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, March 25, 2013

Busy, busy week!

Hey everybody,

As you can tell from the pictures I sent home we had a really busy week these past weeks.

Elder McKeon with Luciana, who was baptized on March 17th

Luiz and Katia

This past Sunday we had 4 BAPTISMS AND 2 CONFIRMATIONS! We baptized Natanael (Marcelo's brother-in-law) Luiz and Katia (my second family here in brazil) and Mayara (a family friend of Luiz and Katia).

Luiz and Katia's wedding

We confirmed Felipe (the son of Luiz and Katia) and Luciana. Everybody loves them so much and they are going to be so awesome in the Church. 

Bowling on P-day

Natanael, Luiz, Katia, and Mayara's Baptism

We baptized all the family of Luiz and Katia that we could. They have a 5-year-old son named Luiz Henrique and he wants to be baptized, but his dad said, "No! You have to wait to do it right! You have 3 more years son!!!" They are such an awesome family and I love them so much. They will be confirmed next week along with the others.

Marcelo is the brother in law of Natanael so he came for the baptism with the whole family

Elder McKeon with Mayara at her Baptism

But I have been such a slacker. My baby sister, Rylee, had her birthday on the 1st of this month and I still have not given her a shout out yet, so I apologize for the tardiness Rylee, but these past few weeks have been nuts!

Mission Conference with Guarulhos zone

So this is about my little baby sister... 

Where do we start with Rylee?? 

She is a firecracker to say the least, but I love her to no end! I can remember our adventures on the way to seminary and then racing back to get to school on time. The whole time she's screaming at me to "SLOW DOWN! YOURE GOING TO GET US KILLED!!" I know she did it just cause she loves me, but it was just too fun to mess with her and it's fun to drive fast of course. She is such a good example to me in every aspect.

She is so determined in everything she does whether it is soccer, cross country, or school. She will do it no matter what. She drove me nuts when she first started to date. I'm that typical protective older brother and no other guy is going to go on a date with my little sister, but of course, she is as stubborn as me and goes right on all these kinds of dates. Every single one of those guys is the luckiest guy in the world at that moment when they are together with my little sister. Sometimes she drove me crazy, but I love her so much and know that she is a beautiful young lady who is intelligent, kind, a great runner and soccer player, and can kick my butt in a race. She is such a great person in my life and I try to obtain the qualities that she has and apply them in my life. 

I miss you and love you so much Ry! You're my little pistol and I love you so much. Just try not to go on too many dates while im gone ok?

I miss and love you all so much!


Elder McKeon

Felipe's baptism

Got new shoes!

Elder McKeon with Natanael Conosco

Monday, March 18, 2013

Two Week Update

I forgot to update the blog last week, so here is Elder McKeon's email from March 11, 2013:

Hey guys!!!

I am doing great! How is everyone back in cold Granite Bay?

I am doing great in HOT Brasil!

This past week was very good. We had a ton of people in Church this past week which is always good as a missionary. The only bad thing that happened was that our baptism fell through. Her name is Jení and she is 8 months pregnant and she didn't go to church because she was sick, so that is always a bummer.  That just means that we are going to have one more baptism next week I guess.

We are probably going to have at least 3 baptisms next Sunday! How great is that? We are going to have at least another 3 the week after! 

We have been teaching this lady, Luciana. We were walking down a road late at night on our way to our last appointment. I saw this lady (Luciana) and I knew we had to talk to her. We stopped by and she said that she had seen the other missionaries before, but never talked to them. We gave her a Plano de Salvação pamphlet and asked her to read it and we'll be back to talk about it. That was on a Thursday, we saw her next on Saturday and she had read the whole pamphlet and wanted more! We then gave her a Book of Mormon and marked a place for her to read and told her she could come to church with us. She couldn't go because she had to go and pick up her granddaughter, but she has read that whole part and has started to read the book from the start. She is going to be baptized this next Sunday the 17th. We are so stoked for her! She is so perfect and ready to receive the blessings of this Gospel.

We then have Nataniel. If you guys remember Marcelo, it's his brother-in-law. He lives with his mom who is already a member. We stopped by and gave him a message and he went to Church and wants to be baptized.  He justs needs to stop smoking and he really wants to stop.

Camilla, that mom who came to church last week all by herself doesn't live in our area, so that was a bummer but we gave her info to the missionaries who are in her area and they are teaching her. She is living with her boyfriend because she can't support herself and her son AND a house all alone. She needs to be separated from him before she can be baptized. She said she was going to look for a place to live in our area, so that's exciting and we're keeping our eyes peeled for a cheap place for her to live so she can be baptized.

The work is totally progressing down here in Brazil and I love it here so so so much. I am doing great here in São Paulo!! 

I love you guys so much! 

Keep being great!


Elder McKeon

Here is the email from today (March 18th)!

Hey guys!

We had a really good week this past week!

This past Sunday we had 3 baptisms, 2 investigator baptisms and 1 ward baptism, so basically had a pool party if you catch my drift.

Remember that family that we need to get married before they can be baptized? We baptized their middle son the end of last month and we always saw his older brother (Felipe) there, but he never sat in on the lessons. This past week, the 10th, he went to church and had a great experience and he wanted to learn more! So we taught him and he had a lot of doubts and we just told him, "You dont have trust our words, we're just 19-year-old kids in a different country, but you can ask your Heavenly Father if these things are true and you know you can trust him." We left him with a part of the Book of Mormon to read and the next time we came back he said that he had received the answer and that he couldn't deny that the things we taught were true and BOOM BAPTISM! He had already read 6 chapters in the Gospel Principles book and has been reading steadily in the Book of Mormon. He was baptized and will be confirmed this next Sunday the 24th (the same day that his parents will be baptized). This family is great and I love them so much.

We also baptized Luciana. She has been reading the Livrinhos that we leave with people after a lesson and reading in the Book of Mormon and she is going to help the Sociedade de Socorro so much and she will be a such a great addition to the ward here in Continental. We helped her to quit smoking and now she says that she doesn't even want to smoke and can't believe that she had been smoking for so long.

You guys know Marcelo and his sogra (mom-in-law) lives in our Ward and she has a son named Nataniel who is not a member of the Church. We have been teaching him for the past couple of weeks and he has been progressing so much. He used to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day and now he smokes maybe 2 cigarettes a day. We were teaching him last night and the only thing that we haven't taught him is Tithing, but we didn't know what we were going to teach at all (I know bad planning, but it just didn't feel right to teach Tithing at that time). So we go in there and I'm thinking, "What're we going to teach?" Then he started talking about how he's going through a really hard time with money and with cigarettes, so I thought, "We just need to talk to him." We talked and we read Ether 12:27 about turning your weaknesses into strengths referring to the cigarettes and he loved that idea, but he was still super down about not having a job, living at his moms house, just not doing anything and nothing going right. Then we read Mosiah 23:21-23 about how the Lord tries His chosen people to see if they will be patient in their suffering and cry unto Him with their Faith. And we asked him "Are you praying and reading in the scriptures everyday?" He just put his head down and said no, but then we talked about how he can ask Heavenly Father for the help that he needs to stop smoking and for things to start lining up in his life. And I sat there thinking "How are we going to help him stop this habit?"  We gave him a blessing, we fasted with him, we've set goals and it has helped but not really broken that habit.  Then i thought "Break... BREAK! You can break a cigarette!" Then we said, "Alright, now we have a rule about smoking Tael (Nataniel). Everytime you feel like you want to smoke, you take the cigarette in your hands, break the cigarette into 2 pieces and throw it away, and after wash your hands." He just looked at us and thought that it was a great idea. We wrote a note on the pack of cigarettes to remind him and he broke a cigarette in front of us right then and there to show that he really wanted to stop. It was such a great lesson and he will be baptized this next Sunday.

I miss and love you guys so much and i pray for you always!


Elder McKeon

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Wonderful Testimony Meeting

Hey guys,

Well this week was an interesting one. We confirmed Matheus a member of the Church on Sunday and it was so great. His family was there and they had such a great experience.

It was also fast sunday and I felt the need to get up and tell Matheus in front of the congregation how proud of him I was and how much I loved that family. And yes, I cried. Even in Português I can cry while bearing my testimony, but I looked up and the whole family was crying and bunch of the other members of the congregation were crying too.  It was a great testimony meeting. The dad, Luiz, after told me that he hadnt cried in 15 years, until that day in Church.

We also had a couple of investigators. We were scared at first because it looked like it was just going to be Matheus and his family. But then this family that we are teaching, Sydney and Yara, showed up a little late but they came. Sydney is a good guy, but he cant stop drinking alcohol and Yara smokes, but really wants to stop. But when I bore my testimony it made them both cry and they said that they were crying all day after that, so it really is the Spirit that touches the hearts of our investigators. I am so grateful for that power that it has.

We then had this random lady who showed up, on her own, with her son and she said to me, "I want to learn more about the Gospel." I just wanted to throw my arms around her and scream! As a missionary, these types of people are the absolute best. Her name is Camilla and she is a great lady and mom, we have an appointment set up with her tomorrow night with a member so we can get her a friend in the church. She is awesome.

And today (monday, P-day) we took Matheus's parents to a Cartorio, to renew their certidão de nascimento. His mom needed a new one in order for them to be married. To get married down here, you have to jump through a bunch of hoops. They were married in the Catholic church, but not the cartorio, so it was never recognized by the country, so they need to be re-married in the cartorio (an office here that is like the dmv.... disorganized and slow) and so we have to do that in order for them to be baptized. The scary part was that Katia (Catchya) didn't want to get married to Luiz.... so i had to play matchmaker and make them realize how much that they really do love each other. They have been "married" for 24 years and we got Luiz to stop smoking and drinking alcohol and coffee. Through a fast with his family. It was great. And we pulled an ultimatum question, "Katia, why did you want Luiz to stop smoking and stuff if you guys were going to get seperated anyways? Why do you care?" She just sat there and thought and played with her hands.... We just sat there and let the Spirit work on them... At the end of the night we got the best feeling ever. They're going to be married and then be baptized and then confirmed and then be the best family in this ward ever. Oh im so excited for them!! Luiz told us that him and Katia used to fight all the time over the littlest things, he used to smoke, drink, and drink coffee (she drank coffee too) and the kids were crazy, but now that they have been going to church and taking the lessons, they say, that they dont fight anymore, the kids are way more cool and chill, and they have quit ALL of their vices and they say they feel something different while were there. 

Being here is really hard, I am not going to lie. Sometimes you're so tired and you just want to go home and forget that day, but then you look back and you see the impact that you are having on the amazing people that are our brothers and sisters and we HAVE to help them come closer to Christ. Mosiah 28:3 that is a great scripture with a ton of power.


Elder McKeon