Current Mailing Address

Current Mailing Address

Elder Howard Derek McKeon
Brazil Sao Paulo East Mission
Rua Caa-Acu, 229
Belenzinho
03171-020 Sao Paulo - SP
Brazil

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Singin' in the rain!!

Feliz Natal!!!!!!!!!!

Well this week, it was a rough week for me. I was a little sick, and it hurt to work, on top of all that it was POURING rain one day and we were wet ALL day.  It was hard for me, but we worked through it and we got to all of our appointments and talked to a lot of good new people.  It was great because we were so wet that it didn't matter if we got splashed by a bus, or if we stepped into a mid-calf deep puddle, it wasn't going to affect us.  So I was just screaming through this rain storm running and singing the song "I'm Singing in the Rain"!!!!!!  It was really fun, but this past Sunday, I woke up and felt so horrible, I threw up in the shower.  We decided that we would go get our investigators to church and then we'd go back home so I could sleep.  On the way to church it was still pouring down rain.  It was also the day that the Corinthians (a soccer team from São Paulo) was playing for the championship game in Japan against Chelsea.  So when they, the Corinthians, scored, the whole city blew up with fireworks and everybody was yelling "VAI CORINTHIANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  It was really funny to hear and see these old fat guys ripping off their shirts and yelling and throwing chairs it was pretty funny. 

Elder McKeon with his Christmas presents.

I am feeling much better so don't worry about me, I haven't gotten either very good at curing myself, or just sucking it up and working, either or its working!

Elder McKeon sitting on a toilet found in the trash.

We just had a couple married and they should be getting baptized here pretty soon.  We have this family that's struggling, but we know that they like the message, and they need to hear it, but they're being difficult to make contact with.  I pray for them all the time and hopefully, something will happen in the future.  I know that I need to be here, I am doing the Lord's work here and these wonderful people are so warm and accepting and they are so ready to hear this message.  I know that we can help them and all we need to do is open our mouths. Dad told me 2 things: we were in the bow of the boat out on Folsom Lake, one of the last times before I left.  He said, "Derek, if you do 2 things on your mission, you need to obey, and open your mouth"  I've been trying to do these things, and I've prayed for the strength that I know I need to do this work.

One of the streets in his mission.

Love,

Elder McKeon

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

First Transfer Complete

Elder McKeon is done with his first transfer!  This is what he had to say about it:


Hey everyone!  How's it going?

Well there are only like 2 days left in my first transfer as a missionary in Brazil!  It is nuts to think that I've already been here this long and that I am learning so much in the little time that I've been here.  It has been amazing here and my testimony has grown so much since I've been here.  It is so cool being a missionary....
 
Alright, story of the week, we were walking on a really busy street, and it was incredibly hot and we didn't have any appointments set up for the time, so I said, "Lets go get ice cream".  We went to eat some ice cream and sit for a second to cool down and then an older brother named, Nilton, (that we have talked to on the street before) walked by the ice cream store.  He came back into the shop and asked if we wanted ice cream.  As young, poor, hungry missionaries, we of course said yes! So we sat and talked with him as we ate more ice cream but then he had to go home.  We asked if we could come by and talk with him that day and he said yes. So we went to his house and he made us a little snack and he received a text from niece. It said that he should read the second chapter of the book of Joshua in the Old Testament.  Its about these 2 YOUNG MEN who were sent into Jericho, ANOTHER COUNTRY, to spy. Then they went to the house of Rahab and asked her to hide them because the King´s men were coming after them.  She hid them on the roof and the King's men left.  Rahab said that Jericho was afraid of Joshua and his people for the Lord was with them protecting them wherever they went.  Rahab made the men swear that her family would be safe if the armies came to Jericho.  They swore that if she obeyed the things they said, everyone in her family would be safe.  They had to go into the mountains for 3 days to spy.  After they left the mountains they went to Joshua and said in verse 24 "Truly the Lord hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us".  It was such a random chapter to read, he made the comparison to us that we were 2 young men from a different country to "spy" on them and to help them come closer unto Christ.  It was interesting after that because he then dominated the rest of the time just talking about random things and we couldn't really get anything in, but we planted the seed so we can come back and teach him more.  We can do it much better the next time we go there and teach him about the gospel.  It was great because I had no idea that would happen.  Elder Bednar gave a great talk about this kind of situation and it's just amazing the way the Lord works through us to find people to teach.  It was such a testimony builder for me. 

I write in my journal EVERYDAY!  It's really good to be able to look back and read of my earlier experiences in the CTM and I can learn from things in the past.  We are planning on going to a member's home named Marcelo, and I will plan on calling you guys on Christmas Day at 11:00 your time, 5:00 my time.  It's a 6 hour time difference but there is time to coordinate this later. I am so happy and love being a missionary!  It's so cool to be here serving the Lord especially during this time of year when our Savior was born.  I am reading in Jesus the Christ right now and I am learning so much more about Him that I can teach to all of the wonderful people here! 

