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.