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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!

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!!!

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 !! :)

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!!! :)

Elder Brian Passantino