has been all of my transfers. Sister Dyer also left to go back to the mainland, so I have a new house mate too, Sister Cuenca. So yeah it's fun to get to know some new missionaries.
     I can gladly say with the help of the Holy Ghost we didn't get lost this last week!!!:) We might have taken some longer ways to get to a place than usual, but that's just fine. As far as our investigators, right now... we sadly will not have any this Saturday which was our original baptismal dates that we set. But that's okay because that just wasn't Heavenly Father's plan for our investigators. The one that's most promising is Milene Pienar. She's one of the three sisters that her husband is the member. She really wants to get baptized and was bummed yesterday that she's not quite ready. We just want her to have a stronger testimony and understanding first, and also we explained to her that we think it would be better for their family for her husband Rico to return to church and become active first so he himself can baptize her. Then they will all stay active. We expressed that that's what we felt would be best for their family, but we are leaving it up to her if she wants to wait for her husband or not. We committed her to really pray and ponder about the right timing for her and her baptism, and we will find out this week what we'll do with her. Ailyn, her sister, just needs to get married but yesterday said her boyfriend doesn't want to get married, which is a bummer because she totally has a desire, so we'll just have to see what happens there with them. Then Maryjane, the other sister, just doesn't feel ready herself, even though she totally is. So that's the situation with them. They've now gone to church for six weeks in a row. So yeah that's awesome.
     Then Sharly and Normalyn were supposed to get baptized this week, but they themselves just don't feel ready yet and haven't really talked to their parents about it and are scared to. Then our others Felix and Rejina that had the birth certificate problem, well at church their landlady stopped by and talked to me and told me they left the day before took all their stuff and didn't tell anyone, and they still owe her rent. So yeah that's a big problem, and we don't know what happened. So those are our most progressing investigators. It's okay though because we've had some really good lessons with them this past week, and I know everything will work out like it's supposed to for them. So we'll just press forward of course.
     We got to do a really fun CSP this last week. We got to harvest a bunch of... eggplants. I don't know if I ever even ate eggplants before my mission, but they do a lot here, and they're really good. We went with Janeth who is my favorite. She actually requested Mom and Dad on Facebook she said, so you should accept her. You might even see some pictures of me, or she'll talk to you, Janeth Montilla. The whole Montilla family is my favorite. We ate at their house last night. But then the garden was this neighbor of a member that were investigators before. But they're in the Elders’ area so yeah it was just fun going with some members in our branch and helping out. I'll include pictures.
     Oh we had a really neat experience with Milene, Ailyn, and Maryjane, Sister Afu's last day, where we had an awesome lesson about the spirit and helping them recognize answers, and man I couldn't help but tear up because the spirit was so strong. At the end we were all in tears. But I think that was more just because we were all going to miss Sister Afu, and Sister Afu was going to miss them. But it was a really neat lesson. I just love them all and their husbands and all their cute kids and want them to all be active in the church really bad. I know in time it will happen.
     So yeah I think I'm done rambling now. I hope Ry and Bets and Cam are doing well in Tennessee. That sounds like a lot of fun. I guess I'll just have to come out and visit y'all when I get home:) hehe. send pics! I'm glad you made it safe, and Mom and Dad got back safe as well. Well I love it here, and no matter who my companion is or where my area, the work is the same, and the people here
are amazing. I love my branch here and feel so lucky to be a part of their branch and feel their love for me. Oh I also got that card from the FoxridgeRelief Society. Tell them all thanks for the support and love:) Well, have a good week. Love you all!

Mahal ko kayo,
Sister Stromberg

He's definitely stretching me!

Hello Family!
     It was so good talking to you earlier this morning. You all sound great and just moving right ahead with life. I don't have a lot more to say than I did this morning. Our zone activity was a lot of fun. I'll attach some pictures. We just went to a beach and played some games and chatted and had a really good lunch, fish over the fire with rice and some fried chicken as well. Then we headed back.
     And we came straight here to the computer shop to find out... Sister Afu is being transferred on Wednesday. And to tell you the truth I'm so BUMMED!!! I don't like transfer days at all! They're the worst. This transfer was so fast, and Sister Afu and I have had so much fun together. Plus I'm actually really nervous because I don't feel like I know my area yet. It's huge, and we didn't even go to all of the places here in my area so I know it will be rough at times finding my way around without Sister Afu. So please keep me in your prayers that I can find my way around this area with my new companion. I know with the Lord's help I will be able to, but He's definitely stretching me by transferring Sister Afu after only one transfer. Yeah that's the only thing that's really on my mind right now is how sad I am that Sister Afu is going back to the mainland. And we've been working so hard with our investigators that are getting close to baptismal dates, and it's a bummer for her that she doesn't get to see them keep progressing. But once again we know God has a bigger and better plan for all of us then we know, and there's a reason that Sister Afu is being transferred.
     Other than that I pretty much told you everything on the phone. Sorry if this e-mail is lacking, but my mind is kind of everywhere right now. That's kind of how I was last transfer day as well. But I love you so much. I hope you had a good Mother's Day, Mom, Betsy, Bethany and Grandmas. Especially you, Mom!:) Thanks for all that you've done for me and for all the support that you give to me all the time. I'm so lucky to have you as a mom and feel the support and love that you have for me. You all take care, and I'll write you more next week, I'm sure about a new companion and all that jazz. Love you all so much.

