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


Monday, October 31, 2016

Dream Come True

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!! IT'S HALLOWEEN, AND IT'S P-DAY, which is a sister missionary's dream come true!!!!!! we are going to do SO much festive stuff today (as much as we can in the amazon). my comp and i are dressed as missionaries serving in a USA mission - i'm even wearing my english name tag. :)

in other news, this has been another great week of service! from finger-painting styrofoam cups to being temporary family history center sisters for the caravan to the temple this last week, we have been all over the place! but, our extra effort is being compensated, because we found FOUR new investigators this week; a former investigator decided to come to church on sunday, we have like three families we're teaching (which is big for this area), and random good things just keep happening to us! the lord sees even small efforts and rewards them!

also, i'm coming to the close of my purificandonos (40-day fast), and it has been incredible! the most challenging thing for me to "give up" was singing worldly songs out loud or in my head. by worldly, i mean it's just become a habit to always sing EFY songs or some type of christian rock, haha. and while those aren't necessarily bad, i've found that focusing on the hymns (only) has given me more chances to feel the spirit! there have been lots of little changes in my "day-to-day" that are making all the difference in my "week-to-week." i've been able to feel the spirit a lot more in the lessons, too!

my favorite lesson this week was with kevin: we taught the importance of repenting NOW, because the savior is coming again soon! hermana pac and i made a detailed lesson plan and prayed so hard for the lesson to go well beforehand. then, with kevin, we read in alma about how the day of this life is the time to prepare to meet god. my companion and i both testified about repentance. then i found myself saying, "kevin, you are not alone in this process. you've had help, and right now in this room there are angels with us. they are the same angels who have been with you before." i felt so strongly that what i said was true!! i had no idea what i was saying, but it just came out like that. i doubt i could've had that revelation without the 40-day fast i'm doing, so i'm grateful for the added direction from the spirit!!

last but not least, be careful eating dragon fruit! here it's called "tuna" (in fact, i was really hoping to see a dolphin-safe can of albacore tuna when our pensionista offered it to us). unfortunately, i found out that the skin of dragon fruit is full of little thorns, which are VERY hard to remove, haha. so, beware! LOVE YOU ALL!

another bit of news i forgot to mention! this last week, elder godoy, the area president for perú, colombia, bolivia, and ecuador, came and visited. he gave a great training on the plan of salvation! it was super cool - he is so awesome! through a series of events, i ended up playing the closing song and was up on the stand next to him when the meeting ended. i had previously considered talking to him about my extension date, and on a whim i decided to do it right then! he gave me a lot of comfort and said my extension got rejected because "life is like a video game. once you pass phase 1, you have to move on! why stay on level 1 when the lord has so much more prearped for you?" he then said, "you've worked hard on your mission, i can feel that. now it's time to start the next phase!" that was SUCH a comfort! i dont doubt that he is called of god! so, i felt a lot better after talking to him - also, a little trunky. :) LOVE YOU! i'll tell this story in more detail when we skype at christmas!

hermana wood

Yarinacocha Has Talent!

Just received this video from a member of the Church in Perú!

Yarinacocha Has Talent Video

Monday, October 24, 2016

Service Makes Life Better

well, i've reached the point on my mission where i put straight baby powder on my face, because it absorbs all the sweat. ;) that's something i never would’ve done, under any circumstance, before coming to the amazon. i thought it was ingenious, until one day, the elders looked at me funny and told me my face was "whiter than normal." ha.

pasto ["pasture"]

this has been a week of service! among the various activities we did were gathering corn kernels from the street so that some ladies could feed their chickens and make a chicha drink, praying with kevin when we found him on the street (then helping him find his lost motokar key for 20 minutes), helping a woman knock mangoes out of a tree with a long stick (tender mercy they didn't fall on my head) and inviting her to church, and finally, picking up a woman's food stand when the most insane wind came howling (even perú knows it's october – sppooooky).

my fav member, jessica. we are all tired. :)

but, we weren't the only ones lending a hand and making the world a better place this week. one morning, i awoke to "hermanas! someone's at the door for you!" that's a rare occurrence, but it's even stranger at 6:19am! a member had come to deliver a bucket of mangoes for us. :) the lord also blessed our less-active members and recent converts to be able to go to the temple with the caravan next wednesday (pray for them to be safe on the 18-hour bus ride). two less-active families we've been working with are getting sealed. and, remember pierro? he's going to do baptisms for the first time. :) i'm so happy for them!

what's this fruit?

sometimes as a missionary – just kidding – every day as a missionary, you run around trying to make it to all of your appointments, and many (if not all) of them fall through; sometimes every single one. that would've made this week very discouraging if we hadn't served and been served! i have such a strong testimony that service makes life better and makes us more christlike! one night, my comp (hermana pac) observed sadly "wow. every 'cita' ["appointment"] fell through. it wasn't a very good day, was it?" i replied "hermana, did you feel the spirit today?" ("yes," she said.) "then, today was a good day!" :)

love you all!!!

hermana wood

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Proposal

ice cream sisters for life :)

service as a zone - cleaning out rain gutters!

hola, friends and familia!

interesting story: as we were walking to our last appointment of the afternoon one day this week, a man crossed our path. he stopped us and asked if we could answer a question for him. i said "of course!" he asked what church we were from. we responded "the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints!" then, he proceeded to explain to us that a cocaine company in the united states had robbed him, that they were doing injustices around the world, and that he wanted it to stop NOW! in fact, he expressed a strong desire to go to the states and sort it all out, himself. somehow, that required him to have a north american wife. after he explained that, he looked at me very intently. i stared back at him. :) then, he continued "if you have any gringa friends who would be willing to enter a fictitious marriage with me, please give me their contact information!" ok. long story short, we invited him to church!

when the sisters lock the keys in a sunday school classroom,
and you have two rods of wood and a blue ribbon

this week i learned patience and humility. for those of you serving missions right now, you know those are the two hardest attributes to learn. but, the lessons are worth the difficulty. i love my savior, and i know this is his work! love you all so much!!

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's dad:
the elders had a baptism scheduled for this weekend, so we were inviting our investigators to attend the upcoming baptism all week. in fact, we were running around for like an hour beforehand to pick people up and remind everyone about the baptism. and, we had FOUR investigators come! we were very excited!! the sad part is that no one came to church on sunday; but hey, we'll take what we can get. :)

river fish!

our investigator, kevin, is doing alright. he stopped reading and praying and won't come to church, but he keeps saying he wants to be the bishop! haha. we're going to try something with him this week - we're just going to go every day and read the BOM with him. we can't advance with his lessons (because he's technically not progressing), but we can help him read! we'll see how it goes. LOVE YOU.

our pensionista keeps chicken babies (chicks?)
under a cake lid, or the mom won't take care of them

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
this week we contacted a reeeally old lady, mainly because hermana pac wanted to talk with her. i didn't really see the point, because this woman could barely understand us, but i went with it. at the end of our conversation with her, just as we were about to walk away, a man came out of the house right in front of us and said "sisters! are you from yarinacocha ward or alamedas ward?" we responded "yarinacocha!" "oh good!" he exclaimed. "come with me, I HAVE TWO FAMILIES I WANT YOU TO TEACH." we went inside with him and visited for a while. the next day, we met his wife, and last night we met their two daughters who are AMAZING. what a tender mercy! we received in total ELEVEN referrals from members this week, including like FOUR families. we are being so blessed! LOVE YOU.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Ready to Work!

where do i begin with this week? it has been a roller-coaster ride from start to finish!

meet my "greenie" from guatemala!
(don't mind the garbage behind us.)

at the beginning of the week, hermana garcia left me (aka was transferred to serve in another area of the mission). she went to a land far away called tarapoto, and i was really sad.

last ice cream run

fun on our last p-day

bye, garcia! off to tarapoto!

that same night (monday), just after hearing my beloved comp was being transferred, i learned that i would be training a new missionary. so, i have a "brand new baby daughter" now!!! her name is hermana pac, she is from guatemala, and her mom lives in provo. she is the sweetest missionary ever, and i love her so much!

