This past week I got two new students in my seminary class. These young men are twins, and recently joined the church. They are still learning, but have felt the spirit in their lives and believe, but still have a lot to learn. But what impresses me is their willingness to come despite the obstacles they face.
These boys live on what is probably the most dangerous street in our city. There are more homicides committed on that street than all of the rest of the city. I am getting to the point that I don't even want to drive down that street during the day, and absolutely won't drive there at night. The first day they came, they had to walk to seminary. It's only about a mile, but that street is so dangerous. On Sunday, a member of their Branch presidency came to our Ward Priesthood meeting and asked if anyone would be able to give them a ride. A policeman in our ward offered to pick them up every day and take them to seminary.
I didn't realize how new they were until I asked one of them to give the closing prayer today. I thought he had agreed, and we were all bowing our heads waiting for him to begin, but there was silence. I looked up at him and said, "go ahead...". He nodded, but once again was silent. Then he turned to his twin brother and said, "You say it." His brother said, "It's okay, just remember the three things.". The other brother said, "No you say it.". I said, "It's okay, I can say it." I was taken back to my missionary days when we would teach people how to pray. We gave them some simple steps, and I think this was what the one brother was referring to. We taught them to first address Heavenly Father. Then we suggested they thank Him for blessings they have received, then ask for what they need. Then we taught them to end by saying, "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."
I think that I might make up a small card to give them to prompt them in their prayers. I think for those of us who grew up in religious families, praying is a normal experience. But for these young men, who live in a tough neighborhood, and haven't grown up around religion, it is an awkward experience. I feel even greater the weight of responsibility to help them to learn the gospel in my class.