Mahal ko kayo,
Sister Stromberg


Beautiful and worth it

Magandang hapon family!
     So it's coming to the end of another very fast transfer, believe it or not. We're pretty sure that Sister Afu will be here one more transferwith me. Let’s hope so for my sake because our area is very big, and I
don't quite have it all down yet.

     But it's been a very good week here in Santa Monica. I actually just got back from a branch missionary activity with all our branch missionaries and our new branch mission leader. We went on a hike to this waterfall and played games and ate and had testimonies and such, and it was a lot of fun. I'm exhausted now, but it was beautiful and worth it.

      Our investigators are progressing but not all of them with baptismal dates, about half of them. This week will be a very important week to see if they will be ready for their baptismal dates of May 26. We had a neat experience with one of our investigators. It's a family Felix and Rejina, and they have two little cute kids. They are so ready to get baptized! They have a testimony; they love the Book of Mormon; and their prayers are SO sincere and come from their heart. I love listening to them. But the only problem is, they're not married yet, and when they went to get married, Brother Felix doesn't have a birth certificate. So now they've been saving up to send money back to his place of birth to have it sent to him so they can get married. (I think I explained that before). Well a couple weeks ago we taught him about fasting and then suggested that we could all fast together to help them get his birth certificate, so everything would work out. Well Sister Rejina is pregnant, so she can't fast with us, but Brother Felix really wanted us to do it with him his very first time and was a bit nervous. It even took him a couple weeks to get ready, but we finally all did Saturday night. We went over to their house, and we all ate, shared a little review on fasting, and then had Brother Felix open the fast. And man, it was just really neat, and he was so humble and was just crying throughout his prayer. The spirit was so strong. I'm excited to go to them this week and see how the fast went for them. And hopefully they should be getting their certificate this week. So we'll see:)
      Then we have these other group of investigators that are just so fun to teach, Milene, Aylene, and Maryjane. They all live together, and all of their husbands are brothers. So it would be like Jasen, Ryan, and Kip all living in one small house with all of their wives, and then all of their wives being taught by the missionaries while the husbands are working. One of the husbands is actually a member but less active. But these pictures that I'll attach are from one day we went to teach them, and we found them at the beach:) haha Their house is super close to the beach. They love to go find shells and then cook them. That's actually where I ate my first shells is at their house. And then they have two kids each so six little kids running around. And they actually attended church for the 4th Sunday in a row:) So that was really exciting! They just, of course, have their own concerns right now that need to be worked out first. But we have a lot of fun teaching them and seeing them slowly change.


      Then we have Sharly which he has a lot of obstacles he needs to get over before he wants to get baptized, but he has a desire and a strong faith. He shared with us this last week that when his sister, Myla, got baptized his parents weren't happy with it at all and kind of treated her differently and still to this day say stuff about her. He doesn't want that for him. So he's worried about what his parents will think. He's 23, and sometimes reminds me a little bit of Kip:) hehe. Also there’s a branch missionary in my branch that reminds me a lot of Ryan. I just realized that today, and it's kind of weird. Anywho those are some of our investigators right now.
     So it's been a good week. We actually probably had dinner appointments every night this week which is very rare here in Palawan. Usually it’s just once a week at the branch president’s house. But it's a good way to get to know the members in your branch.
      I think that's about all for today. Hope we can get everything figured out with the phone call. I'll probably end up getting a calling card and calling you for five minutes tomorrow to figure everything out. I sure am excited!:) Well I love you all so much and thanks for the updates. Take care.

Mahal ko Kayo,
Sister Stromberg


. . . just the best feeling!

Happy MAY!
     More pictures?  I think I should receive some pictures in order to send some;)  haha jk.  It's been quite the weekend in Santa Monica branch for me.  On Saturday we were put in charge of the Primary activity (as we don't have enough to worry about, right?). So we had to teach them self reliance.  Sister Peterson, the couple missionary here, helped us out and gave us some ideas, so we did a scavenger hunt with them and then taught them from the objects that they found.  And it was actually really fun teaching little kids.  We got one of our investigators, Rejina, to come and bring her two kids.  I even had a chance to play basketball for just a few minutes with all of the little kids:) haha  It was so fun. They think I'm a giant though.
     Then that night we had a missionary come back from his mission, and we did a little return home party/program for him at the church.  On Sunday I had the great opportunity to speak in church, being the new missionary in the branch.  I was given the topic of the 'True and Living Church' which, could that have been more broad?  But I ended up only having about 8 minutes so it wasn't a lot more than sharing my testimony and reading a quote from PMG.  So yeah I just felt like we did a whole lot with our branch this weekend. 
     Then our branch wants to go to this waterfall next p-day with all the branch missionaries which will be fun.  I'm excited!  We really do have such a fun branch. We're getting a new Branch Mission Leader probably next week because our leader right now is becoming the Elders Quorum president because we currently don't have one... I don't really know how that works.  But yeah good things are happening in our branch. 
     We got a less active member, Marvin, to work with us yesterday who is actually an RM but just is always too busy with his work.  He took us to his mom who is also less active, and when we try to visit her, she always hides.  I don't know if this is the same in all missions, but here if people don't want to listen to us, they just hide.  Even if we see them and they see us at first, they'll just turn around and hide in their house like we didn't see them.  But we finally got to talk to her, and we just talked and got to know each other. She had a bad experience with missionaries before and was offended so that's part of the reason. But yeah it was kind of exciting. We're excited to go back to her. There have actually been quite a few members who were offended by missionaries before who weren't respectful and have made it hard for us.  But we're working on building trust back.  We actually had two other RM's work with us yesterday too, and it was a lot of fun.  Although they outnumbered us missionaries, it was fun to have them come with us. 
     We visited Sharly, who is a guy even though it sounds like a girl, but he's 23, and he's very sharp. He's one of our investigators that has a baptismal date.  Well we had to teach him the law of chastity yesterday, and we didn't really want to because we're like the same age. It's just weird sometimes teaching about that with a boy your same age so we had the branch missionaries all teach him it, and it was so good.  He opened up to them and asked questions to them that I know he wouldn't have asked us if it were just us there.  So yeah yesterday was a lot of fun working with them. 
     Also yesterday at church we had ten investigators!!:)  It's just the best feeling in the world to see our investigators exercise their faith and make it to church!  And Marvin came also for the first time.  So yeah the week ended really good.  I don't really remember the first part too well. Our branch had a youth camp where YSA also went with them to some beach, so we had no branch missionaries or no fellowshippers to help us for like four days.  But it looked like they had fun.  We have dinner at our branch president's house every Friday night, and so Friday his daughter showed us some pictures.  Their daughter actually married some Jenkins kid from South Jordan, I think a couple weeks ago in the Salt Lake temple. 
     Anyway, I think this e-mail is all over the place. Sometimes that happens.  But to answer some questions now . . . There's not a stake on Palawan yet. I think Sister Stucki was telling me they need four good-sized branches for a stake.  So we're getting there. The churches here are nice, not quite like ours at home, but they're nice.  There is another Zone here in Palawan, Nara, and there they just have meeting houses. I honestly don't know what they're like, but everything in Nara is more ghetto with no power and I don't even know.  Then there's this island Coron that they have two elders on, that is part of our Zone, but we never see them.  Then, in our zone we have 10 in our district, 4 in another district that we don't really see very often because they live a ways away, and then those 2 elders on Coron that we never see. And yes 15 investigators are a lot, but some are families or live together so that helps.  Almost all of the baptismal dates are May 26 right now, haha so we might have a really big baptism day. We'll see what happens. Baptisms can either be in the ocean, river, or a font.  I think they're mostly just performed in the fonts in the chapels, but it's up to the investigators.  The other week the elders had a baptism in a river.  
     The people here eat a lot of fish, of course, and adobo.  That's all that they really serve here. They have shells that they get out of the ocean, and they use needles to get the flesh out of them, and we eat that . . . that was kind of interesting, but it's somewhat tasty.  We do still get letters and packages at least once a month because the Zone leaders fly back to the main land for ZLC at least once a month and get our letters there and bring them back.  Then yep I never actually met Elder Soule until he was there that Sunday with his parents.  So, no, I don't know him. But his dad was really friendly and actually works with some company that does stuff with ICON and knows Fred Beck.  Small world!  As for rice beetles, I don't think I have seen any, but we have HUGE cockroaches in our apartment.  

TEXT:  My wife and I had the distinct pleasure of getting to know your daughter 
this morning at the chapel in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. [She] looks good
and is making a meaningful impact here.  All the best, Jon Soules 4/14/12
     I'm out of time.  Love you all so much!  Anywho, have a good week!  Take care!

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Stromberg