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


Monday, May 30, 2016


good news! we met with our investigator, diomedes, this week. and mostly, the lessons went well!! i'm so happy that he still wants to receive missionary discussions! we were worried that he was losing interest (he has had some word of wisdom issues recently), and he also refuses to kneel down when we pray (which breaks my heart, because i think it shows a lot of pride on his part). but, at the end of a super awesome lesson we had where we watched elder bednar's videos on receiving light and revelation, diomedes asked US if we could kneel down and pray together. he offered the prayer himself, and it was really beautiful (it left me in tears to see him do that)!! he also came to church! so hey, progress is progress.

pigtails happened this week

another investigator to pray for is rocio. she came to family history class this week and is just so excited about everything! i'm so excited for her!!! i doubt i'll be staying in this area for what would be a 5th transfer, so i probably won't get to see rocio (or diomedes) baptized. (such a bummer!)

the last district meeting!!

...of the best district :)

bye, zone!

in other news, we were talking with a 76-year-old man (manuel), the one who walked 5 blocks to church in the rain, and we mentioned that he should try to arrive at the chapel before meetings start at 9am. he replied "oh, i don't know the time." and, we were like what? he then explained "i don't have a watch." so, this man never knows what time it is!!! no clock, no phone, nothing!!! what a life. must be stress free. :) #lifehack

lastly this week, i learned an important lesson about the power of prayer. as we were walking under the hot sun (as we do most mornings), i prayed for two straight hours asking for strength to overcome sheer exhaustion. and it worked!! so well!! i made it through, just like always, but that day i recognized the hand of the Lord in getting me there.

last coordination meeting

transfer calls tonight! i'll keep you posted! LOVE YOU. BE STRONG.

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
the mission is implementing the pants thing!!! and no, i can't buy dress pants here, haha!! so, i would love some. :) maybe like three, four pairs max. idk how often i'll use them, but that should be good!

also, i bore my testimony in sacrament meeting, possibly for the last time [in this area]; it was super sad, and i almost cried. all four of us missionaries in the ward (haymond, moreno, osorio, and i) bore our testimonies. i KNOW i'm leaving, i feel it. (in fact, i already packed one of my suitcases.) and, elder moreno, who is my best friend, has left. literally, i just shook his hand and said "goodbye." OH MY GOSH, WHAT IS LIFE. idk what i'm going to do without him. till we meeeeet, till we meeet...ugh, so sad. LOVE YOU, mom!

Monday, May 23, 2016


last monday, we were treated to dinner in the mission home with president gómez – tacos and guacamole (which i haven't had in 10 months). it was super delicious! and, we dined in style (with air conditioning), so that was also great!!


the sad news is: rocio did not get baptized this past weekend as planned. in her interview with president gómez, a few issues came to light that still need to be resolved; basically, she has some big decisions to make (with regard to sunday employment and their family business). and, transfers are next monday, so i'm unfortunately not going to be able to see her get baptized. :( we'll keep working with her, though!

on the bright side, we were passing by a member's house this week and stopped to ask him if he knew anyone we could teach - and, he said "YES, come with me!!" we immediately followed him to his neighbor's house, where he introduced us to "maritza." apparently, she has been attending church with the member (enrique), but we've never seen her! (i guess she has only stayed for the first hour.) she is very interested and open to us!! and, so sweet! enrique had been sharing liahonas with her and recently started inviting her to church. "every member a missionary!!!!" :)

"pollo a la brasa." now you see it...

...now you don't!
(i didn't eat the rice, so basically the calories don't count)

in other food news, i've eaten "pollo a la brasa" (rotisserie chicken with rice and french fries) TWICE this week, and also "aji de gallina" (chicken casserole) TWICE. and, half a box of lemon brownie mix. and now, my skirts are starting not to fit. #stressing

also, it rained again on sunday, which means church attendance was a meager 30 people (not a joke). that's always discouraging (in the rain forest). but, missions are full of ups and downs!

this is a puppy we rescued

sometimes, i feel like the only ones progressing in my area are the cockroaches that hatched in my drawer about two weeks ago - they are getting bigger every day, and it's just so incredible how fast they grow up *tear. but really, at the end of the day, everything i'm doing here is worth it (at least to my heavenly father and to me)! AND, it’s a new week!! so, that means new miracles ahead!!!

love you all!

