Monday, March 30, 2015

Hey Family!
   I'm excited to email you today. (Well...I'm ALWAYS excited to email you.) But I love all of you and I enjoyed reading all of your emails today and feeling close to you. Holy cow, that email was hilarious, Emma! Thanks for being the family's representative for the week. You did well. You're right, a snail on a hot summer's day moves very slowly. I would know because I pass about 30 giant snails on the sidewalk a day. :) I hope you can tell from my cheery attitude that things are going well. This week went really well, I was given a lot of awesome opportunities, blessings, experiences, and fun moments. So things are great down here, and I will continue to make them so.
   Here are a few things that went on this week:
   It was so wonderful to see President and Sister Felix a few times this week. They're awesome. Besides Sister Felix's visit to our apartment last Sunday, we also got to see and talk with them for a while at interviews this week on Thursday. Then yesterday on Sunday I made Sister Felix Temple cookies for her birthday and since we are the luckiest missionaries in the whole mission and the Felix's live in OUR area, we were able to actually go and deliver them and sing to her. They were so excited to see us and invited us into the Mission Home for a few minutes to show it to us and to visit. President Felix was wearing an apron and working in the kitchen, it was funny. Then we also got to see them at the big concert last night. I love serving in Ventura!
   The work is going well. This week we taught a young man named M. who doesn't have a religious background, but loves the member family next door. He spends a ton of time with them and comes to church with them occasionally. He loves the way it feels at church and in their home. He's now interested in taking the lessons and learning. We taught the restoration in the members home and it went so well. We talked about prayer, since he's never prayed before, and we were able to witness his very first prayer. He was excited and brave and wanted to try it. It was special to witness the first time that he's really tried to talk with Heavenly Father. I am so grateful that I grew up knowing that I could pray to him at any time. What a blessing. Thanks Mom and Dad. You changed my life. :) 
   Can I just say that I think Sister Wilson is great. We get along so well, love the work, do our best, and have a lot of fun together too. I really love being her companion and she is teaching me so much by her example of service and courage. She's very bold and diligent and she also looks for opportunities all around her to serve in simple ways. I'm learning a lot from that. I want to be better about seeing little acts of service that I can do for those around me. A little service miracle we saw this week came as we went and mopped the floor of a less-active, injured member. Her young son is an active member in the young mens and as he asked us questions about serving missions and about the gospel you could see how hungry he was for that spirit and for that truth. It was nice to make a difference in that home.
   Last night I was really touched by the concert. The Southern California Mormon Choir came and performed last night at the Ventura Stake Center for a musical fireside. I think it's amazing the power that music has to lift us, strengthen our testimony of the Savior, and as the hymn book says, to "...move us towards righteous action." I have always loved and will always love music! My testimony was strengthened a lot and I enjoyed the Spirit there very much. Plus their wonderful choir brought back a lot of music memories to me. Here were a few of my favorites: Mack Wilberg's arrangments of Praise to the Lord, the Almighty; I Believe In Christ (They included the audience in the last verse and it was SO powerful and strong. We had a wonderful organist too.); and Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. They also did two unique ones that I really liked and that were the ones that brought me back to memories: Jesus Loves Me to an arrangment that was based on Clair de Lune, and Lamb of God, What Wonderous Love to Pavanne! I love Pavanne. :) It was a special concert and I felt blessed that we were able to attend it. We got to be the ushers too.
   I've also been preparing for General Conference in my usual way and I have been praying about a few specific questions that I have. I love the leaders of our church and listening to their words. I'm so excited for this conference weekend and for Easter. I know my testimony will continue to grow and become stronger. I hope you all enjoy it too. I'll be watching it at the same time as you, just here in the Ventura Stake Center with a small group of missionaries. I'll be thinking about you. Here's a scripture from the New Testament in the Bible, in honor of asking questions and seeking revelation and guidance in General Conference this week: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." Matthew 7:7 Notice the action words. "" And notice the promises. "...It shall be given shall shall be opened unto you." I know, for myself that the Lord loves all of us so much and wants to give us answers, guidance, and direction. I know that when we ask for it, we receive it. I trust that answers will come to me this weekend. I hope that all of you will experience the same. I'm so excited to hear all of General Conference. Here we go!
   Everyone, I love you so much. I think about each of you individually and pray for you every day. You have helped me to become who I am and I am so grateful to be a member of this family. I love you all! Happy Easter! :)
Love, Melanie (Sister Hardman)

made Temple cookies for Sister Felix's birthday and we went and sung to her at the mission home and visited with her and President Felix for a bit.

~We were doing yard work for a sister in our ward and Sister Wilson found my Prince Charming. ;)  And I thought I would never kiss a frog. ;)

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