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Monday, December 27, 2010

Dear Familia y amigos!!

So as you can tell by the time I am writing we don´t have much time, so I dont have time to write back personally, but I would like to write something to everyone!!

What a great week it was to talk to my wondeful family. Their lives are a constant strength to me, and each and everyone of them are angels to me guiding me on my way! It was great to hear their experiences and struggles and share some of my thoughts and feelings about my mission thus far!! As a new missionary in a foreign country, and anyone else who has had that experience, knows its pretty tough sometimes, not going to lie, but there is always support. I cannot adaquately express my gratitude in words for the most amazing family in the world! Also for those friends and acquaintances who stand by and respect me, and I feel an outpouring of blessings from all those who sustain my call as a missionary, even if they do not fully understand the reasons for my serving.

As we grow there are always people we can turn to, and I have the most amazing blessing to have a strong family, but not everyone is as blessed as that. That is something I have learned in my mission. I have amazing friends, but some are not blessed with such an abundance as I have. Sometimes I think about how blessed I am and why that is so, and why others seem so deprived of those things I hold so dear and love with all my heart. The mission is an interesting journey. It takes you literally away from the comfort and support of the personal presence of family and friends, and puts you with a companion you didn´t choose, and a mission that wasn´t your choice. (Although I love and am grateful for those two too!!!) I thank my Heavenly Father everyday that he knows me better than I know myself, becuase he has given me the opportunity to totally rely on him as I struggle through, at times. Something I have learned is that those who are not blessed with the family and friends that I have, still have the blessings of the ultimate comfort, the ultimate friend, even their Heavenly Father, the literal Father of their spirits. At times we rely on others so much that when we are taken out of the personal presence and comfort of those we love, we shrink and know not where to turn. But, God is the Eternal One, he will never leave us comfortless or forsake us. If we are living worthy of His Spirit we can feel His influence molding us, and upholding us, and guiding us to the strait and narrow path. What a blessing a loving Heavenly Father is, even to those who have received different blessings than I. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and will make His abode with them, if they only but come unto Him through His beloved Son Jesus Christ, the Great Mediator. I have learned and am still learning to put my trust and confidence totally in God, and not lean on my own understanding. There is the secret of the mission. We learn to rely on the Eternal Father of us all, and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ, with all our hearts, might, mind and strength, and we learn to follow His Spirit to help others feel the same hope and happiness that we have! And when we rely and trust in Him we will never fail, and no matter what will happen in this life, we will be built on the Rock of our Redeemer, and when the hard times come, we will stand firm in the faith, even until the sitting down with God in His Eternal throne (Rev 3;21) I am grateful for the blessings of adversity, and the happiness and shaping of character that it brings all who go through it, with a steadfastness in Christ!

I love you all I am doing fantastic, and will get more personal emails out next P-day!! Keep it up and know that I am ;)

Elder Passantino

Monday, December 20, 2010

Feliz Navidad, it looks nothing like Christmas (in the states ;))

So another week has come and gone and I have the opportunity to talk to my family this Week! Im so excited! So this last week we got two new Zone Leaders, Elder Sansford, and Elder Fielding, and they are both really awesome. I think Elder Sansford is about 27 years old and he joined the church about 3 years ago now. He has a very powerful testimony of this work, and told us a little of his conversion. He is the Only member of his family, but came to an absolute knowledge that the Book of Mormon is true, that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ on the Earth the first time that he prayed to know if it was true. It was a really cool story!

So anyways this week I went on splits with this Elder named Elder Rios from Argentina, and he is my District Leader too so that was fun, he is really funny! We had a lot of success together, but it was in his area, but thats alright! The other funny thing is that his brother is in the mission too and they are living in the same apartment, and they were companions in the past too so that was pretty crazy!! I have learned to appreciate some of the laws in the U.S. about fireworks, because here there is no restrictions and people light off huge ones in the street, so it always makes you jump!

We had the ward Christmas party here this week as well! Elder Morinico and I helped prepare the empanadas and peel the potatoes and the onions for about two and a half hours. It was a fun party, but they start meetings and church things so late here its so funny, it started at 9, but no one showed up until ten at night and it went until 1 in the morning!! Pretty different than the U.S. huh?? Its a different world down here sometimes!!

Well I don't have much time today, so I guess I will leave with a little of my testimony. During this time of Christmas we feel something that is different than any other time of the year. We feel greater love, more gratitude, and a greater hope for the coming year. That is because if the So another week has come and gone and I have the opportunity to talk to my family this Week! Im so excited! So this last week we got two new Zone Leaders, Elder Sansford, and Elder Fielding, and they are both really awesome. I think Elder Sansford is about 27 years old and he joined the church about 3 years ago now. He has a very powerful testimony of this work, and told us a little of his conversion. He is the Only member of his family, but came to an absolute knowledge that the Book of Mormon is true, that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ on the Earth the first time that he prayed to know if it was true. It was a really cool story!

So anyways this week I went on splits with this Elder named Elder Rios from Argentina, and he is my District Leader too so that was fun, he is really funny! We had a lot of success together, but it was in his are, but thats alright! The other funny thing is that his brother is in the mission too and they are living in the same apartment, and they were companions in the past too so that was pretty crazy!! I have learned to appreciate some of the laws in the U.S. about fireworks, because here there is no restrictions and people light off huge ones in the street, so it always makes you jump!

We had the ward Christmas party here this week as well! Elder Morinico and I helped prepare the empanadas and peel the potatoes and the onions for about two and a half hours. It was a fun party, but they start meetings and church things so late here its so funny, it started at 9, but no one showed up until ten at night and it went until 1 in the morning!! Pretty different than the U.S. huh?? Its a different world down here sometimes!!

Well I dont have much time today, so I guess I will leave with a little testimony. During this time of Christmas we feel something that is different than any other time of the year. We feel greater love, more gratitude, and a greater hope for the coming year. That is because if the unequivocal truth that Jesus Christ lives and that he loves us. His birth is one of the marks of his divinity. It was a miracle that the Savior of the world was born in the most humble circumstances, and ´´made a little lower than the angels.´´ The wonder and power of his ministry, his life, his infinite and atoning sacrifice, and his resurrection are enough to leave one awestruck. I cannot adaquately express in words my gratitude for his example, his love, his life, and the price he paid for me and the rest of humanity, if they would only ´´come unto Christ and be perfected in Him´´ He is my Lord, my God, and King!! It is my testimony that he lives, that his love and mercy are perfect and that He lived His life for us, and had no selfish desires in Him. He perfectly pleased the Father! He deserves the Glory and the praise forever and ever and I love and worship him with all my heart!! Everyone have a Merry Christmas, and don´t forget, for one second, Jesus the Christ!! I love you all, Feliz Navidad!!!

Elder Passantino

truth that Jesus Christ lives and that he loves us. His birth is one of the marks of his divinity. It was a miracle that the Savior of the world was born in the most humble circumstances, and ´´made a little lower than the angels.´´ The wonder and power of his ministry, his life, his infinite and atoning sacrifice, and his resurrection are enough to leave one awestruck. I cannot adaquately express in words my gratitude for his example, his love, his life, and the price he paid for me and the rest of humanity, if they would only ´´come unto Christ and be perfected in Him´´ He is my Lord, my God, and King!! It is my testimony that he lives, that his love and mercy are perfect and that He lived His life for us, and had no selfish desires in Him. He perfected pleased the Father! He deserves the Glory and the praise forever and ever and I love and worship him with all my heart!! Everyone have a Merry Christmas, and don´t forget, for one second, Jesus the Christ!! I love you all, Feliz Navidad!!!

Elder Passantino

Monday, December 13, 2010

¿Como Les Van?

Dear Family and Friends :)

This week has been a really great week! It turns out that ELder Morinico and I are staying together here in Rodeo de la Cruz for one more transfer so I am really excited about that!! At first before we found out about the transfers I sort of wanted something new, but after I found out that we would be staying I felt the sweet confirmation from the Spirit that we still had more work to do together and more to learn from each other. From that time until now we have been feeling a greater measure of the Spirit and greater Unity in our teaching. Also we have had more open conversations and just grown a lot closer so that has been great! I love serving this mission for the Lord, he blesses you in so many ways because he just truly knows us better than ourselves. It is such a comforting knowledge to have, that we have a Father in Heaven looking out for us and leading us in the path he wants for us, if we will only listen to His voice and heed His Spirit. So I am so excited to be staying in this area and serving with ELder Morinico for this transfer. I feel so blessed!

This week I had an interesting experience while I was talking to a lady on the street. We had been talking for about ten minutes when she said that she recognized my name! She said she knew some Passantino´s that lived in a city called Maipu which is about twenty min from where we are right now! That was exciting to hear so I wrote down all I could remember about where she said they lived and hopefully I can visit it sometime in my mission. She didn't know the street names or anything, but hopefully I can find it sometime! It was just one of the tender mercies of the Lord to me and hopefully I will be able to find some family down here :)

So yesterday I gave another talk in church about Christmas and how that relates to us having to renew our faith and Jesus Christ. It was tough because we got the call we were speaking as we were going to sleep the night before, so I did my best to prepare during one of the first meetings in church (because sacrament meeting is last here) and I gave it. I´m not going to lie it was a little rough, but I made it through and was able to bear my testimony of the Divinity of Christ as our Lord God and Redeemer so I think that is the most important part!!! I am grateful for the Gift of the Holy Ghost to comfort me through stressful times like that and help me accomplish a daunting task.

We had the opportunity to watch the Christmas Devotional last night and I was so happy I could participate in that event. Even though it was all in Spanish I felt the power of the Spirit testify to my soul that Jesus is the Christ, the Only Begotten Son in the Flesh. There was a beautiful song that the choir sang in the middle that talked about something to the affect of what my gift was going to be for Christ. Well I was very touched by that simple declaration and like the Wise Men of old I want to give Christ a gift this Christmas. Well first and foremost it will be a worthy, stalwart mission where he will be the unwavering focus of my attention, but more importantly I will give him the gift of my life. A life in service in worship, love, and declaring the truths that he has written on my heart. It was just the strength I needed and woke me up even a little bit about what my duty to God is and how I can do better in His service. I also know these men, although imperfect and human, are called of God to be his apostles and prophet on the earth today, and their job is to testify of Christ and give Him all the glory. How grateful I am and blessed!

I think that the mission field is one of the greatest Spiritual learning areas in the world. ALthough I had studied the scriptures before and gained a testimony of the truth, the Spirit that I have had with me of late has given me actual wisdom from on high not just an intelletual knowledge. Wisdom is a gift of God and I am glad I received it in portions throughout my life on certain subjects and that I am receiving it even now through the unwavering focus on God our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ His Son!

Family, you are right skype is the best way to communicate with me, and I still don´t have the number but that will be coming probably next week so don't worry we will get that all worked out! I am so grateful for the greatest friends and family in the world :) You are all amazing! I am doing amazing and feeling better than ever in my life. One is never happier than in the service of God.

ELder Passantino

P.S: I love you all more than anything keep it up and know the Gospel is true!!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

¿Como Les Van?

Well this week has been an interesting week. We have all been anticipating the transfers that we are going to find out today so that should be fun!! Im excited to find out what happens so it should be pretty awesome! I have a feeling I will be leaving Rodeo but Im still not quite sure. I have grown to love the people here and feel of their love, but whatever happens I will be ready and love it :)

Well we wanted to see the Christmas Devo so bad, but it started at 10:30 here so they are rebroadcasting it next Sunday in the stake and hopefully wherever I might be off to they will rebroadcast it over there too. It doesn't really feel like Christmas because its blazing hot, but we watched one of the church videos called Joy to the World and it got me more into the Christmas Spirit! I love Christmas time it is definitely my favorite time of the year ;) I am so grateful for my Savior and His atoning sacrifice for all of us! There is a special spirit around this time which I love because usually people try to be nicer and get back on track with themselves and with God. I truly love it!!!

This week an Elder in our Pension left back for home in Peru, his name is ELder Aparcana. He was a grear Elder and full of love and happiness!! He was so sad to leave it was tough. He was so nervous to go home, and you can tell he just loved his mission with all his heart, but we all assured him that his mission doesnt stop when he goes home, it just changes gears. I was grateful to get to know such a good man.

ALso we had our first Ward Missionary Activity this week that we set up. My companion worked really hard on making a scripture hunt game all throughout the church and outside too. So we worked a lot of the week on that and I prepared the Spiritual thought. We didn't have quite as big as a turnout as we would have liked, but the people who came had a lot of fun, and the Spirit was there so that was an awesome experience. I have really learned to love the people and follow the promptings of the Spirit. Well I am going to write some more people back this week because we don't have a lot of time this week, but I love you all and you are all in my prayers! Another excellent week is over and I am pressing forward with faith and the Spirit!!!

Elder Brian Passantino

Monday, November 29, 2010

First Baptisms!!

Querido Familia y Amigos,

Well this week I am doing fabulous!!! Except for this morning... in our Pension we have a sink and shower and everything, but the heat is so crazy so sometimes it wont be hot and other times it will be the hottest thing known to mankind... Haha. So this morning I was just going to wash my hands and I turned the water on hot and it totally burned my hand, like pretty bad... SO that wasn´t fun but its fine, its not that bad I just exaggeratted haha, but not fun.

SO we had interviews with President Lindahl this week, and he is back and healthy which is a great blessing!! They were great, he has such a love for all of us missionaries. The interviews are interesting because he just likes us to talk about everything, but you can see how much he cares that way. He asked me how I was doing and I said I was doing great and he was so happy to hear that. He asked me what I wanted next transfer and I thought it was a test or something so I had no idea what to say. I ended up saying a change would be nice, so he wrote that down haha. He also asked me if my companion was ready to be Zone Leader and I told him I thought he was. It was a hard question because when you are someones comp you see all of their imperfections, but he has a talent of teaching and taking over leadership positions. I think that he is one of those people that when he is asked to lead, that is when he excels more. He isn´t the most ´´personable´´ person, but he is a good Elder. Anyways the interview went great and President made some amazing promises to me. He is a deeply spiritual man who has a unwavering testimony. I have a feeling that I will be moving this transfer because of what I said, but I really don´t know. I have grown to love the people here in ´´Rodeo de la Cruz´´ (name of the city), and I will be sad to leave but who really knows. We find out Dec 6th and will leave the 8th depending on what happens.

OOOHH while I was at the offices I got your package!!! Thanks so much Momma it got here safe and sound without being rifled through that was a blessing :) I loved all the things in there and I needed those bleach pens, my mom sure knows me... haha. Also the pictures were great and all the yummy treats, thank you so much I loved it!!!! This last Saturday all the Elders in our Zone sang at a primary function for those who were going to enter young mens or young womens. We sang, ´´Yo trato de ser como Cristo,´´ Llamados a servir, Quiero ser un misionero ya, and some others! It was great and at the end we went up to one of the kids, gave them a paper with our testimony and one of the missionary planners that we use so they could see what it is like. It was great :)

SO thanksgiving was uneventful haha, but to celebrate my companion and I bought Lomos sandwhiches which were really really good!! Its like a steak sandwhich sort or except supposedly Lomos is the best part of the beef or something. It was a small little celebration but nice. I eat these little things called tortitas a lot, its like a small little biscut and there are a lot of types, but its simple cheap and tastes good. They have Panderias everywhere that selll them, or a bakery.

SOOO we finally had our first baptisms on Sunday after church!!! :) I had the opportunity to baptize Rocio a ten year old girl with a really hard life. It was a sweet experience for me, and it will be always remembered as the first person I had the opportunity to come closer to Christ. My companion baptized her brother or ´´cousin´´ so that was great. We have worked a lot with this family and they are coming back to church and feeling the SPirit again in their lives. That is the joy of the mission. Someone wrote a fourth verse that i had never heard until this week to the famous hymn, ´´Because I Have Been Given Much´´ the fourth verse goes like this:

Because of thy life´s mission Lord, I too must serve,
And leave the comfort of my home to teach thy word
I´ll find the sheep who´ve gone astray, and those who´ve never known the way
I´ll make thy work my work today

I really loved that. As I have now passed three fast months on my mission I have come to understand more the divine call of a missionary and the Heavenly comission by the Savior to bring the sheep back into the truth path of the Lord. The last couple days I have felt the SPirit so strong and have had special experiences which continue to give me the unyielding testimony in this Gospel. I am not a blind follower, but have personal evidence for the faith I am excercising everyday (Heb 11:1). Im so astounded at the hope the Gospel bares and gives me everyday I live it right, and try to magnify my calling. I know the Gospel is true, that Jesus is the Christ, even the Great Jehovah, and that God our Father,that Man of Holiness is the literal Father of our Spirits and we are his offspring (Acts 17:29). I am grateful we have a personal God, one who can hear, speak, eat and drink (Deut 4:28). I love you all and I am doing phenominal!!

Elder Passantino

Sunday, November 28, 2010

El Capo

Familia y amigos!

Well I think I should explain the subject line first, (El Capo). It basically means stud here in Argentina and the Elders say it all the time about good Elders, we say, 创Que Capo创 it's pretty funny. This week/today we went to the zoo in Mendoza! Lets just say it was a lot different than the Zoos in the states. I didn't see one worker in the whole big park, only at the beginning where you pay... And the cages for the animals were big enough that you could go in and reach your hand in and feed them. So many people at the park were feeding the monkeys and stuff it was crazy. I don't think the maintenance there was very good becuase as we were watching the monkeys a bunch found a way out of this huge fence/cage and stole some things right out of this guys backpack next to us!... We were like what in the world!!!! They all started going crazy and then just started jumping through all the trees in the oark wherever they wanted, and there wasn't a worker in site. It was actually pretty fun, but a little crazy. Its a big zoo that overlooks the city of Mendoza, because it is on a hill and its really pretty. We went with lots of the Elders in our Zone so it was a lot of fun. I have made some really good friends already with lots of the Elders so my funny personality has started to come out here finally in Argentina haha!!

This week I went on my first splits or 创divisiones创 with an Elder named Elder Mamani. He is from Buenos Aires also, but his family is Bolivian. We went on them because he is companions with the District Leader and the DL needed to come to our area and do the baptisimal interviews. SO I stayed the night in a city called San Jose with Elder Mamani and the Zone Leaders! It was a lot of fun and a good change for a day. The zone leaders are awesome too and very spiritual and loving. They are from Buenos Aires and Paraguay! So I have had a lot of opportunity to practice and continually refine my Spanish!!! I am feeling much better with everything in the language, (dont get me wrong It's still incredibly hard, and I still don't understand a lot) But I can really feel my improvement a lot more. I got to help Elder Mamani write his sort of 创farewell创 letter from the mission with his life goals, and what he felt he has accomplished in his mission. It has to be written in English so it was interesting trying to decipher what he was writing in English and correcting it. We all had a good time together, and at the end he awarded me with my first tie in the Mission that is a special tie with the Argentine colors from Buenos Aires!! I was very grateful and it was just awesome of him!

This last Saturday a counselor in the Bishopric talked to me and asked me to give a fifteen minute talk(in Spanish obviously) the next day at church. Now Saturday was already a very busy day for us, and I was a little nervous, but I had faith that it would all work out. It did :) I prepared the talk on one of the missionary lessons called the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a little shaky, not going to lie, but I felt like I said the words that needed to be said, and that everyone could understand what I was saying. I was very grateful for my Heavenly Father and the mercy he shed on me to help me out with that!!

The Gospel of Jesus Christ really is so simple. It is Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentence, Baptism for the Remission of sins, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and ENDURING TO THE END! Basically our purpose as missionaries is to invite people to live that, and reap the blessings of following the example the Lord put forth. I think the reason that we don't receive more and more revelation sometimes is because we haven磘 mastered the basics. That's why we are constantly learning the first principles over and over again, because they are vitally important. When we understand and apply those pricipals we are able to comprehend the greater and deeper doctrines of the Kingdom of God. When we exercise our faith in the little things, the Lord sees it fit to reveal greater things. We can learn more through mastering and putting to practice the basic principles, rather than reaching beyond the limits of our current understanding. When the basics become our basics the complexity and greater grandeur of the Gospel takes root in our souls inter the enlarging of our understanding of the greater things. How grateful I am for the simplicity that becomes the depth of eternity through diligent obedience to the basics. I don't
think I explained that very well, but there is a much better explanation by Hyrum Smith about the first principles of the Gospel in P.M.G. that you should look up!! ANyways I am beginning to find myself more and more in the service of my fellow men, and I am starting to understand greater things through the Spirit. The mission is amazing, hard though it may be, it molds the boy out of the man of God. I磎 so grateful to be a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ at such a young age! I am so happy and grateful!

We have our first three baptisms this week and I am so excited :) :) They are either Saturday or Sunday, but keep these amazing people in your prayers, Rosio, Luciano, and Ornela! I love you all keep smiling through the hard times, and know that the Gospel is true!

Elder Passantino

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hola my family and friends!

Dear Family and Friends!!

So another week has come and gone! This week has been really nice, because my companion and I are starting to get the hang of things and knowing where things are in the town. We have had a lot of cool and interesting experiences! Yesterday when we were walking home, I got spit on for the first time so that was fun :) haha. Just some punk teenagers who drove by on a motorcycle. I didn´t give him the satisfaction of turning around though. You just have to let things like that go. That´s something else I learned. I could have turned around and started yeling at him and stuff, but I don´t think I would have exactly been following the Savior´s counsel on the Sermon on the Mount if I did that! When we got back to our pension, I told the other two Elders about it and they lauged and said so you are finally a missionary ;) haha I thought that was funny, because we all get experiences like that. Oh the wonderful life of a missionary, it´s definitely worth it!

I talked last week about a family named the Quirogas and how they wanted to come back to church. It has been one of the first real blessings of my mission to see their change and wllingness to follow the path of the Lord. They have one son named Luciano who is nine, and they adopted another daughter named Rosio who is now ten, from the sister of the father. (If that makes sense). Rosio´s mom is a big drug addict and stuff so they adopted her to help her have a better life. This week as we were teaching their family, and focusing on Rosio and Luciano, we could just see that they were genuinely happy. Rosio is this beautiful little girl, who when you talk to her more and more has seen and been through a lot of things a little girl shouldn´t have to endure. You could tell when we first started working with her that she had a certain fear of something. It has been a miracle to see that fear in her eyes set free as she has been exposed to the truth that God is her Father, Jesus is her Savior and Redeemer, and that she has a special purpose in this world. We have personally seen the light fill her eyes. When we first talked with her about the possibility of baptism she said no, but after working with her for 2 and a half weeks ago she has made the decision to be baptized, following the example of the Savior and being baptized by someone who actually has authority (Heb 5:4), not someone who has called themselves to have that power vested in them. It was one of the happiest moments of my mission yet, as we went to visit their humble home, and she saw of coming and ran up to me and said, ¨I made the choice to be baptized all by myself (her parents were very adament about that, so they didn´t influence her at all), and I want you to baptize me!´´ It was a tender mercy of the Lord to me to know that he had touched even the heart of a child to change and to feel the love and the fruits of the Spirit. It filled me with so much joy and I can´t describe how happy it made me :) So my first baptism on the mission is November 27th, where her, her brother, and another girl named Ornella, who is in a similar situation to the other children are getting baptized. We are so excited and give God the glory, and thanks for letting us be his instruments to bring to pass exceeding happiness in the lives of these three children!

We ended up not having interviews with President Lindal, because he had to go back to the States. I guess he had a heart murmur and needs to get it checked out. All the Elders are praying for him and hoping that he can made it back swiftly without any problems. As I have said before, there are four Elders in our pension, Elder Arrua from Uruguay, Elder Aparcana from Peru, myself and Elder Morinico my companion from Buenos Aires, so it is quite a diverse group. It helps you learn Spanish better though, because the only means of communication, is obviously Spanish! They are such great men as well. Elder Aparcana is 24 and was baptized about two years before he decided to go on a mission, and he always is there to lift people up. He is very cheery, kind and spiritual. Elder Arrua is the same and has a really hapy and funny demener which is nice. He also is always doing service, like cleaning certain things and giving us food and stuff so that is awesome! I´m grateful for such nice rommates!

In the mission you work with lots and lots of less active members and try to meet their needs. It is hard sometimes to understand the reasons why, but we have to try. I told the story of my Great Grandmother Nane Angela who would always want to give us something when we went to her house (like all my sweet grandmothers) like fresh cookies or bread or something to that affect, because she loved us so much and wanted to give us something. And then how the last time she ever saw us, she was in the hospital and had nothing to give, so she called the nurse over to give us some ice, as a final act of giving and kindness. This act alone has had a profound affect on my life, and has helped me in understanding a little bit more about our Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ. Their invitation is always the same. They beckon,¨´´come follow me.´´ It is always an invitation. It is our free agency that chooses whether or not we will receive the promised blessings of their rest. I think that my Great Grandmother taught me about how much God wants to bless us, all we have to do is come unto him and receive the blessings. Jesus Christ suffered for everything, gave us the only way we could live with Him and our Father again. He trod the path that none other could, becuase he loved us enough to give us all we had, if we could only forsake the world, and come and follow him. People try to justify every which way for ´´sort of following him´´ or ´´I know he lives, but his teachings aren´t convenient with my way of life,´´ or ´´I don´t have time because of work,´´ or whatever. If we just make the decision to always follow him, we will live a life of no regrets. I cannot think of one time that I regreted going to church, reading my scriptures, bearing my testimony, or making the right choice, but I can however remember times where I didn´t follow him and I have suffered, regretted and payed the price. Satan makes it seem that the wrong choice is always easier, but with Satan´s path is the consequence is always harder. God gives us peace rest and tranquillity, while Satan gives us immediate pleasure for eternal painful consequences. As a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I boldly declare that Christ´s invitation is open unto all who want the good consequences. As missionaries our purpose is to invite people to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored TRUE Gospel of the Lamb. We are his instruments in inviting, and I am humbled and grateful for this opportunnity and responsibilty. I wouldn´t want to be anywhere else, but in the service of God. I love you all and my prayers are continually out for all of you!

Elder Brian Passantino

Monday, November 8, 2010

Crazy Weather in Mendoza

Querido Familia y Amigos,

So another week down and lots of things happened!! Well I guess first I´ll give you all a little more about the culture here in Mendoza and in my area Rodeo de la Cruz. I guess I didn´t really say but there are wild dogs all over the place so that is sort of weird for me, but I´m already used to that haha. I have almost stepped on so many because they just sleep in the middle of the sidewalk so thats been funny. None of the ones I have seen are aggressive or anything so that´s nice. Oh we do clap at lots of the houses/doors instead of knocking because lots of houses are gated off or they just dont really have something to knock on. It´s sort of hard to explain, but ya we clap and knock on doors. Every window in everyones house or building is like jailed off, I can´t think of the word right now, like bars haha. Oh man I think my writing in English is getting worse now, I'm going to be bad in two languages!!

So yesterday I experienced what it was like to have a real dust storm. When the wind comes over the Andes from Chile it's really cold supposedly, but when it comes back down it gets really hot here in Argentina. So yesterday it was really hot, and there was like a sharp heat wind. The wind was the strongest I have ever walked in, and it was a fog of dust. There was one point later in the day that my companion and I were walking to a house to go visit a family and the wind and dust got so strong that we couldnt even see five feet in front of us, and so much dirt got in our eyes and hair. It was crazy!! We had to find shelter then because the wind was pushing us around too, and it was so dang hot! My companion told me that after there is a really windy day here with that hot air, the next day would be cold. And now I am a witness that today is COLD! It´s so random, but its fine. It has been getting hotter and hotter though here as we start summer so today has actually been kind of nice. I am in the Center of the city Mendoza right now because my companion wanted to show me around here and go shopping and stuff. We ate at Subway, which was fairly similar to the one in the states, except it´s better in the States. Then we got some fries at McDonalds. That is a popular place here and the prices are way high, but it´s like a resturaunt here so its a lot nicer, but it was nice to get some good old American fires and food, something I have missed. I bought a little mini Bible in Spanish today that I can carry around, becuase my other Bible was just way too big so I am happy about that. In Rodeo there are a lot of Evangelicals, and people from this church called the Universal Church. I guess there has been a huge scam with them and people are all upset because they are like robbing the people blind of their money, and do some really strange things. The people here are pretty superstitious too and have some ´´interesting´´ views on life, but it´s fun talking to them.

I think that most of the people are really nice here. They beat around the bush a lot though, like they aren´t very straitforward people. That´s a little different, because if someone doesn´t want to talk or something, they won´t hardly ever say that! It´s funny. Ever Monday we get together with our Zone/District which is called Guaymallen and we have a District meeting. My whole District is latino so it is pretty interetsing sometimes. My Spanish is still getting better, but it is frustrating not connecting with people sometimes. That´s the hardest part is trying to connect, become friends, and especially be funny with people. The people here in Mendoza are really funny, and when they see a missionary from the States they always try to say something in English, it´s pretty hilarious sometimes because they will mess with me for not understanding them or not saying something right, and then I just say, ´´try to pronounce this word´´ and I show them a word in English and they totally torture it haha. So when someone gives me a hard time, I know how to respond!!

On Wednesday we are going to have interviews with the President so that should be awesome!! Oh I forgot to tell you all, you know how you told me there was someone in our family history from Mendoza Argentina? Well he thought that was awesome, and he said like six months into the mission or so he would give me and my companion a free travel day anywhere in the mission to go and find them or who it WAS!! I thought that was really cool of him, so if you could possibly find anything about that person let me know! Oh most of the cars here are Fiats, Peugots, trucks(lots of Toyotas called Hillux). We ride the bus basically everwhere we go(out of town) and yes its just as crazy as it was in San Fran or Oakland haha.

There is a sweet lady in the ward who washes our clothes, and can cut our hair so that saves us a lot on expenses and is so nice of her. Her name is Sister Moreno :) Well the Gospel is true and I´m so grateful for that knowledge! I wouldn´t be here if I didn´t know that. The mission is a tough experience filled with lots of hard work, but the things that it teaches you are eternal principles. Such as, how to follow the Spirit, patience, diligence, love, how to work with someone else, how to listen and meet peoples needs, how to pray and react to answers, how to balance your life between the things that matter and the things that don´t, how to deal with rejection and persecution, how to give glory to God and not to yourself, how to change your way of doing things rather than try to change someone else´s, and how to come to know God the Eternal Father and Jesus Christ our Saviour. It is a molding experience that prepares yourself and others for living with our Father in Heaven. I have realized how many things and behaviors I need to change in my life, and how I can better balance it. You are more aware of the aching state of the world, and the hope that the Gospel has. Something I have had to do, is rely solely on my faith and testimony rather than on the knowledge of the Gospel. That is one of the reasons I know I am here to bare testimony of truth and let the Lord do the rest, rather than drown someone in all the things, (good as they may be and true) that aren´t as important. Its been amazing so far. Also by far the hardest thing I have done physically, spiritually and emotionally though too. It is a sweet sacrifice of two years that will culminate in blessings which I am sure will come.

We are teaching an inactive family named the Querogas and they came to church again after ten years! They talked about how happy they felt and how much better they felt. It was something amazing to be apart of. They have two children that are nine and eleven who both want to get baptized. It is such a sweet Gospel of Peace that I love. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve, hard as it may be, but I get to see the Spirit light up the eyes of the hopeless, and bring a spirit of truth and love, unlike anything else on this earth. I love you all so much! Keep the faith, and come to know who God is and his Son, Jesus Christ. I have the greatest family and friends in the world! I love you all and I am doing great!

Elder Brian Passantino

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Day After Halloween!!

Dear Fam and Friends!!

So ten days in Argentina already its going by pretty dang fast so I have to make the best of it all! Yesterday was Halloween and you wont be able to guess what I was... READY... A missionary! lol. With an orange tie :) haha so I guess I had some of the Halloween Spirit. I wore it with my black suit so that will work for me.

So how are things going here?? Well they are going very well. Its been a hard first week, just with the culture shock and everything but I'm doing great still. The language is very difficult and frustrating, but I take comfort in knowing that every missionary who has had to learn a new language has gone through the same thing I have and all that is going to help us My Father in heaven, diligent work and study of the language, and a patience I have never had before, but which the mission has really taught me and helped me develop. Its been a great blessing to be able to receive the gift of patience in all things. I feel like that is one of the refining things that I have needed to learn and develop. So Im grateful for learning that now, early in my life.

The members here are so kind and nice. They are always willing to help and give the missionaries some food or Talca. Basically Talca is Coke just a bit cheaper than Coke here. Coke is way expensive here but the people love it haha. So basically our schedule is that we get up at 630 pray and work out, then from 7 to 8 we eat breakfast and take a shower, basically get ready for the day. The at 8 its personal study, 9 its companionship study and then we are usually out of the door at 10. We usually have people to go and visit and talk to, or we will do 创ALB创 which means Abrir la boca, or open the mouth to people on the street. We have Lunch every day with a member at around 1 to 130. It is weird though becuase usually when we get there, they start cooking so we are usually there until about three. After that we go back to our 创Pension创 Which is the word for our apartment, during the Ciesta. The Ciesta is from about 1 to 530 and all the stores close down and everyone goes home from work and goes to sleep or just chills in there house with there family drinking Mate haha. Its pretty funny actually! After we get back to the pension, I do an hour of language Study, and my comp helps me with it for about 15 min and then I do it by myself, while he goes and takes a nap.

Everyone is so tired during Ciesta time its really funny. Especially since my comp is from Buenos Aires he dies during that time. But that time for about an hour or hour and a half is sort of like a planning and relaxation time for the ELders here. SO its a good time to have language study. I need it!!! The hard part with the language is trying to help people out and connect with them, but its so hard when you cant understand the little parts of what they are saying. Its ok though my companion helps me out and I usually get the jist of what is going on. All I need is time and that will come. We leave the pension between about 430 and 500 and go out and do similar things. We walk a lot!! Probably close to ten miles a day. The city is pretty spread out so we have our work cut out for us when we start walking. But its nice we can talk to people outside their homes and things and on the street.

It is amazing how the Lord puts us in the path of people when they need help. Like right now we are teaching this Lady named ALicia and her husband died about five months ago. She loves when we come by because she says she can feel the Spirit. She is also trying to quit smoking and so we are helping with that too. The World is a really troubled place sometimes, but Im glad we have a Savior that knows what they went through, because heaven knows I cant understand things like that. Luckily though we can bring the good news of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and that there is an entire perfect plan of Salvation that is in itsleft an absolute miracle. We meet many people who are struggling with the loss of a loved one, addictions, abuses, and really anything that is bad or horrible. Many of them go to church but just cant feel that hope and peace. Its an amazing feeling when we talk to them and you can see their eyes light up becuase of the message of the Restoration and that there is a way away from the pain and suffering. Even those we teach and talk to without terrible problems, know that we are there to help show them the way of Jesus Christ. Its a humbling and great responsibility but I am very grateful for the opportunity.

The Miracle of this Church and the Gospel is that they don't have to believe us. The only thing we do is teach and help, but God will answer their prayers. We present the truth and it is their responsibitly to find out if it is true. You could explain away anything in this world with logic, but the power and the beauty of this restored Gospel is that we invite others to read, ponder, and pray and we KNOW they will receive an answer. That is why I am here because I have done the same thing, read, pondered, and prayed and have gained a witness that Jesus is the Christ, we are God's children, and that the same church Jesus organized while he lived on the earth is again here, in La Iglesia de JesuCristo de Los Saintos de Los Ultimos Dias! Its true, and thats my testimony. If people want to feel more happiness and joy than they ever had all they need to do is ask God sincerely, not thinking they already know the answer, but that through the prayer of the humble and faithful seeker they will be given an answer in the affirmative that it is true. Im so grateful for that knowledge.

Missionary work is tough and anyone who has ever served knows that. But that is where the power in it lies. In the grind, in the constant tiredness for the cause of Christ. That is where we find ourselves and our potential. And its all worth it when you can help someone else see that in themselves. If someone doesn磘 believe in miracles, come serve a mission, and Im sure your perspective will change. Im so grateful to be here and I love my mission and the people here. I hope and pray that everyone is doing amazing and Im grateful for all your love and support! I love you all!!

Elder Passantino

Monday, October 25, 2010

News from Mendoza Argentina!

Familia y Amigos!!

Well I finally made it here to Argentina!!Getting here was absolutely crazy. I think there were about 13 missionaries and most of them had never been on a plane. On the plane to Buenos Aires almost all the people spoke Spanish so it was pretty fun practicing with people and trying to understand everyone. It was tough though because I was the only one who was in the intermediate class at the MTC and I'm not that great at the language, but they counted on me to translate for everyone haha. The church representative there in Buenos Aires didn´t speak any English whatsoever so they all looked at me to communicate with him. I swear it was a miracle that we made it here to Mendoza in one piece!! The airport was crazy and when we arrived we had to take a bus for about an hour to another airport in Buenos Aires where we hit a connecting flight to Mendoza. Lets just say it was a very stressful time, but oh what a relief it was to see President and Sister Lindahl waiting for us at the terminal.

Getting there was definitely one of those small little miracles that the Lord blesses us with. And that my luggage made it there too holy cow!! There was some mix up with that in Buenos Aires so it was pretty lucky that it made it. So ya we got there, and threw our luggage in a big van and took another van to the mission office about 20min away. All the AP´s (Assistants to the President) were there helping us every step of the way and they are so nice and awesome. I hope I can be a missionary like that someday. Oh actualy they took our luggage to the mission office and the 13 of us went to President and Sister Lindahls house for a big argentine dinner. It was so good!! I mean mom´s lasagna is way better than the one I had, but Mendoza is known for its fresh fruit and I had a ton of that! Also the dulce de leche is basically amazing but I think that is going to be a treat when I get that haha. After dinner Pres Lindahl talked for about five min and we went to an apartment where the thirteen of us slept in a room about the size of our living room. It was fine, because I slept really well because I was so dang tired!! I barely slept on the plane ride that was about 10 hours... The flight to Mendoza was about 1 and a half. So that was nice.

The next day we walked back to mission office and started all of our orientation stuff. I had to get a card that legalized me so we went and did that at the mall which took about three hours. We were preped on basically everything like money(we get 550 pesos a month, and 44 for transportation, but if we go over on transportation they reimburse us.) We use a mission credit card so ya. So then I had about a 7 mi interview with the President. He he a great and very kind man. Very humble and gentle but also blunt and tells it how it is. Basicaly he told us that the first four or five months will be the hardest in our lives, because of the language and getting used to the country and everything, but he said once you make it through that it all gets better. He put me with my companion Elder Morinico who is an Argentine native. He is what they call on a mission a latigwo(not spelled right.) Meaning Spanish was his first language but that he can speak english as well. He lived in Miami from 2001-2006. So thats nice to have a companion that can really help me out. He is an awesome missionary and is willing to work hard. He has a lot of wisdom so I am learning a ton each and every day. The day I met him we took a Taxi to our area which is about 20 min from the mission home in the province of Mendoza still. The area is called ¨Rodeo de la Cruz. Its a great area. I don't know how I would describe it probably like a small Latino/European Oakland. Its very poor here but its just different. I'm not quite sure how to explain it. I love it though! We live with two other Elders, Elder Aparcana, and Elder Arrua. The first is from Peru and the second is from Uraguay. Its tough because they only Speak Spanish, but its definitely going to benefit me in the longrun. They are so nice and kind though, and they are very loving and hard working missionaries. You can see the Spirit in them and my companion which is the greatest comfort.

So we got to this area and what we are doing is called washing it. Basicaly that means that the other two Elders left and we just have the area book of the progress. SO we have been spending a lot of time getting to know the members and trying to figure out the area. The members are so nice here to, but I realy hope we can get their help a little bit more. We don´t have anything to work with right now, because the past Elders were working a ton with the Less Active members.

Ya, but we are working hard. I have never seen this type of poverty before. It is humbling to know how much I am realy blessed I can´t say how thankful I am. The people have usually a kitchen and a living room connected about the size of the corridor between my room and the other bathroom in our house. Its all cement, and they usually have a really run down table with all different types of chairs. They are willing to give you food and care for you though. Its very humbling to see. There are definitely areas I would call the ghettos, but i never really feel nervous or scared when I am there, it is a fine place to be.

Its funny when we go places and shop and stuff most of the music is american haha. When I was at the Supermercado today I heard´Love Story by taylor Swift, Guns and Roses, Lady Gaga and some other people. It was weird because I didn't think I would hear that for another couple years lol. The food is different. Milk comes in bags and cereal is more expensive here. What the meal system is is that we have a cereal in the morning, a big lunch with the members (yesterday it was pollo y pan, chicken and bread (It was good)) and then we work until 930 and usually have some more cereal or leftovers for dinner. It's different but Im not too worried about gaining weight here. We walk about five miles or so a day so ya we definitely burn some calories haha. And we do little work outs in the morning.

The language... Well the language really isn´t going too bad. I can usually say what I want to say and every day I have been blessed with being able to understand a little more of what is being said. I can usually get the jist of what is being said but not all the intricacies. Some days are harder to understand than others. Their accent here is a lot harder to pick up too because the ll makes a y sound in most spanish, but in Argentina is makes a SHA sound. I have been trying to use it more name. For example there is a family named the Cuellos and it is pronounced Kweshos. Its weird but it flows realy well. Seriously everyone here sounds like they are Italians with that stong accent. Also everyone thinks that I am one of them because of my skin tone and my last name. Most people down here are italians so I like that and feel comfortable with that! Also they say that when I speak I don't sound like a Norteamericano, so that has been a blessing. If my mind is working and I am speaking right they say I sound like I could be from Buenos Aires so that has been a huge blessing. Its incredibly difficult I'm not going to lie about that, but with patience, hard work, diligence, and faith in myself and mostly in my Savior I will learn and speak Spanish well!! Its frustrating sometimes but its just all part of the plan.

I miss everyone a lot, its hard being so far away, but luckily I know why I am here and who I represent. I promise to be obedient and diligent and work hard to earn the repsect of the people, the mission and ultimately the Lord. I'm sure I will think of more to say later haha. Luckly we get more time to write emails here than in the MTC. I loved the MTC by the way. It was phenominal! The mission is very hard work, but everytime the Lord had to do something it wasn't exactly easy, and especialy his atonement. Salvation isn´t a cheap one time experience. It is a life of labor and loving the labor of the Lord. It is the enduring to the end which will get us there as long as we have already focused on the others first pricipals of the Gospel. I love the country here and the people here. (U.S. I love more though!!) haha. But Im grateful for this amazing opportunity to serve the people here. I have faith that it will be amazing and it already has been. I love you all I can't wait to hear from you soon!! Oh btw if you want to email me and you aren´t in my family just email my family and tell them to send it to me. I'm sure they will because we aren't really supposed to open emails from others. But if it goes through my parents or sister first its totally fine! I love you all! God bless you!!

Elder Brian Passantino

Friday, October 22, 2010

Brian Arrives in Argentina-President and Sister Lindahl and first companion Elder Morinico

Brian Made it to Mendoza, Argentina!

Elder Passantino arrived safely!!!

What a delightful young man you have entrusted in our care. His companion is Elder Morinico who is from Miami, Florida. He will compliment your son's talents. We spoke with them today and they are reaching their goals and are very happy. There is nothing that makes a missionary happier than when he or she is being strictly obedient and making their goals a reality. We expect a lot from our missionaries just like we did with our own children, but we also extend love and compassion to each of them. We extend to you our thanks for bringing up such a fine young man. We look forward to getting to know him better as the months go by.
Thank you again for sending us a wonderful missionary with a strong testimony.

With Much Thanks,

President and Hermana Lindahl

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Hola Familia y amigos!!

Well it has been one hec of a ride here at the MTC!! I'm so grateful for my time here. I sincerely feel a brotherhood with all the Elders in my District and many in my zone. Yesterday was an emotional day because we said goodbye to the MTC teachers we have grown to love so much. Their names are Hermana Ampuno from Ecudor and Hermano Schwarz from Gilbert, Az who just got from his mission to Houston a couple of months ago! They were so awesome, and filled with the Spirit. I have come to learn one of the best qualities in a teacher is being happy, patient, and simple. With these three keys it makes all the difference. But, ya it was a sad day but I also had an amazing experience that night.

We got to take calls at this place called the RC where people have ordered church videos online or The Book of Mormon or Bible or something to that effect. Well (it was in English) I called this lady named Evelyn in Colorado, because she had ordered a free Mr. Kruger's Christmas movie from the church five years ago and no one had been able to get ahold of her to follow up and see if she received it. So anyways, as I asked her about it she said was that years ago? And I said yea, haha, but she said she didn't remember ever watching it or anything. (Also when we call we say our name and that we are representatives for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). And so I said well Ma'am that movie is generally based on the Spirit of Christmas and the special time that is to celebrate the birth of the light of the world, even Jesus Christ. And then I just asked what religious preference she was, and she said she was a Baptist, and so I asked if I could share a message with her about Jesus Christ and how much he loved her. We talked about that for a little while and then the Spirit was able to guide me to 2 Nephi 31:20 which is Dad and mine favorite scripture. After I read that I asked her how she felt and she said she was going through some hard times in her life, and had been praying for an answer to come from somewhere, and just felt like this was the answer to her prayers. She said she didn't believe in coincidences and that this was her answer. She then told me she wanted one of those "Mormon Testaments" of which I had just told her I read from. I thought that was amazing, so I read her the promise in Moroni 10:4-5 and she accepted the committment to read that. She also wanted the missionaries to come over there and deliver that to her and share a message to her and her husband about Jesus Christ and his Gospel. I just reassured her and promised her of the blessings that would come into her life from this Gospel and the power of the Spirit that comes with reading the Book of Mormon. I also told her how much God loved her and that he knew her and her struggles. She was very touched and grateful for the call, and said at the end, "This just feels right, I know it."

That was a sweet experience to me that God knows each and everyone of his Children. He loves them more than we can know, and when they go and seek Him in prayer wanting to receive an answer or help with a difficulty, he will send it! It was a precious experience for me that got me so excited to teach the people that are preparing their hearts to receive all truth. I know God lives and that Jesus is the Christ!!

I have been getting pretty anxious this week, and have had a harder time focusing on my studys, but I have felt help all along my journey here. I also learned that I do not need to know everything. I just need to have a strong testimony of the basic principals of the Gospel and let the SPirit do the rest. All I am is an instrument in the hands of God to do his will. I wish I would have realized that more when I was younger. I regret my bad example at times, but I hope those I love and care about will forgive me for that and see that I have changed into someone who just wants to bless the lives of others through whatever means. I love this Gospel with all my heart! It has been awesome seeing Cody around he looks and is doing great! It is so nice to know that two of my dearest friends are serving the Lord right along side me :) As well as my sister of course!! The mission is the best thing that has ever happened to me, besides my family obviously, in my life! I love you all and wish you well! Next time I right I will be in Argentina :) :) God bless you! Oh I am trying to write all the letters I can this week, but today has been crazy so I'm so sorry if anyone doesn't get one this week I have just been packing all day!!! Oh btw I have a new address it should be up on Facebook :) Thanks Kin!

Elder Passantino

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

One Week Left in MTC!

Dear Fam and Friends,

Yet again another awesome week- the mission never seems to disappoint. Today I got all my documents signed for my visa in front of one of the console people. He talked to all the missionaries going to Argentina for about two hours! I'm so excited to be going to that amazing country and I can't wait to preach the Gospel to such amazing people! There is something that I am really looking forward to and that is the food :) He said Americans love it because a filet minion there costs about 1.25$ and same with the other really high priced steaks in the U.S. He definitely confirmed that they eat the most meat of any country by far so that was cool. I'm going to love that, I just got to make sure Im doing all of my workouts... :) I will though, I have doing them religiously here at the MTC too, like at least trying to run a mile and lifting weights. I was playing basketball for lots of the time here, but I sprained my dang ankle again last week so I have decided not to do that anymore, because I always hurt it when I'm jumping... Anyways no need to worry about that it's a lot better. But ya anyways, Argentina, he answered a lot of questions which was really nice about the culture and things. He said they don't use really the formal ways of speaking like the USTED AND TU forms and that everyone is referred to as VOS... SO that will take some getting used to, but the Lord is with me so I don't worry about that.

Something that was brought to my attention this last Sunday's devotional is that it isn't as important as what we say, as it is what they here through the Spirit. God is the great teacher, basically we are just bearers of the Spirit that testifies of Him and His Son Jesus Christ. It gives me great comfort to know that I can't do everything myself, but with God all things are possible. Its such a blessing that I have come to know. I truly believe that our Father in Heaven is most generous of His Spirit with the full time missionaries. We have accepted the call to serve and set ourselves apart from the world. Although many things in the world aren't bad or evil, but in fact good, the best route is always the one that Jesus walked. Focused on the Gospel and living a life in the service of others. While I have been here I have felt the overwhelming desire to make people happy. It's a hard goal at times, but when we align our lives with God's will rather than our own path, we can be an instrument of happiness, in a world full of sorrow and distress. I am trying to become a faithful servant of the Spirit. President Packer said that one of the greatest blessings of a mission is the unique opportunity to learn how the Spirit speaks to us and follow in its path. I love a scripture in Isa 30:21 that talks about how we can know the path we need to take and we will be guided. I have felt the Spirit so strong here, as I continously bear testimony of Father and the Son and the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It lifts me and makes me a better person. The Atonement of Jesus Chrsit transcends the tests of time and is all encompassing and eternal. It changes people, and it has the power to relieve of of any pains and sorrows as long as we follow the path that God himself has laid for us. I can't wait for the opportunity to spread the Restored Gospel of JESUS CHRIST to those people who are seeking for the truth, but just know not where to find it.

The language has had its tough days, and I have also had days with greater confidence, but the amazing thing is that I just have faith that it will come. I know that I'm not going to be perfect, and that I will struggle everyday to express my feelings, but as long as the will of the Spirit of God is expressed in my broken Spanish, then that is really all that matters. What an amazing opportunity that lies ahead of me!!!! I just can't wait! My attitude is positive and light hearted. I have gained a concrete faith and trust in God that whatever trial will be put in my path, with His help I can overcome it victoriously.

Early this week I started a more indepth study of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is amazing how profound and simple it is. Jesus pleads with us to, "come follow me." And we are wise when we do. For when we follow the Good Sheperd we will always be in the right. How grateful I am for my Savior, I love him more than anything and would be willing to sacrifice my life for his name like all the great martyers of Him before. How humbling it is to know that I can be the voice of him that begs people to "come follow me." It is a simple phrase, but contains in it's words the power unto Salvation. It is soft, not harsh, and offers unspeakable blessings that have been only made known to the pure in heart. I cannot ever leave His guidance and path, for I have seen the other side, and I want to be by his side. (Rev 3:21, Rom 8:17)

This week our Branch President was released. It was a hard day for him, and for all the Elders and Sisters that had come to know him and love him so much. He was a man of integrity and a man who had a presence of power and of peace. I am very grateful for his leadership and kindness that he carried with him everyday of his life. You could see the Master in his eyes, and that is how I want to be someday. I'm sorry I don't talk about the logistics of the MTC much in my e-mails, but I try to write the things of my heart. It's hard for me to do sometimes, because those not of my faith may mistake this for something that it is not, but I want everyone to know of my testimony of the Savior and the Restored Gospel of the Lamb. I'm just filled with gratitude!! I love you all so much!! Keep smiling and Know that he is God! I'm so excited to leave next Wednesday!!!

Elder Passantino

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Los Hombres beben!!!

Hola familia! Como estan? Well I'm doing great after an amazing conference weekend huh?? Aren't you guys?? Wow I am so grateful to have living prophets and apostles on the earth today! Thank heavens God loves us enough to send his messangers to give us his direct word, and how grateful I am for a young boy who was young enough and humble enough to ask what is truth. The faith of that boy brought us the times of "restitution of all things." What an amzing blessing that is! I have gained and strengthened my testimony on so many facets of the Gospel while I have been here and throughout this past week. One of the things I have gained an absolute testimony of, and have had for quite some time, is the power of music in bringing the Spirit to any and every situation. Hymns have significant power as we thank God for the things he has given us that we in reality don't really deserve, and as we shout praises to his name for his work and life, and for giving us the authorized preisthood line of revelation(Elder Oaks talk Sunday morning) The power that they bring is really underappreciated I think because it can really bring such a feeling and comfort of peace into the soul of those who diligently sing the words with all their might, or listen to the Spirit's quite testimony throughout the song! It has been tough here because we are not allowed to listen to music at the MTC, so my companion and I have taken almost every opportunity to sing, or for him to play the piano, becuase he is an excellent pianist. My five favorite hymns I would have to say are, "O My Father," "Our Savior's Love," Nearer My God to Thee," The Spirit of God," and "Lord, I Would Follow Thee." They are amazing!!

SO this week we taught a lesson( in spanish I think it is our fifth 30min one) about the glorious restoration and the truths that have been restored through the Gospel. As Elder Frost and I taught, we truly felt the Spirit guide our lesson to the direction that God wanted it to go. We have had strongly emphasized to us, teaching people, not lessons. As you listen and try to understand those you love and teach, and listen and act upon the promptings of the Spirit, you will truthfully have the words to say come out of your mouth. That has been a testimony that has been solidified in my heart and that I know that that blessing from God is an absolute fact. Even though they are practice lessons, the Spirit still attends when testimony is bore about His restored Gospel, and the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Another thing that has been instilled in my soul this week is the divine organization of Christ's church. Jesus established a church while he was on the earth and founded it upon the rock of revelation. As the scriptures attest numerous times he called some prophets and apostles to administer the necessary saving ordinances for salvation, when he would assend back into Heaven. The organization of the Kingdom of God is again on the earth and I'm filled with gratitude that I live in a time where it can be here. Oh how much our Heavenly Father and His only Begotten son in the Flesh, Jesus Christ love us! I can feel their love daily and constantly use the Atonement of Jesus Christ to make myself a better person!

So, I thought that there were some intersting themes during conference. One that was a little scary, was the way and manner that Satan works. He works through whatever means he can to weasel and sneak his way into the weaknesses of man, and magnify it until he has us in his grasp. I thank God for the infinite gift of the atonement! It is truly the only thing that can set us free from his grasp, and help us put off the natural man and becometh a saint. Also there was an emphasis on gratitude and following the prophets. It was such a blessing to hear what everyone needed to hear from our Father in Heaven at this time. Also Elder Nelson talked about Missionary Work, in the Priesthood Session, which is close to my heart right now! ;)

Well here at the MTC things have been going very well! I still love my mission and the opportunity I have been given. It is difficult sometimes, like for example my companion has taught me a lot about patience. A lesson I desperately needed to learn. He does some things which are in complete contradiction to my way of doing things, but it has taught me that I have to be Christlike `in every relationship I will have, and the only things I can change are in myself. I'm so far from being at the level I want to be as a servant of the Lord, but I can feel the hand of Christ helping me along the path. It is truly a peaceful and comforting feeling. I thank my Father in Heaven everyday for my incredible family and my amazing friends who send me letters and send prayers on my behalf. I feel the power of your sustaing and I promise to work as hard as I can. This work is too important to slack. I am filling the Saviors call to serve in the end of Matthew last two verses! I love you all you are always in my heart and prayers!

Elder Passantino

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Hola familia!! How are you all doing?? I hope that you are doing great. Well I have had another fantastic week so that's been awesome! I got released as District Leader on Sunday so that was a little sad, but I was very grateful for the opportunity to serve those wonderful Elders, and I still can just in other capacities. We had another excellent Sunday with a great devotional. It's cool because we get to watch in class sometimes devotionals that were given at the MTC in the past by the quorum of the tweleve and such! We have seen ones by Elder Bednar and Elder Holland so far. They are absolutely incredible. Something that Elder Bednar said that I really liked was that the best way to prepare for a mission was to become a missionary not just merely "go on a mission." Obviously it is a life long process and we must always strive to share the gospel, because of the hope and joy that it brings us! I am always amazed here at the love the Savior sheds upon us, and how much I have felt the pure love of Christ, it is truly amazing! (Moroni 7:45, I think) But I am constantly edified everyday by the Spirit that is the supreme teacher here. I learned a lot of cool things about faith here its amazing how much power comes in wanting to believe something, believing it, knowing that it is true, and then acting upon the knowledge which the Holy Ghost has given us! Its truly a blessing. I had some incredible experiences this week that are very precious to me. Last Tuesday we had another District meeting thing after the Devotional. The Spirit was literally poured out upon myself and the other Elders in the room. I think I understand now the words of Paul when he said, "covet to prophesy." It was a very special experience that I will not forget, partly because I have been writing it in my journal! Oh the new District Leader is the Elder who I have become really close with, Elder Brook. I think I have talked a little about him, but he is a great example to me of enduring the hard times, and following the Spirit at whatever the cost. He was baptized a year and a half ago, when he was 19 yrs old. He had been investigating for about two years but his parents never approved of his desire to be baptized, because they are not religious at all. He basically took a leap of faith by being baptized, and when he told his parents he finally wanted to be they said they thought they had failed in raising him. He said that was the hardest day of his life but the Spirit told him constantly that that was the decision he needed to make. I respect him so much for pushing through those hard times. His family still isn't very supportive but they are coming around. He lets me read letters from his mom from time to time and she says that his new found religious zeal has caused he to contemplate what she believes in. He said that that is a huge step for her in his eyes. He truly has made major decisions in his life based solely on faith and the Spirit, it is a great example to all who know him, and I have the deepest respect and love for him. His story almost exactly resembles the story of Mom and Dad, except for a few minor differences. It makes me appreciate ny parents more than I ever had, as I am beginning to understand the leap of faith that my Dad took by joining the church, and the humble but stunning example my mother has set for generations to come, by staying faithful to the beautiful Spirit that is in her. I love my parents and my family more than anything, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to give other people the Gospel of hope that is my foundation and strength, even Jesus Christ. I want everyone's family to be together forever with their Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ and I couldn't be more grateful to get that opportunity at the ripe young age of 19. I know I made the decision to serve a mission long before this earth, and I committed to do all in my power to invite others to come unto Christ, through His restored and true Gospel! I am fufilling my preordination (Abraham 2:8-9) and I have the Spirit to testify to my soul that that is true! I love you all, I continue to do amazing and rely on God to help me through everything, as I put in my strongest effort. I pray for all my family and friends everynight and day and I hope you feel that!

Elder Passantino

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hey one month almost down!!!

Hey Family :) (and friends). Another great week down at the MTC!! WOW ya its been pretty busy and hectic but great. I have some really sad news though first... I didn't make the MTC choir :( I was so bummed about it. They didn't have try outs or anything, but their were more people than they needed so they took people's info and muscial information. I didn't make it so I am so sad. God's hand is in all things I guess and sometimes even when we don't understand everything, He does. And I just have to trust him. The other hard thing for me is that my Companion Elder Frost made it so he has been ecstatic about it and its been hard for me, but I am happy for him.

Well besides the sad news things are looking up here. Another great Sunday, as I gave a lesson on the Book of Mormon. Everyone of these District Meetings we have on Sunday is totally and completely led by the Spirit its truly amazing. I am so blessed to be the District Leader I have learned so much from these Elders. I will probably be released tomorrow or later this week, but it has been a blessed experience for me! The Branch President told me I have done an excellent job, and that if I had done a bad one I would have the calling until I got it right. haha. Well anyways about the Lesson I started off with Elder Holland's talk Safety for the Soul, and we watched most of it, which always brings the Spirit. It was just a amazing lesson because everyone participates and bear's in their own personal way their own testimony!

So Taylor made it here Wednesday and he seems like he is doing great! I have seen him about everyday so that is nice. We will definitely try to get some pics, but its tough because we can only take pictures on Sunday and Tuesday. But, I think he might be having a little trouble with his companion because he is autistic but he seems to be doing great nonetheless. I also have another friend in my Branch that I home taught in Idaho so I thought that was pretty neat! And my good friend from Idaho named Ryan Plumb got here last Wednesday as well so it was fun seeing him and giving him a hug!

It's hard to describe the Spirit here sometimes, becuase its just a constant presence. I love that. Oh one huge accomplishment that my companion and I had was that we taught the second lesson (plan of salvation) for 40 min all in Spanish! It's amazing how when you are giving the lessons the Lord helps you know what questions to ask, what scriptures to say, and to have an unconditional love for the person you are teaching, even if it is practice! My companion and I really felt the Spirit as we bore pure testimony of the Plan of Salvation!! It is such an amazing blessing that God has given us a way to get back to Him with our families, through the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I know that the Plan of Salvation is indeed a plan of happiness, and answers the questions which philosphers and churchmen have been trying to answer since the beginning of time! I truly thank God for a Prophet, a revealer of Christ and his Gospel. The same Gospel which has been taught everytime their have been true prophets on the earth!!

We have had some beautiful lessons in our Priesthood meetings in our branch. The Branch Presidency is truly divinely inspired. One of the most important things in this life for everyone to know is who they are! Once that knowledge finds itself deep in your soul you will truly be a changed person. Brother Gubler gave the lesson this week on knowing who we are. It struck a perfect cord with me. It coralated perfectly with my Patriachal blessing that says during my mission I will gain a deep appreciation for my calling, and some more things :) It also helped me understand more something that President Packer said in a talk called, "The Pattern of our Parentage." He said that would we know who we are it changes how we act with others and once the true realization comes to our soul that we are not just creations of God, but in actuality are the sons and daughters of God we could never willingly hurt or injure (physically or any other way) someone else. Thats an excellent talk by the way I would admonish you all to read it. We are indeed sons and daughters of God the Eternal Father. And we accept Christ and His gospel we become the sons and daughters of Christ(God) (Mosiah 5:7 I think?). It is a beautiful thing once we instill in ourselves with the power of the Holy Ghost the truth about ourself, where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. Their are people everywhere who are lost or content with their current positions, but once they have planted in their heart that they are indeed royalty, the son of a Heavenly King and Father it will change their lives and they will thirst for righteousness. I can't wait for the opportunity to go and share the message with all of God's children, that he is there! That he loves them! And that He has given the plan to come back and dwell with Him in eternal life! Well I know I am in the right place at the right time. I know God is mindful of me, and is preparing the hearts of those that I will teach this wonderful truth to. I am blessed more than I can possibly fathom!! I love you all so very much! Know that I am praying for all your problems, and for your welfare daily. I love the Lord and I am on will be on His side forever!! (Joshua 24:15)

Elder Passantino

P.S. I love you family you inspire me daily! You are aMAZING AND i LOVE YOU ALL!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hey! Week 3!

Hey Family!!
Hows it going everyone! Well I guess week three is over! Time here is really crazy. Kyle wagner told me in a letter this week that one day feels like a week and a week feels like one day!! Its so true haha. Well anyway it's been another amazing week at the MTC! My Spanish is improving every week and I feel more comfortable because I am really relying on the Lord in all my study. It's such a blessing to me that I studied the Scriptures before my mission because even if I don't know how exactly to say the scripture in Spanish, I can find the scripture that will answer a specific question so I have been really blessed in that respect. We have a thing called the TRC where we practice teaching people and people from the Provo area come in (usually members) and have us practice. It was Elder Frost and my first time teaching the first Discussion in Spanish in a setting like that. We were teaching both people who spoke only Spanish to us so it was interesting but a real eye opener. The Spirit really helped each of us know what to say when we needed it, it was amazing. It was probably the most eloquent we have both spoken Spanish thus far! Its amazing how the Lord blesses you when you are doing his work. The Gospel is so amazing and it brings me so much joy!!!
So we had another amazing District Meeting this week on the Spirit. I asked a few of the Elders to do certain things regarding experiences they have had with the Spirit in their lives. Some shared the Doctrine of the Spirit, and another Elder shared the role the Spirit played in his conversion! It was amazing to me how essential and influencial the Spirit can be. When I spoke I remembered stories that I haven't thought about for years. It was amazing how when we are worthy of the Spirit it can give us the words to say when we really need it. I felt prompted to tell each Elder in there that during their missions, if they worked hard and relyed wholy upon the Lord, they would witness an experience where God would show them through the Spirit how much he really loves every person in this world. He would show them through the Spirit, "charity the pure love of Christ." It was an amazing experience!! I love learning from all the people here. Everyone truly has something to offer to the Gospel plan that no one else can, and it has been an immense blessing for me to gain a testimony that we truly can learn something from everyone. I know that is true now. And this week has again proved to me that if we are worthy of the Spirit he will tell us all things that need to be done and said in the moment that we need them.
Another cool thing this week was making contacts. We go up to other missionaries and offer them our testimony in Spanish and a short message. My companion and I were very pleased when one of the missionaries who has been here three weeks longer than us, thought we had been there much longer than him, and was impressed at how well we spoke. Its always nice to receive that encouragement on something that is such a challenge.
Today we got to go to the temple again, and myself and five other Elders from the District participated in Sealings which was such a wonderful spiritual experience. It is amazing the blessings the Lord will pour out upon his faithful, simply because he loves us more than anything!! Also one of the Elders in our District, (who is also Bruce R. McConkies great grandson!) father is the temple recorder, so we got to talk to his dad and ask him any questions so that was awesome! He also said he could give us an "all-access tour" of the Salt Lake Temple when we get off our missions if we wanted to!
Thank you guys so much for your love and support and letters! I love getting them from my family and friends its truly a dear blessing while I am here at the MTC! The Lord is at work in the lives of all the missionaries here and he wants us all to succeed. He shows us that unity is the way of the Lord, and how he accomplishes his work. Oh I memorized the first vision in Spanish this week so that was cool!! I really am continually working on becoming a more Holy disciple of Jesus Christ and becoming a faithful servant. Its amazing how much of a Better day you have when you work as hard as you can, and see the daily miracles which the Lord is eager to give us. Its a blessing being in the same place as so many people striving to do the right thing, following Jesus Christ, constantly in a state of worship and praise of Him and the Father. The doctrines of the Gospel are more fully expounded to us as we study the simple truths that are the first and most basic principals of the Gospel. The depth will come through the Spirit as we truly have this glorious religious experience for ourselves. A testimony comes from the Spirit and comes from within, as we lose our pride, and become willing to be wrong, and willing to except all of God's truth. I am bold to say that I know this work is true and that what the sectarian world refers to as Mormonism is the eternal truth of Heaven. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love my family more than I can describe, my friends as well and no matter what anyone believes or does I love them. I'm grateful for the most amazing family in the world and the most amazing friends! I will try to write you all back as soon as I can!! Its amazing here and I have been changed by the Spirit of the Lord!

Sincerely and with Love,
Elder Passantino

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hey Week Two!

Hola mi familia!!!

So thank you for all the e-mails I printed them out and I am going to respond to them today :) So this week has been awesome! My companion and I have really bonded this week and it has been great. SO ya like I said the Spirit was so strong this week. Let me give you a quick story. So after we had a whole mission conference this week (only on fast sunday) we had a district meeting, where I was pleased to lead. It was an amazing meeting that was full of the Spirit. I felt like the meeting definitely had a purpose and I felt prompted to share personal stories from my life and other things I hadn't prepared to do. It was on the plan of Salvation and we got into the atonement, I bore my testimony of it and how I knew with all my heart that it was true. After that everyone was putting in their input and The Spirit was very stong! Then a Elder named Elder Munoz told our district of how he had been meeting with the Branch President, District President, and soon MTC President about some sins he had to overcome. He bore testimony of the atonement and told us how much he loved us. It was one of the most powerful experiences I have had with the Spirit in a very long time. After he spoke for about ten minutes the Spirit prompted me to close the meeting with that, and have Elder Brook say the prayer. There was very few dry eyes after the meeting and I gave everyone a hug afterwards. The Spirit was the most intensified I have felt almost in my life. Later, Elder Brook asked me why I asked him to say the prayer. And I told him I was prompted. He told me that he knew he was supposed to give the prayer and that every word he said was given to him by the Spirit. That was an amazing experience for me, that the Lord loved us enough and approved of what we were doing, to litterally change our natures for that time beings, into spiritual giants. It was great :)

Anyways the Spanish has been getting better this week. Its still definitely hard, and I know the only way that I am going to learn it is to rely on the Lord, while doing everything I can! I saw Kayleen twice this week, but yesterday when I saw her she looked horrible, becuase she had been throwing up the past two days and hadn't eaten in 30 hours... It was sad, but her companion looked like a good trooper. I have interviews with all the Elders in my district every Friday and things are going great! We celebrated the Birthday of an Elder this week named Elder Rueda and he expressed his deepest thanks that we remembered and did that for him. It was crazy this weekend we could hear the BYU game from the MTC! How did they do?? Oh and the choir starts today! I cant wait to sing at Priesthood session it will be such an amazing experience and I know I will love it! Look for me! This week has been great though. The Spanish is hard, but since one of our teachers in a native Ecudorean its nice to hear it as fast as a native says it. Oh we got to watch a past talk Elder Holland gave at the MTC in our classroom. It was one of the most powerful talks I have ever heard! You have to look for it it is called the Miracle of a Mission, its amazing! He came for Devo on Tuesday the day before I got here so I just missed him :(... but there is a general authority ever week so I cant wait to see who it is this week. It was Richard G. Hinckley last week. Its also our service to clean up after the Devo on Tues and Sunday.

But ya anyways I love you all so much! I I know that I am servving a mission for the Lord Jesus Christ and am participating in the most important work in the History of the World, the Salvation of a human soul! By the way my sickness is better, but my voice has literally almost been gone for a week now! Thanks for your prayers and fasting on my behalf I can feel it everyday! O how grateful I am for the Gospel and how eager I am to share it with God's children in Argentina! I met some missionaries going to Italy and they are going to look for Passantinos for us so dont worry! I love you all so much! Oh btw dad 2 Nephi 31:20 is now my favorite scripture! I read it everyday during personal study! You will hear from me in a letter soon!! I love you all so much ( with the Pure love of Christ!!!)

Elder Passantino