28 July 2010

the end.

I do not know if you expect the best letter of my mission or not, but seeing as I no longer will be mailing you weekly I say "let 'em have just one more."

It is hard to believe that more than 18 months ago I parted ways with my family and friends. Honestly I had no idea what to expect of this whole experience. All I knew was that I wanted to serve and I felt the Lord had a work for me to do. Having been so blessed to have the gospel in my own life, I only felt it would be selfish to keep it to myself. Then a sister missionary in the Mesa Temple Visitors Center read to me Doctrine and Covenants 4:4. That was the answer to my every question. Now here I am at the end of my mission. The black tag in the corner of my eye and my heart fills with love, gratitude, joy, happiness.

Being able to serve an extra three weeks added the miracle of all miracles to the millions I experienced during this time. Let me recount the event.

June 20th, 2010 Marta brought her neice to church to translate.
June 21st, 2010 Marta had her first lesson about the restoration.
June 27th, 2010 During a short lesson after church Marta set a baptismal date for the 24th of July.

In between the preparation we received a few calls from the bishopric about Marta's less active husband. We did not know him, and the first time we did meet him he happened to be smoking. We were very hesitant about discussing performing the baptism since he had already expressed disinterest.

Well, July 18th rolls around and it is time for Marta to be interviewed. Bishop has already confirmed with Paulo, her husband, that he is going to perform the ordinance. I decided to just get to know Paulo while waiting for the interview. Not far into the discussion I discovered that he stopped frequenting church while in Primary. He had not yet received the priesthood. Despite a slight road block, we let bishop control the situation and he made it to their house the following evening. After an interview he left Paulo with a goal to prepare to receive the priesthood and perform the baptism. Continuing forward with the impression he received to do this, we all searched to show our faith in Paulo that he would do whatever possible to be worthy to receive the priesthood. Next thing we know Paulo is getting dressed in white.

On July 24th both Paulo and Marta stepped into the baptismal font and we witnessed one of the sweetest moments. From the first time I met Paulo to the day of the baptism, he became a new man. He is happy. Marta has helped her husband find himself again. And all this in the space of a month.

The gospel - faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring - is the only thing that can save an individual and a family. These two individuals found another reason to fall more in love because Paulo already invited me back for when they will be sealed for time and all eternity in The House of the Lord.

I am humbled for the opportunity to teach and learn from such remarkable individuals. I am grateful to be a servant of the Lord and witness daily his Love that is shed abroad. Tears have been shed for many a reason, but most of all because I have learned what love is. I have learned that no matter what Jesus Christ loves us and has given everything for us. His church has been restored to the earth and a living prophet has received the priesthood authority.

Having learned all this, I prepare for missionary work the rest of my life.

I am happy. It may be hard to leave behind family and friends again, but it is all according to the will of the Lord.

Nothing is greater than knowing the truth and this is what I have been blessed with. I echo what was said by Alma:

"I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."

I smile.

of the story,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll.


Marta and Sorella Carroll


Marta and Sorella Carroll and Sorella Prina


Marta and Paulo


Marta and Paulo all dressed in white


Amos before his baptism. Doesn't know that sister missionaries can't be hugged. :)

21 July 2010

smiles.

All smiles. For everything that is happening in life. It is difficult to put into words. If I were a poet I would write you a million. But (fortunately) today, I am a sister missionary in nothern Italy. I could not imagine life any differently.

As another week has passed, I feel it time again to express my deepest gratitude to what the Lord has given to me. I am grateful for life. The very fact that we have the opportunity to be here in a world created especially for us makes my face scream joy! My heart wants to burst with mushy love for everyone and everything. Even the ratty dog with leaves tangled in his hair rolling on the cobblestone street begging for me to pet him. Yes, even him. As crazy as I think this all is, I think I have become even crazier.

I could live here in this life style forever. Of course there are challenges. But as my sister put it a couple weeks ago, I realize more and more that mission life really is perfect. I decided that anything I have passed through in the past 18 months is no longer called a trial but a great learning experience. I am grateful I can look back and smile, and mean it. As I do glance in the past I question "where has this been all my life?" "Why can I not do this forever?"

Then I remember...that I can and I will!

Good news for you and for Marta! She is making the baptismal covenant on Saturday and her husband may even be able to perform the baptism according to our Bishop! I have never seen some one so ready and so excited about making this huge step. Having the privilege to help her along the path humbles me as I learn from her every footstep. My testimony has been growing right along with hers, and had I not had this opportunity I think I would have missed much of what Heavenly Father is trying to teach me.

