LDS missionary Siosiua Andrew Taufa remembered as humble, valiant at funeral service
"Ivan and I are cousins," Gov. Herbert said as he expressed his closeness with the family, Aliveni in particular, as he is a member of the governor's security team.
Gov. Herbert then shared several scriptures that had come to his mind as he prepared for the service. The governor first referenced Mosiah 18:8-9, reminding the congregation that "if we are God's people, we will bear one another's burdens."
The governor also referenced Luke chapter 7, in which Jesus Christ comments on a particular man's great faith. Gov. Herbert said many have known of the Taufa family's physical strength, noting that Aliveni Taufa had lifted his youngest son over his head before. But the governor expressed how during this trial, the family has shown their spiritual strength as well.
"Part of mortality is to face trials and tribulation," Gov. Herbert said. "We all need to work on our spiritual muscles. ... We never know when we will be called to do some heavy lifting."
Elder Arnold then spoke, expressing his love for the family and all who have supported them during this time. He said it was in the pre-existence that Elder Taufa was prepared for his life mission.
"What a divine destiny Elder Taufa had," Elder Arnold said. "There is no question in my mind that your son and brother was prepared (in the pre-existence) to go serve those people in Guatemala. I'm so thankful that your boy accepted to go. ... Before this, we all knew our Heavenly Father personally and so did your son."
Elder Arnold assured the family that their son had simply completed his mission on earth and is "continuing to preach and labor among those who are in darkness."
Elder Nelson also addressed the family in his closing remarks, commending them for responding with such great faith. He then read a letter written by the members of the First Presidency.
"We earnestly pray that the comforting spirit of our Heavenly Father will attend you in this hour of sorrow. Missionaries are so dear to the entire church that the loss of one is felt deeply by all who know of it,” Elder Nelson read. "Draw comfort in the realization that your son could not have been engaged in a more worthy service."
Elder Nelson addressed the importance of knowing where Elder Taufa is now and how family members can prepare to join him again.
"When a loved one is taken from us, two important questions arise: What will we do, and what will he do? Let me begin with a little counsel of what we should not do. Please do not torture yourself with 'what-if' questions," Elder Nelson said.
"Replace them with a further explanation that when he passed through the gateway that we call death, he was dutifully and completely on his errand from the Lord. Elder Taufa chose to live righteously, by precept and by example; he was helping others to prepare to meet God. He was a missionary in the loftiest sense of the word. Now he is safely in the Lord's care."
Elder Nelson then expressed the importance of the family mourning their loss.
"We cry — we weep tears of sorrow. The Lord wants us to cry; he gave it to us as a commandment," Elder Nelson said. "Our tears testify our love for this righteous, wonderful, exemplary, irreplaceable Elder. Our tears also testify of our obedience to this commandment of the Lord."
Elder Nelson said that Jesus taught, "He who loseth his life for my sake shall find it." He said that it is when we see things as God does that we gain an eternal perspective.
"For Elder Taufa and the Lord, it is a homecoming," Elder Nelson said.
In conclusion, Elder Nelson spoke about possible concerns the family may have for Elder Taufa, as he did not receive the blessings of marriage or fatherhood. In response, Elder Nelson said, "In the Lord's time, all will be given him. ... In the eternal realm, he will be crowned with light and glory. Not only that, he has gone to prepare a place for each one of you in his precious family, that where he is, there you may be also.”
Elder Nelson then placed a blessing on the family "that they may be delivered from grief and continue as beacons of light." He continued to bless them that there will be "no empty chairs in your ultimate celestial reunion."
Family members gathered at the gravesite where several doves — a Tongan symbol of peace — were released.
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