29 April 2009

forever.

My Dear Family. What a wonderful thing, to have a family. I love you.

Well. You seem to be a family of party animals. I am trying to keep up with all the party, but everytime I dance I get stares from anziani or my companion. Apparently when Robert got in trouble in the MTC for letting some moves loose it was for a good reason. To say the least, I am learning (learning key word) to control my desires for a dance. It is a good thing we have an apartment where I can break it DAOWN! "It is always put on your party shoes time", remember that!

Two train rides, a new companion, a new city, and 6 days of rain later I am in Torino. (Did you know Torino means little bull? I learned that on our jog this morning.) Moving and working in a new city is so strange. It is ever more odd when you thought you would serve your whole mission in Genova. I have met many new people and probably work in one of the most missionary motivated wards in the world. Torino is spectacular and I could not ask for a different city to serve in. Although it was hard to leave my love Genova, I see myself falling head over heels with this city. I am already "in like" as you all would say. We are working hard and doing the usual missionary things. Talking to people, getting rejected, running into inactive members we had no idea existed, having people come up to us, etc. Sometimes you see the most amazing miracles and you wonder..."what is going on in my life!?"

Since I am meeting all new people in Torino I am trying especially hard to figure out why I am here and what I can do for these people. I already love them. We visit Maurizia in her flower shop where she just whips out the most beautiful bouquet during our visit. We have found our way through a deserted olympic village and crowds of people avoiding rain in a grocery story. I am reminded every time I look at my watch of the time I was running and fell on my face, I broke my watch in the mean time. We travel by tram and bus, have I mentioned how brilliant public transportation is? Today is the first day of blue skies and sun and for all I know this will be the most beautiful city in Italy. The streets are lined with green trees. The bike lanes are my favorite...I have little flashbacks of my bike. I love watching the families in Olympic park. Working with a new companion is new and exciting. I wish I could tell you more about the city...but I still look lost, I have no idea where I am. Sometimes a man plays the accordian outside our balcony, I go outside and listen.

As for the past week. We spent most of our time introducing me to ward members, investigators, less-actives and just the friendly people on the street. My ward is mission hungry. Every week we meet with the ward mission leader and missionaries. Every Sunday we pass out fliers of when we will be teaching lessons and members sign up. We receive calls from Bishops, Relief Society President, Young womens leaders, etc asking how they can help. What a turn around from my last city. I am beyond excited to work with these people who have a sincere desire to help our brothers and sisters. Tell the Foothills Ward to keep it up. And if I remember correctly Eric is a ward mission leader or missionary...Darien make sure he keeps working on that, you too. Be missionaries, love everyone.

Do a little dance if you can. Smile. Have a wonderful week!
My calendar tells me I get to talk to you soon:)

strawberry fields,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll


This would be Sorella Rasmussen's and my last day together. Bitter sweet.

22 April 2009

If you want something, don't ask for nothing.

Sur la terre et dans les cieux, Dieu a accompli de miracles. Mais le plus grande des prodiges est qu'il ait donné aux hommes la liberté de choisir entre la bien et le mal.

Today is my six week anniversary in Genova, Italy. Six weeks of love. Six weeks of laughs. Six weeks of friendship. Six weeks to say hello and then goodbye. I do not know where the time has taken me. But I do know it has brought moments that I will cherish for eternity! Moments that could never be replaced. Feelings that could not be reproduced. Love that has stretched beyond comprehension. I sit here and reflect (just for a moment) and only feel joy. Why? Because I have a testimony of my savior Jesus Christ. Because I know He loves me. I feel joy because He loves, not only me, but everyone. I know that through Him, and only Him, one can find peace that is eternal. [I do not know this because someone told me, but because I have felt it.]
In the world we can find temporary peace...music, scenery, laughter, love...but then you are snapped back into reality. Trains honking horns, scooters weaving in and out of traffic and people, a street vendor trying to sell you an umbrella even though the sun is shining, friends talking, etc. This is when you remember the chaos of the world. Here is where I try to let people know they do not have to have only temporary happiness. You can have it forever! Who does not want that, raise your hand...

As I mentioned, in the space of six sweet weeks I say hello and goodbye. I fall in love with a city and its people and it pains to bid farewell. During a pleasant lunch with my companion we received a surprise phone call from President who asked to speak to me. "Sorella Carroll, the Lord has given you a new assignment. You are called to serve in Torino with Sorella Smith." I gladly accepted, but deep inside it hurt a little. I may have no idea why this is happening, but it is from the Lord, I will go and I will do. I look forward to what lies ahead. I will always look back at my first area and companion with love and joy. [Have you heard me use those words enough yet?].

As for the past week, it was the best yet. This week is spotlight on Ester. She is a darling lady from El Salvador who lives two hours outside the city with her brother and a Chilean. She spends all her time just down the street from my companion and I caring for a Signora. She is a member, but can not make it to church due to work with Giulia. Instead, my companion and I have had the pleasantry of visiting her about once a week. To teach her and her brother, who is not a member. Last week we had a lesson set up with her brother and showed up at Giulia's house ready to teach. She mentioned that she had called us a couple times but that we did not respond. Miguel had escaped. [We can not figure out why he is scared of us. ha] We decided to visit with her for a couple minutes anyway and as we made our way to the family room I stopped to say hi to sleeping Giulia and asked Ester how she was doing. Ester stopped, took off her glasses, and tears started to drip down her cheeks. You could feel the pain she was feeling as she said that Giulia would not be around much longer. I suppose this is what happens when you take care of someone for six or more years. You love them and when it is time to part it is hard. I wonder why we did not hear the phone, but at that moment I learned what real love and service is. Maybe it was to give Ester comfort, or maybe it was for me to learn that I can always love more and serve more. Maybe a little bit of both. A little miracle.

If you want nothing, don't ask for something.
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

"On earth as in heaven, God has accomplished miracles. But the greatest of wonders is that He has given man the freedom to choose between good and evil."



photo: look how far apart we are! Brother and sister.



photo: In front of Genova apartment

15 April 2009

licht liebe leben

"Our beating heart drives us lower, pushes us always further toward the original ground."

The minutes, hours, days, week just keep getting better. As a matter of fact, the past week has been the best week of my life. My companion and I could not be better friends, even when I drive her insane with my odd habits. We meet the most interesting, kind, loving, funny, pleasant people you could find in the world. I have this fear inside that for some reason President will take her away from me because we do not have problems. I fear that, if true, comes to life next week. One transfer is about over. Time here means nothing and everything. It seems to disappear the second you look at it.

Let us talk about the great things that I saw, heard and did this week. I know this is more for me to reflect on how funny/fun my life is...but I also wish you could have witnessed it with me.

This week's greats:
1. As we were leaving e-mail last Wednesday I saw from the bus on the way home, a man that I may or may not have fallen in love with. Why? Only because I fell in love with his outfit. Red high-top Chucks, navy suit with flood pants, striking red sweater and the trendiest glasses you ever did see. Since I did not see his face, I decided he was good-looking in my imagination. (Okay, I am not in love...I am a Sorella, but I get to look at some of the most interesting fashion. This man was more relaxed.) If you really want to see some of what I have seen take a peek at the sartorialist.
2. Have you ever taught a lesson in a Ford Fiesta? Sorella Rasmussen and I have. The best. We were also parked next to the gypsies' silver CHALLENGER 50 SX (a motor home). When I buy myself a silver bullet, I will be naming it something similar, recommendations are welcome.
3. I met a Chilean and only wanted to talk about my brother. Yup, Robert. I will hopefully be teaching this Chilean more often. He also had the privilege of being baptized twice, Chile and Italy. Maybe Robert can help the Chileans organize their records so when people move they do not need to be baptized twice? I have seen a few of these people who had the privilege.
4. I went to another baptism in my second ward for a husband and wife. Miracles really do happen!
5. You can call me the rudest person in the world, but on Monday I just had to laugh out loud when waiting for the cross walk. We were waiting ever so patiently when coming toward us was a man playing with his dentures inside his mouth, popping them in and out...in and out. Then I looked past him and saw an old woman with her jaw dropped just staring. Her face made it seem like 'dentures man' had just taken hers and popped them in his mouth.
6. The great moment of the week was EASTER! What a miraculous event to celebrate. What a beautiful season. I thought I was going to miss out on the fun Easter egg hunt at home, but to my surprise Monday morning at District meeting our sweet (as in cool) DL hid 107 mini eggs around the building. Of course it lead to a discussion on finding work, but that definitely boosted all our spirits. My companion and I even went out that day and found a great Italian family to begin teaching. Again, miracles do happen.
7. Last, but not least, the trees than line the streets are growing leaves, turning green, hinting at spring and summer, and my favorite. Genova is the best city. We are never leaving!

I love to walk into our little Metro (little meaning there is only one line with 7 stops) and hear Ricky Martin telling me he is living the crazy life. I love visiting our new converts and hearing their testimonies, struggles, loves and trying to help them progress. I love seeing our newest investigator family with their two little boys, Giovanni and Martino. It is hard not being able to play with all the children like I would at home. I adore a less active family with a daughter waiting to get baptized. We work with them at least once a week, and are always greeted with dog kisses and baci on both cheeks. I do not like when I cry through an entire lesson because one of your investigators is not understanding the importance of her decisions, and no matter what you do with your teaching you can not seem to get the point across (I still have so much to work on). I love working with my companion and always improving our skills, so that we can eventually help our friends make the right decision. This has become my love, and obviously my life. There is nothing more that I need.

Thank you for love!

Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll


Sorella Carroll and Elder Carroll showing some dance moves before leaving Provo

08 April 2009

never gonna leave...

"The next time you are tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life, and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable."
--Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

My new philosophy. I believe laughter is the key, and maybe that is because I laugh too much. Apology. Try it next time. I have found it much more satisfying to laugh because then it makes EVERYTHING fun. I'll tell you an experience...
My companion and I were asked to visit one of the counselor's mother. She had previously rejected invites to take missionary lessons, but consented this time. Being missionaries and all, we jumped on in and set up an appointment. It was a Friday morning and we were on our way, sort of. None of the buses were working in our favor and unfortunately we did not learn of any other way to reach her house until after. The last bus we had to catch passed maybe a minute before we got there, laugh. It was a decision to walk or wait thirty minutes for another bus. Walking it was. We were well on our way when we learned we would be walking up-mountain (not just up hill) the whole way. What we did not know was that it would take us an hour to reach our destination. When we work in two we support each other and keep one another moving. Sorella Rasmussen and I were so happy to be going for a hike in one of the most beautiful areas I have seen. Oh, there to our left is a castle. The higher we got, the bigger my hair. We could see our breath, but we were also wet due to sweat and humidity. I thought at one point, "why are we both smiling, laughing and singing?" Because, we are missionaries! I have never seen a more surprised person when she saw what we had done. But we were satisfied because the bus pulled up 15 seconds after we did. WE WON!

We may have not been the most presentable for a new investigator lesson...but it was well worth the beauty of the view and the chance to meet a very interesting, smart woman! I will be sure to inform you what comes of our adventure!

We go from day to day trying to get people to accept our message. The woman next to me on the bus is praying as we pass a Catholic church and the man in front is singing in English. Neither have an interest, but they are still a joy to talk to. The old man in the red shoes, corduroy jacket, and argyle sweater walks past and all I want to do is go stop him. I guess all you can offer is a smile.

THEN you contact a referral just for fun because someone canceled. You are already by their house and they say yes come one in. She has two boys, one is 1 the other is 3. She has a hope in eternal families, and I have already fallen in love. Our quick five minute visit turns into thirty and we leave with another appointment. You never get too sad, because you know there is someone else out there.

You go to visit a meno-attivo and when you leave to buy her groceries an old man tells you that you need a tan. As you are leaving the grocery store you catch a glimpse of a friend at home and realize it is just a gypsy with a beard and scarf around his head.
You start to dance at the bus stop because you have to go to the bathroom so bad. You slightly enjoy it because it is the only time you get to dance in public on a mission.
At the end of the day you can not wait for the next.

All the while you are laughing. Because someone has put extra love and joy in your heart and you could not do this without that support.

We did a Conference blitz this week. Anyone and everyone was invited. Bus, train, street, neighbors, church. You name it, we got it. The pigeons pooped, the dog mess was stepped in, the old men were more interested in the Sorelle than the invite, the rain fell, and we were able to get a good number of people to attend. Unfortunately for me Conference was not well understood, a good 6 hours of language practice though.

