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, August 17, 2015

Week #55 - Esmeraldas, Ecuador - August 17, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Life is great here in the mission field! Last week I had one of my best weeks yet since I have been in Esmeraldas with Elder Huber. We have been working like machines! :p But not only just missionary work, but also exercising. Ever since my foot has been getting better, I have been taking exercise more seriously. And Elder Huber wants to be in the best shape possible before going home. So we have been doing exercises a lot lately. 

I'm also good emotionally and spiritually. Although I'm not going to lie, some days I'm super pilas and motivated, and other days not so much. I have been trying to be better at that. It's hard when you can't find people to teach or when you don't see your investigators progressing. Although I especially got motivated a lot this weekend after seeing the work the branch council did yesterday. They really helped to get a lot of the less actives to attend church yesterday. That was great! But, Elder Huber and I have been working with 3 different couples trying to encourage them to get married, and only 1 of them seems to be progressing towards that goal. And with one of the couples, we decided to take a break for a bit because they hide every time we go to their house. And it's at the top of a really huge hill, so it's frustrating to go all the way up there for nothing.

Either way, the work continues. I see the Lord's hand in everything we do. I also feel the spirit leading and guiding us each day. But it has been difficult finding new investigators in Esmeraldas. And we may not have a baptism this month, but we'll keep working hard...

The last little while in the branch here, many of the missionaries have been finishing up their missions. Two of the sister missionaries have finished since I have been here and one elder is going to be finishing up here in October as well. And we also have 2 members in the branch who will be leaving in October to start their missions. They were called to Colombia and Honduras!

Other than that there isn't too much to talk about... ;p I hope everyone enjoys their week. I love you all so much!! Thanks for your letters and prayers!!

Elder Dyal

 With the Familia Altafulla

 I am making Patacones

I was interested in what Patacones were, so I looked up a "How to Make Patacones" on YouTube. (I attached the video below) We might have to make it sometime! And we will definitely make it for Spencer when he gets home... Or, he can make it for us! :)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week #54 - Esmeraldas, Ecuador - August 10, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Today was changes again! And for the next six weeks, I will be staying here in Esmeraldas with Elder Huber. Actually I will probably end up "killing" him as they say here (when you are with someone on their last change before they go home).

There have been a lot of holidays in Ecuador lately. It seems like there has been non-stop parties! Today is Independence Day, a national holiday in Ecuador, so there have been crazy parties all day. There also has been lots of people around here that aren't from Esmeraldas. Most are from the providence of Manabi in Ecuador. It's super easy to tell them apart because the people from Manabi have lighter skin.

My foot is pretty much back to normal now. In fact, to be honest I'm not completely sure what I had exactly. I know I said it looked like a worm, but I've talked to 3 different doctors and they each told me I had something different. I don't remember what the names where. I wish I could, but even if I did, I wouldn't be able to translate it. Elder Huber remembered what the first doctor told me. He has been telling everyone it was Leishma├▒iasis (I think that is how you spell it). It is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito or fly or something like that. It seems to make sense to everyone when we tell them that's what I had. 

So, Elder Huber and I haven't much luck with our investigators lately. I think partly it has been because of the non-stop parties. For the last several days it has been hard to find someone who wasn't drunk. And its never a good idea to talk or teach drunk people because they won't be able to feel the spirit or even remember what you told them the next day, but I've been told that it is when the missionaries often get robbed! We are trying our best though. We are just going though a slow progress period right now.

I hope everyone is having a great summer! Enjoy your week! I love you all! Please keep us in your prayers.

Elder Dyal

 Me with Hermana Rosa and her husband

 Hermana Tello's kids named Jossefa and Sheila

Eating a sandwich :)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Week #53 - Esmeraldas, Ecuador - August 3, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This has been a much better week since I came back from Quito to Esmeraldas last Tuesday. It's been interesting though because apparently this week marks the anniversary of Esmeraldas becoming a province of Ecuador. Because of that, literally everyone has been partying and partying....and partying a little bit more! It's made for an interesting week because everyone's buying so much stuff and when they see the two of us, automatically people think we have lots of money. 

Luckily we haven't been robbed though and that's a real good thing because unfortunately it happened to some other missionaries in Propicia, which is farther down from Aire Libre, my last area. But the gangs in our sector have been fighting with each other. Apparently a relative of some of the members of the church got killed and it has stirred up a lot of anger or something. The good thing is that the gangs reassure us that they will protect us. We were walking down the street on Friday and someone yelled, "Hermanos," and signaled us to come over. We went and talked to them a bit. One of them was a leader of one of the gangs and he told us that if anyone messes with us, to let him know and they would pay for messing with us. Whatever works I guess, just to make sure we don't get robbed or hurt. No one would kill us though. If you even walk in Esmeraldas with a gun, the police will beat you up and throw you in jail. So because of that, basically no one carries guns. That actually kinda makes the "gang fights" a bit funny because they don't have guns so they just throw rocks at each other. Sounds more like a big game of dodge ball to me than a gang fight! :p

Anyway, other than "Mobsters and Mormons", Esmeraldas has been a bit rainy the last couple days but I can deal with it now. My foot has almost healed all the way. I'm currently in Quito for another doctor's appointment that I have tomorrow. I only have 4 little holes where the doctor squeezed out the puss in my foot. I can walk normally now, just can't run very well. But I will with time as it heals more. I'm thinking that tomorrow, the doctor will most likely just give me more medications because I'm almost out, but also make sure the infection is gone.

So the news about our investigators is that we have 2 families that are planning on getting married so that they can get baptized. If everything works out with them, that will be 5 baptisms! But as always, the money needed for a wedding will be a bit of a problem. We will have to see what happens I guess...

Everyone have a wonderful week! Enjoy your summer! :D

Elder Dyal