Friday, March 29, 2013

The strangest/funniest/best week of my life


Last week was probably the best week I have had like my whole mission. At first I wasn't so sure about the companionship I'm in, but I absolutely loooove Hermana Blodgett -- she is hilarious. I'm happy I'm with someone who can compete with my sense of humor. Haha and Hermana Olsen is great because she keeps us in line and on time.

Tuesday was my birthday! Yayyyy I'm 22. I got some really sweet birthday texts throughout the day: from a lot of the elders in my zone, Hermana Miron, and Lorena from the ward. That morning we had a lesson with Victor. We headed over to the park near Victor's house and sat one of the tables and began the lesson. Halfway through Romans 1:16, this drunk Russian dude comes over and sits down. He and Victor were speaking Russian, but Victor translated what he was saying. He told me that I have beautiful eyes and with them I can conquer the world. Cool... Then he grabbed my head and tried to kiss me. That was fun. Victor was sweet and pulled the guy away. So that was adventure one of the morning.

Then we met Eduardo for my birthday lunch. He took us to the super delicious Bolivian place we went to before. I ate Silpancho and almost died it was so good. The waiter found out it was my birthday so he brought me ice cream and everyone sang to me. Next we visited Evelyn and had a lesson with her. After the prayer I opened my eyes and saw a birthday card chilling in front of me. It was the cutest birthday card I've gotten in my whole life. She had colored the inside of it and wrote this really sweet message. She also bought me some earrings. I love that girl so much. After Evelyn we headed to Arus' house. They're the Armenians who make the best food. Ana greeted me at the door and demanded that I shut my eyes so she could guide me to the living room. There was a sign on the wall that said ''Feliz Cumpleaños Hermana Munden'' and balloons all over the place. They made me my favorite dinner and then sang to me. We finished the night with Ana. She made me a birthday cake and we sang again. Best birthday of my life.

Wednesday morning we had district meeting with our new district - which is made up of all the elders we've been hanging out with the last two months, so there was no awkward icebreaking that needed to be done. That afternoon we had a lesson with this guy Arnold from the Congo. We had found him in the metro a few weeks ago and I was excited to meet him, but I was nervous about finding his house because I always just relied on Miron to get us where we needed to go. But I found it! And we had an awesome lesson with him.

Thursday was awesome. K so a few weeks ago we met this guy on a bench on the way to Carmen's house. He was an older gentleman and when I told him I knew God loved him he bawled his little eyeballs out. He didn't know his phone number, and I couldn't understand what he told me his name was, so I got his address and I promised we would come find him. So Thursday we finally went to search for him. I found the building and rang his piso. A woman answered and I said, ''Excuse me, I met a man the other day on a bench near here. Do you happen to live with an older gentleman, named Juan maybe?'' She responded that she didn't live with a Juan and hung up. I was super frustrated because I knew he lived there and I wanted so badly to keep my promise and find him! So I asked my companions if it'd be alright if we said a prayer. I said it and asked Heavenly Father that he would help me find the man on the bench because I knew he was important and needed to be taught.'' I tried ringing his piso again, confident that Heavenly Father would help me out. The woman answered again, saying that a lot of her neighbors are older but she doesn't know any Juan's. When this happened someone left the piso and Hermana Blodgett caught the door so we could get in if we needed to. I asked the woman if we could come up, but she had hung up. We decided to go in anyways. We headed up to her piso and knocked on the door. She answered and said she didn't mean to hang up and that she was going to come downstairs to help us. She said her father lived there and his name was José. He sometimes walks around and sits on the bench by Carmen's house. Yayyyy I found him! Her name was Ascencion and she was the absolute sweetest. Her dad wasn't home, but we got her number and are gonna visit them this week. Yay for answered prayers.

Friday Paco called me and told me Ana was in the hospital. She's been suffering from migraines and has been feeling awful. We went over to see her and she wasn't doing so great. So we called the Elders and they came over and gave her a blessing. Elder Peña is from the same part of Andalucía as Paco, and he had actually spent Christmas at their house, so it was cool how that worked out. The Elders gave Ana a beautiful blessing, and we headed off to teach Mary and José, Evelyn's parents.

Friday night we had Noche de Hogar (FHE) at the church. It was so much fun, even though only 5 people came - Eduardo, Carmen and her girls, and this lady Miriam from the ward. We shared Matthew 22:36-40 and talked about loving God and loving our neighbor. Then we played a game and by the end of the night we were all in tears from laughing so hard. Oh my gosh so fun.

Saturday we had a lesson with Josè and Grismardi, the Dominicans I started teaching with Miron right before she left. So we get to their house and some rando answers the door. I was like ''Hi, we have an appointment with Josè and Grismardi right now. Are they here?'' He said they weren't but if I wanted to leave a message with him I could. It was kinda weird though, so I was like ''That's okay, I'll just call them right now.'' So I called Josè. AND I HEARD HIS PHONE RINGING. So I said, ''I hear Josè's phone, are you sure he's not here?'' ''Positive.'' K cool. I'll just call Grismardi. So I called Grismardi AND I HEARD HIS PHONE TOO. ''So let me get this straight. Neither Josè or Grismardi is here, but both of their phones are?'' ''Yep that's what it looks like.'' Then Grismardi walks up and says he was sleeping. Haha it was just too much to handle. So they let us in after like ten minutes of awkwardness outside and we talked to Grismardi and the friend, Angel. Angel told us he has five girlfriends, more or less, and that he's too busy to read the Book of Mormon but that if I wanted to be his American girlfriend I could because he doesn't have one of those yet. Haaaaaaaa so that was that.

Sunday was awesome. Church was really good and we had 5 investigators there. In Gospel Principles we talked about the Atonement and the lesson was really incredible - we have the best teacher. Most of members of the class got emotional when they testified of Christ's Atonement and what it means for them.

We had the best experience ever this morning, but I'll save that for next week. Basically life is good. Ugh, so dang good. And Stephanie and Justin get baptized Saturday! Hooray! And then Easter is Sunday! I hope you guys all have the best week :)

Hermana Munden

P.S. Thanks so much for all the birthday emails - it was a good one.

Monday, March 18, 2013

My six month celebration, a baptism, and transfer news

Hi :)

I feel like so much has happened this week and I don't even know where to begin. Tuesday I hit my 6 month mark, so I burned my tights on the roof. Since Miron hit 18 months a couple weeks ago she burned a whole outfit. It was so much fun, but now we have a pile of black nastiness chillin outside our window. We'll have to do something about that I guess...

I have 6 months, and Miron has 6 days left (last week obvs)
Miron asked if I wanted to do anything special, I just asked her to sing to me while I showered. Haha so that was fun. We went and visited a family from the ward and they fed us cheesecake. We also played with their new baby puppy named Rex.
Baby Rex
Wednesday we had district meeting. For the second week in a row it was really incredible. Since I've been in Spain I haven't really enjoyed our weekly district meetings. Number one, they're in Spanish, number two, I don't feel very close to anyone in my district, and three I'm always nervous I'll be asked to answer a question when I've decided to drift off in my thoughts. Well this week, since it was the last meeting of the transfer, Elder Foster asked us all to go around and share something we learned during the last six weeks. By the end almost everyone was teary-eyed, some of the elders more than the sisters, and I finally felt close to the elders and sisters I was serving with. It was really cool.

Parla District
 That night we experienced a little miracle. We had a lesson with Carmen, Paola and Jessica. We taught them the 10 commandments and it was really fun. They each picked a commandment they wanted to work on and we set goals for the next week. Afterwards, Carmen asked us to stay for dinner, but we told her we couldn't because we had another commitment that we were about to be late for (celebrating Hermana Coakwell's birthday with Eduardo). But she explained, "No no, my husband has invited you to stay. He wants to get to know you!" This is the same man who made fun of his wife and daughters for investigating the church and who always left when we came over. We were shocked and figured it was important to Carmen that we stay, so we did. She made us fish and rice and it was so yummy. Her husband was super talkative and we even got him to laugh. It was actually really fun, and I feel like from now on he'll be more open-minded and supportive of Carmen and their daughters.

Finally a picture with us and Paola and Jessica!
Friday morning we had a lesson with Victor. He's from Russia and has been coming to church for the last three years or so. He would be baptized by now, but his girlfriend is super hostile towards the church and has threatened to kick him out if he gets baptized. And he can't afford that, because he doesn't have a job and needs a place to live. It's kind of a tricky situation. Anyhow, we watched this movie with him called "How Rare A Possession." If you haven't seen it, I'd check it out. We watched it in Russian so he could understand better. What was amazing to me was that even though I didn't understand a single word, I still felt the Spirit. And afterwards Victor bore powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon. He's read it cover to cover three times and has an incredible testimony. Hopefully we can get Elena to soften up.

Saturday was baptism day! Everything went swimmingly. We sang "I Need Thee Every Hour" and the people Eduardo chose to speak did a really good job. He bore his testimony after the actual baptism and he talked about how before he started talking to the missionaries he'd heard a lot of bad things about Mormons. But that he felt something inside telling him they were wrong. My favorite part was when he said, "This is a very special day for me. I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. The restored gospel has completely changed me." Ahhhh, it was awesome. Afterwards I went up to him and was like, "Eduardooooo you're Mormon!" and he said, "Hola. Soy Eduardo. Y soy Mormón." It was the best part of my whole week. And to top off our Saturday night, Real Madrid beat Mallorca 5-2 :)

Eduardo's big day!

My newly Mormonized Bolivianos :)
Well! Today is transfer day! Hermana Miron is gone. And I'm staying in Leganés for another 6 weeks, at least. I'm with Hermana Olsen and Hermana Blodgett. Hermana Olsen was living in the piso with us already, and I was in the MTC with her, so I'm comfortable with her. and Hermana Blodgett is freaking hilaaaaarious. I'm not excited about another trio (this is my fourth in 6 months), but I'm happy with who my companions are, so I'll live. Haha and President said our trio won't last for long because we should be getting a visa waiter soon and then it'll go back to being two companionships here, which is better anyways.

Life is good. Tomorrow is my birthday and I can't wait. My birthday is my favorite day of the whole year, besides Christmas of course. And we have a busy day planned! March 19th is Father's Day here in Spain, so everyone has work off today. But tomorrow, we have a lesson with Victor, followed by mediodia with Eduardo at my favorite Bolivian restaurant here, next is cookies and juice with Evelyn and her parents, and then at night Ana's mom is cooking me my favorite food she makes. They're Armenian and she is the best cook in the ward. I'm not suuuuuper excited about eating all day, but that's how people celebrate here, and when they heard it was my birthday, well, they invited me over for food.

Ana and me
I hope everyone is happy and healthy back home! Oh, and I don't think I mentioned this last week. But the First Presidency is changing the Mission Manual and we can now email EVERYONE instead of just immediate family. That means I better get some love!

Hermana Munden

P.S. Welcome home, Sister Shackelford :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

8 days til I´m 22


Tomorrow I have 6 months in the mission. What the heck. I can´t believe 6 months ago I was just a little baby hermana in the MTC. Time seriously flies. In fact, I don´t have time to give you all the fantastic details of the last two weeks, so how about some highlights and lowlights? Sound good?

  • Paola and Jessica are getting baptized May 25th! We´re hoping by the time the date rolls around, Carmen will be on board too.
  • Smooy for Hermana Miron´s 18 months in the mission.
  • Evelyn´s class talked about different religions and when they got to Mormonism she stood up and said, ¨¡Soy Mormona!¨
  • Having a mission-wide fast the month with the purpose of knowing how to meet our goals. It´s incredible to know that the whole mission fasted together for the same thing.
  • Connor´s baptism on March 2nd and getting this in an email from him: Yesterday was the day! I am officially a member of the Church! It was a great ceremony. I felt the Spirit so strongly. There were probably over 100 people there and they were all so supportive! It was a great day!
  • Eating yummy Ecuadorian food at Elder Vélez´s aunt´s restaurant for free.
  • 4 new investigators in two days.
  • President Jackson playing the accordian for us today.
  • The really spiritual district meeting we had last week.
  • An all sister session at the temple.
  • Finding out that my girl Yo who was my roommate in Ecuador is coming to my mission!!!
  • Having dinner with Arbolina and her reading us the dedicatory prayer for the Madrid temple - which just so happened to be dedicated on my 8th birthday, the day before I got baptized.
  • The beautiful email I got from Stephanie today saying she and Justin are getting baptized March 30th: ¨Justin and I are being baptized on March 30th. And we couldn't be happier. I love you so much. I wish you could know how grateful I am for all you did for us. You may never know fully the impact you've had on my life...not JUST because you helped get me to baptism...but because you showed me how to love, when it's hard to love, when its easy to love...You are amazing and beautiful and I'm so blessed to have met you and to have shared part of this journey with you.¨

  • Having to eat at literally every house we go to when there just isn´t room.
  • One of the references we received telling us he´s not interested and not to call him back again.
  • Three days of not being with Hermana Miron for sister exchanges
  • Rain and wind for a week straight.

I´ll be better next week.

Hermana Munden

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Missionary's Testimony

So I've been thinking a lot about testimonies lately. Often when we're in lessons, the person we're teaching will bear their testimony. Most of the time they do it without even realizing it. But all a testimony is, is stating what you know.

And I think it's important that you, my family, and the people I care about most, know that I know that God lives. I know that He is our Heavenly Father. He knows us by name and He loves us. He's aware of our circumstances, needs, wants, desires, goals, plans, and our daily lives. I know that as imperfect, flawed, and insignificant as we are, we mean everything to Him. So much, in fact, that He prepared a Plan for us to return back to Him one day. I know that the key to that Plan is His son Jesus Christ, who humbly came to this earth, was born to a virgin mother, and lived a perfect life. I know that while He was here He performed miracles, taught in parables, served everyone, and established His church. He was the perfect example for us in all things, and truly, the Life and Light of the world. I know that He paid the ultimate price and died for us. I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ isn't just something we talk about, but that it actually happened. Christ not only saved us from our sins, but he suffered so we wouldn't have to. He is the Savior and Reedemer of the world. I'm thankful to know that there is someone who has walked my paths before, who knows what it's like when I feel sad, homesick, lonely, heartbroken, betrayed, and hopeless. I also know that through the Atonement we have the opportunity to change - to become a little better every day, a little more like Him. I know that Christ rose on the third day, and that He lives still. I know that in the Spring of 1820, a 14 yearold boy went to a grove of trees with the faith that his question would be answered, knelt down, and offered a prayer that changed the world. That boy was Joseph Smith, to whom appeared God the Father and the Son. And it was through him that Jesus Christ restored His church. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and that he translated the Book of Mormon through the gift and power of God. I know that the Book of Mormon, though written centuries ago, was written for our day, contains the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and is another testament of Him. I know that prayer is direct communication with our Heavenly Father, that He listens, and that no prayer goes unanswered. I know that families are forever and that I'll see those that I've lost again one day. I know that missionary work is the work of the Lord. I've been called by God through His prophet Thomas S. Monson to teach, serve, and love the people of Madrid Spain. I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the same church Christ established when He was here. The knowledge I have of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has changed my life and gives everything I do meaning. It is the reason I'm here and the reason I am who I am. I know all of these things by the power of the Holy Ghost. I've prayed, received an answer, and will never deny what I know to be true. I leave this testimony and all my love with you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Hermana Munden