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, March 30, 2015

Week #35 - Calderón, Ecuador - March 30, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Each time changes come closer (one week away), I always have a weird mix of feelings...of excitement and nervousness. Not knowing where I am going to go next really sucks sometimes, and the anticipation of the changes leaves all the missionaries on the edge of their seats until Sunday night. I've heard that some other missions get their changes on Saturday night though...

According to the mission leader in my ward, Elder Galiego and I are one of the best companionships he has ever seen. It was a bit funny what he said about us though. He said we were a perfect combination of attributes. Elder Dyal with the "pure love of Christ" and Elder Galiego who machetes what he says when he speaks, or meaning that he is a bit strong and direct in what he says (which isn't true at all). Needless to say, my companion didn't really like that interpretation.

I finally feel like the members are starting to remember my name! That is good and encouraging because I feel that means that they have confidence and trust in me as a missionary! True that the majority of them don't say "Dyal" correctly or just fail altogether to look at my nametag long enough to see that my last name doesn't have an "s" at the end of it. But the majority can see my face and remember "Dyals" or something that kind of sounds like Dyal, so I think that's a pretty good accomplishment!

Although I feel I have the most credence with the youth and the primary kids because the little kids always love to bother me and mess around with me. And a lot of the youth like to take my nametag off my jacket when I'm not looking a put it onto their clothes. :p Some of them even try to talk to me in English, but it's usually better if we just stick to Spanish. But its fun to hear their effort which is what counts! hahaha! :p

Speaking of English, I heard just about the worst attempt of someone trying to speak English I have ever heard in my life this week. A sister missionary in another zone came to our zone meeting because she is the sister missionary leader for both the zones. Everyone jokes around with her because she literally laughs at everything! Anyway, she gave a spiritual thought in English during our meeting and I feel like it would have been more spiritual if I actually understood what she said. In all honesty, it sounded like she was speaking Chinese. Every word was spoken with a "cha". For example, her "I like this scripture because..." sounded like, "ChI Chlike Chis Escripchure bechause..." Of course, after she said "Amen" she laughed! Oh, Hermana Berrospi!!! She tried! ;p

We weren't able to have our baptism this Saturday like we planned which was kind of a bummer! Although I now have some worries because this investigator recently introduced us to a guy who we found out this week was living with her and we didn't know. And she didn't introduce him as "my husband" but "the father of Scarlet", her daughter. Goodness...I hope this is just in my head and not reality, and that he is actually her husband. I guess we'll have to confront her and find out. But in better news, 2 of our investigators are getting married in April to people who are members of the church, so they will be able to get baptized by their husband (one of them) and their father-in-law (the other). So we have lots of hope in terms of baptisms next month!!!

Have a great week everyone! Enjoy General Conference and Easter!

Elder Dyal 

Zona Calderón Este

Zona Calderón Este

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week #34 - Calderón, Ecuador - March 23, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been pretty interesting, especially the weather. I have been in the Quito area for more than 4 months now and I've noticed that it hardly ever rains here. It can be gray and overcast a lot but not rainy. If it does rain, it's a bit unusual. Well, most of this week it has been rainy. About 5 out of the 7 days this week it has rained off and on making it hard to do anything. When I was in Cayambe, it rained all the time, almost every other day or so. So this weather reminded me a lot of when I was in Cayambe (my first area).

On Friday, we had training with the mission president. I probably shouldn't be negative about it but everytime we have one of these it takes up so much time and can get really boring. This time it took 7 1/2 hours!

On Saturday and Sunday, we had stake conference. We had Carlos Godoy, a member of First Quorum of the Seventy attend because the stake president was released after being stake president for 8 years! Elder Godoy is from Brazil. He spoke really good Spanish but I could tell he had a different accent. When his wife spoke, she had a super thick Portuguese accent. I have never heard Portuguese before, much less a Portuguese accent, so when she spoke it sounded like a mixture of French and Spanish to me. I enjoyed listening to Elder Godoy speak. He was a good speaker and was also really funny.

During Elder Godoy's talk, he called up one of the reactivated brethren that my companion and I teach every week named Brother Viscaiño to come up to the stand with him. Brother Viscaiño gave his testimony at the beginning of the stake conference and talked about how he was reactivated by the missionaries. Elder Godoy asked Brother Viscaiño a bunch a questions including why he decided to come back to the church. Then he asked him, "Who were the missionaries who found you?" Brother Viscaiño named the missionaries that were here before us, Elder Bustillo and Elder Keyes. He also said that they aren't here anymore. Then Elder Godoy asked, "Well, who are the missionaries that are teaching you now?" My companion and I looked at each other and I heard my companion mumble, "oh no". Then he told Elder Godoy that the missionaries were Elder Galiego (my companion) and then he paused and mumbled,"uhhhhhh...." into the microphone and scratched his head. He didn't remember my name! Elder Godoy finished his answer by saying "...and his companion." Elder Godoy then invited us up to join him on the stand, along with the Bishop, the Elder's quorum president, the Mission leader, and a few others. I was a bit embarrassed that he didn't remember my name after we visit him 3 or 4 times every week for the last 4 weeks now. And that it all happened in front of the mission president and a general authority! Anyways, after the meeting, the mission president came up to me and said, "Looking famous up on the stand, huh?" I didn't know if he was joking or not! :p But it is definitely an interesting story to remember, but something that I hope doesn't happen again...

The next day, I asked Brother Viscaiño if he remembered my name and he said, "Yes! Elder Dyals!" Hmmm...well close enough, I guess. Also during the conference on Sunday, my companion needed to go to the restroom, so I waiting outside and this little girl kept trying to be silly and tried pulling me in the girl's bathroom. She also somehow took my favorite pen and started running around the church with it. After the conference was over, I tried looking for her but she had already left...I wouldn't have had much of a problem with it but it was my favorite pen with 4 colors! Hmmm...she's not going to get away with this! I will find her! Haha! ;p

Besides the rain, training for 7 hours, Brazilian accents, being embarrassed in front of the whole stake with the president and a general authority there, and losing my favorite pen, the rest of my week was pretty typical....missionary work like always!

I wish every one of you a good week! Be sure to watch out for little girls who steal pens! :p And may the Lord "rain" his blessings on each one of you! Until next week...

Elder Dyal 

 Brother Viscaiño's daughter, Celeste with Elder Galiego
(She doesn't normally have glasses or nametags!)

Celeste with Elder Dyal

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week #33 - Calderón, Ecuador - March 16, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was an amazing week! I have such a terrific ward and leaders in my area! And I had a wonderful birthday. I couldn't have asked for a better day.

On Saturday, I almost forgot it was my birthday! I remembered as I started to make breakfast for me and my companion. I decided that I wanted to do something fun to celebrate the day like buy a bunch of junk food and soda for my companion and I. But then I thought it might be hard to find the time because Saturday is one of the most busiest days of the week. We usually spend it trying to contact our investigators or inactives to invite them to church the next day. Because of this, I wasn't expecting that we would do much of anything on my birthday. But as I was making breakfast, someone knocked on the door. My companion asked if I would get the door. I expected it to be the dueño of the house with the water and light bills because we passed by him a few days before and he said he would come over with our bills on Saturday. I opened the door and the Zone leaders stormed in and sang Happy Birthday to me and "man hugged" me. They brought with them some eggs, a pineapple, and milk for breakfast, and they had made me some "cake balls". They really surprised me! It was awesome! Haha!

They made breakfast for the 4 of us and my companion decided to make pineapple juice with the milk and some of the pineapple. Elder Smith, one of the zone leaders asked him how to make it, and my companion responded by saying, "It's super easy. Any idiot can do it!" So he threw the milk and pineapple in the blender with a little sugar. Elder Smith was the first to try it and said it was disgusting. Then I tried it. I didn't think it was bad...It just tasted like pineapple milk, although a little weird. My companion and Elder Ramponi also didn't like it! Then my companion said, "Well, I'm intelligent and not an idiot, so I couldn't do it I guess." Hahaha!

The whole day after that, my companion kept telling everyone that we met or ran into that it was my birthday which basically obliged people to give me a gift of some sort. People were very nice to me though. But what I really wanted for my birthday was a baptism which didn't happen for us. Luckily, the zone leaders had one that day and we went to the baptism to support them and the girl they were baptizing. The mission leader and his wife were at the baptism as well and afterwards they surprised me with a birthday cake. I still have no idea how he knew it was my birthday, but it was so nice. The tradition here is that after they sing the Happy Birthday song, the birthday person takes a bite out of the cake without using their hands. But while the person does this, someone always sneaks behind and smashes their face in the cake. I already knew this beforehand so I was super cautious as I was leaning down to take a bite. But the mission leader's wife who was holding the cake, lifted it up into my face as I was taking a bite. I totally didn't see that coming...It was pretty funny!

I was so grateful for my leaders and the ward for everything they did for me on my birthday. They made it so awesome! I'm also thankful for your emails this week. My birthday was awesome thanks to everyone!!!! I'm thankful for your support and for everything you guys do for me!!! I wish everyone a great week!

Elder Dyal

 On Spencer's Birthday in his apartment --
Elder Dyal, Elder Smith
Elder Ramponi, Elder Galiego

Missionaries acting silly!

Elder Smith really should clean his teeth 

 Birthday cake for Elder Dyal

 Singing Happy Birthday

 Almost got him the first time, but not quite....

 Then they got him!!

Cleaning up his face

Elder Galiego and Elder Dyal with cake face

Elder Dyal in Downtown in Llano Grande

Today on P-day in Downtown Quito

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week #32 - Calderón, Ecuador - March 9, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

My week has been pretty awesome! Although the highlights were mostly on the weekend.

Last Saturday we had a stake activity which was called "Puertas Abiertas" (Open Doors). The members in the stake invited non member friends to the stake center and showed them around, talked about the church, and of course there was lots of food! It's interesting to see that no matter where in the world you are, having lots of food at church activities is a tradition that will never change. :p All the missionaries in the Calderón zones were there. Both Calderón Oeste and Calderón Este were there. Some of the missionaries stayed in the building and talked to people, and others were on the street next to the church inviting them to the activity. To my surprise, my old companion Elder Caballero was there. I knew that he was in the Calderón Oeste zone so I was hoping to see him there. It was awesome talking to him again. He told me some bad news about my first area though. Apparently, the converts that Elder Arcaya and I baptized in Cayambe (my first companion and area) are not active anymore and he has no idea why. That definitely was not fun to hear. Very disappointing. :(

And on Sunday, we had the stake presidency come to our ward and speak. And then the wife of the ward mission leader in the ward came up to us during the second hour and asked us to help out in primary. The primary kids are learning the song "Follow the Prophet" and she wanted me and my companion to dress up as Adam and Enoch. My companion had to do a baptismal interview during that time, so instead one of the zone leaders, Elder Ramponi and I did it. All of the kids immediately knew that we were the missionaries even though we were dressed up. The teachers tried telling them that the prophets look very similar to the missionaries, but they kept yelling out that we were the missionaries! I was surprised at how many of them knew my name but didn't know Elder Ramponi's name! Haha! I was Enoch and he was Adam. The kids seemed to be confused about Adam because according to them, Adam didn't have a beard (see attached picture :p). 

I'm so happy that we have awesome ZL's now! Everyone makes fun of Elder Smith, including the members. Everyone calls him Elder Clark Kent because he looks like Superman! Elder Smith is awesome! I'm also pretty sure that all the young women in the ward have a crush on him as well. :p Elder Ramponi is also awesome and this is his first transfer as a ZL. He is from Argentina and has a very different accent when he speaks Spanish. Everyone makes fun of him... For fun, of course! ;p For example, people in Ecuador say, "Yo"... and he says "Sho". When everyone says "Ellos", he says "Eshos." There is an "sh" sound in a lot of his words...  

When it comes to accents in Spanish, I can't really tell the difference unless it's really big like Argentina's accent. Another one is Cuba. Cubans speak Spanish so much differently than from those in Ecuador. I can only understand like 5% of what they say! Also I've met some people from Spain and they use the letter "z" very differently. Whenever there is a "z" in a word, they use a "th" instead. Anyway, it's been interesting to hear lots of different accents from people who speak Spanish and are from other countries other than Ecuador.

So those were the highlights of my week. I was really hoping for a baptism on my birthday this Saturday. I really tried hard, but for us it looks like that won't happen. :( But the ZL's in my area have one scheduled, so that is good! I wish you all an amazing week! I love you all! Until next Monday...

Elder Dyal

 Spencer and Elder Ramponi helped the primary by dressing as Prophets. 
Spencer was Enoch and Elder Ramponi was Adam.

 Enoch and Adam looking into the distance. These look like prophets, right?
Spencer and his companion Elder Galiego.... Also with 2 members of the ward that have Elder Galiego's nametags. :)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week #31 - Calderón, Ecuador - March 2, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

So it has been awesome here this week! On Monday last week, I had a lot of people tell me that the ward I was going to was the best ward in the mission. One of the assistantes and even the President said that the "Vergel" ward was powerful. It is definitely the biggest ward I have been in so far, that's for sure. Big enough to feel like the Canton Ward. :)

Last Monday, I was also surprised to see my first companion and trainer in the church offices while I was there. He hasn't been in Quito for any part of his mission so it was a surprise. Man, he was such a good companion to me! I was so happy to see him. He also told me that Elder Caballero, my second companion, was just transfered to Calderón as well, but it turns out that he is in Calderón Oeste and I'm in Calderón Este! So close! Maybe we will run into each other sometime. 

Llano Grande, the city I now live in now is a lot more rural. And for some reason, there are a lot of Jehovah's Witnesses here, more than any other sector I have been in. I am in the district with the zone leaders again, which now actually hasn't been too bad. The ZL's here are really awesome! Hahaha! Everyone jokes that one of the ZL's, Elder Smith, looks like superman!

On Sunday we had 3 investigators attend church which was really awesome. The only problem with some of the them is that it's hard for them to come on Sundays because of work and/or they are not currently married to the person they are living with. Although I'm actually very hopeful that will change in the future as we continue to teach them!

Elder Galiego, my new companion, is a really awesome guy and companion! I didn't really write about the problems I had with my last one in La Luz, but it really was bad. Unfortunately it wasn't much of an improvement from the transfer I had before him. If anything, it was almost worse. But Elder Galiego has been such an improvement! Now I feel like I can focus on helping the people we teach rather than focusing on a trying to have a better relationship with my companion. During my last transfer, it was also really hard to get along with the ZL's too. Now here in Calderón, I feel like I'm on the same team as the other missionaries. I feel like a better and improved missionary!

I can't even describe how wonderful this week has been from my last 12 weeks in La Luz! So much better in so many ways!! Everything has been an answer to my prayers! Now I feel like I can help people instead of focusing so much on getting along with my companion and my leaders. Everything finally feels good and that's a big sigh of relief for me!

I'm so thankful for the prayers from my family and friends. I miss everyone so much and truly feel the power of your prayers in my missionary service. I'm so thankful for your continual support and your letters and emails. :) I wish each and every one of you a great week! 

Elder Dyal

 The 59th Anniversary of Llano Grande

La Familia Vaca