Elder Skylar Abel
Brazil São Paulo South Mission
Rua Dr. Luiz da Rocha Miranda, 159
8° Andar
Parque Jabaquara
04344-010 São Paulo- SP


Monday, March 12, 2018

It's good to be Elmer

Well hello there my absolutely favorite people in the whole entire world!! Oh how much I love you all. 

So.. not a whole lot happened this past week. It seemed like this week was one of the longer weeks of the mission.

Not a whole lot of movement with the investigators. Only 2 investigators showed up to church yesterday out of the 8 we gave dates of baptism to. I am hoping that they realize the importance of church or receive an answer here soon to boost their faith. It is such a blessing to be able to work with these people. Really!! It is hard and all, but I just feel like it is such a privilege to help Gods children re-find their way. I say 're-find' because we truly had it all planned out. We CHOSE this plan and that is why we are here. It is kind of neat to think that we really are on God's team.... no matter how evil the world is. We chose His plan and are just here to be tested if we have faith sufficient to continue His plan and obtain the gifts that He will give hereafter. Just gotta stay focused on the important things in life and let the other 'stuff' just fill in the gaps.. not the other way around. Something that I really thought about this week. Kinda neat if ya think about it! 

The highlight of the week was the Favelas. We entered this house and the Spirit was just not present. I have never felt so awful in my life. It just seemed to be tearing us down and the lesson was not going well. I asked if I could say a prayer at the end to bless the house and the family and it was so neat. You could just feel the Spirit lift and brighten the room as I finished the prayer in the name of the Savior. It was so powerful and really helped my testimony of prayer. Prayer is truly such a gift of God. It shows our faith. He already knows our thoughts, needs, and wants... so why do we pray? We pray because it shows our faith. It shows that we are full of weaknesses and that we are humbling ourselves to Heavenly Father and recognizing the Savior as we close in His name. It is through our faith in prayer that Heavenly Father blesses us. So neat!!

So.. to close I just wanna share a few things that I was thinking of this past week and hopefully will explain the subject of this email. I will be honest with you... I felt pretty inadequate this past week. I felt like I just didn't fit in, that my Portuguese was weak, and kind of was just struggling as to what I am doing. I then was reminded of one of my favorite childhood books. Don't ask me why.. but it just randomly popped into my head. Elmer the Elephant. It made me think about how I really do relate to Elmer. Don't judge me if I tell the story wrong.. but this is what I remember. Elmer is an Elephant that was born all sorts of colors. He was a little bit different and didn't fit in with all of the other gray elephants. He was kind of embarrassed as an animal and really just wanted to fit in. So what did he do. He found berries the same color of the other elephants. He thought of a brilliant idea to roll around in these berries so he can fit in. He cover his body with these berries and it WORKED.. he fit in. Everyone accepted him because he now wasn't different from the rest. Unfortunately... the rain came and washed away the berries that we covering his body and his true colors showed. Everyone laughed and laughed and laughed at him, but still accepted him as he was. In fact... they made a day where they would paint there skin all sorts of random colors and would be Elmer.. as Elmer would cover himself in berries and act like a normal elephant. They accepted him for who he was and everyone was happy. I am sure you are all wondering where I am going with this.. and so am I. Just kidding!! But WE are all a kind of Elmer. 

I am Elmer. I don't fit in here. In fact... I am a tall blonde kid with an American accent, who dresses in a suit and shares the Gospel. I am different. I am odd. I stand out here in Brazil. Sometimes I ask myself where I can find those berries.. where or what I can do to fit in more. But no matter how many times I roll around in the berries.. the rain will always come and will always show my 'true colors.' As member of the church of Jesus Christ we are different, we stand out, we are odd. But I have come to realize as I have spent some time here in Brazil is that we shouldn't want to blend in... We shouldn't want to be just another person and quite frankly we cant be another person. Our greatest example of Elmer was Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was an Elmer in His Earthly Ministry. He stuck out because He is the Son of God. He is our Savior, He is our Redeemer, and no matter how many times he was spit at, made fun of, and mocked. He never decided to blend in.. he stuck out and it was because of His unique character and love for us that we have the opportunity to obtain the highest glory of God. As members of the Church we stick out and really are different. We have the true Gospel. We smile at our trials and we have a weird light that we carry with us everywhere we go. People can see it in our countenance. We are different, we are odd, and we don't blend in. No matter how crazy this world is or will get.. we will always stick out as we stand for the truth, stand for the right, and walk as a representative of Christ.  I am just so grateful to be an ´Elmer` here in Brazil. 

