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, May 25, 2015

Week #43 - Calderón, Ecuador - May 25, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

It's always an interesting few weeks after a new change. If you get moved to a new sector and new ward, then you spend several weeks learning the area and getting familiar with the ward. Since that wasn't the case for me, the only thing I had to get used to was my new companion. It usually takes a while to adjustment to a new companion, especially after getting so comfortable with your old one. When I was with my first companion and trainer, Elder Arcaya, and also when I was with Elder Galiego, they were big jokesters and loved to joke around with everyone. I loved it too, but found that I needed to keep them on track a lot. And when I was with Elder Ordoñez and also Elder Caballero, they liked to be the leader and talk way more than I did. My new companion Elder Gebs, is more of a quiet and reserved guy so I have found that I have needed to open up a bit more. It's not too much of a problem because I know the people and the area better than he does. But also because I have been learning how to be a better leader while with all my other companions, so this is good for me. Each companionship has been a learning experience.

We've had some really good luck this week with our "contacting." I'm not sure why, but it has been way more effective. We found 2 new families and also a guy named Mauro. It has been pretty awesome! We have several appointments to go back and teach them more. After teaching one of the families one evening, they asked us if we wanted any limes. We thanked him and said yes, and he came back with a huge bag of limes! Ever since then, we have been handing out limes to people that we meet and talk to and we've also been making lime juice and using it in our cooking. It's been so cool.

Last Saturday, we had a bit of a weird experience. After we left a missionary leadership meeting and while waiting for the bus, a "gringa" or American girl approached us. She recognized that we were also Americans and wanted to talk to us. It was kinda weird to present ourselves in English. Never done that here before. She asked us what we were doing here, and we told her about it, and she told us what she does (I honestly don't remember). And while we were talking, a guy who was driving by, saw us "Americans" talking, and he parked his car and came up to us and asked us if we could help him with his English homework! Hahaha!

So ever since Elder Higgins and I baptized Natalia several weeks ago, there has been a baptism every week! We had 2 baptisms in a row, then the ZL's baptized a family the week after that, then the sister missionaries had a baptism, and now there's another planned this week! And Elder Higgins and Elder Tellez told us that next month, there should be several more baptisms! We got a trend going! Hope it continues for awhile.

For those of you who send me letters through "Dear Elder.com", I just wanted you to know how much I always enjoy reading your letters! They truly lift my spirits and help and inspire me. This week, I got one that was sent during Easter Weekend. I notice they aren't delivered very quickly, but that's okay. I'm just always grateful to get letters in the mail. Sorry if I don't respond right away to them but I do always get them. Thank you so much!

And thank you all for your prayers on my behalf. They really do help me! Have a great week everyone and a great Memorial Day!

Elder Dyal

Missionary Leadership Meeting in Calderon
(Can you spot Elder Dyal?)

Missionary Leadership Meeting in Calderon
(Can you spot Elder Dyal?)

Missionary Leadership Meeting in Calderon
(Can you spot Elder Dyal?)



Monday, May 18, 2015

Week #42 - Calderón, Ecuador - May 18, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been very interesting to say the least... 

To start out, it's been very different having an American as a companion. I guess I'm still adjusting to that change, especially when people stop and stare at us. When people here see two Americans walking down the street, it attracts a lot of attention. It's basically something you will never find, Americans without someone native with them, especially outside of Quito. Sometimes it brings a lot of unwanted attention, but sometimes it is helpful in our missionary work. It gives us a reason to start talking to people. :p This week especially, we had many people that would come sit next to us on the bus or wherever we are and would just start asking us questions, like where we are from and why we are here sort of thing.

Friday was also interesting because we had a leadership training with our zone, and the ZL's organized a game with water balloons. Of course there was a lesson that we were suppose to learn from the water balloon game, but as everyone knows, the only thing anyone ends up learning is that water balloons are really fun to throw at people to get them wet. In the end, everyone went crazy and began throwing them all over the place. Somehow though, I got the most wet out of everyone! How did that happen? :p

On Saturday morning during our study time, my companion and I got a call from a member in our ward who told us that we should go to a family in our ward because they had an emergency. So without knowing exactly what was going on or what happened, we ran to the conjunto where they live. After we arrived, we sat down and the Sister began to explain the emergency to us, but she was talking super fast and crying at the same time so it was difficult to completely understand what she was telling us. Then the bishop and one of his counselors arrived. She began to tell the same story again to the bishop, and then the bishop called the stake president over the phone. After listening to the story several times, I started understanding what was going on. Her husband is missing and no one knew where he was or if he's even still alive. There are still a lot of unanswered questions and it sounds like there were some shady things going on with his job, but he had been missing since Thursday. The police and other government organizations are now involved, but they don't know where he is or what has happened. It's hard because we don't know how to help them, and he is one of the nicest guys I have ever met. I feel very saddened for them and wouldn't know why anyone would want to do something harmful to him...

So as I told you last week, this week we had changes! My companion Elder Higgins kept saying that he felt like he was going to leave...and that's what ended up happening, but not really. We both got assigned new companions, but we are still in the same ward. I didn't go anywhere thankfully! I didn't want to leave still thinking of all these people. It seems like everyone still needs my service in this area....members, investigators, less actives and recent converts. It's hard not knowing how to help everyone and feeling pulled in many different directions, but I suppose there is still work I need to do here. So Elder Higgins is now a zone leader, and Elder Gebs who was my zone leader, is now my companion. That's makes two American companions in a row now!

So overall, this last week was unlike any other! Exciting, tiring, terrifying, and repeat! Although I would like to please ask everyone if you could keep the Tovar family in your prayers this week. They are great members in my ward! It's been hard to see them go through this and not being able to help. Thank you for everything! Your prayers and letters mean so much. Have a great week!

Elder Dyal



Monday, May 11, 2015

Week #41 - Calderón, Ecuador - May 11, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

I can't believe 6 weeks have flown by since my last transfer! Geez, it's almost hard to believe! Although because my companion got switched in the middle of transfers, I keep thinking it's been 2 transfers instead of 1! I'm also a bit nervous because I don't want to leave this ward! I have gotten really close with so many of the members and investigators! But I do know that whatever happens will be for the best even if it's not what I want. I guess we will see what happens. I could go anywhere! The coast, rainforest, the orient, or back to the city. Although it's important to remember, if I get changed to the coast or the orient next Monday (transfer day), I will probably not have enough time to write an email because I will be traveling. So just keep that in mind for next week...

This week we had the baptism of Mirella Garcìa, which was probably one of the most spiritual baptisms I have been to. This family has literally changed so much from when the missionaries first found them. They were really unhappy and about to split up... and now they got married, baptized, and are really strong in the gospel... and are now planning to get sealed in the temple. It was really a miracle how Elder Keyes found them. I'm so glad we were able to help teach them and then witness the baptism. Her husband, who was a member, was able to baptize her which was super neat to witness!!!

Also for Mother's Day, the ward had another talent show. But we were ready this time! Instead of embarrassing ourselves again with a dumb skit that we never practiced, we prepared a musical number. It was so much easier to practice than a skit. But the young men in the ward performed a pretty funny skit which had the whole audience laughing a lot. During one of the last acts of the skit, one of the YM, who was actually recently baptized, had an inflamed appendix somehow. He was really in a lot of pain. My companion and I gave him a priesthood blessing, and then his dad drove him to the hospital. Last I heard, he is doing well and will be up and around soon.

Also, just like every missionary around the world, I was able to call my family on Mother's Day, except I was fortunate to be able to skype. It was also interesting because I got to hear people speaking REAL English again, something I haven't heard in a long time! (At least since our call on Christmas.) :p It definitely made my week to see and talk with them again!!! They asked me to give them my testimony in Spanish, so before the call was over, I did. Afterwards, they said my Spanish was really good and that I even had an accent while I talked. I don't know about an accent, I will take their word for it, but I'm glad they thought my Spanish sound good because everyone in this area says my companion speaks better Spanish than I do. It's still a bit hard for me to pronounce the letter "rr" sometimes! :/

I hope everyone had an awesome Mother's Day!!!! Thanks for your support! Talk to you after transfers!!! :p

Elder Dyal 

 The baptism of Mirella Garcìa
with Elder Higgins and Elder Dyal

 The baptism of Mirella Garcìa
with Elder Higgins and Elder Dyal

Lots of family and friends attended the baptism of Mirella Garcìa



Monday, May 4, 2015

Week #40 - Calderón, Ecuador - May 4, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been different and slow. Because I have a new companion, I had to show him around the sector. It's different having an American companion...the first one I've had! We speak English a lot but we've found that we can't speak it as well as we use to especially when we need to explain something. I've been in the mission field for 9 months and my companion has one more change than I do, so he's only been out 10 months. So really, we are still pretty new, more or less. I'm thinking when I've been out for over a year, maybe I won't feel new anymore. We'll see! :)

Although we have noticed that we do draw more attention when we are out. Two Americans on the bus or walking down the street is something most Ecuadorianos haven't seen very often, especially in a little city like Llano Grande. Also it's been weird though, because things around town have been more unusual than normal. We were walking down the street in a part of Llano Grande that isn't super populated, it was mostly residential, and a car passed by. The woman in the car rolled down her window and told us in English, "Mormons aren't welcome in this neighborhood". At first we thought she was joking and my companion kind of laughed and went to shake her hand. Then the woman slapped his hand away and repeated, "Mormons aren't welcome in this neighborhood," and then she drove off. Then, the next day we saw a guy lying on the ground, probably drunk, and he was half naked...It was not a pretty site :/ Both experiences seemed unusual for this area, at least while I've been here.

Although definitely the best part of the week was the baptism we had on Saturday. We planned on having 2 baptisms, but the other sister that was going to be baptized that day had an emergency and had to take her little kid to the hospital. I guess the little one was super dehydrated, but luckily everything is fine with them now. It was just unfortunate timing because they had to miss the baptism. But our investigator Natalia got baptized and I was fortunate to be the one to baptize her! Although for some reason I wasn't prepared ahead of time. It didn't occur to me that I would be getting wet I guess, and I forgot to bring a towel and a extra pair of garments. So after the baptism, the bottom part of my shirt and the top part of my pants were wet. Luckily I had dark pants on and I'm not even sure if anyone really noticed until I said something about it afterwards. Hahaha! :p

Hopefully we can have the other baptism soon with Mirella. We have been working hard on teaching and preparing this family and they recently got married so they could get baptized.

So those were the highlights and events of my week! Hope everyone has a wonderful week and happy Mother's Day!

Elder Dyal



Baptism of Natalia

Elder Higgins and Elder Dyal with Natalia and her family

Elder Dyal with President and Sister Richardson and his zone in Calderon 
during a specialized training meeting

Elder Dyal and the Calderon zones during a specialized training meeting

Elder Dyal and the Calderon zones during a specialized training meeting

At the end of their meeting, they have a special Quito North Mission cheer