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, January 30, 2013

New Companion!

Alright!!! How are you guys doing???

I shouldve done this last week, but I was in a different area and not using my own LAN House so I forgot/didn't have time. So I have already done a shout out to my older sister, Carlie, and my Mom for their birthdays, now it's time for my old man's!

Ever since I can remember you have been there either holding my hand, or yelling at me to "SUCK IT UP, IT DOESN'T HURT THAT BAD!!" whenever I got hurt. But those times I cherish. I know I already wrote you a letter but I need to do this so the whole world knows how much I love and respect and look up to my loving dad. I remember when I was a little kid and we would sit outside of the house in the backyard in So Cal and you would look down at me and say, "Do you know how much I love you??" I would say, "no" you would reply and point up to the sky "I love you to the moon and back, do you know how far away that is?" I do know and realize how much you love me and I love you so much more than that now. 

I remember when we would got to Fathers and Sons campouts and sit around the fire and just stare at it with me sitting in your lap thinking "this is the best day of my life, just me and my dad, best friends for life just camping and having the time of our lives, not worrying about anything..." I think of those days while I am so far away from you and I can almost feel your presence here with me. 

You have done that so much in my life already. I miss your love and your wisdom in my life everyday. You have been there every step of the way. I look back at the days at Lake Powell and remember when you were teaching us how to ski behind a jet ski. We would cry and scream and do anything BUT want to learn how to ski. You would yell, "Were out here and your going to have GOSH DARN IT!!!" I look back and laugh now, but realize that I was having the time of my life, just learning and living with my parents. 

You are the greatest dad that I could've ever asked for or wanted. You are part of the reason I am out here.  I have seen the man that you are and wish with all of my might that I can someday be the man that you are now. I am trying so hard to do what you would do here and try to apply the things that you have taught me here. I have learned many things from you but the things that I am applying here are 

1. Hard work, really hard work 
2. How to love everyone, be serving to everyone who is in need of your help 
3. Be obedient in all aspects of the word, no matter what. 

These are just a few of life's most important lessons that you have taught me and I can't say thank you enough for teach me these and all things. You are the greatest dad even though every Saturday you would say, "Alright! Whose ready to go out and work in the yard!!!???" I hated that time then but looking back and thinking, those are the best times ever... just being in the yard with my dad, taking care of our things and just talking and fixing a problems and doing it together, you teaching me certain things that I would need to know to be a loving father and husband. You are the best dad and friend I can have. 

This past summer we learned that dad had cancer in his stomach. When i heard these words, they hit me like a ton of bricks because the first thing that went through my mind was, "I NEED my dad in my life, he needs to be here to help me through trials to help me and to be here!!" I was so scared and this point in my life is when I REALLY learned how to pray.... I hit my knees every time I could and would plead with my Father in Heaven to keep my dad that I need him in my life and how important he is to me. I know that my dad is the strongest man that i have ever known and that i know that he can beat anything that comes his way, nothing like a little bitty cancer would stop him. The doctors were dumbfounded that he was beating the cancer and he was doing it naturally. I know why though, it's because of our family and friends who had faith and prayer and compassion for us and that my dad was not going to lose this battle. And of course, he didn't. He won and he continues to win because he is the greatest man I have ever had the pleasure and privelege to call "Dad". He is the best and he looks after me and i do the same for him. 

This past May, me my little brother Kirk, and my best friend, Zack, and my Dad had an awesome trip to Yosemite to climb Half Dome, one last time before I went on my mission. It was so great to be able to do it again with my dad. When we did the first time it was great and I could remember how great the feeling was when I finally go to the top of it with my dad and we both just stared down the Yosemite valley. It was great and I wanted to have the experience one last time. It was just as great as last time that we did it and I loved it and I will cherish these times forever. I cannot put into words how much I love you dad, you are the greatest example I have in my life and i try so hard everyday to follow it. You are an amazing dad and I dont want you to change a bit. I miss and love you so much.

Elder McKeon with his new companion, Elder Padilla

So, yes, this past week I got a new companion named Elder Padilla from Fremont, CA. He is a great guy and speaks great Portuguese. All we do is speak Portuguese with each other and my Portuguese is improving leaps and bounds. I know that we are going to do great things here in Brazil! We have 3 baptisms set up for next week and another 2 for the week after that. It's going great down here and I am learning so much here that I can't put into words. It is so great to be called as a representative of Jesus Christ to help and love these people here with anything we can. So many people here are so ready and prepared to accept Christ into their lives. I love them so much I can't even stand it! They are such a blessing my life. These people are so humble and I can't even begin to explain their love and my love for them. It is amazing what they do. I love them and I love you and miss you guys so much and pray for you always....

Love, Elder McKeon 

Hey everybody!! 

Today is the last day of my second transfer here in Brazil!!! It's weird how fast this time has flown by here... 

So my last companion, Elder Squires, was transferred this last Friday to go help Presidente Ferrin in the office and I had to go to Vila Galvão with Elders Anderson and Bangeter from my zone. So we spent the whole weekend together working here! It was kind of hard for me because I had to get around on my crutches here, but thanks to all that practice I had when I hurt my knee, it wasn't that bad at  all!

We had to walk all the way from Continental, to our lunch in Vila Galvão, which was not very fun, because it was a long walk, and it's even harder on crutches. But we got to our lunch and taught the non-member daughter there and she said she would go to church which is great!! Then we made a few more visits that day and we went home and a member in our stake (Marcelo, the one you guys met on Christmas) came by and took us to McDonalds!! That was the first time I have had McDonalds, or any cheeseburger for that fact, since I left the U.S.!!!! Isn't that nuts??? Oh it tasted sooooo good!!! I know its gross but it just tasted like home!! And side fact, McDonalds here is very expensive, they dont have a dollar menu, they have the 6 reais menu, or in english, the 3 buck menu... Anyway, we got back home and it had been 5 days since I got my cast on so that night we got some scissors and I cut that bad boy off!! Oh it felt so good to scratch my leg!! It was sooooo itchy all week! It was kind of purple but not that swollen anymore. So we stuck it in a big bucket of ice water for 20 minutes and it felt so much better! I made a cane for myself when I couldn't leave the apartment last week and I have been using that and man does it work great! So I have been walking around on it and I have to limp a little bit, but it is getting better and better each day! 

On Saturday, we had a talent show in our Ward here and we, the American Missionaries, did a hot dog eating contest for our talent with the Bispo here and, of course, yours truly won..... hands down... anyway, we got a ton of references from that night becuase there were a ton of non-members there!! Sunday was great because we had a baptism here!! But during the first hour of Church, Elder Bangeter was feeling sick, so we got through Church, had a great baptism and were JUST going to go to our lunch appointment, when 2 other members said we HAD to go to their homes for dessert and goodbyes (because Bangeter is being transferred). So we said O.K. We had lunch, but Bangeter didn't eat much, then we went to a members home and had an amazing ice cream cake... Then we went home so Bangeter could rest. We had another member family at 7:30 so we would rest till then. But they found out the Bangeter was sick and demanded us to let them give us a ride. So they came and picked us up and drove us to their house. When we got there Bangeter went straight to the bathroom and didn't leave for awhile... meanwhile I'm sitting down and eating all of the food this wonderful sister put out for us. A few minutes later, Elder Anderson said he wasn't feeling very well either. So she gave him some medicine and not 2 minutes later, he was throwing up in the bathroom as I was still eating happily all of THEIR food because they couldn't eat it. We then came to the conclusion that it was the hot dogs that we ate the night before. We ate too many and too fast! So the moral of the story was the McKeon won, AND didn't get sick!!!! My foot is getting better every day and I will receive a new companion tomorrow morning!! I am very excited!!! 

I love you guys and can't wait to hear from you guys!! I think of you all the time and miss you so very much!!


Elder McKeon

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

An Interesting Week

Here is Elder McKeon's newest email, enjoy!

Hey everybody,

I am doing great!! This week has definitely been an interesting one.....
This past Wednesday, we were talking to a contact near our house. It was raining off and on all day and I was talking to him when we heard a loud POP!  We turned around just in time to see a guy on a motorcycle hit a car and go flying over the car and land on the street!  We immediately ran over and saw that his head was bleeding and he was writhing all over the ground in pain.  He was moaning really loud and I was so scared.  We were trying to hold him down on the ground so he wouldn't possibly injure himself more.  We got blood all over our arms and hands trying to help him.  A huge crowd had gathered and they were wondering why these 2 white guys in shirts and ties were trying to help this guy they had never met before.  We waited with him till they got him in the ambulance (which took 15-20 minutes to get there) and then we helped the paramedics get him in the van. The POP we heard was the motorcycle driver's tire exploding against the car and his bike was completely totaled.  His car had a huge dent in it and the windshield was totally cracked.  It was amazing to see it happen right in front of us.  It's also incredible how many people there are in this city, and the way they drive, it's a miracle these things don't happen more often!  The entire time we were helping him, I was praying that he would just open his eyes, calm down and lay still.  After a few seconds he did just that and stayed that way until the ambulance came!  It was an answer to prayer right in front of me.  Prayer works and I have come to know that so well since I have been out here.

As for me........... well.... Yesterday it was raining quite a bit and we had just gotten out of church.  We were walking through this park to our home to go back and study (since we don't get to do it in the morning because of church).  We were walking and I was in front and I had to jump onto a bench and then to the ground to get off this hill.  Well I jumped onto the bench and then I jumped off the bench leading with my left leg and I stepped onto a rock, but it was covered in grass and it was very slippery.  It was also right next to a hole that was also covered by the grass.  I only got my foot on half of the rock and my foot fell into the hole and I instantly felt a burning in my left ankle.  I just sat down and was holding my ankle closing my eyes.  Elder Squires was sitting next to me and said, "Do you think you broke it"?  I then looked down and my ankle and it was already they size of a baseball!  We called Presidente Ferrin and he said go home and wait and see if it got any worse or better.  So we had to wait for our Bispo to get there because we were too far away for me to walk home (I couldn't walk anyway).  

We got home and I got some ice on it and we just waited.  We made a cane that you can see in the pictures.  After the ice melted, I went to lay on my bed and that's when the pain really intensified. It hurt so bad!!!  I was just laying there gripping the bed waiting for the pain to go away... but it didn't so we called Presidente again and told him that we were going to go to the hospital.  We called a member and got a pair of crutches (not my favorite thing in the world) and we made the very uncomfortable and bouncy ride to the hospital.  We got there and the doctor looked at my foot and took an x-ray.  The x-ray came back and showed no break!  I just twisted it really badly... so I had to get this wrap, (kind of cast-like thing on my leg and I can take it off after 5 days).  

They gave me some medication there and it felt so much better after that.  It was hard to sleep last night because I couldn't sleep on my side and I am so used to sleeping on my side.  We talked to Presidente again this morning and he said that if I had broken it and needed operation, I would've had to go home!  I was so glad once I heard that, that I didn't break it.  When i was lying on my bed yesterday, before we went to the hospital, I laid there in pain and looked at the ceiling.  On the ceiling was a picture of Christ and I was praying that whole time that my foot wasn't broken because, as much as I miss you guys, I did NOT want to go home.  I know that I need to serve our Savior and these wonderful people of Brazil.

Anyway, Mom, Dad, don't worry, because now I am absolutely fine.  I've done the whole crutches and pain thing before, and I know exactly what to do.  I was told by Presidente that I am to stay home this whole week. We are going to ease up on the walking this week and study in place of it.   It'll be fine so please don't worry.  I didn't want to tell you this because I knew you would tend to worry, but Presidente made me promise to tell you.  So please don't worry, I am totally fine, healthy as can be, happy as can be, and doing what i need to do.  Just keep the prayers coming please!
I love you guys and hope you are all doing alright.  Tell everyone that I love them and miss them so much!!!


Elder McKeon

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Recap of the last couple of weeks

Friends and Family,

I apologize for not updating the blog the last couple of weeks.  Here are Elder McKeon's last few emails.  The week of Christmas he did not send an email.  Our family got to skype with him on Christmas and he looked and sounded great!  He loves receiving letters/emails/pictures from all of you.  Thanks for your support!

Elder McKeon's email from December 31, 2012:

Hows everybody doing??? 

It was so great to see all over your faces this past Christmas! I missed hearing all over your voices and seeing you in person! I loved every minute of it. Me and a few other missionaries cried, we all agree that skyping is the best and the worst thing ever. It's great to see you and hear you, but it is hard to hit that hang up button. We all just felt so great to hear you guys, but so bummed to hang up.... But I loved it all, hearing you guys talk was music to my ears. You guys are the absolute best family anybody could ever ask for. I am so glad that I picked you guys in the pre-existence to be friends. But i loved Christmas here, it was amazing, we got to eat some amazing bbq and talk to you guys!! 

Marcelo and Elder McKeon holding the Brasil National jersey he got for Christmas

I totally went home and couldn't think of anything else but you guys. I would keep running through memories we had: the lake, camping, sitting at home making funny jokes, going to Utah like you guys are right now. It brought tears to my eyes and I miss those days very much.  But, I know why I'm here and what I need to do here and I know you guys are being blessed for me being here and I pray for that everyday. Dad, hows the business going? And the Chemo? When's your next treatment? You're still good right? Everything looks good? And I am very jealous of you guys that you're in Utah with the family and going to BYU games! Go to Brick Oven for me while you're there! 

O.K. well this week was good! 

Elder McKeon with a couch that was burning in the middle of the street

We had a baptism this past Sunday for Samanta. She is the girlfriend of a Young Man here in our ward and she is awesome! The first Sunday that I met her, she seemed like she was going to be a tough one, because she said that she had too many questions and we couldn't answer them.  I scoffed to myself and thought, "Do you know whatIi do for the next 2 years? All i do is answer questions.... and I KNOW I can answer yours!" So we went to her home and she had a lot of questions, but they were very basic question and we answered them and she then came to the understanding of why they were true! We then went back and she watched the video of the Restoration and she said that she would pray about the Church and see if it was true.  We then came back the next day and she said that she had a dream that she was like Joseph Smith and prayed about it and Christ appeared to her and told her to join the Church!!! How awesome of an answer is that? We then taught her the rest of the lessons and had to squeeze in the Commandments into one day and she asked us about piercings. And we said, only one in each ear, and i turned to look up in the pamphlet to show her, and i turned around and see her take her belly button ring out right there on the spot!!! Talk about faithful!! It was so great on Sunday when we had the Baptism. We had more people to attend this baptism than in all the other ones I've had and the Spirit was so strong and I had to give the message! I was so nervous because i found out about 15 seconds before I had to give it. So i pulled out the story of Christ's baptism and said we need to follow Christ and you have taken the first step and bore my testimony of the Church and why i was there to help, but now she has to Ward to help her and it was a fantastic baptism. Her boyfriend baptized her and it was so awesome to see this wonderful ordinance be performed for this great girl.

Elder McKeon with recent convert, Samanta, her boyfriend, and Elder Squires

Well I'll email you guys later, my time is running out on my lan house and weve got an appointment! I love you and pray for you guys all the time! 

You guys are the best!!!


Elder McKeon

Email from January 7, 2013:

Hey everyone!!! 

How is everyone doing??? I am doing great here in Brazil!! I LOVE IT HERE SO MUCH!! We had a confirmation this past Sunday and it was great!! Samanta is her name and she will be a great and faithful member of the Church.  

We made a ton of contacts this week and they are going to be great, I just know it! Last week I got a few letters! I got some from Mary and Jan down in Loa! So if you could tell them thank you and that I am writing them back! Also, I got one from the Franks along with their Christmas Picture and they looked great! Tell them that I will also write them back! And finally I got one from my surrogate grandparents the Rounds!! I am busy writing on P-Days now!! I can feel all of your guys's love all the way down here!!!

Elder McKeon w/his poster from the GB2 ward (he is also sporting his Washington shirt signed by Mike Leach)

I am glad that you guys had a great time in Utah, but so sad that you all got sick! That reminds me of the time when we were driving back from Utah and well got some kind of food poisoning thing.... it was a reeeeeeeeeeeeaaaalllllllllly long drive, I'm not going to go into any details but it was bad! I miss you all soooooo much! 

This past week was good, it was soooooooooooooo hot!!!!!!! Foi Muito Quente!! But it was a great week here, what am I talking about, they're all great weeks!!! We have these 2 promising investigators. One is named Sheila, and the other is Jose Carlos. They are great. They have both accepted baptism, but won't pick a date because they want to learn more, but in Sheila's case, she is afraid of being baptized then sinning afterward and making it "void". We have really been trying to tell her that baptism and repentence are gifts because we WILL sin because we are human. But through the wonderful atonement we have we can become clean again. She also has had a son pass away and she really loves the idea of the Plan of Salvation. So they will be baptized, its just a matter of time. Jose Carlos is a great man! He just wants to learn more about Joseph Smith and see what he went through. He will be a great addition to our Ward and Church! 

"Sledding" in Brazil with a few other children

It's hard at times being a missionary, but I just remember what our Lord did for us. There is a video of Elder Holland and Elder Erying talking about how hard it is being a missionary and then they compare us to Christ and that we will get the tiniest taste of what he went through when His own people turned against Him and spit upon Him. We will experience hard times and we will feel dejected but we just need to remember that we are doing this not only for our Brothers and Sisters around the world, we are doing this for our Savior. 

I love this work and being a missionary!! The 30th of December was my 2 month mark in the field and 4 month mark of being on a mission... Can you guys believe that ive been out here that long already??? It's nuts how time flies!!! 

I love and miss you guys so much and think and pray for you all the time.


Elder McKeon