Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ho visto il Papa!

Hey guys!
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!!!
Anziano Lacey

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Eide Shama Mobarak!

Hey guys!
'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

Piove ogni p-day a Roma...

Hey guys!
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!
Un abbraccio!
Anziano Clay Lacey

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Un'altro battesimo... ma ad Olbia!

Hey guys!
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
I called the Anziani from Olbia yesterday and they confirmed that Iona (Nina) Frimu, the lady that I taught back in Olbia and found on that Island, was baptized February 23rd! I was so happy and excited so I got her number from them and called her yesterday to congratulate and greet her. She is doing so well and it made me so happy to have the opportunity to speak with her. She was very content to hear from me and the Olbia Anziani said that she still talks about me and Anziano Vitali in all of her lessons and testimonies. It was very powerful to feel the love that she has towards us and I'm so grateful for the opportunity the Lord has given me to help her out in her life. She has such a strong testimony of the gospel and she bore it to me on the phone.
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

Over 9,000 views!

The blog went over 9,000 views last week!  Thank you for all of the support of Clay and his mission.  Please continue to pray for him as he finishes this wonderful two years of his life.