Monday, November 10, 2014

Hey Family!
   Thank you so much for amazingly supporting your missionary. Your support means so much to me. I am having a wonderful birthday and all of your gifts, letters, cards, emails, and prayers are lifting me so much. Today really is a Happy Birthday. :)
   So I need to tell you about my week. It's been a very exciting week filled with BIG surprises.
   Biggest surprise of the week was transfer calls. Since we were pretty positive that I was staying and Sister Hiapo was leaving, when we were on the phone with the Elders and they asked who wanted to find out what was happening to them first, we said me, assuming I was just staying, then Sister Hiapo's would be really exciting. Surprise! I am being transferred after just 6 weeks here! Guess where I'm going?! You'll love this, Mom. I'm going to Solvang!!! :) Yes! I'm SO excited. Seriously, it was such a big surprise though. I was sure I was staying here. So Sister Hiapo is going to Santa Barbara. They're white-washing our area here with Elders actually. We call it a "Tie-wash" I guess. :) We're doing our best to prepare the area for them. Exciting stuff though, right?
   Another fantastic surprise came on Halloween. It RAINED!!! A lot! (For a couple of hours at least.) It was a miracle and it was beautiful. All day it was cloudy, but that's not unusual. Rain was a possibility and a hope in everyone's heart. We prayer for it to rain a lot. And we even did a rain dance and song. Near the end of our dinner appointment I heard something that I hadn't heard in a long time. I said, "Do you hear that?...Is it raining?!" We all went out the front door. It was pouring! Happy Halloween! Halloween was fun. This Tuesday we had a fun ward party and we got to go "trunk-or-treating." And on Monday we got to go carve pumpkins as a district. It was a fun week!
   Our area here in the Pismo Beach ward is doing great. Our investigator J. is doing amazing. He came to a baptism with us in Orcutt this Saturday. He met President Felix there. He knows he's going to be baptized, and he seems so excited. He's gone to several dinners with members this week and he was excited to go to all three hours of church this week. He still has the baptismal date of November 29th. Haha, we had him show us his Navy pictures of him when he was 18. He's a World War 2 veteran. He's a great person. We love him very much. We're sad to leave him, but excited for the Elders that are coming. He needs them now.  
   As always, we love doing service. It really does soften hearts, it helps us to gain special bonds and experiences with those we serve, and it just feels right. I love doing service. We saw many service miracles in this area that I am so grateful for. I think that part of what made this transfer so wonderful is how much we were able to just serve others. I love service opportunities.
   Sister Hiapo is great. I have loved this transfer with her. We got along so well and we worked together so hard. It was a wonderful transfer and I am so grateful for all that I was able to learn from her and with her. I've never met my new companion, Sister Cox, so I'm excited to meet her this week and begin working with her. Please pray for us as I go to a new area with a new companion. :)
   I reflected last night on the last 20 years of my life. Today I turned 20 and realized that it's been a long time. I thought about how Heavenly Father has directed me throughout my life and where he has led me. I feel closer to him every week on my mission and I know that he loves me and is guiding me. I am so grateful for all of the opportunities, trials, experiences, friends, family members, responsibilities, answers, etc. I have been given so much. I love the life that I have. It's nice to be able to look back on 20 years and to be able to say and know that you are happy with how you are doing in your life. I will do my best to keep it up for the rest of my life. :) Yay for 20 years!
   Again, thank you so much for all of your gifts and letters! I haven't been able to fully read the emails from today, but I have loved what I've been able to read so far. Thanks for telling me about your fun Halloween week. You're all in my prayers every day. I love you all so much and I'll be thinking of you today. We have a fun day ahead of us. It's kind of fun to have your birthday on a preparation day. ;) We're going to Grover Beach to a Thai restaurant! I love Thai food and it's been awhile. Yay! The Sisters are so good to me. Have a wonderful day!
Love, Melanie (Sister Hardman)

This is what your birthday girl has been doing this morning. My companions/roommates are the best. They set up a lot for me. :) And we enjoyed a lovely California morning walk. It's lighter because of daylight savings ending. :)

 Loving the rain!!! :)

Carving pumpkins as a district.

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