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!


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



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



     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