Wow 20 years old... where is the time? I thank you all for your emails, I was truely touched by all your words. Dad and Mom thank you and yes, everything is going great :) Mom and Dad thank you for the birthday money I got me some sweet presents haha and Dad I will try to send my address here in Botucatu but to be honest at the moment I dont know it from the top of my head haha Mom my shoes are doing great. I havent had any problems... yet. Thank you once more for your emails they were so powerful and I loved the good ol Rexburg update. Family, your emails were so inspired this week and I thank you so very much. My friends also sent some pretty power emails as well that brought some very strong emotions of appreciation for them in my life. I love you all so very much... Matt I just wanted to take a small moment and share with you how much I love you and missed you last Friday. It was the first birthday I shared without you... but in some small way I felt so much peace and love from you. I hope you enjoyed that little present I sent :) and that Elder is in my prayers. Once more everyone thank you for the emails they mean so much to me. I had so many birthday wishes and words just cannot describe how much it meant to me even if I cant write personally. What a birthday... I will never forget it... and by the way on the subjects of birthdays a very beautiful and special women to me is having a birthday this friday on the 15th so all of YOU wish her a Happy Birthday haha I LOVE YOU MOM AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!
As for this past many invents happened... Many spiritual things occured in my mission that I just cant explain. I had some very intense and powerful lesson as we are teaching many people now here in Botucatu. One lesson though that I just cant get out of my head is the power of the Book of Mormon and of its divinity in our lives. Do we truely understand the power of that Book? This last week we encoutnterd a lady named Sueli who is about 50 years old. She attends the Congragraçáo no Brasil. This religion is pretty strict about having other faiths talk with them. We met her late on Thursday evening and actually taught the first lesson to her husband as she was cleaning the kitchen. She was in the other room listening to our message and soon enterend as we began to talk about the Book of Mormon. She soon sat down and began to ask some pretty intense questions regarding the Book of Mormon. I felt the spirit so strong and began to testify of its reality that it in fact was brought forth from God in our days to guide us and direct us through the storms of this life. I read with her Helaman 5:12 "that we must build upon the rock of our redeemmer which is Christ." I felt the spirit so strongly as my companion and I began to teach her using the Book of Mormon. We left a copy with her and a challenge to read 3 nefi 11.
The next morning was my birthday. I woke up earlier then the other missionaries cause I couldnt sleep. I just sat in my bed with my thoughts to myself. I really missed my family and friends. I got up and washed my face and looked in the mirror for some time. I just sat there staring... I noticed then how different Ben Doggett really was from the boy one year ago. his desires, plans, likes and dislikes all were different. How much the Lord had truely had changed this boys heart... But how? I humbley bowed down and said a silent pray of gratitude for this last year and all I have learned and every trial I have passed through and truely pondered my testimony. Sueli then came into my mind from the previous night and her questions concerning the Book of Mormon. I then descided to open my own sciptures and I felt prompted to read Lehis dream in 1 nephi 8. In it it has many powerful lessons for us to learn as Elder Bendnar has taught us, but I felt prompted to focus on the Iron rod. In 1 Nephi 11: 25 we learn what the Rod singnifiys, in the words of Nephi "and it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of Iron, which my father had seen, was the Word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life." the tree represents the love of God. Family and friends can you see how important the Sciptures are? Can you see how important the Book of Mormon is? It is the rod! It is how we can stay on the sraight and narrow. This change I saw in the mirror only came through the power of the sciptures. In my life toward the end of Senior year when everything seemed to be upside down. When my priorities where a mix and my faith dwindling I allowed the scriptures to lie on my desk un-opened. My hands had let go of the Iron rod and I was falling into that endless fog as Lehi describes. From the tender mercies of the Lord He provided many angels in my life to help guid me back to that rod and allowed me the chance to grip it with all my foce so I could experience the Atonement of Chirst and partake of the fruit or those sacred convenants "Which was more desirebale then anything else." and now here I am... Im 1 year on my mission and I have the chance to now help others to grip onto the Iron Rod (Sciptures) to come unto the tree of life and partake of the fruit.
As I closed my sciptures, tears ran down my face. I have had 20 birthdays and many wonderful presents throughout my life... but the greatest present I have received was right in front of me. I was holding it in my hands It was brought forth by the hand of God through a living Prophet. It contains the fullness of this gospel and testifys that Jesus is the Chirst. I have the opportunity everyday to give it freely to others so they can recieve the same gift of Eternal Life and that sweet and pure knowledge that I have. It was a birthday I will never forget as I realized and felt the power of the Holy spirit in such a way that I just cant describe. Family and friends you dont know how much I love the Book of Mormon, how much that Book means to me. It is the Keystone of my testimony and I testify it is the keystone of our religion and I challenge everyone of you as Alma did to have a change of heart! (Alma 5: 12) Read the Book of Mormon I beg of you. It is the only way to hold on for it is the Rod that leads to Eternal life is my testimony to you all this day.
In conclusion im sure you all want to know about Sueli, well we followed up with her yesterday and she told us she read 3 nephi 11 and even marked many sciptures that stuck out to her. She shared with us how she felt a fire in her heart and how she just couldnt stop reading. She knows these things are true and we have marked a Baptism with her for next week. I hope we all will search for that fire within ourselves as we study and search the scriptures daily so we too can cling to the Rod Of Iron and partake of this wonderful joy the Gospel has to offer. I love you all and thank you once more for the wonderful birthday wishes. So much has happened in my life and im so grateful for this Gospel and the Holy Sciptures. and for all of you. God be with you all till we meet again. Sorry this email was long today there was just so much I wanted to share with you and felt this was what needed to be said I so pray. Love you all and God bless you.
Ama Élder Benjamin B. Doggett