30 December 2009

everyday, gets a little closer.

For the first time in what seems like forever I will be sticking around with the same companion. Sorella Ranieri and I have a lot of work to do and we get another 6 weeks to do it. Plus, it is the New Year and I have goals. Big goals. Goals that I pray will help many of God's children come to a better understanding of His love.

This week I have dedicated my studies to the word diligence and what it really means to be diligent. It is so easy in this world to lose track of what is really important. It is easy to put things aside or to get lazy because our natural man thinks he knows best. It is easy, when you do not have 100% support beside you, to relax in your work. But I made the decision that even if it is hard I will not get lazy. As I studied scriptures, ancient and modern, I learned that it is the diligence that brings us eternal life. Right now I am helping others find salvation, and am learning more and more everyday that "God is totally serious about his purpose 'to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man,' that his chief concern is [...] the growth of souls, the celestializing of the souls with whom he works." And I am working with him!

It is such a blessing to be here in Italy, sharing the gospel, inviting people to strengthen their faith, and represent the Lord Jesus Christ. We are the famous "mormons" according to a man this morning. More importantly, if we are obedient AND diligent, we can bring the spirit to touch the lives of others.

Monica Angilotti has accepted to be baptized. Monica has accepted to quit smoking and take upon herself the name of Christ and endure faithfully to the end. Monica's heart broke when I told her that we had to postpone her baptism due to her smoking habit. I do not know how it works in all missions, but here our investigators are asked to attend church at least four times and observe the Word of Wisdom for at least a month before making the covenant of baptism. Sadly, Monica was under the impression that she could still smoke after baptism until she completely quit. I had to be the mean missionary to tell her the news. At the end of the evening she cried, she cried a lot. I wanted to cry with her. I think she learned a little more of her testimony of the importance of baptism. I did too. Her efforts to be obedient in every way possible have been a blessing in more than just her life.

Last night we prepared a little lesson for her to feel the spirit. I cried and she cried because at that moment we both reconfirmed our knowledge that God does exist, does love us, is watching over for us, and responds to our prayers. It was a perfect ending to a day full of rejections.

I love how the Lord continues to bless me.
I am grateful for the testimony that I have gained since being on a mission. If I have the chance to go back in life this is one decision, to serve a mission, that I would make over and over again. Had I decided to stay home I may have been able to see my sister get married, but I would have passed up a million experience here in Italy. I reconfirmed for myself this past week that there is no where else in the world I would rather be.

Family I thank you for your endless support and love. Were it not for you, my faithful parents and siblings, I would have never gained a testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you.

I hope the week after Christmas went well. I imagine you are all busy getting ready for the big excitement. Just know that I love you!

going faster than a rollercoaster.
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

23 December 2009

i'm dreaming of a white christmas.

Yes it is true. Christmas is very white this year and I am wandering the wet streets in heels until I can purchase black boots. Subito.

I felt just at home yesterday when I went to visit a new family and before we went in she gave us slippers to wear so that we would not dirty her floor. Mother, we are not the only ones. The only thing we are missing at home is dad in a plaid robe and a sweet polka-dot ascot around his neck. It was a delightful experience to teach this husband and wife with their granddaughter. At the beginning of the lesson I asked Carolina the three year old who Jesus Christ was. Although she did not really know, we pulled out a picture and she was drawn immediately to it. We talked about his birth and his life and how today we have his church restored so that we can return to God in our families for eternity. The wife seemed to listen intently. She told us she was not very religious and her husband is atheist. At the end of the lesson we gave Carolina a pass along card with a picture of Jesus Christ. She took it and placed it on her heart. Just like we all should do, place Christ on our heart.

Monday and Tuesday this week I spent with my companion from the MTC on a companion exchange. Nearly a year ago we were together and it was great to see how both of us have progressed and improved. We were able to make a few visits to new families and invite them to learn about Jesus Christ. It is great being able to celebrate this time of the year as a missionary. Even if it means being away from your family, it is just as great being able to share your love with others who really are our brother and sisters! I feel like I am just reconnecting with loved ones I once knew.

Christmas in the life of a missionary in the Milan Italy Mission: Everyday is a normal day. Except there is more joy in the hearts of the people around you. Tomorrow for Christmas Eve we will be going to our dear Giustina to eat and enjoy a little of the Christmas spirit. We will make our way to the Duomo of Como at about 11:00 pm to participate in midnight mass. I passed up the opportunity to go a year ago with my siblings, but I am glad to have an opportunity this year and to attend a tradition that many of my Italian neighbors participate in year to year.

Christmas will be a calm day, but still full of visits to our loved ones. My companion and I have been invited over to our bishop's house to have a Christmas lunch. Then we will be off to visit our friends who will be alone for the holiday. The holidays should never be spent alone so we are out to change that.

I am content about Christmas this year and love teaching about Jesus Christ. I only get one of this Christmases, so I am going to make it special.

I wish you all the merriest of Christmases. Remember what it really is about. This year the best gift you could give is your testimony of our Savior. As I search for the opportunity to do so, I pray that we may all do so. After all it is He who saves us. I pray for you daily and hope that you know I love you.

If only in my dreams.
Sorella Frèdèrique Stone Carroll.

16 December 2009

daddy-o

I LOVE YOU.

I'll start there.

Yesterday I sat in zone conference while missionaries, president, president's wife, and senior couple missionaries all bore testimony of our savior Jesus Christ. I sat, silently pondering what Christ has done for me personally. The answer came to be everything. As the days approach the universal celebration of His birth I am even more excited to be his representative. What a beautiful time to celebrate our Savior. I know I have said it before, but I will say it again...it is an incredible blessing to be able to carry his name with me.

As I mentioned last week, a man did stop and ask me if my name was Jesus Christ. I quickly corrected him, but it is always an honor to bear testimony of Him. The more you do it, the happier you will be. I have learned more than ever, a testimony of Christ is simply trying to be more like him every day. In the simple things.

As far as Joaquin goes, we met with his mom last week! He is safe in Peru and sends us his hello through his mother.

M is for Monica and her miraculous progression. Monica is an investigator who has been in and out since 1996. I witnessed a change right before my eyes. I will never forget the way I felt two weeks ago in a cluttered house while Monica looked me in the eyes and said "What you are doing is true." We had tried, what seems like, a million different approaches to teaching her and helping her pay attention. Monica is very intelligent and loves learning, therefore learning about the Church of Jesus Christ has been very interesting to her. I do not know if she every really gained a testimony of the truthfulness. It could have easily come and gone, as most of our testimonies rise and fall, but at this moment there is no way she could deny the spirit we have felt in our latest meetings. She came to church with us for the first time and I saw tears in her eyes during every meeting. If Monica isn't a miracle, than I do not know what is.

I probably tell you the same things every week. My love grows more and more. But my life has not changed. I am still roaming the streets of Italy searching for those who are ready for the truth. In fact a couple weeks ago my companion and I were walking home and I stopped at an apartment complex and felt, we should go in. The door was open to a pleasant surprise and we started knocking doors. Even if it was 8:30 at night I felt we should invite our neighbors to hear about the restored gospel.

Giusi asked through the door, "who is it" we told her and she said oh I am a Catholic Christian. I said "great! we are Christian too." She let us in. Her first thought was that we were Jehovah's Witnesses but we quickly explained who we are and what we do. We had a brief lesson and she said we could return. We have returned twice now to talk about the plan of salvation. Tonight she will hear for the first time the story of the Restoration. I do not know why I am so nervous about this one, but I pray that she will feel the spirit of the truth. That the story of Joseph Smith will touch her heart. Although we do not worship Joseph Smith we do revere him and his incredible faith. I am forever grateful for him and his prayer that he offered at the age of 14. All thanks to him, we now have the assurance that God loves us and has provided a way to return. The blessings from Him are endless, and they are for all of us!

My Italiana and I are doing wonderfully. I have noticed she is a little like me. Independent with no desire for help. A trial and error type of person. Maybe mom I understand your frustrations with me? A little? I am probably worse. Sorry. Besides the fact that we are both stubborn we get along great. I began to miss having fun with my companions and I am laughing again as we work which makes everything that much better. I have tried to make the work fun at least for myself, but it more enjoyable when your co is in it with you! I am grateful to have a smile on my face every day. (Even when my toes are frozen and I fall off the curb.)

Happy week before Christmas!

Thank you.

I'll finish here,
I love you.

Keep cooly cool.
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll

p.s. Last week email problems will remain last weeks because...Myldsmail is teaming up with Google and I am getting a new email address. Next week I will begin with it. Since I am unaware of how the changes will go you can still write to me here.


Sorella Carroll and Santa Claus

09 December 2009

e-mail trials.

5:27 AM ET
I have now written two emails (1 hour and 18 minutes later) and this very poor website has cancelled them both. But rather than get angry I am just going to wish you a very happy week and will hopefully get to write you the following week.
I love you so much.
Until next week.

Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll.

11:19 AM ET
I decided to try this one last time.
10 minutes.

This past week was incredible. Miracles happened all over the place and I am just now recognizing them.

Monday evening, pooring rain, nine o'clock at night. Joqiun comes running around the corner in order to meet us on time and receive his Book of Mormon before he leaves for Peru. Joquin only finally started listening to us a few weeks back and came to church with us once. When I asked him on Sunday if we could come visit to bring him a new copy of the Book of Mormon he anxiously accepted. Then for him to say I will come find you was another thing. He told us that he is learning more about life and most importantly he learned how to pray. He even expressed how he felt when we came to visit. Now he is asking if we will still be around in February when he returns. I am praying he meets the missionaries in Peru.

The next miracle is Monica but that will have to wait for next week.


I love you family and friends.

I love walking past a man and him asking me if my name is Jesus Christ.

I love my life.

I love the word love.

Most of all I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I love being his representative. I love what he has done for you and for me. I am grateful for his love.

I absolutely love this season and the real reason we celebrate.

I love you.


LOVE,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll.

02 December 2009

you want to.

I believe I forgot to tell you about the Sorella Carroll freakout moment a few weeks back. I was sound asleep in my bed, and am awoken by running water at 2:30 am. I thought, did I or my companion really leave the sink running? I got up to turn it off. The light was burned out in the bathroom, great. So I try the light in the hall. Nope that too. Bedroom, nothing. I open the bathroom door and find that it is very hot and I panic. Water heater broken and losing water all over. (We had received CO detectors previously from the mission because there was an incident in Spain with near deaths due to a broken water heater and CO excess in the missionaries apartment.) I thought I got light headed, woke up my companion and we ran outside. In the middle of my panic, like I thought we were going to die, I called President Dunaway. HAH. In the end it was just a broken water heater and we had no electricity for the morning. Poor president and the dramatic Sorella Carroll.

A couple weeks ago Dad sent me an article from when President Hinckley visited the members in Chile. There is a quote that I took from His talk with a beautiful promise. A promise that, yes, was given to the members in Chile but could very well apply to every member in the world. It goes as follows, "I want to say to every one of you that if you will live the gospel, if you will live in faith, if you will do what you ought to do, not only will you be blessed, but this entire people will be blessed, because the God of Heaven will smile upon you with love for you and for the land of which you are a part." I have been thinking a lot about my work here in Como. We are not seeing as much progress as we would like. Even though we are working hard, their is still patience needed. As I read this quote I felt at that very moment it applied to me. I even let a tear trickle down my face while reading it in my room. I know that if I continue to life the gospel and do it in faith and do EVERYTHING I ought to do, I will be blessed. But not only me, this entire people of Italy (or at least those I am serving with at the moment.) This really is a promise for the world. The lord blesses his righteous followers. Keep doing what is right, and I will too!

The past two Sundays in church have been very special to me. Not only have we had investigators show up, but the programs were very meaningful. Two weeks ago was the primary program. Oh how I have missed my favorite Sunday of the year being in a student ward in cougar land. The children sang songs and gave talked about eternal families. To hear an 8 year boy bear testimony of his baptism and his eternal family made me really appreciate the blessings of the gospel. Even an 8 year old child can understand its importance. The spirit touched me as I know it reached out to all who were in attendance. This past Sunday was a sacrament meeting for the Young Women. It reminded me of the one we used to do after girls camp. During the talk of one of the girls who bore testimony of the importance of being prepared, reminded me of a talk I gave in Sacrament after our girls camp of the Ten Virgins. That was one of the first moments I really gained a testimony of the importance of being prepared spiritually. As this girl spoke I remembered how I felt standing in front of the ward. I could hardly get the first sentence out and the spirit testified to me that what I was saying was true. I learned so much in my youth that I hardly put into practice, and now I am remember the importance and try to teach it to others.

The topic of discussion these days has been "the last days." When people read our name tag they say (because the direct translation of Dei Santi Degli Ultimi Giorni is The saints of the last days) "you believe we are in the last days?" or "The world is going to end soon?" or "What do you think about 2012?" To me none of this matters: when and how the second coming of Jesus Christ happens. Just that it does happen and I am prepared for it. No one knows the hour or the day. But God has prepared a way for us to be ready. God has loved us enough to restore the gospel and priesthood authority that we could make covenants and prepare ourselves for eternal life in the Celestial Kingdom.

Last night we had a return appointment with an older couple. We walked in to teach them the lesson of the restoration. At the end the man said "I have had 70 years in my faith and there is no way I can change." I reassured him I was not here to convince him, but let him know that God has called a prophet and our invite was for them to search it out for themselves. The man simply said, even if I am wrong I won't do it because I am closed in my ideas. We left them with a testimony that God is our Eternal Father in Heaven and that Jesus Christ, our older brother, is our savior. They want for us to return to them, but that is up to us whether we do or not. It breaks my heart when someone will not even try. But that is the nature of many people. I pray daily that someone I meet will be prepared to hear the message of the restoration and recognize its truthfulness.

I know the Lord is preparing people for me to teach. I am ready. I love doing this work, even when I want to cry because of the pain.

Happiest December. The lights are on in centro and it feels just like home. In fact, last Saturday we decided to do some work in centro where there were hundreds of people. It was like the festival of lights, activities for the kids, people selling things, the only addition here is an out door ice skating rink. Christmas is just around the corner! I am glad to share the real spirit of the season and wear His name on my heart!

Thank you for the many birthday wishes. I imagine this is going to be one of the best birthdays ever!

I love you!

I want to,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

25 November 2009

oh mexico.

That's where I want to goooo...

But really, next year I will want to be there.

I hope Thanksgiving is fabulous for you all. I will not be celebrating this year since I am the only American sister around. Yes, my new companion is Italian. Plus, today being preparation day would be my only day to celebrate, but as our day has it, we only have time to do email. We will soon be running across the boarder to Switzerland for an appointment, and back to Italy for two more appointments. Busy day, but this is what I love about missionary work. Happy Wednesday in MEXICO!

So I have a new companion. She was born in Milano but at the age of 13 moved to Calabria (southern Italy). It is interesting being with a native, who definitely teaches me more than I could teach her. New missionaries are always better than old ones, and she is teaching me a thing or two about my work, the culture, and the language. Maybe "someone" is trying to tell me I need to actually get this language down, instead of just faking it. This co comes from a family of 9, one older brother on a mission in Rome and 5 younger siblings. We are doing well and are seeing miracles, even if not everything goes according to plan.

Yesterday doing our fun door to door hunting an old woman in a wheel chair let us in. We talked, she told us she was a real believer. In fact, she told us she believes too much. We knew she was catholic from the outside of her door in which is placed a rather large photo of Padre Pio. We walk in to find other little treasures from the catholic church gift shop. She started to point out all that she had and that she believed. I waited for about 5 minutes for her to tell me something about Jesus Christ. She continued with the Madonna, Padre Pio, other Saints, the madonna, even an image with Mary and baby Jesus (but only mentioned Mary). I wanted to cry for her at that moment. Not that this woman is a bad person, but how could one forget so easily the reason she has life? I do not think she even mentioned our Saviors name once. We tried to talk to her about who He is without much success. What has happened to our world who has forgotten about our Redeemer?

We, all of us, have a rather large responsibility to bear witness of Jesus Christ. Everyone here sees his name next to mine, but like I said a few weeks ago I hope my actions and words also show that I am his disciple.

Can I tell you a sad story? We have a convert of a little over a year that has requested we visit every week. She is in need of support, for problems in the family, and we are more than willing to offer what we can. Last night she told me that she did not come to church on Sunday because her usual ride forgot, or just did not go get her. It is hard for her to get to church alone because she has a bad back and a long walk to the bus stop. She said that before she was baptized the members were always willing to help. Always at her house. Being her friend. Calling her. Then came the baptism and has been abandoned. I sadly have actually noticed this with other converts and less actives in not only this ward but others as well.

I wonder if I did that when I was at home. It is so easy to get excited about a new investigator, get them ready for baptism and once they make it we dust off our hands and move on to the next. How many new converts go less active within the year? Too many. It is not that we want more members for our own stories of success, but we are trying to save souls. Yes, part of it is personal (which thank goodness this woman has a strong testimony of the gospel that she does not need to rely on the members anymore) but part of it is our responsibility as members. I am just venting...sorry. It is like raising a child. As children we rely on parents or leaders for our testimonies until we gain our own. But even after that we are not left to fend for ourselves, parents still care for the children. New converts are in need of that care and strength. This is not a game like some people may think. I am praying that we will find a better way to help these new members find the strength in our Savior and also his saints.

Last night I ran for the bus and missed two because I ran too far.

I wish my companions wanted to get bikes. We are allowed bicycles but my companions have been less than excited about the idea. I will continue to run for the bus.

I love you all. Happy Turkey. You can celebrate my birthday in the Mexican restaurants for old times sake, just try it without the tequila.

Cheers to the Pioneers.
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll.

18 November 2009

la settimana di luce. (the week of lights)

Well family, it is time for changes again. Tomorrow I make the trip to Milan to bring a new companion back to Como. Companion number 8! I am excited! Plus I get to spend Christmas in Como. I live on Viale Roosevelt, 12 [click here for map] which is right next to one of the main streets that leads to centro. They are hanging Christmas lights down the road and everyone is starting to get into the spirit. The magic of the season begins!

