24 February 2009

Everybody is going to love today, love today, love today!

I love you.

(No one says "I love you" enough. I still am not a fan of the fact that I am unable to say it to every one and anyone I meet. I love all missionaries.)

Here I am, expressing the only love I can. I love you. Thank you for being a part of my life. Two weeks from today this MTC adventure becomes something much larger. It is probable that I would not have the courage to make this step alone. I appreciate the continuous support and love. I love you.

William Shakespeare wisely said, "They do not love that do not show their love." I have experienced more love than I could ask for. I have learned to love through all the love shown to me. Mother, Father, Sister, Brothers, you have taught me to love. You have helped me to love. Love is really what makes the world turn.

Speaking of Jesus Christ, President Thomas S. Monson stated,
"He taught us how to pray. He taught us how to serve. He taught us how to live. His life is a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved.'
"The time came when He stood alone. Some Apostles doubted; one betrayed Him. The Roman soldiers pierced His side. The angry mob took His life. There yet rings from Golgotha’s hill His compassionate words, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.'
"Earlier, perhaps perceiving the culmination of His earthly mission, He spoke the lament, 'Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath no where to lay his head.' 'No room in the inn' was not a singular expression of rejection—just the first. Yet He invites you and me to receive Him. 'Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.'
"Who was this Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief? Who is the King of glory, this Lord of hosts? He is our Master. He is our Savior. He is the Son of God. He is the Author of our Salvation. He beckons, 'Follow me.' He instructs, 'Go, and do thou likewise.' He pleads, 'Keep my commandments.'
"Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His word. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude."

I hope you know how much I love you.

This past week has been one of goal accomplishing and I am feeling great. I finished the Book of Mormon in 4 weeks. I can run 3.5 miles (Ram I know that is nothing compared to you, but it means I am getting closer to my 5 mile goal in the next 2 weeks). I am teaching all lessons in Italian. Slowly but surely the language is coming. I felt the Spirit in much of what I did, which is always a comfort. I am understanding the importance of "EXACT OBEDIENCE." I think most importantly I am understanding that this mission is not my mission. This mission is the Lord's mission, I am His instrument. There is a lot of trust placed on missionaries, and it is sometimes difficult to always remain worthy of this trust. I am happy all missionaries work together.

Remember the Plan of Salvation and how it is the greatest "idea" put to work ever? Remember how THE Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored through Joseph Smith? Although the only thing I remember from my baptism was my green velvet dress and the shivering cold water, I am so happy to have made those covenants with the Lord and progress on to the Temple. Remember how eternal families are the best? Remember how you are stuck with me for eternity? Like Berto, I did sealings last week and I was reminded of the time we went as a family. Although I do not remember the event, I remember the joy that was probably felt. Thank you for letting me be a part of such a magnificent family.

Let's keep remembering...Remember how we have a Prophet on the earth today. Remember how God loves us so much that He sent his only begotten in the flesh to suffer and die for me? For you? Do you remember? I am reminded everyday, and can hardly stand the fact that I get to declare this to people in Italy. Say your prayers that I can effectively get this message to them.

For the first time last week I cried because of a family member (since being in the MTC). They were a mix of tears of joy and tears of sadness. I am one privileged sister to have a brother here. It is a fact that most people are jealous that I get to see my brother more than once a week. My class was preparing to teach the Plan of Salvation in Italian on Saturday night (best Saturday Night I've ever had!). Our scenario was teaching an individual who was recently divorced and lost a brother. My teacher really tried to emphasize the importance of relating to the individual. As my teacher did the example I really started to feel the emotion. I put myself in the shoes of the person who just lost their brother and I could not bear the thought of it. Although I understand and have a testimony of eternal life, death is still something hard to handle. (This is one reason I believe I need to say "I love you" more often, through word and deed.) Anyway, as I was thinking about this, the thought popped into my head and I realized I am not going to see Robert for 2 years. I do not know why it was so difficult, probably because I have had the comfort of having him around. The tears were of joy because he is going to be the best missionary, and sadness because I will no longer have a family member around to say hi to. So, I cried a little. I feel your love every day though, thank you for your love. I miss you.

Top 10 of the week:
1. Funny Anziani.
2. Elder M. Russell Ballard.
3. Companionship study.
4. 25 new Italian missionaries. (Increasing our zone to over 50.)
5. Sorella Nelson.
6. Ally Snyder. A precious girl in an LDS commercial who reminded me that I need to finish any race I ever begin.
7. The temple.
8. Family.
9. My Patriatchal Blessing.
10. My Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

I love you.

Any way you want to, any way you got to.
Frederique Stone

17 February 2009

All the colors.

The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans. Chapter 5, verses 3 through 5. "And not only so, but we GLORY in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God IS shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

The Book of Psalms. Chapter 46, verse 10 and 11. "Be still, and KNOW, that I am God...The LORD of hosts IS with us..."

I realize we all wonder at times why we have hard times, but then we learn it is all beneficial in the end. I do not share these verses of scripture because I had a hard week. In all honesty it was a marvelous week, but I believe I found these scriptures in order to better prepare myself for what may come in the future. (on or off the mission) So take them for what they are worth. "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" (1 Peter 1:7).

I have transformed into your cheesiest missionary sharing scripture after scripture. Who knew I would ever love this so much? Sorry if I get annoying.

This past week I spent all my study time on the Book of Mormon and October 2008 General Conference. When I received the call to be a missionary I remember having this extreme excitement. A week later was Conference and we had the ever-so wonderful opportunity to hear so much about missionary work. I thought, "Thank you, all you members of the church for attending or watching this conference directed at me." As I re-read these talks I am reminded at how much the last conference really was focused on missionary work and how important it is. I remember the announcement of the 5 new temples, the last being Rome, Italy. I started to cry, it was as if I already had so much love for everyone in Italy. I immediately felt my need to serve a mission in Italy. So here I go, only three more weeks and I will be there. Sometimes it is a little scary, and sometimes I have absolutely no patience (meaning to get there). Mixed emotions of inadequacy and unpreparedness (is that a word?) but excitement to bring those who I love the "good news!"

Italian, I keep getting questions about the language. We are now teaching in only Italian and it is the best ever. Although half the time my companion (whose, did I mention, father is Italian...mother served a mission in Italy...and brother served in Italy...they are a family of italian speakers) is saving me when I mess up or can not say something correctly, I LOVE IT. It is funny sitting in class watching all the elders learn this new language and seeing how much we have all learned already. Seriously? How can someone learn a language in 9 weeks? Close to impossible, but when you are blessed with the Spirit and the help of our Father in Heaven there is nothing better. I absolutely KNOW that I have been helped 100 percent of the time when it comes to my language abilities. All I know is that when I arrive in Italy I will hardly understand a thing, just like last summer. As long as I just jump in there I believe the language will end up being a success. The language is coming, and I am learning that the more work I put into it the more I get out of it. ...AND...this also applies to every aspect of my life.

I got the wonderful news about two friends and their mission calls. Shout out, AJ and Brett! I do not think you could understand my excitement right now. So far, missions are the best idea ever.

Oh by they way, Happy (late) LOVE Day. Although we did not "celebrate" the love with our fellow missionaries, it was a grand day. I still remember my favorite Valentines Day when I went out with you, Dad. So much fun. Have I mentioned my family is amazing? I hope that the day was fun for all! The Anziani loved their Disney Princess Valentines.

I wish I had more time and more to say. Every day is the same, but I never stop learning. This morning seems like 10 days ago but last Tuesday seems like yesterday. I have something exciting happen every day. I am making some of the best of friends. I am pretty sure I knew these missionaries before hand, seeing as how well I get along with all of them. I love my teachers. I love my companion. I love my brother. I love you, family. I love my friends, here and at home. I love love. I still love being a missionary. I love being guided every day. I love the joy that I feel. I love being happy. I love being about to make that decision to be happy. I love loving everyone. I LOVE YOU!

In a Circus,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll

10 February 2009

They claw and claw all afternoon.

This past week has been one of contemplation. I have given a lot of thought to life's purpose, and my purpose specifically. A number of ideas popped in my head that really caused me to ponder the entire existence of the human race. Since I am going to be answering many people's questions about this I decided I really should give thought to my own experiences, my own family, my past and my future. Everything that I thought about circled around to the great Plan of Happiness that is set before us. I just thought I would share a couple of thoughts. Mostly these consist of how thankful I am for my life, and the opportunity to be here in the city of MTC preparing to go to a beautiful country and teach a glorious people.

Last Tuesday, February 3rd, we had the usual devotional. I believe it was a member of the Quorum of the Seventy that spoke to us. The topic was various "things" but two that I wrote the most about were prayer and desires. During his segment on prayer the thought came to my head about something I had prayed for beginning three years ago. When I started college and was struggling in my Italian classes I looked for help from different people. Italian class after italian class and I still was doing pretty poorly. I am pretty sure I thought I would never be able to learn the language. Finally after talking to a friend I was told to maybe pray for the help to learn the language not for my benefit, but for the benefit of someone else. To use the knowledge I will gain to invite others unto Christ. Although I thought this was a little odd (I had no idea who I would ever speak to in Italian about the Gospel) I did it anyway. I began to pray for the help in the language. To tell you the truth, I do not know if I noticed a change in my language skills (until now). This could only be one of two things, the Lord telling me what to pray for in preparation for my mission (through the guidance of a friend), or the Lord answering my prayers. I believe it to be a little of both. When this thought came to my mind I was amazed and knew that I am indebted to my Father in Heaven and must keep going. It is amazing how well He knows each and every one of us. I love His love.

Last week we were asked by our teacher, Fratello Macdonald, to write down a spiritual experience and translate it into Italian. I am still working on mine, but it is also something that caused the wheels to turn in my head. I wrote about my first accident and the feelings I have concerning it. Then I recalled the car accident our family was in, in Tucson. And of course the time I de-planted the median while I was asleep. Finally, the reason I am going back to Italy...to retrieve the skin from my leg that was left on the asphalt in Siena due to a scooter accident. (thank you Rey) I am not reminding you of these stories because I want you to think "wow, Rique we are so glad you are here." I relay these stories because of how humbled and blessed I feel at the outcome of every one. I know, I absolutely know that the Lord and his angels were watching over me. My first accident I blacked out and do not remember anything but the beginning and end. There is no way I was controlling the vehicle myself. Both Robert and I were being watched over and serving missions is part of the reason. I know we all have a purpose here, and Robert and I are beginning to fulfill this purpose. So happy.

With my scooter accident I started replaying the event in my head down to the finest detail. I told you the reason I crashed was because a car was getting really close and I decided to speed up. There were probably 3 or 4 cars behind me, and 3 or 4 coming the other way. When I crashed I was amazed that the car directly behind me did not plow me into the ground considering how close they really were. Come to think of it I have no idea how it did not happen, and I do not remember seeing any cars pass me. The people on the other side of the road are the ones who helped me. Not that my accident was serious, just that it could have been serious had I not been looked after. I know I have not always acted grateful especially for the opportunity to be here, but I want you to know that I really am. I am so lucky to have an eternal family and have the confidence that although I am not with you, you are all being watched over and protected. Thank you family, I love you.

The rest of the week was fabulous. My companion and I taught our first lesson in Italian which went better than I expected, but I still have a long long way to go before I get to Italy. I am hoping these next 4 weeks can get me going a little better. Sunday rolled around and I gave a 5-minute Italian talk in sacrament. Actually you could call our sacrament meeting "The Sorella Carroll Spectacular" (or not so spectacular). I played the hymns, a musical number, and spoke...talk about butterflies in my stomach.

I believe I forgot to mention to you the other language I am learning here besides Italian. It would be the language of the hands. Yes, I am learning ASL. I have become friends with the ASL missionaries and they are teaching me little by little. The strongest desire has come over me to learn sign language, so I decided that this is going to be something I will completely learn upon returning home. Along with Icelandic and French. (Pah, sometimes I wish days and weeks were longer so we had all the time in the world to do things like that. Then I remember there is Eternity!) Anyway sign language is so expressive and beautiful. I love to sit in the interpreters' section and watch. One of these days, hopefully!

The MTC is still Disneyland. I have made so many friends, sometimes it is hard to watch them leave. Hopefully I will see some of them again. I love missionaries. Thank you for being missionary supporters and loving us too. I love you more than you will ever know. I am so thankful to be your daughter and friend. I have the best, best friends in the world.

Bridges and Balloons,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll

03 February 2009

Old Habits Die Hard.

I am having a hard time figuring out where to begin this letter. This week has been busy, exciting, stressful, knowledgeable, crazy, the happiest, the most overwhelming, the every type of week you can have crammed into one. (Some of these words probably are not a proper way to describe a week, but I did it anyway.) But... It was the best. week. ever.

We will start with an explanation of a dance party. 8 o'clock AM, laundry room, one church music filled iPod, two mini speakers, two dancing machine missionaries. It was meant to be a dance party for all, but turned into "let's watch Sister Carroll and Sister Nelson get their dance on." It was quick, it was a delight!

Now on to the serious "stuff." I still really enjoy being a missionary, and a Sister Missionary at that. (Being a Sister gives you a couple special privileges. Such as, getting an extra 2 dollars on your card every week, which I don't spend often but it is there; having Anziani [Italian for Elders] clear your tray upon finishing eating, having all Anziani stand when you approach the table with food in hand, and you get to be called Hermanas by the Spanish speakers which makes me feel closer to my sister who was an Hermana and will always be my hermana.)

There is an Elder in my district who is one of the most positive people I have ever met. I am striving to have his attitude. Every day last week I was able to respond to his typical question, "Isn't this just the best day ever?" with a "YES!" I will continue to do so. All we have to do is wake up, whisper to ourselves "this is going to be the best day," move forward and make that whisper a controlled scream.

This week I decided I am most grateful for the answers to prayers. Not just one prayer when Heavenly Father feels like it, but EVERY prayer. Sometimes I forget to be mindful of the timing and He always knows what is best for me and when I should be receiving answers, but needless to say, He never fails to give me an answer. I am learning every day more and more about how to recognize the Holy Ghost in my life and the way I receive revelation or guidance. I was blessed with the gift of the Holy Ghost when I was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but I LOVE the fact that we all are granted the Light of Christ in which we can receive guidance as long as we desire and are striving to live in accordance with gospel principles.

I do not mean to make this a boring letter, I just had a number of spiritual experiences this week that will forever change my mission and the rest of my life. I learned what I am doing, why I am doing this, how I will do this, and when (meaning now and the rest of my life). It all started with an experience during MTC choir that lead me to understand that if I am going to do anything at all, I must do it with my whole heart or not do it at all. As I wrote this down and strived for it throughout the week my entire experience changed. Even when I hit the rough patches, which yes rough things happen in the MTC (the happiest place on earth), I was able to confront them whole heartedly. Not always easy, but I guess you could say fun and an incredible learning experience.

Then I learned the importance of people in my life and that sometimes, maybe more often than not, the Lord speaks through these people to me. As a district we were given the opportunity to study one Christ-like attribute and teach it to another in the class. I taught my companion who then after she taught me. Her little lesson was something that I absolutely needed to hear, and will need to hear over and over and over again. The atonement is something I have a dear dear love for and know that literally no one can live without it. "And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of the bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning." (3 Nephi 11:11) Sorella Rossi compared ourselves and our missions to the Apostles who were to pray while Christ submitted himself to the will of the Father. (This can be found in Matthew 26, which I highly recommend reading). After she finished reading the passage the thought came to her mind, "can we not wait one hour with the Lord, can we not give him one hour of our lives with all capability of heart, can we not serve for this short amount of time with all our might, mind and strength? If we but do this, we will be able to have our rest. Now he needs all of us." He needs all of me, no less. He actually needs all of us to go forth and help bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man Moses 1:39. This is the first moment in the MTC where I learned that the Lord uses everyone around me to teach me something new. He also gave me my companion for a very specific reason of which I am slowly realizing.

I gave myself a challenge to read the Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price while here in the MTC. I am reading about 20 pages a day during personal study time which has been perfect. My testimony has been completely strengthened through reading the scriptures and I am grateful for the example of you my family who has been faithful and diligent in scripture reading. Keep up the good work. (There is a little goofy missionary challenge for you!) While reading the past couple of days I was able to learn of the dear love that I have for Mosiah chapters 2 through 5. King Benjamin being the mouth of the Lord. I wish I could proclaim this wonderful word the way he did, but since it has already been done and so graciously recorded, we can all have the message!

I am very quickly running out of time in this e-mail but also in my time at the MTC. One month gone, surprise! Happiest day, I love you so much! I could not do this without you!

My sentimental heart,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll