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


Monday, January 25, 2016

Mangoes from Heaven

hey, everyone!!! this week was so spiritual and also so funny - i don't even know where to begin. but, let's try. :)

so, we were proselyting, and a guy stopped us and said "how are you?!" then he handed me a mango and said it was sent from god because i'm a gringa. or something along those lines. hermana arteaga said he was "borrrrracho" (drunk). then he continued, "sooo pretty, you're both so pretty," and i was like oh boy, well, "we want to invite you to church." :) and i gave him a pass-along card. who knows, maybe he'll come to sacrament meeting one day and give me another mango.

hermanas at a restaurant called "rustica"

also this week, we arrived at our lunch pensionista's (andra's) house, and she set in front of us a chunk of fish sitting in brown liquid. i kind of poked at it with my fork and didn't know what to do with it (i definitely didn't want to put it in my mouth). but, it was lunch, so i tried a mouthful and immediately found myself crunching millions of tiny bones. no way to spit those out, so i chewed real fast (and prayed) and chugged lemonade. andra is always very interested in whether or not we like her cooking and every day pulls up a chair to the table and sits and watches us. sometimes she talks, but mostly she just observes - so, i had little choice but to keep eating mouthfuls of fish bones. :)

we were in no way out of the woods when the fish was finally gone; andra then asked if we'd ever tried "huevos de pescado" or if we wanted to. her eyes were lit up like a kid's on christmas, so i said "¿por qué no?" (why not?) she literally ran and brought us a plate of billions of tiny fish eggs and, of course, we had to try them. at one point we stopped eating, and she ordered, "EAT YOUR EGGS." haha, that was a meal i'll never forget. and now, i have a great fish story for posterity.

celebrating an elder's birthday
...there are no knives in the mission offices :)

last but not least this week, we had the worldwide missionary broadcast, which was really cool to watch!! got some great notes. also, transfers are TONIGHT, so we may be getting a call; i'll let you know next week if i'm leaving this area!

"for the beauty of the amazon"

everything is so great in iquitos, and we're finding tons of people to teach. last sunday, four investigators came to church! :) all is well in this lovely part of the vineyard/jungle.

love you all!!!

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
hey, momma! thank you so much for thinking of me and sending me that talk on the purifying path of obedience! i definitely felt your prayers this week - life is good. :) also, i wanted to thank you for always sending me packages - they literally mean the world! greatest fam ever. and no, the valentine's one hasn't come, yet, but i'm really excited. :)

also, our pensionista situation got a lot better, so i didn't buy a blender. andra (our lunch pensionista) and daisy (our dinner pensionista) always make us juice now!! and i did replace my fan, but the one the mission office gave me is super weak and going to die soon. imma wait for it to die, then take that one and the old one that broke to the offices and set them down and fold my arms and stare at all of them. love you so much, mommy!!!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Baptism This Week!!!

fam, friends, how are ya? so, we finally got our fans this week, which means i got a good night's sleep, and it was so beautiful!!! i had to put my fan on top of the fridge so it'd reach my bunk bed, but it was still beautiful. last night, at the end of a long day, my head hit the pillow and i thought, "at least i have my fan!" right at that moment, there was a mini explosion in our room! the cord to my fan basically sort of caught fire and collapsed. (sigh.)

BUT, we had a baptism this week!!! milka!! she was really nervous beforehand, and the guy who was supposed to baptize her didn't show up until 8pm (the service started at 7pm). eventually though, it was a cool experience! :) and, our mission leader made flan for everyone, which is always the greatest.

milka on her baptism day - 17 years old

we also visited a member named leny, who is basically our mom here, and she gave me a mini apple pie and a pair of earrings!!!! i was so happy!! it's the little things that make the difference. :)

reflecting on this transfer, i realized the incredible tender mercies i've received. for example: walking to dinner and praying to be able to eat yuca, then getting two yuca empenadas from our pensionista. or receiving a package of reese's pieces. or like 1,309 letters in two weeks. or having the best companion ever. but the thing is, i had to stop and focus on these tender mercies. if i hadn't taken time to reflect on the goodness of god in my life, would i have seen the need for gratitude? it's so important that we pause and reflect on what's good in life!!

grecia - daugher of our pensionista
and rebecca - a recent convert (from a tribe) who lives with this family 

having fun after dinner :)

the focus of my studies this week has been consecration as a missionary; specifically, cultivating a deep personal desire for strict obedience. it's slowly coming! in the BOM, a group of people are described as "waxing strong in the land," and the last sentence of the verse says "and the laws of the land were very strict" (Jarom 1:5). they prospered, it says, because "they didn't blaspheme or profane." in other words, they didn't "quejar" - no complaining! embracing god's commandments (and the mission rules) is so essential if we want to sanctify our lives and our missions.

also this week, i had a work visit and got to spend some time a different area (AND SLEEP WITH A FAN), which was fun!! and, i got to eat a panini. :) we also got our polos for this zone; we get them every transfer, and they're pretty cool!!!

anyway, so much love is being sent to all of you! in the states, england, the philippines, tahiti, ecuador, colombia, and wherever else you all are. :) love you!

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's brother:
i love hearing about all the things you guys do as a family, it makes me SO happy to hear about everything you do together! lots of families here don't spend time together like that, and you make me so grateful to have something so wonderful back home. keep saying family prayers and reading scriptures together!! i miss you and love you so much!!!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Childhood Dream Fulfilled!

most insane bus ride ever

first off, let me start by saying that my childhood dream was fulfilled this last week: I SAW A PINK AMAZON RIVER DOLPHIN. yes, you read it right, people. it's for real, and i was so happy!!!! i can die in peace!!!! it was beautiful!!!


me in quista cocha!

