26 August 2009

it is a blitzkreig bop.

It appears to me like we all had a fantastic week. Parents busy and happy, sister engaged and happy, new brother in the family (lucky him!), elder on a mission working hard, brother (as i assume) always being the life of the party! Me: happy as ever and moving onto companion number 5 tomorrow. I have been told I fail to mention information about my wonderful best friends so here is what I can tell you.

My companion Melanie Glass just returned home to Mesa, Arizona and is currently attending Arizona State University (go wildcats!). She and I quickly became the best of friends and I miss her dearly but her replacement is not too shabby... Sorella Lia Cagnacci, right from my city of Genova. I was lucky enough to have a companion so talented and so diligent. I am sad to tell she will be departing tomorrow as I receive another new companion. Sorella Cagnacci (last name means bad dogs, by the way. hah.) will be leaving for the Provo MTC (if all goes according to plan) September 14th to prepare to serve at the Washington DC temple visitors center. If you make a trip up there stop by and tell her and Hermana Smith hello from me!

The replacement...Sorella Huber. I served with her in the MTC for a short 3 weeks and am more than excited to have another companion to learn from. 5 companions 5 transfers, and I love them all. I will tell you what I know about this one. Her and I are in the same film program at BYU, so we already have something in common. I am teaming up with another giant and more than happy to do so. The tall ones serve as good body guards.

Really though, I am as happy as ever! Some would call these girls, rather women, companions. I call them friends. The lord has blessed me with friends that will be eternal.

As I have mentioned we ALL had good weeks. I saw miracles in ever moment. One that brought me to tears, yes I cry as a missionary, as an experience with Giuseppina. Last week I received a call from the Sorelle of Torino 1 who said there was a less active member interested in coming back to Church. I said "yes!" This is the first story I got: Giuseppina called the mission office to find where she could go to church. She explained she had been a member for 23 years but for some reason or another she decided she wanted to live life outside of the church. Two years passed and she realized the she wanted to be happy again. She recognized it was the gospel of Jesus Christ that brought her happiness.

Without a phone number and only an address we took the opportunity to look for her that day after we had a cancellation. After a few questions to odd old men and long walk we found the women's community she was living in. We attempted to ring the citofono (doorbell) with no response. I rang all of them twice. I was determined to find this Giuseppina so I even started yelling her name up to the apartments. Sorella Cagnacci took me by the hand and said, "Sorella Carroll, andiamo." A little sad we walked down the street towards our next appointment. I saw a bus in the distance and thought "should we wait?" Then I decided no, it looks to far. Five seconds later it was right next to us and as we were about to run I said, "no, lets walk." Down the street we went. The first person to approach had a smile from ear to ear, took out her headphones and I thought, "Giuseppina." We could hardly introduce herself before she was explaining she was already a member. I asked if her name was Giuseppina, and she smiled. We had found her! All because we had a cancellation of an appointment and we decided to walk instead of taking the bus. We have met with her two times and she came to church with us on Sunday. Even if it will be a bumpy road back, Giuseppina is making some big changes in her life. I feel so blessed to know a person so strong and so determined.

I learned an important lesson last week. It truly is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that brings the most happiness. Sometimes we like to think otherwise, but true, eternal happiness comes from our Father in Heaven. I have experienced this joy in my life, I see others witness it in theirs. How many times this week have I testified this week to people on the street, bus, or in their homes that there is a Father in Heaven who loves us? Too many to count, but I do not say it because someone told me. I say it because I know it. I feel it. I live it.

Have I told you that I love being a missionary?

Thank you for the love you give me, so I can give more of mine. I love you.

hey ho!
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

19 August 2009

we are the same height.

I have a new companion! An Italian! who is teaching me everything right now. We are sad to say this is only a mini-mission though, therefore she will be parting in three weeks, FOR AMERICA! I teach her English, she teaches me Italian. We are a perfect team, and finally I have a companion about my height.

I am unsure how much better I will be than my brother at this moment, but at least I am writing right? But really, there is not much to say except for that I am still happy and still loving being a missionary. The days are hot and long, our investigators are on vacation, we are talking to just about everyone we see and still seeing our daily miracles. Sometimes I feel like I tell you the same things over and over again...maybe I do, but this work is nothing less than wonderful. I am grateful everyday that I have the opportunity to be here. Even if time does move too quickly, we are making the most of it! I can promise you that much!

May I tell you a story about our friend Maria? I am almost positive I wrote about her a couple weeks ago, but to freshen your memory...Maria is the mother of a member and wants to be baptized but her husband will not give his consent. She has been maintaining her faith and still attends church every Sunday. In fact two Sundays ago we saw a miracle with her husband. He came to pick her up from church and even gave us Sorelle a ride home. And what happened next? Maria called us on Tuesday and mentioned that we could finally come meet her at her house! Over the past three months we have not been permitted to go, and finally her husband softened his heart (just enough). Although it may take some more time, we are seeing the blessings of faith. That really is the answer to it all. Faith.

I will finish here. All is well!
Family I love you.
Even if I miss you, I know I am where I need to be!

That is neat!
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

The Nun we do service with!

Genova seaside cliffs

Sorella Carroll and Sorella Glass hanging ten in Genova

12 August 2009

first things first.

Happy Anniversary Mother and Father. The best years of my life, the only years of my life, are spent with you two. Thank you.

I was thinking about you both a lot yesterday as I read the August Liahona about prayer. President Eyring brought tears to my eyes as I remembered the way my parents have also instructed me. I know that I am here today because of your examples throughout my life. You have taught us well, even when we do not always follow your guidance, we have learned from your testimonies and strength. I know that being worthy members of the church of Jesus Christ has always been on the top of your list. Because of this it is also at the top of mine. Mother and Father, one day I hope to have what you have!

Seconds: Congratulations on the start of school. I hope it is the best year yet!

I have a few stories for the week. Little things that keep my companion and I entertained.

Last Thursday we walked into Sorella Marchis' house to continue teaching the new member lessons. We got past the chit chat and prayer and I decided to just jump right into the lesson. The second sentence I looked at my companion and she asked me if I wanted to teach in Italian. No, I did not realize I was even speaking english to a person who might not even know what 'hello' means. I guess sometimes you do forget where you are and what language you should be speaking. Oops.

Later that evening we went to visit Rosi, who I mentioned in last week's letter. Rosi completely rejected us, which broke our sensitive hearts, but we continued on ... As we were walking to the metro to go visit Epifania my companion and I had a laughing attack. A good ol' man named Ceasar stopped us and thanked us for being happy. He mentioned it is rare to find people happy on the streets. We invited him to come to church and meet with the missionaries and learn more about our happiness...
Saturday night I experienced one of the best bus rides of my life. It started with three teenagers sitting on our bench, where NO ONE ever is. So as I walked up I said "ciao." They all looked at me and mumbled their responses. Then the boy yelled, "perchè mi saluti!?" in almost an angry tone. I responded with, "perchè volevo." Just because I wanted to say hello to them. But it brought some new friendships as we rode the bus together for some times. On the course of the ride a drunk man entered the bus and began to harass one of the girls we had been talking to. They got off the bus at the next stop, which I believe was to avoid the man. Next thing we know the guy is asking my companion to go get drinks with him, although we tried to explain what we do, he did not fully understand until the rather large African pointed to my tag and said "lavorano per Gesu Cristo" about 5 times. Then our big African friend gave the other little friend a slap on the stomach and sent him on his way. We also invited our french speaking African to come to church with us...

Sunday, most magical evening ever. I may or may not have mentioned my favorite wanna-be Arizonans. Paola and Sara. We met them through the Anziani last transfer and have been to dinner twice at their house. They were more fascinated by the fact that we were from Arizona, Paola's dream place. They came to church with us once and then called us after and asked if we could wait until September to come over again. It broke our hearts, but we consented. Until one day we had a bidone (meaning a cancellation when we get there or a no show) and were by their house. We decided just to stop by and say hello. Paola invited us right in and we read a couple verses from the Book of Mormon with her. Sorella Glass left with a new skirt and Sorella Carroll with a porcelain doll she grabbed off the shelf as we walked out the door. And now for a Sunday evening drumroll...They had come to find us after church but we had to leave really quickly and missed them. So we stopped by that evening. Paola is a little crazy, but a crazy that I love. She is alive and ready for something more in her life. We watched a film called Finding Happiness with them. It is a 5 minute film that asks a series of questions about life and our purpose. A good introduction to what us missionaries teach, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The room was quiet as we asked what their thoughts were. Paola began to cry and recognized the lack of God in her life. She is ready to be happy. Even if it may take a little while, she is recognizing the change that needs to happen. Vacation time hit so Sorella Glass had to bid them the big farewell. And myself just until they get back. Again, Sorella Glass left the house with a gift for going home and Paola gave me a pot. I love her, giving us the things in the house that she does not want any longer. We put them to good use in the missionary apartment!

I wish I could better explain into words all the feelings I have right now. I am just so full of happiness, gratitude and love. The miracles never cease and I can not imagine doing anything else with my life. I am learning to never doubt myself or my Father in Heaven, even in the most unlikely of circumstances.

I love you all.
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

p.s. Surprise/excitement of the week. Sorella Glass makes the trip home to Arizona on Tuesday August 18th and will arrive in Phoenix at 6:49 pm. I heard Darien is coming home that day as well...if you see three Italian missionaries in the Airport I ask you to greet them for me! Especially my very wonderful companion. All this means I will need a companion or somewhere to go until the end of the transfer...so I get a mini-mission Italian who is preparing to leave on September 14th for the Washington DC Temple Visitor's center mission. Her name is Lia Cagnacci and is from Genova. I was present when she received her call and I am so excited for the opportunity to work with her. We will be together until September 7th!

05 August 2009

to: you

Dear Family,
Have I told you I love you? Have I told you how grateful I am for you? Have I mentioned that I have the greatest family on earth? Thank you for all that you are doing at home. You say that me being a missionary blesses you, but surely I believe that your service is blessing me. In fact, sometimes I wonder why I receive so many blessings...it all must be because of you. Of course I am trying to be a faithful servant and I pray everyday that I do something that will help you at home. So, thank you. I love you. I am eternally grateful for the support you give me.

May I tell you a story?

It begins with a woman named Maria.
Eight weeks ago we were assigned to visit two members who no longer come to church. Both of the assignments were of the same last name Di Franco, so automatically I assumed they were mother and daughter. One, Giusi, had recently been coming to church with her son, Andrea, who was being taught by the anziani (and I might add was baptized last week!). We never went to visit Giusi because she was in church every week and the anziani were at their house every week. I did talk to the anziani about the mother who I assumed was Stefania, the other name. The anziani brought it up to Giusi and her mother was in church the next week. For a good two weeks I assumed this to be the other name that we received, except that her name was Maria. (You were waiting till I brought up the first mentioned name.)
While the anziani were teaching Andrea and preparing him for baptism Maria sat in and listened. Like myself, these elders assumed she was a less active member. About four weeks into her attending church we learned that she is not a member after all. As sister missionaries we decided to take this opportunity and see if we could help this woman. We quickly learned that she already had a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and wants to be baptized. Unfortunately she married herself a stubborn Italian man (like most of them are, and I love them for it). He does not want anything to do with the church and will not give Maria permission to be baptized. She is allowed to come to church every week, basta. Dad, you mentioned a woman in church last week with the same problem. I have been thinking and praying about Maria since we discovered her situation. As we teach her once a week for 10 minutes before church I learn more and more about her strength and dedication. I am grateful for women like this, who would do anything to be a member of Christ's only true and living church. I am grateful that I get to help women like this. Although this challenge is a big one, Maria discovered that she needs to just be patient and eventually she will receive the blessings for her diligence and obedience. In fact, that lesson is meant for all of us. Patience.
It is working with people like her that make missionary work worth it. Watching people change their lives for the better has never meant so much to me. I wish you could see the changes I have seen people make.

Can I tell you another story?

Sunday was the usual, leave at 8:00 to get to the bus by 8:15. We have a few different routes we can take, so when I saw another bus ready to pass I grabbed Sorella Glass and we ran to the next stop. It was very spur of the moment, since usually to take this bus we are waiting forever. We exited the bus and walked over to catch the 71. There were two people standing there, both in a cloud of smoke. We stopped for what might have been two seconds when one woman walked up to us. "Are you missionaries?" "Yes we are, have you seen other missionaries like us before?" "Yes, around." "We are representatives for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." and the conversations continued to how this woman has tried all sorts of religions but none are answering her questions. She would be what we like to call a "golden investigator" saying all the right things and asking all the right questions. Rosi was waiting for a different bus, so we decided to wait with her and travel in her direction. At the end of our conversation (that was 2 stops past where we should have exited(, we set up an appointment to visit her. Although she did not come to church with us, she recognized us that night when we were in centro singing doing our street display. It is funny how a spur of the moment decision to take a bus you have never taken to church leads you to someone who is ready for more truth in her life. I will have to let you know how it progresses.

And a story about me? Missionary work is my life, imagine that. The love grows more every day. I could not imagine being anywhere else.

love: me
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

Zone Leader Anziano White and Sorella Carroll

The Torino Zone