This blog is where family members will collect and share Elder Spencer Dyal's letters and photos with family, friends, and anyone interested in his missionary progression these next two years. We invite you to check here often to get updates on Spencer's missionary adventures!
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.
To be really honest, this week has been quite the trial. I
use to think that the orient was a calm relaxed area, but my views have now
Most of the week has been blazing sun or pouring rain. I
have been telling my companion that we can't walk too much in the sun because
it really tires me out. Generally, we don't have to worry much about weather
because we are usually teaching people inside. But this week, we had a harder
time finding people at home for some reason which made it harder on us since we
were outside walking around much more.
Friday (ironically black Friday) was the day that challenged
us the most and pretty much changed our plans for the rest of the week. Near
our house, we have the bus terminal, and because we don't have a cell phone we
go there to make phone calls. We finished all our appointments early for once
and we were on our way home. As we were walking on the sidewalk, 2 guys on a
motorcycle came on the other side of the road and stopped and one of them got
off. I wasn't really paying attention and I was just talking to companion about
what we were going to eat for dinner and that maybe we had time to do some
exercises. So as the guy came up to me, it was kind of a surprise. He grabbed
my shoulder and mumbled something. I could tell he was obviously a little
drunk. By instinct, I pushed him away and told him to go away and I kept
walking. I took about 3 steps and realized my companion wasn't next to me
anymore. I turned around and saw the guy holding my companion by the shoulder
with a little kitchen knife in his hand. I got closer to help my companion but
the guy told me to back off. He told us that he didn't want money, but that he
wanted a cell phone. He continued screaming at my companion telling him,
"Give me your cell phone!" During all this, I said a silent prayer in
my head and looked around to see if anyone could help us. There were a few
people around. They were watching what was happening but no one did anything to
The guy then demanded for our backpacks and everything we
had in our pockets. He took everything we had, flipped us off, then drove off
with his buddy with our stuff. Luckily we didn't lose too much, but for my poor
companion, the experience was too much for him and he began to cry. They didn't
take too much but they did manage to take the keys to our house, $3 dollars
from me and $22 from my companion, our missionary agendas, scriptures, my
companion's watch and our backpacks. Luckily we were able to beg someone to use
their telephone and we called our zone leader for help. We couldn't get in to
our apartment, so we slept at their house that night. The zone leader will be
going to Quito in a few days and
said he will bring back some scriptures for us. We will also fill out a theft
report and the mission will help give us the things we need that were stolen.
I was a bit mad after the whole incident but now I realize
that we were blessed. We are lucky no one got hurt and that they didn't take
anything of value. Honestly though, I feel almost offended for the way he
robbed us though. I mean really! All he had was a puny kitchen knife! The guy
himself wasn't that big...I was taller than him. And he robbed my companion's
watch but not mine?! Ha! Plus he took way more than he is going to use. Most of
it will probably be thrown away. Honestly the robbery was pathetic and it makes
me laugh thinking about it now. :D If I find the guy again, maybe I'll take him
to Detroit so he learn how it's
really done and he can stop embarrassing himself! Haha! :p
Anyway, because of the robbery, our Saturday was hard
because we didn't have our scriptures. So we asked the members if they had any
extra Book of Mormons for us to use. We managed to get one BOM and a Catholic
New Testament. And since the robbers took our agendas, we weren't able to
follow our plan. All our investigator's phone numbers were in the agendas and
now were lost so we couldn't call and remind them to come to church on Sunday.
But to our surprise, we had 7 investigators who attended church on Sunday! That
was the highest number of investigators attending church that I have ever had
in my mission so far. Tender Mercies from the Lord!
Even though it was a hard week, not even adding that we
almost got robbed again by 2 big black guys with machetes, it all paid off
Sunday. President Ayala came and spoke a wonderfully powerful message. It was
probably the most spiritual Sunday that I've had in a long time. Lesson of the
week: Even if the week is dark and dim, the Lord will always send his tender
mercies! Count your blessings!
Have a great week everyone! Please send prayers our way. It
looks like we are in a more dangerous area than I originally thought. And por
si acaso you see some shady looking guys with machetes, turn around and walk
the other way! That's what we did, and it worked out! The Lord's blessings! ;p
Watermelon and Jackfruit
We ate a Jackfruit this week. It is grown in tropical rainforests. We liked it.
This week has been a great week for us here in Coca.
To start off, Elder Nielson, the zone leader here in Coca,
came up with a plan to boast up Rama Orellana so that it has better retention
for our recent converts and reactivated members. We started with a training
meeting that took place last week with the branch council. We talked to the
presidents of the auxiliaries in the branch on how to use binders and files and
how to fill everything out to make their calling more organized and simplified.
The Sur America Nortoeste area leaders have trained and asked the stake
presidents to use these rules to make their stake council more eficaz, so we
thought it would be good to also have the branch use it as well.
Another idea of Elder Nielson's was to have a branch
activity called "Vuela a Hawaii"
which explained the plan of salvation but in a way no one was expecting. It was
like this: Everyone started on a free plane ride to Hawaii
and were given fake money and told to use it wisely. When we landed in Hawaii,
there were a bunch of activities everyone was able to do. There was a movie theater,
karaoke, basketball, and also activities that would waste time. In all these
kinds of activities, one had to use their money to participate. And then there
were activities that you could gain money instead of use it. These activities
were a little more boring but had to do with reading scriptures or learning
something new, like using your time well. After an hour or so, everyone got
back on the plane to go back to Ecuador.
