Elder Matthew Wright Gagon - Brazil Curitiba Mission

Elder Michael David Gagon - Brazil Belo Horizonte Mission

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Matt: July 27, 2011

Dearest Family,
This week....has passed. Ha ha I´m here in Tebas still and having to do some soul searching on why. Any suggestions that you have are welcome. This Sunday we had 2 random guys show up to church, which was cool. They said that two saturdays ago (the night of Luiza´s baptism) they wandered on in and wanted to get to know this church better because they had never been there before. Blessing! Also one of my favorite zone-leaders that I´ve had passed through with his family. It was fun translating sacrament meeting, but definitely humbling to see how much I need to improve my portuguese. Also humbling was to see this elder pointing out his many many many converts in the ward as opposed to the bem poucos meus, knowing that we passed the same amount of time in this area. On the humiliating side of humility this week; this same elder and friend of mine asked to borrow the keys to go call some people in the area. And me being me, and having the post-church rush I ended up forgetting to get the keys back from him and hopefully tonight this lady in the other ward will go to the hotel downtown and get them from where he left them.
Other than that, not a lot to report. It´s been a period of growth; much much growth. My president says to me, "There´s no growth in the comfort zone, and there´s no comfort in the growth zone." that being said, I would say that I am very very far into the growth zone.
Al- Barefoot Contessa?!? Woof! That´s the show that always alerts me I´ve wasted too much time watching food network. Even if it´s the first show I see when I turn on the tv.
Rhett- Roman Soldier, nice! Yeah man goals are good. I can´t wait to meet Mollie either.
Jor- That´s cool that you´ve got the birth week planned down to the minute. Who knows, maybe he can be born at 11:38 if all goes according to plan. Have you decided on a name yet, or is it still a toss up between Jasper, Rufio, Michael, and Gegs?
Much love,
Elder Matt

Michael: July 27, 2011

Dear family!
My faith was built this week as the Lord provided as he always has a smooth transition to a new area and companion. My new companion Elder Gordon was picked by Gordon B Hinckley out of the crowd to be that kid that got to put mortar on the temple corner stone when the started building the Boston temple some 11 years ago. He is also blessed with height (195 cm) and speaks good Portuguese, he´s been here in Brazil 2 months, he served 1 month in Detroit waiting for his visa.
I cut his hair last week.
It´s different and pretty nice to be here in BH, and in a ward, even though the hills here are enourmous and endless and sometimes steeper than most the double blacks up at Snowbird. We have a patriarch in our ward and other people that have been members 40+ years.
The work is going well. No one super firm... An old lady that wants to wait a week or two before she´s baptised, a schizophrenic that sometimes wants to be baptised and stop smoking/drinking coffee and the next minute doesnt want us coming to his house. But Im way happy cause of a man named Rafael! We went to his house last Saturday to teach his cousin, but he wasnt there so we taught him taught him an OK lesson and invited him to be baptised on the next Sunday. He thought hard about it but didnt accept. Normally we would´ve invited him to church and just moved on with our lives but I felt to have him pray about this decision and left him with a pamphlet about the Restoration, and when we came back to find his cousin we could ask him his answer. He didnt come to church the next either day but we stopped by after church and he said he prayed and had a dream like Joseph Smith that he saw a pillar of fire and wanted to be baptised that sunday because the church is true and was restored by a prophet of God, and cause his baptism lacked the right authority. He said he saw the part about the Book of Mormon and Saturday night prayed to God that he could get this other testament of Jesus Christ that has the fulness of the gospel, and then asked us how he could get one after he was baptised.
The next 3 days our lessons have been equally amazing. Rafael has read the Bible 5 times in his life and I think has most of it memorized... He´s already read over 20 chapters in the Book of Mormon and has most of those memorized too. We left him with a pamphlet of the Word of Wisdom on Sunday, and when we got there Monday night to ´´teach´´ it he hadn´t drinken coffee that day. Threw away his last joint that he decided not to smoke, and stayed home when his friend called him to go smoke crack and said he hadn´t used crack since we came Saturday which he´s been addicted to for a long time, had already done rehab etc.
Monday night we left him with a pamphlet about chastity and when we got there yesterday he said I want you guys to watch me throw away my playboy magazine, and he tore it up and was done with it!
I feel like Ive seen a miracle. I dont know that he´ll be able to be baptised on August 7th the day we marked cause of his crime record. He showed us where he was shot in the chest and had me feel where the bullet ended up, just beneath his skin on his ribs. He´s such a g-thug haha.
Other than that the only other crazy thing is I met one of Landon Tracy´s mission companions that is from this ward.
Jor- Did I tell you I saw Niwaldo again. Do you even know him?
Al & Rhett - loved the email, thank you!
Matt- What is this Cevada recipe!!!!!!???????????
to ALL and especially RM´s- Im debating on what stuff is worth lugging around in my luggage for rememberances or $ value and what stuff I should chuck out, worn out shoes? worn out g´s, once white now off-white short sleeve church shirts, brand new spare bed sheets Ive never used... I´d like your opions.
Well fam I love you all.
Elder Michael Gagon

