Well another week here in Brasil is gone and another week of growth is in front of me. I just would like to say once more this wonderful week thank you for all the wonderful emails. I received so many and many last week as well! My heart wishes I could respond to all of you but time doesnt permit me to do so. I just want you... every single one of you who writes me, who gives me such spiritual strength ever week to know... I love you so very much and that this humble boy is touched and humbled by all of your words and advice. Its something really needed by us missionaries, as my brother Matt once stated. It brings me back to my true purpose as a missionary. I leave a blessing upon you all this week that the Lord may bless everyone of you with strength to overcome the difficulties that this life has to offer whatever they may be. Since you have helped me overcome the rough times of my mission. Thank you all once more I love you all so very much... My mind this last week was able to ponder my mission in greater detail then most weeks though. This last week started a holiday here in Brasil called "Carnaval"... or in other words Iniquity! haha (As us missionaries call it) Its been hard to work as Carnaval is dead smack in the middle of my area. Its about a week long event where everyone gets together and drinks and parties in the streets with alot of loud music, dancing, and big floats in the streets. I would say google it but please dont do that! Lets just say there is a lack of clothing that comes with Carnaval haha. Alot of lacking!!! AHHHHHH With this holiday going on this week its been really hard to work and find people to teach. My heart was aching as I walked the streets of Brasil and saw so many terrible things were happening. I imagine I maybe felt a part of what Nephi felt in 3 Nephi as he saw the wicknedness and hardness descend among the Nephites before the coming of Christ. The sad part was they willingly rebeled against God as we read in 3 Néfi 6:18. As I saw some pretty crazy things this week in the true wickedness in this world my heart was grieved and I began to ponder this simple doctrine... "How quick the children of man forget their God." In the Book of Mormon we see this time after time. In 3 Néfi 6 we see that just 6 years after the people see so many miracles and signs fullfilled that were prophesized from the Holy prophets and even wonderful blessings and teachings from them are forgotten and the people once more turn back to their old ways "...as a dog to his vomit" (3 Néfi 7:8) This is my focus to you all today as I have been once more been humbled by a loving Father in Heaven... How quick are we to forget God?
As I mentioned in my introduction we see how the Nephites so quickly turned from God in the Pride of their hearts. As I was reading this and in some way seeing it as I was in the streets my heart just couldnt eliminate this thought of the wickedness of man. I have to be honset with you all I was alittle annoyed by the Nephites and what they were doing as I read the scriptures. Why is it that the Nephites could so easily forget those signs and wonders!? How is it they could forget the words of living prophets and their teachings and directions in just the space of 6 years!? Then I recieved probably one of the most humbling pieces of personal revalation in some time. Actually it was moreover a question that was placed into my mind that brought me humble to my knees in prayer. Which was simply this... "Ben, Do you remember the words of my servants?" My mind was then taken back to General Conference, and in this moment I too ask all of you, what do you remember from last General Conference, do you remember the words of the Holy Prophets? Do you remember their teachings? I was so stunned by this. I had received so many wonderful teachings, blessings, promises, and revelation from those servants of God just 5 months ago. Did I truely listen and apply their teachings or was I much like the nephites and turned back to my old ways? Then my mind began to ponder the things of my mission. Have I rememberd and applyed all I have learned during this time in the field? I was brought to my knees as I remembered their teachings and rememberd the many miracles and lessons I have seen and learned during my mission. I know its so easy to deny the abilty to change. Its so easy to forget all the wonderful lessons we have learned throughout our lifes and even forget the blessing that we in fact have living prophets on this Earth today. I was so humbled by this simple truth this week. We have to constantly seek to fill the light in our lives to keep our testimonies and conversions alive. Its up to us! God wont take our agency, thats His gift to us... but we can choose to give it to Him. We can choose to be His servants. My prayer for you all is that you wil remember that we belong ot the church of Jesus Christ that He is our Savior and that we have living prophets to guide us in these the last days... and I testify these are the last days. Im not in Rexburg anymore and I have seen some pretty crazy things that my teenage mind back home could never imagine haha but im grateful for the blessings and growth the Lord has provided me in this time of my life... My mission is so sacred to me and I dont want to loss this time I have. Something that President Dieter F. Uchtdorf once said was (Im translating from Portugese so please forgive me) "Its good to share our testimonies, but to live the Gospel and be an example to those around you is alot better. Its also good to say we will read our scriptures and pray... but its a lot better if we actually do it." I too know this to be true. This is the time to act. These are the last days and we cant allow teh natural man to take over. We cant be quick to forget our God. Im pleading with whomever may be reading this to please not forget the wonderful blessings God has poured out upon you. Dont Harden your hearts but allow room for the Lord to place His enduring love. Remember the Him always... Dont forget Him.
This past week was such a humbling and powerful week (As it seems every week is here in the mission) but I invite all of you this next week take 15 minutes out of the week to find a talk from Conference and once more be fed by the word of God. As I mentioned my heart ached this week as I saw the festivals and partying of the Children of man. If only they knew where true happiness is found. Im grateful for this chance I have to be a missionary and to bring this knowledge to them that God lives and loves us all so very much and oh is there so much more to this life. This work is so important and needs to be done. Jesus Christ once said "I am the light of the world"... He is my light and I never want to return to the old Ben Doggett, I hope that through my mission I can come unto Him with full purpose of heart that I can give Him all that I am. That I wont forget these changes and miracles I have seen occur in the lives of others but ecspecially in my own life... I love you all so much and give praise for all of you in my life. It sounds like everyone is doing amazing back home and I want you all to know im doing amazing here. I realize everyday how weak I am but how in my weakness I can become strong through the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ... Family and Friends I have so much to learn but I kow the Lord will provide a path for me to follow as long as I do what he asks. I found out yesterday I have been transfered from Rio Claro. I will leave tomorrow to my new area. I will also be getting a new companion. I know that whatever happens will be the will of the Lord and I will go and do exactly what He asks. Once more I love you all and apoligize this email this week was a little smaller then usual but still I pray and hope you felt the spirit as I did typing this. May God bless you all and bring to your mind those moments in your life when you felt the sure power and influence of the spirit...Dont be quick to forget God, but rather give Him praise for everything you have and for His infinate mercy and love. Once more I pray some of you may be strengthend and edified by this small testimony I have gained this week in the hopes that you can feel that peace within you hearts... God be with you all till we meet again, I look forward to hearing from you all soon.
HAPPY VALENTINES THIS WEEK
Ama Élder Benjamin B. Doggett
p.s. I have some pretty sweet pictures to send this week starting with me on a MOTORCYCLE!