Hermana Wood's Missionary Adventures in the "Capital of the Peruvian Amazon"


Monday, August 31, 2015

SPIDERS, Jurassic Beetles, and Pensionistas

I KILLED MY FIRST SPIDER THIS WEEK. it was freakin huge and it ran across my desk and onto the floor and i smashed it! with my own flip flop, guys. this is a big deal. never again tho - one time thing.

so, we take mototaxis everywhere and we invite all the drivers to come to church and we give them a "because he lives" card (have i mentioned this, idk), and now i'm able to do the whole thing! we ask their name, where they live, tell them we're missionaries, and that they're invited to church, and we bear a short testimony. :)

also, i was literally attacked by a beetle as long and thick as my thumb. it was like a scene from jurassic park - velociraptor of the beetles!!! this is not a joke!!! it flew at me and there was a literal thud when it hit me.

i'm learning here that i can do more than i think i can! if you told me two months ago i'd be jurassic park-attacked by the devil, living with spiders and ants, and eating potatoes everyday, i'd be like "ha, no. not about that life." but i'm doing it and it IS life! and it's more or less normal! we always have more in us than we think we do. :)

everything's still moving slowly [as we open this new area]. all we've really taught anyone is the first lesson since we're starting from ground 0. so i have that one pretty much memorized. ;) also, latinos can talk forever, so it's been interesting to maneuver around them. we have to cut people off all the time and i feel bad, but it's so necessary or we'd never get anything done here!

i finally got to see the strength of some of the members and recent converts in pucallpa! we visited the ballon family and the dad was telling us how much the gospel helps him. then he recounted the story of when nephi was commanded to kill laban, and i was like "i know that story!! you know that story??" then we taught silveria who was baptized less than a month ago, and she was saying how much she loves and reads the BOM [Book of Mormon], and i was like "ME TOO." :)

alma 26:37 - "god is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in...this is my joy.¨ god is aware of me and all of YOU lovely people, never forget that! love you all more than anything. bye. :)

hermana wood

Questions from Hermana Wood's dad:
How are you handling the heat?
Do you have electric fans? Do you sleep with a fan blowing on you? Do you sleep at all?
Do you use the mosquito net?
Did you fly from Iquitos to Pucallpa?
Did you have to leave a suitcase in the mission home?
How do you pronounce Pucallpa? (Pookaypa or Pookalpa?)
Do they have electric hot water devices in the shower (like I had in Brazil)?
Does your maid buy the groceries?
Do you like the food your maid cooks?
Do you ever eat in restaurants or snack bars?
Do you drink tap water?
Do you drink Inca Kola?

Answers from Hermana Wood:
  • the hardest part about the heat is at night cuz we close the windows to keep bugs out, so all the air just gets trapped.
  • we have one working fan! it blows on us while we sleep and it's my saving grace.
  • yes, we use mosquito nets...that trap in hot air, hahah. mine has holes, so i'm also using the one we bought on amazon (like in addition). it's 23487 degrees at night. i feel fine.
  • i did fly from iquitos to pucallpa (pookalpa)! and i did leave a suitcase there - more do-able than i thought it'd be. the sister leaders fly to iquitos every three weeks to bring back things we need. :)
  • the shower is always cold and it's the greatest cuz of the heat!
  • the pensionistas live in other houses (we have one for breakfast and lunch and one for dinner and laundry). our dinner pensionista actually had a family emergency and had to fly to lima, so we randomly found another member. HER COOKING IS SO GOOD and she makes whatever we want!! i always leave full from both pensionistas. :)
  • no tap water ever! we could buy inka kola, but nah i don't like it, haha.
Hermana Wood with Isabel, her dinner and laundry pensionista.

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
random details: i always wear flip flops inside the house cuz everything's covered with dust at all times. microfiber towel = best purchase ever. dries fast and is packable. lotion/chapstick usage is down 150% (who AM i?). also, bought small towels to carry with me cuz i'm constantly sweating. i think hna mucha thinks it's weird, hahah. and, didn't go to lima this week! idk why, the elders never called to explain.

our biggest chunk of proselyting time is from 4-9pm (dinner from 5-6pm), and it's so fun! we ran out of transport money this week, so my legs are buff. lots of exercise. :)

okay so yeah, i re-read you and dad's e-mails all week, and they help so much. you are a literal poet! some of the stuff you say becomes my mantra for the entire week. :) thank you so much for writing! LOVE YOU.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Game On!

i’m still alive!! but yeah, i’m constantly sweating. it’s the norm. i wake up with sweat rolling down my head, literally it’s so hot. my face is sweaty, my arms are sweaty - is this too much info? it's so bad. love it!! luckily we eat lunch at 1pm, so we aren’t outside for the hottest parts of the day. also, i’m literally the hungriest sister missionary there ever was. i don’t know what’s come over me, but i am STARVING! we were walking to dinner one night, literally on our way, and i was like “hey breakfast tomorrow is coming up soon!!” thought of the day. i just laugh at myself. :)

so, yogurt is one of my new most favorite things ever. it’s super liquidy here, something you’d drink - like milk. kind of like a melted milk shake? right now i have a bottle of that and a bag of granola in the house (constantly snacking, but it’s healthy right?). i’m enjoying ALL the food from our pensionistas (we don’t cook for ourselves!). the weirdest dinner i’ve had was a block of cheese and some cooked banana slices and bread. FANTASTIC. the second weirdest was one night we just ate like 5 lbs of chocolate cake and that was it. i was like “what the literal freak....welp, okay sweet.” i haven’t eaten any rice since i’ve been here; i just tell them i don't want any and no one's offended and it’s fabulous. :) we drink juice and smoothies with every meal because our pensionistas have blenders!!!!! and there are no bugs floating in them :) mostly.

our sister leaders told me i’m never really going to be able to eat healthily on my mission, which made me want to cry. i’ll show them, right? jk all we eat is potatoes!!

last monday we had FHE [Family Home Evening] with the nube family (and like half the ward) in this little house. they live near water, so all the houses around there are raised up on stilts and you have to climb up!! it was so fun. that night was one of the first that i started getting better at spanish in normal conversations. i just talked to people and cracked jokes!! as in made everyone laugh in a language i dont know - how i have no idea - but laughter is the same in every language!!

funny story: i can’t really tell, but i think my comp [companion], hermana mucha, has called me a “papa seca” more than once. which means "dry potato." i always just miss it, but i’m pretty sure that’s what’s going down! idk what that means but i’m interested, and game on (i’ll call you weird stuff in english).

my biggest challenge right now is learning how to live with another person 24/7, because my comp and i are very different. love and service and patience are so important here! i’m trying to be more teachable, and i’m realizing hermana mucha has much more experience than me and i should listen to her, hahah.

i love our sister leader!! her name is hna [hermana] jackson, and she's from highland, utah. her comp has only been out for 7 weeks, but she’s an awesome light too - seriously love her! they always ask me how i’m doing, and it’s so nice to be able to joke around in english. :)

hahah okay, so at the CCM everyone received their perú ID (it’s like a residency card), but for some reason they didn’t have one for me! they told me they’d send it to me later. but we got a call last week saying i need to FLY to lima to pick it up!! so this friday, the 28th, i’m going back. i’m spending the day and possibly one night with hermana snyder (who’s AMERICAN, YES). my comp will stay with hermana jackson, our sister leader.

SO sorry about the picture situation; last week i ran out of time, and so far we've only had p-day libre [one day free], so we haven’t had any activities to take pics at. i promise to send more soon!! here are a couple of our house.

we gave out our first BOM [Book of Mormon] this week! we committed our investigator, rita, to read and pray, and she already has one church attendance. YES!!! how do i even express this, it makes me so happy that people are coming to know christ’s doctrine through the work we’re doing!

on sunday we had a blitz and my comp and i got split, so i went out teaching with an older woman who was a member in an area i didn’t know! terrifying right? but it was amazing! i didn’t realize how much of a lesson i can actually teach on my own, bc when i teach with hermana mucha she does most of the talking. it’s fine, but yeah apparently i know spanish. :)

i love you all and hope you have a fabulous week!! “peace i leave with you, my peace i give unto you, not as the world giveth give i unto you. let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” john 14:27

hermana wood

Monday, August 17, 2015

Lima to Iquitos to Pucallpa: "First Week Down!"

i'm here, and i'm alive! i'm in the city pucallpa, my zone is centenario, my area is ucayali, and it's so confusing! our area is literally huge.

my companion is hermana mucha. she's 19 years old from lima, perú. which helps because in the streets people are like, oh you're peruana!!! (where i'm like, yeah utah.) she's really nice and has been helping me learn how to do all the stuff. she been out for 5 months, and i'm her 4th companion!! 

so, all we're doing right now is "opening the area." which means we have to get to know the area book and memorize all the streets before we can really start teaching. basically, we've just been walking. walking all day, all night. we teach very little, but we still share the gospel with whomever we can! we take moto taxis everywhere, and we invite all the drivers to come to church, so that's like 6 or 7 people a day. memorizing the streets is going to take like...months, idk.

hermana mucha does most of the talking, i'm trying to just follow along and jump in when i can. for example, in our very first lesson we were with a hermano named daniel, and i bore my testimony about the book of mormon. it was super cool; i felt the truthfulness of my words, and it made me excited to start this great work!!

getting up at 6:30am is easier than i thought. and i've gotten really good at 10-second power naps. not a joke, they actually work.

there are many, many, many spiders in our house. they mostly stay on the ceiling, so i'm okay with it. more okay with it than i thought i'd be. i don't know if hermana mucha will even let me kill them, because she wants them to eat the bugs? i was like, THEY ARE BUGS. and she wanted me to not kill this lizard on our wall "because they eat the bugs." (i was like, literally no way i'm living with a lizard.)

right now i'm in a program called "12 semanas" where i'm trained for 12 weeks to be a missionary. it means one extra hour of study during the day where i learn how to do what we're doing. 

this e-mail is so scattered, but really we haven't done a ton, yet. i'll likely have more stories next week. i love you all and your prayers help so much!

much love,
hermana wood

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Letter from President and Sister Gómez



Dear Hermana Wood Family:

We are pleased to inform you that we picked up your daughter today at the Lima, Perú MTC.  She is happy and ready to serve.  We have spent much of today interviewing and training your daughter, and she was assigned to work with a trainer.  We know that the mission experience will be life changing for your daughter.  As we often tell the missionaries, “Of all the converts you will have during your mission, you will be the best convert.”
Thank you for helping to prepare your daughter to serve a mission.  We are very excited to serve with your daughter.  We have included two photographs of her.


Presidente Alejandro Gómez Moreno
Hermana Graciela García de Gómez
Misión Perú Iquitos

Misión Perú Iquitos
Jr. Napo #478
Iquitos, Maynas
0051-065-232-881 (Oficina)
0051-065-265-763 (Casa)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Peru MTC

HEY EVERYONE!!!!!! i'm so happy to be writing all of you!! i don't know how i'll have time to do it, because i literally have 30 e-mails from you all, savages.

i'm doing really well, like this is so great. staying super positive!! the moment i got on the plane i felt so protected and that everything would be okay. and the spanish has never come so easily, the gift of tongues is real. i've been able to communicate whatever i need to with whomever i need to. and it's been so fun to be with the latinos! but sometimes it's hard, because i flew in on a plane with a bunch of norte americanos and we all got close, and turns out they would have been my district if i had stayed in the 6-week program, so that would've been so fun!! but it's okay, i love the latinos. and my hermana [companion] is the SWEETEST thing ever, like seriously so nice. she's 24, from colombia, and like four feet shorter than me. but anyway, i'm still close with that group of nortes, they're so cute!!

because i'm with the latinos all the classes are in spanish, and the teachers don't really speak english, so if i'm confused....i'm confused. haha, but that usually doesn't happen, i catch enough of the words. my hermana [companion] and i have two mock investigators (i never understood that before i came to the CCM but it's a real thing), and in one of our lessons we were literally PERFECT. like best companionship ever, and i totally felt like okay i can do this. this spanish thing. because it would've been sooo much easier to do in english, but the spanish is possible.

i leave the MTC on monday, august 10th, so fam that's hopefully when they'll let me call you!! so excited and scared, but mostly excited. so happy i don't have to be here for 6 weeks....can't even imagine. love the short time. so it's cold and wet here. humid and chilly. so weird, but so glad i didn't bring a jacket, because when i tell people i'm going to iquitos, they're like IT'S SO HOT THERE.

food is good! keeping me healthy. i don't think i ate this many veggies at home even, i literally have a plate full of vegetables every day. and the weird soups and imitation hamburger? i don't know, it's all good, we like it! haven't come across anything i won't eat.

all in all, everything is so great! i love being a missionary and feeling the spirit all the time and always praying! homesickness is good, i miss everyone, but i know this is the place to be! i love you all so much!!!

hermana wood

Monday, August 3, 2015

Special Thanks

Special thanks to the many friends and family members who contributed to Amber's mission fund in the weeks prior to her departure for Perú! Hermana Wood has expressed many times how grateful she is for all the love, prayers, and continued support!

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