Tudo bom meu amigos! E FELIZ NATAL!!!! It was amazing to hear from so many family and friends this week ecspecially at this particular moment. Things are a little crazy at the moment and I would very much like to write an email to everyone that wrote me but we will just have to see how the day plans out. I cant tell you though how much it meant to me to hear from all of you. Dad I hope your feeling better and Mom im so happy to hear the Christmas program went well. Its crazy how fast the time goes right? Another year gone and actually could be THE LAST!!!!! haha the world ends on the 21st so alot of Brasilans have been freaking out here and selling their homes. IS the same stuff going on in the states? Its pretty interesting to see. Sister Tighe wow was it good to hear from you and also to know the gang is doing all right send my love to them! Kristin as always what a great testimony on Christmas and of course our families. Jordan haha love you man and I miss you like crazy bro, I have many stories that would make you laugh your head off but time is short (Dont worry though im keeping an amazing journal haha) Rachel, missionary updates are incrediable! I cant believe all the people headed out to fight the good battle of Truth and Right! Oh and Jenni... Skype is all up and were good to go thanks for getting that ready for me. Anyway as for this week... Its been a tough one (I realize I say that almost every week haha) as the Holiday is right around the corner. Ive missed cold snow, traditions, friends, family... the whole 9 yards this week. My thoughts constantly kept turning to all my wonderful memories back home, and all the joyous experiences. As you all have read this transfer has been hard, having a companion that doesnt like you and rarely likes to talk to you or carry a conversation with you and when he does its just to rip you apart... you at times feel a little lonely. Its something I never have felt my whole life because ive always been surrounded by family and friends who care for me so much. I was really down this past week and missed everyone dearly. I had much of the same thoughts as my brother thinking "I wonder if anyone even remembers me?" I felt so lonely... but then the words of Jeffrey R. Holland came to my mind when he talked about this great calling of being a missionary he said "... Sometimes we as missionarys need to experience a little of what the savior went through to truely understand His great love... We bear His name so its only logically we will pass through hard times. Why would it be easy for us when it was never easy for Him?" These words hit me so hard. I was feeling so alone and depressed. Longing for my family and friends to just smile and hug me and tell me it would be alright (Which you all do every week) but I realized I did have someone at that moment who loved me and cared so much about me my Savior Jesus Chirst. He knows how lonely I felt at this point and he knows how hard it can be cause he has been there and done that for me and for everyone of us in our trials. I know with every fiber in my being, without of doubt in my mind that Christ lives and loves us all. He is our king our savior and our friend in our time of need. I have been so sad this week thinking "its Christmas! why do I feel like this!?" but deep down in my heart I know this is where the Lord needs me at this precious time in my life. Learning these experiences and coming unto Him... I hope all of you know of my sure love and testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ during this Chirstmas season... It truely is a wonderful time.
This week I realized some important things. I realized I have always been complaining about how hard my companion has been and how tough it is to be with him cause he just has a different attitude about the work and may even treat me a little wrong, but I never even looked at myself and what the Lord wants me to learn from this experience! I was so focused on how terrible my situation was and feeling so sorry for myself that I was losing the tender lessons the Lord had prepared for me. Doesnt that sometimes happen to everyone of us? We become so focused on ourselfs and our difficulties that we dont take the time to step back and ponder why we are experienceing this particular thing in this very given moment? What great plan does the Lord have for us? In Isaiah 55 I think verse 6 or 7 we read that "Our thoughts are not the Lords thoughts either our ways His ways." therefore we need to accept His will and just try to do our best and apply His teachings into our lives. I testify whatever trial you may be passing through YOU yourself can overcome it. "God gives us no tempataion we cant handle." HE knows your strengths and weakness. HH knows what trials and what difficulties YOU need to become what HE knows you can become (Do you see all the "HE knows" in there) Family friends if there is one thing I have learned its that our God loves us so very much. HE knows what is best for us. I know sometimes we dont have a choice and others may use their agency to inflict pain and sadness into our lives but remember God knows us and He knows how to heal us. It doesnt matter what others think or say about you or the way they even treat you because someone loves you more than you can imagine and he gave you His son Jesus Christ so you could find true happiness and peace in this life. Stay srtong through the rough times and rember things will always work out in the long wrong that is my promise. Sadness wont last forever... Happiness will... I testify once more of Gods infinate love for everyone of you reading this email. He does! Yesterday I had a experince during church that I would like to share. I was sitting in sacrament meeting waiting to partake of the bread and water when I felt so much peace come into my heart. All weak I have been having this inward battle with emotions, feelings, thoughts, just about everything. Its something I cant describe to you all... but something I can describe is the fire that entered my heart as I took that bread and that water as I felt the power of the Atonement clean my mind and bring my mind back into retro spect as my purpose became clear and my purpose sure. It wasnt 1 minute after having this feeling that I heard over the poduim " We will now hear a talk from Elder Doggett" haha (Only on the mission) I got up not knowing what I was going to say but the spirit I felt was undeniable and I had the wonderful chance to bear my testimony about the divinity of our Savior Jesus Christ and His infinate Atonement... Its real I know it is. This church is real I know it is. Christ lives... He's real... I know He is... I know He is and that will never leave my heart no matter what anyone says to me.
