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.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Week #101 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - July 4, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, it's been another interesting week here in Comité del Pueblo.

President Richardson and his family went home on July 1st and our new mission president, President Murphy and his family, are here now and have been on a tour of the mission last week. Our area got to meet him on Friday. He brought 3 of his 6 kids with him. President Murphy is a little rusty with his Spanish. One of President's children served his mission in the Dominican Republic and got home over a year ago so he could speak some Spanish but he seemed a little out of touch. It will be a good opportunity for them to learn and touch-up their Spanish...hahahaha!

Unfortunately, it's still been pretty dangerous in this area. We have had a couple of close calls last week. But my companion and I have been as cautious as we can be, plus the criminals/gangsters around here are pretty easy to pick out of a crowd. They pretty much dress the same, and are usually smoking or drinking, which isn't a good sign.  We just have to pay close atencion to everything around us. If we don't, it could be dangerous. At the end of the day, pretty much every single evening, we run to our house as quickly as possible so that noone can catch us or follow us. Honestly, I'm getting pretty tired of that!

This weekend was worse than usual. The last day of school was Friday, and everyone was partying and getting drunk, wild and crazy all weekend. In most of my other areas, the weekends are when you need to be on guard, but in Comité, all the days of the week can be dangerous. For example, we had a close call today at 11:30 in the morning. We were very lucky that there was a police officer nearby. I'm pretty sure we didn't get robbed because he was there. I'm honestly thinking, sometime in the future, that I should get a license to carry around a gun at all times so these types of things don't happen to me again.

Anyways, I'm not sure if I will be able to write next Monday, which is the day before I come home. I don't think I will but I'm not a 100% sure. But it's been an awesome 2 years in Ecuador! Honestly it's been the best decision I have ever made in my life! There is absolutely no substitute to sharing the Gospel and helping and serving other people. It's sad for me to think that pretty soon, I won't be a full-time missionary who is teaching the gospel 24/7. I love being a missionary and wish I could do it for the rest of my life! If only... And I have learned to love the people in Ecuador and it will always have a piece of me. I really liked something Elder Holland shared with us when he came and spoke a few months ago. He said that we will never return to who we were before our mission and we shouldn't ever forget to share the gospel with everyone around us when we return home. That we can't get on the plane going to the Celestial Kingdom and then in mid-flight try to turn the plane around. He told us that when he meets RM's and finds out that they've forgotten to continue sharing the gospel or decided that they've already "served their time" and don't need to do it anymore, that he just wants to take them by the throat and shake some sense back into them! Hahahaha! I testify that as missionaries and also as members of this true church, that our duty is to share our beliefs with those around us. Share the truth of this wonderful gospel that brings so many blessings into our life. I also testify with the First Presidency of the church who have told us that there is no work that brings more satisfaction and blessings than missionary work. I'm so grateful to have had this opportunity and so thankful for all of your prayers on my behalf these last 2 years. You have greatly blessed and strengthened me.

Have a wonderful week everyone! Hope to see many of you in person very soon!

Elder Dyal

Elder Dyal with President and Sister Murphy

 Quito Calderon Zone with President and Sister Murphy and 3 of their children

Quito Calderon and Ofelia Zones with President and Sister Murphy

 The Zone with the Calderon Hoodies 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Week #100 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - June 27, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

We have had a good week this week!

Like last week, it's still been pretty dangerous here in Comité del Pueblo. In general it seems to be getting crazier too. Yesterday, there was a group of black preachers and church members from another church screaming at the members of our ward as we were leaving church. They were yelling at us that we needed to repent or God will destroy us! That was surprising! There has also been a lot more drunk guys walking around as well. Even in the middle of the day. And unfortunately, they are the dangerous ones who are willing to hurt or rob people. Don't know why it's been happening more often the last few weeks. Maybe we're just in the wrong place at the wrong time?

When my companion and I were on the bus last week, we saw a guy walk on and he looked straight at us. His eyes were bloodshot red so we assumed he was drunk or high or something.  I immediately felt what Nephi described as "the evil spirit" in 2 Nephi. As the guy stumbled towards us, my companion also felt the same feeling because he whispered to me that we should move seats right away. Without hesitation, we changed seats and the guy sat down away from us. Weird and scary, right?

