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Monday, August 6, 2012

Last Week of Mission

Dear Family and Friends, Well this will be my last official week... I can´t believe how fast two years have come and gone. I remember the first day being so excited and then that night being a little daunted at how long two years seemed. But they surely have. Its hard to explain the emotions that I have right now. I am so excited to see my family and friends again and at the same time am so sad that I have to leave Argentina and the people I have come to love so much. It´s a miracle how much one changes while in the service of the Lord. This last week I was in a touristic city called San Rafael with and Elder from the United States (Elder Tingey) and another Elder from Argentina (Elder Falcon) We worked really hard and saw a lot of miracles. God really is preparing the hearts of the people to listen to the message of the Restoration of His Gospel. They just needed that little but of faith so we relied on God and saw the mircles. On Sunday I was able to return to my one of my favorite areas and see some of the amazing people I was able to help along the way like the Zarandon Family, The Gilabert Family, Lidia Ester, Danilo Gonzalez and was able to eat lunch with the Montenegro family. It was such a happy day. There is no greater satisfaction than seeing people that you were personally able to bless strong in the Gospel and relying on Christ. This week I will go back to San Luis to help some Elders there. I will work with all my heart might mind and strength until the end. Two women that I was teaching in San Luis both were baptized this weekend. It was so amazing to hear that and the changes they have made in their lives. I love the Gospel. I know its true. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and that He is God´s only begotten Son. I know that the gospel has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. I will write my last email next week for everyone but until then have a great and happy week! Love Elder Passantino

D & C 18:15-16

Dear Family and Friends, I had a very special day last Tuesday as I said goodbye to the people I came to know over the past six weeks in the province of San Luis. Tuesday was my last day there and I wanted to say goodbye to as many people as I possibly could before I left. One of our investigators, a young woman named Marsela who had sort of disappeared the week before was one of the people I really wanted to say goodbye too. We literally hadn't seen her in over a week. That afternoon after I had packed some I said a pray with my companion that she would be in the house and that I could say goodbye to her. We got to the house around 8 at night and all the lights were off. I was pretty bummed but we decided to knock and to our surprise she came out the down and let us inside. She had read 1 Nephi and was intrigued by the Book of Mormon. She had read all the pamphlets we had given her and even did all the scripture studies on the back. She is such a happy and optimistic person. She has had a tough life as well. She has a three year old daughter and is pregnant again. When her spouse found out that she was pregnant again he left her. The reason we hadnt been able to find her the last week is because she had been in and out of the hospital because of problems with her pregnancy and at the same time is working. She is such an example to me. When I told her that I was leaving the next day she just broke down in tears and thanked me so much for what I had done for her. It was a very powerful experience for me. She had a really hard time with me leaving. I was able to leave her with a new Bible and with my testimony. It was so hard to leave because I loved her so much and was so happy that she had accepted the Gospel in her life. As my companion and I were about 2 blocks from the house I heard a little shout from her girl Abril, ''Passantino, Passantino''. They called me back and met up to us about a block from there house. Marsela was still in tears and then said, ''with all the love in my heart I give you this (a little fish stuffed animal) which represents the likelihood of us finding each other. Its hard for one fish to find another fish in the sea but God has let us to find each other. Thank you so much for what you do.'' It was such an act of genuine love and care. She doesn't have much, in fact very little but she gave the best she could and it means so much to me. I choked up a little and finally understood the scripture, '' 15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one asoul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! 16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the akingdom of my Father, how great will be your bjoy if you should bring many csouls unto me! That scripture finally made sense after all this time in the mission. That moment is why I was supposed to be in San Luis. Even though we didnt have a lot of success that experience changed my life forever and made me realize that she was the reason I was there for those short six weeks. She will be baptized next weekend. Other than that I have enjoyed my time traveling. We went to some places with some amazing views of the mountains. I was able to work with an ELder from Peru, Bolivia and Argentina and an American whose parents are from EL Salvador. This week we are going to San Rafael about three and a half hours from here so that should be cool. ALright everyone have an incredible week. I love you all! Love, Elder Passantino

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Letter we received from Brian's Mission Pres Today! Made me cry!

Misión Argentina Mendoza Cabildo Abierto 161 5501 Godoy Cruz Mendoza-Argentina Tel. (0261)-424-3197 July 19, 2012 Dear Brother and Sister Passantino, It is a pleasure and a blessing to have your son here in the Argentina Mendoza Mission. He is an outstanding missionary and is an example to all. I now will have the opportunity to work with Elder Passantino each day as he has been called as a Traveling Assistant to the President. Your son will come to know every single missionary in the Argentina Mendoza Mission. He will direct many of the mission activities and training. In addition to his own missionary proselytizing activities, he will direct and lead the zone leaders in our mission. Elder Passantino has a wonderful spirit. Those who serve as Travelers should be examples in all areas and he has exhibited the ability to do that. We are grateful to you for him and for the excellent example you have set for him. Sincerely, President Sergio E. Avila

Monday, July 16, 2012

Packing my Bags

Dear Family and Friends, Well its been fun being here in San Luis for the last six weeks but I have just been transfered for my last three weeks. President assigned me to be a traveling assistant so that will be a cool opportunity to travel around the mission and help some of the Elders that need it. Im excited to do that. My companion will be ELder Reininger from California. We had a good but tough week here in San Luis. President and his family came to have a Zone Conference and I was able to give one of my last testimonies in that type of setting. He talked a lot about obedience and how the small and simple things make the biggest difference. Lately lots of the people we have been teaching have sort of disappeared becuase of work or they randomly moved and a number of other reasons. I hope one day to see the fruits of my short labor here in San Luis. The people are so great and I love them so much. There are so many good people trying to live righteous lives in the world. I am constantly inspired at those who make changes in their lives and do their best to follow the Savior. I think as I have progressed in my mission I have learned to give people a fair chance and not be so judgemental. As I look at my own self I see my own imperfections and become more tolerant and understanding of others. Its easier to love people now and to forgive forget and move on. This week my companion and I had a little argument over something very insignificant. Its amazing sometimes as normal people we let little things bother us so much. My companion and I then evaluated the situation and realized how dumb we had both acted and we willing to forgive the other and move on as if it had never happened. It was a tough day and we were just frustrated and a little stressed out over some things that were going on. Later that night we were able to visit this sweet lady who had just passed through a difficult seperation with her husband that left herself and her son shocked. It was so hard for them to deal with. We went and were able to lay our hands upon her head and give her a Priesthood blessing of comfort. It was just what she needed. It gave her strength and showed her that God was mindful of her. Her faith is what got her through. (Helaman 5:12) I think I said in my last email that my companion ELder Sierra spoke a little about Ether 2 in his talk but I would like to share something from it that I learned. The Lord asks the Brother of Jared, “Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?” Obviosuly you have to read it in context to understand but we should ask oursleves the same question. What should we ask the Lord for that he may prepare us when we are in our own “Depths of the sea” . I know that he can prepare us for the difficulties that will surely come in this life if we simply just ask. That short little visit with her showed us God “ compassion and that we can each be God” instruments in bringing forth his work. He loves that lady so much and I know how much he loves each and everyone of us. I pray that everyone has an excellent week! love Elder Passantino

Monday, July 9, 2012

Elder Yao and I in front of chapel near where we live!

