Spencer is from Canton, Michigan and is called to serve in the Ecuador Quito North Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from July 2014 - July 2016.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Week #101 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - July 4, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, it's been another interesting week here in Comité del Pueblo.

President Richardson and his family went home on July 1st and our new mission president, President Murphy and his family, are here now and have been on a tour of the mission last week. Our area got to meet him on Friday. He brought 3 of his 6 kids with him. President Murphy is a little rusty with his Spanish. One of President's children served his mission in the Dominican Republic and got home over a year ago so he could speak some Spanish but he seemed a little out of touch. It will be a good opportunity for them to learn and touch-up their Spanish...hahahaha!

Unfortunately, it's still been pretty dangerous in this area. We have had a couple of close calls last week. But my companion and I have been as cautious as we can be, plus the criminals/gangsters around here are pretty easy to pick out of a crowd. They pretty much dress the same, and are usually smoking or drinking, which isn't a good sign.  We just have to pay close atencion to everything around us. If we don't, it could be dangerous. At the end of the day, pretty much every single evening, we run to our house as quickly as possible so that noone can catch us or follow us. Honestly, I'm getting pretty tired of that!

This weekend was worse than usual. The last day of school was Friday, and everyone was partying and getting drunk, wild and crazy all weekend. In most of my other areas, the weekends are when you need to be on guard, but in Comité, all the days of the week can be dangerous. For example, we had a close call today at 11:30 in the morning. We were very lucky that there was a police officer nearby. I'm pretty sure we didn't get robbed because he was there. I'm honestly thinking, sometime in the future, that I should get a license to carry around a gun at all times so these types of things don't happen to me again.

Anyways, I'm not sure if I will be able to write next Monday, which is the day before I come home. I don't think I will but I'm not a 100% sure. But it's been an awesome 2 years in Ecuador! Honestly it's been the best decision I have ever made in my life! There is absolutely no substitute to sharing the Gospel and helping and serving other people. It's sad for me to think that pretty soon, I won't be a full-time missionary who is teaching the gospel 24/7. I love being a missionary and wish I could do it for the rest of my life! If only... And I have learned to love the people in Ecuador and it will always have a piece of me. I really liked something Elder Holland shared with us when he came and spoke a few months ago. He said that we will never return to who we were before our mission and we shouldn't ever forget to share the gospel with everyone around us when we return home. That we can't get on the plane going to the Celestial Kingdom and then in mid-flight try to turn the plane around. He told us that when he meets RM's and finds out that they've forgotten to continue sharing the gospel or decided that they've already "served their time" and don't need to do it anymore, that he just wants to take them by the throat and shake some sense back into them! Hahahaha! I testify that as missionaries and also as members of this true church, that our duty is to share our beliefs with those around us. Share the truth of this wonderful gospel that brings so many blessings into our life. I also testify with the First Presidency of the church who have told us that there is no work that brings more satisfaction and blessings than missionary work. I'm so grateful to have had this opportunity and so thankful for all of your prayers on my behalf these last 2 years. You have greatly blessed and strengthened me.

Have a wonderful week everyone! Hope to see many of you in person very soon!

Elder Dyal

Elder Dyal with President and Sister Murphy

 Quito Calderon Zone with President and Sister Murphy and 3 of their children

Quito Calderon and Ofelia Zones with President and Sister Murphy

 The Zone with the Calderon Hoodies 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Week #100 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - June 27, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

We have had a good week this week!

Like last week, it's still been pretty dangerous here in Comité del Pueblo. In general it seems to be getting crazier too. Yesterday, there was a group of black preachers and church members from another church screaming at the members of our ward as we were leaving church. They were yelling at us that we needed to repent or God will destroy us! That was surprising! There has also been a lot more drunk guys walking around as well. Even in the middle of the day. And unfortunately, they are the dangerous ones who are willing to hurt or rob people. Don't know why it's been happening more often the last few weeks. Maybe we're just in the wrong place at the wrong time?

When my companion and I were on the bus last week, we saw a guy walk on and he looked straight at us. His eyes were bloodshot red so we assumed he was drunk or high or something.  I immediately felt what Nephi described as "the evil spirit" in 2 Nephi. As the guy stumbled towards us, my companion also felt the same feeling because he whispered to me that we should move seats right away. Without hesitation, we changed seats and the guy sat down away from us. Weird and scary, right?

Other than that, we actually had a pretty normal week. We found 2 new families to teach: Familia Cedeño and Familia Beldumo. There are both pretty cool and interested in what we were teaching them. We invited them to come to church on Sunday but neither of the families attended. And at our district meeting last week, my companion and I gave the training lesson. I haven't really had to do many training lessons, but the times that I have trained, I know I could've done better. But this time it was pretty good and I felt like it went well. I definitely like to do it as a companionship instead of by myself. It's a lot easier that way.

Today for p-day, we had a fun zone activity. We played kickball, ate hot dogs, and played the Sign game. It was so difficult to get the Latinos to understand how to play kickball! It was kinda funny. But I mean really? Is kickball that hard? All you do is kick the ball and run the bases. Apparently soccer is easier for them I guess!

Have a good week everyone! Thank you for your prayers as I teach the people of Ecuador and also for my safety. I know that everything is in the Lord's hands!

Elder Dyal

Elder Dyal's Last Zone Conference
(The last Zone Conference the Richardsons attended before they go home at the end of this week)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Week #99 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - June 20, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was an interesting and unique week.

Seems like everyone in this area has been getting sick the last few weeks, both missionaries and members. Unfortunately I got pretty sick as well. At first I think it was just a cold, but now I can barely talk. My throat has been pretty sore for 3 days now. It's just kinda annoying whenever I need to talk loud, cough, or laugh because it hurts.

This last weekend we witnessed some dangerous stuff here in Comité. My companion and I almost got robbed by 2 drunk guys who had knives, but luckily they were drunk enough that we had the chance to run away before anything happened. That was weird and unexpected because it was during the middle of the day. Then we saw another guy who was robbed right in front of us on Saturday! It completely freaked us out because we had our cameras with us and didn't want them taken! Scary! I'll be praying a lot this week!

On Saturday, we had the baptisms of the Fuenmayor kids. It was so awesome that their fathers were able to baptize them! We did have a bit of a problem with filling the font though. Usually the missionaries are in charge of filling the font, but this time we turned it over to a member in the ward because he likes to call himself the "boss of the church". He literally does call himself that. Well, the boss didn't start filling up the font early enough so when it was time for the baptism to start, the water still wasn't high enough. So my companion and I went and got the hose to help fill it up faster. But even then, lots of people were late for the baptism. So I guess it was lucky for us that everyone showed up late because we wouldn't have been ready in time. Literally every baptism I've attended on my mission, we have never started on time. It guess it's a cultural thing. This pattern applies for Sunday as well. Luckily this week, the families arrived early to church so they could be ready to be confirmed during Sacrament Meeting.

Also on Saturday, we went and ate lunch with the Marmol family. They wanted to teach us how to make Encebollado, which is a fish soup and probably one of the most famous dishes here in Ecuador. It was fun to learn how to make it, and it was pretty good! And today for p-day, my district went to Quicentro again. This time we went bowling. Compared to everyone else today, I bowled a pretty good game. But that's not because I'm getting really good at bowling, it's mostly because everyone else is worse than me at bowling! hahahaha! I didn't even break 100 points, I only got 80, so it's safe to say I am still terrible at bowling!

Anyway, that was my week. I hope all the dads had a great Father's Day! Thanks for your prayers on my behalf! 

Elder Dyal




Monday, June 13, 2016

Week #98 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - June 13, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been a week full of surprises and fun events.

On Wednesday, everyone in my group that is going home in July had a dinner with President and Sister Richardson. Since the President will be going home on July 1st, he wanted to make sure and have a farewell dinner with my group since he won't see us off on July 12. That means my final interview will be with the new mission president, President Murphy. He will be my mission president for a week and a half before I leave. We will also have a farewell dinner with President Murphy and his wife the evening before we leave to go home, so we will get 2 farewell dinners. Hahaha! :p  We were also asked to send in some of our favorite photos during our mission so they can make a movie/slideshow of the missionaries who are leaving. We will get to watch it, and it will also be on the mission Facebook page for the families to see, so be looking for that in July. After the dinner was over, everyone got a chance to share their testimony. That was a really nice and spiritual day.

On Thursday before our zone meeting, my companion had to go to the mission office for an appointment with the President, his counselors and the stake president about some issues from his old ward in the Calderón stake before this last transfer. On our way to the offices, to my surprise, we bumped into Sister Varas and her son Julian. When I was in La Luz Ward from December 2014 to February 2015, I taught the Varas Family who got baptized while I was there! She mentioned that she recently was sealed to her husband in the temple! It was amazing to see that a family that I loved and taught are still active in the church and have continued to progress in the gospel! These are the things that mean the most to a missionary. I'm so glad I got to see how this amazing family has progressed!

On Friday, my companion and I met our district leader at the stake center to go on divisions. While we were there I saw Brother and Sister Viscaino setting up decorations. Sister Viscaino was baptized in April 2015 while I was in El Vergel Ward. They were super excited to see me! Hahahaha! They had also recently got sealed in the temple and were setting up decorations for a party they were having that night to celebrate the sealing. Sister Viscaino´s family aren't members of the church and couldn't come to the temple sealing, so they wanted them to participate in a celebration with them. It was so good to see that they were also active and progressing in the gospel. A wonderful few days to see my investigator families celebrating their sealing in the temple!

And other good news! We plan on having the baptisms of the Rosero-Fuen Mayor family this week! More on that next week!

Today was p-day, and my companion and I went to the Quicentro mall in Quito. Man, it's been a while since I had been there. My companion wanted to eat at McDonalds really bad. I hadn't eaten at a McDonalds since I was in the states. I wasn't too excited to try it since a lot of the American missionaries told me that the McDonalds food here was super gross, so I was prepared for the worst. Well, it was different. But it wasn't the food that was different...or maybe I've just been here too long that I don't remember. I had 2 McBacons. I don't remember those being on the menu in the states but it was basically just 2 small burgers with cheese and bacon. It was hard for me to remember what was on the menu in the states, but I didn't see a Big Mac. My companion got a happy meal (cajita feliz). I told him usually little kids ordered a happy meal in the US, but he told me that he always orders happy meals when he goes to McDonalds. Ok...whatever! :p The building looked like the one in America although it was 2 stories and on the second floor there was a playplace for kids. The McDonalds workers were what surprised me the most! The workers were well-kept and super happy. I didn't even step into the door all the way before one of the workers said, "Buenas Tardes!" with a huge smile on her face. While we were eating, many of the workers would walk by and smile and say, "Buen Provecho," which doesn't translate well but means something like, "Enjoy your meal." Even the manager went out of his way to come by our table and greet us. I had never seen so many people so happy to be working at McDonalds!

I guess you never what surprises will be thrown at you in a week! It was such a tender mercy from Heavenly Father for me to be able to see the Viscaino family and the Varas family again and know that they are now a sealed family for time and all eternity. Such a blessing!

Have a great week everyone! 

Elder Dyal

 My group at the Farewell Dinner with President and Sister Richardson

 My group at the Farewell Dinner with President and Sister Richardson

 Me with President and Sister Richardson

Me with President and Sister Richardson

 At the Quicentro Mall today for p-day

 Inside the Quicentro Mall

 Outside a sports arena

 McDonalds in Quito

This was a picture before Sister Viscaino's baptism over a year ago

Monday, June 6, 2016

Week #97 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - June 6, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been fun with Elder Aguilar. I really enjoy being his companion. He is a lot of fun. I am really glad I have him as my last companion in the mission field. Not only because he is fun but because he is a hard working missionary which is what I prayed for as my last companion. I really want to be focused until the end, and I know he will help with that. Missionary work is a lot easier when you and your companion have a similar outlook on missionary work and when you actually get along with them. He likes to make fun of the fact that I'm going to be finishing the mission soon. He likes to sing me parts of 2 different hymns...In particular, "God be with you till we meet again" and a hymn that is only in the Spanish hymn book: "(Elder Dyal) adios pues adios el tiempo de ir vino ya!" He thinks it's hilarious! :p  

There are 3 elders and 1 sister from the Calderón zone that will be going home in 5 weeks on the same day I am. Elder Colfack, Elder Richardson, Hermana Tonge, and me. All of us are Americans. I'm not sure how many others total from the other zones are going home, but it's a pretty big group.  President and Sister Richardson are going to finish in 3 or 4 weeks now. To celebrate his departure (and also our departure), he is having a lunch this Wednesday with all the Elders and Sisters from the group going home with me. That should be fun! Hopefully there will be pictures!

It looks like we are going to have to postpone the baptism of the Rosero- Fuan Mayor because Brother Rosero wants to be able to baptize his own children. But first we have to active him and he has to talk to the bishop about it. It also turns out that Sister Fuan Mayor's brother will need to baptize his daughter as well because they lost her ficha in Colombia where she was originally baptized. Even though the baptisms will take a little longer than we originally thought, having the 4 of them get baptized on the same day and also having their Fathers be the ones to baptize them will be much better and more memorable for everyone. I'm glad they are making it an important goal in their lives.

Sorry this is short. Not much more to talk about. Hopefully more next week. Thanks for all your support and prayers. Have a great week everyone! 

Elder Dyal

Monday, May 30, 2016

Week #96 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - May 30, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Well today was transfers and it's the last one I have in the mission. My old companion, Elder Ureta went to Ibarra and I received Elder Alguilar who is from Bolivia. I had known him before in the Orient. And he was actually just in Carapungo in the Calderón zone, so I saw him a lot during the last transfer. He is a pretty cool guy! I'm super glad I will be able to work with him. I told him when we were in the terminal Carcelén with all the other missionaries that I was born (in the mission) with a Bolivian companion and now I will die (in the mission) with one.

This last week we had interviews with President Richardson. It will be the last interviews we have with him before he also finishes the mission. He will be going home soon and a new mission president will come in, pretty much around the same time I am going home. During his visit last week, he made us all read a talk called "Which Way Do You Face," by Lynn G. Robbins in October 2014 General Conference. It's a good talk but the reason he made us read it was because he recently had to send some missionaries home because of behavior issues. Now there are a bunch a missionaries that have been placed into trios. Usually but not always, a missionary goes into a trio when they do something wrong so the leaders of the mission can correct and/or help you. What makes it worse is that in a few weeks we will be getting a new mission president and the poor guy will have little to no experience. I hope the mission can shape itself up in these next few weeks!

Elder Alguilar knows more about the mission chatter than I do. Honestly in all of the time I have been here I have never gotten myself into gossip or known anything about what's been going on. I guess when you are in a Quito zone, it's easier to hear the stuff that's going on because Quito has the most missionaries in it. But even then, nothing comes to my knowledge which I find is a good thing. The more invisible I am to the mission in general, the better off. When my name doesn't come up a lot, the president has more confidence in you because he doesn't need to worry about you. Plus I think you can avoid problems with other people who may be looking to cause trouble. I think I have been so good at not being part of the mission gossip that I'm pretty sure I don't know 50% of the missionaries in my mission, and it's very probable that 50% don't know me either. (hahahaha!)

My biggest goals at this point are finishing my mission off strong! I've been good at keeping with my goals of waking up early to study the scriptures even more and fasting each and every Sunday. It's truly helped me to keep the spirit strong in my life. I don't believe it's too hard to have Heavenly Father's help and to have the spirit there to guide and direct you every day. It's a simple formula really... Just keeping the commandments more fully in your life will help anyone with just that. And then when you go above and beyond, you will get even more blessings. So why not do it!?

The reference we received from the stake president is one of my last miracles, or that's the way I see it. Familia Rosero-Fuan Mayor. We are hoping to baptize the kids on the 11 of June, but it's becoming hard to teach them regularly because Brother Rosero travels a lot for his work. I'm afraid we will have to postpone the date if we can't get all the teachings in. But they are truly an awesome family! The parents and the brother of Sister de Rosero and also Brother de Rosero and his family were all strong members of the church for a really long time, and then they stopped coming to church. I don't understand what made them stop coming but they have come back as if nothing had happened at all. It's been cool to see that transformation in this family.

Anyways, I hope everyone enjoys your Memorial Day today. Have a great week! 

Elder Dyal

 Elder Dyal taking a turn reading during the interviews with President Richardson

 My new companion, Elder Alguilar from Bolivia

Hailing in Quito