Current Mailing Address

Current Mailing Address

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

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.
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

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