4.02.2013

Can't even explain the happiness I felt . . .


Talofa!
      Happy Easter!  Yes it's quite the celebration of Holy week here in the Philippines.  Dad, you're right; they do crucify real people here, and it's all over the news.  I saw it last year when I was traveling to the mission home, and there was a TV in the front of the bus.  But this year I had a new tradition that was introduced to me.  It's called "Pabasa".  All of our catholic friends set up their graven images and have a shrine looking thing, and they all sit around and read from the scriptures and religious text.  But when I say read, I actually mean they sing whatever they are reading.  This was done EVERYWHERE!  It surprised me because I didn't see that at all in Palawan, but it is a big deal here.  One night in our condominium complex in the parking garage they had it all set up, and they were SO loud.  It was like a concert going on all night and all morning.  Poor Sister Tuia couldn't even sleep, but as you all know I can sleep through just about anything so it didn't bother me.  Then as you can guess, it was a little hard to concentrate during personal and companion study as well.  They had a guitar and all.  So yeah gotta love it.      
     But the Makati zone did a neat thing for holy week.  We got all the missionaries and put together a program called "the Life of Christ," had clips from the new Bible movies, then had different musical numbers, and quoted verses from the Book of Mormon.  Wednesday night we had it in Makati as a tri-ward activity and then Saturday did it again in Mandaluyong with our three Mandaluyong wards.  There were also investigators that showed up, and it was really neat. It was a great way to feel the spirit of Easter and all that our Savior Jesus Christ has done for us.  
     There are also a bunch of traditions I learned about with the Catholic church where you can't eat meat Thursday through Saturday and on Friday you're not allowed to shower and a bunch of different things.  So that was kind of fun getting exposed to a new culture of how to celebrate Easter.  But the very most exciting part of my Easter weekend was.... MELODY was BAPTIZED!!!  YAY!!!  It was such a great day!  Melody has been so prepared and was so excited for her special day.  As she bore her testimony, she shared about how her life has changed SO much since she started going to church and listening to the missionary lessons. She talked about how before she never read the bible or any kind of scriptures (now she's in Enos).  She said she would only pray if she had a big problem come up and just a lot more, but she got emotional and said that she's so excited for this new start in her life. I'm just so excited for her.  Yesterday she came out and worked with us all day, and as she was sharing to our investigators and less active members, you would have never known she was just baptized the day before.  Her sister that is living in Las Vegas is also starting to go to church at the LDS church and will soon be listening to the missionaries!:)  SO exciting!!  Melody also has talked about how she really wants to serve a mission in a year.  

     Ahhh I can't even explain the happiness I felt Saturday, watching her enter the waters of baptism and see her come out completely clean!  Tears came to my eyes and also the thought of that being my last baptism as a full-time missionary was really hard.  But I'm also so grateful that Heavenly Father led Sister Tuia and I to sweet Melody.  It's been such a great opportunity to teach her and help her grow closer to Jesus Christ.  
 
 
     I also got a letter this last week from Jennalyn, and it was just the sweetest letter and made me so happy.  It's been such a great week!  We also experienced a little miracle yesterday in our work.  We had been struggling to find new investigators for the week and were far from meeting our goal that we had set. Out of nowhere 14 new investigators were just placed in our path.  It was a large family and their neighbors all just sitting outside and waiting to hear from us.  It was such a blessing.  We sat and taught them along with all these little kids bunched all around, and then when we closed the lesson, they all broke out in a round of applause.  hahaha It totally threw me off guard and I didn't really know what to do but I thought it was way funny. Then after one of the sisters prayed, they all started clapping again.  They were super nice, and I don't know if all of them were interested, but there were definitely some!  I'm excited to go back to them next Sunday   
     So yeah that's about all I have for y'all!  Ahhh, can you believe this could be it? I'm not sure about next week because I know Monday early in the morning I'm going to the Buendia chapel with all my luggage for a workshop and then to the mission home.  So that's why I'm guessing we won't be e-mailing.  Ahhh, time flies!  But I do want to thank each of you SO much for the love and support that you have given me each and every day here on my mission.  I couldn't ask for a better family!!:)  You all are great, and I'll just have to share more with ya when I get back!  Oh, Mom, I was thinking this morning, could you set up a hair appointment with Annette ASAP when I get back? Thanks:)  
     This work is amazing, and I've been incredibly blessed these past 18 months.  I'm so grateful to my Heavenly Father for helping me get here and to my Savior Jesus Christ and all I've learned about him as I've been serving him.  This gospel changes lives and brings everlasting happiness!  Well that's all I've got for today!  Love ya!:)  

Mahal na mahal ko kayo lahat!
Sister Stromberg

P.S. So last night this cute nanay from Mandaluyong 1st ward wanted to have a farewell party for me.  She's so funny because I'm not even in their ward, but she always calls me her "anak" which is child.  She says that she's my mom here in Manda and told me I had to show her picture to you, Mom:)  haha.  She makes me laugh.  She also really wants me to marry her son, but that's another story.  She's such a sweetheart and made dinner for us last night.  



 

 

 

3.26.2013

Just how much I love these filipinos!

Happy Easter or better known as Happy Holy Week here in the Philippines!

