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