Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Twins

Twina, Elder Davis & Twine
    We had an amazing set of twins that Elder Davis and Elder Madill have been teaching and for the longest time, their parents would not give permission for them to get baptized. I thought Elder Davis could tell it better, so here is the story in his words and pictures.
 Twina and Twine Sihmon

Twina and Twine Sihmon are twins (they just turned 16) that have been taught for a number of months and have been ready to be baptized for some time but their father had never given permission. They were going to church every week , attending seminary, and they’ve both read the Book of Mormon front to back. The only thing holding them back was parental permission. The following story was written in first person by Elder Davis about a recent experience relating to those girls.

Saturday, February 16, 2013, Elder Madill and I went on splits. After a few hours we were to meet at the church building. After Terrance Jim (16) and I finished our lessons we went to the church and didn't see them their so we decided that, as we had the truck, we'd go to the area we knew they would be working in and look for them to give them a ride back to the church so that we could move on with the next part of our schedule. We went to Paies and went to Fransiska's house to see if someone there could tell us where they had gone off to. When we got there a young man at her house told us that they had gone to visit Twina and Twine. Well I was admittedly surprised cause we weren't supposed to meet with them until much later that night. But, assuming something had come up and they felt to go there we decided to take the trek up there ourselves to see if we could be of service. We took the 10 minute hike up the jungle covered mountain (the hike to their house rivals anything I did in Boy Scouts) and finally reached the house. When we got there Elder Madill, Patterson and Fransiska were nowhere to be seen. But Twina and Twine's parents were there dozing in their sweet local house. They awoke at our greeting and invited us in. I felt the Spirit very strongly at that moment testify to me that I had been brought there at that specific time and I needed to meet with their father right then. 

We went into the house and sat down with the father. We talked for some time about this and that and gently I brought the topic around to the gospel. I was unusually nervous as before this time gospel topics were not generally friendly territory with this man and I knew that my interaction with him at that time might be the deciding factor on Twina and Twine's baptism. If I offended him or if I wasn't able to provide satisfactory answers he was liable to forbid them from being baptized for a long time. I wasn't nervous about the doctrine, I know that what we teach is the truth and I'd be happy to proclaim that with boldness anywhere the Lord wants it, but during the course of my discussion with this man I felt like I was tip-toeing through a mine-field. Thanks Heaven I had the Spirit to guide me. I felt like I was being lead, blindfolded, one step at a time through our discussion. There were some concerns that I was able to address with a scripture or an analogy. There were some concerns that he brought up that I was prompted to laugh and make a joke about, and then he would laugh as well and see the ridiculousness of a point he had just brought up; and his worry would melt away. He brought up one concern about the kind of opposition that his daughters would face, especially in the area where they live. I was guided to turn to the young man I had brought with me, who was actually a friend of the two girls, went to the same school, and was their same age. I asked him to share a testimony about how he dealt with the opposition that is so common on this island. He bore a beautiful testimony and I finally asked the father (Brother Sihmon) "We talked a little bit about agency when we first came in and how our Father in Heaven gives us agency to make our own choices. So will you please allow your daughters to make their own choice in relation to baptism and the church?" He took a second and then said "Let's see what the want."

We called the girls down, they were a little ways off in the jungle, and he asked them "What do you want to do?"
"Want to do about what?"
"About baptism."
Twine answered right away "I want to be baptized."
Twina followed "Me too."
Brother Sihmon asked them about how they would face the opposition. Twine said "Diparail, kaiden aht dihp." Which means, basically, "That's their sin, not ours."
He took that as a good answer and said "Alright, that's enough. We're done."
I was a bit confused and asked "So you allow them to be baptized?"
"Yup. It's their birthday today so happy birthday. But you'd better get them baptized tomorrow so I don't change my mind."

After that I was on cloud nine. We were there for another 45 minutes or so cause he didn't want us to go (had just a touch of alcohol in him so he was kinda talkative) and even after that it was still touch and go for a while. He almost revoked his permission a couple of times, but I was lead, just as before, tip-toeing through a previously impassible area of this man's heart. 

Twina and Twine Sihmon were interviewed before church and baptized after church yesterday. They were happier than I've ever seen them. Both were touched by the Spirit and were in tears by the end of the service, as was I. I know that this experience was an answer to many prayers and fasting. I know that God cares for us and is aware of our needs. He has His own timing on things, but if we do our best it will come together. I was lead to the house at an odd time of day, the member with me was able to ease a concern with a powerful and simple testimony of his own experience and I was lead with what to say and what to do, not to in any way remove this man's agency, but to be able to touch his heart and secure permission for baptism for two wonderful girls.

I know this is God's work. May you all live with the Spirit guiding you constantly.
Twina, Francisca & Twine

Elder Davis & Elder Madill with the Twins and Francisca

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