LDS missionary Siosiua Andrew Taufa remembered as humble, valiant at funeral service

Published: Friday, June 28 2013 4:45 p.m. MDT

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Siosiua Andrew Taufa after his funeral at the LDS Church in West Valley City on June 28, 2013.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

WEST VALLEY — Elder Siosiua Andrew Taufa, 20, was remembered Friday as a humble young man who was a valiant servant to the Lord.

Elder Taufa had been serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Guatemala Retalhuleu Mission for 18 months. A tragic electrical accident took his life last week after he came in contact with a high-voltage wire while mending the roof of his apartment.

Funeral services were held for Taufa at an LDS Church building in West Valley Friday. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elder Mervyn B. Arnold of the Seventy spoke at the funeral service along with Governor Gary R. Herbert. Elder John H. Groberg, an emeritus member of the Seventy, was also in attendance.

Family and friends gathered around parents Aiveni Mosese Taufa and Sulieti Fusi Taufa and their four children before and throughout the service. Some of the talks and musical numbers were given in Tongan, with translation provided by the Sereni Care Funeral Home.

Both parents spoke, remembering and celebrating their son's life.

Sulieti Taufa spoke of her son's love for football. He had even promised his mother he would play professionally and buy her everything she ever wanted. But knowing missions would be important, Sulieti Taufa said she always taught her sons to make the Lord and mission service their first priority.

"I knew football meant a lot," Sulieti Taufa said, "but he knew he had to serve."

Sulieti Taufa reflected on the first month of her son's mission, noting that she did not have any contact with him in that time. Feeling concerned, she contacted his mission leaders to confirm his safety. They assured her that he was safe and that they would make sure he got in contact with her shortly.

The next day, Sulieti Taufa received a call from her missionary son.

"Mom, what are you doing?" Elder Taufa said. "P-day is not play day — it's preparation day."

"I know that he gave his all," Sulieti Taufa said. "He was just a humble low-profile kid."

Sulieti Taufa also showed a necklace and a letter she received from an LDS general authority in Guatemala following her son's death. The letter included kind statements about the mother of five: "You are an angel mother and God loves you," "You will all be in heaven one day," and "May the peace and knowledge of God be in your heart forever."

Sulieti Taufa closed by remembering the peace and comfort her faith brings her.

"I know that I will see my son again, even though I miss him so much."

Aliveni Taufa also shared his thoughts: "It's a celebration to me. He just got drafted to the number-one team."

Shortly after the accident, Aliveni Taufa and his oldest son, Marc Taufa, traveled to Guatemala to identify and claim Elder Taufa's body, and bring him back to Salt Lake City.

Aliveni Taufa said this experience humbled him. After meeting with those his son taught and baptized, Aliveni Taufa said he knew his son loved the people of Guatemala.

"I am so grateful to the gospel. It is true," Aliveni Taufa said. "I will see my son again because of a loving Heavenly Father. He also knew the gospel was true — because of that, we will see him again someday."

After a testimony shared by Pisope Sosaia T. Tu'itupou, bishop of the Riverside 2nd Ward, six male cousins in shirts and ties performed a musical number.

Gov. Herbert then addressed the congregation, saying he felt honored to join the family in celebrating their son's life.

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