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, December 28, 2015

Week #74 - Coca, Ecuador - December 28, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Ours was awesome here in Coca! We had a lot of miracles this week! Plus I got to talk to my family on Christmas day!

First of all, we thought this week was not going to be very efficient because there were so many things going on. One of the days we spent traveling to our zone meeting in Lago Agrio which took half of the day just traveling. Of course there was Christmas eve and Christmas day, and our mission rules were that we needed to be in our house by 6pm on those days. So 3 of our days this week were almost completely taken away from us. But even so, this week was a better week than last week with our investigators.

We were able to find 3 new families to teach and our attendance at church was higher than I have ever seen here in Coca. There were 8 investigators, 4 less actives and 4 recent converts that came to church. It was a Christmas miracle and it sure made me and my companion's day!

Sorry my letter is short today. Not a lot of time to write because we had a long P-day today. We went to a exotic zoo for P-day. It was fun and interesting. We also met a guy who is studying at BYU-I but came to visit his family here in Ecuador. We met him for pizza in the "mall."

Have a wonderful New Year everyone! Can't believe it is almost 2016!!!!!

Elder Dyal

 Elder Jeffery and Elder Dyal at the zoo

With the Christmas decorations at the mall

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week #73 - Coca, Ecuador - December 21, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

¡Feliz Navidad a todos! Christmas time is here!

Well, the holidays are a bit different here. First of all, it doesn't feel at all like Christmas because it's very hot. I'm pretty use to it now because I was in Esmeraldas for 3 transfers where it was also very hot, and now on my second transfer here in Coca. But this week, it has been a lot more mild. Before changes last week, it was super hot but this week has been nice.

My companion Elder Jeffery was in Tulcán before he came here, which was the coldest part of the mission. So he has been trying to get used to the hot weather now. Hahaha! We get along really well. He is super cool and really funny. He´s the craziest guy I have met on the mission so far! He is from some part of Utah I have never heard of.

Because of the holidays coming up soon, the missionary work here is getting harder because our investigators and many of the people we teach are traveling, but even so, we were still able to get 6 of our investigators to church on Sunday. And we are still continuing to work on getting Christian and Jennifer married so they can get baptized. It looks like it will be delayed even further because so many places are closed for the holidays. Actually, many of our investigators arent' married, so it going to be a problem for a while as we are teaching these people. Although when I was proselyting with Elder Perez, we found a lot of people willing to listen to our message and have a lot of potential for the future. They include:
Familia Vaca-Sánchez
Familia Rivadeneira-Salinas
Alejandro Chinkim
Familia Medina-loor

I would be grateful if you could please keep these people/families in your prayers so that they can accept the invitations we give them. Have a wonderful Christmas and remember: Ha nacido un Salvador.

Elder Dyal

Elder Jeffery and Elder Dyal

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week #72 - Coca, Ecuador - December 14, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was a fun week for the missionaries in the Zona Oriente Norte!

On Wednesday, we all went to Quito for the Cena Navideña in the Mission House. Although Elder Perez and I had a bit of a late start getting ready and we almost missed the bus to Quito! The trip really shouldn't take as long as it does. Ecuador is a small country, but the road going from Coca to Quito winds and curves all over the place, so it takes much longer than it should to get there. It basically took all day.

We were told that the missionaries over in Esmeraldas were going to join us for dinner that night, but the Asistentes changed it at the last minute. That was kind of a bummer because I was really looking forward to seeing the missionaries from my last zone in the coast including my old companion, Elder Cabezas. But we ended up just having dinner with our zone, so there was plenty for everyone!

I was excited to have a Christmas package from home waiting for me at the Mission House! :) I loved the gifts that my family sent me for Christmas. Lots of surprises. :p And after the dinner, we stayed the night in La Luz. It was cool to see again. It's been a year ago since I was there. And then the next day we spent the majority of the day traveling back to the orient again.

Even though we didn't have much time to work this week, we still had good attendance with our investigators at church on Sunday. Although Christian, our only investigator with a baptismal date, will be moving his baptism date back a few weeks. But the good news is that getting a visa and a passport for his wife, Jennifer will be a lot easier than we originally thought. But it will take time...Maybe January or possibly February.

