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Monday, August 6, 2012

Last Week of Mission

Dear Family and Friends, Well this will be my last official week... I can´t believe how fast two years have come and gone. I remember the first day being so excited and then that night being a little daunted at how long two years seemed. But they surely have. Its hard to explain the emotions that I have right now. I am so excited to see my family and friends again and at the same time am so sad that I have to leave Argentina and the people I have come to love so much. It´s a miracle how much one changes while in the service of the Lord. This last week I was in a touristic city called San Rafael with and Elder from the United States (Elder Tingey) and another Elder from Argentina (Elder Falcon) We worked really hard and saw a lot of miracles. God really is preparing the hearts of the people to listen to the message of the Restoration of His Gospel. They just needed that little but of faith so we relied on God and saw the mircles. On Sunday I was able to return to my one of my favorite areas and see some of the amazing people I was able to help along the way like the Zarandon Family, The Gilabert Family, Lidia Ester, Danilo Gonzalez and was able to eat lunch with the Montenegro family. It was such a happy day. There is no greater satisfaction than seeing people that you were personally able to bless strong in the Gospel and relying on Christ. This week I will go back to San Luis to help some Elders there. I will work with all my heart might mind and strength until the end. Two women that I was teaching in San Luis both were baptized this weekend. It was so amazing to hear that and the changes they have made in their lives. I love the Gospel. I know its true. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and that He is God´s only begotten Son. I know that the gospel has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. I will write my last email next week for everyone but until then have a great and happy week! Love Elder Passantino

D & C 18:15-16

Dear Family and Friends, I had a very special day last Tuesday as I said goodbye to the people I came to know over the past six weeks in the province of San Luis. Tuesday was my last day there and I wanted to say goodbye to as many people as I possibly could before I left. One of our investigators, a young woman named Marsela who had sort of disappeared the week before was one of the people I really wanted to say goodbye too. We literally hadn't seen her in over a week. That afternoon after I had packed some I said a pray with my companion that she would be in the house and that I could say goodbye to her. We got to the house around 8 at night and all the lights were off. I was pretty bummed but we decided to knock and to our surprise she came out the down and let us inside. She had read 1 Nephi and was intrigued by the Book of Mormon. She had read all the pamphlets we had given her and even did all the scripture studies on the back. She is such a happy and optimistic person. She has had a tough life as well. She has a three year old daughter and is pregnant again. When her spouse found out that she was pregnant again he left her. The reason we hadnt been able to find her the last week is because she had been in and out of the hospital because of problems with her pregnancy and at the same time is working. She is such an example to me. When I told her that I was leaving the next day she just broke down in tears and thanked me so much for what I had done for her. It was a very powerful experience for me. She had a really hard time with me leaving. I was able to leave her with a new Bible and with my testimony. It was so hard to leave because I loved her so much and was so happy that she had accepted the Gospel in her life. As my companion and I were about 2 blocks from the house I heard a little shout from her girl Abril, ''Passantino, Passantino''. They called me back and met up to us about a block from there house. Marsela was still in tears and then said, ''with all the love in my heart I give you this (a little fish stuffed animal) which represents the likelihood of us finding each other. Its hard for one fish to find another fish in the sea but God has let us to find each other. Thank you so much for what you do.'' It was such an act of genuine love and care. She doesn't have much, in fact very little but she gave the best she could and it means so much to me. I choked up a little and finally understood the scripture, '' 15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one asoul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! 16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the akingdom of my Father, how great will be your bjoy if you should bring many csouls unto me! That scripture finally made sense after all this time in the mission. That moment is why I was supposed to be in San Luis. Even though we didnt have a lot of success that experience changed my life forever and made me realize that she was the reason I was there for those short six weeks. She will be baptized next weekend. Other than that I have enjoyed my time traveling. We went to some places with some amazing views of the mountains. I was able to work with an ELder from Peru, Bolivia and Argentina and an American whose parents are from EL Salvador. This week we are going to San Rafael about three and a half hours from here so that should be cool. ALright everyone have an incredible week. I love you all! Love, Elder Passantino

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Letter we received from Brian's Mission Pres Today! Made me cry!

MisiĆ³n Argentina Mendoza Cabildo Abierto 161 5501 Godoy Cruz Mendoza-Argentina Tel. (0261)-424-3197 July 19, 2012 Dear Brother and Sister Passantino, It is a pleasure and a blessing to have your son here in the Argentina Mendoza Mission. He is an outstanding missionary and is an example to all. I now will have the opportunity to work with Elder Passantino each day as he has been called as a Traveling Assistant to the President. Your son will come to know every single missionary in the Argentina Mendoza Mission. He will direct many of the mission activities and training. In addition to his own missionary proselytizing activities, he will direct and lead the zone leaders in our mission. Elder Passantino has a wonderful spirit. Those who serve as Travelers should be examples in all areas and he has exhibited the ability to do that. We are grateful to you for him and for the excellent example you have set for him. Sincerely, President Sergio E. Avila

Monday, July 16, 2012

Packing my Bags

Dear Family and Friends, Well its been fun being here in San Luis for the last six weeks but I have just been transfered for my last three weeks. President assigned me to be a traveling assistant so that will be a cool opportunity to travel around the mission and help some of the Elders that need it. Im excited to do that. My companion will be ELder Reininger from California. We had a good but tough week here in San Luis. President and his family came to have a Zone Conference and I was able to give one of my last testimonies in that type of setting. He talked a lot about obedience and how the small and simple things make the biggest difference. Lately lots of the people we have been teaching have sort of disappeared becuase of work or they randomly moved and a number of other reasons. I hope one day to see the fruits of my short labor here in San Luis. The people are so great and I love them so much. There are so many good people trying to live righteous lives in the world. I am constantly inspired at those who make changes in their lives and do their best to follow the Savior. I think as I have progressed in my mission I have learned to give people a fair chance and not be so judgemental. As I look at my own self I see my own imperfections and become more tolerant and understanding of others. Its easier to love people now and to forgive forget and move on. This week my companion and I had a little argument over something very insignificant. Its amazing sometimes as normal people we let little things bother us so much. My companion and I then evaluated the situation and realized how dumb we had both acted and we willing to forgive the other and move on as if it had never happened. It was a tough day and we were just frustrated and a little stressed out over some things that were going on. Later that night we were able to visit this sweet lady who had just passed through a difficult seperation with her husband that left herself and her son shocked. It was so hard for them to deal with. We went and were able to lay our hands upon her head and give her a Priesthood blessing of comfort. It was just what she needed. It gave her strength and showed her that God was mindful of her. Her faith is what got her through. (Helaman 5:12) I think I said in my last email that my companion ELder Sierra spoke a little about Ether 2 in his talk but I would like to share something from it that I learned. The Lord asks the Brother of Jared, “Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?” Obviosuly you have to read it in context to understand but we should ask oursleves the same question. What should we ask the Lord for that he may prepare us when we are in our own “Depths of the sea” . I know that he can prepare us for the difficulties that will surely come in this life if we simply just ask. That short little visit with her showed us God “ compassion and that we can each be God” instruments in bringing forth his work. He loves that lady so much and I know how much he loves each and everyone of us. I pray that everyone has an excellent week! love Elder Passantino

Monday, July 9, 2012

Elder Yao and I in front of chapel near where we live!

Elder Passantino and Elder Sierra

Happy 4th and 9th for Argentina

Dear Family and Friends, Happy Argentine Independence Day! haha Yea its the 9th here in Argentina so thats cool, besides the fact that everything closes down today. Its been a pretty crazy week here. My companion and I both gave talks in Church yesterday. I spoke about the phrase thats repeated in the scriptures ´´retain the remission of your sins´´ and how we do that and how the Savior cleanses us according to our diligence in following him or as John says, ´(1 John 1:7)´´But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. My companion spoke on the exchange between the Lord and the Brother of Jared and likened it to ourselves. (Ether 2:18, 23-25) The sister missionaries as wel spoke and then we all sang COme Thou Fount in Spanish for the congregation! It was a really great Sacrament Meeting. Lots of crazy things are happening with our investigators. I have learned some important lessons lately. We have been teaching this amazing person while at the same time she was living with her boyfriend.(not a good thing) Things werent going good at all in their relationship and so she decided to leave She left with all her stuff before he could get home a couple nights ago. It was a very hard decision for her to take but she knew she was doing it for the right reasons and for the best. But sadly, when we met with her in the chapel two days later she found out tha tshe was pregnant with her boyfriends child. Now she has to live the consequences of such a poor decision. She was absolutely devestated and pleaded for help. It was so sad to see. We comforted her and promised her that it would be alright. She has decided to raise the baby by herself so we hope that works out. That is why God gives us commandments because he knows the consequences and the feelings that will come. What I feel is a great mistake by many people is that they preach more the message of ´´how can get out of this situation the easy way?´´ Rather than ´´what can I do to avoid a situation like this all together?´´ Many in the modern world teach easy redemption which warrants and accepts whatever action becuause ´´I´m already saved because I accepted Christ so it doesn´t matter what I do because his love will save me in the end or in the words of Nephi, ´´ 7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: aEat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us. 8 And there shall also be many which shall say: aEat, drink, and bebmerry; nevertheless, fear God—he will cjustify in committing a little dsin; yea, elie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a fpit for thy neighbor; there is gno harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God. 9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, afalse and vain and bfoolish cdoctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark. When justification for sin is based on an easy repentance process after committing the sin, God is mocked and as Paul says, (Hebrews 10:26)´´ For if we asin bwilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.´´ and justice takes its place. The atonement of Jesus Christ is infinite and his grace is sufficent for the truly penent. It is a miracle what he did and we could never ever ever save ourselves for by our righteous actions. Christ is the only one who saves and can cleanse of all sin after we follow Him with our heart which entails the steps of His Gospel. I am so grateful to believe in a loving Christ who is so merciful and will freely forgive. His grace is what saves us. I hope everyone has a fantastic week! Love Elder Passantino