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, October 30, 2017

Miracles and Progress

Well hello there my favoritest people in the whole world?!! How in the world are you all doing?? As always... I am so grateful for the letters and the love you guys give me. Seriously so blessed with such great family and friends in my life. Sooo blessed!!!

Before I go on... I must say.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADEOOOOO!!!! Wahooooo!!!! I hope you guys party hard for this amazing guy! Seriously the best Dad in the whole wide world and I just love him so much! I hope you have a wonderful birthday! I will be celebrating here for you... I will eat an extra açaí ice cream for you tomorrow (While I bawl my eyes out.. because that's just the type of person that I am. haha! Don’t ask me why)

Soooo... As you peeps are probably wondering... we had transfers this week. And I am staying here in Silvina for another transfer, with Elder Fortes.

Crazy story... First threat this past week. (Mom.. I am alive. I am breathing and no bumps, bruises, cuts, or scratches.) Anywho, it was wild. I was on a division with Elder Fernandes and this kid was dragging a huge bamboo and a massive machete down the street. He was a solid 50 yards away and I turned and looked at him after talking to someone and this kid started yelling at me. He was yelling `LEAVE!!! Nobody wants you here! Leave now or I will get you!!` Then this kid took off in a dead sprint towards me and my comp with his HUGE machete. I just about pooped my pants.. but I am pretty sure I broke my 400m record haha. He stopped chasing us and we left the area. Now it's just a sweet story to tell haha. Brasil is wild!! (:

Sooo... GREAT NEWS!!! We have found 2 people who are ELECTS (completely ready to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ) BAD NEWS!! They both have mothers who are not on board!! One of the gals we are teaching has a strong desire to know about the church, and a desire to be baptized. We taught her and answered all of her questions in a lesson. The next lesson we came and saw that she had 2 pages of notes. She had billions of questions, and had written like a testimony about the things that she knows. I was sooo pumped to teach her and I thought for sure she would be our first baptism. But her mother doesn't trust us and she doesn’t like the church unless it is Catholic. She told us to never return. This sweet girl bawled her eyes out, but we can't do much about it. She is only 15 years old and needs her mother's permission to be baptized. We are sending the troops (Bishop, Bishop's wife, YW Pres, and young women) in this week to soften the mom's heart. It will be interesting to see what happens with them. Keep her in your prayers please! You just never know what can happen.

 The Zone Gang

This week we will most likely be having a baptism... my first baptism!! Two 9 year olds are ready to be baptized and have a date for this Sunday. We need to work a few things out, but it is possible to have my first baptism this week and I am so excited for them! (:

Well my amazing people.. I just want to finish with my testimony about families. I love you all soo much!! This past week I have felt extra blessed to have you all in my life. I can't tell you how many times we sang `Families can be together forever`. But I cried every single time. Families really are forever. What a blessing that is. We really get to live with each other forever and all eternity. God's plan is perfect, and is complete happiness. I am soo blessed with you guys. Thank you soo much for all that you do and the amazing examples that you are. I am always thinking about you, worrying about you, and praying for you! I hope you can feel my love and prayers from this far away! You all truly mean so much to me! I want you to know that I know that God lives. He loves us and has a perfect plan for us. It is through our Savior that we have the opportunity to have Eternal Life. Thanks to the love of Christ and the perfect plan of our Heavenly Father, we can have Eternal Happiness. This life is such a small speck on the timeline of our eternity. I am so grateful for this knowledge and thank our Father each and everyday for you in my life! May you find joy this week and feel peace and comfort. I sure love you guys!! Smile and remember I am always here for you.. I will help with anything in  the best way I can. And better than me.. So is our Father in Heaven. He is there for us in all that we do and is just one prayer away. I sure do miss you guys. I miss you more than Dad misses his original wedding ring! (Sorry Dad.. your birthday is tomorrow. I had to throw you under the bus! I love you soo much! Have a wonderful Birthday!!) I love you all soo much! Thanks for all that you do. Smile a little extra and party a little more for me... You are just the bestest! Until next week.. (:

Love, Your favorite missionary... Elder Abel! (:

What the Walmart?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Eternal Happiness

Well hello there!!