i found out real quick that pac came ready to work, because in our first lesson (with a couple we had just barely met and shared a simple scripture with) she extended the invitation to be baptized. :) we were talking about a basic belief in god, when i looked at her (to indicate it was her turn to speak), and she asked "will you accept our invitation to be baptized by someone who has the priesthood authority of god?" i bit back a smile - very proud of my little greenie!

joustin got baptized! :)

aaaand the selfie

hermana pac also speaks english, which is great - or, well, "mostly" speaks english. this week the lord has shown me a capacity for patience i didn't think i had. there's so much more responsibility now, and i feel like i'm talking non-stop. my throat is dry from explaining everything to hermana pac for the last five days, but i'm really just so excited to work with this new sister! i love her so much! and, i love you all. more faith, less fear!!!

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's dad:
everything you told me about missionary work is accurate; the heat and the aching and the heart-aching. i cried like a baby just this morning with my pensionista, as she cried and told us how she's thinking about asking her two adult sons to move out of her house, because they're rejecting the gospel they once knew was true and making a series of other bad decisions. my heart aches for these people! there's a quote on my desk by elder holland that says we need to RUN until we have nothing left to give, then keep going anyway. very true. i love missionary work, i love being here, training, and learning every day. and, I LOVE YOU!!

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
thanks for starting to think about sending a christmas package! you can probs send it before halloween again, because my last package took like two months to get here. the mail is really slow right now. i think i got lucky last year when it arrived so early. the mission is so expensive and packages are so expensive that really anything you want to send is fine. :) i don't need anything "en especifico." the christmas package will probably be the last one, though, because i'll be coming home february 6th! my extension date got rejected; the new area presidency says no one in our area - ecuador, perú, colombia, and bolivia - will be able to extend anymore! :(

Monday, October 3, 2016

Enduring Well to the End

mini hermana wood! now we just need her to stop drinking. :)

bishop invited us to lunch!

we had to traverse this to get to our lesson with kevin!

did everyone watch conference this week??? it was so inspiring!!! i'm up to my eyelids in the spirit!!! i loved every second - the general women's meeting, too! everything was just so amazing. i'm printing out all of the talks as soon as they're available - not waiting for the liahona this time. :)

gringos unite

let's not forget the true reason we come together for conference.
just kidding. :)

in other exciting news, this week i completed 14 months of living in the jungle cities of perú without once getting e coli. :) i did get nibbled by a pig once, so that streak is over. but, what i'm learning is that you're "respectable" in the mission (as a sister) when you reach 14 months. (as an elder, that apparently happens at 20 months.) with these 14 months and all this respect, i'm also learning about the blessings that come from obedience. i'm doing a challenge called "purificandonos," or "purifying ourselves." it's basically a 40-day fast of things that drive away the spirit (even small things). i made a list of everything i do, say, or think about that drives the holy ghost away, and i've committed to "fasting" from those things at least until november 2nd. it's not easy, but it will be so worth it!! god is strengthening me as i strive to purify and consecrate myself!!!

we got permission to eat as a zone in the mall after conference!

zone conference

i love you all and hope you can find ways to consecrate yourselves in the coming weeks! this week, i read an amazing quote about hope by elder neal a. maxwell: "those who look forward to a next and better world are usually those anxiously engaged in improving this one…real hope is more than wishful musing…hope is realistic anticipation taking the form of determination - a determination not to merely survive but to endure well to the end."

smile, hermana wood and jesus love you! :)

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's dad:
i was reading my father's blessing you gave me before i left for the CCM in 2015. i've read it a couple of times while i've been here, but this time was super special, having 14 months in the field. i realized as i read that every promise you gave me has been fulfilled in some way, and everything you blessed me to have or to do i now have or have done, even in small ways. there are still many adventures ahead! but, tears of gratitude were in my eyes to know that i have a father with enough faith to give me (a crazy, hopeless, then-19-year-old) a blessing like that, and to know that i had enough faith to be able to see the blessings flowing into my life. thank you for that blessing, dad, and thank you for everything you do for me. i miss you so much. i hope you have a great week! love you!

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