The rains came down and the floods came up . . .


     We had quite the experience here in Novaleta this past week. As you can see, I experienced my first flash flood. And, yes, what a crazy day it was! It started as just a normal rainy day which isn't out of the ordinary. As we were working, the rain got a little harder, but, like I said, it still wasn't really different from other days. Then as we were in our area of San Juan, it has this big drainage river type thing, and little by little it was getting higher. Well we were at Ben and Amelia's house waiting for Brother Wilmar to get there because he and John were teaching the new member lessons to them but wanted us to help them the first time. When Brother Wilmar showed up at their house, he said that the river had raised all the way to the top, and he could reach his hand over the side and touch the water. Which of course we were surprised, but we kept on working and taught Ben and Amelia. Then we went to one more appointment with Maricris and Mark to teach them and then headed home. By that time there were floods everywhere. The pictures I'm sending are from right after we taught Maricris, and it's not really too high in those pictures. But as we were going home, we had to tricycle some of the way—which the tricycle was driving through all the water and started smoking because there was so much water entering into the engine and such. Then when we got dropped off by the tricycle, we had to walk the rest of the way home, and the water was up to the middle of our stomachs!!! Ahh it was so crazy!! We had to carry our bags up on our shoulders so our scriptures wouldn't get wet and then hold our umbrellas with the other hand and just trudge our way home. It was a good thing we had John and Brother Wilmar with us because they would go first and make sure it wasn't too deep and were a big help!! But yeah all we could really do was laugh as we were walking through flood up to our stomach and think... only in the Philippines:) haha What an experience.
    To say the least, our plans changed completely that day; the next day we spent a chunk of time at a member’s house trying to get all the water out of her house. We would fill up buckets and then walk up to the road and throw it out and then get another bucket full and did that for a good hour or two. So yeah what a great CSP:) haha. I wish I would have gotten a picture when the water was higher but that wasn't really the first thing on my mind, to tell you the truth! And another thing was the water was SO gross!!! After washing my garments three times, they still won't go back to being white. What a day! 

We did a CSP in "Longbeach," and this is the walk out to it.
                    It's probably the prettiest place in our area :)
                            The fishes in this area are everyone's job here,
                           to catch fish early, early in the morning
                            and then they dry them out in the sun all day.
    As for our investigators, we had this one day where we kept meeting the funniest people. Annamarie worked with us, and I just love that girl. She's 19 and is now thinking about going on a mission since the whole change with the ages, and so she's been working with us a lot more. Well one day she was holding a restoration pamphlet over her face to block the sun from her eyes, and a guy just came up and grabbed it out of her hand and asked if he could read that. haha He then continued to explain how he loves reading things like that and is looking for the truth. He said he's been searching for awhile but hasn't quite found it. We then gave him a Book of Mormon and set a return appointment and will go back to him this week. But what a funny guy. He also went off about how we're not supposed to eat blood and how it says that in the Old and New Testament many times and a lot of other really random things.
     Then that same day, as we're just walking out of this one area, we see this man standing on top of this tall building, and he's yelling at us in English saying, “STOP! WAIT! I NEED TO TALK TO YOU!!! WAIT!!!” Then he runs down and just is so excited to tell us that he's from California, and we talk for a little, start to share with him, but then he says that he's a minister and has been for 40 years now and pretty much isn't interested in our message. So yeah another quite strange experience! haha And there were others I'm just not thinking of right now.
      But as far as our progressing investigators, Khaycie is our next baptism on the 17th of November. She's awesome and has no problems, so I'm just sure it will happen on her goal date! Then we had some progression this last week with Jennalyn which I was so excited about! She's so great and has a testimony for sure, but Satin has been working on her big time. This past month she ended up with a husband (or live-in because of course they weren't married), but she didn't want to tell us. It all came from her siblings and her aunts that had no problem telling us all about it, even though we didn't ask. But she was very secretive and denied it, and it just made it really hard for us. Well she had some real bad family problems and didn't know who to go to, so she came to us for comfort. We tried to comfort her, and then a few days later when we went to teach her Uncle Reynando and Hazel, she joined in on the lesson and came up to me and said that this past month she's had so many problems and trials, but now they're all gone. She said she's ready to focus on the gospel and preparing for her baptism. Then her aunt said that she doesn't have a husband anymore; she decided she didn't want that. (It sounds funny in English, but they called him her husband and how he's not.) Then yesterday she sat by me in Sunday School and talked about how she really wants to go on a mission and how she wants to work with us sometimes and different things. She's getting back into the swing of things and the way she was before. So yeah we just have to work on repentance, and then we'll be going somewhere with her:) I'm excited for her!! Her baptism will either be last week of November or first week in December! She's joining us tonight for family home evening at her uncles’, and I'm really excited for that!
      So yeah that's the crazy week that we had here in Novaleta. Oh and the crazy thing is in the other areas in our zone, they didn't have any floods; it just happened here in Novaleta. I don't really know how that works. But yeah this Thursday is transfer day, and I haven't heard anything yet so I'm hoping that means I'm still here in Novaleta. I would cry if I had to leave after only two transfers. I love these people too much and have so much more I want to do to help them! But I did hear that Sister Culango is transferring back to the mainland for her last transfer, so I'm SUPER excited about that! If she didn't, I wouldn't get to see her before she goes back to Davoa! So I'm super blessed!:) I miss that girl! We will be getting a new district leader and zone leader so that will be kind of exciting!
      Well, family, I hope you have a great Halloween! Mom and Dad, I'll be thinking of you again on the 31st, and you better not go driving late at night! Love you all so much, and I pray for you each and every day. Hope all is great for you all! Take care.

