Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Conferenza Generale è stata bellissima!

Hey guys!

This has been a long week (in a good way) and it feels like forever since I last wrote! Things have been going great and I love my new companion, Anziano Smit from Albuquerque New Mexico! He's the man! He has a very strong desire to work hard and despite the fact of the new time switch and being in the mission field he wants to keep going! I have to tell him to rest a bit! He is so awesome and I feel very blessed to be able to serve him.
Anziano Smit and Lacey
My trip to Rome and back was fun! The night bus I took was a little miserable just because I wasn't able to sleep at all and there was a very vulgar film playing in the background of it all! I had so much fun hanging out in the mission home with all the new missionaries, I met my 'brother' because Anziano Vitali is training again, and it was great getting some advice from President. It was a huge surprise to see Anziano Schwing because he has finished and he wrote me a very touching letter and it is neat to have a best friend in Germany! It gives me a reason to go visit someday.
Anziani Lacey, Schwing, and Luke
Everything went very smoothly on the train ride back down to Sicily and I made sure everyone got to their destinations okay. I had so much fun with the greenies as they poured questions out to me and marveled when me and Sorella Sudweeks, the new sister here with us in Siracusa, spoke Italian. We even did a little bit of missionary work despite the travels and we got a guy's number and gave it as a referral to the missionaries in Bitonto! We all had a lot of fun and I didn't sleep at all so by the time we reached Catania I was pretty dead tired and slept well. Maybe too well because every time I go to Catania I get eaten alive by mosquitoes and I woke up with a personal mission record of fifteen bites. Out of ten missionaries in the apartment that night I was the only one bitten.

Other than that Anziano Smit has been settling in well. He is doing great with the language for just being at the start, and our district here in general is so much fun! We have been together a lot this week watching general conference in English, eating lunch in between sessions, etc, so we are all becoming great friends and working well together. 
Siracusa District
Speaking of general conference, I loved it so much! The talks were all amazing and I feel like I learned something from every one. President Monson's talk on seeing others as they can become helped me change how I think when I do missionary work, Elder Nelson's on asking the missionaries helped me realize the importance and eternal significance of my calling, Elder Holland's blew me away and helped me put priorities in order concerning my obedience, loyalty and love for God, and President Uchtdorf's called me to repentance to live a life more like the Savior's and not to "wear my busyness as a badge of honor" but to purposely live and LOVE each day.

I am also so happy about the inspired change to the missionary age. I can't help to feel somewhat jealous of it, but I am grateful for the opportunity I had to work, learn, and grow before the mission. I think this will be a blessing above all to sister missionaries who wish to serve. To Morgan, Brooke, and Heather, I really recommend it! Pray to know if it is the right thing and then our Father in Heaven will open up the doors to what will be best for you in your life. I know you will receive an answer.

On Sunday night we had the Sunday morning session playing, and a member brought his cousin and her son who aren't members. The whole day since Priesthood session, I thought a lot about serving others and searching ways to serve others. I followed the counsel taught in conference to pray hard to find good deeds to do that day, and I didn't expect to receive my answer so quickly. Just to back tract a bit, this member, Fratello Scamporrino has really liked me since I remembered his birthday, and so after the session he presented his cousin, Sabrina, and her son Christian who is twelve. They loved conference so much and they actually asked us if we could give them a blessing of comfort. Another member gave Sabrina the blessing, and then she asked if I could give her son a blessing also. It was a wonderful experience as I felt the power of the Lord work through me to give this little boy the words he needed to hear, but most of all the feelings he needed to feel. After we closed in the name of Jesus Christ, Christian stood up, turned around, and straightaway reached up to grab my shoulders and gave me a hug, saying nothing. Tears filled my eyes as I felt the Savior's love for this young man, and this warm embrace touched my heart in such a beautiful way. His mother's gratitude also touched me. I found out that this time has been obviously very difficult on the family. We got their number, and they are so excited to hear the message of the Gospel, and they loved church so much and want to come again this Sunday. They live about forty-five minutes from Siracusa so we are programming how we can work with members to get rides to go teach them. What a miracle and a special moment in my mission, and in my life. Pray hard for them that they will be protected and will progress in the Gospel. 

That wasn't the end to it! After we said goodbye to them, a member wanted a healing blessing from us! And then after that, so did his daughter! And then Sister Sudweeks asked me to give her a blessing too. I have never felt so blessed to be able to serve so many people, and to give five blessings after such a wonderful day of hearing the words of prophets. I felt like the luckiest missionary in the world! 

Investigators are doing well, and I'm determined to be more of an 'inviter'. I like to follow the example of how Peter taught, that is really bring the Spirit as you teach, and invite them to be baptised! Right away! There is a lot of power in that, and you can measure an investigator's progress based on their responses. Last night we gave a 'soft' invite (asking someone if they would be baptized when they came to know the truth of these things, without a specific date or anything) to Riccardo, our twenty year old investigator, and know we know how we can go about teaching based on his answer, which wasn't yes, or no.

There's the news for the week! Tonight we go to Catania because I'm taking a plane up to Rome for zone leader council early Thursday morning and will be flying back on Friday. I am very excited! Hanging out in the beautiful mission home with the other ZL's and President and Sorella Kelly almost sounds like a vacation! I also get to finally spend twenty-four hours in Rome! I'll let you know how it all goes. 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, I love you Greg! Have a great week and stay safe! Vi voglio un sacco di bene!

Anziano Clay Lacey

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