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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

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