This week was infinitely better than last week. We're still not seeing a lot of numbers in our work, but my attitude is getting much better and I'm starting to understand the whole "successful missionary" thing. Starting to. But I'll get to that.
What contributed to this week's awesomeness? Well, tons of things, really, but I'll just type out three:
1) Anziano Kessler. ANZIANO. KESSLER. I... I really can't tell you how much I love this kid. It brings tears to my eyes just typing it, which is weird and embarassing so don't tell him that. But really, this might be the most inspired companionship of all time. We're like Alma and Amulek, except we're in Italy and we don't get beaten or thrown in prison and instead of baptizing thousands we're pretty much just converting each other. But that's super important, too. He says and does the littlest things that totally blow my mind and over days, weeks, change me into a noticably better, happier person. I love it, I love him, and I love God for helping me meet him. He's just so ridiculously POSITIVE and HAPPY all the time! How do people like that do it!?
2) Big, special conference. President Dibb is going around the mission doing interviews. When he stopped in Verona, we did a big Zone-wide special training meeting with the Assistenti while one by one we met with him in the building's bishop's office. My interview with him was wonderful, really something that I needed, and the training meeting was electrifyingly cool. We got a lot of good ideas, and learned how awesome we are. We're pretty awesome. (Positivity. It's popping up a lot.)
3) English class. Every Tuesday night we hold a free English class at the church. We now have about 11 or 12 regular students. Anziano Kessler and I teach the advanced class, which is pretty much just sitting in a room and talking while listening patiently as they string sentences together and answering grammar questions and stuff. We always close with a sweet little spiritual thought. One of my favorite students is a middle-aged woman with a calm, happy personality and a beautiful smile. She started coming a little after I got to Verona... five months ago... and we've become friends.
When we first met, she was staunchly (but respectfully) atheist. But yesterday, while we went around the circle asking everyone how their week had gone, she had a very content smile on. When we got to her, she launched into a story in which she and her two daughters prepared a meal on Sunday for a few guests to come over for lunch. She described (in wonderful English) how much fun they had all had together and how happy she felt during that meal. And then, she said, she felt something she hadn't felt in that sort of situation before.
"I felt thanks," she said, grinning. "And I thought, Oh, maybe this has something to do with the missionaries."
I'm blinking tears out of my eyes as I type this. That, my faithful readers, is success. That's why I'm out here. God has made a way for us to be happy in this dark, mean world, and I just want people to know that. In the end, I'm barely doing anything, except inviting people to realize how much God loves them. I want what God wants: for more of his children to get to know Him.
People make connections with God all the time. And maybe, sometimes, it has something to do with the missionaries.