Elder Matthew Wright Gagon - Brazil Curitiba Mission

Elder Michael David Gagon - Brazil Belo Horizonte Mission

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Michael: Feb 23rd 2011

Dear Family!
I dont know how but I caught a cold in the summer in Brazil.
A highlight this week was playing Mafia for family home evening with our investigators! We only played one round, cause of curfew, and I was a citizen who was voted out early but it was still a good time.
The lowlight of the week was the woman we had marked for baptism (and her daughter) turned out to be a SNAKE!!! CRIKEY! So she is a little loca. She´s 28 but looks a lot older cause she smokes. She never went to school and cant read, she always talked about all the medicine she took for depression and if she doesnt take them she breaks her cell phones etc. and she goes minutes without blinking. Now it makes sense though that she could have been just staring at me, looking back she left a few clues that hinted her interest in me. The biggest one was when she turned to me at the beginning of sacrament meeting and said ``Im glad you stayed close to me.´´ cause my comp sat with the other family we brought to church. But after church it all came out - we were trying to help her throw the stuff she makes her cigarrettes with away again, and she said that she would if I married her. and a short minute later we stood up and left and she ran into her room crying and said I was just like the father of her children who left her and went back to Portugal hahaha it was pretty crazy. (more like SHEs pretty crazy). But luckily we´ve got another baptism marked for Saturday.
So I saw mowgli this week- he walked right out of the Jungle Book onto the main street here. A boy probably 10 years old, brown, with dark messy hair, walking barefoot alone down the road in nothing but old, red, saggy underwear haha but I didnt get a pic.
Not too much else.
I love you guys! Hope you have a great week! Natalie, youve got 5 more days to get Avery out in the best month!
Beijos e Abraços!
Elder Michael Davey Gagon

Al, theres a fresh RM in our ward whose name is Elmo, what do you think about that? Elmo Ashley?

Matt: Feb 23rd 2011

Dearest Family of Mine,
So fam, this week was like forever long. Don´t know why, but it just was. On sunday I gave my first talk in sacrament meeting in Brasil! It was wild. They didn´t tell me I would be speaking until 5 minutes before the sacrament started either, so it was kind of nerve racking. However I happened to keep a scripture chase/lesson plan about faith that I made for an investigator back in Tamandaré in my scriptures, so I talked about that. It was good... On monday we were walking throught the Brasil heat and this drunk guy came up to us and wanted to just flap his gums and have a gospel related chin wag or something, but I wasn´t having it. Then as we tried to leave he asked us to put his hands on his head and pray for him. We decided it´d be best not to. Then as we left he grabbed my tie, bent down and then kissed it, like he thought the Pope´s ring was hidden inside or something. Then he did the same thing to my companion! So that was kinda wierd.
The highlight of the week though was Zone Conference! Friday we were spiritually edified beyond measure and life was good. Then at the end of it I was going to show my zone leader a picture of someone he might know from Idaho (woof). When from out of nowhere one of the sister missionaries shows up and was like "Can I see your photos? I LOVE looking at photos." So I obliged. Then her 2 companions came up and were checking them out. They said that Nena is super pretty and they were astonished by all the blonde hair in one place. Anyway so one of the trio of sisters turned to me and we started talking. She is waiting for a visa to the United States to be a temple square missionary, so we were talking about waiting for visas and how long we think it will take and how many times we were certain it was waiting in our mailbox already. Anywho as we were talking I was thinking "Wow this sister is pretty cute. This is one of the very rare times a cutie like her is talking to just me." Right in that exact moment I felt a little tickling on my neck. As I went to brush this tingling feeling away this sister´s eyes went all big and her body tensed up and she said, "ELDER THERE´S A SPIDER ON YOUR NECK!!!"
Yup sure enough, a little 8 legged mood killer was on my neck. I smushed it and then that was pretty much the end of that.
The other best part about zone conference was I got letters from Natalie, Nate, Candace, and Nick!!! AAAHHHH que benção!! I am running out of time, so I´ll just say that surely I will write all of you back in due time. And Can....OH...MY....HECK! That picture of mom standing on the end of that dead tree was the funniest thing I´ve seen since I watched Abby do jumping jacks! So cute/funny. nossa. That is now the picture that goes in my one frame that I have.

Well that´s pretty much my life this week. Things are going kinda goodish, but for the second week in a row an investigator that passed the baptismal interview didn´t show up to church/her own baptism... Woof.

I love you all.

Love, Elder Matt Gagon

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Michael: February 16, 2011

Dear Family!
This week has been tough as far as pulling the weight of the companionship/ being a good trainer even though im not ´´training´´. Just tough. We lost our keys for 2 days (inside our house) so we had to climb our 10 foot cement wall to get in and out...

I had natural watermelon juice. Just the fruit and sugar blended up. Pretty good.
I taught a guy who had 2 broken ribs, I asked him how he broke his ribs and he said his son came up behind him, hugged him and lifted him up (haha exactly how Matt would lift Mom off the ground!) I also saw a cat get hit by a car which was pretty crazy. it didnt die instantly, but started to run kinda in circles on the other side of the street and then collapsed in the grass.

And the most craziest thing I saw was a protest. Here in Riberao das Trevas the goverment wants to build 2 more prisons (theyve already got a couple) and so a huge crowd with all their signs and megaphones walked onto the freeway and stopped traffic for a good 15 minutes idk.!!! Bem doido! Do people do that?

Well family I know this one is quick. Thanks for all the Birthday wishes! I dreamt a super real dream that Matt and I had come home from our missions haha but I got over it by 7:00.... Ok so here they dont have mutual nights but they have a night kinda like FHE where the whole ward is invited and there is a message and a fun part and refreshments. And this week a guy in the ward got home from his mission and the lesson was a question and answer sesh with him and it really helped my perspective that the mission really is such a blessing. We had Zone conference monday too which always helps. I just want you all to know that Im doing fine and I know Im having the best experience of my life! I love you all for what youve done until this point in my life. I love you! Have a great week!
Beijos e Abraços! Elder Michael David Gagon

Dad - I got both your emails! Returned letters are the WORST!! Ha I wish they had the Pony Express here, for those that dont know the mail men here deliver on foot! Your portuguese is great too!
Mom - Thanks for all the updates! All those mission calls are exciting. Let me know more on the Becerras! I found my notes from last week and HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I know I didnt tell you on time but I told a few people down here that it was your birthday. I wasnt gonna say anything but since Matt said you were on Noahs ark and since Im a million miles away I thought Id tell ya that when I saw your picture in Nates email I felt the same way when I saw Pres Monsons new profile picture in the Liahona - you both are gettin old!
Al - Valentines day in Brazil went a little like this, when I wrote the date in my planner I thought- oh hey today at district meeting I-ll tell the other american happy valentines day, but when I got there I forgot.... and thats it. They have ´´day of the boyfriends/girlfriends´´ here but its June 12th.
Rhett - Where you at? You been watchin Jimmer ball?
Jor - MUITO obrigado pelo email and the dinh dinh!
Nat - Nat ya look like Kelly Clarkson a year after she won american idol (dont cry)! Good idea to keep the breakfast in bed tradition. I~ll order my brazi junior comp to make me something ha.
Can - I forgot to tell ya how much I appreciated your last email. Thank you. PLUS I got your package! hallelujahs!!! Thanks so much.
Mat- Did that guy really say his brain doesnt work? You better find a correios to write me!
Nick - Nice shades
Nate - I got your email but you mustve not gotten my response.For sure Avery will be born in Feb- the best month. sem duvidas. Your portuguese is awfully good haha dá para entender.

Matt: February 16, 2011

Dear Family,

Primeiro- Feliz Aniversario Elder Michael Gagon!!! "para bens para você, muito anos querida, muitos FELICIdades muito blah blah que ida" (?) KKKKK a canção de aniversario brasilheiro é legal de mais! Espero que você ouví-la bastante na sexta-feira e que tudo é otimo no dia que você tira o velho teenager e fica mais sabioso, mais poderoso, e melhor em todos aspetos da vida. Para bens mesmo. O, e minha nova palavra preferida em português é "Jacaré" kkk

What is going on? So this week was a goody. Getting to know a different area is nice, but it comes with some difficulties. My comp is pretty sweet, it´s definitely nice to speak english here and there and have more in common than you are both members of the same church, and serving a mission. So yeah things are good. We baptized the 9 year old daughter of a member on sunday so that was nice. This area is a little wierd though because we cover 2 wards, and instead of abandoning one and only focusing on the other (as is the missionary custom to do), we work throughout both areas and on sunday we sit through TWO sacrament meetings...WOOF! Ha ha but things are nice, the other ward knows that we won´t usually go there unless we have a reason, so they´ve been giving us a lot of references which is super awesome. We also had family night this week. There weren´t any investigators there, and it wasn´t anything more than 2 people sharing scriptures and thoughts with a multitude of gente, but it was so great. It reminded me of the times when we would have family night, and how much it rocked. I hope you all get back in the habit/continue doing weekly family night, cuz it is the best.

Yesterday I saw a dog open the sliding gate in front of a house. And these aren´t like your average dresser drawer, little kids have a hard time opening up these bad boys cuz they´re big and heavy and never slide as smoothly as you think they should. But this dog was just in the zone or something, and pawed that portão right open. I dunno, it was the strangest thing in the world. So yeah that´s how things are in the deep deep south.

Mom- It was super great to hear from you! I hope this birthday was as special as the one with Noah on the ark.
Dad- Great to hear from you too. Yeah if you want to know which church is the church of God, ask God. If you want to know the best way to send me mail, ask ME not President Doyle Smith!
Jor- Sounded like you had a good time in the Buff.
Nat- Baby shower city! FUN! Sometimes at night I think that I´m going to have a new niece here in the near future. wow.
Nate- Thanks for the pics
Nick- Looking good at dance time. I hope your digging lifeguarding and that your breaststroke skills have improved. I also hope Shelly isn´t there anymore...woof! Oh and remember that letter I said I was going to send last week? Well, it turns out this area doesn´t have a post office, so you might have to sit tight for another 6 weeks ha ha
Al- Life sounds good in the Buff. Your girls sound cute as ever. I´ll think of some good boy names and send them too ya prob next week.

Well I love you all. I´m trying each day to improve as a missionary and hopefully one day it´ll pay off.
te amo

-Elder Matt Gagon

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Michael: Feb 9th 2011

Dear Family!
Fam, this week was the last of the transfer and today starts one anew, I~ve got a new faithful companion at my side. Elder Fontes! He was just trained by Elder Anderson (my companion 3 companions ago, from Christmas time) and he was working on the other half of the ward. It was for sure heaven sent, cause I got to stay in the area but get out of my house (I moved into his)- which is exactly the same, just everything better quality (beds, desks) and 100 times cleaner. Also now I have a place inside to hang clothes and dont have to tamp this shower drain to keep the sewer stink out.
Elder Fontes is Brazilian, and from way up North (recife) and has a bit of an accent. So here I go on a language extra learning experience again. This week had its ups and downs. We were helping a 17 yr old girl (Barbara) prepare for baptism Sunday so every day I asked a different girl from the young womens to go there with us to teach and get to know her and now they all want to walk with us all day.
Sunday morning we got to Barbaras house, where she lives with her sister and bro-in-law, and she was crying saying that her Dad (who lives 8 hours away) wouldnt let her be baptised. So we went to church without her with our tails between our legs cause our other baptisms fell too. Then the testimony meeting was way spiritual- plus I was fasting, dying of thirst, so these 3 factors all caused me to cry a lot that hour. But then after the meeting Barbara showed up saying her Mom would let her be baptised! HALLELUJAHS! Then the guy responsible for the baptismal clothes was no where to be found so making a long story short, Sunday I was really stressed and really thirsty but I baptised Barbara Ligia Viera Silva, she wearing my companions baptismal clothes (pants and shirt) in the name of the father the son and the holy ghost amen.
I got letters today from Jor Nate Natalie Nick and Aunt Kathy! And Matt 2/3 parts (envelopes) of your letter!
They All rocked! Loved all the pics of the snow and football.
Nick, congrats for winning your pizza coupon at the end of the AF game for dirtiest Mustache!!!! NOSSA haha.
Family, I love you. I´m grateful for your prayers. I need them. I am praying for you.

Beijos e abraços, Elder Michael David Gagon

Devin- loved the email hahaha It feels like I left forever, but not that long ago, and I´m almost be coming home, in a really long time.

Matt: Feb 9th 2011

Dear Family, friends, blog checkers, and oldies 94.1 listeners-
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!! hey it´s your birthday it´s your birthday celebration. hey it´s your birthday it´s your birthday celebration. hey it´s your birthday it´s your birthday celebration. HEY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Mom I´m currently working on a letter for your birthday, but I just sent Nick´s birthday letter this week so don´t hold your breath. (sorry Nick)
So the big news today is I got transfered! Things were going good in Almirante Tamandaré, and I actually ended my tenure there with the baptism of Cleiton the (nowadays) shirt wearing 13 year old, and also Daniel an 8 year old chap. I actually entered the water to baptize Daniel and when I dunked him I forgot to tell him to bend his knees and his toes came up out of the water. Que vergonha! However the witness said at one point he was completely and totally immersed so I didn´t have to re-dunk. That was the big highlight of the last week in Tamandalixo, the other highlight was at lunch with a member for some reason the music video for "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler was on repeat on her tv and I laughed my nametag off watching that crazy crazy ridiculous bizarre video and thinking of that email Alison sent about a year ago. ha ha ha good stuff.
Now I´m in Vila Tebis, which is on the other side of Curitiba, and luckily has like no hills at all, so we´ll see if those 10 kilos find their way back onto these old bones. I´m with an American companion, Elder Allguier. He´s from Lehi and knows my boy Elder Stringham from the Nashville mission, and says he knows who Whitney Dastrup is, so that´s cool.
I´m kinda sad to leave Tamandaré when I did, cuz the mother of that family of gold in our last lesson said, "Elders after giving it some thought, and talking it over with the family, I decided that I want to get baptized... Gustavo wants to get baptized too, but I don´t think he understands the significance of it. I think he just wants to get dunked under water." So that was AWESOME!!!! ha ha then Gustavo was like "It´s true my brain doesn´t work very well." I´m pretty sure everything will work out and her husband who already said he´d get baptized will come to his senses and recommit. I´m excited to be here in this new area though and excited for a change.

Al/Jor- sounds like good times in the Buff. I can´t believe how long Ellie´s hair is!
Devin- yeah school, and wearing helmets biking in full pros are two things I do not miss.
Can- wolf sister, looking good as always ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haha ha ha ha

Well that´s pretty much all. I hope things are going good in the winter wonderland and that all of you are continuing to read the scriptures, and also passing out Michael´s and my addresses to all the cuties you see.

com todo meu coroção,
Elder Matt Gagon

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Michael: Feb 2nd 2011

Hey fam!
Happy ground hog day! I hope he doesn't see his shadow and Summer gets the heck out of Brazil and goes up ther!!! Im dyin!
This week has been pretty good. Next week is already transfers! This month flew, the emergency transfer played a big part in that. My comp has been emergency transfered 4 times! Prob cause he is so easy going - Pres knows he wont complain.. He´s been good. Highlight of the week was our baptism. It started a little chaotic, everyone running late and not having any baptismal clothes, and since it was on Saturday there were very few people there but once we got it started we had a mini testimony meeting and it was really nice and spiritual, ended up being a beautiful and smooth baptism. She didnt panic under the water like most people either.
Also this week I saw a monkey again, this time it was kinda far away. And I saw a TUCAN flying way up in the air!!
Here is a ´´recipe´´ of one of my fave side dishes/salads. The quantities might be a little off but its about right.
1 can tuna
1 can peas
1 can green olives
1 can corn
1 can mayonaise
1 cup of grated carrots
1 cup of smashed Ruffles
feel free to add bell peppers or green onions (the kind alfalfa and mom eat plain)

Jor and Mom - parabens for going to the temple! Good luck on your job interview jor, and on the flight, I hope being pregnant doesnt interfere with either. Also thanks for the Bday dinh dinh (dinheiro)!

I love you all and keep you in my prayers. Im super grateful for all you do!
Beijos e abraços Elder Michael David Gagon

Matt: Feb 2nd 2011

Dearest most awesome family in the world,
This week was a good 'un. One of the highlights (more like lowlights) was teaching the law of chastity to two 13 year old boys. ha ha ha que bagunça! One of the kids who came up to us and said "Elder I want to get baptized." is making some rockin progress and is set to get wet this Saturday. We taught him about repentance yesterday. And we said, "If Ramon (his member friend) wears his earrings, realizes he shouldn´t, takes them out, asks God for forgiveness, and then puts them right back in after he´s done praying, is that real repentance?"
NO it´s not, because repentance is a change of heart.
"That´s exactly right Cleiton. Repentance is when you change. One thing that you should change Cleiton, is you need to wear a shirt. Not just on sunday at church, but everyday of the week"
Alright will do.
Ha ha I´ve seen this kid with a shirt on 5 times. All five were sundays that he came to church. This is the same kid that when we went to play soccer at the church, after taking 15 minutes to do up my ankle braces and switch my shoes so I could play better; he bends down takes off his flip flops and was ready to go... Anywho today as we left our house we saw Cleiton riding his bike... wearing a shirt. :)
We´re doing some good work down here in the dirty south, and overall things are going great. Transfers are next week and I´m pretty sure I´ll be heading out. It´s kinda sad knowing you´re not going to see the baptism of a few rockstar investigators including the family of gold that I wrote about last week, but I think it´ll be good to see some change.
I love you all fam. I love you all individually and pray for yallsies every night. Yes indeedy corn cobs!

Love, Elder Matt Gagon

PS- if you see any of my friends or any hunnies that might know or remember me tell them I am still alive and love receiving letters ;)