25 March 2009

show me, show me, show me!

The sun is shining. Birds are flying. People are playing. Missionaries are preparing. What a great day. I could not ask for anything more. Especially when I get to see the old ladies sitting on a park bench with their feet dangling in the air, like they just don't care. It is even better when you try to talk to them but can not seem to understand what language they are speaking. You look a little closer, and realize they do not have teeth. Something I may or may not have struggled with a time or two.

Sorella Carroll is welcoming the lion's mane for her entire mission. Who would have thought too much power came out of an Italian electrical outlet? But it is all okay because we just had the first day of spring. Even though the wind blows fiercely and makes the mane that much more wild, I smile because soon the flowers will blossom. I just imagine this city turning into a wonderland. Well, it already is a wonderland.

Story of the week: As a sister in Genova you get the privilege of working with two wonderful wards. Travel between areas takes place by train. I ride a train or two daily which makes life that much better. Switching off between wards every Sunday can be fun except when you take the wrong train, in the wrong direction, and it does not stop. My companion may or may not have misled me. But as soon as we hopped on board and found satisfactory seats the train was on its way to Pisa. Although it was not a direct train ride, it only makes a few stops. We made it about 30 minutes before it went for more passengers. Supposedly there would be a train going back right away, but that was delayed 30 minutes. Church has started and we are stranded. The ward we ended up at was not the right one, but maybe a good thing. In the end I can say the mistake was worth the ride. A good learning experience and new friends met.

My trainer is an all-star. We love her. Despite my quirkiness, she seems to express some love for me too. I feel like the work is going to soar as long as we keep up the dedication. One thing I have learned is not many people are interested in what I have to share with them. You stop in a park, you knock doors, you attempt to help people on the street and most just say "No, no grazie." I want to shed a tear or two for each person who does not want to have joy. I want to shed a tear for the people I meet on trains who have no hope in the world. I want to shed a tear for the investigators who give up. But somehow I have the strength to keep going because there IS someone who wants to know, I just have to find them. I am learning everyday how I can improve.

Speaking of improvement. Zone Conference. My first. Truly inspired. My mission president may be the smartest man in Italy. I know what I need to become, because that man (along with other missionaries) have inspired me. One missionary in particular struck my attention. One that you may know...Elder Josh Morris. This here is my mission idol. First of all, it was a familiar face that made the sun shine a little bit brighter. Second, he blew me away with his comments, teaching, and testimony. It is so neat to see that change that can take place in the life of a person. I hope, I pray I can emmulate the missionary that he has become. (Brother and Sister Morris, I am sure you are proud, but I am proud to say he is from my home stake. I am proud to associate with such great missionaries.)

Say hi to someone you do not know today. Smile at another. Give a compliment. Start a conversation. Make a new friend. Surprise someone with a kind gesture. In Italy it seems to surprise people all the time. People have stopped to ask if we knew each other. I stutter a no, but it is a beautiful day to say hello and offer a message. Then you say a little prayer that one day they will run into another missionary and that missionary will reach their heart and soften it.

My eyes fill with sweet water as I think about how blessed I am to be here. How much guidance and help I receive everyday. The love that I have been filled with. There is nothing more exciting than meeting someone new and loving them like I love my sister.

How you do that trick!
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll

Elder Morris and Sorella Carroll (both from Ahwatukee)

18 March 2009

I'll Die Smiling

"We stand at the crossroads, each minute, each hour, each day, making choices. We choose the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the passions we allow ourselves to feel, and the actions we allow ourselves to perform. Each choice is made in the context of whatever value system we've selected to govern our lives. In selecting that value system, we are, in a very real way, making the most important choice we will ever make.
"Since the foundation of all happiness is thinking rightly, and since correct action is dependent on correct opinion, we cannot be too careful in choosing the value system we allow to govern our thoughts and actions.
"And to know that God governs in the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayers, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him, is indeed, a powerful regulator of human conduct."
--Benjamin Franklin

What have I learned this week? (Besides the fact that a European keyboard is completely different than an American one.) That I am so lucky to have my Heavenly Father on my side. He is helping me with every step I take. I really can feel it. I know it.

Plane to plane to plane. Bus to mission home. Interview. Get to know the area, the assistants and the President. A quick trip to the Duomo. Bed. Really the first day was a blur, but I know I felt excited to be back in Italy. Day two: I learned where I would be spending at least the next transfer (we hope much more time). GENOVA. What a fantastic city, full of fabulous people, lined with colorful piazzas, and surrounded by the deep blue sea. Funny that this city was my first choice, lucky girl.

Guess what, I am a real Sorella! I teach (when I can figure out what the others are saying). I talk to people on the street. I smile. I pretend I know Italian. I go to district meetings. I have a companion/trainer teaching me all the ins and outs. I love life. It is incredible because, like I stated in the beginning, I have had someone walking with me every step of the way. The fear I thought I would feel has not even approached. Any nerves I assumed would come, have had no time to effect me. I am amazed. Of course I have language galore to explore, but I am lucky to have the help of nearly every person I meet eyes with. Keep smiling.

I came into an area with work which seems to be soaring. I love the people we have been working with and am excited to find more. I am building the courage to talk to more and more people every day. Everyone we work with is a little different and they have the most unique personalities. As I learn their stories I know you and I both will grow to love them without end.

Life has never been busier. As a matter of fact, last Saturday my companion and I literally ran from one appointment to the next. No time to spare. But who has time to spare when you are trying to share the most important message anyone will hear? No one.

I sit at this computer and think about what I am doing. I realize it does not really matter if I am in Italy or Wyoming. Genova or Heber, Utah. It only matters that I am a missionary. A sister missionary. The days when I think to myself, "I miss the MTC" or something of the sorts, I remember that there are people waiting and ready for me. Here we go, together. Thank you!

God knows me, what I need. He knows you, and what you need. He knows the people around me, and what they need. I love love love that He prepares the way for all we will ever do. "God governs [...] the affairs of men, [...] He hears and answers prayers, [...] He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him, is indeed, a powerful regulator of human conduct."

Thank you. Find a miracle in every day. Smile.

Blue Skies.
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll

Pic of the week: Brother and sister. Red crying eyes(for me), red rash face(for him). I may or may not have cried like a baby. I left for Italy!

03 March 2009

According to picture books.

One week down. The rest of my life to go!

Sometimes I want a video camera on me at all times so I can capture every moment, every emotion. Or maybe I could teach a Mynah my thoughts and send it your way...This will be my solution. Next time you see a dark brown slightly crested bird that originates in Asia...it is from me. Love.

In honor of the recent love month, I wanted to share my thoughts on love. I believe in a thang called loooo-ooove.

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (1 John 4:7-11)

All we need is love.

As my time at the MTC comes to a close I realize how much I love this place. I believe I have shared my love before, but believe me when I say I might miss it. I will always hold a special place in my heart for the place that taught me how to be a missionary. Never will I be perfect, but I am grateful for the ground work I received here (not only for my mission, but for the rest of my life).

After only being out eight weeks, I could not imagine my life with out this mission. I can not imagine being a wife or a mother without this experience. I realize we are all different, but in all honesty...I know I can be that much better if I really apply all that I am learning to the rest of my life. And the most important thing I have learned is love. Why? Because "charity never faileth" and "charity is the pure love of Christ." So every day this is what we missionaries strive towards. Again, I am the farthest from perfect.

Within my district I have learned the most love. There is no doubt in my mind that our district was placed together for a reason. We have become a family, and a family that loves each other. This past Sunday was an interesting experience for all of us. "The love chair." I'll explain, everyone gets a chance to take a seat in "the chair" while everyone else says what they love about this person. You just like the way you feel when you sit in that chair. Except I now know you can feel that way always when you are in the service of your God and recognize the immense amount of love that he has for each one of us. The best! So after two hours of love sharing, Christ was placed on the chair while we all were given the opportunity to bear witness that He lives! and that we love Him! I love Him! Fourteen of us, immature young adults, have grown to love, respect, and appreciate each other in just a mere 8 weeks. Although half of my district will be heading to Rome I am so excited for us all. Every Elder will go on to do great things on their missions and in life. I love them for their examples. I love my companion.

Let us just celebrate love. In less than one week I will be sharing the greatest love of all with the greatest people of all. Christ's love. Italians.

Heaven is a partly cloudy place,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll