Well hello there!!
Goodness gracious.. I miss you all soo much! This week was pretty amazing! Elder Judd and I got here at the same time and we have truly enjoyed being companions. Exciting and sad news came Friday though.. Elder Judd has received his Visa and will be heading to the Brazil MTC to finish off his MTC experience. We opened up the mailbox and pulled out the mail. When we saw the flight plans we just started bawling. Elder Judd was crying because he doesn't really want to leave me or Provo, and I was crying out of pure joy for the kid. I am super duper excited for him and the progress that he will have in the MTC in Brazil. The Brazil MTC is so much easier to catch on to the language because everyone speaks Portuguese and it is rare to hear English. It's a blessing and a curse! But yes.. that does mean that I will be a solo missionary. Meaning that I will be in class all by myself, teach investigators all by myself, and will depend on other missionaries to get around the MTC.
Some pretty amazing things happened!! I saw a lot of miracles and I am continuing to progress in ways that I can't even express to you. First things first.. all of you have been asking if I have seen Hermana Dowdell. When she first arrived, she showed up to her study room. I was talking to a teacher, as she turned the corner from the stairs and we caught eyes. It was the best moment of my MTC experience, and I have had some pretty amazing moments. Like I just lit up and instantly felt so happy and full of so much joy! I quickly finished talking to the teacher and made my way to Hermana Dowdell. We shook hands and just talked for a bit, but she was late for her class so she slid in and met her first companion. It's so crazy! I have seen her everyday that she has been here, and we have been able to talk quite a bit. She gives me so much strength, and seeing her makes me feel overwhelmed with the amazing work that we are about to take on. She is such an amazing example to me and I am so proud of her and the sweet, kind, and loving character and personality she has. She is going to be an incredible missionary and she is what keeps me sane and focused while I am here. It's hard to explain, but she is such a blessing!!
I have been blessed in so many ways! We were teaching one of our investigators (a member.. in fact another teacher) the Restoration. I was kind of relying too much on the script, and not on the spirit. Then as I was giving the first Vision all of the sudden I looked up and with the Spirit I recited the First Vision perfectly in Portuguese.. (side note.. I had not even practiced it, nor did I know anything but the first line). Our investigator started crying and my eyes welled up a bit. The spirit was so strong and I ended it with my testimony. I don't exactly know what I said, but it was powerful and something I will never forget. The Gift of Tongues is real. I know it is because I have felt it. I have been overwhelmed with an amazing spirit here at the MTC and have learned soo much. I thank my Heavenly Father everyday for the blessings that he bestows upon me. Truly blessed beyond measure. I now am still working on the First Vision, but almost have it memorized. Just need to get the last line down. The language is coming along and things are starting to pick up a bit more. I have learned a lot and have honestly been blessed in so many different ways, that I can't even describe. Small miracles come day in and day out. I love it and I love being a missionary.
I would just like to finish things up with my testimony. I want you guys to know that when times get hard, we always can kneel and plead to our Heavenly Father. We have all been gifted with so many different talents, and abilities.. I challenge you guys to use them. Find ways to serve others, because this life is so crucial, yet so small, to the life we have beyond the veil. We have also been given many trials and challenges, where we are tested of our faith, strength, and ability to overcome. Take those as a blessing. It is God's way of saying that he has faith in you. He has trust in you to do what is needed to overcome those trials and challenges and become better from them. Remember that you are never alone through your trials, we have a loving, caring, kind, and generous Heavenly Father who cares about us deeply and wants us to do what is needed to return to live with Him.. and is a prayer away from answering any question, fixing any problem, and offering any peace/comfort that is needed. We also have the perfect example in our lives, Jesus Christ. Who took his life away for us, for YOU, to do all that is needed in this life to return to live with Him and our Father in Heaven. A great analogy from Elder Holland came yesterday at a video I watched, about how hard missions are. He likened a mission to the suffering and atonement of Jesus Christ. He said.. "The road to Salvation, always goes through Gethsemane." Times are hard, but how can I say I am a disciple of Christ, if I don't expect to have hard times like Jesus Christ did while he was on Earth. My trials are a lot different and not even close to as big.. But I know that through Him.. all is made possible. I know that because I know that the Atonement is real. It blesses us in ways that seem impossible, but are so important and so crucial in this life. You guys.. God lives, Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of this world. Remember them this week and remember that they are always there for you no matter how hard life gets. I love you all so much and am so grateful for you all. I am grateful for the thoughts and prayers in my behalf, and the love that you have for me and the example that you set. I sure hope you guys are doing well and that you have a wonderful week. Always smile for me, because life is amazingly. I love you all so much and am so grateful for you.
Love, Your favorite Elder, who is happy and smiling.. Elder Abel! Ü