Prepared to Hear the Word of God

Malapit na ang Pasko!!
     Hello family! What a week it has been. So the big news for today is... we have a BAPTISM!! This Saturday Ben and Amelia are getting baptized, and President Stucki will also be attending the baptism. Yeah so it's going to be great. Ben and Amelia are just the cutest older couple and are already such an addition to our ward. Ben gave us a referral last week, Mario, and we went and taught him. Then Ben went to his house Sunday morning and brought him to church. He has just totally caught the vision of missionary work, and he's not even a member yet. He just told us that he's so impressed with the work that we do, and he wants to go around with us more, sharing our wonderful message. I'm so excited for them and to continue to see them grow in the church.      
     Yesterday we had such a good day at church. We actually set a record at church of the highest attendance! Yay! We had 212 at church. Sister Dyer said when she first got here, it was about 120ish. We had 20 investigators at church and 24 less active members attend. It was SO great! And what just made me smile the most is about five or ten minutes before sacrament meeting started it was almost all less actives and investigators sitting waiting for the meeting to begin, and all the active members were late. haha Kind of ironic. Then Brother Melvin gave a really neat lesson in our investigator class and bore such a POWERFUL testimony that there were investigators in tears feeling the spirit, and, man, it was just such a good Sunday!!
     Then Saturday it was temple tour! Yay, my first time back to the temple in 6 months! I got so excited as we were riding in the taxi, and the temple came into view. We were just in charge of teaching all of the investigators coming from the city areas. Our station was actually the first station which is kind of MCing. We would pick people to bear testimonies and sing songs and keep everyone entertained; pretty much that is what they told us to do. Then we would send out groups every five minutes. It was a lot of fun. And I finally saw Sister Afu since she left Palawan, and, man, I just love that girl. It was so fun catching up and telling her all about Maryjane and her family (which by the way her baptismal date is Sept. 15 I was told).

     Yeah and then this Wednesday is our temple day so we get to go do a session, and I'm just SO anxious! Oh and we also had zone conference this week on Thursday. Yeah I told you it was quite the week. Our conference was focused on the message of the restoration, and it was such a neat conference. We did some practices, and one of them was with the first vision which is one of the things I love to teach the most, Joseph Smith's first vision. Every time I tell the first vision or my companion does, I just feel the spirit so strong! It is SO powerful! And it's such a privilege to share this message with everyone. I'm so grateful for Joseph Smith and everything he did for this church. I'm always so amazed at the faith that he had at just age 14. He was truly called of God to restore Jesus Christ's church, and we are so blessed to enjoy Christ's church again in the Latter-days. I love in the Joseph Smith movie, at the end when it says "And shall we not go on in such great a cause..." or something like that, and I love that as a missionary I get to share this message with everyone here in Novaleta. Missionary work is just great:)
     Thanks for everything! Thanks so much for the milk and the pictures! I was so excited! Ry, you asked about my companion. I love Sister Dyer. She's great, and we get along just fine and have no problems. Hopefully we'll have more than one transfer together, but she only has two left after this so she might transfer to one more area... who knows. Oh and let me just throw in that her piano teacher is David Glenn Hatch... yeah no big deal.
     So yeah that's pretty much my week. We had a ton going on, but it was all just so awesome and spiritually uplifting and exhausting all at the same time. Oh and then, you asked about our apartment. Our apartment is really nice, and we just got a new toaster, rice cooker, shower head, electric fans this Friday, and we're getting a new fridge on Saturday! So yeah no complaints there! And there are a significantly less number of cockroaches and ants in this apartment so that's great too. I had to buy a couple of blouses last week because in Palawan ants decided it would be a good idea to eat some of my clothes. Yeah, that's life here in the Philippines:) haha. Well I hope you all have a great week! I can't believe it will be September this weekend! You know what that means... Christmas time! . . . well at least here in the Philippines. Any month with a "ber" at the end of it means it's Christmas time. So Happy Christmas! Love you all so much!

Mahal Ko Kau,
Sister Stromberg

P.S. Here is part of my letter to President that you might enjoy:
     This last week I was reading in Alma 32, and I realized how much this chapter relates to the   missionary work here in the Philippines. Alma starts to teach the people who are poor and in verse 6 it reads “for he beheld that their afflictions had truly humbled them, and that they were in a preparation to hear the word.” As I was reading this, I couldn’t help but think of these people who have so very little here in the Philippines and bear their afflictions so well. They are the most humble people that you’ll ever meet, and because of that, they are prepared to hear the word of God. That’s exactly the situation here. It's so neat!!


Always just so amazed at their discipleship

Hello family!:)
     Thank you all for the e-mails and updates. There has been just a little rain so we've been lucky and were able to get a lot of work done this last week. It was a really great first full week for Sister Dyer and me.
     Last Tuesday we started off with a Zone training, and the Cavite zone is SO big! There are so many missionaries in our zone, which is so different from Palawan because the zone there is so small. So I don't know very many of the elders, but for the sisters, Sister Abbangan and Sister Pacino are in my zone. I lived with both of them in Carmona, so it was a lot of fun seeing them and chatting with them again.

     Our investigators are all doing great. We have an older couple, Ben and Amelia, who are going to be having their baptismal interview this Saturday! YAY! They were members of Couples for Christ before and super involved and active there, so when they started learning about our church, it wasn't hard for them to get involved and be active here. They're really excited!
     Then we had Jhenalyn and all of her siblings and cousins and neighbors that I told you about last week (the masses of little kids). Jhenalyn is 19 and is really interested in the church. She even has said she wants to serve a mission. Last week they asked me to bear my testimony, of course because I was new, and Jhenalyn asked me if she could bear hers after me. haha I laughed, and we told her that for Fast Sunday she could. So yeah we're going to have an investigator up bearing her testimony for Fast Sunday:) haha. She said that she already wrote up what she wanted to say, and her whole family said they'll come to church that week.
     This morning we were supposed to have a ward missionary activity and play volleyball at the church, but it ended up being all the little cousins and siblings of Jhenalyn at the church. But we actually got a lot of referrals from them yesterday. We took all the kids around, and they introduced us to some of the parents. We got to teach a couple and got some return appointments so it was great. Little kids really are the way to get in the door sometimes:) One of the littlest ones, Aaron, is always holding my hand, and this morning he started calling me mommy.... haha I don't really know what to think about that:) haha but he's way cute!
     Then we have another investigator, Maryjane, we were able to extend a baptismal date to this last week, and I don't think I've ever seen someone so excited about baptism before. She's been living with her boyfriend (who happens to be a less active/recent convert), so we explained to her how she would have to move out and to our surprise, she said she had no problem with that. She basically said whatever it takes so she can get baptized. It was awesome to see that excitement! That's how it should be!!
     Yeah we have a lot of investigators and it would take a while to tell you about each of them today, but there's a lot of potential. It's so fun teaching all of them! I do miss my members/ investigators in Sta. Monica, but it's just also really exciting helping new investigators/members. One of the members here actually served in the Manila mission, and she served in Sta. Monica so she knows Janeth really well. We were talking about her and all the other members. That was fun!
     Oh and I have a neat experience I had this last week; I want to share with y'all:) So I told you last week about the two ward missionaries here that are always working with us and are just so hard working and great (and they both have there mission calls). Well one of them, Melvin, he had his birthday this last Saturday. So we planned to do a family home evening at his home for his birthday. So some background is Melvin is a convert of I think two years now. He is now the YM president and works with the missionaries all the time. All of his family are members, but his parents are less active. So as we are closing up family home evening, Melvin is giving some closing remarks, and I was just SO touched. He was talking about how that day he spent fishing with his young men and how happy he was spending time with them, and they even got some less active YM to come out. Then when he came home, they didn't have anything prepared for dinner because their family has no money. But he just started crying and said this was his happiest birthday he's ever had because he was able to spend time with his young men and have an FHE with his whole family. We brought them cake, and it really meant the world to them! It's hard to explain, but I was just so touched at how this 21 year old was in tears because he was so happy to serve the Lord for his birthday; he was so happy to see less actives at his activity; he was so happy to be with his family and some ward members; and yet they had no fancy dinner, no cake, nothing that we have at home. After we brought cake and ice cream, they brought out a plate of bread and Cheeze Whiz, and that was going to be his birthday celebration. I learn SO much from these humble people here. Melvin just amazes me with his testimony and example and only being a member for a short couple years. This is just one example of why I love these people so much! I am always just so amazed at their discipleship.

     So yeah I'm now about out of time so I better wrap it up. Life is great. I did end up buying a new camera, and I also bought a couple things in Palawan before I left because it's souvenir central there! I haven't received any packages yet, but we have a temple tour this weekend so we'll see if I get anything then. Ingat palagi!!

Mahal ko kayo lahat!
Sister Stromberg


. . . the sweetest prayer

Magandang Umaga Family!
     Yes, it has been quite the week for CHANGE! As you all know, it was really hard for me to leave Sta Monica! Tuesday we went out visiting our different investigators, and it was a chance for me to say goodbye to them all. I was doing really good not crying but just sharing and saying goodbye. Well our last appointment was with Maryjane and Nic. We got into their cute little house, and they were still outside going to grab something and just being in their house and thinking it was the last time I started crying. Renz, I'm sure, was thinking, “Man, this sister is crazy!” haha, but I pulled it together by the time they came in. We told them we wanted to share. Brother Nic asked if they were still going ahead with the transfer day, and I told him of course. He said they were hoping because of all of the storms in Manila, they were just going to have to keep me here in Palawan. haha I wish that's how it was. But yes so we shared a quick lesson, and then I asked Maryjane to give the closing prayer. She just gave the sweetest prayer coming from her heart. She asked Heavenly Father to help me in my new area to find families who would accept the gospel just like their family has, and by the end of the prayer she was in tears; I was in tears; and to my surprise even her husband Nic was in tears (that's the first time I've seen that). That family is just so so special to me. It was really hard to leave them! But Maryjane promised me she'd write me. Renz got my Facebook information and said he was going to make a Facebook just so we could be friends when I get back. I know this family will all get baptized! Even though I won't be able to be there, I have seen a huge change take place in their lives. I couldn't ask for anything more than that! Heavenly Father has a lot more planned for this cute family! Renz will be a missionary one day I just know it! Oh and when I was walking out, even little Nicole (3 years old) started crying. She's so stinkin' cute! So yeah that was the hardest.

    And then you're right, it was really hard as well to leave the Montilla family and all the other wonderful families in our branch. President Maico sent me a really nice text the night before I left. I will miss them all! But I do feel VERY blessed I was assigned in Palawan even if it did go by SO fast!


     So yes, I am now back on the Mainland, and, yes, there are FLOODS!!! So the first thing you should know is last week they were really bad! But the thing with Palawan is whatever storms, typhoons, floods hit the Philippines by the time it gets over to Palawan, it's just a hard rainstorm and that's it. So my last couple of days in Palawan everyone was watching the news and talking about the floods, but in Palawan it was nice and sunny and not affected. But once I got off the plain, my day went from bright and sunny to dark and gloomy and raining. We went straight to the mission home where we were going to go out and work with the missionaries in Makati, but the sisters said that the floods were up to their waste so they were back at the apartment. That was a bummer because I would have worked with Sister Ronquillo again which would have been so fun. But a bunch of the missionaries came to the mission home that night because they had worked earlier with the new missionaries, so it was a lot of fun just chatting with all of them again. I'm not used to so many missionaries! It was fun catching up on where everyone is assigned and how they're all doing! Then the next morning was transfer meeting, and my new companion is... SISTER DYER!!! She was the American sister that I lived with my first transfer in Palawan who is from Orem and knows Natalie! We're assigned in Novaleta, Cavite. She's so great. I'm so excited for our transfer together! And this is my first time being assigned to a ward! There are so many members. Yesterday the attendance was 170 and just two missionaries in our ward. My last two areas there've been around 100 in attendance with 4 missionaries. So yeah I have my work cut out for me:) but I'm really excited!
     We have the most hard working ward mission leader I've ever even heard of—Brother Willmar, and he's actually the assistant right now. He just works everyday with us; he always has referrals; he knows so many people; he sets up service projects for us; and, man, he just does so much more. Then we have our actual ward mission leader who is getting ready to serve his mission in September, Richard, and another ward missionary, Melvin, who is also leaving in September for his mission. Between the three of them, they are just so diligent and want to help us and are always working with us. It's so impressive!
     We had an auxiliaries meeting yesterday that ended up being from 3pm - 7pm. which was super long, but we just got a new bishop. Everything's just getting up and rolling, and I'm so excited! The bishop is really catching the vision of helping these less actives to come back, and we came up with names yesterday we want to focus on and did a lot of good things at our meeting. So yeah I'm super excited to get working here and get to know everyone here in Novaleta!
     All the flooding actually happened right before I got here so I didn't get to experience it. Sister Dyer and her last companion spent the first part of the week visiting everyone and taking food and clothes around to members. But Brother Willmar called this morning, and there's supposed to be a storm coming later today so we'll see what happens this week. I guess I just had to come here so I could actually experience rainy season in the Philippines (because in Palawan they missed all of the storms). Please pray for these families here. We'll be alright, but there are some here that are in a lot worse situations. They could use the prayers!
     So yeah I think I've just kind of rambled off a million things but that's kind of my last week. Yesterday at church was great! We had a lot of less active members and a lot of investigators! Last Saturday we went to teach an investigator, Sister Jhenalyn, who is getting ready for baptism, and she lives right behind the church. Well she has about a million cousins, and they all live right by each other. They all wanted to listen in on our lesson so we ended up having our lesson at the church with probably 25 little kids and just watched the restoration and taught about it. Well at church all those little kids came... haha it was a mad house! haha But it was a lot of fun too! They all just loved it, and now our task this week is to try and find a time when their parents are at their houses and meet them and teach them. So yes little kids are a great way to get in the door:) Yeah I can't really catch you up on investigators here because I don't really know all about them yet or have even taught them all yet, but there will be more stories to come...:)
     And yeah as hard and as sad as it was to leave Palawan, I know there are good things about to come. Oh and it was really hard to leave Sister Culango again:( I just hope and pray that she's not there until she leaves to go home. She goes home in December so she very well could be or if we're lucky, she'll have one transfer here in the mainland where we can see each other one more time! But yeah I'm happy to be here and meet all these new amazing people! I'm excited to be here with Sister Dyer! I know we'll have a lot of fun together, and I know I'll learn a lot from her!
     Well I love you all so much! It sounds like Tennessee was a lot of fun, and I definitely think we'll have to make it out there when I get home!:) Have a great week! I don't have any pictures because my phone is dead, I was going to buy one today, but the buses going out to the mall are shut down so hopefully next week. I asked Sister Stonick to send me pictures so hopefully she'll remember. Take care!

Mahal na mahal ko kayo lahat!
Sister Stromberg


Wow, only in the Philippines!

    So I had quite the week. Let's just say, there was a single moment where I thought... wow only in the Philippines.:) haha Okay, now I'll explain: so we did a CSP for Tatay Carlito who is a recent convert from the Elders area in our branch, but I've gotten really close to him because he's a total teaser! He's older and is just a crack up and always teases me and such. So we went to his farm and helped harvest coconuts (which I think we ate them all) and weeded a little and then he took us up the mountain to see his different trees. On the way down guess who got to ride his caribou down the mountain... yep I did:) And so as I was riding down it started to rain and it was the most beautiful view over Palawan, and I just thought, "Wow, I'm definitely in the Philippines!!" So yeah that was my fun experience for the week. 
     We also did another service project for a family in our branch who is opening a restaurant. The sisters stained all the wood chairs, and the elders and brothers did a bunch of shoveling and stuff with the land. It was a lot of fun.
      Oh and you'll never guess what we got to do this last week. We went on companionship EXCHANGES! And who was my companion... my NANAY! Yaya Sister Culango and I were companions again for one day. It was so fun. It was neat to see the difference now being companions from before. Sister Culango is very talkative.  Before I remember she would do a lot of the talking and getting to know people mostly because I couldn't understand it all or relate, but this time we were both just talking, talking, talking in Tagalog.  It was so much fun. She's great:)
     As far as investigators, we had a branch FHE again this last Friday, and Nanay and Tatay Bombase showed up.  We were so excited! They seemed to have a really good time as well. The members jumped right in and fellowshipped, and it was so fun to watch. Then Nanay came to church yesterday, but Tatay had the flu. Maryjane and Nic well they're still just pressing forward. Their baptism will be in September sometime.  Maryjane actually cooked pancakes for us last night because one of the members told her that I might be transferring.  She is so cute. They really don't have a lot of money so it says a lot that they made us food.
     For some reason everyone thinks I'm getting transferred. I haven't even said anything, but members are all saying it's my time to get transferred, so everyone has wanted to feed us dinner and such. We have this one Nanay and Tatay Dagot who Tatay was less active but just became active 4 months ago, and then Nanay is inactive because she has a sickness which makes it hard to leave the house. But they are so cute, and they call me their anak (child). 
Tatay made me lunch the other day for my birthday he said because he's for sure I'll get transferred. (I'll attach a picture of them). Then yesterday he had an interview with president and he will receive the Melchezidek priesthood in October and set a date in April to go to the temple:)  YAY! I'm so excited for him! And he was so, so excited when he came out of the interview. He's such a sweetheart. Last night was Nanay Montilla's birthday, and so of course we had to go there and celebrate with dinner also.
     Man, there has just been a lot going on, and I feel like I've only mentioned about half of it. But yeah life is great.  No complaints! I love this branch so much, and I will miss them if I am transferring. It will be rough. But I know whatever happens is what the Lord needs of me right now so I'm excited of course. I'll probably find out later today.

     So yeah I think that's my week in a nutshell. I have to close this. Thanks for the e-mails and support. Bets I sent you a card from here in the Philippines.... that's a bummer it still hasn't gotten to you:( Hopefully soon! Enjoy Tennessee! And I thought you were going to attach a picture... well I LOVE YOU ALL!

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Stromberg