Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Matt #52 Don't give up... Don't feel forgotten

I had the chance to have such a sweet Spirit touch my Heart as I read you amazing tesimonys and e-mails... Everyone remember how much Ben and I really love you all. Please never feel forgotten and alone. Never feel like Ben and I dont remember you all because we do, Everyone who reads this e-mail know that you have a special place in my heart and thats all that matters. Actually sometimes I wish I could be like the Holy Ghost and just speak with everyone that I love at once, but it doesnt work that way and our time on the Computers are limited... Just dont feel forgotten. We love you all so much. This past week has been one of the most incredible weeks ever. I've been trying my best to focus on what Optimism and joy truly are, and this past week I really felt this Joy and peace as I Read, Reflected, Prayed, and Applied what I learned into the Missionary work of each day. One thing I realized about the Mission is that we will all have the same experinces out here in the field... Somedays are just plain tough and sometimes we get a little discouraged but I think are attitude determines the outcome of each of these situations. Sadly I have seem some Missionarys here in my Mission who just give up through the difficult times and its sad... but we need to remember that we cant give up. In the end everything will work out for the best!

I read a talk by T. Jeffery Wilks from BYU this past week where he talked about how we could have a more positive attitude or Optimism in the Gospel and in our lifes and he gave Five steps that are perfect. Step 1. "Righteousness does not mean Perfection" I think you all remember when I first got here in the Mission most of my e-mails where more focused on me not having Baptisms or struggling with Portuguese and wanting to be the BEST in the field. Well yesterday at church I never felt so much peace in my life. I stood and bore my Testimony and I remember saying "One thing I have learned is that we dont need to speak fluently or beautifully to feel the Spirit in our lifes... we only need to do our best and the Spirit of Love from our Savior will feel our lives" or in other words, we dont need to be Perfect in Portuguese to build relationships and share our testimonys. As long as we do are best and are Rightous (Obeident) the Lord will bless us. Step 2. "You've got to keep going" Life gets hard sometimes and sadly we all will fall down once in awhile... but the key is to get back up and keep going. Do you all realize how many lessons I've walked away from thinking "Wow I could have done so much better with that one!" or "Woah I totally think I just taught false doctrine on that subject concering where Kolab is." Hahah Sometimes things dont go as we planned but that doesnt mean we can give up! We must keep going no matter what! Sometimes the test in not about overcoming the trial or hardship but weather we will get back up and keep going even during the hardtimes. Step 3 "Keep your focus on Heavenly Father" We must look into are Fathers eyes and see, we must hear his voice and follow. We must immerse ourselves in Scripture study and converse with our Father in Prayer. I think D&C 4:5 sums this idea up pretty good. Remember always to have your eyes fixed on the glory of God. Step 4. "Heavenly Fathers approval matters most" This is most likly the hardest one for me to accept. Maybe its because I'm a Blue on the personality scale so I base everything emotionally, but I think we all need to remember this one. On the start of my Mission and even now I generally have problems with comparing myself to others. Even with e-mails! Sometimes I will read my incredible Brothers E-mail and think "Man hes way more Spiritual then me...) and even though we all know this statment is true (I love you Ben) :) we shouldnt compare ourselves to others. The only approval we should seek is the approval from our Heavenly Father. Remember we all have a purpose here and our Lord loves us so much. T. Jeffery Wilks said the following on the subject. "When we allow our decisons to be influenced by the approval of others, we put ourselves at the mercy of fickle mobs, ever-changing fashions, and the devils whirlwinds. If instead we seek our Heavenly Fathers approval ONLY. We build our foundation upon his rock that will never be moved." Step 5 "Look for and remember the Joys in our lifes" The joys in my life are all of you... Whenever I have a tough day I will always pull out my photos and laugh and remember the joys of life. Remember to always laugh and smile. This is one of the best ways to feel joy in this life. I always love telling stories and laughing and I'm afraid once I return home at the end of these two years everyone will get sick of hearing my voice because I wont stop talking haha. But I love this Gospel I love the Joy that comes from heaing others laugh. Our time here in our lifes is a time we need to enjoy.Yesterday during church I felt so much love and peace there... I know this church is true with all my heart. Actually yesterday was really fun because my Companion and I had the chance to teach Primary. It was great! We learned about Joseph Smith and what happened when the Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph. We explained about the Gold Plates and then we had the kids help me (I was Joseph during this time because we acted everything out) Find the Golden Plates so we could translate them! We went on a little scavenger hunt through the classroom which was a little crazy but fun. Afterwards I bore my testimony to these little child. As I sat there with them memories of when I was teaching Primary before the Mission flooded into my mind and I felt so much joy... The Spirit is strong with little children. If your struggling in the church I challenge you to sit in on a Primary lesson and afterwards you wont have a doubt about this Gospel.
I hope everyone knows how much I love each and everyone of you... This time on the mission is great. I love it so much. Remember that our attitudes in this life determine everything. I challenge everyone today to be a little more positive. To look for the good in each day not the negative and most importantly dont be sad. A few days back I was feeling a little down and I asked the other elders for alittle advice. One Elder named Elder Clingman suggested that I listen to the song "You are Loved" By Josh Groban and then look at a photo of the Savior and imagine he is singing it to me. I know this idea sounds a little strange but I also want to challenge everyone to take a moment today to listen to this song and stare at a picture of Ben and I and the Savior and imagine that we are singing this song to you... I promise that you will all have a smile and will have the sure feeling that your loved and not forgotten. :) I know this church is true and I'm so happy to be a Missionary. I'm not perfected but I know that we are all doing the best we can and the only thing that should be important to us is that we know that our Heavenly Father is pleased with our efforts. Thank you all so much for your love and support and I cant wait to see what the future holds for all of us. Keep going strong, dont give up, and remember your all loved! Love Elder Matthew Ryan Doggett   