Other than that, we actually had a pretty normal week. We found 2 new families to teach: Familia Cedeño and Familia Beldumo. There are both pretty cool and interested in what we were teaching them. We invited them to come to church on Sunday but neither of the families attended. And at our district meeting last week, my companion and I gave the training lesson. I haven't really had to do many training lessons, but the times that I have trained, I know I could've done better. But this time it was pretty good and I felt like it went well. I definitely like to do it as a companionship instead of by myself. It's a lot easier that way.

Today for p-day, we had a fun zone activity. We played kickball, ate hot dogs, and played the Sign game. It was so difficult to get the Latinos to understand how to play kickball! It was kinda funny. But I mean really? Is kickball that hard? All you do is kick the ball and run the bases. Apparently soccer is easier for them I guess!

Have a good week everyone! Thank you for your prayers as I teach the people of Ecuador and also for my safety. I know that everything is in the Lord's hands!

Elder Dyal

Elder Dyal's Last Zone Conference
(The last Zone Conference the Richardsons attended before they go home at the end of this week)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Week #99 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - June 20, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was an interesting and unique week.

Seems like everyone in this area has been getting sick the last few weeks, both missionaries and members. Unfortunately I got pretty sick as well. At first I think it was just a cold, but now I can barely talk. My throat has been pretty sore for 3 days now. It's just kinda annoying whenever I need to talk loud, cough, or laugh because it hurts.

This last weekend we witnessed some dangerous stuff here in Comité. My companion and I almost got robbed by 2 drunk guys who had knives, but luckily they were drunk enough that we had the chance to run away before anything happened. That was weird and unexpected because it was during the middle of the day. Then we saw another guy who was robbed right in front of us on Saturday! It completely freaked us out because we had our cameras with us and didn't want them taken! Scary! I'll be praying a lot this week!

On Saturday, we had the baptisms of the Fuenmayor kids. It was so awesome that their fathers were able to baptize them! We did have a bit of a problem with filling the font though. Usually the missionaries are in charge of filling the font, but this time we turned it over to a member in the ward because he likes to call himself the "boss of the church". He literally does call himself that. Well, the boss didn't start filling up the font early enough so when it was time for the baptism to start, the water still wasn't high enough. So my companion and I went and got the hose to help fill it up faster. But even then, lots of people were late for the baptism. So I guess it was lucky for us that everyone showed up late because we wouldn't have been ready in time. Literally every baptism I've attended on my mission, we have never started on time. It guess it's a cultural thing. This pattern applies for Sunday as well. Luckily this week, the families arrived early to church so they could be ready to be confirmed during Sacrament Meeting.

Also on Saturday, we went and ate lunch with the Marmol family. They wanted to teach us how to make Encebollado, which is a fish soup and probably one of the most famous dishes here in Ecuador. It was fun to learn how to make it, and it was pretty good! And today for p-day, my district went to Quicentro again. This time we went bowling. Compared to everyone else today, I bowled a pretty good game. But that's not because I'm getting really good at bowling, it's mostly because everyone else is worse than me at bowling! hahahaha! I didn't even break 100 points, I only got 80, so it's safe to say I am still terrible at bowling!

Anyway, that was my week. I hope all the dads had a great Father's Day! Thanks for your prayers on my behalf! 

Elder Dyal




Monday, June 13, 2016

Week #98 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - June 13, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been a week full of surprises and fun events.

On Wednesday, everyone in my group that is going home in July had a dinner with President and Sister Richardson. Since the President will be going home on July 1st, he wanted to make sure and have a farewell dinner with my group since he won't see us off on July 12. That means my final interview will be with the new mission president, President Murphy. He will be my mission president for a week and a half before I leave. We will also have a farewell dinner with President Murphy and his wife the evening before we leave to go home, so we will get 2 farewell dinners. Hahaha! :p  We were also asked to send in some of our favorite photos during our mission so they can make a movie/slideshow of the missionaries who are leaving. We will get to watch it, and it will also be on the mission Facebook page for the families to see, so be looking for that in July. After the dinner was over, everyone got a chance to share their testimony. That was a really nice and spiritual day.

On Thursday before our zone meeting, my companion had to go to the mission office for an appointment with the President, his counselors and the stake president about some issues from his old ward in the Calderón stake before this last transfer. On our way to the offices, to my surprise, we bumped into Sister Varas and her son Julian. When I was in La Luz Ward from December 2014 to February 2015, I taught the Varas Family who got baptized while I was there! She mentioned that she recently was sealed to her husband in the temple! It was amazing to see that a family that I loved and taught are still active in the church and have continued to progress in the gospel! These are the things that mean the most to a missionary. I'm so glad I got to see how this amazing family has progressed!

On Friday, my companion and I met our district leader at the stake center to go on divisions. While we were there I saw Brother and Sister Viscaino setting up decorations. Sister Viscaino was baptized in April 2015 while I was in El Vergel Ward. They were super excited to see me! Hahahaha! They had also recently got sealed in the temple and were setting up decorations for a party they were having that night to celebrate the sealing. Sister Viscaino´s family aren't members of the church and couldn't come to the temple sealing, so they wanted them to participate in a celebration with them. It was so good to see that they were also active and progressing in the gospel. A wonderful few days to see my investigator families celebrating their sealing in the temple!

And other good news! We plan on having the baptisms of the Rosero-Fuen Mayor family this week! More on that next week!

Today was p-day, and my companion and I went to the Quicentro mall in Quito. Man, it's been a while since I had been there. My companion wanted to eat at McDonalds really bad. I hadn't eaten at a McDonalds since I was in the states. I wasn't too excited to try it since a lot of the American missionaries told me that the McDonalds food here was super gross, so I was prepared for the worst. Well, it was different. But it wasn't the food that was different...or maybe I've just been here too long that I don't remember. I had 2 McBacons. I don't remember those being on the menu in the states but it was basically just 2 small burgers with cheese and bacon. It was hard for me to remember what was on the menu in the states, but I didn't see a Big Mac. My companion got a happy meal (cajita feliz). I told him usually little kids ordered a happy meal in the US, but he told me that he always orders happy meals when he goes to McDonalds. Ok...whatever! :p The building looked like the one in America although it was 2 stories and on the second floor there was a playplace for kids. The McDonalds workers were what surprised me the most! The workers were well-kept and super happy. I didn't even step into the door all the way before one of the workers said, "Buenas Tardes!" with a huge smile on her face. While we were eating, many of the workers would walk by and smile and say, "Buen Provecho," which doesn't translate well but means something like, "Enjoy your meal." Even the manager went out of his way to come by our table and greet us. I had never seen so many people so happy to be working at McDonalds!

I guess you never what surprises will be thrown at you in a week! It was such a tender mercy from Heavenly Father for me to be able to see the Viscaino family and the Varas family again and know that they are now a sealed family for time and all eternity. Such a blessing!

Have a great week everyone! 

Elder Dyal

 My group at the Farewell Dinner with President and Sister Richardson

 My group at the Farewell Dinner with President and Sister Richardson

 Me with President and Sister Richardson

Me with President and Sister Richardson

 At the Quicentro Mall today for p-day

 Inside the Quicentro Mall

 Outside a sports arena

 McDonalds in Quito

This was a picture before Sister Viscaino's baptism over a year ago

Monday, June 6, 2016

Week #97 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - June 6, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been fun with Elder Aguilar. I really enjoy being his companion. He is a lot of fun. I am really glad I have him as my last companion in the mission field. Not only because he is fun but because he is a hard working missionary which is what I prayed for as my last companion. I really want to be focused until the end, and I know he will help with that. Missionary work is a lot easier when you and your companion have a similar outlook on missionary work and when you actually get along with them. He likes to make fun of the fact that I'm going to be finishing the mission soon. He likes to sing me parts of 2 different hymns...In particular, "God be with you till we meet again" and a hymn that is only in the Spanish hymn book: "(Elder Dyal) adios pues adios el tiempo de ir vino ya!" He thinks it's hilarious! :p  

There are 3 elders and 1 sister from the Calderón zone that will be going home in 5 weeks on the same day I am. Elder Colfack, Elder Richardson, Hermana Tonge, and me. All of us are Americans. I'm not sure how many others total from the other zones are going home, but it's a pretty big group.  President and Sister Richardson are going to finish in 3 or 4 weeks now. To celebrate his departure (and also our departure), he is having a lunch this Wednesday with all the Elders and Sisters from the group going home with me. That should be fun! Hopefully there will be pictures!

