. . . have to leave all the people that I love so much

Maligayang Pasko!!
     It's been quite the week for sure! Very exciting and yet sad at the same time. But first off, the Dyers did attend our FHE, as you saw. haha That's crazy to think that you saw that; I didn't even realize that she was videoing, but yeah that was our lesson with the Sumilang family. I sure do love them. Did you understand any of it? Then on Tuesday Sister Dyer and I were able to go on splits while we had a ward missionary with Sister Richardson. The Dyers also got to go out with us, and they met Tatay Teodoro and our converts Mark and Maryann. It was fun to have them with us, and I'm sure they either have told you about it or will when you go to Sister Dyer's homecoming.

     Then Tuesday night we got a call from President Stucki telling Sister Richardson that she will be training this next transfer... which also means that I will be transferring. It was really weird knowing so far in advance! But yeah so this time I've had plenty of time to tell people and get ready. I just found out about 10 minutes ago that I'm transferring to the one and only MAKATI! Which, to tell you the truth, I'm SOOO happy that's where I'm going. I don't know much about it, but I know it's right in the center of the city, the one part of the Manila mission I haven't experienced yet. I've been assigned in the Province my whole mission, but this Christmas.... I'm going to the CITY!:) So yeah that helps a little, but as you know, I always have a really hard time with transfers! It's especially hard because I'm leaving right before Christmas, and I have to leave all the people that I LOVE so much! All the members that have become like family and then have to go and meet all new members and investigators a week before Christmas, it’s a little rough, but I know that it will all be okay. I love all the people in Noveleta so much and feel so, so blessed I have been here for four months. Members all have dinners lined up for us before I leave, and I've just once again felt so much love from these amazing people. It's also really, really weird to think that this is probably my last area. WEIRD! Okay so enough about transfers.
    The exciting news I was talking about earlier.... we had a stake conference yesterday, and I was able to see Cavite Stake split into two stakes!! SOO exciting! It was such a neat way to spend my last Sunday. Elder Ardurn came and spoke, and when they sustained the new stake presidents, he had them stand up and said he wanted to give them their first assignment in front of all of us. Then he told them that he was challenging them that after their nine years of being stake president, he expected that each of their stakes would split AGAIN! It's so neat to think of that! That's just how fast this gospel is spreading in the Philippines. It was just a really neat meeting and neat to be there for such a "milestone event," what they kept calling it.
     Okay, okay so I have one more experience that happened this last week I'll share with you and then wrap it up. So we went to visit one of our less active members, and when we got there, brother was outside working with his fishers' net, and sister was inside. Brother was too busy so we just went ahead to share with sister. Well when we got inside, sister just opened up and shared everything with us that had been happening with their family. She shared that brother comes home drunk almost every night. She shared that the past few nights when he comes home, they'll get in a fight, and he'll thrown things all around the house (She mentioned a knife being one of those.). She even showed us some of the sores and bruises on her hands and arms. Then she told us that when he goes out and drinks, there are girls involved, and there's another girl that is interested in brother and maybe brother interested in her, she's not sure. And it was just AWFUL! I can't expain all of it, but by this time we were both just all in tears. I HATE hearing about Satan ruining families. It's the worst thing, and the one thing here in the mission that makes me the saddest, and I can't help but just cry for these poor families. Then I got the impression to share about the atonement and read some of the scriptures from Alma 7 with her. Then in my scriptures I have my favorite pictures of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. It's the painting by Carl Bloche where he has the angel comforting him. Well as I was sharing about the Atonement, I showed sister that picture and asked her to look at the expression on Jesus' face, and when she looked at that picture, she just started crying even harder. She was so touched from that picture. She put it right in her Book of Mormon and shut it and now it's hers:) It was so neat! I love when there is something so special to me or something that has touched me like that painting has, and then I get the opportunity to share that and then touch someone else’s life. It really goes to show that you are in your area for a reason, and there are people that need to hear specifically from you. It's SO neat! The Atonement is so real, and I love sharing about it and helping these great people understand it a little more. The next day after we taught her, we went back early in the morning to do her laundry for her because of course with all those little cuts and scrapes on her hands that would be awful! So it was so neat to help. This work is great!
     It's kind of been an up-and-down week with being excited and being sad, but that's just life. It's also been sad because four of my companions are going home Wednesday! I'll sure miss them! I've been so blessed with the very best companions! All the way down to Sister Richardson who I'm going to miss a lot, and it will be hard to leave her on Thursday. But that's life. And that's been my week. I love you all so much and hope you have a great week! Oh and sometime could you send me another Carl Bloche picture? (if you want:) That's all. Thanks so much for all you do and the support that you show me! Take care!

