Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ciao from Cagliari!

Hey Guys!
Well I'm writing from Cagliari now! I'm not sure how long I will have here because we are planning on going for a little "giro" around Cagliari for p-day and maybe visit a castle. Cagliari is huge compared to Olbia! I have a strong desire to serve here if I get called to any another city on the island.  It is really unlikely for a missionary to stay with his trainer for more than two transfers so if we went for a fourth that would be pretty crazy. I haven't really thought much of it but people are really surprised that Anziano Vitali and I have been together for over three transfers, because, apparently, over time problems start happening. I'm blessed to have a great companion like him that's easy to get along with and that we work well together.

Unfortunately this was a bit of an uneventful week regarding some aspects because we were both told by Sister Kelly to stay home all day Saturday and Sunday. Two days without missionary work was seriously an eternity! When Sunday night approaches and we turn in our numbers for the week it just seems like a week isn't enough! And then you only get six of them in a transfer. And only about sixteen of those in the mission. There just isn't enough time! Anyways, Anziano Vitali caught the flu and was even coughing out a little bit of blood so I told him to call Sister Kelly and she told us to stay home. We were really disappointed because we had every minute planned out on Saturday filled with lessons with investigators and less-actives. When we called to cancel they were pretty happy that we didn't come and get them sick too! I also got a little sick but not too bad and I'm currently being annoyed by a little runny nose. She said to try to avoid going to church on Sunday but we went for Sacrament meeting to greet our investigators and see how they are doing.

Speaking of investigators, I'll share the best news of the week. Wednesday night we taught Ignazio the Plan of Salvation and it went well. Since him and his wife do a companionship study often, they have covered nearly everything we have to teach to him before baptism, so our lessons are a bit of a review and really familiar. He asks good questions and really understands everything well. He is going to be such a strong member of the church. I keep saying this but I'm so honored to be a small part in his conversion experience. This whole mission for two years would undeniably be worth it just to see their family be sealed together forever in the temple. Che bella! Well,  we did a lesson with him on Friday with just us and him. We prayed hard for this lesson. The main thing we prayed about though was how and when we could set a fixed baptismal date. Through prayers and lots of thinking we decided that he can be ready by December the seventeenth.

We went over to his house, and it was such an amazing lesson. I would have to say it was the best lesson we've taught since I've been on my mission. We did a little recap on the Plan of Salvation and then started talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I absolutely love the thirty-first chapter of 2 Nephi when it explains so simply the "doctrine of Christ." This might be my favorite thing to teach as a missionary. I scrutinized this passage of scripture, and learned that the simple doctrines of the Gospel are definitely the most important and the topics we must focus on. Anyways, the lesson was going great and we told him that we wanted these blessing of baptism for him. We then told him that we thought about it and prayed about it and that we knew he could be ready to be baptized on the 17th of December. The Spirit was so strong in the room, and I know that everyone could feel it. It was a calm and a peaceful feeling. Ignazio gave a little smile and said that it was a bit soon, but that he wants with all his heart to be ready for that date. He then said tearfully that he was afraid that the Lord wouldn't forgive him of his past transgressions. We bore testimony of the Atonement and that he is doing everything right at this point, etc. He likes the goal and we outlined everything that he needs to do to be ready for this date. I really want him to gain a passion for reading the Book of Mormon because teaching lessons can only go so far. We know from the prophets and apostles that through working and acting we personally grow our faith in Gesù Cristo (sorry, I just started typing it in Italian and didn't feel like changing it). Anyways, the more we talk to him about it the more excited he gets and his wife says that he really feels good about the date. We are really excited! Keep praying for him to be ready and for him to feel ready himself. There is not much more progress with other investigators. We are still trying hard to progress them to baptism but not much has changed in the last week. We have been trying to find new investigators to meet our goal but haven't found much luck yet. It's okay though, we will! 

Zone conference was great! We left on Monday to head to Cagliari by train, and it was a very long train ride. We played this really popular traditional Italian card game called scopa so we had a nice time even though it was a four hour train ride. I never thought that I'd travel nearly every form of transportation while on my mission! Car, plane, boat, bus, train. Our new zone leader is Anziano Errante. He is a native Italian from a small town up north and he's only been a member for three years, and one of those years has been during his mission already. He is so awesome! I hope so bad to serve with him. He doesn't speak English so I've been speaking almost only Italian for the past few days with him. It was a blast being with all of the other Anziani and Sorelle. I'm not the youngest one on the Island anymore! Sorella Turley in Cagliari is training a greenie so I guess I'm officially not a greenie anymore!

