Current Mailing Address

Current Mailing Address

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

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.


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 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!


Elder McKeon