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, 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

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