It looks like we are going to have to postpone the baptism of the Rosero- Fuan Mayor because Brother Rosero wants to be able to baptize his own children. But first we have to active him and he has to talk to the bishop about it. It also turns out that Sister Fuan Mayor's brother will need to baptize his daughter as well because they lost her ficha in Colombia where she was originally baptized. Even though the baptisms will take a little longer than we originally thought, having the 4 of them get baptized on the same day and also having their Fathers be the ones to baptize them will be much better and more memorable for everyone. I'm glad they are making it an important goal in their lives.

Sorry this is short. Not much more to talk about. Hopefully more next week. Thanks for all your support and prayers. Have a great week everyone! 

Elder Dyal

Monday, May 30, 2016

Week #96 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - May 30, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Well today was transfers and it's the last one I have in the mission. My old companion, Elder Ureta went to Ibarra and I received Elder Alguilar who is from Bolivia. I had known him before in the Orient. And he was actually just in Carapungo in the Calderón zone, so I saw him a lot during the last transfer. He is a pretty cool guy! I'm super glad I will be able to work with him. I told him when we were in the terminal Carcelén with all the other missionaries that I was born (in the mission) with a Bolivian companion and now I will die (in the mission) with one.

This last week we had interviews with President Richardson. It will be the last interviews we have with him before he also finishes the mission. He will be going home soon and a new mission president will come in, pretty much around the same time I am going home. During his visit last week, he made us all read a talk called "Which Way Do You Face," by Lynn G. Robbins in October 2014 General Conference. It's a good talk but the reason he made us read it was because he recently had to send some missionaries home because of behavior issues. Now there are a bunch a missionaries that have been placed into trios. Usually but not always, a missionary goes into a trio when they do something wrong so the leaders of the mission can correct and/or help you. What makes it worse is that in a few weeks we will be getting a new mission president and the poor guy will have little to no experience. I hope the mission can shape itself up in these next few weeks!

Elder Alguilar knows more about the mission chatter than I do. Honestly in all of the time I have been here I have never gotten myself into gossip or known anything about what's been going on. I guess when you are in a Quito zone, it's easier to hear the stuff that's going on because Quito has the most missionaries in it. But even then, nothing comes to my knowledge which I find is a good thing. The more invisible I am to the mission in general, the better off. When my name doesn't come up a lot, the president has more confidence in you because he doesn't need to worry about you. Plus I think you can avoid problems with other people who may be looking to cause trouble. I think I have been so good at not being part of the mission gossip that I'm pretty sure I don't know 50% of the missionaries in my mission, and it's very probable that 50% don't know me either. (hahahaha!)

My biggest goals at this point are finishing my mission off strong! I've been good at keeping with my goals of waking up early to study the scriptures even more and fasting each and every Sunday. It's truly helped me to keep the spirit strong in my life. I don't believe it's too hard to have Heavenly Father's help and to have the spirit there to guide and direct you every day. It's a simple formula really... Just keeping the commandments more fully in your life will help anyone with just that. And then when you go above and beyond, you will get even more blessings. So why not do it!?

The reference we received from the stake president is one of my last miracles, or that's the way I see it. Familia Rosero-Fuan Mayor. We are hoping to baptize the kids on the 11 of June, but it's becoming hard to teach them regularly because Brother Rosero travels a lot for his work. I'm afraid we will have to postpone the date if we can't get all the teachings in. But they are truly an awesome family! The parents and the brother of Sister de Rosero and also Brother de Rosero and his family were all strong members of the church for a really long time, and then they stopped coming to church. I don't understand what made them stop coming but they have come back as if nothing had happened at all. It's been cool to see that transformation in this family.

Anyways, I hope everyone enjoys your Memorial Day today. Have a great week! 

Elder Dyal

 Elder Dyal taking a turn reading during the interviews with President Richardson

 My new companion, Elder Alguilar from Bolivia

Hailing in Quito

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week #95 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - May 23, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was a pretty ordinary week. Last Monday we had a big zone activity which we are only allowed to do once a transfer. It was pretty fun for those of us who went, but there was a big lack of participation, especially from the Americans in our zone. A lot of them complain and joke that the zone activities are always the same, so it was disappointing that a good amount of the zone didn't even participate.

A lot of the zone is pretty "old" in the mission which I thought was pretty cool at first, but now I feel it's more annoying than fun because during zone meetings a lot of them have the same attitude, that it's boring or always the same. Don't get me wrong, I like sarcasm as much as anyone, but I don't like negative sarcasm because I'm still trying to stay motivated to work hard and to enjoy these last few weeks before my mission is over. I guess I need to learn patience and tolerance. I'll keep working on that. 

I have been reading/listening to a lot of General Conference talks the last few weeks. It's been nice because these talks tend to lift one's spirit. So in the morning before a zone meeting, I read a conference talk or two and it helps me feel motivated and empowered, but by the end of the meeting I almost feel down. I've been learning that one's attitude can affect others, so be very careful with it and with those around you. One talk I found a few months ago that has really impacted me a lot is a talk given by Joseph B. Wirthlin in the April 2005 General Conference entitled "La virtud de la bondad." It speaks about kindness and how Christlike people should treat others. I invite you guys to read it!

This week there was another earthquake that happened on the coast. The epicenter was in the same place as before. Luckily, it wasn't as strong as the last one, and didn't do very much damage this time. It happened at like 2 or 3 AM but I was asleep and didn't feel anything. But the next day there was an aftershock and it was at about noon. I did feel that one! So crazy!

Last week the stake president gave my companion and I a reference of a less active/part member family. Actually, it is 2 families...and in one of the families, 3 of the children aren't baptized. I see this family as my one last attempt at a miracle before going home in a few weeks. We would really like to activate the parents of both families, as well as their Grandma, and also baptize the children. That would definitely be a miracle indeed. I would really appreciate your prayers for these families.

It's crazy how fast this transfer went by! This week we are starting week 6 of our transfer, so that means this Sunday I will probably get a new companion. It's most probable that Elder Ureta will transfer to another area and I will stay here in Comité del Pueblo, but anything can happen. I guess we will see. And it will be my last transfer before going home. Wow!

Have a great week everyone! Stay safe! Thanks for your prayers on my behalf! 

Elder Dyal 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week #94 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - May 16, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Elder Ureta and I had an interesting and productive week with our missionary work. We feel like several miracles happened.

The week started out pretty normal, but later in the week we had a few surprises. We visited a member in the ward who just moved to a new house. She told us as she started introducing herself to her neighbors, that she also talked to them about the church. And within the first week of her move, she already had a referral for us! So we went to her neighbor's home who was interested in learning about the church. At first we were discouraged as we taught her because there were so many distractions in the house and it was hard to feel like she was listening to us. But near the end of our discussion, we invited her to go to church with us on Sunday, and she easily accepted the invitation! We were surprised! It was a miracle! And another miracle came that she actually showed up on Sunday like she said she would! We were thrilled!

The stake president also referred us to visit the home of a less-active/part member family, the Fuan Mayor Family. We visited them and didn't know what they thought of our invitation to come to church. It felt like they didn't really want us in their home and Elder Ureta said that it was impossible that they would come, but they came to church yesterday! Impossible isn't a word in my vocabulary! :p Elder Ureta is still not interested in visiting them, but if they came to church, I don't want to write them off! It isn't impossible that they can feel the spirit and want to continue coming each week. I feel like it's important to still visit and help them, whether my companion likes it or not.

We had a huge attendance in the ward yesterday. We had something like 15 less-actives and 10 investigators. And all of the recent converts attended church as well. In my mind, that was definitively a miracle! Hope it wasn't a one time thing!

Sorry my email is short this week. Don't have a lot of time to write today. Hope everyone has a great week. Hopefully full of miracles! Thanks for your continued prayers. 

Elder Dyal

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week #93 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - May 9, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Elder Ureta and I had a pretty good week!

It seems like we are doing a lot better in finding people to teach. We found a few people this week that we think have a lot of potencial. Also the ward assigned us to visit a less active member in the ward, and that went well. So slowly but surely, the missionary work here in Comité del Pueblo is getting better.

We have been trying to get the Familia Ocles to commit to baptism these last few weeks. Sister Ocles really wants to get married so she can be baptized, but Brother Ocles doesn't really want to get married. But this Sunday was the first time I saw Brother Ocles attend church! One of the sisters in the ward gave a super good talk in Sacrament meeting about living now in the moment, but she accidentally read a wrong scripture during her talk that said everyone needs to repent and be baptized, and that was awesome! And in Gospel Principles, the whole leccion was on baptism.  The meetings seemed prepared just for the ears of Brother Ocles, and it was great to see how happy he was after church, so I hope that is good news!