...it's like a big zoo, haha

so, this week we set a baptism date for the 16th of january!! this saturday, a girl named milka will be baptized. :) she's 17 years old and has been investigating the church for a few years now. we've only taught her a few times, but i think she's finally reached the point where she's ready to commit! super excited for her!!

we had a multi-zone conference with elder uceda this week! he's in charge of the northeastern missions of south america, and he is super cool!!! we listened to him talk for three hours on saturday, and i was like a sponge. everything he said was gold. he talked about being "exactly obedient" and how to truly search the scriptures. we spent like an hour on one verse of scripture! i put it to practice this morning in personal study and found some awesome "hidden messages," as he calls them. also, he speaks english, so he threw in some jokes and translations for the gringos, which is always great. :)

always buying ice cream
(hermana montgomery is our sister leader)

our zone!

on wednesday of last week, we did service in karen's house (her mom is a less-active member of the church). we helped her wash dishes and make lunch, which was chicken soup and rice, and she said as she was chopping the chicken that she'd killed it herself. as the three of us talked, she threw the hacked pieces to three other chickens (cannibals), a dog, and a cat that were waiting anxiously at her feet. there was much growling, squawking, and gnashing of teeth.

while the chicken meat (including feet) simmered next to me, i skinned potatoes for karen in the very dimly lit kitchen/bedroom. she told us a little about herself; that this is what she did basically every day, and that she liked to stay in her house and keep to herself. so, i got to experience a few hours in the daily routine of her life, and truly, it was wonderful to see and be a part of. it's a life i will never live or even be closely associated with once i leave, but it was very real to me. it was not glamorous, but humble. it wasn't exciting, but it was somehow refreshing. it was an experience i'll never forget.

icing on the cake - a puppy fell asleep on me!

recently, i've learned the importance of repenting EVERY single day!! we have the opportunity to hold ourselves accountable before the lord every night when we say our prayers. repentance is so beautiful - we always have the opportunity to become clean!

i'm so grateful for the knowledge that this is a gospel of eternal progression in which we can change, become better, and begin again. love you all!!

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
so, i'm on the top bunk, right, which means the fan does not reach hermana wood and my pillow gets covered in sweat every night. :) but last night, i woke up at 12:20am and literally COULD NOT. i had to get up and put my desk chair on our balcony and just sit outside and breathe. IT WAS SO HOT. our room is like a sauna!!! i stuck my face in the freezer and put a cold water bottle on the back of my neck and, by some miracle of heaven, was able to get back to sleep.

we're teaching a recent convert named rebecca who is from a tribe!! she learned spanish just living here in iquitos. her family kicked her out for some reason, and somehow she's living with a member family; i honestly have no idea what's going on or how she got there, but she's the sweetest ever. she's 15 years old, and we have to teach every lesson SUPER SLOW. when we read the BOM and ask "did you understand what we read?" every time the answer is "no," haha. so, she's teaching me patience; but truly, i'm learning to love her even if she can't really speak or understand what we teach!!

love you, mommy. :)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Hear No Evil

helloooooo, USA!!!! another week down, here in the amazon, and life is good. :)

i can't believe we're done with 2015! SO WEIRD. of course, on new year's eve, we were good missionaries and went to bed at like 9:45pm. the fireworks did wake us later; but literally, i looked at my watch at 11:52pm, rolled over, and went back to sleep! the next time i checked my watch, the date was january 1st, and i thought to myself "happy new year, hermana wood!" that was about the extent of my new year celebrations.

this may or may not be cappuccino ice cream

speaking of weird, there's a new year's tradition here where apparently you rub white powder all over your face and head. (i have no idea why.) we passed a group of drunk guys covered in powder who said hi to us. and that was festive. also, everything's decorated yellow, green, and red, because it means you'll have prosperity in the coming year.

also noteworthy, while we were teaching a lesson, i overheard a meghan trainor song. sadly, it contained some bad language, but the funny (and fortunate) thing was: all the swear words were bleeped out perfectly by random noises! one was a motokar horn and the other was some guy yelling "HEY!" i was laughing so hard. apparently, heavenly father protects missionaries from profanity. we hear no evil!

my clif bar (in my package from home) told me to "get my feet wet."
conveniently, it happened to be raining in the amazon. :)

my companion is still the greatest ever, and we have so much fun! i swear i laugh until my stomach hurts every single day - she's so funny! the other day we were leaving the apartment [missionary companions must stay together at all times], and hermana arteaga started walking away from me, down the stairs. she glanced over her shoulder casually and said "cuidate, ya?" ("take care, bye"). as if that could ever happen (one of us leaving without the other), HA! so now, we always say "cuidate," and literally it's so funny to me. maybe you had to be there the first time, but i die laughing whenever she says it.

 this is our pensionista's house!

(she cooks for us)

in other news, it's been a challenge being in a new area. i feel like i've just recently figured out what's going on with these streets. but, starting over in these unfamiliar neighborhoods has taught me humility. then, there's the challenge of getting investigators to progress. we're finding people to teach, but either they don't really want to continue, or they don't keep their commitments (which is kind of important). sometimes i want to yell, "if you don't read the scriptures and pray and come to church, we can´t help you!!!" but, i don't. i just smile and kindly tell them "cuidate."

this is our other pensionista's house :)

being a missionary is hard work, but it's becoming a part of who i am, and i absolutely love it! we are also very well cared for by the members in this area. i wouldn't trade what i'm going through for the world, even though it's really stretching me. it's incredible what God has in store for us!

remember to pray and read your scriptures and go to church, so that God can help you. :) love you all so much!!!!

hermana wood

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