Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Teatro Greco a Siracusa!

Hey guys!
"When I grow up I want to be a bronze statue"
Ciao ciao! This has been a great week! We have been blessed with many miracles and we are excited to see the work grow step by step! I keep learning so much in this city, about myself, about the people, and a lot about missionary work. Things continue to go great right now. 

We started a great split with the Anziani from Messina on Thursday. Me and Anziano Hansen felt that they could really benefit from this split, and it did indeed go very well. I did the split with Anziano Giovita, a guy from northern Italy in a city called Brescia. He really became a great friend and we have so much fun together, even when talking on the phone for a few minutes for numbers. 

Anyways, the highlight of the trip was the opportunity we had to teach a man named Gabriele that was a referral from Church headquarters. It turns out that he went to BYU for a year to learn English and even was brought to the MTC to be taught by missionaries bound for Italy. Unfortunately his experience at BYU wasn't the greatest and he didn't feel very welcomed once people found out he wasn't a member of the Church. He read some of the Book of Mormon, and he was still fascinated with the Church even though he had some negative experiences. We had a great first lesson and we really hit it off well. He might come down to Siracusa or close by just to visit us next week! In the English course taught by the Messina Anziani there is a lady that is an anesthesiologist and we talked a lot about her profession. 

On Friday we finally got back to Siracusa and finished some errands we needed to do. We had three appointments planned, and our great member friend Oscar who has his mission call to England was taking us around and was going to come to the lessons with us. We hit a record of cancelled appointments! Three in one hour! When an appointment falls through, the person isn't home, or doesn't show up we call it a 'bidone'. It means trashcan or something like that. We didn't let it get us down and we laughed it off with Oscar.

We were very blessed on Sunday night. There is a proselyting tool that missionaries have used here in Italy called a 'mostra'. It's basically like setting up a giant sign with pictures and scriptures about the Gospel in the middle of a busy place in a city and talking to people on the street. I have been somewhat against trying it on my mission, but a member got the permission from the city council for us to do it so we did. We found HUGE success, especially with two families that we talked to. One in particular I feel is really prepared to hear the Gospel. We finished off this 'mostra' with a big group of our members all doing a Sunday walk around the island part of Siracusa called Ortigia. We had a lot of fun with them, and the cool part about where we did 'mostra' was exactly where Paul taught outside the Temple of Apollo! It was a pretty sweet experience. 
On Monday we were walking down the street and a twenty year old guy named Marco who met with the missionaries a few years ago stopped us. He told us that his father had just died about three weeks ago and that he is having a rough time knowing about what lies ahead after this life. We set an appointment with him for that night and we hope that the things we taught him helped him feel more confident and at peace. We have another appointment with him and we will keep stressing the truth of eternal families. He needs our prayers!

That night we and the sisters put on a great dinner with the ward missionaries and other leaders of the church where we discussed missionary work, how we can inspire the ward to do more missionary work, and to reach out to less-actives. It went well and we hope that this ward will really have an excitement to share the Gospel with their friends. 

Tuesday was a big day and we had a great zone conference. The trainings went well and we discussed a lot about sacrifices. We made the point that when we are refused, cursed at, and turned away, we have the privilege to suffer like the Savior suffered. Think about it, He was a perfect Teacher, yet most didn't listen. As Elder Holland said, if it was never easy for Him, why should it ever be easy for us to do this work? Salvation is not a cheap experience, and in order to gain it we need to "have a moment in Gethsemane" and "take a step toward Calvary". It would never be anything close to the amount to what Christ suffered of course, but I look at it as a privilege, like I said, to know how He felt. It puts things on a different perspective, lightens this 'yoke' upon us, and helps us realize what it means to take upon ourselves this 'cross' like is mentioned in Matthew 16:24. Another thought, if you think about it the Gospel is the answer to everything. Absolutely everything. You can take any problem this world has ever faced, is facing, and will face, and the answer and solution to it is simply the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The secret to it is sacrifice. We can't imagine the blessings waiting for us when we sacrifice for the Lord.

Therefore keep in mind: The Gospel is the answer. Sacrifice is the secret. "Il Vangelo è la risposta. Il segreto è il sacrificio."

Unfortunately President Kelly wasn't at this zone conference. In his whole mission this is the only one he missed because he wasn't feeling well at all, and he listened to his wife and companion when she said he should stay home (he had been flying back and forth and doing meetings and stake conferences with Elder Nelson of the Twelve... It would be great to be in Rome right now)! I witnessed something truly amazing and a miracle as I could say the least. Sister Kelly completely followed the Spirit and gave President Kelly's training exactly how he would have done it. Us as missionaries really look forward to what President will say to us to get us pumped and energized with the work, and Sister Kelly just rocked it. I could do nothing but thank her after.

It was so much fun seeing other missionaries, especially Anziano Luke like always! Today we've had a great preparation day. The sisters from Ragusa and Mistretta were here including the guys from Gela and we had a blast. Anziano Green is in Gela right now and we are so happy that we've been following each other around on the mission. We are really great friends and I'm so glad he lives close (Redlands area). We went to an ancient Greek theater, a Roman amptheater, prison, and other amazing historical sites.  I love Italy!!!
Ancient Greek Theater - Siricusa, Sicily, Italy 9/19/12

Ancient Greek Theater - Siricusa, Sicily, Italy 9/19/12

That's the sum up of the week! Things are going great and I love the mission 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 and stay safe! You all are the best! Vi voglio tanto bene! Ciao!

Con amore, 

Anziano Clay Lacey

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