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, November 27, 2013


Hey guys!

So, last week Dad asked me to write a special email for you guys on some experiences throughout my mission that have helped my testimony grow. Well, there are a lot, so I will try and keep this short.

Being in a different country, far from family, speaking a different language, with people who I never even knew existed, made me grow up.... fast. I learned how to do things quickly and effectively that would help me and help these people. I thought it was me learning these things, but in reality it was the Lord, through the Spirit, teaching me these things.

When I came on the mission, I had a long list of goals that I wanted to accomplish like: baptize every single person I teach, or become a MASTER of the Portuguese language, or memorize the scriptures. Don't let me be the one to tell you that they can't be accomplished, I just happened to change the perspective of my goals. I decided that I would like to be more humble, more patient, less stubborn, and be the best missionary that I could be.  These became my goals.  Not unreachable, but definitely not the easiest thing for me.  I knew that I was prideful, and that I was never the most patient guy, and I really could use being less stubborn. So, these goals were going to take some work, I'm not saying that I have perfected them, (a long ways actually) but I have really made some improvement. And it wasn't even me that did the work!  I'll tell you how.

People change people.  I have learned that this is a fact. Certain people act differently around one group of people and then change completely for a different group. That is a negative way people change people. But, there is a positive way too.  Its all depends on how YOU want to be.  Whenever I meet someone new to teach, I always think, "How can I help them?"  Then we begin to teach them and we all feel the Spirit and they begin to grow, and as they begin to grow spiritually and start planting that little seed of a testimony, they begin to help you. 

Once they really start to see a change in their own lives, reading the Livro de Mórmon and going to Church, they start to study it and then they share what they have learned with us because they are so excited to strengthen their testimony, and I can say 100% of the time, what they studied and told me strengthened my testimony. Seeing the light in their eyes and their lives helped me see that this work was made for EVERYONE  and that it will help everyone become better.

In my first area, Continental, we were teaching a muleque named Matheus, (maybe you remember him) but anyways, we started to teach only him. We knew there were other members of the family, but no one else wanted anything to do with us.  I was a little frustrated (I still wasn't very patient) because I wanted to bring a WHOLE family into the Church.  But my companion, Elder Padilla, told me to just chill and it would work out.  So, we start to teach him and it goes well and we invite him to come to Church and to be baptized, and he accepted!  We then go back to his home to pick him up for Church and we get there and his Dad, Luiz, wants to go too!  We thought, "Even better!"  So, we take them to Church and they had a great experience and wanted to learn more.  We then teach the son and dad and the mom, Katia, who had been pretty hesitant but starts to listen to what we teach from the kitchen. And soon after, she is sitting on the couch attentively listening to what we have to say!  Then one thing led to another and they wanted to be baptized and then their oldest son, Felipe, who wanted nothing to do with the Church, sees the change in his family and begins to hear what his family has learned.  It turned out that his family taught him more than we did! They used their testimonies and knowledge to teach him and to help him!  It was the most beautiful act of love I have ever seen.  They were truly worried and cared enough for their son or brother to help him receive this Gospel to become an Eternal family. They were all baptized! As we were teaching them the 5th lesson, they cut us off and began asking us questions, and then it turned into them teaching us! It was amazing, they helped me learn patience, because I wanted them all at once to be baptized, but the Lord knew what He was doing and put it all in place how it was supposed to happen. And even better, they invited their next door neighbors to go to Church with them and they got baptized too! People change people!

We also had a miracle this week.  We were getting ready for a training and we get a call from a member saying that he has an investigator that only speaks English and that he was bringing him by the office in 30 minutes. Bangerter and I jumped at the opportunity to teach him!  It was SO HARD to teach in English! I couldn't think of the words to say! We would start a sentence in English, but then end it in Portuguese and we would constantly have to hit each other under the table to switch back to English, it was so hard, but it was a really great lesson.

His name is Menick, and he is from Bangladesh.  He fled his country because his political party made him a target for a terrorist group. He ran into a member close to his house and they started to talk about the Church and Menick wanted to learn about Jesus Christ.  But the way he said  was like this: "I want to learn about Jesus Christ from the Missionaries of Jesus Christ".  When he said that, Elder Bangerter and I just got the biggest smiles on our faces as we could say,"We are the missionaries of Jesus Christ here on the Earth!" It was so cool, and it felt so good to teach again! He downloaded the Livro de Mórmon in Bangla, onto his ipad and now is getting ready to be baptized in December. We asked him to give the closing prayer and we asked him to offer it in his language.  I didn't understand a single word, but I knew that he was praying for the truth and to know that this Church is true.  He started to cry during the middle of it and it was a great spiritual experience for all of us, especially Menik. 

