Sunday, December 1, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
   Today is going to be a wonderful day. We woke up very early to come and start our laundry at 6:30, and I am just sitting here in the laundry room enjoying the opportunity to read and write letters. Since today is our first P-day and Thanksgiving our schedule is kind of crazy, so I'm happy that they have computers in the laundry room.
   You all sound like you're having fun. :) I love imagining what you are all doing and what your holiday is going to be like. I miss you all SOOO much, but I am very happy to be here on a mission. I won't lie, the first three days were very, very hard for me. I was very stressed and scared a lot of the time during our first few days of classes and teaching experiences and at night when everyone else was finally asleep and I was just by myself I was very emotional. (Yes, mom, I like Mike have cried at the MTC.) It is hard. But as I mentioned in my letter home this week, it is teaching me to depend on the Lord. And I am proud to say that I am doing much, much better! Everyone said just make it to your first Sunday and things will start feeling better. They were right. I now know that I CAN do this. (With a lot of help from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.) But I do now know that I will be able to do this. I am still so afraid of teaching people, but every time I do I feel a little bit better. And we do a LOT of teaching practice here. I had a few wonderful experiences this week with our "Progressing Investigator" Ken. On Monday, our lesson with him went so well, simply because we were so focused on him. As missionaries we need to focus on others and their needs. We aren't there just to teach them the lessons. We're there to teach them the lessons while helping them to know and feel what they need to know and feel. We were so focused on him and what he needed to feel and know from his Heavenly Father and because of that, the Spirit was able to guide us to what we needed to say and touch his heart. Even though it was our 3rd or 4th time teaching him, he finally opened up to us and told us about his hard past. He trusts us now and knows we want to help him. We didn't get a chance to commit him to anything that day because we ran out of time, but guess what we found when we returned to teach him yesterday... an extremely happy and excited Ken that had been so touched by our caring and the Spirit that he felt that he picked up the Book of Mormon and read nearly a dozen chapters! It was wonderful! We have so much to teach him, but it's different now that he is feeling the Spirit and that he is willing to listen and learn and talk with us. The MTC is so hard, and since we only have 12 days here they push so much on us, but it is necessary and it is so important to help us become more effective and better missionaries.
   Thank you all so much for your letters, packages, emails, support, love, and prayers. It means so much to me, and it helps me so much every time I feel your support. I love hearing about home, so please keep telling me. Don't worry, it doesn't distract me or make me more homesick. It's comforting and it keeps me going.
   Mom and Dad, for your information, I fly out on Monday morning. We have to report to the travel center here at 4:35 in the morning so I don't know at what time we will be at the airport. But will someone be home if I call sometime in the morning. My guess is that it will be around 7 or 8ish maybe? Me, my district, and another district of missionaries going to our mission will be flying to Denver, CO, then over to Santa Barbara. (Mom please make sure that I have money in my account for baggage. Thanks!)
   Bethany and James, thank you so much for both of your packages. They mean so much to me and they make me so happy! The Thanksgiving one I got last night and when I opened it it made me so happy! Happy Thanksgiving! I'm excited for the pie you sent me. Today will be a crazy day but I'm excited. We don't have any classes or teaching or anything! There's a lot of great Thanksgiving day stuff! A general authority is coming this morning for a devotional. I wonder who it will be. :) And we have service projects. West Campus is coming and I'm going to have to find Katy. The other day my district and I were walking across the cafeteria for dinner when I heard someone say, "Sister Hardman! Sister Hardman!" I turned around, confused and it was Katy!!! I was so happy and excited to see her! We hugged and I could barely talk, I was just so relieved to see someone so close to me. She looks like she's doing great. She loves being a missionary. It is so fun that we have gone through so much of the missionary process together. I was so happy to see her. So yeah, we have a lot of great things on the program for today. I have no idea what they're feeding us. Apparently they're catering a nice lunch for us. I hope it's wonderful. (Yeah, I'm kind of sick of cafeteria food. I've turned to the cereal.) For dinner we have to eat sack lunches in our room, but I usually really like that type of thing. (And we'll eat that pie you sent me, Beth. Thanks!) Oh! And we are all SOOO excited for tonight, because guess what?! We get to watch Ephraim's Rescue! We are all so excited to watch a movie! I miss watching movies so much. And I miss hearing music. I can't wait to be in the field where we will at least be able to listen to music sometimes.
   I'll be thinking about you all today! Send everyone my love! I'm doing well. I love being a missionary. I'm about to fly to California. And I couldn't be more happy about being on a mission.
Love you! (I'll do my best to answer letters today from those of you that have sent them. Thank you so much, again!)
   Sister Melanie Hardman

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