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 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! 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.

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