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, January 18, 2016

Week #77 - Coca, Ecuador - January 18, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

This weekend there was a plan for one of our investigators to get baptized. His name is Santos and we unfortunately had to postpone since he was still having problems with dropping coffee. So we are going to try for January 30th. Santos was a huge miracle! I still don't really understand his transformation so we just call it a miracle. Everyone in his family is basically all members. His kids go to church every week with his mother-in-law. They got baptized 4 years ago but Santos never showed progress and ended up telling the elders he wasn't interested in the church. Elder Perez told me that the missionaries stopped visiting him after awhile, but then we started feeling like we should check in on him. Elder Perez and I started going there to visit him again and were surprised he was interested in having us teach him again. We prayed about our approach with him so he would feel the spirit and know what we were teaching him was true. Instead of just telling him to "do this!" and "do that!" we tried a different approach. He came with us to a few family home evenings with members so he became a costumbre kinda to have family home evenings with powerful lessons about gospel principals. Nothing was directly directed at him, but it happened every Monday. Then just out of the blue he started attending church with his family and accepted a baptismal date. This was all definitely the Lord's hand!

Then on Wednesday through Friday, all the missionaries traveled to Quito for a missionary conference. It was with Elder Godoy, a member of the first quorum of the seventy. He came to visit before when I was in the Calderón stake while I was in Quito. He gives very powerful talks but has a Brazilian accent so it's sometimes hard to understand. I also recognized him as one of the first general authorities to give a talk during General conference in his own language in October 2014. He spoke to us about being missionaries to his own family members who aren't members of the church. We also heard that Jeffrey R. Holland is coming to the mision in February. It is so awesome to have general authorities come to this mision!

On Sunday, my companion and I got to church early and found a huge hive of honey bees in the podium. It took us a while to get them all out and kill them all. President Merizalde broke a stick and lit it on fire to drive them away and someone else used some type of poison to spray at them. The poison spray made the sacrament room smell awful because the fumes were everywhere, so to let it air out, we changed the order of the church meetings and put the sacrament meeting last and Gospel Principles first.

And that was my week! Thanks for your prayers! Have a great week everyone! 

Elder Dyal

 Elder Jeffery and I at a rest stop as we are riding the bus to Quito for the missionary conference

 Quito North missionaries with Elder Godoy and his wife
(Spencer at the very top on the right)

 Eating a Subway lunch during the conference

Goofing off!

Bees outside the church!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week #76 - Coca, Ecuador - January 11, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

I have had a great week this week!

I've come to the conclusion that Ecuador has changed me in many ways. If the weather changes just 3 degrees, I'm either freezing or melting. If someone gives me a meal without soup or rice, it doesn't seem like a full meal. And I'm starting to say "mande" if I want someone to repeat what they said. I think I'm officially a  Gringo-Ecuadoriano! Jajajaja! :p My companion got some brownie mix from the states that his parents sent to him. He made them last week and we were so excited as they were cooking because they smelled so good! And it was really good at first, but then I could eat only one brownie because it was soooo sugary. Afterwards I lost my appetite. My taste buds hardly remember what I use to love in the states.

At the beginning of the year, President Richardson gave us the challenge to find an entire family to teach the gospel to. We were to think and pray about a certain number of people in a family, agree about it with your companion, and search for them every day. So this week we accepted his challenge. My companion and I searched and found a family that was interested in having us over to talk to them about the gospel. We were certain that we found "them"- the family! We had an appointment with them yesterday, but when we went to their house, they weren't there...hmm! We will try again this week. Please pray for us that we will be able to teach them and they will be receptive to our teachings...

Next week, Elder Godoy of the seventy will be coming to Quito to have a "tour" of the mission. We will be taking a trip out there to hear him speak. We will see how that goes I guess...

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Dyal

 Elder Dyal with members of his district

 The jungle of Cañon

The jungle of Cañon

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week #75 - Coca, Ecuador - January 4, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was a fun week in Coca. Here in Ecuador, New Year's Eve is more of a big deal than Christmas. When we ask people if they knew what day Christmas was, so many would tell us they thought it was the 24 or 23 of December. But New Year's Eve and New Year's Day is very celebrated though, and it is a bit dangerous for the missionaries. There are so many drunk people everywhere because everyone drinks for several days straight. When there are a lot of drunk people walking around there will be lots of problems.

We had a few close calls with drunk guys. One extremely drunk guy started following us on New Year's Eve. We tried to shake him off our tail, but he continued following us and trying to get our attention. He even tried to shake my hand and continued following us until we ducked into a cyber to call the district leader. He finally went away. Another time, we were on the bus with Elder Nielson and Elder Arrieta and there was a guy who came on and started yelling at us. He decided that Elder Nielson and Elder Arrieta were good people but for some reason Elder Jeffery wasn't. And he provoked Elder Jefferey for awhile. He was convinced that Elder Jeffery had done something to him. I didn't say anything to the drunk guy or even look at him. I was trying to convince the other missionaries to do the same, but they didn't listen to me and the guy got worse and yelled even more. I have learned that it's better not to say anything to anyone here if they look shady in any way. After awhile, they ignore you and leave you alone.

Coca yesterday had interchanges and our district leader Elder Barnes went to Iñaquito to be secretary and we learned that Elder Webber will be the next district leader in this area. He should be arriving tonight.

We did have some investigators with a baptismal date but they haven't been attending church. But a lot of our other investigators came and we ended up having a good church attendance. People here can be really lazy so it's hard sometimes to get people to come to church. We are still hoping for a baptism here though! Pray for us!

Have a fantastic week everyone! And Feliz año!

Elder Dyal