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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