Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Does Anyone Speak Chinese?

Anziano Benson and Anziano Smith in Florence

P-Day in Florence Can you Believe It!

Basilica Di Santa Maria Del Fiore (Duomo) Florence
Inside Duomo

Well week 2 is here and it has been a ridiculous week. I spent the past 4 days traveling all around Toscana. I have been to Milan which is a 4 hour drive, and Florence, Grosseto to visit members, and a few other places so it has made it hard to actually accomplish any work in town this week. Zone conferences and companion exchange were in there as well so it’s been a really awesome crazy week! I have felt a little home sick but it doesn’t seem to bother me too much.
Duomo in Firenze (Florence)
The work so far has been great! The only problem is NONE of our investigators speak Italian or English! They speak Chinese. We seem to continue to find more Asians to teach and it is so hard because you can’t talk to them, but we have the discussions in Chinese so they know who we are and what we are talking about... for the most part, I hope ha-ha. I do have to say though it is a miracle to find these people and no matter what the language is the spirit will always  bring peace and truth to all people. Since we do not have many members in the branch we have not had a lot of member appointments, but we have had a dinner appointment! It was great! The food they cook is a lot better than what Anziano Smith and I cook ha-ha. We usually just do the canned sauce you can buy at the store and throw it on some pasta.

Cool story of the week
Well we had 5 minutes until we were to go home and we needed to find one more person to meet our goal of finding. We went to the main campo (plaza) and looked for someone who we could talk to. We found an American from Florida and we sat down with him and talked to him about our church. He was very nice and open to discussion. We gave him our info and got a referral, but then he told us that he had gotten mugged and got his cell phone stolen.  He explained that his credit card had been blocked and he had no way to unblock it without a phone and that he had been sleeping in the streets. We decided to take him to the church and let him use the phone and help him out. We talked about the church while he was on hold with his card company ha-ha. We placed a book of Mormon and he told us he would read the whole thing. I loved that experience because we learned that he was 19 just like me. He had left home at the beginning of May and had toured all of the countries in Europe. I felt a connection with him since we were the same age and had left our homes at the same time and we were in the same place. What a great opportunity to find, help, and teach. You never know what you will run into out here ha-ha. The story of the homeless American backpacker will be a good one.

The language is tough but I am getting better at it and I do all right talking to people... until I meet someone from Napoli. I can’t understand a word they say. The Napolitano dialect is ridiculous! Even my companion doesn’t know what they say sometimes ha-ha so I don’t get too discouraged. Siena is so beautiful and when you think of Italy and rolling hills mixed with huge duomos this is the place in your mind- small, beautiful, very old, well preserved, and Perfect! If you like the Florence duomo you should see the Siena Duomo! It’s even better! I also had some McDonalds. Now I know I’m in Italy, but I can’t tell you how good a burger was!  McDonalds in Italy tastes way better than in the states. I wonder why.
LDS Church
I have not gotten any mail yet from anyone. It goes to the mission home, so here is my Siena address for now. Anyone is welcome to use it until I get transferred.

Anziano Andrew J Benson
Via G. Mameli 49
Siena (SI) 53100

Well I’m hungry so I’m going to go get some food and gelato. Ti voglio bene!

Ciao, Anziano Benson
President and Sister Wolfgramm

Every Nation Kindred Tongue and People

Elders Madsen, Anderson, Benson, Weatherston @ MTC
Drew Finally sent us this picture taken at he MTC. Four Awesome Missionary Friends going to spread the good news in the Phillipeans, Costa Rica, Italy, and Equador.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

First City

July 18, 2012

First City!!
Yes as you all know I am in Siena and I am in the Branch Presidency. I am the second counselor and the responsibility is a bit overwhelming. I know it’s going to be hard, but not impossible. I am not sure what my address is yet but I will find out and email it to you next week. Siena is ancient, and most all of the buildings were built here over 1000 years ago. It is the most well preserved city in all of Italy. YES the Palio, world famous “live or die” horse race is next month and I will be there for that. If you don’t know what it is you need to look it up! It’s incredible! We actually do not live in Siena, we live outside the ancient city walls but we are a 15 min walk to downtown where the neighborhoods are divided into the teams for the Palio. My companion Anziano Smith is awesome. He is from Washington D.C. and he has been serving for a 1 and a half years. The weather is very hot here, but at least it is not as humid as Milano. I am in the heart of Toscana (Toscany) only about an hour from Firenza or aka Florence. I saw Milano’s Dumo and the city square... THE most incredible thing I have ever seen in my entire life. The ceiling is Massive! and they have the nail from when Christ was on the cross in the Duomo... so they claim. The language is not terrible, but it’s still hard. I can understand people when they are not yelling at me and speaking a million miles an hour ha-ha. The branch is awesome and although we only have about 15 active members we have a great love for them and there is lots of room for growth.
To be honest I actually haven’t had any real Italian food. We don’t have a lot of money and there is no time to go walk around and shop for food. Yes I am in the most beautiful place in the entire world but that’s not really that important. I don’t notice the buildings or the art as I walk around; I’m too busy looking for someone who will actually listen to our message. The people in Siena are very diverse. I have talked to someone who knows a different language every day. I probably use English just as much as Italian because there are French, Germans, Danish, English, Chinese and just about any other well known language. We are actually trying to teach a Chinese man right now but he doesn’t know Italian or English, it is very difficult but miracles can happen and so far he has read all the Chinese pamphlets we gave him. Craziness but it’s so amazing. Right now we have really only 2 investigators and so pretty much all we do is knock doors or talk to people in Centro Il Campo; the famous square where they have the Palio.

