Monday, April 25, 2016

Hola mis amigos!
I hope everyone is having a wonderful week! Things are great down here in the wonderful land of Peru!
This week was a good one! After 3 weeks of not going to church, we finally went back yesterday! We didn't have regular church for 3 weeks because there was conferences and also the presidential election in Peru. There's a law here that no churches can meet the day of elections. It felt good to finally go back! Oh I totally forget to mention something important last week.. During general conference the prophet announced that there's going to be another temple in Lima! I had the chance to go to the temple that's already there in Lima while I was in the missionary training center, and it was absolutely gorgeous so I'm excited to see what the new one will look like! There was a temple announced in my mission, Arequipa, about 4 years ago and they haven't started building it yet. But I've heard that there have been some legal issues but that it's getting sorted out so they should start building it soon! On another note, my companion and I found a restaurant that's almost kind of American! They have milkshakes and grilled cheeses! We've decided to go every Pday haha you can say we're pretty stoked! We had our stake conference last week and Elder Uceda of the 70 was there. He came to change the stake president. And to our suprise, he called the father of the family we live with to be the stake president! I really am excited for him and I know he's going to be a great stake president and do great things here in Ilo. The family we live with is so great. They are SO kind and helpful and treat us like their own! I've motivated them to learn english haha so every time we sit down to eat we have an english lesson and try to speak in english as much as possible. It's a great time to let my mind rest from all the Spanish haha.  
I want to share with you all how grateful I am to be on my mission. I truly have learned so much in my 5 short months out here. There have been some hard times, but enduring through my trials and completely relying on the Lord has made me so much stronger. My testimony of the truthfullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has grown immensly. I know that I'm exactly where I need to be, I'm where the Lord needs me to be. There's a scriptue in The Book of Mormon that has always stood out to me. It's in the book of Alma. Alma is talking about missionary work. Those of you who are not familiar with the Book of Mormon, Alma is one of the people who wrote in the Book of Mormon. At first, he was very rebellious and sought out to destroy the church. But he had an experience where he could not deny the truthfullness of the church. In turn, he dedicated his life to preaching the gospel and teaching people what he knew to be the truth. Alma 29:9-10 says, 
"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. 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."
Like Alma, I glory in this work, in the work of the Lord. Perhaps I can be an instrument in the hands of God, too. As I've served these last 5 months, I've been reminded numerous times of my own conversion and of the merciful arm that God has extended towards me throughout my life. I am a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of about 2 years, but I have seen Gods hand in my life much longer than these 2 years. He's always been there for me and I know He always will be. And I know he'll always be there for you too. The awesome thing about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that it does not matter how far away you feel like you've strayed from God, you can always come back and I can promise you that He will welcome you with open, merciful arms. Thanks to the Gospel of Jesus Christ we don't have to feel guilty of our sins anymore. The Gospel is literally SO perfect in every aspect. And I can testify to all of you reading this that there is no greater happiness than the happiness that the Gospel can bring you.
I hope you all have an amazing week!


Hermana Celardo

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