Monday, May 15, 2017

Well, this is the most bittersweet thing in the world. There's a saying that goes like this, ¨don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.¨ But I can't help but write this letter holding back tears.

18 months seems like a long time on paper. A year and a half. I remember preparing to come on the mission thinking that the next time I would be home would be in May of 2017. It seemed like AN ETERNITY away..but here we are.

There aren't many words I can say to descirbe how I feel writing my last email as a missionary, so I'll try to keep this email to the point.

The people here in Peru have made the biggest impact on me. I owe so much to them. I've seen families broken and torn apart, tears shed for loved ones, mothers and fathers fighting to provide for their families not knowing where their next meal will come from, lives changed by the grace of God, the joy and light in someones eyes when they hear about Jesus Christ for the first time. I've had doors slammed in my face. I've been yelled at and spit upon for the nametag that I wear. I've been rejected and denied for the person that I represent. I've been mocked and made fun of for being a ¨mormon¨. I've seen people completely change their lives to follow what they know is the will of God. I've been asked really hard questions about life and have tried to answer them only by trusting my instinct and the impressions of the Holy Ghost. I've given counsel to people struggling with really really hard life problems that I have never even expereinced. I've seen miracles. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. In the hard times I felt the presence of the one I represent, Jesus Christ, walking right by my side in every step I took. It has made me realize that what he went through in the garden of Gethsemane made him earn the name of the Savior. He gets us. He understands our pain because he's already felt it all, and that's why we call him our Savior. And even though I've given 18 months of my life for him, it will never be enough to repay him for what he's done for me. It has been the most incredible blessing and privilege to represent him and preach his gospel to the people here in Peru.

And everything Jesus did, he did it for love.
¨Greater love hath no man than this, that a man that lay down his life for his friends¨
John 15:13
These 18 months have been the best. Absolutely the best. I lost myself in the service of others, but by some miracle I was able to truly find myself. I've been able to understand even more my purpose in life and my self worth. I understand even more the love my heavenly Father has for me, and for you, and for all of his children. Our potential as sons and daughters of a living God is absolutely divine. God wants us to return to His presence, He wants us to have all that He has, He wants us to become like Him. That is His will. The cool thing is is that it's attainable. But where we end up afterall completely depends on our actions and desires NOW in this short, earthly life.
¨For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man¨
Moses 1:39
immortality- being able to live forever
eternal life- salvation; exaltation; to know and walk with God and Jesus Christ; to live with our families forever in the presence of the One who gave us life

Thank you all for sticking with me these last 18 months, it means more to me than you know.

for the last time,
Hermana Celardo

keep in touch por favor!

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