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, November 24, 2014

Week #17 - Cayambe, Ecuador - November 24, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

So this week most likely marks the end of me being in this area and my working with Elder Caballero. My district leader told me that it's very likely that I am going to transfer next week. I have really loved it here in Cayambe but I have been here for 3 months so I guess it's about time for a change. My companion said if I go to the coast or somewhere really far away I may not have much time to write on my P-days, if I have any time at all. I guess we will see...

My companion and district leader took it upon themselves to help me and the other North American missionary in Cayambe with our soccer skills. So every morning we have been waking up early, then we take a morning jog to the church and practice there for about an hour. I have definitely loved that they are doing this and I feel like I'm getting better at playing the game. But at the same time, I know there is so much more to learn since my companion said that it took him years to get good at certain soccer skills. I'm just grateful to be playing. I love playing soccer! 

A while ago, President and Sister Richardson talked to us about how we should be careful with what we eat, so my companion and I have completely changed the way that we have been eating for the better. I took it upon myself to learn how to make a certain juice that a lot of the members give us. There is a fruit here in Ecuador that I don't think we have in the States, but I could be wrong. It's called Tomate de √°rbol or tree tomato. I asked one of the less actives that we visit to tell me how to make this "juice" and he told me to just throw it in a blender. So without thinking much about it, I did exactly that and it tasted terrible. After a few more tries, I figured out that I needed to peel it first. So I did and it was better but it still tasted weird. So I talked to some other people who told me to try some sugar and a few other ingredients. Now after 3 weeks and some trial and error, I can finally make it! Haha! I do have to admit I have gotten better at cooking since being on a mission. When I first got here, I was almost dangerous in the kitchen (poor Elder Arcaya) but now I feel like I'm a lot better, and hopefully even better after 2 years!

Yesterday we had stake conference which was in Otavalo, an hour's drive away. In was really cool because President Richardson and his wife attended, as well as the temple president of the Guayaquil Temple. The stake president also gave some of his talk in Quichua, an Inca language spoken by an Indian population in Ecuador. Overall, the stake conference was really awesome, but since it is so far away from Cayambe, none of our investigators were able to attend, which was not so awesome. But it was nice that we were able to see some of the less active families that we visit pretty often there at conference, which was really good. 

We have not had any baptisms this week but we do have a lot more investigators. Lots of them have so much potential and I have a really good feeling that a lot of them will get baptized, maybe even before the end of December which means I probably won't be able to see them get baptized. I think it will be a little disappointing not seeing what happens to some of these investigators. I hope the best for all of them! 

Anyways, thank you as always for your prayers in my behalf. I hope you all have a great week! Thank you for all you do!!! 

Elder Dyal 

 Taking pictures after Stake Conference with
President and Sister Richardson, Danny Florez, Elder Cabellero and Elder Dyal

Spencer says that Danny Florez is a member in his branch who likes to teach with them a lot. 
He recently turned in his mission papers and is awaiting his own mission call.

The Guayaquil Temple President and his wife, Danny Florez, Elder Caballero and Elder Dyal

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week #16 - Cayambe, Ecuador - November 17, 2014

Last week, our former bishop passed away from complications of prostate cancer. It was a very hard blow to our ward, especially since he was so young (50 yrs old) and has two kids who are currently on a mission. He was released as bishop last May because the cancer was making it hard for him to continue with his calling. Our family attended his funeral last Saturday. When Spencer was a priest in the young men's program, Spencer was his first assistant. Bishop Gillespie also wrote several recommendations for Spencer -- for Eagle scout, for college, and for his lifeguard job. He also interviewed him and helped him fill out his mission papers. Spencer really looked up to him, and Bishop Gillespie thought very highly of Spencer as well. I knew it would be a shock to Spencer when we told him of Bishop Gillespie's passing in our emails this week. Anyway, Spencer mentions his death in this email, so I wanted to clarify why Bishop Gillespie was so dear and important to him.

Dear Family and Friends,

Oh no! I'm not going to have enough time to write a very long email to the family because we were late getting to writing today!! Ahhhhh! Goodness, I'm sorry yet again! Ugh! I will try to write quickly!!! 

My week has actually been really great! We had 3 investigators attend church last Sunday as well as a lot of less actives! There is one investigator that Elder Arcaya and I taught who would always argue with us that all the churches in the world are true but that he was open to learning about the churches he didn't know much about. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned him in one of my letters to you guys before. Anyway, it was really hard to teach him because instead of a lesson, we would get an argument which didn't bring the spirit that is needed to testify of the truth of the things we are trying to teach him. But now after he has gone to church about 4 times now, he has changed so much! Every time I see him he has a smile on his face! And he doesn't argue with us anymore. He is very receptive to our lessons. And y
esterday, he accepted the invitation for baptism! Wow! I couldn't believe it! Very excited about that! It's been so cool that I have witnessed this change. He had a problem with alcohol which he is still working on and he doesn't drink coffee anymore. I hope that I have the chance to baptize him, but I will probably transfer areas in a few weeks, so I may not be able to even see his baptism at all.

I got the letter from the family and also letter from the Canton ward primary children this week! That surprised me especially Logan's letter. Haha...silly boy :p And oh my goodness, I can't believe that Bishop Gillespie died. I feel so extremely shocked and saddened. I almost didn't believe it when I read it! He was a great man. I will always remember all that he did for me. I can't even imagine what it would be like to have your father pass away while you are on your mission, so this must be really hard for Aldridge and Allie while they are on their missions :( I will be praying for their families!

I feel like my Spanish is getting much better lately. I still have to think about what I'm going to say before I say it, but I know that it has gotten so much better than when I first arrived in Ecuador. I have to keep looking at it that way instead of being frustrated because I want to speak better. I think I sometimes get frustrated because I want to rush it and be perfect at speaking Spanish. Being around native companions is good and bad. It's good because they help me to speak better, but bad because I see how much I don't know!

Well, I need to wrap up, but I want to send a picture at least. In the picture that I'm uploading is me and my companion in a place called Pingulmi with a member of our branch who likes to teach with us a lot here. His name is Akos and he is 15 years old. He is a really awesome kid and is excited to be a missionary someday. Also, it's actually kind of funny what he told us he wants to do for his profession someday. He wants to live in the United States and be party of the U.S Military. Haha! Interesting! 

Thanks for your prayers and letters! I feel the influence of your prayers in my life, so thanks a ton! Next week will be a better and longer letter. 

Elder Dyal

Elder Caballero, Elder Dyal and Akos
Akos is 15 years old and likes to tract with the missionaries in his branch

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week #15 - Cayambe, Ecuador - November 10, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

So, it has been a better week. Thanks for all the encouraging emails. I had some interesting things happen to me this week...

One day last week, my companion and I were teaching some new investigators, a husband and wife. During the lesson the wife's parents came over and sat down to listen as well. Actually, they mostly slept during the lesson. But when they were awake, the Grandma said some weird things to me, like how my skin matches my shirt....and how she thinks "gringos" are more good looking than Latinos....She also told me she wanted a picture of me to show her kids. I guess I was kind of flattered...? Although it was kind of creepy because she went on and on about it and she is like 80 years old. Anyway, we left and returned a few days later to invite them to church on Sunday, but the husband was completely drunk, so that became a dead end and didn't work out. 

We also took a trip to Otavalo for meetings this week. We had training with the Mission President and the assistants. It went well. The following day we had individual interviews with the President. The day after that, we ended up having a mini-conference with the zone leaders and the assistants. It gave me a much needed spiritual boost and it was nice to see everyone again.

Also it has been raining so much here! It has rained almost every single day!! One of the days it was cold enough to hail. It happened while we were out and somehow the hail got into our house! Hahaha! Not quite sure how it happened, but we were lucky nothing got wet or ruined. :p

We have an investigator named Antonio who we were going to baptize last Saturday. We went to visit him the morning of his baptism and his family told us that he left for Quito and was going to be gone all weekend. I guess he forgot to tell us. His family doesn't really like us or the idea of him leaving the Catholic church, so when we arrived his wife decided to give us back the Book of Mormon that we gave him. And she told not to come back. Hmm....well, we aren't going to give up on him. We will have to go back this week and hopefully he will be home. :p But, once again his baptismal date has to be pushed back. I just hope that he doesn't get to discouraged about the church since his family isn't supportive. He would be an excellent member of the church. The last time he came to church, he brought one of his friends.

Our other amazing investigator didn't come to church on Sunday because he is a fireman and sometimes he has to work on Sunday. He told us he feels really bad about missing church, so hopefully he will be there next Sunday. He is a great guy.

Anyway, thanks again for your emails and prayers for me. You guys are all amazing! Thank you so much! Have a great week!

Elder Dyal

This was Spencer's caption for this picture -- 
"My companion was voted "mas chito" in our zone, or the person with the least amount of money... 
I on the other hand try to be careful with my money!" 

Spencer in Cayambe at dusk, with the beautiful Cayambe Volcano in the distance

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week #14 - Cayambe, Ecuador - November 3, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Sorry, I don't really have time for a very long email this week. Plus I can't really think of much that happened this week. Not anything significant anyway, except that unfortunately we didn't have any baptisms like we had planned. One of our investigators told us he didn't really have a testimony so we told him to pray about his testimony and the things we have taught him. We decided to push the baptism back to this Saturday! Hope it works out. But I hope even more that he gains a firm testimony. I can see that he desires to know the truth and I think he really wants to get baptized. Please add him to your prayers this week. 

We didn't hardly have anyone at church on Sunday because it was Dia De Difuntos, or Day of the Dead which is apparently a big holiday here. Big enough that no one attended church I guess. It was weird having such emptiness in church.

Almost every P-day we play soccer with the other elders in the area and a ton of natives in our ward. They are so good and I feel like I've been getting better. It's been so fun. I really enjoy playing every week.

But anyway I'm sorry I don't have enough things to put in a letter to everyone other than basically all of our investigators are weakening and we are working on new baptismal dates for them. :/ And also for some reason I feel like my Spanish is getting worse. Has this happened to anyone else on their mission? For awhile I felt like I was progressing, then stable, but now getting worse. I don't know! Maybe I just feel like it is because I want it to be better. Anyway, I'm making this week sound so terrible, but it hasn't been. Just disappointing! Anyway, thanks for everyones letters and emails! I always look forward to reading them. They honestly make my week! Until next week....

Spencer :)