Wednesday, May 1, 2013
This is way crazy as time ticks down and it's a weird sensation that is hard to describe! There are a lot of different emotions all mixed together as I reach the end. I'm just not going to think much about it and keep working hard!
I am so excited for these new changes however! There are some pretty amazing things happening with this new overload of missionaries and in these transfers President has opened up many new cities for sister missionaries! Even the Napoli zone will have sisters after about 30 or 40 years without them!
The thing that effects me the most right now is that I'm in a three some companionship until I finish and I'm excited about that! My new companion is Anziano Zito, an Italian! I have wanted an Italian companion so bad throughout my entire mission and now I finally can finish with one! I am really glad that it is him also because when we did a three day split when Anziano Juhasz had to fly down to Palermo for his residence permit me and Anziano Zito got along great! He is a little older and we manage to get into very serious and inspirational conversations so I am going to be spending the 'ultimi giorni' with a true friend! I feel very lucky and besides, everyone says that serving with two companions is a lot of fun!
We have tried so hard to set up other appointments with Erica and Andrea but they left town for vacation. Since they are school bus drivers they get the regular school holidays and the past week has been vacation time. They said that we can meet up this week sometime so I'm hoping to get a few more lessons in with them and really 'leave' them with my testimony.
Other than that we have been contacting many ex-investigators that we have dropped in the past to recontact them and set up some kind of meeting before I leave not only for the motive to say goodbye but to also try and restart the fire and interest that they had before.
We are teaching Kevin, the fifteen year old boy from the Philippines, and his girlfriend Dalin and they are doing great. Kevin is reading a ton from the Book of Mormon and we just need to get him to church! He told us that he has already finished 2 Nephi! We are using Janus and Deejay Silva with him in our lessons and they do well translating if a specific point isn't covered very well.
On Friday we had a great special conference with Elder Callister and he is a great man and a great teacher. He basically just went over the Plan of Salvation with us and taught such simple doctrine in a marvelous way from an interesting point of view. The new Elder Di Feo who was called to be an area seventy was there also. President Kelly with his words also really touched my heart when he bore his testimony.
On Saturday we did a split with the Anziani from Ostia and I was with Anziano Ginolfi from Ontario. We have known each other ever since the MTC but on that split we really bonded (especially because the members invited us to play soccer that morning) and we became really good friends! When he gets home next transfer we are already planning on going out to Victoria Gardens and seeing a movie at the Edwards theater! He is a really great guy though! Not only the Ostia guys were with us but also the Anziani from l'Aquila because they needed to stay the night to go to stake conference the next day to avoid traveling too much on Sunday. Our house is tiny and we had to borrow some air mattresses but the worst part was cooking for all of them because they ate us out clean of food! We were left with nothing! Working missionaries do eat a lot!
Stake conference was fantastic! Since President Di Feo was released there were a lot of members who were very sad. He was the first stake president in Rome and has done so much for the church here. In fact, I would say about 3/4 of the congregation was crying! A new guy named Paolo Petrollini who is only 32 was called and he seems like he will be a great leader. Everyone who spoke was so inspired and I learned so much from that conference!
Kind of a cool story: I got a call before conference that a man's daughter had left a Spider-man toy in the stake center so I was asked to go pick it up. It turns out that the family was the Marco Petrollini family featured on the Mormon Channel! I know you've probably already seen it but I got to meet him and his whole family: http://mormon.org/marco/. His brother is actually the one called as stake president I think.
Today the Silva family threw me a little goodbye party and it was a lot of fun! We actually have gotten a lot of referrals from them and we watched the Restoration film with them at the party so that was great! One family consisting of an Italian guy and a Filipino lady are really interested in the Gospel and they want to meet with us next week to hear the lessons.
That's about it for now! I'm not sure if this will be my last email or not as a missionary but I think I'll have a little bit of time next week to write a little note and maybe my testimony to seal this whole email saga of two years! I love you guys so much and I can't wait to see you so soon! 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 and fantastic week! Vi voglio tanto tanto bene! A presto!
Anziano Clay Lacey
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
We've had a great week and have seen so many miracles in the work! I love serving in Rome so much!
I first want to tell you about our new investigators, Erica and Andrea. The Anziani from Ostia called us and said that they had an old scheda of this woman, Erice, who was taught the gospel in the past and even had a baptismal date but then left to Sardegna and lost contact with the missionaries. Some how they found out that she moved back and then set an appointment for them with us since they live in our zone. I wasn't very hopeful at first because it sounded almost too good to be true, but I wrote it down in my planner.
We were in church anyways because President Kelly was doing interviews with each of us because at zone conference there wasn't much time and so he decided to do them throughout this transfer. After I had finished my great interview with him this couple showed up with bright smiles on their faces. They kindly greeted all the missionaries and President too and we took them to one of the classrooms to begin a lesson and get to know them. They are such amazing people! It turns out that Erica had found the church through English course about a year ago and took all of the missionary lessons. She even had a baptismal date set but the bishop thought that it wasn't a good idea for her to be baptized that quick because she was to move back to Sardegna (where she's from) for work with her family only two days after her scheduled baptism. Apparently it would have been too difficult for her to go to church because she lives hours away from the nearest church in Cagliari, so they cancelled the baptism.
Before leaving she and her husband Andrea (who is from Rome) had a dinner with bishop and his family. Andrea, who through this process of his wife going to another church was a little bitter and contrary, was very touched by bishop's family and his interactions with his wife and small son. It made an impression that has lasted on him even from a year ago. We don't know how their progress record got into the hands of anziani in a different city but it is a miracle that they contacted them!
We had a wonderful lesson with them and I was really impressed to go into my backpack and pull out a picture of my family and show it to them. I said to them that this was my family and that we love each other very much! We each have a strong personal relationship and we feel spiritual and emotionally bonded together and nothing could ever tear us apart. I confessed that it was they Gospel that provided this surety and it was they very reason for why we love and care for each other so much. I told them that I didn't want to brag by saying these things, but it is they very reason I am on a mission because I have seen these blessings and I want those same things for others. It is the only way to really change the world and better society. I complimented them on their beautiful family (they have a five year old and a six year old) and said that this love and beauty that they feel can be enhanced. Both of them had tears in their eyes and they smiled at each other and Andrea touched my heart with his words when he said, "This is what I want!"
Honestly I can say it was one of the most powerful lessons I've had in my mission and I've never felt so guided by the Spirit. It really made me miss you guys though yet it got me excited for my return! At the end of the lesson Erice and Andrea walked through the church acting like a happy newly wed couple. I cannot wait to teach them more! Unfortunately for reasons of work they cancelled the appointment we had for yesterday but I'm sure we'll see them soon this week! What a wonderful and spiritual experience though, right? It goes to show that the most important and beneficial message we have for the world is that families have an eternal potential.
Other than that things have been great! We are working with other investigators and trying to get them to progress towards baptism! We have also done a lot of less active member work and even member work. We got invited out by some young adults in the ward to an Indian restaurant and we had a blast together! I really love the people here in Rome!
We have a very special weekend planned for us this week! On Friday Elder Callister of the presidency of the seventy will hold a special conference for only the missionaries in the Rome zone and then we have stake conference because the Rome stake presidency will be reorganized because Presidente Massimo DeFeo was called as a member of the area seventy during general conference (I talked to him some last night). I am very excited for it and I'm going to predict now that Elder Callister will be the next to be called to be an apostle since last time it was Elder Cook who came to our stake conference in Apple Valley! We'll see!
I love you guys all so much! I miss you and I can't wait to see you soon! 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, be safe and I'll talk to you soon!!! Vi voglio un mondo di bene e vi penso sempre!
Anziano Clay Lacey
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
This has been a great week and things are going well. We have been doing a lot of finding work and publicity for the English course hoping to get new students that can possibly become new investigators!
We have also been doing more hospital visits because Rosa is in the hospital unfortunately. She gets out today though so that's positive and it's been nice spending some time with her and her family. Her companion Mauro seems a little stressed because of the situation and taking care of their two kids while searching for work. He got a job offer as a tourist guide driver, but needs to improve his English in order to get the job. To help him and the family out a little more we agreed to meet more often, teach the family in the Gospel but also teach him English with an occasional dinner appointment in between! It should be a great opportunity to teach them and help unite them as a family and also help them temporally.
This hasn't been a very eventful week but we are really trying hard for new investigators. We had nice exchanges with the assistants and I learned a lot. Anziano Longhurst is an assistant and he is such a great guy. We went to a Peruvian family's house in our ward and had a nice dinner with them and we discussed a few referrals that they have for us. We are excited to teach them because they sound very prepared! This Peruvian family is so awesome and I had fun playing soccer with the kids outside as we waited for dinner to be ready. They also showed us videos in Spanish of Peru and I was surprised by how much I understood and I know Spanish is going to come very easily to me when I start studying it!
We did have a few new people that we were excited to teach but it ended up being a bit of a scam! We went over to the house and there were three people with their Bibles out ready to start bashing us. It was terrible and there was absolutely no spirit and I wanted to flee so I made up an excuse and we were out of there! All of these lost hopes are just paving the way to those that are really ready! I'm hopeful and I know they'll come because I've seen miracles like this happen my whole mission!
The highlight of my week was probably our weekly district meeting on Monday. Since I'm the DL again, I gave the training and I had really planned, prayed and thought about the theme for this week. I talked about finding personal revelation through our studies. What I didn't expect were all the visitors! A former missionary that served here in this mission, Chris Hughes from England, was visiting and came to the meeting. The assistants came also and we had a great discussion amongst the missionaries and I think that everyone learned a lot from each other. I really felt the Spirit during that time!
Today we went to the big shopping mall in Rome to go see the temple progress! It is going up so quickly and it should be really cool when they put the angel Moroni on top! I probably won't be here for that but I'll keep hoping!
I love you guys so much! I hope you have a great week and that you stay safe! I love you Dad, I love you Mom, I love you Morgan, I love you Heather, and I love you Greg (I'm sorry about your arm!!! At least I didn't cause this break this time!). Vi voglio un mondo di bene e mi mancate tantissimo! Ci sentiamo presto!
Anziano Clay Lacey
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Here are some pictures from Nina's baptism. Nina is the one Anziano Vitali and Lacey met on the little island off of Sardegna in September, 2011 (See September 7, 2011 post, and several after). We'll also link a couple of other pictures from that time:
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Thank you for the emails and I'm so glad that everyone is doing well!
This has been a great week and I'm happy that things can start to go back to normal! We are finally settled into the new house and we had spent a lot of time preparing the old house for the senior couple that will move in there in a few weeks. Deejay is out of the hospital and doing much better after his surgery. We had spent a lot of time with him but we found that his roommate might have a lot of interest in the church!
I absolutely loved General Conference and I was really touched by a lot of the talks, especially the talk by President Uchtdorf during Priesthood session. I felt like he wrote that talk for me and I don't really ever remember feeling the Spirit that strongly during a session of General Conference. I cannot wait to print that talk off and study it more.
It also seemed a lot to me that the brethren spoke quite a bit on having a Christ centered home. I have been seeing the effects of how important it is while out on my mission because I can really see a difference between a family that tries to live the teachings of Christ and another that does not.
One particular family in the positive category I met on April 6th. Bishop called us and said that there was an American family from Utah that was here on vacation and wanted to baptize their son here in Rome specifically on April 6th. I thought it was a bit odd at first but that baptismal service was one of the sweetest and most beautiful moments in my mission! This amazing family of six showed up in the morning as we filled up the baptismal font and we had a great time talking with them. In this service for their eight year old son there was only us, them, our bishop, and Janus, one of our recent converts. It's hard to describe the beautiful Spirit that was there but the parts that hit me the most was first, when an 11 year old boy that reminded me of Greg read his talk and bore his testimony to his younger brother, and second, when the father baptized his son and with tears hugged him in the water. I was so grateful to be a part of that little baptism and I was touched by the gratitude of that family. They brought us each little gifts.
We were really excited this week for a new contact that we found who was really interested in the church. He came to conference and we did a few lessons with him but unfortunately in the end we found out that he is a little crazy. I absolutely do not understand how he thinks. I describe it like this: he loves logic but goes beyond logic to make up his own logic. That is the only way I can describe his thinking! He scared some members during institute so we might not see him anymore. He is taking a little bit of knowledge from each church to make up his own!
Other investigators are doing well but it's been hard to meet with some of them lately. We have really dedicated ourselves to finding work and we are hoping that we see some new fruits from our labors.
Another huge miracle this week for me was to see Janus give his first spiritual thought at a family home evening that we organized. He was just baptized in January but he has been working so hard to strengthen his testimony and prepare himself someday for a mission. He is 17 so as soon as he hits a year in the church he wishes to depart. He is such a stud!
That's the sum up of the week! Things are going really well and I'm loving the new heat that's coming in! Everyone says that Rome is gorgeous during spring so I'm excited to see the flowers when they bloom. 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. Vi voglio bene! Splendida settimana e ci sentiamo presto!
Anziano Clay Lacey
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Thank you so much for the emails and the loving words of encouragement! I love you guys!
This has been an insane week with so many 'technical' things to do that we haven't had much time at all to see our investigators and do some real teaching.
First off Anziano Juhasz had to go to Palermo for some things for his residence permit and he was gone Thursday, Friday, and part of Saturday. I had to cover my area and also part of Rome 2's area but it was nice because I finally got my wish to serve with an Italian companion for a few days: Anziano Zito from Alessandria. We had so much fun together and we were both talking non stop the whole split. We had to be careful too because we even talked way late into the night after going to bed!
On Sunday we had a great sacrament service in church to celebrate Easter. Our bishop gave a very powerful talk and expressed his love for the Savior. It was a great meeting and I think everyone felt the Spirit. There was a girl from Canada and a girl from Belgium that were on vacation in Italy but that are living in Germany as nannies that came to church. They came to me after the services and asked me if I could talk to the ward to try and find them a place to stay with a member because they used the 'Couch-Surfing' site to stay with a stranger and I guess the situation was pretty sketchy. We talked to members and finally got them a place to stay and then we had lunch with Ottavio Caruso who leaves tomorrow for his mission in England. We had a fun lunch even though we burned a ton of food!
The biggest event of the week happened as we were finishing lunch. Deejay, our recent convert called me and told me that he got beat up near the train station so we went and got him, cleaned him up, got him some ice to put on his face at the church and then we went to his home to confront his mother about it. He is doing fine but has been in the hospital awaiting a surgery that he underwent just this morning to adjust his broken nose. We've helped with the process a bit as I've done some translating for him and the doctors because he doesn't speak any Italian. It was a sad event but I think it has ultimately brought his family closer together. It goes to show that you can always find positive things in these kind of situations.
Another big change was us moving into our new house! A senior couple just left and the mission moved us there so that has taken up a few days of cleaning and organizing. I like the new house but the only downside is that there is not a balcony or a place to enjoy the great weather that should be coming in soon!
The highlight for my week happened last night as we met Ottavio in church. I've written about it before but he is a recent convert that has a family that is very against the church and against the fact that he's wanted to serve a mission. I remember when Dad gave me a blessing of comfort before I left for my mission and what a great aid that was and continues to be for me now. Well Ottavio asked me to give him this kind of blessing before leaving and I've never felt more honored to do something like that for a missionary about to depart. I literally felt the Spirit guide my words and it was one of the strongest points in my life in which I knew I was a vessel for the Lord to bless someone's life. It's a little hard to express my emotions for that experience but it was unique and very special. I hope to do it again for my children someday.
I love you guys so much! Thank you for 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! Have a great week and I'll talk to you soon! Vi voglio tanto bene!
Anziano Clay Lacey
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
I'll start real fast by updating on sightseeing in Rome! Today we went to the Vatican because we were ready to finally go inside St. Peter's Basilica, but it was closed. It was closed for a good reason though because university students from all over the world were gathered in St. Peter's Square and the new Pope, Franceso I, was giving a speech! We stayed for a little while and it was a neat experience being able to see him! I think I'm really going to watch this Pope because it's a once in a lifetime chance being in Rome as he was elected! After passing some time in the square we went to the other side of the Vatican and did the Vatican Museum tours. It was great seeing all of those beautiful statues and other kinds of art throughout centuries of time and then to finish in the Sistine Chapel. I saw the famous painting on the ceiling by Michelangelo of God touching Adam's finger. It's a beautiful work of art!
Sharon's baptism went very well and it's very beautiful to see the change that has taken place in her. When we were both dressed in white she whispered to me: "I'm scared of water!" and I reassured her that it would go well! There was a good turnout and it was a special experience having baptized her (she did well and we didn't need to redo it - thank goodness!). The best part of the service was hearing her bare her testimony. She was full of tears as she testified how the Gospel has changed her life and made her a happier person. I am grateful to have played a small part in her conversion experience! God truly loves each and every one of us.
This has been a great week with my new companion, Anziano Juhasz. We have had a lot of fun and we've been doing some great work. One of our Filippino investigators, a fifteen year old named Kevin, brought his girlfriend Dalin to a lesson and we taught them together and then watched the Restauration video in Tagolog. Even though the language was different and I understood nothing, it was amazing to note how the Spirit you feel is the same! Now she is a new investigator!
I'm district leader again this transfer and it's different because we are completely outnumbered by sisters! Both of the sisters, Clark and Christiansen are training so now there are four sisters in the district and our district meeting this week was fun! I like to give assignments to everyone so they all can participate and doing that is difficult in such a large district!
Giovanni is doing great but unfortunately doesn't have a new baptismal date due to the same few issues. He came to a quorum activity with us and the spiritual thought turned into Giovanni pouring out questions to the high priest and elders quorums and them teaching him and sharing their testimonies. It was very powerful and everyone is making great friendships with him. We will keep trying our best this week to work with him and help him get closer to baptism like he desires so much.
I am so glad that everyone is doing well! I want to get souvenirs for everyone so let me knoe if your have any ideas so I start searching! The best thing I'd say to get from Italy that you can't find in America is obviously the food, but it might be difficult to bring a stash of pasta, olive oil, fruit, and other ingredients that make the Italian food so great. We were given a box of Hamburger Helper from an American base and the pasta just isn't the same and it gave me a terrible stomach ache! American food is a little tough on the body!
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! Vi voglio una galassia di bene!
Un'abbraccio forte forte per esprimervi tutto il bene che vi voglio!!!
Thursday, March 21, 2013
'Eide Shama Mobarak' means 'Happy New Year' in Persian! Yesterday was the Iranian new year and I'll explain more in this email why I said it!
Things are going great! I just said goodbye this morning to Anziano Cardinet and I'm officially with Anziano Juhasz now and I'm very excited to be serving with him! When we did a p-day together a few weeks ago to the Colosseum we got along great because we were the only ones who wanted to stop and take pictures so we'll both have a lot of pictures this transfer.
This has been a great yet sad week as Anziano Cardinet has been saying goodbye to all of the members and investigators. He doesn't get very emotional but I was about to get emotional for him! I'm so pathetic sometimes... haha. Anyways most of our time has been dedicated to goodbyes but the work is going well. There are actually quite a bit of members that are giving us referrals now. This lady from the Dominican Republic wants us to teach one of her friends and he seems really interested in the Gospel so we are excited about that!
This Saturday I'll be baptizing Sharon and I'm very excited! She has been really welcomed into the ward and she had a great interview with the bishop. Giovanni is doing well but Anziano Cardinet's parting has been pretty hard on him. Hopefully we can set a new baptismal date with him this week! On Saturday night we found two new investigators named Josè and Arnel and they are awesome! We had a very good lesson with them about the Book of Mormon and we bore strong testimony. They work a lot but hopefully they'll come to church this week!
I am absolutely loving English course! I learned a really important lesson the other day that I'd like to share. Being American I've always been pounded by negative media and mindsets about Iran and the Middle East in general. This new guy from Iran named Sajjad came last week to English course and we became friends right away and he has interested me so much as a person. I gave an assignment to everyone to make a project talking about their culture (because we have a ton of people from all over the world here in Rome). He was the only one who came prepared and he talked about his culture and the new year and it was so interesting! One of the most beautiful things that I've been able to have in my mission experience is the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people from all over the world. It's amazing to see how similar we are instead of how different we are and I think it is important to discover individuals instead of basing our thoughts or beliefs off of groups or governments. I am so thankful to the Lord for this opportunity He has given me and my testimony that we are all children of God has been increasing exponentially!
We are excited for this new week! Things are going very well and I'm happy and so glad to be a missionary! I love you guys so much! Have a great week! 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 for your love and support and prayers! Vi voglio un mondo di bene!
Anziano Clay Lacey
Thursday, March 14, 2013
This has been a great week and things are going good! It has rained every p-day since I've been here though... It makes sight seeing a little more difficult! Where's the spring!?
There is a lot of exciting things going on here in Rome with the Conclave to decide who the new pope will be. It was really cool, today we went to go see one of the smoke displays and a news reporter from Aljazzeera (I think it's famous in all over the world except America... I dunno) asked me if they could interview me live and I accepted. Unfortunately breaking news from Turkey came in so they ruled out my live broadcast so I was almost on TV as a missionary! We saw the black smoke which indicated that they still haven't agreed on a new pope yet, but it was fun being with all the people who all gasped when the smoke came out of the Sistine Chapel and then I got to get to know some news reporters from CNN and a lady who just made a documentary about Christians in the middle east. I'm hoping that we will be able to see the announcement when they decide given that we pass by the Vatican a couple times a week. We'll see! It is exciting to be in Rome during a historical time.
I got to go in the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Piazza Navona, Castel Sant'Angelo, and many other monuments today and last p-day. There is just so much to see! I think I heard someone say that 66% of the world's treasures of art are in Italy and a lot of it is here in Rome! I love it!
Our investigators are doing pretty good! Unfortunately Giovanni cannot be baptized yet... The good news is that Sharron, a Filipino investigator of the sisters' is getting baptised on Sunday and she asked me a few days ago if I'd perform the baptism for her! I'm honored and excited to be a part of the experience and she is such a sweet and kind lady that also cooks amazing Filipino food! She is the best friend of the mother of DeeJay, our recent convert of a few weeks ago.
Mauro and his family are progressing well and we finally heard him say a prayer for the first time and it went well. The main thing we have been pushing them to do is to pray together as a family and they finally did it so we are so happy! Unfortunately Mauro couldn't come to church but Rosa did and brought a friend!
We have been working a lot also with members and strengthening them. We went to the birthday party of a little 11 year old Filipino girl in the ward and her family was very happy and they had invited us to give us referrals of their friends who were there. We made some great friendships and we hope that something will spark from it. There is also an awesome American family that has been here for a few months named the Flitton's. Now I'm not sure if I've mentioned them but they live in Park City and have a beach house at Dana Point so I already set up a family dinner with them for July when we are there. Prepare to have some new family friends! They have seven kids that relate perfectly to the Weasly family from Harry Potter except they are all blond instead of red-heads. They are amazing!
That's the sum up of the week! Anziano Cardinet is getting a little anxious as he is about to go home but he's working hard and going strong and is a great example to me. 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! Thank you so much for your love, support, and emails! You guys are the best and I love you all with all my heart!
Anziano Clay Lacey
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
I am still loving Rome so much and I feel so lucky to be able to serve here. I want to start out with some amazing news:
|September, 2011- Olbia, Sardinia, Italy|
|October, 2011 - Olbia, Sardinia, Italy|
It was so cute: She told me how she had an interview with the branch president and he gave her a calling but she can't say anything yet because it's a secret! Man, I wish I could have been there at the baptism but I'm hoping the Olbia guys will send me the pictures here soon! What a miracle though, right? The Lord truly has His hand in this work.
Things are going well here in Rome. This week we have done a lot of finding and we had great splits with the zone leaders. Giovanni is progressing well and he loves the church. Him getting baptized is actually something really hard at this moment in his life. It looks like he is losing his girlfriend and his job (because his girlfriend's parents are his bosses) because they are so against the church. He is strong and is confident in the decision he is making.
I don't remember if I mentioned it but I have kind of started learning Spanish since there are so many South Americans here in Rome. I love them so much and I told them to speak to me only in Spanish and I bought a dictionary to help me out. We had a meal appointment with our investigator Mauro and his companion who is a member is from Ecuador and she cooked some amazing food! I love South American food!
Seeing the sites here in Rome is fantastic and last week after writing you guys we saw the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon (which has to be one of my favorite places here in Rome), and today we will do some more exploring. My little detailed tourist book of Rome is marvelous and we'll see where it will take us today. I feel like a little boy on Christmas morning each day we get to see a monument or historical site.
I love you all so much! Thank you for your prayers and support. It means so much to me. 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 I look forward to hearing from you soon! A presto!
Un'abbraccio forte forte!
Anziano Clay Lacey
Monday, March 4, 2013
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
I am so glad that everyone is doing well! Thank you for your emails!
This has been a fun week! We spent a lot of time getting our recent convert, Deejay, ready to get the Priesthood. He asked me to give it to him and on Sunday after church I had the wonderful experience as I laid my hands upon his head and conferred to him the Priesthood and ordained him to the office of priest. Deejay is doing great and he is excited to pass or bless the sacrament next week.
This has been the week of birthdays since on the 22nd it was my companions, on the 23rd a sister in our district, and 24th, Ottavio, the member from Siracusa living in Rome getting ready to head on his mission to England. We got permission to go to the champion tournament of rugby with Italy vs Wales and I kind of fell in love with rugby. It is so intense! Italy lost, but I had so much fun singing their national hymn with them and wave my tiny Italian flag around! I almost lost my voice cheering so much and rooting for number 3- Giovanni Castro, a beast with long hair and a beard that looked more like a bear taking those guys,
The funny thing was I destroyed three umbrellas while on the way to the humongous Stadio Olimpico. It was raining and the wind was pretty strong in parts of the city and the umbrella I brought from home in America that I've had my whole mission was quickly taken out. I then bought one on the street (there are hundreds of vendors all over the place in Italy and in about three seconds of rain hitting the ground the hundreds of vendors come in the thousands and they all have umbrellas) and that cheap thing broke within a few minutes so I used an extra one that a member had and also that one was destroyed. We were ALL very wet and very cold!
Giovanni is progressing well and we are still hoping that he will be baptized in March. I saw the temple the other day and I didn't realize how beautiful and strategic a location it is! There is a mall called Porta di Roma that is the biggest in Rome and everyone in the city goes there. When you take the escalator (the one tens of thousands of people take daily) to go inside, you see a very large building under construction that is difficult to understand what it is. It is the temple and it is going to be spectacular when finished. It already has so many people asking questions and it amazes me how marvelous it is even as an 'unknown' project.
Well today we have a lot to do! It's nice being in Roma and always having something completely amazing to do on p-day! Maybe we'll see the Traverse Fountain, the Pantheon and Villa Borghese all today! I'll take lots of pictures! 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! Vi voglio un sacco di bene!
Anziano Clay Lacey
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
This has been another great week here in Roma and I am loving it! The only downside has been that I am sick but it seems like we are so busy that I haven't had time to rest yet!
On Saturday we had the baptism of Deejay and it went very well. We actually spent the most part of last week with him and teaching him to help towards his progression. The baptismal service was very nice and spiritually uplifting. There was a fairly large group of members and non-members there and everyone was really supportive. His mother, Fatima, is so happy that both of her boys are finally baptised!
We have a sweet new investigator named Mauro who is the fiance of a less active member from Ecuador who has started to come back to church. He is s stud and a great family man. They have two children and we are really hoping to make them an eternal family! He lived and worked in Sardegna for awhile and he loves to bodyboard so we really hit it off right at the beginning. He is very interested in the Restoration and enjoyed the video that we showed him. Speriamo bene!
We had another investigator, Giovanni, come to the baptism and he really enjoyed it. He said that he felt the spirit and we have been meeting with him a lot lately also. He has focused a lot of things that one must give up to become a member of the church but we taught him the importance of sacrifice and shared a nice talk with him that he studied very profoundly. He has a baptismal date for next month so we are hoping that he will be ready!
We are also teaching another lady named Livia and her 10 year old daughter Irene. The senior missionary couple in our ward (the Kruegers - actually very good friends with Andrew Thorn) comes with us to the appointments and we are hoping that they will be ready for baptism in April.
Things are going great! On Saturday we got permission to go to a rugby game, Italy versus Wales! We are really excited and we got a big group to come with us to celebrate three birthdays: Anziano Cardinet, Sorella Christiansen, and Ottavio (a recent convert who is one of my best friends and he is studying here in Rome but is actually from Siracusa where I met him. Tonight he is opening his mission call).
Well that's about it for the week! I gotta run! So much to do! 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!
Anziano Clay Lacey
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
It's official! I'm living in Rome and I love it!!!
I must say, I thought I've seen beautiful cities in the past but I have never seen anything like Rome. From all that I've seen I must say that Rome is the most beautiful city in the world! I feel like I'm fulfilling a boyhood dream being here and even though I haven't seen much (and all that I have seen has been fairly quick due to time restrictions) I am blown away by the art, history, and complete beauty of the place.
I want to talk about the work first! It is strange because there is so much work here compared to my past areas! We are always really busy moving around the city to different appointments and the ward is really involved in the work which is great.
We have a baptism this Saturday for a nineteen year old kid named DJ from the Philippians. His mother was less-active and then came back to church and then her youngest son Janus was baptised a few months ago and now DJ has decided to do the same. He has completely changed his lifestyle around and loves the Gospel so much! We have a lot of fun with him because we are trying to meet with him a lot before his baptism to encourage him to keep up with the good decisions. Yesterday we watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration with him and he really enjoyed it! I'll be sure to keep you updated on how the baptism goes.
He has a younger 15 year old friend named Kevin who we are teaching and wants to be baptised. The only problem is that his parents don't really understand the importance of the church and aren't willing to have him join so we are trying to meet with his parents and create a trusting relationship with them. It was funny, I jokingly told him that he could date one of my sisters if he gets baptised! It was a joking bribe of course but his eyes definitely lit up when he saw the picture of my sisters! Haha
We are teaching another guy named Giovanni that also has a baptismal date in March and he is really excited to become a member of the church. He is studying very profoundly the Book of Mormon and loves it very much. He was found thanks to English course and the ward loves him and some even thought he was already a member!
There is another very sweet Latin American lady from Ecuador (I think I'm going to start learning Spanish right now because there are so many amazing South Americans here) named Gladys that we just began teaching also and she has already been to church twice with a friend.
There are more investigators making great progress and we are also working with some part member families. The ward here is great and there are so many people that speak English including about four American families living in Rome for studies, American embassy, etc. There is a huge diversity with so many different beautiful people from all over the world. I barely know any real Romans!
My companion is Anziano Cardinet and he is awesome! We actually were in the same ward together in BYU-Idaho! He is finished this transfer so I get to 'kill him' as the mission slang goes! We are working hard though and enjoying our time together. Our house is very small but nice, clean, and new. The missionaries in Rome 1 about a year ago accidentally burned down the other apartment so we got relocated to a nice spot. Living in Rome is a completely new experience for me! It is definitely big city living. Wake up, take the bus, take the metro, take the train, all to get to an appointment! The city is huge and there are so many people! I am having a blast though and I feel cool going from place to place in a rush with a crowd of people like you see in the movies!
Seeing the Colosseum for the first time was quite the experience! I don't ever remember losing my breath when seeing something so beautiful and majestic but now I know what the word breathtaking means! Rome is a dream! I also saw a bit of the Roman Forum, the monument of King Vittorio Emanuelle II, Piazza del Popolo, and I entered the Vatican for a moment in St. Peter's square (I am really excited for the ceremony in which they pick the new Pope and maybe we'll go if we get permission; people from all over the world gather for this historic experience). I am in love with Rome!
We just finished with a special zone conference and we had a general authority tour from Elder Richards from the Seventy and he gave an amazing training. He is a great and a very inspired man!
Well I gotta run because we still have so much to do! I love you all so much! I love you Dad, I love you Mom, I love you Morgan (thank you sooooo much for the package! I loved it and I love the tie! It definitely brightened my day! Thank you thank you!) I love you Brooke, I love you Heather, and I love you Greg! Have a great week!!! Vi voglio un sacco di bene!
Anziano Clay Lacey
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
I am finally going to Rome!!!
I am so excited and content for this new stage in my mission that will be my last area in the mission. I feel very lucky and blessed to have hit the island regions of Italy and now I can do the last stretch in the 'Eternal City' that used to be the capitol of the world. I can't imagine how it is going to be working in a place with such apparent majestic history that will be absolutely breathtaking! My ward is the Roma 1 ward that consists of the western part of Rome where the Vatican City is located. Sorella Spicq who is here in my district served there and she has had fun showing me pictures and telling me stories about how beautiful a spot we have. How exciting!
I am super lucky and I get to take the night bus yet again tonight. We take off today at 4:00 to go to Catania and then at 7:30 I'll hop on the night bus with other missionaries as we endure the sleepless night! I'm joking, but I'm sure we'll meet some
This has been a great week full of depressing goodbyes. I thought the mission was going to cure me of this weakness, but saying goodbye to people is still the most frightening and hard thing for me to do!
On Friday night we celebrated Federica's baptism by going out to a fancy pizzeria and eating some great pizzas (I wish I kept track of how many pizzas I have eaten since being in Italy). She was confirmed on Sunday and she is doing so great. It was hard to say goodbye to her and she wrote me a very touching letter.
On Sunday it was tough saying goodbye to the members! Since it was fast Sunday I bore my testimony and got a little emotional.. imagine that! We have had meal appointments for both lunch and dinner these past few days so I am stuffing my face with great Sicilian food before I take off! Graziano, a guy from English course, prepared a little dinner in his motor home that was a lot of fun!
I'm sorry that this email is so short but I have to get ready to go! Transfer days are crazy but I'll let you know as soon as possible how things go in Rome! Maybe I'll write a little something tomorrow since my p-day has been cut short. 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!
Anziano Clay Lacey
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
It's great to hear that everyone is doing well! This has been a great week altogether and we had a very spiritually uplifting zone conference. I also had my third to last interview of my mission with president! We had a nice chat and he talked more about life outside the mission when I return home than life inside the mission! It was a good, fun interview though.
Well I finally had the amazing opportunity to baptize someone in my mission! On Friday night Federica was baptized and it was a great baptismal service. One of the best if not the best I've seen in my mission!
I want to share the story of how the sisters found her: the sisters needed to go to Catania and they got on the bus and sat near the back. A young 23 year old girl, Federica, got on the bus and sat in the very back and Sorella Spicq had a strong impression to talk with her. She acted on the prompting and asked her, "Do your seat?" Federica simply replied with a yes and Sorella Spicq apologized and said, "Sorry for the silly question but I just felt like I needed to talk to you." They spoke the whole ride from Siracusa to Catania where she invited her to come to English course.
I met her as she began to frequent my intermediate course, and then she started coming to church and taking the lessons from the sisters. When members first saw her they thought that she was a third sister missionary because of her bright countenance and the spirit that she brings into the room. I am lucky to have had her in my English course and to get to know her and when the sisters invited her to be baptized I guess I was the first one to come into her mind to celebrate the baptism for her.
About 40 members showed up and we had about 10 that weren't members. It was a very special experience for me as we were in the water and I got to do the baptismal prayer in Italian for the first time... essendo stato incaricato da Gesù Cristo, io ti battezzo nel nome del Padre, e del Figlio, e dello Spirito Santo, amen... it went smoothly, but the funny thing was when she got out of the water she nearly immediately hugged me in front everyone there in the water. It was a very special moment and the youth got a kick out of making fun of me for the hug as a missionary! Oh well!
There was a nice get together afterwards and the relief society brought some delicious refreshments. We had a nice time socializing together and it was a great night.
Also this week I've had the opportunity to give many blessings. A lot of people have been getting sick lately but I'm grateful to have the Priesthood and to be able to serve people in this Christlike way.
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!!! I'll let you know what happens as far transfers go... Love you!!!
Anziano Clay Lacey
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
I'm glad that everyone is doing so well and that you've had a great week! Thank you for the detailed and encouraging emails! I love you all so much!
I am very excited for this week! I will have the opportunity to baptize Federica on Friday and it will be an amazing experience! We have been helping the sisters organize for the baptism and all the members are very surprised and excited to see someone so young who wants so bad to be baptised! I think the baptism will be something very positive for the ward and hopefully help them spark a stronger interest in missionary work.
Speaking of that, we just got a new ward mission leader named Fabio, who actually served here in the Catania mission and was still around when the missions were combined and was the first assistant to President Kelly. He just got married and then moved here to Siracusa to work for the church. He has a very good reputation as a missionary and we just did our first correlation meeting with him yesterday and we are all very excited to collaborate together and really make some changes here in Siracusa. We have made plans to fortify members and their families in order to get them excited about sharing the gospel with their friends. It's a positive thing also because he is so new therefore old stereotypes and mindsets can be out of the question and we can start from scratch...
...Like we have practically been doing with our work here! We have been doing a lot of finding and we have a lot of promising potential investigators. There is a guy named Marco from English course that has been showing a lot of interest in the church so hopefully we can begin teaching him. We are working hard and waiting to see some miracles and success!
We had a neat experience when a member invited us to go make a visit to a less active member who isn't well. We were with him and his wife in a crowded hospital bedroom where we had a nice chat and then we left them with a prayer. It was cool when the others in the room participated in the prayer and said, "amen".
We ended up seeing a friend from English course who was visiting his mother who had just had surgery the day before. We met him and his family and also had a nice visit. As we were exiting a lady who heard us say the prayer came to us and asked us to say a special prayer for her father who was very ill. It was beautiful to see the kind of trust she had in us and that we could help her and her family so much just by a simple prayer.
Well 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 be sure to take a lot of pictures this week especially of the baptism! Love you!
Anziano Clay Lacey
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
I'm so happy that everyone is doing well! I'm sorry about the news with Cola... I'm so sorry! This is probably not the time to joke but I promise the first thing in my mind wasn't a horse burger! R.I.P. Cola!
This has been an interesting week to say the least! I am positive and happy still, but unfortunately we have lost a quite a bit of investigators because we've started cracking down on our missionary purpose and not spending as much time with those that don't have interest in the Gospel and just want to be friends. I feel it's important to still have a friendship with them of course in order to positively influence their lives, but we have the elect to find and baptize! On a good note thought our investigator Giuseppe finally came to a church event: the family home evening we do on Tuesday nights! He loved it because he likes to be a part of little groups so it was one step closer to him FINALLY coming to church!
With our teaching pool now nearly empty, we are hitting the streets and doing a lot of finding and trying new methods to really bring in new investigators. We haven't seen that much success, but that's okay! They are out there waiting! And we are out there finding!
On a happier note I think I've already mentioned it but the sisters have a fantastic investigator and it looks like she is getting baptized at the end of the month. We've made a great friendship with her also and she wants me to baptize her so I'm really excited about that! She has basically only been taught the Restoration (as far as the step to step lessons we must teach) and she already feels ready! She comes to my intermediate English class and she came up to me after and said that she was having some fears and concerns about this date because it was so close. I told her that the sisters had prayed hard for this date, but the most important thing is how she her self feels. I told her boldly that if she went home and continually prayed that night, she would receive her answer if the date is right or not. The next lesson they had she said that she wanted to be baptized on that date!
It was a neat experience and it goes to show that the Spirit is the real teacher. A lot of people think that missionaries are the one's that are to blame for the miracles that happen in the conversion experience. Not true! We are the lucky little instruments that do the 'inviting' so that these wonderful people can act on their own and see how intimate and personal their relationship with Heavenly Father really is! Would you acknowledge the hammer, or the skilled carpenter that crafted a beautiful chair?
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
I'm glad everyone is doing good! ...except for the fact that Heather broke her leg! I'm so sorry! Get better soon!!!
Things have been going pretty good here! We had a good week and we found an awesome new investigator! He is a 16 year old American kid from North Carolina here on an exchange student program. I think I told you all a little bit about how we met him but I'll retell the whole story:
We had to get the residence permit for Anziano Smit a few weeks ago, and while we were at the government office called the Questura we noticed a tall young man walk in and we knew he wasn't Italian, so we waited to hear him speak with the person he came with in order to learn where he was from. It turns out we went into the same place to finalize the process and we heard him say to himself: "this is soooo boring.." We laughed and asked him were he was from and he said America so we had a good conversation. He was really interested as to why we are here and it turns out he has had a lot of questions about the church. We gave him our number and invited him to come to church and English course to help out if he wanted.
He didn't come for a few weeks and then we randomly saw him at a city event we felt that we should go to. He told us that he had lost the pass along card that we gave him that one day, and he had passed by the church with no one being there. We got his number this time and we set an appointment to meet with him because he is really interested in the church. We met with him and we had a great lesson talking about the restoration, and he was mostly excited to read the Book of Mormon. We met with him a second time and he's already reading and praying and we invited him to be baptized when he knows these things are true. Who knows, maybe he'll be baptized and then go back to America and then come back to Italy and serve a mission here!
We changed the tide of things here in Siracusa. For every new arriving missionary our ward mission leader does some kind of practical joke. It turns out that Anziano Fiala served with another elder who showed him a video of the prank pulled on him therefore Anziano Fiala had already suspected this kind of welcoming. We decided that it would be better if we got him instead of him getting us. We organized a great joke with other members, and it turned out beautifully! We basically made him think he was about to be mugged while walking on the street... I won't go into details because it might sound worse than it was written, but it was all good and we all had a great laugh!
Finally all of the Italian holidays ended on Sunday so we've been doing a lot of finding work to help fill our teaching pool. We are also working with many less-actives and trying to help families get back to church. Things are going great though and me and Anziano Fiala are excited to be together because we feel we have a lot of potential as two older missionaries serving together towards the end of the mission to really see some miracles happen!
Keep praying for us so that we can be lead to those who are ready and for those who are ready to be lead to us! It has been a while since Siracusa has seen a baptism, but that shouldn't bring us down, as a matter of fact it should get us more vivacious and excited! On a positive note it looks like the sisters might have a baptism! She is this young twenty-three year old young woman who is just awesome and her baptismal date will be for this month if all goes to plan. She has even been talking about me baptising her so that would be a great honor if that is what she'd like!
I love you all so much! Have a great week and let me know if there is anything I can do for you all. I love you Dad, I love you Mom, I love you Morgan, I love you Brooke, I love you Heather (take care of that leg!!!), and I love you Greg. VI voglio tanto tanto bene!
Un abbraccio grande grande!
Anziano Clay Lacey
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
|Anziano Lacey as Harry Potter?|
This has been a very great past few weeks with celebrating the holidays for the last time in Italy. We have had some very great experiences and I have learned so much! I also now realize what it would be like to be a citizen in a war torn city because New Years Eve was insane! It sounded like bombs were falling all over the place and fireworks from all over the city were everywhere! Our members had a party in church and we really wanted to go but we have a mission rule to be in the house that night by 6:00. It wasn't the most fun thing to do, but we had some great language studies together and we ended up staying up late and witnessed the chaos outside from our balcony...
I am having so much fun with Anziano Fiala! He is a great missionary and a great friend. We are getting along great and I know we are going to do great work together! Now pretty much all of the holidays are over (because it's Italy there's always another one around the corner) so we can continue with working hard and getting things moving ahead.
It was so nice talking to you all on Christmas! You all look so happy, healthy, and I couldn't be more glad to see you all like that! I still can't believe it's only 5 1/2 more months until I'll see you again!
There is a family that has a t-shirt shop near us and we worked with them a bit to try to begin teaching them and now we have an appointment for next Sunday! We tried to get them to come to church on Sunday, they said that they would, but they didn't end up coming unfortunately. We'll keep hoping and praying because they are a beautiful family and they need the gospel in their lives.
Ida, our new investigator, is doing great and is beginning to read the Book of Mormon. She loves church so much and we are going to push this week to set a baptismal date if we feel like it's the right thing.
The day after Christmas was another holiday in Italy (the day President lets us watch Disney movies, we say How to Train Your Dragon) so we went to a city close to Ragusa called Monterosso where they did a live nativity scene, and they closed part of this beautiful city in the mountains and turned it into a history/cultural fest to make it look like Sicily back in the 1800's. It was a lot of fun and beautiful to see how people lived during those times. We also ate a ton of great Sicilian food!
Speaking of eating... I don't think I've ever eaten so much in my whole life than I have in the past two weeks!!! We have had so many invites and I absolutely love Sicilian food! I feel like the luckiest missionary ever when it comes to food situations... here in Italy they don't complain whether or not it will taste good but rather if the food comes out pretty or ugly! It's hilarious!
That's the sum up of the week! I feel like time is so short now on p-days and I have less time to write so I apologize if this seems very short! 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 BUON ANNO!!! Vi voglio bene dal cuore!
Anziano Clay Lacey