Thursday, March 27, 2014


I'm sort of big on tying up loose ends, I always have been. I don't like when things feel incomplete, so I figured it was time to wrap things up on this blog. After all, I've been home from my mission for six months now. The last time I posted over here I was under the impression that I would soon be headed back to finish my mission in Madrid. But after six weeks of visits with specialists, and a long wait to hear back from the church's missionary department in Salt Lake, I was told I wouldn't be going back to Spain and that it was time to move on with my life.

Oh boy, that was the hardest news I've ever received. There were several nights that I woke from restless sleep in tears because I was so upset about not being able to finish my mission. I felt heartbroken, angry, sad, worthless and alone. It took me a long time to understand that my mission was over, and that it was part of the plan Heavenly Father had in store for me. Coming home five months early because I was sick was undoubtedly one of the biggest trials I've experienced. But here I am, six months down the road, and I'm finally happy.

I've recognized the many ways in which coming home has turned into a blessing, I've been able to continue sharing the gospel (in a very big way), and I've finally felt the peace that comes from knowing that Heavenly Father takes care of His children. And that, my friends, has been one of the greatest blessings of all...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tender mercies (part 1)

Elder David A. Bednar once taught us that, "...the tender mercies of the Lord are real and they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence... [they] are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ."

In the last 5 weeks I've learned that to be completely true. Being home has undoubtedly been one of the toughest trials I've passed through. But at the same time, I've experienced the very personal and individualized tender mercies that Elder Bednar speaks of. And that has made the experience a little less painful. 

My little brother reported to the MTC on September 17th. He and my parents flew out to Utah to drop him off on the 15th, the very day after I got home. If I hadn't come back when I did, it would have been three years (almost to the day) since I saw him last. That kid means the world to me, and to be able to unexpectedly see him, even for just a few hours, was easy for me to recognize as a loving tender mercy from the Lord.

My favorite part about seeing him were the moments we spent in our stake president's office. Conner was set apart before I was released, and for just a little bit, we were both missionaries. There was an undeniable spirit in the room -- it was powerful, and bittersweet. 

I'm so grateful for the time I was able to spend with my now missionary brother. And I'm grateful that the Lord knows me so perfectly to know that that was exactly what I needed upon coming home. Tender mercies are real, peeps. I can't wait to tell you more.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Happy year mark to me... not

President Jackson picked me up early - 6am or so - and drove me to the airport in Barajas. After unloading my luggage from the mission van, he walked me inside and sat me down by the check-in counter. 

"Alright Hermana, thanks for everything. We love you and we'll miss you. Get better okay?"

And just like that, he was gone. I looked around and found myself all alone, for the first time in over a year. Up until then I had been okay. But sitting there alone in the airport, everything became so real.

I was going home.

The tears came suddenly and wouldn't stop. For a second I was glad I was alone because that way I could cry silently by myself. Nobody would understand anyways. 

I made it through security and to the gate relatively composed. But after boarding the plane, the tears returned. I had a long 12 hours to reflect over the last year of my life - the best year of my life. Most people have time to mentally and emotionally prepare for their return home. But I got ripped out of the best thing that had ever happened to me and was about to be shoved back into reality, with only a few days notice. 

When the plane arrived in Louisville, I hesitated getting off and I took my time walking towards baggage claim because I knew the moment I saw my family, it would officially be over. It would mean I was home. 

The second I saw my mom's face I just started crying again. She hugged me tight and the first thing out of my mouth, and a complete surprise to me, was, "I love you, but I really don't want to be here." It was true though. My mission wasn't supposed to be over so quickly and the only place I wanted to be was Madrid.

That night, September 14th, I was released as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was asked to take off my badge...

I am home on a medical release. I have had seven internal infections in the last five months and it has become a cause of concern for my mission president as well as the European area medical authority, so they sent me back here. In the last three weeks that I've been home, I've seen doctors and specialists, had scans run and tests done, and am now hopefully on my way to a speedy recovery. 

Though I'd rather not be here, I'm trying to look for the good in my situation, and be grateful for the tender mercies the Lord has given me.

