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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