30 December 2009

everyday, gets a little closer.

For the first time in what seems like forever I will be sticking around with the same companion. Sorella Ranieri and I have a lot of work to do and we get another 6 weeks to do it. Plus, it is the New Year and I have goals. Big goals. Goals that I pray will help many of God's children come to a better understanding of His love.

This week I have dedicated my studies to the word diligence and what it really means to be diligent. It is so easy in this world to lose track of what is really important. It is easy to put things aside or to get lazy because our natural man thinks he knows best. It is easy, when you do not have 100% support beside you, to relax in your work. But I made the decision that even if it is hard I will not get lazy. As I studied scriptures, ancient and modern, I learned that it is the diligence that brings us eternal life. Right now I am helping others find salvation, and am learning more and more everyday that "God is totally serious about his purpose 'to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man,' that his chief concern is [...] the growth of souls, the celestializing of the souls with whom he works." And I am working with him!

It is such a blessing to be here in Italy, sharing the gospel, inviting people to strengthen their faith, and represent the Lord Jesus Christ. We are the famous "mormons" according to a man this morning. More importantly, if we are obedient AND diligent, we can bring the spirit to touch the lives of others.

Monica Angilotti has accepted to be baptized. Monica has accepted to quit smoking and take upon herself the name of Christ and endure faithfully to the end. Monica's heart broke when I told her that we had to postpone her baptism due to her smoking habit. I do not know how it works in all missions, but here our investigators are asked to attend church at least four times and observe the Word of Wisdom for at least a month before making the covenant of baptism. Sadly, Monica was under the impression that she could still smoke after baptism until she completely quit. I had to be the mean missionary to tell her the news. At the end of the evening she cried, she cried a lot. I wanted to cry with her. I think she learned a little more of her testimony of the importance of baptism. I did too. Her efforts to be obedient in every way possible have been a blessing in more than just her life.

Last night we prepared a little lesson for her to feel the spirit. I cried and she cried because at that moment we both reconfirmed our knowledge that God does exist, does love us, is watching over for us, and responds to our prayers. It was a perfect ending to a day full of rejections.

I love how the Lord continues to bless me.
I am grateful for the testimony that I have gained since being on a mission. If I have the chance to go back in life this is one decision, to serve a mission, that I would make over and over again. Had I decided to stay home I may have been able to see my sister get married, but I would have passed up a million experience here in Italy. I reconfirmed for myself this past week that there is no where else in the world I would rather be.

Family I thank you for your endless support and love. Were it not for you, my faithful parents and siblings, I would have never gained a testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you.

I hope the week after Christmas went well. I imagine you are all busy getting ready for the big excitement. Just know that I love you!

going faster than a rollercoaster.
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

23 December 2009

i'm dreaming of a white christmas.

Yes it is true. Christmas is very white this year and I am wandering the wet streets in heels until I can purchase black boots. Subito.

I felt just at home yesterday when I went to visit a new family and before we went in she gave us slippers to wear so that we would not dirty her floor. Mother, we are not the only ones. The only thing we are missing at home is dad in a plaid robe and a sweet polka-dot ascot around his neck. It was a delightful experience to teach this husband and wife with their granddaughter. At the beginning of the lesson I asked Carolina the three year old who Jesus Christ was. Although she did not really know, we pulled out a picture and she was drawn immediately to it. We talked about his birth and his life and how today we have his church restored so that we can return to God in our families for eternity. The wife seemed to listen intently. She told us she was not very religious and her husband is atheist. At the end of the lesson we gave Carolina a pass along card with a picture of Jesus Christ. She took it and placed it on her heart. Just like we all should do, place Christ on our heart.

Monday and Tuesday this week I spent with my companion from the MTC on a companion exchange. Nearly a year ago we were together and it was great to see how both of us have progressed and improved. We were able to make a few visits to new families and invite them to learn about Jesus Christ. It is great being able to celebrate this time of the year as a missionary. Even if it means being away from your family, it is just as great being able to share your love with others who really are our brother and sisters! I feel like I am just reconnecting with loved ones I once knew.

Christmas in the life of a missionary in the Milan Italy Mission: Everyday is a normal day. Except there is more joy in the hearts of the people around you. Tomorrow for Christmas Eve we will be going to our dear Giustina to eat and enjoy a little of the Christmas spirit. We will make our way to the Duomo of Como at about 11:00 pm to participate in midnight mass. I passed up the opportunity to go a year ago with my siblings, but I am glad to have an opportunity this year and to attend a tradition that many of my Italian neighbors participate in year to year.

Christmas will be a calm day, but still full of visits to our loved ones. My companion and I have been invited over to our bishop's house to have a Christmas lunch. Then we will be off to visit our friends who will be alone for the holiday. The holidays should never be spent alone so we are out to change that.

I am content about Christmas this year and love teaching about Jesus Christ. I only get one of this Christmases, so I am going to make it special.

