So ready and receptive

Hello po family:)
     So yes, it has been a week of change... again:)  I feel like transfers just come and go, and everything here is always a constant change.  But I am still here in Novaleta with my new companion, Sister Richardson.  Yep I'm with an American again:)  I remember returned missionaries telling me that you were lucky to have 1 or 2 Americans while on your mission, and this is my third... in a row:)  She is from good ol' Tremonton!  Yep, so not too far away from us.  She went to Bear River and knows Kelsey Hodge and Felicity and the crew.  She has the most beautiful voice, and that's her major at BYU-Idaho.  This is her second area and her first time serving in a province area because she came from Makati, right in the heart of the city.  So it's kind of fun being with her when she gets to see things for the first time here in Cavite.  She's great, and I'm excited to get to know her more. 
     Speaking of transfer day, I received your package on transfer day!  THANKS SO MUCH!  It was seriously everything that I needed!  It was perfect!!  You are the best!  I also got cards from Grandma and Uncle Randy & LaLa so thanks so much.  Sister Culango also sent me banana cake (banana bread) and a Filipino cook book from Palawan:)  So yeah I feel so blessed to have such great friends and family! 
     So this week was a really awesome week for missionary work.  The people here in Novaleta are so ready and receptive to our message.  Right now we have 19 investigators with baptismal dates, and a good majority of them are progressing.  We also just found a new investigator, Annalie, on Saturday who is one of our less active’s siblings, and she was so excited about our message.  She said just earlier that week she had found a Book of Mormon and had read the testimony of Joseph Smith.  Then the very next day (yesterday) she came to church!  I'm super excited about her!  Then we have this new family, the Sumilang family, who came to church for the first time yesterday, and last night we had the best lesson with them about the plan of salvation and committed them to baptism. They are really excited.  They were saying how everything they've heard, they know is true, and they know they need to be baptized again.  They said they were baptized when they were just babies, and they know they need to be older, just like Jesus Christ was.  It was just really good.  Our biggest concern right now is we have a lot of investigators who need to get married, but most don't have any money.  So we have to see if we can get someone here in the church to get certified to wed, and then it wouldn't cost as much.  So hopefully we can get on that fast. 
     We just have a lot happening in our ward.  Sister Richardson and I were asked to speak yesterday in sacrament meeting so that was good.  Oh and now that Sister Dyer transferred, I'm the new ward pianist, which is great; I'm happy to serve and all, but a little sad because I don't get to mingle and talk with all the investigators and less actives before sacrament meeting starts.  But what can ya do?:)  We also had a farewell party last Thursday night for Richard and Melvin, our two most diligent ward missionaries.  It was actually really hard to see them leave because they've been working with us missionaries almost every day.  They've also been super good fellowshippers to a lot of investigators, so we've got to pick up some slack now that they left.  But I'm super excited for them because they'll be such good missionaries. 
     Hmmm... I think that's about all I have to say for today.  Mom, you said something about Sister Dyer and Sister Culango going home at the same time. Four of six of my companions are all going home in December: Sister Culango, Sister Dyer, Sister Afu, and Sister Stonick.  haha Pretty crazy.  And Sister Ronquillo is going home in January so they'll all be leaving me before I know it.  But yeah I know a big chunk of the sisters here, but of course not all of them.  I didn't even hear about a typhoon so who knows. 
     Oh, Mom, I've been thinking a little about Christmas because of course there are already Christmas songs playing here, and every once in a while you'll hear music.  But is there any way you could send that story of The Three Trees to me, the book that Betsy gave to you?  I would really appreciate that.  One other thing there's a quote on my mirror at home, something about changing the world; can you send that to me?  I don't remember it! 
     Well I'm out of time so I hope you all have a great week!  I love you all so much, and thanks for the love and support always!

Mahal na mahal kita,
Sister Stromberg


The best birthday present . . .

Good Morning:)
     What a great week it has been!  So first, thanks for all of the birthday wishes again and for the money that you sent. As far as the package, I haven't received it yet.  We were at the mission office last week, and I checked with them. It just hasn't gotten here yet.  We get packages and mail at temple tours, zone conferences, and after Zone Leadership trainings which is two or three times a month.  So maybe at transfer day this next week. 

     But I had such a good birthday, and my companion and ward sure did spoil me!  We had a zone training in the morning so when we got there, the whole zone sang to me and gave me a little fudgie bar with a candle on it!  And then they sang to me probably five more times during the training, whenever I would comment or go to the front.  Then after the training, we all went and ate at chic-boy, and they bought me a leche flan cake which was nice of them. 
     Then we went back and worked just like normal.  We went and taught the Conjelado family which is one of my favorite families.  It's a mom and five of her sons from ages like 14-20 and I can definitely see some future missionaries in these boys!  The exciting thing about them is they totally came to church for the first time yesterday!  It's so exciting!  They're kind of on the rough side with nose rings, earrings, most likely have some word of wisdom problems, but they are getting so excited about the gospel; that's what's so neat to see.  In relief society we were talking about "staying on the Lord's side" and their mom, Maria, stood up and said that that morning one of her sons came and woke her up and told her they were coming to church and how impressed she was and how she can tell he's been really touched by the lesson we taught about Joseph Smith. She wants them to stay on this path and stay on the "Lord's side," and she was even pretty emotional about it. It was really neat! 

     So yeah after we taught them on Tuesday, Sister Dyer wouldn't tell me where we were going. They told me we were going back to the church for an appointment (which I knew wasn't true). So we were on the bus going back to the church when we drove right on past to the Montemayor home.  They are one of my favorite families and are just so nice.  So as we walk up to their house I see balloons which to my surprise they had printed with my name on them, and then they had the best dinner prepared for me.  It was sinigang with shrimp, along with fried chicken.  And you don't get shrimp a lot here because it's kind of expensive so only if the members are well off or if it's a special occasion:)  So they were just so nice to prepare that!  Then all the ward missionaries went in to buy me a cake as well!  And the elders from our district also came for the dinner.  It was so nice of all of them, and I know it was Sister Dyer and Brother Wilmar that went to all the trouble to get it all pulled together for me. They are just so great!  So yeah I was very spoiled for my birthday!:) 

     But I have to say the best birthday present I got this last week was the assistants gave me permission to call Sister Stonick Saturday night and talk for five minutes with Maryjane, Nic, and Renz after their baptism!!!  It was SO good to talk even if it was just really fast.  They sounded so happy!  Both Maryjane and Nic said they were really nervous earlier that day, but at that point they just felt great and so happy. Man, I just can't explain how happy I was and am for them!  So yeah that was my birthday! 
     Then some other news for the week is Sister Dyer got a call this last week that she is shotgun training this next transfer which means... I will be getting another companion here come Thursday.  I was bummed that we only got this one transfer, but I'm also really excited for her to train because she only has two more transfers. Then she's heading home!  So yeah we went to Buendia chapel in Manila on Friday so that Sister Dyer could get trained how to be a trainer.  It was really fun because my first zone leaders were both there, and I hadn't seen one of them in a long time so it was fun catching up with them. 

     Then on Saturday was our temple tour where we got to bring investigators!  We had eight come with us which I'll attach pictures for you to see.  It was Jhenalyn and her siblings and her aunt and cousins.  They live right by the church and are a part of all the little kids I told you about a while ago.  Jhenalyn should be ready for baptism anytime now, but she wants to wait for her family so we're going to be figuring all of that out this week hopefully. 
     But I had quite the surprise at the temple as well.  They have this store that's kind of like a distribution store by the temple, and we were at a station right next to it with our investigators. Guess who walks out of that store... a bunch of members from... CARMONA!:)   I was so excited to see them!! Some of my very favorite Relief Society members were there, and it was so neat to see them and give them a quick hug.  We didn't really get to talk, but it was still just the best feeling.  They were there to do a session.  Then later I ran into the branch president from Carmona and got to talk to him for a while.  He forgot his temple recommend so he was in charge of watching all the little kids.  It was so great!:)  And I got to see my first district leader as well at the temple which he goes home this week.  It was just the funnest little reunion of all the people that I love from my first area!:) 
     So yeah I feel like so much happened this last week, and I don't remember it all.  Oh one exciting thing we have this one investigator, Mark, who is the nephew of a really strong member in our ward.  Well he is what they call "bakla" here which is gay, and baklas here dress like girls like to an extreme!  It's crazy!  Well we've been teaching him and trying to help him, and finally this week he cut his hair (it was long like a girl before) and started dressing like a boy. It's SO exciting!  He's only 16 and his sister Maryanne, is 14, and she really wants to get baptized.   And since he cut his hair and started wearing boy clothes, he was able to come to church yesterday for the first time. It's just been so exciting for him!  So those two will probably be our next baptism in October if Mark continues on this path!:) 
     Hmmm... I think that's about it. Oh, Mom, yes I know the Mosquera family very well.  We ate at their house quite a few times, and they had the best dinners:) haha.  President Mosquera is now the district president of Puerto Princesa so you'll have to tell Elder Graham that. They're great! Then the Asis family I saw their records and heard that name a couple times, but I think they moved or something.  They were in the elders area, so I'm not positive on them. But hey, I actually heard a lot about Elder Graham!  And it was from just one member. haha It's Tatay Dagot who I told you about and sent you a picture of.  He's the less active member that we helped become active, and he started calling me his child.  Well he told me about ten times the story when the missionaries first found him, and the missionary was Elder Graham! So you have to tell him that I heard about him quite often (mainly because Tatay is getting old and forgets that he's already told me). Tell him Tatay is now active, should receive the Melchezedic priesthood this next month, and has a goal to enter the temple in April!!  He even told me he wants me to try and be in the temple when they go through.  So yeah what a coincidence!  And I might have heard his name a couple more times too, but I don't remember. 
     Ah I feel like you all asked me questions, but I'm out of time now. Thanks for the e-mails; I loved all the updates today!  I will continue to pray for Baby Aiden!  I also loved the pictures!  Gabe and Hannah are getting SO big!  I can't believe it!  Oh and I also can't believe the Cougars let Utah beat them:(  (Dad, thanks for the update).  Dad, also could you tell me the total amount of money I have to spend?  I want to try and budget that money to get me through so you don't have to take any out of my savings.  I'll probably take some out today because we're going to Tagaytay which is a tourist attraction place today for our zone activity!  So yeah just let me know the total amount that I have to spend please:)  haha. 
      But I love you all so much!  I have to admit I did really miss you all this last week on my birthday.  For our zone meeting they were focusing on completing families and asked us to bring a picture of our family.  They told us to look at the picture and think of the happiest time we've had with them and then connected it to helping the families here and so on.  Well it just happened to be the picture I brought was all of us at Tepenyake's which as I'm sitting there looking at it was like exactly a year ago at my last birthday!  And so yeah I missed all of you, but at the same time I, of course, loved being here serving my brothers and sisters here in the Philippines.  Bitter sweet:)  But I know I have a lot more birthdays to come with my family, and I was lucky enough to have one here in the Philippines with the people I love here!:)  So yeah no complaints!  But I love you all so much and am so grateful for all you do for me and the support that you are always giving to me!  Take care!

Mahal na mahal ko kau!
Sister Stromberg


My favorite family, and they'll all be members now!

     Thanks for the birthday wishes! So this last week not a whole lot happened actually. It was a good week to just work, work, work. We were supposed to have temple tour, but it got postponed to this next weekend. Our two ward missionaries, Richard and Melvin, who have been working with us a lot and doing so much for our ward have one more week here, and then they enter the MTC. They actually just went through the temple this last Saturday, and it was so neat to see them come into church on Sunday; they just had these bright countenances to them, and man, I'm just so excited for them. They are going to be the best missionaries! So this week we're doing an FHE kind of deal for them, and then next week we'll have their farewell party.
       Next week is transfer day, and I just can't believe it! This transfer has flown by, and I'm really hoping I'll get one more transfer with Sister Dyer. So yeah we did have a Relief Society activity this last Saturday that we brought a less active member to and stayed for a little bit of it. It was this cute older member, Sister Roque.  She taught everyone how to make scripture cases out of straws. Yeah, kind of random:) But she is just the sweetest old nanay, and this is actually her job. She makes these bags and sells them. The very first time I met her, she was walking down the street, and I told her that her bag was cute (one of her straw bags).  She just emptied it out and gave it to me right on the spot. Then after this activity, I learned that it takes HOURS to make these bags, and she is just so generous and always wants to give to others and especially to missionaries. She's always giving us little treats at church as well. So we just had to go and support cute little Nanay Roque.
     So I just got an e-mail from Sister Stonick, and I'm so excited!!! Maryjane, Nic, and Renz are getting baptized this Saturday!!! YAY!!! My favorite family, and they'll all be members now:)  
     Hmmm what else... haha I feel like this is a super random e-mail this week. Oh we had a really neat lesson yesterday! So we have this guy named Jay, and he comes to church about every week. So when I asked Sister Dyer about him, she told me that he has been coming to our church for a long time now but just doesn't want to listed to the missionaries. She said that she was able to teach him once before and that was it, and now he has all of these excuses. Well last week I went up and was talking to him about wanting to come visit. Well first he explained that Sunday is his only day that he's home and how that's family day so he wants to spend time with his two kids (His wife is working in Canada.). Then I just told him that we wouldn't take much time, and, of course, our message is for the family and how it could still be family day if we came for a short visit:) haha. Oh and his wife and two kids are members. So he said last week he had somewhere he had to go, but we could come the next week. So that was yesterday:) So we set up an appointment with him at church, and he seemed like he was going to give us a half hour and that was it, but he agreed to let us come teach him. Well when we got there, he opened right up to us and started sharing some personal experiences with us; then we taught him about the Book of Mormon. We wanted to teach that, because if he happens to not let missionaries back in, if he only understands the importance of reading the Book of Mormon, that can be the converting force in his life. Well he was SO receptive, and it was so neat. He said on the way home from church he started praying to Heavenly Father, asking, “Where am I going? I've been going to this Mormon church for a long time now, and what am I doing with my life?” He's a super devout Catholic; as well, he has the attitude of I was born Catholic, and I'm going to die Catholic because that's the way his parents are.  He's really faithful to the Catholic church. I don't know, it's hard to explain all the background on this guy. But he told us after we were teaching him about the Book of Mormon, that he asked that question earlier, and he felt this was his answer. He truly understood that now he just needs to read the Book of Mormon. He even told us that he felt that everything he needed to hear, we told him, and it was just a super neat experience. So yeah, I'm really excited to see how his reading of the Book of Mormon goes for him and what happens. I love the Book of Mormon, and I love teaching about it and getting people excited about reading it.  Jay, for sure, is excited to see what answers to his questions he can find in this book.
     So yeah I think that's about all the updates I have for this week. I'm really excited for temple tour this week to bring our investigators to the temple! I don't know if I told you this last week, but our investigator, Jhenalyn, who is 19 years old, last week in testimony meeting went up in front and bore her testimony:) haha, and she's not even a member yet. And it was a really strong testimony! I was talking to her yesterday in Relief Society, and she said she really wants to get baptized, but she also wants to wait for her family so they can all get baptized at the same time. Lots going on here in Novaleta.
     Thanks for the updates. It's always kind of fun to hear what people are up to. Well have a great week, and I'll let you know what all goes down tomorrow for the birthday next week:) haha We have a zone meeting tomorrow so that will be fun to see other missionaries for my birthday:) Well I love you all a lot, and thanks for the e-mails. Take care!

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister stromberg


My heart was just so full of happiness

Hello po family:)
      What a great week. But first, thanks, Hannah and Gabey, for the cute updates! I sure do miss you guys. I was actually thinking of them last night in my prayers and how I miss them. But I did just get a new 7 year old boyfriend here in my ward:) haha I'll attach a picture he drew for me yesterday in church.

     So yes, we had a great week. We had our baptism for Ben and Amelia Antonio! It was Saturday night, and we even had President and Sister Stucki attend. I think I told you a little about Ben last week, but he is just so excited about the gospel. He has given us about ten referrals by now. Last week he actually randomly found our apartment by asking around where the missionaries live, and in the middle of companionship study we hear a "Good Morning, Sisters." We found out he came all the way to our apartment to give us another two referrals that he had just talked to that morning as he was walking through town. Then one day he took us to some of his referrals, and on our way he was just talking to everyone and wants to tell everyone about the gospel. It's just so awesome. Then his wife, Amelia, is just the cutest little Filipino who just loves her family and loves what we have taught her. She's a little quieter, but you can just see she is so happy and enjoys the Relief Society sisters, and it's just great. It was just the best feeling ever to see them baptized; my heart was just so full of happiness for them! Oh and Sister Dyer and I also sang "Naniniwala Ako Kay Cristo" for the baptism. Yep that's “I Believe in Christ,” and we sang it in Tagalog.President Stucki told us a couple times how nice it sounded and that we really harmonize well together. So that was fun to be able to sing that for them at their baptism. It was just a really neat day!
Ben and Amelia Antonio
The tall man holding the little child is our bishop,
and he reminds me SO much of Ryan!!
Like really, they are the same; if Ry were a Filipino, he would be Bishop Kanaya!
       It was also just neat because the ward has been so involved in fellowshipping them and been so excited for them, and it was just neat seeing them all so excited for Ben and Amelia. Ah man, I just love this ward! They're so great! This is how great they are: we contacted 15 referrals this week, and they all came from the ward members. We ended up with 23 new investigators! Yeah they are just so active in this work, and it's so fun working with them.
     Also this last week, I got to do my first temple session again after six months!:) We went Wednesday morning the first session, and it felt SO good to be in the temple again. What a special place. A member in our ward just got a job there and was working that day, so we talked to her on the way out.  She told us that at that very moment Elder Bednar was doing a session in the temple. Ah man, we just missed being in a session with an Apostle! He was here in Quezon City doing a fireside for the youth, and they all presented cultural dances for him. Unfortunately missionaries weren't invited. I guess we have other work we need to be doing:), but yeah I was in the Manila temple the same time as Elder Bednar.  That's pretty cool!
     I think that's about all the exciting news for this week. But it was an awesome week, and we found a bunch of new investigators. We also had some new less active members come to church for the first time yesterday which is always so good to see. And one of our priesthood holders came back yesterday and even bore his testimony in sacrament meeting, and it was so neat. There is just so much happening here in Novaleta, and it's so exciting to be here helping the Lord with His work. I know He has a plan for this ward, and hopefully I'll be around long enough to see what happens.
     Well thanks for the e-mails again. Y'all are just so great and faithful:) Kip, you never answered my question; when are you graduating?  Will we have a semester together again, or will you be finished? It's kind of crazy to think another year is starting, and all my friends are SENIORS! How does that happen?!!
     You asked about my new camera; it's an Olympus, and it cost 5000 pesos which is about $115. It has a one year warrantee with it, and you can also take 3D pictures with it.  How cool is that?:) Yeah I think those were all of your questions. Well I hope you all have a great Labor Day, and I'll talk to y'all next week:) Thanks a million! Love you all so much!

Mahal na mahal ko kayo lahat!
Sister Stromberg