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