I bought an afro comb this morning. Yes I am excited to use it.
God does exist.
God does guide his faithful servants.
God does love everyone of his children!
Three weeks ago I met a new companion. We discovered our differences, our likes, our dislikes. We also pretty quickly began to understand that this was going to be an interesting experience together. But I am learning that the Lord has put us together for many a reason. For both our learning and experience. This past week has been on of real miracles. As we tried to find our points of unity we saw more of the Lord's hand in our work. More than I could have ever imagined.
Easter morning, companionship study. Neither one of us really excited but came to the conclusion that we should read the story of Christ's last week from the Gospel of St. Matthew. Again my testimony was strengthened and I felt the eternal and unexplainable love the Savior has for me and everyone of my imperfections. It is written that Christ still called Judas "friend" after the betrayal. That is love, pure love.
I prayed for patience and this kind of love and I am beginning to see the many strengths my dear companion has. Many of which brought about the miracles we witnessed.
Thursday morning we set out to find the souls who are ready. A nice warm day, people at the lake, who better to talk to than the families enjoying their time together. Some interested, others not. On our way home I noticed my companion stop so I turned back. We introduced ourselves to a young mother named Chiara. She proceeded to tell us that se was left widowed last month and as we saw has a daughter of one year. As we testified and taught simple, yet brief principles Chiara listened and felt the truthfulness. A busy street of shoppers and noisy teenagers quickly turned into one of the most spiritual moments of my entire mission. This woman looked at us as if we were the answer to her pleading prayers. She confided completely in us as the Lord's servants. I do not know if she was scared or what, but she would only leave with our phone number promising to call. She left while I cried. My companions arms around me while innocent passers-by wondered what was wrong. I still believe she will call and I pray everyday we will meet her again. That morning I realized that even when I do not know what to say, the Lord does. I opened my mouth and the spirit guided. My body warmed up and I too felt every truth of what I was saying.
Still on the walk home we were chit-chatting and saluting the few hurried italians. Then a woman comes running out of a job agency office. One, two, three seconds passed and both my companion and I stopped dead in our tracks. Without saying a word we looked at each other and turned around. We caught up to speed walker Anna. It is true, what when you search for real unity the spirit will speak to both of you and tell you that which you should do.
Later that evening...
All of our plans fell through so we made the trek to an ex-investigators house with big hopes. Fail. Since we were in the area of a previous casa-in-casa expedition we decided to contact those who said we could return. First name, Luigia. I remembered that she was an older woman and I thought was just being nice when she said we could return. Really, I started with her because I figured she would at least let us into the building. A head popped out the window and a smile came to her face. She remembered telling us we could come back but did not want for us to enter at that moment. I walked over to her and started explaining that we wanted to share five minutes of peace. Still refusing, she explained "today is just not my day." My companion said a few things and then Luigia began to cry. She has some health problems and is widowed with no kids terrible close. She is alone and in need of truth. Another moment, letting the spirit testify, we came to the conclusion that we were going to offer her the peace she is searching for. Luigia consented and let us in. Five minutes turned into 30 minutes and a return appointment.
We returned Saturday a little apprehensive as to whether or not she would remember and with a great big smile welcomed us warmly into her apartment. We taught her about the plan of salvation and again she was very open and happy about what we had to say. As the spirit directed we invited her to make the baptismal covenant with the authority given from God. She asked if it was okay to be baptized twice and as we explained she accepted. It was all a little surprising and we planned on bringing her to church the next day. When we called Sunday morning with the ride, she mentioned that her son was coming early to get her for family lunch and there was nothing we could do. We confirmed the appointment for Tuesday and left it at that. I still was a little nervous about working with an 81 year old woman and when we showed up you could see a little trouble in her eyes. She quickly told us that we are not allowed to visit her anymore because her son does not agree. She was excited to tell her family but apparently they shut everything down. Her son threatened to never step foot again in her house if she allowed us to keep coming. We still taught the message of the restoration and she soaked in every word. I really started understanding that this woman does understand and has noticed a big difference between us missionaries and the catholic church. Luigia, very discouraged told us she could not continue because her family is so important. We spoke with her and came to the conclusion that we are going to give her son a week to calm down and she invited us back for the following week. We left her with the commitment to pray and ask for God to touch her son's heart so that they can all enjoy the blessings of the Gospel. She agreed. She is going to read from the Book of Mormon all week. I have never have someone trust us so much.
We decided we really liked working by the lake and have found quite the club of old folks interested in the gospel message. On our walk down to the lake I ran into Antonio (in his 70s and apparently a well known artist) who I met on the bus last transfer. He stopped for a little small talk and we ended testifying about the sacred priesthood of God.
My co also promised Italo that we would find him a wife. What!? My middle name must be cupid? Italo is serious and 62. He is coming to church to meet people who have the same principles and values as he does.
My evening yesterday ended with another member of the club freaking out a little. She called us and set up the appointment so we went with it. She read the passage we left her in the Book of Mormon and brought it up when we arrived. Silvia, 70, is catholic and has known the sister missionaries for nearly 20 years. We found her doing house. An interesting lesson turned into our friend feeling the spirit and understanding what she needs to do. I felt inspired to ask her if she had ever prayed to know if the Catholic church was true. She said no, even though that was her excuse because that was the way she was raised. Denying her feelings Silvia got really nervous and started stuttering. I have noticed that many italians start acting like this when they are scared of change and they throw any excuse they can in order to not follow through with commitments.
I believe I talked about change a few weeks back, change is hard and I am realizing more and more how blessed I am to have had parents that taught me the entire truth because they searched it out for themselves. I thank you family for helping me understand what the truth is and helping me make it to this point where I can help many others understand the truth. I am grateful for the true church of Christ that encourages us, as members and non-members, to search out the truth on our own. Ask in prayer and ye shall receive. Only in this way, through God, can we understand the truth and the right path.
I again, this week, am so grateful to be on a mission teaching the truth about Christ. I am happy to bear His name and help many people feel the joy. In a world or fear and difficulty, we are deeply in need of a greater strength and help from God. He is our Father, and has provided us with a miraculous plan so we can find the way back.
We are not alone!
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll
p.s. this is Luigia.