Monday, June 9, 2014

Dear Family,
   What a wonderful week! First of all, I just want to say how much I love President and Sister Castro. Our zone had interviews with President Castro this week. About 10 companionships, 4 sister training leaders (Sister Cusick included!), and President and Sister Castro were in attendance. I loved it. President Castro gave wonderful remarks about accountability, not only as missionaries to our mission leaders, but also as family members to the rest of our family, and most importantly accounting to the Lord and to our Heavenly Father in all we do. When he was talking about families, he told us that for his first couple of kids it was hard to get open conversation going at the dinner table, but as they worked on becoming more open and accounting to each other every day it became natural. He is so grateful for how open and unified his family has become. As he told us that, I thought of how grateful I am for our family and for our unity. I love you all so much and I always will. Thank you for being such an amazing family. I feel so blessed and honored to be a member of our family. :)  
   Sister Castro then spoke to us about stress and dealing with it. Unfortunately, there have been a lot of sisters in our mission over the last several months that have had to go home due to medical and health problems that probably begin with stress. I won't lie, as a missionary it can be very easy to get stressed enough to the point where you are sick. It happened to me a lot in the beginning of my mission. But the truth is that we have all of the resources available to us that we need to have peace, happiness, success, and health as missionaries. The book entitled Adjusting To Missionary Life has been a life-saver since the beginning of my mission and is full of wonderful tips about dealing with stress and turning to the Lord. I wonder if any of you have access to that. If you do ever see it, use it and enjoy it. :) Anyway, I loved the things that she spoke on. When we rely on the Lord and turn to Him in everything, he will help us. 
   While we were taking turns going into interviews, the sister training leaders gave a great training. It was a wonderful day. Our interviews all went well. And later on, after the meeting, I had the chance to talk with Sister Castro for a while (she still suffers from Menier's disease), and she is so loving and supportive. And I got to talk to Sister Cusick for a while! I love her so much, and it was SO good to sit and chat for a bit. She told me that she's been hearing amazing things about the work that I've been doing from other missionaries and that she's been so proud! That made me so happy to hear. I still look up to Sister Cusick in every way.
   Thank you for the wonderful emails (haha and the random pictures, I enjoyed those). You all sound amazing. I'm so proud of you all for everything that you do. Keep going. Lisa and Mike, I'm sorry about the painful parts. And good luck to Mom and Emma at the festival! Emma, dance your little heart out, you're great! Beth, thank you so much for your email. I haven't been able to read it yet, but I'm excited to. I love hearing from you. I'll be replying to that soon! You're amazing. And Bonnie, congrats on the job! Mom, thanks for the email and the info. I got "another one" ;) today if you know what I mean. Have a fun week with all the kids! And the Bezzants did WHAT to my orchard?! :( That's's all for the best I'm sure. What does it look like now? Will it make me cry?
   Happy Father's Day Daddy!!!!!!! I love you so much and I think you're amazing. I'm going to sing the primary song "I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home" next Sunday during lunch in my apartment at about 2:00. :) Pretend that you can hear me, okay? I'll do my best to be a great missionary this week as a gift for you. :)   And Lisa, Happy Birthday!!! I'm sending you a card. Love you!
   By the way Mom and Dad, I used to not like oatmeal very much. Now I eat it so often! I have once or twice every day! And yes...I gained a bit of weight when I got on my mission. But guess what?! It's coming off! I've lost 5 pounds this month, so I'll keep working at it. :) Any tips for nutrition as a missionary or working out tips are welcome. Thanks! Speaking of nutrition, the Hermanas told us that there's apparently a new Chick-fil-a open in Thousand Oaks! Today on P-day we can go anywhere in our District boundaries, so we're going to go find it! Yay!
   Well, Fam, it's time for me to go. I hope you have an amazing week! Dad, I loved your last sentence in the email. I'll see you there. :) You're all fantastic. "Keep Moving Forward."
Love, Melanie (Sister Hardman)

P.S.-I loved Jim's comment. Tell him I love him and give him a squeeze for me. I'll be back sooner than you know it, Jim. Also, can someone play the piano for me this week? I do miss practicing a bit. District Meeting piano is fun though. :) Love you all!

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