Monday, October 13, 2014

Dear Family,
   How are all of you doing? I hope you've had a wonderful week. Things are going well here in the land of beautiful California. Alright, confession: I have LOVED the weather this week. Naturally, being on the coast, it's much, much cooler than Moorpark is. So I've really been enjoying the cooler temperatures. And guess what? It was hot last weekend but then it cooled down a ton. We've been in the 60s a lot this week. :) It's beautiful. I got to pull out my coats again. I love this. So it's cooling down in Utah? Thanks for the pictures Dad, it's beautiful. Are you all anticipating a snowy winter?
   Our area is doing really well. We're working hard and we're seeing more and more people that are willing to learn and meet with us. K. really enjoyed meeting this week and is excited to search this out to find if it is true. Our investigator J. came to church this week and we had a lesson with him that evening with his fellowship that went really well. He has committed to work towards the baptismal date. It's going to be a stretch, we know it, and it may be too soon, but it felt right when we prayed about it and when we committed him to it. We'll keep moving forward a day at a time working to help him prepare. We'll see what happens. We're excited for him. Our Restoration lesson was powerful, he was moved and is very willing to believe that this could be true. He is sincerely studying it out and praying about it. I want to add that one of the most powerful moments while being a missionary is when you invite someone to follow the example of the Savior and to be baptized. I flashback to the beginning of my mission and it was terrifying to do that. Haha. It can still make me a little nervous occasionally, but since that time when I invited S. to be baptized back in Newbury Park, the invitation changed for me. I remember that lesson so clearly in my mind and the moment when I was able to invite him is one of my favorite memories that I've had on my mission. I return back to that moment and to that feeling each time I invite someone to be baptized.  As Preach My Gospel states, "My purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." I love my purpose. I love being a missionary. :)  This week we also had a touching lesson with a young man who has been less active in our ward, S. He's young and none of his family is active. He's been struggling to be willing to pray, especially out loud. Our lesson was led by the Spirit and in the end he said the closing prayer. It was so special and I am so grateful for the chance to work with and try to help all of these people here. You really do love the people you serve. Being on a mission definitely gives you a lot of people to love. It's fantastic! Oh and on a really exciting note, I got a letter from Sister Evans this week and S.S has decided to get baptized! I am so happy and excited and a billion other things. She said that things changed after she had the baby. She feels that this church is true and that the Book of Mormon is true. :) I can't stop smiling when I think about her.
   Things are going well with me and Sister Hiapo. Sister Hiapo is a great teacher. She's so bold and brave. I appreciate her ability to just "go for it." I love teaching with her and I feel like we are a balanced companionship when it comes to teaching. I love teaching. We're having fun and getting to know each other and we're working hard. We have a lot of fun with the other Pismo Beach sisters. Our apartment is fun and exciting. We all gravitate towards each other each night while we're winding down and writing in our journals and stuff. We all always end up in the same room or corner of the house. :)
   One of the goals I made this transfer was to read from all four of the standard works every day, even if it's just 5 verses each, but I usually try to read much more. I want to be able to finish all of the standard works by the end of my mission. Lots to go, but I can do it. I love studying from all of them now. It really is strengthening my gratitude for the restoration, for modern revelation, and for Heavenly Father's guidance for all of His children. I love the scriptures, ancient and modern. I'm very excited to continue to study the conference talks. Can't wait for that to come in the mail! Thank you!
   We've had several opportunities to do service this week. I love service so much. I'm so grateful for the emphasis on it now. It softens hearts every time and is a wonderful way to lift and love others. It feels right. And it's fun too. This week one of the service opportunities that we had was to go help a woman in our ward whose family is moving soon. Her husband is already in the new place for work and she has a ton of work to do. We helped her pack and move at least 10 boxes of books and several book cases upstairs. It was fun.
   On Thursday we had interviews with President Felix, which was wonderful. I love President and Sister Felix. Their so sweet. There's this famous cinnamon roll shop in downtown Pismo and they bought us some and dropped them off at our apartment on Saturday morning. It was so sweet! Also, we got to watch Meet the Mormons. I absolutely loved it!!! Did you all have favorite parts? I liked Candy Bomber and Missionary Mom...naturally. ;)
   Well I hope you all have a wonderful Columbus day! Remember that if you are a missionary, there may be no mail :( and the public libraries will be closed, so you may have to drive to Santa Maria to use the computers at the Stake Center to email your loved ones. ;) Well okay. :) Have a fantastic day loved ones! You are loved. 
Love, Melanie 
(Sister Hardman)

A few random pictures for this week.
~This is a young man in our ward named S. after our lesson. If you look behind us imagine the ocean right out of the shot at the bottom of the grassy hill. The homes here are in a beautiful places.

~This is Sister Karatassos. We're becoming good friends. :) This is us winding down for the night at 10:00.

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