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, June 29, 2015

Week #48 - Esmeraldas, Ecuador - June 29, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, today was a bit of an interesting day. It is transfer day! And in the past, I have usually had a feeling if I will be changed or not, and for the most part, I have an idea of where I'm going. But this time, I really had no idea...Nothing... I thought I was going to transfer the last time, and then I ended up staying in La Luz, so this time, I wasn't going to guess because I'm usually wrong.

When my companion Elder Gebs, answered the call about our changes, I couldn't over hear what was being said. He got off the phone and before he said anything, I told him, "Don't you dare tell me I'm going to the coast!" But he smiled and told me I was....Hahaha! :p I guess I was a little prepared since so many of the other missionaries left from La Luz to Esmeraldas (the coast).

If you look on a map of the mission, you'll see Esmeraldas on the very top left. It is the most dangerous part of the mission, kinda like downtown Detroit would be the most dangerous part of the Detroit mission. Everyone tried to scare me about it, or maybe prepare me for it. It turns out that most of things they said are kinda half true, but it looks like I will be learning more about it in the weeks to come. But it's super hot here! Way hotter than Quito! I'm sweating right now just writing this email and my companion just told me he feels cold... :o What?!?!

Well, I spent most of the day getting here, so sorry this letter is going to be quick since I'm short on time. The bus ride was like 6 hours or so...I actually started out the day feeling kind of sick. Then bouncing around on the bus, it just got worse :/ until I finally made it to the back of the bus to the bathroom and threw up! Let me just say, it's extremely hard to throw up on a bus that is going 60 miles per hour on a winding road in the jungle...I don't recommend it! ;p

Here at the coast, it really feels like summertime. In Llano Grande, it was really showing signs of summer as it was starting to feel warmer, and lots of wind, and hardly any clouds in the sky. And because Llano Grande has so much loose dirt all around, lots of times if you are outside, you had to close your eyes when the wind picked up.

I guess I would be lying if I told you guys I wasn't a bit disappointed to leave the area I had come to love and pick up and transfer to Esmeraldas, but now that I'm finally here, I'm okay, I guess. When I figured out who my companion was, it made me more excited because I already kinda knew him. Elder Huber is my companion and he was in my zone in La Luz from December up till February.

Anyway I hope you guys have an awesome week! Enjoy the heat of the summer! I hope I will as well! :p

Elder Dyal


Monday, June 22, 2015

Week #47 - Calderón, Ecuador - June 22, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This is most likely the last week of me being in this area...next week is changes! What will happen? So much is going through my head!! I'm almost certain I will move to another area. Although what's happened to the missionaries who have left during the last few changes has got me wondering a bit! Elder Keyes was here for 3 changes and then went to the coast. Elder Galiego was here for 2 and a half changes and also went to the coast. Elder Kerr was in the zone for 3 changes and then went to the coast. Seems like a pattern. I'm preparing myself for anything though. You never know! I think I warned everyone during the last change that if I do end up going to the coast, I might not have time to write next week because it's a long drive to get to get there. The coast is along the western edge of Ecuador right next to the Pacific ocean and it's the most dangerous area of the mission. The mission rules are different there. We have to be in earlier at night. Or it's possible I could go to the orient, which is also a long drive. The orient is to the east along the lowland areas of the rainforest.  So if i don't write next week, it's not because I forgot, it's just that I had no time to do it! :p

One the strange highlights of my week was when I had a bit of a Spongebob moment. For anyone who knows their classic Spongebob episodes will know what I mean. So, I spilled some milk on the floor and when I went to clean it up as I was bending down, my pants completely ripped open! Yes "Ripped Pants!!" Luckily, one of the investigators that we have was able to repair it, but of course, with a price but that's okay. At least it's fixed.

Also, our investigators have just not been progressing. :( It's been a bit frustrating especially because we are having "Noche Blanca" this week with the zone. All the missionaries who have investigators ready for baptism are going to get baptized together on the same day. Even the mission president is going to come. Pretty much everyone in the zone is baptizing someone except for us! :( You can't say we didn't try, but it's disappointing though.

A few days ago in the morning before our study time, all the Elders went to the church and we had a ping pong competition! I didn't win...not even close! I was still half asleep because we woke up at 5:30 in the morning to get there. My former companion, Elder Higgins won! He is actually pretty good. Well, In general he is pretty athletic but his singing could use some practice! Haha! ;p Can't be good at everything!

I wish all the Dads a happy father day! And everyone a wonderful week! Hope you are enjoying summer! It doesn't last forever, unless you are in Ecuador! Ha! ;p

Elder Dyal

 We went to the Templo del Sol (Sun Temple) with my district 
and the Guerrero family last P-day (6/15/15)

Templo del Sol (Sun Temple) with my district

From L to R -- Elder Higgins, Elder Gebs (my companion), Elder Dyal and Elder Tellez

What's actually funny is that Elder Tellez was companions with Elder Gebs while I was companions with Elder Higgins, and then we swapped during the last changes, and even stayed in the same district!

 Our district (the Sisters are Hermana Holbrook and Hermana Castro)

Elder Dyal and Elder Gebs

We found English in Ecuador... pretty rare!
"Thanks for your visit!"

 Careful with that arm Sister Guerrero!

 Inside the museum

Elder Gebs and Elder Dyal

Monday, June 15, 2015

Week #46 - Calderón, Ecuador - June 15, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

My week was pretty similar to last week.

Although we recently started teaching a family that is an amazing family! They seriously had so much potential until we went to their house a few days ago and the wife told us that her husband doesn't want us to come over anymore. And basically, the same thing happened with another family we have been visiting for several weeks. It's been discouraging. Also, one of our recent converts recently went to Colombia to live with her sister in law because she was having a lot of issues with her daughters. We are teaching one of her daughters named Maribel. She has a testimony and believes what we teach her, so we invited her to get baptized. We have actually been inviting her for a long time! She always accepts the offer to be baptized but hasn't been attending church, and without attending church, she can't be baptized. We also have other investigators who have a baptismal date but don't attend church. It's been difficult not to progress with our investigators. We know they have their free agency, but it's sad as missionaries to watch it happen because all we want to do is help them. So my companion and I have been talking and we both agree that we need to find new investigators. It's unfortunate that the people we have now are just not going anywhere and lacking desires to progress and get baptized.

Although on the bright side, today for our P-day we went to the Sun temple near the "Middle of the World" with la familia Guerrero. Brother Guerrero is the mission leader and it was also his daughter's birthday. We sang happy birthday over and over all day to her. It was funny because she got so embarrassed every time, which made us want to keep doing it! Haha! :p

Thank you for everything you guys do for me! I'm so grateful for your emails, letters and packages (thanks Brown family!) and your support! Have a wonderful week everyone! I know you are finally into summer vacation! Enjoy!! :p

Elder Dyal

Monday, June 8, 2015

Week #45 - Calderón, Ecuador - June 8, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was a bit interesting...

To start off, this week we visited a sister in our ward and her husband, and they told us they saw something interesting on Facebook the other day about Brother Tovar. I admit, it was very different than what I expected. Brother Tovar seriously was one of the coolest guys I have met here in Ecuador. He is super calm and so thoughtful and nice, so when I saw what that the Ministerio Interior and the local police put on up on Facebook, I almost didn't believe it. They put a picture up of him saying he was a wanted man because he was a secuestrador de niños (a kidnapper). There are a few other people in the ward that know about this, but everyone's opinions about what happened to Brother Tovar always change depending on who you talk to. All we know is what this famila showed us on Facebook...

We have decided to focus more on finding new people lately, and luckily we have found some people that have shown interest. We are focusing more on this because the people we have been teaching for the last little while just aren't progressing. It seems as if one of the hardest requirements for investigators to follow through with before getting baptized is to attend church regularly. To get baptized, they need 3 attendances which meant they needed to attend church yesterday and also next Sunday to get baptized in June, but hardly anyone came yesterday. :( 

And today I just recently learned that my memory card for my camera has a virus on it, so I can't send the pictures that I have on my camerá. Hope to get that worked out...

We were also planning on having a district activity today but couldn't get permission because of the new rules in my mission. We now can't have zone/district activities outside the church building anymore. And if someone asks permission to be able to go have an activity somewhere, then only that companionship can go and not the entire district or zone which makes having activities very difficult because there aren't too many things to do or tons of places to go if we can't get permission.

So yesterday was intertransfers, and I was kind of expecting to be involved, but it looks like at least I will be in Llano Grande and the Vergel Ward for another 3 weeks. I expect that I will probably transfer after that though, but luckily, I have 3 more weeks here.

Have an awesome week everyone! And enjoy school being out! Hahaha!

Elder Dyal

Monday, June 1, 2015

Week #44 - Calderón, Ecuador - June 1, 2015

Dear family and Friends,

Not alot going on, but a few things this week to tell you about....

On Friday, my companion and I went on divisions. The entire zone did divisions that day, and we paired off with the ZL's. I was with Elder Tellez and we ended up going to his section...the zone leaders sector. For some reason, I had an impression that their sector was better than mine because they have a lot more active members in their sector, which is true. But for most of the day, we tried inviting members to accompany us as we went tracting and also to our appointments, but we no one was available, and then all of our appointments fell through. :/ But we weren't the only one's. Apparently the whole zone had problems with finding anyone to teach that day. I felt like Elder Tellez and I were just walked around talking to people in the street all day.

We also had a ward activity this week where we watched the movie "17 Miracles." The first time I saw this movie, also on the mission, I was able to keep back most of the tears, but this time I completely lost it! It's a wonderful movie and I definitely recommend it if you haven't watched it. But there should be a warning on the movie box saying something like: "Caution, this is an emotional movie and will make you cry."

Sunday was good. We were hoping for more people to attend church with us though. Although everyone seemed way more rowdy and loud than normal during the majority of the meetings. We also talked to a few people afterwards and they expressed similar feelings. I think I may talk to the bishop so we can try to improve the reverence, especially in sacrament meeting. It's funny, but I don't really remember now if that was a problem in the states or not, but I don't ever remember that being an issue in my ward...

The Tovar family is still nowhere with finding Bro. Tovar. It's hard for us as well because the bishop told us we can't visit them since everything is still under investigation and he doesn't want the church to have any problems with the police. So we are pretty much in the dark like everyone else...

Today was our P-day, and all the missionaries in the area came and we had a party at the church to celebrate the 10 baptisms and 5 rescues (less actives) that happened in May. These are amazing numbers, especially considering that we are the smallest zone in the orient. We only have 12 missionaries! We played kick ball and the sign game which was pretty fun!

Have an amazing week everyone! If you can, please continue to keep the Tovar family in your prayers! I know they really need it.

Elder Dyal