Work, work, work

Magandang Hapon Fam!
     So yes, Dad, you're right; another transfer down.  We haven't heard anything yet today which pretty much means that I'm not transferring.  They would have told me if I needed to start packing or what not.  So
yes, I'm really glad because I'm definitely not ready to leave my great branch yet.  I'm thinking maybe one more transfer here. 
     This week wasn't that eventful actually.  Just the same old work, work, work. Elder Halterman in our Branch is getting transferred so we had dinner at the Montilla's house last night and celebrated his birthday even though it's not until july.  Yes Janeth relayed the message that she was chatting with you, Mom.  I was jealous of her of course.  We also did splits yesterday, and it was a really good day.  I had this cute older sister, Nanay Benetez work with me, and she's so sweet. 
     We went to one of our investigators Brother and Sister Bombase, and it was such a good lesson.  Sister came to church yesterday for the first time, and she really liked it.  Then after I taught half of the Plan of Salvation, we got to extend a baptismal date to them. Her only concern was... oh no what if I don't have a budget for a baptism? haha She thought she needed to buy a lot of food and have a party because that's what they do here in the Catholic church.  It was pretty funny.  Then she was just so sweet and expressed how grateful she was for us.  Another concern was she kept asking if we would still come back to her after she got baptized.  They also installed a ceiling fan in their house and said it was just for us when we come to visit.  haha It was so cute.  They're just this older 60+ couple that are so sweet.  I'm excited to see them progress. 
     Then we had a little let down this last week with Maryjane and her husband, Nic.  We went to teach them (their goal date is July 14), and Brother had been drinking that night:(  Man I got the worse feeling when I saw that.  He told us it was just a little shot, and he still wanted us to teach him, but we can't if they've been drinking.  But we ended up just discussing that this is Satan trying to get to him before his baptism, and he was actually really sad and very sincerely told us he was really sorry.  So it was sad, but at the same time maybe a good turning point for him.  Then they were at church on Sunday, and Brother looked so happy to be there.  So yeah they're coming.  We have a good investigator pool right now and continue to find new ones.  It just is a very slow progressing process for all of them towards baptism.  But they're progressing, and that's what's important. 
     So yeah that's about all I have for today.  This weekend they have this service day where the whole town participates and plants trees and different things so I'm excited for that.  They say it's off in a mountain, and then at night they have a bunch of pop stars come and sing at a concert.  Of course we will just help for a couple hours in the morning with service and miss all the activities.  But it will be fun, none the less. 
     To answer Mom's questions on the language:  Filipinos all study English in school.  All their classes are in English, and they can't speak Tagalog.  So they all know English if they go to high school.  But no one likes speaking English.  Some people actually won't talk to me because they're afraid they'll have to speak English, and then when I speak Tagalog, they get this huge look of relief and surprise.  Then they happily talk to me in Tagalog.  So as far as lessons it's all in Tagalog.  And I don't have problems with the language.  Sometimes there are some vocabulary words I'm not familiar with, but I can just ask, and then they explain it so no problem. 
     Bets, thanks for the experience you shared with me.  That's really neat.  That's one thing we've done this transfer is give out more Book of Mormons than I probably have any other transfer, and it's awesome.  We went through a whole box so fast because we've really been focusing on the Book of Mormon.  It's great! 
     So yeah Jasen and Bethany have fun with your anniversary, and, Kip and Nicole, I can't believe it's been a year!  All of you have fun!  Take care, and I look forward to hearing from you all next week.  Have a good one:)  Love you all a lot.
Mahal ko kayo!!
Sister Stromberg


Find joy in the little simple things

Happy Father's Day!!
     Dad, I kind of forgot so you're just going to have to get this a day late. But I hope you had a good day! I was definitely thinking of you yesterday and how it was too bad that I didn't get to call and talk to you like I did on Mother's Day. So even though I'm far away, just remember I was thinking about you, and I love you, Dad! :)
     Then you have to tell Hannah Banana, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” I can't believe that girl is three years old! Man, she's getting big so fast! Tell her that I love her please! And, J, I'm holding you to what you said and want to see pictures next week and hear how the party was. I'm sure Bethany had it all decked out cute with a cute cake and all.
     So I told you about the huge festival that was going on in Palawan last week, and last Tuesday they gave the night to the church and had an LDS night. So that was a lot of fun. We didn't get to see it all because we had worked, and then we had curfew. But the part we were there for was a lot of fun. Filipinos love to dance! It's great. They just find joy in the little simple things that don't cost money . . . because they don't have money. So the youth love all getting together and learning dances so that's mostly what the program was made up of. And they are all way good, and you can tell they're just having a blast. The finale was actually one girl in our branch doing a fire dance. We didn't get to watch it because it was after our curfew, but Janeth videod it and showed us:) It was sweet!
     Then this weekend President Stucki and Sister were here again for a training on Saturday and then a District conference on Sunday. We were asked to translate at the training if the leaders didn't understand, but really we pretty much just sat there because they understand a lot of English. Then the conference on Sunday was really neat. They broadcasted it to all of the Philippines. I'm not really sure where the speakers actually were, but it was Sister Ann Dibbs, one of the members of the Presiding Bishopric, and then Elder L. Tom Perry. It was neat because Elder Perry and Sister Dibbs had been to the Philippines sometime this last year, and so they included parts in their talks that they knew about the Philippines. They are really focusing on the youth right now getting them to serve missions. There is a large number of mission-aged men in the Philippines, but only 2% of them are on missions. Sister Stucki also mentioned that this next transfer we have a lot of missionaries leaving our mission, and there aren't very many at all coming in and how we're losing a lot. So that's really sad to hear because that means they'll have to close down areas in which missionaries have been working so hard. So that's a big focus right now. Then they also talked a lot about families figuring out a way to get to the temple. So yeah it was a good conference. 
     Then other than that we've just been working, working, working. We went on splits yesterday because we had a lot of appointments in all of our areas, and that was fun. I had three members come with me, and we had a good time. It was awesome because I wanted to go into this new area to find some new less actives, and then Jade who was with me actually was really good friends with one of the less active members there, and so it turned out to be a really neat lesson. She got really emotional telling him how much she missed him at church and how she knew Heavenly Father missed seeing him at church even more. It was neat. We'll have to see how we can help him come back.

