Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Amo la Sicilia! Le persone sono fantastiche!

Buongiorno tutti!

Wow it has felt like forever since I got on last to write you guys! So much has happened in the last few days and I don't know where to start.
English Course farewell party for Anziano Lacey

Anziano Lacey holding the tie Fratello Murgia gave him off of his neck!
Continuing to say goodbye to people was the hardest thing ever. English course was tough and I was really emotional saying goodbye to Lorenza. It was a huge surprise but Maurizio, the guy we taught who had the baptismal date came back from Cagliari and surprised me by saying goodbye. You have no idea how much I love the people in Sassari and I can't wait to come back.
I was a mess at Adhemar's house. He ordered pizza and we all enjoyed each other's company during the evening. Yes, there were differences of religious beliefs between us and the rest of his family, but the friendship that I have with them is a clear evidence to me that we are all children of our Heavenly Father. I said goodbye to his family, and then I faced Adhemar, dreading the tears that were sure to come. As we hugged he said to me as he also cried, "Thank you Lacey for bringing me the word of God. You helped me get closer to Christ and I can't thank you enough. I love you!" Every second, thought, prayer, and lesson I spent regarding Adhemar these last five months hit me at that moment and I realized how much the Lord loves him and has been helping him during this time of preparation. Ya, I didn't see his baptism while I was there, but I had the amazing and sacred privilege of being an instrument in the Lord's hands during his conversion experience. I know the meaning of missionary success, and I saw miraculous success with him. In the end, I haven't changed and goodbyes are still probably the thing I hate the most.
Ship from Sardegna to Civitavecchia (Port of Rome)
Wednesday was the big day! In the morning the Anziani from Oristano came and picked us up early in the morning, and we headed out to Olbia. I said goodbye to Anziano Hopper, and me and Anziano Shaw left the island the same way we came in, on the boat. As we stood outside  we reflectively watched for an hour and a half as we said goodbye to one of my favorite places on earth that I will return to: La bella Sardegna.

The boat ride was about a five and a half hour trip, and we had fun exploring the boat, talking to people, and eating over-priced sandwiches. We got to the port called Civitavecchia, where we took a train to Rome. Let me mention how difficult it was to hall around my three bags, and help Anziano Shaw with his five! We got to Rome and the day before I got word from the assistants that I had to make my way through Rome to their apartment because they didn't have time to get us. It was a bit of a nightmare working our way around a city we don't know, taking buses, carried everything, and all of this in one of the biggest cities in Europe! It was an adventure though and we surprisingly made it to the Roma due apartment alive.

There I was with a ton of Anziani, and I even got to hang out with Anziano Vitali! He is doing great and is definitely one of my best friends in the mission. I got up at 4:30 in the morning and got taken back to the train station. The train left at 7:00, and I had to travel alone (for the last leg of the trip) without other missionaries because when the train would get to Messina, the first city on the tip of Sicily, it would split and half would go to Catania while half would go to Palermo. I was the only missionary going to Palermo. I made friends with the people in my little cabin, so they watched my stuff as I ate snacks on the train with the Sisters and Anziano Green. We had fun because the train actually went onto a ferry to cross the little stretch of water that separates Italy from Sicily. I met so many cool people from all over Italy on that train ride, and the twelve hours flew by so quickly, despite the fact that the air conditioning went out!
Anziano Lacey, Sorellas Teichart and Hicks
Lacey and Green on Ferry from Mainland to Sicily
I was the victim of yet again, another joke. I got to Palermo, and I was greeted by Anziano Murengo from PerĂ¹, and who I thought to be Anziano Simonetta, my new comp. It turns out that my real comp was with the other two Anziani at their English course, and he decided to play a little joke on me by switching tags with Anziano Larsen. It was pretty funny and he got me good. We slept in Palermo and went off to Trapani Friday morning by bus.
Sunset from Trapani, Sicily, Italy
I guess I can explain a little bit of Sicily now! I love it! It is such a beautiful place, and it is totally a different world. The thing that is strangest for me is the accent. At first it was hard to understand, but I'm getting used to it. If you want to know how they speak, watch a clip from The Godfather. I'm not kidding. The Sicilians are some of the nicest people ever. They are so loving, kind, and a bit wild! Little kids run up to us and want to play a soccer in the street. Men don't really wear shirts during this hot season and everyone is tan. That brings me to the heat... It is so hot and humid! I feel wet almost 24/7. The culture is also very different, and the food is fantastic. After church on Sunday some members invited us over for lunch and we ate so much amazing food! The branch consists of about 40 awesome members who love the gospel. I already love it here! They have a dialect here that is mixed of Italian, Greek, and Arabic. In southern Italy pretty much everyone speaks their dialects at home, but at school and work it's Italian. Some poor people in Sicily only speak Sicilian, and it is impossible to communicate with them.
Anziano Lacey and the real Anziano Simonetta
The work is going good! Anziano Simonetta is a stud and loves the people so much. He has a conversion story very similar to Dad's, and he works hard. We have already found two new investigators since our less than a week together, and I like the working pattern we are getting in. I'd like to go more into detail but there is just so much to explain with all the events within these last few days! Things are going great though, and I'm so grateful for the inspiration that President received for me to come here.

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. Thank you all for everything you do for me! Keep having a great summer and stay safe! Vi voglio un sacco di bene!

Anziano Clay Lacey

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