Remember I had the goal to learn how to whistle a tune on my mission. Well I think I finally learned. I used to whistle hymns walking down the street, but I was informed by a dear member that it was inappropriate for a girl to whistle. Ooops. Is it also inappropriate in the United States and I just am oblivious?

A few weeks ago I was walking home with my companion. There is a rather large catholic church where a man plays his accordion. I have a few cents in my pocket and felt the need to give him something. It was probably just 15 cents, but it was all I had. I dropped it in and left. I believe a few nights later we were home a few minutes early so we decided to walk around and find someone to talk to. A little man was walking across the street so I greeted him. He was so excited to talk to us and just started rattling things off. It took us a few minutes to learn he was from Romania and had only been in Italy a few weeks.

We gave him a pass-along-card with the address of the church since there was not much we could do. We saw him a few days later and said hello. A couple more days went by and he stopped us to ask about the church. He could only say "Gesù" (Jesus) and we pulled out another pass-along-card to give him with the address. Then to our surprise he opened his little wallet and pulled out the one we already gave him. I said "bus numero uno" and pointed in the direction of the area of the church. Then he started talking and talking. Since we were near our apartment I asked him to wait 2 minutes and we ran inside to get him a Book of Mormon in Romanian. This was our only mode of communication, he could read the Book of Mormon. He gladly received it and started to look in the back for hymns. When he found nothing he started to sing. He sang a whole hymn to my companion and I on the street. By the end he was crying and walked away. It was a special moment with Lucian.

We were sitting in Gospel Principles when the door opened and Lucian and a friend were lead to a couple empty seats. I believe they are homeless, but took the time to gel their hair and walk all the way to church (a 20 minute bus ride up hill). I was actually very surprised he came, not to mention with a friend. They understood nothing, but the Anziani took over and were able to set up an appointment with a Romanian family in the ward to teach them. Yesterday evening we were walking by the Catholic church and I noticed that it was Lucian, the accordion player. Again, who knows what is going to happen, but I was glad to meet someone who already had much love for Christ and was willing to put in the effort to do more.

I am excited for everyday. You never know who you are going to meet!

Another story. Lucia De Tommaso who lives on Via Ferrari number seven. I saw her walking up a hill with a couple grocery bags from the market. Being in her late eighties she was struggling a little bit. I decided we could help her. She gladly accepted calling us her "marvelous little girls" or "angels." She was walking back up the hill to find an umbrella that she lost. First she thought it was in the church because she had gone to Mass that morning. When we did not find it there we started back down the hill. About every 2 minutes she asked us if it was okay that we helped her. I reassured her that was what we are here for.

About 30 minutes later we found the umbrella, she was praying the whole time, while I had no idea how she was going to find it. The market seemed like a difficult place to find anything. She took us back to her house and introduced us to her husband. They were so sweet and invited us back anytime. We shared a message with them and asked if we could pray. After I prayed she got excited and started reciting her prayers. We remained reverent. At the end her husband noticed that we did not make the sign of the cross when we prayed, Lucia explained that were not Catholics but were Christians. Then he says, "oh okay, non practicing Christians." We will be explaining a little more when we return.

I tell you right now I am very much a practicing Christian. Of course I can improve, but I practice what I preach and I preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Again, I repeat, I can always improve and am working on it!

Thank you for all the updates at home, I am glad to hear that all is going well. I love you and miss you! Thank you for your prayers, love, concern, help, support, examples, etc. etc. etc.!

heart it races.
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll


P.S.
I sent a package home, finally. It does not have very much exciting stuff. Not like you send me. Sorry. I hope you get it. Picture CDs also went in the mail.

I wish I could tell you something about my new companion, but I do not even know her name. She is going to be spending at least her first transfer with me. Last night when we got the phone call from our zone leaders I was sure Sorella Casalino and I would be staying together. I was not even worried about a big change. Then they gave us the news. All I know, is I will be relying a lot on the Lord to help me do a good job being a good companion. I have yet to be so nervous about a call. I will meet her tomorrow morning bright and early!

Happy week, happy wedding planning, happy seminary, happy pittsburgh, happy chile, happy idaho, happy school, exams, fun, life, and everything else you are doing!

Riqué

11 November 2009

blank.

Dear loved ones.

I am happy to tell you that I am still a missionary roaming the streets of Como. I do not know why I would be anywhere else, but I am just happy about that. Even in the moments that I miss you, I still manage to find something to smile about here. The joys of sharing the gospel.

This past week ended well and a new week started. I wish I could remember all that has happened...Maybe I will tell you about Sunday.

Sunday was a special Sunday for me. Before, during and after church. We had nothing planned for the day, all things we wanted to do, but nothing set in stone. We departed for church, all the while I was praying to hear something that would help me find more hope in my work as a missionary. (It gets, at times, discouraging when you are rejected all so often.) I just prayed to feel the spirit. I did. I was more aware of the silent whisperings than ever before.

It started in Relief Society. Sunday school was incredible and I even learned things I have never heard before. Finally, sacrament meeting! Before the meeting started I watched a recent convert who recently received the Melchizedec priesthood practice the prayer. He was so focused and a little nervous. It made me understand even a little more about how important the sacrament prayer and partaking of the sacrament are. I take the opportunity for granted sometimes, but when I really think about it I am actually renewing the covenants I made when I was 8. It is like being baptized all over again, as along as I partake worthily. What a blessing to have that promise of forgiveness! I paid attention to the words of the Hymns and was strengthened even mor through that spirit. Then the talks.

The last talk was given by an Anziano, there are two Anziani and two Sorelle in our ward here. Topic: Missionary Work. He shared with us an experience earlier in his mission. An investigator came to a fast and testimony meeting and left very disappointed because he heard nothing said about Christ. If our church really is "The Church of Jesus Christ" then why would not even one person bear testimony of Him. This comment caused Anziano Murdock to think about what he does as a missionary and member of the church. The question came, "Is everything I do centered around Christ?" I thought about that, a lot. In fact still thinking about it, obviously. I wear his name on my tag, above my heart. It is he 2nd biggest name (next to mine) that one sees. How important is it that I represent Him with ALL respect. With or without the name tag. My new daily question is that. After all, it is Him that saves us.

On my way to write you I stood on the bus next to a teenage boy who looked at my tag. When I caught him he quickly looked away. I asked if he had ever seen missionaries with the same tag. No. He just saw the name Gesù Cristo and told me he freaked out. I asked him why. He would not tell me. I invited him to learn more about Christ and to come to church. Although not super interested there is the possibility that he makes the change in his life sooner than later. That conversation was much better than the four teenagers who got on the bus looked at me and my tag and literally laughed at me this morning. It is a good thing I like being a missionary.

The rest of Sunday...
Our member friend Nelly called us right after church to explain that she did not set the alarm and that is why she was absent from the meetings. She invited us over to dinner where we met Joquin again. Nelly is from Peru and here with out her family. Joquin is 19 years old, from Peru and the son of Nelly's friend. He ate with us and let us share another spiritual thought. Apparently he has never listened to the missionaries before, and this time he accepted to meet with us next week after reading a chapter in the Book of Mormon. People really do change. Of course I have no ending, but it was a good beginning.

Then we called a family we met the day before and they said sure come on over. One of the nicest Italian families I have ever met! Pasquale, Paola and Valentina. It is always something exciting when you find a family!

The rest of the evening was here and there running into potentials and investigators and making more friends. I love happy Sundays.

I am making more friends and using them as substitute family till I see you. Thank you for making this experience all that much better! I love you and I miss you more than you know.

Friends.
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll


Family,
Did I tell you I was counting down until Christmas? Bad missionary. I am excited to celebrate it here, christmas lights are already going up! I am more excited to hear your voices. I know I still have a bit of time, but I am still excited!

I told Darien I was missing you a little more than I should, but thank you for all the information and news on what you have been doing. I love to hear the little things about your life.

Mother, I am sorry about Rae and I will keep her and her family in my prayers. We are truly blessed to have a testimony of the atonement and how it saves us from temporal and spiritual death. We have the promise because Christ gave his life out of love. I talk to many people here who have no hope or do not believe in Christ as our savior. I am happy to be a representative of Him and bear my testimony everyday of my gratitude for the plan of salvation. I could never deny it to be true, even if 5 Muslim men in the past 2 days have tried to tell me I am wrong.

I love you. Keeeeeeep going!

Riqué

04 November 2009

everything good goes here.

Letters from mother, father and sister all included Eric in the first line so I thought I might as well too. Sounds like a fun week and I will tell you, I can not wait to come back home to join in on the fun. Good thing, though, I am having fun here!
Today I met the man who (apparently) lives next door to George Clooney. He does not believe in using paper, therefore would not accept the pass-a-long card I attempted to put in his shirt pocket while my hands were full of grocery bags. He could just be crazy (like the rest of us) with holes in our hats and dirt on our shoes. I threw away the cheetah boots due to some rather big holes that just appeared one day. Brown shoes, destroyed. Messenger bag, almost destroyed. (Side note, Darien or Dad do you know if there is a warranty on Manhattan portage, because if so maybe I do not need to buy a whole new bag. It is just the zipper that is broke. So 'destroyed' was an exaggeration, story of my life.)

