Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Eternal Perspective

Those who have kept up with my weekly emails may recall mention of the
R* Family in Hunts Point in the Bronx. They are the sweetest
little family. When I was in the Bronx, we visited them regularly and
reactivated the mother, H*, and oldest son, T*, and baptized
the father D*. T* is actually their nephew, but was legally
adopted by H* and D* a long while ago. D* had met with
missionaries in the past, but it had never gone anywhere. Then, when
he and H* had their first biological son, W*, his whole
perspective changed. Suddenly he was geared up and focused on getting
his family to the temple to be sealed together. When we had our first
lesson with them, they made it clear that this was their goal. So as
we prepared D* for baptism, all our preparations were directed
toward that end goal of an eternal family. They saw past the gate
through to the end. So when D* was baptized last August, the family
had already determined to go to the temple and be sealed one year
later. When I left the Bronx, they were one of the strongest families
in the ward and were well on their way to making that happen. They
since moved up near Albany and then down to Harlem, which is back in
our mission.

Last Friday, President Smith sat me down and told me he had bad news.
He informed me that several days earlier H* R*, at age 32,
had a heart attack and passed away.

So most of the last week has been overshadowed by this news.
Yesterday, I attended the funeral along with every other missionary
that visited them up until the time they moved. The entire service was
focused on eternal families. At least half the people who spoke
brought up H*'s goal to be sealed to her family in the temple and
reminded D* that even though she has passed on, this goal can still
be realized. I watched H*'s sister, her returned-missionary
brother, a family friend named N*, and many others testify that their
family will be eternal. Many members from both the Olmstead 2nd Ward
in the Bronx and the Ward in Harlem were there and I saw a few
familiar faces, including good ol' Brother A*F*.

I learned at the funeral that the boys would be flying to Utah that
night with their aunt, H*'s sister, and would be living with them
in Lehi. I assume this will be the case until D* can get himself
financially and emotionally situated to raise two boys on his own. So,
if any of you know people in the area, tell them to look out for my
boy T*! He's a stud.

That's pretty much all I have to talk about this week. It's been a
terribly sad one, but I know that Jesus Christ has broken the bands of
death, so there is hope in the gospel for a resurrection to eternal
life with our families. I hope desperately that D* and his sons
will make it to the temple to be sealed together and to H*
through proxy. I hope through all this he continues to carry that same
eternal perspective he had as I taught him and prepared him for
baptism last summer.

Other than that, we've done some good office work and some good
finding to try to replenish our teaching pool, but haven't had much
success in that area yet. Thanks for all your love and support! Pray
for the R* Family.

-Elder Samuel Burton

​Picture: ​(Elder Unice, T*, Elder Tabor, and me at the Harlem Chapel)

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