Monday, September 1, 2014

Dear Family,
   What a wonderful week. Zone Conference was wonderful. There were a lot of fun changes made. Our service hours a week were raised up to 10 hours of community service a week, and there is a new website and program called JustServe that we are all registering for that will allow us to find community service opportunities to do every week. We are authorized to do a lot more now! These service opportunities aren't for proselyting, they're for lifting and helping others, and we know that service softens hearts and causes others to be more curious about our faith and our beliefs. The emphasis on this service change is that as we focus on just serving others in any way we can, the Spirit will speak to their hearts, and they will come to us. I am very, very excited to have more opportunities to serve and to work to lift others and be a light to them. I know that service truly does soften hearts and encourages others to ask about our faith and to want to be more involved. 
   The work is going well. It's So all of the knocking on doors in the heat of the afternoon can be exhausting, but it is absolutely worth it! We have 2 new investigators from this week who we have appointments with in a few days and we are really excited to go and to help more of our brothers and sisters progress in the gospel.  Our investigator J. is doing really well. We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week and he expressed to us a lot of his concerns about his mistakes in the past and about the possibility of messing up after baptism. That is why he hasn't committed to a baptismal date yet. It was powerful and humbling to have the opportunity to bear firm testimony of the power of the Atonement in our lives and how patient and loving the Lord is with each of us. He has been telling us how grateful he is for us and teaching him these things, that they are truly helping him. He said he's thinking about coming to church next week, and he's excited to meet members of our ward, so we'll have fellowship come to his lesson this week. He's wonderful. He is always so prepared and excited for our lessons. We'll get there and he and his cute niece will be standing on the porch smiling with the chairs set up nicely and hand drawn pictures from her on our chairs. His sweet niece has shown us a lot of love. She's not taking the lessons, but she loves seeing us and listening a bit. There's a song that I really like that says, "Love comes back when we take care of each other." I love that principle. When we focus on loving and helping each other, we are taken care of as well. We feel the love and gratitude from others.
   Sister Evans and I are doing well. We have become more and more unified and I know that our love and patience with each other has been growing. We both have a lot of things we're working to improve, and we're striving to be the best missionaries we can be. And on a very positive note, I have been feeling a lot better this week. I'm still getting headaches, in certain circumstances and situations, but as I've payed more attention to things that may be bringing them, I've worked to adjust circumstances, and they've been decreasing.
   A very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Brent, Jana, and Nathan! I hope you have wonderful birthdays! Look for my cards in the mail. :) Nathan, I'm so proud of you for all that you are doing. I hope that things go well with all of the exciting, wonderful, and important events that come with this birthday. Jana, I got your wonderful letter. You are such a fantastic sister. :) Brent, I hope you had an amazing birthday, that you got all of your hearts desires, and that you already got my card. :) You're all wonderful. 
   Guess what? In my personal scripture reading I finished the Book of Helaman this week. :) I've been waiting for 3 Nephi since the beginning of the year! I'm so excited. I LOVE the Book of Mormon! I have loved reading it all the way through this year. It's been different this time around. :) Well, my dear family members, the time is at hand. I must soon log off. But I love you all so much and I literally pray for each of you specifically by name each night. I think about you and your needs and I pray that everything is going well. Keep Moving Forward. You all mean so much to me and I can't imagine a family that I would rather be a part of. I'm so grateful to be in this family. 
Lot's of love from your California missionary!
   Love, Melanie (Sister Hardman)
P.S.- Your plans for today sound fantastic! Have fun! I'll party with you. (We're having a District "Cookie Exchange" Haha)

Spontaneous root beer float party and then what happens when you read 3 Nephi 1 and are thinking about 

Christmas - you become shepherds. :)

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