Monday, June 9, 2014

The Miracle of the Butterflies

So this week I couldn't think of anything that worthwhile sharing, as the work continues normal and the challenges we have I don't really know how to explain. So I thought I'd do something a little different.

I've started to collect a little list of the miracles I've seen here in the mission. There are miracles all over the place, and i'm sure more that I don't even recognize, but I started a little list of miracles that are specifically for me or in my life, sort of like 17 miracles (an LDS Movie) but the stories of my mission. And I'm writing them out in a little book. So today I'm going to tell you the story of the miracle that is the most significant to me, The Miracle of the Butterflies. 

It starts in Virasoro right at the beginning of my mission. After arriving in Virasoro with Hermana Gonzalez, I quickly realized how much Spanish I didn't know or understand. I spent the first weeks, like any missionary learning a second language, crying and praying for some sort form of strength. On one particularly bad morning, I had had it. After a lesson and on our way to lunch that Saturday morning, I broke down crying in the middle of the street we were walking down. My companion immediately tried to help me by saying things (in Spanish) like "You need to trust in God more" and "You need to have more faith". It didn't help. As I tried to stamp down the feelings of frustration, helplessness, and just about every other emotion a new missionary feels, the only thing I was capable of doing was to look up to the sky and desperately plead, "Father, help." In that moment, a butterfly fluttered past. I thought, "Oh nice, a butterfly", dropped my head and kept crying and walking. Then another one dipped down into my eyesight and fluttered away. I picked my head up and started paying attention. Along every road we walked to that lunch appointment, there was a butterfly.

My prayer wasn't answered by immediately speaking Spanish fluently and my hard times certainly weren't over - once we got to the lunch appointment I still locked myself in the member´s bathroom and cried - but my prayer had been answered. The thought repeated in my mind "Heavenly Father loves me enough to send a butterfly in my path".

I've never been a girly girl, one to like pink, fluffy things and flowers and butterflies. But from that moment on butterflies had a new meaning for me --Gods love and awareness for me specifically. 
But it didn't end there. The rest of that day there were butterflies in my path, if I only looked up. My days and weeks continued to be hard. Really, really hard.
I began to pray to see the butterflies. And they came. Sometimes they were far off in the distance, other times they fluttered right across my path. One time when things were really bad once came and almost landed on my head. But almost every moment I was sad, down, or depressed, every moment, a butterfly was nearby. Countless times this happened to be, but I never told anyone. 

Until one day I shared it, just on a whim, with Hermana Anderson. She helped me see just how special it really was, and we started to watch for the butterflies together. Often they fluttered past and several times we came across one in our path that we could pick up and carry along with us. They weren't always constantly there, but every time I needed them, they appeared.

 I started sharing this experience in a few lessons as an example of the way God shows His love for His children in very, very small ways. As I prepared to leave Virasoro, Hermana Anderson and the Elders there told me that every time they saw a butterfly they would think of me and of Gods love. 

Then I got moved to Paraguay, and I needed the butterflies again. My first morning here I prayed for butterflies. And I walked out the door and they were surrounding me all day again, like they had before in the hard times. And they're still here, because God still loves me. He loves us. He loves us enough to test us and try us, and to send butterflies along the way. The reason I decided to share this today, is that this morning I walked out of the cyber worried about you, Daddy. I was walking down the street with my head down and thinking about everything, and all of a sudden a butterfly appeared, flew right towards me and smacked into me, brushed against my arm, and then fluttered away. It was the only one I've seen all day, and the only butterfly to have ever touched me. 

I know God is aware of us. I know it. I know He loves me, enough to send butterflies in the path of His daughter all the way in Paraguay. I know His plan is greater than our own, and that if we pray for the "butterflies" in our lives and look up, they will come. I testify of and promise that as His representative.

Questions from the family: 

Can you joke now in Spanish?
yes I can! Well not puns or anything, but I can make people laugh! That is if they want to understand me. Its interesting, the people who want to understand me, can. Then there's a whole bunch of other people who use my accent (which isn't even that bad compared to others) as a reason to ignore me or degrade what I'm saying. So, so many times in lessons or contacts I say something that makes sense, my companion 100% understands, and the person listening makes a big deal of not understanding me, or pretends not to because they don't want to admit what I'm saying is right. It drives me crazy sometimes. That's something that you guys could pray for if you want, I want a better accent!

Sending all of my love,
Amanda :)

me pretending to drink a giant cup of terrere (probably not spelled right)

me and the butterflies 

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