Wow, I have had quite the week. I know there's no way I can explain it all to you in this one e-mail. So first the leaving part... Of course as always, it was really hard to leave all those I love so much in Noveleta! We had dinners set up all week, and for once in my mission I think I almost got to say goodbye to all of the ones I wanted to. My last night in Noveleta we had dinner with the Seballos family who is the less active family that we found when we had the flash flood. They are just the sweetest people. Then Brother Wilmar, John, Joyce, and AJ came, some of my most favorite ward missionaries, and Brother Wilmar thought it would be a good idea for all of us to go around and give their "last words" to me before I left. Yeah well if that didn't start the tears going, I don't know what would. Sister Seballos retold the story of the night where we found them and walked through their door and talked about that being an answer to her prayers, and we were her angels that night when she saw us in the doorway. John talked about how Sister Dyer and I were the first missionaries that he ever worked with and that helped stir the desire in him to go on a mission, and now his papers are in and he's just waiting for a call. Joyce talked about how when she heard that they were getting another American in the ward, she wasn't excited and wasn't going to work with us, but I changed her mind about Americans. Yeah I can't really explain it all, but there were a lot of tears. Also Sister Richardson said some really sweet things, and I just love them all. I feel so blessed to have been assigned in such an amazing ward and area.
I also had an investigator, Tessie, whom we had a really neat lesson with. It was funny too because we only teach her on Fridays because she lives kind of far away, and she texted me on Sunday and asked if there was any way I could come teach her one more time before I left on Thursday. So we made it out there, and she's the one I told you the first time we taught her she said she doesn't remember a time when she's really felt the love God has for her in her life. Well she's really been progressing since then and loves the Book of Mormon and has been to church four times so this last lesson I wanted to ask her that question again that I asked the first lesson, and it was SO neat to see the difference. She's just so much happier now, and she said of course she's felt the love that Heavenly Father has for her. It was just a really neat experience. There were some tears in that lesson as well.
Oh and then we did a review for Johnmark and asked him all of the baptismal interview questions, and he knew them all and is awesome and was scheduled for his interview on Sunday! Which I'm sure he passed and will be baptized this Saturday! Yay!:) So yeah times up for my last area.
Here's the new news.... Yes I'm in the Makati Zone, and my area is Mandaluyong 3. Mandaluyong is where there's a really big mental hospital/rehabilitaion center or something like that so when you say you're in Mandaluyong everyone asks... Sa labas o sa laoob? (inside or outside) as a joke. And let me just tell you I have had quite the shock this last week with the difference of being in the city and the province. Really I feel like I'm in a whole different mission! There are just a lot of buildings and a lot of people here... that's it. It's really dirty. I actually got what they call sore eyes this last week that hasn't been very fun, and I'm pretty sure it's just from all the pollution They're just really red and swollen at times, and a couple days there was goopy stuff in them. It's weird, but it's on the up side now.
But aside from all of that, the part that really surprised me is the people, and actually missionary work here is SO different. I came from an area with a lot of investigators, and we had a lot of them with baptismal dates and a lot came to church. Here we had four investigators which three of them aren't married yet, so we have that obstacle to fix first. So we're focusing big time right now finding, finding, finding. But even finding is so different. Before almost everyone was interested in our message and wanted to know what we were doing and would invite us into their house pretty quickly. The problem there was we had to figure out who was really interested and who were the ones that just wanted to be nice. Well here everyone is SO busy. We've been rejected many times this past week. They don't invite you in so you have to just take the time they give you, teach them out on the streets, set a return appointment, and hope the next time they'll invite you in. It's pretty crazy. My companion is Sister De Leon, a Filipina again:) She just finished her training program so I'm follow-up training. She's awesome though. She's so nice and wants to work hard and is filling me in on the whole city life deal. We're really enjoying being companions. And I've gone back to eating rice everyday... great:) Yeah and the ward didn't seem to have a lot of trust in the missionaries before, and no one really was working with them so that's another thing we're working on is building their trust and getting the YSA to work with us again.
So yeah as President Stucki said to me this morning in his e-mail, "The Lord has much work for you to do in your new area." But I'm excited. Although right now it seems a bit rough, I'm just glad I have a companion that wants to work hard, and I know if we be obedient and do our best, the Lord will help us to boost the missionary spirit here and change things around a bit. But, of course, your prayers would be a big help as well:) So yeah I don't know what else to tell ya....
As far as answering questions yeah I will just call you on the 26th, and do you think I could call at 7:00am? That would work best for me so we can still personal study at 8, but let me know what works for yall...
I have been able to read some of the 12 days of Christmas letters, and I'm loving them! Wootton and Kuresa are bums!:) haha. It's exciting to read them as I eat my breakfast each day. And no, letter #3 never came:( Who was it from? Please don't say that was the one from my cute nephews and niece....
As far as Christmas here, our area is made up of really, really, really poor people (squatters) and then really, really rich people. It's so crazy to me the differences in these houses, and they're within walking distance. It's SO sad! But Sister De Leon said in one of the rich subdivisions, they have awesome lights, and we're going there one of these nights so we'll see about pictures. The trees... I'm not sure where that is; I'll have to ask Sister Ronquillo.... Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you she's in my zone!:) We were so excited to see each other again. She's in Makati Makati, and yeah it's pretty close to the mission office. There's some really cool fountains they say at night we're going to see if we can get permission to go there next p-day on Christmas Eve.
So yeah that's about all I got. We have a LOT of work here to do! But I know that I'm here for a reason, and the Lord will help us so I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for these great people. I love you all so much, and thanks for the support! I hope you all have a great Christmas break! Play in the snow for me:) Take Care!
Mahal ko kayo na sobra!!!Sister Stromberg