It is the second death in Taufa's extended family in two months; his grandmother, to whom he was quite close, passed on in May. In the months leading up to his departure for his mission, Elder Taufa became the unofficial "taxi driver" for his grandmother, taking her wherever she needed to go. Elder Taufa is a 2011 graduate of Skyline High School, and had to choose between pursuing a football career and mission service. Taufa’s parents plan to fly to Guatemala on Saturday June 22nd to retrieve their son’s body. Although funeral arrangements have not yet been formalized, the family has set a tentative funeral date for Thursday June 27th. Subsequently, Elder Taufa's parents, Aiveni and Sulieti Taufa, released a statement on behalf of their family calling their son "a dedicated, inspiring, and faithful missionary who loved serving the Lord", and adding "Through his service he has forever blessed the lives of many, both in Guatemala and here at home. We are so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation. We are thankful for our knowledge and testimonies of that plan. As we celebrate his life, we look forward to being reunited with him someday."
LDS Church spokeswoman Ruth Todd issued a statement saying "Our thoughts and prayers are with Elder Taufa's family and friends during this difficult time".
Some interesting comments posted:
RallyWRX posted 1 hour ago (KSL):
I was in Reu, the church is strong there, the community will come together to mourn this good elder. May The Lord comfort his family and friends.
Amber J Bailey posted 48 minutes ago (KSL):
Thoughts and prayers to the family. My brother was also killed by electrocution while serving his LDS mission in Mexico. He was 5 months away from returning home. I hope they can find comfort and peace in knowing they will see him again.
JimInSLC Salt Lake City, UT 10:39 p.m. June 21, 2013 (Deseret News):
To the family and loved ones of this young missionary, I am sorry for your loss.
The pain of loss, in time, will be replaced by joy in eternity when families and loved ones are reunited. I guess the Lord has a need for this missionary in another field. I believe that what the Lord told Joseph Smith applies to us all, "Thy days are known and they shall not be numbered less". After this life when we have the perspective of hind sight, many things that may not make sense now, will then.
Update June 23rd: Because Elder Taufa is the second oldest son of Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Aiveni "Ivan" Taufa, a member of the governor's protective detail, Utah Governor Gary Herbert has paid his respects. Gov. Herbert said "This is a difficult time for all of us in the Herbert family. Ivan's family is our family and so we mourn with them at the loss of a beloved son. Our hearts and prayers are with Ivan, Sulieti and their family. May they find peace and comfort in the reassurance of the Savior's love and Atonement, and in the noble service their son rendered on His behalf".