Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It's been too long!

I feel the same way! A week and a half feels like forever to write back!
Well I'm doing great and I'm glad that you are all well too. The trip to
Rome was a ton of fun, and I definitely learned a lot of useful things from
I'll start off with how the conference went. After our p-day with Olbia we
took the train all the way down to Cagliari. Turns out that train ride was
more expensive and longer than our flight! Well after a stressful drive
from the train station to the airport (it was carnival week here in Italy
and lots of partying) we got to the airport and took about a 45 minute
plane ride into Rome. We got picked up by the assistants and stayed at the
Rome 2 apartment. It was so awesome meeting new missionaries. In the
morning we got up and took a bus to the mission office/Rome 2 Ward
building. There I saw a ton of missionaries I knew from the MTC, some I met
in the field, and we had an awesome time talking and catching up. I felt
very loved because being on the mainland my MTC group has seen each other
around, and they all greeted me and gave me hugs like a friend abandoned
and cast away on some far away island. Now I'm just kidding, but it was
great to see some friends, especially Anziano Decker who is now in a city
close to Napoli.
Elder Teixera was so awesome! He gave a great training and it really
inspired me to work harder. He was so full of love, and really stressed on
the need for us to find new investigators. Statistically our mission
average for finding new investigators isn't the greatest, and he promised
that if we worked harder and had more faith, we would see an improvement in
every aspect of our work. Well me and Anziano Hill have been putting that
to the test and we have been extremely blessed. Our numbers are already
twice as good as the week before, and we are only a two and a half days
The Sardegnian guys were the last to leave the conference so I got to meet
a lot of people after. We got taken to the airport right away, so I didn't
see anything really that cool around Roma, but that's okay, I will
eventually. The flight back was good, and then we went to Cagliari, ate a
pizza, and went to bed. The next morning we hopped back on the train for
Sassari. Let's just say that all that traveling- bus, train, car, plane,
etc. was really tiring! We were dead by the time we got home.
The remaining course of the week was filled with us helping out some
members who's house had burnt up about two years ago. It's hard to describe
but I'll be sure to send pictures! It was basically very ashy, and messy.
You'll see.
Well we haven't been able to meet with any of our investigators for awhile.
Adhemar has been busy working for his driver's licence (getting the
driver's licence here in Italy is a nightmare it seems like), we had
to stop seeing one, and Maddalena is always hard to meet with because
she goes to Cagliari and works a ton. We do have an appointment set to
see Adhemar tomorrow so we are really excited for that. We saw him on
the bus the other night and had a good talk with him and he is doing
well. This next lesson should be great!
Well like I said before, this week has been amazing so far. Monday
morning we went to go pass back to a few people we found and one of
the ladies let us in. We taught her the first lesson and we got a
return appointment for next Monday! Her name is Marissa; she is an
older lady and super sweet and nice. Tuesday, while on the bus we were
talking to a man named Fabbio and when he saw the Book of Mormon in
our hands he said, "I need you guys to tell me about this book." We
got his address, gave him a copy, and tried to pass by his house. He
was busy then, so we set an appointment for him to meet us in church
this morning, but unfortunately he didn't show. We'll see how it goes.
He is a little particular. I mean, when we gave him the book he kissed
it so that was a bit interesting. But on a better note while we were
waiting for him this guy from English course showed up! It was totally
random but way awesome!
A little back story, this guy's name is Maurizio and he and his
girlfriend showed up to English course last night. He is 21, a singer,
and such a cool guy! After English course we do a spiritual thought
and his girlfriend got freaked out for some reason, so while Anziano
Hill taught the spiritual thought I talked with them out in the hall a
little bit about our church and everything went well. I was a little
worried that they wouldn't come back again, but seeing him this
morning was a huge surprise! He sat down with us, and started sharing
a few things about his past, and said that he wanted to talk to the
leader of our church here in Sassari...
Other than that we have been having good success with finding people.
I've been pretty bad at street contacting lately, but the confidence
is growing back up! Another cool thing, Anziano Hill and I have been
masters at speaking Italian with each other! We hardly speak English,
and our Italian speaking skills are definitely increasing!
A bit of a funny story real quick:
Yesterday morning I mentioned to my companion that it would probably
be a better idea to cross streets at cross walks. He said that I was
too American and that it doesn't matter in this country. Well, on the
same night, we got off the bus, and I headed for the crosswalk. He
walked behind the bus, and as the bus pulled away, the car behind it
started driving forward not paying attention, and hit Anziano Hill. It
wasn't way bad, but I witnessed my companion get hit by a car. To say
the least it was a perfect I told you so moment. I refer you to his
blog were you can get his side of the story. He jokes that it was my
fault because we usually take the number three bus, but I wanted to
take the number one, and then this happened. Just a little good laugh.
I will never let him live this one down!
Well this has been an amazing week so far, and I'm excited to see how
it's going to pan out. I'm so lucky to be here in Sassari and I hope I
do not get transferred, because I've never seen the work here more
better than this. Thank you all so much for your prayers! I definitely
feel them! 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 benissimo!
Anziano Clay Lacey

