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