       So yeah that's about all I have for last week. Later today we are meeting up with our investigators, Maryjane and Ailyn, and going to the beach to find shells and cook them for dinner and then have an FHE there! They have on their calendar the days where the water’s the best for getting shells, and they told us later around 4 there will be a ton of shells. So that's kind of exciting! With Maryjane, her husband came to church for the second time in a row yesterday so they're continuing to progress! That's really exciting:) So we'll just have to keep teaching and help him gain a testimony, and they'll be ready for their baptism in July!

     Well I hope you all had a good week and enjoyed the birthday/Father's Day party in Payson! Happy Father's day to Ry guy for the first time:) That's kind of weird... and exciting:) haha. Oh and I need Ry and Bet's address ASAP! I wanted to send a card for Bet's birthday yesterday while the AP's were here, but I didn't have an address. So it might just get there way after your birthday... sorry:) What can ya do!
     Oh and a couple questions... Mom, the Standard of Excellence is in Preach My Gospel, and it's just the number of member present lessons, RCLA lessons, new investigators, etc., etc. you need to strive to get each week. It's different for every mission. As far as bread, yeah it was in a bakery that they made it. The people that have ovens are those who own a bakery or sell bread in little stands. But it's very rare! But their bread that's kind of like rolls here is SO good! The weather right now is supposedly raining season, but this past week it hasn't really rained at all. So I'm kind of confused . . . who knows? It's just really hot like always. Usually even when it's raining, it's still hot, and I'm still sweating. How does that work? Then Dad, we have bunk beds in our apartment. Oh and Kipper, . . . that name didn't really sound familiar. Maybe I'd just have to see his face, and I'd know who he was. I think that's all. All of you have a great week! I love you and appreciate you all so much. Ingat palagi!

Mahal na mahal ko kayo lahat,
Sister Stromberg


Pinakamamahal na pamilya,
     Wow, I can't believe Kels is married. That's crazy. But she looks way pretty, and I'm super happy for her. If you see her or her family, tell her that for me:)
     So this week was quite the treat for our zone here in Puerto Princesa. President Stucki flew all of the couple missionaries out from our mission for a few days. The day that they got here they put together a fireside Thursday night for all the members and investigators that could make it. We watched a church film "Only a Stonecutter" or something like that, that was really good. Then one spouse from each couple shared their conversion story. Out of all them that shared, only one of them was born into the church. And there were just some of the neatest stories. There's just really a special spirit that comes when converts get an opportunity to share their conversion stories. And it was just really powerful. I love it because there are not two conversion stories that are the same. Each is so personal and so neat. So we were lucky to be there for that neat fireside.
     Then the couples all got to go to the underground river the next day. I don't know if I've told you about that yet, but it's a BIG deal here in Palawan. It just recently got announced as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and that's the biggest reason that foreigners come to Palawan. And it just happens to be in our area too:), but the only way that we can go is if our zone reaches like 75% of our standard of excellence or something which I don't think is happening anytime soon. So that's just something we'll have to go to when we come back, huh?:) It's in my area but two hours away from the parts that we are working in each day. Our area is huge!
     So as far as work this week, not a lot changed. We're finding new less active members, and through that, we've found some new investigators as well. We had a lot of less active members say they would come back to church yesterday, but... that didn't happen. You know why? Well yesterday was my first time experiencing the day of a... Mani Pacquio (sp?) fight. I'm sure my brothers have heard of him. He's the world’s best boxer, and he's Filipino and a HUGE deal here. So yeah needless to say there were a lot missing at church yesterday. But what can ya do. We'll just have to see what next Sunday brings.
     We have this new older couple we've been teaching, the Bombase family, and when we taught them yesterday, sister expressed how she felt something different when we first taught her and how she believes everything that we've taught her. We tried giving her a baptismal date, but she said she wants to go to church first. She said that the reason she didn't yesterday is because she had no skirt, and she was embarrassed. But she said she's going to buy one Friday so she can come this next week. I'm excited about them. Her husband is old and kind of seems like he doesn't understand everything, but he's super nice and will do what his wife does. haha.
     The Peanar family are still just slowly moving along. Maryjane's husband did come to church yesterday, so that was really neat seeing them all together as a whole family! So they're coming. The Lord just likes testing my patience, I guess.
     Then we also had another family, the Bedonia family which is a mom and a dad and their cutest little girl Daniella. She's eight, and she's adorable. She loves the Book of Mormon and wants to get baptized. One time when we came, she was so excited to tell us she memorized a scripture. I'll include a picture of her. She's in the peach dress:) I just love her! So yeah that's just a little of what is going on in our area.
     Then earlier today Janeth took us to a couple of neat places in Santa Monica. One was at the top of this mountain where we could overlook our huge area and see the ocean, and it was really pretty. Then another place they had all this homemade bread, and I got banana bread!!! I was so stoked! I'm not going to lie; I miss American food! As much as I love Filipino food, man I can't wait to drink milk again!! haha not complaining, just a comment. So yeah life is great.
     Oh I have a scripture for you all. So in our last zone conference someone (I don't remember who it was) told us to read D&C 31 and substitute my name instead of Thomas. It's a really good chapter! And it also mentions Gabe, Hannah, Cameron, and Aiden:) haha You have to read it.
     So yeah that's about all for today. I hope you all have a great week. It's Independence day here tomorrow, so it will be fun to see what that brings. You all take care. Thanks for the e-mails and the updates. I love you all so much and pray for you always! Tell Grandma Smith that I'm worried about her and will be praying for her!

Mahal ko kayo lahat!
Sister Stromberg


. . . slowly rising

Hello Family!
     Thank you all for your e-mails and your words of encouragement. I always am overwhelmed with gratitude for such a great family who supports me and loves me so much. I couldn't have been sent to a better family.

     The other day we ran into the cutest 8 year old girl. She actually asked us to come with her to her house so we could share with her and her mom. So we followed her over close by the beach, going through the unknown, stepping over barbed wire until we got to this cute little bamboo hut in the middle of nowhere. Anyway she was just so cute, and she and her mom seem interested. But her mom said that her husband doesn't want them to go to church because they're Catholic (not that they go to church or anything). Then we found out the real problem was the huge stack of beer bottles that Brother doesn't want to give up. But anyways I was talking to this cute little girl Rasel, and she's the only girl of five. I told her I was the only girl of four, and she got all serious and asked me if I ever wished I could just have a sister. haha It was the cutest thing ever. And I reassured her that when you're little, it might be a pain living with all boys, but it's all worth it when you're older:) haha.
     I don't have a whole lot to tell you about this week actually. We're just trudging right along. It will be interesting actually what happens this week because kids are going back to school this week and the next. So we'll see how things change and who we can get to work with us and such.
     Oh but there was one thing that happened this last week that was such a blessing. Maryjane, our investigator (one of the three sisters-in-law), is so ready to be baptized and just understands everything so well and has a testimony. But her one concern is that she wants to wait for her husband to get baptized with her and her son. Well her husband Nic is always working, and every time we've tried to teach him, he's been gone or busy. Well this last week they moved... surprise, surprise another investigator moving. But this time just to another place in our area. When we went to their house, there was Nic, and he actually came and sat and listened to our lesson. We were able to teach a neat lesson about families. Then we returned last night, and to our surprise he was there again, and we taught him again and were able to set a baptismal date for all three of them to get baptized in July which is just a huge turn around for Maryjane's husband. So as long as we can continue to teach brother, we'll be able to help their whole family come unto Christ. Man we were just so excited for that. I know it wasn't an accident that they moved back to their own home because there just wasn't a chance to teach him before. The Lord is working with this family, and I'm so excited to be there as an instrument in his hand! So that was probably the most exciting thing that happened this week.
     We had a branch FHE Friday night which was fun. They decided they want to do that once a month for the branch to grow closer together and hopefully get some Less Actives and Investigators there so they have a chance to get to know them. We also had a couple situations this last week where some less active sisters just broke down to us in tears because they were experiencing some really hard times in their lives. We were able to share with them about the atonement, and we gave them a copy of the talk Elder Bednar gave in this last month’s Ensign about the Atonement that is SO good. If you haven't read it yet, you should read it! And I just love teaching about the atonement especially with less active members because they understand it, they just need to be reminded of it.
     So that was my week here in Palawan. The rollercoaster is slowly rising, Kipper, but that's okay because I know that's what I need. We do have a neat fireside this Thursday where all the couple missionaries in our mission and President and Sister Stucki are coming to Palawan and speaking. So I'm excited to hear from them. It's also for all the members/investigators as well here. So that'll be great. I love you all so much and pray for you all each night. Thank you all for the prayers as well. Hope you all have a great week! Count your many blessings!! Take care.

Mahal na mahal ko kayo lahat!
Sister Stromberg