Last week I thought, why not ask President if I can hang out here until December. Then Robert and I can storm the runway together. But before you know it I will be all up in your face and you will wish I was back on a mission.

I will give this one more week of everything I can. And then we will give the rest of life the justice it deserves.

I am sorry that my words are short. Right now, everything is just as short. I look forward to only one more of these love letters. Then I can just kiss you all on the cheek and tell you face to face.

Until next week,
Sorè Carroll

14 July 2010

life.

I think all parts of me are freaking out. My calves wake me up every night, multiple times, with charlie horses. My poor companion thinks I am dying every time. (Maybe I am still a little over dramatic.)

Yesterday everything became real. I gave my departing testimony at zone council, but gladly not a tear was shed. I just said how happy I was. What a blessing to be able to say that! Although I am not a perfect missionary, or person for that matter, it is a great joy to recognize happiness in ones life. Right now, that is all I can feel. Happiness for life, for the gospel, for eternity. What I really appreciate the most is helping others find that same joy.

Work is still progressing with our dear Marta, who we met only 4 short weeks ago. The baptismal date has been postponed until July 31st because she works on the 25th (which would have been her confirmation date). Therefore we decided together that it would be best to wait until the next week. Although I am sad to miss the celebration by one day, I am so happy for her. Marta is so strong and so faithful. The Lord is working miracles in her life, and before we know it, her husband will be active and they will become eternal. Actually a miracle happened. This past Sunday she did not make it to church because they were in the emergency room until 5 am. Her husband (Paolo) was having severe chest pains with high blood pressure. Well, following the visits Paolo was charged to quit smoking and to stop drinking alcohol and coffee. The first step towards reactivation. They are also starting to pray as a family every once in a while and Marta is so happy to see little changes in her love. Marta will be such a strength for the ward and especially for her husband!

An empty train ride home last week gave me a few moments to think. I sat against the window as we journeyed back from Marta's appointment and my heart filled with the deepest gratitude. Gratitude mostly for my Savior Jesus Christ, who made this opportunity possible. As we rode into Como my eyes filled with sweet tears. I spent more than half of my mission life in this beautiful place and I can hardly believe that before long my train rides will be gone. In fact they are already numbered. That is why I recommit every morning to give all I can, because this is the opportunity of a life time, but as dad said, this is not all. Just one of the necessary experiences to help me better understand and know Jesus Christ.

I think I am unconsciously trying to extend my time. Everyday is Saturday to me. Last Saturday. I even made a comment doing house when a woman said to come back Saturday. When she closed the door I said to my companion, in a serious question, "but doesn't she know it is Saturday?" My companion is helping me be sane. Although I have been crazy my whole mission.

Guess what we are doing on Friday. Participating in a wedding! Do you remember any info I gave about a little boy named Diego? Son of a less active? Well it had been quite a few months without any success of visits. During our exchange last week we were coming back from Marta and while on the train we stopped at the station where this family lives. At a spur of the moments I grabbed Sorella Simon and said we are getting off. We walked about 2 minutes to arrive at their front door. Surprise...the sister missionaries showed up! We taught a simple lesson and tried to offer some help. She shared the good news about the wedding and said we could come back to visit, but before all the stress. I called her 2 days later and we were back on Saturday for lunch. I decided to ask her if she had someone to take their pictures and she said unfortunately no, because of lack of funds. So I jumped on it and we are going to be wedding photographers and family photographers on Friday. We are going to be spending quite some time helping with the set-up. So although I could not participate directly in my sister's wedding, I will still get to help a family very dear to my heart make one more step towards covenant making in the temple. Plus, we are starting to prepare Diego for baptism!

President and Sister Wolffgram are incredible. We met them for the first time yesterday and it is a blessing to see how inspired their call is. They are just what the mission needs and are going to help the work progress so much! With only one month of service with them I am still grateful for the opportunity to have served under this Presidency!

The assistants told me a better practice my ping-pong arm. Apparently we are going to be having some rough competitions! I will be all brushed up and ready to compete against Eric. Or was it dad that schooled Eric at Carroll family Christmas? All I remember is getting comments from everyone about some intense matches. Love.

I love you all. Life is flying by and I am happy every moment of it. Even when my companion and I walk 3 miles in the sun and humidity only to sit down on a bench covered in bugs to permanently stain my skirt. Jealous? Good thing that was staying here anyway! On another, not as long and hot of a walk, we found black berries along the rode. We may or may not have enjoyed a few.

butterfly kisses.
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

p.s. love you!

