“Wearing Two Names,” New Era, June 2006, 7
A year after I joined the Church, I had a desire to serve a full-time mission. During my interview with the bishop to fill out my application, he asked me, “Do you have any problems with anyone that you have not yet resolved?”
I answered no, because I told myself that I didn’t, ignoring the bad feelings between my father and me. I declared myself worthy and ready to serve.
The days that followed were extremely painful. The idea that I would have to reconcile with my father bitterly invaded my soul. My father never worried about his children. We all had reached the point where we no longer spoke to him. If I was ever asked about my father, I answered without remorse, “He is dead.”
I really couldn’t see any reason to try to reconcile with someone who wouldn’t take time to listen to me. I didn’t feel that I had wronged him. On the contrary, I felt that he was the one who needed to come see me and ask for my forgiveness. Nevertheless, the idea that I needed to go see my father continued to torment me.
One evening I went to visit him. He lived some 220 miles (360 km) away. The first hour of our conversation was a time for insults, mutual accusation, and words that truly hurt. In spite of our angry words, my intention to reconcile was strong. With the help of the Spirit of God, we managed, after five hours, to end with positive feelings.
After many tears were shed, my father and I were able to embrace, happy to finally understand the core of the problem that had kept us so angry at each other for so long. At the end, my father took a container of warm water and, while speaking, slowly poured out its contents, as we do in Africa to represent a reconciliation. He then gave me his blessing after reviewing all that had happened in the past and committing to repent of his mistakes.
I am so grateful to Heavenly Father, who inspired me to seek such a discussion that gave way to mutual repentance. As a missionary in the Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission I was happy to wear a badge on which was inscribed two names: Lagoua, my father’s name, and Jesus Christ, my Savior’s name.