StoryTeam: Nancy Hoiaas

August 12, 2021 Marian Rizzo StoryTeam

People call her “The Butterfly Lady.” Nancy Hoiaas loves to give people hand-crocheted and 3-D plastic butterflies, along with a written message about how much God loves them.

“The butterfly is likened to a rebirth in Christ,” says Nancy. “It’s a gift of God’s love.”

At 80 years of age, Nancy looks back on her own metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly, from darkness to light.

“I was raised in a cult,” admits Nancy. “I was in the Jehovah’s Witnesses for 33 years. My father was a preacher. My mother went along with it but she was never really a practicing JW. As a little girl I went to all of the meetings. I was indoctrinated. I became a Pioneer and committed to giving 100 hours a month going door-to-door.”

Things changed for Nancy in 1975 when a major JW prophecy failed to occur.

“They prophesied in 1968 that Armageddon would happen in 1975,” Nancy recalls. “Well, 1975 came and went and Armageddon did not happen. Many of the JWs went into deep debt. They took trips they couldn’t afford. They were spending money so they could go out with a bang, so to speak. They were financially destitute because they had spent their money expecting Armageddon would happen.”

Disheartened, Nancy began to drift away from the JW teachings.

“I came out with post traumatic stress,” she says. “Everything started to change. I was dis-fellowshipped. Everyone I knew would not speak to me again. I listened to Billy Graham on TV and asked Jesus to come into my heart. I did not know Him. The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus is the archangel Michael. I had to get rid of all that junk, and the Lord helped me do it. It’s amazing what happens when you ask Christ to come into  your heart. I am a survivor only because Jesus set my feet on higher ground and cleansed me with his blood.”

Reborn in 1976 and baptized publicly in 1985, Nancy and her husband, Erik, who was raised in the Lutheran church, began to reach out to others with a message of God’s love. Not only do they give out the butterflies, but they have shared their testimony at multiple churches in Texas and Florida.

Still, Nancy feels a touch of sadness for the people who continue to live under the lies taught by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, not only about Armageddon but many other falsehoods within their translation of the scriptures.

“I could be very bitter after what I came out of, but I’m not bitter about it,” she says. “I’m very sorry it happened the way it did and that the witnesses are following a false prophet. The witnesses need love and they need God’s mercy.”

Nancy and Erik moved to Florida 11 years ago, immediately connected with Bible teaching churches and recently came to Good News Church.

“We very much like Mario’s teaching and Doug’s teaching,” she says. “They give you a lot of scripture and that’s what we need these days. After what I’d been through, I always check the word. I didn’t do that with the JWs.”

Her advice is simple. “Always go to the word, check it out, and don’t be deceived, especially in these last days.”
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Marian Rizzo

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