This past week was good. I am learning a lot and I am loving the people and the food of course. There is one thing I've come to realize.....I would rather have someone tell me straight up that they don't want to hear the things I have to say, and that they will pass... then have someone lie and give the wrong address or an address that doesn't exist. Seriously.. it is so annoying to spend time looking for a house that doesn't exist. Just tell me you don't want the Truthfulness of the Gospel, and that you don't want Eternal Happiness... I will gladly give it to those that want it. Haha! Sorry.. little rude of me to say, but it is true! Oh well... I have 2 years to figure this out right?!

CRAZY STORY!! We were teaching Vanessa and Suzete about the Word of Wisdom and it was a pretty solid lesson. Of course they are having a hard time giving up their coffee... but that's normal. Anywho.. after the lesson Vanessa told me a pretty neat story. Her boyfriend is in Prison right now, and she wanted to give him a Book of Mormon. So we gave her a Book of Mormon to give to him, and she went to visit him. Before she even talked about the missionaries and before she even gave him the Book of Mormon he went on to tell her about a dream that he had. He explained this dream to her. She said that he explained a tall, white, blond haired, American sharing a book to them. Testifying to them about the Savior and explaining the importance of this ´book´. She went on to say that he described me perfectly and described the church perfectly. He said that they accepted the book and became a part of the church. He didn't even know they were taking lessons from the missionaries. You guys.... straight chills!! This was a really cool experience and it made me happy because it helped confirm the truthfulness of this church to Vanessa. We are hoping she holds that close to her heart and decides to join the church. I am so excited to see what happens next with Vanessa. Pretty neat!

I just want to end with my testimony of the Savior. You guys.. we really do have a Savior. He is real and really did atone for us. It is through him that we can get through challenges, trials, heartaches, and be strengthened from them. It is because of the Savior that we can feel comforted in hardships, see light in darkness, and be helped when we have a pitfall. The Savior is perfect and it is a privilege to be a missionary and a representative of our Savior. I really do get a small (very teeny, tiny.... super duper small... with no real good comparison) taste of to the things that he went through. Through all of the rejection, mocking, laughing, inappropriate comments, and hardships that I have as a missionary I get a small taste of the things that the Savior has went through. It is a privilege and my testimony of the Savior has really grown tremendously!! The Savior has completed the Ultimate Mission in the life. It is through His mission that we have the opportunity to live with our Father in Heaven again. It is through His mission we can have happiness in this life and Eternal Happiness in the life to come. It is through His mission that we can do all that our Heavenly Father wants us to do, and become all that He wants us to become. I am so grateful for the Savior. I am grateful for His love and the peace and comfort that I receive through Him on my mission. It truly is such a blessing!! I love this Gospel and I love being a missionary. Thank you so much for your love and support and the amazing things that you do for me. I am so blessed to have you all in my life.

I love you!!

Love, your favorite Elder... Elder Abel! Ü

Monday, October 16, 2017

Keep the focus

Well hello there!!

Can I just start off with saying how adorable Scotti is. Seriously the sweetest little thing in the whole world!! I look at these pictures and just cry because I just want to hold her. Make sure you guys give her lots of extra loves from her favorite Uncle. I wish I could!! I also have had dreams of holding her and hearing her name. Last night I had a dream her name was Kitty McKitty Cottam. Hahaha! So thank goodness Colter and Aimee have a little better taste. (; But what a blessing she is and I am glad that all went well and that she is happy and healthy and so is her mama! Been praying extra hard for the Cottam family and the Harmon family this week. You guys are the best and I hope you know how much I love and appreciate you guys. 2 new different and fun adventures! Enjoy (:

Thank you all for your letters, support, love, and prayers! I Can't thank you enough. I am truly so blessed with the best!! I am going to shorten this group e-mail a bit to try and email personally today. So hopefully I don't run outta time.

Also had some firsts... first Division, interview with president and Sister Acosta, and also my first haters. The haters say things like gringos or rich Mormon's in the streets. They mock us and try and speak English. I was actually spit on by a guy this week. So that was cool. Luckily I am a missionary and didn't deck him. Thought about it tbh. Also one of the members kids flipped me off. I am in the middle of the prayer, and the kid is pounding on the table trying to get my attention. I look up and there was a 4 year old demon... flipping me off. okay I laughed spiritually, but not physically. It was pretty funny!!

The ward is also epic. I have so much love for the members. They are so happy and they truly do care, worry, and love us. They are always feeding us and asking how they can help. So that is a blessing!

Alright I will end with the miracle of the week! We were teaching an investigator about the importance of Baptism. We were telling how important it is but Luciana just didn't get it. She says she needs more time and that she will never be ready. I then bore a testimony of the importance of Baptism. How we don't need to be perfect, but that through baptism we can become perfect. We have a Savior and a loving Heavenly Father. I shared the promised blessing and it just felt great. I think it was a gift of tongues experience because the Portuguese was so smooth and the spirit was so strong. I am so blessed you guys!! I love my mission. The people can be a pain sometimes, but I love them anyways!! It is a privilege to be a missionary and to teach something that is so important and so needed. I want you guys to know how much I love you. Thank you for all that you do and the amazing people that you are. Thanks for the emails and for your support.

God lives. He is aware of us and wants us to just lean on him. He is always one prayer away. We have a Savior. He is perfect. Even when he was denied, spit on, and crucified.. He still accomplished the will of the Lord all that was needed for us to return to live with them again. He never gave up and never lost his focus and the importance of the atonement. He loves us and is our Savior. I hope we don't lose our focus on the Atonement and we strive to become more like the Savior. He is the perfect example in all things.

I miss you like half of my neck misses the sun. (For reals... dipped cone from arctic circle right now! It is ridiculous!) Keep on smiling!! I love you so much!!

Love, your favorite... Elder Abel! (:

President and Sister Acosta

Monday, October 9, 2017

Listening to the Spirit


Brazil is just AMAZING!!! I really do love the area and I love the people, food, and everything! The food is delish! Beans and rice every meal and it is so great! We are blessed to have lunch with the members each day. They are amazing! The fruit is also amazing...it is a billion times better than the fruit in the US. Hard to explain but I probs eat like 3 bananas a day.

The people are super humble and love God, and have lots of faith in Christ, but there are also those haters! But it's alright because the haters are my motivators haha! I could probs go on and on about how much I love Brazil, but I just don't have the time or space.. truly is amazing!!

So this past week I have been struggling with feeling needed here in Brasil. I have been praying for experiences to feel needed and for special experiences to help others feel of the love of our Savior and our Heavenly Father. There are two experiences that I would like to share. First is this super cool experience that I had as we were walking up a massive hill to knock doors. I stopped and looked to my right and saw a sketchy path. It was covered in overgrown trees and just trash everywhere. I felt like we really needed to go up there. So I looked at my comp and said that we need to go up there. He did not agree. I then said to him that the Spirit is really guiding me to go up there, and that is what we need to do. He still declined.. so I just walked up there by myself and made him follow. As we walked up this path there was a small house covered in trees. I went up to the gate and gave a good ole clap. This man came to the gate and I could have sworn that I have seen this man before. He looked so familiar. I introduced ourselves and explained to him why we were here. I explained that we have a message about Jesus Christ that I know will change his life. My comp hopped in and said some things as well. It was such a humbling experience. The Spirit is such an amazing gift and gives me so much strength and guidance. Without the Spirit I can't do this missionary work. The Spirit is who finds, teaches, and touches the hearts of the people.

Another neat story was something that happened the next day. We had a reference to a person named Luciana. We searched for her house, but couldn't find it. We then were about to give up, when we both felt prompted to walk a little farther up the hill and approach a lady standing outside her house. We approached her and she asked us to come pray with her. Her mom was super sick and needed a blessing. We went in and gave her a blessing. It was so powerful and such an amazing experience. The spirit was overwhelming. We talked to her afterwards and she told us how she had just prayed to God and asked for some help. Then as she closed her prayer.. there was Elder Abel and Elder Fortes walking up the hill. Such a neat experience and such a privilege to help others through the guidance and trust in the Spirit. We also had 5 other really neat opportunities to give blessings to 5 other people. All in which we have contacted and they have seen immense progress!!

I am so grateful to be a missionary. I KNOW that I am needed here in Brazil, but I KNOW more that the Spirit is needed here as well. Through the Spirit.. and only the spirit.. the Gospel can touch lives. I am so inadequate without the Spirit. But I also am grateful for the blessing I have to hold the priesthood. It is such a powerful and amazing authority to be able to bless the lives of others through the power of our Heavenly Father. I am grateful that I have a Dad who honors his priesthood. Who is always worthy of it and who is the greatest example to me! I am also grateful for my brothers, brother in-laws, grandpas, uncles, and the way they honor their priesthood. I am truly so blessed to be a member of this church and to be a missionary of the only true and living church on the earth. I want you to know that I know this church is true and I want to share it. God lives, Jesus is the Christ. Only through them can we obtain the greatest gift of Eternal life! Lean on them and know they are there. They can help any broken heart, and bring peace, comfort, and joy into your life!!

Look for the blessings that you have and follow the spirit. I also challenge you all to read your patriarchal blessing and study it. It will bring you peace and joy. I love you all soo much. I am so lucky to have you in my life.

Love, Elder Abel! (:

Monday, October 2, 2017

Conference and Ice Cream!

Well hello there my absolutely favorite people in the whole world!!

Goodness it feels like forever since I last talked to you guys. I am pretty sure this past week was a solid 5 seconds faster than the last week.  Looking on the positive side of things.. those 5 seconds will add up each week and by the end of the mission... time will be flying! haha!  Dang I hate being positive!! Ü 

Thank you for your letters, prayers, thoughts, and positive influence. You don't even know how much you mean to me.  

So this last week was a little rough. Pray for me to find a more positive outlook in the mission. I need it!  I have decided that my comp is a mixture of two of my favorite people.... The Grinch and Sid the Sloth.  But, just like ketchup and chocolate.... both are absolutely amazing, but they can't be mixed together. Ü
Also, I don't know if my belt is growing or my waist is shrinking, but I have lost another belt loop. I promise I am eating. I am probs eating more than I should.  In fact, I had the most amazing ice cream EVER!!! I had Açaí ice cream (Dad.. I promise we will have this when you come. It is okay to be a little jealous!!) But anywhoo... I am losing weight and I blame it all on those dang hills.  Rain and bug bites are life here. It pretty much rained all week!  I also have like 20 bug bites.  But, I am blessed in so many other areas of the mission life that I have no room to complain. 

I LOVED CONFERENCE!!! There was no English for the first two sessions, so I listened to them in Portuguese.  I was feeling pretty good about my speaking/understanding Portuguese until Conference, and I didn't understand a single thing.  Very discouraging!!  But I learned a lot from this experience as it forced me to find the positive in every situation.  Although I couldn't understand anything, I did understand the language of the Spirit.  The Spirit is the only language I need as a missionary.  If I can teach and help others by the Spirit, I will have a successful mission and be happy.  I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to listen in Portuguese and have this moment. I am also so grateful that I can apply this to become a better missionary.  It is such a blessing to be a missionary.  I am also glad that I was able to listen in English as well!  A member was kind enough to let us watch the Priesthood session in English, and also fed us pizza. (Yes the Pizza is better here than the States. That is a fact!)  I watched all of Sunday in English as well. Conference was pretty special. Some of my highlights:

Elder Uchtdorf, "Through the Light of Christ we can see our mortal trials in an eternal perspective."  Eternal perspective is everything!! 

