Monday, June 23, 2014

Dear Family,
   So much has happened this week, and it has been an amazing one!
   First of all: Transfer News ~ I will be staying here in Moorpark. Last night I received a phone call from the Assistants (One of which was actually in my graduating class at PG. It's been fun to talk with him.) and President Castro has extending the assignment to me to train a new missionary. I am now a trainer! I am so excited and nervous, of course, but I've been filled with so much peace too. I know that this is right and that this is going to help me grow and learn so much too. The trust that President Castro and the Lord are placing in me lifts me heart. :) Since that phone call I have been filled with love for the new sister missionary who is coming. I will find out who she is at transfer meeting tomorrow. Do any of you have any advice or tips for me?
  Alright so a few other highlights from this week:
~Zone Conference (Farewell) for the Castros on Wednesday.
~Being a part of the huge missionary focused Thousand Oaks stake youth conference.
~Giving a talk in Sacrament Meeting. :)
~And of course the work is going really well too.
   I'm so sorry that I don't have time to explain more about each of the great events of this week. There is so much that I want to say, I am so happy and so excited this week, but I can't explain it all now. So I'll send you a part of my last email to President Castro this week. Unfortunately, this day has been crazy and time has been short, so I haven't been able to read any of your emails yet, but I'm so excited to. Thank you! I will reply back really soon. I love you all!

"This week was amazing, and I can honestly say that this week has been a week of growth for me. Some of my most sincere prayers and desires have been answered this week and I am growing to love and trust the Lord so much.
The Zone Conference that we had on Wednesday was amazing. Every word that was said was exactly what I needed. Especially your words about fresh starts and clean slates. I made a resolve to do better and realized that if I make a solemn commitment to the Lord to do my best, he will give me the strength to do it. I made the resolve then and there to change and to re-commit myself to the Lord.
After Zone Conference I went into the bedroom by myself and knelt down to pray. In what was one of the most sincere prayers of my mission, I asked for forgiveness for not doing my best and I solemnly committed to hand myself over to the Lord, to trust him, and to work my very hardest. An intense feeling of peace and relief came over me. A feeling that I hadn't had so fully for a long time. All of the sudden, I didn't feel so alone...that's the best way I can describe it. I felt that he was with me and was helping me with every choice, every action, and every thought or feeling. I have felt so different since then. Of course there are still plenty of struggles, insecurities, fears, and other trials, but all of the sudden I don't feel so overwhelmed. I don't feel like it's possible to be overwhelmed as long as the Lord is here with me. And I know that he will be, as I continue to strive my hardest to serve and love others and to be obedient to his will. This feeling brings me so much joy! It amazes me that such a simple, but firm and sincere decision and commitment can change so much. Thank you for your words at the meeting, they have changed my mission and my life for the better.
I loved being able to be a part of the Thousand Oaks Youth Conference this week. It was such an amazingly powerful experience to work with the youth, practicing sharing the truths of the gospel with others. The Spirit was so strong all day and my testimony grew. I loved encouraging the youth and telling them how good they're doing. They really are amazing at sharing the gospel, they just need a little confidence boost. They are going to change the world.
This week, Sister Moure and I were asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting, and although I'm normally very afraid to speak in church, it wasn't as scary this time. I have grown to love this ward so much and I love sharing my testimony and my experiences that have strengthened it with them. I spoke about obedience to the will of the Lord and how many blessings it brings to us, especially happiness. I shared the story of how I knew that I was supposed to serve a mission, and how obedience to that prompting has brought me so much joy.
President Castro, I am so grateful for the assignment to train. I have been praying for this actually. And although I am a bit nervous about it, I have so much peace too. It feels so right. And since last night when I received the phone call, I have been filled with an intense amount of love for the new sister missionary who is coming to the mission. This experience is such a responsibility and such a blessing. I am grateful for the assignment, and I know that it has come from the Lord. In my prayers last night and this morning I have been filled with peace as I've asked if this is the Lord's will. Thank you President Castro, for your worthiness and ability to follow the Spirit. I know that this is right and I am so excited to be able to love, nurture, teach, and train this new missionary. As I said, I already love her so much.
Thank you so much for everything that you have done for me and for how much you have helped me to learn and grow. I know that I can do this and that as long as I rely on the Lord, he will help me to become the missionary that he needs. As my mission scripture says, "In His strength I can do all things." I know this is true and I am so grateful for the experiences on my mission that have been helping me to strengthen my testimony of these things. You have been a wonderful mission president and I am so grateful for everything that you and your family has done. Thank you. I will see you all again. Have a wonderful week!"

   You are all so amazing and I'm so excited to read about your week today. Have a wonderful day and know that I love you all so much! Please keep me in your prayers this week as I do my best to learn how to train. :) Here we go!
   Melanie (Sister Hardman)

~Paradise Falls

~Fun with the roommates. :) The Thousand Oaks stake gave us shirts for the Youth Conference! We were so excited and we have so much fun together.

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