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Stromberg


. . . like home with Grandma Pat

     Wow, it's December now, and I got quite the surprise last night:) Yes the Dyers did make it here safe and sound. They made it in time to attend church yesterday in Noveleta. Bishop Dyer even took the opportunity to bear his testimony to our great ward. It was so fun seeing them. They told me that you were just down there in Orem chatting with them and that just seemed so weird to me that you were just talking and then days later I was talking with them. Sister Dyer gave me a big hug and said it was from you, so THANKS:) And then Bishop Dyer let me know that my dad didn't seem too happy that I was coming home in April; he wanted me to come home in March:) Haha, is that true? It's only one month, Dad, then I'll be home with ya'll! Oh and then Bishop Dyer was telling me that he and Mom have a lot of "mutual friends" in the college of business. Then we went to dinner with the Soletas, and the Dyers joined us. That was a lot of fun to sit and chat. Then that's when they gave me my package with that WONDERFUL FUDGE!! and the pecan rolls and all the delicious chocolate! You just have no idea how much I have been craving Fastbreaks lately! That got me really excited! Yeah I definitely felt the Christmas spirit yesterday and weirdly felt like I was home for a minute. When I tried the fudge, that really made me feel like I was home with Grandma Pat:) But don't worry, not in a trunky way at all. To sum it all up, THANKS!!
     And I'm sending a little something back with the Dyers so you'll have to get it when you go to Sister Dyer’s homecoming talk. It's not a lot, but it's about all I could find here in Cavite. I actually had Janeth get me something in Palawan for my name, but it hasn't made it back to the mainland yet. So I'm really hoping it gets here before they take off on the 12th of December, or I might have to mail it, and it will be late:( We'll have to wait and see. Oh and I've received all of the Twelve Days of Christmas except the Third Day. Hopefully it's still on the way and didn't just get lost.
     Moving on to missionary work:), this last week we had a lot going on! We had a great CSP this last Wednesday where we got to go out to the "beach" and help our investigator JohnMark with his job. He's our investigator right now who is closest to baptism:) He's SO awesome! He's 18. We used to teach his brothers and his mom, but his mom moved to Dubia, and his brothers lost interest I guess. But he will be baptized right before Christmas on the 22nd!:) He's such a stud! And because his mom doesn't live with them anymore it's kind of fend for yourself now with them, which here in the Philippines that is really rare. Your parents usually support you even after you're married and have your own family. But he is a fisherman and does that every day and has to get up SO early every morning and gets done late at night and is just such a hard worker. Well we decided we would get up early and go help him with his fish:) So yeah we went out and that just happened to be the one day that their fish weren't coming in until 9:00, and we were there at 6:00 a.m. and only had a couple of hours. So we ended up helping a bunch of strangers with all their fish! haha. I'll attach pics. It was a lot of fun, and hopefully we can teach our new friends when we return to that area! We also had a really neat lesson with JohnMark where he opened up to us and told us when he went to a friend’s b-day party, he was offered a drink. He really didn't want it and told them that but in the end up drank a little and then felt bad and left the party. Then he told us that he didn't feel worthy to be baptized, and he was just so sincere and concerned. Then we just had the neatest lesson about repentance and read some of the scriptures from Alma 36 about Alma the Younger (one of my favorite chapters). It was such a good lesson. JohnMark is so great because he's around the rowdiest crew all day every day. They are always smoking and drinking coffee, and he just sticks with his values and is doing his very best to get ready for his baptism. He had a problem with coffee before because that's what he would eat with his rice when he didn't have any money to buy real food, and coffee is really cheap here. But he's been sacrificing and hasn't bought any since we taught him the Word of Wisdom. Yeah that's why I say he's a stud because he's being such an example to all those around him and going against what's "cool" with all of his workmates. I just can't thoroughly explain. But I'm SO grateful for the Atonement and the miracle of forgiveness and to see the hope that our message brought to JohnMark that he could repent and continue to prepare for his baptism. ASTIG!  

    Then we have a new investigator, Tessie, who is the nanny of a member. We had such an awesome lesson with her, and she now wants to be baptized. She said that she prayed about Joseph Smith and got her answer that he is a true prophet, and, man, she's so awesome! She's so humble and in all of her prayers is just pleading that she can understand everything that we are teaching her and talks about that being her only concern is that she can understand everything, but she has been doing great. We're just taking it slow with her, and she's just such a sweetheart! I'm so excited for her!

     This last week it was Sis. Richardson's birthday, and Joyce and I arranged a surprise birthday dinner at the church! Man, that sure was hard! How do you keep something a secret from someone you're always with and you share a phone with and you literally can't be separated from?Yeah, we can thank Joyce for the most part, but Sis. Richardson was really happy and surprised so it was a lot of fuN! 

     Yeah okay well, I'm out of time; that always seems to happen. I'm really excited to talk with y'all on christmas. President Stucki wrote us today and said we could call or skype; it was up to us what would be more cost efficient and best in our situations, so skype sounds good to me. What do you think? I LOVE this Christmas season, and I'm getting so excited to teach everyone about our Savior! WE have a family home evening tonight that the Dyers will attend where we're talking about Jesus Christ, and I just can't wait!
     Well I love you all so much and hope you have the greatest birthday week! Happy Birthday Jasen and Dad and Ryan!! I wrote y'all letters so I hope they have gotten there or will very shortly!! Take care!

With Love,
Sister Stromberg

P.S.  Oh and I forgot to mention that transfer day is next week, and EVERYONE kept mentioning at church yesterday that I'm going to be transferred:( One of our ward missionaries even had a dream that I did:( It will be really hard if I am transferred right before Christmas! But I know that I'll be where the Lord wants me to be... so we'll see next week!