Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Family!
   Can you believe that I've been on my mission for a year? It's a strange feeling to think back to my Thanksgiving in the MTC a year ago. Good times. :) Thank you all for your wonderful emails and for your love and support. This sister missionary feels very loved by her wonderful family. I loved hearing about your business trip in Maui, Dad. I hope things continue to go well. You're so great. To answer your question there are a ton of dentists in Solvang probably because it's so close to Santa Barbara. Everyone goes down to Santa Barbara from here to work, but they love living up here where it's a lot quieter and smaller. Solvang is great. It's fun to drive down the little main street and the people are pretty kind here. It has been getting quite cold here in the evenings and unfortunately our heater broke last week. They weren't able to fix it till this morning so we've been sleeping in billions of's been a bit nippy. But it's been fun. Some kind members took mercy on us when they heard our story and let us borrow their mummybags and sleeping bags. We've been much warmer in the last two days. :) Camping in Solvang.
   The work in our area is going well. We were able to see L. a few times this week. She believes that this church could be the Lord's church. She loves the gospel and all that it teaches. She has fears about coming to church and being with other people that we're working on resolving with her, but she is definitely headed in the right direction. Last night we stopped by to see her and our discussion was powerful. The spirit was strong and she recognized it. I was strengthened by the Spirit as well. I know that this church is true. :) I love those moments when that truth is re-confirmed to you in powerful, recognizable ways. It was a wonderful thing. We were able to sing a hymn for her and pray with her before wishing her a good night. It's cool, in this area we've been able to use singing a lot. The 4 of us missionaries in Solvang (us and the Hermanas) all love singing and we enjoy singing together and doing our parts and everything. We've been asked sometimes at the end of a dinner or at service projects to sing by members and nonmembers. It's been special. I love music. Mom, I loved hearing about your song. Do you remember that Nearer, My God, To Thee is my favorite hymn? I love that hymn. It's the one I sing to myself often, whenever I need comfort or to remember that we have a loving Father in Heaven and a loving Savior. I love that song so much. I can only imagine how powerful the musical number was this week. You'll have to play it for me when I get home.
   Zone Conference was wonderful. There was so much given there in that meeting that I needed and that will continue to help us to be the best mission and the best missionaries we can be. President Felix spoke a lot on our desires and how our desires affect our attitudes towards obedience. It was a wonderful subject to study both before, during, and after the conference. Our desires are what lead us to our thoughts, words, and actions. Desires are powerful. Sometimes we have desires that we don't want or that we know aren't completely in line with the Lord's will. The most powerful thing that I learned at our Zone Conference was that even our desires can be changed through the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. What a message of hope and of potential. :) I have desires to be so much better, I think we all do. How hopeful to know that through Jesus Christ we can and will become so much better. We can do this! All of us can. :)
   Guess what?! I get to go to the Temple this week! We were able to figure out the trip for my birthday. I'm going to the Los Angeles Temple tomorrow (Tuesday) morning! :) I'm actually going on splits for it with Hermana Bennion. Sister Liljenquist will be driving us. I can hardly wait. It's been 9 months! I'm so grateful for the opportunity to go. I'm so happy. :) I will be thinking about you all. The Temple is a place where you can't help but think all about your family. I love you all so much.
   Concerning Thanksgiving this week we will have quite the fun day. You asked me what I'd be doing. Here's my schedule: After studies we will be driving to Santa Barbara with the Hermanas for District Meeting. Sister Cox and I are giving the EDPEP presentation this week on Following-Up with commitments. Then after we drive back up we will be going to Sister W.'s house at 1:30to serve her by helping her prepare her Thanksgiving meal. At 3 we will be going to the J.s to eat our Thanksgiving Meal with them, and then later in the evening around 5:30 we will be having a small dinner at Sister W.'s again. Then we'll help her clean up afterwards. Sister W.'s son R. just got back from his mission in the Philipines and he's been working with us a lot and coming to lessons. It's fun to hear about the differences with his mission and ours. So yeah, Thanksgiving day should be wonderful. I'll be thinking about all of you. :) I hope you have a wonderful day. It is crazy to think of where I was a year ago. Ha...well. Things have changed a bit and a lot has happened. What a good year. On the subject of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for my mission. Wow am I grateful for it. :) And I am grateful for all of you! I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week and a Happy Thanksgiving!
~Love, Melanie
(Sister Hardman)

~Driving to Ventura for Zone Conference. The views driving along the ocean were beautiful.

~12 Month Mark! Year old missionary. :)

~Yes...this is how we went to bed this weekend. It was a bit nippy.

~I think my biscuits and gravy were almost a success. :) I'm working on it. They were alright. Not as good as all of yours!

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