Monday, March 2, 2015

Hey Everyone!
   Thank you for your emails and your love and support today. You're all the best.
   We had a good week. On Tuesday we had exchanges with the sister training leaders. We share the ward with them, so it was funny to go work in the other half of the ward. I went to their area with Sister Kemp. We had a wonderful day. We did a lot of walking around Ventura and we talked to a ton of people. Unfortunately most of them were working and busy digging big holes for plumbing, painting walls, putting in a pool, fixing a fence, and a few other things. But most of them were excited to at least hear a bit and take a card or the address for the church. People are pretty nice most of the time. :) Two memorable parts of our exchange: We met a young man named C. (yeah, way cool name) who was really interested in what we shared and what we believe. He expressed to us about how bad he can see the world is getting and about his own personal fears of the end of the world. He could see that we didn't have fear of that. He wanted to know why and how. It was exciting to truly testify that this gospel, this church, and the Book of Mormon bring us joy, hope, and courage. After I specifically testified that I get peace every single time I read the Book of Mormon, he asked, "Every single time?" The look in his eyes was so sincere. I smiled and confidently said, "Yes...every time." I'm so grateful for the knowledge that I've been given that this church is true, and for the comfort and strength that this gospel gives me everyday. We do live in a scary world right now. We need the hope that the gospel brings. Another memorable event of the day was after dinner with an older sister in our ward. She asked us to help her move her washing machine which needed to be detached from the pipes and everything. The valves were supposedly closed, but unfortunately one had problems. As she started to unscrew the pipe from the washer all of us got sprayed in the face and we had to run to turn of the water on the other side of the room. It was pretty funny.
   I had a hard day on Saturday for some reason. I really didn't have a good reason, but it was a kind of hard day and I was just a bit down. It was one of those days...we all get them sometimes. But it was really cool, because I was able to see some really obvious tender mercies that I know were gifts from Heavenly Father. He really is aware of everything thought, feeling, need, or desire we have and he will send us the comfort and the strength. Here are a few examples of the tender mercies that abounded in my weekend:
1. After a slow morning I felt that I needed to treat myself to lunch. I know...bad. But I felt okay about it and like I really needed a boost. I decided on Arby's for sentimental value and felt good about my decision. Odd...I know. But we got there and I was ordering my food when a man comes running up to the counter and sticks his card out to the cashier and said, "I'm paying for it sisters." A kind member from Oxnard had seen us walk in and wanted to come pay for our lunch. He was so kind and we enjoyed talking with him for a few minutes. I know it was something so simple, but it meant a lot to me that he happened to be there at the right time and had the impression to pay for our lunch. I felt cared for and blessed.
2. I got home to the apartment and there was a wonderful package from Mom! Thanks Mom! It was wonderful and I loved every bit of it. The shirts and straightener are perfect and the letter from you made me so happy. Love you! Thanks.
3. During fast and testimony meeting several people included in their testimonies how the message that we had shared with them after dinner or the service that we had done for them that week helped and strengthened them. That made me feel really good too, to know that I had made a difference in their lives this last week.
4. I am in paradise. It is so pretty. Sorry if you're all tired of me saying that. But it is. I wouldn't live here, I love the snow and the seasons and the mountains too much, but I definitely love being here and will love visiting here. Ventura has just been beautiful in the last few days. Great big rainstorms and clear beautiful hours in between. The rain last night lifted me a ton and I was able to get drenched in it. Great! :)
   So yeah, I'm doing much better and I'm feeling very happy and blessed. I don't know why I had a hard couple of days, but it was great to be able to really recognize and see how much Heavenly Father loves me and is blessing me. I am so lucky. :) I'm grateful for all that I have. Sister Rasmussen is an amazing companion and I love her so much. We're having a great time together and she's a great support. 
   Next week we have transfers again. Where did this transfer go?! Time is speeding by! So this Saturday we'll get our transfer calls. I don't have any guesses for this one, so we'll see what happens. I'll be happy with anything the Lord wants me to do.
   Here's a quote for the day:  "Heavenly Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ, know us individually and personally. For that reason, They provide what we need so we will have the opportunity to reach our divine potential. Along the road, They place people who will help us. Then, as we become instruments in Their hands, we are able to serve and help those They show to us by revelation." (Elder Hugo E. Martinez)
   It was so wonderful to hear from you all today and I look forward to hearing more and seeing you relatively soon. Thanks for the great email today Dad. I think you're awesome. And thanks again for the great package, Mom. I love you all! I'm going to go enjoy those Starburst Jelly Beans we just bought with Sister Rasmussen. Everything is looking great and it's going to be a fantastic week, I can tell. :) Love you!
Love, Melanie (Sister Hardman)

~Sunday night just after sunset it started to rain...a lot! It was a beautiful evening.

~Sunday morning it was clear enough between rain storms to see the arch on the island. The ocean was bluer than blue and it made for a beautiful Sunday morning.

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