|Picture of Clay while writing emails this morning...|
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
This has been another great week and it's hard to believe that this transfer is almost over. We already get transfer calls this Saturday and it will be interesting as always to see what happens. Thank you for you emails and I am so happy that everyone is doing great.
We have been blessed to find three new investigators this week and they are all three really amazing people. One guy named Sergio is a police officer who was a referral from the sisters. They asked him if he could take a picture for them on a preparation day, he agreed, and then after they talked to him about the Gospel. We had a great lesson with him Sunday afternoon and he is a really smart guy. He is also a martial arts trainer and he is extremely buff - and randomly taught me how to throw a punch and made me a thirty minute work out routine to do in the morning. He has a very strong faith in God and we can definitely expect miracles as we teach him. He is the man!
We really cracked down on English course publicity and there are so many students that are coming! All three courses, basic, intermediate, and advanced are packed and we have a lot of fun. I teach intermediate and the students I have are absolutely fantastic. After English course we did a spiritual thought, and then invited everyone to stay for the family home evening that we put on in church every Tuesday night. It was a miracle because three people stayed! One from my course that stayed is named Riccardo and we have hit it off right away. He is my same age and we have a great friendship. For family home evening there was a spiritual thought, a game, and then a snack and he really enjoyed it. Talking to him after he said that the things we talked about weren't different at all to that which he believes, and then asked the golden question if he could find out more. We set an appointment for tomorrow night after the English course and we'll play soccer with him, a few members, less actives, and more contacts tonight. Miracles!
We had a very special experience happen the other night. We were walking back home at the close of the day and we walked past two men who were speaking English and I asked them where they were from. We started a conversation and it turns out that they are both from different parts of Africa, but were working in Libya before the chaos started happening. Now, after this war, they are refugees in Italy. One guy was very happy and cheerful despite his current situation and started asking me questions about the Church, but when he asked where I was from his countenance changed immediately and he shook his head when he heard America. Now, I don't know exactly what he thinks about us (he did not say exactly which country he originates from), but from what he said it hinted at jealousy with the American way of life and our initial benefits from birth. He vented to me about his problems and his current situation. I don't want to share all of it, but I felt so bad for this man that has suffered so much. I listened as tears filled his eyes, and he spoke with great emotion, and I continued to listen. When he finished I paused and searched within myself for the words to say. I could feel the Spirit guide my words as I bore testimony to him of the comforting power that comes from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I spoke of the cleansing and healing power of the Atonement, and he listened intently to the words. After I had finished with my testimony and promised blessings, he paused, and after a few seconds he smiled and he said, "You guys are different." He explained how he has gone to many different churches and that the people there were good with words but that they lacked something that he found in us. He simply said, "You listen." He told us that he wanted to know more, that he would come to church, and he put his hand over his heart, said goodbye to us, and I left with a strong feeling of gratitude from the Spirit, and new prospective and love for people in general.
Another instance in which I feel the Savior's love for a particular individual is when I say hello to an elderly woman who lives right next to us. Sometimes when we come back home for lunch or leave to begin working for the day she stands out and waits for us, just to get a wave from the missionaries. The first time I saw her I just waved and smiled, but as I continued in my course I felt pushed to turn around and speak to her. I went over and she had the biggest smile on her face. It turns out that none of us missionaries has ever actually walked over to her porch to speak. She was so thankful, and took a moment to hold onto my hand, and speak to me about her loneliness because she is all by herself and the fact that I come over to talk to her really touched her. I then promised to her that I would always come to her to say hello every chance we could when we passed by. It's hard to explain, but I know and felt the love the Savior has for this woman, and her smile reminds me of my calling to be the Lord's representative here in Siracusa.
With other investigators things are progressing well. The work is moving foreword, and we are gaining trust of the members step by step. This transfer feels a bit like a preparation for something bigger the next transfer, and I'm excited to see how it folds out after getting the calls this Saturday.
I love you all so much! Have a great week and stay safe in all that you do. Most importantly, stay close to your Heavenly Father and really show Him that you love Him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. He truly has His hand in our lives and guides us along. I want to share a video that has really touched me from the Mormon Messages on lds.org (http://youtu.be/Rr8xvw0cgw0). We must change our attitudes of trails as opportunities to grow rather than just a time to wait out as we suffer. We need to understand that Someone a lot greater, and a lot grander is guiding us. God is the Gardener.
I love you Dad, I love you Mom, I love you Morgan, I love you Brooke, I love you Heather, I love you Greg. Vi voglio tanto, tanto bene.
Anziano Clay Lacey