Hello Loved Ones!
I hope that you are having a wonderful week. I loved your emails today, and I loved hearing about what's going on back home. By the way, I think that's adorable Jana, that James "mailed" me something. :) Tell everyone I love them! All of you reading this: I love YOU.
Wow there is a lot that happened this week. Solvang is getting so cute and Christmas-ed up. If that makes sense. It's so fun to see all the lights and to carol and stuff. It was a great week. To start off, it rained on Tuesday. A Lot! I loved it and it was very fun to be able to go about Solvang in the rain. Beautiful. Funny story from Tuesday. This was so crazy. We were going to meet with a less-active member for lunch. He wanted to buy us pizza at this good restaurant. That was delicious. Then we went to visit someone else...who insisted on feeding us pizza. Not to mention we had had pizza the night before with a family for dinner. But get this, we went to our dinner on Tuesday night and...they had ordered a pizza. Haha. It was so funny! Three times in one day. :) It's okay, I still love pizza. It was just a crazy amount for one day. My stomach didn't like me that night. Now I'm craving pizza again, so no harm done.
On Wednesday we participated in a community service project that a bunch of women in our community do. We were packing care packages for the troops and sending them off. We worked for several hours and it was a special thing. We got to write a little letter with each one, and it was special to send love to others that are also serving away from home this Christmas. It really was a special service to do. Yesterday a member told us that they saw us on TV! There was a reporter there and apparently you can see us in some of the footage. I always wanted to be on television. ;)
Now how about that amazing Christmas Devotional last night? I always love those and last night's was special too. To share some of my thoughts, I'll share some of what I wrote in my journal last night: I loved all that was said about how much developing the Christlike attributes and turning to our Savior will enable us to "succor" or "run to and lift" those in need and to bless their lives. Just as our Savior was sent down to Earth from Heaven to do the Father's will and to have a huge, good influence, we are sent here for the same noble purpose. We can make such a huge difference for others. President Henry B. Eyring's talk then went perfectly along those lines. He talked about the light that each of us can have. He spoke of the Light of Christ, how we can "glow", and how if we seek and obtain and work to share that light, it will be given to us more and more. We will glow more and more. I loved that. I want to glow! Jesus Christ is the light of the world. If we stand with Him we will also be a light to the world. The song lyrics came to my mind. "Remember you are greatest when you walk with God. When His light is in your eyes, you are truly strong." Cheesy, but I love it. There are moments sometimes after a lesson that goes really well and is super powerful when you look in the mirror and you can see a light in your own eyes. I don't know how to describe it, but you feel beautiful and light when you feel the Spirit and you know you're doing your best. I am striving to be a light to others. In a lesson with L. yesterday I was truly humbled and lifted. She is doing so well. She's progressing. She knows this church is the Lord's church because of us, the members. She told us that! She said that our Christlike examples tell her that we are His messengers and representatives. She said that we bring the Spirit and our love and she recognizes it. We did have some special moments with her this week. We helped her get to the ward Christmas activity which she loved. To help her get ready for the party we stood there for about 30 minutes combing through her knotted hair. It was something I never imagined myself doing, but it was a tender moment, just focusing on helping her to feel loved and well enough to come to the party. She asked us to sing hymns to her as we brushed. We did. :) I braided her hair when we were finished and she was so excited to go to the party. Special moments with L. :) By the way, yesterday she wanted to ask all about our family. I showed her the pictures that I carry with me and she thinks our family is wonderful. Mom and Dad, she told me to tell you that you are doing a wonderful job and to keep going.
Have you all watched the "He Is The Gift" video and have you all been sharing it like crazy? I hope so. ;) We love sharing it. We got tons of the special pass-along cards and we're working hard to invite others to focus on and embrace their Savior. It's been wonderful.
Coming up this week: The huge, delicious and fun Relief Society Christmas party is this Tuesday. And the new norm for transfer calls is for us to receive that call and find out the Saturday before. So this Saturday I will find out about next transfer. Exciting stuff. You think I'm staying here in Solvang? I hope so, but I'll go where the Lord wants me to go. :) I trust Him. He's been answering my prayers and giving me everything I need. Yesterday after fasting I received some clear answers to my prayers while reading the scriptures. I love prayer. I love the scriptures. I love the Holy Ghost and my Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. I feel very loved and led.
I hope you all have a wonderful day and a fantastic week.
I love you so much!
Love, Melanie (Sister Hardman)
~It rained A LOT on Tuesday. It was beautiful.
~This house is a great source of entertainment for the neighborhood. They went all out with the coordinating lights and music. Every time we drive past there are a ton of people watching. We enjoy it a bit too. :)