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, February 29, 2016

Week #83 - Otavalo, Ecuador - February 29, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Geez, this transfer has passed by way too fast! We are now on week 6 and next week will be transfers again! Feels like I just arrived in Otavalo.

When Elder Holland came to the Otavalo stake, I had the privilege to see many of the members that I knew from my old area in the Cayambe ward, including Hermano Parra the mission leader. Although I'm not sure he recognized me... :p And I also went over to talk to Presidente Quishpe, who is the branch president. He did recognize me, but not at first! Hahaha! I shook his hand and he wasn't paying much atencion until I said his name, and then he looked at me and said, "Elder! You have grown a lot! How have you been?"

Last week I was sick! Monday I didn't feel very good, and then on Tuesday I woke up feeling terrible and started throwing up during studies. Most of the week I have just felt under the weather. :/ But now I'm feeling better, thank goodness. It's horrible being sick! But now my apetito has completely changed so I'm guessing that I probably ate something that most likely made me sick.

This week we have 3 baptisms planned! They are for Katherine Gonzales, Vanessa Vera, and Evelin Vera and all three of them are teenagers. We figured out recently that they are actually friends with each other and they go to the same school. If everything goes according to plan, they should be baptized this Friday. But as I've seen so many times on my mission, Satan works ridiculously hard to make sure people don't follow through, so I'm anticipating challenges sometime this week. Please send prayers! 

I'll send pictures of the baptisms next week. Have a great week everyone! 

Elder Dyal


Monday, February 22, 2016

Week #82 - Otavalo, Ecuador - February 22, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

I had an awesome week this week!

Elder Jeffery R Holland came to Quito. We heard he was not planning on speaking in Otavalo but apparently he asked to go to Otavalo. So I was lucky enough to see him when he spoke at several different stakes: Otavalo, Imbabura, and the Ibarra district. We also heard him when he came to Quito and spoke to all the missionaries. We had 2 separate meetings during the missionary conference so I got to hear him speak twice, along with Elder Calderón and Elder Montaya (area seventy's).

In his talk in Otavalo, he shared that the faith of Otavalo is famous and legendary. It has been said by many LDS leaders that the people in Otavalo are descendants of the Lamanite people in the Book of Mormon and that this connection has helped in the growth of the church here. He said he couldn't come to Ecuador without going to Otavalo. But he also shared that since the faith in Otavalo is infamous, he expects there to be at least 5 stakes here and not just 2. And he expects between 40-60 percent of Otavalo to be members of the church and that we still have much work to do. He shared 3 stories. One of them was a story that Elder Boyd K Packer shared when he went to one of the islands in the pacific. While he was on a boat trying to get to port, a terrible storm came. They couldn't find the port because the lower lights of the lighthouse weren't on and they couldn't see where they were going. The people who were in charge of turning on the lights fall asleep. He told us that there are 2 lights in a lighthouse. The big lights and the lower lights. He said that even though the big light was on, it didn't help much because it didn't show the path to the port. In the same way, he told us that God is the big light and that he is always on. But we provide the lower lights to those who are lost in the world and we can not sleep when someone is depending on us! 

He also shared the story that he shared in a priesthood session of conference. It was of A.J. Roberts who was playing football when lightning struck him. Another young man was also on the field. His name was Bryce Reynolds and he was ordained an elder just a few days earlier. He felt prompted to give him a priesthood blessing without even knowing how and without ever seeing or hearing a priesthood blessing. He was truly guided by the spirit of God!

Those were very powerful stories! He also shared a story that I had never heard before and just as powerful. It was about a rebellious young member of the church who abandoned his home in Utah and left the church and took off to New York City. There he got involved with drugs, alcohol, and in gangs. After a few years, he left for California in the hope to fix his life. But he wasn't successful. In California he got involved in a motorcycle gang. To hide and protect themselves from the police, they lived in an shack on the outskirts of town and had giant guard dogs that they put in the front yard that attacked anyone that entered the gate. Elder Holland explained that the dogs had a chain on their neck just long enough to attack anyone who opened the gate and took a few steps in. Because of this no one bothered entering the house. But one day, a pair of missionaries walked by. The dogs scared them when they tried entering the gate and they began to walk away until the senior companion stopped, talked to the junior companion, and pointed to the man who was sitting on the porch of the house. The missionaries felt inspired to return and opened the gate to the house. Instead of attacking the missionaries, the dogs looked at them as they walked in the yard and laid down (which was something that had never happened before). The missionaries walked up to the man who was sitting on the porch, who was the man who left his house as a teenager. The missionaries introduced themselves and the man responded, "I know who you are." He then asked them, "Where are you guys from?" The senior missionary responded that he was from a certain city in Utah. The man responded that he knew what city that was and asked if he knew a family who lived there and he named the family. The missionary responded that he did know the family. The man then asked if he knew the head of the family because the head of this family was his father. The missionary responded that he did know the head of the family because that was also his father, too.

