Thursday, May 10, 2012

Le famiglie sono eterne

Buongiorno cara familgia mia!

Hey guys! I'm so glad that everyone is doing good! You have no idea how excited I am for this Skype call at the end of this week! I cannot wait to see your beautiful faces! This has been a really good week and it was nice to finish it off with a spiritually uplifting training from President Kelly.

I have seen one of the biggest miracles of my mission so far in the past couple of days, starting last Wednesday. As we were paying to leave the Internet point, a man walked in and said, "I've been looking everywhere for you guys!" We were a bit surprised especially because nearly nobody ever searches for us! His name is Javier, and he wanted us to help him with something. He said he had a friend in Brazil who is a member of the church that wanted a Hymn book and a Children's Songbook in Italian. He said he wanted to get these things for her before her birthday in June. We set up a time to meet him in church and he also mentioned that he wanted to talk about a few personal things. Right away we took that to mean that there might be some interest in the Gospel, and we prayed hard that he would become a new investigator. He is an awesome, thirty-five year old guy who came here to Italy from Chile when he was younger. For work he takes care of mentally handicapped children in the hospital and he has a great love for them. In fact when we met him he had this little boy named Davide who was physically effected by his mother's abuse of drugs while he was in the womb. It's very sad but his little smile really brightened up my day!

Saturday we met him in church and talked about how we could get these items to him. At the conclusion of that he simply asked that he wanted to know more about our church. Well he officially gave us more details to this story of his. He is dating this girl in Brazil, and he loves her. She only wants a temple marriage, and he said he will do anything for her, therefore he met with us. He wants to change his whole life around for her! Me and my companion were a little blown away! 

I'll keep you all updated with how teaching goes with him but so far so good! We are already great friends and he was also making friends at church when he came for the first time on Sunday. This next Sunday we have a lunch with all the members together so I am really excited for him to come and to get to know the members in a more casual setting. This will be good for all of our investigators.

I had another really cool experience on Saturday. The Madrid Temple President came to Sassari to help the members get even more excited for the temple. His name is President Tenney and as we talked it turns out that his older brother is our very own Patriarch Tenney who gave me my Patriarchal Blessing! How cool is that!? It was one of those "it's a small world" moments. He taught an amazing lesson there and it made me really miss the temple. He focused it all on the family which made me miss you all even more, and I can't wait until the day that we can all go to the temple together. You have no idea how bad I want to go back and it makes me appreciative that we have a temple so close. 

I also had the wonderful chance to see the Mazzone family! They came from Olbia to see the conference and they are doing so well. I love them so much! It felt good to hear Ignazio call me his "first missionary", and he bragged to the other Anziani that I confirmed him a member of the church. He recently received his first calling in the church and the Lord has called him as the Sunday School President! This will be great for him to be able to prepare lessons and to have responsibility. He has truly become a new person since his baptism!

It is so amazing because we are really gaining the trust of the members. Fratello Murgia takes us out every once and a while to go contact a few friends and members of his family that might have interest in the Gospel. Things are looking very positive with one of his cousins! It feels really good to know that a member would willingly give you a referral and put such a sensitive subject on the line such as religion. I'm conjuring up a plan in my head to get the members more involved in the work, do missionary work trainings with them, and in the end to get them excited to share the Gospel with their friends and family. I want to see a Sassari have a stake in my lifetime!

Monday night after a lesson with Javier we headed down to Cagliari with the Olbia Anziani. We even had the chance to go visit Maurizio, and he is doing good! President Tenney also gave his same talk in Cagliari on Sunday night, and he came and enjoyed it very much. We still hope things we go great with him and we are happy that he is working with the Cagliari missionaries. 

We had zone conference on Tuesday and President Kelly gave a very inspired training. It seems like every word he says is suitable for me in the ways I can personally improve as a missionary. It was a perfect zone conference and we had a great time together. 

When we got home to the Cagliari apartment, I really understood one of our missionary rules: to not play practical jokes. We only had one car and getting back home was a little switched up because some had to take the bus and others needed to take the car. Well I was the first to the apartment with an Anziano from Oristano. When we opened the door we found the apartment destroyed. Furniture was thrown everywhere, things were missing, and it looked like somebody had robbed the place. First thing we did was call the other Anziani. In the end there was a bunch of miscommunication as we tried to get a hold of people (I don't want to go into detail because there was a lot of stupidity involved) and in the end we made the decision to call the police. Finally we found out that it was a joke that some Anziani had done. We weren't very happy at all because we were about ten seconds from having the police over. My maturity was tested because I wasn't very happy with these Anziani, yet I didn't want to damage my friendship with them because they are my friends. Plus it made me angry that there was one who said that it was our fault because we were about to act too quickly. In the end I said a quick prayer, sat them down with me in a room, and we talked it out calmly. I'm glad I had the help of the Lord because I was a bit heated at first, but everything was worked out in the end. I hope this makes sense because I didn't go into much detail!

For p-day we did this beautiful hike altogether. We got permission from President to do this hike and to beat the sun in order to see the sunrise from a point called La Sella del Diavolo. We had a great time and we took off for the long train ride all the way to Sassari. 
La Sella del Diavolo

That's the sum up for the week! I am so excited for our call this Sunday! I can't wait to see you all and to hear your voices! Sister Kelly said in her training at zone conference that these calls are very special, and it is extremely important to prepare well for them. That is what I'll do! 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 wonderful and a safe week! Thank you all so much for your supportive prayers! 

Con amore, 

Anziano Clay Lacey

Eating Maggot Cheese (live maggots)

maggot cheese

(From a separate email...) 
The pictures with the cheese might make you sick. There is this special kind of cheese here on Sardegna that is quiet famous. It is called worm-cheese. Basically, the people who sell it take some cheese, put some worms in it, and the worms eat some of it, poop, and eat some more, which makes it have a particular taste. It is completely disgusting, but you can't serve as a missionary and leave Sardegna without trying it! So that's what I did. I ate it with live worms and everything. Pretty gross to have tiny worms jumpin around in your mouth! Don't throw up! Haha
Love you all!

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