I wish you all the merriest of Christmases. Remember what it really is about. This year the best gift you could give is your testimony of our Savior. As I search for the opportunity to do so, I pray that we may all do so. After all it is He who saves us. I pray for you daily and hope that you know I love you.

If only in my dreams.
Sorella Frèdèrique Stone Carroll.

16 December 2009

daddy-o

I LOVE YOU.

I'll start there.

Yesterday I sat in zone conference while missionaries, president, president's wife, and senior couple missionaries all bore testimony of our savior Jesus Christ. I sat, silently pondering what Christ has done for me personally. The answer came to be everything. As the days approach the universal celebration of His birth I am even more excited to be his representative. What a beautiful time to celebrate our Savior. I know I have said it before, but I will say it again...it is an incredible blessing to be able to carry his name with me.

As I mentioned last week, a man did stop and ask me if my name was Jesus Christ. I quickly corrected him, but it is always an honor to bear testimony of Him. The more you do it, the happier you will be. I have learned more than ever, a testimony of Christ is simply trying to be more like him every day. In the simple things.

As far as Joaquin goes, we met with his mom last week! He is safe in Peru and sends us his hello through his mother.

M is for Monica and her miraculous progression. Monica is an investigator who has been in and out since 1996. I witnessed a change right before my eyes. I will never forget the way I felt two weeks ago in a cluttered house while Monica looked me in the eyes and said "What you are doing is true." We had tried, what seems like, a million different approaches to teaching her and helping her pay attention. Monica is very intelligent and loves learning, therefore learning about the Church of Jesus Christ has been very interesting to her. I do not know if she every really gained a testimony of the truthfulness. It could have easily come and gone, as most of our testimonies rise and fall, but at this moment there is no way she could deny the spirit we have felt in our latest meetings. She came to church with us for the first time and I saw tears in her eyes during every meeting. If Monica isn't a miracle, than I do not know what is.

I probably tell you the same things every week. My love grows more and more. But my life has not changed. I am still roaming the streets of Italy searching for those who are ready for the truth. In fact a couple weeks ago my companion and I were walking home and I stopped at an apartment complex and felt, we should go in. The door was open to a pleasant surprise and we started knocking doors. Even if it was 8:30 at night I felt we should invite our neighbors to hear about the restored gospel.

Giusi asked through the door, "who is it" we told her and she said oh I am a Catholic Christian. I said "great! we are Christian too." She let us in. Her first thought was that we were Jehovah's Witnesses but we quickly explained who we are and what we do. We had a brief lesson and she said we could return. We have returned twice now to talk about the plan of salvation. Tonight she will hear for the first time the story of the Restoration. I do not know why I am so nervous about this one, but I pray that she will feel the spirit of the truth. That the story of Joseph Smith will touch her heart. Although we do not worship Joseph Smith we do revere him and his incredible faith. I am forever grateful for him and his prayer that he offered at the age of 14. All thanks to him, we now have the assurance that God loves us and has provided a way to return. The blessings from Him are endless, and they are for all of us!

My Italiana and I are doing wonderfully. I have noticed she is a little like me. Independent with no desire for help. A trial and error type of person. Maybe mom I understand your frustrations with me? A little? I am probably worse. Sorry. Besides the fact that we are both stubborn we get along great. I began to miss having fun with my companions and I am laughing again as we work which makes everything that much better. I have tried to make the work fun at least for myself, but it more enjoyable when your co is in it with you! I am grateful to have a smile on my face every day. (Even when my toes are frozen and I fall off the curb.)

Happy week before Christmas!

Thank you.

I'll finish here,
I love you.

Keep cooly cool.
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll

p.s. Last week email problems will remain last weeks because...Myldsmail is teaming up with Google and I am getting a new email address. Next week I will begin with it. Since I am unaware of how the changes will go you can still write to me here.


Sorella Carroll and Santa Claus

09 December 2009

e-mail trials.

5:27 AM ET
I have now written two emails (1 hour and 18 minutes later) and this very poor website has cancelled them both. But rather than get angry I am just going to wish you a very happy week and will hopefully get to write you the following week.
I love you so much.
Until next week.

Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll.

11:19 AM ET
I decided to try this one last time.
10 minutes.

This past week was incredible. Miracles happened all over the place and I am just now recognizing them.

Monday evening, pooring rain, nine o'clock at night. Joqiun comes running around the corner in order to meet us on time and receive his Book of Mormon before he leaves for Peru. Joquin only finally started listening to us a few weeks back and came to church with us once. When I asked him on Sunday if we could come visit to bring him a new copy of the Book of Mormon he anxiously accepted. Then for him to say I will come find you was another thing. He told us that he is learning more about life and most importantly he learned how to pray. He even expressed how he felt when we came to visit. Now he is asking if we will still be around in February when he returns. I am praying he meets the missionaries in Peru.

The next miracle is Monica but that will have to wait for next week.


I love you family and friends.

I love walking past a man and him asking me if my name is Jesus Christ.

I love my life.

I love the word love.

Most of all I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I love being his representative. I love what he has done for you and for me. I am grateful for his love.

I absolutely love this season and the real reason we celebrate.

I love you.


LOVE,
Sorella Frederique Stone Carroll.

02 December 2009

you want to.

I believe I forgot to tell you about the Sorella Carroll freakout moment a few weeks back. I was sound asleep in my bed, and am awoken by running water at 2:30 am. I thought, did I or my companion really leave the sink running? I got up to turn it off. The light was burned out in the bathroom, great. So I try the light in the hall. Nope that too. Bedroom, nothing. I open the bathroom door and find that it is very hot and I panic. Water heater broken and losing water all over. (We had received CO detectors previously from the mission because there was an incident in Spain with near deaths due to a broken water heater and CO excess in the missionaries apartment.) I thought I got light headed, woke up my companion and we ran outside. In the middle of my panic, like I thought we were going to die, I called President Dunaway. HAH. In the end it was just a broken water heater and we had no electricity for the morning. Poor president and the dramatic Sorella Carroll.

A couple weeks ago Dad sent me an article from when President Hinckley visited the members in Chile. There is a quote that I took from His talk with a beautiful promise. A promise that, yes, was given to the members in Chile but could very well apply to every member in the world. It goes as follows, "I want to say to every one of you that if you will live the gospel, if you will live in faith, if you will do what you ought to do, not only will you be blessed, but this entire people will be blessed, because the God of Heaven will smile upon you with love for you and for the land of which you are a part." I have been thinking a lot about my work here in Como. We are not seeing as much progress as we would like. Even though we are working hard, their is still patience needed. As I read this quote I felt at that very moment it applied to me. I even let a tear trickle down my face while reading it in my room. I know that if I continue to life the gospel and do it in faith and do EVERYTHING I ought to do, I will be blessed. But not only me, this entire people of Italy (or at least those I am serving with at the moment.) This really is a promise for the world. The lord blesses his righteous followers. Keep doing what is right, and I will too!

The past two Sundays in church have been very special to me. Not only have we had investigators show up, but the programs were very meaningful. Two weeks ago was the primary program. Oh how I have missed my favorite Sunday of the year being in a student ward in cougar land. The children sang songs and gave talked about eternal families. To hear an 8 year boy bear testimony of his baptism and his eternal family made me really appreciate the blessings of the gospel. Even an 8 year old child can understand its importance. The spirit touched me as I know it reached out to all who were in attendance. This past Sunday was a sacrament meeting for the Young Women. It reminded me of the one we used to do after girls camp. During the talk of one of the girls who bore testimony of the importance of being prepared, reminded me of a talk I gave in Sacrament after our girls camp of the Ten Virgins. That was one of the first moments I really gained a testimony of the importance of being prepared spiritually. As this girl spoke I remembered how I felt standing in front of the ward. I could hardly get the first sentence out and the spirit testified to me that what I was saying was true. I learned so much in my youth that I hardly put into practice, and now I am remember the importance and try to teach it to others.

The topic of discussion these days has been "the last days." When people read our name tag they say (because the direct translation of Dei Santi Degli Ultimi Giorni is The saints of the last days) "you believe we are in the last days?" or "The world is going to end soon?" or "What do you think about 2012?" To me none of this matters: when and how the second coming of Jesus Christ happens. Just that it does happen and I am prepared for it. No one knows the hour or the day. But God has prepared a way for us to be ready. God has loved us enough to restore the gospel and priesthood authority that we could make covenants and prepare ourselves for eternal life in the Celestial Kingdom.

Last night we had a return appointment with an older couple. We walked in to teach them the lesson of the restoration. At the end the man said "I have had 70 years in my faith and there is no way I can change." I reassured him I was not here to convince him, but let him know that God has called a prophet and our invite was for them to search it out for themselves. The man simply said, even if I am wrong I won't do it because I am closed in my ideas. We left them with a testimony that God is our Eternal Father in Heaven and that Jesus Christ, our older brother, is our savior. They want for us to return to them, but that is up to us whether we do or not. It breaks my heart when someone will not even try. But that is the nature of many people. I pray daily that someone I meet will be prepared to hear the message of the restoration and recognize its truthfulness.

I know the Lord is preparing people for me to teach. I am ready. I love doing this work, even when I want to cry because of the pain.

Happiest December. The lights are on in centro and it feels just like home. In fact, last Saturday we decided to do some work in centro where there were hundreds of people. It was like the festival of lights, activities for the kids, people selling things, the only addition here is an out door ice skating rink. Christmas is just around the corner! I am glad to share the real spirit of the season and wear His name on my heart!

Thank you for the many birthday wishes. I imagine this is going to be one of the best birthdays ever!

I love you!

I want to,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll