Monday, December 15, 2014

Good Morning From A Chilly Solvang!
   It's been a beautiful week in Solvang and I have a lot to share for this week. Um...where to start?
   Transfer News~ We are both going to be staying here in Solvang! I get to be here in Solvang from Christmas! Yay. The K.'s have promised us a Danish Christmas when we go over there for dinner on Christmas Eve. I'm excited. So with that in mind, go ahead and send everything directly to my address here in Solvang. I'll look forward to it. :) Next transfer will be onJanuary 27th-ish I think. And today I am sending home a little package as my Christmas presents to all of you. It's not much, but it's my souvenir for each of you. I hope you like them. I thought they were special. I bought them in Jule Hus is Solvang. A Christmas shop that is open all year round. It's charming.
   Missionary work is going well here in this area. We're working with a few different people. I was so glad to hear about you all sharing "He Is The Gift". It's fun isn't it. People are so much more receptive and open to it. It's opening them up and bringing them Christmas joy. The other day we had stopped by to see our investigator E. and while we were talking to him on his doorstep about sharing "He Is The Gift" with his friends (he wanted extra cards to share, it was awesome) a UPS man ran up to the door to give E. a package. We turned to him and offered him a card too. He smiled as we told him about it and said he would watch it when he got home. Isn't the Christmas season fun? Also, L. is doing great. Special moments with L. this week: We read the Book of Mormon by a cozy fireplace in her living room. The following day we had a lesson and were able to help her commit to a baptismal date. We're working towards a day in late January. She's wonderful and we're excited for her to continue to learn and grow.
   Thursday was fun! You heard about the storm I gather. So that morning we drove down to Santa Barbara for District Meeting, which went well. Afterwards it was starting to rain, so we thought it would be safer to drive up the coastal way instead of taking the pass up to Solvang. It was beautiful to drive up there watching the stormy sea and waves. So cool! It rained lightly for most of the afternoon in Solvang. That night we were at dinner with a member and the winds picked up. We could see the huge window in their dining room bending in with the wind. They loaned us a fake Christmas tree and ornaments which all of us ran out to the car in the wind and rain. As we drove around Solvang we saw branches and things flying all over the place. It was crazy, and really fun to see at the same time. (You know me, naturally I was loving it.) The winds and rains continued to pick up. When we got home just before 9 our power was out. We got out our two little flashlights and planned for the following day. Then we decided to set up and decorate our tree in the dark. Haha. We would do that. We were almost done hanging up all the ornaments and we were joking about how funny our decorating job might look in the morning, when all of the sudden the power flicked on and the tree lit up. It was very pretty and I exclaimed, "It's magical!" And BLACK. The power went out again. It was a really funny moment. We laughed for a bit. The following morning we had power again, but it was humbling to drive around Solvang and Buellton and to see all of the damage from the storm. Palm leaves and tree branches everywhere. A ton of trees blew down! It's been quite the sight and things are still pretty messy outside. But it was a very fun storm to see. It's pretty chilly today and I hear more rain may be coming. :)
   Concerning Christmas trees, guess what? One of the members in this ward owns a few of the local tree lots and they had us come over and choose a tree! We chose a cute tree probably a little over 5 feet. We switched it for the fake one we had and decorated it. Every time we walk into our apartment we sigh. It smells so good! I love real Christmas trees. I feel so blessed.
   I watched a rocket launch! The other night we were at dinner and they told us there was going to be a rocket launch from the Vandenberg base. We watched the clock and went out to watch it. It was SO cool! It lit up the sky as it went up. I watched the pieces detach (Dad...I'm sorry I don't know what those are called) once it got up there and then the rumble hit us over there in Buellton. It was so loud and sounded like an earthquake. But there's a dream fulfilled and checked off my list. I got to watch a rocket going up into space. I think it was a spy satellite or something. Apparently it was a really big rocket though. You probably know more than I do though, you have access to the internet. ;)
   Daddy, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I love you so much and I hope that you have an amazing birthday. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers, as always. :) I love you. Thanks for being a wonderful dad.
   Oh! I forgot to tell you all last week, I got exciting news from the sisters up in Pismo Beach. J. got baptized! Yay! Sister R told me that it was a wonderful baptismal service and that he is doing well. She said that he was sad that me and Sister Hiapo couldn't be there, but that he's very grateful for us. Jim is so great. I'm so happy for him! :) Oh, it just feels so good to hear news like that, both with Shan Shan and Jim.
   Well, it sounds like things are happening back home. Thanks for sharing what's going on with me. I love hearing about you all. I'm so excited to call home on Christmas. Is it okay if I call at 11:00 my time (12:00 your time) on Christmas morning? Same as usual I'll be calling you via cell phone and it will be about 40 minutes. :) Are you excited? I am. I'll probably sob. It will be so good to hear your voices. Should I call you cell phone Dad? Is that the best and is it still the same number? I hope that you all get feeling well, those of you who are ill. I love you! You've got this! And by the way Mom and Emma, you are both so crafty and skilled. I wish I could be like you. I did mend my yellow cardigan this last month. I was making my stitches up, but Sister Cox said that I have it in my genes. I thought you'd like that Mom. :) Oh and I made chocolate chip cookies that tasted just like yours...almost. :)
   I hope you all have a wonderfully, fantastic week getting ready for Christmas. My present that I am sending can be opened right away so that it can be a part of your Christmas season too. I have the same one that I keep hanging right next to my desk so I'll be right there with you. Your missionary loves you all so much!
Love, Melanie (Sister Hardman)
P.S.- Haha in my personal study yesterday I came across this scripture and I started laughing. Luke 21:19 ;) You all know what I'm talking about. 

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