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, May 28, 2013


Hey everyone! 

This week wasn't easy, but they never go the way you planned they would.

As we experience things in life, we really learn and can grow from them and should grow from them. Haskell and I had a cool conversation this morning when we were studying. He found an old paper of his from the CTM that was full of mistakes. He said, "I hate looking back at old things and seeing how bad I was." I told him that I love doing that to see how I have grown. He then proceeded to go through and correct all of those mistakes perfectly. I told him to look and see how he had grown since he was in the CTM and that he will only continue to improve.

I was thinking about that this past week because we didn't have as good a week as I had wanted. 

We stopped passing by Rita's house becuase she wasn't progressing. Then we felt that we needed to stop by there once in the week and we did on Friday. She said that she had felt so different when we had stopped passing by and that she either needs to be baptized as soon as possible or she would stop going to Church. So, we talked to her and got her closer to be being baptized this past Sunday. We then passed by again on Saturday and she said that she wouldn't be baptized if it was cold. We made a deal that if it was sunny and warm outside on Sunday, she would be baptized. We immediatley started fasting and praying for it to be warm and sunny becuase everyone was saying that it was going to be freezing cold this weekend. When we woke up on Sunday, it was sunny and warm out, but as we got to Church we got a phone call from her saying that she wouldn't be baptized.

It was so heart-breaking. We were so excited and ready. Like i said, we woke up Sunday morning and it was bright out with the sun shinning. I actually started to sing on Saturday night, "The Sun will come out tomorrow" from Annie. Right? That's from Annie, right? Anyways, we were yelling that on our way home Saturday night. When I woke up on Sunday morning the sun was out and I was so excited that I started to sing "Here comes the sun!" But then we get that call and it killed me. I was so excited for her to be baptized, but then nothing. It was a really hard feeling to get passed. I went into the bathroom and asked myself, "What could we have done better to achieve this miracle?" I asked Elder Haskell and we both thought about it and we did everything we could it just doesn't happen sometimes.

We have contacted into another great family. It was actually a miracle. We had a contact at this one home and we had been passing by, but no one seemed to be home. After our last appointment one night, I just said to Elder Haskell, "Lets just try once more before we go home." We walked down there and we found this man and his wife going into the same portão and we asked him if the their neighbors were home. He checked for us and he said no and we then set up an appointment to teach him the next day. We then returned the next day and taught a great lesson and they accepted baptism, but they aren't legally married. That's their only problem that we know of, so we will continue to work with them.

A different day our other appoinment fell through and we had nothing else to do. So, I thought, "Lets go to Bruno's!" When we got there, there was no one there. We sat down for a minute to plan what we were going to do. I was again praying that he would show up and we could teach him. As I finished, I looked up because I heard someone yell, "Oi!" It was Bruno coming home on his bike! It was awesome. We then went in and had another great lesson with him and he said that he loves having us in his home and that there is a different feeling when we are there. He has never let any other religious group into his house because he doesn't really trust them. When he saw us that first day, he said,"I felt different when I first saw you guys and that I wanted to know why 2 Americans are doing in the middle of Brasil." He and his family are awesome.

Miracles sometimes don't happen, but always, another happens in its place.

I love and miss you guys so much! Keep up the prayers! I love and pray for you all everyday!


Elder McKeon

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A hard, but good week

Hey everyone,

We had transfers this past Tuesday and that always throws your week for a whirl, but Elder Haskell and I stayed together and we are going to have a great transfer here in Camargo!

(Elder Haskell and Elder McKeon with two young men in their ward leaving on missions)

This week was not the easiest to get through, but as missionaries we have to get through them to get to the good weeks!We have been teaching Rita, Heloiza's mom, and she is very frustrating to a missionary because we have taught her everything, she has a testimony of it all and has a lot of friends in Church and is having a great time. She is now at the point where she has to say "yes" or "no" and she just won't decide! We told her to give us a call when she knows what she wants to do because we have other people to teach and we can't pass by there all the time. It just kills you when you walk away from the house thinking in your mind "What could I have said, could have taught, or could have done to help them more?" On this one, me and Elder Haskell walked away and asked the other and we couldn't think of anything. I'm not saying we are perfect, far from it, but we did everything that we knew how to do and we were even fasting for a miracle to happen, but just sometimes it doesn't happen when YOU want it to happen. I think of Isaiah 55: 8-9 when WE want something to happen and we pray and fast and do all we can to achieve or gain that thing we want and it still doesn't happen, its incredibly difficult to understand. But, it's something that we have to learn and accept. Everything we want for others at that exact moment might not be their time or the right situation or the right anything, but its my job to try every single time, win or lose, because we don't know who's ready or who is waiting for those white guys in ties to talk to us. We just need to open our mouths. It doesn't mean you need to put on a tie and a plaqueta, but you just need to talk.

