27 May 2009

there is love.

"Even if you cannot always see that silver lining on your clouds, God can, for He is the very source of the light that you seek. He does love you, and he knows your fears. He hears your prayers. He is your Heavenly Father and surely He matches with His own the tears His children shed." --Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

There is nothing more important in my life at this moment. Knowing that there is someone who understands. Someone who loves with patience, grace and mercy. My inevitable imperfections are still loved. Lucky me. What more need have we to do the same if we receive that. Yes I am learning how important it is to love every imperfection in every person. I know we all want the best for those we love, but you have to let them mess up so they can learn. We have agency for that purpose. So when I want to take away someone's freedom to choose and make that decision for them self I have to remind myself the whole purpose of life. John 3:16-17.

As time is short this week, family, I will be leaving you there. I love you. I pray for you, all of you. I could not be more grateful to have a family that has taught me so much. I know our love is eternal, and for that I am happy.

As we say,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll

20 May 2009

going through the desert.

Carissma Famiglia,

I love you.

All I want to say is this: “And thus we see the great call of diligence of men to labor in the vineyards of the Lord; and thus we see the great reason of sorrow, and also of rejoicing—sorrow because of death and destruction among men, and joy because of the light of Christ unto life.” - -Alma (Alma 28 14

This week my hero is Alma, Alma the younger to be specific. As I read in the Book of Mormon everyday I learn something incredible. I am currently in the Alma chapters and I have the hardest time putting the book down. I am learning how important my work is. I watch Alma put forth everything he has, and I think...“can I not do the same?” I absolutely can. I see everyday the need for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the world, and I rejoice with Alma in the work. Usually I wake up thinking, “It is already time?” But I force into my head that I only have 18 months, 4 of which are gone. Thank you to Alma for he “could not rest” neither can I. In all reality no one can. How short is our time and how much need does everyone have hear this GLORIOUS GOOD NEWS?

Because I know dad posts my letters on the blog I have something to say to the world...(or maybe to the two people who take a gander at it):
Wake-up. Look at the world around you. With Alma, I say “all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.” (Alma 30:44). Sometimes I find myself getting frustrated when people do not believe in God, but then I remember that is my job to help them. I can say that I absolutely know that we have a loving Heavenly Father. He is the easiest person to communicate with, and it costs nothing. I even have to pay to send e-mail. He loves you just as much as he loves me, and I know he loves me quite a bit. I have felt His love for others and I have been able to see people the way He sees them, there is no doubt in my mind that He is very very aware of everyone of His children.

Yesterday I had interviews with my mission president. How did president and the zone leaders know what to say? How did they know that was everything I was searching for the past two weeks? How? Because God is mindful of my needs, and just as much yours. The promises from our Father in Heaven are miraculous. I encourage you to seek them out and receive the incredible blessings that are there if you just ask.

Enough of Sorella Carroll.

This past week Sorella Smith and Sorella Carroll were at it. We have really been trying to be the picture perfect “Preach My Gospel” missionaries.

You see someone in need, you offer to help. (Which reminds me...I offered to help a man with his grocery bags and he thought I asked for one of his lemons. I laughed and offered again, and he said he was fine but if I wanted a lemon I was more than welcome. What a kind man.)

You see someone who is dragging their feet, you give them a lift (even if it is a “good day!” or a smile. We were able to get an appointment out of doing that...you never know who you can share the gospel with especially when you think you are just trying to get to your next appointment).

You try and take every chance you have to share the gospel. (For example, we are walking to our investigator Epifana's apartment and notice an old lady sitting at her window crying asking what day it is. We stop to remind her it is Sunday and she keeps crying. Then I reach up to grab her hand and she just keeps crying. Then we explain we have something that will bless her life and she invites us to come back whenever we want. Rosa.)

You try not to be pushy, but you make sure everyone knows what you are here for. (Oops, I accidentally walked into someones house thinking it was an aparment complex. The lady was coming to the door, and had to tell me to get back outside and tell her who I was from the street. I was going for boldness I guess?)

I am far from perfect, but I can tell you that efforts and paying off. The Lord is blessing us. I see miracles daily. I love being a missionary. Thank you!

on a horse with no name,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll

Last day in Genova before transfers (older picture)

13 May 2009

hooray, hooray.

The weekly Sorella Carroll quote: (these are usually my self motivators of the week, so this is why I share them with you.) “Our challenges, including those we create by our own decisions, are part of our test in mortality [...] Your situation is not beyond reach of our Savior. Through Him, every struggle can be for our experience and good. Each temptation we overcome is to strengthen us, not destroy us. The Lord will never allow us to suffer beyond what we can endure.” --Elder Robert Hales

Story of the best week ever: It starts with zone conference. Thursday morning my companion and I woke up early in order to make ourselves presentable for our mission president and his wife. We try to look presentable every day, but when you are going to see your president you put in the extra effort. Then to the train through conference and a return ticket home. Conference was everything that Sorella Carroll and Frederique needed to hear. A good reminder of my purpose and what I can do better to help people was everything I needed. I am one grateful missionary for our President Dunaway and his guidance to each of us missionaries in northern Italy. Friday and Saturday flew by and before I knew it I was done with the phone call to my family. It is funny how much you appreciate to hear the voices of your loved ones. Although I am not home sick, I do miss you. Thank you for encouragement, love, happiness. What a wonderful day to celebrate a mother! A mother who has given me everything. Thank you mother. Thank you grandmother, this is your holiday too! I love the mothers in my life and appreciate all that they have helped me with. Monday came and went with no appointments but plenty of finding work. In our district meeting we set district goals (which I am pleased to announce Sorella Smith and I have already begun to accomplish!).

Tuesday is where the real story begins...

We had planned everything down to the half hour hoping that all would go accordingly. We had four lessons planned with inspired back-up plans. We taught one of my favorites, Beatrice [who is African and married to an Italian with two sons, Elliot (6) and Ariel (5 months)]. We teach her in English and she had a great break-through! She has so much faith and bore testimony so strongly yesterday. We know that it will be a slower process with her as she has many questions, but I learn from her faith every time I see her! As usual, lunch and language. We received a cancellation for one of our lessons but stuck with our back-up plan which was to visit the same area but talk to the university kids instead. Can you say nervous? My peers are the hardest for me to talk to, but Sorella Smith and I worked together and made plans to do University contacting every few days. By the end of the transfer our fears will be out the window! You could call this successful as we were able to break the ice with a few students. [How do you help youth/young adults be more interested in religion?]

Our next lesson was with a Sorella Giuliano. We have been working with numerous members encouraging them to invite non-members to our stake conference. With a General Authority coming, this will be a big deal...and apparently the area authorities are expecting big things out of us missionaries. So we are working. Sorella Giuliano gave us four referrals all of which we attempted to contact. We will be returning to find them on a later date. To fill our time before our next appointment we had planned to do casa in Sorella Giuliano's area. [Casa means knocking doors. This is one of the funniest because of the excuses people give. Or they will come to the peep-hole, look through, and say nothing. You usually can either hear the movement of the peep-hole or actually see them. I say hello or wave at them to let them know we know. Usually ends up unsuccessful. I always want to put my face in the hole while they are looking through...]

One of our last knocks was opened by Giuseppe. We began to explain who we are and we had a quick message about Jesus Christ to share if they were interested. Giuseppe said, “we were praying.” What do you say to that? Sorry for interrupting? Rita was standing right behind her husband and invited us in right as Giuseppe was trying to shoo us away. We entered the house. WE GOT IN A HOUSE, MY FIRST HOUSE! We found Mariana and Antonio sitting at the table. They found us chairs and we all joined in discussion in the little kitchen. Antonio is a fireball, Mariana is amazed we use the same bible as them, Rita could see everything on my face, Giuseppe knew everything about us Mormons. Every time Antonio went off, Rita would interrupt him and let me say something. One time I started to feel tears coming on, but I did not want them. I stopped to clear my throat and Giuseppe said I could sing if I wanted. I almost did, but I did not want to ruin my testimony by making fun. My companion explained everything in the space of 10 minutes, nearly impossible...she rocked the house. We made a return appointment! As we were getting up to leave Rita invited us to pray with them. We thought hey, we pray, we can pray with you. We sat back down and they all stood up. Confused looks were exchanged especially after Giuseppe mentioned to us that we all say a few words. Sorella Smith and I bowed our heads, folded our arms and closed our eyes. The next ten minutes were spent in prayer. Each of us prayed, while all but companion and I threw in some Hallelujahs, amens, and uh-huhs. It actually was a very interesting/cool experience to pray with someone in this manner. I am very excited to return to the family and learn of their faith and share ours.

