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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

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