Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hello Family!
   I hope you are all having a wonderful day. :) You are loved. I hope the birthday celebrations went and will go well. I love you, Bethany! Happy Birthday! I'm sending you a card full of love today. :)  You are amazing. And Dad, your lesson sounds like it was a lot of fun! Haha, did you take pictures? Have a wonderful time in Huntington Beach this week. Becca, I love the special purple crayon that you sent me!
   This week has gone well. It was full of unique and good things. Guess what? It's the end of another transfer!Next Monday we'll get transfer calls again. I wonder if I'll be staying here again. I was in Newbury Park for 3 transfers and I've now been here for 3 transfers. Who knows? The work is going well in our area. We had a wonderful lesson with S.S., who is going out of country for a month, but she shared with us why she likes reading the Book of Mormon, and she committed to read and pray about it while she is gone. We also had the opportunity to go to Westlake to return the rental car and get our black chevy cruz back! It's been a while. It was a lot of fun to take a little road trip over there to change cars.
   We had our individual interviews with President Felix this week. It meant a lot to me. President and Sister Felix are wonderful, and they care about all of us missionaries so much. President Felix asked me at one point in my interview what one thing was that I had gained or experienced so far on my mission that I know will stay with me for the rest of my life. I smiled and told him about how much my knowledge and testimony of the Book of Mormon has grown. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that it is the word of God, and I know that when I read from it I gain guidance, strength, and endless amounts of comfort. I love reading the Book of Mormon. This made him smile and we went on to talk about it for a while. We discussed what has become my favorite scripture lately on my mission. Mom, it's the one that you sent to me with your experience around Christmas. 1 Nephi 17:13. :) Out of all of the scriptures in the Book of Mormon, this is the one that I have shared the most often with others (investigators, other missionaries, members, or people we meet on the street). This scripture has brought me so much peace and comfort. Thank you for sending that to me a few months ago, Mom. I don't know if I ever told you how much it meant to me. The rest of our interview went well, he listened to what I needed, gave advice and encouragement, and at the end of the interview President Felix gave me a blessing. I am so grateful for all that he and his wife are doing for us to help us fulfill our purpose as missionaries. Then, while Sister Evans was in her interview with the President, I got to sit out in the lobby and talk with Sister Felix for a while. She also gave a lot of advice, love, and support. I love them both.
   Alright, to share my experience from yesterday that is the reason for the title of this email: Yesterday, during church, I received a little answer to a prayer that meant a lot to me. It made my week, so I wanted to share it. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us all and is aware of how we are feeling and what we need. He answers prayers, in the best way possible. He knows what will help us. So yesterday during church I became a little overwhelmed. It had been a slightly stressful morning with different situations, and during 2nd hour I had started to feel a little down (and I'll admit it, a little homesick again). After gospel essentials, I asked if we could go into the restroom. I went into a stall and just said a silent little prayer, telling Heavenly Father that I was struggling and that I just needed a little sign of love and strength. Taking a deep breath again, I walked out and went to the counter. Just then, a little girl in our ward, about 5 years old, came running up to my side and threw her arms around me hugging me. I was suddenly filled with a strong feeling of love and strength. Little C. didn't have any idea about the silent prayer that I had offered. But she, in a very Christlike way had reached out to express love to me in the very moment that I needed it. I know it was something so simple, but the little tender mercy was a clear answer to me of God's love. I needed and asked for a bit of love and strength, and Heavenly Father gave me a simple hug of love and strength.
   I love my Heavenly Father and I love what he has given me and been teaching me on my mission. These principles and lessons are things that I am going to take with me for the rest of my life. I know that He loves all of us so much and he knows what we all need. He is always reaching out to us. He answers our prayers. :) I hope you all have a wonderful week. I love you much!
Love, Melanie (Sister Hardman)

Pictures for you:
~J., S.S., and Baby C.

~Beautiful California sunset :)

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