WOW... I say it every week and I will continue to say it until the end of my mission but thank you so much for the emails. I heard from so many wonderful family members and felt so much strength from their words. Mom and Dad I agredeço por seu amor e palavras de sabadoria cada semena. Eu te amo. Brandon I also wanted to thank you for your testimony cuz. It was very inspired and something I really needed to hear this week. It was amazing to hear from you and I know we do in fact have such a wonderful family... What a knowledge and joy we can be together forever. Also to Kris Tighe and Heather Stewart Chester thank you immensely from the bottom of my heart. I cant lie I teared up a bit in the pictures I received... What a treat for me. Kristin once again your emails every week have such a light and spirit that illuminate from them. I often think of the scripture in D&C 50: 24 that teaches about light and how we need to try everyday to in cooperate more light into our being and by reading your emails every week I feel I increase my light a little more and my own testimony, so thank you so very much... Lastly I wanted to thank my dear brother Elder Matthew Ryan Doggett. Matt or I mean Elder you bring such a peace and serenity to my heart every time I read your words. I cant lie training is a little overwhelming at times but reading your email really touched my heart and your words of inspired encouragement. You are a powerful missionary and example to me. I love you Matt, I love you Mom and Dad, I love you Brandon, I love Kris, and I love you Heather Stewart-Chester. What an amazing light you all have given to me this day. Also mom I wanted you to know I received the box with the journal and valentines candy... The laffy taffys were devoured in about 2 seconds of opening the package haha and the journal was an AMAZING present! I really needed a journal... I actually haven’t missed writing a day on my mission so every experience is with me. Thank you so much. Matt I also received your package... wow... It meant so much to me. Words cannot describe the love and the spirit I felt as I held that tie. I promise I will take good care of it for you during this next year. I love you so much. Well lets get onto the events of this past week.
It was the first week of training as I headed to Campinas last Tuesday to get my new companion fresh from the CTM. The day was filled with a 8 hour bus ride and many meetings... needless to say when I got my companion I was pretty much dead haha. He is a really awesome missionary who is excited to be here in the mission. He is a Brasilian and 18 years old. His home town is only about 8 hours from Campinas by bus (The same time I spent on the bus from Botucatu to Campinas haha) Its going to be an awesome transfer. As I mentioned its been a little overwhelming as I realized "Wow I have a responsibility to take care of this Elder and help him become the missionary the Lord knows he can become." We had some pretty intense experiences together already with the spirit protecting us and guiding us. In my blessing it says that "throughout my mission I will be in dangerous circumstances, but I will be protected so I should not worry and neither my parents about my safety." As we arrived in Botucatu it was about 10:30 at night as we headed to our apartment. I had my boxes that Mom and Matt had sent along with one of my companions suitcases. I took the lead as we started the journey home. The bus station is near our house, Its only about a 10 minute walk. I was in front of my companion carry the box along with some other supplies for the Zone leaders that President asked me to take to them. My companion had his other suitcase along with a GIANT pillow haha that sister Perrotti had given him. As we were walking I noticed a bunch of young men who were maybe 16 or 17 in front of us sitting in the front of the bridge that lead to our house. There were about 8 or 9 and I noticed that all there attention turned our way. My first thought was "Oh great my companion’s first missionary experience is going to be him being robbed." haha but then I felt such a piece and calmness wash over me. I heard the powerful and direct words "stop!" I immediately did so and stood there in the street. I could tell my new companion was a little worried about the situation, but I think he was more worried because he say that I was smiling and laughing. :) haha We were the only ones in the street along with the 8 or 9 boys. I then noticed someone else appeared from behind us and began to approach us. It was a man who was a little drunk and shouted "I know who you are, you're MORMONS!" He came up and began to shout and exclaim things to us in joy haha and was almost dancing. I felt that we should just sit there and listen to this him (it was pretty hilarious watching him dance). This went on for a good 10 minutes or so and I then noticed the boys near the bridge slowly one by one leave. As soon as the boys had left the man stopped his drunken dance and went on his way... and the bridge was free for us to cross in which we made it safely home.
As I entered the house I knelt with my new companion in pray in gratitude and thanksgiving for the guidance and protection the Lord had given us. Family and friends I testify in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, our redeemer and Savior who lives that angels are real. They are sent from God to protect us from the dangers of the world. To lead us to the straight and narrow and safely guide us home. It was a powerful moment for me and my new companion as I remembered the words from my blessing. It has been a overwhelming week but I know Angels are here. I know God gives us strength to accomplish this great work with help from beyond the veil. Miracles haven’t ceased and neither have the ministries of Angels. I have been the witness of so many miracles and blessings from God here on the mission. I love this mission and the foundation it has set for my life. I still have one more year to give it all I can and to feast and learn upon the teachings of our savior Jesus Christ. This time is flying so fast and I don’t want it to end. Being able to serve the Lord for two years was the best decision I ever made in my life and I challenge any young man who may read this email to desperately strive to fulfill this great commandment of God and serve a full time mission. My heart is full and my love for this Gospel is un-shakable. Yes, at times its not easy and we have many trials here on the mission and yes, I still feel very unqualified to be a missionary... But as i mentioned last week I know that whom the Lord calls He qualifies. In this life we have to have these experiences of inadequacy and trials so that we can grow and become what God needs us to be... To close this email I would like to share with you all a quote I found this week from Neal A. Maxwell that reads " One's life... cannot be both faith-filled and stress-free..."Therefore, how can you and I really expect to glide naively through life as to say, 'Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!' "Real faith... Is required to endure this necessary but painful developmental process." (Neal A. Maxwell, "Lest ye be wearied and faint in you minds") Family and friends I know that angels are real. I know that God protects us. I know that sometimes in our lives we have struggles and difficulties but it’s how we can grow and become all that God knows we can become. I saw and gained a testimony of these wonderful truths this last week as I know them to be true is my pray and testimony to you all this week. May God be with you all this upcoming week and may you feel my lasting love for you all.
Ama Élder Benjamin B. Doggett
p.s. Millie Carter! I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday last Saturday! I hope you had a special one... I was thinking of you and singing "Para bems para você" all day! haha love you! and Hey guess what? Next year on your birthday will be the day Matt and i come home... crazy huh?! haha love you and God be with you.