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