Monday, December 26, 2016

Hope you all had a super amazing Christmas! This week was a great one for me and Christmas was awesome. One of the jobs we have as sister leaders is doing divisions with the other sister missionaries that we’re assigned to. We are assigned to all the sisters in Tacna, Moquegua, and Ilo. So last Wednesday I got to go back to Ilo, to my first area! It was so fun! I realized how much I love it and miss it, it’s the cutest little beach town. It’s definitely the San Diego of Peru haha. But in all seriousness I’m so grateful for the 6 months I had there. Last week I had the chance to visit some of the people I taught and were baptized, and other members and friends that I have there! In the morning we even went on a run by the beach and it was glorious! I hope I can go back at least one more time before I finish the mission. Christmas for us was great! Christmas eve consisted of us doing our normal daily missionary duties like studying and teaching but at night we went to the house of a family who is in our ward and celebrated with them. We had a very typical Peruvian dinner, pollo a la brasa and papas fritas. It’s rotisserie chicken and french fries haha and after we had panettone and hot chocolate. Also, everyone here opens their presents at midnight on Christmas eve instead of Christmas morning. We went back to our room and the family we live with gave us more food and more panettone haha and then at midnight everyone lit up fireworks! It was so beautiful! And it last for like 30 minutes! The whole sky was just lit up with light and it was amazing! Sunday we went to church in the morning and my companion was going to give a talk. About 3 minutes before the sacrament meeting started the bishop asked me if I could speak too because the person who was going to do it ended uo being sick. I have always heard of this happening to missionaries haha but it had never happened to me until yesterday. I said a quick prayer to receive inspiration on what to talk about. I opened my scriptures up to a verse that talks about light in Doctrine and Covenants 88. So I decided to talk about light. And in this moment of nervousness and unpreparedness I received a lot of inspiration and revelation about light.
Since I’ve been little, I’ve loved looking at the stars. For me it’s always kept me grounded. When I look at the stars I realize how small we really are and how grand the universe is. It makes me stand in awe that our God could create something so complex yet so beautiful. As we look at the stars, we see the light that they shine. But these stars are actually super far away from us, even light years away from us. Being so far away from us, the light takes time to get to us here on earth. The light that they shed that we see is actually thousands of years old. The star might even be dead at the moment that we are seeing its light. Anyways, this concept is something I’ve always understood. Then I realized something in this moment I was trying to prepare my talk, light carries on after death. After a star dies, its light just carries on endlessly. Our Savior Jesus Christ died more or less 2000 years ago but his light exists today. His light exists in every one of us who live his gospel, who strive to be more like him and those who believe in his name. Don’t let this Christmas be the end of sharing his light. There are people waiting to hearing the message of the restored gospel, there are people that need his light. And the only way they’re going to get it is if we, the people who have his light, share it. It’s my testimony that Jesus Christ is our light and our everlasting hope. He is the hope of a better life. Through him and only him can we return back to the presence of our Father in Heaven.
Take care my dear friends (:

Hermana Celardo

Monday, December 19, 2016

Well i hope you're all enjoying your wintery Christmas in the states! It's summer time down here and it's dang hot and humid in Tacna! This last week was great, we had a Christmas party with all the missionaries that are in Tacna, Moquegua, and Ilo. We ate lunch and then we presented Christmas skits and then there was a Christmas slideshow with pictures of everyone from the mission. It was really special! This week my companion and I also traveled to Moquegua to do divisions with the sisters that are there. As we were out teaching walking to another appointment, I got sick. I dont know what happened exactly but I threw up in the street twice.. Sorry for that image haha. We went back to the room and I rested until the next day and I was fine. I'm just grateful i was able to work the next day. This week we are doing divisions with the hermanas in Ilo! In my first area, Puerto (: I'm so excited to go back for a day and see my friends there! It'll be super special for me.
I really like my area in Tacna! The people here area super receptive. More receptive than any of my other areas. We contact people like crazy and the majority of the people give us ther information and allow us to visit them which has never happened for me! We also try to teach people as we contact and this is the first time its actually been effective in this area! We have a lot of really great investigators that we're teaching that have dates sets for their baptisms. So of course as missionaries we can't complain much (:
I can't believe that Christmas is in less than a week! A usual Peruvian Christmas is staying up all night on Christmas Eve, lighting off fireworks at midnight, eating a huge dinner at midnight, and lots of panettone and hot chocolate. It's pretty sweet. My companion and I have to be in our room at 9:30 Christmas Eve, but the great thing is that we have an awesome view of all of Tacna from our window so we defintely won't miss the fireworks at midnight! I really am so grateful for this time that i have to be a missionary. im especially grateful to be a representative of Jesus Christ in this time during Christmas. I am grateful for the life that our Savior lived, for his perfect example of obedience and love. This Christmas, I invite you all to think about who Christ is for you. For me, he is the hope for a better world. He is my perfect example. He is my Savior  and my Redeemer, my older brother and he gave his life so I could have mine.

He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.
Mosiah 16:9

¡Que se cuiden y tengan una bonita Navidad!

Hermana Celardo

Monday, December 5, 2016

Well, I got a transfer. It definitely was not something hna Kunz and I were expecting, but I will go where the Lord needs me to go! And apparently he needs me in Tacna. It's far from Arequipa, about a 6 hour bus ride. It's the farthest city down south here in Peru. I'm basically almost in Chile haha. I've only been here for a couple hours but I like it! The streets are flat so I'm glad I won't have to be hikinh up any hills anymore haha. My companion is hna Navarro, she's form Lima. We were in the MTC together! So I'll most definitely be here for Christmas. OH also remember the sister missionary that I trained? Hermana Estela? Well she's going to be training a new missionary! That makes me a grandma!!! Whenever someone trains a new missionary, we say that the trainer is the parent and the trainee is the kid. So hermana estela is my ¨daughter¨ and now the missionary that she will train is my granddaughter(: Im a grandma! I think that means I'm getting pretty old in the mission and I don't know how to feel about that..
This last week was pretty great because we had a baptism! Hermana Kunz and I's last baptism was Saturday! It was super beautiful and we really felt the Spirit.
This last week we passed through a lot of hardships and trials concerning other sister missionaries. As hermana leaders, it's our job to help them whenever there's problems with whatever they need. One thing I learned from this, is the importance of forgiveness. Heavenly Father is so merciful with us. Even when we make mistakes, even when we really don't deserve his love, he is always there to welcome us with open arms. It is so important for us to follow this example. We have to forgive others. We cannot deny the healing power of the Atonement and hold grudges. I'm so grateful for my trials because they make me stronger and I always learn how I can be a better person.
Sorry this email was a little short but I didnt have much time today because today is transfers! I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Hermana Celardo

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hi friends, I hope you all had a fantastic week and a great Thanksgiving! Peru obviously doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, so we didn't really celebrate. Buuut I got a package from my family and they had sent me pumpkin bread mix from trader joes, so we made that as our Thanksgiving feast haha. It was honestly so delicious and a great reminder of home! On the bright side Arequipa goes crazy for Christmas so we're definitely going to celebrate. Last Christmas I was in the MTC in Lima so I didn't get to experience an Arequipeña Christmas, but apparently there's lots of fireworks at midnight and we eat turkey and cakes and hot chocolate. As a mission we're planning to go to the Plaza de Armas in the main part of Arequipa to sing Christmas hymns! It should be super beautiful! We're also going to have a Christmas party with our mission president and his wife, I know it will be really special!
On Saturday two less actives of our ward got married! We went to their wedding and it was so special. They love each other so much and were so excited to finally get married. They have been dating for a while and have 2 kids, and this is pretty normal for Peru. Its actually more rare to find a couple that's legally married than not. We were excited to be a part of their day. This Saturday we'll be having a baptism! Her name is Yuli (you say it like Julie). Her son is a member of the church and she's been going to church for 3 years, but she wasn't ever able to get baptized because she was living with her partner and they weren't married. Long story short he's not in the picture anymore, but now she's able to get baptized! Her story is really touching and really strengthened my testimony of baptism. She has been waiting 3 years for this moment and I feel so lucky to be a part of it! Hermana Kunz and I are gonna have the best month ever in December. We have 6 baptisms planned for this month (: All of the people we are teaching are progressing spiritually! We feel super blessed!
Around this time of the year we think a lot about Christmas. It's important to remember the true meaning of Christmas, or why we celebrate Christmas. We celebrate the life and birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The church also comes out with a video every year for Christmas. This year, the video is called it here -->
It's an invitation to follow the example of Jesus Christ, to share His light and serve as he served. He really is the ultimate and perfect example of how we should live. What will you do to serve?

¨I am the light of the world¨ John 8:12
¨Ye are the light of the world¨ Matthew 5:14

Take care!

Hermana Celardo

Monday, November 21, 2016

Hello friends! I hope all is well and you're all doing fantastic. This last week was amazing! My companion and I celebrated our one year anniversary out here in the mission. First of all, I can't believe I've been out for a year. I still feel like I'm a newbie haha. Time flies out here. So Thursday we basically ate our way through our one year anniversary haha. In the morning we had breakfast with our district . We went to their pensionistas house and I made french toast for everyone. But instead of using regular bread we used Chocotone. Chocotone is like sweet bread with chocolate chips in it. It was soo good! And then for lunch we had causa, like a chicken salad with mashed potatoes, with chicha morada (my fav drink ever made from purple corn). After we went out to teach lessons like normal. We made super good no-bake cookies with a member, they were made from peanut butter and oats and cocoa powder! Then we had pizza at the one place called Las Gringas haha. So basically we ate our way through the day, but we regret nothing.
This week Hermana kunz and I found a family thats really interested in the church! And they now have baptismal dates! We're pretty excited to say the least! They told us they really love how everything we teach is centered on families. It made me think about the doctrine of the church and how important families are in this life. They're so important that we have the opportunity to live with them in the eternities. This principle, that families can be eternal, is not just a belief. it's not just something we hope for. In the church of Jesus Christ we have the authority and power of God to be able to seal families together for time and all eternity. There are covenants and promises we make with God under His authority to make it possible. I am so grateful for this knowledge that I have of the gospel. For the opportunity I have to live with my family forever in the eternities. God is a loving god who wants us to return to live with him, but as a family. And honestly I can't imagine anything happier than that.
These last 6 months are going to be the best. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for me. I'm so grateful for this time that I have to be a representative of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and to bring souls unto him. There is nothing that brings me greater joy

D&C 16:6

And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.

Take care (:
hermana Celardo

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hello there! I hope you all are having a great Monday! This week was really great for me and Hermana Kunz. First I want to update you all on what happened a couple weeks ago because I wasn't able to write a letter last week! (Sorry!)

FERNANDO GOT BAPTIZED! He is the older man that we found about two months ago that was going to get baptized in March but then backed out. He is so great and we were super excited to be able to be a part of his conversion. He was so prepared it was awesome! So hermana Kunz and I went to the chapel to clean everything the morning before his baptism. We cleaned the floors and chairs and even the baptismal font. As we filled the font we realized the water heater didn't work.. It had broken. So Fernando had to get baptized in cold water. And let me just tell you, the water here in Arequipa is freeezing! I have no idea why but it's just super cold. We felt bad but Fernando was a good sport about it and the most important thing is that he was baptized!

We were walking on the street this last week and a younger man comes up to us and asks if we're missionaries, he said him and his wife are members but less active and want to go back to church! Guys, this never happens as a missionary! Haha we're always the ones that have to contact other people! We went to their house 3 times last week and they're amazing!! They have two kids, one is 1 and a half and the other is only 3 weeks old. We started teaching them the lessons and we're going to go to church with them on Sunday! The best part is they're getting married on the 26th of this month!! Of course we're going to their wedding (: I'll keep you all updated on them and send pictures this next week!

Hermana Kunz and I made quesadillas this last week! It was like a taste of home haha. Also we didn't realize how much mexican food we eat in the states..and how much we miss it haha. Typical plates here consist of rice and potatoes and chicken but you'd be surprised how many varieties of rice and potatoes and chicken there are! Last Pday we went to lunch with Hermana Johnson, our mission presidents wife, at a super delicious crepe place! We're definitely going back today! Also there's this member in our ward thats a cosmetologist and she does naturally we asked if she'd be able to do facials for us haha. It was the best! 

Alright so this Thursday I will hit my one year mark in the mission. ONE YEAR! So many emotions I don't know how to feel. It has definitely been the quickest year of my life! What's even greater is I get to spend it with my comp, hermana Kunz! We started our missions together, so we'll both be completing one year. I've been thinking a lot about where I was when I started the mission and where I am now. Before I left home, everyone told me that the people in Peru needed to hear my testimony and that I was going to make a difference in the lives of the people here. But no one ever told me how much I needed the mission. I can't even begin to explain to you how much I needed it. The mission has changed my life and I've learned so many things that I know I wouldn't have been able to learn at home. My testimony of the truthfulness of the church has grown immensely. Serving a mission was the greatest decision I've ever made. I have come to know my Savior in ways I never thought were possible. He gave his life so I could have mine. If Christ can give his whole life for me, I can give him 18 months..and I'll still forever be indebted to him. I'm super grateful for the time that I have in the mission and for the time I have left. Gotta make the most of it and work my hardest these last 6 months!

Cuidense (:

Hermana Celardo

Monday, October 31, 2016

well well well here I am living in Arequipa speaking Spanish everyday and my comp is my best friend and we have progressing investigators! Life is so good! I couldn't ask for anything better! Me and Hermana Kunz are having the best time and we work really great together. The very first lesson we taught, everything just flowed and the Spirit was so strong and we support each other in everything and it's amazing! We're so excited for the time that we'll have together! We realized this week that we're going to be together for Halloween (Happy halloween by the way!), our one year mark in the mission (which honestly we cannot believe), Thanksgiving, Hermana Kunz's birthday (dec 7), Christmas (yes we're already listening to Christmas music), and new years! But the most important part of this is that we work super well together and the way that we teach is easy to understand for all the people we teach. And we're going to have a baptism this Saturday! Our investigator Fernando is getting baptized. Pray for him! He was supposed to get baptized back in March but he backed out last minute so we hope that doesn't happen again (: But he's so prepared and converted so we have faith it's going to happen.
Today hermana Kunz and I are going to this super Arequipeña restaurant with our elder friends from the area right next to us.  And then after we're going to a church to play sports with our whole zone. This week Hermana Kunz and I made pancakes from scratch for our district meeting and they were pretty good! They tasted like home haha. This week was also our leadership conference! We had really great food and talked about what we can do to better the mission, and this tuesday we'll have a zone conference to transmit all the information to our zone. The zone leaders and us as sister leaders will be speaking. Hermana Kunz and I have some great plans so I'll update you all on that this next week (: We had an activity Saturday with our ward! Another dessert night..haha heres a tip if you want people to come to your parties you just have to have food and they will come. We had a really great turn out! Hermana Kunz and I always talk with the couple that we live with. They're the owners of the house and they're older and the husband is the patriarch of the stake. I've talked about him before in one of my other emails but honestly he's like a walking book! He knows sooo much! We talk to him as much as we can because we learn something new about the doctine of the church every talk we talk to him. I'm super grateful for being able to live with him because it's taught me a lot about the importance of studying. We HAVE to learn as much as we can in this life. My testimony has grown so much about scripture study in my time here!
I love the mission SO much. I honestly don't know where I'd be if I never made the decision to come. I can't imagine my life without it. I have learned so much in my time here and I can't wait to see what these next couple have in store for me. It's my testimony that the gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives, it has changed mine. We have to APPLY what we learn to be able to receive the blessings that God has prepared for us. Like the scripture says, faith without works is dead. Act in faith everyday and I promise you, you will see miracles. I know with my whole heart that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. It is the same church that Jesus himself established on Earth when he was here 2000 years ago. The work that I'm doing here in Peru is true. It is the work of the Lord. I know that God and Jesus Christ LIVE.
Make it a great week (:

Hermana Celardo 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Hello friends! I hope you all had a great week! All is swell down here in Peru. This week was a good one! I want to start off by telling you that I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich last night for dinner and it was glorious. I hadn't had a pb&j in 11 months! Peanut butter isn't really a thing down here, you can find it in a supermarket but no one really eats it. We went to a members house, and their daughter was born in peru but lives in Bermuda and is visiting with her husband so we celebrated with pb&js! Also her husband is white so I got to speak english for a little bit..and I realized how much i stink at english now. It came out more like Spanglish haha bu

t I guess that's what happens when you go to another country for 18 months.

My companion and I are having a blast in our area! We have a couple investigators who are progressing and a lot of references from members that we still need to contact. There is one investigator, his name is Fernando, he's about 65 years old and lives alone. He is separated from his wife and his kids have gotten married and moved out of the house. He was going to get baptized in March, but didn't end up going through with it and the missionaries at this time stopped visiting him. My companion and I found his teaching record and decided to go back to visit him. He told us he was thinking a lot about going back to church and has the desire to get baptized! We have taught him a couple lessons and he is SO prepared. He understands everything we teach. He has the desire to learn more and read the Book of Mormon. These are the types of people we are meant to find as missionaries, the people who are ready to receive the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know I talked about this in my previous email but it is literally THE GREATEST thing in the whole world to see someone convert themselves to the gospel. There is no happiness that can compare to it! Fernando is going to get baptized on October 29, so keep him in your prayers (:
This next week we have transfers in the mission, which means my companion is probably leaving the area. She has been here for a while so her time is up! I'll update you all next week on what happens..
I want to leave you all with a scripture from the Book of Mormon. the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. In this part of the book, a prophet named Jacob is explaining the importance and the necessity of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He says..

Yea, I know that ye know that in the body he shall show himself unto those at Jerusalem, from whence we came; for it is expedient that it should be among them; for it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him.
 For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord.
 Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.
(2 Nephi 9:5-7)

We learn from these scriptures that Jesus submitted himself to men in the flesh and died so that all men would be able to submit themselves to him. Physical death and the ability to sin are consequences from the fall of Adam and Eve, therefore the atonement was absolutely necessary to be able to redeem us from death and also from sin. The two things that impede us from returning to live with God are physical death and sin. And we cannot overcome these things without the help of a higher power, something beyond us. It is absolutely necessary to have a Savior. We cannot overcome these impediments without the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ. But here's the thing, we cannot and will not gain eternal exaltation if we do not APPLY the atonement in our lives. It all depends on YOU. You have to apply the atonement to your life to be able to gain what Heavenly Father has in store for you.

Take care this week! And meditate for a good time with what I've just shared with you (:
Love you all!

Hermana Celardo

Monday, September 26, 2016

Can I just start off by saying how much I love being a missionary? There's honestly nothing like it in the whole world! And I'll never have this opportunity again, so I'm trying my best to take it all in (: We had an awesome week! One of our investigators, Yilmer, got baptized! My companion and I were a little worried because he had been telling us that he has the desire to get baptized, but still had some doubts and didn't have a strong testimony. Every time we had lessons with him we would tell him that he needs to pray to ask God if what we teach is true. As missionaries, we teach what we know to be true. We teach the doctrine of the church. But our purpose is not to convince people of our message. The people we teach have to gain their own testimonies; they have to know that what we're teaching is true for themselves. We explained this to him many times but he would tell us he hasn't had time to ask, or he just hasn't recieved an answer. My companion and I said many many many prayers for him, to be able to recieve an answer for himself. The day of his baptism, he shared his testimony with us. He said the night before he kneeled down and said a very humble prayer and asked if the church was true. He said as he asked this question, a feel of peace came over him and he couldn't help but cry. In this moment, he knew he'd recieved his answer. As missionaries, WE LIVE for moments like this. Moments where our investigators are converted. Where they realize the truthfullness of what we teach. There are no words to describe the happiness we feel as missionaries when we see our friends come unto Christ. It's the best (:
So we're in springtime here and its HOT. We're at a super high altitude and there's no ozone layer in Arequipa so the sun just burns like no other haha. But I use sunscreen so don't worry yourselves (; I'm loving my new area! My companion and I get along great and we teach super well together. We live in the house of the patriarch of the stake here. I've have never met someone with more knowldge of the doctrine of the church. It's incredible! I've learned a lot from him. When we have breakfast we talk and talk and talk about so many different aspects of the church and it truly has strengthened my testimony that the church is true. As missionaries we have a couple hours in the morning for our studies, but when I get home I'm going to continue studying so that I can have the knowledge that the patriarch has! He's inspired me haha.
How grateful am I to be a missionary, to be a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. It truly is the greatest privilege to be an instrument in the hands of God.
One of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon about missionary work is Alma 29:9-10.

I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.
 10 And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.

Have a great week and take care (:

Hermana Celardo

Monday, September 19, 2016

So first week in my new area, it was awesome! I'm still getting used to it, but I love it so far. My companions name is Hermana Rivero, she's from Aregentina and she's the best. Our personalities are very similar in that we're both super laid back but we know what we need to get done and we work hard! Also, everyone from Argentina drinks mate. It's like tea but not tea and you put the mate in a special cup and drink out of a bombilla (special straw) that filers it and it's sooo good. The tradition is that everyone drinks out of the same cup and same straw and you just drink your part and then add more water and pass it down to the next person. It's like a social bonding experience. But we drink it every morning and every night together to bond as compañeras(; We also do lots of exercises every morning which I love! My companion has a bunch of those insanity exercise videos so we do those every day.
As a sister leaders, we have leadership conferences with all the zone leaders, the sister leaders, our mission president and his wife and his assistents. We had the conference this last Thursday and Friday and it was super inspiring. We learned a lot. We will have a zone conference tomorrow so I hope we as well as the zone leaders will be able to convey everything that was taught! One thing our president focused on was keeping up our animos. I say the word in spanish, animos, because I cannot for the life of me think of what it is in english haha. Animos is like the desire to continue on, to always be happy and stay positive. If we don't have animos, we're not going to see miracles in the work we're doing. But if we keep our faith, stay positive, and animos animos animos we will see the good in everything! We will see miracles! I know this is true with anything in life. We have to keep our head up, even when trials come. We have to keep our faith firm in Christ. There's a scripture in the book of mormon that says..

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

(Helaman 5:12)

Keep your faith in Jesus Christ because he knows us and understands what we're going through. Trials in this life are inevitable, but with Christ they are bearable.

Take care folks!

Hermana Celardo

Friday, September 9, 2016

Hi there! All is good in Peru. We've actually had a couple earthquakes these last couple weeks and everyone is saying that a big one is coming. But they say that in California too and nothing has we shall see! I can't tell you all how much I love the people here. I don't know where I would be without some of the people that I've met on my mission, they've changed my life. I'm so grateful for the time that I have in the mission and for the time that I have left. The time is passing by way too fast.
Wow so many great things happened this week you guys! Our mission president always tells us, ¨obedience in the morning, diligence in the afternoon, miracles at night¨.. it has more of a ring to it in spanish haha but you get the idea. My companion and I have trying our best to apply this principle to our lives as missionaries and wow we have seen so many miracles. This transfer has been one of the harder ones for us. We've been working super hard so that the area we're in can progress, but we haven't seen many of the fruits of our labors, until this last week. We had a bunch of investigators come to church, the members here are supporting us more, we have baptismal dates for this month, and we have more people who have contacted us that want to learn more about the church. Along with this, I've seen so many miracles at home. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have the preach the gospel of Jesus Christ here in Peru. I've learned so much in my time here. I know that the capacity of the blessing we can recieve depends on our obedience to the commandments that God has given us. So be obedient!
Take care!
Hermana Celardo

Monday, August 22, 2016

Hey there friends! Well this week was a great one. One night this week there was a 5.5 earthquake! I woke up for about 5 seconds and then fell back asleep haha. Theres lots of little earthquakes here, just like at home, so I was already used to it. But this one was definitely bigger than normal! We're all safe so no need to worry! The weather is getting warmer here which I'm happy about! It makes waking up in the morning a whole lot easier!

We had the privilege as a mission to hear from Elder Renlund, from the quorum of the 12 apostles on Saturday and Elder Clayton, the president of the 70, on Sunday. WOW was is super edifying. Elder Renlund talked to us about aligning ourselves with the will of God. What was super neat is that this is something that Ive been thinking a lot about lately. I think a couple weeks ago in my letter home I talked about this! He shared a scripture in the Book of Mormon that I love, Mosiah 15:7

Yea, even so he shall be led, crucifiedand slain, theflesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Sonbeing swallowed up in the will of the Father.

This scripture is talking about Jesus Christ and his Atonement. He performed his great sacrifice to fulfill the will of the Father. We follow the example of Jesus Christ in lots of things, this being one of them. We have to align our will with the will of our Heavenly Father. He knows us so much better than we know ourselves, He knows what is best for us. Submit to his will, and you will be happy. We also had the privilege of hearing from his wife, Sister Renlund. She told us that her and her husband served for the church in the Southern Africa area. She said they were always in and out of airports, but in one closer to their home there was a phrase that stuck with her. It says ¨If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.¨ She then explained part of the doctrine of the church, that families can be together forever. Thanks to the temples that we have on the earth today, the priesthood, and the sealing power that was restored by the prophet Elijah, families can be sealed together for time and all eternity. I love my family so much, and I'm so grateful that we can be together after this life.
I can't express to you all how grateful I am for the knowledge I have of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know with my whole heart that it's true.

Cuídense mucho

Hermana Celardo

Monday, August 15, 2016

It was a great week here in Arequipa! Today, August 15th, is actually the dia de Arequipa. A little info about Arequipa, the people here are super pridefully of their city haha. Arequipa is like the Texas of Peru, everyone says that it should be its own country. So today there are tons of fiestas and parades and fireworks to celebrate! The people here also claim that the food is the best in the world! I will admit it's super tasty. In my area there's even a giant ceramic ricoto relleno and glass of chicha morada! (Ill send pictures dont worry) Ricoto Relleno is a stuffed pepper and chicha morada is a drink made from purple corn, it's a typical meal from Arequipa. But they constructed it especially for the dia de Arequipa!
So the climate here..It's bipolar. We are at a high altitude, and theres basically no ozone layer over the whole city of Arequipa, so the sun is really strong when its out. But when you stand in the shade it feels like you're in Antarctica. Theres no happy medium haha. Right now it's winter time, so Im just trying to prepare myself for summer becuse it's ridiculously hot here in the summer!
So this week is going to be THE BEST because there are 3 general authorities coming to Arequipa! Elder Renlund, from the quorum of the 12 apostles, Elder Clayton, the president of the 70, and Elder Montoya from the 70. On Saturday we are going to have the privilege of hearing from Elder Renlund, and on Sunday from Elder Clayton. The reason they are all coming is because the Arequipa temple construction is going to start soon! The area I'm in in Arequipa right now will be a 3 minute drive to the temple. Unfortunately, I will end my mission before the construction is finished but you can bet I am going to come back for the dedication!
I want to share with you my testimony about the scriptures. Before my mission I had a testimony of the scriptures. I read my scriptures. But I don't think I really READ them. The scriptures are awesome because there's stories that we can relate to to help us when we have trials, we can learn more about what God wants for us as His children, and we can learn more about our Savior Jesus Christ. The Bible contains the old testament and new testament, written by prophets of God and the apostles of Jesus Christ. The Bible takes place more or less in Jerusalem and in that continent. But what about the people in other parts of the world? We know that God loves all of his children in all parts of the world, so he would want to be able to be in contact with all of us. In John in the Bible, Jesus says, 

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

So we learn from this scripture there are other people in the world that will hear the voice of the Savior. We can find an account of this in the Book of Mormon. After his death, but before he acended to be with our Heavenly Father, he visited the American continents and ministered to the people there. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. It was written at the same time as the Bible, by prophets of God, but here in the American continents. The Bible and Book of Mormon were written at the same time, but in different places, both by prophets of God. It is my testimony that The Book of Mormon is true. It was written by prophets of God here in the Americas. It testifies that Jesus is the Christ and that he is the Savior of the world. I invite all of you who may be reading this email to read the Book of Mormon. I know that when you read it, you won't be able to deny it.

Cuídense a todos (:

Hermana Celardo 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Hey there friends!
It was a great week in the Peru Arequipa mission! My companion and I worked super hard this week. We contacted like CRAZY. We talked to everyone. Strangers walking by, taxi drivers, people selling milk on the street, store owners, everyone! We saw a lot of miracles come from this. We have a lot of new investigators that are interested in our message! Hopefully this week we'll be able to meet with them and teach them more.
So last week I celebrated my birthday! It was so crazy, theres a tradition here in Peru that when its your birthday everyone cracks eggs on your head and throws flour on you and shoves cake in your face. And thats exactly what happened to me! I'm grateful that I'm only celebrating one birthday in Peru haha. There was a member who bbqed for us which was awesome! Later that day we had an activity with our ward and then a baptism! It was a great way to spend my birthday.
I have learned many things in my time as a missionary, but one thing that I think has changed my perspective on life is our agency, or our ability to make our own decisions. We make decisions involuntarily all the time, and we will always involuntarily choose the option that will make us happy. I've been thinking a lot more about the decisions I make, bigger decisions and small ones too. And if I'm making these decisions so that I will truly be happy, not just happy in the moment. Sometimes it's easier to make the decision that brings temporary happiness, or maybe it's not completely morally correct instead of choosing the right. There's a scripture in the Book of Mormon, in Mosiah 3:19 that says, ¨For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.¨
The ¨natural man¨ that is talked about in this scripture is the voice in our head that tells us we're too tired, or too lazy, or too busy, or too scared, or not good enough, and entices us to choose the wrong, or choose what might not exactly be the right thing to do. The natural man is an enemy to God. Because of this, we have to put off the natural man. We have to accept the fact the God knows us better than we know ourselves, therefore His will is better than ours. We have to submit ourselves to His will if we truly want to be happy.
I'm extremely grateful for the time that I have as missionary, for the things that I have learned, and for the opportunity I have to preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I love you all! Until next week (:


Hermana Celardo

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hola everyone! I hope you had a great week! These last two weeks we awesome for me! Last week I ate cuy for the first time. Cuy is guinea pig. Its a peruvian delicacy. No joke haha I tell people that we have guinea pigs as pets in the United States and they tell me that thats ridiculous and that cuy is too delicious to not eat.. and the truth is it's actually pretty good! What I am not a fan of is the way it's presented haha they fry the cuy whole, with the head and paws and everything, and then serve it on a plate. The lady who cooked it for us told us that there's a super tiny bone in the ear of the cuy that supposedly brings good luck if you keep it in your wallet. So we found the tiny bones in the ears and now we keep them in our wallets haha. Super weird right? But when in Peru we do as the Peruvians.
So my birthday is this Saturday! In Peru there's a tradition that if it's someones birthday, you crack eggs on their head and shove cake in their face. So I'm sure I'll have really great pics for you all next week. We also have a ward activity and a baptism Saturday, so it should be a great day (:
I want to tell you all a story of one of the members here. His name is Enrique and he is a convert to the church. He was baptized about 3 years ago, and now he has a calling in the church as the elders quorum president. But he has had a rough life, his childhood wasn't the greatest and he was in a lot of dangerous situations at a young age. He also used to be atheist. He met with missionaries years ago and continued to meet with them but never wanted to accept their message. He told us stories of miracles that happened in his life when he started applying the teachings of the missionaries, and he knew there was no way these miracles could have happened without there being a God. So he started believing and came to know that the church was true. This is a very short version of his story haha but it gave me so much hope that really anyone can change. The message that we have really is the greatest message of hope that the world has ever known. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have of the gospel, of the truth.
Also, another story. Every transfer, so every 6 weeks, we go on divisions with the hermana leaders of the area for a day. So this week I went to the hermana leaders area and my companion stayed in our area. I met an investigator of the other hermanas who got baptized this last saturday, his name is christian. I told him my conversion story and he was really able to relate to me and my experiences as a convert too. He told me that I helped him a lot just by telling him my story. It's moments like these that we live for as missionaries. To be able to connect with these people and share experiences and help them grow spiritually really is the greatest feeling. I can't tell you how grateful I am to be where I am. I've grown so much and in so many different ways. I can't wait to see what's in store for me these next 10 months. Everyday my companion and I teach about Jesus Christ. Through teaching His teachings and also through my trials, I'm getting to know our Savior more than I could have ever imagined. I am not ashamed of the one who saved my soul.

Cuidense (:

Hermana Celardo

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a good 4th of July! There weren't any festivities here haha but independence day in Peru is the 28th this month so Ill just celebrate then. For their independence day and also for Christmas they have this fruit cake thing called panatone, but its not like fruit cake from home. Its actually really good! Everyone here eats it with hot chocolate. I hope that I can find it in the states when I get back!
Training is going well too! My companion is amazing, she came pretrained to the mission. We are having a great time together and we get along super well. I think I am learning more from training than she is haha. We work really well together in lessons as well, Im grateful for the Spirit that we feel in every lesson!
The area I am in right now is called Las Torres. Its right up by the volcano Misti! We have a sweet view of all the volcanoes here, Misti Chachani and Pichu Pichu. During the day the suns out but the air is cold, and at night its freezing! Theres no heaters here so we just bundle up in blankets every night and its enough to stay warm! The water we use to wash our clothes or to wash our hands is SO cold. Im pretty sure its just melted ice haha but we have hot water in our shower so Im extremely grateful for that!
My Spanish is improving! I have no problem talking about missionary work or teaching lessons or every day talk like little conversations. I can even bargain with the taxi drivers so Id say Im doing well! Its truly amazing that Ive lived in Peru for 8 months and Im already speaking Spanish.
So we had a baptism this week! His name is Luis and hes 9 years old. He lives with his sister, who is our pensionista (the member who cooks for us). Hes awesome! He has a really good understanding of all the basic principles of the church. Im grateful that I was able to teach him and be apart of his baptism.
I think the greatest part about being a missionary is helping people understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and what exactly is their purpose here on the earth, and then watching them apply it to their lives and then seeing their lives change for the better. Its truly amazing. I am a convert to the church of Jesus Christ of about 2 and a half years. When I compare my life before, and my life now, I can testify to every single one of you that I am so much happier now. Yes there are things of the world that can bring happiness, but there is nothing comparable to the happiness that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings. I am so grateful for this time that I have to teach the gospel to the people here in Peru. I know that I will never have an opportunity like this again, so Im taking in every moment! I love being a missionary (:
Quiero compartir mi testimonio con ustedes en el idioma de mi corazón(: testifico a cada uno de ustedes que La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días es la iglesia verdadera de Jesucristo. Sé que esta iglesia es la misma iglesia que Jesucristo estableció cuando estuvo en la tierra. Al obedecer los mandamientos y al aplicar el evangelio en nuestras vidas podemos llegar a ser mas como Jesucristo, podemos legar a ser lo que el Señor quiere que seamos. Sé que Dios nunca va a darnos pruebas en esta vida que no podemos vencer. Tengo fe que Dios tiene un plan por cada uno de nosotros. Tenemos que someternos a la voluntad del Señor en todo momento para darnos cuenta quien somos, y la importancia y la razón que estamos aquí en la tierra. Estoy muy agradecida por el conocimiento del Evangelio. Quiero compartir todo esto en el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

Hasta la próxima semana!

Hermana Celardo