30 June 2010

lotioning, oiling...

It is definitely a day for a pool party, but my co and I are throwing our own kind of party. Missionary party!!! Plus with the summer heat comes more people in house! We hope!

All is well and alive in Como. I just returned from 2.5 days in Milano on exchanges! I get a couple days rest and then exchanges again next week! The zone leaders are loving the whole "we tell the sisters what they do!" Actually, they are great and really helping us experience the greatest part of the mission, learning from so many different people.

I was able to meet a new convert yesterday who is blind. The elder's knocked on her door and asked if they could share a movie with her. She declined mentioning the fact that she was unable to see. They kept in contact with her and I believe taught her a couple times with a member. Being that she is a single woman they waited for the right time to pass her to the sisters. Well a few short months and Christmas treats later, she was baptized and just loves it. What a wonderful spirit and gratitude for life. Meeting people like Laura makes me feel that much more grateful for the blessings I have received. Actually a few weeks ago I was sitting on our balcony and saw a blind man walking down the street with his guide stick. I started to cry thinking about how fortunate, or rather blessed, I am to have my eyesight. I started wearing my glasses more and read with my bad eye so it does not get worse. These days I have been attracted to the sightless, being that I am now remembering the woman I invited on the bus a week ago. I sat with her and her dog Barbie and talked about the gospel and life. It will be a great blessing one day when they can have their bodies in their perfect form!

I had an interesting experience on the bus on Monday that made me really thankful to be in a calmer Como than a mad Milano.

Have I mentioned Marta? Get ready, she is another dream come true. She takes notes when we teach and she takes notes in church. She wants all the church books and already told her husband she is going to be baptized. We are actually trying to prepare him to baptize her, but he has been inactive for quite some time now. More than 10 years. We found this grand family when Gabriella moved here from Brazil to study. She is 16 years old and ready to serve a mission tomorrow. She just showed up in church and did not talk to anyone because of the language barrier. Then next week she brings a friend and I make my way immediately to them because I missed the opportunity the week before when it was just Gabriella. I met Marta, Gabriella's aunt. It is the most beautiful experience listening to testimonies in Italian and Portuguese. I just added another language to my to do list when I get home. ASL, Icelandic, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Today when coming into internet you will never guess who I saw. Lisbet. The mother of our dear Joaquin. It had been at least 4 months since I saw her. She did not even wait 2 seconds to start telling me all about Joaquin and how great he is in Peru. Then she called him and I even got to talk to him! It is always wonderful to see old friends, even though I wish they were still a part of my life, it is great to know they are okay. I hate the idea of leaving behind so many people.

Giustina called me on Monday. I answered and told her I was going to call her. She asked why I hadn't yet. I told her it was because I was packing my bags, because I was going. She said nothing. I mentioned I was kidding and said that I was only going to Milano for 2 days. She then proceeded to explain that she just woke up and had a dream that I came to her house on Wednesday to tell her I was leaving and that I would not be back to visit. She was calling to make sure that was not true! I felt bad for making the joke that I did when she thought that I was being serious. My companion warned me about Italians and their dreams, so I am making sure it does not come true!

I love my life here and am so grateful for every second I have to be here! Thank you for your support family! In not too many days I will be able to hug you, but for now I am happy to be where I am with who I am with. My heart is full of love for everyone around me. I thank my Heavenly Father everyday for the opportunity to be serving a mission and to have made it this far!

I love you.

I am bakin' like a roasted cheese something.
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

23 June 2010

the final good-byes.

Yesterday, an emotional day, was the last time I would see my dear President and Sorella Dunaway as missionaries in Italy. I was quickly informed that Sorella Dunaway would be taking Italian courses at BYU and I mentioned myself too. Having had a course with her three years ago we are looking forward to being in class together again! They can not get rid of me yet! I will miss them for the last month, but I also know that President Wolfgramm will be just as wonderful and inspired.

I have a lot to say and not enough words. The more time ticks away, the less I can think to write. I just want to savor every moment, because I know how precious every second is. I feel a new boost of energy every morning as I wake. I really want to scream from the roof tops the wonderful news and bring everyone the truth. So, my companion and I are about doing the work! Right now I want to shout how happy I am and how wonderful it is to have the fullness of the truth, thanks to revelation.

This transfer is a focus on following the guidance of the spirit and receiving personal revelation. Something that I have been searching to really understand and put into practice in my life. Although I knew the power of this principle before my mission, I have grown unbelievably in testimony about the real power the spirit can have in my life. Since hearing all the stories of the earthquake in Chile I have wanted to exercise more faith and follow the spirit much more readily in my life in order to be better prepared. Since that I have noticed a change in my actions. When I feel to do something, I usually do it.

Last week I had an experience of not following the prompting of the spirit and it led to more difficulties. We told our investigator Giusi we would wait by her car so we could drive to church together. Well when she was not there we called and called. To no avail we gave up. As we were walking to the nearest bus stop I stopped literally in the middle of the street and something said, "stop, she is going to come." I hesitated. My companion did not want to wait, but I made her walk back to the car just to be sure. Since Giusi was still not there we left. While on the bus low and behold, she calls. We get off the bus and after way too much confusion we got to church with her 20 minutes late. She then remained for 15 minutes and left. Although we still got her to church, she did not get to experience much of the spirit of being there. I felt terrible and am working on being courageous enough to follow the spirit, even when there is opposition from other people.

With some final goodbyes to my dear elders and sisters I came back to Como yesterday with a new desire to be better and stronger. I know that I am not doing this for myself, but I need to improve so that I can help as many people as possible in the next thirty-five days here in Como. They do not know what they are waiting for!

Other good news. When the Tuscany region is added to the mission on July 1 come 6 sisters. Two of whom will be going home with me. I learned today they are my two favorite sisters from the MTC, Sorella Nelson and Sorella Cheesman. I will also have a flying buddy all the way to Phoenix! Score! Starting and finishing with these beauties is just the right way to do it!

Thank you for your many examples, loves, and smiles. I am grateful to call you family and eternal! Life would be impossible without you!

Your sister, daughter and friend!
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

16 June 2010

there's a star man.

Tomorrow I become illegal in Italy. Maybe I should not be saying that out loud. My residency expires today. I live such a dangerous life! Six weeks on the risk! What!? I am wild.

What a week! As I begin the last six weeks of my mission I have many feelings and thoughts running through me. It may be the last six weeks as a missionary in the Milan Italy mission, but it is the first six weeks of the rest of my life. It is going to be wonderful. I hope they are as great for you as they will be for me.

Figs are on sale and we eat a lot of them. I wish I took advantage of our fig tree grandma planted. What a brain she is. My companion and I are waiting till we can go and pick the wild figs from the side of the road, along with the raspberries that are beginning to bloom! What a delight.

I guess that gives you a little hint as to what I will be doing for my final transfer. Yes, I am going to be dancing down the streets of Como with my Sorella Prina at my side. Last night getting transfer calls was suspenseful. I had no idea what would happen. I would be lying if I said I wanted to stay. Last night I was hoping for a change. Just to add some excitement into the last bit. But this morning, thank you to a dear brother Robert, I realized that I can make this exciting. And it is going to be just that! Besides, the fact that I can change things makes it that much better. Plus I will have to hide from the government, so it adds an extra spice to life. (Really it is not that big of a deal, we just hope that if I do get stopped it is a nice officer.)

Sunday was stake conference in broadcast form from Salt Lake City. We heard from Elder Boyd K. Packer, Elder David A. Bednar and Sister Mary N. Cook. We had four investigators show up; one for the first time, one who will be baptized next month, and another two who are progressing towards the baptismal covenant in the coming months. It was incredible to hear directly from two apostles speaking to the Saints in Europe. I learned quite a bit, and I hope that those who attended with us were aware of what great counsel we received. Everyday I am grateful to have a living prophet and apostles so that we as men and women on the earth can know the will of God and have the fullness of the truth! Today while shopping for groceries I saw a woman for the fourth time in the past two days. I stopped to talk to her and introduce myself since she is a new face around. She actually just moved into our apartment building one month ago. Another new friend and individual interested to know that God does still work miracles today and does still guide His children, us.

So our next baptism is amazing. I almost feel it is too soon to mention her name, but she is absolutely wonderful. The elders found her and quickly referred her to us, unfortunately we never got hold of her or found her. The elders continued to ask about this "golden" and I said I was trying. But they happened to run into her in the mean time and taught her and brought her to church. Success! I sat next to her during her first Sunday and she had so many questions. We taught her for the first time last Saturday and invited her to be baptized, which she quickly accepted. I guess I should tell you her name. Juliana. She was born in Italy, but her parents are from Ghana. She lives with her father close to the church and was astounded to know that the church has been there for a few years. Juliana has been on her own search and when the elders accidentally knocked on her door looking for their investigator, that was God saying here is your answer. She is so interested and accepting of everything! Humble people, who are not compelled to be humble because of certain circumstances are blessed in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. I am so grateful for the already growing testimony of Juliana and her vigor and desire to learn!

So staying in Como is going to be a wonderful change. I guess the fact that I am not changing is a change, since in the past I have changed so often. I am ready to move forward and be the missionary the Lord expects of me!

I love my life.

I love all of you.

I wish you all a happy week. Shout out to the BYU cougs. Ramsey bleeds blue!

I love you.

Waiting in the sky,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

09 June 2010

run my hands through my fro.

The lake is still beautiful. They weather can not decided what to do, rain or shine. And I really have a fro with all this crazy humidity. I guess growing up in Arizona really is a blessing! (I can easily count more than one though)

I remember arriving and having to sleep with the blow dryer next to me for some extra heat at night. I believe we have officially made it through winter and practically spring. But rather than give you the mundane weather report, lets talk about everything else!

I started last week in an all day Milano conference with the missionaries from my zone. I still find it amazing that we young adults are here doing this work. Watching so many new missionaries arrive this past transfer and hearing their testimonies re-ignited the fire in me. I love being a part of the greatest and strongest army on earth. Although I only know a selected few of my peers around the world, as I pray for the missionary work around the world daily I feel their prayers and earnestness in bring the light of the gospel to all. This reminds me everyday how blessed I am to be in the service of the Lord at this point in time. (pause ... thunder in the air and water on the ground. The sky really can not decide.) Especially with the experiences I have had here in Como, I understand more fully my role as only the instrument in the Lord's hands. I am adding to my testimony that the Lord truly does have a plan for me, and whatever I experience is because I am being helped or because I can possibly help another! He is good!

I am a real Italian! I learned this week how to make a pizza. Like one you would find in Naples. The only thing I am missing is the wood oven. Our investigator Virginia had us over for dinner on Sunday and did a step by step process with the pizza. If I remember everything maybe one day I can try it on you. We will see. For now I can at least pretend I am Italian!

We celebrated 17 months. Did you know it had been that long? I did not burn any ties or suits, or rather skirts or shoes. But I did get the chance to work with a new missionary sister and learn from her great desire to bring the gospel to these people in Italy. I have grown so much love for them in my short time here and I hope it never dies!

Look for a miracle in everyday! I love you all.

Con tutto il mio amore,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll

The final pizza

The pizza process

The pizza beginning

The dough

Mariana is a Ukranian convert of 1.5 years preparing for a mission


02 June 2010

"che materia!"

This week my companion and I both have bruises on our arms from punching each other. We learned from a couple 13-14 year old boys on the bus that yellow is the new slug-bug. We are always little children at heart and my co gets a slug every time a yellow car passes. Surprisingly there are a number of these around Como. Or we just see the same ones all the time.

Yesterday we went back to the "old-folks" home to visit a referral from a member. (Yes this is true. It is never too late to receive the gospel right?) Franca Robba. She is probably the most sane in the whole place and really only ended up there because her sister was there and did not want to be alone. Well after the death of her sister she stayed, helping out where she can. While waiting for her to dress for the day we took the opportunity to speak with a lady in a wheel chair that kept telling us that she too wanted company. Just letting her chat away, Franca approached and started talking to this woman. Franca made up a whole story about calling Giuseppe the woman's son to come and get them so they could go to the sea. On this story goes and finally the woman, we can call her Maria (since she calls everyone else that), states "oh che materia, siamo tutti pazzi." (oh what material, we are all crazy.) Franca responds, "si, un po'." (yes, a little.) The whole conversation was completely serious for Maria, and she knows we are all crazy! I could sit and listen to them talk for hours.

Yesterday was June first. Summer is on its way. Eric told me dad was counting so I know it is safe to say that as of yesterday I had 2 months, or 60 days. I took the opportunity to start these last two months with a fast. We had just had interviews on Monday and I was feeling the necessity to reset some goals and just go for it. I am so excited about what these next few weeks are going to bring! So much is going to happen and I know that this is where I need to be and what I need to be doing. I have been blessed during these first 17 months of my mission and I know that these last two are going to be the best ever. I have never felt so refreshed and excited to walk along the streets of Italy talking to everyone! Surprisingly, these past 50 hours have brought a lot of hope and strength to the work we are doing here in Como.

Plus, this past week I read through my letters home from the beginning of my mission. I still feel like I just got here and everything was so new and exciting. Although situations have changed and I am experiencing different emotions everyday, I still feel like the baby in the mission, learning and anxious doing it!

I thank you for your help and support! I know how much help you are giving me and I am receiving so many blessings from your many sacrifices and work at home. It sounds like all is happy and well and I was more than excited to see my baby brother finishing strong! What a popular kid! Congratulations! I wore blue and gold in your honor!

Things are going very well at this point in time and I am pleased to announce how wonderful Como, Italy is! Today is a national holiday and the people are all happy to be free for a day! We are happy too. Happier than ever!

Love love.

We are all crazy,
Sorella Frédérique Stone Carroll