These are a few examples of the many that I have experienced throughout my mission that have helped my testimony grow. I KNOW for a fact that this is God's true Church and that we are doing a marvelous work and a wonder here and around the whole world. I want you to know that I know that this is the only true Church on the earth today and that it was restored by Joseph Smith, who was a Prophet of God, and that we still have the same keys and authorities today, through President Thomas S. Monson.  I love this Church and the work that we are doing for our brothers and sisters that I have come to call family down here in Brazil.  It is all true.  And I love it all.  In the name of Jesus Christ. Amém.


Elder McKeon

Monday, November 4, 2013

Medical Miracles

Hello everyone, Elder McKeon's sister (Carlie) here. I apologize for the lack of updating I have been doing on this blog. But, before you get too upset with me, there is a reason behind it.

(Elder Moises and Elder McKeon)

A few weeks ago, Elder McKeon was playing a little game of soccer on P-day. During the game, he planted his foot and turned awkwardly, resulting in a serious knee injury. His knee cap had gone from being on the top of his knee (where it belongs) to the side of his knee. Derek immediately put it back in place, but was still in a great deal of pain.

The next day, Derek tried to go out and walk on it, but it was extremely swollen. He then called Sister Ferrin (the mission president's wife) and explained to her what had happened. President Ferrin made a trip to see Derek and gave him a blessing. All of the missionaries also participated in a fast on his behalf. Derek scheduled an MRI and was forced to wait in his apartment until he had results.

Our family received an email explaining what had happened. In the email, Sister Ferrin told us that if the knee required surgery due to torn ligaments, Derek would have to be sent home. Needless to say, Derek was rather discouraged by the news.

Our family was also rather devastated. We knew that it was such a leap of faith for Derek to go, especially since our dad had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer just a couple of months before he left. We also fasted and prayed that the ligaments in Derek's knee would heal and he would be able to stay on his mission.

(Elder McKeon saying goodbye to Sister Aledo and Sister Carvalho from his district)

A couple of weeks after his MRI (the medical system down there is rather slow), Derek was given the pictures from the MRI. He was able to e-mail them to Dr. Hansen (our good family friend and orthopedic surgeon). Dr. Hansen told us that the ligament had been torn (when his knee cap moved to the side of his knee), but because of the way the ligament was torn, it was not going to require surgery. Instead, Derek will just have to wear a knee brace for 4-6 weeks and use crutches until the scar tissue around the torn ligament is able to help heal the injury. There was also a piece of cartilage that broke off and is just kind of floating around his knee, but it shouldn't cause him any problems. Oh, and he can't play any sports until he gets home.

(The new knee brace)

Elder McKeon was transferred to the office (which he informed us is not as rewarding as teaching), but he is grateful that he will be able to finish the last 9 months of his mission in Brazil. We feel so blessed to have family and friends that were kind enough to offer prayers on Derek's behalf.

So there you have it. The last few emails have just been exchanging medical information, which is why I haven't posted anything on here. He really does appreciate any and all emails and letters sent his way, so if you have a minute, please write him a little note. It would mean a lot to an elder stuck in the mission office:) You can also send him a message on Facebook, and I will make sure to send it to him.

Thank you all again for your love and support!


The McKeon Family

Monday, October 7, 2013

Conference Miracles

Hey everyone!

I love service and miracles!

This week we had been preparing for conference and I was so excited for it. I really didn't take conference seriously while I was home and now I am really kicking myself for that. Anyways, earlier on in the week we ate lunch at an Irmã's house named Alzenir. She is old and lonely, so our visits with her are usually a little bit longer. During our visit, I noticed that one of her walls was super moldy and falling apart. At the end of every message we give I always ask,"Do you have anything that we could do to help you?" Usually they always say "no" (and she did as well) which I expected, but then I told her that if there was ANYTHING we could do just to tell us. She got kind of quiet and I told her, "Irmã, just because we are wearing these clothes doesn't mean that we cant work, these are our working clothes." She was still quiet, so I had had enough, I stood up, went to the wall, grabbed a hammer and a screwdriver and I was about to start cleaning it up when she started to scream and yell at me saying that I couldn't do it because my clothes would get dirty. I told her that I was still going to help and I started to chip away at the wall. 

(Elder Moises and Elder McKeon working on a moldy wall)

Then Elder Moises came and started to help. She started to cry because she didn't have the money to pay someone to come and do the work. It was such a touching experience for me, she reminds me of Grandma Gale because she sows for a living and she always worries about us, but I love her and it made me feel so good to help her out. She was right though, it got us SO dirty. I was COVERED in dust and rock, but I was so happy to have the opportunity to help.

(Covered in dirt after doing a little service)

We then get to Conference and MIRACLES! 

We have been teaching this guy, Ademar, but he wasn't really progressing. He didn't want to go to church or read the Book of Mormon, but we visited one last time on Friday and told him how incredible conference is. He ended up saying, "Alright, I'll go and if I like it and feel the Spirit. I'll be baptized!" I walked out of there feeling great. On Saturday were in the session and I am was looking for Ademar. It was hard to pay attention because I was just looking at the doors waiting for him to come in. We called him during the break and he said that he couldn't go Saturday, but that he would go on Sunday. Great. So, we go back Sunday and Ademar didn't show up for the first session, so I was hoping he would be there for the afternoon session. Then I remembered that he said if it rained he wasn't going to come. Just as the second session started, I heard rain, so I lost all hope.I was already bummed because we had all of our other baptisms fall through that week in our district, which meant we weren't going to have a single baptism in the whole district that week (which had not happened in this zone ever). I started to pray for a miracle. After I finished the prayer, we got up to sing the intermediate hymn and as I got up I turned around to stretch. Guess who I saw sitting in the very back? That's right, Ademar! I ran back there and brought him up to the front so he could see and hear everything. It was awesome! 

(Elder Moises, Ademar, and Elder McKeon at Ademar's baptism)

After the session, Ademar had his interview and he came out with a huge smile on his face. We went to the baptismal font and immediately started to fill it up. The water was freezing cold, but we had the service anyways. Ademar started to cry, and we were so happy to see him enter into the Gospel. It was a great testimony builder for me and I was so grateful to witness these miracles happening in the lives of others.

Well I have to go, but I hope you all have a wonderful week.


Elder McKeon 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Change in Seasons

Hey guys!

This week was not the greatest we've had, it was actually pretty hard. It just seemed like everything that we had going for us hit the wall and stopped. All the investigators we were teaching were either not home, or were too busy to let us teach them. It was super frustrating and discouraging. We then turned to contacts to try and turn the week around, and it didn’t work out either. Everyone that we talked to (and we talked to a lot) just seemed super uninterested and didn’t want anything to do with us. It was making me angry, because I thought I had done something wrong, like the contact wasn’t as strong as it could be, or I said something that might’ve offended them, or if I wasn’t in the right place or the right time. It was just a very difficult week. It was a lot of prayer and study. But then once the week ended, I realized, that I hadn’t fasted once during the week and that was where we went wrong. It’s very hard to fast here in this area and for me personally, I love to eat, but when we fast, we are asking the Lord for help, and I guess He was trying to teach a lesson because I wasn’t asking for much help! Now we are going to fast this week and see what we can do to turn this thing around! 

Also, Brazil’s weather is bi-polar. We had to go to Cumbica (one of my districts areas) to do an interview. When we got there I was sweating up a storm. It was so hot! Then we met up with the Sisters and started heading to another appointment, and when we came out, there were clouds all over the sky and it was windy and cold. I was mad because the guy that I interviewed was supposed to be baptized right after the interview by one of his best friends. Unfortunately, the friend’s mom wouldn’t let him baptize David, the guy I interviewed, because she is 100% against the Church. David was kind of bummed, but then asked me to do the baptism for him. I had to wear this HUGE baptismal jumpsuit and the water was freezing. It was such a great experience and the Spirit was super strong there and everyone loved the service. Since I didn’t know that I was going to baptize, I didn’t bring an extra pair of underwear so it was ALL WET and I just left them on and we had to leave for another interview, and when we stepped outside, it was super windy and freezing cold! When we got back to our area it was ALL mud because there are just dirt roads here. So, all my pants are dirty and I don’t even polish my shoes anymore because they will just get dirty in 5 minutes after leaving the house.

Well, I gotta go! I love you guys so much and miss you all everyday! I love you and hope you guys have an awesome week and a good time at the "MTC!" (side note: our stake back home called all of the kids on a “mission,” so Rylee and Kirk are on mini missions right now.)


Elder McKeon

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Transfers and a Baptism

Ok, so let me explain what happened last week...
Elder Hanni and I were in the LAN House (where we send emails, its a room of like 20 computers) and I had just sent you my pictures for the week and then the power went out! All of the computers just turned off, and it wasn't just that building, the whole area was out of energy. I didn't even have time to email Presidente. So, I didnt just 'forget' to email you guys sorry!
The night of our P-day we were at a member's home having dinner and playing games and it was the night of transfers. Elder Hanni and I had only been together for one transfer and he had only been in the are for 3 months, so all the cards led to us staying together for one more transfer. Then I get the call saying he is getting transfered at 11:30 that night. We had no time to say goodbye to anyone in our area and we had to stay up until 3 in the morning packing his stuff. So, then we have to leave our house at 6 in the morning to get to the office on time which made it was a very long day the next day.

(Elder Hanni and Elder McKeon's last picture together)

When we left the house, we forgot that we had left some of Hanni's pants at a member's home to get them fixed because she sews for a living. We left them there 5 days before and we got to her house at 6:30 in the morning, praying she was awake, but she hadn't even started on the pants yet! 

(Elder McKeon saying good-bye to Elder Haskell)

Finally we got on the bus to get to the office, but we got on the WRONG bus and had to take 2 more to get to the right bus to get us to the office. We finally got to the office and all of our friends were there. It was kind of hard saying goodbye to a lot of them. A bunch of my friends were all "dying" aka going home, and as I was walking around looking at all of the missionaries I realized that I didn't know most of them, because most of the people that I knew were already gone. It was very strange, but now I have a new companion, a brazilian named Elder Moises or in English, Elder Moses. He has been out for 4 months and is still pretty green, but he wants to work hard and that's all that matters!

(Elder McKeon with his new companion, Elder Moises)

We baptized this week! It was so awesome! We had Yuri, Felipe, Vitoria, and Maria Eduarda all come into the Church! It's that family we had been teaching and the kids were baptized this week. It was Stake Conference too and so we had to get them to Church by bus, which was no easy thing by the way. We had to get 3 buses there and 3 back. It was crazy because the oldest, Yuri, gets sick on buses and threw up like 4 times. It was a stressful bus ride. When we got them home, we told the mom, Pamela, (who was working and had just gotten home) that the baptism was at 4 and that we would be waiting there. She asked what they needed to bring and we said a towel and an extra pair of underwear and Pamela was in the middle of frosting a huge cake and she asked, "What about food??" I said if she wanted to bring something she was more than welcome to. So we left, went and got to the Church and got everything ready for the baptism. Then the family showed up in their best clothes and Pamela came in with ANOTHER huge cake that she had made in the time we were gone. Anyways, after we baptized the kids and now we just have to get the parents baptized too. It was just such a great experience to have them there and to feel that sweet spirit touch their hearts to really show them that this Church is true. 
Well, I gotta go! I am sorry again for not writing last week, and mom thank you for re-sending the package. Also, congrats on running the Ragnar! It looks like you guys were tired in the final picture! I am so proud of you for running it! Well I love you guys and I will talk to you guys next week!!! 
Elder McKeon

Monday, September 9, 2013

Catch Up!

I apologize for being a slacker these last few weeks. Here is the latest from Elder McKeon!

Hey everyone!

I am very excited for tomorrow because we get to go to the Temple! Especially because this week was pretty hard. We didn't have a baptism like we thought we would and I don't know whats going on. Elder Hanni  and I have been working hard and it just seems nothing is going right. We are finding people, teaching them, and then cutting them because they aren't really interested.

We have been branching out into new areas of our HUGE area (lots and lots of hills) and we stumbled into this little valley. We went there to go look for an investigator that might have existed. The other missionaries cut him and Elder Hanni wanted to go back and just see if he still lived there. All he remembered was what the house looked like. We found the house, but we didn't know his name. I clapped (which is how you knock on the door) and Elder Hanni was supposed to yell out what he believed to be the name of the man. When he yelled it out, all he said was "Adumehuar!" He immediately got scared, and I was worried, because I had never heard a name like that. We waited until a man called out and said, "Wait a minute!" He came out and told us his name was Ademar, so Elder Hanni was actually pretty close. We scheduled to talk to him later on in the week.

Then walking down that same road for a little bit, we started talking to some kids. We ended up going to their house and talking to their mom and invited them all to be baptized and they all accepted! When we went to go pick them up for Church, they couldn't go because their dad wouldn't let them (the parents are separated) and the mom didn't tell him anything about them going to Church. The kids were crying and begging their dad to let them go, but he wouldn't. I stood there for about 15 minutes asking him to come with us and explaining how the Church works, but he would  not budge.

Well, I got to go! We have to get to São Paulo to get my package!! I love you guys and I will talk to you next week!

Elder McKeon

Hey guys!!

This was a crazy week this week!!! 

It's starting to heat up down here and I love it. This past week was kind of a bummer because we were supposed to baptize Adelçio, but he had to go back to my first area (Continental) and help his son with some construction on his home. We had no time to teach him because he wasn't here which was really frustrating., but he said he should be back in town this week and we will teach him then.

We taught a girl named Evelyn. She is the neighbor of a member and she has been to Church a few times before but then stopped. We stopped by her house and she came to church and she said she is going to get baptized.

On Sunday, Elder Hanni and I were supposed to perform baptisms of a couple girls. But we did not have a way to get to the baptism because no one works on Sunday and the public transportation is limited. We had to ask someone for a ride, but not very many members have cars, so it took us a while before we were able to find someone to take us. We had to ride to Cumbica and the whole time the sister missionaries were calling us and panicking because we were late. Eventually I got a call from Sister Pacari and she asked me to sing a hymn over the phone to calm down the girls because they thought we were not going to show up. Well, I don't sing, but I tried for these girls. Elder Hanni was laughing at me the whole time, but it seemed to calm the girls down. It was actually kind of cool to see the desire of these girls to get baptized. We finally got to the Church and we jumped into the baptism suits, but mine was way too small, so the pant leg was like a foot from hitting the ground.

Overall it was a hectic, but good experience. I love you guys so much and miss you so much!


Elder McKeon

We had a mission conference this past week on Wednesday in São José dos Campos. It is very far away from us here in Cabuçú. We planned as a zone to rent a bus to take us there instead of taking 5 different buses and maybe getting lost. We had planned to have the bus leave our zone at 5:00 a.m. in the morning. On Tuesday night we get back home after working and we had to pack our suits and stuff, and then we started our way to Pimentas (the Zone leaders area) And Elder Hanni told me he knew how to get there SUPER easily. So, we get to the last bus we have to take and we hop on it and I think,"Great! Well get there soon, sleep well and get to the conference perfectly!!" Of course that is not what happened. I ask Elder Hanni what stop we need to get off and he waits a little bit and then we get to the stop and we get off and I call the Zone Leaders to see where we needed to go. We then found out that we were about an hours walk from their house and t was about 11:30 at night and it was freezing. We waited for the next bus, which took about 45 minutes to show up, and then we got to the Zone Leaders house about 12:30 in the morning. I then slept on the floor with a towel as a blanket that barely covered my legs. We then woke up at 4:00 a.m. to get ready to get on another bus. Once we got there, the conference was incredible and you could feel the spirit so strongly.

I learned so much from the conference. Presidente Ferrin is a really good man and I love him to death and I know that he was called of God to lead our mission and to lead to do even greater things! It was cool at the conference because Sister Ferrin played a game with the whole mission to see if we were taking care of our houses and keeping them clean by having all the missionaries stand up and she would ask questions like"Do you make your bed everyday? Have you swept the floor recently? Are all the dishes washed?" Elder Hanni and I won, but that is probably because our house does not have furniture so there isn't a lot to keep clean.

Well, I love you guys!


Elder McKeon

Monday, August 19, 2013


Hey everybody!
How are you guys doing?
Alright, we had a cool experience this week. It was Wednesday night and we had not been by to visit a recent convert. We were coming back from the market and we passed by her house. We decided that we needed to stop by the very next day. So, we go to Val's house (the recent convert) to see how she is doing and there was this other guy there talking with Val's son. We were just sitting there talking and I didn't even have the feeling to talk to the guy, but then he asked the key question, "How did the Mormon Church start?" The gloves were off at that point. We then had an amazing lesson and invited him to be baptized the next Sunday, but then we got on the subject of smoking and the Word of Wisdom and we learned that he smokes a pack a day, which is around 21 cigarettes. 

(how the Elders have to wash their socks)

We made goals for him to stop smoking slowly. We made a goal for him to smoke 15 on Friday, 10 Saturday, 5 Sunday, and 1 or 2 Monday, and 0 by Tuesday. We made up a contract and he signed it. We left there feeling good and we set up an appointment to see him the next day (Friday), but we missed the appointment because we had to go to Cumbica to do some baptismal interviews for my district. We were super bummed and we felt  bad because we didn't get home until late. 

(Digital Jesus graffiti) 

On Saturday we went to his house and we had a long talk. The interesting part was Friday night I had a dream that we were talking to Adelçio (that is the name of our investigator) and he told us that he only smoked 6 cigarettes on Friday and 0 on Saturday. I woke up Saturday morning and told Elder Hanni that I had a weird dream and he said,"Hmmm that was a very specific dream." Then we go to Adelçio's house and we were talking and we got on the subject of his smoking and told us that he only smoked 6 cigarettes on Friday and none that day (which was Saturday). I was stunned! I stopped and asked,"Wait, you only smoked 6 yesterday and none today?" (just to be sure i wasn't crazy) And he replied,"Yes! And I'm feeling great!" As Elder Hanni and I were walking away, Elder Hanni just shoves me and says,"Dude, you're weird!" It was a really cool experience for me and really shows how the Spirit lets us really know our investigators.

We went by Adelçio's house on Sunday to go pick him up and take him to Church and he wasn't home. I was disappointed and we left to go look for our other investigators. When we got to Church we saw Adelçio was already there chatting with everybody. It was amazing! I loved seeing him there so happy and making friends, and to me, that was a miracle.
Well, I love you guys! I will talk to you next week!
Elder McKeon

("Tell Jan The Man that this one is for him. These cows just walk around right by our house! -- Elder McKeon)

Monday, August 12, 2013

One Year Mark!

Hey everyone!

Well, I am now in beautiful Cabuçú. It is so great out here! I got transferred from Jardim Camargo Novo, to Cabuçú, I am now District Leader over two other areas with my companion, Elder Hanni, from Alaska.

Elder Hanni and Elder McKeon

Elder Hanni and I work well together. We are already friends and he is a really good guy. He has and has been in this area for about a month and a half so we are going to do some awesome work here!

Elder McKeon with Tom from Camargo Novo

The cool thing about this area is that the Church hasn't been in this area for a very long time, so we don't have many members or even a ward yet. We have a branch, but we don't have a chapel yet. We rent out a school and hold our meetings there. There are about 60-65 people in our branch. They are all very humble people and they all live in the forest out here.

We had an interesting encounter with a mouse this week. I asked Elder Hanni if he had ever seen a mouse in the house because we were finding droppings. He said he had not, but 10 minutes later I'm in the bathroom and I hear Elder Hanni scream like a girl! I ran out and he says he saw the mouse run under the oven. We get him out and we almost catch him, but then he squeezes out under the door and gets away. The very next night we were planning our day and here comes the same mouse again running through the house like he owns the place. So this time we caught him and I unfortunately killed him by hitting him with a broom too hard against a wall. So that was our pet story for the week...

Poor little mouse...

Well I gotta go! I love and miss you all so much and hope you are all doing well!

I love you guys!


Elder McKeon

Loves getting packages!

Monday, August 5, 2013

More Investigators

Hey guys,

Can you believe that ANOTHER transfer has gone by? It feels like last week we were just starting the transfer and now here we are finishing this transfer out.

I can't believe that in a week I will hit my one year mark here on the mission. It has been so awesome and I am so glad that I have one more year. People ask us how long we have been out and I say, "I have one year here in Brasíl left." Then, they always give this look like they feel bad that I still have another year, but I look at it like "Dang, I only have one more year left on my mission." My friend here in Camargo Novo, who served his mission in Espírito Santo, told me,"The more you want it to slow down, the faster it goes by."