Well things are better as I look at the best in my companion and try to figure out what the Lord would have me learn. My Portugese has improved dramatically Ive noticed through this transfer. There are still times Im a little lost when people talk to me but then there are times Im walking down the street and I hear people talking and I know exactly what there talking about (Kinda depends on the day) but I dont even have to think about it. It really is a intersesting experience for me. I never imagined myself speaking another launguage hahah its crazy... Though Im so grateful for the Lord in helping me come this far. I still have so much more I need to learn but I can finally get around by myself and my thoughts and time arent really concerned with it. Now its all about the investigators and teaching the Gospel. As Ammon said "Im nothing without the Lord." I see the Lord seeing me as He sees fit. As for the week in weather Brasil was insanely hot! While your getting snow im getting heat strock! OK maybe not that bad but its hot! Actually haha it was so hot one day last week that all the Elders in the house shaved our heads. Needless to say latter that night when we all returned home everyones head was sunburned including the Brasilians haha! but these past two days we have recieved nothing but rain. It actually wont stop raining! (Oh and Dad to answer your question they have draining wells underneath the streets. haha) The rain comes down hard here like ive never seen, within about 5 seconds of standing in the rain your drenched from head to toe ( Jenni, Rachel, Alyssa Im sorry but ive got over the fact of being wet, I dont have to change clothes now haha I just go and do it! haha so when I get home you can throw all the water you want on me and it wont phase me a bit!) As for my investigators we are teaching these 3 sisters. They live together and the oldest is 28 next is 26 and the last is 19. their names are Paula, Renata, Rachela. Paula, the oldest, is ready for baptism and keeping all the commitments and we could possiblely baptize them all this week. The youngest, Rachela is having a hard time accepting all we teach but I feel deep within my heart that she knows its true and with time the Lord will provide her with the courage to take the great step of entering the waters of baptism.
Family and friends... I love this Gospel and this mission with all my heart. Its no way easy thats for sure... but worth it? You bet it is! I have never felt so many hardships and trials, but so many blessings and miracles. Kind of a weird mix huh? I love you all and know that Christ is our Savior and the key to our true happinesss and salvation. As I talked about and boar testimony of our trials and difficulties I plead and ask everyone of you to take a step back and look at yourself and through humble prayer ask the simple words to God " What would you want me to learn in this situation." I know its not easy but with faith and time I promise you will recieve an answer. Im ashamed to say that during this transfer my faith was lacking and my heart was slowly becoming hard towards my Savior thinking "Why do I have to suffer like this?" Why am I even here." I was fighting Him like I did at the start of my mission. I instead was thinking only of myself instead of applying the lessons I have learned through all these mission experiences. I promise to you all that trials are bad. They cut into you and rip you apart, I know... but think about, have you ever come out of a trial weaker? I know the Lord is making you all His instruments and preparing you all for something great. Stay strong through constant scripture study and full obedeince and you will feel His influence and attributes become YOU. That is our whole plan and purpose here... I love you all so much and pray for everyone of you. Family I cant wait till next week when I get the chance to talk to you all through Skype. What a blessing... until then may God bless everyone of you in this Chirstmas Season and just remember God loves you this is my ever growing testimony... Love you all... God be with you till we meet again.
Elder Benjamin B. Doggett
p.s. Matt I love you so much. I just read your email as I was finishing this email and what a powerful testimony you have. You are a giant and I it was exactly what I needed to hear... You are an answer to my pray. I know now why God blessed me with such an amazing twin brother, cause I couldnt do this without his amazing strength and example... love you Matt. FELIZ NATAL