Elder Holland explained that when the rebellious young man left his house in Utah and went to New York, his brother was only about 4 or 5 years old. The man was reactivated and became a faithful member of the church again because his brother was guided to him. It wasn't a coincidence. Elder Holland bore his testimony that a loving Heavenly Father gives us miracles in our lives all the time and he cares about each one of us. Things were placed in order so that his brother would be able to find him. The guy moving from New York to California. Him being in California when his brother got his mission call. His brother getting his mission call in the mission where his brother was at. The Mission President getting the revelation to put him exactly in the area where his brother was living. And the missionaries walking by as the man was outside his house. The list is endless. He helps us in many ways that we never know. He is always there to help us and guide us.

Elder Holland shared many more things I would love to write but because of time I can't write them all. Overall it was a super spirtual experience. The church is guided by living prophets and apostles. I am so grateful I had the chance to hear one of them this week!

The rest of the week was pretty much normal. Except on Sunday, the bishop surprised me at the last second and asked me to give a talk because the 3rd speaker didn't come to church that day. I had literally 5 minutes to prepare my talk but it was actually probably the best talk I have ever given! I know that it is because Heavenly Father guided me. It really surprised me! I gave a 15 minute talk with only 5 minutes to prepare!

Have a great week everyone. Make your week a spiritual one!

Elder Dyal

 Elder Dyal and his companion Elder Marron in their apartment

 Meeting Jeffery R. Holland

 Meeting Jeffery R. Holland

Jeffery R. Holland with President and Sister Richardson and their daughter

Ecuador Quito North Missionaries 
(Elder Dyal is in the middle back but you can only see the top of his head)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week #81 - Otavalo, Ecuador - February 15, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been pretty awesome!

Just like last year, President Richardson has begun the 'Faith of February' and 'Miracle of March' in our mission. Seems like it wasn't a whole year that we did this before...went by fast! So in the month of 'Faith of February' we decide things we sacrifice that month so we can get miracles (baptisms). And like last year, we have come up with some personal sacrifices, and also the President also suggested a few things we could sacrifice as missionaries. For example, he said we should not listen to any EFY music and have no activities on P-day. I'm pretty much going to have similar sacrifices to last year, like I'm going to fast every Sunday and I'm going to wake up earlier in the morning to have extra study time. In March, President promises us the miracles of our sacrifices and hard work. He also gives prizes to the zones with the most baptisms and reactivations. I'm going to be in a big zone so hopefully we win this year! Hahahaha! We will see... It's been half a month and we are already starting to see the fruits of our sacrifices. We now have 3 people progressing and all with a baptismal date!

Elder Marron and I are getting along pretty well despite our differences. We made goals together to work on certain Christ-like attributes. He is working on Virtue and Patience and I'm working on Faith and Humility. I'm so glad he has a good attitude about working hard. Getting to know him better I've learned that he has only been a member of the church for a little less then 2 years and is the only member in his family. Must be hard, but I'm impressed with his faith to serve as a missionary. It helps to have more insight into people to understand them more.

It's been very hard trying to understand the language Quechua. I'm not motivated to learn much more of it because its confusing. It doesn't make any sense to me because half the time it's mixed with Spanish anyway, especially at church. And most people who speak Quechua also speak Spanish so I just haven't made too much of an effort to try to learn it. There are only like 4 things I can say: yes, no, what's your name, and see you later.

Yesterday just ended week 3 of this transfer which also means interchanges. My district leader Elder Nielsen left to go to Quito and Elder Bahr took his place. And it also looks like I will be seeing an old friend I haven't seen in a while. Elder Caballero who was my second trainer in the mission (and my step-dad, hahaha!) just got changed into this zone so I can't wait to see him. Hahaha! I love that guy!

Our mission is lucky enough to have Elder Jeffery R. Holland come visit us this week. He speaks to us at a missionary conference this Wednesday and he is also coming to Otavalo to speak to us in stake conference. It's a really big deal and everyone is very excited about it! The mission gave us a whole sheet of rules just for the meeting with him! It will be interesting and I hope to find it very spiritual and uplifting.

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

Elder Dyal 

PICTURES FROM SPENCER'S LAST AREA OF COCA:

 Our investigator Santo's family - Familia Ponce-Garcia (Santos in yellow shirt)

 Downtown Coca 

 Downtown Coca

Downtown Coca

 Elder Jeffery and Elder Dyal with Daniel y Ericka







Monday, February 8, 2016

Week #80 - Otavalo, Ecuador - February 8, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

This has been an interesting week in Otavalo.

Today and tomorrow are the official days of Carnival! But everyone has been playing around in anticipation of it for weeks and weeks already. All this week, people on the streets, but mostly teenagers, have been spaying each other with water and this foamy stuff and glittery sand stuff in celebration of Carnival. My companion Elder Marron (who is from Peru) has been wanting to get in on the action with everyone. A few days ago, he snuck up behind a member of our ward and sprayed her with water while she was washing the clothes. He didn't spray her with very much water, but then she took a huge bucket of water and splashed it onto him. Luckily, I was out of the way. But he kind of asked for it, although he complained about being wet and cold for a long time afterwards. Sigh.

I've been getting along with Elder Marron fine enough. He's super into video games and computers. I guess we have a lot of different interests and ways of thinking and working. Sometimes he will say something on one day, and then the next day he say the complete opposite. But then I need to remember that it's only his third change in the mission so he still has a lot to learn. And I think the Lord wants me to learn patience and acceptance. It will work out. 

It's been kinda hard here in Otavalo with our investigators. Our sector is like the center of Otavalo, from the plaza de los ponchos (where there is always a billion tourists), and it goes all the way to the farms in the mountains. But our ward is basically just indigenous people. Our sector is practically the entire district. And my sector, along with my district leader's sector, the hermanas sector and the zone leader's sector is almost bigger than the sector I had when I was in Coca! Didn't think that could happen!

There was a lady that was going to get baptized really soon, but then we found out that she wasn't married after all, so we had to cancel her baptism. She felt so bad about lying, and really wants to be baptized, but now it looks like her baptism might take some time because her "husband" isn't interested in getting married. The indigenous people are pretty hard to teach here. So many of them don't like the missionaries or aren't interested because they are already of the Catholic faith. We are hoping and praying that our current investigators can progress...

Have a great week everyone! Enjoy your Valentine's day. Thanks for your prayers!

Elder Dyal


Monday, February 1, 2016

Week #79 - Otavalo, Ecuador - February 1, 2016

Querido familia y amigos,

Sorry I didn't write last week. I was on the road all day since it was transfers and I got changed. It was surprising to me and a bit sad. I wasn't expected it because usually the missionaries who are called to work in the Orient usually stay for at least 3 transfers or more. And then our investigator Santo, who we worked so hard with was baptized 2 days ago and I wasn't there to see it. That made me kinda bummed. 

But now here I am in Otavalo again, which is pretty awesome! It's been over a year since I was here but I was in the city of Cayambe which is about 45 minutes away, so I never got to know Otavalo very well. 

The weather and climate are very different than the Orient. It's been interesting getting use to it. It's not as so very hot in Otavalo as it was in the jungles of Coca. I think it's like the perfect temperature every day, although the people here think it's cold. And there are a lot of mountains and hills. I've had to get used to climbing up and down each day. I got pretty use to the flatness of the Orient.

My ward, Centenario, is full of indiginous people (Indians) that all speak a language called Quechua. Listening to the talks and lessons in church was interesting because it was in half Quechua and half Spanish. Goodness! It made me feel like I had started my mission all over again because I don't know this language. It will be interesting! But the ward is huge! There are so many members of the church in Otavalo. And the members are super helpful and a great support to the missionaries. In Coca, the ward was small the members didn't help the missionaries very much, so this is a wonderful transition. And we already have a baptism planned for the 13th of Febuary! And thanks to the members for helping and being so welcoming, she is progressing super fast!

Anyway have a great week everyone! Kayacama! (Hasta luego in Quechua) 

Elder Dyal