. . . 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

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