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