Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Buon Giorno! Settimana 4 Con Miracoli!‏

Carissimo Mia Famiglia,

Wow, it's been a crazy week, but in a good way. I'm going to spoil the ending to this letter, but basically, we have three new investigators, and two of them have baptismal dates! I'll explain in more detail at the end!

Zone conference was amazing. We drove to Sassari and picked up Anziani Reed e Harris, and then we took the long drive to Cagliari. We got there super late, and were lost. Cagliari is a huge city!!! Way bigger than little Olbia! When we finally found our way to the apartment of the Cagliari Anziani (right next to one of the oldest- still running markets in the world) they cooked us some awesome spicy pasta, which was nice because Italians don't know what spicy is! I miss Mexican food, not going to lie! 

Zone conference was awesome. I got to meet my zone leader who is serving in Oristano, and I got to see the sisters who traveled here to Sardegna with me again. The Assistants came with Sister Kelly, but President Kelly wasn't there! He came really late because I guess there was a big problem with another Anziano on the mainland. They didn't tell us much more. A general authority who visited our mission a few months ago taught us how to do a "Lesson Zero". It is pretty crazy. Basically, you give the potential investigator the baptismal invitation right off the bat. He said that through this we will have more people turn us away, but the people that we do find will be solid. I guess there has been lots of problems with people who just like talking to the missionaries instead of those who make any real progress, so this lesson is ment to find those who are truly ready. And I can testify to you that it works! When President flew in a few hours later, he taught us an amazing principle: Aspettati un miracolo: Expect a miracle. He said that we can find miracles every single day and he gave us a little card to carry with us that said "Aspettati un miracolo" so that we could always remember it. It was awesome seeing President, but we couldn't see him for very long. After some gelato with the zone (fragola e limone é mio preferito!), we began the long drive home. We stayed the night in Sassari, and drove home to Olbia in the morning. That day I was determined to see a miracle! We went and did "casa a casa", and found two potential families that are awesome! One was this super rich family who had a nine year old son named Lorenzo, and I told him that I had a fratello who was nine also! He thought that was cool. The mother in the other family wasn't really interested, but she told us that her 12 year old daughter named Valentina was really interested in religion, and she is really cool so we'll see if she wants to be taught or if the mom even lets us! 

Later that day we found a 17 year old kid named Igu that just moved to Olbia from Brazil. He doesn't speak very good Italian, so there was some communication problems. Anziano Vitali and I were determined to teach him and baptize him, so when we went over again a few days later to teach him a lesson zero, we found out that he was already baptized a year ago! It was so funny! He is a recent convert, and didn't know that there was a church here in Olbia. He is super excited to come to church with us this week and to be a part of the branch. He even told us that he would try to bring some friends and he invited us to go play soccer with them one of these nights, so I'm excited for that! Boom, miracle. 

Oh, remember how I thought our investigator Francisco dropped us and was ignoring us? We eventually got a call from him and it turned out he ran out of credits with his phone, and he was working a ton. We've seen him a ton the last couple of days (which ment another horse pizza!) and yesterday he left Golfo Aranci to go home to Como. It was sad saying bye to him, but he is already in contact with some Anziani in Milan, and he is planning on moving out of his girlfriend's place, and he is very excited to be baptized here soon. Boom, miracle.

My second week we found a guy from Nigeria who spoke English. His name was Kebe, and he was super nice! It turns out he knew the missionaries before from a few years ago, and his number was even in our phone already. He lived in Cagliari, and he was just in Olbia for a little while. He said he'd call us when he came back to Olbia. This week I had a feeling that I should call him to see how he's doing. I called and he was really excited to hear from me. He asked if there were missionaries in Cagliari, and I said, yes sir! I then called the Anziani in Cagliari and refered them to him. They called him, and they've already met with him and is a new investigator as of yesterday. The cool thing is, the Cagliari Anziani just baptized a man from Nigeria last Saturday, so they basically have an automatic friendship in the church. Boom, miracle. 

Okay, my turn!

Last P-day after we did emailing, Anziano Vitali and I went on a hike around the bay. There was a three foot wide, 1/4 of a mile long cement pathway that went through the bay, all the way to these little islands and rocks in the middle of the bay. It's a fun but sketchy walk, because there are no railings on this pathway through the water. We hiked across the pathway until we got to the island. There was a fork in the road, and one pathway went left, and one went right. Anziano Vitali asked which way I wanted to go and I said, "Lets choose the right." We joked that we should go tracting on this little, uninhabited island. We walked until we reached an old cement house that appeared abandoned. A man walked out, and we were a little scared! He was super nice, and asked us what we were up to (the name tags probably looked pretty weird to him) and we said we were just hiking around. He walked over to us and we just talked for a good 20 minutes about life, as we looked out across the water at Olbia. His wife came out too and began talking to us. They talked about how hard life was for them at the moment, and about how poor they were. The wife had a really bad ankle, and it was difficult for them to find work. Then they started bringing up that all they had left in their life was God. It was perfect. We told them that we'd come back and give them a Book of Mormon, and directions for church. On Saturday we walked over there prepared to teach, but they weren't there, so we left them a Book of Mormon in their native language (Romanian) and some pamphlets about the church with our number and directions to our church in Olbia. During sacrament meeting on Sunday our phone went off. We didn't call back till later, and it turns out it was them searching for our church! We were so happy they had the desire to come, and we set up an appointment to see them on Monday. We met them in a park, and began to teach them a "lesson zero". We opened with a prayer, and the wife, Jona, began to cry as Anziano Vitali asked that God would bless them. It was an awesome lesson, and they agreed to be baptized. We then went back to teach the lesson of the Restoration yesterday, and got a date for October 1st (we just realized that that is when General Conference is so we have to change it) for a baptism for them if they were ready and strived to prepare for that day. It was so awesome, and I am so happy for them! The husband, Jonel might need a little more work, but Jona is so prepared! They even have friends they want us to go teach now. Boom, miracle.

Church was super fun this week! There was a family from Austria on vacation. Some of them spoke English, but they knew no Italian, and they asked me to translate for them throughout sacrament meeting. It was so hard! Especially because I can't even understand a few of the members and how they speak, and it was testimony meeting! It was a ton of fun though, and the Austrian family was awesome! We all giggled together when I had no idea what was said! I felt good about how much I did understand though, and it was great practice. It was also a nice break talking to members of the church who spoke English!

Well, as you can imagine, things are going soooo good! We have a lot of potentials that are so close to becoming investigators, and my goal is to fill my time with teaching! We'll get there soon. Oh... I have a funny food story:

We went to a member's home to leave her with a spiritual thought (we are trying to get her husband interested in the church) and her mother came and cooked some rice-seafood dish and offered us some. I screamed inside as I looked in the bowl and saw different alien foods in the bowl, including whole pieces of shrimp. You know me, I'm not a big seafood guy, at all! I was scared to death, and I had no idea how to eat shrimp! So as I picked up the little guy with my spoon, I could imagine him trying to swim away from my moth with his little legs and I could see him looking at me with his big black eyes. I downed the whole thing... and then three more after that, holding back the gags. I then looked over at my companion, and he ripped off the head, tore off the shell, legs, etc. and only ate the white meat on the inside. I wanted to punch myself and I felt like such an idiot! I then tried only the white meat (like how you're supposed to eat a shrimp) and loved it. Oh, and it turns out that the other weird stuff in the dish were things like octopus, fish guts, eyes of swimming things, no biggy. Ha, ha, ewww. But I do love the food here! I must brag and say that I am becoming a master pasta-maker! I eat it everyday! Oh, and something new - I love tomatoes! I thought I would never say that, but I eat them all the time like candy. Mmmmm! Especially on horse pizza! Haha. 

Well, things are going great. I'm loving Italy, and I'm loving Sardegna. I miss you all so much, and I bring pictures of you all where ever I go. People love seeing our family photo! And it make me miss you all... Can you believe it, tomorrow is my 3 month mark! Crazy, it hasn't even felt like that long. 

I love you all so much. 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. Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement! Vi voglio bene! Baci e abbracci! 

Con Amore, 

Anziano Clay Lacey

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