Monday, December 1, 2014

Hey Family!
   What an exciting week! There was a lot that happened this week. It was wonderful.
   It was so fun to hear about your week too. Thanksgiving looked wonderful and very special. I loved the pictures! Thanks. :)  I'm glad you were able to have the missionaries over. Missionaries are pretty great. ;) And it's so fun that you were able to talk with Elder Hernandez, Mike. I love connections that you have. And Elder Evans got to play the ukulele. The other night after a dinner appointment, a cute girl in our ward pulled out her little violin that she started learning that day. She played a simple song and then asked if I could play. I told her that I could...and that I didn't sound so good any more, that it had been a while. She handed it over and had me play a couple of the Christmas hymns. Guess what? I can still totally read the music and play the right notes. I'm just really squeaky. But it felt SO good to play it a bit for a few minutes. Little tender mercies. I'm excited to play instruments again after my mission. Good luck at the Messiah performance! Tell Mr. Wilcock that I said hello and that I think he's awesome. Also please tell him for me that, "It's time to be...songing!" :) Thanks. Oh, Emma knows Justin too? Will you please tell him that I said hi too. Congrats on your licence Em. Treat Maude well. I miss little "put put." And new technology huh? Fun stuff. Yeah, please keep my old one still. Mom, you got an iPad? I'm so jealous. We're supposed to get them eventually, but it's been a long process. I would love to still get iPads in our mission before I leave, but you never know. They would be a great resource and help.
   This week we had exchanges with the sister training leaders from SLO. I got to go with Sister Hegstrom finally. She has been going on exchanges with my companions since my second transfer and we've never actually been together! So it was really fun. She's going home in two weeks. The day was wonderful, we were able to do a lot of service in helping people prepare for Thanksgiving, and we were able to talk with a lot of people and find 2 new investigators. I love sharing the gospel. It is so amazing to see people that are prepared and eager to learn when you find them. I loved having exchanges with Sister Hegstrom. She is so amazing and I am so grateful for her. I learned so much and we were able to talk about a lot of things that have become so important to me and a lot of things that I've learned and become in the last year. I'm really excited to continue to serve with all of my heart for the next 6 months. Being a missionary is wonderful!
   I loved being able to go to the temple this week. It felt so wonderful and I received guidance and strength. Oh my goodness. It was such a wonderful day. The night before we went on splits with the Hermanas, so I went and slept over at their apartment with Hermana Bennion while Hermana Hurley and Sister Cox stayed in ours. Hermana Bennion and I had so much fun talking that night and getting to know each other. We laughed and told stories and had a great time. In the morning we woke up bright and early at 4. Yikes! :) We got ready and met up with two sisters from our ward who were taking us to the Temple. We started on the long drive to LA. Hermana Bennion slept for most of the time there. It was early, around 5:30 or 6 as we were driving the stretch right next to the ocean before Santa Barbara and Ventura. It was so beautiful! The sunrise on the ocean, the oil rig lights reflecting off the water, the excitement of going to the Temple, it was all just great! With how timing worked out we were actually able to do initiatories and a session. It was wonderful to be there again. I sat in the same chair I sat in back in February after the session and remembered back. It was a great experience. I love the Temple. The drive back was a lot of fun too. Sister Liljenquist treated us to lunch and we were able to talk about her mission experiences and stuff.
   Thanksgiving Day was wonderful and we ate...well. :) Though I didn't get any cinnamon apples, secret rolls, or creamed corn. It's okay those are special things I'll save for home. Our District Meeting was a lot of fun too. I love our little group of missionaries. I love the people we meet on our missions.
   Let's see, coming up this week we have a few cool community service projects like packing gifts to support the troops. We also have the Ward Christmas Party on Wednesday night. Oh, and the First Presidency Christmas Devotional! That's this weekend right? I'm excited for that. Woah! It's December. Happy December everyone!
   Well I love you all so much and I hope that you have a wonderful, wonderful day and week.
Love, Melanie (Sister Hardman)
P.S.-Mom, Dad, and Bonnie the picture of you made me smile. You're all so cute and look so happy.

~Me, Hermana Bennion, and Sister Liljenquist at the Los Angeles Temple.

~Exchanges with Sister Hegstrom

~Package from Bethany on Thanksgiving! :)

~Check out this VERY large cat. :)

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