Ben #51 Plan of Happiness

My heart is once more full this week as I read everyone of your letters. I had many from my dear friends and from many of my family members. Dad, first of forgive me for not getting that email off to you... I really have no words to describe how that happened nor will I try too haha thank you for your patience with me and for your love. Also that Elder Rogan Clay that wrote that on facebook, haha was my trainer send my love to him Dad on Facebook haha when you get a chance. Anyway as I read everyones emails today I felt such a serenity overcome me. I love you all so much and thank you for your emails. It means so much of to me. Hearing of everyones lives back home and the roads that everyone is taking. Im so grateful for the Gospel in my life. The other day as I was walking in the street with my companion a man called me over as he was crying. I could tell from his eyes he had been involved with some type of drug. As I made my way over to him he explained how crazy his life is and how much he needs to change. He began to explain to me his life story and how at a young age (16) he began to use drugs and become involved with pornography and eventually other things. As I listened to his story and saw the sadness develope in his face and the captivity he was under I couldnt help but say a silent pray of gratitude for my savior Jesus Christ, for the chance I had to be born into His church with parents who honor their Temple convenets and taught His principles within our home. My testimony and message to you all this day is how blessed we truely are to be members of The Church of Jesus of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The commandments will not bring captivity to us but freedom. As I saw this man sitting on the side of the road my heart was torn, but I realized in that moment how blessed I am to have this wonderful Gospel in my life. I want everyone of you to truely realize this blessing we have. We have everything at our hands to have an eternal happinness without end as King Benjamin taught us. (Mosiah 2: 41) I know this church is true... I have no doubts.
With this on our minds that we belong to the church of Chirst where we can have an eternal happiness we need to think of how this is all possible and thats through the great Plan of Salvation which includes our savior Jesus Christs infinate atonement. This past week this very tpoic was on my mind and also I had many emails today talking about the difficulties in this life but how through the Atomement of Christ we can all be made whole... I know this is true. We had the chance to teach a wonderful family the Plan of Salvation last week. As missionaries in the morning we often do practices with our companions to prepare to teach our investigators. Living in a house with the Zone leaders is a blessing because we can all practice together and take the role as an investigator, this particular moment was my turn to be the investigator. When I take the role of an investigator I like to really become the investigator and put myself in their shoes. As I sat there listening to this Great Plan that our loving Father in Heaven has prepared for us, trying to really be the investigator, Elder Albernaz said something to me that touched my heart and brought so much peace. He pointed to the photo that read "Celestial Kingdom" and said "Here is the place you can be with your family and loved ones forever..." He said just this... but I was overcome by the spirit and I began to cry. As I know all my family relationships and relationships with my friends will last forever if I keep the commandments and do all I can to endure to the end... I too can have this, which I truely believe is a happiness without end. I can have this and so can all of us if we do all we can to live worthily.
I was touched by this simple statement that "we can be a family forever" a principle that is so basic within our church but not fully understood to the power it holds as we hear it so often. I pray in this moment I may share my feelings with you all in a way that the spirit will direct as I share a tender moment in my life when this phrase changed my life. Two years ago on April 19th I lost my dear friend, Cody Simmons. This past week as I have taught The Plan of Salvation to many families Cody and his wonderful family havent been able to leave my mind. I love them with all my heart and want them to know and all of you that I so testify that Jesus The Christ overcame death and our loving Father in Heaven prepared this great Plan to one day live with our loved ones again... I believe it, I know it, and I will do everything I can to recieve this priceless blessing and gift from God. I hope and pray that you too all can feel the power in these words this week "WE CAN BE A FAMILY FOREVER" as you ponder this out in your hearts and pray unto God for a greater understanding. I want the Simmons to know how much I love them and how much this Gospel and knowledge has changed my life. I want them to know my thoughts and prayers are with them at this time as im miles away but my heart is with right there with them. I love you all so much.
This week was a powerful one for me as I felt my testimony grow and my understanding of our Saviors infinate Atonement applied in my life. I know this is all true... I know it. As I mentioned we taught a wonderful family this truth last week and they all plan to be Baptized and start they journey to have an eternal family. I am so grateful for you all and for this Gospel in my life. Im grateful for the Mission is has wrought within my very being in helping me to shape the reat of my life and my life and purpose has become so much clearer. I pray you may all feel my spirit and love for you all. I give my utmost gratitude and thanks for the emails and letters I have recieved from you all and hope you know how much it has blessed my life. You all are my angels bearing me up to bring this glad message of... an eternal Happiness. :) I love you all once more and pray you have an amazing and blessed week. Know Im alive and well here in Brasil and couldnt be happier to be a servant and representative of my beloved Savior... What a true honor.
God be with you all till we meet again.
Ama Élder Benjamin B. Doggett        

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Matt #51 Testify

Well everyone what a great General confrence huh? I had the great chance to watch it live with all of you back home but I wont lie... During General Confrence is when I feel the most homesickness in the Mission feild but I realized that many of my dear memories of my family were during confrence, and that explains why! Anyway I just love Confrence... The Spirit we can feel as we feast on the words from the living Prophets and feel their love as they testify and share examples only to strengthen our faith is something thats priceless to us as latter saints. There were many talks that touched my heart and answered many of the questions I needed help with, I especially loved the Preisthood Session and the connection I felt with my own Father as we watched the words of the Prophets together in Spirit but it diffrent locations. I'm not sure how to describe it but I just felt like I was with all of you during this sacred time it was great! The last session on Sunday I also had the chance to watch in Portuguese as I sat with some recent converts who were hearing the Prophet for the first time... I wish you could have seen what I saw family and friends as several recent converts just feasted on the words of the living Prophet with all their energy. I guess when I was back home Confrence became such a normal routine that I really missed the importance of what was happening when they were speaking... but as Thomas S. Monson closed yesterdays Confrence the room that I was sitting in full of faithfull latter day Saints, Investigators, and recent converts grew to a hush and all eyes were on the big screen. As President Monson said his wonderful closing remarks many emotions of joy and gratitude raced through my heart and as I turned and looked at my wonderful Converts I knew they were feeling the same emotions. Family and Friends I testify to you all that I know that Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet of God and he does love each and everyone of us so much. Sometimes we become so relaxed with confrence that we may miss the true meaning of what is happening. Remember we are recieving revelation from a Prophet of God... Thats pretty awesome huh? I loved everything about Confrence! 

One talk that really touched my heart was during the Priesthood session when Our Prophet spoke of the impotance to follow four basic principles to have success. 1. Search the Scriptures. 2. Plan your life with purpose. 3.Teach the truth of the Gospel and Testify. 4.Love the Lord. I would like to focus on the the third point entitled "Testify." During his incredible talk the President Monson mentioned a story of young Missionarys who were teaching a man but the man didnt show much intrest in the message they had to share and as they were living the house the man said "You cant honestly believe that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God." At that final statement the door was shut and the two Missionarys were left only on the front porch. As they were walking away from the house the younger Missionary turned to the Experinced Missionary and said "Elder, he told us we couldnt honestly believe Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God and we did even tell why we know and believe he his! We have to go back." After this statement the younger Missionary returned to the house and knocked on the door... when the man answered this young and inexperinced Missionary testified of the Prophet Joseph Smith and how he knew he was a man called by God. Because of this young Missionarys faith and desire to preach the Gospel and Testify of truth is man now a member of the Church was changed. I had some what of a similar experince just one day before I heard this talk from President Monson... As my wonderful companion and I were finding news to teach we remembered a young women we had taught a few days previously so we made the decison to pass by her house and teach the Book of Mormon. When we showed up to her house she was home but so was her mother and when her mother saw us a smile crossed her face, she seemed very happy to see us! My companin and I looked at each other with big smiles and we were excited to begin teaching because her Mother looked so excited to be there... but when we saw her daughter she had a frown on her face and she wouldnt look us in the eye and then I noticed her mother had a really big scary smile on her face and then I saw it... Her Bible was on her lap wide open and I knew that we had just entered what we as Misisonarys call a "BIBLE BASH LESSON".... the first thing that crossed my mind was "No Elder we shouldnt be here or do this" but it was to late... Round 1 had started and the Scriptures against us began flowing from her mouth. We as Missionarys are not encouraged to be involved with Bible Bashes as they build walls of contention and hate, it blocks the Spirit and allows for no Spiritual progression on both sides of the fight. When all is said and done both sides lose and nothing is accomplished. Only feelings of angry are left behind but it already had started and we are told as Missionarys that when it starts to accept whatever she says and get out of there as soon as possible. Well she talked and attacked us for 45 Minutes and my companion and I didnt say a word. We only agreed with what she said and when she asked a question about doctrine we would respond and testify and then allow her to countinue her attack... It was hard to have her attack are believes and I could tell my companions patience was running thin and so was mine... She could see it and she looked happy and satisfied almost like she won some great victory. To end her final bash she picked up the Book of Mormon and held it up in the air and said or more like shouted to the Heavens "I dont agree with this Bible of your religion and I dont agree of you worship of this man named Joseph Smith!" She then handed me the Sacred Book with a smudge look of accomplishment on her face. As I took the Book of Mormon in my hands I just stared at the front cover and the most over whealming peace came over me... I looked up at this women who was standing in the middle of her living room and with tears of joys in the rims of my eyes and with a smile on my face I said "I have a question for you ma'm... How can you not agree with or not accept something you dont know? I said with a smile and joy "We would like to invite you to hear our message and come to understand why this Book is special and why we show deep love and appreciation for our dear Prophet Joseph Smith. You must understand that we dont worship Jospeh. Look at the cover of the Book of Mormon or look at our nametags. We worship the true God and his Son Jesus Christ. We know these things are true and you can to if you only read and pray of these things." After I said these words my companion also testified and she looked scarred as two young boys were sitting in her living room, who she just attacked for the past hour smiling and bearing testimony of the things she just said werent true! She then said to us "Your both just young boys that are un-experinced in the things of God and the world. Dont worry some day you'll understand what Im saying." We then smiled and told her together "Sorry we may be inexperinced boys but we did recieve an answer from our Heavenly Father these things are true and we cant deny that." She then walked out of the room and said "Your welcome to countinue to speak with my family about your religion but I wont participate any more or listen to what you say about this church." She then walked out with a very confused and angry look on her face. We then looked at her Daughter and she had a puzzeled look on her face. She than said "I dont know what you believe or what this Book is but when you were talking I really felt something... Something diffrent." Can you both please explain what makes you diffrent from all the other realigions. We gladly told her yes and countinued to feel a wonderful Spirit there as we testified of the truthfullness of this Gospel.

Family and Friends I want to bear testimony to you all that I know these things are true... I know many have a hard time excepting the Gospel but we need to remember that its something so simple. Something so special. Something that will change your life. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints truly is Gods church restored on the earth today and when you follow its teaches you will become a new person in Chirst. I love this Gospel and the Experince I am having. I love this work and the amazing people of Brazil. They have touched and blessed my life just like all of you have and I hope that I can repay them and all of you back by working as hard as I can this coming year. Ben I hope you know that I love you so much. I think of and pray for you each day of my time on the Mission. Sometimes I imagine what it will be like once we are all back together but the only thing I think of is a love and Joy that is undescribable. I love the Gospel and I love my Savior. I know my Savior lives and hes always here for us and I hope I can give him my all here in the next year. I also know that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of God and he saw God the Father and his living and beloved Son Jesus Christ. I love you all so much and I hope you all make this coming week a great week. Love Elder Matthew Ryan Doggett

Ben #50 Importance of Families

Well what wonderful emails once more this week. I heard from many of my old buddies from Rexburg who are out and about in the Lords work serving in their various parts of the world. Im just amazed by all the growth the mission has brought in all of us. My and Dad thank you for your aw inspireing emails once more. Its always so wonderful to read your emails. Thank you a million times over for your emails. Matt, your email touched me so much as I too relized how blessed we are by all who are back home. Family Friends, I give praise and thanks unto God for you all in my life and pray that you may be blessed beyond measure for all your support and love for Matt and I here in Brasil... I just cannot write my expressions in words, they can only be felt. Really... Thank you all I love you so much. Well this last week flew by so fast, I dont know if it was because of the excitement of conference or what but it passed by in the twinkling of an eye. I now have one year on the mission, as Dad described to me in his email haha, and I cant lie im a little in shock. I remember like it was yesterday hugging all my loved one's goodbye and now realizing that next April conference I will be home. It brings me humbley to the relization of how important this great work is, and how much I have to do in establishing the Kingdom of God here on the Earth in this time I have left. He has trusted me with this sacred calling and I cannot fail Him. I must give Him my heart... Thank you once more for the emails and the love you share with us. 
Yesterday and Saturday we had the chance to watch conference! (I love conference here on the mission haha) I watched it in a small room on the computer with another American Elder... During the sessions of conference the spirit over and over testified to me of many truths as I felt my testimony strengthed. What I love about conference is how it speaks directly to all our needs. What every member needs to hear at that specific moment in their lives. Everyone recieves different insights and light from our dear prophets and apostles, and the spirit... what a true blessing, right? One personal principle that I picked up from the Prophets and Apostles yesterday and Saturday that I would like to share with you all this day is this "That We need to strengthen our families through the Priesthood and make our homes a Christ centered home, based on His principles and teachings. We must always engage in family scripture study, pray, obedience to the commandments, and family home evening. We must protect our homes because Satan is doing everything in his power to destroy this fundamental part of our Hevenly Fathers plan for us. Families are EVERYTHING." I heard this over and over through the conference as I realized how much Satan is trying to destroy us and our families and how we must "Bulid upon the Rock of our redeemer whom is Chirst!" (Helaman 5:12) and stand as a believer always! (Mosiah 18:9) I was touched by this as a missionary, this is one truth that our message teaches. The importance of families. Satan cannot have a family and thus thru his wraith is trying to do all he can to destoy them and make them miserable like unto himself. My beloved family and friends I testify to you that these things are in fact occuring. Here on my mission my heart is torn as I see the evil and destuction that is ocurring through the increasing wickedness in this world, ecspecially within the family... but then brought to such a happiness and love as I see the miracle and change that occur in the lives of those who put their trust in God and accept Jesus Christ as their savior and His teachings. We must base our homes on Chirst. We must set a foundation within the walls of our home wherein we can feel the power of the priesthood and the light of God shine from every part I so testify! I was truely touched by this truth as someday I hope to base my family on the teachings of Chirst.
I love General Conference and the chance we have to hear from our loving Father in Heaven. He is, and we are spirit children of thee. We belong to a great family in which we have the truths before us to have an eternal happiness without end... as it all starts within our homes. Im so grateful for my Parents... and my friends parents who created this enviorment for me growing up. That I was born into a home who established its teachings on that of Christ. I love you all so much and hope I too can someday, when I become a father, base my home on the Gospel of Chirst, and of His pure love. I know these things are true and my heart burns with a testimony of what I have spoken to you all this day... I know its true and I have no doubts. :)
It was a wonderful week and a wonderful conference. Here in Botucatu the weather has been pretty good with some light rainfall this last week. We have also began to teach some wonderful families in our area that have friends within the Church, The Lord is raining His blessings upon us here along with the normal rain. :) I do have a funny story that I would like to share with you all that happened last Friday! I was in the Bathroom... reading haha and I heard a weird sound coming from what I thought was beneath our house. I finished my reading in the bathroom and quickly grabbed the flashlight because this could be a problem haha if it was what I thought I heard. I opened up the floor panel to go underneath the house but found nothing. As I was coming up from underneath the house I heard the sound again, but this time I thought "its coming from above." So my companion and I created a ladder out of chairs as I pulled myself up to the top our our roof. I found an entrance to the attic and entered in and to my surprise found what I had heard... A liter of Kittens... about 5 haha. We now have 5 kittens living above our bathroom. As I was leaving I found the mother... staring at me. That cat was staring into my soul, seriously! She was ready to kill me if I tryed anything! haha needless to say I got out of the attic as quickly as possible. We now wake up to the sound of millions of kittens meowing... They also speak fluent portugese haha... im so funny!!!!!!!
Anyway thats the update here in Botucatu Brasil. What a wonderful week in the service of the Lord. I testify this work is real and that this mission is in fact life changing. I apoligize for the long email but I hope in someway you all can feel my love and sure witness that this is true church of God with His Prophet and Apostles... I too hope that the spirit in some way touched your heart and testified of the importance of our families unto. Family and friends I know all this is true... I believe it... I know it. Love you all and hope to hear from you soon. May God be with you till we meet again.
Ama Élder Benjamin B. Doggett
p.s. pictures of the kittens, and me with a dagger. I was going for a Prince of Persian, Jake Gynenhall look... haha kidding kidding... love you all so much have a blessed week.

Matt #50 Love

First off I need to apoligize... Today was my P-day because we had the Sacred Privlege of going to the São Paulo templo here in brasil... I love the temple so very much, but because the P-days were switched around I didnt have the chance to e-mail yesterday. I do want everyone to know that I am well and that nothing is wrong. Also thank you all for the wonderful e-mails. I really feel bad sometimes because I'm not able to respond to everyone but It brings tears to my eyes to know how much Ben and I are loved here. We are truly blessed to have you all as family and friends and I know with all my heart that I will never be able to repay the Love you have all shared with your testimonys each week and the incredible news of the Gospel. I love you all so much and thank you for the help each week. 

This past week was one I will never forget... We had so many incredible experinces that I cannot describe everything to you all but I hope that in some small way you will be able to feel my Love for you all in this E-mail. For those of you who dont know my Companion is Brasilian and he was baptised 7 years ago. His parents are not members and he was less active for a few years before he made the decision to serve a Mission. He is an incredible Missionary and example to me and I love him so much. This past week we had some time to get to know one another so we had many discusions about the Gospel and about his life before the Mission. He doesnt have support from his family to serve his Mission as a matter a fact his father during Christmas begged him to come home and his Girlfriend (now X) also told him she would like him to return... Through all of this he has smiled and broke up with his Girlfriend and told his Father he would never come home until he had served his full two years... He always has a smile and is one of the most amazing Missionarys every. He has already taught me one of the most valuable lessons we could possible learn here on the Mission or in our lifes... That is love. He has such a love for the Gospel and his duty to serve that you can see it when he teaches and when he offers to help others. Hes humble and willing to work and I love him so much. One of the biggest sacrifices I have seen him make so far is he explained to me that he doesnt receive e-mails from anyone... This broke my heart. Here I am recieving love and strength from each of you each week and usually I dont have time to e-mail everyone because I have so many loved ones who send encouragement. I wasnt sure what to say but he responded before I could say anything by saying "Its ok Elder Doggett... Even though I dont have much support I do know that my Heavenly Father loves me and he will support me in all that I do." He said this with such a big smile and I couldnt help but smile as well. Sometimes we dont realize the blessings we truly have. I especially have a tough time with this! :) Everyone who is reading this e-mail please know that I love you and I'm always praying for you. May our Heavenly Father bless you for your love and support and know that I realize now how much you all have and will countinue to bless my life for all time and eternity. What my Companion said this past week truly had me thinking of the Love our Savior has for us... I think it was a perfect time (Easter) to think of this one phrase. "Our Heavenly Father loves us." He loves us so much that he sent his only begotten son Jesus Christ to suffer and die for us. What a blessing to know that no matter what we have a friend in the Gospel. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. :) This past week during church we had a "Rescue" meeting because we were missing more then half of the members at church. As the members explained what we needed to do nobody mentioned anything about love... They kept mention ways to find and get people back to church but then our wonderful bishop stood and mentioned the key within the Church of Jesus Christ is to love those who struggle... to love those who have addictions. to love those who hate us, To help those in need without judging them. In my time here on the Mission thats one of the biggest things I have learned is to have love. John 13:34-35. May we do well to remember that through Love of the Gospel and for our Savior all things are possible. :) Actually once our Bishop said a few words about this very subject I asked if he would allow me to stand and explain more of this principle... I stood and bore a small and simple testimony in my fast improving portuguese about the power of Love. I dont remember exactly what I said but once I finished I was in tears and so were many of the members... Thats the key to everything... When we feel the Holy Ghost in our Hearts we are feeling the love of our Savior and even though I didnt speak the best Portuguese in the world the members understood and we all have a fire that cannot be stoped in bringing others back to church this coming Sunday.  

This past Easter Sunday I had the chance to reflect a lot on the Saviors love for us as well as we studyed about the ressurection of our Lord and Savior and as we learned of his teachings... I know these things are true and I know that our Lord and Savior has Risen and he guides and directs his Church today here on the earth. I had the chance to see many interesting things about the other faiths believes about the death of our Savior... As a matter of fact my companion and I got caught in the middle of a "Catholic travel" where they re-act the walk to the tomb... We were in the middle of this big cermony and it was very interesting to see how they worshipped during this easter season. They had a big statue layed on a throne ( It represented Jesus Christ) and they had several women dressed in all Black with their faces covered. (They represented Mary and the other women who were with Jesus when he returned to the Fathers Presence) I didnt understand much but they walked down the middle of the street singing and chanting prayers. What a blessing it is for us to know that our Savior lives and that he loves us and that no matter what we can countinue learning and progressing each day because of this wonderful knowlege. I love this Gospel so much and I know this Church is true. I love you all so very much... please never forget that. Ben I hope you know how much I love you. To be honest I'm scarred to write e-mails now because your faith and testimony is something very special and I just dont know how I could share anything more about the Gospel after I read your amazing letters. :) I love you and keep working hard. Never give up! I love you all so much and I know these things are true. Last Sunday I had a Baptism... It was very special as I had the chance to bless Aslessandro (Brother of Nayane and Alexandre, he's 15 years old) on Easter Sunday. I love this Gospel and the Mission. I hope you all know how much I love you and this incredible work. God be with you all until we meet again and remember to feast on the words of General Confrence... I have a feeling this will be a General Confrence we will never forget. Love you all once again so much. Elder Matthew Ryan Doggett      

Monday, April 1, 2013

Ben: Priesthood

Another week gone and another week to begin. Today I heard from so many back home which was especially wonderful for me since many of you boar powerful witnesses of our Savior Jesus Christ, I give my God praise for blessing me with such a wonderful family and friends. Mom Dad, Jenni, Rachel, Alyssa, and of course my beloved brother Matt I love you all so much. What a blessing this Easter season to remember all that Christ did for us so we could overcome the bands of death and be an eternal family. I finished "Jesus The Christ" by James E. Talmage in which he describes the pain the savior went through not only physically but mentally along with spiritually. The price He paid as He took our sins upon Him... the Love He showed is something my 20 year old mind cannot fathom. I know He is risen and this is His church, I am not ashamed to declare I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I testify He is at the head of it directing it through a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson... I know it! Once more thank you everyone for the emails. I received many emails today that were so wonderful. I laughed my head off Alex at your email and the picture you sent, it truly made my day. THATS the Alex i remember! Sorry about the Spanish lady though cutting your hair, if I was there I could have spoken Portuguese with her and that would have really thrown her for a loop huh? haha... Erika, thank you so much for your email and the wonderful news. Im so happy for you and your decision to marry and mark this wonderful moment for all eternity in your life. The blessings that come from this choice in your life will bless you in more ways then you can imagine. I promise I will be there... in spirit. :) haha Congratulations once more and know how much I love you my dear friend Erika ( I plan on eating some whales with you in the future, ok!? haha) To my 2nd family I love you so much and thank you for the wonderful update. You don’t know how much it means... I love you all so very much.

Well as to the events of last week many things happened but something that I just cant seem to shake from my mind and as I ponder it more it touches the core of my heart is the power of the everlasting priesthood. This last week and throughout my mission I have had the wonderful opportunity to give many blessings here on the mission and each time I have felt the spirit in so much abundance that I cannot even describe... but one experience that occurred late Friday afternoon I would like to share with you all this day. We had a lunch appointment with a family that lived very far away from our house and especially the area in which I am working in. The Irmã called me at about 11:30 and explained how crazy things had been that morning and lunch would be a little delayed until about 12 30 or 1. She explained that she understands how far she lives and if we couldn’t make it she would understand. As soon as she said that I felt the impression "Elder Doggett you go to the Lunch appointment now!" haha at first I thought its just cause I was hungry for some beans and rice but then felt it one more time... "Go" I told the Irmã it wasn’t a problem and we would go. When we arrived in the house we ate and had a wonderful time. They are a young family with two little boys one is 4 and the other 6 months old. They were baptized last November and are very active and faithful members with many questions concerning the Gospel, which made for a wonderful conversation around the dinner table. After lunch I left a spiritual message with them and then we said a pray. As we were getting up to leave the impression came once more "Elder Doggett you are here at this lunch for a reason, Don’t leave!" I was a little startled by this but continued to walk to the door... "Elder!" haha this time I acted and turned around and asked "Irmãos I don’t know why but I just feel like there is something you both need from us, is there anything we can do for you?" They looked at each other and then with a look of fear and concern they told me that there 6 month old baby had a high fever of about 101 degrees or so for the past few days and no one knows what’s wrong. That’s pretty serious. They tried taking him to the doctors and everything and they said they needed to put him in the hospital but the family just can’t do that right now financially. I then asked humbly if they would like me to give a blessing to him. They both with tears in their eyes asked me to heal their baby as they gave me their baby. Family and Friends I cannot type or describe the feelings of the spirit that overcame me in that moment as me, a 20 year old boy from Idaho, took that small baby in my arms, as he was crying, and gave a blessing unto him. He became silent and the spirit touched my heart and all of us present. As I finished the blessing and looked down at that small baby He was completely calm and peaceful looking right at me with his big brown eyes. I couldn’t help but allow one or two tears fall from my eyes as so many powerful lessons were taught unto me in that small moment... as I left that house Friday afternoon my testimony was strengthen as I gave praise unto God for directing me to that wonderful family. I know "That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness." (D&C 121: 34) Family and friends... I love my mission so much and the man it is helping to make me become. These experiences are unlike nothing i have ever experienced. I couldn’t help but for a small moment give thanks unto God for trusting me with His power so that someday I too could maybe hold my own children in my arms and bless them. Family friends, Fathers... Bless your family, honor your sacred Priesthood, and do everything you can to live worthy of it.

This email is long and I apologize for the long read this day but my heart is full. I have been out one year. One year ago I stood in my front lawn saying goodbye to all of you. Not knowing what the future here in Brasil had in store for me... but I found something that money can’t buy. Something so much more precious that I will carry with me throughout my life and the eternities. I have one more year to do all I can to build the Kingdom of my Savior Jesus Christ and I cannot fail. I’m humbled before you all this day and want you to know my testimony that I know this church is true and that the Priesthood of God was restored through a prophet Joseph Smith. I love you all so much and hope you all had a wonderful Easter and a wonderful week to come. Dad, here in Brasil there is still the whole Easter bunny and choclate eggs things. The lady at the super Market is always saying "Oi minino eu sei que você tem muito vontade para comer essa aqui!" As she stretches forth a big chunk of chocolate haha; I have to deny sadly because it’s just to expensive haha. And also about the Catholic religion I’m not so sure what there whole view is around this time, I did see them in there worship ceremonies yesterday as I was walking home... but I do know about the Jehovah’s witness as they knocked on our door early Sunday morning inviting us to their Easter worship. haha I gave them a pamphlet of the Plan of Salvation and thanked them for coming by. :) They were quick to leave when they saw i was a missionary too haha oh stories of the mission. My companion and the Zone leaders got a good laugh out of it... I love it so much and I’m loving this chance to be here in Brasil. It is truly something special. Love you all once more and God be with you till we meet again! (General Conference is this Week!!!!!! pois É)

Ama Élder Benjamin B. Doggett