Monday, July 29, 2013

Train Wrecks and Miracles

Hi Family,

This week was insane - so much happened. I'll get to all that eventually, but right now I want to talk about Elder Ward. I'm copying and pasting what was said in our weekly bulletin because it says it better than I would... 
''In our mission this week, we have truly seen the hand of God, protecting one of our missionaries.
You have all heard about the horrible train wreck in Galicia on Wednesday, and that one of our new missionaries, who arrived in our mission on Tuesday, was involved. Elder Ward was on the train to A Coruña, final destination El Ferrol, when, just as it approached Santiago de Compostela, the entire train derailed. He was unconscious for a short period of time, then was helped from the train.
One third of the passengers on the train were killed, and the rest were injured, most of them very seriously. Elder Ward was taken to A Coruña by ambulance. After a long 24 hours in the hospital, he was released late Thursday night. We brought him back to Madrid, where he will receive more medical attention, and recuperate.
We feel so blessed that he has been protected and will be able to recover fully. His injuries were less severe than almost everyone else on the train.
Our hearts and thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost loved ones in the accident. Many do not have a knowledge of the plan of salvation. Imagine not knowing that you would see your loved one again! They are thirsting for the light and knowledge that we can bring them.
Thank you all for your faith and prayers on behalf of Elder Ward. He expresses his gratitude to each of you and to many, many others who were praying for him to be all right. He even received a call from President Uchtdorf to wish him well and thank him for his service. Elder Ward was faced with an onslaught of reporters from all over the globe over the 48 hours that followed the accident. He has been a true ambassador for the Church and represented you and all missionaries as a witness for Jesus Christ.''
I'm so grateful Elder Ward is alive and recovering. Wednesday night we heard about the wreck and that Elder Ward was on the train. We had no idea whether he was dead or alive until Thursday morning when we got a text from the AP's saying his situation was very serious and that he was unstable. They asked us to pray for Elder Ward, his family, and President and Hermana Jackson as they were in charge of making important medical decisions for him. We knelt down right then and offered a prayer of gratitude to Heavenly Father that Elder Ward was alive and we asked that if it be His will, he could make a full recovery.
The following morning we got another text saying that our prayers had been heard and had helped immensley. Elder Ward was discharged and the doctors said he would make a full recovery. At that moment I was reminded of the power of prayer. We're almost 200 missionaries here in Madrid and it was incredible to know that we were all praying so hard for the same thing. I know that God hears and answers our prayers. It's an incredible thing Elder Ward has gone through, but he has been so positive the whole time. Everyone in Spain has heard about it and I'm grateful for his example.
On Monday night I felt like I needed to call Oscar and even though I was nervous, I followed the prompting from the Spirit. I was glad I did because he answered and we had an awesome lesson with him! Long story short, he's working now to get his life on track so that he can continue to work towards baptism. I can't say enough about how incredible Oscar is. I'm really proud of him for making the necessary arrangements to follow the commandments of God.
Tuesday I met my baby! Her name is Hermana Heims and she is incredible. I feel like she's training me! Haha she's from Reno, she's 21, and she's wonderful. We've worked really hard this week and had some pretty neat spiritual experiences contacting...
Hermanas: Stepp, Smith, Shill, Hansen, Me, Heims, and Gabriella in front

We testified to José Antonio about the plan of salvation, to Teresa about the power of faith and prayer, and to Angela about living prophets that lead and guide us. Sometimes I forget about how much I love contacting and all the neat people I meet doing it!

Saturday morning we were waiting for a lesson and then all of a sudden I saw Kassi Reid! She's in the MTC right now headed to the Barcelona Mission! Super nuts.

KASSI REID IS HERE! She's going to Barcelona. How craaaazy.
Kassi was in our Ward when we lived in Overland Park, Kansas in 2002 – 2006.

Basically I still love being a missionary. I love it more every single day. I never want this experience to end and I'm sad it goes by faster and faster. I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's church and that this work is the most important thing we will ever do. Pray for missionary opportunities. Please pray for them! I know that if you do so, and you act on promptings you receive, Heavenly Father will put people in your path that are ready and receptive. It happens for me every single day and it's the thing that makes me happiest in this world.
I love my Savior and I love all of you.
Hermana Munden

Tuesday, July 23, 2013



Ever since things with Oscar I've been really down. I haven't been excited about anything and it's been hard to work. I didn't think it would affect me so much, but it has. Elder Pizarro suggested I read the page in Preach My Gospel that we read every week during weekly planning about what it is to be a successful missionary. There's a part that's really helped me: ''Remember that people have agency to choose whether to accept your message. Your responsibility is to teach clearly and powerfully so they can make a correct choice. Some may not accept your message even when they have received a spiritual witness that it is true. You will be saddened because you love them and desire their salvation. You should not, however, become discouraged; discouragement will weaken your faith. If you lower your expectations, your effectiveness will decrease, your desire will weaken, and you will have greater difficulty following the Spirit.'' I let that happen a little bit this week, but I'm coming out of my rut and I'm okay.

This last transfer was the fastest of my mission - it flew by so quickly. We received our calls on Saturday night and here's what's happening... Hermana Hansen is going to open A Coruña and will be training (again)! Hermana Smith and Hermana Stepp will be together, and I'm staying in Pavones and training. I'm not super pumped about staying in Pavones, after this transfer I'll have been here for four and a half months, but I'm a little bit excited to train. I'm a little nervous too though, I hope I raise her right :)

Sorry this is so short, it was just a really lame week. Today we're helping Hermana Hansen pack, cleaning the piso, and I'm getting things ready for my baby. We're going to the trainers' meeting tomorrow at 4 and then it's time to improve the area. I'm still happy. I love being a missionary!


Hermana Munden

Monday, July 15, 2013



It's been a rough week. Well, just a rough couple of days I guess. This week has pretty much been all about Oscar. After our miracle with him last week things have just seemed to get better. Wednesday we had an intense lesson with him. We planned our lesson in the morning and felt prepared to invite him to be baptized the following weekend. The lesson went super well. We talked about faith to work miracles and faith to be healed and repentance and then when we got to baptism I asked him to be baptized on the 20th of this month. He laughed. Haha I think just because he was surprised or nervous or who knows why. But he said he didn't think he would be ready. Also because he wanted his friend to be there to support him and she wouldn't be back in town until August 2nd. So then I pushed it back and said, ''Okay then, the 3rd!'' He agreed to the 3rd. Then we talked about the Holy Ghost and how one of His most important roles is to comfort us. Knowing that Oscar likes the tranquility and peace he feels at church, I figured the idea of having that with him always would be important to him. And it was. By the end of the lesson he said, ''What day did you want me to be baptized?'' I said the 20th. He said, ''Alright, the 20th it is.'' The Spirit was strong and we all knew he would be ready for that day. And even better, he was so excited. He felt good about the decision he made and he was ready to do whatever necessary, to be prepared for that day. It was a miracle.

On Friday we taught him the word of wisdom. We knew we were going to need another miracle because even though Oscar wanted to quit smoking on his own, we knew it'd be hard and that he'd need a lot of support. We knew that the hardest for him to quit would be cigarrettes, so we agreed to give up something ourselves; I would stop cracking my knuckles and Hermana Stepp would stop apologizing every 5 seconds. Haha it sounded good to him, and he committed to living the word of wisdom. Another miracle.

Saturday we called President Jackson to be sure Oscar would be able to get baptized because he has a complicated personal situation. It's really difficult. So we asked President if there was any way he could be baptized Saturday and he said only under very specific circumstances.  We needed some divine intervention, so we fasted Saturday and Sunday to be able to know what to tell Oscar and that some how, some way, he could still be baptized the 20th. Church was awesome. The classes and talks were perfect for him - even the hymns seemed to be handpicked. After sacrament meeting Oscar went up to Marcos (the secretary and one of his friends at church) and asked him if he would baptize him. Marcos was super honored and of course said yes. They hugged and it was really really sweet. 

Last night we had the make-it-or-break-it-lesson. I was super nervous all day. When we broke the news to him that he couldn't be baptized on Saturday, he didn't take it very well. At all. He said we'd embarrassed him and tricked him and he didn't think what he was doing was wrong. He said if he couldn't get baptized Saturday, he would never get baptized. I started to get really emotional in the lesson and it was hard to stay in there with him. I've put so much time and energy into this man and I love him so much. I know he knows this church is true and he's changed a ton in the last couple months because of it, so it's hard for me to see him give up. I want him to be happy and to receive all the blessings of the gospel, and even though that's not possible right this second, it doesn't mean it's not worth waiting for. I expressed to him my desire for him to stick to what he knows is true and to continue coming to church and meeting with us because we are willing to do all we can to help him get things in order.

I don't understand what happened. Especially because I prayed and fasted more intensly than I ever have in my life that things would turn out well and that he would be accepting and understanding. And in the end, we've lost him. It was such a hard night and I was really upset. But I've tried to remind myself that if it had been the Lord's will, things would have turned out differently. I guess it's not Oscar's time right now and I'm having a hard time accepting that and not blaming myself. He was my miracle this transfer and he was scheduled to get baptized Saturday, but now he won't even answer our phonecalls.

It's been super hard, but I know God loves him and hasn't forgotten about him. And neither will I.

I love you!

Hermana Munden

Monday, July 8, 2013

''...and they were few.''

Hi people :)
This week literally flew by. Seriously, it went so fast.
Monday: I fell and basically killed myself. I think I've gotten even clumsier these days, which I didn't know was possible. Anyhow, so I was getting on the bus and had a bunch of stuff in my hands and was distracted by a number of other things and well, I missed the step. It was suuuuper embarrassing. So I fell and cut up my left leg pretty bad. Basically it felt like someone took a hammer to my shin and blood was running down my leg. We went home and cleaned it up and went back out to work. From right below my knee to right about my ankle is all bruises and it's all swollen and it looks pretty awesome.  It's a week later and now the bruises are finally starting to turn yellow, but I think the cut is infected though so that sucks. I've developed a little bit of a limp, but all is well.
Tuesday: We spent mediodia at my favorite Bolivian restaurant to celebrate Eduardo's (my recent convert from Leganes) birthday and it was really fun seeing him. We've decided to start singing with the Sullivans in the park every Tuesday evening and it's been awesome. This particular Tuesday I had two really spiritual experiences. The first was with this couple from Boston. I was excited because they were American and I could talk to them in English. They hadn't heard a whole lot about that church and asked for the basics. When I got to the Joseph Smith story I felt the Spirit so strong, like soooo strong. I almost started to cry as I testified of the boy prophet when the man stopped me. He said, ''Sister Munden, thank you for telling us about your church. I think this is the longest I've ever listened to someone talk about Mormons. But don't go on. I've already zoned out and I don't want to hear anything more. Please stop.'' And then just like that they walked away. For some reason I was so hurt. I've gotten so used to rejection that normally it doesn't hurt anymore, but this time it stung. I was confused as to why I had been prompted to talk to that couple. I was stunned that even though I was feeling the Spirit so intensly, they weren't. And I was sad that they'd asked me to stop. I returned to the group and i got choked up as I sang, but then a few minutes later I felt a similar prompting, and had another experience.
His name wa José Antonio and he was Spanish. I sat next to him and explained why we were singing in the park and what we're doing here as missionaries. I said he believed in God and I asked him how he'd seen the presence of God in his life. He counted to me an experience (is that how you say it?) he'd had when his wife was dying in the same hopsital his mother had passed away in. He had to leave her for the night and he said he was suffering on his walk home alone. He wasn't sure she was going to make it and he was really low, when all of a sudden he felt someone walking with him. He looked around and nobody was there, but he knew that God was with him. He knew he had a Father in Heaven who loved him and his wife and that, no matter what happened, everything would be okay. We both had tears in our eyes and I knew that this man knew God. I testified of the plan of salvation and then it was time to go. Unfortunately, José Antonio doesn't live in our area, but I passed his number along to the missionaries who work near where he lives.
Wednesday: One year since I went to the temple! It was actually a super lame day and not a thing stands out as cool. Haha except we ate with the bishop's wife and she made us some bomb Peruvian food.
Thursday: We had Zone Conference and it was super good. President and Hermana Jackson were wearing red white and blue and we started the conference by singing the national anthem. It was an awesome conference. We read parts of Jacob 5 and President talked about the allegory of the olive tree and how we're the people talked about when the Lord goes to nourish his vineyard for ''the last time.'' At the end of verse 70 it says the laborers were few and then I love what it says in verses 71 and 72. We are laboring with the Lord and we have finding joy in the fruit. This is His work and it is a joyous work. We talked even more about miracles and then we had our own little miracle on Friday...
Friday: We had the best lesson ever with Oscar. This man is seriously incredible and things just keep getting better and better with him. The one thing we have been nervous about though is that he smokes a lot. We've been really anxious about bringing up the Word of Wisdom and aren't sure how he'll react to it. So in weekly planning we asked Heavenly Father help us find a way to help Oscar with his addiction. And then the answer to our prayer came in our lesson that night. We just got done teaching him the plan of salvation and he was about to say the prayer when he pulled out his pack of cigarettes and set them on the table in front of him and goes, ''You'll see in a second why I took these out.'' Then he says the most sincere prayer. He expressed gratitude for us and for the change that is taking place in him. Then he told Heavenly Father he wants to quit smoking and asked for help to ''get rid of this vice.'' I was shocked! And so grateful at the same time! We didn't have to bring up the smoking issue, he did it on his own! We told him about this cool 15 step quit smoking program we have and told him we'd bring it to him on Sunday. He also asked me if, when they day comes, I would baptize him and even thought I explained that I couldn't, it was super sweet!
Saturday: We went to Hermana Hansen and Hermana Smith's baptism and then we had English class. It was show and tell! People brought the most random things, but it was super fun. When it was my turn I talked about my tag and why it was special to me. Then afterwards we invited two people to a baptism we were going to that night. Jaime's baptism! I'm sure you remember Jaime. I taught him with Hermana Olsen and then we found out he didn't live in our area. Well, he got baptized! He was so cute and I was glad I got to go.
Madrid is on fire. It was 41º the other day and I think that's something like 106º. We're dying - especially because we don't have air conditioning. We just have a bunch of fans and turn all the lights off. We go to bed sweating, we wake up sweating, and we're basically just gross all the time. Haha it's super fun. But life is good. Transfers are in two weeks and I'm really hoping I get to go to the north.
I hope everything is good back home! I can't WAIT to hear when Conner is going so I hope he gets his call reeeeaal quick. I love you!!!!
Hermana Munden

P.S. I have pictures, but I forgot my cord. Next week!

Monday, July 1, 2013

I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it,...

Hi Family!

This week went by super fast. It was good though. Well, for the most part.

I had a really spiritual experience at our Zone training Meeting. At the end, the Zone Leaders talked about how as missionaries we're trying our best to help Heavenly Father's children make it back to him, and how sweet that reunion will be for each of us. We watched this video of military moms and dads suprising their kids and at first I didn't understand what it had to do with anything, but then I realized that we're going to be even happier than that when we see our Heavenly Father again. I read a talk this week from the last General Conference and someone quoted President Benson when he said, ''Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar his face is to us.'' I just get chills reading that! I can't wait to get to that day and I like helping others get there too. After the video was over there wasn't a dry eye in the room. We quietly went outside and sang ''The Spirit of God'' as we faced the temple. It was really powerful.

Oscar is quickly becoming my favorite investigator. He says that he feels more calm and at peace since he's started coming to church and meeting with us. He feels a change in him and he said other people have noticed it too. I love hearing people bear their new testimonies. Oscar came to Inussa's baptism and to the talent show we had this weekend!

Inussa's baptism was awesome - and he looked so good in white! The Elders' Quorum President came up to Oscar and said, ''That's gonna be you one day - future member right here!''

He just smiled and said, ''Yep, that's why I come. I wanna live better. If I didn't I wouldn't keep coming.'' Ahhhh I love him! During the service the four of us hermanas sang ''Lord, I Would Follow Thee'' and it was really cool. 

Saturday was the talent show! We had planned to dance the Macarena the 6 of us missionaries, but Elder Castaldi got all embarrassed and weird like half an hour before the show, so we had to come up with something else. 
The only talent the 4 of us have that's worth sharing is our voices. Haha so Hermana Hansen and I thought of something reeeeaaal cool. We had them turn all the lights off and from backstage with microphones we sang ''Acompañame'' which in English is ''Abide With Me.'' It was really awesome because the Spanish lyrics are better and part says ''Todo es oscuro y temor me da'' which means everything is dark and it makes me afraid so it was cool that we were singing in the dark. I don't know man, maybe you just had to be there. Anyhow. Well then after like half an hour Inussa wanted to do something with us, so he, Juan Luís, and Adelson danced the Macarena with us. Haha it was pretty funny.

Then Sunday I gave my talk. It was pretty good I suppose. I would send it to you, but you probably wouldn't understand it :) I told a story about you Mom! Don't worry, it was a good one. The lady who was supposed to feed us completely forgot about us, so that was awkward. Aaaand that's about it. It was a hard week because of a lot of different stuff, but there's no time for negativity today.

I hope you all have a happy 4th of July! We taught our English class the national anthem and they liked it. It's just a normal day for us, but I plan on wearing red, white, and blue. AMURICUH.

Hermana Munden