1. Most of the photos in this section are obtained from Jean Siirila and her helpers on the showbook committee. Thank you Jean and crew!

Reverend John Abel

Discussion in 'Tributes' started by Kathy Schauer, Jun 25, 2020.

  1. Kathy Schauer

    Kathy Schauer Junior Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    John Abel.jpg
    Pastor John Abel
    1925 - 2020

    John Harrison Abel went Home to be with his Lord and Savior on April 15, 2020, at the age of 94, in Minneapolis, MN. He spent his last days with his dear wife Ruby and his daughter Lydia. On the day of his death he read John 14 for devotions – “Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you… that where I am, there ye may be also…I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”

    John was born on December 13, 1925, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Harrison Abel and Norma Irene (Wallin) Abel. With the death of her husband, Irene and her two children, John (4) and Gloria (8), moved back to her home town, Argyle, MN, to live with her father, John Wallin. During grade school the family moved to Stephen, MN, where his mother married Winston C. Naylor, and together they had three more children – William, Winston, and Cathy.

    Although he was not raised in a Christian home, he attended church regularly during his childhood at the invitation of a neighbor. When he was seventeen years old and working in the White Horse Yukon Territory for Northwest Airlines, he came to a real assurance of salvation in Jesus as his Savior. The next day he wanted to save the whole world, a vision he never lost. At 18 he enlisted in the Navy during World War II, and served under General MacArthur in the Pacific and the occupation of Japan. After being discharged, John went to Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, where he met Ruby Leona Hitterdal. They were married on September 3, 1949, and they spent 70 wonderful years serving the Lord together.

    John did his theological training at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. Upon receiving a call from the World Mission Prayer League to begin a work in Brazil, he was ordained for the pastoral ministry at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, MN, in June of 1952. He wanted to be a missionary because he had seen the fruit of missions during his time in the Navy and on his travels. His commissioning service took place on September 21, 1952, in Stephen, MN, before leaving with Ruby and their first son to Bolivia and then on to Brazil to begin a pioneer mission work.

    Throughout the course of his life, Pastor Abel worked with the World Mission Prayer League, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (AFLC), and Evangelism Explosion as a missionary in Brazil. He preached and taught the Word of God wherever he went. John always wanted to help people, and while he did so, he shared the Gospel with them. He was active in the founding of the AFLC, starting St. Paul’s Free Lutheran Church in Fargo, ND, before being called as their first missionary. After his retirement from the mission field, he served as an evangelist and pastor in the U.S. churches.

    In Brazil John had a part in starting over seventeen churches, established schools in three cities, and started a Bible School, Seminary, and Bible Camp in Campo Mourão, Paraná. His boldness in making friends and his dependence on God as he asked for cooperation in ministry resulted in the acquisition of several large pieces of property to develop mission outreach. John wore many "hats" including teacher, pastor, evangelist, radio preacher, pilot, foreman, husband, father, travel guide, translator, and driver. His travels "on a shoestring" took the family to over 22 countries, including an unforgettable road trip from Minnesota to Brazil in 1971. Life with John Abel was always an adventure with a purpose! He didn’t believe in retirement and was active in ministry and encouraging Christian work until the end of his earthly life.

    He was preceded in death by his parents, three siblings, and one granddaughter. He is survived by his wife, Ruby, and their seven children – David Abel (Janet), Jonathan Abel (Tamba), Paul Abel (Rebecca), Deborah Gill (Fred), Lydia Abel, Nathanael Abel (Yvonne), and Priscilla Aguirre (Lucio), along with twenty-eight grandchildren, and twenty-nine great grandchildren. John was very thankful for his family who will continue his legacy of serving Jesus and ministering to others. We celebrate his love and dedication to his wife and family, to the church, and above all, to God. In his life and in his death, John proclaimed this truth: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Acts. 16:31

    Interment will be at Salem East Cemetery in Hitterdal, MN, in mid-May. Seven of the grandsons have been invited to be pallbearers – Robert Abel, Thomas Abel, Matthew Abel, Frederick Gill, Alex Carrilho, Tyler Abel, and Timothy Aguirre representing the families of each of the Abel children. A Celebration of Life service is y scheduled for June 18, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.. Both events will be available for viewing via the internet. Details regarding these events will be announced on this memorial site as they are confirmed.

    Cards and Gifts can be sent to: Ruby Abel
    240 Central Ave. N., Apt. 118, Wayzata, MN 55391

    Options for Memorial Gifts include:
    1) Checks to AFLC World Missions (tax deductible)
    Designate to the John Abel Memorial Fund
    2) Checks to Living Word Community Church (tax deductible)
    For the Brazil Bible Camp that John started by faith 50 years ago.
    Designate “Brazil Bible Camp” in the memo line.
    3) Checks to Ruby Abel to help with funeral and future living expenses.

    Note from Kathy: He at one time was a salesman for Hitterdal Manufacturing in Hitterdal Minnesota. He spent the bulk of his life as a missionary in Brazil where he helped establish 3 schools a Bible school Seminary and Bible Camp. He was instrumental in helping to Start of The Association of Free Lutheran Congregations.

    Administrators note: Pastor Abel was largely responsible for the display of Hitterdal sprayers in the Nelson Building.

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