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


Monday, November 30, 2015


hey, everyone! how are you all?? i miss you like crazy. :)

this week i bought christmas lights!!! i haven't put them up yet, but i decorated with the snowflakes mom sent, printed out christmas pictures to hang, and set up the mini christmas tree that was in my package from home. my house is adorable. :) also, 25 days until christmas!!!!

so, we had a lesson with the couple we've been teaching (roger and leidi), and we talked about their recent experience attending church. roger said he thought the sacrament was going to be "pizza" and was surprised when it was just bread!!!! i was dying. :) they're the cutest couple ever!! i guess they've had some problems with trust in their relationship, but they told us they'd been praying as a couple and that it'd helped so much!! but then...they didn't come to church this past sunday, and now they're kind of avoiding us. bummer! but, we're still going to follow up with them!!!

i had my first baptism last week - sort of. :) it was a primary boy [already attends church] named mateo who didn't get baptized when he was 8 for some reason. now he's 9, and his aunt laly wanted us to baptize him. we had to teach him all the lessons and everything but don't really think of him as being "our" convert (because it was just protocol that we were involved). still, it was fun! mateo was baptized with another primary girl and his best friend!! so, triple baptism - all kids!!! it was very cute.

my mateo :)

oh, another interesting story. we contacted these ladies (a mother and daughter) sitting outside their house - the mom was super old, and she was like "mormons!!! yes?" and then she started to say her husband was baptized by my companion and i. we were like "no....?" so, she went inside and brought out a liahona magazine and pictures of her husband in baptismal clothes standing with two sister missionaries (a tall gringa and a short latina) - not us. ;) then later, we talked to her husband - he's like 80+ years old and had no idea what we were talking about when we asked him why he stopped going to church. he was like "uno solo dios!" etc., "there's only one god and we all worship him - i go to ALL the churches!" mucha just looked at me and was like "cayó," he's "fallen" (mentally). dang!

sometimes we run into monos :)

also, apparently thanksgiving was last week, right? i kind of forgot about it, haha! for thanksgiving dinner, i had scrambled eggs and half a cooked banana. give thanks!!!! it was actually really good. :) and, i hit four months [in the mission field] last week!!!! (still a baby.)

my thanksgiving decor!!

in other news, i cut like 5 or 6 inches off my hair - actually, hermana briggs did it!! she had never cut hair before, so it was a little risky. but i think she did a fabulous job. :)

and, in other OTHER news, we had an earthquake!!! we were in our pensionista's house, and there were three quakes in all. isabel (our pensionista) was pretty scared! when the strongest one hit, she was holding onto the walls saying "gracias gracias gracias, señor...padre!!" i didn't think it was too bad, haha. but, apparently they felt the quake in iquitos and lima, too!

hermana willes and i get at least one ice cream cone every week :)

so, all in all, this week was good. :) did i mention that (in addition to ice cream) i ate cake on three separate occasions? also, i'm learning so much on this mission! i haven't been out for very long, but the growth i've experienced could've only come through being in the exact situation i'm in. i've tried to be "grateful in my circumstances" as elder uchtdorf advises, and it's working well - i highly recommend it. :) love you all!

hermana wood

Monday, November 23, 2015

Saratov Approach...and the Jungle Mafia?

hey, guys! this was the longest, most insane week ever. so, pretty typical!

last monday we watched the "saratov approach," and it was fabulous. :) it made me feel really epic to be a missionary, hostage or not. if you haven't seen it, go watch it and be inspired!

we found some awesome new people to teach this week - a couple of young families! first, there's roger and leidi, they're 19 and 18 (and have a baby). we met roger a while ago when his wife was in lima, so we were going to wait to teach him until leidi got back (she was only supposed to be gone a couple of days). but then, she didn't return for like a month!! we kept going back, week after week, and she was never there - it was sad, because he seemed interested (and we weren't finding a lot of interested people, haha). anyway, we were going to try to visit them one night, and i thought "she's not going to be there...why even try?" but then, i was like "hey, no! esperanza [hope]! i think she IS going to be there! today's the day!" and...she was home!!! god rewards us for being positive. :)

also, we had SEVEN investigators in the capilla [chapel] this week!!!! after almost an entire cambio [6-week period] of having NO ONE come, we had seven and I couldn’t believe it! roger and leidi came and a few other awesome people - and then halfway through sacrament meeting LUZ showed up! we were like "WHAT." she was supposed to have been in lima, but now she's back and we're hoping to get her progressing again! we're being so blessed! anyway, my comp and i did divisions that morning to be able to go pick everyone up from their houses (that's the reason they all came), so we were all over the place. my comp got to church five minutes late, so i was running around trying to make sure the investigators met people (deyvis got to meet the bishop!) and also that they had someone to sit with. then a counselor in the bishopric asked me to play the hymns for the meeting - i was like (oh gosh) "sure!" :)

what i've started doing this week and last is trying to find happiness in little things to stay positive, then writing them down in my agenda as i see them. for example, last week i saw a sunflower patch, and the gringa (randy) in our ward gave me a spoonful of skippy super chunky peanut butter, etc. - there's so much to be happy about! and what i've been doing for a couple of months now is writing down five good things that happened every day in a journal i have. it really makes me reflect on my day, and even if i thought it was the worst ever, i can always squeeze out five good things that happened! even if it's the fact that i'm still alive and breathing. which is usually the fifth thing. ha!

to carson:
listen to "i'll be home for christmas" and think of me...for next year :)

we contacted this one house last week, and we were like "hey buenos dias," and this family was like "come in, come in!" no one does that here - it was so weird! and we had just watched the "saratov approach," right, so i thought i was going to be kidnapped by the russian mafia. or the jungle mafia? but we were okay, and they're a super cool family! the mom was crying in the lesson when we were teaching about the gospel blessing families. they're really sweet!

the things these people do with their motokars...

anyway, i love you all! :) try to find the five good things in your day this week - i promise they'll be there!!! be good!

hermana wood

Answers to questions from Hermana Wood's dad:
1. Do they make fresh-squeezed juices there? In Brazil, we always had fresh limonada, which was made from green limes.
2. What kind of fruit do they have? We saw a lot of papaya, huge mangoes, and gigantic avocados.
3. Do you wear sunblock to keep from getting sunburned? 
4. Do you dream in Spanish? 
5. What are the subjects of your dreams? I remember it took me a year before most of my dreams were about being a missionary, rather than about life at home. 
6. Do you ever wake up from a deep sleep in which you were dreaming of being at home and find yourself disoriented and surprised to see where you are? I remember that happened to me several times in my first area.

1. all we drink is fresh-made juice! everyone has a blender, haha, so we literally watch them make it for us - papaya, pineapple, apple juices, and more. it's so cool, and i'm definitely going to miss it! 
2. papaya, granadilla (LOOK IT UP, IT'S ALIEN), every fruit you could find in the U.S. (including "cuties," which are saving my life), grapes, strawberries, mangoes - all the basics! and yes, giant avocados!
3. i wear sunscreen every single day, but my tanlines are wicked strong. i have "toms" tanlines on my feet, haha, and i'm turning blaaaack - the sisters have commented on it. so i don't burn, but it seems like sunscreen does very little. i'm going to come back looking like the dark, crinkly old ladies here. jk, hopefully not. :)
4. the dreams here are INSANE. so vivid!! i don't dream in spanish, but i've had a couple of dreams where i run away from my comp. ;) and this week i had one where i came home just for christmas and then i was going to have to come back. and i could not shake it after i woke up!!! i was getting ready for the day like "i can't believe i went home...what have i done, i can't believe i went home!"...they feel so real!
5. (ha, see answer 4)
6. (ha, see answer 4)

our fearless ward mission leader dreams before correlation meeting ;)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Very Grateful to Be Alive!

hey, everyone! another insane week, but i am alive and god loves me. :)

we were almost in a hit-and-run accident this week - so really, very grateful to be alive!!! we were walking to correlation meeting with our ward mission leader when we realized we'd forgotten a paper we needed. so, we had to go back to the apartment - which meant we needed to cross the street. if we hadn't forgotten that paper and crossed the street at the exact time we did, we would've been hit by the toyota that came speeding through (without stopping) and/or the motokar it sent flying to the precise spot we had just been walking on the other side!