Friday, February 24, 2012

Più Miracoli!!!

Hey guys!

Well I'm here in Olbia waiting to take the train down to Cagliari so we can take our flight tonight! Things are going good. I probably won't have a ton of time to write today because we are using the computer in the church and there is only one for four missionaries so we'll see. This hasn't been the most eventful week besides with our lesson with Adhemar on Saturday, so it will be quick. 

I'll start from Thursday: In the morning we did some finding work and then in the afternoon we met with some less-actives with one of our members. The whole situation was extremely comical because the member we brought was the fratello with the deep voice and he is very intimidating and also a "box breaker".  Well the father in the household that we went to visit had something wrong with his ear that he wasn't going to get fixed (because I'm guessing that not hearing served him better than hearing in a chaotic environment). Anyways, after us as missionaries taught our lesson (practically yelling) the fratello finished off with a lesson on the importance of coming to church. Hearing him speak on that subject, loud, and with his deep voice would have scared anyone to come back to church! It was way funny and you had to be there!

On Friday the Anziani da Olbia came because Anziano Vitali had to begin renewing his Permesso di Soggiorno to stay in the country for the remaining year of his mission. We did a split and I took him to his appointment and we had a great time together. After serving with each other for almost six months we truly consider ourselves brothers! He is doing a great job as Zone Leader. Well on our way back home Anziano Vitali and I were waiting on the bus and as we were talking Adhemar popped out right in front of us! It was so cool seeing him at random (or was it) and we had a great time talking to him. He said he was excited to meet with us the following day, and we parted ways after we rode the bus for a little while together.

Saturday was fantastic! The lesson we taught didn't go exactly as planned, but it went amazing anyways. The Spirit was definitely there! Well we came prepared to teach the first lesson to his family. When we showed up his family was out and about running errands, cooking, etc, so it was just us for the lesson, until his mother-in-law sat in and joined us later on. Well we didn't have anything planned to teach him right at the moment, or so I thought at first. We decided to just talk about the things we left him to read-which was a ton of stuff! He read everything, and asked great questions. Then his questions became more difficult. He said he had a bit of a problem about an interpretation of the scriptures. He took us to 1 Corinthians 13. When we opened there, I immediately knew that God had prepared me for that moment. At our last Zone Conference President talked a lot about charity. That has been my focus of study for the last while, and I spent about three days of study in this particular chapter, so I knew it pretty well. It says:

 Charity never afaileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whetherthere be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
He then shared that what he learned from the Jehovah Witness teachings is that they say Jesus Christ is the "perfect which shall come" and that when He does, all prophecies, tongues, and other gifts of the Spirit shall be gone away. Well we know that here Paul is only speaking about how important it is to have charity and that even if other things failed, charity would not. It's important to read the whole chapter to go in depth on this. It's really just a simple chapter about the beauty of charity, but it is misinterpreted to something completely different. After we explained this to him I shared that I have a testimony of the gifts of the Spirit. I told him that they were real, and that eight months ago I had never known a word in the Italian language, and now I'm here sitting with him and teaching him these things in that very language. After we shared these things with him he began to get teary-eyed. He told us that that was exactly what he needed to hear. He then proceeded  to share with us some personal stories. He said that he too has a gift through dreams. He told us a few of these experiences that he had when his dreams have helped him out some way in his life. One example of that was when he was back in Bolivia. His cow was lost (and it was very important for them to have it as a valuable source of produce and a way of survival) and that night, after a long day of searching for it, he had a dream of a location he was very familiar with, and saw in his dream that the cow was there. When he woke up in the morning he went to that spot and sure enough the cow was there. Things like this have happened to him several times and he knows they were all help from our Heavenly Father. Well when he began  studying with the Jehovah Witnesses, he shared these experience with them and they referred him to this misinterpretation, and said that since these dreams were only for his benefit they weren't from God, and possible from the devil and that he needed to be careful. He said that those words destroyed him spiritually, and shaked his faith. When we told him that he truly did have this gift, that these things are from God, and that he is literally a child of Him, I can only imagine how good that felt to him, and he gave us his thanks for enlightening him on that subject. He then said he now understands this verse:
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
After we all felt the Spirit very powerfully, bore testimony, and closed the lesson, he introduced us to his family. They are all so cool! He invited us over to stay for lunch, and we had a great time making friendships. Their family reminds me so much of ours! They are so close and love each other a lot. We only met them that day but I felt as close to home as ever when I was there. I will tell you more about them as time goes along, but I have a very good feeling about this family. 
Well I am out of time! I love you all so much and I look forward to writing again soon! Take care and have an awesome week! 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 benissimo! 
Con amore, 
Anziano Clay Lacey

