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

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