It was so nice to see Presidente and Sorella Kelly. This zone conference was dedicated to Christmas and we celebrated together with a huge lunch. Anziano Vitali and I brought mashed potatoes and they turned out pretty good! Presidente gave an awesome training that was super spiritual but also really practical.

I finally got a new memory card for my camera and have been taking a lot of pictures of our little adventure around Cagliari for p-day so I'm excited to send pictures but I want to wait until I can go to a trusted computer that isn't infected with viruses! 

Things are going so great. I can't believe I'm one week away from my six month mark! So fast! I am glad all is well back home. Thank you all for everything you do and for your loving prayers. 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 and stay safe! Vi amo e vi voglio benissimo! A presto!

Con affetto, 
Anziano Clay Lacey

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Buon giorno di ringraziamento!‏

Buon giorno di ringraziamento!

I think that's how you translate Happy Thanksgiving in Italian. I'm not sure though because it's obviously not celebrated here so it looks like i'm going turky-less this year!

This has been another interesting week. Ups and downs. Maybe some of the negative attitude comes from the bad weather. It's been raining a lot and when random rain that we can't predict hits us we come home cold and drenched. It's a lot of fun though to look in the mirror after you like a mess! Unfortunately missionaries don't have the luxary of the Weather Channel on demand, therefore, we get hammered if we forget the right coat or umbrella. 

I guess I want to get the worst things out of the way first. Bad news first, right? It literally brings me to tears just thinking about it but Leonardo told us not to come back. We called him to set up another appointment and he told us that his wife wasn't in agreement with us being there, and that was the extent to the conversation. Well we decided to go back to his house to talk to him face to face. He opened the door and he seemed different. He said that he was not interested at all. Looking inside the house we saw his wife on the coach with one of the babies and she wasn't happy at all that we showed up. He went to give us his copy of The Book of Mormon back and we insisted that he would keep it. He said goodbye and closed the door. I had to sit down for a second after that because I was shattered. It felt like all my hope for him was hit by a truck. It was tough at first especially because how quick we found him, and how quick we lost him. And the thing that stinks is that it seems like it has been happening a lot. First with Gabriella, then with Marissa, now with Leonardo. I remember a talk that Elder Holland gave and that I saw in the MTC. He said to missionaries, "If you don't get a return appointment for a second lesson, that means you didn't teach a good enough first." This quote hits me hard and yes, people have their free agency, but I really need to improve my teaching. I think I have used the language barrier as an excuse too much to turn to my companion to finish what I want to say when I mess up and get embarrassed. It's hard learning and teaching in a new langauge, I'm not going to lie! Missions would be impossible and crazy to do without the help of the Lord. 

One thing cool from that experience at the door with Leonardo that I'd like to share is something that I've forgot to mention in emails before. Remember how it's been talked about how, for babies, the veil from the premortal life to here in this life is so thin? Well being a missionary has really opened my eyes to this. When we were talking to Leonardo he had his newborn baby girl in his hands. When she looked at us, people that she's never really seen before in her life, she smiled the biggest smile and stretched her hands out towards us like she wanted us to hold her. I know that is not a big deal, but countless times Anziano Vitali and I have walked passed crying babies in the arms of their parents and as soon as they see us they stop and just smile, and the parents look at us like we just preformed a miracle. Randomly we see little kids wave at us. And the only thing I can really say about these experiences is that they know. They know that we are servants of the Lord, and these little experiences, that could be nothing, have really strengthened my testimony that I am called from the living prophet on the earth to preach the Savior's gospel. I don't mean to brag, but I can't believe how lucky I am! Even when I have these little tough times and when my hopes crash, I have this knowledge and comfort that the Lord has promised to be with me. Since Anziano Harris was there when we found him, I talked to him while they were reporting their numbers on Sunday, and I told him the news, a bit negatively. He said something that really hit me and that I will always remember when my hopes in someone crash like that. He said, "Ya man, that's tough, but that doesn't effect or change the miracle of how we found him." Oh how true that is, and I won't forget it.

Other than that bad news something weird happened to my camera's memory card and it looks like the data got corrupted when I tried taking pictures off to send to you guys, but we'll see, hopefully they're not gone! 

Okay time for the GREAT news. We started teaching Ignazio Mazzone and it's been great. At the end of our first lesson we all definitely felt the Spirit, and we invited him to be baptised. After the invitation he was quiet for a few seconds, and then began nodding his head yes. He said that he wanted to, but he wants to make sure he is ready first, and that he knows that the Church is true. It was a really powerful moment for sure. We taught him the second lesson just this morning and it went great. He is progressing well and keeping up with all his commitments. He even reads his scripture reading assignments with his daughter and discusses them with her. It was awesome hearing him pray for the first time, and he also bore his testimony about finding Christ after being an atheist in church during Gospel Principles class. This whole thing is so amazing! I remember when I first met him and all the members said don't worry about him, he doesn't want anything to do with the Church. The Lord definitely prepares people in His own due time. We are feeling prompted to fix a set baptismal date, even before Christmas. It's definitely possible! Keep praying for him!

Other than him we have been teaching the Tache's a little bit, and they are doing well and enjoying church more and more as they make friends. I don't remember if I wrote it in the last email but our mission has a goal for each companionship to get six new investigators before December 11th. Since finding work becomes a bit difficult during the holiday seasons, president wants us to book our time with teaching (which is what I'd rather be doing than finding). Therefore, we've been doing a lot of finding lately... in the rain. We have found very little luck, but we are trying! One night we knocked on this guy's house, and all he said was, "Fermatevi!". Which basically means, "Stay right there." We asked why and he told us that he was calling the police. We thought it was extremely funny, especially because of the conversation he probably had with the police regarding two missionaries at his door that needed to be arrested. We waited and no cops showed up so we took off.

Hey! I'm not really finished, and we have to go for another appointment, but I will come back on...

Love ya all tons! 

Anziano Lacey

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Miracoli ci sono!‏

Buon giorno famiglia!

Hey guys! Thanks for the awesome emails! It was really nice hearing from you all. And I finally got the package! Thank you so much, the candy was great, the note was cute and I loved the little pictures! Dad, you look like a stud in that wake boarding picture! Grazie mille! This has been such an awesome week! I've loved every minute of it. 

The investigators are doing great! We are now up to five progressing investigators which isn't too shabby! Step by step. The Tache's had an interesting experience. In the house they live in there are some people from Pakistan and they said on November 11 that the world was going to end at 11:11 o'clock at night, so Iona called us and frantically said that she was freaked out and didn't know what to do. To say the least they want to move to a different home and she said that from that experience she was so sad that she wasn't baptized so shes going to do everything she can to get baptized. She might go live by herself in Sassari so we'll see! They are doing great though. 

We haven't been able to visit our investigators in Calangianus since last week, but they are reading and praying. We just have to get them to church now! We officially picked up a new investigator on Sunday. Drum roll please... Ignazio Mazzone agreed to take the lessons! We talked to him about it after church and he said he would love to take them and that he needs them. A few days before Sunday we went to talk to his wife to see if he was ready for the lessons and she gave us the thumbs up to ask! She also shared some tender stories about some of the reasons why he might have had this sudden change and this want to be closer to God. His sister has a tumor in her intestines that the doctors found recently. I guess it's been there for about two years so it's really serious. Because of this experience he's got down on his knees to talk with his Heavenly Father. On Sunday his wife asked him to bear his testimony in Gospel Principles class. He used to be atheist, but know he knows that God exists. Che bello! He's in Cagliari right now, but when he gets back we will have the first lesson with him. So either tomorrow or Friday. I can't wait to tell you all how it goes! Now is where faith, hope, and a ton of prayer come in handy!

