27 January 2009

you rock, rock.

This week I win the cheesiest sister missionary award. Why? Well I am going to serve in Italy and just so happen to own a bright green cardigan with a map of Italy on the front. So what do I do? Wear it! I am a sister missionary, therefore "Ah dew whad ah wont." (I do what I want). No but really, being a sister missionary feels like such a special privilege. I know it is a very special privilege. Being a missionary in general gives you that special feeling. That loving feeling.

Bug eyes could be my nickname this week. Again I am amazed at how much you learn. Before departing on this adventure, well I guess before submitting my mission papers I was fairly confident I could teach anything I needed to. Boy are you humbled upon entrance into the field. But how can you possibly do the Lord’s work when you are proud. He picks the weak things of the world and only through Him can we be made strong. So all along I was really a weak one. Rique, Sorella Carroll, keep going!

I apologize because I am pretty sure writing these weekly letters are more helpful for me than telling you much about my life right now. But I am just doing the greatest work ever. Don't worry.

I learned how immature I am this week. This is nothing against the 19 year-old elders in my zone, but I have a pretty similar sense of humor as them. Oh, and to test my level of maturity (which at times seems lower than anyone else) the Australian elder in my district, Anziano White, told me a story. It was about his "mate" and this mate’s fiancée. These two were sitting on the couch about to watch a movie when the girlfriend asked why they never watched mature films (of something of that nature, I am not familiar with Australian rating systems but I believe it is equal to our PG-13). This mate of Anziano White leaned into his fiancée’s face and said "booger." As Anziano White said this he looked at me and right when he said booger I busted up laughing. I would love to blame this laughter on his accent but really I could not. Sorry mother and father I can be quite the embarrassment. Now I know what I should be working on, on top of striving to be a better missionary.

I do not know how it goes for anyone else but before I became a missionary I thought becoming one would make life so much easier. I do appreciate the greater difficulties though. Now I am learning to work harder than I ever have before. Again with the bug eyes. I am in awe of how much help and guidance you receive, not only from the Holy Ghost, but from every other person around you. (Including your companion).

Speaking of companions...I have failed to mention mine. She is wonderful. We may be complete opposites but we were put together for a reason. (We did figure out that we both have a love for Doris Day, my good ol' Calamity Jane). Sometimes I feel like Calamity Jane! I like to call her Sorella Rossi (Row-see). I also HAVE to call her that, but it is all the same. I actually am very lucky because...she speaks some Italian as well! Her father is Italian (from Florence), her mom served her mission in Catania, her brother served his mission in Rome and now she is off to Milan! Just a cute little Mormon Italian family! She teaches me something new everyday... So thank you Sorella Rossi!

And now for the game of favorites:
1. The older district goes to Italy, actually they are on their way! (I am sad for them to leave, but they make the whole experience real!)
2. Bonding with all the Italian missionaries. I am so privileged to be part of such a remarkable group.
3. Pretending I am Ramsey when I run 5 days a week. Well wishing I was him...
4. Having a vacuum cleaner right outside my residence room named Flo.
5. Getting a good game of cats-cradle going with surrounding missionaries waiting for Sunday movies to begin.
6. Meeting sister missionaries who are already my best friends.
7. Nightly dance parties with Sorella Nelson (she is serving in Rome, but is my absolute favorite)
8. The truly inspired teachers who share so much love and support.
9. The countless familiar faces I see daily (I swear, everywhere I turn is someone I know. I am starting to annoy my poor patient companions because sometimes I get so caught up in conversations). The joy of living in Provo for nearly 3 years.
10. My sudden bursts of energy that come right before bed time.
11. Hearing about the great things going on at home!
12. Bribing all other missionaries to be my friends with delicious cookies from wonderful friends and their Mothers and with delicious looking Raspberry Rolls. Thank you for the help!
13. Missionary hugs, which actually I still find to be the oddest/sort of uncomfortable things. I will explain: You go for a high five but stop briefly upon hitting hands, let me emphasize briefly, to wrap your thumb around the hand. (Again let me emphasize briefly.)
14. Praying every moment of your life, and always receiving answers as long as you pray in faith. (Keep that in mind).
15. Finding my motto and attempting to apply it all day everyday. Here it is: (Mosiah 3:19) "For the natural man is an enemy to God and has been from the fall of Adam and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the holy spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh as a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things, which the lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

I wish time was endless (in this temporal sense) so I could go on forever. Thank you for your love!

You rock, rock!
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll

20 January 2009

To forget

Erase the days, erase the hour, erase any conception of the world. (Except for the blinking time in the corner of my screen counting down from 30) Time is flying already and I can not believe what two weeks has done for me, or to me. I suppose I should mention this very important day in the history of America. It is so strange how the world keeps moving while I have no idea what is going on. So here is to Barack Obama and the new Presidency. I am so grateful for the land of the free and the home of the brave. The United States of America is absolutely a country founded through the power of our Heavenly Father and is absolutely a country that I am blessed to live in. Of course I am going to yet another wonderful country, Italy, for 16 months but I love America and appreciate all that we have experienced through living here. (And, no, it is not always easy.)

I have been thinking a lot about what I am doing, what I have done, and what I will be doing in the future. It is overwhelming sometimes to think about what I have the opportunity to do at this moment in time, but then I remember how much love and support I have at home and more importantly that I am being qualified for the work as we speak. So much has happened in the past week that gets me considering all the blessings I have received. First of all my very first devotional last Tuesday was given by Jeffrey R Holland, who need I say is a rock, a power house, a whatever you want to call someone of wonder. Of course being an Apostle of the Lord requires you being strong, knowledgable, and humble, but this man taught me more in an hour than I would have learned in a week outside the MTC. There were moments I was pretty sure he was speaking just to me. I hope that because of him and the words he spoke and the words that the spirit spoke to me I will be a much better missionary. Thank you Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.

Every night it is tradition for the Italian Sorelle to get together and have a circle of gratitude. One night last week while sharing our thoughts a sister walked in, Sister Yang, and asked if she could share with us a message of tithing in English. I was so excited to hear what she had to say...she hardly struggled with words and bore one of the greatest testimonies I have ever heard. She came in nervous, and once she started to speak I could tell that her confidence changed through her strong testimony. She is the only member of the Church in her family and her parents were not supportive of sending her on her mission. They have now softened their hearts, but to hear her struggles and faith made me appreciate all that I have received that much more. I am grateful for Sister Yang, a girl from Taiwan, a girl who helped me to grow. I love her.

I do not want to forget to mention how fun it is focusing on the principles of the Gospel, applying and then reapplying them to my life, and loving it. There is something about reading the scriptures and taking every verse and trying to find a way that it fits into your life, or your future investigators life, or your brothers life, or moms, dads, sisters, friends, etc. This is something that I believe has kept me moving. Here in the MTC, it may come to you as a surprise, you do get tired and you do want to fall asleep. BUT, "I will go, I will do, the things the Lord commands. I know He will provide a way, He wants me to obey." Italian is the most beautiful language. I love learning it every day. I love messing up. I love getting nervous to talk to the "seasoned" missionaries. I love my district and the bonds we have already formed. I am partial to the Italian Anziani and Sorelle, but I love them all. I love my teachers and their knowledge, support, excitement, and love. I love every missionary here. I love being a missionary. I love love. I hate not being able to say 'I love you' to everyone I meet like I used to. But here it is, I LOVE YOU!

Vi Voglio Bene,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll

13 January 2009

Let us begin

I wake up, go to breakfast, go to class, go to lunch, go to class, go to dinner, go to class, go to bed. Intermingled everyonce in a while is a little gym time and a preparation day. In the matter of a week, my life has become someone elses. (literally). I never thought I could do so much in a day, so welcome to the Missionary Training Center.

We often refer to Disneyland as the happiest place on earth, but even then there are children screaming, people complaining, you get the gist. Here in this place of abbreviations (MTC, TRC, RC, MDT ......) is where the happiness is. Nuzzeled in Provo. What a wonderful place to be. If you are searching for happiness, just come on over to the mission side of life.

I may or may not have asked myself a couple of times what all these 19 year old boys, 21 year old girls (I use boys and girls for a reason) are doing. The majority of the world is out of sight and I have yet to see a frown. Maybe everyone is really good at hiding their true feelings, but I have an incling that really, everyone is the happiest they have ever been. This is not to say preparing for a mission is easy, because in the matter of a week I have already had some struggles, but it is the best thing to be doing and so we are happy. There it is.

One would usually find my daily schedule tedious or boring but I find it just the opposite. At some point in my life I might have dreaded so much structure, but I couldn't be more grateful. If I didn't have a plan everyday I would wander physically and mentally wondering "what in the world?"

To be honest (because this is what we are supposed to be doing, being honest) I probably have nothing more to say than that I am happy. Possibly the happiest I have been in my entire life. Mom, Dad, family, friends, of course I have been happy with you...but this experience has built upon those joys and made them that much better. I write a thank you to all who got me here. Thank you.

At that, I will share some new "things" I have begun. I was introduced to playing the game of favorites. Obviously this is not new to me, but picking favorites has been something that has kept me entertained. Here are my favorites of the week:
1. Having a sweet farewell with my parents
2. Meeting my companion
3. Realizing how amazing every Italy called missionary is. I am still astounded by the testimonies of these, what seem like, kids.
4. Seeing my brother. Although we have opposite schedules I get so happy to see him, even if it is from across the way.
5. Baby hamsters, aka Chicken Cordon Bleu. I have not partaken, but I am reminded of those who refer to them as the hamsters.
6. The sister who annouced that she plays favorites and helped me to play favorites.
7. Doing my laundry.
8. Laughing at a joke that would be foreign outside the mission life.
9. Having an australian "mate" in my district.
10. Having a district that has become my family.
11. Saying "Grazie" and english speaking missionaries responding with de nada. (Like I was speaking spanish)
12. Learning the Austrailian way of saying something is "tight". In case you were wondering it is "Sweet As" which often sounds like a swear word, but completely not meant to be.
13. Being pressured to write a whole e-mail in the matter of minutes.
14. Seeing so many familiar faces.
15. Being a missionary.

Life is beautiful. Take everything you are given with love and do what you can. Thank you for this opportunity. I love you all. I am so lucky to have so much support.

As the clock counts down on this computer I can't believe how much more I want to tell you. I will get better at writing letters but until then. All is well.