Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dear Family,
   Sorry this is short. I'm so out of time today. :( But I wanted to let you know that I love you all so much! I'm glad you all remember me. I think I remember you too. ;) I haven't gotten the package yet or any letters this week, but maybe tonight? Thank you all for sending me things! I love it so much. Yes, I did have a wonderful mission week, Mom. I'm doing better and better each week at being happier, more confident, having more fun, and enjoying being here as a missionary. I LOVE hearing from all of you though. And staring at pictures of your beautiful faces motivates me to work hard and keep going. A quilt? A quilt?! I'm so excited for a Super Nova! And to recieve any letters from you all. I'm so glad you have fun evenings together on Sunday nights. I think about that all the time and it makes me smile to imagine what you might be doing. I'll send a letter home today. I'm doing really well, never fear. (Still pray for me please, it's still really hard sometimes. But I know I can do this.) We worked hard this week and I'm having more fun and being happier. I love the Book of Mormon by the way. :)
   Everyone, have a fantastic week, I'll be thinking about you all. Thanks for the motivation that you give me, just by being an important part of my life!
Love you,
(Sister Hardman)

It finally rained! I've been waiting my WHOLE LIFE! Apparently we're in a pretty bad drought, so I appreciated the little rain storm we had Sunday Afternoon.

Happy week. :)

Me and Hermana Smith on our District Hike last Monday. I love my District. :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dear Family,
   Here it is: I love being a missionary! I found it this week. I am so happy and excited to report that i made a major leap this week. I'll admit, it was a rollercoaster for the first few days, of emotions and stress, leading up to an overwhelming climax. I reached a point where I needed help. But I know that Heavenly Father is so aware of us and all of our needs. He WILL provide. He always will as long as we have faith. I also know that when things are hard we need to do our best to just keep going, pushing through until the relief comes. Wednesday was a very hard day for me, but I kept going, knowing that Heavenly Father would help. And the relief and help did come. That night, i had a half an hour long conversation on the phone with President Castro. Wow... I don't even know what to say, other than that i have a testimony that our leaders are called of God and that they are inspired and receive revelation to help those that they are over. That phone call helped me so much. It comforted, assured, supported, relieved, directed, encouraged, and empowered me. And it really has been amazing to watch the change that has taken place over the past few days. I made a firm new resolve to work as hard as I can, no matter how hard or scary it is, and as a result, i was that I really do have the capability to do so much! That motivated me even more and I now have a stronger desire to serve and to spread the gospel. I am so much happier. I feel so much more adjusted. I feel so much more capable. And I have learned to love the work. I love the people here that we serve. I love trying my hardest to help others understand and feel what i know is true. The gospel blesses you so much. It feels so good to share it. Mom, your letter came a few days ago. And yes, I do love being a missionary!
   By the way, it's my 2nd month! I've been a missionary for 2 whole months! Ah it's been so long but at the same time it's gone by fast...and slow...who knows! Missionary time is so confusing. Also, I LOVED the package and the letters that I have received this week. Thank you so much for the support. Mom and Dad, I loved your letters. I love the things you included in the package mom. And Emma, you great sister you, thank you for the letter and for totally taking care of all of the things I asked you for. Really, everything i got this week was great. :) Thank you!
   It was Stake Conference here this weekend. M. and G. came! And it was such a great conference. It was wonderful! It was a broadcast from some of the leaders of the church and it was so amazing. Those talks are ones that i really want all of you to hear. Look them up if you can! President Eyring's talk was so...yeah...Dad, i think you want to hear that one. It was all about missionary work, families, and other such stuff that is really important to me. Dad I loved what you said about winning big time with our family. I couldn't agree more. And mom, I loved the quotes from my missionary friends. Thank you so much! I haven't really heard much from them, so i loved it.
   I hope you all are doing well. I'm sorry for the short emails today...we're running pretty soon. We're going on a hike as a district! :) That will be fun. For all of you that are still waiting on a response, I'm wokring to get faster and more effective in email time. It goes by so fast. But I love you all and will write you back soon. Bonnie and Susan, and mom and dad thank you so much for your emails today. i love you all. I'm glad you all get to spend time together. :) Keep it up. Keep our family strong and happy and faithful while I'm gone. You all mean so much to me. I'm praying for each of you. And I'm excited to hear more from you soon!
Lovin' you lots and lots!
(Sister Hardman)

P.S. I hope you all enjoyed the quotes. :) I pretend in my head that I'm quoting things to all of you all day...I don't say them outloud.
P.P.S. Did you all watch That Thing You Do this week? Mom, Dad, and Emma you all ended your letters with Lovin' you lots and lots (or close to it). Emma, you actually sang it...on paper!

I love you! :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hello Family,
   What a wonderful letter, Mom. And I was able to read most of it today before replying. I love you all so much and it sounds like things are going pretty well. Haha I would be honored to have my letter framed next to the Proclamation. I really wanted to send that to you and let you know how I feel about our family. I am so grateful. In basic exciting news, I will be staying here in Newbury Park with Sister Cusick for another transfer! Exciting huh? I'm excited and guess what, it's her birthday early next month so that means that we get to go to the LA temple! I am SO excited for that.
   So...this sounds needy...but I would really love to get more letters. The truth is that I don't get very many. I haven't gotten a single letter since the one Dad sent me about New Years. It's kind of a sad thing to walk out to the mailbox each night and not get anything when your companion gets two or three letters like every other day. So please encourage anyone who would like to to send me a letter. And concerning my nice organized list of letters, I don't mind if I get more from people before I respond anymore, just because it really would be nice to hear from people more and I can only write once a week. So really, write as much as you want. And thanks for telling me about the letters that are to come! I'm way excited for all of that. Yes my address will stay the same, but for anyone outside of our family, they are supposed to use the Mission office address. 
   So I'm running out of time, but here is a copy of part of my letter to President Castro this week so that you can see what the work has been like:
It's been a wonderful week. It was really exciting to reach the end of my first transfer and to look back at the progress that I've made. I still have so much work to do in order to be a better more effective missionary - I'm still very, very afraid to talk to people and that holds me back a bit. But it was good to look back at what I was when this transfer first started. I know I've learned so much and I'm excited to continue to learn and work hard. I want to be the best missionary I can be.
Sister Cusick and I did Mormon.org time this week. We watched several of the videos that were so touching and spiritual and that we are excited to recommend to investigators. Mormon Messages are a great teaching tool I think. They bring the spirit.
We have been teaching M and G, a great couple that is searching for the truth. We had two lessons with them this week. The first one was actually pretty rough because it was our first member-present lesson with them and the members were very excited to share a lot. We were concerned after the lesson that M and G were confused by all of the information, so we went back a few days later and re-taught the lesson. They are progressing well. They are reading from the Book of Mormon and praying. We set them with a baptismal date of February 22nd to work towards, and we're really excited for them. We will keep working hard to help them understand and have a stronger desire to learn more and to be baptized.
We also had a lesson with a man named J who has been taught by the missionaries for a long, long time. He recognizes truths from the Book of Mormon and wants to keep learning more, but he is also meeting with a few members of the Jehovah Witness church each day and he is obviously very confused. We are praying for him and trying really hard to know what we can do to help him find the right path and progress.
We met a man named G this week who seemed very down and in need of comfort and direction in his life. We sat there with him and taught to his needs. I feel like we basically summarized every lesson while just sitting there with him. He isn't interested in making any huge changes right now or joining a church, but he wants to learn, he wants to feel the Holy Ghost more, and he said that he could tell that we really believe what we were sharing with him. We are going to go back and meet with him again.
We've been meeting with a woman named H who has a strong testimony of Jesus Christ and loves reading the scriptures with us and discussing religion. She doesn't feel completely comfortable coming to our church instead of the one she is already attending yet, so we are working to see how we can help her feel more welcome and to recognize the special spirit that is there. We had a member-present lesson with her this week that went really well and helped her to feel more comfortable I think.
   So yeah, there was a bit for you to see. If you could maybe shorten the names to just the first letter or something on the blog and don't put in any information that is too personal that would be good. Thanks!
   So we went to Olive Garden this week to celebrate the end of transfer! It was delicious. And we're excited that most of our district is staying here. I love my district. I love seeing other missionaries. I'm getting a little bit better at talking with people, but I'm still pretty afraid. We're working on that. Dad I love your advice about that in the email last week. Thank you. I do have a lot that I want to share. I just need to get over that hump. Also I loved the pictures! Thank you so much...I haven't had time yet to save them onto my camera so I can print them...I'm getting faster.
   It was great hearing about this week at home! Oh I love snow! Ugh...it hurts I miss it so much. But I use that to be really excited about two years from now when I'll be there. :) I love you all so much and I pray about you each every night. Emma, I hope you are well. Let me know what our favorite doctor with hair has to say about it. I'm SOOO excited for any letters that are coming! Oh and Mike, congrats! I had dinner at Chili's with a member, Sister Horne a couple weeks ago. It was delicious! I'll see if I can get a few more letters out today. I haven't been able to read the story yet Lisa, but I'm excited to in a few minutes. Thank you for the snow and the adorable pictures. I love you all and think about you often. Let me know what is happening with each of you! I really want to know. I need to know! Have a wonderful week, there's a missionary who loves you very much.
Love, Melanie
(Sister Hardman)


And two random pictures since i like to send 3 each week
Girl’s night in the MTC with Sister Nicholas and Percy. ;)

I saw Ryan at the MTC. Several times. J Loved it.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Dear Family,
   I have wonderful news. I felt really good all of this week! I'm definitely adjusting. And because I'm more adjusted and stable emotionally, I am able to enjoy so much more. Losing myself in the work, focusing on the needs of others, and really enjoying each bit of support from all of you. Letters don't make me cry anymore, they make me so happy. Letters, pictures, and thinking about family and home isn't as hard anymore because I'm really happy to be here. It just makes me very excited for the great things that will come after my mission. Thank you all for all of your love and support. I need and appreciate every evidence of it I get. Thank you for praying for me. It has helped and helps me every day. I pray for all of you every day, and I hope that you're doing great. Dad, I received your "encoded" letter on Saturday night and loved it! I hadn't received any mail for over a week, and that made me so happy. I loved hearing about home and family on New Years, and I really felt that I was there with you as I read that letter. Thank you so much! Feel free to send me things like that any time. Even though I don't have much time to write or email back, I have plenty of time each night and during lunch and breakfast to read what I get. So the more the merrier! Really! :)  Thank you for the email about the holidays. I loved hearing about all of you, and I'm glad you had such a wonderful time together.
   Dad, thank you for your advice about teaching and talking to people. You're right. I know that I have a lot that I want to share. So many truths that I know will all my heart. And I want others to hear that and understand those truths so that they can have happiness too. I just have to get over the hump of my fear of talking to people. My goodness, it gets in the way as a missionary. We're working on it today. I was able to stop a few people on the street this week. And Sister Cusick is able to push me and instruct me on little things to do at a time so that I can be braver. She really is wonderful. We've gotten to know each other so much more, and I love her.
   Oh! By the way! The next transfer meeting is next Tuesday, the 14th! Wow time flies, sort of, but anyway, there's a possibility that I may be transferred. We won't know until next Monday when they call...dun, Dun, DUN! We'll just have to wait and see. But yeah, so just to be on the safe side, make sure that anything you mail to me is sent to the Mission Office address. I really wonder what will happen with transfers. I may be moved, I may not be with Sister Cusick anymore, there's even the possibility of training after only 6 weeks, crazy huh? Well...I trust Heavenly Father completely, that whatever happens will be for the best.
   So this week we had the wonderful opportunity of meeting with a family of sincere seekers of truth! They are a wonderful couple who really have a desire to have the truth and they are so open and willing to listen to what we teach. They have a teenage son that is struggling and they really want this gospel to help him, but it's been wonderful for us to try to show them how much it can also bless them. The gospel of Jesus Christ blesses the whole family! They came to church yesterday and they are enjoying things in the Book of Mormon! It all makes me feel very excited. There is something about teaching a family that feels so right in missionary work.
   Oh, Mom, I'm sorry about the expensive lunch on New Year's Eve! We found a Thai restaurant and we just had to! Sorry, I won't make it a habit. :) I hope you have some Thai food soon too.
   Also, New Year's Eve was fun. We had a meeting with our wonderful ward mission leader and his wife and then we had to go to our apartment early for safety. :) We celebrated in the usual way with the usual snacks. We sat on the counter just chatting for a while. It was a very fun night.
   This week should be exciting. It may or may not be my last week here. We'll see, but we'll make it a good one.
   I love you all so much! I pray for each of you specifically each night, for your specific needs. I really, really do love you. You make me smile. :) I smile at your pictures on my wall a lot.

(Sister Hardman)

PS- please tell the Bishop that I loved his letter. It made me so happy. I love our ward family.  Also, can someone send me the lyrics to all of the Hardman Pioneer Band songs? I love singing them at night and during the day in my head and I can't remember a few of the lines. :)

 Cheese and crackers and beef stick! And yes, I love sitting on the counter.

 Happy New Year! We had to come in 2 hours early, and we were able to celebrate with Martinelli's!

Yes...we found a Thai restaurant. Masaman...:) Happy New Years Eve!