This past week has been one of contemplation. I have given a lot of thought to life's purpose, and my purpose specifically. A number of ideas popped in my head that really caused me to ponder the entire existence of the human race. Since I am going to be answering many people's questions about this I decided I really should give thought to my own experiences, my own family, my past and my future. Everything that I thought about circled around to the great Plan of Happiness that is set before us. I just thought I would share a couple of thoughts. Mostly these consist of how thankful I am for my life, and the opportunity to be here in the city of MTC preparing to go to a beautiful country and teach a glorious people.
Last Tuesday, February 3rd, we had the usual devotional. I believe it was a member of the Quorum of the Seventy that spoke to us. The topic was various "things" but two that I wrote the most about were prayer and desires. During his segment on prayer the thought came to my head about something I had prayed for beginning three years ago. When I started college and was struggling in my Italian classes I looked for help from different people. Italian class after italian class and I still was doing pretty poorly. I am pretty sure I thought I would never be able to learn the language. Finally after talking to a friend I was told to maybe pray for the help to learn the language not for my benefit, but for the benefit of someone else. To use the knowledge I will gain to invite others unto Christ. Although I thought this was a little odd (I had no idea who I would ever speak to in Italian about the Gospel) I did it anyway. I began to pray for the help in the language. To tell you the truth, I do not know if I noticed a change in my language skills (until now). This could only be one of two things, the Lord telling me what to pray for in preparation for my mission (through the guidance of a friend), or the Lord answering my prayers. I believe it to be a little of both. When this thought came to my mind I was amazed and knew that I am indebted to my Father in Heaven and must keep going. It is amazing how well He knows each and every one of us. I love His love.
Last week we were asked by our teacher, Fratello Macdonald, to write down a spiritual experience and translate it into Italian. I am still working on mine, but it is also something that caused the wheels to turn in my head. I wrote about my first accident and the feelings I have concerning it. Then I recalled the car accident our family was in, in Tucson. And of course the time I de-planted the median while I was asleep. Finally, the reason I am going back to Italy...to retrieve the skin from my leg that was left on the asphalt in Siena due to a scooter accident. (thank you Rey) I am not reminding you of these stories because I want you to think "wow, Rique we are so glad you are here." I relay these stories because of how humbled and blessed I feel at the outcome of every one. I know, I absolutely know that the Lord and his angels were watching over me. My first accident I blacked out and do not remember anything but the beginning and end. There is no way I was controlling the vehicle myself. Both Robert and I were being watched over and serving missions is part of the reason. I know we all have a purpose here, and Robert and I are beginning to fulfill this purpose. So happy.
With my scooter accident I started replaying the event in my head down to the finest detail. I told you the reason I crashed was because a car was getting really close and I decided to speed up. There were probably 3 or 4 cars behind me, and 3 or 4 coming the other way. When I crashed I was amazed that the car directly behind me did not plow me into the ground considering how close they really were. Come to think of it I have no idea how it did not happen, and I do not remember seeing any cars pass me. The people on the other side of the road are the ones who helped me. Not that my accident was serious, just that it could have been serious had I not been looked after. I know I have not always acted grateful especially for the opportunity to be here, but I want you to know that I really am. I am so lucky to have an eternal family and have the confidence that although I am not with you, you are all being watched over and protected. Thank you family, I love you.
The rest of the week was fabulous. My companion and I taught our first lesson in Italian which went better than I expected, but I still have a long long way to go before I get to Italy. I am hoping these next 4 weeks can get me going a little better. Sunday rolled around and I gave a 5-minute Italian talk in sacrament. Actually you could call our sacrament meeting "The Sorella Carroll Spectacular" (or not so spectacular). I played the hymns, a musical number, and spoke...talk about butterflies in my stomach.
I believe I forgot to mention to you the other language I am learning here besides Italian. It would be the language of the hands. Yes, I am learning ASL. I have become friends with the ASL missionaries and they are teaching me little by little. The strongest desire has come over me to learn sign language, so I decided that this is going to be something I will completely learn upon returning home. Along with Icelandic and French. (Pah, sometimes I wish days and weeks were longer so we had all the time in the world to do things like that. Then I remember there is Eternity!) Anyway sign language is so expressive and beautiful. I love to sit in the interpreters' section and watch. One of these days, hopefully!
The MTC is still Disneyland. I have made so many friends, sometimes it is hard to watch them leave. Hopefully I will see some of them again. I love missionaries. Thank you for being missionary supporters and loving us too. I love you more than you will ever know. I am so thankful to be your daughter and friend. I have the best, best friends in the world.
Bridges and Balloons,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll