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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

1 comment:

  1. Brian,

    I have been enjoying your letters on your blog. They have been making me want to go on a mission! I decided that if they were that motivating to me that I should be sharing them with Ivan (& the rest of the family) so he can see what it is like to go on a mission. Sister Hickman even said that there are things you included in your posts that she doesn't even know about Tanner. (sister gillingwater and I were VTing her today)

    So after we made some frosted halloween cookies today, I pulled up your blog on the laptop. I sat at the bar in the kitchen and read. Ivan and Julia were doing the dishes, Kami sat at the bar with me. Dave relaxed in the family room, and I shared your letter with them.

    Thanks for your example, I think we will make this a weekly event (reading aloud of your mission letters). We also read Melissa's as long as we were at it. :)

    Keep up the good work - in the mission field and in writing such good letter.

    Love, Sister Bowles