Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ciao from Sassari!

Hey guys!
I'm glad Alessio told you but yes, I'm moving all the way to Sassari! I thought it was a joke at first but nope! Not going to lie, at first I was a little worried because of how close it is and I was looking forward to an experience completely new and different, but now I'm really excited for it.
Well I'm officially all moved in to Sassari! I love the apartment! I think the thing I love the most about it though is the shower. I know that it completely random, but it has a sweet high-tech shower with water massages in it. Che bella! Anyways, the craziness of packing and moving is done, and I am finally settled in!
I want to share a cool feeling. As I exited the train with my luggage this morning, I really felt the mantle fall on me that this is wear the Lord wants me, and that I have a responsibility here at this time. In the missionary handbook it says, "You represent the Lord in this area and are responsible for obtaining His direction in carrying out your assignment and blessing the people there". These words came into my mind and I really felt that this inspired call from president is true. It's hard to explain in words, but I hope you can get what I'm trying to express!
Moving back in time a little bit, this week was busy with us getting ready for the baptism of Ignazio. It was a bit stressful at first because we came back so late from Cagliari, but we managed to set up the portable font, and make sure that it worked. Ignazio was so cool throughout the whole time leading up to his baptism. When we set the first date he seemed a little scarred and worried, but this week he was calm and tranquil. On Saturday, the day of the baptism, we got everything ready, and people started to show up.
On a side story we have kind of dropped a long time investigator. He doesn't want anything to do with the church anymore, and hasn't made any progress, unlike his wife. Well when they showed up, he was drunk. He was acting really weird, and I was worried that he was going to do something at this baptism which is supposed to be a very spiritual experience. I prayed hard that Heavenly Father would help us find a way to either get him out of there, or find some other solution. Ten minutes before the baptismal service started, we decided to take him on a little walk to help him sober up without offending him in some way. As we circled back to the church the cool air helped him get his senses back, and we were all good. He was good and nice and quiet the whole time so my prayer was answered.
Another prayer was answered that night too. We invited someone to the baptism service, and I prayed with all my heart that he would come and see. When he showed up I was relieved with happiness, and I was so grateful to the Lord. (He reads this blog so he knows who he is!)
Finally, my prayer for this baptismal service to go well was answered. There was such a strong Spirit there, invited by Ignazio's mother in law, Sorella Urtis (first member in Olbia baptized) and I can feel that every heart there was touched. I had the opportunity to be a witness of the baptism. Fratello Murgia said the baptismal prayer with power, and it was truly amazing to see Ignazio exit the water washed from sins. The Lord put me here in Olbia to see that moment!
After us as missionaries taught a lesson on finding happiness, Ignazio and Fratello Murgia came in and Sorella Mazzone bore her testimony. She used to think that Ignazio would never enter the gospel, and that this was one of the most beautiful moments in her life. I really felt power when Ignazio stood up to bear his testimony. From when I first met him to when I saw him at that moment, I know that the conversion power and process is real. He used the word of how he is "embracing" the gospel and the scriptures and talked about how much this has helped him be closer to his wife, and then he started crying and talked about how much closer he is with his young daughter. He also personally thanked us as missionaries for teaching him. Not going to lie, I was in tears! When talking about it later Iona said that he was definitely speaking with the power of the Holy Ghost. Indeed he was.
After the baptism we all went back to the Mazzone's house for pizza where we recieved our transfer calls. They were sad that I was to go, but happy that I would still be so close. Fratello Murgia and his wife frm Sassari were happy though! It was funny because before the baptism his wife was joking around that she hopes me or Anziano Vitali will come to Sassari. I got the lucky straw! I'm excited to work with Fratello Murgia as he's the ward mission leader here in Sassari.
On Sunday I was scared to death to give him the blessing and to add on top of that, president decided that since I was to give him the Holy Ghost that it would be a good idea to give me a speaking assignment for fifteen minutes on that topic one day in advance! I was nervous. The blessing went good though. It wasn't absolutely perfect Italian, but It was just what Ignazio needed and I really felt the Spirit working through me.
After all of this spiritual hype, saying goodbye to everyone wasn't fun at all. You know me, I get attached easily, and goodbye's aren't the easiest for me. It wasn't a "forever" goodbye though because I have the chance to do some splits there in Olbia still! I love the people of Olbia, Italia with all my heart!
Well I'm here in Sassari! As Anziano Harris left he said that the work here is the best as he's ever seen it in his six months here so I definitely got lucky! Prepare yourselves to see more pictures of people in white because I'm a "baptizing missionary!" I got one under my belt so I'm addicted now! But on a serious note, I am so excited for this new transfer, and I know I will love it here, because I trust my mission president, and above all, I trust my Father in Heaven. I love you Dad, I love you Mom, I love you Morgan, I love you Brooke, I love you Heather, I love you Greg. Thank you for your examples to me. I could do nothing with your support! Vi voglio tanto bene! Vi amo! Alla prossima!
Con amore,
Anziano Clay Lacey

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The site went over 3,000 views today!


Hey guys!

I'm glad Alessio told you but yes, I'm moving all the way to Sassari! I thought it was a joke at first but nope! Not going to lie, at first I was a little discouraged because of how close it is and I was looking forward to an experience completely new and different, but now I'm really excited for it. We'll see how things go with my new companion. It will be Anziano Hill, he's nice, and a real jokester.
Baptism of Fratello Mazzone (left) by Fratello Murgia 1/21/12
The baptism went great! There was such a strong Spirit there. The man who baptized him, Fratello Murgia, who baptized Ignazio (who also will be my ward mission leader in Sassari) really brought the Spirit when he baptized Ignazio. It was also really touching to hear him and his wife bear testimony at the end of the service. I am so glad I was able to stay in Olbia for four transfers to see that! He used the words "embracing" the gospel and the scriptures and talked about how much this has helped him be closer to his wife, and then he started crying and talked about how much closer he is with his daughter. He also personally thanked us as missionaries for teaching him. On Sunday I was scarred to death to give him the blessing and President decided that since I was to give him the Holy Ghost that it would be a good idea to give me a speaking assignment for twenty minutes on that topic one day in advance! I was nervous. The blessing went good though. It wasn't perfect Italian, but It was just what Ignazio needed and I really felt the Spirit working through me. 
Mazzone Famiglia with Fratello Murgia
Preparing the baptismal font
Well I don't have a lot of time, things are really tight because of these transfers. I will write back in more detail as soon as I can. I love you all so much! I miss you all tons. I Love you Dad, I love you Mom, I love you Morgan, I love you Brooke, I love you Heather, I love you Greg. Take care!!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ciao from Cagliari!‏

Buon Giorno!
Hey guys! Well we got some pretty crazy information last week after p-day. Anziano Vitali had to make a quick trip to Lecce on the mainland to pick up this document called a "permesso" for permission to live here in the country. To make this flight plan cheaper the assistants plotted out this crazy journey for him to take and it started out with us leaving Sunday afternoon for Cagliari. Anziano Vitali flew alone to Rome where he took other flights and met up with other Anziani on the mainland on Monday, and I am here doing a three day trio with the Anziani here in Cagliari! It's been so much fun! Anziano Vitali comes back tonight at about seven and we will take the train back to Olbia tomorrow morning. The only thing that stinks a bit is that we haven't been in Olbia for a very important week before Ignazio's baptism!
Ignazio is doing great though! He had his baptismal interview on Saturday with Anziano Harris and he said it was a great spiritual experience. Other than that we have been preparing him for baptism. (Now I'm in Olbia and continuing this email) We saw him last night by surprise and he was very happy to see us. He told us that while we were gone he went to his parents house and announced to his family that he will be baptized. It was funny because his sister thought that him and his wife were going to have another baby. Ignazio said that his family is really happy for him and that they are going to come to the baptism.

We haven't seen anyone else really because of being gone all week but the Tache's are excited to come to the baptism and hopefully it will get them excited and help them get a desire to do the things necessary to go forward with their baptisms. 

The split in Cagliari was great! We spoke pretty much only Italian so I feel that my language skills have been improving, and I learned a lot from Anziano Errante. I also created a pretty strong friendship with Anziano Longhurst. To me he is one of the greatest examples of being a good missionary. We were walking to an appointment and he mentioned that he needed to shine his shoes. I looked down at my feet and also expressed how I needed to polish mine too. The next day we were walking somewhere else and I looked down at my shoes and noticed how shiny they were. I supposed that it was just the lighting because it was dark but when we returned home I knew that he had shined my shoes for me. I found an opportunity to thank him and was really impressed by his Christ likeness. He then told me that he had shined a companion's shoes every week and he hadn't noticed. To still be doing that little act of service without a "thank-you" is really impressive. 

On Tuesday I had the opportuniy to meet some really amazing people. We taught three lessons to three different men from Nigeria who speak English and no Italian, so I had a great time teaching in English. The first lesson we went to see a man named Progress who is friends with a recent convert here in Cagliari named Jackson who is also from Nigeria. Well after we taught a very spiritual but quick first lesson with Jackson there too we found out from Jackson that this man Progress is a refugee from Libia. On the boat ride to Italy from Libia his boat was hit by a bomb. On this boat full of people was him, his wife, and his small daughter. The boat split in half and threw him and his wife apart. His daughter was in his arms but because of the force of the bomb he lost his daughter from his arms in the water and never saw her again. Eventually him and his wife were reunited again but they lost their only child. There are so many people here in Italy with stories like this and it's amazing to see how strong people become after these trials and hardships. 

Later we taught a lesson to another refugee named Ebenezer. This was a way cool experience for me as a missionary. I've never really tried to memorize the first vision in English, and before the lesson I was trying to see if I could translate it (since me and Anziano Vitali made sure we had it down in Italian weeks ago) but I couldn't really do it so I decided that we'd just read it. In the lesson it got time for the first vision and I had the feeling that I should go ahead and try saying it. It came out perfect surprisingly! Anziano Longhurst later commented on the spirit that it brought from reciting it so I'm grateful for the help I received from the Spirit. I know it's a little weird because the gift of tongues worked a little backwards this time!

The third lesson we taught was to a man named Kebe that me and Anziano Vitali found in Olbia and gave him as a referral to the Cagliari Anziani a few months ago. He was very Happy to see me and the lesson went well! 

I ate the most interesting thing ever. We went to this member, Jackson's house for Lunch and there we ate a traditional African dish called fu-fu. It's basically a gump of flour and water mixed together, and then you take a piece from it and dip it into some sauce and swallow it without chewing. It was very interesting but a fun experience to try new things. 

Well we've got a lot of things to do today so I'm out of time! I can't wait to write you all to let you know how the baptism went! Also, we'll have our transfer calls! 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! Have a great week! Vi voglio un mondo di bene! A presto!

Con affetto, 

Anziano Clay Lacey

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sete mesi nella missione!!!‏

Carissma Familgia, 

Buon giorno tutti! 

Hey guys! How are you all doing? Things are going great here in Olbia! It's been quite the week! 

On Wednesday we went all the way to Cagliari by train- phew... long ride! We got there pretty late and ate some great homemade pizza with the Anziani there. In the morning we piled in the car and went to the church building for zone conference! It was awesome to see Presidente Kelly again and this time we had our interviews with him which was great! He is such a great man and I am so lucky that I have him as a mission president. The trainings we had went great and we went over more approaches we could do to find more people. I also really enjoyed this zone conference because it was the first one of 2012 so we did a lot of preparation and goal setting for improving ourselves as missionaries. Overall it was really great! Thursday night we hopped on the train and took the long ride all the way back to Olbia.

Friday was awesome! My very first week here in the mission we found a lady named Grazia doing house. We taught a lesson to her and it didn't go so well because she was studying with the Jehovah Witnesses and basically wouldn't listen to anything about the Book of Mormon. When we tried to set up a new appointment she was not interested at all but said that we could stop by every once and a while to say hi. Well we only visited her once more after that and she was kind of a lost hope. On Friday we were walking and at the same time my companion and I thought that we should go pay her a little visit. We went over to her house and she was very happy to see us. She had thought that we went back to America because we hadn't been there in so long. She let us in and we sat and talked for awhile and got to know her a lot better than we did the last time. We even learned that her daughter lives in New Orleans! She gave me probably the best compliment on my Italian language speaking abilities that I have ever received in the mission so far-especially because I had met her my first week there so that gave me a great emotional boost! Anyways, after the chat I wanted to teach her a lesson so bad so I asked if I could share a little message from the Bible. She is in love with the Bible, just like a good Italian is! I shared a part of Matthew 6 with the Sermon on the Mount and she loved the spiritual thought so much! That got us talking about the Gospel even more and she became more receptive to the doctrines of our church. In the end she invited us to come back again, and to even eat dinner with her and her son this Sunday! I am really happy and glad to see how the Spirit works in different ways. It takes time! Pray for her so that she will continue to make progress!

With that we have started preparing for Ignazio's baptism! He is doing really great. On Saturday Alessio came down to Olbia to come to lessons with us and we started the first steps for the baptism on the 21st. Ignazio asked a member from Sassari that really inspired him to do the baptismal ordinance, and I'm honored because he asked me to give him the Holy Ghost and to confirm him a member on the Sunday after. I'm a little nervous but excited as this being my first experience to do this! Lots of things do to but he is definitely ready. I'm really excited for him!

Iona is doing great! Well, there were a few tough things she's gone through in the past little bit, but we just heard from her today and it looks like she might have found a good, set job! She is doing all she can to find a place to live by herself so that she can get baptized. It is impossible to describe how bad she wants it and she's willing to do anything. She is getting a lot closer to the members and we are bringing them to lessons with her so that she can get to know them each personally. Things are going great and we might even be planning her baptism here soon too! Who knows!

Okay... Mamma mia... On Sunday I really saw how much I love this branch by how much I saw it hurt. We've been working on activating this less-active family that left because of a fight. The fight happened even before I came, and still this sister would not let it go. It was a victory when she came to church a few times, and then we were beyond happy when she brought the whole family! Well it was testimony meeting on Sunday, and she was there, and she went overboard on her "testimony" as she expressed herself over the pulpit... I learned a lot from this experience that I saw. It is so important to forgive others and to simply let things go. Overall we mustn't let little things get to us so bad! I love this branch so much and all I want for it is to grow so the members can feel the blessings of a ward someday.

Sunday ended in a happier note as we went to Calangianus to do some work and find some referrals. After that we celebrated Claudio Branca'sAnziani from Sassari were coming that morning for district conference and it was a huge mess. I don't like these kind of details but I was running to the bathroom a lot! Well I guess it wasn't food poisoning because I was out the door and doing missionary work by 5 o'clock so I have no idea what it was! Weird!
Corsica (France) from Olbia (Italy)
Golfo Aranci

Tuesday was a lot of fun and we had a little Family Home Evening with the Mazzone family again. After that Ignazio gave us a ride to the train station to pick up the Anziani from Cagliari because they were coming to check up on the cleanliness of our apartment, spend p-day together, and to do splits. Let me tell you, the missionaries, Anziano Errante (native Italian from the north) and Anziano Longhurst (from Springville, Utah) are some of my favorite elders that I've met in the field so far! We had so much fun together! On p-day we all went to the beautiful city of Golfo Aranci and did this beautiful hike to see some beaches and finally go to the top of this mountain where we saw the French Island of Corsica. I think it's where Napoleon was born. Anyways, at the tops of this little peninsula shaped thing was the mountain where there was an abandoned building that was used to make one of the first telegram calls back in the early 1900's! It was a beautiful hike altogether. We were trying to beat the sun so we could see Corsica so me and Anziano Vitali literally ran up the mountain (he is also a French citizen and has never seen France so he was determined to see it)!

Well that was pretty much the week! Things are going so good here! I can't wait until the baptism here soon! I am glad that you are all doing so good. Keep up the hard work in school and work! 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. Take care and have a great week! Vi voglio un mondo di bene!!!

Con Amore, 

Anziano Clay Lacey

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Buon Giorno!

Buon Giorno!

Hey guys!  It seems like I haven't heard from you all for awhile! I'm glad that everyone is doing great! I've had a pretty good week, not much has been going on as we have been trying to work around all of these holidays. Finally they are over! We also had a full day of cleaning that took up a bunch of time this week-but our house looks amazing! We switched up the furniture a bit so we can have our studies in a room that has heating. I have been in Olbia FOREVER since I've now been through two of the twice a year cleaning days. Mamma mia!

This has been a good week though. It has been difficult to see investigators, but we have managed to see the Tache family and Ignazio quite a bit. We did a lesson in church with him and Alessio there where we talked about the Book of Mormon and then we watched The Testaments together which he really enjoys. He still feels good about his baptismal date for the 21st of this month. I am so excited! We met with the Tache's a few times and she had her daughter and son-in-law come to the lesson. He seemed really interested in the gospel and he wants to meet with us again and talk about it some more. So we're pretty excited!

Oh, Anziano Vitali and I saw one of the most beautiful sites a missionary could see yesterday. We have a potential investigator that is dating one of our members and he's been to church a few times. He owns a little flower shop near the cemetery, and as we were on our way to Posada by bus, we looked out the window and saw him reading The Book of Mormon! It was so cool! We have been trying to talk to him about the gospel but nothing has sunk in yet but we found out that his mother just passed away a few weeks before Christmas so it looks like he might be finding comfort in the Book of Mormon. We'll see!

We had a neat experience a few days ago. We were doing house in a new zone and then this older couple let us in! They were really nice and told us that they had spoken with the missionaries in the past, and they even had them over for dinner! We taught them a lesson because they didn't remember anything that the elders had said to them before. They really liked the doctrines of the church, and told us to stop by again some time, so we'll see how that goes!

Well New Years was interesting. We did absolutely nothing! The rule for the mission is that we needed to be in the house by six o'clock, so that's what we did. I was happy though because I had the chance to finish Il Libro di Mormon out loud before the year ended! It was a really cool experience to finish it in a second language for the first time. We went to bed on time, but we were woken up by everyone outside who were blowing up fireworks and doing the usual fun New Years stuff. Italians go a little crazy on New Years! There were a bunch of clubs set up all over the place for teenagers to go celebrate, and people were getting a little antsy and blowing things up in the streets before it was actually midnight. It was a good thing we were in our house at six! Anyways, Happy New Year! Woo, 2012!

On New Years Day we went to church and the members all looked exhausted because it started at nine like usual. After that we went and visited members and had a great time with Giuseppe Deiana and his family trying different kinds of Italian and Belgium chocolates. Mmm!

Yesterday a member was walking with us down the street because we had no idea where to go to buy month long bus tickets so he was showing us. As we were walking we passed this little old woman who had a huge pile of wood outside her home and she was bringing them in one by one and she looked very tired. Well we took of our coats and began helping her. She was very sweet and very grateful that we helped.

Well I'm sorry this email is so short! We are going to Cagliari today for Zone Conference tomorrow so we don't have a ton of time! I'm way excited to see president and the other missionaries!

I hope you all have a great week! 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, I love you Greg! Take care and be safe! You are always in my prayers! Vi voglio tanto bene!

Con affetto, 

Anziano Clay Lacey