07 July 2010

a narrated week

I think it would be safe to say that it has been the best week of the mission.

And I know it is just going to get better. The mission and the rest of life.

By the way, do you know what today marks? July 7th, 18 months!

First the fun: Thursday night, culture night at the Opera. Don Giovanni, a scandal and a half. With president's permission we got home for 11 o'clock. But it was the fastest running either of us have ever done in skirts and name tags. (what we looked like upon the return home picture 070) Well worth getting home with 30 seconds to spare. Plus I went to my first act of my first opera. Outside stage at the villa by the lake. (picture 042, 065) Mosquitoes and all were in love. (picture 1)

Friday night was an even greater success. My companion has been organizing this concert for our investigators. (the primary singing picture 045) Unfortunately, I did not participate but was able to help out by sitting in the audience. We have been talking about this concert basically since Sorella Prina arrived and our ward turned around this last week and we had a great turnout, from members and non-members alike. Bishop also called and surprised us by organizing an after party. Barbecue for July 2nd. Only two days short of the big day if independence! (picture 071) My companion and I went to bed late for the second night in a row. (with permission)

Now if is does not sound like we have been partying, the fun did not stop there. Friday a package rolled in with all American goodness. July 4th was well celebrated and the ward loved our pride! (picture 002, 003, 009, 025, 050) So did our district at our district 4th of July party on the 5th. Watermelon was purchased an enjoyed all weekend! (picture 039, 063)

Amid all the dancing, eating, running, and laughing there was also a lot of success seen as far as our missionary work goes. Marta Guarisco is still preparing for baptism, although she is experiencing a little opposition she is also full of faith and ready for pioneer day, July 24th. Our newest investigator of one point five weeks came to church with us on Sunday and cried all the way through. Lara is still searching for her answers but is ever closer to making covenants with the Lord. And finally I had the wonderful opportunity to work with another Sorella, Sorella Simons, during exchanges my final exchanges. (picture 040) She is only a couple transfers behind me and we enjoyed the crazy rain and hail storm together. Being drenched from head to toe never has been so enjoyable. (picture 041)

My week ended with a lesson and tears. We are teaching a dear dear Maria from Ukraine. Apparently I invited her on the bus during the winter and she thought we were JWs and did not do anything about it. Then the elder's found her doing house and taught her a couple times before we met her. We are talking about the plan of salvation and the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. I left in tears because Maria does not believe that she can be forgiven for past mistakes. We are trying so hard to help her understand the purpose of the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ and she is holding back. As much as she would like to be forgiven she does not believe it is possible. Even if it was a difficult past for her, I am so grateful for the atonement because I know how merciful the Lord is in our lives. She is reading every day from the Book of Mormon and we promised her that she will find forgiveness. It was re-manifest to me how great my Savior Jesus Christ is and how blessed I am to have the entirety of the truth. Being able to help others find it has been the most rewarding work of my life. If I could, I would stay here forever with the people that I have given nearly my whole heart to. We just need to keep "relying wholly upon the merits of Him who is mighty to save."

As a final treat, I got to translate the dedica that would go in the English Book of Mormon being hand delivered by our ward member to Mika after his concert this week. WHAT!? I better get on that George Clooney thing. (Had I known there would be fireworks I would have asked permission for another late night, I just found out from you all it even happened. Bummer city.) The Gospel of Jesus Christ never looked so good. No, but really.

I hope a view of my life in pictures was satisfying until I can smile in your face for real. I am so grateful for your continual prayers and support. If is because of you, family, that I am here and I am happy! Dad is so fired for counting. I stopped.

Hearts!
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll


Como Ward Primary concert


Outside Como Villa before the opera


Sorella Carroll and Prina at opera in Como


After the curfew-run home from the opera


BBQ on the 2nd of July to celebrate the 4th


4th of July decorations from Target via USPS through Italian Customs and Postal workers to a window in Como


4th of July in Como


4th of July with Sorella Prina


4th of July and prepared for rain


Waving the flag for American independence


4th of July watermelon


Anziano Hunsaker prepping the watermelon


Our district on the 4th of July


Exchanges with Sorella Simons and Sorella Costley


A rainy bus ride home after exchanges

30 June 2010

lotioning, oiling...

It is definitely a day for a pool party, but my co and I are throwing our own kind of party. Missionary party!!! Plus with the summer heat comes more people in house! We hope!