But on the plane ride there was a "freak accident" and everyone
"died". Then we were in the afterlife and we explained that there was
going to be a judgement for their use of time and how much money they still
had. Then they were assigned to either the Telestial, Terrestial, or CelestialKingdoms.
The day that we were suppose to be at the church for that
activity, Elder Perez and I had a bunch of difficulties getting there. As we
were on the bus going to the church, there was a accident that delayed us
almost 2 hours. We had an activity planned during the "money
exchange" time, but when we finally made it to the activity, it had
already started. So instead, we were judges for the final judgement. We changed
into baptismal clothes (in all white) to be judges and then we were angels in
It turned out to be a really good activity. But some people were upset with the
kingdom they were assigned to... :p
On Saturday, the elders of Coca had a baptism in the
waterfall of Carachupa Pachka (that name is super funny if you know what cara
and chupa mean. Hahaha!). Elder Perez and I attended and we invited 2 of our
investigators to come with us. But unfortunately it backfired because the
investigators just took it as a opportunity to "pasear" and we also
found out that they lied to us about being cousins when instead they were
boy-friend and girl-friend living together. That was a frustrating situation...
But other than that, it was a good baptismal service. Very spiritual.
Apparently the missionaries worked a long time with them and they finally
committed to get baptized.
The branch here in Coca is great. It's really new, like 6 or
7 years old. The church is pretty new in this area as well! Most people haven't
really heard about the church so it's probably one of the best places to tract
and contact people. Our branch is Orellana. And according to the map limits, my
district takes up all of the provincia de Orellana. To put it into better
terms, it would be as if you doubled Wayne
county (my county in Michigan) in
size and took 2/3 of the people out and replaced the forest areas with jungle.
I live in Coca which is the biggest city of the provincia but there are also 3
other little cities in the sector called Loreto, Cañon, and Sacha. Loreto is
the furthest away. It takes about 2 hours to drive from Coca to Loreto. See
what I mean! Really big area.
The other branch and district in the zone is a city called
Nueva Loja, which is about 2 and half hours from Coca. Nueva Loja is a smaller
branch than Coca in a city called Lago Agrio in the provincia de Nueva loja.
The zone leader in Lago Agrio is also the branch president. But since the 3
companionships in Lago Agrio are so far away from the 3 companionships here in
Coca, we will never get together and do any activities as a zone.
We are having difficulties with our investigators attending
church because our sector is the farthest from the church. Así que, because of
that, our investigators have a hard time progressing. But we do have one
investigator with a baptismal date! His name is Christian Luna. He only has one
obstacle...getting married to his live-in girlfriend. But unfortunately, she is
technically illegal here in Ecuador
because she's from Colombia.
Anyway, that's more information about my area and the
Orient. Oh also, I've seen several monkeys now! I took a picture of one! Have a
great week everyone!
Me and Elder Herrera dressed as natives
(We were the only ones brave enough to do this!)
Last Monday was transfers so I'm sorry I wasn't able to
write my weekly letter. It was also a bit crazy! I took changes to Coca which
is in the Orient. This meant I had to make a super long bus trip. Literally
from the polar west of the mission to the polar east. On Monday, we left for Quito
and called the asistantes and asked them for instructions on how to get to our
area. They told us that we had to go to Quitumbe (in the other mission), then
head out to the Orient the same day (which I knew was a bad idea). When Elder
Arrieta and I got to Quitumbe, all the buses to Coca were filled or were
leaving late that night, so we just went back to San
Carlos and helped the elders there for the rest of the
night in Quito.
Then again on Tuesday morning, we left for Quitumbe and
found out that the buses to Coca were filled up again. So we took a risk and
decided to take a bus to Tena, which is halfway to Coca in another part of the
Orient, and hoped a bus would be able to get us to Coca that day. When we
arrived, we waited about 45 minutes for a bus to arrive. I was getting worried
that we wouldn't be able to catch a bus that day, so I said a prayer with Elder
Arrieta and not even a minute later, a bus going to Coca came by and had enough
room for us on it! The power of prayer is amazing!
Going from Quito to Esmeraldas (my last area) took a long
time, but was direct and easy...but going from Quito to Coca is definitely a
lot harder since you have to change buses several times, and it takes a lot
longer to get there. To be honest, this transfer really surprised me! I felt
like I would be transferred, but I wasn't expecting to go to the Orient. Only
the missionaries that the mission president really trusts go to the Orient
because it's super far away from the mission home.
The zone itself is different than any other area I've been
in. There are only 6 companionships...3 in Coca (where I will be) and 3 in a
city called Lago Agrio. What's more weird is that the zone leaders are spilt
up...1 in Coca and 1 in Lago Agrio. Also, the zone is HUGE. Lago and Coca are 2
hours from each other and the zone goes all the way to Quito.
Just my sector is 2 hours getting from one point to the other. Bigger than all
my other sectors combined.
But yeah, I went from one extreme to the other. Super
fun!!!!!!! I am up against the rainforest and a few days ago I saw a toucan!
Now I just need to see a monkey!
I love you guys! I hope everyone enjoyed el dìa de los
My companion Elder Perez and I in our apartment
Another view of our apartment
Our lunch today...
Elder Perez and I ate mayones, which are worms that the Indians find in palm trees and like to eat! Què rico!
YOUTUBE VIDEO ON THE MAKING OF MAYONES IN ECUADOR: