Friday, January 29, 2016

Hey there! Sorry I was unable to write a letter last week! Time on the computer always goes by fast here haha. This last week was a good one.
So a typical day as a missionary goes like this:
Wake up at 6:30. My companion and I usually do some workouts right when we wake up, and then we get ready for the day. Breakfast is at 7:30. Then from 8 until 9 we have personal study. During personal study we read scriptures or study Preach My Gospel. Afterwards we have companionship study. During this time we practice teaching and also read our missionary handbook. The missionary handbook just is a general rule book for all missionaries! After that we have our language study. This is the time I get to study Spanish! And my companion studies English. After that we go to our pensionistas house again for lunch. Lunch is usually the biggest meal of the day here. Some of my favorite meals here are arroz chaufa (fried rice) and lomo saltado (I don't know the translation for that haha). And there's also this purple drink here called Chicha Morada. It's made from purple corn and it's delicious. I have no idea if there's purple corn in the States, so if you happen to see some let me know! After lunch we go out for the day. We visit investigators, members, and contact people on the street. We walk everywhere we go, but if we're late for an appointment we can always take a taxi. There's taxis everywhere and they're only about 1 or 2 soles. 3 soles here is equivalent to about $1! The conversion rate is great haha. Also there's these vans that are kind of like buses, they're called cambis, that are only 60 cents. It's pretty easy to travel around here. Also something strange about Ilo, there's a main street called John F Kennedy. Why? I have no idea haha. At 8 we have dinner with our pensionista. Dinner is usually something small like yogurt and fruit or bread with jam. After that, we go back to our room. We have to be in our room by 9 every day, Unless we are teaching a lesson we can be back by 9:30. Then we plan for the next day and get ready for bed. We are busy every day, so it's easy to get lost in the work!
Last week I had the opportunity to go on divisions. Divisions are where you switch companions for a day. I went to another area, Moquegua and I was with Hermana Marshall for the day. And she's from the States! So we got to speak English haha. It was a really great experience and she boosted my confidence a lot in my Spanish!
My first baptism! Ramon was baptized last Saturday! It was truly incredible! After the baptism, he shared his testimony with everyone that was there. You can bet I cried haha. It's amazing to see how a person can change and come closer to our Savior. His testimony was in Spanish, and I understood most of it but the Spirit was most definitely there and everyone in the room could feel that.
I'm grateful for the Spirit. To those of you who have never heard of the Spirit, it's almost impossible to describe and put into words. But when you've felt it, you know exactly what it is. And I know every single one of you reading this email have felt the Spirit before in your life. The Spirit, or the Holy Ghost, testifies of the truth. 2 Nephi 2:4 says The Spirit is the same yesterday, today, and forever. En EspaƱol, 2 Nefi 2:4 dice El Espiritu is el mismo ayer, hoy, y para siempre. Yo se que La Iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos de Los Ultimos Dias es la iglesia verdadera en la tierra hoy. Esta iglesia es la iglesia de Jesucristo. Se que El Libro de Mormon es la palabra de Dios y contiene la plentitud del evangelio eterno. ¡Estoy muy agradecido ser una missionera!
Cuidense mucho,
Hermana Celardo

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

It was another great week here in Peru! It's been super hot here the last couple weeks. I have some pretty gnarly tan lines on my feet already. We walk probably about 5-7 miles every day. It's good exercise! The sunsets here are incredible. The sun sets over the ocean, so it reminds me of home! Ilo is beautiful, I love it here!
Okay so the food. Rice rice rice and more rice. For every meal haha and they also put Ketchup and Mayo on their rice. And i'm not going to lie, it's actually really good! You should try it if you ever get the chance! There's little food carts everywhere that sell all different kinds of foods. It smells SO good all the time, but we're not allowed to eat it because we might get sick.. They also have little markets at almost every corner on every street. So if I ever need something I can just walk across the street and buy it! I'm grateful for that!
Ramon is getting baptized this Saturday! I'm so excited! It's super great that he's getting baptized, but I think it's even better to see the change in his heart. When we first started teaching him, he was very quiet. But we had a lesson with him yesterday and he was talking so much more and he told us he has been reading his scriptures and he was just telling us how happy he is. The gospel is so true! It's awesome!!
The language is coming..slowly but surely. I still feel like I don't know a lot but when I think about where I was two weeks ago when I first got to Ilo, I've learned a lot! The biggest struggle for me right now is not being able to communicate. But I know with time and patience and more importantly, faith, it will get better!
My companion and I get along really well! She is SO patient with me. I'm so grateful for her! I don't know what I would do without her haha. She's also a convert to the church. She joined the church a little over 2 years ago and she has been on her mission for 7 months. She's awesome!
The people here are very open to hearing our message. They, for the most part, are very religious and love going to church. We've met a lot of people who are Catholic, but not practicing. Even if they're not very interested in our church, they are kind and talk with us for a while. I am very appreciative of that!
I have seen miracles every day being out here. And I know with my whole soul that those miracles are not coincidences. I know that with faith anything is possible! I'm grateful to be here serving the Lord!
Until next time,
Hermana Celardo

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hey everyone!
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a happy new year! I spent Christmas in the CCM and they made it so special! At midnight there were TONS of fireworks everywhere! It wasn't just the little ones we usually have at home but the massive ones we have for 4th of July! In the morning our district opened up presents that we had from family members. They made a big lunch for everyone and gave all the missionaries stockings with our names on them. They were filled with candy! It really was a great Christmas and I'm grateful I was able to spend it with my district in the CCM.
That next Tuesday, the 29th, I left for Arequipa! Me and a couple other missionaries took a plane from Lima to Arequipa. Our mission president and a couple other missionaries picked us up from the airport. My mission presidents name is President Zobrist. Him and his wife, Hermana Zobrist, are amazing! I love them! We went straight to the Arequipa temple site after the airport. The church hasn't started building yet because of legal problems..but they will have the groundbreaking soon enough! After that we all went to the main plaza in Arequipa. It's absolutely gorgeous! After that we all went to the mission home and we got our companions!
My trainers name is Hermana Alvarez. She's from Bolivia and she's a convert just like me! She also doesn't speak any English haha so that's been interesting. It's better for me this way because I'll learn the language quicker! My first area is Ilo. It's a small town right on the beach! It kind of reminds me of Ventura. Hermana Alvarez and I took a bus from Arequipa to Ilo. It took about 5 hours. A couple Elders were at the bus stop in Ilo to take us to our room. One of them is from Idaho, his name is Elder Dennis. He's been super helpful! I'm grateful that I have someone to speak English to at the end of the day haha. The room Hermana Alvarez and I stay in is part of a members home. It's pretty small and we shower in cold water, but I'm just grateful we have beds to sleep in and the water is clean enough to use! The area my companion and I cover is new in the mission, so we are basically starting from scratch. We do a lot of street contacting everyday. As far as talking goes, my companion does most of that haha. I can understand more Spanish than I can speak. And even then, it's not that much haha. I know that it will come eventually! I just need to be patient with myself. I consider myself lucky because my companion is very patient with me! For that I am grateful!
Eating here is kind of sketchy, so to stay healthy all the missionaries here have whats called a pensionista. She cooks breakfast, lunch, and dinner for us everyday! The food here is super great. Lots of rice and chicken!
My companion and I slept through New Years haha but we heard lots of fireworks go off at midnight. I can't believe it's 2016! I still feel like i'm in 2012.. Time just goes by so fast. Especially out here serving a mission. Our days are packed. We are so busy that we never have time to think about anything else except missionary work.
On Thursday, my companion and I had a lesson with Ramon. His family are all members except him. This is my first real lesson I have taught! Me and my companion taught the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. My Spanish was so bad that the people we were teaching laughed at me haha it was pretty funny. But I was still able to get my point across so that's all that matters! I shared a scripture in the Book of Mormon with him. It's 2 Nephi 31: 13. It's about the importance of baptism and how we all need to follow the example of the Savior and be baptized. At the end of the lesson, we asked if Ramon would be baptized..He said yes!! We were so excited! His bapstimal date is January 16th. There's no greater happiness than bringing people the the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
I have learned a lot so far in my 2 months of being a missionary! I'm excited to see what Hermana Alvarez and I have in store here in Ilo! This work is hard, but I love it. It's the hardest thing I've ever loved to do.
Until next time,
Hermana Celardo