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


  1. This is so awesome to read. I love ths blog that you are doing for Drew. It is amazing for family to read but even better for him when he gets home. You need to print this into a book so he can have it forever. His future wife and kid will love it. Please let Drew know that the Heileson Family is following his blog and love reading his updates. I acutally read everything outloud to my parents as well. You can see the change in him already. I want to know how the gelato is? Oh to have Italian ice cream. So yummy. Even though he is a missionary and not a tourist I am still jealous. Drew will have to come back one day with his wife (so crazy to say that) and show her everywhere he served and actually be a tourist. We are proud of Drew. Our plan is to send a letter to Drew shortly. He has always been so kind to us an been wonderful. He has been an awesome example to Jacob. These young men help plant the desire to serve a mission into my boys and I appreciate. We are excited to read next weeks update.

  2. So Kaelen just looked at these pictures and immediately said 'I know him, he's Anni's brother". See even our 4 year old knows who he is. Drew was wonderful to us all. Jacob says as well that he was a great babysitter. ( I think he babysat twice) Funny :-)