Its so awesome here!!! 

I love you all!!! 

Elder McKeon

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dedicated to Mom...

This is Derek's email from this past week.  It was Mom's birthday, so he sent a little shout out her way:

(Elder McKeon's home)

First things first, Mom, how was your birthday?  Were you treated like the queen that you are?  I am sure you were because we love you so much!

(Elder McKeon wrote "I love my area!")

Ladies and gentlemen, this email goes out to a wonderful lady I am blessed to call, Mom...

(Not sure what this is...)

Ever since I can remember, you've been there for me! Yesterday and today are very hard because I was thinking about you and your birthday and how I wanted to be there to celebrate it with you.  Yesterday was our Stake Conference so I had some time to think about everything you have done for me. Every morning I knew I would have a lunch in the fridge with my name on it with everything that I liked to eat.  I knew that if I forgot something and was at school, I could give mom a call and she would be there as fast as she could to save the day.  When I skinned my knee, she was the first one to say, "Shhhhhh, you're ok, you're ok, you're not going to die, I'm here and ill fix you up..." Every time she would help me patch myself up with love and care and then make sure that I was okay.  She is the greatest care giver, doctor, nurse, chef, teacher, mediator, and put all those things together and what do you get? You don't just get any mom...you get MY MOM, Heather Gale McKeon, the sweetest and most compassionate person I have ever met.  She would help you in a second if you needed it and in anyway she could, and if she couldn't she would tell you things of encouragement to lift your spirits. She has more Christ-like attributes than I care to count and I know that I have the best example in her.  I strive to do the things she would do.  I try to take all of the things she has taught me (which are too many to count) and apply them in my life.  And like I was writing Carlie´s birthday email, I am again balling like the baby that I am.  You know what, I don't care because I am writing and thinking about my mom.  I love you with all that I have and more, you are the most amazing person ever and everyone needs to be like my mom so the world can be a better place to live.  You have helped me live my life so that I am worthy to serve a mission for our Lord, Jesus Christ and I am and will be forever grateful for that.  I love you and miss you so very very much, and I know that your keeping the family happy, healthy and close to Heavenly Father!

(Elder McKeon and Elder Alves dos Santos on division trying to keep cool)


Now that I can see the screen through cleared eyes, let me talk about my week. It was a pretty hard week.  We had Stake Conference this past Sunday.  On Saturday, we were running around trying to organize rides for all of our investigators.  It was late at night and pouring rain outside, it was 9:30 at night and we were waiting outside of our bishop's home because no one was answering their phones. I was cold, wet, hungry and so very tired.  I just wanted to go home, make some soup and go to bed. But I had the feeling that I needed to pray and stop thinking about me.  I bowed my head and offered up a silent prayer that everything would be alright and that we could get rides together for our investigators and be able to talk with our bishop.  Not 30 seconds later, our bishop pulled into his driveway and we he absolutely agreed to help with transportation!  

(This is a place called Favela.  Elder McKeon said it is a pretty rough neighborhood)

Then we walked to another member's home (still raining) and same thing, he was not answering his phone either, the cars weren't there and no one was answering the door.  So I thought "you need to pray again" I did and just as before, he pulled into the driveway!  I was so thankful for that!  We took care of the rest of the rides and this experience has made my testimony grow so much.  So yesterday we got to pick all of the people up and out of the 11 people we had planned and "confirmed" to pick up, only 2 came....  I was kind of expecting that but its still hard to understand.  You work so hard and then everything just doesn't work out according to the plan.  I have grown accustomed to that but will work to help make it better.  What a miracle of prayer though!  I love every minute of this work and I cant wait to talk to you guys on Christmas just to share with you additional stories that are too long to type!

Love,

Elder McKeon

Monday, November 26, 2012

2 in 1

Due to Thanksgiving, I did not update Elder McKeon's blog last week.  Here are the last two emails he sent home!

Monday, November 26th:

Hey!!! Guess what!!!!????

I'VE HAD 4 BAPTISMS IN THE FIRST 4 WEEKS OF MY MISSION!!!!

I've been here for a month and I've already baptized 4 people into this wonderful Church! I love each and every one of these people here! You have already seen the pictures of the first 2 baptisms, but the last 2 are the daughter and granddaughter of Marcia de Lima, my first baptism! It's so cool to see these families being blessed by the Gospel. I love being a missionary!!! Anyways.... how was Thanksgiving? It was very sad for me not being there to enjoy you guys and to eat turkey... but we get to Skype this Christmas!!! Speaking of this, I need one of you guys to set up a new Skype account for me. And we also need to set up a time to do this, are Carlie and Porter going to be with the family this year? Or down in Loa? If they're there with you guys, then we'll just talk, but if they're in Loa, then ill have to Skype them later after you guys. How is everything? Have you gotten my letters to the ward and stuff? Also, I'm picking up some cool things here for you guys as presentes de Natal!! They're going to be pretty cool, you'll love them!!! 



This is where Elder McKeon lives.

Mom!! You're Birthday is coming up! I'll write you a letter this week ok? Then well see how your party went next week! I'm sure dad and the kids have an awesome plan for you on your big day!! I know you deserve it!!

Things here are going great! The work is progressing, I'm learning better Português daily and I love these people so very much! They are some of the kindest most loving people you will ever find. They are so caring and love to talk to you and want to know more about you and your family. I've been in countless situations of extreme poverty and the family will still try to give us something for what were doing and I always try to say no, but these people really do love the Church and the work were doing that they will NOT take no for an answer. These people are amazing and I love them with all of my heart.

Me and my companion are doing alright. We teach together and we know how to bring people to the Gospel!! I know we will continue to do well here in Continental, Guarulhos!

I love you guys and miss you and hope all is well in all that you are doing! You are always in my prayers (and let me tell you, as a missionary, you pray A LOT) so you know that you are always with me! I love you more than words can describe!

Your elder!

Elder McKeon


The beautiful Sao Paulo sunset!

Monday, November 19th:

Hi Family!


My address is

Elder Howard Derek McKeon
Brazil São Paulo East Mission
Rua Caa-Açu, 229
Belenzinho
03171-020 São Paulo - SP
Brazil
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CARLIE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did you get my letter? I sent it last week but I don't know how long it takes to get there.  PARA BEMS PRA VOCÊ!  I can't believe you are 21 years old!  That is incredible!


This email is a shout out to my very first best friend in this life.
The first thing that I remember of us together is playing shark in my room in So Cal during bath time, and us playing at night in our room when mom and dad thought we were asleep.  Whether it was speeding to get to seminary on time as I read you AP US History, or sneaking into dances, we were always there for each other.  Whenever I needed help you were always there, no matter what it was that I needed.  We would always watch scary movies upstairs and you would come into my room cause you were too scared to sleep alone.  Looking back, I thought it was annoying and funny, but now I cherish these memories.  Being here in Brasil and seeing all different kinds of people and places reminds me of how special my family is.  I've seen families that are so close and unified, and then I have seen other families that can't stand each other and that it would break my heart if we were ever like that.  I'm so grateful for our friendship.  As I write this email I'm crying in this internet cafe thinking of all our memories together and that this is your first birthday that I haven't been able to talk to you face to face or give you a call just to say how much I love you and wish you a phenomenal day cause you of all people deserve it.  I know that you might be super busy with school, work, and church but take just a couple of minutes for yourself and relax please!  I love you more than words can describe and I know that this email is nowhere near as good as your blog birthday posts about the rest of the family but I did want you to know how much you mean to me! I love you Carlie McKeon Ellett!


Gabriella, a new member of the Church!

ok, now that I've stopped crying, let me tell you about my week.  It was good...... just kidding it was amazing!  We were supposed to have two baptisms this past week but we only had one because one that was supposed to be baptized had to postpone it.  Her mom couldn't come to church because she had to do some reforms on her house.  We went to her house and asked if the workers needed help but they said no.  We re-scheduled the baptism for later that day and they said great.  We got a call while were teaching another investigator and her six year old son tells us that they can't come because her mom left to go buy something.  We were pretty bummed about that, but we had the other baptism to still prepare for and complete.  I learned that we can do everything we possibly can and it still sometimes it doesn't work out because that's what the enemy wants.  Shes getting baptized next week and we will help make sure she is prepared.  Along with her we think two others will also be ready but we'll see.  We have come into contact with two other families that seem really interested and we've given them copies of the Book of Mormon and they are progressing in such a big way!  I love this work and I'm trying so hard to be strictly obedient and serve the Lord. 

I love these people so much!  They will give anything and everything to us.  I have so many stories to tell and not enough time but I'll tell you guys at Christmas.  Yes dad, we get to Skype! We will go to a members home and we get all day to talk with you! Well do more communication in the future but just so you know, we get to skype!


Elder McKeon

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Elder McKeon's First Baptism

Here is Derek's latest email:

Hey family!

Well this past Sunday (yesterday the 11th) I had the greatest opportunity to baptize someone.  I cant explain the overwhelming feeling of joy and just utter happiness in bringing someone into this wonderful Gospel. Her Name is Marcia de Lima. We stumbled into her in the Favela, and this is straight up the most ghetto/poor place that i have ever seen.... its just amazing what kind of living conditions these people have....anyway i told you the story of how we ran into her on complete accident looking for another recent convert and she said we were the answer to her prayers, because her son had prayed for an angel for his mom and i guess we were it!!! So we taught her and we have become very close to the family all of her kids love me and i love playing with them!! They remind me of Trey, JD, and all of our little cousins cause they just jump on us and we wrestle with them and just have a blast! And the cutest thing happened on Saturday, the smallest one named Lazaro, Lazarus, in English, we were playing, but then we had to leave because we had another appointment. We told him ´we have to leave but we´ll be back tomorrow to see you again!´ you know what he did? he sat on my shoes grabbed my legs in a vice grip and cried saying no no no no no no no dont leave!!! It was so cute i just wanted to pick him up and carry him home with us! 

Elder McKeon with Marcia and her family

Anyway his mom, Marcia, took him away then we came back Sunday morning to come pick them up along with another investigator named Gabriela and her son Josef.  We got to church and all Saturday night and throughout church i had been reciting the baptismal prayer in my mind and looking in my white handbook making sure that i had it absolutely perfect! I was so nervous i would mess up...So we baptize her after church (here in Brazil we baptize them on Sundays, becuase once theyve been to 2 church meetings they then can be baptized, so you do it as soon as you can and confirm them the next week) so we fill the font and im in all my white clothing and i step into the font and take her and i do the prayer perfectly and baptize her into this wonderful church! After i pull her out she stands there for a second just with her hands over her eyes and i thought something was wrong but she was just overcome with the Spirit and was crying! I tap her shoulder and she jumps and gives me a big old hug (which is agaisnt the rules) but i hugged her back anyways and then we ended the service after we were all dried off and a couple of members bore their testimonies and me and Edler Squires sang a song. (can you believe that i actually sang in front of people???) Anyways it was great, just an awesome experience and we have 2 MORE baptisms set up for this Sunday! Marcia´s 8 year old daughter Eloisa, and the other investigator, Gabriela! How awesome is that???? I am so excited to be here and to do this work here in Brazil and to teach these wonderful people here... i love it all and im so glad that i can share it with you!


Elder McKeon with Marcia (1st baptism!)

Other things that have happened this week..... nothing as explosive as baptims... Oh! wait!!! We played soccer with the young men on Saturday and me and Elder Squires were going to the Favela to pick up Marcias sons to come and play with us. So we come running down this Favela because we were late and we have to cross this sketchy bridge but as soon as we get to this bridge this guys says, ´why are you running?´ we tell him that we were late to pick up Marcia´s kids, (they all know why we´re there and theyre all drug dealers and they ´let´us by, thinking that theyre all hardcore but really theyre not....) and he says,´dont do that, you could confuse some people down here, they have guns and wont hesitate to shoot you... the only reason i didnt shoot you was because i saw your name-tag´, (i was wearing my plaqueta and he knew we were Mormons)..... How crazy is that?? 

After the baptism, Elder McKeon with Marcia and her family.

Dont worry i am totally safe mom, dad, we just didnt know, we know now... But we were protected, not only by our reputation, but the Lord.... he needs us and we need to always have His Spirit with us and we will know what we need to do. So dont worry im fine, im healthy Carlie, i eat so much food....... all i eat is rice beans and meat! I just walk over 10 miles a day up and down hills! its not my fault!! i am trying to gain weight so much!!!!   


Elder McKeon trying to gain weight by making brownies

Anyways i am totally fine, healthy and so excited for this work!!! its amazing what missionaries can do!!!

I love you all and always pray for you in everything that you are engaged in!!! tell the ward ill send them a letter soon!!

Elder McKeon

Monday, November 5, 2012

First full week in the mission field!

Here is Elder McKeon's email after his first full week in the mission field!  He sent us pictures as well, enjoy!

Elder McKeon's area.


My companion or trainer is Elder Cole Robert Squires from Gridley, CA. Its only about an hour and a half drive to the north for you! Cool right? He´s been on his mission for 1 year and 5 months, but he spent 7 months in Texas waiting for his visa.  He is an awesome trainer and I am learning so much from him!  I am in my area, which is called Continental, and its pronounced differently so ask dad how its pronounced.  

Elder McKeon's district on the last day they were in the CTM.

My zone is called Guarulhos, they have these massive, massive ´neighborhoods´ called bairros.  It is very different here.  These bairros are like cities but they're neighborhoods, for example, Brooklyn would be a bairro.  


Elder McKeon and Irmao Ramos, one of his teachers in the CTM.

We have had an awesome week this week! Last Wednesday, the 31de Outubro, we had to walk to our District meeting, which was about an hour BUS ride, but we walked and it was so hot and such a long walk.  I have never walked so much in all of my life.  We got a bus back after our meeting and that was nice.  I have an amazing district!  I don't know them that well so when I know them better I'll tell you everything I can about them.  