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hey guys!‏

Buon giorno!

I am glad everyone is doing good! This week has really flown by. Things are going really great and I'm hoping the snow will stop coming! Church was canceled on Sunday because of it (but the snow really wasn't that bad) so I was a little bummed that we missed a Sacrament meeting as missionaries. I was asked to give a talk and I got out of it so maybe it's a sign that I need to prepare better!

And news about going to Rome. Unfortunately, we are flying out of Cagliari (some missionaries had a very negative experience on the boat coming in and did some complaining I'm thinking). We will have our preparation day on Tuesday, so you guys can write me Monday night, and then we take the train to Cagliari that day where we'll fly to Rome that night. Our conference is on Wednesday in the morning and we fly out of Rome that night so I don't think there will be much site seeing! Elder Teixeira from the Seventy will be speaking to us. I guess he spoke a few months ago too before I came into the mission and according to some he's quite the strict guy, and as you say in the very popular Italian phrase; "he breaks boxes (rompere la scatola)". The only missionaries I've really heard say that though are the one's that need to have "their boxes broken!" So I'm really excited to hear from a general authority, and fun Rome stuff will have to wait for another time!

First, I want to give you guys a link. I've been on the Church website and I saw this video, and she came to the MTC and gave a talk/performed for us so I'd thought you guys would like to see:

Okay, I'll begin with details on the investigators like usual. Unfortunately they aren't making much progress. We try to meet with them, but they are always busy. A bit of good news though, when we called Maddalena Sunday night to set an appointment up with her she told us that some members in the ward got the OK from president to do a sacrament meeting in their home and Maddalena attended so we were pretty happy to hear that! 

We tried looking through past investigators to try to see if they would be interested again, and we found a man named Gianni. His progress record wasn't filled out all the way as to why he was dropped from being an investigator, so we called him up and he said we could stop by. He was super nice, we did a lesson with him, but the death of his wife destroyed all his faith. He said that he'd believe when he saw a sign. We tried explaining to him that we need to have faith and that signs aren't what converts people. In the end it helped strengthen my testimony in fact, but Gianni isn't interested in our missionary purpose unfortunately. 

Our time has still been filled with a lot of finding work. We have been getting a lot of potentials, but nothing has really stuck with our efforts with knocking on doors. I guess the Vatican has been doing a huge effort to reactivate less-actives in their church and they have sent missionaries out too, so nearly everyone thinks that we are them and it becomes extremely awkward when old ladies do the Sign of the Cross when they see us at the door! It was funny, I prayed hard Monday night that someone would let us into their house. I had this prayer in my heart for the duration of the evening, and then boom, this lady let us in! Well, we weren't able to do a lesson with her, there wasn't a man present, and she wasn't entirely interested, but hey, my prayer was answered! I joked with Anziano Hill that I should have been more specific! 

Well later that night a miracle happened. We were waiting for a bus to go home after a long day working, and then this young, clean cut guy came and was waiting with us. I had a feeling that we should talk to him, and in my mind I was thinking of something to do to initiate a conversation. Meanwhile, Anziano Hill was telling me a story, and didn't know how to say 'forest fire' in Italian. He went over and asked the man, explaining it in Italian. After he figured out what it was and told him, I made a joke and said that we were learning Italian, and he said that he also was. I asked where he was from and he told me from Bolivia. After that we just got to know each other. He is actually of Italian decent, and just moved here to Italy with his family about five years ago. His name is Adhamar (I think that's how you spell it, I call him Adi), he has a wife he's been married to for seventeen years, and they have four kids. He owned a huge ranch in Bolivia, and is a horse trainer! That's what he does for work right now in Italy. He has seen missionaries before in his home country because a relative of his was taking the lessons with the them. He was very interested in our message, and told us that we could come back to his house the next morning to teach him. Yesterday, we went and the lesson was fantastic. We had him give the prayer at the end, and he thanked our Father in Heaven that He sent us to him. He was very interested in it all and he wants us to return Saturday so we can meet and teach the rest of his family. We are so excited! A golden new investigator and a potential eternal family! There is only one thing we are a little nervous about. Right now his wife and two oldest children are studying with the Jehovah Witnesses, and I guess he used to also, so his vision of God was a lot like theirs, because they say that no man can see God, so he is just a spirit. Well we know that we were created in God's image (Genesis 1:26 and 27) and not in a cloudy spirit's. Also there are accounts of Enoch (Gen. 5:24) Jacob (Gen. 32:30) Ether (12:39) and many others who have seen Him. In the end, we have some work... and fixing to do, and we pray that his wife and children will also be as willing to listen and to pray as he was, or at least be supportive of him meeting with us. They are a really beautiful family, and have very high standards, as he explained to us. Pray hard for them!

Well that's about it for the week! Things are going great here! My testimony is really building, even in the negative experiences. I am so lucky to be here in Italy, and especially on Sardegna. I've got a feeling that I'm going to be able to say that I spent a whole year of my mission on this island, and I'm completely okay with that. 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, I love you Greg. Mi mancate! State bene! Vi voglio un mondo di bene! Alla prossima!

Con amore, 

Anziano Clay Lacey

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

8 months today!

Hey guys!

Well today is the eight month mark for me! It's crazy to think that
in four more months I'll be a year in! It's still going by way to
fast!!! Mamma mia!
Monday, February 6, 2012 - Sassari

Well this week has been pretty good! Unfortunately, nothing too
special. We have been doing a lot of finding work but with little
luck. It will come though! Soon enough.

Oh, before I forget, we got some amazing news! For zone conference
this transfer all of the missionaries from Sardegna are jumping on a
boat and heading to Rome in the last week of February! I think there is
an apostle coming to visit the mission most likely. You have no idea
how excited I am! It's going to be like a spiritual vacation or
something like that. I think we'll be there for p-day and stuff too so
I might be able to see all the cool Rome sites like the Colosseum! I'll
keep you posted with the details.

I think I might have mentioned this in another email, but I absolutely
love teaching English course! In Olbia I was just doing conversations
in English, but here I actually have to teach since I have the basic
students who know nearly nothing. I'm kind of really getting into it
and there are these two young guys, 27 and 23, that can be potential
investigators so I'm praying hard for them that something will spark
an interest in the gospel! We all have a lot of fun together in the
class and I think people are really enjoying it because a few of them
have even brought friends! It really helps me with my Italian too. I
have been slowly trying to bring myself to a point to speak only
Italian during the mission (it's way harder than you think with an
American companion) so I can see improvement. All in all this is
really making me want to become a teacher one day... we'll see!

The investigators are doing well. It's been hard to meet with them
though, just because Anziano Hill and I are trying to adjust to
different teaching styles. For example, he doesn't like lessons unless
there is a member there, and I like to try to get a member there, and
if not, to me it's better to just teach than nothing. Anziano Hill
and I are having a ton of fun together! He really makes me laugh and we
get along great. He's a good guy!

Maddalena said to us at church that she got a positive answer about
the Book of Mormon, but we haven't been able to meet with her yet to
discuss it. Maurizio is doing well and he is becoming good friends
with the members too. Both of them had the wonderful opportunity to
see a baptism too which was great! Our branch president baptized his
oldest daughter Sunday night and we had a ton of less active members and
our two investigators there. It went extremely well! Our branch
president is such a stud with such a beautiful family of five kids.
They remind me a lot like a younger version of our family. Maddalena
thought the baptism was beautiful, and was always really curious
leading up to it so we are happy that she enjoyed it.

Let me tell you about the weather. Holy cow it has been cold! I bought
this nice big jacket for £30 which was a great deal, and I had great
need of it! Well, on Monday morning it snowed. And it didn't stop
snowing! Sassari was covered in a blanket of snow which I guess is a
really rare thing! Well, we had fun in it and even made a little
snowman. I thought it was ridiculous at first, but our neighbors loved
it and started taking pictures next to it so we were satisfied!

Other than that we went to Olbia for D.D.M. This week and I got to see
one of the members on the street and that was nice! I called and
talked to Ignazio for a few minutes and he's doing great! Anziano
Vitali said that he gets up early every morning to study the
scriptures. He is so awesome!

Well that's about it for the week! Things are great and I'm loving
Sassari! We'll see some huge miracles 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! Take care and have an awesome week! Vi voglio

Con amore,

Anziano Clay Lacey

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Prima settimana a Sassari!‏

Buon giorno tutti!

Hey guys! I have almost officially been in Sassari for a week now! Things are going great! It's weird being in a city that is much bigger than Olbia, but I love it so much! The investigators are great. I have no doubt that we will see at least one baptism this transfer!

The investigator that is making a ton of progress is Maddalena. She was a referral from members a few months ago, and she has been to church six times I think. I taught her for the first time last night and she is so awesome! She asks a lot of questions, which is perfect, and I honestly feel the Spirit working through me with the answers that we gave her that seemed to bring her peace. We might even set a baptismal date for her the next time we teach her. I shared a bit about Ignazio's conversion story and that seemed to help her relate a lot. I even gave her his number so she could talk to him and get a personal, fresh testimony of the conversion power of the Spirit. I got to talk to Ignazio last night on the phone to tell him that Maddalena will mostly likely call him, and we had a nice little conversation and it was awesome speaking to him again, even though it has only been a little while! Overall, Maddalena is awesome, and she needs your prayers!

Next we have Maurizio who was found as an English course student. He is about at the same point as where Maddalena is at. He has prayed about the Book of Mormon and knows that it is true, so we'll see how things go with him. He is such a nice guy. I met him at the Halloween party in Sassari and he remembered everything that we talked about there. We will be working towards setting a baptismal goal for him too.

Other than that we are unfortunately losing an awesome investigator who is dating one of our members. She is from Argentina, and she's moving back there for a while to take care of her parents, so no doubt that she'll continue her progression in the church there where it is super strong!

Well that's about it so far! No doubt that we'll add more to this list! We have been doing a lot of finding work lately and it's been fun having a huge selection of houses to hit, unlike Olbia! I was seriously close to knocking on every door in Olbia! Sassari is way too big for just two elders! There actually used to be a sister companionship here too but for lack of sisters I think they closed it. The Branca family (who lived in Sassari when they were converted) were taught by the sisters there about six years ago I think. Oh, a bit of news on the Branca's, they are leaving Italy and going to Austria! Which kind of stinks for the branch in Olbia, but the district president will find something to do. 

The Branch here is amazing! Sunday was absolutely perfect. I had met a lot of the members here already and Alessio is tight with everyone since he used to attend the branch, so I think he might of talked about me a bit. I can't wait to get to know the members better, and I think there is room for some great member work. Overall, I am very happy to be here!

I really like the English course class that we teach too! They are all very fun and it's a lot bigger than the one we had in Olbia. I teach the basic class so I have to learn how to teach English in Italian, if that makes sense. I used to just teach advanced in which we would just speak English the whole time, but now I have to really try! I feel like I've seen a huge boost in my language skills too. Sometimes I might have leaned too much on my companion in speaking, but now I'm just kind of going for it, setting new language study goals, and I've been seeing great results. A new city makes for a really great new start to some things and getting rid of bad habits. 

My companion, Anziano Hill is from Valencia, CA, so really close to us! We have a lot of fun together, and laugh a lot, which is good! He is a great guy and we will do some awesome work here together! On Monday the Anziani from Olbia (it's weird saying that now) came here to Sassari for district meeting, and it was weird seeing Anziano Vitali there, but not as my companion. He is doing great though and I miss him! His new companion, Anziano Bradshaw is a cool guy, and they are doing some good work in Olbia already! They just got a new investigator that wants to be baptized! The work is really blowing up here on Sardegna! Woo!

Well that's about it for the week! Things are going great, like always! I'm so glad I'm here in Sassari! I can't wait to share some cool new stories and adventures! 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! Take care and have an amazing week! Vi voglio tanto bene! Alla prossima! 

A presto, 

Anziano Clay Lacey