Current Mailing Address

Current Mailing Address

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

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lots of Baptisms!

Hey hey hey!

This past week was so great! We had a little trouble the past few weeks, but the ball is rolling. We baptized José Carlos on Saturday, and that was an awesome experience. 

This guy needed to be baptized. He has such a great family and they are going to be so great in the Church and I love their family so much.

Then we baptized Matheus this past Sunday (the 24th). He is 13 and we brought him to Church last week. But the great thing about it was that we were only expecting Matheus to come, but then his dad came too. 

The ward absolutely loves this family and if you guys knew them, you would love them too. The Mom, Katia, has been studying with the Testemunhos de Jeova, so it's not the easiest, but she came to Church to see her son be baptized and she had a great experience. During the baptism you could feel the Spirit so strong and now the Dad, Luiz, and the Mom, Katia, want to be baptized too. All they have to do is keep the Palavra de Sabedoria.

We also had this other family in Church. They're a young family with a 2 year old daughter, Vitoria. They are Janí and Fabio. They are great! Janí is also 8 months pregnant, so we had to arrange for a car.  Last week, we did this and they couldn't go because she wasn't feeling too good, but this week we went there and they were already outside waiting for us. They said that they had a great experience in Church and "felt something that they had never felt before." 

The graffiti in Elder McKeon's area

The sad part is that today (monday the 25th) is the end of this transfer and I have already been in this area for a while so I have a good chance of being transferred, but i don't want to go yet! There is still so much I can do! So we'll see if I have to leave this area for another tonight. 

I miss and love you guys so much!


Elder McKeon

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Update from Brazil

Hey guys! Hows everybody doing?

I'm doing great here in Brazil!

To answer your questions:

1. I love my Presidente Ferrin! He is such a great man and he is the absolute best Mission Presidente ever! He is so wise and humble and he knows how to work.

2. I live kind of far from the mission office, it's like an 1.5 hour bus ride, which is not fun.

3. Yes we have a Zone meeting and District meeting every monday night. We have to make an hour walk to get there.

4. And a normal day? Well, not every day is normal. There's always some adventure thrown in there, but it usually goes a little something like this:

- 6:30 Wake up dead tired. I have never been so tired in all my life than now on the mission.

- 7:00 Make breakfast. Yes, I make my own breakfast and everything! It is usually eggs and crackers and juice or something simple.

- 8-10:00 is study study study! Right now Presidente Ferrin has the whole mission reading the Livro de Mormon at the same time and we read a chapter a day and I love it!

Already gone through one journal...

- 10:00-11:00 is Language study which consists of singing in Português and just talking, talking, talking.

- 11:00-9:00 p.m. work, work, work, work, and oh yeah, more work!!! Whether it be making contacts, visiting an investigator, or whatever.

- 9:00-10:00 We plan for the next day.

- 10:30 Fall into bed dead and then do it all over again!

Elder McKeon with Marcelo

But as for this week, we were supposed to have a baptism yesterday (yes we have baptisms here on Sundays), but it fell because the man, José Carlos's wife had her baby on Saturday at 11:00 in the morning. I was super happy that little Guilherme came into the world happy, healthy and screaming, but super bummed that we couldn't baptize José. He is such a great man. He is going to be such a great addition to the Church! 

The Zone leaders were pretty tired.

We also had this father and son come to Church this past week and they are so great and humble. I love them to death. His name is Luiz and the son is Matheus. They are both reading in the Livro de Mormon and have both received an answer that it is true and that it has to come from God! How great is that? However, Luiz drinks and smokes, so we'll have to help him get over that so he can be baptized. He went to Church with us and man did he love it.  He even went up the speakers after and told them thanks and he said he learned so much and he felt so good when he was there, so I know that this Gospel will only bless his life even more!

On his way to an appointment

We have this other family we are teaching. We were walking home late one night and this drunk guy just comes out of nowhere and starts chatting up a storm with us and would not shut up! He smelled really bad and he just kept repeating the same thing over and over again and I just wanted to go home and sleep. But i said to myself, "This is your brother, he needs your help, so pay attention to his needs." I did exactly that and now they are going to church this next week (they couldn't go yesterday because it was his mom's birthday) but they have accepted baptism and everything. It's him, Sydney, his son Artur, and his wife, Yari. The dad drinks, but wants to stop, the mom smokes and drinks coffee and knows it's bad and wants to stop as well. So we're setting goals with them and they are such a great family!

A swing in Gopouva park.

Anyways, thats whats going on in my world. I love hearing from you guys and I love you guys so much and I pray for you always.


Elder McKeon

Monday, February 11, 2013

Busy, busy, busy!

Derek didn't have a lot of time today to email, but here is what he said:

Hey guys!!! 

Well, I'm going to have to write this email dang fast because I only have 20 minutes left on my account, so I apologize if this email is too short for your liking.

