Wednesday, May 1, 2013

La mia ultima settimana!

Hey guys!
This is way crazy as time ticks down and it's a weird sensation that is hard to describe! There are a lot of different emotions all mixed together as I reach the end. I'm just not going to think much about it and keep working hard!
I am so excited for these new changes however! There are some pretty amazing things happening with this new overload of missionaries and in these transfers President has opened up many new cities for sister missionaries! Even the Napoli zone will have sisters after about 30 or 40 years without them!
The thing that effects me the most right now is that I'm in a three some companionship until I finish and I'm excited about that! My new companion is Anziano Zito, an Italian! I have wanted an Italian companion so bad throughout my entire mission and now I finally can finish with one! I am really glad that it is him also because when we did a three day split when Anziano Juhasz had to fly down to Palermo for his residence permit me and Anziano Zito got along great! He is a little older and we manage to get into very serious and inspirational conversations so I am going to be spending the 'ultimi giorni' with a true friend! I feel very lucky and besides, everyone says that serving with two companions is a lot of fun!
We have tried so hard to set up other appointments with Erica and Andrea but they left town for vacation. Since they are school bus drivers they get the regular school holidays and the past week has been vacation time. They said that we can meet up this week sometime so I'm hoping to get a few more lessons in with them and really 'leave' them with my testimony.
Other than that we have been contacting many ex-investigators that we have dropped in the past to recontact them and set up some kind of meeting before I leave not only for the motive to say goodbye but to also try and restart the fire and interest that they had before.
We are teaching Kevin, the fifteen year old boy from the Philippines, and his girlfriend Dalin and they are doing great. Kevin is reading a ton from the Book of Mormon and we just need to get him to church! He told us that he has already finished 2 Nephi! We are using Janus and Deejay Silva with him in our lessons and they do well translating if a specific point isn't covered very well.

On Friday we had a great special conference with Elder Callister and he is a great man and a great teacher. He basically just went over the Plan of Salvation with us and taught such simple doctrine in a marvelous way from an interesting point of view. The new Elder Di Feo who was called to be an area seventy was there also. President Kelly with his words also really touched my heart when he bore his testimony. 
On Saturday we did a split with the Anziani from Ostia and I was with Anziano Ginolfi from Ontario. We have known each other ever since the MTC but on that split we really bonded (especially because the members invited us to play soccer that morning) and we became really good friends! When he gets home next transfer we are already planning on going out to Victoria Gardens and seeing a movie at the Edwards theater! He is a really great guy though! Not only the Ostia guys were with us but also the Anziani from l'Aquila because they needed to stay the night to go to stake conference the next day to avoid traveling too much on Sunday. Our house is tiny and we had to borrow some air mattresses but the worst part was cooking for all of them because they ate us out clean of food! We were left with nothing! Working missionaries do eat a lot!
Stake conference was fantastic! Since President Di Feo was released there were a lot of members who were very sad. He was the first stake president in Rome and has done so much for the church here. In fact, I would say about 3/4 of the congregation was crying! A new guy named Paolo Petrollini who is only 32 was called and he seems like he will be a great leader. Everyone who spoke was so inspired and I learned so much from that conference!
Kind of a cool story: I got a call before conference that a man's daughter had left a Spider-man toy in the stake center so I was asked to go pick it up. It turns out that the family was the Marco Petrollini family featured on the Mormon Channel! I know you've probably already seen it but I got to meet him and his whole family: His brother is actually the one called as stake president I think.
Today the Silva family threw me a little goodbye party and it was a lot of fun! We actually have gotten a lot of referrals from them and we watched the Restoration film with them at the party so that was great! One family consisting of an Italian guy and a Filipino lady are really interested in the Gospel and they want to meet with us next week to hear the lessons.

That's about it for now! I'm not sure if this will be my last email or not as a missionary but I think I'll have a little bit of time next week to write a little note and maybe my testimony to seal this whole email saga of two years! I love you guys so much and I can't wait to see you so soon! I love you Dad, I love you Mom, I love you Morgan, I love you Brooke, I love you Heather, and I love you Greg! Have a great and fantastic week! Vi voglio tanto tanto bene! A presto!
Un abbraccio!
Anziano Clay Lacey

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Una settimana fantastica!

Hey guys!
We've had a great week and have seen so many miracles in the work! I love serving in Rome so much!
I first want to tell you about our new investigators, Erica and Andrea. The Anziani from Ostia called us and said that they had an old scheda of this woman, Erice, who was taught the gospel in the past and even had a baptismal date but then left to Sardegna and lost contact with the missionaries. Some how they found out that she moved back and then set an appointment for them with us since they live in our zone. I wasn't very hopeful at first because it sounded almost too good to be true, but I wrote it down in my planner.
We were in church anyways because President Kelly was doing interviews with each of us because at zone conference there wasn't much time and so he decided to do them throughout this transfer. After I had finished my great interview with him this couple showed up with bright smiles on their faces. They kindly greeted all the missionaries and President too and we took them to one of the classrooms to begin a lesson and get to know them. They are such amazing people! It turns out that Erica had found the church through English course about a year ago and took all of the missionary lessons. She even had a baptismal date set but the bishop thought that it wasn't a good idea for her to be baptized that quick because she was to move back to Sardegna (where she's from) for work with her family only two days after her scheduled baptism. Apparently it would have been too difficult for her to go to church because she lives hours away from the nearest church in Cagliari, so they cancelled the baptism.
Before leaving she and her husband Andrea (who is from Rome) had a dinner with bishop and his family. Andrea, who through this process of his wife going to another church was a little bitter and contrary, was very touched by bishop's family and his interactions with his wife and small son. It made an impression that has lasted on him even from a year ago. We don't know how their progress record got into the hands of anziani in a different city but it is a miracle that they contacted them!
We had a wonderful lesson with them and I was really impressed to go into my backpack and pull out a picture of my family and show it to them. I said to them that this was my family and that we love each other very much! We each have a strong personal relationship and we feel spiritual and emotionally bonded together and nothing could ever tear us apart. I confessed that it was they Gospel that provided this surety and it was they very reason for why we love and care for each other so much. I told them that I didn't want to brag by saying these things, but it is they very reason I am on a mission because I have seen these blessings and I want those same things for others. It is the only way to really change the world and better society. I complimented them on their beautiful family (they have a five year old and a six year old) and said that this love and beauty that they feel can be enhanced. Both of them had tears in their eyes and they smiled at each other and Andrea touched my heart with his words when he said, "This is what I want!"
Honestly I can say it was one of the most powerful lessons I've had in my mission and I've never felt so guided by the Spirit. It really made me miss you guys though yet it got me excited for my return! At the end of the lesson Erice and Andrea walked through the church acting like a happy newly wed couple. I cannot wait to teach them more! Unfortunately for reasons of work they cancelled the appointment we had for yesterday but I'm sure we'll see them soon this week! What a wonderful and spiritual experience though, right? It goes to show that the most important and beneficial message we have for the world is that families have an eternal potential.
Other than that things have been great! We are working with other investigators and trying to get them to progress towards baptism! We have also done a lot of less active member work and even member work. We got invited out by some young adults in the ward to an Indian restaurant and we had a blast together! I really love the people here in Rome!
We have a very special weekend planned for us this week! On Friday Elder Callister of the presidency of the seventy will hold a special conference for only the missionaries in the Rome zone and then we have stake conference because the Rome stake presidency will be reorganized because Presidente Massimo DeFeo was called as a member of the area seventy during general conference (I talked to him some last night). I am very excited for it and I'm going to predict now that Elder Callister will be the next to be called to be an apostle since last time it was Elder Cook who came to our stake conference in Apple Valley! We'll see!
I love you guys all so much! I miss you and I can't wait to see you soon! I love you Dad, I love you Mom, I love you Morgan, I love you Brooke, I love you Heather, and I love you Greg! Have a great week, be safe and I'll talk to you soon!!! Vi voglio un mondo di bene e vi penso sempre!
Anziano Clay Lacey

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Over 10,000 views!

The blog went over 10,000 views over the weekend!  Thank you all for your continued support of Clay while he serves his mission in Italy.  He will be home soon!  He is scheduled to be home in June, but there is a possibility he will be home in May!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hey guys!

Hey guys!
This has been a great week and things are going well. We have been doing a lot of finding work and publicity for the English course hoping to get new students that can possibly become new investigators!
We have also been doing more hospital visits because Rosa is in the hospital unfortunately. She gets out today though so that's positive and it's been nice spending some time with her and her family. Her companion Mauro seems a little stressed because of the situation and taking care of their two kids while searching for work. He got a job offer as a tourist guide driver, but needs to improve his English in order to get the job. To help him and the family out a little more we agreed to meet more often, teach the family in the Gospel but also teach him English with an occasional dinner appointment in between! It should be a great opportunity to teach them and help unite them as a family and also help them temporally.
This hasn't been a very eventful week but we are really trying hard for new investigators. We had nice exchanges with the assistants and I learned a lot. Anziano Longhurst is an assistant and he is such a great guy. We went to a Peruvian family's house in our ward and had a nice dinner with them and we discussed a few referrals that they have for us. We are excited to teach them because they sound very prepared! This Peruvian family is so awesome and I had fun playing soccer with the kids outside as we waited for dinner to be ready. They also showed us videos in Spanish of Peru and I was surprised by how much I understood and I know Spanish is going to come very easily to me when I start studying it!
We did have a few new people that we were excited to teach but it ended up being a bit of a scam! We went over to the house and there were three people with their Bibles out ready to start bashing us. It was terrible and there was absolutely no spirit and I wanted to flee so I made up an excuse and we were out of there! All of these lost hopes are just paving the way to those that are really ready! I'm hopeful and I know they'll come because I've seen miracles like this happen my whole mission!
The highlight of my week was probably our weekly district meeting on Monday. Since I'm the DL again, I gave the training and I had really planned, prayed and thought about the theme for this week. I talked about finding personal revelation through our studies. What I didn't expect were all the visitors! A former missionary that served here in this mission, Chris Hughes from England, was visiting and came to the meeting. The assistants came also and we had a great discussion amongst the missionaries and I think that everyone learned a lot from each other. I really felt the Spirit during that time!
Today we went to the big shopping mall in Rome to go see the temple progress! It is going up so quickly and it should be really cool when they put the angel Moroni on top! I probably won't be here for that but I'll keep hoping!
I love you guys so much! I hope you have a great week and that you stay safe! I love you Dad, I love you Mom, I love you Morgan, I love you Heather, and I love you Greg (I'm sorry about your arm!!! At least I didn't cause this break this time!). Vi voglio un mondo di bene e mi mancate tantissimo! Ci sentiamo presto!
Anziano Clay Lacey

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pictures from Nina's baptism

Here are some pictures from Nina's baptism.  Nina is the one Anziano Vitali and Lacey met on the little island off of Sardegna in September, 2011 (See September 7, 2011 post, and several after).  We'll also link a couple of other pictures from that time: