Magandang Umaga family:)
     So this last week we were blessed to have interviews with President Stucki again. It is so good to have a little time to just sit and talk with President, even if it's not very long. He's such a humble, loving man, and I'm learning a lot from him. This time for interviews we shared something that we've learned lately in our personal studies, and it was fun sharing with him and then hearing what he had to share. Then we just kind of chatted a little. I was telling him how much I love my area and how the people here in Palawan are SO receptive to the gospel, and everyone wants to hear our message. Then after I told him that and more, he said, "Well, Sister, I'm not sure how much longer the Lord will let you stay here." Ah man!! I don't know if that means I get one more transfer or one more week... I guess we'll just have to wait and see. It will be SUPER hard to leave my branch and investigators here, but then again it will be good to help others here in the Philippines. SO we'll just have to wait a week to see what the Lord has in store for me. But it is really weird thinking about leaving this beautiful island! The time I've had here has gone by SO fast!

     This week was a really good one. We had a dinner appointment almost every night which is very rare here in our area. But one of our less active families that we've just gotten really close to wanted to make us dinner. Then Nanay Padrigo who is also less active and who we've been working with for awhile, it was her birthday so she made a bunch of food, and it was so much fun. She's a little ornery bugger sometimes but also is just so fun, and when you get her laughing, she is just so funny. I just love her:) We also brought some members with us to the birthday dinner, and you could tell that she really enjoyed seeing them.
     Then I had a really neat experience yesterday. So Sundays we always have to go on splits because we have a million and one appointments we have to try and make it to. It's hard because a lot of families are only home on Sunday, and we want to try and teach them when they're complete. Anyway I was trying to decide who to go to because I knew we wouldn't make it to probably half of the people we planned for, and I was having a tough time deciding who should be priority. Then the thought came to my mind that I should go to Tatay and Nanay Bombase which is funny because I asked their son just the day before when Nanay would get back from Manila. He said not till Monday, but I just felt that I needed to go there even if it was just Tatay. Well turns out Nanay had gotten back Thursday, and after we were in the middle of the lesson, she said that she had prayed earlier today that the sisters would make it to their house. So yeah the spirit is awesome, and it's so neat when you can feel it working through you. What a privilege that is as a missionary! Then as we are teaching them, man, they are just so prepared and excited to get baptized. She has to go back to Manila Aug 20 so she said "Sisters, if you would agree to it, I would really like it if you would come to us twice a week" which made me laugh. Before when we asked when we could come, they said they were only available on Sundays. And now she was asking us if we were willing to come more than once... OF COURSE! haha. So yes, I can tell she's just going to keep progressing, and I'm so excited for them. I'll have to send you a picture of them next week with Sister Stonick's camera.
     I gave my camera to a member of Sister Culango's branch that fixes cameras as her job so we'll see what happens. They have a bunch of good cameras here, so if all else fails, I'll just do that.
     As far as Nic and Maryjane, Maryjane is ready but is waiting for Nic to give up smoking completely, and he has to abstain from that for a month. So their new baptismal date is in September, and I'm sure they'll make this one happen. Man, sometimes this whole baptism thing is a LONG process! haha But hey salvation isn't an easy process! So yeah missionary work is just going, going, going, not a whole lot different is happening right now, but it's still just moving right along. No complaints:)
     We have a couple fun CSP's this week that I'm really excited about. You'll have to wait for next week to hear about them. 
     So I hope you all have a great week. Travel safely to Tennessee, and make sure you tell Cameron his favorite aunt is over in the Philippines and loves him:) Take pictures! Oh and I was thinking earlier today we should all go to San Diego next summer for vacation... (lots of Filipinos there:) ) Well I love you all so much! Thanks for the updates. Gabey and Hannah, I love you and am glad you are having fun this summer! Gabey, of course I know Harry Potter:) Thanks for the little notes! Well, talk to you next week:) LOVE you all!

Mahal ko kayo siyempre,
Sister Stromberg


Noticed how powerful Satan is

Kmusta Family!
     Man I can't believe that August is just around the corner.  Time flies!  Before we know it, I'm going to hit my year mark which just blows my mind!  But we won't talk about that.

     So this week was kind of a crazy week!  I told you that we went to Sabang last week, but Monday night after we e-mailed, I actually ended up getting really sick!  My stomach was throwing fits, and I threw up. I'm pretty sure it was something that I ate in Sabang.  We ate at a buffet so who knows?  It was not fun:(  And then for the rest of the week, I had to be really sensitive to what I ate, and my stomach still kind of bothered me.  But I'm alright now, thank goodness.  So man that's twice now here in Palawan I've gotten sick from food.  And that's the last time too, I decided. 
     So yesterday at church we had an exciting thing happen.  We had two members that we've been working with, Brother Angel Manabat, and his daughter Princess return back to activity!:) That's always so excited when the 4th Sunday comes around, and you can start calling them active instead of less active!  We are actually doing an FHE with them later today which I'm really excited for. 
     Yesterday at church we actually had a lot of less actives come to church, including some that came to church for the first time!  It was really awesome.  Especially this one, Melinda, because we've been working with her for a while now, and she has told us that she goes to church at the Catholic church now.  Well it was really out of the blue because we didn't even get to visit her this last week, but she was at church and we were so excited to see her! 
     Then with our investigators, Maryjane and Nic, are still just coming along.  The baptism will have to wait until Nic has given up his smoking, and once he does that they'll be set!  Maryjane and Renz could be baptized anytime, but we want their whole family to do it together. I'm guessing it will happen in August. 
     We have this couple, Salome and Ruel, we've been working with trying to get them ready for baptism, but their problem is they're not yet married (and they have a cute little boy, Jeffery).  Well yesterday Sister Binetez and I went and visited them when we were on splits, and man they opened up and told me ALL of their problems and why they're not yet married and man they have a lot to figure out!  It was so much more than we thought.  And let me just tell you, I've noticed more on my mission how powerful Satan is.  He's throwing all different temptations at families to weaken and destroy them, and it makes me so, so sad.  As I was sharing with them yesterday, I couldn't help but just break down in tears as I felt a little bit of what our Heavenly Father feels when he sees what Satan is doing to families and sees his children suffer here on earth. I've seen so many different situations here how families can be attacked by temptations, and it's just really so sad.  It just makes me really grateful for the strong family that I have and all of your testimonies.  It makes me so happy to know that we're all active in the church.  I'm lucky to have such good examples from each of my brothers of the families you are all raising in the church.  Man, it was just quite the lesson, to say the least.  So yeah that's probably my story for the week. 
     The sisters in Bayan had a baptism this last weekend that we went to because I've gotten to know the mom, Jessica, and her daughter Ella from different activities, and they are just so sweet.  Actually Jessica's mother and father-in-law are actually two of our investigators and have a baptismal date in September.  There’s also the Bombases that I told you about, the older couple.  The only problem there is Sister Bombase has been in Manila for about a month now so that puts a hault to progression... But the baptism was so neat!  Sister Jessica bore just the neatest testimony, and I was happy to be a part of it.  So yeah that's about all I have for you today.
     Life is just as crazy here!  We never have enough time for all the things that we need to do!  I have a to-do list a mile long and just never have the time:(  But that's life!  I love you all so much, and thanks for the e-mail and support palagi.  Take care and hopefully this week will be a little calmer for you.  Happy Pioneer Day:)

Mahal ko kau lahat!
Sister Stromberg

-Oh and the picture of the manikin, I don't know if I've told you this already, but very often people tell me that I look like a manikin... I don't know if that's a compliment or what to think of that.  So I decided I should start taking pictures of my look-alikes:)  haha.


A Blonde Filipina Missionary Who Loves You

Hello Family!
     So I'll just start off my letter saying my branch is so great! Ever since we had that area broadcast back in January for the whole Philippines to focus on rescuing the less active members, that changed missionary work here in the Philippines. And one of the goals they came out with is every member needs to "rescue the one," meaning find one member who has gone less active and take them as your responsibility and help them return to activity. Well just recently our Visiting Teacher supervisor made a "rescue team" list of RS sisters and then made a list of members that needed to be rescued. Then yesterday we started the rescuing and rounded together eight sisters, which for the first time is a good size number, and sent out the troops. Haha, they're so great. Then because we had this going on after church, everyone brought food, and we just all gathered around in one of the rooms and ate. It was just so fun, to be honest probably my favorite part of this week. Just after church having a chance to chat with all the members and eat and joke and laugh together. Last night as I was thinking about that, I realized how hard it will be to leave this branch. Like usual though, right? . . . that's missionary work.
     Then last night we got to go eat at our district president's house, Pres. Masquera, and, man, it was so delicious! He had all kinds of fish, shrimp, seaweed, pineapple, bananas, and lots more.  I don't know if I have anything else out of the ordinary that happened this last week.
     Monday for P-day Sister Peterson took us to this native weaving place here on Palawan where they weave all kinds of placemats, table runners, bags, all kinds of things. Then we got to weave as well while we were there.
     Earlier today we had our zone activity (We have one each transfer.), and we went out to Sabang. It's two hours away and is actually our area believe it or not. But today was probably the first and last time going there even if it is in our area because it's too far away. But it is SO beautiful there! That's where the underground river is, but we're not allowed to go to the underground river, so we just went to the beach close to it. We just took pictures, played games, shared FHE ideas with each other, ate at a buffet, and then headed back.
     Oh and probably the saddest part about how beautiful it was is... my camera broke yesterday  :( so no pictures, but I'll get some from my companion. So yeah I'll either have to take my camera in to see if they can fix it or buy a new one:(  I might need you to put some money in my account. Yeah I dropped it in the church on accident, and I think that's what messed it up. Shame, shame, shame!
     As far as investigators... I feel like we're kind of at a lull right now. Yesterday was my first time here in Palawan where we had... 0 investigators at church. So that was sad, but it was also raining, and as I've told you before, if there's rain on Sunday, people don't want to leave their house. Even members will sometimes stay home because of the rain. Our attendance all together was really low yesterday at church. But that's okay; this week we'll work even harder, and things will start to go back up again.
     Hmmm, I really can't think of anything else that happened this week. I did get a lot of letters this week because it was Zone Leaders Conference on the mainland so when the ZL's came back, we got mail. And you need to thank Misti Smith for me. I don't know if I've mentioned it, but she writes me notes regularly! She's almost up there with Uncle Randy! I probably receive mail from both of them every time we get mail here in Palawan, but I usually get 2 or 3 at one time from Uncle Randy:) haha.
     Take care and know that there's a blonde filipina missionary across the world who loves you all and prays for you daily! Thanks for all the support! Have a good week:)

Mahal ko po kayo lahat!






Ah, Word of Wisdom

     So it's been quite the week! I got electrocuted this week... haha I don't know why that's the first thing that came to my mind, but yeah it happened at a CSP. We went to a less-active home where the dad only has one arm and one leg, so his little girl, Michelle, does the laundry. That's the reason they said it's hard to get to church. So we went and helped her out (even though they still didn't come to church on Sunday). But anyway, my foot was wet, and I was walking across their floor. There was a cord that had broken open in this little spot, and I just happened to step on it. WEIRDEST feeling ever! It was for a couple seconds, but yeah, there was just an electrical current that shook through my whole body for a couple seconds. WEIRD! But I'm okay don't worry.

     For the 4th of July we actually did another CSP at a less-active member’s home who I've gotten really close with, Renie Rose. She's super, super poor. They have no power, and live in this little bamboo hut. She's pregnant, and she makes this "Bukio" everyday to earn money. She gets coconuts and grates it and then cooks it over a fire for a good three hours with water and sugar, and it like crystallizes and is really yummy. But it's a lot of work scraping/grating the coconut so that was our service project to help her. That was our celebration for the 4th, I guess.
     We also had a branch FHE this last Friday where we gave out a Book of Mormon to everyone and challenged them to give it out and then the next FHE share experiences what happened when they gave it out. I also shared my story with all of them about giving out a Book of Mormon at Jacob Lake. Then we also performed a talent later in the FHE. I played the guitar, and Sister Stonick and I sang. It was a lot of fun.
     Then with our investigators we had quite the week with the Peanar family! Wednesday we went to visit Maryjane and Nic, and our plan was to kind of finalize baptismal plans with them when we found out that Maryjane still hadn't given up coffee all the way and Nic still had a problem with smoking. Man, to be honest, I was SO bummed! My heart just sunk when they told us that because I was so sure they'd be getting baptized on July 14. Well, we had a really good lesson and committed them again to follow the Word of Wisdom. We reset their date for August 4 (which might be my last weekend here in Palawan). We told them that they have to stop now to make this happen. When we came back on Saturday to them, Maryjane told us that she completely stopped drinking coffee and has spent the past two days throwing up and throwing up and just lying down with a headache and stomach ache and all. MAN, what a SACRIFICE!! It was so awesome to see her faith and her desire! Although she had been really sick, you could tell she was also really happy to be sacrificing for the Lord. She also is seeing why God gave us that commandment because of how addicted she was to coffee and how bad it is for her. She said that she knew if she would just drink a little, she would feel so much better, but she resisted. She also told us that her neighbors asked her if she was pregnant:) haha. Then Nic said that he has now halved the number of cigarettes he is using and hopefully will get there soon. So yeah progression there for sure!
     And they are more than active in our branch. I think Maryjane has gone every week for three months now. Yesterday our Branch Mission Leader was welcoming the investigators by name, and he forgot Maryjane. I mentioned that to him, and he said, “Well she's just always here. She's a regular now.” haha That made me laugh.
     Then we went to Rico Peanar (brother of Nic) who’s a less-active member on Friday and got to share with him. He's always sleeping when we go there because he's a tricycle driver and works through the night. We were given the opportunity to teach him and only him because Milene was sick, and I know this wasn't an accident. He totally opened up to us and told us an experience he had when his mom died and an unanswered prayer and different things. We had such a good lesson, and he flat out told us, “Sisters I will make sure I'm at church this week.” SO good! So yes I just feel such a connection with this whole Peanar family and feel the spirit so strong when we teach them. I also just feel so strong that now is the time for all of them, and good things are on their way for this wonderful family! If anything pray for this family! I would love to be here to see them be baptized, but even if I'm not, I know it will happen at the right time, and many blessing will come their way.
     Then the other investigators... well they’re coming. The golden family Ry asked about, they weren't at their house this week so we'll just see:) We have been getting lots of referrals lately which is so awesome, and so we've also gotten a lot of new investigators. I don't know if I've said this before, but the people here in Palawan are SO receptive to our message! Everyone is so nice, and everyone wants to listen! It's so easy to find new investigators that want to hear our message. People talk about doors getting slammed on them and people not wanting anything to do with missionaries, and I haven't experienced that here in Palawan at all. I had it a little in Carmona, but here it's just amazing. They need to get more missionaries here!
     Ah, so yeah, I think that's about all for today.  Oh and, yes, my flip-flop did break at Cagueban. It was very, very muddy, and my slippers kept getting stuck, and then it just broke. So I hiked with one shoe.
     Have a good week all of you! Thanks for all that you do for me. I love you all so much:) This work is amazing! I love seeing people change, and I love seeing our branch change and grow little by little. What a privilege it is to help out such amazing, humble people. Take care! Ingat palagi!

Mahal ko kayo lahat,
Sister Stromberg



Happy 4th of July!!!
     So you'll never guess what ended up happening on transfer day: Sister Campoto, one of the sisters I've been living with for the last two transfers, got transferred back to the mainland (meaning I'm the sister that's been here in Palawan the longest now). And you'll never guess who arrived here Wednesday... to my pleasant surprise... my NANAY! (mother) Sister Culango!!:) Man, I'm sure as you can guess I was so happy to see her! I've missed her a lot, and, as I told you back when we were transferred, we just became the best of friends. So yeah after 4 1/2 months of not seeing each other, it was quite the reunion when she got off the plane. It's kind of crazy to think out of all the sisters in the mission, only four get to be assigned in Palawan at a time, and somehow my trainer and I ended up here at the same time. Who would have thought!
Sister Stromberg & Sister Culango together again but in Palawan!
     Then, yes we had Caguiban this last week or also called the Feast of the Forest. It's this huge event here in Puerto Princesa where everyone hikes to this mountain, and then everyone plants a tree/trees. So the rivers that you saw from Janeth, I'm guessing, were just the hike up to the mountain. They took huge, army looking trucks just full of people up, and then there were tons of people just walking. It was madness! It lasted all day and ended with a concert and such, but we were just there a couple hours in the morning to help out and then had to work, of course. It was a lot of fun! The Santa Monica elders couldn't join because Elder Nielson actually caught Dengue. Poor elder! So yes because it is raining season there are even more mosquitoes, and we have to be really careful.
     Oh and with the transfers, before it was every four transfers, but the last couple sisters have only been here three so who knows what it will be. They usually have at least one sister leave and one come each transfer so because I've been here the longest, there's a good chance this will be my last here. Man, how time flies!! Oh and, Mom, from your story... who is Kirby?!?!
     As far as investigators, we had the neatest lesson with Maryjane, Nic and Renz this last week. We taught the restoration for the first time to Nic, and then it was just a review for Maryjane and Renz. Renz is only 11 years old but remembered almost all of it including all about the apostacy, and man I was so impressed. We taught them a while ago too when Sister Afu was here. But anyway I got to share the First Vision with them which is one of my favorite things to share. And after I shared, we asked Sister Maryjane how she felt, and she explained that her heart was beating really fast. It was really neat for me because that's exactly how I feel when I feel the Holy Ghost so I got to share that with her, and it was a neat connection. You could tell she was really touched. Then she got serious and asked us, “. . . Sisters, from what you've noticed do you think I'm ready for baptism?” And man, she's so ready! She's actually been ready for quite some time; the only thing that's holding her back is she doesn't feel ready. She wants to learn ALL about the church first. But yeah it was just a really neat, neat lesson. And Nic is understanding more and more and says he believes Joseph Smith is a true prophet. So yeah they're getting close for sure! Their goal date was July 14, but due to some word of wisdom problems we're moving it back a week. But if everything works out, it should be July 21. I'm so excited for them though! It's going to happen!:)

     Then our others are coming as well, just a slow process. Our older couple, the Bombases, have been out of town so no update on them. We did splits again yesterday (we do almost every Sunday), and it was me and four other branch missionaries. Haha kind of crazy with that many but really fun as well. One of them, Mhelgar, should be getting ready to go on his mission but hasn't really taken it seriously so it was really good that we worked yesterday to try and encourage him (his first time in a really long time working with missionaries). Oh and while we were on splits, we found this golden family through contacting a referral. It was a colleague of one member, and her dad was so so interested and seemed so excited to start reading the Book of Mormon. It was such a neat lesson, and I'm excited to go back to them.
     So yeah I still just love my branch a lot and have gotten really close with them. They are so humble and teachable and want to learn and grow and are such examples to me. So yeah that's the work this week in Santa Monica. We now have a new elder in our branch Elder Ronocco, from Davoa, and he is actually our District leader so that will be fun to have him helping in our branch now. I think that's about all I have for today!
     Thanks for the e-mails and updates. Oh and to answer questions real quick... as far as my shoes, they kind of wore out after my first transfer here in Palawan because we're walking on really rocky roads. But they have rubber shoes here for cheap that all the missionaries use because you have to have that for the rainy season. You have to wash them each morning because they get SUPER muddy, and if I had my other shoes, they wouldn't be dry by the time we work. Then as far as clothes, they're okay. There are a couple that have some holes that I had to sew and who knows if they'll last a lot longer. I might try and find some new clothes here, but it's just hard sometimes to find some that fit. So if you want to send a blouse or two, I won't complain:) hehe. Oh and someone asked about the weather. Yes it's the raining season, and sometimes it's a little cool which is super nice not to sweat for a little bit but then at the same time sometimes I'll be sweating as it's raining because it's still hot and humid... yep that's life here in the Philippines.
     So yeah I love you all so much! Take care:) Thanks for all the love and support. Oh one more question... is that Sister Merkley on the front of the conference Ensign? Or who is it? Super familiar! Yep, that's it! Love you!!!

Mahal ko kayo lahat!
Sister Stromberg