Mahal ko kau!


Have our hands full in Novaleta

Magandang Umaga:)
Maryann, Axel, Vincent, and Mark
      Another week has flown by, and I'm here again in our little computer shop writing you all another update. We've had another great week here in Novaleta. And yes, the baptism did go through this weekend, and we have 4 new members in the Novaleta ward:) It was such a fun baptism. It was fun seeing our little eight year olds, Vincent and Axel and how excited they were. Little Vincent when he was bearing his testimony, he talked about how he hopes that he can grow up and be a missionary like us. It was the cutest testimony. Then Mark and Maryann also shared a simple strong testimony that was so neat to hear, especially because these kids are SO quiet and shy. We really had to work with them to talk and get involved in the lessons. But they have grown a lot and now have made friends here in the ward, and it's been so neat to see them change.
      And another neat thing to see was Brother Ben, our last convert, baptized them! It was so cool! And Brother Ben also received a calling last week of secretary in the YM. Janeth told me earlier today that brother Nic in Santa Monica received a calling to be 1st counselor in Sunday School!! It's so great to see them already progressing so much in the church! YAY!!:) 
      Oh and, Mom, for the musical number I played the piano (of course), and Sister Richardson sang one of my favorite primary songs, "I Like to Look for Rainbows:)" So yeah it was a neat service. 
     Then our other investigators are just coming right along.  Maricris and Mark right now are just trying to save money so they can get married.  We have another 18 year old, JohnMark, who is a stud!  He works out at sea each day catching fish and then cleans them all and dries them and packages them, and it's hard core.  They start at like 4:00 in the morning and go’ till night time whenever they get finished with it all.  Well he asked his boss if he could leave work just long enough to go to church, and he agreed to!  Then in Sunday School he shared how he does the same thing at work each day and how he knows that the most important thing he could be doing with his life is going to church on Sunday so he just explained that to his boss, and he let him go!  So yeah I'm super excited about him!  We taught his mom before, but she actually moved to Dubai a couple weeks ago. These boys are on their own now.  So yeah this is what he needs right now.

     Then I told you all about Analie, and she's just as excited as ever for baptism. We're just working with her husband.  But the thing with Analie is last week she told us that they have to move.... of course (It's not like that's not happened before.).  But she asked us to help her ask around for available housing here so hopefully they'll just move somewhere here in Novaleta.  We'll see what the Lord has in store for them! 
     Then we also have the Sumilang family who when we go to teach them we feel like we're playing 20 questions.  They have so many questions about the church and the restoration and the Book of Mormon!  haha But that's great because we can tell that they really want to learn and understand everything and are interested. 
    Then we also have Khaycie who will be baptized for sure in November.  She's a niece of one of our active members here who has been coming to church for about a year, and her older sister is already a member. Now she also wants to be baptized so it's just manner of teaching her all the lessons.  She's 13 and also a little quiet.  Before she never wanted to listen to the missionaries, but now she really wants to learn and prepare for baptism.  So it's really fun helping her!:)  So yes we have our hands full in Novaleta, and we're loving it!! 
     We met a new investigator this last week Tatay Teodoro who is such a neat guy.  I was so impressed with him.  He told us that he died before actually but that the Lord brought him back to life because he knows he has a purpose here on earth, and it wasn't his time yet.  He doesn't have any legs and is just really humble and excited to read the Book of Mormon.  We actually just started talking to his wife as we were walking down the street, and she took us back to her house and introduced us to him.  It was really neat, and I'm super excited to go back to him this week.  He knows a whole lot about the Bible so it's really fun to teach him. 
     So yeah that's the update this week.  That's neat the things you told me about Maria.  She actually did tell me all about her Filipino convert in one of her letters. I just thought that was so neat.  I'm excited for her in her new stage of life:)  She's great!  Thanks for the updates on her talk since I couldn't be there myself.  Pretty soon you'll be able to go to homecomings of my companions maybe:), Sister Dyer and Siser Stonick. 
     Well hope you have a great week!  Kip, you asked about Halloween here, and they have All Soul's Day on November 1st. They say that EVERYONE is in the cemetery and that no one is at home, so you get no lessons on that day.  Everyone just spends the day there, and some even camp out there.  Brother Wilmar wants us to get permission to have a movie showing at the cemetery of "A Man's Search for Happiness" and then hand out a bunch of plan of salvation pamphlets that day in an attempt to find new investigators.  haha So who knows? We'll see what the zone leaders say to that idea.  
     Later today we're having a zone activity and all playing volleyball and basketball, so I'm sure excited for that!:)  So yeah good to hear that you are all doing well!  Mom and Dad, it’s good to hear that you got your heater fixed. I can't really relate when you said that you froze for a few days because I think I've forgotten what that would feel like:)  But I'm glad you're all prepared now for good ol' Cache Valley winter!  Love you all so much and have a great week!

Mahal ko kau lahat!
Sister Stromberg


"And having set our “hand to the plough,” we will never look back until this work is finished . . . ." --Elder J. R. Holland

     Well here we are again . . . I feel like I just wrote to you, but what do we know, one whole week has gone by.  This week went really fast.  I can't believe it.
     Conference was SO great!  We did get to watch all four sessions but not the priesthood or general Relief Society meetings.  But in one of our appointments Brother Wilmar shared his favorite talk which happened to be Bishop Stevenson's talk.  So I got to hear a little about that one.  There were a lot of really good talks, but I would have to say my favorite talk was Elder Holland’s.  I even got pretty emotional when listening to that one.  He actually gave a talk kind of similar to that in the MTC for mission presidents. We watched that our last zone conference, but this one was even more powerful.  I loved his closing words where he's talking for all of us and says "Yea Lord, we do love thee, and we will never look back until this work is finished" or something to that affect:)  Ahhh it was just so powerful, and I loved it.  But I also really like President Uchtdorf's and President Monson's and, Mom, you're right I did really enjoy Elder Bednar's about testimony vs. conversion.  There were just so many neat ones.  But I think one of my favorite parts is that we had nine investigators there also listening to the talks in Tagalog!!  It was so neat because it wasn't at our church; it was in Rosario which is a 20-30 minute bus ride, but our investigators still found a way to get there!  Jennalyn said she really enjoyed seeing our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson.  So yeah great experience . . . as always.
     Then for our other investigators . . . we have a baptism coming up this Saturday!!  Yay!!  Mark and Maryanne passed their interview, and then we also have three 8-year-olds getting baptized as well, so it is going to be such a neat baptism.  We are in charge of a musical number again, and I was thinking it would be fun to do Primary songs because they are all younger.  We'll see what we pick. I'm so excited for Mark and Maryanne though!  I have seen them both change so much and grow.  Maryanne is starting to get more involved with activities in the church and make friends, and it's so fun to see that.  And I'm so excited to see Mark receive the preisthood:) 
     With Analie, we taught her husband for the first time last night, and he's super quiet and didn't really want to open up to us or talk or answer questions. So we've got a big task on our hands to help him see the importance of our message.  I know in time it will all work out because that's exactly what happened with Maryjane and Nic in Palawan.
     We have another couple right now Mark and Maricris who Mark is a less active member, and Maricris is our investigator.  They just had their first baby who is ADORABLE!  But their concern right now is they're not married so we have to get them married.  She's going to skype with her mom who lives in Japan tomorrow to get permission to get married and then the planning will start:)  So we'll hope for the best from her mom tomorrow.
     Then we have Reynando and Hazel, aunt and uncle of Jennalyn, who have been coming to church pretty persistently and are really interested.  Last night we taught them WOW, and brother apparently is an addict to coffee but said he will do his best to stop.  They are also very active in their religion, Couples for Christ, right now so they're trying to do both right now. That's one thing we're working on is helping them pick one or the other kind of thing.  So yeah those are our most progressing investigators right now.
     We did a service project this last week in Cavite City and helped a member move.  We did it with a bunch of other missionaries, and I found out that my zone leader Elder Gillette is really good friends with McKenna Lewis, just a random little connection.  Then this morning for the second week in the row we got together as a district with our ward missionaries and played volleyball!  It has been so much fun!  I just love our ward missionaries right now.  Before they weren't really working with us, but yesterday we had a lot work with us. We were finally able to split me and Sister Richardson, and it was so great!  They're getting more involved in missionary work, and we have a bunch right now working on entering their mission papers!  It's so exciting! 
     Okay well, I love you all so much.  Thanks for all your support and all of your prayers.  Have a great week!!

