Saturday, December 22, 2012

Over 7,000 views!

Anziano Lacey's blog went over 7,000 views last week!  Thank you for following him and supporting him during his mission in Italy.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hey guys!

I'm glad everyone is doing well. I am so excited for the Skype call here in a few days! It will be so great to see you all and to talk to you all! I can't wait!

We have had a great week so far and we are working our way towards Christmas! I am so excited! We have a surprising amount of invites but we want to spend most of the time with non-members and those in particular who do not have a family or someone to spend Christmas with. We'll talk more about when we'll do the call, but it will be Christmas Eve for sure.

This week has been somewhat peculiar in Siracusa because since Thursday and ending today there has been the 'Festa di Santa Lucia': St. Lucy is the patron saint here in Siracusa so there has been a lot of festivities, processions, concerts, etc. It was neat though because nearly everyone (or it seemed like everyone) in Siracusa all gathered at the city center where they carried a gigantic beautiful silver statue of this saint through the city from the cathedral to another church that shares her name. 

We said goodbye to Stefania on Friday and she is really excited to be going to America. She wants to stop by in Apple Valley and say 'hey' to you guys when she goes from L.A. to Vegas! I was jealous that she might hug you guys before I do!!! We had a really nice last visit with her and I'm thankful for the friendship that we have made and that will continue. After our visit with her we were invited to a presentation of a book relating to the problems and history of Tibet. 

Our investigator Giuseppe is doing well and making a lot of progress! We have almost got him to church... But it is really hard for him! Pazienza! 

On Sunday we had a miracle happen! A lady named Ida from English course showed up to church! We had invited her awhile ago and then she had never came, but then she randomly showed up and it went very well! She loved church so much and was very interested in everything. Sunday night at five o'clock we were waiting in church for an appointment with a contact that wasn't coming, and then all of a sudden Ida showed up, asking questions about the Book of Mormon I gave her in church a few hours before! We had a great lesson with her (she even brought 2 friends) and I actually just heard from her and we'll have a lesson with her tomorrow! Things look very positive with her and I'm very excited!

Yesterday was a bit sad because we went to the funeral of a less active'.s wife who passed away. He was very happy to see us there, and it makes me feel content that we have already been seeing him often so we have a great friendship that will be nurtured especially during this difficult time for him. He is 87 years old so this loss will be very tough on him but he seems to handling it well.

We sung carols at a convalescent home with the youth and it was a great experience. I made it a goal to speak to and salute every resident in that home and I'm glad I did because I talked to some very beautiful people. One man that will celebrate his 100th birthday tomorrow! One lady that reminded me of an Italian version of Grandma Lacey said that I reminded her of one of her sons and she began crying and clung unto my hand. It was such a beautiful little moment and I'm so glad for little acts of service we have and to do things that the Savior would do.

We have a few other appointments and I have to go! We are really busy but I'll get back to you soon and let you know for the Skype call! 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 great week! I'll talk to you on Monday!!!

Con affetto, 

Anziano Clay Lacey

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Another great week

Hey guys!

This has been another great week and things are going great! We had our zone conference yesterday and it went very well. I'm the oldest zone leader now in Sicily so I felt very under pressure but it turned out well and we had a great time. 

On Wednesday night us and the missionaries from Catania got together here in Siracusa and saw the ballet, The Nutcracker, for the first time! It was done by a famous Russian group so it was way good and I really enjoyed it. President always jokes about how missionaries have a 'missionary entertainment deficiency disorder' so I was glad he approved it for us! We also get to watch two Disney or Disney-like movies for Christmas. Any suggestions?

Our investigators are doing well. Stefania has been coming to church regularly and reading from the Book of Mormon daily. Unfortunately she is leaving this week on Sunday and she's probably going to live in America and find work there. I'm happy for her and for this new opportunity in her life but I'll miss her! She will be living in California and she said that on her way to Vegas she might stop by and say hey to you guys!

We have been working a lot with less-actives and one is starting to come back to church! Another came to church on Sunday and we had a nice visit with her and her family on Monday night. Two of her children aren't baptized yet so we are hoping that we can begin to work with them and help this family out! We have already received three invites for Christmas so we might have a fun and busy day! 

We were invited to go to an activity at a Catholic church for a program for youth uniting the world. It was a project for young adults from 17-30 and we had the opportunity to speak at it and get to know a lot of youth around Sicily and even have a lot that will go to various English courses that missionaries do throughout the island. It was a great experience!

I'll just make a small mention: I hit 18 months in the mission on Saturday I just realized... crazy!!!

We had a lunch invite after church and this member brought one of her friends and we had a great afternoon with him, and after our spiritual thought he said he might be interested to take the lessons. He is a very nice man from Argentina and he's already come to church a few times and to the family home evenings in church. That night we all went together to see the First Presidency Christmas devotional and he really enjoyed it. 

Like I said, the conference went well. It was obviously Christmas themed, and every missionary in Italy got the same tie. It is really nice and I'll send the group picture of all of our zone wearing it when I get it! My training was on finding work and we had a great time demonstrating different finding techniques but most of all using this Christmas season as an advantage to try and find new investigators and to profit out of these many visits we'll have with members to try to get referrals. The things that stressed me out the most was getting things prepared for lunch to feed 40 people, and in the end it all worked out except the fact that I didn't tell anyone to bring a knife to cut the honey baked ham, so you can imagine the funny scene of us sawing away at a giant ham with plastic forks! Other than that it turned out perfectly though.

I love you all so much! Thank you for your prayers and support with everything. 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! I can't wait to give you a call here soon! Have a great week and stay safe! Love you!!!

Anziano Clay Lacey

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Roma di nuovo!

Hey guys! I'm glad everyone is doing good! Thank you for the encouraging words and the prayers throughout the week. I love you all so much!

This has been a bit of a crazy week because of traveling to Rome, zone leader conference, and traveling back. I had one of the craziest travel opportunities taking every form of transportation except bicycle and horseback. We left for Catania on Wednesday and ate lunch there with the other missionaries, then we took the bus again up to Messina where there was a lot of wind and a storm so the small boat we took across the Messina straight was rocked across the sea like crazy! When we finally got across we landed in Villa San Giovanni and then took a train to Reggio Calabria where we ate a pizza with the Anziani there and then finally got some sleep at their place. We woke up early, got a ride from a member to the airport and flew all the way to Rome. It was very, very cold and rainy, but I love flying so much and enjoyed every minute of it. 

When in Rome we waited for the other Sicilian Z.L.'s but there was a problem with Anziano Nelson from Sardegna who needed to bring some luggage for a different missionary. The machine that unloads the plane broke apparently so we had to wait an extra hour at the airport. They told us to take the train from the airport to the city center instead of being picked up in the van because the gate to the mission home was broken and couldn't open, so the vehicles inside were impossible to take out except by complete annihilation of the gate (you should see the size of the mission van... it's called a 'furgone' in Italian). 

The airport is only about an hour by car from the mission home (Rome is gigantic), and the little train would only be about a fifteen minute ride. Usually, at the end of the month (and we were in the latter days) missionaries are generally out of money. The train tickets would have cost £70 for all of us! It was ridiculous so we called the assistants and we worked it out to get a ride from other missionaries with cars. Because of the weather, everyone was late to the mission home, but although all the problems we faced and the stress of travel, we were all happy to enjoy each others company and we ate a delicious lunch prepared by Sister Kelly.

The conference was great and we had some great discussions regarding the work and things we need to do to improve the zones. President leaves a little bit of time at the end to ask questions about anything we want (it is titled 'trunk talk') that usually involves deep doctrine and marriage, and other after mission subjects. The funniest one I heard was a missionary who asked if there was something different we needed to do for the 21st of this month. President was very confused and asked, "Is that that Mayan calender thing?" The way he said it was hilarious and you have to know Pres and his sense of humor! It was a much needed conference and we found out that there will be a general authority that will visit our mission in January! I can't wait to find out who it will be!

Our zone conference will be next week on Tuesday so we have a lot to do to get prepared. 

We returned to Siracusa doing the exact same trip we made before that took up nearly the whole day. The best part about traveling though was meeting and talking to people. I find such great pleasure in talking and meeting new people as we go around. One of the ladies I talked to while going to Catania became a new investigator on Monday! She, Gabriella, was very interested in the Church and she is really searching the truth as she goes and researches other churches. Her faith in Christ has grown exponentially throughout the past couple of years because of the help and comfort she's received while her twelve year old son was found to have a brain tumor. Now everything is well, but hearing her recount her experiences and love of God as she was in tears was very touching. She said she looks forward to coming to church!

I'm out of time but that's basically the sum up of the week! Things are going great and I can't wait to soak up yet another Christmas in Italy. I know it will be a fantastic experience! 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 great week and stay safe and strong! Che Dio vi benedica! Vi voglio tanto bene. Un abbraccio forte!

Anziano Clay Lacey