Monday, August 18, 2014

Dear Family,
   The last few days of this week were wonderful! I know I got down a bit earlier on, stress, headaches, down days, you know, but things always get better when we continue to look forward and do our best. Trusting the Lord that everything will work out can be hard, especially in those moments, but I know that he always will pull us through. Things will always get better. Good always wins. :) We had an amazing lesson with A. on Sunday where I was able to share a long, full testimony of the gospel. And on Saturday we had a wonderful lesson with our investigator J. I love teaching those who are sincere and will listen. I love this work.
   So guess what? This week I will reach my 9 month mark!!! Can you believe it?! Every month slides by faster and faster. And every month I feel myself grow to love this work even more. I have learned this month how much I really do love teaching the Gospel and how much I love opportunities to share my testimony. In honor of reaching my half-way mark, I decided to share with all of you a few of the things that I have learned in the last 9 months:
   1. The Power of the Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is the convincing power that this Gospel is true, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that this church is true. All of us can come to know that it is true when we read from it and sincerely pray and ask. I promise that when we do these things, Heavenly Father will answer our prayers and help us to know of it's truthfulness. I have seen this many times in the last 9 months and I know it is true. Also, I have gained the strongest knowledge and testimony that I can imagine of the power of the Book of Mormon to make me feel better when I need it. I know that l feel better from anything that is pulling me down when I just sit down and read from the Book of Mormon. It is the word of God and it will guide us and comfort us throughout our lives. I love the Book of Mormon so much and I am so grateful for it. I can't believe how much I've taken it for granted in my life. I want to help everyone I can to come to the sure knowledge that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that the testimony that Heavenly Father has given me of it in the past several months is a gift. I am so grateful for it. I will always cherish the the Book of Mormon.
   2. Serving and Sharing Bring Joy
Our leaders have not been lying to us. When we focus on serving, loving, and sharing our testimonies with others, it brings us tremendous amounts of joy. I love focusing on those that we meet every day. We all have the power to lift and serve everyone we come across. Serving a mission has brought me so much happiness.
   3. God Answers Prayers
Referring back to the story I shared a couple weeks ago of little C. hugging me. I know that God answers prayers and that he is mindful of all of us and our needs. I know that he loves us so much and is always there for us. He answers prayers in his own way and in his own time, but he always answers. :)
   4. I Can Do Hard Things!
Being on a mission is the hardest thing I've ever done. But it's been the best thing I've ever done. I love being on a mission, and it is boosting my self-esteem and my confidence that with the Lord, I can do all things! (Alma 26:12) He has helped me to do so much. I know that when we are asked to do something, he will prepare the way and give us the strength to do it. How in the world have I made it 9 months? He has given me strength. With him I can do hard things! We all can! :)
   5. I Love My Family!
My mission has done a wonderful job of teaching me what is most important to me. I love my family! I love you all! So much! I want to do all I can to strengthen our family now and in the future. I know that families are meant to be together forever and through Heavenly Father's plan, we can be! I know that we can succeed. I love you all so much and I miss you every day, but I am here right now to help others to know that they can be with their families forever too. We have to work to get there. But I know that we can. I love you all so much and I am so excited for the glorious moment when I'll be with you all again in about 9 months. I love you!
   I hope you enjoy these. As I've said before, I love the changes in me that have come, the lessons I've been learning, and the testimony that is growing in me. I am so grateful for the choice that I made to serve a mission back in October of 2012. I am SO grateful. I am happy. I am loving the work. I love being an instrument in the hands of the Lord. I feel very blessed to be a missionary here in this mission and I feel very blessed to have been born into this family and into the role that I have in my life. Thank you for all that you do for me, my wonderful family! I love you all. Have an amazing week!
Love, Melanie (Sister Hardman)
P.S.-The mission office would like to have as much of the mail as possible go directly to our addresses, so for anything that will get here before September 20th, please send them directly to my Moorpark address. Call Mom for that if you need it. :) Love you!

This is me with A. after church last week. I love her.

And this is our apartment last night after playing missionary 20 questions during dinner. :)

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