we were both okay!!! but, someone else was pinned (and knocked unconscious) under the motokar, and it was really traumatic to see. my companion had a legit panic attack (she was sobbing, and i was just holding her), and we ended up having the zone leaders over later that night to give her a blessing (they ALSO gave us a bag of mini reeses - aka manna from heaven). we're so blessed and protected as missionaries!!! and, i think the accident was bonding for my companion and i. part of the reason for this third cambio may be that i need to be here to help hermana mucha. it was a scary experience, but i feel fine - and, we'll make it!!!

anyway, this week we had zone conference with president [gómez] which was pretty sweet - we had pancakes with chocolate sauce! :) we also set a baptism date - then had it cancelled a few days later, after our investigator didn't come to church (again). we've been working with this girl, yurico, for months, and this was her THIRD fecha [date] - it was really depressing when it fell through. we're probably going to have to stop teaching her soon. :(

but, we contacted a motokarista a week or two ago, and he has already come to church TWICE and now has a book of mormon!! and he is progressing!!! that is so rare here - we invite every motokar driver, but few come. so, we're very happy!!! hoping he'll commit to baptism soon!!!

i was with hermana vasques (jackson's newbie)
for my three-month mark in the field.
we celebrated hardcore! :)

we found an amazing door!
we also found out it's a tinted, mirrored window.
and the people inside were watching us take this picture. ha!

that's all for this week - i love you all! :) thank you for writing me and sending me things. you're all the GREATEST!!

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's brother:
this week i almost got attacked by a cockroach. i was watching it during a lesson (because it was so close to me), and i took my eyes off it for a second - and IT WAS GONE! then i looked to my left, AND IT WAS ON THE BENCH NEXT TO ME - walking slowly towards me!!! i stood up in the middle of the lesson, and my comp had to switch me spots. ha. LOVE YOU.

Answers to questions from Hermana Wood's dad:
1. Tell us about a time you laughed this week.
2. Do you like you camera? Is it working well for you?
3. Do you wish you had an SD card reader, so you could take the SD card out of your camera, put it in the card reader, and plug it into the computer?
4. How are you going to spend your Christmas money?

1. we were chatting with the gringos while we were waiting for a blitz to start, and our zone leader was telling us how his companion has started throwing english in with his spanish, like "vamos a recogerle a las nueve, esta good?" i laughed 'til my stomach hurt!!
2. i love my camera! i can take pictures in the rain and it's the greatest. :)
3. i use my camera cord and it works well! a card reader might be nice if my cord breaks. but also, i heard of a couple missionaries that sent videos between the states and south america on an SD card! like a video log, but even cooler!!
4. i have no idea! maybe on food? huh, good question. i hadn't thought about it, yet!!! i'm so excited, though!!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Lowest Low, Highest High

hey, everyone!!! last monday we waited for the cambio [transfer] call…and waited…and waited….AND IT NEVER CAME! so now i'm here, one week in to my THIRD six-week cambio with a difficult companion, wondering if i'll come out alive after these next five weeks. :) it hasn't been easy, i'm not going to lie, and the night the transfer didn't come was….dark. i felt confused, hurt, abandoned, angry, and alone. i've felt stronger every day this week, though, and i've been praying for strength - hardcore, haha. deep down, i know i can do this, but i want to ask for your prayers. because they really do help. :)

angela's girls - the day we did service at their house

the mission is already showing me my limits, and i'm already expanding them. suffering can break us or make us stronger, and i choose to let it make me strong. we don't decide our circumstances, but we decide how to RESPOND to them. so, i'm going to respond like the sister missionary i want to be.

also, ALL THE SISTERS in my zone are staying!!! including my sister leader (hermana jackson) and my lovely hermana neighbors. tender mercies! :)

so, this week, i've had my lowest low and my highest high on the mission. the first few days were very hard. but i got 3 packages this week and like 7 letters in the mail!!! i'm so grateful for family and friends - they changed my week and are going to help carry me through this cambio! and, the lord is blessing me so so much. for example, on thursday, i laughed until i cried with our little 9-year-old who's getting baptized soon!!! it was pure joy. :) so, everything has its recompensatory blessing!! (again, is that an english word? someone please tell me.)

we're baptizing the two boys closest to me!
their families are members. :)

one of our "less-actives" has ducklings!!! i fed them my apple core. :)

in other news, our house flooded this week!!!! :) we left the windows open and the entire floor was soaked…including everything on our DESKS. scriptures, journals, preach my gospel, some of my letters and stuff from my packages. (sometimes you have to laugh OR you'll cry!) this is the second time my scriptures have gotten soaked and survived - they're so tough!

my poor poor desk...

all four of us in the apartment were mopping up the water with old clothes and wringing it out into a bucket (because what else could we do?) - all while listening to "thankful" by josh groban. if you haven't heard it, look it up and listen. :) it made me realize how much i have to be grateful for, even as i was wringing out an old skirt full of dirty, amazon rainwater.

soaking up the water!

in addition to rainstorms, we had stake conference this week! elder calderon of the seventy came and spoke, and he was so good. he knows how to talk to these people! he was basically yelling at us by the time he finished, haha - he's very bold, which is exactly what we need here. our mission president and his wife were also there, and they spoke to us, too!

there's normally no water here!
these people have to pull their boats out when it rains.

overall, this week has been so insanely emotional. but, now that i have ONE DOWN, there's only five more to go! :)

this was the day our house flooded...

...so, warm water!

i was one happy sister! love the rain! :)

so grateful for all of you and your support! whenever i feel down, i think of you, and it gets me through. :) i'll never be able to thank you all enough - for everything! love you so much!!!

hermana wood

for carson. :) this thing spent the night in our house!

Monday, November 2, 2015

It Felt Good to Be Bold

hi, everyone. :) i hit my three-month mark last week!! SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED - i cannot write one-hundredth part of the proceedings of this people. but i'll try - here we go:

a shot in our area :)

she got a candid!!!! ahaha

we had a work visit this week! that means my sister leader, hermana jackson, came to my area for a day and a night. so i got to "direct my area," and it was terrifying!! it actually showed me how much i know, because there were two hours when we went out to teach on a whim, and we didn't have a schedule for it, so i had to find random investigators and make up a schedule and know what to teach. and i did it!!! my sister leader is also the best; we went to the center [downtown] and bought gourmet ice cream!! i got chocolate and mint, and it felt like the celestial kingdom. a work visit in my area also meant there were FOUR gringas in our apartment that night!!! WOOT. we partied as hard as missionaries can!!!!

my gringas :)

this is carmen - she ALWAYS comes with us to teach investigators!
her husband is the ward mission leader.
and she has the most amazing laugh i've ever heard.

i had a cool experience with someone we met named javier. he seemed really interested in the gospel, but we had been beating around the bush with him when it came to church attendance. (btw, this is somewhat of an issue with my companion - hence we haven't had investigators attend church IN FIVE WEEKS.) so, i just straight up asked: "javier, do you want to know if this church is true?" (yes.) "then you HAVE TO go to church!" i testified that he would be able to receive an answer to his prayer, but only if he went to church with us. turns out he wasn't interested in that or baptism. but it felt good to be bold, and i felt power in my words.

our ward went to the temple this last week! they called it the "caravana." :) three families got sealed!! and one of our recent converts did baptisms for the first time! they take a big, two-story bus (20 hours to lima) and stay about four days. they have so much faith!!! i've never been in a car (let alone a hot bus) for 20 hours! so impressive! everyone came back literally glowing. not a joke - they all looked amazing!

HALLOWEEN WAS LAST WEEK. last monday i bought a bag of "caramelos," which are fruity, hard candies and a tiny jack-o-lantern. and for halloween, i went reverse trick-or-treating!!!! i gave out candy to all of our contacts (and their kids) and to all of the people we taught. :) everyone knew what halloween was, but sometimes when i asked "do you know what day it is?" they told me it was saturday. come on people, it's only the best day of the year!!!

went trick or treating!!!

welp, that's all for this week, i love all of you!! look for miracles in your daily lives and keep a journal of them! i was looking back on my journal, and i was so amazed at how blessed i've been and how many recompensatory (is that i word? i don't speak english - not even unilingual) blessings we receive! keep the faith! :)

hermana wood

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