Thursday, April 26, 2012
This is going to be a bit of a quick email.
Things are going great still! Our investigators are doing well! Maurizio is progressing and we are just working with him to help him quit smoking. The only bummer is that he might be moving to Cagliari within a few weeks for work but that will be fine if that's what ends up happening. He'll love the church down there too!
Margherita is doing great with the commitments and invites we leave her. For example we left the Book of Enos to read and she read it all and recounted the whole thing to us with perfect detail. We asked her to pray about baptism so maybe we can set a date for her here soon! Her mom hasn't been there for the lessons but at least we have her permission to teach so lets hope that we can get permission to baptize her too!
Adhemar is progressing quickly and we his wife is even softening up to us! For example, we did a lesson with him Tuesday morning, and as we were on our way home we got a call from Adhemar and he told us to turn around because his wife wanted us to join them for lunch! We had a great time together and I actually cried because I started laughing so hard. We were talking about different treks we did back home and encounters that we've had with bears and other wildlife when Adhemar busted in with stories in Bolivia about killing anacondas and stepping on alligators, etc. It's not very funny because they were actually very dangerous situations, but if you heard how Adhemar recounted these stories with great enthusiasm you'd be on the ground laughing too!
Enoch is doing great also. There has been some up and down moments with him concerning being baptized, doctrine, but in the end a lot of things ended up just being language confusion and misunderstanding. We taught him the Word of Wisdom and he is following that now.
Other investigators are doing pretty good. There has been a bit of investigators out of town so it has been difficult to teach them. We had a miracle the other day! We got a referral for this guy named Alberto. We met him in the park and did a "lesson zero". That is basically when you go over this particular person's spiritual desires, our missionary purpose, and then the baptismal invite if they find for themselves that these things are true. The lesson went according to plan and he even excepted the invite so lets see how things go for him!
Well Anziano Luke had to go to zone leader conference so his new companion and the branch president of Olbia, Anziano Schwing is here with us and we are having a great time. He is German and almost ONLY speaks Italian so he's a great example to me how I need to do a better job at speaking more Italian.
That's the summary of the week! It has been a great start to the new transfer! I love you Dad, I love you Mom, I love you Morgan, I love you Brooke, I love you Heather, I love you Greg. Have a great week! Vi voglio una galassia di bene! Siete tutti bravissimi! Soltanto alcune settimane e possiamo parlare su Skype! Woo!
Anziano Clay Lacey
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Buon giorno!!! I'm so excited to finally write you all again! Things continue to go great here in Sassari! Well we got transfer calls and me and Anziano Hill are staying together for another one! I've got a feeling that I won't have very many companions in the mission field! I am really excited though and we'll have a really strong next transfer. I'll go in chronological order in the different events throughout my week: Wednesday night was awesome. Unfortunately we couldn't do a family home evening with President Murgia and his family, but we met with Maurizio anyways. To share a cool spiritual experience I was really thinking about a baptismal date we could set with him. I prayed, looked at the calendar, and felt that the 19th of May would work. Me and Anziano Hill discussed this as a companionship, and we both felt it was good. We set off and taught Maurizio the Plan of Salvation and he loved it. It was such a spiritual lesson and at the end we gave the baptismal invite. It turns out it is his birthday! He was blown away that we thought of this date and didn't know it was his birthday. He is really excited for this date and we'll keep hoping things go great. On Thursday we left for Cagliari. The train ride was awesome because I sat next to this 26 year old guy who was return from a week long bike riding trip around Holland. He was such a stud and we had a three hour conversation on the way to Cagliari. He's even a little interested in the Church so lets hope that he will be a good referral for the Cagliari elders. It was so much fun being with all the guys again and it's funny because people specifically place me and Anziano Luke in the same room because we both talk in our sleep and apparantly we've had some pretty good sleep conversations. Zone conference was amazing and everything that was brought up was perfect for us and our missionary efforts in Sassari. It was really cool having an interview with President the day before transfer calls. He really brought up me training again, and said that there are hardly any elders coming in this transfer, but that we're getting into the time when a ton of people will come in so we'll see. I love President Kelly so much and he is truly an inspired man. I'm not sure if I told you but the Branca family is moving to Austria so there is nobody to be the branch president in Olbia. (By the way Ignazio Mazzone just received the priesthood!) So an Anziano Shwing who was Anziano Barker's trainer is going there for that calling. He'll do a great job! Also, my good buddy from the MTC, Anziano Green who was born in Cagliari just got called back to Cagliari with Anziano Longhurst. Honestly, President's transfers are too crazy to be anything but inspired! Sunday was fantastic! We had four investigators in church; Maurizio, Adhemar (finally came again!), Maddalena, and Enoch (who isn't doing so hot unfortunately). It was a little crazy because we teach a Gospel Principles class specifically for the investigators. Adhemar and Maddalena got into a little heated discussion about the Bible, but Fratello Murgia did a great job controlling the class and answering questions. Everyone was so welcoming to our investigators and they all enjoyed church very much. We went to Olbia for district meeting and then after a very chaiotic train ride back we barely made it home in time to have a family home evening with Maurizio and the Murgia family. We had so much fun and I loved playing with the kids! They are so cute and their family reminds me of our family years back so therefore it made me miss you guys! A family with five children is unheard of in Italy. We then ate and had an awesome dinner. Maurizio is growing really close to President Murgia. Tuesday was another great day and we taught Margherita. Her mother was gone taking care of some financial stuff because another member of their family is trying to get into Italy. We watched the Restoration video with her and we asked her whether she prayed to know if these things are true. She said that she had and said she received an answer and she know's they're true! We are so excited for her and she'll be a great example to her family. We hope to get them baptismal dates here soon! She said that her mother really likes the things our church teaches and hopefully we can meet with them more often besides just once a week. Well that's about it for the week! Things are doing great and I'm so happy that I'm in Sassari for another transfer! The members were so glad that we are staying and Fratello Murgia even mentioned in his talk about how much he loves us and how glad he is that we are staying. 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! I can't wait to hear from you all soon for Mother's Day! Vi voglio tanto bene! Con amore, Anziano Clay Lacey
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Another great week! I keep loving Sassari more and more. I'm lucky because I'll have my interview with president the day before transfer calls so I can basically beg him to stay. Not really, but I'm tempted to!
Well the end of last week was full of a lot of service. In fact, we practically spent all day Saturday working for some members digging holes and building an oven. We were greatly blessed Thursday and we picked up a new investigator named Rosemary from Haiti. She was taught by missionaries in the past and is interested once again so we had a great lesson with her.
Easter was fantastic! Church was wonderful and I taught a Gospel Principles class on the Priesthood which was perfect for our investigators who came so they could understand the literal power of God. Our members here are some of my most favorite people ever. We got an invite from one of our English course students (in the picture she is the lady on the far left in the tan) Lorenza. Her husband, Sergio, picked us up in a nice BMW and took us to their nice house. Looking at pictures around their place we found out that Sergio played professional Italian soccer for about ten years I believe! He's a stud. We ate an awesome Easter lunch with them, their twenty-five year old son Antonio, Lorenza's mom, and her aunt and uncle. I felt so Italian in that setting and we had a great time. We ate some delicious lasagna and lamb. I always feel weird eating lamb, but this time was different. I like the taste but I feel so bad eating a baby lamb! We ate the meat and stuff, and then the "delicacies" came out. Let me describe to you what I saw: on this plate was a lamb's cooked head, about the size of my hand, cut in half. Everything was still there, the eyes, whiskers, teeth, but the worst was the brain. I don't know what is wrong with me but I really wanted to try that brain just so I could write today and say that I did. So yes, I ate lamb brain. It's gross, enough said.
Here in Italy the day after Easter is also a holiday, even more so than Easter itself. Absolutely everything was closed and so it was a day set aside by President Kelly for us to do some deep cleaning in the house so our house is now spic and span!
I want to share a quick story:
This is a little dumb, but I learned something from this experience. I have been studying a lot on improving oneself and developing talents. As I was taking my lunch break on this cleaning day, I was doing some extra studying, and then I looked across the room and saw three random tennis balls sitting in the corner. As I was contemplating the things I had been studying, I thought, if I can learn how to juggle in thirty minutes, I can prove to myself personally that I can do anything (as far as missionary work goes). Well I grabbed the tennis balls, and I started with one, just getting my mind used to the motion. I went and grabbed the other and tried it with both hand, throwing one ball in the air, and as it fell throwing the other one in it's stead. After I got used to the motion I proceeded to use all three, but I found myself chasing after the fallen balls every time I threw them in the air. I then realized that I needed to have patience and to continue to believe that I could learn how to juggle in a half an hour. After some very embarrassing mishaps, I got it down, and in nearly exactly a half an hour I learned how to juggle. I know this is a random situation, but it was a testimony to me that we can really achieve anything we desire if we set our minds to it, even if it's something small like juggling.
Tuesdays have become my favorite days because they are the most busy days we have now. We taught Adhemar in the morning with a member regarding prayer. All Adhemar needs to do is keep praying, and he will receive an answer. He is doing great and is seeing a lot of blessings in his life.
In the afternoon we taught Margherita and her family again with Fratello Murgia. Let me make a quick note and talk a little bit about him. I have never seen somebody more willing and more helpful to help missionaries. He does his absolute best to magnify his calling, and is humble, and attentive to the Spirit. I love him so much. Together we taught the Plan of Salvation and how we can live together with our families forever. The lesson went really well and teaching families is the best!
Before English course we taught Maurizio with Fratello Murgia again. In Preach my Gospel it says to read the Book of Mormon with your investigators if they haven't read, and Maurizio has been busy with his new job so we read the first chapter of Nephi with him. It was such a simple lesson, but I felt the Spirit so strong as we discussed Nephi's beginning testimony. We had planned to teach him the Plan of Salvation also, but the Spirit led us to do this instead, and I'm grateful for the Spirit's guiding influence on us for our needs, but more importantly the needs of our investigators.
Maurizio is so prepared spiritually for the Gospel. I love him so much! He is getting ready to do the necessary things to be ready for baptism. He really wants to serve a mission also. I'm sure by the next time I write we will have a baptismal date for him.
English course was so much fun and we spent about half the time with them asking me questions about the church. Those English lessons are the best! It was really cool because the things we talked about during the class tied in perfectly with the things that Anziano Hill taught for a spiritual thought.
This week will be a little crazy because we have zone conference, and then we are doing this surprise member missionary training meeting in Oristano. Tonight we are blessed to have the opportunity to go to our branch president's house for an evening with them and Maurizio. Maurizio loves President Murgia so much and looks up to him so this will be perfect. They have five kids like us and are so cute! I'll take lots of pictures for Morgan, Brooke, and Heather's sake!
I love you all so much! Thank you all for everything you do for me! 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! I want to share a little spiritual thought that has stuck with me from conference. Elder Holland said powerfully,"...surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don't expect it and often feel they don't deserve it." Let us always grow a humble desire to have this beautiful Christ-like attribute and be always ready to forgive others, and to most importantly be ready and open to always show our love for them who have need. The Church is true. I know it and feel it everyday. God our Father lives, and Jesus is the Christ! This little testimony I leave in His sacred name, our Brother Jesus Christ, Amen.
Anziano Clay Lacey
P.S. I just started Jesus the Christ! Elder Talmage has made me want to take a break from Italian and learn English! Yikes! Love you all!!!
Saturday, April 7, 2012
I know you guys are doing that 5k run for Julie today and just to show my support and love for her, me and my companion ran a 5k this morning! It turns out to run to church and back from our house is exactly that amount! Could you share this message with Julie and this picture and tell her how much I love her and that I pray for her everyday! Thanks so much!
Friday, April 6, 2012
Hey guys! I'm so glad everyone is doing well! Thank you for your wonderful emails! Things are going so great over here in Italy. We are being blessed immensely and I can definitely see the Lord's hand in the work, especially here in Sassari. I have my interview with President here soon for zone conference and I'm going to tell him that I can't leave! First off, how great was General Conference! I loved it all so much! I switched off watching it in Italian and English depending on which sessions we had investigators. The difference was huge in how much I comprehended. I think I can safely say that I'm finally fluent in Italian. That doesn't mean I speak perfectly or correctly, but I finally can say I got it down. I have a ton of practicing to go still though! I think one of my favorite talks was Elder Andersen's. It seemed like every single talk had some kind of theme of either the family, the Atonement, and of course I found missionary work principles in them. It was a perfect conference for our investigators. I want to start with Maurizio. He's the twenty-year old guy we found at English course. Well, he has shown a huge desire to know the gospel. He came to two sessions of General Conference after I gave him the invite. He loved it so much and the members loved seeing him in church because he hadn't been back since he bore his testimony that one Sunday a month ago. To back track a little bit we did a split for a few days. Our zone leader, Anziano Luke from Virginia, was with me from Monday until today for p-day. Well we set a lesson up with Maurizio for Monday night during family home evening with the Murgia family. It went perfectly. We did the first lesson with him, watched the video of the Restoration, and everyone bore beautiful testimonies. At the end Maurizio said he knows that these things are true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that the Book of Mormon is true, and he wants to be baptized. It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen and I've never felt so good in a lesson before. The only thing is he's a little scared of the changes he will need to make to be a part of the church. He says that he wants to become a missionary. Pray hard for him! He is so courageous and has a strong faith in Jesus Christ. If you want to see a picture of him, he is the one to my right with a leather jacket and scarf in the picture with my English course students. Yesterday me and Anziano Luke had an awesome lesson with Adhemar and Fratello Murgia. We taught him the commandments and talked about the Law of Chastity. Step by step he's growing his testimony in the Book of Mormon and we've been really urging him to pray with faith to know that these things are true. He is making great progress though. Unfortunately, Enoch has been really sick for the past few days so he wasn't able to go to conference, but he is going so much closer with the members! We are excited and hopeful for him. We had another lesson with Margherita yesterday, and we had a huge answer to prayers because her mother was there! We invited her to listen to the lesson, and she agreed. The funny thing was she was a little apprehensive and didn't really care or pay attention during the first half of the lesson (we taught the message of the Restoration). Anziano Luke was so inspired because he asked the mother, Saraiah, if she has had any spiritual experiences. Saraiah began to get more interested and discussed about her testimony of prayer. We also bore testimony of the power of prayer and then she began to get more emotional and talked about how much she needs the Savior in her life because she is a single mother taking care of four kids. Well, we got her! By the end of the lesson she loved us and wants us to teach her and her family. Woo! We also got lucky with Maddalena. She has been making some great progress and we've been able to do some service for her, and then fitting some lessons in. Her testimony is definitely growing and I have no doubt that she'll receive a witness that the things we teach are true. Me and Anziano Luke taught her with a member after English course and we did a lesson completely based on the Spirit and her needs as an investigator regarding receiving personal revelation. We didn't even bring up anything about the things we had planned to teach! Weeks keep getting better and better! This split that I had with Anziano Luke was the best split I've had of my mission so far! We taught three lessons in the presence of a member within 34 hours, one other lesson, and got a new investigator! I've never learned so much. This General Conference was outstanding and definitely something I needed for a spiritual recharge. I love this Gospel so much and I know with all my heart that this is the true church of Christ on the earth today, and I know that President Monson is the Lord's prophet. How privileged we are to know this and to share this with others! 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! Stay safe! Io prego sempre per voi! Vi voglio tanto bene! Ricordatevi di mettere la vostra fiducia nel Signore! Con amore, Anziano Clay Lacey