Well, yesterday I had one of the coolest experiences that has ever happened to me so far on my mission happen. We did a split with the Sassari Anziani and I was in Olbia with Anziano Harris. We went to do a few pass backs in this one zone where we found a few potential investigators a few days earlier but we didn't have any success finding them and some were home but didn't answer the door. We were stopping nearly everyone the we saw on the streets (I'm so grateful that the car is gone, I'm starting to become a pro at street contacting and getting numbers - it's a huge testimony builder that the Lord strengthens our  weaknesses). In the end, we were not having too much success. We went to a few palazzi to do some house to house and the last door we knocked on a man told us to wait a second. When he opened the door Anziano Harris said that we were missionaries and that we were bringing a message about Christ and that we wanted to share it with him. He said alright and invited us inside. As we were walking in he changed his mind and said to come back another time. I was a little bummed, and as Anziano Harris started walking away I used my Sherlock Holmes skills to find clues. I looked inside his house and saw two newborn twins in car seats on the coach. I learned how to be very persistent from the assistants when we had our split, so I decided to put into practice.  Pretty much everything I said after this was completely lead by the Spirit. I first told him that we weren't Jehovah Witnesses, and that immediately took the weirdness away (it works well to say that) and right away I began teaching him truths about the family at the door and how we can live with our families forever, etc. He was really listening intently and again (knowing that we weren't J.W.'s, invited us in his home. We sat at the table and began getting to know him a little bit. He is a really young guy named Leonardo, married, with two new babies. It was also quite the coincidence because he has a really good friend living in California (where I'm from obviously), and a friend in Idaho (where Anziano Harris is from). We asked if we could began with a prayer and he was down for it. After that we taught completely relying on the Spirit. We didn't teach him the entire first lesson, just the parts that seemed to be the best for him at this time without overloading him with a ton of new stuff. We taught him a lot about the Book of Mormon and it all seemed to make sense to him. During the lesson he talked about an experience he had. He is a very religious guy, and of the Catholic faith. He took his two babies to be baptized, but while the ceremony was taking place he said he didn't have a good feeling about it and didn't like how the Catholic church worked. He said that their priests and other leaders shouldn't be men of God and wear gold, silver, and other expensive and flashy clothing. He also said more but I don't want to get into too much detail but to say the least he felt that the Catholic church didn't have all the truth. He said something that was perfect: "Today in the world it's hard to find all the truth." Immediately I opened the Book of Mormon to the most commonly used missionary scripture in Moroni 10. I asked him to read it and when he finished I bore my testimony to him. It seemed to really hit him. We asked if we could meet with him again and he said of course. He wasn't sure at what time he was free but we got his number and once we fix another appointment he will officially be a new investigator. It was such a cool experience with being led by the Spirit and listening to it's promptings. I have a lot of faith in Leonardo and he seems to be one of the elite! I've been prayer to find and baptize families! I think this is the answer. 

Last Thursday wasn't anything way special. We went to a recent converts home and helped him build this huge cabinet/closet/bed frame thing, so that was kind of fun. I love eating with him because he went to school to become a cook, therefore he makes good food. The only problem is that he has this huge, fat, stinky, old dog that likes to breathe on my food waiting for me to give him some food that I will never give. 

Friday was awesome. We did a full day of splits with the assistants! I was with Anziano Banks and it went so well. He was a week away from finishing his mission, so he knows missionary work in Italia! He taught me so much about how to get new investigators and it was amazing to see how much people you can find in one day. He also had a lot of little tricks he liked to do that actually worked and altogether I learned so much. During some finding work we actually found one of our investigator, Agostina's, nieces named Martina who agreed to meet with us! I wish the assistants could have stayed longer, but I'm grateful for their decision to work with us for a little while. 

Sunday was a bit crazy! All of the youth on Sardegna was doing a youth activity at the Branca house, and we had all of them and some parents in church. The Olbia chapel isn't a church building, kind of a little shop turned into a church. It's way small. Well we had about 50 people in this little broom cupboard, and some of us had to sit on primary chairs one foot off the ground. It was awesome to see that many people, but it was so crowded! After church we had a big lunch altogether and we all had fun together. 

On Monday we went to Sassari for a little district meeting and Anziano Harris and I came back to Olbia (about four hours of train riding). It was kind of cool, on our way to a teaching appointment these boys were playing soccer and one kid kicked it hard and it flew past one kid straight towards us. They yelled for me to kick the ball back to them, and I was super nervous, afraid that I wouldn't kick it well enough and ruin our good missionary name based on my lack of skill with soccer. Luckily, I kicked it and it flew right back to the kid. He was impressed and ran up to give me a handshake. He said something about how he didn't know J.W.'s could play soccer and we quickly cleared that up that we weren't them. It was way funny and I'm glad I didn't mess up!

That night we had FHE with the Mazzone's agian, and it was a blast, as usual. I was a little nervous though because it was all a mess of seafood dishes. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it and I'm excited to go try Bubba Gump Shrimp and Red Lobster back in the States.

Well that's the awesome week! Other than that I taught the beginning English course class for the first time and it was pretty difficult but I had fun! Things are going really good over here in Olbia. Are mission goal for the next few weeks is to find a bunch of new investigators before the holidays when it's hard to find new ones when they are all busy. We are working hard and we'll see baptisms soon! 

Thank you all so much for your prayers and your support! I couldn't do it without you all! 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. Take care and have a fantastic week! I love you and miss you so much! Vi voglio benissimo! 

Con grande affetto, 

Anziano Clay Lacey

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cinque mese nella missione!‏

Buona sera! We had a great p-day! We went to a beautiful island called La Madalena, just off the coast of Sardegna. The assistants spent the day with us and on Friday they want to do splits with us, so I'm very excited because I know I'm going to learn a lot from them. We took a bus around the island, and then decided that we wanted to go hiking in the rocks. We went to a Chinese store (they have sweet deals and they are kind of like thrift shops) and we got some sweet 'hook ups' because Anziano Banks speaks Chinese. We bought new outfits since we came to the island in our suits, and we had a blast and even played a little bit of two on two soccer in a mini soccer field. It was such a fun day!
Well I might have to keep this letter a little short. Our usual Internet point that we go to is closed for a little while and we get a deal from the Pakistani men who own it, and this other spot we are in is pretty pricey, so we'll see! This week was great! I'm trying to remember details because I usually prepare points to write about when I come to the Internet point, but I haven't prepared anything today! So here it goes:
Our investigators are doing great! The Tache family is doing a lot better. They came to church this week so we were very excited to have them their. They have also been a fountain of referrals, especially since here daughter and son-in-law seem really interested to hear about the gospel. It's still been a pain trying to get out their to see them, but we finally met the husband and he greeted us with big hugs, so that was cool. The Tache's have been seeing a lot of blessings and they are very grateful for them. We haven't been able to see Marissa yet. We had an appointment with her, and we walked an hour and twenty minutes to get there, but her daughter said she wasn't home, so that was a little disappointing. But the most disappointing thing was as we were writing her a little note to leave in the mailbox to say that we stopped by, we saw a window open and it was her. So we don't know what to think about that. We get our car back on Monday I think, so we will try to see her again. It's been impossible to see Agostina and her family since they live in Calangianus, but we have the assistants with us on Friday for splits so we will see her again then.
Ignazio Mazzone is doing well! He came to church again this Sunday and it was great to see him all dressed up in a suit. We stopped by their house to drop off some dishes that they gave us and we talked to his family a bit while he was getting dressed in the bedroom. His wife said that he has already stopped drinking and that they do scripture study everyday together as a couple. We are just trying to figure out what to do to start getting him to listen to the lessons! His wife said that she will talk to him about it so we are just waiting for that now. After he came out we taught their whole family a lesson and it went well. I'm still praying hard for him! All he needs to do is listen to the missionary lessons and he can be baptized! It was really cool, his wife, Sorella Mazzone just got called to be the Gospel Principles teacher so it was really cool listening to her teach to her husband mostly. We'll see some big miracles here soon!
Monday was a little crazy. We wanted to do district meeting, but didn't want the Sassari Anziani to come to Olbia because they had been traveling for days, so we took the train to Sassari. During the ride we had to make a switch onto another train, and in the process of that the phone slipped out of my pocket and I didn't realize it. On this other train a police officer came up to where we were sitting, and asked me to take out my phone. I thought that was extremely strange and right away that movie, Source Code, that we saw before I left popped into my head. I was scarred to death when I didn't have it and then he said that we left it on the other train, but that it will be in Sassari in a few hours to pick up. So we were phone-less for a bit.
We then met up with the Sassari Anziani at the train station and I met Anziano Hill from the same city that Six Flags is at. I think it's Valencia..?  Anyways, we had a great time traveling through SassariSassari (since he's not from Olbia). It was a fun day!
After we got back from Sassari we had an appointment to have family home evening with some members of the branch, and of course, they fed us, but while we were on the train we got a call from the Mazzone familgia that they wanted to have us over for their FHE also (and of course we couldn't pass that up since Ignazio was going to be there). In the end, we had two very huge dinners. I thought I was going to explode! It was so much fun being with the Mazzone's! Like usual. It's now a habit that every time we come over, their six year old daughter Laura, gives me a little lesson in Italian grammar of the things she is learning in school. She is so funny! And brutally honest when I make a mistake.
Yesterday we did a lot of finding work. We went to visit a former investigator from other Anziani in the past named Angela who is from Brazil. Her whole family is members of the church there, and she was very excited to see us. Her brother is coming to visit her soon, and said that they will be going to church together this week, so we are excited about that. We also knocked on a few houses and found some people that might be interested, but hopefully for the right reason. It was an apartment full of young women in their twenties, and they told us to come back, so it's a little sketchy. We will have to bring a member for sure! But one lady said she was really interested so we'll see!
English course is alright, we're just hoping to get an investigator from it soon. The numbers are dwindling, but there are a few people that might be interested in the Gospel, so we are keeping our fingers crossed!
Well that was basically the week! We are trying to be more productive, and overcome one of our biggest weaknesses, which is street contacting. It just gets so awkward at times, but it's what you're supposed to do, so it's my goal to overcome my fear of it during this transfer. So far so good! Besides people shrugging you off, but that's life as a missionary at times! Oh well!
I want to share a cool scripture that really hit me this week. It's Helaman 3:29-30:
-29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—  -30 And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.
I love this little passage of scripture. It uses some very detailed imagery and wording to express how important and significant it is to study the scriptures, and to "lay hold upon the word of God." This promises to us that if we study the scriptures, we will be protected against the adversary, and that we will LAND our souls in the kingdom of heaven. How powerful is that!? Of course these are things that you already know, but it's always good to get a little bit of reinforcement to back us up!

