Monday, October 27, 2014
Dear Family and Friends,
So this has been a very interesting week. Actually it was pretty awesome too!
So my new companion Elder Caballero doesn't know Cayambe at all, so I was really nervous at first because i didn't feel like I knew the area very well even though I have been here 6 weeks. But I have been the leader this week and I found out that I knew it better than I thought. :)
The first night teaching with him was interesting because I didn't know the way he would teach and I had to lead the conversation because he didn't know any of the people. That was a new expereince for me. The first person we taught was a man named Fernando. It really wasn't a lesson though. It was mostly him talking about how he believed that all religions are equal. My companion and I didn't really have high hopes for him progressing but he surprised us yesterday when he showed up to church. That's 2 attendances! One more and we can baptize him if he decides that is what he wants to do. What a mircale that was!
The second lesson with Elder Caballero was with a new member family. Interesting story. It was kind of late as we were passing by their house and we saw the husband getting dropped off by a taxi. We thought it was perfect timing, right? Well we started talking to him and he was acting really weird. Weirder than normal and extremely emotional. It took me a while to figure out he was drunk. He kept insisting that we come inside his home even though his wife was against it because he was clearly drunk and she wasn't happy. Ironically, he wanted us to teach them about the Word of Wisdom. After a few minutes of him arguing with his wife, he turned to me and I told him that to teach a lesson we needed the spirit present. With all the arguing in his current condition, we told him it probably won't be possible. I asked his wife if this happens a lot and she said it didn't. It was a pretty interesting experience. I haven't been around someone so drunk like that before. It was so hard to understand him. Ugh!
A few days later we went to the Relief Society Presidents's house for lunch. Their family reminds me of a family in my ward back home...The Lowder Family. They always have a lot of people over and their 2 sons are like the Latino versions of the Lowder's sons, Tyler and Zac. And the Father is the first counselor in the branch presidency. Do the Lowder's have Latino relatives? Haha! Anyway while we there, their Grandma and a bunch of random kids from their neighborhood were finding guinea pigs and killing them. They had pile of dead guinea pigs! We even saw the Grandma break one of guinea pig's necks. Yeah...it's always an interesting day when you see a 70 year old lady killing a small animal. Not a very lovely sight.
Well it didn't surprise us that when we returned the next day for lunch, that first of all, there were a million people all over their house, and second, we were given plates filled with tons of meat. My companion and I looked at each other because we both knew what we were eating. Honestly, it didn't taste bad at all. Though I do admit that there was some intestines or something like that which tasted...interesting. My companion said he saw hair on some of his meat...Haha!
Today for our p-day, we played a lot of soccer with the elders in our new area. Apparently some of them were surprised at how good I was. I love soccer but I'm not as good as they are. Oh, well! Thanks guys! Haha!
Yet again we didn't have a baptism last Saturday because none of our investigators show up to church the week before. But finally, this Sunday, our investigator named Antionio showed up to church. He is the coolest guy. He loves missionary work and goes around teaching like a missionary would! Yesterday he brought one of his friends to church! I can't wait for the moment he gets baptized!
Anyways, besides that I don't have anything else that is new to tell you. My new companion and I see eye to eye a lot more than I did with my other companion. Even though I know the area better, he is still my trainer. I have to have a trainer for 12 weeks. Since I am still in training, we have different stuff we need to study during companion study.
As always thank you for your prayers in my behalf! Have a great week!
Spencer and his companion Elder Caballero after playing soccer on their P-day (10/27/14)
He said they were outside playing soccer for so long that he got sunburned on his face.
Monday, October 20, 2014
How are you doing? I want to take a moment to congratulate for completing six weeks in the best mission in the world! It was wonderful to see you and Elder Arcaya at the verification and it’s apparent that you are progressing very well in Otavalo.
We hope that you are feeling more and more at home here in the Ecuador Quito North Mission, and that you know that we love you very much. It is our desire to support you and help you be the best missionary that you can be, knowing that your mission, well-done, will bring you blessings and successes for the rest of your life. Always remember that it’s “bacanaso” to be exactly obedient and diligent.
I’m attaching some pictures of your verification.
With love and prayers for your success and happiness,
President and Hermana Richardson
Spencer mentions in his letter about going to Panecillo Hill in Quito last week. He said that was where Spencer W. Kimball opened South America for missionary work. I looked for more information on this event and found this website. Thought that many of you would be interested in reading more about it.
He also forwarded many pictures. He's been having a hard time sending them the last few weeks, but finally found an internet place that can send them a lot faster. Thank you for all your love and support. Please continue keeping Spencer in your prayers.
Dear Family and Friends,
This week was pretty awesome for me, although it has rained almost every day. When we went to Quito this week, it hailed! Afterwards it looked like there was snow on the ground. Probably the closest I will get to snow while I'm here. I've been in Ecuador for 6 weeks! Last Thursday my companion and I, as well as all the missionaries in the group that I came to Ecuador with, went back to Quito where President Richardson and the assistants checked our progress and our area book. We also did some more training and the President talked with each of us. I played the hymns of course! :p It was nice to play on a real piano again. Then the President and his wife took us to a place called Panecillo Hill, which is in the center of Quito and a frequent tourist spot. We read this story about how Spencer W. Kimball opened South America for missionary work on that very spot in 1965 when David O. McKay was President of the church. We learned that he invited several tourists that were there that day (and also not members of the church) to come say the dedication prayer with them! South American missionary work started in Quito! And the first missionary work was in Otavalo, really close to where I am! I find it so awesome that the only general authority with the same name as me did this 50 years earlier exactly where I am serving as a missionary! I'm right here where it all started! Below, I forwarded a message from Hermana Richardson. She emailed pictures from our verification last week.
Also this week was cambios. Yesterday we were waiting anxiously for our changes in the district leader's house. I didn't end up changing areas, so I'll still be here in Cayambe, but I got a new companion, Elder Caballero who is from Paraguay. I knew him pretty well already because he was in my zone. He also knows very little English. The only thing I'm worried about is that he doesn't know the area so I have to teach him! He and my old companion switched spots. So now Elder Arcaya is in San Pablo, a city about half an hour away.
To my great disappointment, our progressing investigators didn't attend church yesterday! Even though we had a good number of less actives attend, it was still very discouraging because now we need to change their baptism dates. It was to be next Saturday, but now we will have to change it. We typically don't have a problem finding people to teach, it's getting them to church which seems to be the hardest part, but also keeping them active!
My Spanish is finally to the point where I don't need too worry much about it. I still have many moments where I forget a que or use a pronoun incorrectly. And people sometimes have a hard time understand exactly what I am trying to say. But for the most part, I am understanding what people say to me, except when they use a word I have never heard before. It is getting less and less all the time though.
You told me that Dad has been asking if I have eaten guinea pig yet. Well, no haha! But I ate cat yesterday. A less active member cooked it for us. Really no biggy. Just tasted like chicken. I did have a really delicious fried fish that a member gave to us for lunch one day last week! Actually, it was probably one of the best fishes I have ever eaten. But most of the time the food here is soup, rice, beans, some sort of vegetable and "juice". What they call juice is not what I call juice. Usually it's a tomato or something thrown in a blender and there you go...Juice!
Anyway, thank you as always for your prayers and support! You guys are amazing! I love the emails and letters that I get every week. An elder in my area, Elder Webber, was telling me that the longer I'm on my mission, the less my family will want to write me. I hope that isn't true! I love reading your emails and seeing what's going on! I know you guys will get used to me not being there but I hope you still write every week! Have a great week!
He found a KFC in Ecuador. They ate there on P-day last week.
This is the traveling carnival close to his house for the "celebration" in Cayambe that he spoke about in his last letter.
Cayambe's Central Square
(building behind is the Mother Church of Cayambe)
The Fried Fish dinner served by a less active member in his area
Spencer and his new companion, Elder Caballero from Paraguay
Monday, October 13, 2014
Dear Family and Friends,
I hope everyone is doing well! I got one of the family letters this week. It was great! I think just about everyone mentioned that Guardians of the Galaxy was a really good movie! Haha! If I remember right, the preview looking kinda weird! Anyway, I loved it and I love getting letters from you! It was great! It did make me a little homesick. I miss everyone so much. For me, this week has been more or less an interesting one...
Since the branch found out I play piano, Presidente Quishpe asked that I basically play in almost every calling that someone has to play the piano. So I play piano in sacrament meeting, priesthood and choir. I have to play on a keyboard which is a little more difficult because there aren't any pedals. Oh well! Everyone is so fascinated by it though. Before sacrament, little kids as well as adults will sit by me and just watch me play. Everyone tells me they want to learn to play piano. So, the district leaders had an idea recently to get non members to church...They thought it would be good to have English classes where Elder Webber and I would teach. We also thought we could have classes to teach piano where I would teach. I hope it works out! I'll let you know. Also I play for our choir. The choir director, who is very grateful to have a semi-capable pianist now, wants me to help more than I am able to give. But I play for them after church on Sundays and after ward council every Wednesday.
Also this week, I got sick and was having to make more trips to the bathroom than anyone would ever want to. :( Ugh! Sometimes that's hard when you are in the middle of nowhere... :p But luckily today, after a good night sleep, I felt a lot better.
Also, I don't know if it was some holiday or what but there has been more celebration here in Cayambe than usual! A few days ago, the Ministerio del Deporte had a parade with a bunch of cheerleaders, a high school band and drumline, and a bunch of little kids in soccer uniforms. The same day, as we were on our way to Otavalo for a district meeting, we were held up by a bunch cyclists on the road. It looked like a race or something. Also, there was a traveling carnival that was put up somewhat near our house last week.
This week we didn't end up having a baptism like we had planned. Unfortunately the investigators who were supposed to get baptized haven't been attending church after they commit to baptism. Teaching and getting them to believe the things we teach, and even getting them to commit to baptism, hasn't been the hardest part of missionary work. It's been getting our investigators to church! If they don't come to church, we can't baptize them no matter how much of a testimony they have. But this next week there is a baptism that is planned for some other investigators that we have. They have been coming to church so it looks like that one will happen.
Anyway, things are great here, besides getting sick! I love
and its people! Thank you as always for your prayers! I love you guys! Have an
Spencer at the Cayambe parade
Monday, October 6, 2014
Dear Family and Friends,
First of all, I hope everyone enjoyed General Conference! I'm so glad that I was able to watch it in English. All the North Americans missionaries watched it in English on a computer in a small room in the church. I would have watched it in Spanish but I wanted to get the most out of it. My companion and I were really pleased with the turn out we had of our investigators attending conference. All of our progressing investigators attended at least one session of conference. Well, all except one investigator because he owns a store pretty far away from the church, but he's getting baptized next week and we are very sure he will be a strong member of the church.
Speaking of investigators, we were tracking and found these two women named Ana and Dina last week. They were probably the hardest lesson I have taught. We plan on visiting them again very soon. We urged them to pray about the things we talked to them about and asked them to read the Book of Mormon that we gave them, but they have very strong opinions about prophets not being on the earth and that prayer isn't a necessary part of life. If you would, maybe mention them in your prayers this week so that they can open their hearts to the things we are teaching them. I know that the Gospel can really bless their lives. :)
The food here is great! I am really enjoying trying the different things that people make for us. Our lunches are provided by what they call "Mamítas", or members who provide lunch for us out of the goodness of their heart. One of them owns a restaurante and we eat there on Tuesday and Wednesday. Usually rice, sopa, some kind of vegetable and meat are always involved. So yeah...good stuff! :p
My Spanish is getting a lot better and my ability to understand it is as well. Thank you so much for your prayers in my behalf. I really feel them every day. Although I still find it difficult to understand when people ask me specific questions. I can usually understand and pick out most of the words they say, but I find it difficult to understand the question as a whole. I know that eventually with the Lord's help, I will be able to understand everything. Many of you have given me advice on how to speak and understand the language better and I'm very grateful for your help. :)
I'm so bummed because the pictures from the baptism last week and all the pictures from my P-day somehow got deleted on my camera! I've asked my companion to send me the ones he took but they arent as good as mine. I hope it works out and I can send pictures your way next week. Anyways, as always, have a wonderful week everyone! Remember the words spoken by the general authorities of the church and try to put Christ at the center of your life. :) Thank you again for all you guys do for me! I truly am blessed to have all of you in my life! Until next week...