13 May 2009

hooray, hooray.

The weekly Sorella Carroll quote: (these are usually my self motivators of the week, so this is why I share them with you.) “Our challenges, including those we create by our own decisions, are part of our test in mortality [...] Your situation is not beyond reach of our Savior. Through Him, every struggle can be for our experience and good. Each temptation we overcome is to strengthen us, not destroy us. The Lord will never allow us to suffer beyond what we can endure.” --Elder Robert Hales

Story of the best week ever: It starts with zone conference. Thursday morning my companion and I woke up early in order to make ourselves presentable for our mission president and his wife. We try to look presentable every day, but when you are going to see your president you put in the extra effort. Then to the train through conference and a return ticket home. Conference was everything that Sorella Carroll and Frederique needed to hear. A good reminder of my purpose and what I can do better to help people was everything I needed. I am one grateful missionary for our President Dunaway and his guidance to each of us missionaries in northern Italy. Friday and Saturday flew by and before I knew it I was done with the phone call to my family. It is funny how much you appreciate to hear the voices of your loved ones. Although I am not home sick, I do miss you. Thank you for encouragement, love, happiness. What a wonderful day to celebrate a mother! A mother who has given me everything. Thank you mother. Thank you grandmother, this is your holiday too! I love the mothers in my life and appreciate all that they have helped me with. Monday came and went with no appointments but plenty of finding work. In our district meeting we set district goals (which I am pleased to announce Sorella Smith and I have already begun to accomplish!).

Tuesday is where the real story begins...

We had planned everything down to the half hour hoping that all would go accordingly. We had four lessons planned with inspired back-up plans. We taught one of my favorites, Beatrice [who is African and married to an Italian with two sons, Elliot (6) and Ariel (5 months)]. We teach her in English and she had a great break-through! She has so much faith and bore testimony so strongly yesterday. We know that it will be a slower process with her as she has many questions, but I learn from her faith every time I see her! As usual, lunch and language. We received a cancellation for one of our lessons but stuck with our back-up plan which was to visit the same area but talk to the university kids instead. Can you say nervous? My peers are the hardest for me to talk to, but Sorella Smith and I worked together and made plans to do University contacting every few days. By the end of the transfer our fears will be out the window! You could call this successful as we were able to break the ice with a few students. [How do you help youth/young adults be more interested in religion?]

Our next lesson was with a Sorella Giuliano. We have been working with numerous members encouraging them to invite non-members to our stake conference. With a General Authority coming, this will be a big deal...and apparently the area authorities are expecting big things out of us missionaries. So we are working. Sorella Giuliano gave us four referrals all of which we attempted to contact. We will be returning to find them on a later date. To fill our time before our next appointment we had planned to do casa in Sorella Giuliano's area. [Casa means knocking doors. This is one of the funniest because of the excuses people give. Or they will come to the peep-hole, look through, and say nothing. You usually can either hear the movement of the peep-hole or actually see them. I say hello or wave at them to let them know we know. Usually ends up unsuccessful. I always want to put my face in the hole while they are looking through...]

One of our last knocks was opened by Giuseppe. We began to explain who we are and we had a quick message about Jesus Christ to share if they were interested. Giuseppe said, “we were praying.” What do you say to that? Sorry for interrupting? Rita was standing right behind her husband and invited us in right as Giuseppe was trying to shoo us away. We entered the house. WE GOT IN A HOUSE, MY FIRST HOUSE! We found Mariana and Antonio sitting at the table. They found us chairs and we all joined in discussion in the little kitchen. Antonio is a fireball, Mariana is amazed we use the same bible as them, Rita could see everything on my face, Giuseppe knew everything about us Mormons. Every time Antonio went off, Rita would interrupt him and let me say something. One time I started to feel tears coming on, but I did not want them. I stopped to clear my throat and Giuseppe said I could sing if I wanted. I almost did, but I did not want to ruin my testimony by making fun. My companion explained everything in the space of 10 minutes, nearly impossible...she rocked the house. We made a return appointment! As we were getting up to leave Rita invited us to pray with them. We thought hey, we pray, we can pray with you. We sat back down and they all stood up. Confused looks were exchanged especially after Giuseppe mentioned to us that we all say a few words. Sorella Smith and I bowed our heads, folded our arms and closed our eyes. The next ten minutes were spent in prayer. Each of us prayed, while all but companion and I threw in some Hallelujahs, amens, and uh-huhs. It actually was a very interesting/cool experience to pray with someone in this manner. I am very excited to return to the family and learn of their faith and share ours.

Finally, our last lesson of the day. Epifana. Our dear Peruvian who is just the most precious lady. The principle of obedience was our topic, and everytime I talk about this I realize more and more the great importance obedience has in my life. I had the special privilege to talk to Epifana and get to know her a little better while Sorella Smith helped her daughter with a little bit of English. Epifana bore testimony of the great change she has noticed in her life since being associated with the church. She lost a daughter a few years back and I talked a little about the plan of salvation and how my family has applied that in our lives. I know that because my mother and father remained strong in the church working together we have seen the plan of salvation take effect. I just bore testimony of how much the Gospel really does bless families, and that she has already seen some of the blessings. She is currently praying for her baptismal date that we invited on June 12th. I am so grateful for her sweet testimony and especially that private moment we had to talk. I love her and everyone I work with. There is nothing in life more satisfying than this.

Let us work together to help people find what they do not even know they are looking for!

the silver lining,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll

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