Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Partita di rugby!

Hey guys!!!
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

Roma è bellissima!

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

Abito a Roma!

Hey guys!!!
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

Trasferito finalmente a Roma!


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