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.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Week #9 - Cayambe, Ecuador - September 29, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, a lot went on this week. Its hard to remember everything but I will try my best.

We kind of started off the week in trouble. My companion somehow misplaced 20 dollars that we were going to use to help pay a ridiculously expensive electricity bill. We were also waiting to receive a 20 dollar reimbursement from the church. I was really worried about money and how we were going to pay for our bill and still have money for food and other stuff this week! While we were waiting and trying to figure out what to do, by a miracle and because of kindness, we received 10 dollars from our zone leaders and we got our reimbursement today, just in time for us to buy food and things we need for this next week! 

I've had some weird and awkward experiences speaking Spanish this week. While visiting one of the members in our area, we entered his house and he said to me "I live here." But I thought he asked me if I live here (like if I am from Ecuador). I should have thought a little before I answered because usually members know that missionaries are not called to the area where they live, plus I do not look Ecuadorian at all. So I tried to explain to him that no, I am from the United States and not from here, and my companion started laughing. I realized what he said...yeah slightly embarrassing...haha! 

At the beginning of my mission, President Richardson told us that the Latin missionaries will help the North Americans with Spanish but he also wanted us to teach them English. I have been concentrating most of my efforts since being with my companion on learning Spanish, but this week he wanted me to help him with English. The best possible way to describe his English is that it is not good at all! Just a few examples...Once when we were on a crowded bus, he tried to say, "This bus sucks!" Instead he said, "Sucks bus!" Or, when we had a District meeting, some of us convinced him to try the spiritual moment in English. So he went up to read something from Preach my Gospel, then looked up at the ceiling and mumbled "Como es..." under his breath, then said "How......" and just stood there for like 30 seconds. He gave up and just said his spiritual moment in Spanish. Another time, we went to the District leaders house to eat lunch and my companion was asking me which plate I wanted to use. He assumed I didn't understand what he was saying (even though I did...he only said one word - cualquiera). So then he tried to say it in English and he said, "How want eat." Oh my goodness! We don't let him forget that one. Haha!

Speaking of my companion, I haven't really said much about him. He is awesome! And he is quite the jokester...like all the time! Haha! But yeah, he is super nice, very selfless, and one of the nicest guys I have met. He is also convinced he is going come to the U.S and marry a "gringa." That's why he is determined to learn English! Haha! Its funny because other Latinos even make fun of his English. I guess you cant blame him because I am the first American companion he has had. Apparently I am also his best companion...at least that is what he told me. I don't know about that one though! Haha!

I dont know why I always have trouble sending photos. I wanted to send photos today of our P-day. We went to the mountains and it was fun and really beautiful. I also have pictures of our baptism on Saturday. We baptized a boy named Anderson David. I don't really know a lot about him. He had already committed to baptism by the time I met him, so I never taught him. He is 15 years old and the first member of his family to be baptized so now we are trying to get his sister and mom baptized. Anyways, I really love it here in Ecuador but I also miss all you guys! Last week, I could literally feel the prayers from everyone because all of a sudden my Spanish was noticeably better. I knew it was the Lord helping me because of your prayers. Thank you so much. I love you guys <3

Elder Dyal

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week #8 - Cayambe, Ecuador - September 22, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I’m sending lots of pictures this week. It’s really hard to upload them on these computers. It takes a lot of time, so I won’t have as much time to write as I’d like to. To answer your question about my mission address, just use the mission office. That’s the best way to get letters to me. :)

My Spanish honestly is terrible! :( I speak best when I’m teaching a lesson but it’s been hard to express myself like I want to and its kinda frustrating sometimes. But all of our investigators are awesome! We have 9 investigators right now with baptismal dates! I baptized one of them on Saturday! I was very nervous because I had to say the prayer in Spanish. Also before the baptism began, we were trying to figure out how to make the water warm but we couldn't figure it out so the water ended up being freezing. I messed up saying the prayer the first time but I got it the second time! The district leaders were at the baptism as well. They baptized another girl at the same baptism. They also live in Cayambe… Elder Webber and Elder Del Aguilla. The girl I baptized was my age. She is 18. Baptizing an investigator was probably one of the best experiences ever! I will send pictures of us before the baptism. We have another baptism next Saturday! For a boy who is 15!  Oh, and just a little bit of silly info: My favorite word in Spanish is vaca or cow. Hahaha. I’ll send you a picture of me next to a cow that we passed on the way to teach an investigator.

Mom asked about my house… It is fine! I will be sure to take some pictures of the house next week and send them to you! The toilets here aren't that great but whatever… There is a lot to adjust to! It’s very different here, but it’s kinda what I expected.  It gets surprisingly cold here though! You wouldn't think but it does. Glad that I brought several sweaters with me because I use them all the time! It is also very rainy since it is the rainy season right now.

Thank you for those who write me. I really enjoy your letters each week! Can you tell Jessica to write me, too? I know she is probably really busy a lot but if she can, I would love it. I miss her! I miss all of you guys! 

I’m sorry I didn't send a big email this week. It just takes so much time to load the pictures. Next week will be a better email. Have a great week! <3

Elder Dyal

Elder Dyal and his companion with their 18 year old investigator, Ana Gabriela Cevallos Tobango 
He said, "Surprisingly, I didn't mess up her name during the baptismal prayer!"

Ana Gabriela Cevallos Tobango's family 

Elder Del Aguilla and Elder Webber with their investigator 
Elder Dyal and Elder Arcaya with their investigator

Elder Dyal in Cayambe

Elder Dyal in Cayambe with the Cayambe Volcano in the background
To learn more about the Cayambe Volcano, press the link below

Elder Dyal's favorite Spanish word is vaca (cow), so he wanted to take a picture with one!
There are many farmlands in and around Cayambe.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week #7 - Cayambe, Ecuador - September 15, 2014

Hi All,

Spencer's first P-day letter in Ecuador! He sounds like he is doing well. He mentions in his letter that he met a Sister Allred, who is the mission secretary. Her daughter, Alison Allred, married Dale Hoskisson, who grew up with Joshua in the Bryan ward in Texas. After he married Alison, they moved into the apartment next to us when we were in the Bryan student ward together. We lived in a triplex, and they lived in the middle apartment. Spencer was only one-year-old and I was pregnant with Jessica. Small world, huh? 

Please keep him in your prayers!            
Love, Julie


Dear Family and Friends,

Well, this week a lot has happened! Bear with me as I try to remember everything...

So on Tuesday, I left the CCM and got on my flight to Colombia at the very early hour of 2:00 AM. From Colombia, my companion and I took a plane to Quito, Ecuador. I felt really sick at the end of the flight. The pilot was turning and changing direction sharply. It turns out it wasn't just me who was feeling sick. Most of the missionaries on the flight felt sick too. 

The Quito Airport surprised all of us! It was really nice! When we got off the plane, the mission president and his wife, as well as the APs were waiting for us. We took a picture in the airport, all 23 missionaries with the mission president and his wife. According to President Richardson, we are the biggest group of North Americans they have ever had at one time! It was really funny when he told us we would be having Papa John's for lunch because most of us thought he was joking! Papa John's and a super nice airport?! We thought we were coming to a 3rd world country! As we drove away into the valley, we saw what Quito was actually like. It's what I expected and didn't surprise me at all. It was a 3rd world country after all. 

For the first 2 days after we arrived, we just did a lot of training, which was pretty much like preparing us for what to expect in the Quito North mission. We were taught the mission rules, information we needed for being healthly and not getting sick and other stuff like that. The mission secretary, Hermana Allred if I remember correctly, said she knew my parents...well actually through her daughter. She said one of her daughter's married someone that dad knew when he lived in the Bryan ward in Texas. It's always interesting to meet someone who knows your family in some way or the other, but you don't know them. Haha!

Well, on the third day after we arrived, we finally got assigned our companions and areas. It was weird because it was like a mission call within a mission call. Everyone was excited and waiting to hear where they were going, just like when we received our mission call the first time. Quito North has 4 different places you might go. The coast, the campo (or rural areas), the city, or the jungle. I don't know much about these different places yet but I do know the coast is the most dangerous. The missionaries there need to be in their homes an hour earlier than the other areas. And the jungle has parts where people speak some type of Indian language...I dont' remember the name of it. Sorry haha! Well, my new companion is Bolvian and speaks as much English as someone would if they took an introductory English class in High School. It's a good thing I can somewhat communicate with him in Spanish because if I spoke less Spanish than I already do, we would never be able to communicate. Only hand gestures I guess, haha! Elder Arcaya is super cool though! Everything anyone would want in a companion! Hes dedicated, hard working and kind. He is a good trainer. 

Well, my area is in a campo...in a small city 3 hours north of Quito called Cayambe. Most of our investigators live on farms in very rural areas. So most of our Proselyting that we do is in a little community of farms. We have 2 investigators so far that have a baptismal date scheduled, and 2 others that have committed to baptism! My very first lesson ever was very interesting though. We sat down and were immediately offered coffee...plus I only understood about 20% of what they were saying. They were Catholic and as it turns out, they weren't really interested in giving up coffee, oh well... 

The branch in our area is really nice! I really enjoyed it yesterday. There is about 8 or so youth in the branch and they think it is hilarious that I can't speak Spanish very well yet. Haha! They joke around a lot but they are really fun! 

One of the things that I have noticed so far about the Ecuadorians is they LOVE music. You can't walk down the street or take a bus or even simply talk to someone without music playing nearby. The youth in the branch were always coming up to me with their American music, which is surprisingly common here even though they don't understand it, and they ask me to translate their music. Umm...yeah. It doesn't exactly work especially when the song doesn't always make sense in English.

Also, I'm like a giant compared to a lot of people here. They are all pretty short...haha! But I have loved it so much here! I'm really not having any problems except with the language, but that is coming along. One thing I have learned this week is that the most important thing to have when you are teaching investigators is the Spirit. If we have the Spirit during our lesson, then it doesn't matter if I can't speak Spanish perfectly. Also, I have learned to have a lot of patience. I'm getting really good at it. 

Anyways, I wish all of you a fantastic week! Thank you for your prayers in my behalf. I'm eternally grateful. Thank you! Until next week!

Elder Dyal

Elder Dyal and Elder Arcaya

Friday, September 12, 2014

Week #6 - An Email from the Mission President and his Wife - September 12, 2014

September 12, 2014

Dear Dyal family,

We spent three days this week training Elder Dyal and learned some fun things about him.  He shared with us that he had read the Book of Mormon several times, as well as that he and his sister were the only active members in their high school.  We are confident that he will be a great addition to our mission. 

We assure you that we will do everything possible to help Elder Dyal have a positive experience here in the newly formed Ecuador Quito North Mission.  This is a wonderful mission that experiences a high number of baptisms, and success in reactivation. Our boundaries include coast, jungle, a native Indian area, as well as the highly populated city of Quito so our missionaries have a wide range of experiences.

The theme of our mission is translated “The Center of the World; Centered on Christ,” and we have a wonderful group of 23 missionaries that arrived with him.  He will be serving in Otavalo, a native Lamanite area, often referred to as “Utahvalo” for the abundance of members with Elder Arcaya, a very diligent missionary of Bolivia.

The Lord is hastening the Work of Salvation and this is an amazing time to be a missionary.  Elder Dyal is needed here and we are so grateful he has chosen to serve a mission.  We will care for him as if he were our own. 

We know you’re already planning on it, but we want to remind you to write your son a weekly letter.  His preparation day will be on Mondays.

With much love,

President and Sister Richardson
Misión Ecuador Quito Norte

Arriving at the Airport -- 23 new missionaries with the Mission President and his Wife
Banner translated - "Welcome to the best mission in the world!"

Missionaries carrying their luggage out of the airport

Elder Dyal with President and Sister Richardson

The new group of Quito North missionaries at the mission home

The new missionaries with President and Sister Richardson

Spencer and his new companion Elder Arcaya from Bolivia
They will be serving in Otavalo, Ecuador

The new missionaries with their new companions/trainers

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Week #6 - Last letter from the Mexico City MTC - September 9, 2014

Dear Mom,

So good news and bad news...

The good news is that I have all my stuff ready for my flight. It leaves tonight! Also, I will send you some of the pictures from this past week. I got a picture from one of my teachers and also my branch presidency. I also sent a professional picture of our district. There was a really nice senior missionary couple who took pictures of all the districts who were leaving today. I attached the picture they took. They also made a PowerPoint with all the pictures of the districts. I gave them your email address and they said they would email it to you.

Bad news is that I couldn´t get a picture of me with President Pratt. He didn´t really give me much reasoning, just that I couldn´t. Also he told me no phone calls in the airport. I´m not sure why...My district leader asked again today just to be sure. I´m so sorry Mom!!!!! I really wanted to talk to you :( I guess it´s a new rule! I´m sorry! I think I was actually more excited to talk to you than were to me. :p

To answer one of your earlier questions, here are some of the places my district members are going. My companion and I are both going to Ecuador Quito North. My district leader Elder Thomas and his companion Elder Shanklin are going to Ecuador Guayaquil South. The Hermanas are going to Chile, and everyone else who left this morning went to LimaPeru.

I guess the next time we will talk is when I am in Ecuador. I love you!

Love, Spencer

 Spencer and his teacher Hermano Salvador

 Hermano Salvador and his District 13A class

 Spencer with his District 13 Branch Presidency
On his left is President Suaste; On his right is President Portillo, and President Alveraz

 His district pointing to where they are going

 Book of Mormons on their heads

Picture taken by the senior missionary couple

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Letter to Spencer From the Mission President and his Wife

Dear New Missionaries,

You have one more week in the MTC and then you’ll be coming to the GREATEST MISSION IN THE WORLD!!!  We really feel that way, and there are many reasons for that.

Our mission is new and becoming more and more obedient and diligent with each new group.  We fully expect that your group (of 23) will be as strong as or even stronger than previous groups and we look forward to meeting each one of you.  We have been looking at your names and pictures and have been praying for you.

The Ecuador Quito North Mission is made up of 207 missionaries, of which nearly 170 are Latin and the rest are North American.  We have 65 sisters.  Our mission includes coast, countryside, jungle, and city and you will enjoy a wide range of experiences and climates.   Our missionaries consistently reactivate and baptize because the people are very believing.  President Spencer W. Kimball said that the most pure Lamanite people live in Otavalo, which is in our mission.  That part of the country is often referred to as “Utahvalo,” because of the abundance of members.

We will receive and love you like a member of our own family, and will do everything we can to help you grow spiritually and to have the most rewarding mission.  We know that will happen as you choose obedience and diligence, which means following the mission schedule and the mission manual. Please know that we love you and look forward to meeting you in person in a few days.

With love and best wishes for a safe journey to Quito,

President and Hermana Richardson

Week #5 - Mexico City MTC - September 4, 2014

Hey all,

Spencer has 5 more days left! He told me he will send a final email next Monday before he leaves. Hopefully to give more specific details because all I know right now is that he leaves very early on Tuesday morning (2:15 am), has a connection in Columbia, and estimates he'll arrive in Quito around 8 or 9 am. He'll be allowed to call us from the airport while he is waiting for his flight. It will be very late, but I don't care! Too excited to speak with him!

Also, Spencer forwarded an email that his Mission President and his wife sent him this week. It had a lot of interesting facts about the Ecuador Quito North mission. They also spoke about how much they love and pray for their missionaries. It was a lovely letter. I will post it to the blog.

Love, Julie


Dear Family and Friends,

Well it´s happening again...Graduation Day! Goodness, it´s sad and exciting at the same time! My flight leaves next Tuesday at 2:15am. Yes, practically in the middle of the night! I´m flying to Columbia, then onto Quito. I will probably be there around 8 or 9am. That´s going to be a fun night! Haha! :p

Here at the CCM, I have made so many awesome friends! We are planning a reunion when we get back, but it will be so much easier for everyone else. Both of the Hermanas and my companion already went to BYU Provo, and everyone else is either going to go to BYU when they get home, or another college that is close. That may be hard for me if I´m in Idaho or Michigan...I guess if it doesn´t work out for me, there is always heaven I suppose. Haha! :)

But enough about the future. This past week, the weather has been kinda rainy. Also a few nights ago while I was running outside with my companion and Elder McPhie, we came back to the casa and the power had gone out. So we played this weird hide and seek game until it was time for bed, where everyone hides except one person. Then that person randomly says "clap" and everyone claps. It´s actually really scary especially when you are "it" in the dark! Elder Winn said he saw it in a horror movie.

At the CCM, you have to be on your toes at all times, especially in my District. You may get your name tag taken or other various sorts of embarrassing and/or annoying things that can and will happen to you. When we are not in class or studying, we play all these crazy, weird games to lighten the stress. Missionaries (well most of them) are hard working but also love to have fun! Although we all join in and play these games, there are 2 missionaries who go above and beyond. Elder Winn and my district leader Elder Thomas have been going back and forth pranking each other for a long time. Elder Winn took Elder Thomas´s pillow and has been hiding it. And yesterday he sprayed a bunch of cheap air freshener on it. It was a very strong smell when he finally found it. To get him back, Elder Thomas took his 200 dollar pen (yes, 200 dollars, I know) and drew all over his belly button and stomach with it. Needless to say, this may go on for a while, especially since Elder Thomas slept without a pillow last night because it smelled so strong. He was not happy. :)  

Recently for some unknown reason, my district got super into paper airplanes. For like two days straight when we found the time, we were all just making paper airplanes to see who had the best one. My companion and Elder Winn took it to the next level, so to speak, and made huge airplanes with construction paper. Today they went to the top of one of the buildings and threw them out the window to see whose would go farther. It was actually sadly disappointing. Both of them just plummeted to the ground and made it barely 5 feet from the building. Oh well. Haha!

Today we played what we call "Futbol de cage" or cage soccer which is basically like indoor soccer. Today we played with an Elder who played soccer for BYU. Goodness, I felt like was playing against Mesi! We put up a good fight though. I felt like I have gotten a lot better at soccer since I left. Oh, and I also got my hair cut today. I couldn´t really tell the lady who cut my hair how I wanted it because she didn´t speak very good English. I don´t know how many inches I want off the top or the sides or whatever, so there was absolutely no way I could tell her how I wanted it cut. She just went to work and cut it though. I think that happens a lot at the CCM because she didn´t even bother asking me how I wanted it cut or anything. Haha! But I think it looks pretty good!

Anyways, the CCM is a really spiritual place even though we like to have a lot of fun! My Spanish is coming along. A little better all the time I hope. The hardest thing about it, in my opinion, is actually speaking it. I can usually understand what people are saying, more or less, but only if they are not speaking ridiculously fast or using a lot of words I don´t know. But I know with the Lord´s help I will eventually be able to speak it fluently. I have already seen so many miracles here. I know that the Lord watches over us and he blesses us so much! Thank you, as always, for your support for me and your prayers in my behalf!

Elder Dyal

(Pictures he sent this week -- Click on picture to enlarge)