Monday, February 6, 2017
the goodbye dinner with president and sister li
goodbye, li family!i was going to try to make this e-mail as normal as possible, but (there's no denying) i'm coming home today. it is the end of the end of the end!
the last week has gone by like sand slipping through my fingers. i didn't even feel the time passing. we just kept working and everything was normal - now here we are.
it has been such an incredible journey! first, i want to thank everyone who has the taken the time to write me. even just a paragraph every now and then has kept me going! thank you for your love and support! i hope you know i love you all, too!
the goodbye "autosuficiencia" training
my experience with the mission has been incredible. i have learned so much and changed for the better. i'm so grateful i decided to come and serve. it didn't really hit me that it was going to end until last night when we got home. i sat on the floor and cried and cried and cried. the hardest is leaving this place, the people i've come to love, and no longer being a full-time missionary. there have been sooo many sweet moments in the last 18 months. bitter ones, too; but, that's just because we need both (opposition in all things)!
is this real?
well, this is starting to sound really cliche! but, missionary work is great. i'm happy to have served, happy to be coming home. this is the true church! everything we teach, it's all true. i will keep serving for the rest of my life. nothing stops here. les amo! nos vemos pronto!
More from this week's message from Hermana Wood's dad:
hey, dad! wow, i miss you guys so much, i am definitely excited to see you in like 24 hours. i'm already tired, haha - we went to bed last night at 12:45am. but, i am proud to say that even with the late night, i still got up at 6:30am today!
i have so many things to talk about! i am so excited to share all of my experiences and to hear how you all have changed in the last year-and-a-half! the first day is going to be sooo great!
Monday, January 30, 2017
amazing moments on the amazon river
i completed 18 months in the mission last week! things are wrapping up for me here in iquitos. they always say SOMETHING has to happen to you in your last weeks in the mission, and we have seen just how true that is. i have a crazy story (that's still unfolding) to tell you all next week, but you'll have to wait to hear it in person. ;)
this is the boarding dock on the river
we had the craziest week ever (also) because of the world training for missionaries! there are going to be some big changes in the daily schedule and also in the key indicators (they went down from like 10 to only 4). every missionary from here on out is going to have a very different experience than what we've had, and i'm so excited for them! i wish i could stay longer to see all the changes take place! it's just a testimony to me that the work is moving forward!
zone conference this week - the last one
my daughter is in iquitos!
it's been a blessing to see her one more time before i peace out
all the sisters in the mission who will be going home next week
are in the same city! coincidence? i think not! ;)
p.s. remember indira?? she GOT BAPTIZED!!!!
Monday, January 23, 2017
when you need a pedicure, but you only have a bucket
this week was great! it started with an oreo milkshake (that saved my life) followed by "grape cheesecake" (that was not cheesecake). but, best of all, we had sooo much support from the members this week! :) we would call them two at a time so that we could do what we call divisions (or "splits"). my comp would go with one member, and i would go with the other. that way, we hit double lessons and more street contacts. we are working harder than ever! someday, probably after i'm home from the mission (did i mention i have two weeks left?!), someone will see results from this concentrated effort. we are planting seeds and hoping this area will continue to be cultivated and begin to grow!
the grand amazon river
i had a great opportunity to testify to a less-active member (who was baptized when she was 10 but doesn't remember much of what she learned about the gospel) that we can become perfect through the atonement of jesus christ. we shared moroni 10: 3-5 with her, and i felt prompted to stop and ask: "llermè, how does it make you feel to know that we can become perfect one day?" she said "hermana, NO. we will not become perfect. it's impossible." she truly didn't believe that we can become like jesus christ! i testified to her that this is the reason we came to earth and that, in 3 nephi, christ says "que clase de hombres habeis de ser? de cierto os digo, aun como yo soy" (i don't remember it in english). we are here to become perfected in every aspect! in this life, we won't be "perfect." but, i've come to feel the reality that one day we will have perfect bodies and a fullness of joy, if we do our part here in this life!
a suuuper fancy cafe
i love missionary work!!! so much of my heart is here in iquitos - and tarapoto and pucallpa. the thought of leaving it all behind in just two short weeks and going home is happy but also so, so sad - it's truly bittersweet! i know with all my heart this gospel is true! and, i love preaching it!!
More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
hey, moooom! i love this e-mail. haha, you guys are the most loving, awesome fam ever. and, i love those questions - they are so unique! i'll be thinking about them this week and will write down some responses. we will definitely have a lot to talk about! it's funny, sometimes out here you feel like everyone has forgotten about you. but today, allison wrote me (the provo girls are home from missions and back together!!!) and said they can't wait for me to join them. :) and, you guys are all getting ready for my return, as well - it just makes me feel so loved! :) haha, i know you all love me, and i love ya'll too, but the mission just makes you feel so far removed from everything! i'm so excited to come back and see all of the changes and jump right in! it's been way too long since i've seen you guys. trying sooo hard to focus, haha. it gets hard at the end! LOVE YOU. thank you for your prayers!
Monday, January 16, 2017
giving away stickers in the street
this last area is a challenging one, but we are (sort of) finding people to teach, and it's the best! we're particularly excited for luz de jesus and her mom, rosmeri, to whom we were able to teach "lesson 1" this week. luz asked us before the lesson, "how long do i have to be receiving these lessons before i can get baptized?" i was like "yes! that's a great question!" haha. :) we invited her mom to be baptized, as well, and rosmeri said "puede ser" ("could be"). she didn't say "no," so all i heard was "yes." unfortunately, they didn't make it to church (because luz slept in), but hopefully they'll be there next week!
preaching the gospel
our pensionista bought us churros!
my eyes are red, because we watched the movie "17 miracles."
so, as i was sitting in sacrament meeting thinking about all of this, i really felt devastated. but then, i felt a hand on my shoulder, and i looked up to see rocio - a woman who had been baptized after i taught her the gospel when i served in this area six months ago - she was just standing right next to me with a huge grin on her face! she and her husband (also recently baptized) and her son (who we'd helped to baptize, as well) had heard through the grapevine that i had come back to iquitos, so they came to visit me. :) i threw my arms around her, laughing, and thought "god knows exactly what we need. he is aware of us." like spencer w. kimball once said: "god does notice us. and he watches over us. but it is usually through another person that he meets our needs."
the best sunday yet! surprise visit by rocio and her family!!
i testify that what president kimball said is true, because i experienced it this week. sunday IS when you see your results - i count that blessing as the result of a long week of hard work, and i thank my heavenly father for sending rocio! LOVE YOU ALL.
More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's dad (after learning that our family dog, Tootsie, had passed away):
we are working hard and seeing the hand of the lord strengthening us. i'm going to need that now more than ever, hearing this news. i'm so sad to hear tootsie passed away and hope you can all just feel at peace about it. i'll try to do the same. i love you all so much, and i'm just glad you're all safe and healthy and well. make this week better than last, and always keep tootsie in memory! i love you, dad!
came across paintings while souvenir shopping for the fam
More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
i read something this week that i loved by elder uchtdorf: "the promises of the lord, if perhaps not always swift, are always certain." i trust that's true! especially the promises that the lord will hasten his work and that every living creature will resurrect one day. i'm so sad about tootsie, but i just hope you guys are okay and can hold up strong. i love you so much!!