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Monday, March 28, 2011

USA tied Argentina in Soccer this week!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well well here we go from good old Rawson, San Juan! This week has been full of great lessons and learning experiences which I will always cherish :) My companion, although different as he is, has a powerful testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and is never ashamed to share it. This week we gave a Family home evening at the chapel and we talked about Pride and Charity. The search for Charity is hard at times but when we humble ourselves and try to love all despite everything, we take on the greatest attribute of Christ! The thing that gets in our way of loving others sometimes is our own pride and selfish desires, but because of the atonement of Christ we can overcome that. It was a good lesson because it was just what I needed to hear. Many times when we are assigned to give a talk, or speak and teach upon a Gospel principal, we learn the exact thing we needed to change. As I continue on with my mission, I am trying to be more humble and trying to love others, despite our differences. It has really been challenging at times surprisingly, but God always helps us if we allow him. Thats the miracle :) I am sorry for all the times I have been selfish or prideful in my life. I realize more and more how unworthy and how imperfect I am, and how much I really have to rely on the Atonement. Really I am sorry to all my friends and family who have seen me show the pride that I had. I am trying to be more humble I promise. Just keep praying for me :)

We have had some interesting lessons this week. We taught two people named Macarena and Martina and they said something interesting. They said 创have you Elders ever had that feeling that you knew people from the past, or that you had had this conversation before?创 They also said 创for instance right now sitting around this table feels like that.创 This was while we were talking about the plan of Salvation and the Resurrection. They asked if we believed in Reincarnation, to which I responded no, we believe in the Resurrection (or the reuniting of our Spirits, with a perfect resurrected body, just like Christ. 创the firstfruits of them that slept) The reason they thought that they thought Reincarnation was a real doctrine was because of that feeling that had had, which I mentioned earlier. Luckily the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ restores the true doctrine of this feeling. We lived before this life in a Premortal state as Spirits. God and Jesus Christ were there and God presented his Plan of Salvation, so that we could be brought to this earth, be tested, overcome, and come back to live with him and his Son(eternally with our families). Christ, the Firstborn, the Eldest Spirit SOn of God, who the Scriptures say of that time was, like unto God, said here am I, send me (to be the Savior of the world, because this plan provided that we would have agency to choose, and because of our mortality would at some points in our lives, choose contrary to the law of god, aka sin.) Christ is literally the Propitiation and the only perfect one. His Father in the Flesh is God our Eternal Father and his Mother in the flesh is Mary. He made the Plan of Salvation function and brought all of its terms into existence. He suffered for our sins, infermities, trials and everything so that if we accepted Him and followed his Gospel( Faith, Repentence, Baptism, by one who has authority, and by immersion, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and enduring to the end.) we would return to that Glorious Father who gave us life. That is where that feeling comes from. The Spirit touches our soul and 创brings all things to our remembrance创 John 14:26 at times and we feel as if this is familiar, or we have heard this before. The Gospel is so true :) And I know it through the manifestations of the Spirit!!! I thank God for the gift of his Son Jesus Christ who is the God of Abraham Issac and Jacob!!!

Sorry that was a little confusing but its so true and simple when understood correctly it is a beautiful thing! It is a challenging thing being a missionary at times, but we receive a witness of our faith, after the trial of it. As I have put my faith and beliefs on the line, the Spirit has been with me confirming to my eternal soul that what I am saying and boldly declaring is true. The incredible thing is that no one has to believe me :) They just have to earnestly ask God if what we are saying is true and he will tell them Yes or No. There is not a middle ground on this. I love helping people, loving people, and having incredible learning experiences that will change my life for the better, forever. I know what I have to do, and I love it. I hope everyone knows that my prayers go out to you all everynight and morning. The work is just what the word implies, work, but it continues. I love you all! Hang in there and find out who you are! A literal child of God!

Elder Passantino

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thanks for the Package :)

Dear Family and Friends,

First off thanks to my awesome family for the package that I received!!! I needed all that stuff and loved the Messi Jersey!! I wore it today and they really think that I am Argetine now! Also thanks to Aunt Heidi and Grammy for their packages as well :) It was so awesome to get all that stuff and feel all that love. Thanks to all those who have sent me letters, prayed for me, or had me in their thoughts as well, I can´t thank you enough. I have the greatest family and friends in the world!!!

So this week was a pretty good week. I went on divisions (or I went with another Elder in a different area to my area for a day) with an ELder named Elder Hancock!! I learned a lot from him. He is my District Leader and is a great missionary. That is one of the most amazing things about the mission; you can learn profound truths from everyone. It is nice to have friends that are good mature Elders as a guide to what I want to become. We had a fun time together as well. This week I met an Evangelical Pastor and his family was from Palermo, Sicilia. That was way cool because he knew where Santa Flavia was (where some of my ancestors are from) and his daughter is living there in Palermo with her husband who is American. It´s a small world isn´t it???

This week we met some great people named Fabricio and Florencia. They invited Elder Crossa and myself to an Asado this Wednesday!!! Haha. Finally my first one in Argentina! All the other Elders are surprised that I haven´t had one yet. Bascially its a huge BBQ with all parts of the cow so I am way excited about that :) They always brag about having the best meat in the world, so I guess now I will find out!

There are some really awesome people in the ward down here in Rawson so that is great! I am really learning to love and serve the people. Something that I have learned here on the mission is putting into practice the true doctrine and principals we know. Sometime we can know what the scriptures say and know the doctrine by heart, but it doesn´t become a help to us unless we do it. Such as the Savior´s teachings on the Sermon on the Mount. When we try to do what he actually says we will feel a spiritual change in our hearts and will be able to overcome all trials. I am so greatful that I am here serving the Lord :) I love you with all my heart. Sorry these last couple weeks haven´t been too eventful, but I will keep you all posted! Tell Shaun Fogleman he needs to email me the second he finds out where he is going on his mission !!!!

Elder Passantino

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

One More Thing...

Oh there is one more thing that hapened this week. We as a mission are dedicating our baptisms and efforts this month for a young man named Josh Pack. He was preparing to go on a mission and had an accident that left him paralyzed. He wants more than anything to serve, but he is physically limited. We are praying and fasting for him in hopes that someday soon he can be healed and serve a mission for the Lord. It is a very touching story, I think more of it is on the mission blog, but it helped me put things into perspective and know how blessed I really am. Keep this young man in your prayers please :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hola from Rawson!

Well its been a really great week!! We are working hard here in Rawson and doing our best to help change peoples lives and bring them closer to Christ. The weather in San Juan has been semi hot and a little rainy. Its nice to have the rain thought because it is very refreshing. My companion and I are getting along very well. Its amazing how someone from Uruguay and The United States can live together, get along great and be good friends. It really all traces back to the Gospel and the love that we have for our Savior. The knowledge that we are all sons and daughters of God also just helps us to love everyone despite everything.

I was asked to give a talk this week on Missionary work in the ward. After having giving so many talks in my last area I feel much more comfortable speaking in front of everyone in Spanish now. I really felt the Spirit help me know what to say and help me with all the words. I felt very content after the talk and I know I said what the Lord wanted said. I talked about how the preaching the Gospel is completing the God's purpose,to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. It is really amazing how everyone in the Gospel centers back on the Savior Jesus Christ. He is the cornerstone and the rock of our salvation. He really is everything and I love him with all my heart. The more I live the more I come to realize how eternally grateful I am for what he did for me, opening the gate to salvation and exaltation, if I will only accept him and have a living faith in him. I am also grateful for what he still does, by guiding his church by the rock of revelation! I am so grateful to be a missinoary and bear the good news that he is the only name given under heaven whereby a man may be saved. How great is my calling!!

We had interviews with the mission President yesterday. That was phenominal as always. He is a man with an extraordinary Spirit, who has an unshakable faith in the Gospel. He always makes us feel so good and ready to work even harder and accomplish seemly impossible tasks. It will be so sad when he leaves from his 3 year mission in July, but I will always remeber the important lessons he taught me and pass them on. He has really helped me understand the difference between successful people and those who aren't. He has taught the mission a lot of things and he looks tired, but I love him and I will always be grateful for him.

There really isn't too much to report this week. It was a week of searching for those who are prepared to hear the message of the Gospel. I did find out that my companion is a big LAKERS fan!! Oh ya!! That raised him up in my book! They even got that there in Uruguay. I am grateful for where I am and the experiences I am having. I feel so much more prepared for the life that I have to come. I know that the Gospel is true and that no matter who you are, what circumstances you have, the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer. I love you all with all my heart!

Elder Passantino

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hola from San Juan!

Dear Family and Friends,

Things are sounding pretty crazy from the home front our there. I just want you all to know that you are all in my prayers and thoughts!! I love you all.

SO, my area Rawson is doing pretty awesome! We have a good ward and lots of awesome members to help us out. My companion is a very humble Elder from Montevideo Uraguay. He has been sent home twice from his mission. He was in a motorcycle accident about 4 years ago that really hurt his knee. He was actually blindsided by a truck, and he said its a miracle that he is alive. But, ya about his knee, he had to get a large plate put in to fix the bone. After about 7 months in the mission he started having terrible pain in his knee again. He went to the doctor and found out that the plate was growing out of his skin. He had to go home and get surgery to get it taken out. After six weeks of being home he returned to the mission only to find out 5 months later that because of the last surgery, a problem had developed with his tendons where he couldn´t walk right. They sent him home again for rehab, and they told him he probably wouldn´t be able to come back. ELder Crossa was devestated at that news and petitioned to come back after another six weeks of rehab. The permission was granted and he returned. Now he will have cronic knee pain for the rest of his life. His example of the love of the mission really showed me how great it really is. He loves helping people, and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. I´m grateful to have him as a companion and work hard here in Rawson!!!

This area is a little different because it is a lot smaller, but almost all of it is suburbs which I like. The people are way nice here as well. The province of San Juan is a lot more tranquilo, which is a change that I like. We have more leaders in the ward, and we have basketball rims above the soccer goals, outside of the church which is great. I just have to get a basketball now!!! :) As I am sure everyone knows theyu just love soccer down here. Generally they either like one of two teams: River or Boca. At first I liked Boca more, but then I didn´t want to get in arguements over something that I didnt know much about so my team is Tomba. They are from Godoy Cruz, which is where the mission offices are. River and Boca are from Buenos Aires. I wanted to be different than everyone else too haha. People here laugh as the USA soccer team so I just tell them that if our athletes that played football, basketball, baseball, or any of the olympic sports wanted to play soccer we would absolutely dominate. The States arent like here where its either soccer or well.... soccer. I also just say that in the States we have our girls play soccer haha. (No offence to the girls :)) AND the last thing I say on the subject is that the US will win in 2014!!! I hope... the world would just hate us then :)

I have been thinking a lot about sacrifice lately and the blessings that come from it. Really sacrifice is one of the greatest uses of our free agency. If we want to attain a certain skill, we have to sacrifice our time in the working towards it. If we want to attain a certain blessing, we sacrifice the vices that would otherwise keep us from being blessed. Really sacrifice turns in to our greatest tool in molding oursleves into the person that we want to be. I am so grateful that I have the right to choose who I want to become and know what I must sacrifice to do it. I am so happy in the mission right now. I am learning life lessons, that I probably wouldn´t be able to learn in any other place at any other time. I am seeing lives changing, and my own life is being changed into more of what I want it to be. I love and miss you all, and can´t tell you how content I really am serving the Lord!!

Elder Brian Passantino