Elder Matthew Wright Gagon - Brazil Curitiba Mission

Elder Michael David Gagon - Brazil Belo Horizonte Mission

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Michael: May 25, 2011

Dear family!

Sorry for ´´not writing´´ last week. I guess I pushed save and not send. This week was OK. My 3 week baptism streak ended- doesn´t look like we´ll have anyone this week either but we´ve got some great investigators preparing for June 5th. Workin hard and praying for the blessings of the Lord.

Nilson, was confirmed Sunday - I gave him a tie for his birthday/confirmation present the next day, and he is really excited about being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. - he stopped to talk with our branch president after church and set up an interview to receive the Aaronic priesthood. Of all the people I´ve baptised this first half of my mission he´s definately a special one.

It´s getting colder here. I sleep with a sweater, and socks on. I even bring my sweater with me and use it at night sometimes.

My opinion on the fam vacation. Can we not go to Cancun with the Wrights? I like the idea of somewhere new, whether that be a cruise or any other place. and I suggest we go somewhere where there is a temple! But if it´s cheap R&R we´re looking for why not head down to Rockin R Ranch, ´´where R&R is our name´´?

Thank you for all your prayers.

-Anyone know any cheap & fast & easy recipes for pasta besides add butter and salt?
-Will somebody send me the words to the song about Class of 99 Wear Sunscreen?
and also the poem, Do Good Anyway- by Mother Theresa?
Al- you about read´ to pop? How many more weeks til Patrick will be born?
Nat- Thanks for the email! Glad your tall model of a ´´daughter/doll´´ is so stinkin cute.
Nick- How is your crotch?
I love you all so very much.

Elder Michael Gagon

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Michael: May 18, 2011

Dear family!

It was a struggle but I got onto my email account (it was on the fritz earlier today) and I get to drop you a quick line, along with some pictures. The only noteworthy things were the events of Sunday. Starting on Friday though (rather last minute) we found out that Nilson our investigator needed to be interviewed by the mission president. So we scheduled the interview for Sunday morning, day of the baptism, at 7-30. Our branch here starts at 8-30. So I just felt the pressure of the mission president coming and something going wrong but it all turned out great. The interview went well. And Pres Parrella stayed with us for all 3 meetings of church and the baptism. I gave a talk, which went a lot better than the talk I gave last September (when I got the Sit-down-your-time-is-up note of shame). After I talked President Parrella took up the rest of the time and gave a great talk. The other dupla of Elders had a baptism too- I interviewed their investigator and I don´t know what Jesus would´ve done if he had interviewed him. He was excited to be baptised but doesn´t know nothin. I dont think he reads, he´s straight from the ranch. I asked him to say the prayer at the end of his interview- and after teaching him how, he said ´´Dear Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ amen.´´ So after the interview we had the baptism. Nilson chose me to baptise him (cause I´m the stronger out of us 2). The baptismal font which I filled before church - had slowly been draining the past 3 hours cause of some problem, and so Elder Gagon at 150 lbs went down into the mid-thigh high waters with Nilson at 275 lbs and a bad knee from his motorcycle accident. Thanks to the power clean technique Ive learned I was able to get low and execute the ordenance.
Matt- I got your letters - with the Elder Bednar talk and your cow boy pic haha.
I love you, my family, and I thank you for your prayers.
Elder Michael Gagon

PS - I liked a quote from Elder Packer that goes something like ´´Don´t mistakingly think God causes that which he- for his own purposes- permits.``

Matt: May 18, 2011

Dearest family,

Wassup? So this week was a goody. Definitely the highlight of the week was my 22nd birthday. Sunday I was assigned to give a talk in church about missionary work and I talked about charity and how it has to do with the missionary work that we do. It was short but powerful. Well I felt the power, or I felt something up there giving my talk. I´m pretty sure it was power. It was supposed to be a 10 minute talk, but the spirit only gave utterance for like 6 1/2. Then my comp got up and talked everybody´s ears off, and same with the stake mission leader. After the meeting, sed stake mission leader was talking to me and my comp and asked how old we are. I paused for a second before saying "22" and my companion, ever the one upper replied, "26". Then this stake mission guy said something that really struck me. He said with a weary smile, "Elders I´m 50. And this work..." pointing to our name tags, "this work never stops." It was so profound, because even in his post missionary age he is still spreading the gospel. Then in our second sacrament meeting (we cover 2 wards in this area) they couldn´t take anymore of the power, so my companion and the stake president (and some other guy) were the ones to speak in sacrament meeting. So all in all it was good. However the highlight of my week and maybe my mission came when I was playing with my lighter after eating 3 plates of chili for dinner- ha ha ha (I wish). Just kidding, it came when I took Maria Eduarda Roberta da Silva by the hand into the waters of baptism and reaped what the Lord has been sowing for so long. It was great. Usually when I baptize I´m nervous about whether I´ll get the words right, or little insignificant things. Sunday was different. I was totally just in the moment and I just felt the spirit super strong and everything just went smoothly. There were only 14 people there, but I know that all of us felt a little closer to Heavenly Father during that little baptismal service.
Other than that this week has been pretty dull. Monday we had lunch at a restaurant with a $5 clean plate fee. ha ha ha meaning that if you didn´t eat everything on your plate you had to pay an EXTRA 5 bucks! ha haha Only in Brasil. Things are good though. The weather has become FREEZING in the past week to the point that I now have to sleep with socks on. Yeah. Shiver me timbers. I´m still waiting on any and all birthday packages but surely they will get here soon enough. I love you all. Enjoy some pics. Tchau!!

Love, Elder Gagon

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Matt: May 11, 2011

Dearest most marvelous family of mine,

Wow wasn´t mother´s day great! So good to see all of you and talk for a little while with you all. Really not much has changed since Sunday except for Maria Eduarda (that 12 year old girl) passed another baptismal interview and this time her mom signed the papers!!! So it looks like I will be getting a very sweet birthday present in being the one to enter the waters of baptism and baptize one if not my very favorite investigator (thus far). Other than that we are just trying to do our part here in Pinhais. 3 of the 4 people we had dates with moved or just threw their life away so we´re starting back at nothing (again). It should be good stuff though.
Thanks to all that sent what you´ve eaten recently.

Jor- Thanks for the prayer roll. My comp and I have been using that scripture in Mosiah about being blessed in all things for our lunch message and our mensaginhos for like a week and a half now.

Nate J.- Happy Birthday Friday


I´d like to echo Michael and just say how much I love all of you. Really words can´t describe how much I love and care about all of you; even the in-laws that only write once a year at christmas time (*cough cough* notice the plurality there), and even the nieces and nephews who I haven´t even got to know yet. I love you all. I have the best family in the world.

Love, Elder Matt Gagon

Michael: May 11, 2011

Dear family!
I hope mother´s day was great for all the Moms and future Moms. It was great to ´´talk´´ to you on Mothers day. The 40 minutes flew by but hearing your voices was satisfying. Did you guys tear up this time? Cause uh...I.. didnt either but.... just checkin.
It´s crazy to think 364 days and 21 hours ago I was leavin on a jet plane.
After hanging up something hit me, it was hard- but I just feel like telling all of you that I love you immensely and am extremely grateful for your love and prayers.
A few minutes after I hung up with you guys. we were walking down the street and some punk kid prob 16 yrs old tried robbing our cell phone. He went on and on for several minutes pretending like he was from out of town and lost, really playing the part. So I called ´´his aunt´´ and talked to her for a minute before I passed the phone to him and he tried to take off running but my comp grabbed him by the shirt.
Other than that the work is going well. Por favor pray that Nilson will be baptised on Sunday.
Today I cut my hair for free at the hair school :). They were all liked my fine blond american hair. I learned a thing or two tambem.
Oh did I ever tell you guys I ate Bacon and Beans flavored TopRamen?

Matt and Nate - on Sunday and Friday respectively-
parabens para voce!
nesta data querida!
muitas felicidades!
muitos anos de vida!
e pic, e pic, e pic-pic-pic,!
a hora, a hora, a hora-hora-hora!
ra! ti! bum!
Dad- loved the email thank you muito much.
Matt- Awesome stake conf.! How can you be so sure Enrique DeAgostini is the tradutor? (PS have you ever seen the name De Agostini down here? Eu nao) Next time I´ll pay more attention.
The 2 stake conferences Ive been to have been normal - with the guest appearance of President and Sister Parrella!!! Usually Pres Parrella is the last speaker and all the others talk demais and he just bears a short and booming testimony.
Parabens tambem for turning senior. Ya Im a pai, and I know why they use that term now haha

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Matt: May 4, 2011

Dearest family of mine,
This week was a little wierd. As I said last week I am now here with Elder Dornelles. He´s a 26 year old gaucho with just a few months on the mish. However before he was a missionary he was a professor, so he already teaches really really well. Sure it takes like an hour and a half to cover the Plan of Salvation, but people really understand so it is worth it. The best way I could describe him would be, I am companions with Kenneth Parcell from 30 Rock. He is always cheery, nothing gets him down, he's kinda out there, and he and I have nothing in common. However we are working like CRAZY here so it is great!

Also this week we had stake conference. I don´t know if this is all stake conferences here, but it was via satellite from satellite and a 70, the general primary president, Jeffrey R Holland, and the Prophet spoke! It was awesome. I don´t remember a lot of what they said, but when Jeffrey the Lionheart got up he said, "Bom dia irmãos e irmãs" and I was like, "OMG he is going to talk in portuguese!" but then he just continued in english. Big downer, but the person translating his voice was the Father&Sons salmon master 2001-03 himself; Henrique DeAgostini! He also translated for President Monson, so that was cool.

What else? Mother's day is in a few days, and yes I am super pumped to skype yallsies. I´m gonna go to a LAN house at 6 Brasil time (3 o´clock there, 5 eastern time) so that all of my beloved family members can partake in this bounteous affair. If you guys know how to do a conference call, I´m just gonna try and do my best just to log on and be there.

Nick-) sounds like life is awesome. Congrats on being the men´s chair and immortalizing your high school awesomeness with a sweet pic on the wall down the row from Rhett.
Rhett-) Dude, lookin pretty burly with the barba-zão!
In-laws-) Unlike Michael, my mission president is not cracking down on emails, so if any of you besides Nate J want to send me some regular updates on your lives, pictures, or whatever PLEASE DO!
Michael-) você é um pai?!?! Nossa! eu só virei senhor kkkkk. Eu mandei um journal entry in one of those green and yellow envelopes. def not part of your hall of fame, but something to look forward to.

I love you all.
-Elder Matt Gagon

Michael: May 4, 2011

Dear family
IM CLEAN! The 7 years of famine have passed and now i am prospering enough that I bought the right part to fix our shower head (and I fixed it myself, to toot my own horn) and IM CLEAN! Ironically enough not much time passed until I got messy again, real messy...
when your walkin down the road
and you cant hold in the load....
cha cha cha
cha cha cha
I was surprised that nobody passed me the news of the assassination of Osama Bin Laden! Ya I shouldnt be worried about it, but a member said our country was having a party because of it and for some reason I thought it was so cool, I couldnt stop smiling.

I just found out that a lady who I taught in my last area, where I was there only 3 weeks, is firm going to church and her daughter was baptised and her other children we being taught (she has to get married first) so that was awesome! I did something of worth while I was there.
We also had transfers late, on Saturday. 23 Missionaries got here - the biggest group thats ever come. As a result there are a lot of people training, including myself. Yep I went ahead and joined the club- had myself a kid. (missionary jargan ? is that right)
His name is Elder De Lima. Also as a result of the many new missionaries President is cracking down on the rules and to my beloved in-laws I hate to say that I will not be able to read your emails.

The work is going pretty good. The baptism I wrote about last week happened smoothly, now we´re working with other relatives of that family- lookin at a baptism this Sunday too.

Matt- haha Crazy run in with the Congregaçao crista no brasil!! Ive participated myself in a couple heated discussions & prayers with them but none desta mae.
Nate - I think I´ll be OK but I´ll send my info to Natalie. Nice shots of Nick, Avery and Bug Doug! You were def inspired you even got a shot of Sara Townshend! Que Bençao. Also the story you sent me last week was probably the best thing Ive recieved on my mish haha I loved the story!
Erika - Your email rocked! Im sure your future letters will be even betta hahah. No nobody had told me you picked out a name! Molly is hot, due to its ties with a certain life guard ex-coworker (HIGH FIVE MATT!!! now pound it) not that I wanna date my niece or anything- I realize she´s 17 years too young for me. Nice that you are working in Sandy, a great city. Tell Duke I miss him to and want a letter from him!
Nick - What happened to the use of track shorts? You look like you´re flexing/swollen in all your pics. PARABENS Mens chair!!! Too bad my 2 years of service in stud gov didnt get me a pic forever on the walls at Alta like you and Rhett. and SWEET to your All-star spring break crew! Do you have a journal? Last of all but most important- Im glad you got your patriarchal blessing, thats an amazing experience/blessing.

I want to write to you all part of a talk I liked called ´´the way´´ from the october 2008 conference, I think by Elder Lawrence?
´´Jesus Christ is the way. He is Light..Life..Bread..Water..the Beginning and the End, the Ressurection and the Life, the Savior..Truth, and the Way.. ..He is the Way. Every other way, any other way, whatever other way, is foolishness.. ..Either we eat and hunger no more..follow Him and see clearly..learn of Him and have life more abundantly..accept..His Atonement and are made clean.. or we don´t and foolishly remain thirsty..weak..hungry..blind and in darkness..dead..alone and filthy.
Only God can bless..sustain..preserve and protect..forgive..heal and change us. Only He can give us strength..power, knowledge, peace, and joy.
And He will do all of that and more if we but remember Him to keep His commandments. What then shall we do? We shall remember Him to keep His commandements. It is the only intelligent thing to do.
One of the most popular and attractive philosophies of men is to live life your own way, do your own thing, be yourself, don´t let other tell you what to do. But the Lord said, ``I am the way.. Follow me.. What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am´´
The Lord´s way is not hard. Life is hard, not the gospel.. Life is hard for all of us, but life is also simple.. We can either follow the Lord and be endowed with His power and have peace, light, strength, knowledge, confidence, love and joy, or we can go some other way, any other way, whatever other way, and go it alone-- without His support..power..guidance, in darkness, turmoil, doubt, grief, and despair. And I ask, which way is easier?

Life is hard, but life is simple. Get on the path and never, ever give up. You never give up. You just keep on going. You don´t quit, and you will make it. There is only one way to happiness and fulfillment. Jesus Christ is the Way. Every other way, any other way, whatever other way is foolishness.´´

Love, Elder Michael Gagon