I am doing great here!! The ankle is doing fine and everything is getting better! Funny story happened today (P-day) I was de-frosting our freezer, and when I say de-frosting, I mean taking a knife and stabbing/prying the 5 inch thick ice in our freezer. When I was hitting it in the back of the freezer the knife slipped and then all I hear is a "hssssssssssss" and all this steam/gas stuff is shooting out of the back! My companion comes in and yells, "Open the door! I think that's gas!" So I threw open our door, opened all the windows and unplugged the fridge... So now we can't turn on our fridge because it will shoot gas out if we do. My bad.... 

The work is going forward! We have a baptism set up for this Sunday the 17th. His name is José Carlos and I have been working with this guy ever since I got here and he has been a handful, but man he is going to be such a great addition to the Church! I love him so much, he is such a great guy! We had to help him get married legally so that he wouldn't break the law of Chastity, and his wife is an inactive member but she's coming back to church and is pregnant and is due the end of this month. The whole family is legit! He is a great guy and he is going to be a great dad for this wonderful family! 

We have a bunch more people we are teaching and they look promising. We have 3 more families and there will be a lot more baptisms coming up by the end of this month! It's so great here!! 

Dad, the name of my area is Continental in the city of Guarulhos. 

Can you guys believe that I have already been gone for 6 months?? It will be 6 months exactly on the 29th of this month... man time has FLOWN by. I cannot believe how fast it has gone by. I am so happy to be serving the Lord in his Vineyard of Brazil. I am reading in Jacob 5 right now and its all about the Allegory of the Olive Tree... and I'm not saying i am a scriptorian, but I can now read the scriptures like nobody's business in English AND Portuguese. I love being a missionary!

I love you guys and pray for you always.


Elder McKeon

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Whatever it takes to save souls...

Hi Everyone,

Well this was kind of a tough week....

It was hard because our baptism fell through and a bunch of our appointments fell through, which meant one thing.... CONTACTS!!! And I boy do I loooooooove making contacts!!!! It's very discouraging when you walk up to someone with such an important message and then you just get a gruff look, a shrug of the shoulders, and a "Não, quero não..." 

You know that this message will only change their life for the better, but they just dont want to listen. It's so frustrating! Our baptism was going to be a 12-year-old kid named João. He is so great! He is super interested in the church and loves learing more about it, but his mom wouldn't let him get baptized until she knew that he knew that this was what he really wanted. The rest of the ward likes him, but it's just his mom holding us up... but what are you going to do? FAST, PRAYER, STUDY, AND DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO SAVE SOULS!! Sometimes it's really hard to not get so mad at people, but then I have to step back and remember that we are asking them to change their lives (for the better), but they don't always see it like that. 

Anyways, Elder Padilla and I have been working so hard, walking and talking to anyone and everyone. Our Ward Mission Leader was released and our Bishop went on a trip for 3 weeks, so things are a little tough... but we'll get over them! We as missionaries have an iron stomach, calloused feet, and the patience of Job, so we can do anything!

This week was hard, but my old companion, Elder Squires gave me this little book his aunt sent him in a package called, "The Missionaries book of little inspirational stories," and there is this one called, "Missionaries Gethsemane," And boy did it hit the nail on the head about this past week..

You're on a mission and things seem tough;
Doors are slammed with voices gruff;
Your companion refused to do his share
You feel discouraged and even despair.
You question your testimony and belief in God;
You wonder about the path you've trod.
Memories of pleasure dance in your brain;
A siren's song, an old refrain;
"The work is hard," and with a taunt,
Whispers, "Not as He wills, but as you want."
You tire of rules and feet worn to the bone,
And suddenly decide you want to go home.
You'll never know if you say goodbye,
What might happen if you stay and try,
To follow the rules and do your best,
To serve the Lord and pass your test.
Where do you think that you would be,
If Christ, in the Garden of Gethsemane;
His soul in torment, a trial of fire.
Had selected not duty before desire?
He set the pattern for you and me,
To meet our own Gethsemane.
From boy, to man, to Elder with fire,
Comes only when duty can master desire.

It hit me like a ton of bricks....I went and hit my knees for what seemed like forever to help me get through this hard time. It helped so much.

I know that there will be more weeks like this in the future. I knew from the beginning it was never going to be easy, but I'm glad that I get to have this experience in my life and that I can grow so much from it.

Well, good news is that we have interviews with Presidente Ferrin and I love this man so much!! He is a great mission president and he loves each and every one of us, so i can't wait to talk with him! 

The 49'ers lost huh? Dang it.....I was betting with another American here that they were going to win!! Well you can't win em all can ya? I'm learning that the hard way out here!

Mom, the ankle is fine, I am borrowing a brace from a missionary in our zone, and its working great. All I need is time and it will be good as new.

I love you all and I miss you so much!

Elder McKeon