As far as the language goes, it's coming along! I'm working my butt off so that I have it down this transfer. I'm still having troubling speaking it a little bit, but "piano, piano" it's getting better. I'm excited for when you all get to hear me speak it next month!

Well to wrap this up I love you all tons! 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. Vi voglio bene! State bravi! Un abraccio! Take care and have a great week!
A presto,
Anziano Clay Lacey

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trasferimento #3: Un'altro a Olbia!!!‏

Buon Giorno la mia famiglia!!!
Tutto - Castle at Posado
Castle at Posado
We got the transfer calls, and Anziano Vitali and I are doing another one together in Olbia! We are both really excited and have set some high goals so that we WILL see baptisms this transfer. I can't believe that towards the end of this next transfer I will have six months down! I don't want to think about time... I might have to extend it to three years just FYI.

Things are going great here! We've had an interesting week with a few troubles but it always turned out good in the end. The heavenly virtue of patience has been needed! 

To kick this one off with the progress of our investigators. The Tache's have had a bit of a set back. They didn't come to church this week, and they have not wanted to see us very often. We've seen Iona more, but Ionel hardly at all because of his new job.

 The family that we found from Calangianus is doing great! They are called the Savigni family. We stopped by their house and met Agostina's husband for the first time, and he seemed great! He was also excited to see us and it sounded like Agostina had been talking a lot about us to him. We set up an appointment to see them this Friday, and we are trying to get her to read the Book of Mormon! We are really excited to see them again and we have high hopes for their awesome family! As far as Marissa goes, we will see her tomorrow, and we are really praying hard and preparing for this next lesson. Hopefully we can start seeing her more often than once a week about. 

On Saturday we went to Sassari for the Halloween party. It was a ton of fun, but Anziano Vitali and I were nervous the whole time as we waited for transfer calls that didn't come until 10 o'clock that night! As you have seen from Alessio's facebook, and according to your emails, yes, we were smurfs. Smurfs are really popular here in Italy apparently, and we decided it would be funny to be them. Also, in Italian, smurfs are called puffi, so we thought it was even funnier according to our little sense of humor! We had a ton of fun and ate some interesting food! Halloween in Italy is definitely not the same though. For example, nothing really happens on the 31st, but on November 1st everyone goes to the cemeteries to visit their dead relatives. It's definitely a national holiday because nearly everyone was off work. We went the cemetery just to see what it was like and it was packed! We then went to see one of our potential investigators named Giuseppe who was selling flowers near the cemetery for the mad rush. Then, on the 2nd of this month, the children (in the morning) do their trick-or-treating. It's weird because they don't dress up and it's clear daylight out. 