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's dad:
so, i've been shifting more of my focus to jesus christ - in the way that i teach (trying to testify of him more) and in the way i live. during my personal study time, i always spend at least 15 minutes reading talmage's "jesus the christ," and it's incredible. i love reading about the savior! with diomedes and rocio this week (together!), we watched "to this end was i born," which is a great video about the last hours before christ's death. the spirit was so strong, and we were able to testify of jesus christ as our savior at the end. LOVE YOU, DA.

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
hey, mom! yes, i saw the church's post about sisters wearing PANTS!!! but seriously, everything depends on our mission president. we have a zone conference in june (the first or second week), so for now, don't worry about sending pants until we know whether or not the new policy will be implemented. (also, i might be able to buy some here). PANTS!!!!! I LOVE PANTS!!!! jk, we'll probably be a million times hotter now. no pun intended. LOVE YOU, MA.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Right Reason - LOVE


today i felt so guided (and strengthened) by the spirit! last night i prayed with everything i had to be able to get up and go to work this morning. and, i did! more importantly, i did it for the right reason - LOVE.

it's something alex [rasmussen] mentioned in a group e-mail a while back; the thing that motivates him to work every day is love for god and the people he serves. i really loved that. so lately, i've been changing the "why" of why i'm here - why i wake up at 6:30am each day and walk in the hot sun for 5-8 hours. when i first arrived, i did it because it was all new and i was so super-duper excited to be in the field. but, that faded with time (not going to lie). it was superficial, anyway. it wasn't a motivation that was deeply rooted - it was more 'momentum.' the craziness of it all pushed me to keep going and experience new things.

but, then it got hard.

this past week, especially, i've been thinking "why am i doing this?" i could be at byu, i could be shopping with my mom, etc. - the skype call on mother's day pushed me to some hard reflection. it made me miss home.

the last couple of months, i got up in the morning because i knew it was my duty as a missionary, because i knew those were the rules. but, i think that reasoning could only get me so far - it wasn't going to hold up. a desire to be obedient is where we begin, but we can't stay there. i think the mission needs to get each of us to the point where everything we do is done because we love god and others.

so, this morning, the reason i got up changed.

some of the first thoughts i had at 6:30am were about "my people" - how much i love them. that's why i got up. and today was an 8-hour work day. and, breakfast was a plate of bread and a bowl of kalamata olives. and, we got a door slammed on us and faced the normal rejection from other contacts. but today, in spite of all that, i was never at any point fatigued or discouraged. in fact, looking back, we had some incredible things happen today.

what motivates us as missionaries? why do we do what we do? and, will those reasons hold up when the sun is beating down? that's what i've been reflecting on this week amidst the turmoil. but, after today, i feel like there are some permanent changes to be made. today was a turning point for me. god allows us to experience discouragement, even fall to the ground at times, but when we pick ourselves back up we become stronger. it's just the learning how to get back up that's hard.

i realize that no good thing is easily achieved. god is forming me into the woman i need to be for my own eternal progression, for my family back home, and in preparation for my roles as wife and mother someday!

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
hey, momma! how are you? it's so cool that ryan got to go to one of your classes! i'm so excited to sit in on some of your lectures when i get back, too. this week, i had the impression that we should visit a street called "atlantida," where we never go. we noticed there was space in our schedule while we were planning one day at noon, and normally we would fill that space with names of people to visit. but i said, "let's put 'the street atlantida.'" we walked the entire street and found no one. but, almost at the end, we found a less-active member who is ready to come back to church! and, her family isn't LDS, so we're going to try and teach them, too!! the spirit!!! is so amazing!!! :)

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's dad:
lately i've been able to find the EXACT scriptures i need for the lessons we teach. it's amazing to be so guided by the spirit - like, scriptures i've never even used before just come. sometimes, i literally flip open the book of mormon (this happened 6 or 7 times last week) to the exact scripture we need. i am in awe at what the spirit can do, and i'm so honored to be an instrument in the lord's hands! love you, daddy!! stay cool. :)

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's youngest brother:
hey, carson! good job on the math test!!! wow!!! so, this week we went to elia's house to do service and help in her yard!! i found some crackers in the mess of her backyard, and who knows how old they were, but they were fully sealed, and i was hungry, so i ate them. :) anyway, i helped her drag out old rags from like 10 years ago that had become buried in the dirt and mud of her backyard...it was super gross. we barely put a dent in her yard, but i think we had an impact on her heart! and, she let us drink from a coconut that came from one of her trees!

 me trying to drink out of a coconut

it was delicious!!! clear like water, and so so good.

life in the amazon

Monday, May 9, 2016

10 Inches!

this wednesday, we went to a member's house to offer service. maria hasn't been able to come to church for over a month now, because she's a full-time caregiver for her mom, who's 86 and needs constant watching. so, we went to try to help, but she wouldn't let us do anything! we just ended up keeping them company, because the two women live there alone. i sat with the elderly mother, lucila, and fanned her and chatted with her. she wanted to sing me a song, so afterward, i felt obligated to sing her one. but, the only thing that came to mind was "thinking out loud" by ed sheeran, haha - which she thought was beautiful. :)

we found a parrot in the street!

and, did you notice i'm missing something?
10 inches!

our investigator, rocio, is still a super star! she's come to church three times now [which fulfills a requirement in our mission, prior to baptism], and she asked us the other day if she can accompany us when we visit people!!! i was like, "well, i don't know if that's technically allowed, but WE'LL MAKE IT WORK." :) also, when we arrived at rocio's house for an appointment one day this week, we noticed that she had set her husband in front of the TV, and they were watching the BOM videos (the ones with the paintings and the narrations)! go, rocio!! way to be a missionary before you're even baptized!!! :)

speaking of baptisms, bruce was baptized this past saturday! all was going smoothly until i realized that i'd forgotten an important paper back at the house. so, before my district leader arrived, i literally ran back home to grab it and returned just in time to poke my head into the room and hear that i was supposed to direct the opening hymn! not only was i dripping with sweat, but as i was following along on the spanish hymn app (on a smart phone someone had handed me), the phone died! so, there i was, a sweaty mess, trying to conduct while humming a hymn to which i only knew the english lyrics, until someone realized what had happened and passed me a spanish hymn book! eventually, bruce WAS baptized - so, all's well that ends well!

bruce's baptism!

bruce, ingrid (8-years-old), and bruce's mom (merly)


happy mother's day to all mothers everywhere, but especially mine!! mom, i love you so much! thank you for everything you've done for me and all the support you give me out here. i loved talking to you yesterday! and, i'm so excited to see you when i get back. :) you're super woman! LOVE YOU!

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's youngest brother:
this week, before leaving the house one day, my comp and i prayed to find at least ONE person to serve. we didn't find anyone all morning...until we were walking to lunch. we were almost to andra's house when we passed a man wheeling himself in a wheelchair (in the full heat of the sun), so i offered to push him. we went a couple blocks out of our way, but he was so grateful! the lord hears our prayers!! we just need to watch for the ways he answers them. :)

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's sister:
we taught elia and carlos (who are members) this week. we just stopped by their house (when we didn't have any appointments), and it turns out they really needed us that day. elia was crying, and we just read the BOM with them and helped them feel better. the BOM has so much power! preach my gospel says "it's the most powerful tool we have" for teaching and sharing the joy of the gospel with others. so true! LOVE YOU!

Monday, May 2, 2016

FROZEN at 65 Degrees!

you'll never believe this, but temperatures have dropped this week in the sweltering sauna that is the amazon. as in, i haven't used my fan in about four days! and, i've been sleeping with a BLANKET!! and, a member gave us hot chocolate, because it was so cold!!! in reality, it's probably been about 65 degrees, but we've felt FROZEN. so naturally, i've been singing "let it go" all week. :)

also naturally, we decided to BAKE something warm. we used my nutella (from the states) and the "simple" nutella brownie recipe mimi sent!

we attempted to make the brownies in the mission offices!!

 but, the oven was broken...