     Thank you all for your e-mails. It was fun hearing from Bets and Nicole:) Now it's Bethany's turn for the last week next week:) Can you believe that? I'm pretty sure I won't be e-mailing my last Monday so that means just one more e-mail.
     It's been SUCH a great weeK! So I first just have to tell you about cute ol' Sister Cortez. Yesterday when we went out to work, our oldest Sister in our ward who just happens to be 79 years old told us that she was going to work with us. Of course we were thrilled, and little did we know she worked with us all day long! It didn't matter that we were walking around in the middle of summer with sweat dripping from our face; she worked the whole day. Then when she was bearing her testimony, she told one member that she had been in the Relief Society for YEARS and then just last year got released from her calling. Well when she didn't have her calling anymore, she said that she had been praying to know what the Lord wanted for her to do to help in the church, and she received her answer that she needed to work with the missionaries. Talk about faith:) And she just was so cute and just made the Relief Society sisters that we visited feel so loved, and it was such a good day. That's just one example of why I love these Filipino people SO much!
     But also this week has been such a good week with Melody. Thank you for all of your prayers. I'm so proud of her and so excited. She had an interview with Elder Tenny, our zone leader, on Tuesday and then another interview with Pres. Stucki Saturday. It's hard to explain all that has happened with her because some is more confidential, but lately I've been reading in Alma; he describes a lot of what happened and what I've been feeling. Alma 29:9-10 says it pretty well. It's just been really neat to see the power of repentance in her life and like it says in verse 10, "yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me." It just has reminded me of the effect that repentance and the atonement has had in my life, and the happiness that comes from forgiveness. Then I can't even explain the joy that it brings me to know that now that Melody knows and is living the Gospel of Jesus Christ, she is having the same experiences for herself. She's SO excited for her baptism. She also wants to work with us this week. President asked her if she wanted to serve a mission, and she said she'd love to, but her first mission after she gets baptized is to teach her family. She's just awesome. Oh and I forgot to say that yes she passed both interviews and the baptism will be this Saturday.
     Our baptism this last Saturday went really well. President Stucki and Sister Stucki attended our baptism, and that was fun to have them there. Little Macmac did such a good job. At first he wasn't going to bear his testimony (he's 11), but we helped him feel comfortable and he did SUCH a good job. Our ward mission leader turned and asked us how old he was, and when we told him, he was shocked. He said that he is so mature for his age. He even started crying as he was sharing. He talked about how he was taught by the missionaries when he was younger . Then when he moved back to his province, he was SO sad because there were no missionaries in their town and no church. Then when he came back to live with his grandparents, he was so excited. He talked about the love he feels in the church when he comes to church and from the members, and it was just really neat. He's totally going to be a missionary when he gets older. One day I was talking to him and asked him where he wanted to serve his mission, and he told me in a place where the people don't believe in God!:) Isn't that so sweet?!? He's lookin' for a challenge! So it's been just a great week and we have another great one ahead of us.

     I'm excited because Holy Week is a big deal for Filipinos, so it will be a great chance to really focus on Jesus Christ. All the missionaries in Makati zone are actually doing a program Wednesday and Saturday night with video clips and musical presentations all about the life of Jesus Christ. So it will be really neat! Well I hope that you all also enjoy this week ahead of us as we ponder on all that Jesus Christ has done for each and every one of us. We're so lucky to know his gospel and have that happiness and love in our lives.
     I love you all so much, and one of you mentioned that I probably wasn't excited to come home, but you were. I'm very excited to see my family!:) But it will also be really hard to leave my family here in the Philippines. I know y'all understand. Have a great week!:)

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Stromberg
 
P.S. Ah I almost forget a memorable moment that happened this last week..... yeah i've been asked this a few times from y'all, but I finally ate... BALOT!!! And, man, it looks SOOO gross! but the taste actually isn't too bad. It kind of just tastes like a hard boiled egg. So yeah I hope these pictures don't gross you out too much, but it was worse in real life. I have videos you'll have to see in a couple weeks. Oh Filipinos!! Our counselor in our bishopric invited us over for dinner, and he bought them and said I had to eat it before I went home. So yeah I never thought I'd eat it, but once again... that's just how much I love these Filipinos!





3.18.2013

Never Seen Anything Like That in America

Happy Spring!!!