I don’t have much time to tell you everything but I can tell you I’m actually in Firenze (Florence) today hahaha Its PDAY! I’m going to have some fun and see the cathedral! It’s been a really hard week but it’s been the best so far and there is a lot of work to do. I actually have zero pictures right now, but I will try to get some soon. They are big on us not looking like tourists and we are supposed to only take pictures on pday, and even then it’s hard because everyone watches what you do. So I know you are all dying to see where I am and what Firenze looks like when Anziano Benson is there but not now. Had my first Italian dream last night! It was pretty awesome I’m not going to lie. Ciao for now and I love you guys! oh also we do have a car, but we only use it to travel outside the city since my area is a 2 hour radius around Siena so we have lots of inactive work to do.
Note to add. Please DO NOT send packages. They have advised us not to have anyone send anything because we have to pay fees using our own personal funds to pick it up and pay customs. If you would like to do something you are welcome add to my gelato and or calcio jersey (soccer jersey) money on my card. Letters are welcome but will take a while to get to me since they go to the mission home, however once I get my Siena address then it will go straight to me. Thank you. Also don’t ever send money or anything valuable in an envelope it will get stolen before I see it.
Love you all
Anziano Benson
Anziano Scheurn, Anziano Sexton, Anziano Smith (Drew's new Companion )Anziano Benson

Monday, July 16, 2012

Arriving in Italy (pictures from Milan Italy Mission Blog)

At the Milan Duomo Passing out Book of Mormons

First Real Italian Pizza

The New Arrivals

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Good to Hear His Voice

Drew called us from the airport yesterday on his way to Italy.  It was so great to hear his voice and to feel his enthusiasm.  He is excited to get there and to get to work.  We know that he is going to make a great missionary.

 President Wolfgramm  Drew's Mission President sent us a message this morning.  This is what it said.
"I wanted to let you know that your son Anziano Benson arrived here safe and sound.  I  had a chance to interview him and am very excited to have your son in the mission.  He is currently downtown doing some proselyting work at the cathedral known as the Duomo here in Milano.   He wont be able to write to you until next Wednesday which is the missions preparation day.  He will be going to the city of Siena and his first companion will be Anziano Smith a wonderful young man from Maryland and he is serving as the Branch President so your son will be serving as a counselor like a counselor in a bishopbric and he will be conducting meetings in Italian so he will jump in full body into the water here and it will be a great experience for him.  Thank you for sending us such a wonderful young man."   

Drew's New Home

Monday, July 9, 2012

Final email from the MTC

July 7, 2012

I leave Tuesday at 8am from Salt lake and will arrive in Milan Italy 8 am the next day on Milan time I think. From the airport the Mission President and his wife will pick us up. They then take us to the mission home to drop off our stuff. We will spend the whole day in Milan at the square with the duomo placing book of mormons. After that we will spend our first night at the mission home, the following day I will be assigned my companion and introduced to my first area. So Friday Italy time I will have a new companion and be working my area. I heard P-day is every Wednesday so you will not hear from me probably until Wednesday of the following week, unless the Mission President lets me email when I get there. Also, yes, I will be calling from the airport for sure.
 There really isn’t much to report on here. Nothing new, just getting all packed up and getting ready to go. Tomorrow I have In Field training and Monday we do nothing but party with our teachers and pack, then it’s off to Milan! The Provo temple is closed for cleaning which I am sad about since I will not get to go there for 2 more years; however we got an assignment to clean the temple today so it will be a good opportunity to go to the temple per say one last time, even though it’s just cleaning ha-ha.
We have a 4th of July celebration here at the MTC and they did a program for us in the gym. We sang some songs and had country representation. My favorite was the Italian girl from Sacilia (Sicily or more famously know where the mafia is) representing her home country. The MTC president even made it a rule that we had to go watch the stadium of fire from outside the stadium ha-ha. We couldn’t go home till it was over... well all right presidents if you insist we stay out till 11:00! Ha-ha we got ice cream bars and listened to the Beach Boys playing live from the stadium it was pretty awesome. Especially hearing surfing in the USA, it’s been a while since I’ve heard some music! Didn’t break any rules though! The president told us to watch and I heard the Beach Boys! Idaho Falls has better fireworks though. The grand finale was kind of lame here.
Super excited to go! I have no idea what I’m doing, but I guess that’s what my trainer is for.  I love you. Talk to you soon