All is well and alive in Como. I just returned from 2.5 days in Milano on exchanges! I get a couple days rest and then exchanges again next week! The zone leaders are loving the whole "we tell the sisters what they do!" Actually, they are great and really helping us experience the greatest part of the mission, learning from so many different people.

I was able to meet a new convert yesterday who is blind. The elder's knocked on her door and asked if they could share a movie with her. She declined mentioning the fact that she was unable to see. They kept in contact with her and I believe taught her a couple times with a member. Being that she is a single woman they waited for the right time to pass her to the sisters. Well a few short months and Christmas treats later, she was baptized and just loves it. What a wonderful spirit and gratitude for life. Meeting people like Laura makes me feel that much more grateful for the blessings I have received. Actually a few weeks ago I was sitting on our balcony and saw a blind man walking down the street with his guide stick. I started to cry thinking about how fortunate, or rather blessed, I am to have my eyesight. I started wearing my glasses more and read with my bad eye so it does not get worse. These days I have been attracted to the sightless, being that I am now remembering the woman I invited on the bus a week ago. I sat with her and her dog Barbie and talked about the gospel and life. It will be a great blessing one day when they can have their bodies in their perfect form!

I had an interesting experience on the bus on Monday that made me really thankful to be in a calmer Como than a mad Milano.

Have I mentioned Marta? Get ready, she is another dream come true. She takes notes when we teach and she takes notes in church. She wants all the church books and already told her husband she is going to be baptized. We are actually trying to prepare him to baptize her, but he has been inactive for quite some time now. More than 10 years. We found this grand family when Gabriella moved here from Brazil to study. She is 16 years old and ready to serve a mission tomorrow. She just showed up in church and did not talk to anyone because of the language barrier. Then next week she brings a friend and I make my way immediately to them because I missed the opportunity the week before when it was just Gabriella. I met Marta, Gabriella's aunt. It is the most beautiful experience listening to testimonies in Italian and Portuguese. I just added another language to my to do list when I get home. ASL, Icelandic, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Today when coming into internet you will never guess who I saw. Lisbet. The mother of our dear Joaquin. It had been at least 4 months since I saw her. She did not even wait 2 seconds to start telling me all about Joaquin and how great he is in Peru. Then she called him and I even got to talk to him! It is always wonderful to see old friends, even though I wish they were still a part of my life, it is great to know they are okay. I hate the idea of leaving behind so many people.

Giustina called me on Monday. I answered and told her I was going to call her. She asked why I hadn't yet. I told her it was because I was packing my bags, because I was going. She said nothing. I mentioned I was kidding and said that I was only going to Milano for 2 days. She then proceeded to explain that she just woke up and had a dream that I came to her house on Wednesday to tell her I was leaving and that I would not be back to visit. She was calling to make sure that was not true! I felt bad for making the joke that I did when she thought that I was being serious. My companion warned me about Italians and their dreams, so I am making sure it does not come true!

I love my life here and am so grateful for every second I have to be here! Thank you for your support family! In not too many days I will be able to hug you, but for now I am happy to be where I am with who I am with. My heart is full of love for everyone around me. I thank my Heavenly Father everyday for the opportunity to be serving a mission and to have made it this far!

I love you.

I am bakin' like a roasted cheese something.
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

23 June 2010

the final good-byes.

Yesterday, an emotional day, was the last time I would see my dear President and Sorella Dunaway as missionaries in Italy. I was quickly informed that Sorella Dunaway would be taking Italian courses at BYU and I mentioned myself too. Having had a course with her three years ago we are looking forward to being in class together again! They can not get rid of me yet! I will miss them for the last month, but I also know that President Wolfgramm will be just as wonderful and inspired.

I have a lot to say and not enough words. The more time ticks away, the less I can think to write. I just want to savor every moment, because I know how precious every second is. I feel a new boost of energy every morning as I wake. I really want to scream from the roof tops the wonderful news and bring everyone the truth. So, my companion and I are about doing the work! Right now I want to shout how happy I am and how wonderful it is to have the fullness of the truth, thanks to revelation.

This transfer is a focus on following the guidance of the spirit and receiving personal revelation. Something that I have been searching to really understand and put into practice in my life. Although I knew the power of this principle before my mission, I have grown unbelievably in testimony about the real power the spirit can have in my life. Since hearing all the stories of the earthquake in Chile I have wanted to exercise more faith and follow the spirit much more readily in my life in order to be better prepared. Since that I have noticed a change in my actions. When I feel to do something, I usually do it.

Last week I had an experience of not following the prompting of the spirit and it led to more difficulties. We told our investigator Giusi we would wait by her car so we could drive to church together. Well when she was not there we called and called. To no avail we gave up. As we were walking to the nearest bus stop I stopped literally in the middle of the street and something said, "stop, she is going to come." I hesitated. My companion did not want to wait, but I made her walk back to the car just to be sure. Since Giusi was still not there we left. While on the bus low and behold, she calls. We get off the bus and after way too much confusion we got to church with her 20 minutes late. She then remained for 15 minutes and left. Although we still got her to church, she did not get to experience much of the spirit of being there. I felt terrible and am working on being courageous enough to follow the spirit, even when there is opposition from other people.

With some final goodbyes to my dear elders and sisters I came back to Como yesterday with a new desire to be better and stronger. I know that I am not doing this for myself, but I need to improve so that I can help as many people as possible in the next thirty-five days here in Como. They do not know what they are waiting for!

Other good news. When the Tuscany region is added to the mission on July 1 come 6 sisters. Two of whom will be going home with me. I learned today they are my two favorite sisters from the MTC, Sorella Nelson and Sorella Cheesman. I will also have a flying buddy all the way to Phoenix! Score! Starting and finishing with these beauties is just the right way to do it!

Thank you for your many examples, loves, and smiles. I am grateful to call you family and eternal! Life would be impossible without you!

Your sister, daughter and friend!
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

16 June 2010

there's a star man.

Tomorrow I become illegal in Italy. Maybe I should not be saying that out loud. My residency expires today. I live such a dangerous life! Six weeks on the risk! What!? I am wild.

What a week! As I begin the last six weeks of my mission I have many feelings and thoughts running through me. It may be the last six weeks as a missionary in the Milan Italy mission, but it is the first six weeks of the rest of my life. It is going to be wonderful. I hope they are as great for you as they will be for me.

Figs are on sale and we eat a lot of them. I wish I took advantage of our fig tree grandma planted. What a brain she is. My companion and I are waiting till we can go and pick the wild figs from the side of the road, along with the raspberries that are beginning to bloom! What a delight.

I guess that gives you a little hint as to what I will be doing for my final transfer. Yes, I am going to be dancing down the streets of Como with my Sorella Prina at my side. Last night getting transfer calls was suspenseful. I had no idea what would happen. I would be lying if I said I wanted to stay. Last night I was hoping for a change. Just to add some excitement into the last bit. But this morning, thank you to a dear brother Robert, I realized that I can make this exciting. And it is going to be just that! Besides, the fact that I can change things makes it that much better. Plus I will have to hide from the government, so it adds an extra spice to life. (Really it is not that big of a deal, we just hope that if I do get stopped it is a nice officer.)

Sunday was stake conference in broadcast form from Salt Lake City. We heard from Elder Boyd K. Packer, Elder David A. Bednar and Sister Mary N. Cook. We had four investigators show up; one for the first time, one who will be baptized next month, and another two who are progressing towards the baptismal covenant in the coming months. It was incredible to hear directly from two apostles speaking to the Saints in Europe. I learned quite a bit, and I hope that those who attended with us were aware of what great counsel we received. Everyday I am grateful to have a living prophet and apostles so that we as men and women on the earth can know the will of God and have the fullness of the truth! Today while shopping for groceries I saw a woman for the fourth time in the past two days. I stopped to talk to her and introduce myself since she is a new face around. She actually just moved into our apartment building one month ago. Another new friend and individual interested to know that God does still work miracles today and does still guide His children, us.

So our next baptism is amazing. I almost feel it is too soon to mention her name, but she is absolutely wonderful. The elders found her and quickly referred her to us, unfortunately we never got hold of her or found her. The elders continued to ask about this "golden" and I said I was trying. But they happened to run into her in the mean time and taught her and brought her to church. Success! I sat next to her during her first Sunday and she had so many questions. We taught her for the first time last Saturday and invited her to be baptized, which she quickly accepted. I guess I should tell you her name. Juliana. She was born in Italy, but her parents are from Ghana. She lives with her father close to the church and was astounded to know that the church has been there for a few years. Juliana has been on her own search and when the elders accidentally knocked on her door looking for their investigator, that was God saying here is your answer. She is so interested and accepting of everything! Humble people, who are not compelled to be humble because of certain circumstances are blessed in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. I am so grateful for the already growing testimony of Juliana and her vigor and desire to learn!

So staying in Como is going to be a wonderful change. I guess the fact that I am not changing is a change, since in the past I have changed so often. I am ready to move forward and be the missionary the Lord expects of me!

I love my life.

I love all of you.

I wish you all a happy week. Shout out to the BYU cougs. Ramsey bleeds blue!

I love you.


Waiting in the sky,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

09 June 2010

run my hands through my fro.

The lake is still beautiful. They weather can not decided what to do, rain or shine. And I really have a fro with all this crazy humidity. I guess growing up in Arizona really is a blessing! (I can easily count more than one though)

I remember arriving and having to sleep with the blow dryer next to me for some extra heat at night. I believe we have officially made it through winter and practically spring. But rather than give you the mundane weather report, lets talk about everything else!

I started last week in an all day Milano conference with the missionaries from my zone. I still find it amazing that we young adults are here doing this work. Watching so many new missionaries arrive this past transfer and hearing their testimonies re-ignited the fire in me. I love being a part of the greatest and strongest army on earth. Although I only know a selected few of my peers around the world, as I pray for the missionary work around the world daily I feel their prayers and earnestness in bring the light of the gospel to all. This reminds me everyday how blessed I am to be in the service of the Lord at this point in time. (pause ... thunder in the air and water on the ground. The sky really can not decide.) Especially with the experiences I have had here in Como, I understand more fully my role as only the instrument in the Lord's hands. I am adding to my testimony that the Lord truly does have a plan for me, and whatever I experience is because I am being helped or because I can possibly help another! He is good!

I am a real Italian! I learned this week how to make a pizza. Like one you would find in Naples. The only thing I am missing is the wood oven. Our investigator Virginia had us over for dinner on Sunday and did a step by step process with the pizza. If I remember everything maybe one day I can try it on you. We will see. For now I can at least pretend I am Italian!

We celebrated 17 months. Did you know it had been that long? I did not burn any ties or suits, or rather skirts or shoes. But I did get the chance to work with a new missionary sister and learn from her great desire to bring the gospel to these people in Italy. I have grown so much love for them in my short time here and I hope it never dies!

Look for a miracle in everyday! I love you all.

Con tutto il mio amore,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll


The final pizza


The pizza process


The pizza beginning


The dough


Mariana is a Ukranian convert of 1.5 years preparing for a mission


Queen

02 June 2010

"che materia!"

This week my companion and I both have bruises on our arms from punching each other. We learned from a couple 13-14 year old boys on the bus that yellow is the new slug-bug. We are always little children at heart and my co gets a slug every time a yellow car passes. Surprisingly there are a number of these around Como. Or we just see the same ones all the time.

Yesterday we went back to the "old-folks" home to visit a referral from a member. (Yes this is true. It is never too late to receive the gospel right?) Franca Robba. She is probably the most sane in the whole place and really only ended up there because her sister was there and did not want to be alone. Well after the death of her sister she stayed, helping out where she can. While waiting for her to dress for the day we took the opportunity to speak with a lady in a wheel chair that kept telling us that she too wanted company. Just letting her chat away, Franca approached and started talking to this woman. Franca made up a whole story about calling Giuseppe the woman's son to come and get them so they could go to the sea. On this story goes and finally the woman, we can call her Maria (since she calls everyone else that), states "oh che materia, siamo tutti pazzi." (oh what material, we are all crazy.) Franca responds, "si, un po'." (yes, a little.) The whole conversation was completely serious for Maria, and she knows we are all crazy! I could sit and listen to them talk for hours.

Yesterday was June first. Summer is on its way. Eric told me dad was counting so I know it is safe to say that as of yesterday I had 2 months, or 60 days. I took the opportunity to start these last two months with a fast. We had just had interviews on Monday and I was feeling the necessity to reset some goals and just go for it. I am so excited about what these next few weeks are going to bring! So much is going to happen and I know that this is where I need to be and what I need to be doing. I have been blessed during these first 17 months of my mission and I know that these last two are going to be the best ever. I have never felt so refreshed and excited to walk along the streets of Italy talking to everyone! Surprisingly, these past 50 hours have brought a lot of hope and strength to the work we are doing here in Como.

Plus, this past week I read through my letters home from the beginning of my mission. I still feel like I just got here and everything was so new and exciting. Although situations have changed and I am experiencing different emotions everyday, I still feel like the baby in the mission, learning and anxious doing it!

I thank you for your help and support! I know how much help you are giving me and I am receiving so many blessings from your many sacrifices and work at home. It sounds like all is happy and well and I was more than excited to see my baby brother finishing strong! What a popular kid! Congratulations! I wore blue and gold in your honor!

Things are going very well at this point in time and I am pleased to announce how wonderful Como, Italy is! Today is a national holiday and the people are all happy to be free for a day! We are happy too. Happier than ever!

Love love.

We are all crazy,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

26 May 2010

oh happy day.

Today is the day I tell you how much I love you all.

This week has been probably one of the most stressful and unexpected weeks of my life. Because of this my head is spinning with thoughts and prayers. Because much of what is happening with our work at this point it sensitive information I figured it better not to make it a public matter. I am learning, though, that still the only way to resolve problems (big or small) is through exercising faith in Jesus Christ. His is the only name whereby we can be saved.

I gladly declare my testimony of the truthfulness of this restored gospel!

Today I bought a melon and some prosciutto for the 2nd time on my mission. The first time, though, the doctor put me on a white diet to resolve my allergy a year ago so I never got to taste the good part of Italy. Oh happy day.

Last night ended with a dance party. Oh happy day.

Tonight we are going to Swiss Land. Oh happy day.

I got the best pink package in the mail, hand-delivered to my front door! Over-done and a tear or two were shed knowing this would be the last. Thank you for going above and beyond and sending everyone something to enjoy! The gumballs are going to be a hit! Thank you!

The summer is approaching quickly. A few hot hot days have hit. Tourists everywhere!

Really it is a happy day!

Love,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll


Preparation Day eve dance party


Preparation Day eve dance party


Preparation Day eve dance party


The wonderful Dalmazio family


Rique teased about wild hair

19 May 2010

weekly update. number...

Lately, I spend a lot of time reflecting. The past 16 months, the next few weeks, tomorrow, yesterday. Everything seems to be running around in my head. Sleepless nights and red eyes are the latest, but still always a smile. Mostly because I am amazed at the miracles, struggles, plans, and joys God has prepared for me everyday.

Last night I sat in our ward council meeting and could not help but think about how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ's church on the earth. The only church guided by God and not by man. Why did this thought come to me? Because I looked around the room; various ages, social classes, nationalities, genders. I thought about the various sacrifices these people make for others, WITHOUT receiving payment in worldly things. I thought about the 53,000 missionaries in the world who are now sacrificing their time and money to share the word. I think about those preparing to make the same sacrifice, and in doing so give up so much of the world to serve God. I thought about our Prophet, Apostles, and all other leaders who go above and beyond for the good of the world and all this without a monetary recompense. I know in the end money is not important, but if someone were to see the time, energy and effort that goes on "behind the scenes" it is impossible to deny the things we do and teach as being false. Not to mention the hope the gospel brings to our lives, even when it seems like everything has been torn apart.

Eduardo Albonico made a big step yesterday. A big step of faith, which he claims to not have much. He committed to make the baptismal covenant in June. This is a goal, but a goal that is going to be met. Every time we meet with him he is looking for more, asking more, and willing to do more. His wife and daughter are following behind, slowly, but surely.

I lost all my train of thought. The Muslim internet store owner just started chatting away and asking all sorts of questions and started the usual "I am right you are wrong" discussion that I have experienced multiple times here. I did not want to be rude, so I responded, but lost a few minutes and all thoughts.

It is funny how much opposition we face as missionaries. People all over criticizing our lifestyle. We try to explain and help them understand without forcing it. I have never told someone they are wrong, but the invite is always to pray and learn for yourself. Convincing with the spirit can work, but convincing with facts and words is hardly anything. In the end it is better to just search and find the answer for yourself, because then you can be sure. Just as I am sure!

I like when people look at me and say "You are convinced, sure, and steady." Yes, because I found the truth that God as prepared for me!

I love sharing it.

l.o.v.e.
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll


Prina family intero


Prina family


Lake Como overflowed


Windblown


Baceno beauty


Lorenzo


Gabriella and Spiderman


Wall walking


Cheeetahhhh!


Sorella and Lara

12 May 2010

como becomes venice.

Family.

Hearing your voices makes going out and doing missionary work that much better. It is like the sun shining after 20 days of dreadful rain. (Which is also what I am experiencing, literally, this afternoon!) You always inspire me and help me become a little more of what I need to be. I thank you for you love, first and foremost.

Secondly, I thank my mother for being who she is. As I spoke on Sunday in church about repentance I actually could not help but think how forgiving you have always been of me. With my many many weaknesses and stubborn actions I hardly believe someone would want to keep helping me. But mother, and father included, I have received nothing but support and guidance. Mom you deserve to be celebrated everyday! "I wish everyday was [mother's] day."

3rd on the list is LOVE. Two wonderful days of pure love. Despite the fact that the lake has flooded the nearby piazza we are still trudging through the rain and are searching for new friends. I say friends because, that is what these people are to me. Although we are so different in backgrounds and interests there is one thing in particular that has brought us together. There is one thing, as I believe, that can create a friendship from nothing. If you have the true and restored gospel between you.

A few new friends of mine consist of rollerblade stars Sophia (8) and Irina (11) and bicyclist Matteo (9). We found them knocking doors Monday afternoon. They kept going back and forth and looking like they wanted to talk so I finally stopped them and started chit-chatting. What do I love about kids? Their curiosity, sincerity, love and honesty. They asked what we were doing so we gave them the run down. Then they started recommending neighbors we could try and talk to. They were so excited about it they started ringing the doorbells.

Sometimes they would hide and ask us what happened after and sometimes they would talk to the people with us. All three were appalled at the fact that people said they had no interest before even learning what we had to say. Matteo was perceptive of truths and kept making comments about how closed adults were. "How can they say no if they do not even know what it is about?" I heard that question more than once.

As we were making our way back to the main road, the kids were following behind. Sophia ended up falling so we brought her back to her house. Her parents still stared and tried to take the kids away from talking to us. Unfortunately without parental consent we can not teach the children. But thanks to a friendship maybe these three young friends will run into missionaries at a later time and remember the fun they had knocking doors with the sisters!

Eduardo Albonico is making tremendous progress and I have never seen someone so sincere in their search! This past week His wife and daughter joined in on the lessons and this family is going to see great changes in their life!

The work is moving and so am I. Today, again, I was reminded of what a great work I am participating in. I have never gained so much love for the gospel as I have even in these past few weeks. Really it amazes me the truths and discoveries we find when we search! Helping others do the same makes my heart fill with joy!

Happy weeeek!

Laughter Optimism Vivacity Enthusiasm.
I love love.

i'm a computer,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

05 May 2010

Como Esta Como?

As dad would say. Well you can ask me that same question for another 6 weeks! I have been called to continue my service here, nestled between the Italian Alps. Apparently it snowed back in the mountains. Wet and happy feet are down here in Como.

Miracle of the week! We found another family!
Here is how the story goes: A few weeks back we took a trip into Switzerland to meet a member. This required a little wait at a bus stop until she came to pick us up. There was a woman with her son that I started a conversation with. Mostly with her little boy about Peter Parker and Spiderman since he showed me his new H&M shirt with Spiderman on it. We talked for maybe 3 minutes total, about life, her family and just as I was about to throw out the invite our ride pulled up. Apparently she was in a hurry so I never got anything out. I got in the car full of regret for not extending the invite sooner. The woman was so nice and her son was darling. She seemed really happy to be talking to someone. I said an immediate prayer for the opportunity to meet her again. I prayed a couple more times and when she came to mind I would pray again. To be honest, we do not go to Switzerland often, so I thought it unlikely.

Last Wednesday after writing you my companion and I headed to Switzerland for some finding work. We stopped at a potentials tabbacheria (ideal right?) and then went to look for some apartment buildings. Having never been to this part of the city most things looked like office buildings rather than residential. We happened upon a smaller building and decided to try it. With ease we entered and began knocking. I do not remember what happened but at our second to last door something caused us to laugh rather hard. I was still laughing when the last door opened (only the second of 14 doors). The man opened it wide and said "hello." Startling both of us we did not know to speak English or Italian. His wife then came to the door and it was the same woman who recognized us! They quickly invited us in and we started to talk, get to know you things. They were both running back and forth with other things, son in the bath, work, phone, dinner, etc.

We returned two evenings later to meet with Gabriella, since Pierdamiano was working, and "Peter Parker" her son. It was an interesting evening, but it is true that God does prepare people to receive the gospel. I am grateful God put her in our path again so that we can be the messengers of truth!

I am falling more and more in love with my calling as a missionary. I am gaining greater and greater understanding of the truth and it is one of the grandest blessings to help others find the truth themselves.

Amid the many experiences, the good and the bad, I know one thing is for sure...my Heavenly Father loves me and has me here for a reason. That reason is unfolding!

Peace love and happiness!

Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll


Italians feed their babies horse meat


Food with Giustina


Sorella Carroll and Sorella Prina at Zone Conference


Antonio plays the according, harmonica and sings and dances


Making bread for Luba


Waiting for an appointment


Sprouting onions in the kitchen


Elena, Marianna, Tiziana, Sorella Carroll, Eduardo, and Sorella Prina


Silvana and one of her dogs