What Is a Church Community?

The video player could not be built.

Do you want to chat with a missionary?

We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Start a chat or call us at 1-888-537-6600.

Hi I'm Mara Sundwall

I'm a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend and a Mormon. For me, it's all about family.

About Me

I was born in Colorado and spent the next 18 years moving with my family around the United States and the world. Because there were 10 of us, each move was a major undertaking for my parents. However, even from an early age, I was always impressed and reassured by the fact that I knew my parents had sought the Lord's will in each decision they made regarding our family. My parents were converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints a short time after they were married, and their original plans to have no children and follow definitive career paths quickly evaporated. They felt compelled by the Lord to start a family, which quickly became a very large family! I served a mission in South Korea at the age of 21. Upon returning, I returned to college where I met and eventually married my husband. We were quickly blessed with a family of our own; four children in five years. While it's been a wild ride, I live for the adventure of parenting. I love to read, especially the classics, write, play the piano and spend time with friends. But mostly I love to be with my family. I cannot get enough of the wit, humor, insight and inspiration of my children. I feel so blessed to have them in my life.

Why I am a Mormon

Having been born a Mormon, I often took it for granted that I possessed the gift of the Lord's true gospel in my life. It wasn't until I was a teenager facing unsure times and tough decisions that I really began to rely upon the Lord. Realizing that my parents' faith could not carry me through, I began to study and pray more fervently. But the distractions of life and the noise of the world kept me from fully committing myself to building my testimony until I served my mission in South Korea. There I was able to fully focus and commit myself to learning and applying the principles I had been taught all my life. It is was in Korea that I finally knew with an assurity that the gospel was true. I am a Mormon because I choose to be. I choose to be a Mormon because I have seen the difference the gospel has made in my own life. Often people learn simply by watching and following the examples of others. I had to learn for myself. It is not by chance that regardless of what trials I have faced in my life, when I am true to the things that I know, peace is always within reach. I have a personal relationship with the Savior Jesus Christ. I know He is mindful of me. I know He is aware of my struggles, sorrows and desires. But most importantly, I know He knows where my potential lies, and I trust Him to give me the necessary experiences to reach that full potential.

How I live my faith

I try to live my faith in everything I do. I have learned, and continue to learn, that the gospel is all-encompassing. I also know that the gift of the Holy Ghost is a gift without restrictions if we are willing to live worthy of it's presence. Sometimes trying to live my faith in everything I do translates to the most mundane of things: driving patiently in heavy traffic, dealing sympathetically with a teenager's problems, courageously facing six more loads of laundry or successfully juggling the schedules of four children and a very busy husband. But I find that this is where true joy is found. I believe that doing the right things for the right reasons provide the real rewards in life. It aligns me with the Spirit and teaches truth to me heart. Our family owns a running company which hosts road and trail races in our community. These races have provided numerous opportunities for us to serve the people in our area. Especially important to me is the fact that our entire family contributes to each race in different ways, thus giving my children exposure to hard work and community service. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have the opportunity to work with three other women as a presidency which serves approximately 350 youth (12-18 year old young men and women) in the South Bellevue/Eastside area of Washington. I absolutely love working with the youth. I love their determination, their curiosity and their humor. Most importantly, I love to watch them experience life as budding adults and learn to apply the gospel of Jesus Christ for themselves. I have had many opportunities to watch somewhat confused, insecure and unsure youth grow into confident, faithful men and women. I know that the standards provided by the inspired leadership of the church helps these boys and girls grow to meet their full potential.