Monday, February 23, 2015

Hello Everyone!
   How are things on the home front? It was so wonderful to hear about the amazing events of this week. I think our family is so great and I am so happy to be a part of it. I love you everyone! Keep doing your best, and remember that I'm still alive and I love you. ;)
   Well...this week was kind of interesting. Unfortunately I had an upset stomach for a couple of days and that kept us in a bit, but I'm feeling much better now and Sister Rasmussen and I were able to have fun and spend some good time together. The 4 Elders in our District brought us ice cream and Gatorade. Much appreciated. We watched the full Joseph Smith movie and Mountain of the Lord a couple of times, talked a lot, slept a lot, ate little, and enjoyed each other's company.
   Haha, in answer to your question Mom, nope I'm not working her too hard. She works me pretty hard. :) She's a get-it-done kind of person. We're doing great and yes, we laugh at least once a day. We have quite a few inside jokes. For example, I cannot walk as fast as her. She's a speed-walker and she misses her heals. Also, have I mentioned that she talks in her sleep? It's hilarious. My bed is super loud, so every time I roll over onto my other side it wakes up her sleep-talking. Another funny story from a week or two ago. We were in the middle of giving a message to a family with a little bug literally flew in her mouth and she started choking. Yup...strange things happen to missionaries. So yeah, we're pretty great together.
   And to answer your question last week Dad of what Ventura is like and what the people are like here. Ventura is exciting. It's so varied compared to many places I've been. Since it's a bigger city than my past areas there are definitely more areas that we avoid, especially at night. There are people from all different places and countries. There are colleges, students, surfers, homeless people, rich people, poor people, and a lot of others. We see and talk to a lot of nice people each day. We see a lot of pretty views, especially the sunsets. Work in Ventura is kind of crazy at times and I honestly think that there's always some crazy out-of-the-ordinary situation that we have to deal with here. It keeps us on our toes. Exciting place.
   On Monday we went to a hike that looks out over all of Ventura. You can hike it or you can just drive up to the look out. It's definitely a place that I want to take you all someday. It's SO pretty. It was a foggy day and we couldn't even see the islands, but it was still so beautiful to see the coast and the city. Question, is this the same view as the one that I posted with my mission call or is it just similar? Other fun fact of this week: a member took us to dinner at an Italian restaurant and the host came and sang to our table in Italian. Awesome! In other exciting news. This last week I hit my 15 month mark!!! Can you believe it? :)
   The work this week has been a bit hard, but we're doing our best and keeping cheerful. Unfortunately we had to stop seeing a couple of our investigators due to some past things that have come up, and one of the main people that we've been teaching, J. is in the hospital down in LA with a ton of medical problems. We miss her and are praying for her. She still wants to be baptized, her health is just so fragile right now. We referred her to the missionaries down there and passed the situation. They came and gave her a blessing and are visiting her each week to continue nourishing her testimony and giving her support and comfort.
   Zone Conference! It was wonderful! It turns out that it was the last full zone conference that I will have on my mission since they won't be having another full one till June. I got to drive us up there to Goleta which I loved. We got caught in the Santa Barbara stop and go traffic at 5:30 and that was an experience. A fun one. It's a beautiful drive. It was so great to be there with so many missionary friends that I've made throughout my mission. I got the chance to spend time with Sister Moure, Sister Hiapo, Hermana Winn, Elder Cavassos, Elder Lee, and a few others. It was great. Lunch was fun. Question, does Sister Felix post all of those pictures she takes on the mission blog? I've never seen it naturally. Anyway, the conference went really well. It was mainly about our testimonies of Jesus Christ. Our new Christlike attribute that we are focusing on in our mission from Preach My Gospel is Faith In Jesus Christ. The way they introduced it was wonderful and near the end of the meeting President Felix played several clips from the apostles and the prophets testifying of how they know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He lives. It was amazing. It was so powerful to listen to all of those testimonies and then to be able to add our own witness to theirs. I know that many of us may never see Him face to face in this life on Earth, but he shows himself to each of us in our own special way. He wants us to know Him and understand the role he plays in our lives. I know that as we seek to grow closer to Him He will embrace us whole-heartedly. All of us can come to know more and more for ourselves that He is our Savior and that He is there for us every step of the way. He truly does love us. Missionaries like to give invitations. Can I invite you all to do something? I want to invite each of you to take a copy of the apostles testimony: "The Living Christ" and read it this week. I promise that it will fill you with peace and a stronger confirmation that He lives and loves us. I know that every word of that document is true. I have felt it so strongly this week as I have studied and recited those words. He lives and loves us.
   I hope that all of you have a wonderful day and an enjoyable week. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I'm keeping you in mine. :) I love you all so much!
   Melanie (Sister Hardman)

~15 Month Mission Birthday!!! :)

~Sick day...the 4 Elders in our District brought us ice cream and Gatorade. Much appreciated. :)

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