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, 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?"

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