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


Monday, April 25, 2016

Worth the Ride!!

hello, everyone. how's it going? i'm still here in iquitos, and hermana osorio is still my companion! LIFE IS GOOD!!! let me tell you about some of the amazing people we're going to baptize this transfer. :)

found a bridge with houses! over water!

hermana vasquez :)

amazing person #1: diomedes. diomedes came. to church. on sunday. and stayed. all three hours!!! this is it, people - he's getting baptized on may 14th! pleeease pray for him. i am so so excited for him!! and, he fits very well with the ward! coming out of priesthood meeting, he said, "i haven't laughed that hard in a long time!!" :) his eyes were red, so i think he'd been crying, too. he had lots of questions and participated in sunday school (the gospel principles class that i was informed i'd be teaching 30 seconds prior) like the golden investigator he is!! he also brought his BOM and was silently reading during the sacrament.

this is diomedes! who refused to smile

amazing person #2: rocio. rocio also came to church on sunday!! she's a little more reserved but had a really great experience, as well!! she's about diomedes's age (already married; i know, it's a shame right?) and also stayed all three hours!! she has told us she's changing everything - her attitude, how she acts at work, etc. - because she wants to do the will of god. she said after relief society, "if it's the will of God that i stay here, that's what i'll do." in my head i was like "I'M 100% SURE IT'S HIS WILL, SO JUST STAY." but, i nodded and said "sounds like a good plan, rocio." :)

rocio holding the BOM madi hudson sent (with her testimony inside)

amazing person #3: emma. we found her two weeks ago, and she accepted a baptismal date, but she is going on a month-long vacation in may. :( so, we'll see if we can't baptize her during the next transfer. she has lots of questions and curiosities!! remember last sunday, when it rained (and everyone stayed home)? yeah, she came to church! only for the first hour, because she had somewhere to be, but she came!! she reads and prays every day to know if joseph smith was a prophet. i love seeing the faith of these people!

hermana osorio and i found a huge old boat on the amazon river

i am so so grateful heavenly father is trusting me with these precious souls. i feel so privileged to be teaching them, because i'm pretty sure i'm baptizing our ward's next bishop and our next area seventy president (diomedes). :) the mission has its ups and downs, don't get me wrong. in fact, i'd be here for hours trying to write about all of them. just this week, i've hit some of the lowest lows and highest highs i've had on my mission. but, even though it's an emotional rollercoaster, it's worth the ride!! love you all! MORE FAITH LESS FEAR.

hermana maderita

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's youngest brother:
her goober-cito! how are you?! so yeah, i'm still in iquitos with my comp, and i'm SO GLAD!! only two people in our zone got transferred!! #eternalfamilies #eternalzones

we got cake at ward council this week!! it ended way late, at like 9pm, and that's right when we have to be in our house, so they were like "CUT A PIECE FOR THE SISTERS!!" and, we ate it, and it was DELICIOUS. then i went home and binged on the nutella mimi sent me...

here's how i've justified my nutella binges this week:
#45: if i stand up while i eat it, i'm basically burning the calories as i take them in
#56: we had a hard day today
#57: we had a good day today
#62: I already ate cake today, what harm can a little nutella do?
#50: i heard once that you should take 20 minutes to eat every meal and chew well. so, i'm going to eat nutella for 20 minutes.

love you goober!! enjoy nutella!

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's sister:
hey, sweet baby love. i miss you bunches and oats!! i was able to listen to the song you sent [by the LDS artist in two languages]; i put the english and spanish ones on my usb, and my comp and i have been listening to them all week!! it's currently stuck in my head, but the funny thing is, it's half spanish, half english, haha. it's super cute!! aaaanytime you want to send me music, i will be very grateful (it gets a little tiring listening to the same songs, haha).

this week i made a cat video, and it's hilarious. our pensionista has this cat named "jota" ("j" in spanish) that cares about absolutely nothing (we're similar that way), so i messed with it.

a fruit that looks like a boiled egg - has a shell, too!

diomedes came to our family history class this week!! we taught a small lesson about the plan of salvation with the family history sisters, and he literally quoted scripture to them. he was like, "oh yeah, i know this verse. wait, look at this one in alma, it talks about the same thing!!" he is so cool! the sisters were like "UM, WHAT'S GOING ON?!"

LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! don't stress about high school, baby girl!! remember what i said last week about being patient on the inside? "be not stressed" on the inside, either! may the fourth be with you.

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's dad:
hey, dad!! don't worry, i stay super focused during the week!! so, share all the details about home that you want. when i'm working, i'm working!! :) also, the members are supporting us big time, and we're starting to see the fruits of our labors in this area!! 

last monday, we went to belen. the "shops" in belen, more specifically. it's INSANE. i'm going to take pics for next week, if we go again today (p-day)! i bought these two skirts that are so flowy and cute! vasquez and i are twinners, because she bought the same ones. basically, the belen shops are like a... a... well they're crazy. part of it is all covered, so it's kinda dark. some parts remind me of a halloween store (i think i even heard creepy music playing, not kidding). there are shops on shops on shops, and they're all right next to each other. and, on the other side, as you're walking through this tiny cramped hall, there are piles of random stuff! we passed piles of shoes (not organized in pairs) and piles of wires/electronics...it's so crazy!! but, we found these skirts (finally) in the back of one of the shops, so... #worthit!

Monday, April 18, 2016


cheers to another p-day!!! let me fill you in on the latest news:

we're currently teaching (or at least trying to work with) a couple named azucena and darsiño. azucena is very, very "evangelica" and tells us she's a visionary, but lately she and darsiño have been reading the book of mormon and praying together! this is huge. they also say they "feel peace" when we're in their home. but, they didn't make it to church this sunday. in fact, no one made it to church this sunday, because it rained. all of our numbers for church attendance (less-actives, recent converts, investigators) were zero. total church attendance dipped to about 30, when it's normally 100 to 110. #whenitrains

we went on blitz in another ward...

...and found the coolest little lake!!

in other news, the elders had a baptism this week, and we invited our investigator, diomedes - and he came!! he got there right on time and was talking with the bishop when we arrived. i was SO HAPPY. another new investigator, carol, came as well to witness the baptism! at one point before the ordinance, i looked around at the ward and diomedes and carol and thought, "this is what heaven is like" - where so many people you love are gathered (though it was a super small gathering) to witness something wonderful take place. the best was looking over at diomedes and seeing him reading a battered "lesson three" pamphlet ("the gospel of jesus christ" - which explains baptism and the gift of the holy ghost) between the talks. afterwards, we asked him if he'd been praying (yes) and had he received an answer to his prayers (also, yes). he said, "i felt a certain peace. that's why i came." he also said he would come to church on sunday! BUT, IT RAINED. SO, NO ONE CAME.

also, in district meeting last tuesday, we had a "family council" (like elder ballard recommended families do in his general conference talk), because in the mish, we're family. so, that was really cool! my zone is so incredible, and i love them. hopefully, i don't get TRANSFERRED TONIGHT. i can't even believe it's that time again.

typical dinner in the peruvian amazon

last but not least, i learned this week about the virtue of patience. patience is not a "grin and bear it" approach; patience is the ability to endure delay (and the like) without getting frustrated ON THE INSIDE!!! that last part finally hit home this week. we can have a smile on the outside and pretend, but if we're ready to strangle someone on the inside, we are not patient, people. our thoughts matter so much!! so, be patient with a smile and happy thoughts. :)

hermana madera

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's friend, Madi Hudson (who recently sent Amber a Spanish Book of Mormon with her favorite scriptures marked and her translated testimony inside):
this is rocio. she's read a bunch already and is starting 1 nephi, chapter 1!! her son also read your testimony (he's 16), and he loved it!!!

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's dad:
1. Would you say that your mission experience has improved as time has gone on?
2. Do you spend much time with church members?
3. Do you go to the youth activities? Ward activities?
4. Do they ever have special ward/stake activities with a focus on inviting non-members to come, such as a big party, picnic, or barbecue? If so, I'm assuming they want the missionaries to be there?
5. Do Peruvians barbecue much?
1. definitely. i've figured out how to work everything, i know what all the numbers [statistics] mean and why they're necessary, etc., and i'm used to the "process" of being on a mission - where as at first, i was shocked by everything and almost every meeting confused me, haha. that was due in part to who my trainer was, so for me the mission experience has just gotten exponentially better with time. that includes learning patience with companions and learning how to put others' needs before my own.
2. the mission leaders recently asked us to start visiting the members, because they need a lot of help with their conversion (see group e-mail; if water falls from the sky, they have trouble coming to church to partake of the sacrament and remember their savior, jesus christ, haha).
3. we aren't allowed to go to the ward activities in my mission. :/
4. if there were an activity like that, then yes, we'd go!! we've tried to organize one before, but everything is so...disorganized, haha. that'd be a really good idea, though!!
5. yes, they have grills!! mostly because every other house sells food that they make themselves.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Small Things

hey, fam and friends!! i miss you dearly! what a week this has been!

we had hamburgers at the mission home!
and this is hermana vasquez, the light of my life :)

first off, the lord is blessing us SO much!! we've been able to find TONS of new investigators with awesome potential!! it finally feels like we're starting to reap "the fruits of our labors," after much hard work, fasting, and prayer. :)

diomedes, for example, has a baptism date set for the 14th of may!! we taught him the word of wisdom and the law of chastity this week, and he accepted the invitation to live both. he's so willing to make positive changes in his life!! his only problem is church attendance. we've been teaching him for about three months, but he hasn't been able to come to any meetings, yet. we'll keep praying for him and having faith that he'll progress!



i've also been seeing "wonders" in my new companionship - my comp and i are becoming really good friends!! what's made the difference this week are the "small things," like little phrases inserted in our conversations. steven e. snow gave a talk this past general conference about small things we can SAY, and i've been implementing a few of them. things like, "what do YOU want to do?" or "i'm sorry," or "i love you." and these phrases have been changing everything!! especially the "i love you." my comp melts and hugs me and replies "aaawww, hermana wood. i love you so mush" (she can't pronounce muCH, yet).

yesterday, everyone in perú voted for a new president!! we didn't even go to church, because it's not allowed; everyone must go and vote, or pay 100 soles. :) so, we did missionary work for 8 hours; it was a good sabbath!!

I LOVE YOU ALL. but, i can't write "an hundredth part of the proceedings of this people." just remember: more faith, less fear!

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's grandma:
hey, mimi!! i actually just got the easter package last tuesday, and yes, i've made the little eggs with chicks for the children!! i'm going to hand them out this sunday in the primary. :) thank you so much for that awesome idea!!

i haven't made the nutella brownies, yet!! but, they sounded sooo good and so simple. thanks for the recipe!! love you so much, mimi!!!!

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's dad:
yes, i got the extra thumb drive and the card reader, thank you so much!! really, everything in that package was like an answer to prayers, haha. thank you (and mom!) so much for putting in all the time and energy and MONEY to send me that!! goooshhh, i have the best fam ever. :) tell ryan thanks for the glow stick, haha. i loved it the most!

Questions: Do your Latina comps speak much English? Do you speak much English to your comps? In my mission, the North Americans were encouraged to try to teach the Portuguese speakers English when we could. Do they tell you to do that, too?

Answer: this comp speaks absolutely no english!! and yes, i speak english to her (because it's a requirement)!! they have an exam at the end of their missions, and if they pass, it gets them into byu. or helps them get in. or something. so, in district meetings every time they say a word or phrase correctly in english, they chant "BYU!!!" haha, i taught hermana arteaga to say "go cougars!!" :)

Monday, April 4, 2016


i wonder if people at home realize that GENERAL CONFERENCE is the missionary equivalent of going to DISNEYLAND for two days. it was so beautiful!! i loved every single message so much!

the announcement of another TEMPLE IN LIMA!!! I WAS SO EXCITED!!!! my hand went straight to my heart and my jaw dropped!! there was quite a bit of excitement in the chapel, haha - lots of gasps, and then more talking after the meeting. the peruvian saints are ecstatic!

my zone, after conference

on tuesday, i gave my first training in a district meeting ever (well, in eight months). i somehow avoided it up until now, but i couldn't forever! i trained on how to begin teaching investigators and used the talk "knowing the godhead"¨by elder holland. every missionary needs to read this talk!! it emphasizes how the first thing we need to testify of is god the father, his son jesus christ, and the holy ghost, or nothing else in the teaching process will go well. i have such a strong testimony of that!!

my comp and i saved a puppy and gave it to our pensionista

speaking of bearing strong testimony, we had an interesting visit with darsiño and asusena this week. they've been reading and praying, but in this one lesson, darsiño said he'd been searching online to find out about joseph smith - and he found some ugly stuff. NEVER SEARCH ON THE INTERNET TO FIND SPIRITUAL TRUTH!!!! i testified to him within minutes after the opening prayer that this is god's true church, and because of that, there will be strong opposition, such as those internet pages. the only way we can come to truth is through personal revelation! the next time we visited, he and his wife told us they've started reading the book of mormon from the start (as in, from the introduction page, the three and eight witness testimonies, etc.). i was like, "atta boy, darsiño!" :)

this is a soup we helped our less-active members make;
it's made by blending peanuts, cilantro, and other veggies!!
(see recipe for inchicapi)

confession: during general conference, i ate a whole bag of cereal, a bag of ritz crackers, two bags of chips ahoy, two bags of fruit snacks, a chocolate bar, chocolate covered crackers, and a can of pringles (a mini, don't worry). and my skirts still fit! #goingstrong

we got to watch all sessions of general conference in english, except for one - it happened to be the one where president monson spoke, so #tears. but, A NEW TEMPLE IN PERU. GO CHURCH! love you all!

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
one more story: we were walking on the streets one day, and this motokar rolled up next to us and this lady was like "is this your zone?" we were like "yes," and she said "get in, i have someone you need to visit!!" WHAT, OKAY. on the way, she explained that this person's mom died about 10 years ago, and about 2 weeks ago, his dad had passed away. so, we got there and visited him (his name is adriel), and it was amazing!! hopefully, he'll be able to progress! love you, mommy!!!

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