Mahal ko kau,
Sister Stromberg


"I'm going to starve in this church!"

Yay, General Conference!
     Thanks for all of your e-mails and responses about general conference. We're all really excited here to watch it. One of our members, Bishop Soleta, who actually has two daughters living in Utah right now filled us in on Sunday about the age of missionaries changing. Ahh, I just think that is so crazy but also SO neat! It gets me so excited to think that we can get more missionaries out there with this revelation. But yeah, I don't know too much about it because I haven't watched conference yet.
     So it's been another great week here in Novaleta. I really, each week/day, feel so grateful to be assigned here where the work is just progressing, and the ward is so supportive. We have our next baptism coming up Oct. 20, and that is Mark and Maryanne who will be interviewed this weekend. I'm so excited for them. Mark especially has just changed so much since we've been able to teach him. Even though they are both still young (14 and 16), I know that the choices that they are making now will affect their whole lives. They're both really shy though, and it's been a challenge to get them to open up and talk in lessons. But I can see that they're learning and getting excited for their baptism. I just hope that they will open up to our district leader during their interview and not just be silent and shy. haha So yeah, if you could just remember these two in your prayers this week. Mark is the one I told you about that before had some gender issues and had really long hair and wore girlish clothes, and it's just been so neat to see him change and get back on the right path especially at this stage in his life. Maryanne is the one that is really quiet and right now we're just really focusing on getting her friends at church to help her open up more, even if it's just to them. So yeah they're our focus right now. We actually have an FHE later tonight with them so that will be fun!
     Jhennalyn was supposed to also get baptized the same day, but she just went "missing" for a couple weeks. She left with a friend to work in a different city and didn't really tell her family a lot about when she would be back. It's really weird. I want to know more about what happened, but she just got back yesterday. We swung by her house last night for our last appointment, and she didn't say a whole lot about what happened. She said that she was okay and that she's back here for good, and we set up an appointment for Wednesday. She also asked if her baptism was still a go for Oct 20. But because she hasn't been to church for three weeks now, we'll have to move it. So yeah just one of those trials I guess that always happen before baptism. But she's awesome and has a strong testimony, so I'm not worried. It will happen when the time is right:)
     As far as Analie, she is still just awesome and golden as ever. This last week she read the Book of Mormon through 1 Ne 9 and then didn't understand it all so started all over and read it again. haha Then she said that she prayed about it and received her answer. She said it felt like "koriyente" (which is like electricity), but also she said that it felt so good. She was so happy, and she knows the Book of Mormon is true and knows this is the true church. Ahhh, it's so awesome. All our lessons are so great, and she asks so many questions. She is learning so much and is so excited. She said for sure she wants to get baptized, but the only concern here is she said that she wants to wait for her husband to also get baptized at the same time. We only met him once, when he came to church with her, but haven't had the opportunity to teach him yet. He's always at work in Manila, but hopefully this Sunday we'll get a chance. He also has a big problem with Word of Wisdom, they told us. So I'm excited to start teaching him to help this great family!! I asked Analie what he thought about church when he came that once, and it was actually really funny because the Sunday School lesson was about fasting so that's one of the first things that he learned; when his wife asked if he liked it, he said, "I'm going to starve in this church!" haha. I thought that was great, and I guess you can't blame him if that's the first thing that you learn about our church. So yeah those are probably the only updates I have time for right now.
     But life is great. We haven't really been able to visit active members here in this area and share with them since I've been here which I love doing that. I think it's just been hard with all of our investigators. But last Sunday we passed around a calendar of when members were available and got to do our first visit last week to an older sister, and it was SO good! I love visiting these sweet members. And yeah I don't know what else to tell ya because my time is about up.
     I hope you all have a great week. Bets, thanks so much for sharing in your e-mail. I love reading your e-mails and your insights and thoughts about your mission. My mission has already gone by SO fast, and yeah I'm the same way and don't want to have any regrets! Ja and Beth, how is your cute baby Aiden? Nicole said you all fasted for him and little did I know that, but I fasted for him also yesterday (along with investigators). I would love an update on him. Okay well, have a great week!:) Love you all so much!

With Love,
Sister Stromberg


Help from the Spirit . . . along the way!

Hello Family! 
     So sorry for the hold up this week on my e-mail; with very short notice we were told that we had interviews with President Stucki on Monday and that our P-day would be pushed back to Wednesday.  So yeah that's why it's been a couple extra days.  It was actually our temple day earlier so we just have P-day the rest of the day.  It was so good to be in the temple today.  But yeah we had interviews on Monday, and it was really good to talk with President.  They always go by SO fast.  But I had a lot of situations to talk to him about investigators and their baptisms and such, so it was good to get some of them all figured out.  
     Dad, your question about marriages: yeah, you can have a bishop or stake president perform a marriage for free, but they have to get licensed. No one here in my area is certified yet to perform marriages.  I spent all three transfers in Palawan trying to get someone licensed, and now I'm doing the same thing here in Cavite.  Hopefully we can get that worked out before November because we have an investigator really progressing towards her goal date in November but has to get married.  
     Ryan asked if our 19 (now 20) dates were all solid, and not all of them are.  We just are really encouraged to be extending dates the sooner the better, and they have been encouraging us by the second lesson.  So not all are for sure, but we have a lot progressing so it's really exciting.  Our next baptisms will be Oct. 20, which will for sure be Mark and Maryanne Adigue who are 14 and 16 years old!  Hopefully Jhennalyn was going to join them for the baptism, but she has been out of town and didn't really say anything to anyone. We don't really know anything about it.  So yeah we're really praying for her!  
     Two weeks ago we actually found our new golden investigator, Analie.  She just moved in with her older brother's family who is actually a less active in our ward.  We went to visit that family, and they weren't home but sister was.  We asked if we could share with her, and she happily let us in.  She said just since she moved in, she saw the Book of Mormon and had read the testimony of Joseph Smith and was interested.  And we've now taught her only twice, but she is so prepared.  Everything she says you can just tell the gospel is just what she's looking for.  She wants direction in her life; she wants to know which church is the real church and stick with that one because she's switched from church to church a few times.  I can't remember it all, but we just had a really good lesson with her. She's come to church twice now and even got her husband to come this last week who she told us has problems with the Word of Wisdom and gambling.  So yeah, I’m SO excited for Analie and her family!

      I really have seen so much in the past few weeks just how much the Lord truly does prepare people here in our areas for us to find.  I've really gained a love for finding and just talking with everyone to find these people who are just waiting for our message.  I also had a neat experience this week: we went and talked with one of our less active sisters, Sister Almadovar. The last time we taught her two of her friends were walking by, and we invited them to join in on our lesson.  Well we taught them a little about the restoration and about families and then gave them a pamphlet and took their names and addresses because they don't live in our area. Later that night we forwarded their names on to our APs. Then to be honest, I almost just forgot about them because of course I know they don't live here, and I probably won't teach them again.  Well this last week we were talking to Sister Almadovar, and she told me how touched her one friend was and how she really felt the spirit and had never felt anything like that when we taught them.  She said that she's been waiting for the missionaries to go to her house and learn more.  It was just really neat to me because it just made me think how many people we have an opportunity to help and touch their lives, and we might never know that we did.  This friend right here might end up getting baptized, and I would have never even remembered we taught her.  You just never know how the small and simple things we do can largely affect others.  That's just one reason I love being a missionary and giving all my time to others, and I have so much help from the spirit to help me along the way!  It's so great!  
     So yeah those are just some little examples of things going on here in Novaleta.  Sister Richardson is loving her new area here, and she is such a good missionary.  I just love her!  She's really good at Tagalog.  And we both still get the 'Hey, Joes' and all that.  That didn't ever go away, Mom, and won't go away being white with blonde hair here in the Philippines:)  haha.  
     Oh, I have an assignment for all of you again to tell me what your favorite talk is in conference because as you know I have to wait a whole WEEK before I get to hear conference.  I didn't get to see the Relief Society broadcast.  We did have a funeral service last night that I was the pianist at.  Funerals are SO weird here in the Philippines!  Ah, I can't even describe.  I’m pretty sure I told you all about them when I went to my first one in Carmona.  Oh and, Dad, it gets a little cooler if it's really rainy these days but not really.  
     Well I think that's about all that I have for today.  I love you all so much!  Thanks for the e-mails and updates!  Take care always!:)

Mahal ko kau!
SIster Stromberg