     For you it's spring, but here we're right in the middle of the HOTTEST part of summer! So yeah I get to sweat to death right before I come home. Philippines is just great!
     So anywho, it was good hearing from each of you. This week sister Tuia and I have been very busy getting our investigators ready for baptism. Macmac is ready to go for this Saturday. We've been working a lot with Melody to get her ready. We've had some of the most spiritual lessons with her. I just love this girl. She's 21 and here in Mandaluyong working at a member’s house. Even the first lesson we taught she was in tears talking about her family. This last week she was in tears again talking about past sins, and she is just SO excited for her baptism and to feel the cleansing power that comes from our Savior. As we've been teaching her about different commandments, I've just seen her sincere desire to repent and through repentance have seen her come closer to Jesus Christ. It's been such a blessing to be teaching her this amazing gospel. She will be interviewed this Thursday by President Stucki, so please keep her in your prayers. But I'm not even worried because she is just as they say one of "God's elect." I'm so excited for Melody!
     She always talks about how she can't wait to go home and visit her family in May and bring them copies of the Book of Mormon and all of the pamphlets and share her testimony with them. They live way out in the bundoks! (That is the Tagalog word for mountain, but it’s funny because we use that word all the time in English, right?) But yeah she said they are far away from the church and the missionaries wouldn't be going out that far. But she also has a sister who is living in Las Vegas that we are going to get the missionaries over there! That is also really exciting because Saturday night she was telling me that in a year or two she will also be moving to the states!! I was so excited to hear that!!! So yeah it's just been such a good week for Melody. She's taken some big steps, and I'm so excited for her. I was reading the baptismal qualifications last week in D&C 20:37, and the scripture totally describes Melody. She has humbled herself and come forth with a contrite heart and broken spirit. She has the strongest desire to be baptized, more than probably all of my past investigators. It's just been really neat teaching her. I can't really explain:)  The family that she lives with are so awesome and have been a huge part in her conversion! We're actually doing a family home evening with them tonight!
      Also this week, as I told you, Kevin left for the MTC. Thank you, Mom for taking care of that for him. I also gave him something for Sister Foster, so hopefully that all works out. We did a little send off party for him, and I was asked to give a testimony at his party.
     Then on Saturday it was the Relief Society Anniversary. And, man, Filipinos really know how to do an anniversary. I don't even remember what they do in the states.  But yeah they had a "Woman of Asia" night where each ward was assigned a country from Asia and did a dance and made food from the country, and it was pretty intense. They went all out and practiced their dances like every night. They also go all out with costumes. I have some videos I'll have to show ya when I get home. One of the wards in Makati is actually a foreigner ward (Surprisingly there are a LOT of foreigners in Makati.). One of the Americans turned to me after and said, “You've never seen anything like that in America; have you?” It's true; they go all out! We weren’t sure if we were going to go actually because we were just going to go if we had investigators to go with us. Well our investigators bailed last minute. So we were close to bishop’s house, and we just stopped by. They were cooking the food and needed a lot of help. So we ended up cooking Korean food for them while they took off for the stake center. Then we had to bring the food over there. So yeah that's how we ended up at this activity. But it was a lot of fun.  

    Those were the highlights of this week. So yeah things are still going great here in Manda. We have another sister in our ward who should be getting her call anytime now. Exciting:) Well thanks so much for your love and support. I sure look forward to reading your e-mails each week. You all are so great! Take care!

Mahal ko kayo,Sister Stomberg

3.11.2013

HAVE OUR HANDS FULL RIGHT NOW!

Hello po!
     Mom, that's funny that you would mention that stake spitting because that was my stake. And I told you all about it my last week in Noveleta. The week before I left, we had a stake conference where they split our stake into two. President Astilla used to be my stake president, and then he moved to the Bacoor stake. That was my last zone that I was in, so yes I'm very familiar with all of that. haha.
     Nicole, I'm very sorry to hear about your grandpa. I hope you and your family are doing alright. I'll for sure keep you all in my prayers.
     So yes with Brother Ed... he's still progressing little by little, but man he's a toughy. I've never prayed and fasted so much for one person! Mom, you're right when you said that it's not us that are the teachers; it needs to come from the spirit. And we're working so hard to bring that spirit into his life. This last Saturday we had a FHE at the church for all of the ward missionaries and the full time missionaries, and they all wanted us to invite Brother Ed. So we did, and he came:) So it was a bunch of YSA, and then an old man at our FHE. But he quite enjoyed it. He couldn't stop laughing and taking pictures when we were playing the games. But then, sad to say, he said he had a meeting on Sunday and couldn't make it to church. So hopefully next week.
     Macmac had his interview yesterday for baptism and passed so that will be happening on the 23rd of this month, two weeks away because this Saturday we have a big Relief Society anniversary activity so we had to put it off a week.
     Then we're working really hard with Melody and Donato to get them ready for baptism on the 30th of this month. Melody is ready; she just needs to keep coming to church. Donato is actually Bishop's nephew that we've been teaching, and he's SO smart. He is protestant and knows a lot. He just wants to be sure this is the true church before he's baptized. Last week though when we were following up with him, he said that he felt the spirit when he was reading the Book of Mormon so we're really close now:) So yeah we have our hands full right now trying to prepare for the baptisms.
     Bishop's son, Kevin, is also leaving this Friday to go to the MTC. That's pretty crazy how fast that went, but he's going to be an awesome missionary. I'm going to miss him working with us. He's the one that will be in the batch with Sister Foster when they arrive in Angeles! I gave him a little something to give to Brynn:)
     Hmmmm.... I think that's about all the updates that I have for you. This work is great! Time is so weird here in the mission! I can't believe how fast it's been, but then I see pictures of Cam and I think, “Wow, it's been a long time”:) haha.
 
                Cam's first birthday!
Have a great week! I love you all so much!
 
Mahal Ko kayo,
 
Sister Stromberg

3.04.2013

FRUITS OF OUR LABOR

Family!
     Man, this week was great! We worked really hard, and then we got to see the fruits of our labor when Sunday rolled around. Yesterday at church we ended up with 12 investigators at church, and we were just thrilled!!
     And probably the most exciting news was Brother Ed came to church!! I don't remember if I told you about Brother Ed, but the area presidency has been telling the missionaries that we should focus on finding leaders. Focus on the wise and learned. Find those who can get themselves to church, which that is a lot harder than it sounds. Most of our area is what they call "squatters" which are the really, really poor. But the areas where you can find other investigators, they are never at their house or they have maids that will open the door and don't want anything to do with missionaries. But anyway we received this referral for Brother Ed, and he is exactly that--SO smart! He knows so much, and we've been working with him for two months now. And he FINALLY came to church!! And this last week we had a really good lesson with him where he finally understood the importance of the Holy Ghost in conversion (even though we've been teaching that from the very start). He said that before he thought that he had to study all of the religions to be able to find which one was true, but he realized that it can come from the feeling that the Holy Ghost gives him. So now we're just praying and praying and praying that he feels the Holy Ghost. He looked really happy at church, so I'm really excited to follow up with him on Wednesday.
     We also found a new family of less actives that has a lot of potential if we can help re-activate them. Sister came to church yesterday for the first time, so now we just have to work with her husband get him to join her next week. The work is just really moving forward here and that's all thanks to the great members here. Missionary work goes SO much smoother when everyone is involved. We have been getting a lot of great referrals for investigators and less actives as well. I'm just so grateful for our members right now.
     Oh some exciting news... Sister Culango e-mailed me and was happy to inform me that they finally got her brother back, and he is now recovering in the hospital. She also said to tell you thanks so much for your prayers.
     We got two more sisters here in Mandaluyong this week to open up a new area and get ready for a new ward that will be made in the next couple of months. The church is just growing and growing! Love it!!
     And yeah I think that's about all. Thanks for the cute pictures of Cam! Man, I can't believe he is already one and how big he is now! I can't wait to meet the cute little guy!:) Well I love you all so much. Thanks for your love and support! Y'all are great! Have a wonderful week.

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Stromberg

2.26.2013

I don't like it :(

Hello Family!
     Wow, I can't believe you have SOOoo much snow! As I looked at those pictures, I don't even remember what it feels like to be that cold. Let's hope that it warms up a bit before April. Oh, good ol' Cache Valley:)
     So first before I forget... HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Bethany!!!! Sorry, I haven't found any spare minutes to write you a card like last year, but I love you a lot and hope you have such a great day! Same to my cute nephew CAM!!! Man, that blows my mind he's turning one! Ahhhh those pictures of Cam and Aiden were SOOOoo adorable! Man , I have the cutest pamangking ever!!    
     So yeah this week, to tell you the truth, I was thinking about it this morning, and it wasn't too eventful. We just worked, worked, worked. Our investigator, Macmac, who is 11 is getting close to his baptism. He lives with his grandma and grandpa who are members, and he is SO smart for an 11 year old. Because he's living with them, we have permission that he can be baptized, and he's SO ready. He reads every day, even in D&C. He's been taught by other missionaries before and remembers most of it. He was so cute this last week; he gave us roses for Valentine's Day. He was the only one to give us a gift. So yeah he will probably be baptized the 3rd week in March.
     We also just started teaching Melody, a nanny for a member, who is SO prepared! Our first lesson she opened up and said that she was so interested in learning. She told us her whole life she's never even held a Bible or really prayed. At the end of the lesson we were able to give her a baptismal date of March 30 which she happily accepted. Then when we went back for the second lesson, she explained that she was nervous to ask her parents for permission to change religions since she's only 21 because a few years ago her older sister wanted to, and they didn't allow it. But she said that she prayed, and when she called them, they said it was up to her, whatever made her happy. She said she was so surprised, and she knows that it was because of her prayers. She's so awesome!
     Then this weekend we ended up having a CSP for a member who is a dentist. She just moved offices so we cleaned out her old office for her. That's about all that comes to my mind this week. Sorry this is probably a boring e-mail.
     Sister Tuia is doing great. You say her name “tuya.” This Wednesday we are finishing up our first transfer together which I know you're not surprised to hear that it went by so fast! Just like every other one. And it will be no surprise that this next one will fly by. I don't like it:( Although I'm so excited to see each and every one of you . . . well you know how it is. As I work through where I’m going to live spring and fall semesters, man, I don't even want to think of this all, but it's going to come up right after I go home so it's have to get it taken care of.
      Oh you mentioned the new missions that are opening up!! Isn't that so exciting??!!! Yeah they told our mission before it was announced in church news. My first area, Carmona and then Novaleta as well will be in the Cavite mission. Our mission will be splitting which is so crazy! So exciting as well! This transfer day we're getting two new missionaries here in Mandaluyong, and they’re making a Manda 4th ward. They're opening up like seven new areas this transfer, I think I heard. It's so awesome!
     Well have a great week, and give little Cam a big hug and kiss for his birthday from his aunt that's far, far away. Love you all so much.

Mahal ko kayo,
Sister Stromberg

2.18.2013

THE GOING HOME MISSIONARIES

Happy Valentine's Day!!
     Ahhh, I just received an e-mail from the office about my travel itinerary! Time is going by WAY too fast! This last week we had our zone conference, and always at the end they have the missionaries who are going home bear their testimonies. Well, guess whose name was on the program under the Going Home Missionaries . . . yep, Sister Stromberg. I couldn't believe it. After the conference Sister Stucki came up and also commented about how fast it has gone, and she was in shock that I was one of the Going Home Missionaries. Crazy!
     We had a great conference but actually got chastised quite a bit from President . . . in a loving way. This last January the work in the whole mission was the lowest it's been in years. So we were given a lot of new instruction on what we need to be focusing on and what we need to improve. So hopefully we can implement that as a mission this month and in the months to come.
     This week once again we were led by the Lord to those waiting for the gospel. Last week we were led to investigators, but this week we were led right to some of our less actives. The first instance we were just standing waiting for two of our ward missionaries to meet us, and a brother, Elvin, walked right up to us; said, "Sister!"; and shook our hands, "I'm a member." Then he went on to tell us he had moved here and was now working here and happened to live in our area and wanted to know where our church was and what time. Then he went on to tell us how his brother was an RM and how he used to go and work with the missionaries and such. He's 27 now. We talked for a minute, and then he had to run to get to work on time. Then Sunday, what do ya know? He came to church!:)
     Then that same night we went to try and contact a referral that the elders gave to us, and it was at a condo. The guard went upstairs to check if Maria was there at her condo, and while we were waiting, Sister Tuia and I were just talking in Tagalog when a lady rushed right past us. When she heard that we were talking in Tagalog, she whipped around and asked if there was someone there that we were visiting. Then we started talking to her and found out that she was a member as well. She took us up to her condo, and her 21 year old son was also there (future missionary!). She was really excited about us being there, and they are super nice. We shared with them, and then, sure enough, they too came to church yesterday! The neat thing about that story is earlier that day Sister Tuia and I were having our weekly planning session, and we talked about how we need to stop speaking English to each other and speak more Tagalog and what do ya know? Because we were speaking Tagalog, this lady realized we were missionaries, and it caught her attention so we could talk and share the gospel with her. So yeah that was such a neat day, and we felt so blessed that the Lord placed us in the right places that day to meet those who really needed the missionaries.
     Mom, to answer your question: as far as Valentine's Day goes, it was just like every other day, except everyone on the streets were sure to greet us as we walked by with a "Happy Valentine's Day!" Then we did have a great dinner with the Kiemel family. I don't know if I told you about them, but it's an American husband and Filipino wife. They have the CUTEST kids! And they made us homemade pizza and apple pie!:) So that was great to have a good ol' American dinner!

 Cristina, Mom & Dad's new Facebook friend, 
with the peace sign and the hand on her hip

     Hmmm . . . that's about all I have for you today. I was worried a little this last week. Cristina one day told me that she was looking at pictures from Mom's Facebook and saw the two twins. She then asked me who they were. I was so confused, and for a minute thought, “ . . . oh, man, they better not have pulled a "Jasen" on me. I know you know what that means:) haha I was a little worried Kip and Nicole had new baby twins for a minute, haha, but then I told her to look again and tell me their names. She told me they were Cameron and Aiden. To Filipinos all Americans look the same, at least that’s what they always say. So yeah I was worried for a minute, haha.
Aiden & Cameron were opening their presents from Grandma Pat 
 They looked so cute in their little hoodies
 . . . that everyone exclaimed, "Awwww!"
. . . and it scared Aiden.
     But yeah, everything's going great here. We have so much work to do and not enough time. That's been the story of my whole mission up to this point. It's a good thing they're sending more missionaries out because we sure can use more!!
     Well I love you all and hope you have a great week. Love you all so much!

Nagmamahal,
Sister Stromberg

2.11.2013

Mabuhay!
     Hello Family! Yes, we did have our baptism this last week, and what a great day it was. Well actually when we first got to the church, we were a little nervous if the baptism would actually happen. Our ward mission leader had gotten to the church three hours before the baptism was scheduled to start filling up the font, and when we got there 15 minutes before the baptism, the water was maybe mid calve... yeah the water was coming out really slow. So we started praying and thinking of other ways we could get water. As we were going around the church talking with Bishop and the others members, investigators started showing up. Then the most exciting thing was Christian's mom showed up. We've had a few opportunities to teach his mom, and she is SO nice. The other day we went and just kind of chatted with her. She told us that she really wants to come to church, but she has a new baby, 3 months old, and her husband doesn't want her taking the baby out of the house where the air is so dirty and such. But she's encouraging her younger children to go to church with Christian because she really likes the change she's seen in him.


     I think I told you before that Christian is one of the quietest people I know. Even when he does speak, his voice is just so quiet. Sometimes that makes it hard to teach, but as we got to know him more, he really opened up more. I asked his mom one day if he is just as quiet at home with their family. She told me that his whole life he's been really, really quiet. But she also told us that the times that he is the loudest and happiest at home is Sundays, right when he gets back from church. Isn't that neat? When she told me that, it made me smile pretty big. I love seeing in others’ lives how understanding gospel principles, changes behavior. He also has worked with us a few times and is starting to open up little by little. The SA's told me that he went to mission prep class and raised his hand and shared. Then he told me how he is preparing to serve a mission, and when I talked to his mom, she said the same thing. She also said she is so supportive and thinks that would be great for him.


     Yeah so that's just a little about Christian, but back to the baptism: so we were SO excited to see his mom there because that's the first time that she's been inside the church, and her husband gave her permission to go. But then we're back to the problem that it was supposed to start at 4:00, and it was going to be 7 or 8 at night before the font was filled. So Bishop and some of the brothers went to this business close by and got buckets of water and brought them back to fill up the font. Well that didn't make a huge difference. So then they went outside and fixed 2 hoses, then brought them in through the window, and started filling it up with the hoses. Well before we knew it, our prayers had been answered, and we had a full font!:) YAY! So we started the program and it went so well. We had two great speakers. Sister Tuia and I sang with a ukulele "When I am Baptized" inTagalog:), my favorite song! One of our ward missionaries Christina Archisola is posting it on Facebook she said so you'll have to find it. Dad I think she said you two were friends, but I don't know. Then Christian bore such a neat testimony. It was simple and short, but he talked about how at first he just went to church because his friends were there, and he thought it would be fun. But then he said as he got to know the gospel and saw it helped him in his life when he was sad or having a hard time, his reason to go to church changed, and he couldn't describe the feeling. It was really neat. What a blessing it has been to see Christian come to know his Savior and see the change in his life. So it turned out such a great day. Mom, the other boxers actually didn't come, but we are having a FHE later tonight with all of them.
     Oh another exciting thing that happened this week is Sister Ronquillo or should I say Claubelle, as an RM, came and worked with us:) She lives in Quezon pretty close so it was so fun to see her again and have her teach with us again. She was my second companion here in the mission so a lot has changed since we taught together in Carmona.
     This whole week we had a lot of what Sister Tuia called last night "little miracles." Heavenly Father led us right to his children that really needed our help this week. We found two new investigators this week who as we just started talking to them, they opened right up, and next thing we knew they were in tears. One of them was sister Tess who told us that the night before she had been praying and asking Heavenly Father what she was doing, what was her purpose here, and what she was supposed to be doing with her life. Her dad passed away two years ago, and it's still hard for her. She told us that she passes the time by playing games on Facebook because she doesn't want to think of it. Even though she said she's not really the game playing type. Then she said when she looked out her window, she saw us outside talking to her neighbor who is actually one of our members. She then went outside and was just standing on her porch, not really sure what she was going to do. So she just kind of stood there.
     Then we were asking our member Brother Jimero if he had any referrals for us, and he said he couldn't think of any. Then we asked about his neighbors and kind of pointed to the lady that was out on her porch. Then he said, “Well she's 7th day Adventist, but why not? I'll introduce you to her.” Then that's how it all started.
     Also Saturday night after the baptism, we felt that we should go visit one of our less active members we hadn't seen in a while. We went and shared with them, and their 3 year old little boy wasn't feeling well at all. Sister asked me if I could please give him a blessing. haha I then explained that I had no priesthood so that wouldn't be very effective. But then we assured her that we would come by the next day after church with some priesthood holders. Well when we went to visit them, we found out right after we left their house, they ended up going to the hospital. So we then proceeded to walk to the Mandaluyong hospital where sister was with little CJ. She looked so relieved as she saw us walk in the doorway. Our great ward missionaries offered the blessing, and after the blessing sister just sat and cried and cried. She was so touched. It was a really neat experience. There is SO much power in the priesthood, and I am so grateful for that blessing in our lives.
     So yeah Sister Tuia was right on when she said we saw a lot of "little miracles" this past week. This past week as a mission we've really been focusing on exercising more faith, and I know without a doubt our little miracles were the result of the faith we have been exercising. So we are just doing great.
     Oh and I have a favor to ask you, Mother: so Bishop's son Kevin is going to Angeles mission as well, and I'm pretty sure he will be in the same batch as Brynn:) Kevin is working with us a lot, and he is so awesome! Well now in the MTC in Provo, they have little mini Preach My Gospels. Sister Tuia has one, and Kevin just thought it was so cool. Well they don't have any here in the Philippines. So do you think there is any way you could ask Brynn to get one in the MTC, and then when she meets Elder Evangelista, give it to him?? Is that too much to ask?:) I know Kevin would love it. AND when you talk to her, tell her I'm so excited for her, and she will ABSOLUTELY LOVE it!!
     Okay what else, oh Dad, about the going home thing, President said he was afraid it was too late to change when I go home, so it will be April 10th. He said that he will let me call the Dagot family when I stay at the mission home and chat with them, but I wouldn't be able to be at the sealing. So yep that's the news. I'm about out of time, so I think that's all I have for today. Love you all so much! Have a great week and a Happy Valentine's Day!:)

Mahal ko Kayo!
Sister Stromberg

2.04.2013

I have the greatest calling in the whole world!


