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


Monday, August 29, 2016

Life Is Magnificent

hello from the jungle!

this week was great! first off, we had a baptism!! pierro, who is 17, was baptized!!! his brothers and cousin were baptized recently, and this week it was his turn. he is so enthusiastic and was very ready for to make this commitment! we met him about a month ago, and he was super excited to start learning. i've never seen someone his age be so dedicated to the "my duty to god" program! and, we got him started on family history work this week - i can't even wait to see where he goes with that. :)

pierro and some of his fam

baptism selfie

oh, also there were no transfers for me or my comp, hermana garcia, last monday! we are happy sisters. :) the only sad thing is that i'm now the only "white girl" in the zone. there are some gringo elders but no other gringas! it's okay. it just means i'll be teaching our english class for the rest of the transfer period. ;)

this dog almost attacked us,
but he's actually really nice!

in other news, we had our second interview with president li this week. he told us that his wife was literally crying when she found out a sick elder might have to be sent home. SO SWEET! pres was like "yeah, consider us your parents." president li is just awesome. :) but, he can't pronounce my name, haha. hermana wet? wok? "i'm still learning english, hermana!"

this tarantula was eaten by a chicken
a few seconds after i took this photo

i noticed so many tender mercies and small joys this week - and, i've found that is what makes life so worthwhile. looking up during the prayer to see a member's little boy kneeling down when the rest of us were seated (just because that's how he was taught to pray), hearing a 17-year-old i met a month ago testify that he knows the church is true and that joseph smith was a prophet, seeing a less-active woman start to read the BOM again, and so many other experiences are changing my perspective. life is magnificent, and i love it! remember to smile!! jesus loves you!!!

hermana wok

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's youngest brother:
hey, goober! wow, you look so grown up! i can't believe you're old enough to be on safety patrol!! oh my gosh!!! that's the best thing ever. do you still yell "PACK IT UP" at the end? haha, such good times.

someone gave us mango jam this week! it was homemade! we took it back to our room and opened it and there were brown sticks floating in it! ew, right? no, not really - they were cinnamon sticks! brown sticks float in everything here, including my breakfast oatmeal. it's straight cinnamon, not that powdered  stuff! i'm going green! wait, not that's for energy saving. uh, what's the expression? idk. going hippie? LOVE YOU!

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's dad:
dad, thank you so much! i will treasure this week's e-mail forever! your advice helps me so much, because on your mission [in brazil], you basically experienced the same conditions! like, you lived through the same climate, and the culture is very similar. often i think to myself "if dad could do it, i can do it!" also, i realize that many have gone before me and many will come after!

i think a lot about how incredible our family is and how awesome you are for having a solid job and providing for everyone and making memories with the kids and especially for loving mom so much. thank you for everything! i love you!

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
this week we taught a waaaay less-active family. i was thinking about not even scheduling them, because they're so far away and the mom didn't seem interested. but, i was like "let's just go!" so, we went, and almost the entire family sat down and listened to us!! kids just kept showing up, and no one left for the entire lesson!!! that is seriously a miracle. at the end, i was so thrilled that i thought "i have to do something for this family...what do i have on me...stickers!!" (thank you for those!) so, i gave them all "la primaria me hace feliz" stickers, and they stuck them on their phones. :) the mom thought it said "la primera vez me hace feliz." we were dying of laughter. LOVE YOU.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Significant Moments

when we're helping, we're happy :)

another great week of missionary work down! and, another transfer period in the field!! transfers are tonight, but we're not expecting any changes for our companionship, yet.

service swag

this week, we taught a man named rolando. as we were teaching lesson one, after talking about christ's atonement, i asked "how does it make you feel to know that christ died for your sins?" rolando seemed puzzled. "christ didn't die for ME, just for all of humanity in general," he replied. so, i had the privilege and honor of testifying to rolando that "christ thought of YOU, hermano, when he was on the cross. he knows you, and he loves you perfectly!" i love moments like that when i can testify of the love of christ - it's one of the best parts of being a missionary!

little blue house in the jungle

interesting story: my comp, hermana garcia, and i always buy ice cream at a little internet shop, and one day we accidentally left a BOM [book of mormon] behind - no, really, it was totally an accident. about a week later, the guy who always gives us the ice cream said "you left a bible here!!" he brought it out, and we explained what it was. he gave it back to us, was quiet for a second, and then asked "how much does it cost?" he'd been reading it a little bit. "do you want it?" i offered. "it's free! well, sort of. the cost is that you have to read it!" another small, but possibly significant moment. :) we haven't seen him since, because we haven't gotten ice cream (we are strong), but we'll be going back!!

more service in the jungle

LOVE YOU ALL! have a great week, and make tomorrow magnificent!!

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's dad:
we contacted FIVE referrals this week!! whereas we usually struggle to get to three, we've been working with the members and getting more. my friend, allison, said in her group e-mail the other week that if we're being obedient as missionaries and doing all the things we should be, investigators will just "fall into our laps." and, that seems to be happening! yesterday, a member just brought her friend to church, and that afternoon we taught her lesson one - and she's interested! woot!

in other news, we were almost attacked by dogs on various occasions this week. and once, a BAT almost attacked us (there are TONS of them flying around at night) - like, it flew right at us! garcia and i didn't even hesitate, we both just turned and ran! haha, the animals here kill me. LOVE YOU!

my mission is beautiful

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
so, dress slacks will be allowed in our mission, but the specific guidelines for "sister missionary dress code in iquitos" hasn't come out, yet. everyone's heard that we'll be able to wear pants during certain parts of the year in certain parts of the mission, but we're still waiting on the details.

also, this week for service, we went to the jungle!! it was so cool! we literally left civilization - no roads - and went waaay far out to help a newly baptized and married couple build their house. apparently the properties out there are really cheap, so they bought one. tons of members came to help, too. and, i got to "cultivate" for the first time!! it's like mowing the lawn, but you do it by hand with a machete. that was on saturday, and i'm still sore. :) LOVE YOU!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Expect the Unexpected

these cute twins in our ward want to be missionaries!

yes, yes he is

one thing i've learned (serving in the amazon) is to expect the unexpected. last tuesday, as we were finishing our weekly district meeting, the zone leaders suggested that we have an hour-long english lesson - then announced that i would be teaching it! what? haha, improv is always fun. :)

then, one morning this week, our water didn't work. we have water stored in two-liter bottles and in a big green bucket, so i just used the bottled water and a hardened shell (from a fruit called "wingo"). it was a little rugged, but i just scooped the water out with the wingo bowl and showered with that. definitely worth it before going out to work in the heat of the day!

kiddos' baptism!!

classic baptism selfie

in other news, alonso, gian, and sebastian were baptized this week! they all live with their grandma, who has wanted to see them baptized for a very long time. she was so happy. :) we are also teaching another of her grandkids named pierro, who is 17. he will hopefully be baptized on the 27th! and, we had four investigators at church!!!! couldn't even believe it!!! the lord is blessing us so much!!

i am so grateful this week for the atonement of jesus christ. it literally gets me through everything. i love my savior, i love this work, and i love all of you!

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
hey, mommy! thank you so much for understanding about the return date change [february 7th, instead of december 21st]. it's just a few more weeks, right? we got this!

life in the rainforest

so, my whole mission i've been craving spiral mac and cheese with hot dogs, right? and, guess what we had for breakfast this week? the peruvian version! the hot dogs sort of disintegrated in my mouth (ew) and the cheese was weird, but IT HAPPENED!!! for breakfast!! then, dinner last night was three mandarin oranges and a huge cup of jello. #nutrition

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's dad:
this morning in personal study, i noticed a ton of ants on my desk (more than normal) and then more and more...and then, i looked at my english quad and it was FULL OF ANTS!! like a colony of ants in my scriptures! and, this has happened to my comp's quad, too. apparently, the ants like the glue that holds the bindings together. so, i was killing the ants on my desk with a disinfectant spray we have to clean the bathroom (thank heaven we bought it the other week, or we would've had no way to kill them), while hermana garcia was knocking my scriptures on the ground to get the ants out. as they would fall on the ground, i'd spray them with the spray. eventually, there were so many that we had to pour alcohol down the binding to kill them all, and even that didn't do it completely. it was insane - and took up half of personal study time!!!

Monday, August 8, 2016


this week, we taught a lesson to a recent convert named celina. she's been going through a lot of trials since her baptism a few months ago, and yesterday she shared with us her thoughts. she believes "satan is giving her these trials." i immediately felt prompted to share a scripture from the doctrine & covenants about how the lord allows us to have trials so that we may become sanctified. in d&c 101: 2-5 it says: 

"2 I, the Lord, have suffered the affliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their transgressions;

"3 Yet I will own them, and they shall be mine in that day when I shall come to make up my jewels.

"4 Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son.

"5 For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified."

i testified to celina that our loving heavenly father wants us to be HAPPY and endure our trials well, so that we can be SANCTIFIED through them. that's one thing i have come to learn here. i am convinced the Lord doesn't allow us to have trials that we can't be happy in - and i mean, "smiling from ear to ear" happy! the lord can lighten our burdens so that we don't feel them, which helps us to truly have joy at all times. even in the midst of trials, when it's hard to smile from ear to ear, the gospel and the promise of eternal life gives us HOPE that leads to pure joy. i know that god wants what's best for us! even though we think we know best, he knows better!! trust him, and you will find happiness.

happy sisters 

candlelight dinner

in other happy news, we found a family to teach this week!!! interesting story: they were driving around one sunday, and the mom wanted the family to start going to a church, but she didn't know which church they should attend. they passed a mormon chapel, and their 17-year-old-son said "hey! that one looks good!!" so, they went to an lds ward - and stayed for all three hours!! it was a different ward [than ours], but the elders referred them to us because the family lives in our area. we gave them a BOM after teaching the restoration, and we couldn't be more excited!! we also have a part-member family we're teaching. the lord is blessing us with miracles, and i know he heard our prayers that we would find people to teach!! YES! :) love you all!

hermana wood

service project - we cleared away this wood to make a wooden road :)

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's dad:
hey, daddy!! no one knows about the olympics here - in fact, i only knew because you told me!! so there's that. the peruvians don't care much about it, haha.

also, at night here, the stars are INCREDIBLE. like you see the galaxy, and it's gorgeous. every night the moon is beautiful, too - sometimes it's yellow. and, i'm looking at all this sky through palm trees and over metal roof tops while frogs croak next to me. this happens every day, and every time it happens, i think just how lucky i am to be here. even though it's hard, and not a day passes without a struggle, at the end it's worth it. #moments

i love you, mom!

Monday, August 1, 2016


hey, everyone! cheers to another week, and cheers to ONE YEAR IN THE MISSION!!! i completed 365 days on july 28, which happens to be peru's independence day. woot!! there were aerial fireworks right outside our house at 10:30pm to celebrate. thank you, perú.

one year in the mission!!! 

spent the day tracking to the end of civilization...

...and also, ponderizing! :)

in other news, i "attempted" to teach english at district meeting this past tuesday. i say attempted because i really struggled! the latinos had tons of questions, and (to be honest) i'm not sure if i taught true doctrine. it's crazy that my native tongue has become somewhat foreign to me - english feels funny coming out of my mouth! another insane moment this week was when i said to hermana garcia, "your bug spray smells SOOO good" - and i actually meant it! #lifeintheamazon

pizza with my district on p-day!!

life is so good with hermana garcia [my new companion]. we laugh, sometimes until we cry, about the silliest things! and yet, she is so dedicated and willing to work. she's also very thoughtful; she wrote me notes on my birthday and for my one-year mark, which made me feel special. and, we've been working hard to network with tons of members! on sunday, i introduced myself to like 20 people!! but, with 220 attending each week (this ward is HUGE), we need to keep reaching out until we meet everyone!!!

love being a missionary!!!

last but not least, we have an "eternal investigator" named idaluz, and this week we started teaching her husband, miguel. i loved sharing the message of the restoration with him! it's always a great message to share, but i knew his story and how much knowledge of the restored gospel would bless him, specifically, so it was extra special to teach. i love being a missionary!!! it's the #greatest. and, i love you all!!!!!

hermana wow

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
hey, mom! i'm totally better and have been feeling fine for a week now. please don't worry! in related news (haha), we were sitting in a lesson and a poisonous spider was sitting next to us (on the wall). so, that was exciting. :) it was the size of my palm! we were with a member, and she was like "if that bites you, you go to the hospital." apparently, if you get bit by a spider here, you have to kill the spider and bring it with you to the hospital! lol. but, those ones don't come into our house!! also, apparently the tarantulas are not poisonous, just those gross brown ones. idk what they're called.

this week, we've seen wild ducks, chickens, dogs (obviously), parrots, and monkeys. animals just wander here! LOVE YOU!!

fun fact: when the dogs here are sick, their owners tie lemons
onto their collars to make them feel better :)

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