Image result for elmer the elephant

I am grateful people look at me weird and wonder what I am doing in their country. I am grateful that I get called names and that people don't like me here. haha! Because it is through all of the rough times that really makes the times where we can help one soul know and understand the truth so sweet! This mission has and is blessing my life. I am grateful for all that I am going through and I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to find my purpose as I help others do the same. I am grateful for a perfect example of Jesus Christ and I am grateful to stand as a representative of Him. It truly is a humbling experience. I love you guys so much! I am so grateful for the love and support that you offer and the many things that you do for me. Thank you for being you and for being such great examples to me in all that you do. I love you all so much and I miss you like crazy!! In fact... I miss you more than I miss a cold Costco Triple Chocolate Cake.. and that my friends is heaven... and is a lot of miss!! But I hope that you all have a wonderful week and that you know that I love you so much! Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you!! I love you so much!! (:

Love, your favorite Elmer... I mean Elder... Elder Abel!... Sky! (:

Monday, March 5, 2018

I LOVE to see the Temple!

Goodness gracious and holy flippity flapper!! How in the world are you all doing? Thank you for your e-mails, love, thoughts, prayers, and EXAMPLES!! You are all such a blessing in my life and I am so grateful for each and every one of you!

This week was a long week. It always seems like it is a long week when we are anxiously awaiting the new transfers. I will stay here in Ubirajara with Elder Guilherme. We are in a district full of new missionaries. Yep... new missionaries training new missionaries. As well as a new missionary being District Leader. This should be fun!

So not a whole lot happened this week. Jacks baptism fell through due to his wife becoming super sick. We will work with him as he is searching for an answer. We hope to baptize him this week. Alexandre also fell through! We had a pretty neat experience with him yesterday, the spirit was so incredibly strong. I shared with him my last lesson.. which I decided to be the Restoration of the Gospel. It was seriously so powerful.

I would just like to close with my testimony on the temple. This past week we had the opportunity to go to the temple and to partake of the Spirit that resides there. Of course I was beyond excited because I LOVE THE TEMPLE!!! But it was incredible. I had a few questions and doubts that I took with me to ponder in the celestial room.. and it was amazing!! As I found a seat and said a prayer.. I really felt prompted to open up the scriptures. I grabbed the closest book to me and opened it up.. it was Doctrine and Covenants 100 and the first thing that I read (in Portuguese of course) was... `Your families are well; they are in my hands, and I will do with them as seemeth me good, for in me there is all power. Therefore, follow me, and listen to the counsel I shall give unto you.´ It was soo direct. I worry about you all. I worry about your health, strength, peace, comfort, safety, joy, and everything. But this answer was so simple and so straight forward. `Elder Abel.. Your families are well: They are in my hands.` What a blessing that is. There is no other person that I would trust than God himself. But knowing that He truly is watching over you guys and protecting you guys.. it makes this mission so much easier and gives me so much peace and comfort. As I was studying this this past week after this experience in the temple.. It goes on to talk about the missionary work that I need to do and really gave me another answer of to why I am here and what purpose that I have here in Brazil. I had two other experiences pretty neat in the temple that I will have to share with you guys another time. But I just want you to know that I know that God lives. He really is aware of each and everyone of His children. He cares about us and He truly does hear and answer each and everyone of our prayers. Sometimes it is a simple scripture to remind of His love and his promises that He has made with us, and other times He offers peace to our soul, strength to our testimony, or power to our faith. Each prayer that we give with our whole heart, having faith in Him, I know He gives for our faith. He offers many blessings into our life, that often times we don't see or probably never will. Although we owe all credit to Heavenly Father above. Often times we may think that He is not there or is not listening.. but I think often times we are just not really noticing the things He is giving. He truly is real and His love for us is everlasting. He knows of our struggles, our trials, difficulties, and everything.. and more than anything... He does not leave us alone and He never will.. or He would cease to be the loving Father in Heaven that He is. I am so grateful for my mission. For the opportunity that I get to help others feel of His love and find or notice the blessings that He offers. I love you all so much!! Have an amazing week and smile.. life is wonderful!! Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you guys.. I love you!

Love, your favorite Elder.. who is enjoying every up and down... Elder Abel! (:

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Example of Jesus Christ

Alright.. this past week was pretty crazy!! After emailing you all last week I got a call from the assistants here in the mission telling me that Elder Lopes has been transferred. We had an emergency transfer take place on Monday. President put me with Elder Guilherme from Minas Gerais.. and Elder Lopes went to a different place to finish up some training with an American. President Acosta expressed his trust in me as we were making the transfers with him. So this past week I have been adjusting to the change and helping my companion become the missionary he needs and wants to be. We have worked pretty well together and I am learning a lot from him as well. He is a great guy and has a great desire to work. We will have to see what happens this week. This Sunday we have transfers for real. President told me he has some plans for me. I am interested to see what happens, and excited to submit to whatever Him and the Lord have planned for me. Truly.. this mission is a great blessing and I have faith with what is to come. But anywho... we are good! We also had Zone Conference this past week. That was super good because that means that I get a Snickers bar. I don't buy snickers here, because I wait for Zone Conference and it is amazing!!. Seriously.. Snickers are a piece of American Heaven!! I literally shed a tear this past week while I ate a Snickers Bar.. You could say that I miss America, English, and GOOD chocolate haha

Another wild thing that happened this past week.... I taught my first English Class. It was really quite neat and I bore my testimony at the end in English which was kinda cool. It was cool to see that people light up as I bore my testimony. They had no clue as to what I was saying but one of them cried and told me after that they have never felt the spirit so strong in their life!! Pretty neat to be able to help others feel the Spirit. Although she has no idea as to what I said, the Spirit touched her heart. The language of the Spirit is neat and truly is what helps others be converted to the Gospel. I know that it wasn't me, and I am glad that it wasn't my words that touched her heart. So grateful for this experience that I had to help this investigator, and to learn of the importance of the Spirit.

We are working hard on getting two baptisms this next week. Alexandre and Jacks have a date to be baptized on this Sunday. They both have so much potential and I am hoping we can get them in the water this week. The resurrected lady told me that she would go to church... we aligned a car ride and everything.. but when the members arrived there she told them that she would not be going. So her date will have to be moved due to not going to church. But people seem to be moving and progressing.. so that exciting!

I would like to close with an experience that I had with an investigator.. Alexandre.  I had a pretty neat experience this past week on Saturday. I shared with him my testimony and a scripture in Luke 9:57-62 about following Christ. The spirit was so strong as I was bearing my testimony on the importance of following Christ. After I closed my testimony.. Suellen and my comp went on to tell us that they had studied the same scripture that VERY day. It was so powerful and the spirit was so strong!! I just want to bear my testimony on this scripture in Luke 9:57-62. It says in 62.. `...No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.´ I love this!! The example of Christ is so amazing!!I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to help others follow the example of Jesus Christ as I myself try each and every day again and again to follow the example of Jesus Christ more fully. I know that it is no easy, but I know that we are blessed as we follow Christ in all ways. I am grateful to have been born in this Gospel. I am grateful to have parents and family members to look up to as I have grown up in the Gospel. I am grateful for the examples everyone has been to me in being baptized, holding the priesthood worthily, taking on church callings and responsibilities, and serving. I have learned so much from everyone and I have really grown a strong testimony thanks to your examples, love, and support. Now as I am here in Brazil.. I am relying on my own testimony and my own experiences and trials. I have grown by following the footsteps of you all and I am so grateful for it.. but I am also very grateful for the opportunity that I have now to follow the footsteps of our Savior. I am here in Brazil on my own, and I have nobody's footsteps to follow but our Savior, Jesus Christ. He truly is the perfect example and I have learned so much on what is needed to be done to follow him more fully, and with more focus. Although at times it is hard, this scripture helps me to keep pushing through. Keep doing what He needs me to do, and keep being (or trying to be) what He needs me to be. I know that God lives, He loves us, and He cares for us. I am grateful for Him giving His son for us and for the opportunity that we have to follow in faith the footsteps of our Savior. The path is simple.. if we just keep our eye on the Savior. I know that He leads us through our darkest times. He cures us of our hardest trials... and He loves us
when it seems we are alone or forgotten. More than anything.. I know that He carries us when we cant walk through this life ourselves. I am so grateful for a loving Savior, and I am grateful for the perfect example and follower that He is. Because of Him.. I am out here in Brazil. I am grateful to be able to walk in faith as He leads the way through His perfect example and trust in the Father. I love you guys so much and I am so grateful that you all have CHOSE to follow the example of Christ. We are all pushing the plough together, and I hope that we never look back with regrets, as we strive for the highest kingdom of God. We just need to continue to push forward with faith and Christ will do the rest. You are in my thoughts and prayers... I LOVE YOU!!!

Love, your favorite Sky.. who is attempting to be a better follower.. Elder Abel! 

Monday, February 19, 2018

We are Never Alone

I would like to share my testimony about scripture study. I think one of my favorite parts about the mission is the time that I get to study each and every morning. I have been reading the Book of Mormon in Portuguese and it just is so powerful. I love being able to study for someone else's needs, which in return reaches my needs. As I was studying.. I found a scripture that really gave me strength and made me think about how we are never alone, no matter how alone we may feel. I was having a rough day, and then I read this scripture and it was so powerful to me. The scripture is Mosiah 24:12-14... it reads...

12 - And Alma and His people did not raise their voices to the Lord their God, but did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts.

13 - And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: LIFT UP YOUR HEADS AND BE OF GOOD COMFORT, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

14 - And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.

This life is probably (in my opinion) THE hardest stage of the Plan that God has made for us. But we need to know that it is also the smallest stage. It is so short compared to what is behind us, and the Eternity that is in front of us. I just want to share my testimony to you guys that I know that we are not alone. I know that this life has challenges, trials, and is absolutely difficult, but I know that we are not alone. I love the phrase that the Lord says.. `Lift up your hearts and be of good comfort`.. then goes on to tell them that he will ´ease the burdens which are put upon our shoulders, that we even we cannot feel them upon our backs.. and that He, the Lord God, does visit His people in their afflictions.´ What a blessing! Christ has already lifted our burdens from the past, is lifting our burdens now, and will always lift our burdens if we just have faith in Him and humble ourselves to Him and His perfect Atonement that He has already done for us. Heavenly Father is so aware of us and we truly do have a loving Savior. When we are down and feel alone and discouraged.. it is through our Savior that we are picked back up, nourished, strengthen, and put on our feet to walk again in faith. I am so grateful for Christ. I am grateful for His atonement, that not only cures our sins and weaknesses, but heals our broken hearts, and nourishes our souls when we need His love, and His comfort. I am grateful for His love.. for His faith... and for His Mission. It is through Him, and only Him that we can obtain the highest gift of God. The rules are simple and the way is easy.. submit with faith, and through our humility, Christ can help us through our battles, trials, or challenges that this life brings. I am so grateful for this knowledge and grateful for the opportunity that I have to teach and help others understand more perfectly the knowledge of our Savior and His Gospel. This mission is a blessing in my life, and I truly do not feel alone here.

Please know that I love you and miss you guys! Thanks for all you do!! 

Love, your favorite missionary.. Sky.. Elder Abel (:

Monday, February 12, 2018

Brazil Life and Six Months!!!!

This past week I hit my 6 month mark. I wanted to do something wild like jump off a building, go skydiving, or do something to make an epic memory. Then I realized that I am a missionary and that I don't have enough time to do something wild and epic haha. It was kind of nice though because we have been returning home at 8:00 the past few nights and the next few days due to the Carnival. So we have had a little extra time to relax, study, and enjoy ourselves a bit more. On my 6 month mark I decided to ask my companion about some crazy fruits that I can eat. He didn't have too many options for me so we went to the fruit store to check it out. He told me I needed to try Avocado with sugar..? What in the world?! I was disgusted at first but then said YOLO because this is my 6 month mark and decided to do it. I had Avocado with Sugar (It was actually super duper good! Like I am not a big fan of Avocado unless it is guacamole.. But this was surprisingly delicious), a few Guavas (first time and soo super delicious), and a coconut. I made a video of me drinking the coconut water and then 'cracking the coconut' for my 6 month mark. It was pretty good stuff.  All in all my 6 month mark was pretty good.

I just want to end sharing my testimony about Missionary work. You guys.. these past 6
months have been the hardest 6 months that I have had in my life! I will not sugar coat it
one bit or lie.. it was pretty dang hard! When I write you guys.. you usually just hear the
good because my goal in the mission is to find the positive in everything and smile even
when you want to cry. But it really was hard and pretty difficult! At times you truly just want
to throw in the towel and call it quits. But it is also fair to say that I have grown the past 6
months more than I have grown in the past 19 years of my life. I have figured out my
purpose here on earth, and I have been strengthened by amazing experiences, challenges,
and trials. I have felt the love of our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ time and time
again. My faith and testimony truly has been strengthened. I am truly so grateful for the
trials that the mission brings, because it is through our trials that I get to prove what I am
really made of to my Father in Heaven if I have sufficient faith in Him to pull me through.
I am grateful for the people that I have encountered here in Brazil and for the love that
I have felt for them and from them. In all....I am grateful to be a representative of Jesus
Christ. It is a privilege to stand as a witness of Him and share my testimony to the people
here....that He lives and that He has done everything possible for us to return to live with
Him and our Heavenly Father again. I have learned that faith is everything. It is through
our faith that we can be, do and become all that Heavenly Father wants us to be.
I am grateful fro my mission and I am grateful for the past 6 months. I wouldn't change
a thing, and I am excited for the next 18 months that I have to share this wonderful
Gospel. I still have a ton of time, but I know that it will fly and I will be home before I
know it. Thank you so much for your love and support this past 6 months.
For your thoughts, prayers, and love in all that I do. I hope you know how much I love you
and appreciate you. Have a wonderful week and know that I miss you like crazy...in fact,
I miss you more than Richmond High School from Coach Carter misses basketball in
the 'lockout.' You guys are the best!

Love, Your Favorite...Elder Abel! Ü

Monday, February 5, 2018

Six Months Down!!!

Well hello there!

Thank you so much for all of the love and support this past week.

This Past week I decided to hold the Book of Mormon in my hand as we knocked doors. I don't know what it was, but it somehow gave me power. I thought of this after a long hard day. I was kind of struggling with the language and was about ready to give up. I was tired and nothing seemed to be working. I felt like I needed to use the Book of Mormon. I decided to follow that feeling and pulled out the Book of Mormon to testify of it the next opportunity that I had. As soon as I was holding the Book of Mormon and we knocked the next door, I was blown away. I bore a solid testimony on the power of the Book of Mormon and the importance of it and you could just feel the spirit so strong and see the spirit touch the person's heart as they kind of just lit up. That day we were able to find a lot of people interested in the message of the Book of Mormon which will keep us busy this coming week in contacting and teaching about this great book.

I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It has helped me immensely on my mission and each time that I read and study it, the Spirit is ever so present and testifies to me the truth that it contains. I know that Joseph Smith truly did translate it correctly and I am so grateful for him and the faith that he had. It is crazy to me to think that with just a little bit of faith from a teenage boy, who had a desire to know the truth, was able to Restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ to its fullness here on the earth. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the power that it contains and I am grateful for the faith that Joseph Smith had even when it was so much easier to just deny everything that he saw and everything that he was asked to do. I am grateful for the guidance and the help that the Book of Mormon gives me in my life. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. I know that he established HIS Church on the Earth today and I know that the Book of Mormon testifies of Him and His life. God lives and will always answer our prayers through our faithful study in the Book of Mormon. I am so grateful for the privilege and opportunity that I have to share the Book of Mormon with the people here in Brasil and to help them come to know the truth and blessings that are in store for them. Truly such a blessing in my life!!

Yesterday we had a baptism for Alysson!! Wahoo! He asked me to baptize him and it was truly a privilege and quite a neat experience. The spirit is always so strong. Every time I enter the water and begin the ordinance I am reassured that we are truly a part of the only true church of God. The spirit just testifies of its truthfulness and it's so amazing! He was pretty happy and we are pretty happy for him!

I am going to be hitting my 6 month mark and will only have a sisters mission left!!! WAHOOOO!!! Dangg.. I have been waiting for the day to say that every sister missionary who enters the field from here on out will not leave before me! 

Love, your happy and excited Elder Abel!

Monday, January 29, 2018

This is Brazil!

Hey there my favorites!

I feel so blessed to have such a great family in my life. You all bless my life.. Thank you! (:

I did a lot of randomly weird things as usual..  Like climb a tree, did the Halls Challenge,
hung from a bar with a solid 10 foot drop, ate MASHED POTATOES (yeah that's something
that is unusual... I miss Mom's cooking) and probs killed a few Yellow Fever Mosquitoes.
Yep.. It's true! São Paulo is getting attacked by the Yellow Fever. Usually the mosquitoes
don't like the big cities and stay more out in the more spacious areas.. But they decided that
they are more powerful than the human race haha. They have moved to the city of São Paulo
and are slowly taking the lives of others. It's a pretty sad deal here. Someone was telling me
that the vaccination is super expensive and they are running low. So they are giving out like
1 vaccination for every 4 people in a household. Pretty crazy stuff!! The Zoo's here in
Sâo Paulo are shut down due to these dang Mosquito's too. I guess a famous monkey got
Yellow Fever this past week and passed away...? Pretty sad deal! But I think I am safe.
I have the vaccination.. Some solid bug repellent for the skin.. And the best shield you can
have.... Being set apart as a missionary. Heavenly Father truly does watch over and protect
His missionaries. I have a lot of faith in Him and I know that He is truly watching over and
protecting me.Ü

This past week we were really working on growing our group of people to teach. We knocked doors upon doors upon doors.. And nobody wanted to hear our message it seemed like. It's a rough thing to get rejected over and over again.. But I am getting used to it I think. It's sad because they will tell us how much faith they have and how much the Savior and God means to them.. But then tell us they don't have time to chat about Them. We ask for 1 minute.. 1 MINUTE!! If you don't have 1 minute to talk about our Heavenly Father's love, or our Savior's example.. I think you gotta rethink your life a little bit! haha

I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to have my patience tested here in the mission. As well as my obedience. Both of these things have helped me learn of who I am, and if I really am a follower of Christ. I have really learned to act in faith... despite everything else around me, whether it be comps, people, or other things trying to pull me away. I have learned to act in faith without knowing the `why`.. just putting my trust and faith in Heavenly Father that all will work out. Our faith is truly a blessing. Here in Brazil... Skys faith is growing and developing through scripture study and prayer. I know that we have a Heavenly Father. He is a loving and caring Heavenly Father. Thanks to him and His son.. this mission is a lot easier for me and so is this life. All you gotta do is have faith, be obedient, and accept the harder right, even when it is easier to accept the easier wrong ( I think President Monson said something like this). I am so grateful for all of my many blessing and I am grateful to be able to learn and grow here in Brazil through trials, challenges, and just the daily life.

I hope that you guys are all happy and healthy and that you have a wonderful week. I love you all so much!

Love, your happy and faith growing Sky... Elder Abel