...so, we put them in the microwave! :)

we found a really cool couple to teach this week: karola and edwin. karola was baptized when she was 9, which is how we found her contact information (in the church archives), so now we're just working with them to encourage karola to reactivate and her husband, edwin, to come to church. he's a marine (or the peruvian equivilant), so it's a little intimidating at times, but he always agrees to kneel down and offer the prayer at the end of the lessons. and, it was so cool - he came to church!! just edwin and his two little kids! he was really stressed, because his wife was at the university, so she couldn't help. and, his 2-year-old daughter thought everyone dressed in a white shirt was a doctor and that she was going to get a shot...so, it wasn't extremely spiritual for edwin, haha - but, a least he came!! the members are supporting us a ton with karola and edwin - we've gone with two different couples to visit them!!

this long, skinny fruit is peruvian GUAVA.
and this cute, skinny boy is dan, the son of our pensionista.

rocio is also making great progress! she came to church for the second time this week (AS DID DIOMEDES) and was very well received in relief society!! she got a big welcome, and her neighbors (who are members) actually said "hello" to her. :) (we're working with the members on fellow-shipping.) the other thing is, right now we don't have a relief society president, and our bishop just went to lima with his wife (who has cancer and is getting treatments), so who knows when we'll have a president. hermana osorio and i just might "fill in" that responsibility! (following in your footsteps, mom.) anyway, rocio is reading every day, and she is SO sweet!! she reads the BOM out loud to her husband, because she wants her whole family to have this truth! it's incredible!! thanks, madi, for sending me that BOM with your testimony printed inside!!

our zone, after we portrayed "a choir of angels in the celestial kingdom"

LOVE YOU ALL. and, can't wait to talk to you on mother's day, fam!!!

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's brother:
we taught the patriarch and his wife this week!! the spirit was really strong, and they're super cool, and there was soft sunday music playing in the background (because we went on sunday night), and i felt like i was sitting in our living room listening to mom's pandora radio! :) it was a really sweet moment! we taught them about christ and how he's always extending his arm of mercy towards us. and...the patriarch's gonna help us find people to teach now! woot!!

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's youngest brother:
HAAPPYYYY BIRTHDAY!!!! OH MY GOSH, IN THREE DAYS!!! you'll be in the double digits!!!! this year, i'm turning twenty...i'm ten years older than you, isn't that weird?? i can't believe it. so, the nutella streak continues. i can now see the bottom of my nutella container, and i'm scared. can't stop eating it!!!

remember our investigator named rocio? she just hired a maid, and her maid is mormon!! she's less active, so we're going to teach them both at the same time!! whoa - miracles, right?! we were so excited when we found her!! and, the maid's son is serving a mission, so that's cool, too! she recognized us as missionaries right away, haha.

also, tonight we have a family home evening set up at jenny's house! she's one of rocio's neighbors, and she's really sweet! my comp and i are going to teach a lesson. i think we'll watch the joseph smith (restoration) video! we always have food, too, so that's the greatest. :)

have a sweet, sweet birthday this week!! i love you so much!

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
we have a baptism this saturday. :) it's bruce, who's 11!! then, if all goes well, diomedes will be baptized the following week!! he mentioned something to hermana osorio about traveling?? idk, i wasn't there, but apparently there's a possibility that he will be traveling to lima for work. i wanted to cry when i heard that...i really hope he can stay!! THEN, if all goes well again, rocio will be baptized the week after diomedes! all three were in church this week!! and, what's so amazing is that bruce's whole family was inactive when we first met them; the dad refused to listen to us and almost yelled at me one time when i asked him to offer a closing prayer, but he's come to church twice now!! yesterday, the whole family (minus one of the sisters) was in church!!! YES!! it made me feel sooo good to know i'm helping this family and being an instrument in the lord´s hands!! LOVE YOU.

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