In the life of a missionary it is obvious that you would be meeting a number of people. Last week was no exception.

Last Thursday I met Maria on the bus. I leaned over and complimented her on her scarf. Next thing I know it is around my neck. Maria gave me her scarf.

Frederica and I bonded over having the same name. She is interested in learning about eternal families, so we are going to teach her.

Mustapha believes religion was created to tame the savage man. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was put in place, I guess you could say to "tame the savage man." We will also be meeting with him again. I forgot my bus pass on my desk after lunch on Monday but did not realize it until we were too far to go back. Companion had an extra to get me to the top of the hill. Returning that evening would have been a long walk, so we walked into the Tabaccheria. There stood Fernanda, like she was waiting for us. Bought the tickets, but I could not help but notice her staring at us and our name tags. I started to just talk to her. It turned into a 30 minute conversation about the restoration of the Gospel and parts of the Plan of Salvation. At one point, Fernanda started talking with no pauses. She just told us what was on her mind and finally said..."Why am I saying all this?" I believe it was because she knew we could answer her questions. She is excited to introduce us to her family!

Yesterday we had time to do finding work. Door to door was the decision. We met Emma as she got off the elevator. I asked about her family, told her a little about me, and she invited us in to see the pictures. She then showed us a picture of her daughter at the age of 4 or 5 before she passed away. She said she believed her daughter was with God. I told her she was right. Then she said "How do you know?" We will be visiting her. Although we did not teach a lesson to Emma (due to her lack of time), I asked if we could pray with her. She agreed. After I said the prayer she looked at me and said "thank you, I needed that prayer." I saw a miracle unfold before my eyes with Emma. She was closed and had no interest in the beginning, but as soon as we showed her we actually cared about her she understood a little more that we could possibly have something she has been searching for.

I do not have the end of the story for any of these individuals, but whatever happens I hope they know their Father in Heaven does love them!

Tonight I am going to visit Monica Angliotti to invite her to be baptized. We are praying that this time she commits.

I love my life!

I love you!

your affectionate friend,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

28 October 2009

Lines that I couldn't change.

Today I have so much to talk about and no time to do it. We are running short today because high maintenance Riqué had to buy new shoes (finally). My poor companion. I found good, sturdy shoes that should last me till I see your smiling faces. We also are cutting our prep day a little short so that we can see an old investigator who has not been visited by the sorelle due to her schedule. She comes to church nearly every Sunday, just waiting on the divorce so she can marry the other man and be baptized! We will see.

Sad news, I just received word from Sorella Huber that Maria DiFranco will not be getting baptized on Halloween. Apparently it was a decision between her husband and the church. It is a tough decision when you do not have full support from your husband. We hope all the best, but keep your prayers going. Thank you.

As for the work here in Como, things are flying. Weird that I communicate with you only four times a month. When I think every week I get to write it feels like a lot, then I look back at my stack of old emails and think, “that is all?”

Last Wednesday I ran into a pole on my way home from internet. Literally. I hope someone else saw. Then Thursday comes and I am happily walking down some concrete stairs in the rain to visit Ernestina (an 80 or year old lady who gladly accepts gospel discussion, but does not understand exactly what we are teaching and the importance to her...a tough cookie. I think she likes the company. I wish it was not so difficult to leave behind people, but she may have to be put on the back burner for some time.) I slipped, fell to my knees, my bag flew over my head and my face went into the ground. All is well, brand new tights destroyed. A few good wounds on the knees for proof. Just funny that I can not walk. Nearly 22 years old and I am still learning the art of walking and paying attention.

Sunday the Stake of Milano (which Como takes part in) had stake conference with General Authority Elder Gérald Caussé. It was an inspired two hours that helped me appreciate even more the divine guidance we receive as members of a divine church. I often times feel very sad for those who believe revelation between God and man has come to an end. I suppose this is why I am here, to help people truly feel that God loves us just as much as he loves his children in times past. I am grateful for a living Prophet who speaks directly with our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ so that we can be better prepared for the ills that have and will continue to come.

At the end of our conference Anziano Caussé held a meeting for all the new converts. Us missionaries were able to listen. Anziano Caussé wanted to meet all the recent converts so the bishops introduced them all. I walked in the wrong entrance but was privileged to stand in front of the crowded room. I watched as all the faces smiled and their eyes bore testimony of their happiness. In fact, there was a couple who has very recently been through the temple together, to be sealed for time and all eternity. When their branch president explained their story to Anziano Caussé tears filled the woman's eyes. I felt for a moment her eternal joy. My eyes filled with sweet water as I thought about the eternal joys you, my family, and I enjoy. Then I thought about those joys that will continue to be added upon as my sister enters into the covenant with marriage with this selected Eric. One day, hopefully, I will add to it and Robert and Ramsey (and mother, yes the grandkids too.) I could not imagine eternity without you all in it. So thank you for being what and who you need to be, I will continue to work hard so that we can all be there together.

My favorite response at the door after we present what we have to offer is “there is no one here.” I do not know if the Italians think we American's are stupid. That could be it, but we are clearly talking to someone (often times looking them in the face) and they announce that no one is home. Thank you. Since most of the house finding we do is in apartment buildings I have developed a habit of always looking up (while we are ringing the citofono) to the balconies in case some one comes out and we can talk to them. It is my favorite when they peek over very slowly, see me, and quicker than you can say “Ciao,” have gone inside and locked the door. Five minutes, all it takes. At least there are those who are willing and ready to receive!

In fact, a few evenings ago we ran into an ex-investigator who started to talk to us. She seemed very happy to see us. When I asked her briefly her “story” she had a light in her eyes as she talked about the church. I looked up her information when we got home and found that she had been through quite a bit with the sister missionaries. We went to visit her two days ago and will see her tonight. Even if there were challenges in the past, I have learned that we do not happen upon anyone for no reason. The way she looked at me and the way she spoke to me on that bus caused me to feel like there was something we could do for her. Even if it is just to help her make a little more progress. Monica is her name.

No, I do not remember what I wrote.
Como has warmed up, we are happy. Dad has mentioned Darien's new home will be colder. Maybe I am just a big baby.
Glad the celebrating is still happening.
Have a wonderful week wherever you may be.
Here in Italy, I am expecting a good one too.

In my place,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

21 October 2009

The lies of the monkey.

To my dearests.

I start by telling you the old ladies here mow their lawns in nylons and skirts. An old man came up to me yesterday and started chanting “la balla della schimmia” in my face. I later learned that “balla” means lies, never heard that version of the word I thought it meant dance. Translated: The lies of the monkey. I met my favorite comasco family, an artist couple with two kids.

Everyday is an adventure. Everyday is full of miracles. Miracles that sometimes I wonder why I am so blessed to witness. Amid difficulties, I managed to find peace. Everyday last week I took lunch time and evening time to listen to, read and ponder the words of our church leaders. It was in the silent moments in our room that I really learned of my Heavenly Father's love and guidance. Even when I am imperfect or selfish He still is offering help. Silent whisperings of the spirit, leading me to more happiness and comfort. This is the joy of a loving Heavenly Father I am trying to help others understand. I stood at the door of an apartment where two young men lived. One kept claiming this life is just for suffering and God does not exist. He said other things, but my only response was God does exist, He does loves you. I invited him to search it out. Since we could not enter the house without another woman we left a DVD called “Finding Happiness.” We will be visiting tonight to get back our movie. Hopefully Roggero has done some thinking.

Last week I sat next to a man named Richard on the bus. We went to visit him and his family on Sunday. Richard has put a lot of trust in us two 21 (almost 22! woo!) year old girls. He is interested in what we have to offer, but we keep trying to reassure him it is nothing that we have, it is what God will do. We are just His messengers. It is actually very strange how much trust everyone puts in us. Something I started noticing as a missionary is that people really to look at me like a representative of Jesus Christ. I wear His name above my heart, literally. An experience that I would never trade for a million dollars.

I wish I had news of baptisms and excitement, but I do have news of new investigators with plenty of will to learn. I am seeing my new dearest friends make changes in their lives without even knowing it. I have secret eyes that they do not have.

All is well in Italy. The weather is getting colder and colder. The humidity reaches right to the bones. I started getting smart by sleeping with the hair dryer next to bed to when I get cold I can warm up the bed in a minute. Doubled up nylons. Scarfs. And luckily today is only rain. Como and I have fallen in love.

Happy 100 degree weather, school, wedding planning, family fun, love, Halloween, etc.


La Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

14 October 2009

All the way from Como.

Well, I will start by recommending a honeymoon location. If you even want my opinion at all, it is Como Italy. This city is beautiful and full of wonderful people. Although I love every moment here, I find myself missing Torino. I know this dream land will quickly become my home. It is a good thing I lived in Provo for three winters because I am going to have a very cold one here. Our apartment has a broken window and the heaters have yet to be turned on in the complex. Cold showers happen, I am just glad that I am not bathing with a cup. I am happy to be here, nylons and all!

