Testimony of Conversion
My name is Adrian Passarelli, I am 44 years old and I am from Argentina but I am now a naturalized Costa Rican. I was born and raised in a small country town, by the grace of God, in a Christian family. Since I was a child I was taught the bible. I remember my mom instilled in me to read the bible every morning and my dad talked to me about living in fear of God.
In my childhood I heard the gospel many times and I remember that my brother led me in a prayer to receive Jesus in my heart. However, I understand that I was not saved then because I thought I was a good person and did not see the evil of my sins and the seriousness of my faults before God. I compared myself to others and considered myself a good child, but I seriously sinned with God with disobedience to my parents, fights with my brother, bad words, lies and many other ways in which I showed myself to be a hater of God. Still, I thought I deserved heaven for my good performance. How blind I was!
I reflect that many children growing up in Christian families may think they have salvation because they are taught to act right and sadly led to trust that a prayer saves them. That was my situation.
Once I went to talk to the pastor to ask him in which verse of the bible it said that you had to pray to be saved… He led me to John 3:16 and explained to me that this text said it… I was not satisfied with that explanation but I meditated on the importance of believing to be saved.
It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I remember listening attentively to a preaching of the Word and the call of the Lord through that message. The sermon I heard was when Jesus called the fishermen to follow him. I thought seriously that he was calling me and I should follow him by faith.
I remember understanding about my sin and the need to trust in Jesus’ work on the cross to be saved. That he had borne my sins and that I had to believe in him and follow him. Even as I listened to that preaching and faith manifested in my heart I would say to myself “I don’t have to pray anymore to be saved because I believe that the Lord is my savior” I had faith.
In the following years as I grew older certain sins came out of my heart but God was dealing with me with fatherly care. I saw the hand of God correcting and disciplining me, usually with problems in my health. I was very afraid of being punished by God and I sought Him with much willingness, but at the same time because of my lack of biblical knowledge I kept stumbling.
One day I had a serious health problem and I understood that God was not going to give me more opportunities to leave certain sins and seek Him definitively and that was a key point in my relationship with God, I was 15 years old. My personal devotions became deeper and the desire to know God and his word filled my heart. I wanted to serve in the church and also to go to a Bible Institute to be a missionary after I finished high school.
And so it was, God allowed me to study in a Bible Institute for 4 years, then I worked for a year in a church planting project, then I went back to that Institute to work there. There I met my now wife, Lindsay Alfaro, she is from Costa Rica but she had gone to Argentina to study the bible. We worked in the same office and we made a very good friendship but then she returned to her country and at that time we were just friends.
While I was there God used a person and a book for me to learn about the doctrine of election and predestination. Also the Lord put a great burden on my heart to serve in a local church. I wanted to be a pastor. So I looked for a church to attend and moved to that city to live nearby and serve the Lord, while simultaneously studying and working.
However, at that time there were no reformed churches in Argentina and my understanding of the doctrines was just developing.
Years later, knowing more about the doctrines of grace, listening to Calvinist preachers and reading books of reformed theology, God put in me a great passion to share those truths. The church I belonged to did not have a determined position on those doctrines so I felt free to share them but then there was a lot of opposition and rejection.
During that time I reconnected with Lindsay and as I shared with her all that God had taught me she also began to understand the doctrines and found answers to many doubts that she had had for a long time. The Lord did a work in her and generated solid doctrinal convictions and our friendship became stronger and stronger and God put in both of us a mutual interest to form a relationship.
I came to live in Costa Rica in 2010. The pastor of the church where Lindsay was invited me to serve and gave me lodging. Both Lindsay and I thought that there were possibilities in that church to serve and share reformed doctrine, but unfortunately it didn’t happen either, so we decided that when we got married we would have to change churches.
God in His provision and mercy in the midst of a time of desperation, facing certain problems allowed me to meet the Reformed Baptist Church of Los Lagos, in Costa Rica and from the moment we got married, Lindsay and I started attending there and subsequently became members.
Call to Ministry
Soon after becoming members in the Lakes church we set out to serve in the local church especially in home meetings and church planting efforts.
My pastors, at that time, knew my desire to serve the Lord and provided me with opportunities for service. At that time God gave us our daughter Sophia.
Then the church started a Bible study in another city and from this group a church was formed in the province of Puntarenas. The church in Los Lagos sent us as missionaries and entrusted me with that work. There I was examined and ordained pastor and I served the Lord for 6 years. In that place the Lord gave us two more sons Josias and Andres. As a local church we worked in another church plant, the church in Liberia where I currently pastor. Although the church originally started as a missionary effort of the church where I was before (IGSJ), in times of pandemic we joined the church in Los Lagos to oversee the growing work here. After a time of prayer, they were looking for a pastor to take charge of this work, and God put the burden on my heart and my wife’s heart to move here to serve these brothers and supply the need in the ministry. My calling is to serve my brethren in the teaching and preaching of the Word, the administration of the ordinances of God for the church and the establishment of leaders for the advancement of the work of God in this place and from here to other places.