"If the bitter cup doesn't pass, drink it." - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Tuesday, September 10, 2013



You're going to have to forgive me for my negativity. This week has been one of the hardest my whole mission. I don't like my area. It's huge (we cover up by the airport in Barajas area, over to Plaza de Castilla, down to Gregorio Marañón, over to Canillejas and everything in between) and there's not very many Latins.  Spaniards, just aren't very open and they never give us their numbers. We live in Mar de Cristal and it takes a million hours to get anywhere so we spend half our day in the metro. It's really really exhausting. I feel like crying every night when I get home, but I just don't have any energy left. It's so hard to be here. I feel discouraged and disappointed and I'm not happy. I wake up every morning looking forward to 10:00 when I can go home and sleep. I realize it's only been a week, but it's been the longest, most draining week ever and I don't think I'll survive another 5 weeks like this, but we'll see.

On a happy note, I really like Hermana Manner. Misery loves company, right? Neither of want to be here and we feel like we've been demoted to B4. Things were happening in our last areas - we left baptisms, families, improving wards, and companions who we felt like needed us. But all the time we're spending in the metro has let us get to know eachother and that's cool. She turned 20 Tuesday, but she's so mature and seems to have life figured out. I like her a lot and it's making being here a little bit easier. 

Today when I got to emails I had this little gem from Hermana Marshall waiting for me. We only spent 48 hours together in an intercambio, but I love her a lot and she always says just the right thing at just the right time. She went home in April and I miss her, but THIS is exactly what I needed...

''The plan is so real and so simple. We are Children of GOD, blinded by the darkness of a fallen world and often forget it. Satan does ALL he can to tell us we suck, we are lost, we don't matter or even that God isn't there and doesn't care. BUT God and His mighty power, grace, mercy and all knowing wisdom does all He can to bring us back to Him. You are part of that MIGHTY force, cause you are connected to the powers of Heaven more than you could ever believe. God has been preparing hearts and the perfect timing, so that his children you come in contact with this week will feel his love and have a greater understanding of their Father in Heaven. CALL DOWN THE POWERS OF HEAVEN IN ALL YOU DO. Do all you do with greater purpose because there is not a second of your day that the Lord is not aware of. Walk every step with a deeper understanding of the great plan of the universe. Be better than you have been, pray harder than you have prayed that you will be able to have clear eyes and an open heart to where the Lord is guiding you!!''

I know my negativity and feelings of discouragment, doubt, and disappointment come from Satan. I know that he wants me to give up and that he wants me to fail. I know that it would be easy for me to give into those thoughts and to just lay down and quit, but I also know that Heavenly Father is aware of me and that He put me here for a reason. I know that there are people here in B4 (though they seem to be hiding) that God has prepared, that are ready to hear the gospel and my testimony and that they need me. So even though it's hard, I'll keep going.

I'll leave you with one last quote, this one from Brigham Young... ''All intelligent beings who are crowned with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives must pass through every ordeal appointed for intelligent beings to pass through to gain their glory and exaltation. Every calamity that can come upon mortal beings will be suffered to prepare them to enjoy the presence of the Lord. Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation.''

I love you so so much. With the week I've had, the news about Charlie, and Conner leaving next week, I really just want to be with my family. I hope you know how much you guys mean to me and that without you, none of this would mean very much. I'm grateful for the plan that our loving Heavenly Father prepared for us so that we never have to doubt that forever together is possible.

Hermana Munden

Monday, September 2, 2013

Have I mentioned I hate transfers?

Hey peeps,

Well, this morning I said goodbye to Pavones. I was so sure that Hermana Heims and I would be staying together in Pavones for another transfer, but Heavenly Father had something else in mind. Hermana Heims went to Cuatro Caminos with Hermana Caballero and I'm in B4 with Hermana Manner. I don't even really know where this area is. Close to the airport I think. Remember how I was super depressed when I had to leave Leganés and come to Pavones? Well I was finally happy there and now I'm majorly bummed to leave. I love Hermana Heims a ton and we did so well together. Oh wellllll. Hermana Manner is from Idaho and has been out 5 months. She visa-waited in Provo for a little bit too, so that's one thing we have in common. We're opening this area for hermanas so we're starting from nothing. It's gonna be a lot of work, but that's what I'm here for right?

my shoes you sent me a few months ago... completely broken 

This last week was pretty awesome actually. Fátima and Luna just make me so happy. They were our little miracle this transfer and I'm so grateful for all the moments I've had with them.

me with my sweet Fátima and Luna

Fátima is opening up and she's excited for her baptism. We have really spiritual lessons with her and she's just so so ready! And little Luna... She loves her version of the Book of Mormon and she loves praying. She looks up to Fátima so much and she learns so quickly! I'm gonna miss them a ton.

Wednesday morning was the temple and it was so wonderful. It was a really good session and I liked seeing the whole zone before I had to leave. Hermana Stepp has the pictures on her camera, so I'll probably get those to you next week. Also on Wednesday I FINALLY got my package. Thanks for that. It's been super wonderful.

Thursday we taught Belén the plan of salvation. I love her so much. She's finally warming up to us and I like being able to have more of a relationship with her. When we got to the Atonment I asked if she knew that Jesus Christ suffered for her. She said, ''Well yeah, I mean He suffered for everyone right?'' And I said, ''But do you know that He suffered for you specifically? Like do you know that if you were the only person on the planet He still would have done it for only you?'' She thought about it for a second and said, ''If that's true, that's really really cool.'' I love telling her how much she's loved and how much she matters to God.

Belén :) 

After Belén we went to the church for correlation and Noche de Hogar. The man who was in charge of it didn't show up (things like that just don't happen in the States) so they asked us to do it. We thought really hard for like 1 minute and decided to talk about the hymns. We read part of the First Presidency's prologue and talked about the importance of good music. Then we divided the room into 5 groups and had them each pick a hymn and when it got to them they had to tell us which verse they liked best, the message it taught, and then we sang that verse. It was really cool. It made me think more about the words I was singing and I really felt the Spirit. If no one else liked it, I sure did!

Friday was Mom's birthday! Don't think I forgot! I wrote it in my planner and everything, so I hope you had a really good birthday! Friday wasn't very productive cause a lot of people failed us, but the best part of it all was the JAS dance.

My JAS: Alex, Ricardo (I don't know his last name haha but he's a missionary now!) and Arturo

Jaime, Fátima, Lucero, Renzo and María came! Everyone but María was being super lame and nobody would go dance, but eventually I got Fátima and Arturo dancing together and then by the end of the night she even asked Eduardo (my recent convert Eduardo) to dance!  JAS dances here are nothing like they are in the states - they're so much better! They play songs that are on the radio, but most of the music is like salsa and meregue and bachata, and all the Latins get up and move. They're so dang good.

Saturday after English class we had our meal. Not very many people showed up, which surprised me, but it was okay because we had the perfect amount of food. The 4 of us made spaghetti and it was bomb. Elder Cataldi (the Italian) came and he gave it a 7 out of 10. And hey, from an Italian, that's pretty impressive. Anyhow, it was really fun. Later that night we watched the ''The Work of Salvation'' broadcast with the ward. We announced it at church the week before and even divided the list of members between the 6 of us so they could each get a personal invitation, but only 25 people came. Our ward has 250 members. It was a little disappointing. But all the leaders chastized everyone on Sunday about not coming, so it was okay. Haha and they're gonna show it again this coming Sunday.

Church was SO GOOD! We had 6 people there! That's more than I've ever had come while I've been here. We had Jaime, Fátima, Luna, Lucero, Renzo and Nicolás. Jack taught Gospel Principles and it was awesome. Jack is British, but he's lived here since he was 7 so if you close your eyes and listen to him he sounds like someone straight from Andalucía. But then when he speaks English, it's super beautiful too. Haha anyhow, his class was awesome. He served here (in B6 actually) a couple of years ago and the way he connects with the people is really incredible. I wanna be more like that. He talked about missionary work and it was good for our investigators to see what we're doing and why we're doing it. Then in sacrament meeting I bore my testimony because, well, I was leaving and I wanted to say goodbye. 

It was hard being in B6 - mostly because of the ward. But now that I'm gone I really miss it. I miss my companion and Hermana Smith, I miss the really awesome families that fed us and invited us into their homes, and mostly I miss the people we taught. It breaks my little heart that I won't be able to be at Fátima's baptism. She was so sad yesterday. I told her a million times that the message is the same, even though the messengers are different. That didn't really help though. I love her a lot and I hope the elders take good care of her and her family. I hate saying goodbye.

Us with Belén

I'm trying to be positive about this new transfer, but it's a little tough. I don't know anyone or anything. I feel way out of my comfort zone and like it's going to be hard to gain the trust of the members. But maybe there's a lot of things I need to learn and this is the only place that I can do that right now. 

I hope you guys all have a good week! I miss you. But I'll be seeing you really soon.

Hermana Munden

P.S. My new address is:

Hermana Munden
C/ Macuaje 9, Bº Izquierda
28033 Madrid

Monday, August 26, 2013

''Be ready always...'' (1 Peter 3:15)

Hola Familiaaaa!

What's weird is that this is the last week of the transfer. The time seriously goes by way too fast. I can't decide what my predictions are... I think I might leave because I've been here three transfers, but I also think I might stay because I'm training Heimsy. So I really have no idea, but I'll find out Saturday!

Last Monday after Toledo we taught Maribel and Fátima the plan of salvation and it couldn't have gone any better. At one point we were talking about earthy life and how it's full of challenges and trials, but that everything that we go through is for our benefit and it helps us learn and gives us an opportunity to become a little more like our Savior. Anyhow, so Maribel goes, ''Yeah, exactly. That's why I always tell Fátima about the contract.'' Obviously I was like, ''What contract is that?'' and she goes, ''The contract that we signed with God up there before we lived here. You know, saying we agreed to His plan and that we'd come back to Him.'' HOLD THE PHONE. What person who isn't a member and who is learning the plan of salvation for the first time says that type of thing !? Maribel, that's who. She's so dang on the ball, it kiiiills me! I love Maribel. Then after the lesson we went with Fátima to the JAS Noche de Hogar. It was waaaay good. This kid Ricardo who just reported to the MTC this last Wednesday gave the message. He showed us this video ( and we talked about the Atonement. It was really powerful and Fátima really enjoyed it.

Tuesday we were at the hospital from 10am to 5pm. As you can imagine it was the best day of my life. First was the majorly awkward ultrasound of my bladder with the old Spanish doctor. Then blood tests to see if I'm still anemic. Then Dr. Mohamed Mohamed from Palestine analyzed all that junk (ultrasound, blood test, two urine analysises) and this is what he told me. My ultrasound showed nothing anatomically wrong with me and the blood test showed that my iron was normal so the anemia is gone. When he looked at the UA's though, he said each one tested positive for a different infection, instead of the same one coming back. He said that was curious so here's what's up. I'm on two antibiotics for a week and then cranberry pills for a month. On the 3rd I'm going back for another UA and then hopefully the problem will be solved.

Our district meetings this transfer have been super good and I've been learning a lot. I don't remember who said it or where they got it or anything (not helpful, sorry), but they said everyday we should ask ourselves, ''Have I increased in faith, virtue, knowledge, godliness, and love?'' Interesting. Hopefully our answer is yes. That night we taught just Fátima because Maribel was working and Luna was in Perú, but the lesson was awesome. We taught the second half of the plan of salvation and she picked everything up super quick. We also invited her to be baptized September 14th and she said yes! That's two days after my year mark. Happy year to me, hopefully I'm still here for it! She's really excited and we're excited for her!

Thursday we had a lesson with this reference named Paula. She's from Colombia, here with her husband, and super wonderful. She had all sorts of questions and my favorite was, ''So how do I become a member?'' She's from heaven. After the lesson she stayed for the Relief Society activity which was María Elena teaching us how to make arepas. Then we headed to Sol to meet up with the Hermana Leader Trainers for intercambios. I stayed in our area with Hermana Caballero and Hermana Heims went to Vallecas with Hermana Olsen.

The intercambio was good. I'm always nervous about them cause I'm not a fan, but it was good! Hermana Caballero is Spanish and has been out 9 months. I love Hermana Caballero, but I was happy to have Heimsy back Friday night.

Yesterday in Sacrament Meeting they announced that Elder Ballard would be in Spain next month! Someone get more info on that for me! I wanna know where he's gonna be and if I get to see him :) Also came the announcement that starting the 15th our meeting schedule changes from 10am church to 3pm church. Who wants to be at church from 3-6? Not this guy. This good news is though that none of our investigators will be able to say it's too early! Last night we had a really spiritual temple tour with Jaime. He's opening up and we're making him think. I like it a lot.

Well, that's all I got. This week is temple week! And our ward is FINALLY watching ''The Work of Salvation'' broadcast. I hope it gets our members pumped about missionary work.

I don't know if anyone besides you guys reads these emails anymore, but for those of you who do, send me your missionary experiences! I've gotten a couple lately and it makes me really happy to see what's going on in other parts of the Lord's vineyward. Be ready always to tell people why you are the way you are; why you're happy, how you've found peace, why life matters. There's people out there waiting to hear :)

I love you!
Hermana Munden

Monday, August 19, 2013

The end is near... work harder

Hi there ;)

How weird is it that 6 months from yesterday I'll be home? I really don't want it to end! However, knowing that my time is almost up, I only have 4 transfers left, motivates me to work harder and be better. My companion also helps me with that too. She is so good - obedient, always positive, diligent, patient, easy going, super kind, and she likes to work hard. I seriously feel like she's training me. She's got some baby magic or something.
Anyhow, so one of the few highlights from this week was the lesson with Maribel, Fátima, and this time Luna too! We taught them the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and they understood everything pretty quickly. At the end we talked a lot about prayer and how it's the way that God has given us to know truth.  We talked about how the Holy Ghost works and how God answers our prayers through Him. We also bore testimony that along with prayer, an answer would come through continuing to meet with us, reading the Book of Mormon, and attending church.  Luna was all giggly and shy and I asked if she had any questions. She thought for a minute and then said, ''Just one. Hermana Munden... did God answer you?'' I teared up a little bit and told her that He had answered me, over and over again. I told her that I was baptized when I was about her age and that even though I didn't know everything, I knew that I wanted to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized and that's what God wanted me to do too. I love their little family so much and I can't wait to watch them progress.

On Thursday we were chilling on Temple grounds waiting for a lesson and met some Americans who were visiting Spain. They were cool because a) the son served in Thailand and b) they knew April McMurray! That night we had Noche de Hogar with the ward and for the first time in weeks it was actually fun! The elders were in charge and we read Alma 47:2-19 and acted it out. People got super into it and it was good change.

there's this store here called Taste of America and it has everything good and holy


Friday night we had a lesson with Belén, Karolina Herrerra's friend. She was super shy, but really nice. She said she likes coming to YW's because she learns how to be closer to God. Karolina was really helpful in the lesson - she bore powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and how it helps us when making decisions and fighting temptation that's all around the youth these days. She also said the cutest prayer at the end asking that Belén will read the Book of Mormon and know that it's true. We have another lesson this week and I'm pumped. She's 14 and in 5 years she's gonna be my little missionary.

So that night we invited Fátima to the JAS activity and she came! Afterward we went outside and looked at the temple. She asked what the gold statue was on top and I said, ''That's Angel Moroni. He's the prophet from the Book of Mormon who-'' and then she cut me off and said, ''who buried the gold plates in the Hill Cumorah right?'' She's so dang good! She's been reading the Book of Mormon! I love Fátima!

On Sunday we were supposed to have like 8 people at church, but only Oscar and Fátima showed up. Actually, we got a text from this lady Veronica saying she was coming with her 2 sons, their girlfriends, and her father-in-law, but she never showed up. I think she may have gone to the wrong church. Awkward... But yeah, so we waited outside for Oscar and as we started to walk in with him he goes, ''Girls, I know where my class is. I can go alone.'' Aw he's so cute. Haha he took care of himself all day yesterday! He didn't even sit by us in Sunday School or Sacrament Meeting because he wanted to sit by his friends Gregorio and Inussa. Oscar is the man, and I'm glad he doesn't need us so much anymore, that's a good sign. We were way happy that Fátima came! She was a little late and we missed half of Relief Society, but that's okay! Maribel didn't come because she had to help Luna get ready for her vacation with her cousins, but Fátima was awesome. She loved all three hours and met lots of the JAS. We're having a lesson with her and Maribel tonight and then taking her to the JAS Noche de Hogar. She's so wonderful.

Well, that's about it. 14 of our 20 lessons this week failed us, and contacting was hard because a) everyone is on vacation, and b) Thursday was a Catholic holiday so literally nobody was in the streets. It was a rough week in that aspect, but this one will be better for sure. Tomorrow we'll be spending most of the day in Mirasierra at the hospital so I can get bloodwork done and an ultrasound to figure out why I've had so many problems the last 5 months.

I'm happy! And I'm happy life is good back home. I'm so bummed I won't be there on Friday to go through the temple with Conner, but I have it written in my planner and I'll be thinking about him allllllll day.

I love you!

Hermana Munden