Wow thank you everyone for the Christmas wishes and the wonderful emails. I hear from so many and I cant explain how mazing it was. If only you all could see me right now, Im smiling from ear to ear. You all have such powerful testimonies and in everyone of your emails i feel a little bit closer to you all. Today I was ecspecially touched by all your tender words. I heard from my parents and family and my dear friends. Its just been the best Christmas present to hear from you all and I cant thank you all enough. I had the chance to talk to my fmaiy on Christmas and wow do you all look great! Im sorry I talked so much but my heart was filled with so much love for everyone in my fmaily and I personally wanted to bear my testimony to each of you so you could maybe fill a part of that undescriable love. I also had the chance to talk to my brother Matthew and wow... I was balling so hard. I never thoughtin a million years that we would be speaking a different launguage together but... It happened. Matt I love you so much and thank you for your testimony that you shared with everyone. My brother Matt has a testimony of this Gospel that is gold. He has a conviction and a sure witness of its truthfullness and when I heard him speak I knew without a doubt he honors that name tag and knows who he is. Matt thank you for your example to me and I hope I can become half the missionary you are. I love you. Everyone else in my family you know my feelings as I spoke to you each individually. Oh, how i love you all and am so grateful to be your son, brother, and grandson. God bless you all. Also thank you for that special little Christmas present of having three beautiful angels present during skype also :) what a gift! It was truely a wonderful moment for me and a relization of the importance of this great work. I love you all once more. As I have had so many emotions going through me all week I want you to know... in other words I have been on Cloud nine! haha
Christmas went great and my family was beautiful. Through the sobs and tears I was able to feel such a deepening respect and love for eternal families and how important they are to me. This week after talking with my fmaily, I have been thinking about this new year and how the time has just flown by so fast, but mostly about the goals I would like to set for this coming year. I was thinking about last year and the goals I had set then. A particular memory passed through my mind as I was taken back to one of my usual morning shifts at Jamba Juice ( Love you guys) A T.V news station came into the store and asked if they could interview me. I stood outside in my purple work shirt with my sweet drive thru headset on looking pretty good for the camera when I heard the words that the interview had commenced. The lady conducting the simple interview asked a easy question but sent my mind racing. She asked "So, what are your goals and expectations for 2012?" EASY RIGHT! We hear this question every new year and we all make our resolutions... but in this moment to be honset I had no idea what 2012 held in store for me. I had recieved my mission call 2 months prior and the future was unsure for me. I sat there thinking what I wanted to gain from 2012 but nothing was coming to mind. I simplely said "Serve a mission for my Church and see what happens next." As I re entered the store and sat on my usual counter top near the oven where I sat when the store was empty. I looked out the window and saw the sun gleaming over the little snow that we had. Those words just couldnt leave my mind "What are your goals and expectations?"... I thought "Yeah what are they Ben?" The future at that moment was so unclear but as I looked out the window I felt so much peace wash over me as I knew that whatever 2012 held for me my simple goal of serving a mission couldnt have been a better choice. I felt the sure confirmation that this was exactly what the Lord wanted from me... but what were my expectations for the year? Was I really thinking about what I wanted to gain from the year and who I wanted to become? To be honset I had no idea what the mission would have in store for me... but I testify to you all that my goal and year of 2012 has exceeded everyone of my expectations. I feel so much happiness in that simple goal to serve my Lord and Savior and if I could speak to that reporter now wearing my new uniform with my white shirt, tie, and tag I would say. "2012 made me into something I never imagined. Taught me things I never could comprehend, and brought me to a knowledge I never knew existed. I gained something truely special this year and I know that 2013 will hold something even more extrodinary."
Family and Friends I want you all to please take the time this week and find just 5 maybe 10 minutes to yourself. Sit and ponder the past year and the year to come. Think about what YOU have and want to become because of your goals. Imagine yourself at the end of 2013 and think if you have exceeded your expectations, but ecspecially if you have exceeded the expectations of your Heavenly Father. He knows your potential and what you can become. Set goals that will not only stretch you physically, but spritually. I know we all have so many gifts and I pray as this new year starts that you will all set goals that will help you become all that the Lord needs you to become. That you will develop those gifts and learn to be more. He knows we can become something great, that we posse the ability to do whatever our hearts desire. So let us believe also! Trust in Him and dedicate yourself to Him this year and look for oppurtunities to do all you can to be the person He knows you are. I have to be honest, before my mission my self esteem wasnt that great, but I know in our savior we can overcome any weakness and develop spirtual attributes. Im so grateful for the year of 2012. I give thanks unto my God for giving me this chance to serve Him and truely become the Man, Father, Husband, and worthy Priesthood holder He knows I can become. I never imagined that day staring out the window at that beautiful morning snow as the sun peeked over that parking lot of Jamba Juice that the Lord would show unto me His expectations and give me the strength to fullfill them. Im still working on the goal I made last year to serve a mission for my church, I still have a year to try my best to do all I can to fullfill it... but I know once more my expectations will be beyond my understanding when this coming year ends. When I will once more see all the Lord as done and taught me. I hope with all my heart to become all He needs me to be... I invite you all to just imagine for a moment who you want to be at the end of the year, Every detail! Then make the goals necassary to fullfill them. I love you all and hope once more this email will help you in some way as you ponder these things. I love you all so much and once more am so grateful for this missionary work. Once more to my family I cant explain how much I love you all. Seeing you all as a missionary is something I have never felt. I was so taken back by the light everyone had and at times was so taken away in the spirit as Ammon once said. I am so grateful for you all and to be honset im counting day the days until mothers day haha! :) God bless you all and I hope and pray you will all feel my sure testimony and love for this great work. Its tough at times but I know its where I need to be! Live every moment to the fullness and never waste a day. "For there is something precious to be found in every day"- Dieter F. Uchtdorf I love you all once more I just cant say it enough and hope to hear from you all soon.
Love Elder Benjamin B. Doggett
p.s. We just heard about transfers and it looks like I will be staying here in Rio Claro with a new companion... oh! and Dad you asked on Christmas about my area of "Rio Claro" and what it means, and I told you "Clear River" you then asked if there was a river here and I told you "no"... well I was curious afterwards so I asked some members if there really was a clear river here and they told me in fact there was! The city is actually built over it but if you go to the outskirts of town you can see it. They told me its really big! I have never seen it yet though... so there is in fact a River, but about it being clear I dont know cause the members told me that the city dumps thir waste in it sooooo yeah haha not sure about that... but there is A RIVER! Love ya! oh and I attached a picture of me and Matteus. He is a member that Im teaching English too. I love him he is so funny, that is also his bird on my shoulder haha!