September 7, 2015 {Week 12}: Best Week of My Mission

Hellooooooo everybody stateside!  I hope this email reaches you happy and secure.

We had a really great week this week!  The best week of my mission thus far.  I don’t know what the difference has been but we’ve contacted, felt the spirit in lessons and had success with some investigators.  Unfortunately we are expecting transfers on Wednesday, so I might not be with Hermana Huerta anymore or here in the Belen area.  But again, I won’t know til Wednesday and you won’t know til next Monday! [Continue reading] 
Tuesday was the best day this week by far.  We contacted, had lessons, placed a Book of Mormon or 2 and smiled and forgot about any rejections.  We had another zone meeting this week, and we were supposed to have a meeting with a seventy (church leader) that evening, but it got cancelled while we were in the taxi!  HOWEVER, what a blessing this taxi ride was.  We contacted with the driver!  He was so receptive and said he would attend church on Sunday(he didn’t, but we are going to set up a return appointment for this weekend with him and his family), he lives in our area, and we have his phone number.  We are so excited to teach him and his family.
The week continued to be like this day, even though we did experience a lot of falles (fails), as is typical with the work I think, but the Spirit was in lessons that we did teach because I felt it, and so did Hermana Huerta.
Let me preface my English classes with I HAD THE “GRINGO DREAM” LAST WEEK!  It’s when you dream of teaching a lesson in Spanish.  So I guess you could say I’m fluent now(lol, let’s be real but this dream really did happen!)
2 English classes this week, but people(other than Hermana Huerta), only showed up on Thursday,  However, Friday evening with Hermana Huerta was wonderful too.  I bore my testimony about the language of the Restoration(meaning the Church was restored to the Earth in English for a reason.)  I explained how I love my country and feel blessed to speak English, but I also love this Gospel.  So I am so grateful to dedicate 18 months of my life to learn Spanish and teach other people this Gospel in their native language.  However, I know that there is nothing more powerful than reading the actual words of Joseph Smith’s translation in his language.  Learning Spanish will change my life– strengthen my relationship with the Lord, help me better understand the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and strengthen my relationship with Abby.  But the Lord speaks to prophets in these latter days in English– we can read the ACTUAL WORDS OF GOD, in English, so what a blessing it is to teach people English so they can listen to a prophet’s voice in his voice, so they can read the words of God in the words of its original translation.  It is a sacred blessing I have to share the language of the restoration with the Bolivian people who do not speak English.  Anyway, so I bore this testimony to an attentive Hermana Huerta(I almost cried btw, the Spirit was testifying to me too), and after closing in the name of Jesus Christ, I asked a simple question in English.  Hermana Huerta stopped me and explained(in Spanish of course), “Hermana Butikofer, I could understand everything you said.  You were talking continually and quickly and I could understand every word.  But as soon as you finished I couldn’t understand you anymore.  I don’t understand!  How is that possible!?  I could understand literally everything you said!”  She then reexplained to me what I had said.  In my setting apart for my mission I was blessed to be able to experience and recognize the interpretation of tongues in my mission.  I saw that in this beautiful little expereicne with my sweet companion en la capilla este semana.  I know that the workings of God are not dead in these days.  He speaks through prophets to us and He calls us as missionaries to teach the word of God to those who need it.  I love that I am learning Spanish and I am learning to love Bolivia as well.
My funny story from last week!  So Elders Hilton and Woodbury have an American-Bolivian 17 year old(they teach him in Spanglish ohmygosh how cool!!??) that they have brought to church the past two weeks(he’s getting baptized here soon and I think he’s gonna serve a mission too!).  Anyway, so last week he came to church for the first time and the elders introduced him to us sisters and he shook my hand then started leaning in to kiss my cheek, as is the custom here.  And I was all confused and started leaning in too and then I reliazed what was happening so I pushed him away with my left hand on his shoulder and startled him and scared me and scared the elders and Hermana Huerta.  Becuase we all thought it was completely normal but it wasn’t.  As sisters we aren’t supposed to have physical contact with men outside of a handshake, so yeah.  It was fine in the end, but we all still laugh about it, and I had my “this is awkward and embarrassing” laughing moment afterwards when they were in the chapel…. hahahaha…. such is my life as we know it!
Okay tata for now! heeheehee,  I love you all and include you in my prayers!  Be happy and smile and remeber to read and study!  May you all be blessed with a happy week like me!
Hermana E Butikofer
[So I received a brief email today (Wednesday) from a family in Erin’s current area of Belen in Santa Cruz. They told me that Erin was indeed transferred today. She was transferred to Riberalta which is in the farthest reaches of the mission boundaries. She will fill us in on Monday I am sure, but I thought I would let you know. And to satisfy your curiosity and mine, I have included a map where you can locate Riberalta and a couple of photos I googled.]

Bolivia, Beni Department, aerial view of Riberalta at the confluence of Madre De Dios River and Madre De Dios River in the Amazon Basin

Waterfront from the air (1500x1000)

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