Monday, April 21, 2014

Dear Family,
   Well aren't you all just wonderful. :) I love you. Thanks for your support and love. Thank you so much for the Easter packages, cards, and letters. I loved it all! I was so happy to get them. Easter was wonderful. The reminder of how much our Savior has done for us was so strong all of this week. Have you all seen the "Because of Him" video? I hope so! Isn't it wonderful? We worked like crazy to show that to or invite every single person we saw this week to watch it. It's powerful. It's true. I'm really grateful for the wider audience that we were able to share it with.
   It's been a wonderful week. We are working to get to know the ward and the members a lot more so that we can work with them and their neighbors and friends. This ward is a lot bigger than any other California ward I've seen. It has a lot of young families and it makes me smile. The members are wonderful and we're excited to get to meet more of them.
  We had a lesson with one of our investigators, this week that changed me completely. Leading up to the lesson I was worried because he has not been keeping commitments and he has no desire to change, but he has had such a hard life and he needs the hope. But we were so worried that we were going to have to stop teaching him, but while we were teaching him, we watched the video and the Spirit came so strongly. I had the strong impression that we should not give up on him yet. I was filled with an overwhelming feeling of God's love for all of His children. I never want to give up on anyone.
   I loved Zone Meeting this week and the Spirit that was there. One experience that stood out to me was when we had the EDPEP. I paired up with a Sister who came into the mission this transfer. I love her so much. Since the beginning of my mission when I felt like it was so hard, I have just come to love new missionaries so much. I just want them to keep going and to know that they're going to do so well if they just keep going. I loved doing the EDPEP with her and all of the sudden I felt really confident and good at teaching. Not in a prideful way, just in a happy way of being able to see that I've come far in the last 5 months.
   Speaking of 5 months...I've been on my mission for 5 months! Crazy! Well...actually, that sounds about right. It's been a long time, but it's also been short. Have I changed a lot in 5 months?
   Mission conference with Elder Nelson was amazing. He truly is an apostle of the Lord. It was fun to be the designated driver. I drove me, Sister Moure, Sister Mapa, and Sister Olsen from Moorpark to Ventura. And the conference was absolutely amazing. I received so many answers that I have been searching for and I am so excited to work this week. He took the time to greet and shake the hands of every missionary! I got to shake his hand as he looked me in the eyes and said, "It's a pleasure to meet you, SisterHardman." :) It made my day. He was so kind and so inspired. I was sitting on the second row of the chapel, and as he spoke it felt like he was speaking straight to me sometimes. He left a blessing on all of us and on our families before he left. I hope you all feel it. You're in my prayers. His wife also spoke, along with two other members of the 70. Elder Bowen gave a great talk for our mission that I loved. And also Elder Garnes. The meeting lasted for several hours, and it was amazing. The Spirit was so strong, and we know what we can do as a mission and as individuals to hasten the work here.
   By the way, Mom, I'm sorry about how much money I spent on food last week. We hadn't gotten our dinner calendar with the ward yet, but now we have dinners. I won't buy fast food as often. (And's nice to have more options since Newbury Park only had a few.) Also I had to buy a few shirts this morning because it's been too hot to where some of my thicker shirts. I'm doing my best. Sorry. :)
   You all sound so great and I love hearing about what you're doing and how you are. Mom, Dad, and Emma...That plan is THE best plan I've ever heard. Besides the Plan of Salvation that is. ;) But I am totally up for that in a year or so. Thanks! :) Thank you for what you said about my last email, Mom. I'm really trying to do my best. And I love hearing that encouragment from you. Thank you for sending me your story, Brent. I haven't been able to read it yet, but I'm excited to read it today at lunch. Everyone have a fantastic week! Love you!

~Sister Melanie Hardman

P.S.-Sister Moure is teaching me bits of Spanish! I really want to learn more, and so far I can sing two hymns in Spanish and say a few specific words along with the missionary introduction and brief declaration. Oh and Mike, she told me that her missionary who taught her emailed her and told her about your posting on Facebook. Small world huh? :)

For you Mom. Love ya!

The Sisters in our District. This is Sister Olsen and Sister Mapa.

My 5 month mission birthday! J ah!

Thank you for the Easter love. I love you all so much!

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