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

      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.