Together Forever

When my John was on his mission, his brother just younger than him, James, passed away in a tragic hiking accident.  The pain he and his family–my family–have experienced is unfathomable to me. I think about James so much and have shed many tears over the whole situation as John and his family have explained to me what James was like and how much they miss him.   I’m starting to weep even as I write this now.  I feel very close to James.  I feel the influence he has had on his family and know that he is helping The Lord with a marvelous work on the other side.  It amazes me how strong John and his family are.  They did not let this tragedy tear them apart and embitter them, but rather allowed it to bring them closer together and strengthen their faith in God’s plan.  James’ birthday is coming up at the end of March.  He shares his birthday with his little sister, Libby, who was brought home from China to join her new family only three weeks before James passed away.  Their birthday is a very special day for many reasons.  John’s other brother, Tanner, is serving a mission right now and will have his birthday at the end of March, too.  Tanner and James were less than a year apart and shared a deep brotherly love that is inspirational and stretches beyond the confines of this world.  Tanner wrote this letter to James for their birthdays.  It touched the deepest part of my soul:

{BirthDaY LeTTer tO JaMes}

Amado Hermano Mio… (Santiago Jaja)

Jamser! Well… we’re about to have our birthdays. Once again I’ll be the same age as you for a time. I’ve been thinking about you a lot here. The members in our branch all went to the Panama City temple this last week & I thought about the work there, and how important it is. I read a quote from Brigham Young the other day that brought me a lot of comfort about the spirit world. He said: “When you lay down this tabernacle, where are you going? Into the spirit world… Where is the spirit world? It is right here. Do the good and evil spirits go together? Yes, they do. Do they both inhabit one kingdom? Yes, they do. Do they go to the sun? No, they do not. They are brought forth upon this earth, for the express purpose of inhabiting it to all eternity.”

So who knows… maybe you got called to teach the Panamen`os that are in that stage of God’s Plan. How cool would that be?! We’re teaching some older folks here in Empalme, so if they’re not baptized here you’ve got to keep working with them. (Se llama Elba y Victoriano)
Te extrano hermano. Ojala` que todo este bien en el Mundo do los Espiritus i CContinuemos trabajando jutos en esta obra! Te amo mucho
Te quiero,
Elder Tan

I can’t wait to meet you, brother James.  I love you so much!


  1. kellyelizabeth says:

    this was so sweet to read, love the love letter. 🙂 I just became a new follower, such a great blog. really been enjoying reading it!


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