Finally, our last lesson of the day. Epifana. Our dear Peruvian who is just the most precious lady. The principle of obedience was our topic, and everytime I talk about this I realize more and more the great importance obedience has in my life. I had the special privilege to talk to Epifana and get to know her a little better while Sorella Smith helped her daughter with a little bit of English. Epifana bore testimony of the great change she has noticed in her life since being associated with the church. She lost a daughter a few years back and I talked a little about the plan of salvation and how my family has applied that in our lives. I know that because my mother and father remained strong in the church working together we have seen the plan of salvation take effect. I just bore testimony of how much the Gospel really does bless families, and that she has already seen some of the blessings. She is currently praying for her baptismal date that we invited on June 12th. I am so grateful for her sweet testimony and especially that private moment we had to talk. I love her and everyone I work with. There is nothing in life more satisfying than this.

Let us work together to help people find what they do not even know they are looking for!

the silver lining,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll

06 May 2009

sitting on your doorstep.

"Time and again over your life, the Lord has been giving you the experiences to build strength, courage, and determination. He knew how much you would need that to serve Him." -- President Eyring

"He knew how much you would need that to serve Him." I am still amazed every day at how well the Lord knows me. How much he cares. How much He wants for His children to recieve HIS word. He has given me numerous experiences to help me be a better servent, and because I am far from perfect He has so much patience with me. I can say I am grateful for all the experience I have had in my life. But this week I am grateful mostly for my mother. (Mother, I love you). Festa della Mamma is approaching and I have been thinking quite abit over the past 5 months what I have learned from the wonderful woman that gave me life. She has taught me everything I know, and is full of more wisdom to offer every day. Every mother is important. But my mother is most important to me.

Since entering the MTC, arriving in Italy, going to my first city, having my first companion, having my first transfer, I have recognized what having a mother and father in my life has done for me. I have learned the importance of their roles. Now I am teaching families, mothers, sisters, daughters and I have had the best examples to help me provide a little more knowledge for these people in Italy.

For some reason the past week, possibly the approaching of Mother's Day, I have been thinking a lot about my future. Mostly my future as a mother and wife. Honestly, right now I do not want to think about this since I am serving a mission. Almost everyone I have been working with since arriving in Italy has helped me realize what I want and do not want in my future. As I try to guide these people to Christ, our Savior, I am learning for myself what possibilities are in the future. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, you see it all. Here is where I think about what my mother has done and taught me. I imagine what I want my life to be like and I look at how my mother has done it. I stop when I come to the rememberance that everything is possible through Christ. Absolutely everything is possible. I have seen my mother accomplish miracles, and I know it is through her faith in our Lord and Redeemer. It is her testimony that has strengthened me more than once throughout my life. Sometimes I wonder how anyone does anything without this knowledge of Jesus Christ. Mother, I thank you for standing firm and sharing your testimony with me.

I have had a few interesting experiences in the past couple days that have also caused me to remember the importance of the Savior. Yesterday I sat down behind a man that turned and smiled at me. I asked him how he was doing, and he replied with a happy "bene, grazie." (I am used to getting the response, "okay", "not good", "eh". So I went along with it). He asked me in return and I replied in the same. The conversation continued as I asked what he had done early in the day and he asked in return. We both said we had typical days, but I continued to explain what I do every day. "My companion (I pointed to her two seats back) and I go around everyday visiting people and trying to talk to people. We have a message of joy that we want to bring to people. Because we have found this joy, we have left our families to help people find the same. We are here to invite people to come to Christ." He responded, "you do a pleasure." I explained to him that it is fun and then asked if he had interest in hearing our message. We only had two short stops together so I handed him a pamphlet and gave him the address of the church and our number. I do not know if he will call, but I do know that he was surprised with what us missionaries were doing here.

Monday night, my companion and I were off the bus walking towards our apartment. We decided we were going to talk to four more people. We stopped the next four we saw and were able to get a conversation out of two. One in particular was asked, "How have you found joy in your life?" He gave us the response that "Joy has not come yet, so I do not know." My heart broke. I then said "We are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we have a message of Joy. A message that will bless your life and your family's life." The conversation continued in the way that we kept promising joy and he kept denying. He left with a pamphlet and I said a little prayer that maybe one day he would accept.

In the past week I have sat in gum - not once, not twice, but three times - and been pooped on by a pigeon. I think those are my only complaints, but even then my companion and I just laughed as we cleaned me up. Torino is growing everyday on me. I get to witness miracles, and am still counting them. (You can count yours too, because I know they are there.) I am glad that I keep having the experiences that will help me be a better servant. I believe everything happens for a reason, a "for a wise purpose, which I know not."

day dreaming,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll