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Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

I hope that everyone remembers the mission and life of Jesus Christ and lets Him into their lives. He is the reason I am here in Argentina. Without Him we would be utterly lost. It is amazing how He so humbly came to the earth and the manner in which he lived his life. It is one of the ironies of this life that the creator came so humbly and will yet return so powerfully so that all will know him then. His resurrection is a miracle that broke the chains of death. I hope as we come closer to the day of the celebration of his birth we act like he would act and remember his everlasting sacrifice. He was the greatest gift our Heavenly Father could give us and He gave us the greatest gift of all, His life that atoned and redeemed us all.

Here in Argentina Elder Barton has just left for home and my new companion is Elder Allred. He is really great guy and I am excited to work with him. I love you all and remember to remember Christ and someone else this Christmas! FELIZ NAVIDAD!

Love
Elder Brian Passantino

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Elder Barton (my comp), Elder Roche from Southern California, Elder Baker from Canada and me! Some of my best friends!

Hey Ya'll

Dear Family and Friends,

It has been another sucessful week with lots of smiles. We were able to baptize four amazing people this weekend! Antonella, Jesus, Fatima and Celena! They are four of six children from an awesome family. There are two other sisters who will soon get there and the parents who just need to get married. The parents already have a powerful testimony of the truth along with the rest of the family. This coming week will be my companions last week on his mission and so we are sure to have lots of ´´going away parties.´´ That should be fun! There are so many people whom the Lord is preparing to hear this glorious Gospel´´For behold, aangels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory.´´(Alma 13:24) If there is one thing that has stood out to me while I have been on my mission it is the change that naturally comes in people as they begin to live true Gospel principles. It is like Mosiah says, ´´ And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you...(Mosiah 2:24) I am grateful for the change that is happening within the hearts of all people everywhere and especially the opportunity I have to see it take place everyday. I love you all have a great week!!

Sincerely,
ELder Passantino

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Whats up?

Hey Guys!

Whats new with you all? I have some good news from this week! A girl that we had been teaching named Caterina got baptized and confirmed this weekend :) It was a great experience for all of us. It is such a blessing to see the change in people's lives as they do what Christ wants them to do and then receive the promised blessings. I found out today that one of the converts I had in my last area just received the Melchezidek Priesthood yesterday at his stake conference. It was Luis Zarandon and it made me so happy! He has the plan to be sealed to his wife on August 27th in the Santiago, Chile Temple! What a great blessing for him and his family. Elder Barton and I found another family a couple weeks ago who is so prepared. Four of the children will be getting baptized this weekend and the parents will be baptized once they work out things with their marriage. They are so committed and so ready. She said I just felt a warm sensation as I entered the church that has never left me and now I am more calm and relaxed. One of the daughters told me that she had a class in church about Reverence and she had never heard of that word before. I am thouroughly convinced that is where the Spirit is felt. It is not to be found in loud bousterous sermons or in the middle of a guitar solo but in the quite moments of reflection and meditation. God works through the small and simple things and speaks through a 创still small voice.创 1 Kings 19:11-13.

I don't know if I told you guys or not but Belkis who I taught in my last area was able to be baptized. If you remember she needed to quite smoking but smoked about 40 cigarettes a day and just couldn't do it. Right before I left I made a big poster with my companion about how many cigarettes she could smoke in certain time fraims throghout the day and had a scripture to think of everyday to keep her going. With this plan she got down to 5 cigarettes a day but couldn't get any lower than that. The Elders in my old area by chance had a meeting with President Avila(President of the mission) and told him of the situation. He counseled them to teach her the principle of fasting(or going without food or water for 24 hours while praying for specific blessings) which they did. They along with her did a fast ans that day she went to smoke and felt sick almost as if she would throw up when she lit the cigarette so she couldn't do it. Five hours later the same thing happened. The next day miraculously she had no more want to smoke. It's amazing how the Lord works huh? She wrote me a letter this week and I am so happy for her! I love this work! I love you all so much have a great week! :)

SIncerely,
Elder Passantino

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hey Fam Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Family and Friends,

It was a good Thanksgiving week, not like it usually is but it helped me reflect on the things I am thankful for. A family named the Cifuentes family made us a Thanksgiving Dinner on Saturday. It was sooooo nice of them!! They found two small turkeys, which are very rare here, and made mashed potatoes, green beens, corn on the cob, and gravy :) (they also threw in a little Argentine taste because they made empanadas too!) It was so kind I can´t really describe what a nice gesture and service it was. They are people who really have the pure love of Christ. It really touched me. A trait that people have here is what they have they give. They are easy to share and when someone is like that it brings a special confidence and peace into their lives. It reminded me of the parable of the talents.

The work is progressing immensely here. A 16 year old girl names Caterina is getting baptized this Saturday. She is so happy and excited! She was much different when we found her. She had lots of piercings, smoked, and had many other things she had to work out. As we taught her and as she gained a testimony of the things we teach she began to change. She took out the piercings, stopped smoking, changed her group of friends, and just completely changed. We always invite everyone to ask God about what we teach because he is the only one that cant lie, so she did that and described her answer as a burning in her chest after she prayed. Every time she read the scriptures, said a pray and went to church she felt that same confirming witness of the truthfulness of the Gospel. One of the greatest things I have seen in my mission is that absolute 180 degree turn and change that people make when they are brought to the knowledge of the true Gospel.

I want to thank all of you for your love, prayers, letters, thoughts and everything. I have more than 15 months as a missionary now and time is just flying. I know I couldn´t do it all without everything you all do for me and for the person you have helped me become. Have a great week!

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Querido Familia y amigos

Querido Familia y amigos

Im very grateful to be in the area where I am because the people are so very good and humble. This week I gave a talk about service in church where I talked about coming to know the Savior through service and really trying to emulate him (compare John 17:3-Mosiah 5:13). After that Elder Barton and I sang a duet where I had to sing solo a little part. We sang ´´La oración del Profeta´´ or Joseph Smith´s First Prayer but we did it to the tune of ´´Come thou Fount.´´ Everyone seemed to really enjoy it so that was great!

I did divisiones with an Elder from Guatamala the other day and that was sweet. Its been incredible to know so many people from so many different cultures. I have know missionaries from Guatamala, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, Honduras, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador and Argentina. Every country has its different culture, vocabulary and way of being. I have become very good friends with many of them and am grateful for modern technology so that I can stay in contact with them even when they are gone. There are so many amazing people in the world its great.

There is a recent convert to the church here that had to give up everything. She ran the Catholic church under the direction of the Priest in charge of this part of San Juan. She worked with the finances and things to that affect. She listened to the missionaries and asked God if it was ture. She received her answer that it was and had to change everything. She was persecuted from many people, she lost clients in her work and was openly rebuked in front of her entire congregation. But she stayed firm to what she had received from God not from men. She was not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as a scripture that my brother showed me this week says ( Romans 1:16). I hope we are all willing to stand a little taller in defense of what we believe is true and make sure that what we believe is confirmed with God to be true. Have a great week!

Sincerely
Elder Brian Passantino

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ward: Retiro, Zone: Chimbas, Province: San Juan

Hey ya'll!

Its been a lot of fun getting to know my new area here in San Juan. Alright right now I am in a city called Santa Lucia, but my area is called Retiro, it is in the stake Chimbas and in the province of San Juan: my past areas have been, 1) Rodeo de la cruz, Guaymallen, Mendoza, 2) Rawson, San Jaun, San Juan 3) Luja de Cuyo, Godoy Cruz, Mendoza, 4) Retiro, Chimbas, San Juan justso that you all know where I have been and where I am now. ELder Barton is a really good Elder and can teach really well. He will be going home the 20th of December so this is the first time I have had a companion that is going home. The ward is great and knows me as the Italian. EVeryone here loves my last name and is like "finally an easy last name" haha. Thats a first in my life. There are a lot of recent converts in the area so it has been a little crazy trying to get to know everyones names. It was Elder Barton's birthday this last week and the members threw him THREE parties! They really like him a lot huh? I continue to learn and to grow in my service. There are so many important things that you learn and so many crazy things you see here.

Not a lot of exciting things happened this week but I am doing well and doing my best to rely on the Lord and accept his help in all things. SOmething I learned from my companion is that if we want a blessing we have to pray as if it all depended on God and then go out and work and act as if it all depended on us. Its so true. I love you all have a great week!

Sincerely,
ELder Passantino

Monday, November 7, 2011

Off to San Juan again!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well it looks like I am off to the province of San Juan again! I'm going to the Chimbas(pronounced cheembas) zone and my area is called Retiro. I'm going to miss Mendoza and my area, Luja de Cuyo a lot because I love the people in here so much. I have never had seen so many miracles in an area or come to love the people so much! Elder Evans was a great companion and my new companion will be Elder Barton from Oregon and it will be his last transfer. He is a really great Elder as well so I am really excited for that! The area is one of the biggest and most funcioning wards in our mission. At least 200 hundred people go a week to church. It is known in the mission as a very "fruitful" place. The only bummer is that yesterday is was 44 degrees celcius which is about 111 degress faraheit yesterday. It is so hot in San Jaun... but I am still so excited to go back there :) Remember we will be entering summer here in December so that will be interesting.

It has been a week of goodbyes and everything here and its hard to sat goodbye to some of the people. I have realized that Spiritual experiences really bring people closer together and make strong bonds. Some of the best people I have ever met are here in Lujas. Well some of our converts invited us over for lunch today to have noquis(which I learned how to make). It is like pasta made out of potatoes its really good! Im doing really well and hope everyone else is doing well!

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hola and hey!

Dear Family and Friends,

Alright so I want to give you a picture of some of the things that are happening in my mission. So right now my companion is Elder Kyle Evans from Provo and he is a really funny and crazy kid. He has a love for the Gospel and is a really sincere person. I'm very grateful that he is my companion right now! There have been cool a lot of things happening in the town where I live. Apart from the elections which I already told you all about there have been a lot of people moving to new neighborhoods. Many of the people who lived in "villas" or more like ghetto homes were given new houses by the government, and when they moved out people would come and destroy the old house and steal all the bricks and whatever was salvagable. Oh good old socialism huh? :) The whole medical issue is big here to because it takes an eternity to get a specialist of someone that is familiar with the sickness the people have. I have never in my life seen bigger lines for hospitals. They have to go to various doctors and other medical professionals for a really short visit until they can actually find out what the problem is. It's a pretty sad and messed up medical system here.

People keep telling us that the U.S. economy is doing bad but everytime I look at the dollar it keep rising while the peso goes down... Who knows whats going on. We had the visit of President Auidikaitis this week of the Seventy and first counselor of the area seventy in Sur AMerica Sur. He came and had a capacitation for the leaders and then for the zones in general. He spoke very frankly and powerfully. It sure opened up my vision and made me appreciate the principal of revelation and how the Lord calls his servants personally. It was amazing.

We have been eating a lot of noodles and pasta lately, but today to celebrate Halloween we are making tacos and cinammon rolls at a members house who is from the States so we are excited for that!! Argentine food is nothing like Mexican or anything like like just in case anyone was wondering. They don磘 like spice at all so things are a little more bladn, but this week at a members house we had the opportunity to make "quis" which are really good! I will definitely make some when I get home. It is like pasta made out of potatoes.

Everyone is progressing well and it was another fantastic week! I hope you are all doing well I love you all!

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Monday, October 24, 2011

What's Up?

Dear Family and Friends,

Well the elections are over here in Argentina and the Presidenta won again, Cristina. Oh man I am so glad they are over because there were cars driving around everywhere with huge speakers and "catchy" songs blasting to get votes for their intendents. It's illegal not to vote here so they put posters and signs everywhere and have cars and AIRPLANES go around blasting who you should vote for. They do that because all the people who aren't really informed have to vote anyway so they vote for whoever they hear from the most.... nice huh?

Oh Argentina the land of the turquoise flag I love it! Well three people were baptized this weekend! Woo Hoo. Two of the children of Igor were baptized, Jorge and Maria Alejandra and the mom of Cristina, Lidia Ester! They were all so ready and it was a beautiful baptismal experience. It was funny because at first Cristina(a recent convert of about two months) was nervouse of how her mom would react to the message. She didn't know if she would feel the same power of it the way she did. But, she did. Lidia Ester had a serious of powerful spiritual experiences that led her to believe of the truthfulness of the work! As she was baptized she cried as she "went up straightway out of the water." She was touched by the Spirit which confirmed to her of the covenant of faith she had just made to God our Eternal Father and the Savior Jesus Christ.

We are seeing miracle after miracle here and the field really is white already to harvest (D&C4). There are many more baptisms to come in the coming weeks and lives are being changed. I am eternally grateful for this opportunity and for the chances I am having of being an active agent in the work of the Lord. Have a great week I love and pray for you all!!!

SIncerely,
Elder Passantino

Friday, October 21, 2011

Baptism of Igor!

Dear Family and Friends,

It has been another crazy but satisfying week! We have been working hard and have seen the Lord´s hand in the work. First off I want to start off by telling everyone that if they have written me lately I have probably already written them back but sometimes with the Argentina correo system here I don´t think hardly anyone has received their letters. If this is the case I will try to write you all again but know that I really am grateful for all the support and love! I haven´t forgotten about any of you!

I had the opportunity to perform a baptism this week of a man named Igor. He is a man who has searched his entire life for the truth and had it confirmed to him by God that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is where the truth is found. He had spelled put the 47 churches and congregations he asisted and attended for the past 30 years. From Catholicism to Baptists, from Evangelicals to every Protestant sect and a plethora more. He is a very humble man who has more faith than any man I have ever known. He has a love for God and calls himself a ´´Warrior Christian.´´ He has a love for the Bible and the teachings that it gives.

As we taught this man he immediately had a change in his life. He bore testimony to the fact that if he completed with God, God would complete with him. He did that and was touched to the very core of the things we taught him. When we told him that we didn´t want him to believe us, but to only ask God about it, he had the faith to know that God loved him another to answer him.

You see there is no middle ground in the things that Latter-day Saints believe. It is either true or not. You have to search spiritually and ask the fountain of all wisdom and truth if it is true. He will either say Yes or No. It is so simple that it hurts to meet people who are not even willing to ask or it doesn´t even matter to them. Some people use doubts, prejudice, misunderstanding or misinformation to scare themselves away from even considering that it could be true. Some look to those who have become disaffected from the church, had a bad experience or genuinely hate the Church and it´s teachings. It is basic logic and will change the person into an understanding being if they would do such a simple thing as to ask the person what they believe rather than asking a person who doesn´t like that person. Think about it. If you had someone that didn´t like you for some reason or another would you want someone you didn´t know to ask that person who you were or would you rather them ask you. It´s the same with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you want to know what they believe ask a member, ask the missionaries, and ask God. Go to church websites such as www.mormon.org, or www.lds.org for information. I am bold in my declaration but let me make a promise to those who search for information in the wrong place. They will feel angry, hate, they will not understand and I am a thousand percent sure they will not be edified from what they have read. If it is an honest seeker they will feel the seeds or prejudice and hate that flow through misinformation, fear and a biasis understanding. It has always been the way that the Devil has worked. He promotes fear, not faith. He is the Father of lies and he will lie about everything so that misunderstanding and confusion persist until the end of time.

I promise you that I have studied more things against the Church than almost anyone you will know. I never felt good while doing so, it was full us half truths and everything had an answer to which they acted like there wasn´t. I am firm in my conviction that I am a Christian. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love my Father in Heaven more than words and describe. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and rely on His atoning sacrifice every day of my life. I serve them and love them and will worship them until the end. I know these things are true. Here are a few suggestions to those wondering about our faith and who we are. Read the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Look at the organization of the Church and see if it is not the same as Jesus Christ established. Talk to a member of the Church and look at how we try to live our lives (although we are nowhere near perfect, nor profess to be) and ask youself these questions, ´´Is this person a good person, Do they try to live in accordance with certain standards, and do I know any that are trying to live as Jesus Christ would?´´ A sceptic would say they know members of the Church who have messed up, who have done bad things, but I promise if you look hard enough, we are really trying to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ and follow his teachings. It´s hard but I promise if you pray to God and ask him with all the energy of your heart if members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are Christians, our Heavenly Father will proudly reply, ´´Yes.´´

As for Igor, he had a series of powerful but simple Spiritual experiences which led him to believe in the truth of the work. He had a stronger conviction that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ and that God still is extending His hand among the children of men through ´´his servants the prophets.´´Amos 3:7 I will end with his own words and testimony as he stood at the pulpit and spoke after his baptism. ´´After attending 47 other churches, although good and having much of the truth, I have found the true Church of Jesus Christ. I know that I am in the right place. God has answered my prayers and sent me two angels to declare his truth unto me. I know that I was baptized with the holy Priesthood of God, and I know that it is true.´´

I love you all have a great week!

Sincerely,
Elder Brian Passantino

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tour de France

Well Hello Fam and Friends,

Its been a week full of some great experiences. First off this week the tour de France randomly passed in front of our Apartment here in my area Luja de Cuyo! We walked outside and there were police officers everywhere. Someone then told us that the Tour de France was in Mendoza and that they were going to pass by so we got to watch a little bit of it! We got some good pictures and it was a good time. I don't know if it was really the "Tour de France" but it was some kind of Bicylce race with people from all over the world. It was funny because at one point there was a large group of racers and my comp yelled, "Go United States!" After he said that one of the racers yelled, "YEAH!" It was great!

I had another cool experience this week during a lesson. We are teaching Cristina's mom (the one who was baptized about a month ago) and it was great. As I related the story of the first vision using the words of Joseph Smith, you could tell something changed in her. As we continued talking she stopped us and said when you told the first vision I felt something, something different. She said it was like something in the room changed. We then talked about the "fruits of the Spirit" Galatas 5:22-23? and how we receive answers through the Spirit. She understood it and it made sense to her. She said that is exactly what she felt, like a still small voice. Later she said that when I was saying it it was if I wasn磘 saying it but that someone else was with power. It was a great experience and a testimony builder of the fact that the Spirit bears taestimony of the truth when it is humbly shared. She went to church and continues to have her testimony strengthened. I am very excited in the work and continue to see God work miracles in the lives of His children. Have a great week!

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Monday, October 3, 2011

Great Conference huh?

Dear family and friends,

What a great general conference it was! I was so edified and filled with a renewed desire to work harder, be better, and grow closer to Christ. It is such a blessing to see a living Prophet of God and the 12 Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. I would like to share some of my favorite talks and some thoughts that I had. Elder Scott talked to us about the power and sacred blessing scriptures are in our lives. He said, "there is great power in memorizing scriptures." He also said that, "scriptures can be like friends." I thought that was a little weird at first but then I understood what he meant. There is immense power in the word of God, and great comfort. President Utchdorf talked of how much God really does love each and every one of us and how truly important we are to him. It was a great talk. Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke of the heavenly gift of repentence and the peace and joy that it brings to the human heart. He spoke of the conditions that the Master has put forth so that we may fully enjoy of His saving grace. Elder Tad R. Callister spoke of the importance of the Book of Mormon. We frequently hear the question. "Why do I need the Book of Mormon if I already have the Bible?" He answered that question and spoke of the importance of the Book of Mormon to declare and complete true doctrine. It is really time to read the Book of Mormon and gain a stronger conviction of Jesus Christ and the Restored Gospel if you haven't already. Elder Oaks spoke of the our belief in Jesus Christ and what we really do believe about him. If we can correctly characterize ourselves as Christians we should be willing to follow His precepts and change ourselves to become more like him.

I am so grateful for the testimony that has come over me through didligent prayer. I know that God our Heavenly Father lives, that Jesus is indeed the Christ the Great Redeemer, and that the true Chruch has been restored in its fulness once again on the earth. Thanks for the prayers and support!

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Monday, September 26, 2011

More Miracles

Dear Family and Friends,

First off I want to say congrats to my sister on her engagement! I couldn´t be more excited for her and her future husband! Well here in Argentina things continue to look up and promising. One of the people that we baptized a few weeks ago named Cristina, gave Elder Allen and I a letter expressing her gratutude and telling of some of the spiritual experiences she had that confirmed to her the truth of what we had taught her.. She told of a time where I gave a talk in Church about an experience Elder Hopkin and I had in San Juan. What I related in the experience(in San Jaun) was that there was an investigator named Fabricio who was awesome but for some reason kept putting off his baptism because of the fear of change. As missionaries we know that the confirmer of truth is God, not us, so we prayed about how we could help him receive an answer that he needed to be baptized from God rather than from us. As we all know our Heavenly Father answers us through the scriptures many times, so we decided to try something different. We went to Fabricio´s house and presented a plan. We decided to each say our own personal prayer(in our minds/hearts) and ask God for the direction that we needed in our lives. After that we were going to have Fabricio open the Book of Mormon to whatever page and read what it said for the answer from God. This we did. He opened to Mormon chapter 7. He received his answer through these words, ´´Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the agospel of Christ, which shall be set before you...¨

As I related this story in sacrament meeting it must have sparked something within her. The interesting thing was as I gave the talk I didn´t share the scripture reference of where he had opened to. As I gave the talk, she later says, that she felt as if she hadn´t received that witness and that she wanted an experience like that. She didn´t know for certain if the Book of Mormon was true, but she had faith and trusted in God. She said she had had a hard time reading it in the past, but that she remembered what we had taught her of the importance of praying to God and asking him the truth. So she did that. She said she poured out her soul to God asking Him if the Book of Mormon was true and really wanted to know. She wanted to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God as well. She then relates that after the prayer she remembered the talk I had given and the experience I had shared. She then took the Book of Mormon in her hands and opened it to MORMON 7! As she read the intro to the chapter which reads, ´´Mormon invites the Lamanites of the latter days to believe in Christ, accept his gospel, and be saved—All who believe the Bible will also believe the Book of Mormon,´´She says, ´´tears began to well up in my eyes as I felt a burning sensation in my bosom. I began to understand everything that I was reading and was filled with the greatest feelings I have ever had. She went on to say she read for 5 hours with this same powerful witness from the SPirit burning in her soul. She later bore her testimony of the truthfulness of the work and of the reality of the Savior. Little did she know that she opened up to exactly the same chapter that Fabricio had just three months earlier to receive an answer from God.
I know that the Restored Gospel is true, that God lives and loves us, that Jesus is the Christ, and that the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ is the word of God along with the Bible and the witness of a living Church headed by Prophets and Apostles, Jesus Christ being the Cornerstone. I invite all to watch what real and living Prophets and Apostles have to say this weekend as we are edified by the living and vibrant word of God. God lives and still speaks through the mouths of his chosen servants. I love you all have a great week!

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Monday, September 19, 2011

Testimony of the Converts

Dear Family and Friends,

First off I wanted to start off by saying that the members and people that I associate with all pray specifically for my family and friends. I can´t tell you how many times I have been in a lesson, or in someones house, or in the church, when someone has offered a prayer on your behalf. So if you ever feel down or discouraged or lonely, know that the humble people of Argentina are thinking and praying for you even if they don´t yet know you.

I am beginnning to understand a little bit more of the power and work of my mission. As we live our life in service we begin to develop Christlike love and attributes. I am beginning to love people a lot more and gaining a greater appreciation for the fact that we are indeed all sons and daughters of a loving Father in Heaven. We all have infinite worth and potential. As I have worked preaching the Gospel, I have come to know see how pure are the hearts of those that seek for the truth. I have seen it time and time again where people have been praying for answers and then we come into the picture somehow. Just recently we began teaching a man named Igor and his family as he had been praying for greater light and illumination on the truth. He is a man who has attended many many mnay churches and has just been searching for the truth. So we do what we always do, we present the message and invite him to read and pray and ask of God. That he did. He received his answer. You see sometimes its so easy it is too difficult for some people to accept. In the Bible we learn this lesson in 1 Kings 5:1-14 and in the Book of Mormon we have a similar lesson reemphasized in 1 Nephi 17:41. The key to receiving revelation from God is humility and the patience and diligence to search it out and be receptive enough to receive the answer. Those who do not wish to receive this revelation from God never will because they do not want to have to change their convictions, beliefs, and ideas based on what God says not what they want or believe to be right. It takes a deep and powerful humilty to ask an answer from God when we think we already know what is right.

As further faith is excercised a stronger witness and conviction of the truth comes. For example, with this man Igor, he had already received an answer from God, but continued to act on his answer and received a further testimony of the truth. While he was walking down an old dirt road he say a book off to the side on a pile of dirt. He could tell it was a religious book and he was astonished when on the cover of the book he say a picture of Moroni burying the Gold Plates aka the Book of Mormon. It was an old Priesthod manual from the Church that contained answers to his questions and gave him a further witness of the veracity of the work. He found great comfort in the book and prayed to know if it was true. He received his answer. It was true and it was placed there for a reason. It still astonishes me that a random book would be on pile of dirt in the middle of an Argentine ghetto, where no members live, and that he would be the first person to come across it and be looking in the right direction to find it. Call it what you will but I know that God answers our prayers in small and simple ways we just have to have the faith to recognize them. I am thoroughly convinced that if we look back behind in the course of our lives we will be able to realize the hand of the Lord working in small and simple ways. He is preparing us for the time the truth comes into our lives. He is protecting us from bad situations and prompting us to follow him and avoid dangerous decisions and forbidden paths. I know he is a God of miracles and that he answers prayers.

I issue this challenge to all who are willing to answer the call. Read the Book of Mormon and pray to God with all energy of heart to know if it is scripture and to know if it is true. I know that He will answer you as he has answered millions who have faithfully searched. Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers. (D&C 112:10)

The testimony of the people that I have taught and had the opportunity to see baptized is blazing evidence that God answers prayers, that Jesus is the Christ, and that They have restored Their Church through the way they always have, through a prophet of God(Amos 3:7) Today there is a Prophet of God, 12 apostles, and the Kingdom of God has been restored as a marvelous work and a wonder(Isiah 29:14). The converts that I have had the opportunity of teaching and helping on their journey our my ´´glory´´ and joy´´ just as they were for Paul the apostle (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20) I love this work and I testify that it is ture.

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Monday, September 5, 2011

Three Baptisms

Hola de Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina ,

It has been a great weekend with lots of exciting things happening. Daniel, Maximiliano, and Nicolas were all baptized! They were so excited to be baptized and to feel of the Spirit that was present there. They are three brothers that are 14,12, and 10 and are so awesome. I was so excited for them. They really were so happy and excited to be following the example of the Savior. It was a great experience.

This week we had two consejos(counsels) with the mission President. The first one was with many of the leaders in the mission and it was amazing. The Spirit was so strong there and I learned so many new things that I want to put in practice. It is sort a bummer though because the more I go in the mission the more I realize that there is so much to learn and so many areas to improve. Luckily God is with us every step of the way and when we want to do better he is there to make up the difference. That night after consejo we went to President´s house and ate Tacos! Oh yea it has been a while since I have had some food like that. It has been a really spiritually fulfilling week and I am loving it! Thanks for all the love and support!

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

3 bautismos!

Well another fantastic week has come and gone here in Luja"s! It was such a joy to see three people be baptized and take their first step in the right path back to the presence of God. Luis and Cristina are married and have one son that is four. Andrea is 14 and is the sister of Luis. They were so happy at their baptisms. After Luis was baptized he bore his testimony at the baptisimal service about the things he had been experiencing. He first started off by saying he never thought two and a half weeks ago he would end up at church being baptized. He talked about the first time we entered into his house he felt something different, and in the half an hour that we were there everything changed. He said for the first time in his 30 years he really felt what real peace was. He said the Gospel brought to him a tranquility that he could not deny. He said that he loved his wife more, didn't get angry as often, and just hungered for more. Luis bore testimony of the change that ocurred in him always saying to ask his wife about it. He talked about his love for the Savior and his gratitude for those who helped him get there. It was a touching experience that I will never forget. It is just one of the million testimonies of the work that two americans with broken spanish could bring about such a drastic change in the lives of a family. Obviosuly it had nothing to do with us, but the fact that we had the Spirit with us and the Spirit testified to the truth of the things we were saying. (Moroni 10:3-5) The Spirit is what does the "convincing" or "converting" not us. We ask them to ask God alone and in private of the things that we teach. We ask them to ponder and search diligently and then do ask James directs, ask of God.(James 1:5) That peace and that surety of conviction only comes through Christ and the Holy Spirit. " Peace I leave with you, my bpeace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." (John 14:27) The answers are usually quite but sure. We know what we need to do we just have to be humble enough to do it. I love this work!!

This week we had a little taste of america too. There is a family in the ward next to us that are from the states up in Spokane Washington. They have lived here for the last 11 years and are just great! We were able to eat with them and have the first american meal I have had in a long time:) She brought a crock pot down and we had biscuits and everything!!! Oh it was so good :) They are such great people too I love them a lot. Their names are Lynn and Linda Hunt. He works in the mining business down here.

Well we are very excited for another great week this week and 3 to 4 more baptisms. It is so amazing to see the Spirit work among God's children. I am so happy and grateful to be where I am and doing what I am doing. I could not be happier. This is true joy :) I love you all and thanks for the prayers and support! Keep it up!

Sincerely,
Elder Brian Passantino

Monday, August 22, 2011

¿Cómo andan?

Dear Family and Friends,

Well transfer week has come and gone and I am staying with Elder Allen again which I am really excited about! I have never met anyone(besides my parents) that works so hard and drives me to be a better person. The zone changed a lot and we received all Latin Missionaries which is great! We have Elders and Sisters from Chile, Columbia, El Salvador, Panama, Honduras, Uruguay, Argentina, and the States! Pretty diverse zone wouldn´t you say? It really is a testimony that we can put people from all sorts of countries in one area with one purpose; to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church and the Gospel are universal in inviting all men to come unto Christ and try to emulate his life through our actions.

We have seen a plethora of blessings last transfer and this one. So many people have changed and are accepting the Gospel in their lives it is incredible. Elder Allen and I alone should be baptizing 7 people this transfer!!! They are seven of the most amazing people I have ever met. They are so close to the SPirit and want to gain a closer relationship with the Savior. We are teaching one man who noticed an immediate change from the time we came to his house. He talks over and over again about the peace he feels around us and when he is induldged in the Gospel. He has received so many answers to his prayers as well it is truly a miracle. When he went to church this weekend he said he received the answers to the two questions he had. That morning he said he woke up thinking about his little 4 year old son and how he was going to to teach him to be a good and noble man. In church we talked about raising children and when to talk to the to them about important topics. Then he had a question about the final Judgement and it just so happened that that was the subject of the next class. He was filled with the Spirit. He bore testimony to us of the truthfulness of the things he heard and felt. He will be getting baptized this weekend along with his wife and sister. This family was so prepared. The Lord puts people in our path who are yearning for the truth in a world of confusion. All they have to do is search and pray to the Father with all energy of heart to receive the answer.

Another lady we are teaching was having some difficulties, so my companion and I felt impressed to not visit her for a few days and see how things turned out. When we went back a week later she told us of her experience of her pondering and meditating about the things we had taught and said. She told us how she felt the absolute need to be baptized and that the Spirit was telling her that was all that was missing. Another miracle. I have never in my life seen how much God works in the lives of his children. All who truly seek Him will find Him. And they come unto Him through the waters of baptism by those who have the authority to administer that ordinance. Study does not bring that authority, nor does a knowledge of the Bible, but it comes as it was given to Aaron (Heb 5:4) by the laying on of hands through Priesthood power. There is power in the Priesthood. It is necessary for salvation. God´s kingdom has always had order and it always will for God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I know thats true. I miss and love you all!!! Have a great week!!!

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hola from Mendoza!

Well another phenominal week has come and gone and we have been seeing so many miracles. We had some crazy things happen this week that gave us a little scare but it is incredible how the Lord watches over us.

Last week while we were walking down a street we had an impression to knock on the door of a less active member of the church. Her son came out and told us to pass by on Saturday morning. We wrote down the name of the son and forgot about it. As we were planning for Saturday morning we just couldn´t remember who this name was. We made our plans and everything and were ready and as we kneeled down to pray before we went out in the morning, we remembered who the family was so we changed plans to swing by the house first thing. When we went by, the son came out and said to come back later. We were there for only a couple seconds and then started to go to our other appointment. As were walking towards where we needed to go we heard an alarm going off in a store(even though we hear that a lot) and saw a man getting on his bike and leaving the store. I got a bad feeling about him but kept walking with my companion. As we walked by the store I looked in and saw a woman tied up hands and feet with a cord. She was yelling for help. We went in there to help (after we freaked out a little bit) and my comp took his pen out and cut the cords off. We then called the police and everything got worked out. I guess it was the second time he had robbed her in five months and this time he hit her and he had a pistol. It was really scarey but we were grateful that nothing worse than that happened. As we thought about it a little more we realized that if we wouldn´t have gone by the family then we would have been walking by when the whole thing was happening and that could have been bad. Who knows what would have happened but we have a testimony that God watches over us and give us spiritual promptings when we need them!

Another crazy thing as that this family we passed by really needed some help and we were able to help the family(later on that day) come closer to Christ and get through some hard times. Three members of the family have made the decision to be baptized the 3rd of September!! How cool is that huh?? They really are amazing! We also found another young married couple that is just incredible! They are so prepared and willing to ask God about the things we teach. They prayed to God and received an answer through the Holy Ghost that these things are true. They are so prepared for the truth in their lives. It is incredible that the work we do is just to help get the message of the truth out there, the rest is up to them and God :) It makes the work so much simpler. We dont have to do any convincing or anything like that, only share the truth, with our testimony and have them ask God. I cannot describe the miracles that we have been seeing and the joy that I am experiencing. I dont ever want it to end! There is no greater satisfaction than sharing the Gospel plan, with Jesus Christ at the center, and watching the change that comes to their lives :) Argentina is amazing and the mission is better now than it ever has been! We still are getting Anti american stuff every now and then from the people here but we just laugh about it haha. Well I am grateful for your love and support :) Know that I am doing great and I am praying for you all!

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's Snowing!

Dear Family and Friends,

Hola from the snow capped mendoza! Well there really isnt much snow here in the city, but the mountains are now officially covered in snow. While everyone is burning up there in the States we are freezing down here in Argentina. Its been fun though :9 Its funny because the people here react so much to how the weather is. Its different though because less than half of the people have cars so I guess I'll give them a break. We had a phenominal leadership training this last Tuesday with all the Zone Leaders and with President. It was really great to get to know his vision a little bit more and to feel of the Spirit that he brings. He talked a lot about Leaders in the scriptures and especially about Captain Moroni and the power that he had through his faith in Christ. We also talked about the importance of prayer and how we need to communicate with the Lord not simply recite the same things over and over. I have made it a goal of mine to pray with greater faith and take the Lords promise seriously when he says, "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" Matthew 21:22. I am truly convinced that God grants to us our desires if they aligned with his will. He wants us to suceed and anything righteous that we truly desire to have and posess, especially if it will benefit our fellow men, he will grant it us. I have gained such a strong testimony of that and the power of our desires. Everytime that my companion and I have truly wanted something righteous, prayed with a sincere heart, and done everything within out power to acheive it we have seen miracles. If you were all with me you would all know what I mean. Some of these experiences that we have are so special I dont think I could really give it justice in an email. Just know that I know these things are true and everyone can have a personal experience of this joy that I am experiencing. This is truly a miracle. I love the Lord and know he lives. I love all of you and thank you all for your love and support.

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Great Baptism!

Well its been a great week! Danilo was baptized this weekend and is just so happy! His journey to baptism was a hard one but he knew that it was what God wanted! His baptismal service was great as well. A miracle happened there. As we were changing rooms from the chapel/cultural hall to go and watch the baptism I saw some people walking around in the hall about to walk out, and so I started talking to them. They were members from a different area and saw that the chapel was open so they wanted to check it out. I asked them if they wanted to stay and they said they would like to. The crazy thing is that this man turned out to be an old childhood friend of Danilo and they hadn´t seen each other in 10 years. It was amazing. They were both so happy :) The whole service was so full of the Spirit! I gained a testimony about something that President Packer said that is quoted in Preach My Gospel, something to the affect that teaching of true doctrine changes behavior faster than a study of behavior changes behavior. I was so happy for him. It was also my first time confirming someone:) I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father to help him in his work!

Well Im not feeling too great right I have the flu :(, but I am so happy at the work we are doing and so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary. There is nothing better than sharing the joy that I have with others and seeing the fruits of the labors. I love you all and am grateful for your prayers and support!

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Monday, July 25, 2011

Short and Sweet!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well I am pretty short on time this week because we are having a zone leaders activity for P-Day. We are going to play soccer and some other activities and then have a doctrinal discussion on ALMA Chapters 5-15 about the missions of Alma and Amulek! When I was reading it it was just so incredible! The power that they had was amazing. They knew who they were and they knew that God was on their side. I hope I can be like them. I am doing very well here in Lujan! Today is a holiday here some sort of Saint day(there are a ton of holidays here and everything always closes down...) Its pretty funny though. It was Elder Allen´s birthday yesterday so that was a lot of fun. We went to a member named Hermana Montenegros house and she made him something like raviolis and a cake! It was great and he really appreciated it :) We live with two other Elders and so we were going to try to get up and make him breakfast for his Bday, but he is a really light sleeper. We got early and he just hopped right out of bed and woke up so we sorta failed there... haha :) It was a great week anyways! We are working really hard and having fun! I love feeling the SPirit and trying to listen to it´s guidance! I love you all and miss you!

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Monday, July 18, 2011

Great week in Mendoza Mission!

Dear Family and Friends :)

It has been another great week here in the Mendoza mission! We have had some great experiences so far and the miracles just keep on coming. We live with two other ELders named ELder Evans and Elder Fausett and this week something really cool happened. Elder Evans asked to borrow the ´´Restoration´´ DVD from me and so I let him have it. Later that day he left his scripture case in the bus and was very upset about it! It was the first time in his mission that he had forgotten it. He would have to buy a new DVD, scriptures, and ask for more pictures from his family. Two days later he received a call from some other ELders in the zone. They then went on to tell him what had happened. The night before, these ELders had planned for some reason, to go to a neighborhood they had never gone to before. That day while they were in the neighborhood a man called them over. They talked to the man and he said he had something for them. He went in his house and grabbed the scripture case and asked if they knew who the Elder was in his photos. They said yes and then the man said that he had opened the case, watched the movie and had begun reading the Book of Mormon. He was so excited he planned an appointment with them the next day! What a miracle huh? Everything was in tact and the man had a strong conviction of the things he had read and seen were true. The Lord works in miraculous ways doesn´t he??

On the home front here in our area we are still teaching Danilo and have seen a huge change in him. He didn´t drink or take drugs for a whole week! That was a huge step in the right direction for him. The next day after we saw him he texted us and told us to go over to his house again. When we went over to his house he looked really happy. He went on to tell us that the day before after we had left an old friend came over and he took some drugs with him. He said he felt terrible and in the morning just felt like he was going to die. He said he just had the worst pain he has ever experienced in his life. He remebered what we had been teaching him about prayer so he began to pray to God. He said he talked with him as if he was there with him and as a ´´man talketh to his friend.´´ He told God he wanted more than anything to change and follow him and that he would decide then and there if only God would heal him. He trusted that God was listening and acted on faith. Within 30 seconds his pain went away and didn´t return. He described how shocked and grateful he was for a Loving Heavenly Father who has mercy on us. The change in him was so apparent. You could see it in his eyes. He went to church and loved it again and said he know God wants him to be baptized because the Spirit has confirmed to his soul that it is true. I am grateful that the God does the work and all we have to do is present the message. God always answers our prayers and will always confirm the truthfulness of the Restoration of the Gospel to our soul. With this confirmation we need not doubt. All someone has to do to know the truth of the message is read, ponder, pray and go to church with the sincereness of heart that will produce spirtitual experiences. I know the work is ture.

I also had the opportunity to meet an incredible man who was baptized only about 4 months ago. He is a brilliant man who has been studying religion and ancient cultures for the last 35 years. He has been in Catholic colleges and studied among the great of the Evangelicals. He received lessons from the Jehovahs witness for 3 years. He is an expert on ancient religions and philosopy. All he wanted was the truth and for all those years of diligent study and meditation he was never satisfied with a sure answer. When the missionaries came to his house he gave them five min to speak and they simply bore their testimony of what the SPirit had witnessed to them. He was intrigued. After all the years of searching, and studying he read the Book of Momon and prayed to the source of all truth to know. He received an answer. He read the standard works three times in three months and is just full of energy and hope now that he finally received the truth. He now is writing a Book on how ´´Mormonism´´ incorporates all the ancient truths that have been believed and embraced by the ancient prophets and philosophers throughout all the ages. With all this knowledge and learning the greatest part about it is his testimony. He asked God after having received the truth, and God confirmed. The simpliest but most profound formula that the world has ever known. God is our Father and we are his children. He wants all of us to ask him the question, ´´Oh where is truth?´´ It is in testimony that he answers. I love and miss you all!!!

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Sunday, July 17, 2011

New Area of Lujan

Dear Family and Friends!

Hola from Mendoza again! I made it back to the province of Mendoza for transfers and I am already loving it! My area is called Lujan. It is like an extension of Mendoza and Godoy Cruz downtown so there is a lot of city. It is a really nice city though so thats been great. My companion Elder Allen is a great man and filled with love. He was born in Pocatello and grew up there! His dad is a country singer named Darin Allen, you should look him up and see if he is good :) I think he is! He was ranked the 44 wrestler in the nation his senior year and turned down multiple full ride scholarships to serve a mission. He also received college requests for Baseball and Football. Quite the athlete wouldn´t you say?? In no way is he prideful though he is a great man. He has an incredible story of faith and converstion which I would tell if I had more time.

I got the opportunity to meet the new Mission President and his family this last week! He is an amazing man and full of the pure love of Christ. He talked about some scriptures in the New Testament and then in the Book of Mormon that made us feel such a greater love for our Savior and a determination to love and serve him even more. Christ asks us to follow his example and the scriptures say he gave his life for his friends. Obviously we cannot emmulate the infinite sacrifice that he performed but we can give our life for our friends through service. It was so powerful and I want to be a more faithful disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Right now in my new area we are teaching a hard drug addict. He is addicted to cocaine and Alcohol. We talked to him and gave him comfort and tried to help him with his problems and all the lies he believed such as: I cant go out in public and talk to people without drinking, or Im just too timid of a person and when I am on that stuff I become more outgoing. We helped him realize that those are lies that Satan wants him to believe. He understood what we said and took it to heart. He made the decision and came to church sober for the first time. He had been the first time he had been out sober in public in a long time. All he wanted in his life was forgiveness of all the bad things he has done. He has a good heart and a desire to follow God and be happy. He tool the first step and I am so happy and proud of him. Please be praying for him! His name is Danilo. I love you all so much and am praying for the welfare of each and everyone one of you! You truly are amazing at helping me on this incredible journey!

Love
Elder Brian Passantino

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of JULY!!!

Well I am really limited on time today but I want to wish you all well!!Thanks for all the Birthdays wishes I am so greatful for all my family and friends you are the best!! Today for the 4th we wanted to do something to celebrate,so Elder Hopkin and I went to Wal Mart and bought a bunch of american things to have a BBQ! We made hamburgers, bought some really good american hot dogs, brought and american flag and everything! It was a lot of fun and we all enjoyed ourselves a lot! Almost all of our zone is from the United States except for some from Peru and from Chile. They had a lot of fun too:)

I also found out that I am getting transfered this transfer to Godoy Cruz, which is where the mission offices are(in Mendoza), and which is the biggest zone in the mission! The new Mission President called me and assigned me to be a zone leader there with ELder Allen who is from Idaho! The funny thing was that Elder Allen was in my district last transfer and we became reallly good friends and so I am so excited!!! It will be a great responsibility but an amazing opportunity! The mission President sounds great too I am very excited to have him. He only speaks Spanish but I believe is learning ENglish. I am so happy and ready for more miracles :) I miss and love you all so very much!! Thanks for all your support and prayers!!!

Love
Elder Passantino

Monday, June 27, 2011

President Lindhal and I at Breakfast! Right before he goes home!

Fabricio's Baptism

Fabricio and Ward Members

Dear Family and Friends

Dear Family and Friends :)

It has been another great week and I doing way good. I have been a little sick lately which hasn´t been too fun, but I am doing good. It´s starting to get really cold here now, but luckily I am prepared for that! Just need to get a beenie lol. I went on a couple divisions this week and that was a lot of fun. I got to go with my Zone Leader Elder White and get to know him. He was only baptized a year before his mission too, so both of my Zone Leaders, Elder Sanford and Elder White have been in the mission for longer than they have been members of the church. It is just another testimony to me of the truthfulness of the work! They put their faith on the line and saw the blessings that came from it. They each have a firm testimony of the truth and are great examples! I really love and respect them a lot!!

Well, this weekend we had the baptism of Fabricio. It was so great! We all felt the Spirit a lot and he knew what he was doing was right and what God wanted him to do. He is a great guy. He speaks English perfectly and knows a little Italian and Portuguese. He is 22 years old and a way sweet guy. He is finishing his work at San Juan University right now. It was a long journey to his baptism, but he was so happy he made that one step closer to Christ and was filled with happiness :) This work is so amazing and satisfying!! I know that it is the work of the Lord. It was also great how the Ward rallied around him to support him in all of his trials and the love that was shown. It was such a great experience. For a refreshment after the baptism we made pancakes and syrup for all the people. It was funny because they all loved it and had never really eaten it before. They were stumped as to what maple syrup was haha, but they all liked it a lot:)

Tomorrow, Fabricio´s family is making an Asado for ELder Hopkin and I because of my birthday, and his mom´s birthday, so we are excited for that!!! It should be way good! By the way thanks so much for the Birthday wishes!! I love and miss you all!

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hey Friends!

Dear family and friends!
HAPPY FATHER´s DAY!

This has been another phenominal week and I am doing very well! We had our last interviews with President Lindahl which was great but sad. I really do respect and love him so much. He is a man called of God, and was the perfect perfect to have the calling he had. The 1st of July the new Mission President Sergio Avila will be coming. I will miss President Lindahl so much, but I know that President Avila is now called to serve here at this time. Besides, President Lindahl and his family are having mission reunions every april and September so I will get to see them in a little over a year :)

As I went about this week I really have been thinking a lot about faith, and what it means and how we can grow in our faith. There are so many aspects to it, but it is so crucial that we keep the commandments and do everthing we can and our faith will allow the Lord to step in and do his part. This week I had been praying a lot for a investigator named Fabricio. He is 22 and he is a really cool guy. I have been working with him for about three months and have been trying to help him the best I could along with my companions. He has had some strong spiritual witnesses of the truth and knows that the things we are and were sharing are true, he even told us that. He knew that the first ´´leap of faith´´ is baptism. He felt nervous of change, and he didn´t want us to put any pressure or anything on baptism. So a week ago we had an idea. We said we are going to learn how to receive revelation from the scriptures. So we each said a silent prayer about a certain question we had, and then asked him to open the Book of Mormon to anywhere and that he would receive revelation on what the Lord wanted him to do. That was going on a lot of faith, but we know the Book of Mormon is true and that the Lord comes through when we exercise faith. So he flipped open the Book Of Mormon to Mormon chapter 7 which says that, ´´

8Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the agospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only in this record but also in the record which shall come unto the Gentiles bfrom the Jews, which record shall come from the Gentiles cunto you...... 10And ye will also know that ye are a aremnant of the seed of Jacob; therefore ye are numbered among the people of the first covenant; and if it so be that ye believe in Christ, and are baptized, first bwith water, then with fire and with the Holy Ghost, following the cexample of our Savior, according to that which he hath commanded us, it shall be well with you in the day of judgment. Amen.

What an answer to him huh? Well he said he received an answer that he needed to get baptized and that is what God wanted, but he wanted to pick the day, which is fine and good. Well we were at that for about a week and then I remember praying with my companion, ´´God, please let Fabricio pick a baptisimal date tonight.´´ We did everything we could and I was really trying to pray with faith. That night I was on splits so it was me and a member at his house. After a short lesson on Enos and watching a Elder Holland talk, I asked him how he felt, to which he replied good and that he knew the church and Book of Mormon were true. I said well we need to act on the impressions of the SPirit and you know what you need to do just tell us when. He said well............... I have been praying and I feel like I need to get baptized the 26th of June :) It was a sweet test of faith, and the Lord answered in his own way and in his own time like he always does. It was such a feeling of joy. There is no greater satisfaction in this life than helping others come unto Christ. Nothing can bring greater happiness. I love you all!!!

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hey Fam and Friends

How is everyone doing this week?? I am glad to hear that things are going well!! This week has been really good. We had an area conference for all of Argentina this week so that was really cool! It was a transmission from Salt Lake and Elder Civic from the Seventy spoke as well as Elder Anderson and President Packer. It was a great conference and the Spirit was definitely there. It was for the saints in Argentina so it was specific for them, but they talked a lot about getting a emergency backpack ready and about being prepared for what is coming! Supposedly President Monson has sent three of the same letters to all of the Stake Presidents in Argentina telling the Saints to prepare a 72 hour backpack, which we are also doing as a mission. It´s always good to be prepared right? :) I know that whatever happens if we are prepared we shall not fear.

I am still learning so much and enjoying every minute of my time out here in Argentina! I guess I didn´t get to explain the whole pig killing thing we did. It´s called a carnería and it´s basically where the whole family gets together and kills and prepares a pig. They kill it and bleed it out, making morsilla or blood sausage, and then they take it´s insides out and hang that up over night. The next day they prepare all of the rest of the meat as a family. They love it because their whole family and all their close friends get together and help prepare a pig and food for a lot of people. Its a tradition that they have similar to what we would do for Thanksgiving, it´s pretty cool haha :) Well we are doing really great here and I love you all. I know the Gospel is true and that the work in which I am engaged is the work of the Lord!

Sincerely,
ELder Brian Passantino

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Baptism of Vicenta: she is on the right the older lady with her daughter and my comp Elder Hopkin

The Pig Kill!

Can't wait to Pig Out!

A Family that invited us over for Pig!

We stopped a robbery this week...

Hola from San Juan Family and Friends,

It's been another week full of happiness here in San Juan. I have been seeing a lot of miracles here with Elder Hopkin and I am learning and growing so much! This week we had a pretty crazy experience... We planned for the morning and then executed the plan so things were going well. As we were walking down a street I saw off in the Distance two people struggling, or sort of fighting. I said, "what the hec," and we ran over there. It was an older lady and a man about 30 years old. The man was trying to get away on his motocycle and the lady said she was robbing him. My companion grabbed the guy and threw him around a little as the man threw the money on the ground acting like there was nothing wrong. You should have seen his eyes when Elder Hopkin grabbed him, haha oh man he looked pretty scared. Anyways the lady told us to let him go and then he sped off on his bike. Apparently, this man was going around selling containers of honey, and asked the lady if she wanted to buy some. SHe, being nice, said she would, but only had a hundred peso bill to give him. He told her he had change, and so she gave it to him and he started heading off fast. She had the instinct to grab him and hold on to him without letting him get on his bike. That is when we came running along, as he was hitting her off of him so he could get away. She was so happy that we came. She said I felt as I saw you two as if God had sent two of his angels to come and protect me. It was a little scary but we felt protected and felt blessed that we could help protect one of God's daughters from harm. She was pretty shaken up, but couldn't thank us enough. It is interesting how God uses us to bring to pass good things :)

Elder Hopkin and I have been working very hard and diligently to try to bring to pass the work here in Rawson. We have had so much success especially as we have worked with the members and especially the Bishop. The Bishop in the ward here is a lot of fun, but is an incredible worker and can really bring the spirit in the lessons. We are seeing lives change here and I couldn't be happier. We are working with a young couple living together and helping them prepare and get married soon. It is incredible the change you can see in someone in such a small amount of time. Their names are Ariel and Carolina and they are great. I really love the people here and have a strong spiritual conviction of the truthfulness of the work in which I am engaged. My spanish continues to improve and I feel more and more confident. I love you all and wish you all the best :)

SIncerely,
Elder Brian Passantino

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Miracle Baptism!

Dear Family and Friends,

How is everyone doing? I am just doing fabulous! My new companion is really awesome and I am just learning so much from him and we are having a lot of fun! He is from Boston so he can get that accent going and everything its way awesome. Anyways I am just way happy with everything and how our area is doing. Our Bishop and Elder Hopkin were friends in a old area that they both were in and so the Bishop is working like crazy with us right now it helps so much! I love this work :)

SO let me tell everyone about an amazing baptism this week. Her name is Vicenta Castro and she is an older lady that I found with Elder Austin. We found her by following the Spirit, to make a long story short. When we arrived to her house she said she had just been praying and asking God what church she should be baptized in. She said in her prayer that she felt like now in her life she was ready to get baptized and that she wanted God to show her how to do it and in what manner. It was truly a miracle that we arrived right after that and a true answser from God. Anyways after a while it was hard for her to arrive at her baptism because of some family and health problems. Elder Austin and I didn´t see her for about a week, but when Elder Hopkin and I got put together I felt like we needed to go back there. We did and she told us she wanted to get baptized on Sunday!! It was a challenge, but we did everything we could to prepare her and she was baptized :) I was privleged to do the baptism and she was so happy. After she came up out of the water she said how beautiful the ordinance was! It was truly a miracle that we baptzed her this weekend and it strengthened my testimony of the truthfulness of the work in which I am engaged :) The ward was extatic to receive her and she had many more friends in the ward than we imagined. It was an amazing day :) This weekend we should be baptizing two others that have made the decision to follow Christ. Estela and Fabricio. I am filled with joy :) I love you all and thank you for everything!

SIncerely,
Elder Passantino

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crazy Changes!

Wow sounds like a ton of things have been going on at home, but I am so happy for everyone and am praying my heart for all of you!! I know that God is in charge and is watching over you all :)

Well I found out about some crazy changes this week. Today we found out about transfers and so many things changed. Some of the Elders I admired and looked up to the most are leaving and this is now officially the last transfer of President Lindahl. Some of these stalwart and faithful Elders were, Elder Brown from Mesa Arizona (he taught me a lot about setting goals and having fun), Elder Sorenson, a star QB in high school who served with all he had and taught me about serving and focusing on the work. Elder Mark Lucas, from Austin Texas, was one of my favorite ELders who studied hard, perfected spanish, and made everyone happy around him. The mission world is changing drastically and some of my heroes are leaving and setting their mark. A common thread ran through all of these Elders. They loved the Lord with all their heart might mind and strength; they had a happy and jovial countenance, and strived to do their best through whatever trials came. I will miss them but I have learned so much from their examples and work ethic. This mission is the greatest thing in my life.

Today. I found that out that I will be receiving a new companion and that Elder Austin will be off to the Province of San Luis. My companion will be an ex assistant whom I have the upmost respect for. He works hard and smart and uses obedience as a tool to stem the tide of challenges. The District that I had will be changing drastically as well. Elder Austin will be a District Leader in San Luis, Elder Passey will be a District Leader in my old area Rodeo de la Cruz, and Elder Allen with become a Zone Leader in Godoy Cruz. I was so blessed with the opportunity to be friends with and associated with so many amazing Elders. They were all amazing leaders!! I am excited to continue as District Leader and learn more and more and become closer to the Savior. The more I am here the more I realize that life necessarily goes on and that is how it is supposed to be. It´s sad to see people you love go, but I cannot adequately describe my gratitude for the Eternal Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is so perfect and gives of the relief that through faithfulness to the Gospel plan we will all live together again in our families in Eternal Happiness and will have time in the future to enjoy each others company again. How glorious is the Gospel!!!

I am so excited for this next transfer!! We have a baptism this weekend for a women named Estella who we helped quite smoking. She hasn´t been doing the best health wise, but she has a firm testimony and a love for the truth. I am grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord and am not taking it for granted! I miss and love you all!! ¡Aguante Argentina!!!

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Last week of the transfer...

Well How are you all doing??

Things are going great here in San Juan. Elder Austin and I are working harder and harder and harder and seeing the Lords hand in our efforts. As missionaries I think we feel a little unprepared sometimes for all the situations we face, but luckily we have come to find that if we have the Spirit with us we need never fear of what to say or how to react in certain situations. We know that as we invite the Spirit of the Lord in our lives we invite a spokesman, as Aaron was for Moses, so can the Spirit be for us. In reality when we try to help or relate to someone in any aspect of their lives, it may be hard to do because we aren't in their shoes and don't know what they are going through, but luckily God does. When we have his companionship we need never fear. That is what we try to do as missionaries. We are a bunch of imperfect men and women trying to live as befits one who is a servant of the Lord. All of us can have that power as we live righteous lives and seek to commune with the Lord through fervent and faithful prayer.

One of our greatest tools as missionaries is the Book of Mormon. It truly is the fulfilment of Biblical prophesy(Ezk: 37:15-20, Gen 49:22-26, PS 85:11, Isa 5:26, Isa 29:4,9-18, John 10:16) and a "marvelous work and a wonder"! It is the keystone and proving point of the "religion" of which I and millions others profess. It is a wonder how we have it and for what purpose it came to pass. It is a miracle that it was translated in 60 days. It gives greater light to the world as pertaining to Jesus the Christ and his teachings. If the Book of Mormon is true, which it is, than the Bible is true(Mormon 7:9) and if it is true than God Lives, Jesus is the Christ the son of the Living God, God's church has been restored to the earth through Joseph Smith His prophet, and what myself and more than fifty thousand other missionaries are doing is the will of God. Of this I have a firm conviction that no man can give me. No not my friends, no not my leaders, and no not even my parents but only the Holy SPirit of God which he will shed on those who really want to follow him. Arguments contrary to the church or the Book of Mormon are as a "sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal"!( 1 Corinthians 13:1) There may be doubts yes and that is fine. There may be things that people don understand, but show me one person on the face of the earth that understands everything. Even Nephi humbly admitted, a prophet of the most high, "!I do not know the meaning of all things." I don't think that everyone understands the import of the message we share. We beg people to just read and pray about the Book of Mormon. Just to ask God if it is true, and I have seen miracles when people do this. They change. They understand the Christ better, and have a stronger conviction to serve him. For those who have not took the challenge to read the Book of Mormon I challenge you to do so. Put yourself and God on the line. The promise of the Book of Mormon is found in Moroni 10:3-5. This promise is true. God is not a silent God or like the god of baal elijah described , " is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked." He loves his childrem and wants them to be happy and successful. He did not only speak to one small part of the world and allow over 1000 years to pass away without anyone having access to his word. He spoke in other lands (namely in the Book of Mormon, the Americas) and still speaks. To this I testify and admonish any seeker of truth to read the Book of Mormon and have the testimony of God branded on your hearts. Please do so especially if you have had any doubts concerning this sacred record.

Sorry I just thought I would say a little testimony of what I am doing. We are helping a lady right now prepare for baptism and helping her quit smoking. A month ago she smoked three packs a day, which equals about 60 cigarettes a day. And now through the help she has received from God and the prayers of many she no longer smokes. That was a miracle to me and still is a living testimony that God is there to help us always. I am a happy person and optimistic about the future. I know what I am doing is true and I am having a blast doing it! Argentina is a little crazy sometime but it is great and the good people are full of love. I have met people of all types and am convinced more and more that everyone is a son or daughter of God. I love you all and God bless you!! ALso congrats to my sister who just finished an honorable mission last week !! :)

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Labor Day, Yesterday!

Dear Family and Friends,

Another great week has come and gone!! SOmething way fun we got to do this week is go bowling!! Now I know that doesn´t sound too exciting but it is the first time in a long time that I have gotten to bowl. Of course I had to show everyone my skills so that was awesome!!!! Haha I didn't bowl very well though. It was a pretty ghetto bowling set up because every pin was attached to a string to keep them on so there wasn´t that cool explosion of balls after a strike like there usually is! Oh well it was still a lot of fun. As we were leaving we saw on a tv that Osama was killed!! SO we were are pretty happy about that. Not like its great to celebrate someones death but that needed to be done. He was an evil man!

Well I am not going to have too much time to email this week but we had a great week! We have both been working really hard and trying to do everything we can to help everyone. We have been working with the ward a lot and have been receiving a ton of support. The work of the Lord goes forward so much faster and more effective when we are all working in Unity. As D&C 4 talks about using a sickle to harvest the wheat, we realized as a mission and talked about it at mission conference, that using the ward and everyone together is like using a combines which are used now a days to harvest wheat and do it much more effectively. Two good working average men can harvest 1 acre of wheat in one days worth of work, but a combine(tractor) can do around a 100 acres in one day. Much more effecient and effective wouldn´t you say? That is how the work of the Lord is and how it will always be. The scriptures are full of pleas for unity and comradory so it must be pretty important!!

We have a baptism this week on Saturday of a younger girl named Yasmin. We are so excited :) It has been interesting teaching her and see the spirit in her as she speaks of her experiences with prayer. I could never stress the importance of prayer more than I do now because it is absolutely essencial. It is a time we have to literally commune and come to know our Heavenly Father. It truly is a conversation and we have to have listening ears to hear, or hear by the Spirit. The Lord has to be put to the test. He has invited us to pray, now lets do it and find out for sure if he is really there. Now I know that He is, but that has come through sacred and holy experiences that I wouldn´t have room to write them all. But we have to prove God and let Him know that we are here, and we are willing to come to know Him more through obedience to Him. He is ever aware of Us and we are at the center of his concerns. He is a personal God who knows us simply because we are his sons and daughters, or literally his eternal spirit offspring, ´´Acts 17:27-29´´ Romans 8:16-17. By the way the zone conference was phenominal and I was so filled with the SPirit during it :) I will miss President Lindahl when he leaves but he has served honorably and faithfully and the Lord has strengthened Him. I love this mission and this Gospel. I am happy and excited to continue on. If you could pray for these people it would be great: Florencia, Fabricio, Vicenta, Estela, Ximena, Julio, and Raul Carrizo that would be great!! I love you and miss you all!!! :)

Sincerely,
Elder Brian Passantino

Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Easter! Week of Miracles!

Well Happy Easter Everyone!!!

This week has probably been one of the most amazing weeks of my mission :) Elder Austin and I just worked as hard as we could and prayed a lot for guidance on what we needed to do. We were truly blessed with some miracles this week. Let me tell you of just a few.

Tuesday morning we woke up early and were really feeling the Spirit. We really prayed hard to know the will of the Lord so that we could know what to do. We had a day planned and started executing it. We prayed for people who would be ready to hear the Gospel. As we started the day it was really great we were happy and in good spirits! We stopped by the house of a member just to see how he was doing. We felt prompted to ask him if he knew any people that might be willing to hear the Gospel. He told us of a family that he had been friends with for a long time who was going through a hard time. We had another apointment after that but felt prompted again to just go directly to the house. We went and found the mother of the family, an older lady and began talking to her. We talked about Jesus Christ and about other important things pertaining to the Gospel. She then told us this, "I had just recently started praying because I feel this time in my life I am ready to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized. I didn't really know how to do it so I told God that he would lead me and show me the way that I could be baptized. Then you two came.! :) It was a testimony builder to me that the Lord knows each and every one of his children and that the gospel in which we are engaged is true. She also said I told God I didn't want to get baptized in just any church, but I wanted to get baptized in the true church. I was humbly touched by the power of following the still and small voice of the Spirit. She will be getting baptized the 7th or 14th of march.

Later on we had intended to go by a family that we had on our list but lived a ways away. We decided to still go and see how they were doing. When we arrived a man ushered us in as if he had been waiting for us. We didn't know him at all but something felt different. He said, "I had had missionaries come over before, but I had never really prayed before. Yesterday I started praying and this morning I prayed by myself for the first time. I am going through a hard time in my life and the life of my family and I prayed that the Lord would give me guidance for my children and for my life. I would like my children to go to church and I would like to start going myself." Can you believe that?? God knows his children and God also knows the only thing that can cure all pain, guilt, and strengthen during trial is the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. We later shared our testimony on the cleansing power of the atonement and how accepting Jesus Christ in his life through the medium of baptism (John 3:5) can bring that free grace and mercy which only the Savior can provide. This gospel is a gospel of hope and of peace. It brings lasting satisfaction, not just the immediate gratification of ones own lust. It brings a cleanliness and holiness in your lives that can only be found by living the precepts found in Christ's true Gospel.

Oh what a week it was!! We worked as hard as we possibly could and relied on the Lord to do the rest. "Trust in the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and lean not on thine own understanding." That is true and as missionaries we do that everyday. It is a miracle to me that two americans who have lived in Argentina for 6 months and have the capability to help others come unto Christ. We never obligate anyone to do anything, we only invite and have them pray to know if it is what God wants not just the "Mormom missionaries." I can testify that it is what God wants but you have to pray about it to know if what I am saying has any truth to it. (James 1:5), (Moroni 10:3-5) I am so happy and enjoying the true happiness that comes through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The more I rely on him and His merits the more I want to take on his attributes and help all those in need of his everlasting hope!!

On some other news we will be having a Zone meeting this Wednesday in Mendoza, so we will take the 2 and a half hour bus ride down there so I am way excited for that!! I am learning so much from my district and zone it is so awesome!! Also i don't know if I have ever said this but like all the girls down here play Field Hockey, which is cool because a bunch of people in my family have played that lol. Argentina girls field Hockey is "supposedly" the best in the world or something... I don't know about that :) Well happy Easter(a little late)!! I love you all!! Take Care!

Sincerely
Elder Passantino

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hola Familia!

Hola a todos!!!
Well its been a week to remember that is for sure! So as you all know transfers were this week and I thought that Elder Crossa and I were going to stay here in Rawson, but that's not what happened. Elder Crossa left to Mendoza and I stayed with an Elder who came in my group named Elder Austin. SO we have the same time. I got asked to be senior companion and the District Leader! I was way surprised but humbled for the responsibility and trust from the Lord. It´s only my fifth transfer on the mission and I still have so much to learn but I guess we get put in quick growing and learning positions sometimes huh?? I am grateful too because the District is awesome!! They all have a desire to work and work very hard for the cause of the Lord. For this I am grateful :) Hahaha well my companion is a great guy too!! I think the best way to describe him is just a big ball of fun! Oh man the first hour I was with him he spilt milk all over the floor and the table, and then a half an hour later spilt soda everywhere. Then when we started walking he tripped three times and fell down while climbing up the stairs!!! It is so funny sometimes with him but he has a desire to work harder than any of my other companions and has a powerful testimony. He is a great man and we laugh so much each day just because of the kind of person he is :) It should be a very fun and successful transfer!!! I am way excited and so is he and that is just the thing you need in this work!! Excitement for the work of the Lord. My comp looks a bit like Syndrome from the incredibles, mixed with Chris Farley. haha its fun.

The zone of San Juan is awesome as well, and my old good friend Elder Sansford moved here to be the Zone Leader, so I get to learn more from him and get to talk to him every night verifying. We have a huge vision for the zone based on the vision of the stake President. There is a big push and focus to work more and more with the ward and get them involved as much as possible. It makes the work so much easier and brings the fire of the Gospel when we are all working together under one cause, ´´inviting others to come unto Christ.´´ We have all the tools necessary to bring to pass miracles, and we just need to work and trust in God. Its going to be a great transfer!!!

This week we committed a girl named Florencia to baptism for the 30th of April!! Woo Hoo!!! She has been looking for the truth for a while and has felt the confirmation that this is the truth! She went to conference a the last week and said that she felt one of the talks was speaking right to her the whole time :) Aint that the truth?? She has also had spiritual experience while reading the book of MOrmon and praying to know if it was true. The miracle is that we teach to the best of our Spanish abilty... and then if they will read ponder, pray and go to church the Lord will tell them through the Spirit if it is true or not. I love how merciful the Lord is with us, because if we truly want to know the truth and we search with a diligent heart, we will find it. Ask and it shall be given unto you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. That is the promise that God will not leave you to your own. As long as we allow all truth to penitrate our hearts, and ask Him who cannot lie, he will tell us the truth. I love the Lord my God. I am forever grateful. I love this work. And I love all of you!

Sincerely,
Elder Passantino