Sunday was a bit of a nightmare for me. Church was great, we went to Calangianus to do more work which was great, but we ran into some interesting people. While walking to Agostina's house, this woman with her two dogs came up to us and asked if she could talk to us for a minute. We said of course and then she then began to express her frustration because somebody forgot to close a gate and now there was a cow on the loose and she was afraid for her dogs safety. After about five minutes of venting she asked who we were. We gave her the spill, and she asked a very interesting question that I had never heard before, and that I thought I would never be asked on my mission. She asked if animals will be in heaven after we die. She then expressed her frustration again because the catholic priests told her that animals are damned because they can't be baptized and saved. We told her that even animals have spirits and that heaven wouldn't be heaven if we didn't have the people we love, even the pets we love also. I should have referred her to the movie, "All Dogs Go to Heaven." It would probably explain it more clearly. Well, we got into a classic gospel discussion, and she invited us to her house which was close by. We walked there and met her parents. Now, I want to be completely honest and descriptive as possible. I was a beyond a little nervous to go there, mainly because the lady wasn't entirely on the normal side. I couldn't imagine her home life too. Well her mom was 82 years old, and her dad was 93 and missing all of his teeth. I couldn't understand a word he said. The lady and her mom would yell back and forth about everything because they were having a bit of a communication problem. The dogs were running all over the house, it smelled funny, the old man was doing something funny with his lip, and the t.v. was on the highest volume possible yet, the yells of the two women surpassed the talk show on the t.v. until their voices broke the sound barrier and permanently scarred my eardrums. It was miserable. We managed to reach a calmer setting and get the yelling stopped with the t.v. turned down a bit and taught them a little lesson. Don't get me wrong, they were super nice, but it was just a comical setting. After we closed with a prayer and barely escaped from staying for dinner, I saw the old lady kiss Anziano Vitali. Now, I noticed the younger lady, that she had somewhat of a mustache that was thicker than uncle Lance's, but I didn't notice the old lady until she was pulling me in to embrace me for the kisses. Her face was covered in long, white hairs that poked and rubbed against my cheeks. Ewww. And then her daughter came in with the mustache, and her lips that had just smoked three cigarettes in the duration of the time we were there touched my cheeks too. It was a nightmare! After we left the house we sprinted to a bar and washed our cheeks in the bathroom. I tell you this so that my sufferings can give you a little laugh. 

After that we had a bit of bad luck for the next 24 hours. On our way home from Calangianus, Anziano Vitali turned the car and the power steering was acting funny, so he pulled over (at a spot that was extremely unsafe with traffic). He turned off the car for some reason, but it wouldn't turn back on. Great. We were broke down. Luckily, Claudio Branca was on his way back from Olbia dropping off his girlfriend, and after an hour of waiting for him he tried to see what was the problem. He couldn't figure it out so we at least pushed the car to a safer location and he gave us a ride home. President Branca is a mechanic so he's taking care of the car, but he says it won't be done until the end of this week. So we are car-less. When we woke up on Monday morning we didn't have any water, so we worked with the landlord for about an hour to fix it and to see what was wrong. After we figured that out our power was out, and had to figure that out and lost another hour. Things were a little crazy and stressful but we managed to get through it. It wasn't turning out to be the greatest Halloween! 

A member of the branch called us and needed some help at her store, so we went and worked there picking up refrigerators and other heavy devices until we were flat out exhausted. Neither Anziano Vitali nor I were in the greatest of moods. Well we received a call from sister Mazzone in our ward and she invited us over for dinner and family home evening. Now she is the one who's husband is a non-member but has just started going to church. We had an amazing night with them, and I have never felt closer to the feeling of being with you guys than I have when I'm with them. We played games, laughed at funny stories, and were taught an amazing lesson about trust. Her husband is such a great man, and I know he's going to join the church. I'm praying that he is my first baptism on the mission. Heavenly Father is definitely preparing his family to be together forever! It's such a beautiful thing, and I would ask that you all to include the Mazzone family in your prayers so that we can see them enter the temple and be sealed for eternity! Che bella!!! Miracoli ci sono! 

Well this was the week! It's going so good and I'm loving it. I'm having the biggest spiritual journey of my life, I'm having way too much fun, and I'm making some eternal friends. Who wouldn't want to serve a mission? Ya, you give a few things up for a little while, but you gain so much more! I'm too lucky to be serving here at this time. Wow. Well, I wish you all the best! Grazie per i vostri esempi per me! Vi voglio bene! Vi amo! Prego per voi ogni giorno! Alla prossima!

Con amore, 

Anziano Clay Lacey