This week was a good week. We had a bunch of people come to church. We found this family making a contact. Well actually, the kids made the contact. The kids here love for me to speak English and I get kind of tired of it after awhile. So, we were walking down this street and these three kids yelled,'Hey! Americano! Come here!" I decided to have fun with them this time. I told them that I wasn't an American, but that I was born in Portugal, and then my family moved to Rio Grande do Sul (a state here in Brasíl). They all just sat there for a minute bummed because I wasn't an American, but after a few minutes I told them the truth and we got in and taught his mom and him and his friends. Then, they all went to church and had a great time! We actually are going to stop by their house here in a little bit to see if they will be baptized. They seemed to love it and already have friends there. They are great family and I know that this Gospel can help them even more.

The only bummer was that yesterday we were supposed to have the baptism of Leticia. It didn't happen because a member who is a really good friend of Leticia couldn't get there to watch the baptism. Now we have it rescheduled for next week. Now the transfer is coming up and I am afraid that I might get transferred and I won't be able to see the baptism, but that's life as a missionary.

Well, we have a few appointments we have to get to! I love you guys so much and I hope you all have a great week!


Elder McKeon

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Winter Time in Brazil

Hey everyone,

It got to 37 degrees this past week here in Brazil. Weird, right? When I get back to BYU I'm going to freeze.
It's even worse when we got home because the houses here are made of stone and they don't have carpet here, only tile. Throw in a couple of windows that don't shut all the way and you have got yourself one REALLY cold house. It was so cold we could see our breath and we had to wear 8 layers of clothing to stay warm during the night. I even bought gloves!

Other than me complaining about it being cold, we had a pretty good week.  We have been trying to find a bunch of people to teach, but now everyone "está de ferias." It's what they call summer break down here so school is out and no one is working, so they all travel or have family over which makes it difficult to teach during this time of year. We have been making contacts and trying to find new people, but this upcoming week should be better because the summer break will be over. 

This past week we confirmed Antonio. It was great because everyone in the ward loves him and calls him "Vó" which means grandpa. Antonio reminds me of Grandpa Gale! He just goes walking throughout the day and no one knows where he goes or when he comes back, but he is awesome and I love him! Right now we are working on his granddaughter, Vitoria. She has accepted baptism, but has to be baptized at night because her mom works during the day and wants to be there for the baptism. It is going to happen either Friday or Saturday night this week.

Do you guys remember Leticia? Well she was an investigator of ours and had some problems and needed time to really think about baptism. Then at Church yesterday, she came up to me and says,"Elder, I want to be baptized, what do we have to do?" She will probably be baptized this week by her boyfriend, Lucas. Things are going really well here.

Today, we went to Guarulhos with Marcelo and some other Elders. After we had breakfast we played games and then Elder Diaz and I made a detour and stopped by Luiz and Katias in Continental. We surprised them and it was so great to talk and catch up with them and see how much that they have grown in such little time. We were talking when Katia says,"I am so grateful for you and Elder Padilla for bringing this Gospel into our lives and I have no intention of leaving, or my family." I was so happy I ALMOST cried, I kept it together! It was cool to see them and see how they were doing.

Well, I am running late, and I have to go. I love you guys so much and miss you! 


Elder McKeon

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

More Adventures!

Hey everyone,

This past week we had divisions in our area. I went with our Zone Leader, and Elder Diaz spent the day with Elder Moreira. We had a great day of success! We found so many people to teach and we had a couple of miracles.

When I was with Elder Nelson (my Zone Leader), we had just gotten out of one lesson and we went to our other appointment but they weren’t home. We turned around and we were at a little park when he asked me what our back up plan was (which was to make contacts). This park was a good place to do them so Elder Nelson asked, "Who should we talk too?" When I looked there were a few people there, a mom with her child, a couple of kids flying kites and this guy sitting by himself at a table.

(A pink dog in the Favela)

The guy kept looking at us, the 2 Americans wearing ties and nametags. I thought to myself, "We need to talk to him." But, he looked like the kind of guy who would stand up and walk away the second that we started walking towards him. I told Elder Nelson that we needed to talk to that guy and so as we started walking towards him; I was praying the whole time that he wouldn’t get up and run away. It felt like a super long walk but it was really like 2 seconds.

We finally get there and he hadn’t gotten up and left, so we got right into it saying who we were, why we’re here, and what we had to offer. Elder Nelson was talking and I was looking at this guy. He started to tear up and then just lost it. I saw it happen, the transformation in his face and countenance. It was amazing. We asked if we could sit down and he said sure. We sat and he told us that he was kicked out of his house because of a fight he had had with his father-in-law and that his life wasn’t going the way that he wanted it to.

We were talking and he then just spits out the question, "Why did you guys come and start talking to me?" I started to answer and Elder Nelson cuts in and says, "We were over there about to teach somebody else but they weren’t home, so I asked Elder McKeon who we should talk to and he picked you.  It was a feeling." I thought to myself, "That’s what it was, just a feeling, but it was the Spirit putting that in my mind to talk to Carlos, and that he needed to hear our message." I was so glad that I listened to that prompting and that we met Carlos, because it was a miracle. The only reason we were in that area was because of that ONE appointment, and turns out that Carlos was there waiting for us to talk to him. It was a powerful experience. I am so glad that I had it and it has helped my testimony grow so much.

We also had a baptism this past week for Antonio. We made a contact with his grandson, who didn’t want anything to do with the Church, but he said that we could visit his Aunt, where Antonio lives. We went by there and met Atonio, who is a more experienced man of 77 years. We taught him that night and we left, but I didn’t think much of it because he was old, and didn’t really seem that interested.

We went back once more and met his daughter, Miraldete. We have taught them and then we asked if they had already been baptized and they both said no, which is pretty surprising here in Brasil where everyone and their dog is baptized. We explained that it was a commandment to be baptized and they were ecstatic. We took them to Church and they had a great experience and we baptized Antonio yesterday. I was kind of scared because we woke up and it was POURING rain, but after 10 minutes it stopped and the sun came out and it was HOT.

(Antonio's Baptism)

We have to use this machine to heat the water in the baptismal font, because there is no hot water switch, so there was no way to heat the water and he is an old guy of 77 years. I was afraid that he wouldn’t go through with it, but when I got into the water (and I am used to cold water) it was like ice!! I was standing there shivering and I look back and lead Antonio into the water and he didn’t say a word. Meanwhile, I’m freezing my butt of and shivering like a little girl. I take him and I say the ordinance and as soon as I said, "Amém," it felt like we were in a different font with fire water instead of ice water. It felt like we were in a Jacuzzi. I can’t explain it. I stopped shivering and I was warm all over. The Spirit was so strong and the Lord was there with us in that baptismal font. We got out of the font and everyone was joking and laughing, "I bet that water was pretty cold huh??" I said nothing and Antonio just said, "It was warm." They all laughed because they thought he was joking, but he wasn’t joking. It was real and I knew it and I knew that he knew it. It was so amazing. I was so happy that day. It was so great and I will never forget that feeling.

(Antonio and Elder McKeon)

I hope you guys have a great week and I love you!!!


Elder McKeon

Hey guys,

How is everybody doing??

It is getting colder down here! I'm glad to hear that the heat wave has passed you guys, but down here it’s getting kind of cold. I had to buy a beanie to wear when I go to sleep. It reminded me of how dad always used to wear his beanie on just the top part of his head every morning just to cover up that bald spot! I guess now he has to cover the whole thing since his whole head is bald haha.

We had a good week, but it was different because we had interviews with President Ferrin on Friday. We got to do a division with Elder Cleveland, the Assistant to the President. He is a great guy and I am really close with him. He is an amazing missionary and I learned so much from him in the 2 days we spent together. The cool part was that Jardim Camargo Novo was his first area on the mission. It’s where he was trained and learned how to be a missionary. We worked so hard during the day and I learned a ton of new things to try when I work now. We had a lot of good lessons together and we now have 7 more people to teach because of the techniques that I learned. At the end of the day we would visit the people he taught and it was touching to see the love that these people had for him and how he helped them come closer to Christ. It was truly amazing. I just hope that this is the same feeling that the people that I have baptized feel for me as I feel for them.

On Friday we had interviews with President and it was kind of hard because when we, Americans, have interviews with him, he speaks in English. It’s hard because it’s been a long time since I have spoke in English and I would have to say a lot of it in Portuguese so he would understand what I was trying to say. Sometimes, he would say a word in English and I wouldn’t understand it and then I would ask another American what it meant and none of us would understand the word.

This next week should be great! We have a lot more people to teach and lot of new people coming to us and they seem promising!

I love you all so much! 


Elder McKeon