Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Una settimana fantastica!

Hey guys!
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

Over 10,000 views!

The blog went over 10,000 views over the weekend!  Thank you all for your continued support of Clay while he serves his mission in Italy.  He will be home soon!  He is scheduled to be home in June, but there is a possibility he will be home in May!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hey guys!

Hey guys!
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

Pictures from Nina's baptism

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

La conferenza generale è stata bellissima

Hey guys!
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!
Un abbraccio,
Anziano Clay Lacey

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Buona Pasqua!

Hey guys!
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