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, 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