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, March 26, 2014

Warm Water and Baptisms!

Hey everybody,

Well, I am loving this area so much! We had two baptisms this week! We baptized the children of Irmã Roberta. It was probably the most perfect baptism I have had on my mission. EVERYONE came for the baptism, we even had people outside of the church looking through the windows to watch it. We had the primary sing, "Nephi's Courage," for Gabriel and the Moças sang a hymn that I didn't know for Geovanna. It was great! Their mom was crying along with a ton of members. Everyone was bearing their testimony and it was fantastic. The Spirit was so strong and I am so thankful it was because Roberta´s husband, José, isn't a member of the Church. I know that he felt something at the baptism, even though he didn't say anything, but I know the Spirit touched his heart in seeing all of these people support his family. In other news, it was my FIRST baptism on my mission where the water was WARM haha. They have a hard time getting warm water here, so it was cool to finally have warm water for a baptism.

The weather is a little strange right now. Summer technically ended last week, but it is still hot until about 5:30 and then it pours rain every evening.

I also love this area because the members here are really excited about missionary work. Instead of us having to ask them to help with family nights and lessons with investigators, they are asking us to assist them in their missionary experiences. It's so great to be a part of this marvelous work.

I love you all so much and hope you have a great week! Tchau!


Elder McKeon

Monday, March 17, 2014

Meetings and Baptisms

Here are the last two emails from Elder McKeon. He only has 5 months left in the mission field and we thank you all for continuous support and prayers. 

March 10, 2014

Hey everyone!

We had transfers this past Tuesday and I stayed here in Taubaté, but Elder Zancheta was transferred to São José dos Campos. It was sad, but my new companion, Elder Passos, is a very good missionary. We are from the same group, which means we were in the CTM together and we have been friends ever since. He is from Caera, which is in northern Brasil. He has a different accent and he also speaks a little bit of english. We help each other out, I teach him some words in english and helps me with my Portuguese.

(Elder McKeon and his new companies Elder Passos)

Our zone had 3 areas open up because of how many missionaries we received. Our zone now has 26 missionaries! It is the 2nd largest zone in the mission! The work is progressing and you can see it in how many MORE missionaries are needed to do the work! It's so exciting!

We also had a mission conference this week. This time the conference was with Elder Costa, the Area Presidente of Brasil. Since we are the furthest zone, we had to wake up at 3:30 a.m. to get there. Even though we had to travel a great distance, we were the first zone there. Elder Costa had already arrived and we were excited to get started. We had a study session and I learned a lot. After that, Elder Costa had the district and zone leaders meet and we discussed how to become better leaders. He then talked about why we were chosen as leaders in the first place. Elder Costa shared that President Ferrin and Heavenly Father trust us to help our zones and districts become better. I learned so many amazing things and I am looking forward to applying them in my work. Elder Costa then had another meeting with us after lunch, so we were both physically and spiritually fed haha.

Our house nearly flooded, again, because of all the rain. We had to have someone come put in a pipe so the water will go down the drain instead of pile up in our house. Now if we could just get the holes in the ceiling fixed...

On Sunday, an inactive member named Roberta, came back to Church after having not come for a very long time. She asked us last week to invite her family as well, so we did. Surprisingly, they all came to Church and agreed to read the Book of Mormon! After Church, we stopped by Roberta's family's home again to teach. They have all accepted our invitation to be baptized and will do so on March 23rd! Both of the children and the mother are developing strong testimonies, so now we just need to work on the Dad. I am hoping he will feel the spirit so strongly that he will also want to join. It is an incredible feeling to help a family come closer to Christ, even if I did play a small role in their eternal development.

The time is going by even faster and I only have 4 transfers left. It is pretty sad how fast the time is going, but I am going to continue to take advantage of every minute and work hard! I hope you have a great week! Love you!


Elder McKeon 

March 17, 2014

Hello all, it was a great week!

On the first Friday of every month, we meet with our mission president and all of the other zone leaders in the mission. Once again, since we are so far away, we had to leave on Thursday nigh to make it to São Paulo. A huge storm hit while we trying to get to our meeting and we even saw lighting strike the freeway as we were on our way. The streets were completely flooded!

Other than that, t was a great meeting with the President and the other zone leaders. We learned how to better motivate our zones to achieve their potential. When we made it back to our area, we had the baptism of Matheus and Alanice. Other missionaries were teaching them, but they ended up being from our area so we got to baptize them. It is incredible to see miracles occur in the lives of those who are baptized. Matheus and Alanice are amazing and they were so excited to join the Church. 

We also had family night with Roberta, her husband Jose, and their two children: Geovanna and Gabriel who are going to be baptized next week. I used that puzzle that you gave me of the Plan of Salvation and the Spirit was so strong. I love being a missionary. Words cannot express the joy that comes with teaching these people and bringing them to Christ.

I hope you guys had a great week and I will talk to you next week! I love you all so much!


Elder McKeon

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

An Unforgettable Meeting

February 24, 2014

Hey everybody!

We had interviews with Presidente Ferrin this past week. It was so great to see them after I had left the office. We talked for a while and I learned a lot of great things that will really help the Zone here in Guaratinguetá. While we were at the interviews waiting, I was talking to Sister Ferrin. She let me know that we were going to have a special meeting with a General Authority this Saturday, so I got super excited. Then she said that it was going to be with ALL of the missions in the city of São Paulo. That's 5 missions! It was a meeting for the leaders, so the Zone Leaders and the Assistants to the President were called to go. I had the great privelege to attend and learn so much.

We live in the area furthest away from the mission, so we had to leave our area Friday night to be able to make it on time to the meeting on Saturday at the Temple in São Paulo. We get there and it was great to see all of the guys in the office again. We slept there Friday night, and we left on Saturday for Butantã for the Temple. 

We got there and I immediately started asking people for the missão São Paulo Norte, to see if Gary Nielsen was a Zone Leader there. It took a while, but I finally found him! I saw Gary there and we talked and it was super cool to catch up and see how he was doing. It was really weird to talk to him in Portuguese. We hung out there for a minute talking to the other missions and then we went inside to meet the Seventy, because he is the Executive Director of the Mission Department. It is Elder Evans and he is a good friend of Presidente Ferrin's, so it was even better because when we went up to shake his hand, he asked us if we were Presidente Ferrin's missionaries. 

(Elder McKeon with Elder Gary Nielson. They are friends from Granite Bay)

Elder Evans focused on one thing from the start of the meeting had a thing, and he said,"I will ask you questions, and if you want to learn, you will raise your hand. That is an indication to the Spirit that you want to learn. You will then stand up and we will have a conversation, just you and me, and everyone else will be listening. But dont worry about them, its just you and me." I put that in the back of my mind, because I didn't really want to stand up in front of 175 of the leaders here in São Paulo and make a fool of myself. The meeting went on and I toke really good notes because everything Elder Evans said was pure doctrine.

I was finishing writing a note and he asked the question,"What is God's purpose?" As I heard the question I automatically thought in my mind,"Moses 1:39" He then asked, "There is a scripture, who knows the scripture?" And I guess I just flipped back into seminary mode because the next thing I know, my hand is in the air, and I hear him saying, "Elder in the back." (We had to sit in the back because that was where our mission was assigned, but I wanted to sit in the front, trust me Dad!) He said it again, and then I realized everyone was looking at me and I hadn't stood up yet. I jumped up and grabbed the microphone and we had an amazing conversation. I learned so much. I thought that I knew a thing or two, but when I walked out of that meeting, I realized I had a long way to go. I would love to tell you everything that he taught us, but there isn't enough time, The main focus was that we need to do a better job of helping recent converts than just baptizing as many people as we can really quick. We need to really focus on bringing families to the gospel, and eventually to the Temple so that they can be sealed for time and all eternity! 

(Thank you to the Chabras for the cookies!!)

I loved the conference so much. My testimony grew so much in such little time. It was such a great experience and I am so glad that I am here on my mission serving MY Savior. The meeting reminded me of a painting I saw of Christ. The artist had written a little note on the back saying mais ou menos disso which means, "The Savior is personal, for each and every one of us." That really struck me and I know that my Redeemer lives and loves me and each and every one of you even if we aren't doing everything right. I love my Heavenly Father and I know that He loves me too. 

We were walking back to our house one night and it was pretty late because our last appointment lived pretty far away. We weren't saying anything because we were so tired and we just wanted to get home. There was nobody in the street, and out of nowhere I had this feeling that I knew that my Lord lives and loves me so much. I will never forget the feelings that I felt and the testimony that I have now that our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, live and that they love us all unconditionally. I know this is true, and this is the true Church of Christ on the Earth today. I am so glad that I have the wonderful opportunity and privilege to be here in Brasil and meet the family that I never knew I had down here. I am so grateful for my family and all that you do for me. I don't know where I would be without you! "Sou um representante Dele, e não posso negar meu chamado por nada. Sei que Ele vive, e que Ele nos ama mais do que nos conseguimos entender. Eu amo vocês com tudo que eu sou e esta Igreja e meu Salvador. Presto essas coisas com meu amor, em nome de Jesus Cristo. Amém."

Love always,

Elder McKeon

March 3, 2014

Hello all!

This week was a little crazy for me, so let's start from Monday Night. We had just gotten back from São Paulo and my companion and I had been there for 4 days. We rode the bus for 4 hours, so we were exhausted and just wanted to get home, take a shower and sleep. We got home only to find that our house was FLOODED! It had rained super hard on the way back from São Paulo, and the guy who had built our house decided to put the drain pipe INSIDE the house in our laundry room. When it rained super hard, it took all of the nasty stuff off the roof and drain, and put it in our laundry room, bathroom, kitchen and was awesome. My suitcases got wet, shoes got wet, bed got wet, EVERYTHING! There was 4 inches of water in the house. We had to stay up until 1:30 in the morning cleaning it all. It was an experience, but one that I don't want to have again.

The next thing was that I got bit by a dog! We were at lunch and I was done eating and there was this little dog and I wanted to go and pet him. I get closer and stick my hand out for him to smell it. He smells it and I go in for the pet and then this thing just jumps and bites my middle finger...HARD! I didn't expect it to hurt that bad, but the little guy had some force to him! It started to bleed and the Irmã comes right out and pours straight alcohol into the cuts and that didn't feel too good! It got kind of swollen and bruised, but no infection so we are all good! Again, another experience that Im glad i have, but don't want to repeat! 

Last but not least, my only pair of shoes broke! The left shoe on the front had an opening about an inch wide, and everybody made fun of it, but they were great shoes!  We were walking to an appointment and I tripped on a piece of the sidewalk and I heard a big, "RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIP!!!!" I looked down at my shoe and the whole soul had come off like half way. My toes were sticking out of the front and we still had to go teach. I taught with my stinky toes sticking out of my shoes and the family was just laughing at me.

We also have another mission conference this week! I'm super excited and there is a transfer tomorrow! I love you guys so much hope you have a great week! 


Elder McKeon