these amazing Filipino people

Good Morning!:)
     What a great Thanksgiving week it has been! I have so much to be thankful for! So yes to start off, we have two new members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Jennalyn Alde and Khaycie Mendoza!:) YAY!! Khaycie's baptism was Saturday morning, and we did have a lot of Young Women attend and support her. It was also really neat because one of our less actives, Ehra Seballos (the one who we found because of that huge flash flood) actually gave a talk at the baptism. It was so neat to see her up there giving that talk. You would have never guessed that she had been inactive for years and just returned back to church less than a month ago. She did such a good job! And she actually just returned to activity yesterday! (Four weeks in a row). Then at the baptism we had the Young Women do a special musical number. They sang I Walk by Faith, and it was really neat. I'm so happy with how they are all fellowshipping Khaycie. It's almost like she's been a member for a while now.

   Then for Jhen, we had her baptism Saturday night after she got off work, and there weren't as many members there, but it was still a nice baptism. One thing that I love about Jhen is she loves to sing, and she loves the hymn book. It amazes me because she'll just be singing different hymns that she has memorized, and she just became a member. I don't know how she does it, but I can just see the love she has for these songs. Another thing I love is her favorite hymn is my favorite hymn as well, :) I Stand All Amazed. And so of course, we had to do that as a special musical number, and she was so happy to hear that. Then probably my favorite part of it all was after she was baptized, we sang Praise to the Man as the closing hymn, and at the chorus she just shut the book and sang it from memory and had the biggest smile I think I've ever seen!! It was SO neat!! Her baptism was just one of my favorites because we've just really connected, and I just love her so much! She's been through so much, and Satan has really tried to stop her from being baptized so many times! But she is so strong, and I know one of these days I'm going to hear that she received her mission call and getting ready to serve! That's how great she is:) So it was such a great day! Probably one of the longest days I've had here in the mission but one of the best!

       Then yesterday I had the privilege of playing the piano for the Primary program. It was such a neat experience, and I just love little Filipino kids! Filipinos (doesn't matter what age) just don't care what others think and will sing their little lungs out. It doesn't matter if they have a good voice or a bad one, they just want to sing! I just love that about them. So even though there aren't as many Primary kids here in the Philippines as there are at home, they sing just as loud and as good! I have a video for Gabey, but a ward missionary borrowed my camera to prepare for Sister Richardson's birthday (It's this Friday.). So next week I'll be sending that to you, especially for Gabe!
     Then also last Wednesday we had our Mission Tour with Elder and Sister Nielson from the Quorum of the Seventy. They had us read 1 Ne 11-14, a little bit of 15 and 2 Ne 31 to prepare, and then he did a training on the revelation process that was really neat. He also just talked about the importance of PMG and had a little question/answer session. It was a really good training. It was really specific to the Philippines and the things that we need to do different in our mission to specifically help these Filipinos.
     Then Thursday... actual Thanksgiving! We were able to go to the Soleta family’s for lunch, and they fed us the best roast beef and mash potatoes which is SO rare! Filipinos don't eat that. They made it especially for us:) Bishop Soleta said he looked for turkey, but it was really expensive here. So that will just have to wait for next year. But they are just the sweetest family and treat us so well! Then after lunch we went and worked, just like any other day.
     Later we were able to have dinner at the Montemayor's house! It was fried chicken, rice, pancit, lumpia just the norm Filipino food, but it was great because out of all the families here in Noveleta they feel most like family to me! Of course they can't compare to my real family, but it was really good being with them:) I love them!! (By the way, I think Connie Montemayor told me that she added you, Mom, on Facebook.) So yeah that was Thanksgiving.
     Such a great week, and, Mom, you were right: the highlight of it all was the two baptisms and then having Ehra and Flor Espila return to activity yesterday with their fourth Sunday! I'm excited to see Sister Dyer this coming Sunday! She said if her parents’ flight doesn't get delayed, they will make it to church! I will for sure give Sister Stonick your contact information so you can make it to her report. They might be on the same day though. Sister Dyer's family is coming two weeks before transfer day, and Sister Dyer is going with them early and then will still do all the going home activities with her batch and leave at the same time as the other missionaries. But I'll give her your number, and you'll find out.
     I love you all so much! Oh and I thought of the three things that I'm thankful for this year, like I told you last year:
            1. The first thing that came to my mind is the Book of Mormon! This book is amazing and changes lives! It has changed my life, and I love teaching others and introducing it to others to change their lives so they can come to know their Savior, Jesus Christ.
            2. Family! That will always be on my list! I love you all so much and am SO grateful for all the love and support that you give to me. I couldn't ask for a better family! I couldn't ask for better brothers! Sisters-in-law too!:) And of course I have the CUTEST niece and nephews ever!
            3. I am so grateful for these amazing Filipino people! I have learned so much from them and continue to. They are the happiest, most humble people in the world! I'm so grateful that I have been living with them for a year now and will forever be grateful for the example they have shown to me!
So yeah those are my three corn kernels for the year:)
     Have a great week! Ry, have a great birthday! I sent you a card so hopefully it has gotten to you or will this week. Ja, too, I sent you one so HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Mahal na Mahal ko Kayo,
Sister Stromberg


. . . so hard to hear

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!
What a great week it has been and what a great week we have ahead of us!:) I'm happy to tell you that, yes, Khaycie and Jhen passed their interviews yesterday, and we will be having two sessions of baptisms on Saturday:) haha Yep, not just TWO baptisms but two sessions. haha Khaycie is in Young Women, and they have this big activity for the YW anniversary so she has to have her baptism in the morning before the activities start. Then Jhen just got this new job which is absurd the number of hours she is working! She is required to work overtime which is from 6:00 in the morning to 12:00 at night, yeah 18 hours! Jobs here in the Philippines are so ridiculous, how much time they put in, and yet they don't get paid what they deserve. It's no wonder there are so many Filipinos working abroad. But anywho that means she won't get home until night time so we will have her baptism around 5:00 p.m. hopefully. So yeah I'm super excited for Saturday!
      But as for this last week, I feel like I just barely wrote to y'all because I wrote you Wednesday night and told you all about temple day and such. Well on Saturday it was our Temple Tour. We brought Bro and Sis Sumilang to the temple tour. They have a baptismal date coming up the end of December, but they aren't progressing the way they need to be. They are part of Couples for Christ. They say they want to be baptized and know the Book of Mormon is true, but they love the members from their community at Couples for Christ and can't leave them. So they're trying to do both right now which makes it hard because sometimes we'll come to teach them, and they'll be at a meeting for CFC and such. So yeah they really enjoyed the temple and said it answered some questions for them, and they really want to be able to enter the temple some day. But then yesterday they weren't at church. So yeah we have to figure this whole thing out with them.
      Then this week one of our members invited us to come and teach their new nanny which immediately I thought about Tina. Do you remember her? She was the nanny of a member in Carmona that we taught, and she was going to get baptized but the week before she moved back to her province. So yeah we'll try again. haha Her name is Tessie, and she is so sweet. She is my age; she's married, but they’re separated. She has a child that is currently living with her mom in Davao. We had a really good first lesson with her, and she really opened up. One thing she said that just hit me really hard... we asked her if there was a time in her life where she felt God's love for her; she said sometimes it's really hard for her, and sometimes she feels that He's forgotten her especially when everything's happened with her husband. Ah it was so hard to hear that, but then it made me SO happy that we have this opportunity now to help her feel that love that Heavenly Father has for her and help her see the hope that the gospel can bring to her life. I don't know I'm just really excited about her because I feel a special connection with her and a special bond with her! We'll have to wait to see what Heavenly Father has in store for her:) So yeah that's my exciting experience for the week.
      Then last night we had a fireside with the stake for newly baptized members and also investigators were invited, and Brother Ben got to be one of the speakers to share his conversion story. It was so neat. He's just growing so much. Last week he was talking with us, and he was saying how he just realized how great the priesthood is and how much of a privileged it is that he was called to be one of the Lord's servants to receive his holy priesthood. It was neat seeing him get so excited about it. A lot of other wards after the fireside were telling us how much they enjoyed his testimony and how they felt the spirit so strong when he was talking. It was a really neat fireside!
      So yeah missionary work is great! It's so fun hearing all the friends back home that are receiving their calls right now! It makes me so happy to think of the missionary force getting stronger! There was a time here in the mission where we had to close a lot of areas because the number of missionaries sent out had decreased a lot. Even in Carmona there used to be four missionaries and now are only two. So it makes me so happy to know we'll have more missionaries to help this work go forth stronger and bolder!:) I hope I'm still here in the mission when you start to see a difference in the number of missionaries here in Manila!
     Oh and I did receive some letters this week for the 10th, 11th, and 12th Days of Christmas! Yaay:) I'm so excited to read them! But I was a little confused because I thought it was supposed to start with the First Day of Christmas...? and on the 12th day it didn't have written "don't open until the 25th," so does that mean I can open that one?:) I think that's only fair! SO yeah I think that was your only question.
      Well I hope you all have a great week! This Wednesday is our mission tour, and we get to hear from Elder and Sister Nielson from the 70! I'm really excited about that! I'm so THANKFUL for every single one of you and couldn't be more blessed to have you a part of my life!!!!! Love you lots!

Mahal na mahal ko kayo,
Sister Stromberg



Maligayang Pasko!
     Well we might be all the way across the world, but we still seem to be tied together. So you all were talking about the great and wonderful primary program... well this last Sunday I was asked to stay an hour after church to be the pianist for our Primary and help them practice. And I can kind of relate to you, Mom, when you said your favorite calling was playing the piano in Primary. These kids are SO cute! And we too are singing Gabey's favorite "The Wise Man Built his House Upon the Rock." It's all in English except there's one song that's a new Primary song, "Bilang anak ng Diyos" (Or I think in English it's "As Children of God."), and that's the one song they sing in Tagalog. And, man, it's my favorite!!! I love hearing these cute Filipino kiddies singing! So I'm helping them practice one more time on Sunday, and then on the 25th is their program.
      So you're probably wondering what happened and why this e-mail is late this week. That's because it was our temple day today, and they just combined it with our P-day. So this morning to my surprise at the temple I was blessed to be in the same session as... Sister Culango:) That's the first time I've seen her for about 4 months because she just got back from Palawan. And sadly to say it might have been the last time I will see her:( . . . until I come back to the Philippines as an RM!! Yeah we had to say our goodbyes, and it was really sad because she goes home this December 12. Because she's assigned in the city right now, we won't see each other at the conferences or temple tours. But we were just really lucky we ended up in the same session because we were planning on being there earlier, but the sisters that went with us made us late. So it worked out just perfect. No more Nanay here in the mission. But my session earlier was SO good! I just love the temple so much, and life is just so great! I couldn't be happier.
      Then with our work it's still just pressing right along! We have two baptismal interviews scheduled this Saturday for Jennalyn and Khaycie, and then their baptism will be on the 24th. They're both super excited about their baptism and are so ready. Jennalyn has been through so much, and it's just about time she finally becomes a member!:) I'm so excited for her! Then we had the best surprise this last week at church. We had a lot of our investigators make it to church, and we were so excited about them all (16). As we were walking to our Sunday School class, one sister stopped me and said there was someone in a wheelchair downstairs looking for us. So to back up, remember the investigator I told you about that had no legs. Yeah that's Tatay Teodorro, and he's really, really interested. He even went to the internet and looked up all this stuff and checked out mormon.org and wants to know all about the church. Well we came from him Saturday night, and he explained that he hasn't left his house or used his wheelchair in a really long time and still has to clean it so he wouldn't be able to come to church until the 18th. Well yeah when that sister told us that, we just about screamed for joy and ran downstairs. Sure enough there was Tatay Teodorro!:) Then we had to get three of our priesthood to haul him upstairs, and it was just great!
     We also had about 21 less actives at church as well, so it was just a great day!:) Then last night we came from the family that we found at the cemetery the Day of Souls here, and they look VERY promising!! Our first visit sister didn't even really want to listen. It was just brother, but when we went to our second visit, sister had read two of the pamphlets we left, had questions, had all the kids out listening to us, and is just really excited. She also said that they were planning to go to church this last week, but when they read the pamphlet, it says you need to have a skirt and slacks and such. They don't have any of that so they didn't come (which of course we explained doesn't matter because most investigators just come in street clothes). So yeah I'm super excited about this Santos family and am excited to see them on Sunday!:) SO yeah work is just pressing right along here in Noveleta!
      Well that's about all that I have for today. Thanks for all of your e-mails and updates. November is going by so fast! We have this family that we get to eat Sunday dinner with every other Sunday, the Soleta family. They actually have kids going to BYU and have been to America before so every once in a while they'll cook American food for us. Well Bishop Soleta (old bishop) told us that he is going to find a turkey and have us over for Thanksgiving!!:) Yay so that's exciting! Oh and his daughter that's at BYU just competed in the United Nations competition that was held in Utah, and they showed us pictures. She was the winner! Go Philippines!:) Did you see that at all in the newspaper or anything? I don't know if that's big over there or not. Yeah that's just a little side note. But I better get this sent. Thanks for all of your love and support! I love you all so very much!:)

