I Love You

Natalee T. Fristrup, Utah, USA

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    little girl hugging a sister missionary

    As my mission’s zone conference was coming to a close, I stood outside wondering, “What am I doing in this foreign country? How am I going to do all that is expected of me?”

    I had been in Sicily, Italy, for little over a week, but already I felt discouraged. My time in the missionary training center had seemed like a wonderful dream, but because of my inadequacies, I now felt as though I were in a nightmare.

    “Dearest Father,” I prayed, “I wanted to be a great missionary. Now that I am here, I realize I don’t have the talents, skills, or intelligence to accomplish what I have been sent to do. I thought I knew this language, but everyone speaks so quickly, and any words I try to utter just get tangled up in my tongue. I don’t think my companion likes me. My mission president can barely speak English. I don’t have anyone to talk to. Please help me.”

    I knew I had to go back inside, but I lingered on the street just a few minutes longer. Suddenly I felt three tugs on the back of my overcoat. I turned around to find a beautiful little girl and slowly knelt down next to her on the cobblestone street. She wrapped her arms around my neck and whispered in my ear, “Ti voglio bene.”

    “What did you say?” I replied in English, knowing perfectly well she didn’t understand me.

    She stared at my name tag. “Sorella Domenici,” she read, “ti voglio bene.”

    I knew the meaning of the phrase. It was one of the first phrases we had learned as missionaries. It was a phrase that could speak directly to the soul. It means, “I love you.”

    Those words were just what I needed to hear at that moment. The Savior had sent a special messenger to deliver them to me. I led the little girl into the building.

    “She must be the child of one of the members,” I thought. I wove my way through groups of missionaries, hoping her mother would spot her.

    When I found my companion, I asked, “Have you seen this little girl before?”

    “What little girl?” she replied, looking confused.

    I looked down at my side. The little girl was gone.

    I stood in the open doorway of the building and glanced up and down the deserted street. As I pondered, a whisper I not only heard but also felt echoed through my soul: “Sorella Domenici, ti voglio bene.”

    I didn’t know who the little girl was, but I knew that the Savior loved me.

    I turned around to find a beautiful little girl and slowly knelt down next to her on the cobblestone street.