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, July 29, 2014

The Holy Ghost Guides Us

Hey everybody,

We had such a great week here! 

I am emailing a day late because we had a special zone meeting this wee. We went to a place called Campos do Jordão, which is about an hour away from Taubaté. It's a tiny town that looks like a mini Europe. Interestingly enough, we had our meeting on the top of a member's reminded me of Loa! It was very cold there, but it was nice to get a break from the heat. We then got to tour the town a little bit with our district. It was a great P-day, and we had a good time learning from Irma Therezina. She has a super sweet spirit and has become a wonderful member of the church. 

We also had a meeting with President this week Guaretinguetá. We had a personal meeting as well. This man has helped me grow so much as a missionary and I owe him so much for the lessons he has taught me. Because of him, I have stayed motivated to share this Gospel. 

We also go to visit José Valters' house and share a message with them. He and his wife are an older couple in the ward and they are awesome. They continue to progress. We also started a new program in our ward where we have members give out Books of Mormon to their friends and loved ones. After they give one out, they share their testimony about the experience the following Sunday. Jose gave a Book of Mormon to a friend and then shared his testimony and said that he knows the Book of Mormon is true. It is so awesome to see someone grow spiritually like that and see how I have been an instrument in the Lord's hands to help him in this area of his life.

Well this week flew by and I know this one will fly by too. I am working so hard and trying to talk to everyone I can while I am still here. I am not giving up!

I love you all and hope you have a great week!


Elder McKeon

July 21, 2014

Well another week in the books!

This was a good week! The Zone baptized 5 people and we should have another 7 or 8 baptisms next week. The Zone is doing great!

This week we were on our way to a lunch appointment when we got a little lost. We got off the bus on the wrong stop so we had to make our way around Taubaté until we found the right street. I felt like we should walk around this one area when this woman (Edna) stopped and started to stare at us funny. I felt like we should talk to her, but before we could say anything she came to use and asked us where the LDS church was. We were so surprised because we know the members in the area and we had not met her. She then explained that she had been in Taubaté for a while, but her and her family was inactive. She is divorced with six kids, all of whom are baptized except for the youngest.

We scheduled a time to come and share a message with her family. There is a member in the ward who lives just down the street from her who also joined. We decided to talk about the Holy Ghost and how we need to listen to those promptings and we related back to when we were lost after getting off the bus, but we were led to her. We invited Edna and her children back to church and they decided to come. The spirit was so incredibly strong as Edna decided that her family needed to come back to Church. Her and her youngest son, Marco Areilio, came to church and afterwards he said he wanted to continue to come. We will be teaching him later this week and I hope to see him baptized before I leave!

We visted José Valters again this week and shared a message with his family. He has prostate cancer that has spread to his bones. It is amazing to watch his wife take care of him and see how much they love each other. I can tell they are quite lonely because when they opened the door for us, Zezinha (the wife) just started crying and begged us to stay. We are going to continue to visit them. I love how serving others makes me feel.

Well, it seems that every time I write the time just passes by faster and faster. It's a good thing, and also the worst thing in the world because I just love this work and life so much. I love you guys more than anything, but I am going to have the hardest time leaving all of this behind.

I love you all and hope you have a great week!!

Love you!

Elder McKeon 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Elder McKeon Turns 21!

Here are the last three emails from Elder McKeon. He will be finishing his mission and returning home in one month (August 14th). His homecoming talk will be held on August 17th. I will update with more details as we get a little bit closer to him returning home.

Hey everybody,

We had two baptisms in our ward this week, which was very exciting. The ward secretary was going through all of the records of our ward and saw that two people that were "members" hadn't been baptized. This means that there was no record of the baptism and there were no witnesses to protest otherwise. It was as if they were never baptized. We were able to do the ordinance again, which was different for me. Normally we have to work very hard for baptisms, and these two fell in our laps. The baptism went great, the water was FREEZING though. The thing that heats up the water was broken, and it's winter here, so the water was extra cold. Both Barbera and Bryan are great members and they had such a good experience. We were more than happy to help them with this ordinance.

We had a meeting this week. When we were on our way to it, President Ferrin gave me a call and says, "Well Elder, are you on your way here?" I told him we were on our way and he asks,"Well, elder can you give a talk tomorrow? You will be the speaker." I told him I would and I asked him what he wanted me to speak about. He asked me to speak about the importance of prayer. It was sort of an ironic topic, because I started to pray immediately to know what to talk about. I ended up sharing my experience about how prayer brought me closer to our Father in Heaven when I messed up my knee and thought I was going to have to be sent home for surgery. I spoke about how I pleaded with Heavenly Father to let me stay here in Brasil so I could complete my mission. Fortunately, He allowed me to heal enough to stay here and I learned just how important communicating with Heavenly Father is. 

The weeks are going by so fast and all I want them to do is slow down.


Elder McKeon

July 7, 2014

Hi everybody!

Well it's weird to think I just had my last birthday on the mission. I had several of missionaries ask me what I was going to do for my birthday and I just told them I would be doing missionary work. Then they would ask me what I was going to do besides missionary work and I replied with, "More work!"

We worked hard on my birthday and we had a good day. We then went to Irmão José Valter's place and I gave a message on how we need to be an example of the Church at all times using 1 Timothy 4:12, and then she had made me a cake. It was very nice of her, and I didn't ask for it, but I guess when you are doing what you are supposed to, the blessings follow! 

We also have a baptism set for this Sunday! The zone is doing well and we are working hard. This next Sunday we should have 6 baptisms in the Zone. Things are going great and I love being a missionary so much. I am going to make every minute count.


Elder McKeon

July 1, 2014

Hello friends and family!

I was not able to write yesterday because I was in São Paulo all day due to transfers. This is the last transfer of my mission. It hit me pretty hard. It is sad to think that my mission is coming to an end and I only have a little bit of time left to help all of the people I can.

Our mission president let us watch the Brasil game and boy was it intense. I don't know about Colombia...if we play like we did I think we will lose. I keep getting asked about the U.S. team and I feel bad saying I don't know anything about their team. Our President let's us watch the Brasil game, so that's the only thing I have really been able to follow when it comes to the World Cup. I guess it is ok though because I have adopted the Brazilian people as my own, so I want their team to do well. 

This week we did a little service project. I guess it wasn't so little though...we ended up building an entire roof. For the past 5 months, Charles (we are teaching his family) and his girlfriend/wife Juliane have come to church without fail. Unfortunately, they are very poor and cannot afford to get married (it is very expensive and difficult to do down here). They are saving up to get married, so hopefully after that, they will be able to get baptized. 

Anyways, Charles fell 30 feet while working and broke his back, neck, and right arm. He didn't die, which was a miracle, but he has to be in bed for 6 months without moving. We started teaching Charles and his family after the accident, and ever since the first lesson, Charles has welcomed us into his home.

On Thursday, he called and asked if we would be able to do some service. We of course told him we would be glad to help and he told us he needed some help with his roof (his hand is still messed up and he is still recovering from the accident). I thought we would be patching up some holes, but Charles needed us to do a little more than that. He had us rip of the roof completely and throw it away. It turns out the roof was totally messed up. All the ceiling in their house was made of was Styrofoam and bedsheets. We ended up ripping that all out too. We put in 16 new wooden beams and 26 roof plates. It took my companion and I the entire day and part of Friday. It worked out well though because we got to spend a lot of time speaking with Charles about the Gospel and he is so excited to get married and join the Church.

On Saturday night we had a Festa Junina! Its like a ho-down here, all redneck and country like. We had a TON of non-members there and they were all super interested in the Church and what we did as missionaries. We talked the whole night and it was such a great opportunity to talk to the members and their friends that they brought and trust us to teach. 

Elder Hardy has promised to work hard with me until the end!


Elder McKeon