Mahal ko kayo,
Sister Stromberg

P.S. Oh yeah, I have another crazy experience so we were teaching one of our less actives this last week, and she started talking about the missionaries that baptized her husband and said one of their names was Tyson Bell. That name sounded SO familiar to me, so I asked her to show me a picture. Well she dug an old photo out of her husband’s baptism, and sure enough I know who that is. For Kip and Ryan, isn't that the one who's a supervisor at Independent Study who sits over by Keenan? If I remember right, that's him, and it was just so funny to see his picture when he was a young missionary teaching here in the Manila mission. Small world! Oh and speaking of small world, today at the temple I ran into a sister who played basketball with Amanda Jensen, and she told me Amanda's married . . . who knew? Ok, that's about all for today!


"I have glorified thee here . . . ." John 17:4

Happy November!!
     First off... I MISS my mga pamangking!!!! (neice and nephews) Ahhh, those were some of the cutest pictures, and I just can't believe how big they all are! They're all so stinkin cute! Hannah's picture with her purple shrug, man she looks so much older!! Blows my mind! We have this one investigator, Bebenya, and she has the CUTEST little baby I've ever seen. He's always so happy, and he always tries to jump into my arms which is so hard because I'm not allowed to hold him:( That's just about the hardest rule for me! I asked how old he was yesterday, and she said 7 months. I thought, hey that's about the age of Cam and Aiden! Yeah, so I was thinking about those two cuties yesterday! That's one thing I can't wait to do is just hold babies and play with them and let them sit on my lap and all of that:)


     Anywho... so I did not get transfered:) YAY! I'm here another transfer with Sister Richardson, and I'm so happy about that. I hate being with a companion for only one transfer because it's just not enough. So I feel blessed, and we have a lot of goals. I'm excited to see great things this transfer in Novaleta! We have two baptisms set for Nov. 24th. Jennalyn is one of those, and when we told her this last week that that was her new goal date (because we've given her a couple now), she was SO excited that she gets to be baptized this November. So yeah I'm so excited for her. We're just working on getting her some real friends here in the ward to make sure that she stays active and continues to progress. Then Khaycie is the other one who has a lot of friends at church and is really involved and really has no problems and is excited for her baptism.
     We had a really neat experience this last week with a less active. So I told you that we had major flooding last week. Well when we were walking home through the flood, there was one part that was really deep. When we got there, some people that saw us told us that it was too deep to walk through and invited us inside their house to wait a little bit. So Brother Wilmar went ahead to check if it was too high, and we waited at their house, but it only ended up being like a minute. Well they were super nice and gave us a bunch of plastic bags to put over our bags so our scriptures didn't get wet, and then we had to take off through the floods. Well after we thought about how nice they were, and we realized that we needed to go back to them and teach them. So we went back this last week and taught them and had a really good lesson, and then at the end Sister Rose told us that her sister-in-law was a member and just lived right behind them. So we asked her if she could show us her house, and they did. We met Sister Hazel and her daughter Era who are both members. They moved here to Novaleta six years ago and still haven't gone to church. So we actually had a youth temple trip the next day that we invited Era who is 14, and she went and had a really good time they said. Then they both came to church on Sunday!:) And we have a FHE scheduled with them later tonight! It was so great! It was almost just like they moved here and didn't know anyone and didn't want to just go to church not knowing anyone. But Sister Hazel said our first lesson how much she misses hymns, and so we sang her favorite hymn "Hold to the Rod" and taught her about Lehi's dream. Yeah, it was just so great, and I know none of that was an accident! Heavenly Father totally just led us to this family that needed to be found and nourished by the word of God! Now we just need to meet her husband because she said that he's a member too but is always at work. But I'm super excited about this family! So yeah great things are happening! You all were right when you said it sounds like Novaleta is such a great area! SO fruitful!
     This past week I have been really thinking about goals that I wanted to make for myself for my last six months here in the mission. I just can’t believe how fast one year went by, and I don’t want these next six to speed right by and not be able to finish out giving everything I have just sprinting right to the finish line. So as I have been pondering on some goals, I came upon a scripture in personal study that I really just loved. It explained how I want to feel when April rolls around. It’s in John 17:4, and Christ is talking to Heavenly Father as he says, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” And it’s just really simple, but as I apply it to myself, I hope that at the end of my mission I can say “I have glorified thee here in the Manila Philippines Mission: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” Simple scripture but it really touched me when I read it. I’ve been reading John in my personal study, and then in the Book of Mormon I’ve been reading 3 Nephi. Man, it’s been so powerful getting to read the words of Christ each day from these two amazing books! We have a great and marvelous work to do here to glorify our Father in Heaven, and what a privilege it is to be here representing our Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s my constant prayer that I’m living up to the missionary my Heavenly Father wants/needs me to be.
     Oh I almost forgot... you asked about Halloween. Ah I should have taken pictures but here Halloween isn't the big deal; it's All Soul's Day the day after that is. There were a couple trick-o-treaters, but that's all we saw. It was actually the kids of Mark and Maricris, our investigators. But for All Soul's Day it's like a Memorial Day and a fair combined. EVERYONE is at the cemeteries. They have tents set up over the top of the graves so people can just sit around and eat and hang out, and they have all different kinds of venders. Then they have candles everywhere so when it's dark you can still see, and yeah it's crazy! We went and did some finding there for a couple hours, and yeah Filipinos are partiers, that's all I can say. They like to have fun.
     But we found this one family that looks like it will have a lot of potential! They were really excited to talk to us, and brother said that he went to church when he was little every once in a while and knows a little about it. We're going to them tomorrow! So yeah I'm really excited about them. Then the others we mostly just found referrals for other missionaries. So yeah that's Halloween here.
     Oh and Sister Stucki sent us instructions how to register for an absentee ballet, and we did it so we'll see if our fax worked this next week if we get an e-mail. Sister Stucki wanted to make sure that all the American missionaries voted. So yeah I think that's about all. I love you all so much and love seeing pictures of all of you! Have a great week!:)

Mahal na mahal ko kau,
Sister Stromberg