(Elder McKeon with a Corinthians flag)

Other investigators didn't go as smoothly either. We have been making a lot of contacts and it is like there is a wall between us and that person. They wanted nothing to do with us. It's hard when you do it all day and your not having any success person after person. I love the message that you can find on youtube called A Expiação e a Obra Missionária(it's in English but with Portuguese subtitles). We have seen this in trainings and it explains very well what we feel as missionaries. It's very moving and teaches a 
very important principle for all of us to learn and I love this video and watch it every
week and it helps me to remember why am I here. 

(Elder McKeon at Camargo Novo)

It was a rough week, but there is always something good that has to come of it. We have been teaching this guy 
named Nelson. I think I have already told you guys about him. But he is really hard to find at home and he is really
good guy and wants to be baptized. I had a dream this past week and I am not trying to be cheesy or weird, but I had
a dream and I can only remember only a little part of it. That little part that I remember was seeing Nelson sitting 
next to his Mom in the Capela with a great big smile on his face. But we get to his house earlier on in the week 
and he tells us that he won't go to church because he had a good friend that was going to get married. So that was 
big bummer... and he said he was going to be working the rest of the week so it wouldn't work to stop by and teach.
Then Sunday came around and as we were walking around trying to get our investigators to go to Church, 
either NO ONE was home or they couldn't go. It was discouraging to hear and experience. So we just walked back 
to the Capela and as we walk in, who else do I see? None other than Nelson himself! I just jumped and yelled and 
gave him the biggest hug ever! It was such a great thing to see him there and with his mom just having a great 
time together. 

(Elder Squires, Elder McKeon's trainer, going home)

It was such a great experience, but a little hard because I was asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting about 15 
minutes before it started and I had to fill a gap of 15 minutes. I had to accept it because the other orador wasn't 
there. So I immediately went to work trying to think of something to talk about. What made it even worse 
was as I was preparing it, I see the Stake President walk in and he looks and shakes my hand and just winks. I 
start to freak out, but I talked about faith and prayer and that when we use both of them miracles will happen.

("Got my package!!"-Elder McKeon)

It was an eventful week and I am so glad that it happened! I miss and love you guys so much and I hope 
you have a great week and Ill talk to you next week!


Elder McKeon

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Following Promptings

Hey everyone,

Well long time no see! It was so good to see you guys yesterday! 

The family that let us Skype at their house said that you guys look and act like a great family! I told them that I have the greatest family that there is in the whole wide world! 

So how was my English? Pretty good huh? I had to use my companion for help to think of the words that I forgot.

This transfer flew by, didn't it? It was only a 5 week transfer, so that might be the reason why. When you are with such a great guy like Elder Haskell then the work just seems to go by and then your at the end of a transfer. We would say on Sunday mornings, "Wow, its already Sunday." And then the next week on Sunday it felt like 5 minutes had passed by. I know from what you guys have said, that it has seemed like these 8 months have gone by slow, but for me they went by faster than any other time in my life. It just doesn't make sense how fast the time goes, but when all you do is talk to people and preach this amazing Gospel, it just flies by. 

This past week was good. We have made a lot of contacts because our "grupo de ensino" (dad, translate please) has gotten smaller. We have been asking the members for references and talking to everyone that we could. Then we had to do a division on Saturday, but it was a different division because it was going to be after lunch and for only a couple of hours. We thought that was strange, but thought, "ok, if our leaders want it, then we have to do it." 

So while Elder Haskell went with the other missionary to go to some of our appointments, me and Elder Porter were then supposed to make contacts. I don't like to make contacts on Saturday afternoons here because here on Saturday afternoons the only things that are open are bars and other churches. So as you can imagine, the people are either part of other congregations or drunk, REALLY drunk. 

We weren't having that much success until I found Sidney. He was just sitting down on the curb in front of his house and I felt like I needed to talk to him. We stopped by and we just started to talk to him and it felt so good to talk to this guy, he wasn't drunk, and he just "wanted to get outside for awhile". It was weird, because he said to us that he had been having some troubles in his life and that he was seperated from his wife and just not having that much work to earn money. We invited him to Church and he said he might go, but to swing by his house before to see if he was awake. 

I walked away from that contact thinking he had some real potential! We were walking around Sunday morning to pick up people to go to Church and we were about to go back in and sit down, but then I remembered that we needed to stop by and see if Sidney wanted to go. So we walked to his house and luckily, there was his niece outside and we asked to see if she would go and see if Sidney was ready. She left and her grandma came out and started to talk to us. And we, of course, wished her a Feliz Dia das Mães! We talked to her while we were waiting for Sidney. She seemed very interested in our message and I just felt like inviting her to Church, but she said that she couldn't go because her other son would be stopping by for Mother's Day. We kept talking and Sidney was asleep becuase he couldn't fall asleep at all last night. She said that she needed to hear what we had to say and that we should come by this next week becuase she doesn't go to a Church and wants to feel closer to God in her life and the lives of her family. I was so glad for what she said and that I followed the prompting that I had to talk to him. I was praying for someone to be ready to hear our message and to be touched by the Spirit that we constantly strive to have with us. 

I am so glad that I got to see you guys and that you are all doing well. I love you guys so much and pray for you all the time.

Dad, get healthy. Mom, keep the house and family perfect like you always do! Rylee dont freak out about finals, and kirk, stop getting bigger! Its bugging me! Carlie and Porter don't work so hard! You need to stop and have a break!

Anyways, I love you guys so much!


Elder McKeon

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Temple Trip

I hope all is well with you.  I am doing amazing here in São Paulo!  

(Elder McKeon at the temple)

Well this was a great week!  We went to the São Paulo Temple this past and it was great!  It was wonderful to see a bunch of other missionaries there from my old zone and hear how they are doing.  It was such a spiritual experience to be there.  As missionaries, we don't get to go to the temple as often as we did in the CTM.  In the CTM we went once a week on our P-day.  Now, its once every couple of months, and when I say couple of months, I mean a while! I was super excited to go but it was a long trip to get there.  The temple is in a place called Buntatã.  We had to take a 20 minute bus trip to the train.  Then we took a 30 minute train ride to the Mêtro.  Unfortunately when we arrived at the Mêtro, two of the major lines were shut down. So in a city of 15 million people (all trying to get to work in the same direction as the temple) you can only imagine how many people there were.  So that was slowing us down quite a bit, but when we finally got on our Mêtro it all worked out and we got to the Temple on time.  We then had a great session full of missionaries and you could feel the Spirit so strong there.  I just couldn't help but smile the whole time!

(Elder McKeon with ward members at FHE)

Well, after the Temple, there just so happens to be a Walmart across the street! Hmmmm, how convenient!  So we went there afterward and bought some American stuff that really was a treat.  Like Snickers, Twix, Peanut Butter!  It was so great!  We returned to our area because we had a couple of appointments set up and then we had a great dinner with an Irmã in our ward. 

(Elder McKeon playing ball with missionaries in zone on P-day)

Later we had a great Noite Familiar, AKA, Family Home Evening with an Irmã in our ward who has a non-member sister, and her daughter that is a little is less active.  Elder Haskell and I went there with another family who are their super good friend.  We had a great discussion and the Spirit was so strong there and combine that with the family's testimonies, it just made it even better!  We then ended and proceeded to the kitchen and ate SOOO much food!  I love to get together with these great families! 

(The baptism of Heloiza)

We had a great baptism for Heloiza.  She is awesome!  She is very shy but is super smart and is studying to be a cook!  I already told you guys how she found the Church and before she was baptized she said to us that finding the Church was one of the greatest things she has ever done in her life.  How cool is that?!?!  Her mom, Rita, is a little crazy, but she is so kind and generous.  She loves to hear the lessons and likes to feed us too! But she was having some doubts about being baptized, so she decided to read the Livro de Mórmon.  She just opened up to a random page and opened up to Baptism in the index!  Out of all the other pages in the WHOLE book, she goes right to the most important thing she could have!  If that is not a miracle, then I don't know what is.  And being on the mission this long, I have learned what a miracle is.  She decided to be baptized this!  The day her daughter will receive the Holy Ghost!  All of the young women in the ward came and totally made her feel super welcome and she already has friends in the ward!  So all in all it was a GREAT!  

(Elder McKeon with companion Elder Haskell at the temple)

This week was great!  Oh and we had another little miracle.  We were searching for another house for lunch but we were not able to find it. We called the Relief Society President, and she didn't pick up.  We decided to go her house because we knew she lived mais ou menos close to where we were.  We were walking down this road and an Irmão from the ward just pulled up next to us and asked us what we were doing.  We told him that we were looking for our lunch appointment and couldn't find the house.  He then pointed out the house and went on his way.  We went to the house and knocked and knocked and unfortunately no one was there.  We went and sat on the curb trying to think of something to do with no money and no lunch.  Then the Irmão came back and parked at the curb and said, "I just knew something was going to go wrong so I came back.  Come back to my place and eat!"  How great is that?!?!?  I was praying that whole time just hoping something would work out for the rest of the day, and he showed up and it worked out so great.  I know that Heavenly Father looks after us and helps us when we reach out to Him and ask for the things that we need. 

(Heloiza's baptism)

That's it for this week and I can't wait to see you guys next week on Mother's Day!  I am so excited!  It seems like just last week that we talked on Christmas Day!  


Elder McKeon

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Working hard

Hey everyone!

This past week has been pretty interesting.  We had divisions with the zone leaders this week and it was different because I was out of my area for 2 days.  I was worrying about our investigators and wondering how they were doing.  I was trying my best to help Elder Florentino (my Zone Leader) but it was hard to focus on his area when I had my own teaching group back in Camargo Novo to worry about. 

(View of the new area)

I got a great email from my Mission President this past P-day (the 22nd) and it was wonderful to feel the spirit of that great man.  I know he is following the spirit of our Heavenly Father and leading our mission in success.

(Working through his socks rather quickly with all the walking)

So President emailed me and I was told that we need to raise the level of missionary work in this area.  The challenge went out to the full time missionaries, the ward missionaries, and the members in general (specifically in this area because the past results have not demonstrated the success that the rest of the mission is experiencing).  That is why I was transferred here and he expects me to help the area to have more success. I received the email from O Presidente and it struck my heart to the very core.  I have prayed, fasted and studied as the email outlined as well as work with the members, missionaries and less active members.  We have really been working hard and it feels great at the end of the day when you are so tired and yet very excited about the folks that you are teaching.

(A cheeseburger from McDonald's...he was pretty excited about this)

And the Lord works in mysterious ways.  We receive references through emails from the Mission office from time to time and we got one from "Rita".  We went to check it out and see what level of interest she really had.  We went to her home and it turns out to be two sisters that are interested in learning more, Rita and Heloiza.  A mother and her daughter.  The mom, Rita, is a little eccentric, but they are great and I love them.  We taught them the Restoration and during the First Vision they said that they had felt something that they had never felt before and we asked them to describe it to us and they said that they couldn't because it was so good!  We explained that the feeling they were having was the spirit of our Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost testifying of the truthfulness of the things we were teaching them.  How awesome is that!  The way that she found the Church is a miracle in itself!  She was talking to a member through Facebook or something, and he told her about the Church and told her to check out  She did and submitted her info online.  We received the reference from the Mission office and now they are marked for baptism this next Sunday!  How fantastic is that! 

(Elder McKeon with his companion Elder Haskell)

We also had Nelson in Church. He is the son of a member here and we have been passing by him for awhile.  He has never been able to go to Church because something always comes up at the last minute.  This past week, while he was getting ready for Church, a friend of his offered him to go out and do some activity (I don't know what) and he turned it down because he said, "I need to go to Church, these guys have been telling me to go and I need to go".  He told me that and I about started to cry.  I gave him a big hug and he said that he had a great time there with his mother and he is also set up for next week for his baptism as well!

Then the best of all.  We were in the Quorúm dos Elderes and we see this super tall man walk in and introduce himself as Zilto.  We talk to him after the aula and his FAMILY was there too!  A family of 4 that had been invited to come to Church by their neighbor and they actually came!  They said they loved it too!  We were going to pass by there on Sunday but they went to his Aunt's home.  So we are going to pass by there tomorrow and answer all of the questions that they had about church!

This was a great Sunday that we had!  I am thankful for all of the prayers and blessings that I receive from you, the ward, my friends and our Mission President and from the members in the temples all over the world.  My Mission President made promises in his email to me and they are coming to fruition!  I am so grateful to be here in Brazil and I love the gospel!


Elder McKeon