Anyway, today we had changes and my companion, Elder Perez got changed to Otavalo. And my new companion will be Elder Jeffery. I say "will be" because he still hasn't come yet. But I know who he is. I met Elder Jeffery in Esmeraldas. He is pretty crazy! Hahaha! I'm sure he will be very excited to be in the jungle! He will be my 4th gringo companion.

Have a fun wintery week everyone!

Elder Dyal 

 Christmas dinner at the Mission Home with Oriente Norte

 Ready to eat dinner

Ready to eat dinner with President and Sister Richardson 

 Elder Dyal and his companion Elder Perez

 Singing some Christmas songs

 Singing some Christmas songs

 Playing handbells to "Silent Night"

 President Richardson holding the handbell music to "Silent Night"

 Oriente Norte missionaries playing the handbells

  Oriente Norte missionaries playing the handbells

 Elder Dyal with President and Sister Richardson

Elder Perez with President and Sister Richardson

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week #71 - Coca, Ecuador - December 7, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was super busy for us! On Thursday we had a  mini missionary conference. We traveled to Lago Agrio and back which took up half of the day for us. But it turned out to be a pretty spiritual and inspirational meeting. The only issue with these training meeting is that sometimes they take our flaws and weaknesses in the zone and spend a ton of time focusing on it and sometimes even point out the weaknesses of certain companionships. I feel like that takes from the spirituality of the meeting, but I understand that sometimes we need to hear these things. Well, the first part of the conference, that's exactly what happened until the ZL's shared with us the mission president's message and then it was really spiritual.

On Friday, my companion and I had divisions with another companionship. I went with Elder Barnes who is the DL. He's a really interesting guy. His dad is American and his Mom is Korean. And his Dad's parents are European, some of his cousins are Mexican, and he has an uncle that is Jewish. So his family is American Korean European Mexican Jewish. Interesting family heritage!

On Saturday, we got the lock changed on our house because the robbers last week stole our keys. Don't know if they would even know our apartment, but better safe than sorry. And on Sunday we got to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional but we listened to it in Spanish of course.

We are doing alright with investigators, but unfortunately they aren't really progressing because every Sunday we have a different rotation of investigators that come to church. Although one of our investigators seems to be doing better than the rest. His name is Christian Luna. He really believes and wants to be baptized, he just needs to get married and then he'll be all set for baptism. His girlfriend is a member but is less active, and they are both Colombian and they have a pretty complex situation that would take awhile to explain, but if you could do me a favor and keep Christian and Jennifer in your prayers, I would really appreciate it. That would be ahh sum!! :)

Have a wonderful week everyone! Happy Holidays!! :p

Elder Dyal

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week #70 - Coca, Ecuador - November 30, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

To be really honest, this week has been quite the trial. I use to think that the orient was a calm relaxed area, but my views have now changed.

Most of the week has been blazing sun or pouring rain. I have been telling my companion that we can't walk too much in the sun because it really tires me out. Generally, we don't have to worry much about weather because we are usually teaching people inside. But this week, we had a harder time finding people at home for some reason which made it harder on us since we were outside walking around much more.

Friday (ironically black Friday) was the day that challenged us the most and pretty much changed our plans for the rest of the week. Near our house, we have the bus terminal, and because we don't have a cell phone we go there to make phone calls. We finished all our appointments early for once and we were on our way home. As we were walking on the sidewalk, 2 guys on a motorcycle came on the other side of the road and stopped and one of them got off. I wasn't really paying attention and I was just talking to companion about what we were going to eat for dinner and that maybe we had time to do some exercises. So as the guy came up to me, it was kind of a surprise. He grabbed my shoulder and mumbled something. I could tell he was obviously a little drunk. By instinct, I pushed him away and told him to go away and I kept walking. I took about 3 steps and realized my companion wasn't next to me anymore. I turned around and saw the guy holding my companion by the shoulder with a little kitchen knife in his hand. I got closer to help my companion but the guy told me to back off. He told us that he didn't want money, but that he wanted a cell phone. He continued screaming at my companion telling him, "Give me your cell phone!" During all this, I said a silent prayer in my head and looked around to see if anyone could help us. There were a few people around. They were watching what was happening but no one did anything to help us. 

The guy then demanded for our backpacks and everything we had in our pockets. He took everything we had, flipped us off, then drove off with his buddy with our stuff. Luckily we didn't lose too much, but for my poor companion, the experience was too much for him and he began to cry. They didn't take too much but they did manage to take the keys to our house, $3 dollars from me and $22 from my companion, our missionary agendas, scriptures, my companion's watch and our backpacks. Luckily we were able to beg someone to use their telephone and we called our zone leader for help. We couldn't get in to our apartment, so we slept at their house that night. The zone leader will be going to Quito in a few days and said he will bring back some scriptures for us. We will also fill out a theft report and the mission will help give us the things we need that were stolen.

I was a bit mad after the whole incident but now I realize that we were blessed. We are lucky no one got hurt and that they didn't take anything of value. Honestly though, I feel almost offended for the way he robbed us though. I mean really! All he had was a puny kitchen knife! The guy himself wasn't that big...I was taller than him. And he robbed my companion's watch but not mine?! Ha! Plus he took way more than he is going to use. Most of it will probably be thrown away. Honestly the robbery was pathetic and it makes me laugh thinking about it now. :D If I find the guy again, maybe I'll take him to Detroit so he learn how it's really done and he can stop embarrassing himself! Haha! :p

Anyway, because of the robbery, our Saturday was hard because we didn't have our scriptures. So we asked the members if they had any extra Book of Mormons for us to use. We managed to get one BOM and a Catholic New Testament. And since the robbers took our agendas, we weren't able to follow our plan. All our investigator's phone numbers were in the agendas and now were lost so we couldn't call and remind them to come to church on Sunday. But to our surprise, we had 7 investigators who attended church on Sunday! That was the highest number of investigators attending church that I have ever had in my mission so far. Tender Mercies from the Lord!

Even though it was a hard week, not even adding that we almost got robbed again by 2 big black guys with machetes, it all paid off Sunday. President Ayala came and spoke a wonderfully powerful message. It was probably the most spiritual Sunday that I've had in a long time. Lesson of the week: Even if the week is dark and dim, the Lord will always send his tender mercies! Count your blessings!

Have a great week everyone! Please send prayers our way. It looks like we are in a more dangerous area than I originally thought. And por si acaso you see some shady looking guys with machetes, turn around and walk the other way! That's what we did, and it worked out! The Lord's blessings! ;p

Elder Dyal 

Watermelon and Jackfruit

We ate a Jackfruit this week. It is grown in tropical rainforests. We liked it.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week #69 - Coca, Ecuador - November 23, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been a great week for us here in Coca.

To start off, Elder Nielson, the zone leader here in Coca, came up with a plan to boast up Rama Orellana so that it has better retention for our recent converts and reactivated members. We started with a training meeting that took place last week with the branch council. We talked to the presidents of the auxiliaries in the branch on how to use binders and files and how to fill everything out to make their calling more organized and simplified. The Sur America Nortoeste area leaders have trained and asked the stake presidents to use these rules to make their stake council more eficaz, so we thought it would be good to also have the branch use it as well.

Another idea of Elder Nielson's was to have a branch activity called "Vuela a Hawaii" which explained the plan of salvation but in a way no one was expecting. It was like this: Everyone started on a free plane ride to Hawaii and were given fake money and told to use it wisely. When we landed in Hawaii, there were a bunch of activities everyone was able to do. There was a movie theater, karaoke, basketball, and also activities that would waste time. In all these kinds of activities, one had to use their money to participate. And then there were activities that you could gain money instead of use it. These activities were a little more boring but had to do with reading scriptures or learning something new, like using your time well. After an hour or so, everyone got back on the plane to go back to Ecuador. But on the plane ride there was a "freak accident" and everyone "died". Then we were in the afterlife and we explained that there was going to be a judgement for their use of time and how much money they still had. Then they were assigned to either the Telestial, Terrestial, or Celestial Kingdoms.

The day that we were suppose to be at the church for that activity, Elder Perez and I had a bunch of difficulties getting there. As we were on the bus going to the church, there was a accident that delayed us almost 2 hours. We had an activity planned during the "money exchange" time, but when we finally made it to the activity, it had already started. So instead, we were judges for the final judgement. We changed into baptismal clothes (in all white) to be judges and then we were angels in the Celestial Kingdom. It turned out to be a really good activity. But some people were upset with the kingdom they were assigned to... :p

On Saturday, the elders of Coca had a baptism in the waterfall of Carachupa Pachka (that name is super funny if you know what cara and chupa mean. Hahaha!). Elder Perez and I attended and we invited 2 of our investigators to come with us. But unfortunately it backfired because the investigators just took it as a opportunity to "pasear" and we also found out that they lied to us about being cousins when instead they were boy-friend and girl-friend living together. That was a frustrating situation... But other than that, it was a good baptismal service. Very spiritual. Apparently the missionaries worked a long time with them and they finally committed to get baptized.

Have a great week everyone! Chao!

Elder Dyal

 Carachupa Pachka

 Carachupa Pachka

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week #68 - Coca, Ecuador - November 16, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been a fun week here in the Orient.

The branch here in Coca is great. It's really new, like 6 or 7 years old. The church is pretty new in this area as well! Most people haven't really heard about the church so it's probably one of the best places to tract and contact people. Our branch is Orellana. And according to the map limits, my district takes up all of the provincia de Orellana. To put it into better terms, it would be as if you doubled Wayne county (my county in Michigan) in size and took 2/3 of the people out and replaced the forest areas with jungle. I live in Coca which is the biggest city of the provincia but there are also 3 other little cities in the sector called Loreto, Cañon, and Sacha. Loreto is the furthest away. It takes about 2 hours to drive from Coca to Loreto. See what I mean! Really big area.

The other branch and district in the zone is a city called Nueva Loja, which is about 2 and half hours from Coca. Nueva Loja is a smaller branch than Coca in a city called Lago Agrio in the provincia de Nueva loja. The zone leader in Lago Agrio is also the branch president. But since the 3 companionships in Lago Agrio are so far away from the 3 companionships here in Coca, we will never get together and do any activities as a zone.

We are having difficulties with our investigators attending church because our sector is the farthest from the church. Así que, because of that, our investigators have a hard time progressing. But we do have one investigator with a baptismal date! His name is Christian Luna. He only has one obstacle...getting married to his live-in girlfriend. But unfortunately, she is technically illegal here in Ecuador because she's from Colombia.

Anyway, that's more information about my area and the Orient. Oh also, I've seen several monkeys now! I took a picture of one! Have a great week everyone!

Elder Dyal

 A Monkey!

Me and Elder Herrera dressed as natives
(We were the only ones brave enough to do this!)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week #67 - Coca, Ecuador - November 9, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Last Monday was transfers so I'm sorry I wasn't able to write my weekly letter. It was also a bit crazy! I took changes to Coca which is in the Orient. This meant I had to make a super long bus trip. Literally from the polar west of the mission to the polar east. On Monday, we left for Quito and called the asistantes and asked them for instructions on how to get to our area. They told us that we had to go to Quitumbe (in the other mission), then head out to the Orient the same day (which I knew was a bad idea). When Elder Arrieta and I got to Quitumbe, all the buses to Coca were filled or were leaving late that night, so we just went back to San Carlos and helped the elders there for the rest of the night in Quito.

Then again on Tuesday morning, we left for Quitumbe and found out that the buses to Coca were filled up again. So we took a risk and decided to take a bus to Tena, which is halfway to Coca in another part of the Orient, and hoped a bus would be able to get us to Coca that day. When we arrived, we waited about 45 minutes for a bus to arrive. I was getting worried that we wouldn't be able to catch a bus that day, so I said a prayer with Elder Arrieta and not even a minute later, a bus going to Coca came by and had enough room for us on it! The power of prayer is amazing!

Going from Quito to Esmeraldas (my last area) took a long time, but was direct and easy...but going from Quito to Coca is definitely a lot harder since you have to change buses several times, and it takes a lot longer to get there. To be honest, this transfer really surprised me! I felt like I would be transferred, but I wasn't expecting to go to the Orient. Only the missionaries that the mission president really trusts go to the Orient because it's super far away from the mission home. 

The zone itself is different than any other area I've been in. There are only 6 companionships...3 in Coca (where I will be) and 3 in a city called Lago Agrio. What's more weird is that the zone leaders are spilt up...1 in Coca and 1 in Lago Agrio. Also, the zone is HUGE. Lago and Coca are 2 hours from each other and the zone goes all the way to Quito. Just my sector is 2 hours getting from one point to the other. Bigger than all my other sectors combined.

But yeah, I went from one extreme to the other. Super fun!!!!!!! I am up against the rainforest and a few days ago I saw a toucan! Now I just need to see a monkey!

I love you guys! I hope everyone enjoyed el dìa de los muertos!

Elder Dyal 

 My companion Elder Perez and I in our apartment

 Another view of our apartment

Our lunch today...

 Elder Perez and I ate mayones, which are worms that the Indians find in palm trees and like to eat! Què rico!


Monday, October 26, 2015

Week #65 - Esmeraldas, Ecuador - October 26, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

It's been a good week! We have also been super busy with missionary work!

On Saturday, the Esmeraldas stake organized a service activity to clean up the parks around Esmeraldas. Each ward/branch was assigned to a different park. Although because everyone was busy cleaning the parks that day, no one showed up for their church cleaning assignments on Saturday, and on Sunday you could really tell it wasn't cleaned.

Also, Sunday was like the exact opposite of the Sunday before. A bunch of less actives that I have never seen at church were there, including Hermana Caicedo. Also her son-in-law Jesús attended for the first time. He even stayed for all 3 hours which was amazing! We have been trying to get him to attend for so long! In fact, I remember when I first arrived in Esmeraldas, he and his wife Digna were the first people I visited. He was very depressed and unhappy and told us that he wanted to kill himself. Now he's attending church! They also agreed to have us over again this week. I hope we can keep the momentum going. Hopefully, they don't go back to being like roller coasters with their ánimos. They have had some really hard times...In the time I have been here, 2 of Digna's sons have been put in jail and 1 killed himself. Lots of times, I feel really sad for their family because they seem to barely get along. I honestly don't know how they do it, but it seems like they are doing better.

We found an inactive member named Leisy a few months ago. She had an interesting story. According to her, she got baptized 30 years ago by a bishop in a different ward. And later, the bishop got ex-communicated. This was discouraging to her so after that, she just stopped going to church. We had a great conversation with her about the restauracion. It was so great to hear her tells us, "I know this is true." She moved to the area when I was transferred to this area and we found her a little bit after that. At first, she told us she knew who we were but that she didn't want to talk to us, but that she wanted her kids to listen to what we had to say. After talking and joking around with her for awhile, she warmed up to us and agreed to also listen to us. It was literally a miracle to find her!

Also Diana, the teenager we were teaching for awhile, didn't come to church for the last 4 weeks. But on Sunday, she returned out of nowhere. That was great to see her at church again, but we assumed that nothing has changed with her Dad's opinion of her only being able to come to church but not being allowed to be baptized.

We also found this guy named Ángel through a member contact. He was pretty scary looking! He is a giant! He also told us that his brother is a member of the church and that he also went to church when he was really little. We invited him to church on Sunday, but he didn't show up. Bummer! But now we are entering week 6! Transfers are this next Monday. My biggest goal this week is to have someone with a baptismal date before I leave. I'm assuming I'll be leaving since I've been here for 3 transfers. It would actually be a surprise if I stay.

Have a wonderful week everyone! Enjoy Halloween! I almost forgot that it was this week since they don't celebrate it here in Ecuador! :p

Elder Dyal

Elder Cabezas and Elder Dyal with the Castillo-Barbosa family

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week #64 - Esmeraldas, Ecuador - October 19, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

We had a fun week this week!

We had training meetings this week with President Richardson and the asistentes which took place last Friday. They were really good and helpful. It really helped us out for the rest of the week with being more prepared physically and spiritually. President Richardson and his asistentes also came and visited our house as well. They wanted to see how it was set up and if everything was working properly, etc. We knew it was going to happen but didn't know when, but it was funny because when we got back to the house, the landlord told us that a "lawyer" with a white head came with 2 other missionaries. Hahaha! That one really made me laugh! And I also didn't realize this but we found out at the meeting that President Richardson will be finishing up his mission at about the same time I will be leaving. So during my last change, I will have 2 mission presidents. That will be interesting!

Speaking of changes, this one has flown by! Today we are starting week 5 and at the end of next week, we will have transfers again. I've been in Esmeraldas for 3 changes, which is just over 4 months, so I'm not expecting to stay here again with Elder Cabezas, but we'll see!

This week in church the attendance was a bit low which was kinda disheartening. Even our branch president, President Tello wasn't there because he had a meeting at the stake center with President Gomez, our stake president. My companion and I gave talks again in church. We are always expected to give talks on the 3rd Sunday of every month. I did some preparation ahead of time since I knew they would ask us to speak. I don't know how my other companions, Elder Huber and Elder Cabezas, can just go off nothing and pull something out of their hats, because that is just not a talent I have. In the past when I have tried to do that, my talk would be like 3 minutes long of basically me fumbling around and trying to straighten my thoughts and get a clear message though. So now I'm always prepared for these talks and now I never need to worry about time. A 15 minute talk is easily done with preparacion.

We also had ward council on Sunday. It seems to be getting a lot better lately...more organized and focused on those that need help in the branch. This week we talked a lot about how we can make the sacrament meetings better and helping everyone be worthy to go to the temple. And we came up with some good ideas. It's been nice to see that President Tello is starting to be more concerned about the meetings being more spiritual with a large broad focus on getting the members to the temple.

Today was P-day, and we had a district activity. We went to the lighthouse by "Las Palmas" beach again. We went along the trail again, but it wasn't as cool this time because unfortunately someone burned a lot of the grass along the path, but we still had a great day.

Hope that everyone has a great week! Love you guys! Thank you for your prayers on my behalf! :)

Elder Dyal

 Elder Dyal and his district on P-day today at Las Palmas beach

 Enjoying a refreshing drink at the beach

 Enjoying a refreshing drink at the beach

 Elder Cabezas and Elder Dyal

 Elder Dyal and Elder Arrieta

Elder Dyal with an ocean view of Las Palmas beach

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week #63 - Esmeraldas, Ecuador - October 12, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Elder Cabezas and I had a good week this week.

During the training meeting that we had with President Richardson the week before General Conference, one of the things he told us was that we needed to store water in our apartments to prepare for an emergency. It was interesting because at first when he started talking about being prepared, I thought he was going to tell us about Phenomenon del Niño, where it rains super hard for days and sometimes weeks. It usually effects the areas of the coast the worst. But instead he mentioned Cotapaxi, a volcano close to Quito that is due to erupt soon. So we listened to his council and we bought a super huge jug of water. It's never a bad idea to be prepared...for any kind of emergency! And this week, President and Sister Richardson will be back for more training meetings.

Our investigators are doing alright. Elder Carlos Godoy of the Seventy came to visit our mission awhile ago and one of the things he talked to us about was that if we spend 50% of our time visiting and teaching those who are less active, our baptisms will double. We have been trying to take that advice the last few weeks and we have really seen that happening! We've recieved a lot of references these past weeks from less actives. Some of which we believe have a lot of potential.

Although the biggest problem for us, and just about everywhere in the mission, is your investigators attending church on Sunday. And not just every 2 weeks or so, but consistent attendance each week. Also we find that the law of chastity is a big issue and people not being willing to commit to marriage. I have also learned that on Sunday you can't always expect that your investigators will show up to church, even if they say they will. If you are set on it happening, and they don't come, it's depressing. For example, this Sunday, the investigators that said they were going to come to church, didn't end up coming...and the ones we didn't really think would come, actually came. So you never know!

One of the investigators that came was Ricardo Saavedra, the father of Jhonny Saavedra who was baptized by Elder Huber while I was serving in Quito. It's starting to look like he is progressing a lot. We just have to continue encouraging him to keep coming every week and commit him to marriage. I know he will be baptized someday. Maybe not when I'm here but I believe he will sometime in the future. I'm starting to realize that my spiritual gift as a missionary has been finding people who want to learn about the gospel. That's why maybe I haven't baptized too many people because I find (or try to find) new investigators with potential, and then pass them off to the missionaries after I leave the area. For example, while I was in La Luz and Vergel, I was able to find a lot of people who ended up being baptized or are still investigating!

Anyway, the people that are currently progressing in my area are:
Ricardo Saavedra
Karmen Quiñonez
Manuel Montaño

Please keep them in your prayers! :) I would appreciate it! Thanks everyone. Have a great week. :)

Elder Dyal

 A few weeks old, but here is Elder Huber and I with Edison Ángulo before his baptism

Again, a few weeks old but Elder Huber and I with La familia Tello.
The guy next to Elder Huber, named Ariel, just left on a mission to Columbia.

 The Esmeraldas Zone with President and Sister Richardson at training meeting a few weeks ago.

 Elders listening during the training meeting

 Elders singing during the training meeting

 Elder Dyal giving his testimony and a spiritual thought at the meeting.

Everyone splits up into companionships to do practices.
The mission president, his wife and the assistants watch, give praise and suggestions.

Practices with companion (Sister Richardson takes lots of pictures!)

Afterwards, they have cooking lessons with Sister Richardson. 
Spencer is peeling potatoes to make french fries! Sister Richardson said they were awesome! :)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week #62 - Esmeraldas, Ecuador - October 5, 2015

Dear Friends and Family,

This was a full week. By that I mean a lot of stuff happening...

First of all, I got the package! Thank you so much!!!! I felt like it was my birthday! :) And the candy was super good. Ecuador doesn't have a lot of candy. That's kinda a good and a bad thing. The majority of the people here are in pretty good shape, so it's nice not to have that kind of temptation around, but every once and a while it's heavenly! Thanks! ;p

On Tuesday, we had our training meetings. President Richardson and the Asistantes came up from Quito to train us all day. It was also pretty cool to see some of the other guys from my incoming group to the Quito North Mission that day. There are 5 of them in the San Rafael zone and I am the only one in Esmeraldas (picture of us attached). We are still the biggest group of missionaries that has ever come to this mission. 23 of us last September! Woooo! :p During the training meeting, we were taught and/or reminded again how we need to dress as missionaries, good ways to cook Ecuadorian foods, the best ways to buy food cheaply, and how to improve our missionary area books. It was a long day, but a good one.

On Friday, we had divisions. It made me nervous that day because I was assigned to a newby missionary that doesn't know Spanish very well. But the unnecessary stress was all in my head and we actually had a really good day.

Saturday we went to the La Tolita stake center to watch general conference and we pretty much stayed there all day. But on Sunday, we decided to just stay here in Esmeraldas to watch the Sunday sessions. We were also able to watch everything in English! It was so refreshing to listen to the talks in English and I was grateful. And it was cool to see the new apostles called to the Quorum of the Twelve...Elder Rasband (that was obvious), Elder Stevenson and Elder Renlund (didn't see those coming) and listen to their amazing testimonies. What a wonderful and spiritual weekend.

I hope everyone enjoyed conference. Whoops...don't have any crazy and/or weird stories to tell you this week, but I'll see what I can do for you next week! ;p Hahaha! I love you guys! Take care! :)

Elder Dyal

Elder Dyal with some other guys from his incoming group to the Quito North Mission at the training meeting with the President last Tuesday -- Still the biggest group of missionaries to come to the mission! (23 total)