One thing is for sure, the work here is much different. Adjustments are being made. There is not much progress with investigators so Sorella Casalino and I are on the hunt. Sorella Casalino has been here for her first two transfers and we are going on her number three. She is a great missionary. Our biggest excitements are getting lost together. I think I almost have the city down. This might be the fastest I have ever learned an area! Maybe my memory is improving.

Sunday number one was incredible. In fact, I feel like I knew all the members already. They are so wonderful, caring, helpful and full of life. Everyone is more than excited to help with our work and they have great goals to help their brothers and sisters find the restored gospel. A missionaries dream come true! Since I am completely new to the ward and the area I have a lot to learn, but I can tell that I will have plenty of help and support.

Would you like to know a little about my traveling companion? Sorella Sara Casalino was born in Southern Italy. At the age of 7 her parents migrated to the United States. The family currently lives in Rexburg, Idaho. And I thought Darien would be living in her own private Idaho, I am getting a little taste of it myself. She tells me she likes to write and draw anime. I enjoy her little quirks, I hope she enjoys mine.
I might have scared my poor companion on Sunday evening. We were having our regular “count the numbers” and planning session. I would like to share my emotional breakdown. We were talking about our Monday when one thing led to another and I began to cry. I do not cry very often on my mission. Maybe once a transfer, you just always hear about it. Anyway, I began to talk about missionary work and my thoughts about it. I bore a testimony that I did not really know I had. I knew I loved the work and I knew I would miss being a full time missionary one day, but I did not realize what was really going on inside me. The Lord helped me see as I spoke to my companion. I just want to say that I am so grateful for this time I have to serve. I am so grateful for the blessings of the Lord in my life. Missionary work is often talked about as making sacrifices – which sure sometimes you do eat two hours late or you do miss a couple hours of your preparation day, or you have (literally) cold feet or a head ache, and the list goes on – but in the end we see that it was not much of a sacrifice at all. The Lord gave you more than you probably gave. I am learning every day that this is not about me but about my brothers and sisters. About the eternal progression of others. I benefit in the end, but as long as I forget myself I will get more work done. The principle of diligence is staying on the top of my list. For the rest of my life.

Now I would like to tell you about some interesting experiences from this week. Probably mentioned already, but we have a mission goal of 10 invites everyday. That is 10 per person. 20 per companionship. I at one point had a fear of talking to people, now I am helping my companion get over the fear. She is getting better already! We are working together to reach the mission goal and to show the Lord we are willing to do all that is asked of us. In the mean time you get numbers and appointments to visit people! Karina was my favorite invite of the week. I noticed her reading on the bus so I asked her if she liked to read. I proceeded to tell her about the Book of Mormon. She did not want to accept an appointment for us to come, so I handed her the book in my bag. Who knows what will come of it, but I made a new friend in Como!
Sunday we had a return appointment to visit a couple from Africa that the sisters had met before I came. We headed over after church to find they were not around. We moved on to our other plans and visits are were turned down to both appointments. In the end we did finding work, success in the fact that we were able to talk to many people. That evening as our house finding was coming to a close we decided to hop on a bus and to a little talking. We happened to get on the wrong bus when everyone got off a few stops later. I decided, not effective, so we got off the next stop and walked across the street. The next bus had a few people so we got on and headed back. I noticed a woman look at my companion like she wanted to say something but did not since she kept walking to the back. I decided to stay next to the lady and started a conversation about getting directions. Even if I knew the way, you gotta do what you gotta do. She told me she was from Ghana and I said I have a cousin serving a mission there. (Elder Healey is in Ghana, right?) Then I asked her if she had seen missionaries like us and she proceeded to tell me that the sisters had visited her and her husband the week earlier and were supposed to come back today. Well, we found our African couple and got the right phone number this time. The merciful hand of the Lord at the end of a long day.

I have officially decided I need to learn Spanish, Ukranian, Russian, Romanian, Albanian, Chinese, German, diverse dialects from Africa and continue the Italian. According to everyone here I do not speak English I speak American.

A man I met the other day told me that the Mormons are “delicious people.” Good word choice.

Tip of the week: Do not give an Italian man a pair of scissors and your head of hair. Too bad I did not learn the language of hair when I came on my mission. We are not short short, but much shorter than I asked.


Week one in Como. Check. Life is great!


Yours very affectionately,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

07 October 2009

Jesus loves you more than you know.

Family,

I want to write you a personal letter today.

It seems mom and dad are anxious to know what the big change is tomorrow! I will tell you that I am going to have a great film reference when I baptize George Clooney in Como! Yes that is right, I am going to Como, Italy. I am beyond excited because I hear only good things about the beautiful city on the lake. No tears yet, but I am sad to leave all of my friends here in Torino. I have made many eternal friends that I will one day meet again.

I have done a lot of growing up here in Torino. Torino, basically being the start of my mission, taught me a lot of things. I learned how to be a missionary my first four transfers, but with some companions and difference ideas about the work it was not REALLY put into practice until this past transfer. When Sorella Huber arrived and we got real work done everything literally blew up, in a good way. Sorella Huber and I have been so tired every night (although I still do not sleep often). I am actually really sad to be leaving her. I trust she will be taking very very good care of Torino and the people here already love her. But you get so used to a good companion, you have the best transfer of your mission and then next thing you know the Lord splits you up. Of course I am more than happy to go the will of the Lord, since He always knows better, but we work so well together. I hope I can help all my companions really find the spirit of the work and the rest of my mission will continue as such. I commit to you all to keep working hard. Mom, another roommate prospect...Sorella Huber (we already talked about it last night. She said the Yellow House. Darien will tell you what that is.)

The fresh fall leaves crunching under my feet have been music to my ears. Receiving a smile back is like music to my growing heart. More importantly the General Conference addresses are still playing music to my soul. It is a marvelous blessing to be able to hear the words of the Prophet, apostles and other General Authorities...half a world away. I see that it was well enjoyed by you all. Saturday and Sunday I left conference a new and determined missionary. I wish every weekend was conference weekend!

Everyone here is still progressing and we set another baptismal date. I am so excited for the new sister that is coming in to take my spot and work with these wonders. Funny story, I learned that our dear dear Maria is the aunt of a less active family in our ward. Small world. I will miss the confirmation of Katiuscia on Sunday, and our four baptisms. But I got to take part in a million miracles while here, it is time for someone else to see the magic! Plus, Como will be just as magical.

I have officially turned into, what many would call, a nerd. I like my life more than ever. The other day I sat next to a woman on the tram and started a conversation. She said she was good and I said I was too. Then she looked at me and said "You are good. I can see it. But not just on the outside, I can see it on the inside, in your smile." Probably one of the best compliments you can get. Do you know why I am good, even great!? Because I am living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray morning and night, I read my scriptures daily and I keep my baptismal and temple covenants. I share the gospel with everyone I meet. The way, the right way, the happy way is to living the commandments. Those who do it, understand. Even when the trials come, you have a reason to hope. This is not a rant to show you that I am a good person, because if you know me at all you know I am so far from perfect, but this is even to help myself understand the joy of it all! As Paul Simon said it, "Heaven holds a place for those who pray." Happiness in your heart.

The love just keeps growing.

I love you all con tutto il mio cuore. Until next week, in Como!

Here's to you Mrs. Robinson,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll

post script. I am not the only one who does the potty dance nearly every five minutes here in Italy. There was a man doing it the other day on the tram. Always glad to know I am not alone.

post script 2. I hope you enjoy my last week of Torino in pictures!


English Class in Torino


Olympic Bridge in Torino


Katiuscia's Baptism


Barbara Sets a Baptism Date

30 September 2009

cha ching!

I will start by telling you all this is the only time I get to really think in English (or american as all the Italians call my language). My companion and I have started a forty day fast ... of English. It is going to be a challenge with plenty of temptations to turn stones into bread, ma ce lo faciamo. I am excited about it too, because this will really improve our skills and our work. We spend morning, lunch, and evening in almost near silence as we do not have all the vocabulary to just "tell stories" in Italian. Our work is getting focused, and we feel good.

Italy is wonderful. We have a surprise everyday as to what the weather will be like. We dress for cold weather in the morning, then out pops the sun halfway through your day and you are dragging the coats behind you. It is a little entertaining, because EVERYONE comments on it. They are never satisfied here. It is too hot, too cold, too wet, no rain. I have yet to talk to someone who was happy about the weather, until yesterday. A man, hanging out at the park, loving his life and the sun. Life is so much better when you talk to someone who is happy and has a good attitude. Therefore, something I am learning to do as well.

Our past week was full of magic. (I will compare it to our family song. Starting out with a little "the system is down." The week moved on and we got a "knick knack I want my panty hose back." Then I wanted to "marry it, marry it, marry it." Finally we really got our groove on!)

Sunday was the most magical for me. I love Sunday. My favorite day of the week. (Except when I get to hear from my loved ones.) We got a honk on the way to church from Mister Di Franco after he dropped Maria off, which started it all off with a smile. We walked into church to find an American couple visiting. The wife did not speak Italian and asked if I could translate for her in Relief Society. After a quick five minute meeting with the ward mission leader and church began.