Good Morning FamilY!
      How has your week been? It's been another great, really fast week here in Mandaluyong! So before I forget, I just received an e-mail from Janeth from Palawan, and she told me that my "grandpa" here in the mission, Tatay Dagot and Nanay are getting ready to be sealed in the Manila Temple on April 15! Ahhh that makes me SO excited! But I can't believe that it would be right after I would go home. Janeth said that Tatay has been telling her that they are bringing fresh cashews for me and can't wait to see me. Yeah so I'm thinking I will write president, and if they haven't already bought plane tickets, see if there is anyway I can stay to be with them in the temple and then go home. I don't know how you feel about that, and I have no idea if it's even possible, but you don't know 'till you ask right? So just thought I'd let you know that I'm asking president today and will probably have an answer next week. I would love to see them because they are the family we helped reactivate. We visited them every week. We reactivated Tatay, and then once I was transferred, I heard that Nanay also returned which was a miracle because she was always sick before and due to health reasons couldn't make it to church. But they said they've been working really hard even if it is difficult for them to get to church because they really want to make it to the temple. Wouldn't that be just the best way to end my mission? Yeah so we'll see.
     So anyway, for this week we had such an amazing testimony meeting yesterday in our ward. It started off with our less active, Tatay Luis, who we have been working with that just yesterday became active. He also just Saturday was able to go to the temple and receive his endowments. He actually has an interesting story because he was really active before and even worked with the missionaries before though he's in his 60s. But last July when he wanted to get ready to go to the temple, they weren't able to give him his temple recommend. They said that he needed to get an annulment from his wife that he had been separated from for 22 years. Here in the Philippines that's SO expensive and is SO rare that any Filipino can afford that. Then also they said he had some WOW problems also. Well then he got offended that they wouldn't give him a temple recommend and that started his becoming less active. Well Sister De Leon and I visited him and have been working with him each week until he exercised his faith and came back to church. Then last Saturday he received his endowments! And then he shared the best testimony to start our meeting.
     Then we had a bunch of our ward missionaries share about their preparing for missions and the experiences that they've had. We have seven of our YSA right now that are all working on their papers and getting ready to serve! It's so awesome! Then man I can't even explain, but the spirit was so strong in that meeting. I was crying; Sister Tuia was crying; and our less active Shirly that was sitting next to us was also crying. All the members in our bishopric shared their testimonies, and it was just an unforgettable meeting for me. I haven't cried like that in sacrament in a while. I'm usually too caught up in our investigators and less actives, making sure they have a friend to sit by and are having a good experience. But it was such a good Sunday.
     Then Bishop invited us to his house last night to attend their Family Home Evening, and, man, I just love that family. They’re just so neat and all are so close, and I loved being with them for their family night. Oh and yes Christian did pass his interview and will be getting baptized this Saturday! We're really excited for him. He's such a stud!
     Oh so your questions about Sister Tuia: she grew up in Samoa but went to three years of high school at East High in Salt Lake and stayed with her grandparents. But after high school went back to Samoa because she likes it better there in the islands. Her dad's a bishop, and she's the first of her siblings to serve a mission. All the Samoans and Tongans and missionaries from Australia and New Zealand (Sister Afu) go to the MTC in Utah to learn the language and then go to Philippines. All the missionaries coming from Asian countries go straight to the Manila MTC and are only there for 19 days. The sad part about that is even the Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, and Chinese don't get to learn any language in the MTC. It all just comes when they're in the field. I don't know why, but that's just how they do it. But I heard they're working on changing that so all missionaries serving in the Philippines will come here to the MTC. But they're going to need a bigger MTC first.
     So yeah I think that answers your questions. As far as registration, when it gets closer to register for fall classes, I can ask President for an extra hour on the internet and check what classes they are offering and let you know. Right now I have no idea what I want to take or what's available or teachers or anything. Just let me know when it's closer to registration. 
     Okay well I think that's about all for today. I love you all so much. I love being a missionary! I have the greatest calling in the whole world! Life is great; live it up! Take care!

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Stromberg

1.28.2013

Can't even describe the happiness

MaBUhaY!!
     How are you all doing this nice warm day? Oh wait, it's probably far from that for all of you...
      But yes my new companion is here, coming straight from the MTC in... Provo!:) She even had my MTC teacher, Brother Ah Mu, as her teacher. Her name is Sister Tuia, and she is Samoan:) She's 23. Her whole family are members of the church, and she was born in the church. She was actually the only foreign sister that entered the mission, and I was the only foreign sister that is training this transfer. So yeah the Lord decided to stick us foreigners together:) So it's pretty exciting! I'm quickly remembering how difficult Tagalog was when I first got here. But Sister Tuia is awesome and is ready to work hard to learn this language and already loves our ward. We've had so many ward missionaries work with us, and Sister Tuia has been so surprised. She keeps talking about how awesome the youth are here, that they all want to help in missionary work. She loves them all, and it's so fun to see that. They are all helping her with her Tagalog also, so it's great!
      We have a member in our ward who is less active, and he's a boxing coach. They have a bunch of their boxers board at their home, and they range from the age of 12-20+. Well when we go to visit them, they want us to teach their boxers. So right now we have four that are really interested. We went and taught them Sister Tuia's first night and had such a good lesson about the restoration and then were able to set baptismal dates with them all. Then on Saturday we had a temple tour, and three of them came with us. Christian also used to box with them, and he's our investigator that is getting baptized on the 9th.  He also came to the temple tour. So that's the majority of our investigator pool right now:) A bunch of wanna-be Manny Pacquiao's! But they're great and say that they really want to find out the truth for themselves before they get baptized. They have already come to church three times before so I'm really excited for them. Our strongest recent convert right now who has perfect attendance at church, Allan, is also a boxer. It's great because they can't have any problems with Word of Wisdom because of boxing, and their coach is a really good influence on them (even though he doesn't quite get to church).   
     Oh and speaking of temple tour, it was such a great day at the temple. We had our boxers there, and then we also got Shirly to come. She's the one I told you that is less active and one day just ran into us and asked us for a Book of Mormon. Well she came and loved it, and then last night we met her husband for the first time and were able to share with him. He's really interested as well. He has a lot of questions about life and religion, and most of all he said he just doesn't want to be confused anymore and wants to know the truth. We got him to pray last night for the first time, and he said the best prayer. We're really excited for him and Shirly right now.
     Oh back to the temple tour, I was so blessed because it happened to be the same day as Noveleta ward's temple trip!:) YAYY!! So I got to see SOooo many of my members from my last area! I also got to see a lot of my converts as well!! I got to see Tessie for the first time since her baptism, and she was so excited! She was supposed to do baptisms for the dead ran into some problems so she went along with us for the tour, and we got to chat!:) Then Johnmark, Mark, Khaycie, and Ben all did baptisms for the dead for the first time, and I got to see all of them! It was so fun! Also all of our great ward missionaries were there so it was just a great little unexpected reunion:)
    I also ran into a member from Carmona, and when I started talking to her, she was so surprised at my Tagalog:) haha She kept saying, “Wow, you can really speak now, and you speak really fast.” She also told me that Jewel, one of the less actives that we always visited and helped reactivate, now has his mission call and got endowed last week!:) Ahhh it's SO great! I can't even describe the happiness of seeing these people that I love progress in the gospel. It's such a blessing that we have a temple in our mission, and I got the opportunity to see these people I love so much again. So as you can tell, I was on cloud 9 on Saturday!:)
Three sisters because Monday-Thursday we were a threesome
Sister Sabordo's companion went home,
and she joined our companionship:) 
She was great! She's Sister Ronquillo's trainee!
 
      As for sister De Leon, you'll never guess where she got transferred... Santa Monica B:) Yeah I'm so excited for her, and she will love her new area I know it! So yeah I think that's about all I have for right now.
     As for my strep, the antibiotic worked, and it is now gone:) All this being sick and all happened right before Sister Tuia got here, and I kept thinking, “Man, Satan just wants to stress me out, doesn't he? Right before my new companion gets here.” But the Lord helped me through it, and I can gladly say I'm just fine; all of that is in the past now! haha
     Okay well for questions... Mom, your comment with directionally challenged... I have the spirit here in the mission:) and great ward missionaries if all else fails:) so I'm not alone in this big city! haha. With Sister Culango's brother, I heard they are working on negotiations right now, but nothing has happened yet so please keep praying! And yeah there you have it.
     Have a great week! I can't believe that January is coming to an end. It's all going by so fast! Well I love you all so much, and thanks for your e-mails. Take care always!:)

Mahal ko kayo,
Sister Stromberg

1.22.2013

. . . neat to see His hand in the work

Mabuhay!!
     What a week it has been for me. So I couldn't tell you the exciting news because President didn't want my companion to find out and who knows if she would see it on my screen. But the exciting news.... I have been called to be a trainer my last two transfers!!:) President actually told me last December but said he wanted me to transfer to my new area first and get to know the ward and area and such, and then I would be training! So yeah we had a training last Thursday at the mission office, and this coming Thursday I will meet my new missionary. I'm super excited!! It will be fun because I started my mission doing the 12 week training program with Sister Culango, and I will be ending my mission doing the 12 week program with my companion. I'm also excited for her because our ward is really getting involved, and a lot more ward missionaries are working with us. Our ward mission leader is putting together an actual ward mission plan, and it's great! She'll have a great ward to start her mission. I got even more excited after working with our new missionary last Wednesday that came out of the MTC for a day. Her name was Sister Rantayo, and she was awesome and was just so excited to work with us, even if it was just for two hours. Mom, you're right the MTC is in Quezon; it's right across the street from the Temple. It's about 30 minutes from our area. But we met at the mission office and then taxi'd to our areas, worked for a couple hours, and then met back up in Buendia, and had a short evaluation. It was a fun experience. So yeah that's the news I was talking about.
     This last week went by really fast. We were supposed to have Christian's baptism this Saturday, but we had to move it back a week. He started a new job and is always working so we haven't quite finished all the lessons we need to teach him. So this Saturday he will be coming with us to the temple tour in the morning and then after will be having his interview for his baptism, and February 2 will be his baptism. He's awesome. If he has a day off, he'll always come and work with us during the day. Definitely future missionary material:) He's actually REALLY quiet, and when he talks, it's almost like a whisper and a little shy. But for the first time we got him to really share with us when we taught him, and he's more coming out of his shell now. It's great to see the difference the gospel can have in all aspects of our lives:)
     So the past two days I've come down with strep (I think). I wasn't able to work yesterday, and when I texted with Sister Stucki, she asked the doctor about it. He thinks it's strep and gave me the name of the medicine I should buy. So this morning we got that, and I started taking it today. I've really been praying hard and rested yesterday because I don't want to be sick when transfer day rolls around on Thursday. SO please pray for me. I'm tired of getting sick here!
     Oh and one more thing that I need your help with. Sister Culango e-mailed me this morning, and her younger brother got kidnapped by a group called NPA. Apparently they are some nasty group that is against the government. I don't really understand it all. But in Davao they said there are a lot of terrorists and groups like that. So his name is Jezreel Culango, and please keep him in your prayers. Scary stuff!
     Uum... oh, we did have a neat experience again this week with one less active. We were walking down a street, and a girl comes up and asks us if she can have a Book of Mormon. Of course we were caught off guard, and Sister De Leon asks, "What are you?" haha because she was so surprised, and that's the first thing that came out of her mouth. Then she told us that she's a member and moved here two years ago but didn't know where the church was and didn't bring a Book of Mormon with her and so on and so forth... So on Friday we found her house and shared with her, and her husband isn't a member but wants us to teach him. She came to church yesterday! Yaay!!! We haven't met her husband yet, but I'm really excited about them. She also really wants to go to the temple this weekend, and so hopefully her husband won't have work and can also come. The Lord has blessed us so much this transfer by putting the right people in our path. It's so neat to see His hand here in the work. I love being a missionary!:)
     Yeah, that was my week. I hope you all had a great week. I love you all so much! This last transfer flew by, and I've really enjoyed being companions with Sister De Leon and will miss her a lot. But I'm also excited for her to go to her second area:) She's great! SO that's about all for now. Take care always!

Mahal ko kau!,
Sister Stromberg