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Michael: July 20, 2011

Dear family.This week we had transfers. My new companion is Elder Gordon from Connecticut. Im now deep in the heart of BH, o capital, the ward right next to us is Floresta, my second area. I said goodbye to Elder Dolph Eve who was my comp there, and Elder Taylor Brown/ ´´papai´´ who completed their 24 months of very honorable service.I dunno why Im so nervous, but I am. I got pretty comfortable these last 4 months I was in Sete Lagoas, probably why the Lord took me out of there... Elder Gordon and his ex-comp were on a roll as far as baptisms go, his ex-comp became a Zone Leader. I hope I can keep it up. Well I´ll stop with the journal entry, not much to report except I felt pretty good with what I´d accomplished in my last area- Charles said the closing prayer in sacrament meeting, and was interviewed to receive the priesthood, and everyone else is steadily progressing in the gospel.

Love, Elder Gagon

Matt- isso aíJor- Matt says its easy to order my blessing from LDS.org. Thank you. (No I dont have a copy of it, the copy I did have is lost, maybe its in the trailer...nao sei.)

Matt: July 20, 2011

Dear Loving Marvelous Wonderful Family,
Wassup? So this week has been a goody. In this week I saw for the first time (visually) how the gospel can change people, and change for the better. Luiza (the lady who kept her daughter´s BOM) has transformed from the depressed, sad sack, what´s the point of living if you´re just gonna die Luiza; to the smiley, friendly, sociable, member of the church Luiza... Truly great. Also this week my companion made cevada (pero/postum) for 2 families of coffeholics. Seriously these people can not live without their coffehol! Anywho my comp was also addicted to the black bean back in the day and has since figured out a way to make a cup of pero that tastes exactly like coffee. So in the first house we made it for this lady and tricked her son who just walked in the house into thinking that, "Elder Ricardo is making coffee with a different measurement especially for us". This son (who probably has his own favorite iron chef) walks in and was like, "WOW this smells way better than yours mom!" and upon drinking it started hailing my companion as the master coffee maker in the world. Unable to resist we showed him that it was cevada, not coffee, that he was drinking. He got this puzzled look on his face and said, "Well that´s it then. I´m never buying coffee ever again. This stuff is cheaper, better for you, and tastes better." YEAH!!!! His mom didn´t like it so much, but it´s prob cuz she knows it´s not coffee mesmo. Also the other family that we made it for loved it too and decided to not buy coffee ever again as well.
Other than that not a ton has happened. We had transfers today, but me and my first-begotten son stayed together, and consequently I am going into my 7th month in this ward and I couldn´t be happier!

Dad- Was Uncle Dan or some cousin of yours Hyrum Smith in the 1987 movie How Rare a Posession ?
Devin- If you haven´t already sent that May Liahona, do you think you could throw in some peanut butter as well? And the book Mormon Doctrine by Bruce? (yeah we´re on a first name basis) I know Jif makes some "to go packs" that are cheap and perfect for sending. There´s a member here that REALLY wants that book and will pay me/you back. Tá bom? Obrigado.
Michael- Yes I´m in my 2nd area still, and will be until September. PS morri di rir hoje com a gravura do 4 story atomic wedgie de Todd kkkkkk!!!

Well that´s pretty much all I´ve got.

-Elder Matchu Gagon

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Michael: July 13, 2011

This week has been pretty eventless. Church was great, even though it was the second week we didnt have anyone there progressing. My boy Nilson went on vacation and told me to warn everyone at church that he wasnt going inactive..
The only big positive result thats come from my work lately was that I committed a 25 year old girl in the branch to go on a mission. She had her interview with the branch pres on Sunday.
I was talkin with another missionary who gave me the idea when I renew my visa next month or so to pay a little extra and apply for a permanent visa! Im gonna do it.
I forgot to mention but a few weeks ago our zone leaders here in the area next to mine got shot at in the middle of the day- neither were hit of course.
Other mildly crazy story is that we chose a neighborhood to work in and we knocked doors in kind of a U / horse shoe shape, and knocked right around a house where a lady hanged herself from a guava tree in her front yard about an hour before we got there. (I didnt see her I just saw the ambulance)
At night the tempurature drops to a nippy 58 or so, but then its time to go home and go to bed. I did get cold today though- waking up at 4 am to go to our investigators house to make sure she doesnt drink coffee. If she isnt baptised this Saturday I´ll be very upset.

Dad- hago nada en la oficina. solemente encontré con mi compañero nuevo
Jor- minha querida irma brasileira. Gostei your email. I have a quote from Pres. Monson that says our liahona in life is our patriarchal blessing. Will you do me a favor and send me a copy of mine? my member record number is 000-5658-8526. Obrigado!
Matt- bota sua ropa no forno?
Nick- got 2 letters comin hot! keep the updates comin and the groin rested.

I love all yáll a lot. thanks for your prayers.
Ate next week
Elder Michael Gagon

Matt: July 13, 2011

Dearest fam,
Wowza so it feels like the days FLY by, but at the same time it feels like forever since I´ve sent emails... Anywho this week was good. Gilberto the Gaucho Giant was baptized and confirmed this weekend. Good stuff. He is awesome. I think he received the aaronic priesthood as well, but I´m not sure because I was taking care of the other ward. Also we are working well with that lady who got sick and is quitting smoking. Her name is Luiza and she is one of God´s elects fo sho. Last p day I asked how the cigarettes were going, and she hadn´t smoked since the day we told her about the word of wisdom. Then I felt like I should ask if she had any cigarettes in the house that we could take away from her so she could avoid temptation. She went and got her last box of smokes and handed them over and has been going cold turkey ever since! It was so great. She is the best. Other than that we´re just trying to help the other investigators we have to progress, and cutting the softies like a tree that bringeth forth bad fruit and mostly just trying to improve in all aspects of the work....

Nick- Summer sounds rad. Keep the stories coming, and give your groin some rest. You´ve got a letter in the mail so get excited for that and keep your head up kid.
Jor- How about the Liahona as your liahona?
Natalie/Nate- Two words for your little doll of a daughter: Preh shuss!

Well I finally have a p day without a brazillion things to do so I´m gonna head out.

-Elder Matchu Gagon

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Michael: July 6, 2011

Dear fam!
Things are going OK. We had bad week as far as getting anyone to church or having baptisms marked in the next week or two. But I was happy to see my man Nilson get up and bear his testimony in sacrament meeting. He said he was trembling but loved it, last night he told me he almost got up a second time right when the branch president got up to end the meeting hahaha.
Things are going great with my amigito argentino. Im learning quite a bit of spanish or castelliano? i think his dialect is called. He talks pretty good Portuguese in the lessons but when he gets stuck he just starts speaking spanish haha and when we´re at home he almost just talks spanish to me thinking I understand. Its great though when I talk with him I remember how I felt when I just got to Brazil, makes me feel young again.
He´s stolen all the attention of the members too, I feel like Woody on Toy Story after Andy gets Buzz for Christmas... A lady in the ward asked him about his family ´´You were born in the covenant? WOW´´ then looks at me ´´ oh you too? oh thats cool, hey take our plates back to the kitchen´´ Its nice though cause the american-mormon-haters listen to him. I took advantage the situation and told the lady at the hot dog stand that he was argentino and didn´t know what hot dogs were and she gave us one for free to taste em!
Yesterday we had a leadership training which was great for a lot of things, def a spiritual pump up. I just love how much Im learning out here. This is the best work, and the work of the Lord, saving and blessing the lives of God´s children.
It was the last time I´d see Elder Brown, Elder Eve, and many other great leaders on the mission that are all going home in 2 weeks.
The ex-assistent and his companion who is Kyle Shurtz´s cousin baptised the SNAKE ZAO back in veneza that asked me to marry her and she´d stop smoking haha!

I loved the email, lately I´ve been learning about the importance of the family and Im so grateful for ours, I have the testimony that the purpose of this work is to have eternal families, through the power of the priesthood. Its easy to notice the difference when we teach families vs individual persons. The spirit is so much stronger. Im glad you had a good week. I Love you!
Loved the picture emails too! poor abby.
did you hear about the new companionship study program for trainers?
I´ve passed Progresso, 1 BH Oeste-
2 Veneza &
3 Sevilia, Pampulha -
4 Montes Claros 3 -
5 Floresta, BH-
6 Montreal, Sete Lagoas
haha you crack me up, congrats on the baptism this week!
goaleiro? parabens ha. jk.
Hey Jor/Nat-
here´s a package idea some stuff im needing:
foot itch cream (something cheap, its not too bad)
a sharpie
shoelaces- thin short ones (for church shoes) ..black too.
and that wart medicine tube ´´compound´´.. at walgreens
Nate- thanks for the subject email haha youve got letters comin hot.

Matt: July 6, 2011

Dear Family,
Wassup? So this week was a goody. Not great but good. We had a musical fireside in our stake to create some sort of buzz about missionary work/sharing the gospel, and of all the people that showed up- President Cordon (and sister) made a surprise visit! It was awesome they had professional(ish) singers come in and pretty much sing hymns that explain the message of the restoration. They also had a violinist that´s about half as good as Alison come in and he rocked the house with some acompanhamento. Then at the end my beloved President Cordon got up and rocked the house right down to the ground with his testimony. It was great. Before this though, Sister Cordon asked if I was changing my socks regularly to which I responded, "Uhh yeah every night." and she was like "Every night?" to which I responded, "Yeah." Puzzled I sat down in the chapel and soon realized what she meant. My regular routine of sock changing was not the problem, but the ski underwear that I wear at night to avoid freezing to death, and wore that particularly frigid day did not smell so great...cool story hansol. Moral of the story being it is frickin freezing here down in the depths of Brasil, and you should wash your clothes regularly even if it takes 3 days and an ironing to get them dry enough to wear again.
Other than that we are working this city over and preparing Gilberto the Gauchão to be baptized Saturday night. Also, turns out that that lady that kept her daughter´s Book of Mormon smokes and the day after we remarked her date to get baptized she got so sick that it made smoking impossible! She didn´t go to church, but at least she recognized that God is working in her life to get her ready to live the gospel.
Devin- I thought of something you could do to help me. I need the May Liahona (ensign?) in ENGLISH! Also crunchy Cheetos will not be refused if sent as well.
Nate J- I let my son use that camera you sent me today at the temple and now he wants to buy it from me, because he doesn´t own a camera... Do I have your permish? If so, how much should I sell it for?
Nate M- Were you in an 80´s church video about sacrament/sacrifice about "the glass jar" starring the weather man from WB 30 when you were a teenager?
Erika- There´s a little girl named Erika here and every time we sit down to talk to her I tell her about how my sister in law is named Erika...cool story hansol Congrats again on being a mommy now.
Adam- iPad golf looks sweet.
Well that´s pretty much it.
Much love,
Elder Matt