Elder Bednar, "Sometimes we run so fast that we forget where we are going and why we are running. We need to elevate our vision from the things of the world to the blessings of Eternity."  Again, eternal perspective is everything!! Eternity is the most precious gift that we have been given from God.   

We have a loving Heavenly Father who is always there for us. He cares about us and has made a perfect plan for us. Through Him and Our Savior, we can obtain the greatest blessing of Eternal Life. Times are hard... but we just need to have an Eternal Perspective and everything else falls into place.

I miss you and I love you all so much!!

Love your blessed missionary, Elder Abel! 

Monday, September 25, 2017

BRAZIL aka BRASIL...First LONG week in the mission field!

Hello my amazing people!!

How in the world are you doing? Before I go on about my week.. HUGE shout out to the most beautiful girl in the whole world... Hermana Kaytlin Dowdell!! She is on her way to the Dominican Republic!! I am so excited for her!! Pray for her to have safe travels and great success.. she is amazing!!

THIS HAS BEEN THE LONGEST WEEK OF MY ENTIRE LIFE!!!! I really struggled this past week, I won't even lie to you! I felt like the days were like months, and this week was like a year! My companion is Elder Fortes. He is from Cape Verde Africa, and doesn't speak any English. He speaks the ugly Portuguese. The type of Portuguese the Portugal missionaries learn. So not only does he not speak any English, but I do not understand his Portuguese either. Seriously the hardest thing ever!! I will try and stay positive and love him no matter the differences we have. My Mission President is really cool. I didn't get to talk to him much, but he spoke and was quite powerful. I really am having a good time and am so blessed.

First things first... THE HILLS!!! Holy flipper flapper the area that I am in (Silvina Ward, Sao Bernardo) is complete hills. If you are not walking up a hill, you are sleeping or walking down a hill. It is so crazy! I knew this mission had hills, but I didn't know they had so many.

Second... The language. Soooo.... I am unsure why I was in the MTC for 6 weeks, because I don't think I learned the language of my mission. The people here do not speak that same language that I was taught in the MTC. I kid you not, people ask me so many questions and then somehow.. in some way... I answer them. Honestly I have no idea how I do it, but it happens. The thing that I have come to realize is that the real language you need as a missionary is the language of the Spirit. If you can speak by and with the Spirit, then all is well. You can teach, invite, and help all you want... but without the Spirit people will not be truly converted. Pretty sweet!

And last.. the rejection! This is something they need to teach and prepare you for in the MTC. It honestly hurts. It hurts really deep. Like I knew it was hard, but it is the hardest part about the mission and will never get easier. We really do have something so special and so important... and it hurts to see people not accept it. The Gospel is needed in this corrupt world. There is nothing that brings more peace, comfort, happiness, and joy than the Gospel. With the Gospel, everything is so much better!! So the rejection is the hardest part about this last week. It pretty much brought me to tears to watch. It just means they aren't quite ready...but, soon they will be Ü

When I meet up with someone, I just have so much I want to say and feel prompted to say, but it never comes out the way I want. Please pray for me to obtain the Gift of Tongues. I can't do this without the Lord's help. I am so inadequate, yet so willing to submit to the Lord for help. Such an important thing to do. I challenge you guys to find more ways to submit to the Lord this upcoming week.

I would just like to end with an experience that I had and my testimony. Yesterday was a really hard day. I wasn't really understanding the people in the ward, and I was feeling pretty homesick....having a rough go. Then we sang, "Ye Elders of Israel" in Priesthood. This song is a little different in Portuguese, but it has such a huge meaning to me. The last line says.. ´sagrada missão precisamos cumprir´ which means ´sacred mission we need to fulfill.´ I just started bawling my eyes out. This mission is so sacred and I feel so blessed to have the privilege to be a missionary and share the Gospel with these amazing people. There is nothing that is more needed here in Brasil. The people love God so much and have so much faith, yet it is incomplete without the Gospel. I am so grateful to be a missionary. I am grateful for the wonderful opportunity I have to share the Gospel. To stand in the shoes of our Savior.... to do what He wants done, to say what He wants said, and to be as He would be. It is an honor to wear His name on my chest everyday. We have a Savior. He loves us and has done everything needed to return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father again. What joy that brings. Look for Him in your lives....He is there.


Love, Elder Abel

Saturday, September 16, 2017

I'll go where you want me to go....

So the news is official.. I am heading to Brasil!! To be honest, I am quite surprised?! I really didn't think that I would receive my Visa, but I am so happy I did. I guess the Lord needs me in Brasil, and I can't wait to do what He wants me to do. Heavenly Father is great and is totally aware of His children. I have really found a love for the song, I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go. I love how it says:

"Perhaps today there are loving words, which Jesus would have me speak. There may be now in the paths of sin some wanderer whom I should seek. O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide, Though dark and rugged the way, My voice shall echo the message sweet: I'll say what you want me to say. I'll Go where you want me to go, dear Lord, Over mountain or plain or sea. I'll say what you want me to say, dear Lord; I'll be what you want me to be."

This has given me so much peace and comfort as I have been here in the MTC. I have truly submitted to the will of the Lord and have been trying to become the person that He would want me to be. I am so excited to share the sweet message of the Gospel and the pure happiness that exists in the the plan of Heavenly Father. It brings me pure joy to be able to share this message, and I have been waiting sooo long to do it. I know how hard it is going to be, but I am so excited to begin my journey in Brasil and have them change my life. I have come to realize that it is not me that gives this message though. I am just an instrument for the Spirit, and I can't wait to have the Spirit bring the Brazilian Souls unto this great Gospel. I know that the Spirit is the true converting power, and it amazes me how strong and powerful it can be. I love this work!!

So I don't know if you have all heard the news but Kaytlin has not received her Visa. Everyone in her District got flight plans and Visas.. except her. She may have a reassignment or may receive her Visa this upcoming week. Either way.. I know she will bless so many lives wherever she is to go and serve. She is such a great example to me and I look up to her so much. She is going to do amazing things. Please keep her in your prayers that she will receive her Visa and will make it safely to the Dominican Republic.

One thing pretty sweet about this week was a Devotional we had with Elder and Sister Kearon (of the Seventy). I really liked what he said, "You get to give people the context of life." This was so simple, but it hit me hard. It made me remember and think about the importance of this life and how incredibly small it is compared to the eternity that we have ahead. For reals... you take this life and it is a small sliver compared to the rest of our time in Eternity. Then... I look at it with this mission in mind and it is just a small speck compared to the eternity that we have ahead. The thing we all need to realize is that though this life may be small and just a bump to Eternal Life, it is one of the most crucial parts in the Plan. This life we get to be tested and show Heavenly Father our faith, trust, obedience, and commitment to Him. There really is such a great reward ahead and is worth all of the hard work, trials, challenges, and testing that this life gives. A reward that is not like anything else, and that is the greatest blessing we can ever obtain! I love to have the knowledge that families are forever, and that I get to be with all of you for eternity!

The Church is true, and I know it with all of my heart. God lives, and Jesus is the Christ. We are a part of the greatest work and the most perfect Plan. Heavenly Father is a God of love and wants all to return to live with Him. I can't even wait to share that with the people of Brasil. They are going to change and bless my life in so many ways. I just know it.

I am so happy to be serving and I really do appreciate all of your prayers, love, and support. I can feel them and I am so blessed!!

Love, your happy and excited to leave Provo missionary... Elder Abel! (: