Elder Matthew Wright Gagon - Brazil Curitiba Mission

Elder Michael David Gagon - Brazil Belo Horizonte Mission

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Matt: December 29, 2010

Dear Family,
It was awesome talking to you on Christmas! Que benção! Glad to confirm mom isn´t pregnant and Al isnt having triplets. So like I said on the phone, transfers were this week. And in the end me and Elder F Silva ended up both staying here in Almirante Tamandaré. Nate M said ´the longer you´re in an area the more good you can do´ So we´ll see how much good we can do in these next 6 weeks... I guess it serves me right though, cuz I was getting all ready to abandon this place and leave my problems here. BUt the Lord knows better than that, and I think this transfer is for me to learn it is better to deal with and resolve problems than just run away and hope they don´t follow you... I think that´s a good life lesson for us all.
I thought of some gross stuff I´ve eaten while being here and I remembered a few things that I didn´t on the phone... A few sundays ago we ate liver. Woof! I don´t know what kind of liver it was, but or if it really was liver at all, but whatever it was it wasn´t good. Then last sunday we ate this thing made out of sugar cane. I don´t remember the name of it, but it was like a brown brick made of sugar cane and stuff, and it was nasty.
I still can´t think of anything I need but if yallsies wanted to send me some of that gatorade powder mix, that would rock my world. Oh and kraft macaroni and cheese is good too. Just those with pictures and letters and I would be a happy boy. Yes indeedy corn cobs!

Well that´s all I´ve got for this week. I wish there was more, but there just isn´t.
I love you all.

-Elder Matt

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Michael: December 22, 2010

Here is my Christmas present to you guys! A few photos. I wanted to send more but I´ll have to do it another time.

Dear fam. I have my list of things to write, but its BLANK! This week it really just seems like we are going through the motions. We knock doors, and the next day pick up where we left off on the next street. We find some mais ou menos good people but none of them came to church Sunday soooo SUCK. Sometimes I think I look at the cup as 25% empty, when Its really 75% full, We had a baptism Sunday! Brenda Alexandra de Almeida, shes only 11 years old but she is super smart and probably a future missionary and later a stake relief society president.. She asked me to baptise her too which gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. We are trying to work with her family but its hard, they are super poor, they moved here kinda running away from their dad who use to beat all of them... and so the mom is always working, and has never made it to church..
So other than that the only thing I wanted to write about is this lady we met in the post office.
So every once in a while you meet someone who lived in the US and then got deported or just came back, and they all lived in Boston! Anybody been there and seen all the brasileiros? If not boston, Miami, or maybe New York.. So we met this lady who lived in Boston and she told us She flew to mexico - and then floated across the Rio Grande to texas on a diesel tire with her son on her lap! Neither one of them knew how to swim. haha oh geez can you imagine?
Ok so last thing, the christmas call will happen at 2 oclock Brazil time. and you guys need to call me! I am going to be in the church sitting by the phone waitin for ya :). I gave the number to Jor and Nat....
I love you all, cant wait to talk to you! Elder Michael

Matt: December 22, 2010

Dearest Family,
Ok so instead of not having any contact with you and hoping a call to America worked out from our cell phone (yeah right!) My wonderful mission president said we could email right quick today and set it up. So instead of calling on Christmas eve for 5 minutes saying "this is the number call at this time" we get to EMAIL! So sweet.
Yeah so financially buying a calling card just wouldn´t give, so if you guys could buy a card or whatever and call here, that would be ideal.
Also I talked to my District Leader who called on Mother´s day and he said his mom had to set up some special phone through the internet, or by black magic, in order to make international calls. I don´t remember how you did it to call Jordan, but I know the beloved Jolley family used phone cards to call Mexico, but I´m in Brazil so it might be different. My DL said if you have any questions about calling Brazil you can call his Mom Alaina Bringhurst at 435-673-5649. But sounds like Jor prob knows what to do.
There´s a 5 hour time difference between here and there, so I figured high noon, Mountain Standard time (5 o'clock here) would be ideal for both parties.

I think that covers all the bases.
Who: You guys call ME
What phone: I think whatever land line you can get would be best, but it´s up to you.
When: High noon Utah time/5 pm Curitiba time
Where: Me here, yallsies there

Yup oh and I got the Christmas packages from Nat&Nate and the CP3 young women, who are surprisingly well versed in the scriptures. WOWZA!!! So great! What a blessing! Thank you tons. Jor I know you said you sent me a package already, but I have yet to receive it :( Other than that things are just going along. I´ll tell you more in person on Saturday

Tchau tchau
-Elder "Mr. Freeze" Gagon

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Michael: December 15, 2010

Dear family.

So I guess I will just call Nenas house probably around 3:00ish at the latest 4:15 pm Brazil time, and talk to whoever happens to be there, hopefully my parents and all my bros and sisters! I was thinking maybe you guys would suggest a time or place (phone number) but I´ll plan it out this week and let you know for sure next Wednesday. Im excited though.

So this week went by really fast, the work is mais ou menos going well... this week what has been the theme I think is the craziness in the communication... It all started with this one family that didnt understand a single word we said, not a single word... (they might have been joking with us)... we got there, asked questions like ´´how many kids are in the family´´ and they just stared at us and told us to stop talking english.. It was kinda funny. We were talking at snail speed and super loud hoping they would understand and it didnt help, so we just had the daughter read the Restoration pamphlet and then when she was done we gave them thumbs up and tried inviting them to church and just got out of there.

So then we taught a family and at the end of the restoration we asked what they thought and how they felt, and the son said ´´I feel like this is the true church´´, and we were all HALLELUJAH, and we invited him to be baptised, and he said he already was (we assumed in another church cause we get this answer all day) but we explained he needed to be baptised again but by the priesthood etc. and by the end he accepted a date. The next day we went back and found out he really was baptised and was inactive, they showed us pictures of the elders that taught them years ago haha, the Dad who also said he would be baptised and was married turns out wasnt married ´´on paper´´ so that one fell too..
Then yesterday we taught a lady that loves the church, loves the missionaries, shes old and lives alone and is almost deaf, so nobody talks with her anymore she said. Nossa, she is the sweetest lady, her voice is like the top key on the piano and is so cute, and has a FAT dog. So after all these experiences I find myself doubting my portuguese and feel like everybody the past 5 months have just been pretending to understand what I say....

Also, the other thing, priesthood blessings work, they are great. I feel like Ive seen miracles from people being healed, everyone says to us ``that prayer you did on his head worked, he doesnt feel anymore pain.´´ ..stuff like that and also I was sick this week, the work for a couple days was awful but a blessing worked on me too. I know the church is true!

I love you all. Have a great week.
Elder Michael

Matt: December 15, 2010

Dearest Family of mine,

Oh family, what is up? Not a ton has been happening here as of late. It has been rainy/cloudy for like a week and a half. I can´t remember if it was last week or just since last Wednesday that it started to be gray and cloudy and rainy and such cuz these days all seem to blend together into one never ending week.

So last week our calentador or residencia, or whatever the device that heats up the water in the shower is called, broke... WOOF CITY!!!! So this past week has been nothing but icy showers. Maybe it is a blessing in disguise, because until this point in the mish I haven´t been very good at doing morning exercises. I do more like "exercise my faith" and wait for revelations to come in a dream, or "exercise my agency" and just write in my journal or sleep. However with the broken calentador/residencia I have to do a good number of push ups and sit ups to generate enough body heat to keep me from freezing to death in the shower. So after saying a prayer and cowering in my bed at the thought of the inevitable morning shão for a few minutes I get right out and crank out like 40 push ups and like 6 sit ups and head straight into the icy water closet with the hope that I don´t turn into a naked missionary-cicle.

Yesterday we taught a family that (get this) has 8 kids! Even better they have 4 boys and 4 girls! And better yet it goes 3 boys, 3 girls, 1 boy, 1 girl! And only the 3 oldest boys are married!!!! That is exactly like our family, but reverse child order. ha ha ha Could you imagine if Nick was the oldest (yikes!) and Alison was the youngest (ahh poor lil lamb)? Nossa, so I make special mention of this not only because of the similarities to our fam, but because gigantic families like ours are super duper rare in Brasil. So yeah we taught a good restouration lesson and they said they are going to pray to know if what we taught them was true. My comp wasn´t quite as excited as I was though cuz he thinks they´re members of some other church that has a special hatred towards Mormons. So yeah.

Tomorrow we have our Christmas mission conference where all the missionaries from the entire Curitiba area get together and drink coca-cola and go swimming and watch movies and hug. Ha ha jk but they will have all the missionaries there, and they´ve been holding all packages that have come in the past month and we will get them tomorrow. So that is exciting. I´m pretty sure it is going to rock my world.

Ooh in other news I was at a member´s house who´s daughter served in this mission (didn´t know that was poss, but whatev) and she had a photo with an Elder Richards that I went to high school with. Then my comp saw it and was like "Oh I remember Elder Hishards. He was an assistant when I got here." Then it dawned on me....Nossa, the two people from my same graduating class that served here were both APs. So normally I'm not one to keep up with the Jones' but now I´ve got an expectation to live up to! So I decided that I´m going to be AP before my mission's end....Yup.
So that has pretty much been my week.

Dad- great to finally hear from you. I have been thinking a lot about the DeAgostinis lately, so awesome that you ran into them at Chillibee´s. I think I saw their cousin that lived with them when I was like 13 years old, at the Curitiba temple last week, but I didn´t have the chance or guts to go ask him if he was related to any DeAgostinis in Utah.
Al- Christmas around the globe sounds rockin. I´m glad Abby forgave you for all the days your were mean to her, and even MORE glad that you´ve been playing your violin! Nossa maybe you should join the BPO; get paid to play violin full time- Awesome! Also did you ever find that quote by Boyd K. Packer that I was talking about? If so did it help? If not, FIND IT!
Michael- Yeah muitos inativos aqui neste país. Achou que aquela familia foi brincando com vocês ou talvez seu português é peor do que meu, kkkkkkk espero que não!
Nate J- Crohns sounds crappy but the downtown date night sounded sweet. Tell Marv to get a hard copy of those ski pics right quick!
Jor- Letter on the way to ya.

Well I love you all tons and tons. I am super stoked to maybe get some packages tomorrow, and I will surely be thinking of y'allsies this Christmas...OH speaking of natal, I think I will call sometime at night, or maybe on Christmas eve. I´m not sure how it works here. I´ll probably find out tomorrow, but because of Christmas next week instead of having pday on wednesday and emailing and whatnot, our p day will be on Christmas day Saturday. So yeah. My comp isn´t much help with this either cuz he doesn´t really want to call his parents, so he´s not quite as anxious as I am to dial that numba. But yeah maybe the fam should just stake it out by the phone at Nena´s for all of the 24th and 25th.
Yup that´s all.

Love, Elder Matt

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Matt: December 9, 2010

Dearest most wonderful family,

Ok so this week was a little better than last week. Not a ton, but it was better. I didn´t write yesterday because we went to the temple and then I was shipped off to some other area while my comp sang in the christmas choir, and to be honest it´s a christmas miracle that the zone leaders let me email at all today.

So yeah the temple in Curitiba is SO pretty! Minha nossa it is so great. I did a sesh in Portuguese and I don´t think I got as much out of it as I should have cuz at first they didn´t give me shoes, then they paused the sesh to go get me some, then the main guy told me I had put on some clothing out of order (I´m not sure how much I can say) and just little things like that kept occupying my mind. But all in all it was a good sesh and a good experience. I really have this strong desire to do baptisms for the dead since getting here to Brazil, cuz I have yet to enter the waters of baptism, and being dunked for the dead is as close to swimming as I could get for the next couple years. Normally that wouldn´t phase me, but it is HOT here. So yeah the temple was great. Also this week I went on my first division. Wahoo! It was great. Divisions are definitely divinely inspired. I´m definitely growing up mission-wise as far as not just following my trainer around goes. I´m contributing more and more and also getting a better hold on the language.

Jordan- I thought you were serious in your email about KCP and Kumi fighting over me/Michael, but when you said "just kidding" it was me who wanted to cry.
Al- Christmas at the Ashley´s sounds like a blast. Christmas in Germany sounds a little crazy, but overall sounds like a good time. Maybe you could do Christmas in Brazil and crank up the heater until you are drenched in sweat from head to toe and then tell Abby and Ellie Papãe Noel isn´t coming again this year ha ha ha.
Rhett- I don´t have your zip code so I´m sending you a letter to Nena´s house, so just keep in touch with Mom on that one.
Natalie- How´s Baby Ruth?
Can- No I´m not still online.
Michael- I didn´t get to write you last week, but I´m sending you a letter this week.
Nick- Whassup?
Parents- What was it like hanging out in the darkness before God said "Let there be light."? ha ha jk but for real sometimes I feel like you are leaving me in the dark cuz the last time I heard from either of you was in Tennessee.

Not a ton else happened this past week. I hope you all are doing your home and visiting teaching. We have members in this ward who haven´t been to church in 27 years and I was thinking "Minha nossa how does that even happen?" I think if they had a good home/visiting teacher that would be avoided. Also I hope everybody is reading their scriptures with some regularity. Because that´s how we strengthen our testimonies. We have a lot of less actives in this ward who get offended and have fallen away, but I think if we have a good strong testimony that wouldn´t happen as much as it does. Sorry for ranting, but this ward has over 500 inactive members, so it´s kinda been on my mind.

Anywho I love you all. Keep the letters and emails coming because they are the nectar of life, and the strength to keep going from week to week

Elder Matt

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Michael: December 8, 2010

Dear family!

Im doing well. The work has its ups and downs. A big down right now is my sore throat and stuff, first time Ive been real sick in a long while it seems, and it only seems horrible cause theres no rest time on the mish. But today is Pday and Ill feel better, no worries.
Everyone here (the brazilians) including children always say, Papa Noel / Santa doesnt come to Brazil hahaa how sad. But were all excited for Christmas, where the missionaries will be the only thing white. I dont think I talked about the Pday we moved houses in my last area was the only time Ive warn t-shirt and shorts outside the house and Im sure I looked so good with my huge tan line on my neck, t shirt, bball shorts and grand dads velcro sunday shoes cause I dont have any sneakers.

This week you could say I got my companion back from the prank he pulled on me. We got into a house and they offered us beet juice and water, I accepted cause I thought I had beet juice the day before and it was way good but maybe it was something else, but my companion went into the bathroom and I (being prompted by the spirit) thought Id take a test sip first. So I pour a tiny bit of beet juice into my cup and drink it. WOOF. Put the juice aside and filled my cup with water. But then filled my companions to the brim with the juice, a great treat waiting for him when he came out of the bathroom.

I taught a whole lesson with a parrot on my shoulder the other day, the people we taught have a pet parrot and they let us hold it. It was really cool of course at first I was scared but it just sat there calmly. and plucking my whiskers that I missed shaving (ouch)
So a curious thought Ive had for a while is Adam, Dad, Rhett, Nate, Nate, Dev? Were any of you like Zone leaders or APs or awesome missionary leaders? Just curious.

This weeks just been full of work really... working with the lamanites and my comp... I really appreciate all your prayers and emails and letters this week especially. You guys are the best and I love you all with all my coraçao.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Michael: December 1, 2010

Dear Family. How is everyone? Im doing good here in Veneza with Elder Anderson. He磗 a funny guy, but im tryin to get him to work harder/better etc. So since Ive compared my first two areas to cities in Utah, Progresso =murray, Floresta = Sugar house, I decided here feels like Hurricaine. Not really much but a lot of houses/good amount of people.

I saw a guy skateboarding (which is rare) down a dirt road... impressive, but even better I saw a guy sweeping his dirt yard space. ya, sweeping the outside dirt...(Hey get off my dirt farm! (matt))

On friday the Irma we had lunch with was talking about her busy schedule and all the stuff she had to do which included kill 3 chickens, So I asked her if she would do it right now for us to watch hahaha So she went out to the pen, grabbed her by the tail feather, then got a grip on the leg...held it upside down by the legs, went over to her chair, sat down, stepped on the legs with one foot and on the wings with another, grabbed its neck and sliced it! then it was still moving a lot, freaking out but she just kept her feet on it, and it was all in all not very funny but kinda cool. Then the next day the other Irma said she was going to kill the chickens that day too! So I asked her how she did it and she said she snaps their necks, so I thought Oh thats different, can we watch you do it? she basicall just picks it up and twists it like shes getting the water out of a towel until she feels it snap and then爃olds it爐ill it stops moving haha and so in total I saw 3 chickens爇illed this week.

I saw a guy making a cobblestone road, put a rock down, hit it once with a hammer, grab another rock, hit it, it was kinda funny.

We had a crisis on Sunday, we have 2 wards that come to our chapel, and each ward has 2 duplas, so in total 8 missionaries there.... and we didnt have enough white jump suits for all the baptisms! haha que ben鏰o. Me and my comp baptised a couple with twin 8 year old sons, que ben鏰o, future priesthood holders. It was a great day, waiting in line to enter the waters....prob doesnt happen very often. I baptised the dad and 1 twin, and got over my fear of baptising my first adult... didnt drown him... And then the twin had to go into the bathroom and give the wet jumpsuit to his brother ha. But in the end爀veryone received a remission of sins and all were happy.

We had zone conference christmas edition which was good, lots of treats. The Elder from my MTC group got a letter from my MTC companion that went home which was kinda crazy, but hes doing good and planning to爂o back out. JORDAN I got your package and your letter! YES! Conference is soo good, did you guys watch it? It was about 2 months ago... Ive read so far almost all of Saturday, loved Elder Christoffersons, and Elder Hales, also Elder Edgeleys. Elder Costa and Elder Duncans about prophets were also super good. I also got a package from the young women of CP3!!!! The highlight of that was the macaroni and cheese box, maybe its too late for christmas, but for a birthday package Easy Mac is a good idea. The lowlight of the package were the notes 创thanks for your service, keep it up Love sophie duffin创 hahahah JK it was super sweet. The true lowlight was the microwave popcorn, where do they think Ill find a microwave?

Well fam real quick, I read in the October Liahona, the temple edition a really cool analogy about the gospel by Elder Nelson, how our lives is like the process of purifying water, commandments take some things away from our lives, but nothing of value, and we are left pure! Y醠l should read it.

Another good idea would be to read 1 Nephi chapter 11 versus 10, and then 15. kkkkkkk (portuguese for lol/haha)
Eu amo todos voces!

Elder Gagon

Matt: December 1, 2010

Dear family,

OH fam what a week. I´ve been working hard and it´s getting super hot here. Hot like Tennessee was, WOOF! Not a ton has happened to be honest. I´m definitely being refined in this pressure cooker of a transfer.... I forgot my notes that had the things I was going to write about, but the only things that were there were an idea for a video game called "Bounty; the Dog Hunter" where you go to 3rd world countries and kill dogs using rocks, and as you get more points you can upgrade to beer bottles, and then up to a gun or sling shot or something. That and my companion left our keys in the bishops office on sunday. After looking for them all Sunday night and a lot of Monday we went to the church and the gate just happened to be open (miracle) and we opened the bispado window from the outside and lo and behold there they were on the desk. So my comp walks around the church grounds and finds some 6 foot long reed. So we tried to loop the key ring on to this ring through the window, but the read was cracked in the middle. So we looked around and there just happened to be a ribbon right by us that we used to tie the reed together, so it would be less broken (miracle). Then after that didn´t work my comp found some wire type thing that he bent into a hook to better get the keys and tied it to the reed using sed ribbon and a rubber band he happened to have and we got our keys back!

So that was sad to hear about BYU losing. Great to hear that Nick had a rat tail, and even better that Natalie cut it off.

Devin- Thanks for the notes, printing them off is super expensive in Brasil, so I´ll probably just take a look see and committ them all to memory

Yeah it´s been that kind of week. I love and miss you all like crazy!