I already knew our lesson was going to be great for relief society since we had received a talk by Elder Richard G. Scott the week before about the temple. Yes, I miss that place. (First request upon my return...family trip to the temple?) Sorella D'Uggento prepared a lesson perfect for me and our investigators. I have never felt the spirit so strong in a relief society meeting here in Italy. Time at the end was left for others to bear testimony of experiences at the temple. It was so special to hear all the experiences of our faithful members. It touched my heart and I know it touched the hearts of our investigators who were wiping their eyes. I was reminded about how grateful I am for the blessings of the temple and that I have an eternal family. In fact, I thought about my sister who will soon start her eternal family and I got really happy. The blessings of the gospel and being obedient are truly far greater than anything else one could ever find.

Then came sacrament meeting. This was also a special meeting for me as I got to see an ex-missionary (the American couple) and the man he baptized 32 years ago bear their testimonies. This missionary only baptized one man on his mission and it was two weeks before he returned home. That did not matter though, I saw the joy of this Italian member and look at "his family" who is happy in the church. I saw the joy the gospel truly does bring. I saw the joy and love one has for "his missionary." I am so grateful to have this privilege to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The cherry on top of the day was Katiuscia's baptism. Katiuscia made it, was baptized, and bore a beautiful testimony. It was like I watched my little girl grow up. Except for the fact that she is older than me ... Despite a little Italian drama, the evening was perfect. Sorella Huber and I made ten cakes for the celebration and man can those Italians eat! Katiuscia will be confirmed in church after conference weekend. She is still going strong!

My Father in Heaven has blessed me beyond comprehension since I have been here on my mission. I hate to say that time is moving too quickly. We are helping three other investigators work towards their baptismal dates in October and November. Did you know that October begins tomorrow?

I love being a missionary. I can not say it enough.

I love you all.
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

23 September 2009

here comes the sun.

I return to the old tradition of starting you off by reading a quote. A quote that helped me understand an event that happened yesterday.

"The Lord's way is not hard. Life is hard, not the gospel. 'There is opposition in all things,' everywhere, for everyone. Life is hard for all of us, but life is also simple. We have only two choices. We can either follow the Lord and be endowed with His power and have peace, light, strength, knowledge, confidence, love and joy, or we can go some other way, whatever other way, and go it alone -- without His support, without His power, without guidance, in darkness, turmoil, doubt, grief, and despair. And I ask, which way is easier?"

Which way really is easier? Yesterday my companion and I walked into the apartment of an old investigator. Beatrice. I may have mentioned her a couple months ago but since she left on vacation and returned we have yet to see her. I always loved visiting her because she would put a challenge in your face the second you stepped in the door. At the same time it could get frustrating because she has a hard time accepting our responses. Anyway, yesterday we wanted to talk to her about prophets...ancient and living. As if she hardly listened to anything we said, she asked me, "Have you ever doubted that God exists?" I said yes. I said yes, because I did at one point. I never said He does not exist, but I let doubtful thoughts clutter my mind. But then I looked her in the eyes and said (something of the sort), 'God and His son Jesus Christ live and love you. They want only the best for us. We will all have trials in life, there must be opposition in everything.' I began to cry, because I was feeling the truthfulness of what I was saying. I know the best thing I can do is bear testimony, even if our listeners do not recognize immediately. I left her house yesterday afternoon a little upset. But that does not mean we are giving up.

I understand completely when people look at our world today and ask "Why?" I understand that they are confused. I also understand that God loves them just as much as He loves me. I want to help everyone have "the eternal perspective" of life. Rather than dwelling on today's struggles, look at what we will be able to accomplish tomorrow. Even if my struggles in life are but minute compared to what our Savior went through, they are still struggles that have helped me better understand my purpose in life. Because I have one. We have one. The best term I can think of is magical. It is magical.

Maybe I should tell you the news ... We have now followed a series of Maria Di Franco updates. After I wrote you last week a few things have changed. Her husband still loves us, but does not want to learn anything about the gospel. (Keep the faith and prayers). We went to dinner last Thursday again, and right when her Husband walked in she said "do not talk about the church." We said, alright as usual. Not but thirty seconds later she turned around and said "I want to get baptized." Giovanni did not even think twice and said, "yeah!" Part of that response probably came because we were present, but also because he really is a nice guy. Then he made some comment about already being baptized, typical Italian. Maria said right back to him that his baptism was a "terrible error". (I see where some of our problems come in. We will work on the PR of sharing the gospel with her husband.) The end of the story is ... Maria Di Franco is getting baptized. October 31st. If I had my penguin costume I would wear it to the event in honor of Halloween, but mostly Maria. We are excited!

I want to tell you all thank you, thank you for helping me understand, helping me gain a testimony, and always encouraging me. I am glad I understand the Lord's way really is easy. It is time for everyone else to understand. Keep working hard!

do do do dooo,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

16 September 2009

a golden bird that flies away.

The leaves have begun to dance to the song of the wind. Three days have been spent walking through a mist of the most glorious cloud. I think I would love to live in Seattle. I turn into a completely different person when the sky turns grey. And it is not a depressing Riqué, but maybe too crazy to be a missionary Riqué. It is almost as if I were a child again.

The change of the seasons came sooner than I expected, but not too soon to stop and enjoy every moment. Last week we were hot hot hot and humid, this week we are wet. (At least I have some cheetah rain boots to splash puddles with!) We have remained happy all the same. Although my companion and I are going to start looking like we are attending a funeral in our all black get-up, we are excited about the adventure that lies ahead. We are living to the fullest the motto, "if you are not having fun, you are doing something wrong." True about the mission, true about life. Puh-lease, "Adam fell, and men are, that they might have joy."

Remember how I told you I had two marvelous weeks? Well, it was about time the hard time hit. Last week. I wonder if we got too caught up in our pride, thinking "look at us, we are such good missionaries." I will not lie, I thought we were doing pretty good. Relying on the Lord is what we needed to be doing. We can work hard, with the help of the Lord. A good humbling came and I really learned this is not my work, even one bit. I know/knew it was not mine, but every once in a while I guess I need a reminder. I am grateful for these repeats though, something that keeps me in line. We are all imperfect people, so the reminders are greatly necessary.

Last week I ate dinner with my dear friend Maria Di Franco and I will have you know her husband loves us! So much in fact that we have been invited over for dinner tomorrow night. Although Maria does not have permission to get baptized, we are still seeing the miracles that faith brings into our lives. I love being a first hand witness. I do not want to speak too soon, but I firmly believe one day Maria's husband will one day accept the gospel as well. Even if it takes a little time.

I cried on Monday when we were knocking doors. Well, just let my eyes fill with water. It was my turn to knock and as soon as the woman opened the door I was so happy to share with her the message of the restoration, then she stepped out and pointed at me saying "Which happiness. It does not exist. I just lost my grandson this morning." I attempted to explain to her that we have knowledge of the plan of salvation but she shewed us away all too quickly and slammed the door. I stopped and stared for a couple minutes, left a note (which may or may not have been accepted), and continued. At that moment my heart broke for her. I plead with my Father in Heaven that He would help her understand. Sometimes it is incredibly hard watching people you love, yet hardly know, reject the greatest blessing that they could ever experience. I am just glad that there are those who will accept now, and I pray for the others that one day the message of the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ will ring true.

Being a missionary is important. More important than anything. Sharing the gospel, being an example of Christ, raising children, obeying the commandments, going to church and so on are all forms of missionary work. We are all enlisted, and happy are we!

I love you, more than you know.
Good luck with this next week and all the crazy you are doing. Keep living righteously and being strong. I appreciate you all for who you are and what you have helped me learn.

Did I tell you I love you?

Ever there,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

09 September 2009

i got soul.

family.

I want to tell you I love you. I want to tell you I miss you. Finally, I want to tell you I am grateful for you, all.

I am glad to hear that, even though two vital parts of the family are missing, you keep moving on with life. Do not get tooooo sad we are not around. We are happy. (Robert I speak for you too.)

I have been thinking much about my work and how I have been as a missionary. At this very moment I hope the rest of my mission goes the way it has been going. Yesterday my companion stood up at zone conference, at the request of President, to bear a testimony. I will echo what she said. "I'm happy." I have never worked so hard as I have the past two weeks, and even though I am dead tired by the end of the day, it is worth it. In fact, I secretly hope Sorella Huber will be my companion for the rest of the mission. We know what we like!

The past two weeks have been very successful weeks and I am feeling satisfied for the work I have been accomplishing (along side my partner.) Although I am happy, I know that I can still do more. I know I can always improve, always work harder. This is a principle I began to understand in my mission prep class at BYU. We were talking about how God has standards for us, that we are striving to reach. But, once you reach them, they go even higher. There is no roof. If we really are working towards exaltation, then there can not be a lid to the jar. We can always be better. I am grateful for this principle and the potential God sees in us. It humbles me a lot because I know I still have so much to work on, but I am also grateful that I can see some of the blessings of even climbing halfway up that ladder God has built for me at this point in my life. I hope that the ladder can keep growing because that would mean I have been striving to align my will with that of my Father in Heaven. At times I find that difficult, being a natural man, but I know it is possible.

Maybe I already shared this: “The gospel of Jesus Christ is the plan by which we can become what children of God are supposed to become. This spotless and perfect state will result from a steady succession of covenants, ordinances, and actions, an accumulation of right choices and from continuing repentance. 'This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God.'”

This is why I love being at the service of my friends her in Italy. One day they will be able to meet our Father in Heaven again, and how much more enjoyable would those moments be if He looks at us with clean countenances.

The latest.
Our dear friend Katy is still progressing and is in such bright spirits. She is ecstatic about the baptism. In fact, sometimes Sorella Huber and I feel it is too good to be true. It is amazing when you find someone so prepared for the gospel that you do not even know what to do. It feels a little like you are living in a dream.

My heart is growing more and more each day. I finally decided I do not want to leave Torino. I will go where ever, but here in Torino I have made some very lasting and even eternal friendships.

I found a spontaneous poet who recited a little treat about my eyes. Hard to not laugh on the spot, I managed to stay composed.

I watched The Restoration a total of five times last week. I could probably recite it to you in Italian.

I made a friend on the bus and managed to miss my stop, 5 times. The most entertaining part about our conversation was that I could no longer explain who I was and what I was doing in English. She was Italian but wanted to speak to me in English and preferred that I did too. Therefore I stumbled over my words more than once forgetting my own native language. Odd how that happens. (Do not worry, I still have a lot of work in the Italian language.)

but i am not a soldier.
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

02 September 2009

there is only one thing I can say.

Something that rings true to me. This week and this moment.
"God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore it is vital that we serve each other." -- President Spencer W. Kimball

Missionaries are in the service of others twenty four/seven. Or at least we all should be. We go around day to day declaring the good word of God and offering service. We talk to those around us and invite them to come unto Christ. We often times will be that person who helps meet the needs of the others. That is, if they take the time to listen and to accept.

I witnessed a miracle or two or three this week. It was because the spirit helps us missionaries recognize those who are ready for our good news.

Maria. A woman in a yellow blouse on the nine o'clock bus home. She was the first person I saw when I got boarded only six stops from my home. I saluted her and took a seat. Thirty seconds passed while the argument went back and forth in my head. "Talk to her. No you are about to get off. Just ask her how she is. She is not Peruvian therefore she will not listen. What is the worst that could happen. She will reject me. Who cares, she is a daughter of God." (or something of the sorts.) Finally I stood up and looked at her again. I started the conversation just asking how she was doing. Eventually it got to the fact that I was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Maria looked at me and asked, "Why me? There are thirty or forty other people on this bus and you chose me." I was surprised and responded with whatever came to my mouth. In all honesty I do not remember much of the conversation, but I know (possibly for the first time) Maria knew she was something in the eyes of her Heavenly Father. That was what I had to tell her. That her Father in Heaven loved her so much as to design a plan just for her. In the end, she would not accept a visit from us but we left our phone number and address of the chapel. Even if she did not accept me now, I pray that she considers what I told her and recognized who she is. A daughter of a king!

Anna and Eliana Oliveira. Two crazy ladies from Brazil. Nearly two months ago I was in contact with Eliana over the phone. All I knew is that she was baptized in Brazil. She eventually stopped answering our phone calls, until Saturday. The Anziani ran into her mother, a non-member, who said we could come over. Our evening was free so we stopped by. Anna welcomed us in and we began to talk. Eliana came home to a surprise visit from the missionaries. Sunday morning we were at their house at 8:15 to take them to church. This could have been Anna's very first time in an LDS church service and Eliana probably has not been for atleast 18 years (since she has lived in Italy). They loved it and we love them!

Katuscia Lamalfa. She walked into church for the first time last Sunday with one of our members. She set an appointment with us and we went to visit her. She came to church again this past Sunday and we visited Monday night, spur of the moment. I have never seen an individual so excited about what we have. In fact so excited that a baptism date was set and she could not stop smiling. She is recognizing the testimony she once had of our plan and purpose and is so excited about what changes she is already making in her life. At this point in her life, she needed the missionaries and the Gospel. Her member friend was brought into her life so that she could meet the church. The Lord is working through others to reach those who are searching.

I love being a missionary because you get to witness the love, the experience and the change. We must be doing something right to have seen so many miracles and blessings. Of course I see miracles every day through the grace of the Lord. I am grateful for experiences such as the ones above to help me remember my purpose as a missionary. Even my purpose as a member. We are all so important in the lives of others. There are people waiting for us to put the fear behind us and invite them to church. Who knows, they could be a Katy.

Happy September. Crazy. I love you all. I love your letters. I love your love. Thank you for being the wonderful missionaries that you are and keep it up. I promise that the joy you feel when you help someone come to Christ is enough to fill a lifetime. The promises of the Gospel are true and beautiful.

will you stand by me,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

26 August 2009

it is a blitzkreig bop.

It appears to me like we all had a fantastic week. Parents busy and happy, sister engaged and happy, new brother in the family (lucky him!), elder on a mission working hard, brother (as i assume) always being the life of the party! Me: happy as ever and moving onto companion number 5 tomorrow. I have been told I fail to mention information about my wonderful best friends so here is what I can tell you.

My companion Melanie Glass just returned home to Mesa, Arizona and is currently attending Arizona State University (go wildcats!). She and I quickly became the best of friends and I miss her dearly but her replacement is not too shabby... Sorella Lia Cagnacci, right from my city of Genova. I was lucky enough to have a companion so talented and so diligent. I am sad to tell she will be departing tomorrow as I receive another new companion. Sorella Cagnacci (last name means bad dogs, by the way. hah.) will be leaving for the Provo MTC (if all goes according to plan) September 14th to prepare to serve at the Washington DC temple visitors center. If you make a trip up there stop by and tell her and Hermana Smith hello from me!

The replacement...Sorella Huber. I served with her in the MTC for a short 3 weeks and am more than excited to have another companion to learn from. 5 companions 5 transfers, and I love them all. I will tell you what I know about this one. Her and I are in the same film program at BYU, so we already have something in common. I am teaming up with another giant and more than happy to do so. The tall ones serve as good body guards.

Really though, I am as happy as ever! Some would call these girls, rather women, companions. I call them friends. The lord has blessed me with friends that will be eternal.

As I have mentioned we ALL had good weeks. I saw miracles in ever moment. One that brought me to tears, yes I cry as a missionary, as an experience with Giuseppina. Last week I received a call from the Sorelle of Torino 1 who said there was a less active member interested in coming back to Church. I said "yes!" This is the first story I got: Giuseppina called the mission office to find where she could go to church. She explained she had been a member for 23 years but for some reason or another she decided she wanted to live life outside of the church. Two years passed and she realized the she wanted to be happy again. She recognized it was the gospel of Jesus Christ that brought her happiness.

Without a phone number and only an address we took the opportunity to look for her that day after we had a cancellation. After a few questions to odd old men and long walk we found the women's community she was living in. We attempted to ring the citofono (doorbell) with no response. I rang all of them twice. I was determined to find this Giuseppina so I even started yelling her name up to the apartments. Sorella Cagnacci took me by the hand and said, "Sorella Carroll, andiamo." A little sad we walked down the street towards our next appointment. I saw a bus in the distance and thought "should we wait?" Then I decided no, it looks to far. Five seconds later it was right next to us and as we were about to run I said, "no, lets walk." Down the street we went. The first person to approach had a smile from ear to ear, took out her headphones and I thought, "Giuseppina." We could hardly introduce herself before she was explaining she was already a member. I asked if her name was Giuseppina, and she smiled. We had found her! All because we had a cancellation of an appointment and we decided to walk instead of taking the bus. We have met with her two times and she came to church with us on Sunday. Even if it will be a bumpy road back, Giuseppina is making some big changes in her life. I feel so blessed to know a person so strong and so determined.

I learned an important lesson last week. It truly is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that brings the most happiness. Sometimes we like to think otherwise, but true, eternal happiness comes from our Father in Heaven. I have experienced this joy in my life, I see others witness it in theirs. How many times this week have I testified this week to people on the street, bus, or in their homes that there is a Father in Heaven who loves us? Too many to count, but I do not say it because someone told me. I say it because I know it. I feel it. I live it.

Have I told you that I love being a missionary?

Thank you for the love you give me, so I can give more of mine. I love you.

hey ho!
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

19 August 2009

we are the same height.

I have a new companion! An Italian! who is teaching me everything right now. We are sad to say this is only a mini-mission though, therefore she will be parting in three weeks, FOR AMERICA! I teach her English, she teaches me Italian. We are a perfect team, and finally I have a companion about my height.

I am unsure how much better I will be than my brother at this moment, but at least I am writing right? But really, there is not much to say except for that I am still happy and still loving being a missionary. The days are hot and long, our investigators are on vacation, we are talking to just about everyone we see and still seeing our daily miracles. Sometimes I feel like I tell you the same things over and over again...maybe I do, but this work is nothing less than wonderful. I am grateful everyday that I have the opportunity to be here. Even if time does move too quickly, we are making the most of it! I can promise you that much!

