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