Also on Sunday since it was Mother's Day, the bishop brought in a bunch of cookies and ice cream, and during the 3rd hour, the elders quorum delivered the treats to the sisters in relief society. We also handed out flowers to all the women. And that evening, I was able to skype my family in Michigan! It was so great to talk with everyone! I was smiling ear to ear the whole time!

Today for p-day, we went to the Teleférico which is a cable car lift that takes tourists to the top of Pichincha Volcano in Quito. It is actually one of the highest aerial lifts in the world. It took about 20 minutes to get to the top. At the top there were restaurants, stores and hiking trails. And you could basically see all of Quito from the top, except it was kinda foggy today so we weren't able to see as much as we would have liked. But before we went back down though, we spent on long time for some reason at a really weird gift shop. As we were looking around the store and laughing and joking about a lot of the things there, 2 ladies walked in speaking French, or what we thought was French. I started talking to one of them, asking her where she was from and some other basic things. I actually wanted to try to talk to her in French because ever since Elder Webber said the closing prayer in German after a zone meeting, I have been trying to learn some basic words in French. But to my surprise, she was from Jerusalem and was speaking Hebrew. She explained that in Israel, people speak either English, Hebrew, or Arabic. Then she asked who I was and I told her I was a missionary for the church, but was from the United States and only in Ecuador for 2 years. She didn't know what a missionary was, so I kinda explained what I did. At first, I started speaking to her in Spanish but it seemed like she didn't understand Spanish very well since I was repeating myself over and over, so she asked if I could switch to English. So after that we spoke English. It wasn't a long conversation, but it was interesting. Anyway, I am sending some pictures from the top of Pichincha Volcano and the views we had of Quito.

So yeah, have a good week everybody! Hope the mothers had a good Mother's Day! Thank you for your prayers! 

Elder Dyal

 Mother's Day Skype

 At the top of Pichincha Volcano

 With Elder Ureta

 Views from the top of Pichincha Volcano

Monday, May 2, 2016

Week #92 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - May 2, 2016

Queridos familiares y conocidos,

¡Feliz Mayo a todos ustedes!
I'm really enjoying being in the Calderón stake again. Apparently President Richardson said he thinks it's the best stake in the mission. I could probably agree with that. In my experience, the best stakes I have been in would be between Calderón, Quito, and Otavalo. Although Calderón is at the top of the list, but Otavalo is pretty close. The Calderón zone is the biggest zone in the mission, even with them closing a few sectors in Vergel, La Bota, and also here in Comité. Otavalo was a pretty big zone, too. I prefer large zones as opposed to small ones like we had in Esmeraldas or Oriente Norte.

Here in Comité, Elder Ureta and I are having a hard time finding and teaching investigators. Well, finding and teaching ones that will progress anyway. This week we have been teaching a girl named Shirley. We accidentally rang her doorbell when we were trying to find someone else. She opened the door and pointed to the doorbell of the person we were looking to talk with, but we took the opportunity and introduced ourselves and talked with her a bit. We also made an appointment to come back another day. When we came back to teach her later in the week, she actually started laughing when we taught her about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon! She told us she could really believe the information we taught her. Apparently she is part of the Adventista church (I don't know if that exists in the states or not) and she is super hard core religious. She had tons of questions and we had a pretty good discussion. I pray our discussions go somewhere and that spirit manifests the truth of what we teach her since she's our best bet with investigators right now. We also teach the Ocles and Muñoz family, but they need to get married before they can get baptized and they aren't really interested in that right now.

My companion and I have been teaching and training the ward missionaries lately. We want to get them more motivated to work. Although this week, no one did the teaching assignments that we gave them and only about 1/3 of them showed up to the training meeting on Sunday Morning. This Sunday just wasn't the best of Sundays I guess because Brother Cachipuendo, who is in the bishopric, said that the attendance was super low in church this week. Even though I really like the ward, my companion doesn't. He keeps talking about intermediate changes so I'm sure he thinks he will get transferred out this Sunday. I guess we will have to see what happens.

I haven't sent any pictures in a while since I don't like carrying my camera around in this area. I'm always worried about people stealing it, but I took a chance today and have sent a bunch of pictures from when I was in Otavalo. Enjoy!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there! Have a great week everyone! 

Elder Dyal

 Elder Vail and I 

 Elder Perez and I

 A cool bridge in Otavalo

 Mount Imbabura in the background

A sweet sunset in Otavalo

Monday, April 25, 2016

Week #91 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - April 25, 2016

Dear family and friends,

We had a pretty good week here in Comité del Pueblo in Quito. The first week of a change is always an adjusting week to almost everything. You need to get use to a new area, ward, investigators and companion. Plus, the Quito North mission is pretty diverse depending on where you go: climates, altitude, food and people. Each area I've been in has been totally different from the other. The Esmeraldas on the coast, Coca in the jungle, Otavalo with Indians who speak Quechua. So in many cases, you need time to adjust. The area I'm in now in Quito is pretty much a normal Latin city, but I'm in a new ward, investigators and companion.

The last time I was in Quito was about a year ago when I was in the Vergel Ward in the Calderón stake. Since then, I have been to Esmeraldas, Coca, and Otavalo. Something I had forgotten about Quito was the way people speak. I forgot how well people speak here. In Otavalo, people really don't speak Spanish correctly. In Esmeraldas it was even worse. And each area has their own slang. So it's nice that people use the Spanish grammar correctly here and for the most part, the people we teach can understand all the words in the scriptures.

One thing I really enjoy about Quito, and I was telling Elder Vail this as I was leaving last week, is that the people here are, for the most part, are fairly normal city folk. It's been a while since I have been able to contact typical and normal Ecuadorian people on the road, or as we knock on doors. I know everyone is different in their own way, but outside of the big city, it's a different life. In Otavalo for example, if we could get to the house without a billion dogs barking at us and attacking us, it was unusual. Or having an old man or woman answering the door with only half their teeth, who couldn't read, was passed out drunk, or only spoke Quechua was pretty much what we expected. I guess that was pretty normal for country folks, but I forgot what it was like in the city. It's been nice to be able to practice my Spanish the way I learned it again. 

The Calderón zone is now the biggest one in the mission, and on Friday we had a zone meeting. After the meeting I found one of the families I knew who was in the Vergel ward, my old ward from a year ago. It was the Guerrero family, and the youngest daughter didn't remember me, at least I think. It seemed like she remembered me until she looked at my nametag and pronounced it wrong, like most people do. Her older sister on the other hand, got excited and said, "Elder Dyal, how are you? Where are you now? " Apparently her dad, Brother Guerrero who was the mission leader, now has a stake calling and comes to Comité every once in a while. That makes me super excited! It's great to see some old friends from the Vergel Ward!

Comité del Pueblo itself is a pretty good ward. I really like and get along pretty well with the mission leader Brother Arauz. On Sunday, we were helping him move some stuff in his house and my pants ripped and he thought it was hilarious! Speaking of my pants ripping, that's been kinda a problem this week because another pair of my pants ripped during the zone meeting. No one heard the rip, thank goodness, but we had to rush home to change my pants afterwards. So that's 2 pairs of pants down. Now I'm worried how well my other pants are holding up!

My companion's name is Elder Ureta from some part of Peru. He is pretty cool, works hard but is kinda quirky. He talks to himself a lot and half of the time I can't understand him because he mumbles.

Anyways, have a great week everyone!

Elder Dyal 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Week #90 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - April 18, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

So today was transfers and to my surprise, I was transfered back to Quito! I was sure I was going to go somewhere I haven't been before. In fact, more specifically, I was transfered back into the Calderón stake again. I was in that stake a year ago but this time I'm not in Vergel, I'm on the other side of the stake in a place called Comité del Pueblo. Comité del Pueblo is infamous for being dangerous with criminals all over the place. Actually when I started the mission, Comité had 2 companionships. But later I heard that the second companionship in Comité was closed for a number of reasons, but one of them was because the house they were living in was haunted!?! President Richardson had to go bless the house. He also told the missionaries to put Book of Mormons in every room and leave them open but there were still many other problems in the sector, so they closed the second companionship. Rumors or stories? I dunno but still pretty crazy! But now today, there is still only one companionship and that would be us now!

I'm excited to see some of the members and people I knew in Vergel again, but it probably won't happen unless we have a stake conference or some kind of combined meeting with all the wards. Vergel had to be by far one of the best wards I have served in on my mission!

Saturday was pretty interesting. We were in the middle of a leccion with a family who's been investigating the church for a while. If I remember right, I think I just finished teaching one of the points in my leccion and asked a question when we started to realize that the ground was moving! It started off softly then got harder and harder. I was kind of stunned and didn't realize what was happening. It was a good minute or minute and a half until it started to die off. Everyone began freaking out! We saw and heard people running around in the road completely terrified. When it was over, Elder Vail and I just looked at each other like, "Ok, as we were saying..." as if nothing even happened. In Otavalo, there really wasn't much that happened at all. The most damage it did was take out the electricity to several of the neighborhoods, but that was all. The earthquake actually happened on the coast of the Guayaquil North mission in a place called Manabí and that is where the majority of the damage was too. Most of the coast of Ecuador was affected, including Esmeraldas, Guayaquil, Manabí and other parts of the coast. Otavalo is in north central Ecuador, so we were pretty far from the epicenter, although it's crazy that we felt the trembles!

On Sunday, the stake president of Otavalo President Vega was showing us pictures of everything that had happened and the damage. It's pretty sad that lots of people got hurt and lost all their possessions. It reminded me a lot of what Alma was talking about when he was speaking to the Zoramites. He said that people are blessed when their life experiences begin to humble them, but they are even more blessed when they willfully humble themselves in spite of their trials and afflictions. We were able to see that a lot. We actually saw a lot of different attitudes towards the devastation that the earthquake caused them. Many people were humbled because of this experience. But we also saw the other side of it. Many surrounding countries lovingly volunteered and gave people food, water, and other supplies. They also came to help find and rescue missing people. And we would see some people feeling entitled to this help. We saw on live television many people express their frustration that they didn't get more help, like, "Why didn't the U.S come faster to help us?" Or, "We need more help from rich countries because we aren't rich." It was pretty sad to see that side of it. The earthquake is a very humbling experience. It was a wake up call to me, telling me that our Heavenly Father is the one in charge here! It's disappointing to me when people don't recognize that and instead feel they are entitled to blessings. It reminds me of the Nephites at the end of the Book of Mormon. When terrible things were happening to them, decided to curse God and wished to die instead of humbling themselves and repenting of their sins, as Mormon described. Hopefully we don't fall into that salvation destroying pattern. Anyway, lots of lessons to be learned from all this.

Have a great week everyone. Stay safe and thanks for your prayers!

Elder Dyal

"Would you like a Book of Mormon?"

Monday, April 11, 2016

Week #89 - Otavalo, Ecuador - April 11, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been great in our missionary progress. 

Every time we go out teaching with a member of the ward, they usually suggest visiting a less-active that we didn't even know about or an old investigator that used to come to church but hasn't come in a long time. This week we went out with the Sunday School president and he suggested visit a less-active lady in the ward, and she only knows Quechua. She can barely speak Spanish, so he was able to help translate so we could understand. I still can't really understand Quechua. The conjugations don't make sense to me and no one explains it very well so that I can understand what everything means. So I have been learning words here and there, but nothing that makes sense in a sentence. But it was cool going out with Brother Cacuango, the Sunday School President, since he use to be a missionary not too long ago. He also used to be part of the bishopric in the ward. I can see myself wanting to go out with the missionaries a lot after my mission too.

Bishop Ruiz asked me a few weeks ago to play piano during sacrament meeting. His wife usually plays every week, so it was weird that he asked me to play. I haven't played in a while, but I accepted. I realized that I've gotten pretty rusty and can not play like I used to. I struggled a lot with keeping up the pace as the congregation was singing. When I was in Cayambe in September through November in 2014, the branch president asked me to play every week and I was still pretty good, but since it's been a while, I struggled with even some of the basic hymns. And about 2 weeks ago, there was a wedding and they asked to me to play. I completely butchered the hymns, but the good thing is that most people have never learned piano so they probably didn't notice too much. But it would be really nice to lay some time aside to practice if it were possible.

This week is also week 6 into this transfer, so on Sunday we will be getting changes and probably our travel papers for going home. After this week, I will only have 2 more transfers and then I'll go home (12 weeks). There are 2 places in the mission that I haven't been yet, Ibarra and Tulcán. I'm thinking I'll probably go to at least one of those places, and it would be cool to go to Tulcán, but I guess it really doesn't matter. I'll go wherever I'm assigned and needed. Mostly I would like to have really good companions who want to focus on working hard until I finish. I guess we will see what happens...

Have a great week everyone. Thanks for your emails and prayers.

Elder Dyal 

Otavalo specialized training with President Richardson a few weeks ago