Elder Passantino and Elder Sierra

Happy 4th and 9th for Argentina

Dear Family and Friends, Happy Argentine Independence Day! haha Yea its the 9th here in Argentina so thats cool, besides the fact that everything closes down today. Its been a pretty crazy week here. My companion and I both gave talks in Church yesterday. I spoke about the phrase thats repeated in the scriptures ´´retain the remission of your sins´´ and how we do that and how the Savior cleanses us according to our diligence in following him or as John says, ´(1 John 1:7)´´But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. My companion spoke on the exchange between the Lord and the Brother of Jared and likened it to ourselves. (Ether 2:18, 23-25) The sister missionaries as wel spoke and then we all sang COme Thou Fount in Spanish for the congregation! It was a really great Sacrament Meeting. Lots of crazy things are happening with our investigators. I have learned some important lessons lately. We have been teaching this amazing person while at the same time she was living with her boyfriend.(not a good thing) Things werent going good at all in their relationship and so she decided to leave She left with all her stuff before he could get home a couple nights ago. It was a very hard decision for her to take but she knew she was doing it for the right reasons and for the best. But sadly, when we met with her in the chapel two days later she found out tha tshe was pregnant with her boyfriends child. Now she has to live the consequences of such a poor decision. She was absolutely devestated and pleaded for help. It was so sad to see. We comforted her and promised her that it would be alright. She has decided to raise the baby by herself so we hope that works out. That is why God gives us commandments because he knows the consequences and the feelings that will come. What I feel is a great mistake by many people is that they preach more the message of ´´how can get out of this situation the easy way?´´ Rather than ´´what can I do to avoid a situation like this all together?´´ Many in the modern world teach easy redemption which warrants and accepts whatever action becuause ´´I´m already saved because I accepted Christ so it doesn´t matter what I do because his love will save me in the end or in the words of Nephi, ´´ 7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: aEat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us. 8 And there shall also be many which shall say: aEat, drink, and bebmerry; nevertheless, fear God—he will cjustify in committing a little dsin; yea, elie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a fpit for thy neighbor; there is gno harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God. 9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, afalse and vain and bfoolish cdoctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark. When justification for sin is based on an easy repentance process after committing the sin, God is mocked and as Paul says, (Hebrews 10:26)´´ For if we asin bwilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.´´ and justice takes its place. The atonement of Jesus Christ is infinite and his grace is sufficent for the truly penent. It is a miracle what he did and we could never ever ever save ourselves for by our righteous actions. Christ is the only one who saves and can cleanse of all sin after we follow Him with our heart which entails the steps of His Gospel. I am so grateful to believe in a loving Christ who is so merciful and will freely forgive. His grace is what saves us. I hope everyone has a fantastic week! Love Elder Passantino

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hi family and friends!

Dear Family and Friends, It was a good birthday week. Some of the Elders and Sister missionaries threw a little surprise party for me so that was nice :) My comp told me there was a ´´meeting´´ that night in the church and they got me good. haha. We were able to go to Mendoza this week and have a leadership consel again. A seventy came, Elder Resek. It was a great experience. It was one of the few times that I have seen President Avila cry so much. You could really feel the love that he had for us. There were about 12 of the elders there that will be leaving in August and he had a hard time sharing to us Jacob 5:71-72 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come. And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things. It was a special moment to hear that and to recommit myself to endure to the end and work until my last day. It seems like the days just go faster now and that there is a short time left to cherish as a full time missionary. Luckily there are so many amazing people here. We are teaching some awesome people. There is one person named Marsela who bought a dress to come to church adaquately this week. It was so cool to see her do that. She will be getting baptized soon. I have had a renewed faith in the Book of Mormon and a renewed testimony of it. I just think its impossible for someone to read it with real intent and ask God if its true and to not receive an answer of its truthfulness. That book has changed my life and I have no doubt of its divine origin and message. ´´...It came fourth as Joseph said it came fourth and was given to bring happiness and hope to the travail of the latter days.´´ (Jeffrey R. Holland, Safety for the Soul) I have seen firsthand how it brings hope and happiness. Logically to me(although I speak with my own bias) it makes sense that a God filled with infinite love and compassion for his children would provide another rock foundation where his children could be sure of the truth. God is aware of the multitude of churches, organizations and beliefs that profess Him and his infinite goodness and grace about Him and His Son and has done the best He could to make himself personable to us. He made himself known from the beginning to our first parents Adam and Eve and gave them counsel and direction, commandments, hope and a correct idea of what kind of being he was. The whole reason we have the Bible is because he revealed himself to man and commanded them to write what they saw, heard, felt and what he told them to write. He wants us to know who He is so He reveals himself to special people called prophets(Amos 3:7,Numbers 12:6,8) I think one of the things that makes him sadest is some of the concepts people have of Him. It usually is a great ´´something bigger´´ but defining him is almost impossible. Thats why He sent His Son to show us exactly who He was, for Christ was the ´´brightness of his glory and the express image of his person.´´(Hebrews 1:3) He gave us the scriptures so that we would know who he is and still there is so much confusion and so many different religions. He brought fourth the Book of Mormon to show us who He really is and to end the discussion about it. In his love he brought it forth so there wouldnt be need for any more confusion. I will be forever grateful to Him for bringing to light the Book of MOrmon and all that it entails. I love you all and wish everyone a great week! Love Elder Passantino

Monday, June 25, 2012

Thanks for the Birthday Wishes!

Dear Family and Friends, This week has been awesome! We continue to find amazing people who are looking for the truth in their lives. The other week we had our interview with the mission President. While my companion and I were having an interview a man mistakingly walked in the chapel and found us there. He was actually looking for a place to help him find employement. We were able to talk to him a while with President Avila. He really needed a lot of help in his life. We set up another time to visit with him and realized that he has had a pretty hard time in his life. He had recently gotten out of jail after being acused on false charges, and he also lost his first baby girl two months after her birth. He is looking for work and was sort of a wreck. We were able to give him a lot of comfort and we are going to continue to work with him to help him and his family out. We used the scriptures to give him that comfort. I have always found strength in the words of the Savior when he says, ´´ Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father aknoweth that ye have need of all these things. aBut bseek ye first the ckingdom of God, and hisdrighteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:31-33. I know that if he decides to follow Christ without looking back he will find the strength and the hope he needs to continue onward and forward. I want to thank everyone for their awesome birthday wishes. I feel so blessed to have family and friends like you guys! I couldn´t be happier. There is no greater thing I could be doing for my birthday. I love you all so very much and miss you guys and can´t wait to see you all here pretty soon! Love Elder Passantino

Monday, June 11, 2012

Elder Passantino, Elder Ostler and Elder Moon

Family Home Evening

Helping the Hermanas

New Area

Well its been amazing already here in San Luis! Its a new province and its way beautiful. Its really like a mini San Francisco its way cool. My companion Elder Sierra is one of my best friends and we get along so well. He is from Bogota, Columbia which is the capital. We live with an Elder named Elder Moon and then another Elder who is from China. He is convert from Buddeism. He ´s 23 years old and I respect him so much. He got baptized about 17 months ago and has such a strong testimony. He still cant speak Spanish too well but he tries so hard and studies like no other. He moved to Buenos Aires when he was 18 from China and met the missionaries through a friend when he was 21. He never practiced Spanish while he lived here so he never learned it before. There was no one in Argentina who could teach him the Gospel in Chinese so after a few months they were able to get someone who could translate. He said simply, I read and prayed to God and felt so strongly that is was true. He was baptized despite zero support from his family. His family later moved to South Africa. His family wan´nt happy with the decision he took to go on a mission either because he had to choose between paying to go live with his family in SOuth Africa or going on a mission and he choose to go on a mission. He is a man among men. He is an example to everyone and although he can´t speak very well his testimony is heard in the corridors of the heart. We have been a trio for the past two days and he gave a powerful testimony to a very inteligent person yesterday and left them shocked. This man was very intelligent and had studied a lot of stuff against the church on the internet without finding out the truth from the church. He began to say a million things against the Book of Mormon, which to me was pretty comical. After we had responded everything Elder Yao said, ´´I have a question for you, what do we eat in China?´´ The man then said well um rice and I heard that you eat dogs and cats. Elder Yao then went on to say, ´´Exactly, because 100 people out of 1,400,000,000 people have eaten dog or cat in China means that everyone eats dog and cat and thats nowhere near the truth. If you want to know what we eat in China ask me.´´ He then explained that it was the same with the Book of Mormon and that if you want to know it its true you have to read it and ask God. The man was left without words and even though it was broken spanish he understood perfectly what he said. Two scriptures came to my mind as he spoke , ´´ But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; (1 Corinthians 1:27) and And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). He later bore his testimony to the truth of what he knows to be true. And so do I. I hope everyone has a great week!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

San Luis-maybe last area!

Dear Family and Friends, Well it looks like I got transfered to my last area. I am going to San Luis which is another province in Mendoza. I have been in the other two provinces but have never got to go to San Luis so I am really excited about that! My new companion is Elder Sierra who is columbian as well. We lived together when I was in San Juan(Chimbas) and we became really good friends so it will be awesome! All in all I am looking forward to it and was ready. We recently found a family who will be getting baptized in a two weeks so that was so exciting! The Mom of the family is Etel and she was so ready. We helped her quit smoking and quit drinking and she has received such a strong witness of the truthfulness of what we teach. We gave her 3 Nephi 11 to read and then to pray and to ask God if it was true. She said as she read she was overcome with the desire to repent and to come unto Christ. She has been to many other churches and has always enjoyed them but said she has never had that burning urge to repent as she had when she read that chapter. 3 Nephi chapter 11 is when the Savior makes his visit to the Americas among the people called the Nephites. In verse 23 He says, ´´Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them. SHe was touched by that and said that she prayed harder and more sincerely than she had ever prayed, asking forgiveness for her sins as well as asking for a witness from the Holy Ghost of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. As she did so she felt full of peace and felt a sure confirmation that is was true, that she had been forgiven and that she should be baptized. Im so excited for her and the other people that we are teaching here they are so special to me and I love them so much! I know God lives and He is so loving that he is willing to answer our prayers. Have a great week everyone! Love Elder Passantino

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Talking to my Family

Sorry but Mom got behind! This is what he wrote the day after Mother's Day and I realized I never posted it and I don't know how to put it in it's proper place! Thanks for all who read and follow Brian! It's hard to believe we will be going to get him in 2 months! Dear family and friends, Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to my family. I truly love them so much and take some much comfort in the fact to know that we will live together forever. It was great talking to them. As my mission continue to wind down I am thinking about some of the things I have learned and why they are important. One of the most important things I have learned is to seek the Lord´s approval rather than try to seek the approval of those around you or those above you. As humans we are really think a lot about what others think about us and we begin to become what others tell us we are, but I think a much more noble quest is to seek the approval of our Heavenly Father and see if our lives are in accordance with His. There is no true happiness or satisfaction until we feel truly at peace with ourselves, and we always feel content and at peace with ourselves when we feel the divine approval of a loving Father in Heaven. We do that by following his commandaments and seeking to repent, change, progress, uplift ourselves and others, and try to reach our full potential. I have learned how important it is to stop sometimes and think about where we are and if the Lord is pleased with that. We do that by asking and making the necessary tweaks and changes in our life to be where He wants us to be. That is the key to a happy life. I´m grateful to be helping od´s children here in Argentina and continue to do so up until my departure. It has been the greatest blessing of my life and the one that has brought more satisfaction and joy than any other decision. Have a great week everyone :) Love Elder Passantino
Hey Guys, Well we got back at about one in the morning from Mendoza today so I´m pretty tired. It was a fun time being with President and the mission leaders. Our mission President is really a man of God and has so much wisdom. It has been one of one of the greatest opportunites of my life to listen to him and President Lindahl when he was here and receive such wise and useful counsel. Some of my favorite Elders are leaving next week. Elder Allen, who was my companion for 2 transfers in Lujan de Cuyo is leaving. He was one of my greatest examples and I always looked up to him and wanted to be like him. When we were companions it was like going out to work with your best friend. We had a lot of success and saw a lot of miracles. My time with him changed my mission forever. Its sad when some ELders leave because its like losing some of your best friends and brothers. We get really close in the mission. Earlier last week we had a miracle. We had been teaching a lady named Blanca and her son named Brian. Brian just had such a strong desire to be baptized it was awesome, but suddenly about 3 and a half weeks ago they moved away. It was a bummer because we couldn´t find them and we thought we would never have the chance again. Until thjis last week. They moved back into the same house they were living in before and we were able to have the baptismal service of Brian this saturday and then his confirmation on Sunday! He was so happy and I was excited when he asked me to perform the ordinance. His mother, Blanca, is coming along well. Its tough sometimes because some of these people we teach have made devastating mistakes in their lives and they have such a hard time dealing with life. The incredible thing is that the only really thing that can help these people is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. There is nothing that is out of the infinite reach of the Savior´s atoning love. There is no pain, grief, regret, or sickness that he cannot heal. I love something that the Savior says prior to His visit to the Americas. He says "...will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?" 3 Nephi 9:13 He really is the only one that can give us that relief that we all need and yearn for. There is no other way. I testify that He lives. As a missionary for His Church I declare that with all the solemnity of my heart and I am one of His witnesses. I hope that everyone may have that same conviction and asurety that I do. There is no greater joy than sharing the truth I humbly bear. I invite everyone to read the Book of Mormon and to pray and to ask God of its truthfulness. Those who follow such a course will find the only real healing and will come to know the living Christ. They will know that He is guiding His servants today as He did anciently and they will come to know the meaning that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Have a fantastic week I love you all! Love Elder Passantino
Dear Family and Friends, We were privelged to baptize a girl named Julieta this week. She is a really awesome person with a pure heart. Her family has had a pretty hard life and all of her brothers and sisters are from different dads. They just moved into a really humble house that used to be an old train station stop. The life and quality of it here is completely different than the Stats. It was a great baptismal service and I was grateful to be able to perform the baptism. I have come to know how much God loves everyone. We asked her to pray to God and ask Him if what she was about to do was right and if the Church was true. She said she kneeled down and prayed and felt a comforting peace of assurance. I am absolutely convinced that all who ask God with a sincere heart will always receive an answer to the truthfulness of what we teach. I really hope you all are in good spirits and are doing your best to live good and wholesome lives. I am grateful for the people in my life who give me those powerful examples. Have a fantastic week! Love Elder Passantino

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dear Family and Friends, Well its been a great experience having Elder Rios as my companion. Being with him has also made me realize how grateful I am to live in the United States and for the most part always feel safe. Elder Rios spent much of his life in the Jungle in Columbia. His family was forced out of their home and property by gorilla war fighters. They then had to go live in the streets. When he was nine years old he had to carry messages from family to family across the jungle warning them of the coming gorilla fighters and ´´recruiting an opposition.´´ They lived with a lot of fear it still continues today. He told of experiences with the ´´Black hand´´ which are civilian police officers who go around and kill all of the gang members and criminals or anyone supiscious out in the street past 1 am. Its a completely different enviroment than from what I grew up in. He went off to live by himself at the age of 14 years old and entered into college at the age of 15. He wanted to get out of the bad enviroment so he worked really hard and finished high school by 14 and then has been studing geology for the past three years. He is a living example of how people that grow up in difficult circumstances can make it and dont make excuses for their circumstances but trusts in God and goes to work. It makes him a very successful and hard working person and I really respect him for it. He´s a great person and a fantastic missionary. I want to throw a shoutout to my brother who is turning 17 this coming week and to tell him how much I love him and look up to him. He is everything I want to be and didn´t make the mistakes that I did. He is my hero and I couldn´t ask for a better brother. I hope you all have a super week! Love ELder Brian Passantino

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Companion and Baptism!

Dear Family and Friends, Well this week has had its twists and turns but has brought a lot of new and exciting things. I was informed last night that Elder Treadway, my companion, will be transferred to another area and Elder Rios will be my new companion. Elder Rios is from Columbia and is a fantastic missionary. He is like a really Macho guy and really knowledgeable about the Gospel. He´s also a really good teacher and I am way excited to learn and become better by being with him. I have gotten along with all the Columbians so far from my mission and some of my best friends are from Columbia so I am way happy! It was a great six weeks with Elder Treadway so that was awesome! He's a great guy. We had a wonderful baptism this weekend! Her name is Aldana and she is 14 years old. She was so excited to be baptized and just expressed how much she really got to know God by being with us for such a little time. She said she always knew God existed but until I heard the ´´Plan of Salvation´´ I didn't realize why he really loved us so much or what the big deal was. It was a special baptismal service. Lately as missionaries we have been faced with a lot of opposition. Many anti mormon writings have surfaced recently from ´´friends´´ of people we are teaching. They come and give them ´´literature´´ to help them ´´really´´ know ´´who the mormons are.´´ As comical as the antimormon things are it saddens my soul to think that people could write so many blatent lies about a group or organization that they know nothing about. In essence they are breaking one of the ten commandments, by ´´bearing false witness´´ and giving false testimonies to deceive their own followers. It is a little childish and unchristian to print anything filled with lies, half-truths, false concepts, and misleading statements. I am proud to be a member of the Church where while in Church we learn about the doctrine of the Church and don´t falsely misrepresent another church or belief system. If it really is the truth there is no need to talk bad or falsify things about the ´´opposition´´ because the truth will stand independent. I would advise everyone if they want to know what a Evangelical believes to talk to an Evangelical, what a Catholic believes by talking to a Catholic, or a Muslim, Jew, Atheist etc. We don't attack, we teach. We don't force, we invite. We don't need to spend our time talking about the other churches or groups for two principle reasons. 1) We are not their authorized representatives so what we say is an outsiders opinion and not always a factual belief or statement, and 2) We are confident enough in our message and the witness that God will give to the sincere seeker of truth that we don't have to speak badly of other churches or groups to ´´scare people away from them.´´ I invite everyone that has curiosity to ask people about their beliefs and convictions and trust that they can explain them. We need to be more understanding of beliefs and not be so afraid, because who knows it might be true. I am grateful for Jesus Christ as the master teacher and example. He lived what he taught and invited people to follow him. As a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I invite everyone to come and see what Christ is doing even now in His restored Church and to follow His example of life and love. I love you all have a great week! :) Love Elder Passantino

Monday, April 16, 2012

Great Week!

Hey Fam and Friends,

Well its been a great week as I always report! We had a zone conference this week where we were able to hear from President Avila and listen to his counsel for our zone. I am grateful for such inspired leadership that we have in the mission. Elder Treadway(My companion) and I were able to talk a little on how gaining Christlike attributes help us to teach with the Spirit and like Christ did. We had a little miracle this week too. This 14 year old girl that we have been teaching named Aldana decided to get baptized! That was totally a miracle and we had very little if nothing to do with it :)Im happy and excited about the rest of the mission and my future. Sometimes we don´t always have lunch we eat in our apartment and listen to talks or something as we prepare our food and eat our meal. We listened to something off the Mormon Channel on a show called Everything Creative (or something like that)and they were interviewing Alex Boye who is a famous LDS artist from England. He talked about the creative process and about how God is such a huge part of that. It was incredible for me and I think that everyone who reads this would benifit to listen to it and be inspired by it. Another day we listened to his part on WHY I BELIEVE which is also on the Mormon Channel. I would strongly encourage all of you to listen them both and hear the things he says. I am sure that you can get it for free on itunes so do it. Anyways have a great week I love you all! :)

Elder Passantino

Monday, March 26, 2012

What missionaries learn!

Well it has been an incredible week. The first day that I got here to my new area over a week ago now we found a new and amazing family. They are the Acosta family. The parents are Raul and Rosalinda his wife with their 3 children Augustina 15, Brian 14, and Rocio 7. They are so amazing and so kind. They have been progressing so well and are excited for conference this coming weekend. Three of them were able to come to church this week and they loved it and were left with some great thoughts. There is no greater joy than to Preach the Gospel and watch the change come into the lives of those whom we teach. They become kinder, more gentle, gain greater faith in the Savior, have a greater resolve to be better people and citizens, have a great desire to share what they are learning, and they always come to know, ´´line upon line precept upon precept´´ that the Restored Gospel is true.

I will share some of the things that we learn from being missionaries. The fact that we talk to so many different people with so many different backgrounds helps us to have a greater vision of what are the troubles that people go through day to day. It helps us understand them more and have compassion for them. It teaches great patience and persistent patience. We learn to have great faith through action and exercising that faith. We learn to stick up for each other and to receive specific answers to specific prayers. We learn to give heed to the Holy Ghost and the whisperings of Him. We learn and practice courage as we boldly declare the truth and invite others to ´´come and see´´ what we have found and what God is doing even now. We learn humility. There is no more important characteristic for someone who is an honest seeker of truth and is not being baised on their own opinions. But the greatest blessing of all is that we learn to become more like Christ by putting his attributes on Him and learning how to develop them. I am definitely not saying missionaries are perfect or even better than others but we try to be like the one we follow in word and in deed. Some have greater succes than others, but conversion is a lifelong journey. We truly believe that, ´´It would mock the Savior’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross for us to expect that He should transform us into angelic beings with no real effort on our part. Rather, we seek His grace to complement and reward our most diligent efforts. (2 Nehpi 25:23)´´ (Elder Christofferson)

I invite everyone to watch and hear and prove the words of living prophets and apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. What an amazing opportunity we have to see and listen to the voice of God now a days. I promise that as you watch they will say something that will be so relevent and personal to your personal questions desires and doubts that you will know that they are the TRUE representatives of Jesus Christ upon the earth today. Have a great week!

Elder Passantino

Monday, March 19, 2012

What a road trip!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well I took the 8 hour trip to Alvear in the South of Mendoza, but there were a few more road bumps than I thought... What happens with our documents, is we just keep them in the mission offices because its better if they are there than if someone robs them. SO as we were traveling the military entered the bus asking for documentation and I gave then like a photocopy of my visa and passport. They weren´t too happy about that so they took me off the bus and interrogated me for a while. One of them went off about the U.S. laws and how strict they were about immigration laws. It was kinda of funny. I reassured them that I was legal and explained to them the situation. They then explained how they could throw me in jail and a bunch of stuff trying to scare me but I already knew from the beginning they were going to let me go. In the end they did. I was completely calm the whole time. Haha my first solo trip in Argentina. Im totally fine and nothing would have happened so dont anyone go and get worried!

Its a safe and happy town here. The perfect word is quaint(if thats how you spell it). The people are kind and generous. We are a little isolated from the rest of the mission but its nice. There are people here prepared to listen and follow the Gospel. I am so grateful for the impressions and whisperings of the Spirit. I am learning how to listen and give heed to them. It has blessed me exceedingly. I am praying for everyone and your welfare! Have a great week!

Elder Passantino

Monday, March 12, 2012

Transfers to the South!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well I found out last night that I will be changing areas and I will be leaving San Juan and heading out to Alvear which is the further south of our mission. I will have to take three buses for 8 hours to get there. It is in the south of Mendoza. So I was in the hottest place of the mission for summer and will be in the coldest for winter in a couple months. I am guessing that it will be my last area which I still can´t believe! My companion is Elder Treadway who is from Mesa Arizona which is awesome! I lived with him a few transfers ago and we got to be pretty good friends so I am really excited to be with him. I was ready to move on from this area though. Alvear is a smaller zone and a lot more secluded. There are fewer elders and the majority of the areas are branches and not wards. There is only one ward and luckily that is the one that we are in.

It was a great experience being in Retiro in the Chimbas zone. I met some incredibe people and had the chance to baptize some amazing people. What topped off my stay there was a stake conference that we had this weekend. President Avila called us and challenged us to bring as many people as possible to the conference. A seventy came whose name is Elder Di Giovanni. I believe he is in the 7th quorum. President Avila and his wife also came along with the assistants of the mission. It was such a Spirit filled conference. I cannot tell you all how much my convictions were reafirmed through the SPirit that I felt there. Everyone was touced and moved to tears. The first speaker was the Stake President, Presidente Zanni. He talked about serving missions and the importance of it. At one point he called up Elder Menocal, who is one of the assistants to President and who was in my area before I was. He was blessed with enormous success because of his diligence and humility. As he called up ELder Monocal he had him call up all those who were present who were baptized or accepted the gospel while he was there. Over twenty people came which consisted of over six families and 4 marriages. I know all of them and love all of them too because they all are in our ward. The Spirit was so strong as the Stake President pointed to those famlies and to ELder Menocal and said, ´´Imagine if he would have never served a mission.´´ He then called me and my companion up there as well to share the moment. We were all deeply overcome by the SPirit and grateful for the chance to be engaged in such a work. We all hugged and cried and were grateful for this great saving work.

As the meeting continued we heard from President Avila and then from Elder Di Giovanni. Elder Di Giovanni spoke of the testimony and conversion. He said we all know people with such strong testimonies but that still dont act as if they were converted. He talked about the life long process of converting oneself to Christ and his Gospel. He spoke of the importance of the Sabbath day and also of our tendency to judge and how we need to fix that. He also talked about Charity(the pure love of Christ) being a state of being. He said the world teaches us to know things and learn but the gospel is to help us become something. He said we will be judged on the final product, or in other words what we have become. It was an amazing talk.

Later after the meeting I was able to talk to him and President Zanni, and he saw my name and gave President Zanni and I a hug at the same time and said, we are all brothers from Italy, but this Passantino is from the Mafia haha. It was a perfect ending to my time here and I couldnt be more excited to start my last chapter! I love you all have a great week :)

Elder Passantino

Fam and Friends

Dear Family and Friends,

It was an amazing experience to go back and see some of the people I got to know from my first area in Rodeo de la Cruz. It really showed me how much love I feel for the people here and how much I love my mission. I was able to see Rocio and Luciano for the first time in over a year. They were the first two people that I was privelged to baptize. They had grown up a ton. Everything felt so familiar though it was awesome, almost as if I had never left. Some members I went to see had gotten married and had kids, it was crazy. I was also blessed to see Denise, and her mother(Sofia) whom we had the opportunity to baptize. They were doing so well. The two girls ages 14 and 17 had just gone to EFY down here in Argentina and had a blast and grew sooo much spiritually! It was so satisfying to see them happy and actively progressing in the Gospel! There is no greater joy than seeing the power of the Gospel change lives and literally make them so much much happier. It was an experience that I will always cherish. And I´m grateful for my companion who was willing to truck along with me.

We had another amazing Consejo(counsel?) with our Mission President and the Assistents on Tuesday. It is always so uplitfting. We talked a lot about Miracles and what preceeds a miracle. We learned about working with ward leaders and many other things. A quote that I like from him is, ´´The Lord can´t do anything until we do everything.
He used this when talking about miracles. Obviously the Lord sheds forth his tender mercies on all but when we seek His divine help to bring to pass something we dont have the power to do we need to do everything. I am so grateful to be where I am and to be doing what I am doing. I love and miss you all! Have a great week!

Elder Passantino

Monday, February 27, 2012

How's Life?

Dear Family and friends,

Im sorry I have very little time today to talk. We have spent our day traveling to Mendoza and then doing some fun activites with the zone leaders. I have the amazing opportunity to go back to my first area in Rodeo de la cruz to visit some converts and pump them up! Im way excited. Miracles have been on my mind a lot lately and we are seeing a ton of them. The Lord works miracles through small and simple ways and gives us the opportunity to be part of his great work. He really could do it without us, but he knows that as we serve our heavenly Fathers children we become more like him.

I want you all to know that I know the work in which I am engaged is true. God prepares the hearts of the people to receive the message of the gospel. He loves us so much and I am testimony of that love. The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ is the climax and basis of the love of God. We have to look for the tender mercies of the Lord everyday and be grateful for God doing the things for us and our loved ones that we ourselves can´t do. I know He lives. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I love you all have a phenominal week!!!

Elder Passantino

Monday, February 20, 2012

Awesome Experience

Dear Family and Friends,

My companion and I just had an amazing experience! A couple weeks ago we were walking around in downtown San Juan trying to look for a Cyber that was open. We were getting sort of frustrated because none of them were. As we were walking this guy yells at us, ´´Hey my wife is American and she wants to talk to you.´´ SO we were like alright sweet. She is a polynesian from Hawaii and an ex professional volleyball player. Her husband is from Romania and speaks english and about 4 other languages. He is playing professional volleyball here on a team in San Juan. She is like six three and he is like six five crazy! But anyways she wanted to know if we could help her find some foundations and charities that they could give back to. We said that we could help them out with some cool charity things. So we exchanged numbers and went our ways.