May I tell you a story about our friend Maria? I am almost positive I wrote about her a couple weeks ago, but to freshen your memory...Maria is the mother of a member and wants to be baptized but her husband will not give his consent. She has been maintaining her faith and still attends church every Sunday. In fact two Sundays ago we saw a miracle with her husband. He came to pick her up from church and even gave us Sorelle a ride home. And what happened next? Maria called us on Tuesday and mentioned that we could finally come meet her at her house! Over the past three months we have not been permitted to go, and finally her husband softened his heart (just enough). Although it may take some more time, we are seeing the blessings of faith. That really is the answer to it all. Faith.

I will finish here. All is well!
Family I love you.
Even if I miss you, I know I am where I need to be!

That is neat!
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll


The Nun we do service with!


Genova seaside cliffs


Sorella Carroll and Sorella Glass hanging ten in Genova

12 August 2009

first things first.

Happy Anniversary Mother and Father. The best years of my life, the only years of my life, are spent with you two. Thank you.

I was thinking about you both a lot yesterday as I read the August Liahona about prayer. President Eyring brought tears to my eyes as I remembered the way my parents have also instructed me. I know that I am here today because of your examples throughout my life. You have taught us well, even when we do not always follow your guidance, we have learned from your testimonies and strength. I know that being worthy members of the church of Jesus Christ has always been on the top of your list. Because of this it is also at the top of mine. Mother and Father, one day I hope to have what you have!

Seconds: Congratulations on the start of school. I hope it is the best year yet!

I have a few stories for the week. Little things that keep my companion and I entertained.

Last Thursday we walked into Sorella Marchis' house to continue teaching the new member lessons. We got past the chit chat and prayer and I decided to just jump right into the lesson. The second sentence I looked at my companion and she asked me if I wanted to teach in Italian. No, I did not realize I was even speaking english to a person who might not even know what 'hello' means. I guess sometimes you do forget where you are and what language you should be speaking. Oops.

Later that evening we went to visit Rosi, who I mentioned in last week's letter. Rosi completely rejected us, which broke our sensitive hearts, but we continued on ... As we were walking to the metro to go visit Epifania my companion and I had a laughing attack. A good ol' man named Ceasar stopped us and thanked us for being happy. He mentioned it is rare to find people happy on the streets. We invited him to come to church and meet with the missionaries and learn more about our happiness...
Saturday night I experienced one of the best bus rides of my life. It started with three teenagers sitting on our bench, where NO ONE ever is. So as I walked up I said "ciao." They all looked at me and mumbled their responses. Then the boy yelled, "perchè mi saluti!?" in almost an angry tone. I responded with, "perchè volevo." Just because I wanted to say hello to them. But it brought some new friendships as we rode the bus together for some times. On the course of the ride a drunk man entered the bus and began to harass one of the girls we had been talking to. They got off the bus at the next stop, which I believe was to avoid the man. Next thing we know the guy is asking my companion to go get drinks with him, although we tried to explain what we do, he did not fully understand until the rather large African pointed to my tag and said "lavorano per Gesu Cristo" about 5 times. Then our big African friend gave the other little friend a slap on the stomach and sent him on his way. We also invited our french speaking African to come to church with us...

Sunday, most magical evening ever. I may or may not have mentioned my favorite wanna-be Arizonans. Paola and Sara. We met them through the Anziani last transfer and have been to dinner twice at their house. They were more fascinated by the fact that we were from Arizona, Paola's dream place. They came to church with us once and then called us after and asked if we could wait until September to come over again. It broke our hearts, but we consented. Until one day we had a bidone (meaning a cancellation when we get there or a no show) and were by their house. We decided just to stop by and say hello. Paola invited us right in and we read a couple verses from the Book of Mormon with her. Sorella Glass left with a new skirt and Sorella Carroll with a porcelain doll she grabbed off the shelf as we walked out the door. And now for a Sunday evening drumroll...They had come to find us after church but we had to leave really quickly and missed them. So we stopped by that evening. Paola is a little crazy, but a crazy that I love. She is alive and ready for something more in her life. We watched a film called Finding Happiness with them. It is a 5 minute film that asks a series of questions about life and our purpose. A good introduction to what us missionaries teach, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The room was quiet as we asked what their thoughts were. Paola began to cry and recognized the lack of God in her life. She is ready to be happy. Even if it may take a little while, she is recognizing the change that needs to happen. Vacation time hit so Sorella Glass had to bid them the big farewell. And myself just until they get back. Again, Sorella Glass left the house with a gift for going home and Paola gave me a pot. I love her, giving us the things in the house that she does not want any longer. We put them to good use in the missionary apartment!

I wish I could better explain into words all the feelings I have right now. I am just so full of happiness, gratitude and love. The miracles never cease and I can not imagine doing anything else with my life. I am learning to never doubt myself or my Father in Heaven, even in the most unlikely of circumstances.

I love you all.
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

p.s. Surprise/excitement of the week. Sorella Glass makes the trip home to Arizona on Tuesday August 18th and will arrive in Phoenix at 6:49 pm. I heard Darien is coming home that day as well...if you see three Italian missionaries in the Airport I ask you to greet them for me! Especially my very wonderful companion. All this means I will need a companion or somewhere to go until the end of the transfer...so I get a mini-mission Italian who is preparing to leave on September 14th for the Washington DC Temple Visitor's center mission. Her name is Lia Cagnacci and is from Genova. I was present when she received her call and I am so excited for the opportunity to work with her. We will be together until September 7th!

05 August 2009

to: you

Dear Family,
Have I told you I love you? Have I told you how grateful I am for you? Have I mentioned that I have the greatest family on earth? Thank you for all that you are doing at home. You say that me being a missionary blesses you, but surely I believe that your service is blessing me. In fact, sometimes I wonder why I receive so many blessings...it all must be because of you. Of course I am trying to be a faithful servant and I pray everyday that I do something that will help you at home. So, thank you. I love you. I am eternally grateful for the support you give me.

May I tell you a story?

It begins with a woman named Maria.
Eight weeks ago we were assigned to visit two members who no longer come to church. Both of the assignments were of the same last name Di Franco, so automatically I assumed they were mother and daughter. One, Giusi, had recently been coming to church with her son, Andrea, who was being taught by the anziani (and I might add was baptized last week!). We never went to visit Giusi because she was in church every week and the anziani were at their house every week. I did talk to the anziani about the mother who I assumed was Stefania, the other name. The anziani brought it up to Giusi and her mother was in church the next week. For a good two weeks I assumed this to be the other name that we received, except that her name was Maria. (You were waiting till I brought up the first mentioned name.)
While the anziani were teaching Andrea and preparing him for baptism Maria sat in and listened. Like myself, these elders assumed she was a less active member. About four weeks into her attending church we learned that she is not a member after all. As sister missionaries we decided to take this opportunity and see if we could help this woman. We quickly learned that she already had a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and wants to be baptized. Unfortunately she married herself a stubborn Italian man (like most of them are, and I love them for it). He does not want anything to do with the church and will not give Maria permission to be baptized. She is allowed to come to church every week, basta. Dad, you mentioned a woman in church last week with the same problem. I have been thinking and praying about Maria since we discovered her situation. As we teach her once a week for 10 minutes before church I learn more and more about her strength and dedication. I am grateful for women like this, who would do anything to be a member of Christ's only true and living church. I am grateful that I get to help women like this. Although this challenge is a big one, Maria discovered that she needs to just be patient and eventually she will receive the blessings for her diligence and obedience. In fact, that lesson is meant for all of us. Patience.
It is working with people like her that make missionary work worth it. Watching people change their lives for the better has never meant so much to me. I wish you could see the changes I have seen people make.

Can I tell you another story?

Sunday was the usual, leave at 8:00 to get to the bus by 8:15. We have a few different routes we can take, so when I saw another bus ready to pass I grabbed Sorella Glass and we ran to the next stop. It was very spur of the moment, since usually to take this bus we are waiting forever. We exited the bus and walked over to catch the 71. There were two people standing there, both in a cloud of smoke. We stopped for what might have been two seconds when one woman walked up to us. "Are you missionaries?" "Yes we are, have you seen other missionaries like us before?" "Yes, around." "We are representatives for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." and the conversations continued to how this woman has tried all sorts of religions but none are answering her questions. She would be what we like to call a "golden investigator" saying all the right things and asking all the right questions. Rosi was waiting for a different bus, so we decided to wait with her and travel in her direction. At the end of our conversation (that was 2 stops past where we should have exited(, we set up an appointment to visit her. Although she did not come to church with us, she recognized us that night when we were in centro singing doing our street display. It is funny how a spur of the moment decision to take a bus you have never taken to church leads you to someone who is ready for more truth in her life. I will have to let you know how it progresses.

And a story about me? Missionary work is my life, imagine that. The love grows more every day. I could not imagine being anywhere else.

love: me
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll


Zone Leader Anziano White and Sorella Carroll


The Torino Zone