It just keeps getting better. Everyday. Week. Month. Thank you.

Lemon groves,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll


photograph: We went to Genova Nervi to see the beach. This man caught my fancy.


Sorella Carroll, Beatrice, and Sorella Rasmussen

01 April 2009

I wanna be cooler than TV

"The voices of a thousand friends are dying away in the distance, while before me is a land of strangers, whose tongues soon will sound in my ears like the jargon of Babal. I have been refreshed with the company of so many kind friends, and go forth on my mission with renewed energy of body and mind." --Elder Lorenzo Snow (who served right here in Northern Italy)

I felt that same way as I left the MTC. Now that I am here I feel just at home.

I want to tell you about the first two people I met in Genova. Both female, both Italian. Both are beautiful in their own way, and both have helped me grow.

Beatrice, my first appointment. I will never forget that walk to her house with thoughts running through my mind as to what this so said Beatrice would be like. This is what I knew...She had decided to quit smoking three days prior and annouced it to my companion. The missionaries began teaching in December after she came to church on her own. I knew she was wonderful before I met her. I could write quite a bit on what this individual means to me, but I will spare you all the feelings. Our first little lesson was scary and a blur. I still have a hard time communicating with her, but I am grateful for her help always. We taught her once before our first district meeting of the transfer and as we mentioned how she was doing one elder brought up her baptism. It was already scheduled for March 29th but because of the smoking bit no one was exactly sure. She had quit by now, cold turkey, and we decided to bring up the baptism with her at our next appointment. I do not know if I have seen someone happier. I do not think I have felt happier than in that moment. The week continued and all seemed well. Last week was different. The week of her baptism she cancelled all her appointments and there was nothing we could do. English class on Tuesday night gave us a couple minutes to talk to her about all that was going on, what she was thinking, how she was doing, etc. Both my companion and I talked to her at different moments that night and apparently said the same thing, we both mentioned that the decision to be baptized or not is not a decision between you and your friends it is a decision between you and Heavenly Father. We left her that night a little nervous, and Wednesday the fear was still there. We did a quick visit that night and to our pleasant pleasant surprise she put the fear and indecision behind her and said she was ready. The baptism was beautiful (except for my weather torn appearance, sorry Beatrice). I cried everytime I looked at her. I felt true joy, I felt more love for someone than I think I have ever felt. Heavenly Father put his feelings inside of me so I could witness the incredible love that he feels for each of his children, you and me. Beatrice is beaming with love and happiness. She knows the road is not going to be all fun and games from here but she has the faith and testimony to help her through. Beatrice, the first person I met, was baptized.

I know this work is not about numbers, but If I can be selfish for one second and want to feel that love and joy I felt on Friday everyday for the rest of my life, I say please.

Now for our second victim of explanation. Adriana. We visit her every Friday to do a little grocery shopping for, what seems to be, a little self-storage. She gets the same thing every week: 7 yogurts, 3 bags of spaghettini, chicken or fish, novellina biscotti, bread and yellow apples. Her spaghetti is piling high in her cupboard, but she always wants more. I sometimes wonder what she eats besides yogurt and apples and cookies. Simple lady with a simple diet. Have you ever seen Chicken Run? Do you remember how they waddle while they walk? This is Adriana. Possibly the greatest. She eats you up every times she sees your face, she cries when you leave. She speaks very particularly, and always helps you with your language. All the missionaries who have gone before have written their name on her wall. She rejoices when she gets a letter. She dislikes when you use the formal you form, but has finally given in since we are obedient little missionaries. She waves at you from her window when she knows you are coming. She waits till you get to the bottom of the stairs and wave goodbye to shut her door. Adriana, is one of a kind. I love her.

Remember last week I mentioned getting on the wrong train? This caused us to miss sacrament so Sorella Rasmussen and I tagged along with the Anziani to take the sacrament with Adriana. (They bring her the sacrament every other week). It was a special experience having a little sacrament meeting on our own. I will cherish those simple quiet moments with that wonderful woman that helped bring me closer to my Savior in remembrance. What a beautiful blessing.

I feel right at home. These are my people and I love them. I hope you love them like I do. It is hard to explain my sincere feelings through the computer medium, but I am ever so grateful for what they have done for me in the past three weeks.

For all the kids,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll