We need to couple forgiveness with faith … be faithful … live our religion … and one day you will see Trevor as he is: a brother, a saint, and a son of the living God.
KEARNS — Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told some 600 mourners gathered at the Kearns Utah Stake Center Monday that Elder Trevor R. Strong "has been transferred — he is still a missionary."
Elder Strong was one of two LDS missionaries killed in a traffic accident last Tuesday in Donna, Texas. Funeral services for Elder Derek Jason Walker were held later in the day Monday in Fairfield, Idaho.
Elder Nelson said that Elder Strong "was dutifully and completely on his errand from the Lord. He was a missionary in the loftiest sense of the word."
For Elder Strong, missionary work continues on the other side of the veil, Elder Nelson said. Still, the Lord understands the pain of those mourning the loss of Elder Strong. "Our tears testify of our love for this wonderful, exemplary elder," Elder Nelson said. "Your Redeemer knows exactly how you feel."
Although Elder Strong was killed a week after he was originally scheduled to return home from his mission, Elder Nelson urged the Strong family to "not torture yourself with 'what if' questions."
"To get through this," he said, "we need to couple forgiveness with faith … be faithful … live our religion … and one day you will see Trevor as he is: a brother, a saint, and a son of the living God."
Elder Don R. Clarke of the Seventy read a letter from the First Presidency of the church to the Strong family, which indicated that "our hearts go out to you in sympathy and love ... Our missionaries are so loved by the entire church that the loss of one affects us all deeply."
The funeral service also featured a chorus of 60 returned missionaries from the Texas McAllen Mission singing "Called to Serve," and remarks from all six of Elder Strong's brothers and sisters.
"People have very kindly and compassionately expressed their love and sympathy to us about our loss," said Davis J. Strong, Elder Strong's eldest brother. "I have to assume they mean 'delay.' Because of our Heavenly Father's plan, we haven't lost anything. It will be just a little while longer before we see Trevor again. But we know where he is, and what he is doing."
Kiersti K. Kinyon, his eldest sister, said her brother "wasn't fearless, but if he had a fear he would conquer it." Elder brother Jeffrey V. Strong said that Trevor hadn't really decided what he was going to do with his life. "But he found something that he was passionate about on his mission: serving the Lord," Jeffrey said. "And now he gets to do what he loves for the rest of eternity.Elder Strong's twin brother, Scott, who just returned from his mission to the Arizona Tucson Mission last week, spoke about how the family went together to the LDS temple late last week. "I felt his spirit with us there," Scott said, "just as I feel it with us now."
Elder Strong's father, Gordon, told of reading a note from one of the sister missionaries in the Texas McAllen Mission. She has spoken with Trevor during a mission conference just hours before the accident that claimed his life. She said she tried to get him to tell her when he was going home, but he kept dodging the question. Finally he said to her: "I want to be a missionary forever."
Gordon then shared with the congregation the last words Elder Strong recorded in his missionary journal: "Boy, do I love being a missionary!"
At about the same time as Elder Strong's funeral was ending, services for Elder Walker were just getting under way in the Camas High School gym in Walker's home town of Fairfield, Idaho.
Elder Craig A. Cardon of the Seventy read a letter from the First Presidency thanking the Walkers for their son's service and expressing their love and support. Elder Cardon also expressed appreciation for the outpouring of love that he had seen since meeting the Walkers.
"Our hearts are touched as we know of the deep love that binds families together, the deep love that brings communities together and the deep love that brings us to gather and show our appreciation and respect for this great missionary," Cardon said.
He shared an experience that he had with Elder Walker's 9-year-old brother, Tyson. "I asked young Tyson, 'Do you know where your brother is?'" Elder Cardon said. "Little Tyson knew: 'He's in heaven doing work for Heavenly Father.'"
Elder Cardon said that although Walker's earthly missionary service had finished, he is still ministering. "He loves his family, but he wants them to know he is happy, engaged in the work on the other side," Elder Cardon said.
Elder Walker's younger brother, Austin, also spoke. He told about how his brother always used to take two coats to school each day when it was cold. When his mother asked him why he needed two coats instead of just one, he told her that he was taking an extra coat for a boy at school that didn't have one.
"My brother always showed great care and concern for other people," said Austin. "He was a great son, brother, friend, teammate and missionary."
Elder Walker's father, Jason, expressed his gratitude for all the people who had reached out to his family. "There are not words enough to express the peace that I feel," he said. "We know that you grieve with us, but we also want you to rejoice with us."
He said that there was peace in knowing his son had given his life while doing God's work. "We know he was doing what he was supposed to be doing, where he was supposed to be doing it, in the way that it was supposed to be done," he said.