This last week she called us and we set up an appointment at Mcdonalds for today. It was so fun and awesome to talk to them. It turns out that her grandfather served a mission in his youth but died before she ever got to know him. She is Catholic and her husband is Greek Orthodox, but they are so awesome and open. Obviously she grew up in Hawaii so she had a lot of friends that were members and knew a little about the church. so she asked about something to the affect of the family living together after this life. They told us that they had lost two children a short time after their birth. It was two twin boys whom they loved with all of their hearts. A little while after they asked an Orthodox priest what happened to them after they died. He told them that they were not going to go to heaven because they had not been baptized. The women bore a powerful testimony that she had felt that was not true and had really felt it in her heart. You could tell how much they loved their children. We then explained the message of the restoration, the restoration of priesthood keys that make it possible so that families can be together forever. We explained about the Book of Mormon and the prophet Joseph Smith. We bore testimony that they can be sealed to their families for time and all eternity and that if they read and pray and follow the necessary steps, they will be able to be sealed to their children forever. As we said this you could feel the spirit present and the conviction of the words hit their very souls. Tears welled up in her eyes as we testified that her children were fine and that they were learning and progressing like us and that if they did their part they will live as an eternal family.

I am so grateful for the restored truths of the Gosepl of Jesus Christ. It was awesome to teach ny first lesson in English too. Now I just got to find a romanian book of mormon haha. They were truly amazing people and if they ask with a sincere heart, having faith in Christ and do so with real intent they will know the truth of these things just as I do. I am so grateful to God to share the peace and the hope I have.

Have an amazing week I love you all!

Elder Brian Passantino

Monday, February 13, 2012

All in the Life of a Missionary!

Food for Thought!

Christmas 2011 in Argentina

Tough Week!

Dear Family and Friends,

This past week was pretty tough. Lots of things didn´t really go as planned and we got a little bummed about it, but we are still doing great. My companion taught me that basically there are two types of trials. 1) Trials caused by our disobedience and are hence consequences of poor decisions, or 2) Just part of life to try and teach of something, which can also be the cause of another person´s poor decisions that have affected us as well. Life isn´t fair and it was never meant to be. It is meant to be accomplished and overcome.
The ´´unfair´´ times in our lives give us an opportunity to see how we will react. If we react correctly we grow and vice versa. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who gives us a vision and helps us accomplish our ultimate goal.

This last week some recent converts showed us a news article in the paper here about ´´Mitt Romney´´ entitled, ´´Mormon to the White House.´´ It said almost little to nothing about him but mostly attacked the Church with half truths, deception, and quotes from untrustworthy sources. Its nothing new. As the church continues to be thrown in the spotlight the opposition will continue to grow and rumors or exaggerated ´´truths´´ will be spread as wildfire. It doesn´t bother me but gives me a greater testimony of the truthfulness of the work. If it weren´t true there wouldn´t hardely be any opposition be Satan just wouldn´t care that much. But just as the weightlifter grows by having muscle torn down and is under constant opposition from the weight, the Church will grow stronger and stronger until it fulfills the prophesy in Daniel 2:44-45)

In the days where its hard, where the sweat freely flows, where sleep catches up to me, when we are rudely rejected, the thing that keeps me through is an emblazened testimony of this work. I have had too many testimonies of the truthfulness of it to deny it. God himself has made it know unto me and I cannot deny it. It gives me hope, gives me purpose, and has been confirmed day after day. It brings greater joy and happiness that can be found anywhere else. I love you all have a great week!

Elder Passantino


Its been an eventful week here in San Juan. My companion and I were able to travel down to Mendoza for a ´´counsel´´(don t know if thats the right translation?) with some other leaders of the mission and the Mission President. We came back with a renewed strength and a greater vision. It has been interesting being here in Argentina. My heart really goes out to the people. Many of them dont really have any goals or plans for the future. The majority plan on living in the same city/house their whole lives without really putting any effort to progress or change. Mediocracy is the norm here and its really discourgaing sometimes. People get trapped into complacency and just think that is how life is. I am grateful to be from a country that promotes success, that pushes you to be better, and gives you the tools to do it. Its really simple. Have a dream or goal, make the plans to complete that goal, and do everything in your power to reach it. I have learned a ton about patient diligence from being a missionary. I hope that all of my friends and family have goals and plans to continually be improving themselves while lifting the hands that hang low.

Our desires are stemmed through a correct view of our identity. Once we know who we are we are filled with a sense of purpose and we are propelled to progression. Many people are comfortable with saying that we are children of God, but few are comfortable to define that divine heritage. As Eliza R. SNow puts it, ´´I had learned to call thee father, throu thy Spirit it from on high, but until the key of knowledge was restored, I knew not why.´´ Many in today´s world could easily accept the simple declaration that God is our Heavenly Father and we are his children, but very few people have come to understand what that means. Christ explained that, ´´life eternal is to know
(him) the only True God and Jesus Christ whom (he) has sent.´´ (John
17:3) When we comprehend our true relationship with God our Heavenly Father we comprehend ourselves and are filled with divine gratitude and stand at awe of the excellency of God´s character. The truth is we are the Spirit sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father made after, ´´his likeness and image.´´(Genesis 1:26-27) just as Adam had children after his likeness and image(Genesis 5:3). The scriptures are filled with this divine truth. Psalms tells us, ´´I have said,Ye are gods; all of you are children of the most high´´ which is again quoted by Christ( John 10:34). Paul tells of that we are the ´´offspring´´ of God (Acts 17:29). Paul also gives us an insight to our divine potential when he says, ´´The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.´´ (Romans 8:16-17) John gives us more implications into our divine heritage when he says, ´´Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.´´ (1 John 3:2) He later goes on to reveal more when he says quotes the Lord saying, ´´To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.´´(Revelation
3:21) and furthermore, ´´ He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.(Revelation

WHen the truth and saving knowledge enters into our hearts that we are the LITERAL spirit children of a Loving Heavenly Father we begin to understand the plan of this life. Why are we here? The answer is simple. To learn to become like our Heavenly Father and His Son, who was his perfect emmulator, and our perfect example of the Father.
(Matthew 5:48, 3 Nephi 12:48, 3 Nephi 27:27). Let us try to comprehend who we are, why we are so important to God, and what we need to do to become more like him. I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Passantino

What's Up?

Dear Family and Friends,

Yet another amazing week has come and gone. This weekend we had the opportunity to baptize Rosario Lobos who is an elderly lady and a mom of a recent convert to the church. It was an amazing baptism and she was so happy. As she came up out of the water she started to cry and felt the Spirit so strong. She is a strong and brave women. She went through trials to get to her baptism. One of her daughters sent her grandaughters over to her house to plead with her not to get baptized. She was devastated but said that she had received an answer from God and she knew it was true! What faith huh?

I had a very spiritual experience this week. There is a young girl name Sheila in one of the areas called Caucete in our zone. She is a precious little nine year old but she has the maturity of an adult. She has been forced to go through adult decisions and circumstances throughout her life. Her mother has recently had major surgeries for cancer and so she has been basically left to her brother and father to take care of her. Much of the time they both are working so she is alone with her suffering mother. Her greatest desire is to be baptized to follow the example of Jesus Christ but she wants more than anything for her mother to be there. Her mother has not been able to walk for a few months because of her sickness. I met this girl a few months ago and at that time her mother was in even worse condition. At that time I did the baptismal interview with her. I saw so much faith in this little girl I could scarse believe it. She prayed so sincerely and tenderly I listened in the spirit of admiration. She wanted her mother to get better more than anything. The missionaries at that time, in November, and even until last week had never been permited to see the mother because of her condition. My companion and I were thinking of ways we could still help her get baptized while her mom was present at the baptism. We thought of a way and I was privelged to go again and try to talk to the mother.

As we entered she didnt want us to see her until later that night so we waited until until later and then came back. The mother was frail and pale, but to our astonishment was able to walk again and for the first time in 5 months leave her room(excepting the times where she went to the hospital) She was so nice and was so excited for her daughter to take that decision. To her daughter´s excitement, she committed to go to the baptism and to do her best efforts to come back to church. I redid the baptisimal interview and was again shocked at the faith of this girl. She told me about her life and the trials she was facing. She cried and spoke of her mother and how much she loved her and wanted her to get better. I was touched to my very soul. She said ´´I have a lot of faith in God and I know that his purpose is to help people because he loves us.´´ I imagine I felt as Christ when he spoke of the faith of the centurion when he said, ´´I have not found so great faith, no, not in aIsrael. (Luke 7:6-10). As we finished she prayed with such simplicity and tenderness I felt as if she knew God was there with us. It was so sweet and pure I couldn´t stop thinking of it for days. I know that God lives and that he loves his Children. I was a witness of how much he loved his precious daughter, Sheila.
Have a great week I love you all!

Elder Passantino


Dear Fam and Friends,

Its been another great week here in San Juan, Argentina. I felt one of my first earthquakes this week so that was pretty crazy... I was sitting on my bed when the whole frame started to shake! Also this week we taught a man who invited us to his work to teach him. He works at the museum that comemorates the great earthquake of San Jaun that happened in 1944. It basically destroyed the whole city and 10,000 people died when it occured! The museum shows how the city was before and what damage the earthquake did. Then there was a simulation of the earthquake that we got to feel which was pretty cool. Afterward we were shown how they rebuilt the city and how they build the buildings now, living in an area that is prone to have earthquakes. It was great because after that the man gave ELder Allred and I old photos of San Juan from the 1920´s to really remember San Juan. It was a really cool gift because it was on display in the museum. We had a great lesson afterwards with him and are excited to continue to watch his progress.

Elder Allred and I were privelged to give a fireside for a ward camping activity up in the mountains. President Avila was going to give it but when he couldn´t he asked us to do it. It was for the young men between 14 and 18. We spoke on 10 reasons and blessings for serving a mission. Some of the 10 things we came up with were, ´´ Learning to listen to the Spirit, Learning how to set goals, make plans and complete goals, Learning how not to have fear, Learning to depend on the Lord and not on ourselves, Having powerful and meaningful spiritual experiences, etc. It was an opportunity to reflect on some of the things that happen day to day in the mission and really realize the miracle of it all. It changes your outlook on life and how you try to relate to people and circumstances. Basically what the mission does is raise you to a higher level of living based on the Savior´s teaching and invite others to do likewise. You come to understand that the only true and lasting happiness comes through being a rightous person and striving to keep the commandments of God.

One of the miracles of the trip up to the mountains was that as we were walking upn to give the devotional I saw Fabricio that I baptized in Rawson. I had been thinking a lot about him and how he was doing, but it was a miracle to see him and get to talk with him a little. It was one of the ´´tender mercies of the Lord.´´ As I continue with the mission I am starting to see a little bit more of the vision of it all. As I was studying some of the talks by the prophets and apostles in this last general conference I began to understand that what they are saying is right on the money, and it is a prophetic call to a degrading society. Elder D. Todd Christofferson´s talk has hit me hard and some of the things he shared about how people think right now. I would like to share a part of it.

¨Some profess that if there is a God, He makes no real demands upon us (see Alma 18:5). Others maintain that a loving God forgives all sin based on simple confession, or if there actually is a punishment for sin, “God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God” (2 Nephi 28:8). Others, with Korihor, deny the very existence of Christ and any such thing as sin. Their doctrine is that values, standards, and even truth are all relative. Thus, whatever one feels is right for him or her cannot be judged by others to be wrong or sinful.
On the surface such philosophies seem appealing because they give us license to indulge any appetite or desire without concern for consequences. By using the teachings of Nehor and Korihor, we can rationalize and justify anything. When prophets come crying repentance, it “throws cold water on the party.” But in reality the prophetic call should be received with joy. Without repentance, there is no real progress or improvement in life. Pretending there is no sin does not lessen its burden and pain. Suffering for sin does not by itself change anything for the better. Only repentance leads to the sunlit uplands of a better life. And, of course, only through repentance do we gain access to the atoning grace of Jesus Christ and salvation. Repentance is a divine gift, and there should be a smile on our faces when we speak of it. It points us to freedom, confidence, and peace. Rather than interrupting the celebration, the gift of repentance is the cause for true celebration.¨

This talk is called, ´´The Divine Gift of Repentance.´´ The things he says are true and it is exactly what people are doing and thinking now. We have to be the ones to stop the trend and really understand what God wants of us and what we have to do to be truly happy. I am greateful for living prophets and apostles in our day, just as it was anciently (Ephesians 2:19-20). I know they are true, that Jesus is the Christ and that we have a great work to do. Have an amazing week!!!



Dear Family and Friends,

It's been a tiring week but very satisfying. We saw some incredible things this week as we have been working harder and harder. I have really gotten close to Elder Sierra who is an Elder from Columbia. He was baptized about two years before his mission and he had become a really close friend of mine. He gave a talk this week about living the Gospel and how it shapes us and should fill of with joy. Sometimes we get into the routine of things and forget of the joy and happiness that it brings us. Sometimes we need to break out of routines and old lifestyles and ask ourselves what we can change to make our life more interesting and to always be on a progressing path. It has been interesting being on a mission because your priorites are changed, you see society in a different light. It's easier to understand people and see the challenges that they face. The mission gives you a better feel about where the people turn when they are faced with difficulties It helps you recognize the Lord's hand in all things. There is a lot of oppostion in the work as well. I often take that as one of the testimonies that the work is true. If there was little to no opposition there would be no point to doing the work and that would mean the adversary didn't think it was that important.

Let me share with you all one miracle that happened to me this week. As I do so I do so with caution to those who may not be familiar with how missionary work is and why it is so important. My companion and I went to an area to help some other Elders talk with some investigators. Before people are baptized they are interviewed as to their knowledge on what they are doing and so they understand the gravity of the decision they are taking. It is to help them be sure of what they are doing and to bear their testimony of the truthfulness of the work and what they have felt. I did an interview with a young women of 18 years who was completly ready for her baptism but was a little hesitant for such a change to occur in her life. Her main doubt was that she would fall back into her old ways after she was baptized. Other than that she was completely ready and repentent. Her baptismal date was in two days and she was feeling a little anxious about it. I told her that we should kneel down and pray together so that she could receive her answer and receive the help from God. She prayed a sincere prayer where the Spirit was felt but where she said she hadn磘 received her answer as to if she needed to be baptized this day. As we sat down and began to talk again, a thought came to my head, "Indiana Jones." Although I thought it was a bit strange to talk about in a baptismal interview I said," have you ever seen Indiana Jones." She responded that she had and was a fan of the series which is a bit strange for South America. I then related the part in the third one where Indiana Jones has to take a "leap of faith" or a "salto de fe" when he is not sure of the consequences because he cannot see the bridge. She remembered that scene and applied it to herself. I felt inspired to return to our knees and pray again. I told her to pray as if God were in front of her. Many times we pray too generally and forget that we are speaking to God our Heavenly Father and that he is a specific God. As she kneeled she began to pray and basically bore her testimony in the prayer. As she began to talk about faith she paused. She didnt speak for about two minutes as we continued kneeling in reverance. The Spirit was felt very powerfully such as one having a still small voice. As she finished, I asked her(already knowing the answer), "did you receive your answer?" She responeded yes. She said during those moments of silence she saw herself trying to cross a ditch but she couldnt. As she took a leap of faith a man in a white robe caught her and brought her carefully to the other side. I then asked her, " Will you be baptized on the 14th.创 She humbly responded, "yes!.
That is just one of the many miracles we see daily in the work of the Lord. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Passantino

Monday, January 9, 2012

Following the Mission President

Hey guys how´s it going?

Sounds like everyone had a pretty good week! Thats great to hear it makes me happy! It has been getting really really hot here... haha. For anyone who doesn´t know San Juan is a desert basically so yeah thats been fun. We had a ´´counsel´´ with the Mission President this week President Avila and it was incredible as always! He is a man full of the Spirit and directs the mission according to the Lords will. He made some inspired changes this week. In this part of Argentina there is something called a ciesta between about 1p.m. to 5 p.m. where all the shops and restaurants close and life stops for a couple hours. Most people take a long nap to prepare for the rest of the day. It´s pretty ridiculous but that is how the people are here. Usually as missionaries we eat lunch with a family and then go back to the apartment for about an hour and do some additional study or other things we have to do and leave again at about 4. He changed that so that after lunch we keep going until the day is done. It was an inspired change and we have seen the miracles come from it this week. The Elders and Sisters in the mission worked their hearts out and we saw the fruits of our labors. The Lord blesses us even more when he sees that we are giving all of our hearts.

President Avila quoted the scriptures when a man comes up to Jesus and says, ´´Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great acommandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the alaw and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40)

I have a testimony that we have to follow this commandment and that by wearing ourselves out in the service of others is the only real way we can love God with ALL not just part. I know that the Gospel is true. I am seeing incredible things everyday and it brings me such joy! I love you all have a great week!

Elder Passantino

Elder Passantino-USA, Elder Allred-Canada, Elder Sierra-Bogota, Columbia

Elder Biggs-Mesa AZ and Elder Sierra-Bogata, Columbia

Getting a little crazy on New Year's Eve!

Elder Sierra and Elder Passantino

Happy New Year and Wedding Celebration!

Happy New Year Everyone! And Happy Wedding lol

It's been a fun New Year. Elder Allred, my companion from Canada, Elder Biggs(Mesa Arizona) and Elder Sierra(Bogota, Colombia) and I all had an Asado(aka BBQ) New Years night. We have a little mini patio outside of the apartment with a grill so that was fun. The fireworks here are pretty dang crazy becuase they just light them wherever and whenever. They are more like pipe bombs half the time haha. We had to duck for cover sometimes as we watched from outisde on the patio. It was a lot of fun though!

It blows my mind that we are already in the new year! Time goes so fast but I am grateful for chances to put goals, reflect on what I can improve on and would like to accomplish and then go out and do it. That is something I have had jammed into my head as a missionary. We all have certain desires but we have to make our desires a reality by putting goals according to our desires, and then making the plans to accomplish the goals. Our plans consist of smaller goals that will help us reach our bigger goals. As we start the new year we should all think about what we want to accomplish and where we want to be and what we want to be doing next year at this same time. Its been weird because in thinking of my goals and plans for this year I have to put goals and plans for when I will be back in the U.S. living my normal life again. I still have so much that I need to learn and perfect on the mission though, so it may be a while until I think about goals for after the mission.

My companion and I have had some great experiences in listening to the Spirit lately. We are teaching a family where 5 of the children are members and the parents are in that process and only lack marriage. As we were preparing the Asado at about 10 at night my companion said, "Hey, give Ruben a call I feel like you should call him." So I was like alright whatever. I gave him a call and he picked up in a frantic. "Passantino is that you? Hey I'll in a big mess right now, but call me in a couple minutes thanks for calling." After that he hung up. We were both worried but were comforted later that night when we were able to talk to him. As we called him he had just been attacked by his daughters boyfriend and his family. He was beat by them, partly for listening to the missionaries, along with other personal things between his daughter and her boyfriend . It gave him some hope and some assurance that God was watching over him and that people were praying for him. It is amazing how the Lord watches out for us and prompts us to help others and bless their lives through small and simple things.

I did divisions in another area as well this week called Rivadavia. I had been praying a lot so that we could see some miracles to pump up an Elder named ELder Trujillo from Peru. We had a phenominal day. We talked to one college student who didn't seem to be too interested at first but later, as we felt inspired to ask her her belief in Jesus Christ opened up and was incredibly receptive to the message of the Gospel. She believed Jesus was a great moral teacher but wasn't sure if he was the son of God. We talked about the Book of Mormon, the prophet Joseph SMith and how it wrapped in to our testimony that Jesus is indeed the Christ. She was very receptive and was ecstatic for us to come back. As we were looking for a different house we got lost a little bit so we decided to ask a house nearby if they knew where a certain person lived. As a lady came out we asked her about the man and she said that he lived next door. She then said I lived behind one of your churches when I grew up but I never found out what you all believed. She then went on to say something similar to the the other young lady we spoke to and she asked us why Christ never was manifested in other parts of the world and why if he is the Christ hasn磘 been heard from since. Of course the restoration of the gospel has that answer and we were able to testify that Christ did indeed come to the AMericas after his resurrection (John 10:16) and that it is recorded in a book of scripture called the Book of Mormon. She also doubted the divinity of christ but could not deny the effect his teachings had on humanity. Luckily with the two witnesses of the Bible and Book of MOrmon, two distinct parts of the world, with one singular message, we were able to help her understand that God is the same yesterday today and forever. We read to her the title page of the Book of Mormon which says speaking of the purpose of the Book of Mormon, "And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations."!

She was intrigued and desired a copy to, as she put it, 创investigate创 it. She is a professor of scientific investigation at the University of San Juan. We didnt have a copy to give with us, but we both promised her to give her one in the morning. I felt that we should go back to the apartment and get one that night but brushed off the feeling. As we got back to the apartment that night we kneeled and prayed and as we got up Elder Trujillo said, 创 I almost told her we would give her a copy tonight.创 We both looked at each other for a second and decided we needed to go back and give her one. As we tried to leave the apartment door the lock broke and we were locked in for 15 minutes trying to get out. Finally I got us out with a screwdriver and some leverage haha. We delivered her the book and she was very grateful for it. The SPirit told us she needed it that night and we listened( a little late but we did it) and now all she has to do is read and pray and she will receive an answer from God that it is true. I am so grateful for the Gospel and another 7 months I have to preach it and see the joy of it change lives. Have a great week and a great new year!

Elder Passantino