Presidente and Sis. Degn, as well as Elder McKeon. They are the mission presidents at the CTM.

After the meeting we went to lunch and then we were able to go teach this family where the 2 kids were baptized but never confirmed.  They live smack dab in the middle of the FAVELA!  It was so cool going in there!  It is like another world in there.  No rules, no government, just everything.... I can't quite explain it but wow, it was an experience.  I could reach out with one arm and touch the wall with my hand and my shoulder on the other wall.  The poorest of the poor circumstances that you can imagine.  I haven't gotten any pictures but I will.  We taught them a lesson and then by that time we had to go home.  

Irmao Fabian a really good friend at the CTM

When we got home, we had no water!  Our water pump on top of our apartment had not yet pumped the water back to the top and so we didn't have any water in our apartment.  


The morning Elder McKeon left for the field.  He said it was the first time he had seen the moon in 2 months!

The next day, Thursday, we had to get to this another investigator's home, Rosangela, and in order to do so, we had to hike over a mountain.  We were in the jungle and it was so cool!  This big old dog came running out of nowhere and luckily it was chained up.  Anyway, she is a great investigator too and I know shes going to get baptized!  Then we had to hike back over the mountain in order to get to our lunch appointment where we had, feijoada, and I am going to have to acquire a taste for it.  Anyway, I ate it all and even had seconds.  Then we had this awesome dessert where there were grapes on this orange jello.  

Irmao Vander, another really good friend in the CTM, with Elder McKeon

After lunch we went to check up on a recent convert but couldn't find her because we were back in the Favela!  I love the Favela if you haven't noticed!  We ran into this family and we start teaching them and the grandma is loving it!  Her name is Marcia, we've taught her and her family.  They are awesome!  We went home and the water was back on so that is always a good thing!

Elder McKeon's district and Branch Presidency.
 
Then Friday we had lunch at a member's house.   Then we went back to visit Marcia.  She told us this story that her son saw her (Marcia) suffering in her life and he prayed to God to send his mom (Marcia) an angel to help her life.  After he had told her that story, we walked around the corner and taught her and her family.  She told her son that the Lord did send her an angel, except they were men, white, and from America.  We were her angels... that knocked me way back!  We were just looking for another person to teach and happened to be there at the right time.  It was so amazing.  We made contacts for the rest of the day and then went back home.


Elder McKeon and his companion, Elder Squires.

Saturday was a rough day.  We walked and walked and walked so much that I can sort of in a very tiny, little itty-bitty way appreciate what the pioneers had to do.  We walked all over our area.  We have to schedule our appointments by how long it is going to take us to walk there.  Anyway most of our appointments fell through so we got a lot of exercise and made a ton of contacts along the way but we went back to Marcia and shes coming to Church!


Irmao Ricardo, another really good friend at the CTM.

Sunday, we went and picked up Marcia and took her to Church.  I have an awesome ward!  A lot of wonderful sisters, but our Priesthood is on the low side.  We have a rule in this mission, that if we have a certain goal of baptisms, a certain number must be male.  

Elder McKeon and Irmao Viana, another one of his teachers at the CTM.

Anyway the bishop is great and I was blessed to stand and share my testimony in Portuguese.  It is a great ward and afterward we taught Marica about the Sacrament, fasting, testimony and she´s getting baptized this next Sunday the 11th! My first baptism within a week of being here!  She wants to be baptized and we are going to do it this next Sunday!  I'm so excited!!!


Elder McKeon wrote the caption to this picture, "My field to harvest!"

Eu sei que eu estou aqui por um razão. Eu amo este trabalho e estas pessoas aqui no Brasil!! Eu vos amo e vou por sempre!!

Your missionary,

Elder McKeon



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

In the Mission Field!


Derek is now in the mission field! Here is the latest:

Well.... I'm officially a missionary now!!!!!!!!!! I am in the field as I am typing right now!  How great is that?  My comp is awesome and he's from CA also.  I know we're going to get along and do so much great work here in Sao Paulo Leste. 

We had to leave the CTM at 5:30 this morning and that was rough.... but then we took like a 35 minute bus ride and we were at our mission office.  It was so close!  We all had interviews with our Mission President and (Presidente Ferrin) is so awesome I love him to death already!  Then we went to the Mission Home for more training and had lunch there.  It was really good!  We then went back to the Mission Office and learned who our new companions were and mine is great!  He told me that we basically already have 6 baptisms set up!  How wonderful is that!   We then had to get on a bus and drive for what seemed like forever to get to our area (I still don't know what its called so I'll tell you next week) and it was really hard because the buses here are super sketchy and imagine me trying to hold these 2 giant suitcases on a tiny bus bouncing up and down throughout Brasil.  Then had to walk 45 minutes to our apartment.... dragging my luggage through the streets... I was dragging this luggage and sweating so much!  I don't think I have sweat this much in my life.... my clothes are soaked I can't even stand it.  Then as soon as we arrived to our apartment I had to drop my things off and turn right around and go to a dinner appointment at a member's home.  It was delicious...guess what we had...amazing rice beans and carne!  It was so good!   We went to a recent convert's home and he is blind in his right eye and cant use his right index finger.  He is very poor and it was so humbling to see him in his life and he offered us water right when we arrived.  It was awesome!  Then we went to go meet the bispo, but he wasn't there and now I'm emailing you.  I'm about to drop from exhaustion.  I did get your packages but I haven't had any time to open them yet!  I haven't even unpacked!  So thank you for the things you have sent!  We have a district and zone meeting tomorrow so I'll tell you how those go next week when I have more time!  I love you all and I'll figure out how to send these letters I have next week!  I love you and I want you to know that I am safe and sound in Brasil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Book of Mormon Challenge

This is Elder McKeon's last email from the CTM.  He will be out in the field next week!


Wow!! What a crazy week of stories and fun!! So you're all o.k. from the wreck?? Thats nuts!!!
Well this is my very last P Day here in the CTM.  I almost feel sad..... I am but I am so excited to get out into the field and love the people!!! I will also miss my teachers, they are so awesome!!! I have learned so much here i can't even begin to explain it all over email. But i am writing you guys a letter with more filler stuff this week. I mainly want to talk about what i did this past Monday. The last 2 Mondays that we're here we go proselyting in the afternoon and this past monday was our first time and it was the greatest experience ever!!!
 
O.K. so me and Elder Olson had to teach an "investigator" before we left and the teacher we had talked so fast, I understood him but Elder Olson got frustrated and gave up on the lesson, so I finished the lesson and right after that i said, "outside. now." We went and had companionship inventory and before you get mad at me i was not mean to him. We had a nice talk and we all felt better after it; i was scared that he couldn't proselyte so we kicked our butts into gear so we could go do the Lord's work.

After that we all got 2 Books of Mormon each and me and Elder Olson got 2 more from another companionship. So we had 8 total, and we made the goal that we either hand them all out, or we don't come back to the CTM at all... because we had to meet back at 4:30, we started 2 in the afternoon. So we started out and we had to go to the edge of our boundaries because everyone close to the boundaries knows that we're missionaries.  So we go way out and i see this lady and i said, "Elder, we are talking to her." He was so nervous so he told me to do all the talking. She said she was a spiritual person and that she was on her way to her English class, so i asked if we could walk with her and she said yes. We were talking about our "bible" aka BoM and i explained that it wasnt a bible that it was another tesmanent of Jesus Christ. Anyway we gave her one and she was amazed with my Portuguese! That was 1. 

Then we walked down this hill and i saw these 2 guys and i knew we had to talk to them. Turns out they were totally smoking weed right there and offered us some but i said,"No, but do we have something for you!!" One of the guys had talked to the missionaries before in his life and we ended up giving them 2!!! Thats 3. We then saw this guy getting out of his car and we decided to talk to him.  Before we even got close to him he pointed at us and just yelled,"Jose Smich!!!" So we said "Yes! Jose Smith! Do you know him?" He then went on to tell us that he had talked to Joseph Smith 10 times and had read the Book of Mormon 15 times, oh and by the way, he was tooootally drunk..... after we were done talking to him, he grabbed our hands and kissed them... for like 5 seconds each... it was gross.... so we didnt give him one. 

We then talked to some Evangelical guy who was just bible bashing so we left, then we saw this super awesome guy in front of the bank and he was super receptive and so attentive but didn't read the bible or go to church, but he kept on looking at our "book", we sat and talked to him for a little bit and he was so excited to get reading! Thats 4. We then went to a park and saw this guy sitting on a bench and i knew we needed to talk to him. He wasn't very active in the Catholic faith but he wanted to learn more about our church. Elder Olson was really doing well at this point, he had warmed up and was talking like no ones business!! I bore my testimony and we gave it to him and we saw our teacher and talked to her for a minute and i turned around and saw the guy ALREADY reading it!! Thats 5. We then saw these 2 guys talking out in front of a restaraunt and we needed to talk to them, so i took one of them and Olson took the other one and BOOM, thats 6 and 7. By this time we had like an hour left and we just started walkin around and we talke to everyone but they were all turning us down... so we had 30 minutes left and i thought we needed to go back to where we started and we saw this guy sitting a gas station and we decided to talk to him. He told us to sit and i was sweating so bad that it was falling into my eyes i couldn't concentrate!! Anyway he believed in God and everything, he just didn't believe the Christ was a direct son of God, so we were explaining it to him and he could not believe that we spoke Portuguese this well, or that we volunteered to come on missions and that WE pay to come here and we're not paid to be here, anyway we ended up giving him one and he promised he would read it!! We handed out 8 BOOKS of MORMON!!! How cool is that!! 
 
I can bare testimony that this work is true and that I know that i need to be here and teach these people. I will send a letter of other stuff becuase i needed to tell you guys this first!! I love you and will send you an emial next week from MY MISSION!!!!!!!! 

 
Love you all!!
 
Elder McKeon 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Latest Email with Pictures!


Oi familia!!! Como estao voces?

Everything is going great!  Can you guys believe that I only have two more weeks here in the CTM? I'll leave this month on the 30th!  My mission is about 45 minutes east of the CTM so I won't fly, I'll get a bus ride, which I think are scarier than planes now... the drivers down here are absolutely crazy! Motorcycles zipping by and cars merging like its the Indy 500!

Elder McKeon's mission
Before I forget, Dad, D&C 64: 33-34, this is what i would like to be my mission scripture please.
So you guys got the pictures huh? What'd you think of those? Nice pictures huh! I'm glad they got there safely, how long does it take for mail to get to the states? Oh! Tell Zack that I got his letter and that I am sending him one please. I'm glad the ward is doing awesome! Who is getting baptized in the ward? That is so cool that they're getting baptized!

Elder McKeon with his companion, Elder Olsen, on their "half-way" day in the CTM (notice the ties)
Hey did my ballot come in yet? If so, mark Mitt like 5 times cause I know we need him to win! How is he doing?
I'm pretty sure I went into detail about my district in the letter I sent, but once again, 12 missionaries District Leader is Elder Kisor.

Elder McKeon with his district
I have grown more spiritually here in these past few weeks than I ever could have back home, its scary!  I love it here so much and I am learning new things daily. We focused on the Word of Wisdom this week which is kind of hard because I don't have the vocabulary for it yet so I have to think of different ways to say things.  We got our pesquisador (investigator) to commit to it and to stop smoking and drinking coffee (apparently, everyone in Brazil drinks coffee) so we need to work on that. I have never prayed more than I have here in the CTM. Not just quick little prayers, but EVERYTHING. I pray when I get up, before personal study, before and after I teach an investigator and during the lesson in my heart for my companion and for the Spirit.  Also before each meal and then before companionship study. These are the only times that I can think of when I pray, but I'm sure I do it a lot more than this.  It is more meaningful when I pray for certain aspects of everyday life: my companion, the Spirit, humility, patience, my investigators and of course, my family. I pray all the time and sometimes I do it without realizing it, that's when you know you're on a mission.  You start praying without realizing it.  I have grown in my scriptural knowledge a hundredfold.  My companion said this to me the other day after we taught a lesson, "I can't believe your knowledge of the scriptures!  We'll be sitting in a lesson and you'll pull out a scripture that I had never heard of and it totally applies to the lesson and our investigator".  All I do is read the scriptures, Preach My Gospel, and write down anything that my teachers say.  I love being a missionary and having this time to learn and to grow not only as a missionary but as a man. I cannot wait two more weeks to get out into Brazil and take this amazing message to these wonderful people who I have come to love and admire.  I love you all and you are always in my prayers!
Elder McKeon with his original trio companionship, Elder Glover and Elder Olsen

Eu sei que esta igreja é verdadeira. Eu amo este trabalho e minha familia. Eu sei que nós temos um profeta verdadeiro na terra hoje, e ele é Thomas S. Monson. Eu continuo a crescer em espirito e forte. Eu sei que meu Salvador é Jesus Cristo, e Ele morreu para nossos pecados porque Ele nos ama.
Love,
Elder McKeon

Elder McKeon's bedroom window view of the city

Monday, October 15, 2012

Only 2 More Weeks in the CTM


How is everyone doing?  I wish I had way more time to email you but we are kept pretty busy at the CTM! We only have 30 minutes to read and type all of our emails so I have to type all of the important stuff.  But here is my address to the mission home:
 
Elder Howard Derek McKeon
Brazil São Paulo East Mission
Rua Caa-Açu, 229 Belenzhinho
03171-020 São Paulo - SP
Brazil

Thanks! I am doing fantastic here!! I am having such a fun time! Can you believe that I've been here for 7 weeks already?  I don't know about you but they have flown by for me!  I leave for the field the 30th of this month so I've been counting down the days until I leave! 20 more to go! I sent you guys a long detailed letter with a couple of pictures in it last week.  I don't know how long mail takes to get there but it should be there soon. I wish we could upload pictures on the computer, but we can't, I think we can in the field so I'll do most of them then.  



I am having a blast here!  Yes, I listened to all of conference and the first talk from President Monson drove a lot of talk from all the missionaries!  That's all we talked about the rest of this week! Is Kirk going to go right when her turns 18?  I know that Rylee REALLY wanted to go when she was 21, so now she can go even sooner!!! This conference was so different as a full time missionary.  It was amazing to take in all of doctrine and the spirit that they shared with us. And I only slept through ONE talk! Guess whose it was??? yup, Richard G. Scott..... He has such a melodic voice and it gets me every single time.  I love my mission and the experiences I am having! I enjoy the CTM and the food!  I am eating a ton of rice and beans.  I dump it over all my food, no matter what it is, beans and rice!  I miss you so much more than words can describe! I will write you another letter this week in great detail!!
 
I love you so much!!
 
your son,
 
Elder McKeon

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Portuguese Master



Derek is still doing well and loves the mission!

Hey! I'm doing fine! And you're right, we only have 30 minutes to email and I need way more time to be able to say what I want to say. So I have been writing this letter that is pretty detailed and there is this shop that will print pictures and i was going to do that today and send them home in the letter..
 
Tell me about your business and how its going! Your health, the family, the ward, everything! How's BYU doing? Carlie said they beat Hawaii 47-0 so that's a definite improvement. How is Kirk doing in football? Rylee's Cross Country? And who the heck is this Justin kid??? 
 
As for me, I am doing fantastic!  I love being a missionary so much and I can't wait to get out of the CTM and teach real investigators what they need in their lives and how the Gospel can help them. Elder Olson (my companion) and I were teaching our teacher (mock investigator) about the Commandments and we only got to teach him 2 things (prayer and scripture study) in 45 minutes; it was a great lesson and we could feel the Spirit so strongly in the room, but we wanted to teach him more!! We had so many more great things to teach him, just not enough time! We already committed him to baptism, but we need to keep teaching him and I love this work so much I can't even stand it! I am learning more and more Portuguese everyday, and by the time Christmas rolls around I'll be talking to you in fluent Portuguese that you'll need to tell me to slow down and ask me what certain words are!! Its great here, but it gets kind of daunting, we nicknamed the CTM Spirit Prison, because we just want to get out and teach everyone we see!! Especially on the street!  I love making street contacts!  I have the confidence to go up to a random person and strike up a conversation with them about anything and then Elder Olson and I tie the Gospel in the conversation and we talk about that! I love it so much! 
 
This time is precious and I love and miss you all so much and Eu sei que estas coisas sao verdadeiras, com todo meu coracao. Eu sei que Jose Smith foi um Profeta de Deus e que ele restaurou o evangelho de Jesus Cristo na terra. Eu amo a minha familia, e todos os meus amigos, e eu sinto saudades de voces com o todo do meu coracao. Eu vos-amo muito muito muito muito!!!
 
Elder McKeon

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A whole month

Derek has now been in the CTM for a month now.  Time is flying!


Hey Mom!!!
Im sending this to you but im talking to you and dad ok?
I love it down here! I got your pictures and everyone loves looking at them, especially my Brasilero friends! Tell that Ramirez guy that is dating Rylee to cool it alright!  Carlie told me about BYU and the Niners... That is so cool that Kirk is team captain for his football team! I'm so proud of him! 

My district is awesome and I love them all! Here's the list and I'll send a letter home with pictures later cause the CTM won't let us upload pictures here.
Companion, Elder Olson: Las Vegas, Nevada is a super amazing singer with perfect pitch and a great spirit and is one of the funniest guys i've ever met! He had a tougher time initially with the language but he's doing much better now! He has 9 people in his family and went to BYU before the mission, but we didn't know each other before.
Elder Glover: from Gary, Indiana and on the BYU track and cross country team and went on several dates with Brooke Holt! Hes a super cool guy and I love him to death! 
Elder Hohsfield: Galt, CA.  Dont really know him too well yet.  He was in the Provo MTC for 2 weeks and then came here because he finally received his visa.  He likes to sing as well and is picking up the language pretty well too.
I'll write a letter about them later, I'm running low on time.
I can email anyone in my immediate family.  Dad I sent a letter via email to your howardmckeon@gmail.com address from Mission Ties, did you not receive it? Please do a little research on them and let me know. And no I have not written grandpa or grandmother but i definately will! Keep me posted on everything please!
Mom, please send me my dirty clothes bag that I used up at school please, I am currently using a garbage bag and its starting to tear! I could also use flashlight please. I am doing fine and i am keeping healthy, I am eating so much food I can't even stand it!! None of it even comes close to your cooking so don't worry! I love you and will write you this week! I will write you a nice long letter full of details later! 
Love your son,
Derek,