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Derek's talk at Jake's funeral


My dear brothers and sisters, Aloha!

When our family sat down to talk about today’s program, it was decided that I would go first and talk about God’s plan for us. My Mom asked me to “keep it light”. I’ve yet to figure out how such a deep topic could be “lightened up”, especially at a funeral of all places.

The best I can think to do is share something we found in Jake’s stuff a few days ago. When Jake was about 8 years old he made this Christmas card for me. It was about the time that I was getting ready to go on my mission so I was much older than him. Let me share what he wrote in the card…..

D is for Derek

E is for Excalent

R is for Righteous

E is for Enormas

K is for Kind

From Jake

I was the only one in the family that got a homemade card that year—I guess it is because I was the biggest at the time.

Jake’s passing was sudden and unexpected. I’m personally grateful for that because it gives me a little better understanding as to why it happened. It’s been pretty obvious to our family and many people we have talked to that the Lord had His hand in this. The Lord wanted Jake on this earth for 21 years but has another need for him now.

I believe that Jake made the choice in the world before this one to come down to earth for only for 21 years. He may have even volunteered—I can’t say for sure. But I at least know that Jake came to this earth willing to only be here for 21 years. He knew then that our Father in Heaven would want him back in heaven for a work that Jake needed to do there. Jake didn’t remember his choice and deadline once he was here on earth because we all forget our pre-earth life. Nevertheless, I’m confident Jake chose to come for a relatively shorter time.

And he certainly made the best of these 21 years. Jake lived life to the fullest and was a wonderful friend to all. He’s known for his extravagant adventures and random spontaneity. Because he lived life to the fullest, I don’t think he is leaving this mortal existence with regrets about any thing left undone.

I don’t expect Jake ever made any enemies. He’s always been such a likable guy and so easy to get along with. He had a way of making everyone feel welcome and appreciated. It’s another tremendous blessing for me to know Jake left this mortal existence being right with his family and everyone he’s met.

As good as Jake has always been, he’s never been perfect. He’s made his share of mistakes and, true to his humanity, sometimes he even disrespected God’s will. We all do wrong—I suspect many of us do a lot more wrong than Jake did. Jake has shown the courage to face those shortcomings and improve on them. He leaves this world not as a perfect man but as a man that has continually improved himself. He has strived to become more like Jesus Christ and has achieved a large measure of that humility, charity, and righteousness. I am confident he in continuing his quest for Christ’s discipleship as he moves into the next phase of his eternal existence.

Because of the life he has lived on this earth, I feel a peaceful assurance that Jake is being welcomed back into the Kingdom of Heaven as a faithful son. I don’t worry for Jake anymore—he lived life to the fullest and was right with the Lord and his family. My sadness is because I will miss Jake. He has set the bar high the rest of us. Hopefully we all pass to the next life also having lived life to the fullest and being right with the Lord.

It is Jesus Christ that made all of this possible for Jake and the rest of us. Without Christ’s suffering for our sins, we would be stuck in yesterday. The mistakes and transgressions we made yesterday would still be hanging around our necks with no way to ever escape them. We wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, do better the next time, or move on to bigger and better things. We would be stuck in yesterday with no hope for a better tomorrow.

Christ made a better tomorrow possible. He suffered for our sins. As Christ described it, “he suffered the wrath of an Almighty God” as He received the punishment we are due. Christ made it that we can learn from our mistakes, gave us the opportunity to do better next time, and He opened the way to bigger and better things. He requires that we own up to yesterday’s transgressions and acknowledge His singular role in our lives. Because of Him, we can look forward to a tomorrow.

In fact, Christ wants us to do better. He’s cheering us on. He wants us to enjoy our life on this earth, to enjoy our relationships with others, to live a full and rich life. As Elder Maxwell taught, God is in the details of our lives—each day influencing our lives for good, usually below the radar screen.

Now that Jake has moved on to the next life, we are left to wonder what he’s up to. Certainly he’s busy doing something. I think he’s probably been called on another mission to the souls who didn’t hear the gospel of Jesus Christ in this life. In fact, he’s probably serving alongside his Grandpa Clark. I have no doubt that whatever he is doing in the next life, Jake is enjoying it and giving it his best. Jake is loving the people there as he still loves us here. Jake is serving them as he continues to serve us. Jake is helping to brighten their days as our memories of him still brighten our days. Jake is still Jake; now he is in a place where his goodness can do more good.

I am grateful for this knowledge and I bear witness to the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the only way home. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.