Elder Randy D. Funk: “Trust in the Lord and His Goodness”
By Ryan Morgenegg, Church News staff writer
Through a series of experiences, Elder Randy Dennis Funk, who was sustained April 6 to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, has gained a lasting testimony of the love of God. He firmly believes the gospel principle “Trust in the Lord and His goodness.”
Born August 1, 1952, to C. Dennis and Rebecca Funk, he grew up in Manti, Utah; Madison, Wisconsin; and Smithfield, Utah. As a young man, he would go with his father, who was a great example of a faithful priesthood holder. He remembers his father teaching the importance of fulfilling priesthood responsibilities. “I was taught you need to be where you are supposed to be, doing what you’re supposed to do,” said Elder Funk. “Through my father’s example and good teaching, I learned a lot about the priesthood and fulfilling callings. When I later received callings, I strived to do what I was supposed to do because of the example he set.”
From 1971 to 1973, Elder Funk served as a missionary in the country of Indonesia, which at that time was part of the Southeast Asia Mission, which covered much of the current Asia Area, where he will serve in the Area Presidency. “My mission was a growing, stretching experience,” said Elder Funk. “To be one of the early missionaries in that country was a great opportunity.”
After returning from his mission, Elder Funk received some important counsel from his father: “Randy, you are going to have opportunities to serve in the Church,” he said. “As a Church leader, I have seen good men who were capable of serving but not able to do so because they did not have the support of their wife. As you consider someone to marry, select someone that will be supportive and helpful in your Church service.”
Following that counsel, Elder Funk began college at Utah State University and married Andrea Clyde on May 29, 1976, in the Logan Utah Temple, a week before he graduated from Utah State University. They then moved to Salt Lake City, where he attended the University of Utah Law School.
He described his wife as having “so many great qualities. She has been so helpful and supportive and a wonderful companion through all of these Church assignments. She is an excellent teacher of the gospel.”
“My husband really tries to do what the Lord wants him to do,” said Sister Funk. “In our marriage he is always willing to change, say he is sorry, and try to improve. I’ve told my children that their father has loved me completely.”
Following the counsel of prophets and apostles, the Funks didn’t delay having a family. Elder Funk said, “We were taught to have children and move forward with our lives. By the time we graduated from law school, we had two children, even though it was a significant struggle to do so with almost no income. We paid our tithing. While we were in school, we had very few expenses. Our old car just ran and ran and ran and never broke down.” Sister Funk added, “We were blessed according to our need.”
Near the beginning of his third year of law school, Elder Funk had a memorable faith-building experience. His wife was pregnant with their second child, and he was an associate editor of the law review when the call came to serve as elders quorum president. “At this challenging time I accepted the call and prayed to Heavenly Father to make up the difference,” he said. “I needed help to fulfill my calling, successfully complete my education, find employment, and care for my young family. The blessings we received were far beyond what we deserved. That experience gave me great faith in the goodness of the Lord and His blessings upon those who earnestly strive to serve Him.”
Listening to the Spirit was also a priority for the Funks. As Elder Funk was finishing law school, several opportunities for employment opened up. They felt strongly that Denver, Colorado, was where they needed to go even though the starting salary was not as high as some of the other options. So that’s what they did. Only three years later, as a relatively young attorney, he was called to assist with the acquisition and zoning of the site for the Denver Colorado Temple. Later, with a growing family, they again relied on the Spirit to help them find a bigger home. “We were looking for a home in another part of the city that was in a different stake, but we felt strongly that we needed to stay in our current ward boundaries,” said Elder Funk. “I remember the real estate agent responding to our request that we wanted a home within a certain geographic boundary,” said Sister Funk. “The agent said, ‘Well, that’s a dumb way to pick a home.’ ” Two days before they purchased a new home, Elder Funk was called to be bishop.
The Funks tried to make decisions that would bless their children. For example, in the backyard of their home there were no trees so their children could enjoy sports and play in the yard. Elder Funk said, “One time I suggested we plant some trees back there, and my wife reminded me that we were raising children and not trees.”
In 2010, Elder Funk received a call to serve as a mission president. He and his wife would serve in the India Bangalore Mission. With this news weighing on her mind, Sister Funk had a special experience.
“I went to sacrament meeting on the Sunday after receiving our assignment, and the closing hymn was ‘Lord, I Would Follow Thee,’ ” she said. “When I sang the words, ‘Savior, may I love my brother as I know thou lovest me,’ I suddenly had an overwhelming feeling of love for the people of India and Sri Lanka that has remained with me to this day.”
“When we accepted the call to go to India, we sold our family home, left my employment, and prepared to serve,” said Elder Funk. “We had faith in the Savior’s words: ‘And again, I say unto you, that whosoever ye shall send in my name, by the voice of your brethren, the Twelve, duly recommended and authorized by you, shall have power to open the door of my kingdom unto any nation whithersoever ye shall send them’ (D&C 112:21). We loved our experience of living and serving among the wonderful people of India and Sri Lanka.”
As Elder and Sister Funk have lived their lives, they have tried to be where the Lord has wanted them to serve. By following the prophet and the Spirit of God, they have had opportunities to move the work forward. “That gives us a lot of comfort as we accept this new and very overwhelming assignment,” said Elder Funk. “We believe we will be blessed and guided and that our family will be blessed.”
Family: Born August 1, 1952, in Logan, Utah, to C. Dennis Funk and Rebecca Funk. Married Andrea Clyde on May 29, 1976, in the Logan Utah Temple. Six children: Stephanie (Steven Boivie), Brian (Becky), Maria (David Miles), Valerie, Calvin (Jane), and Michael (Emily); 10 grandchildren and one foster grandchild.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in history from Utah State University in 1976 and a juris doctorate from the University of Utah in 1979.
Career: Partner at Denver law firm Sherman and Howard, with expertise in land use, public finance and infrastructure, and development.
Church service: Full-time missionary in Indonesia, elders quorum president, ward clerk, high councilor, Scout leader, executive secretary to Denver Colorado Temple committee, bishop, stake president, Young Men president, Gospel Doctrine teacher, Area Seventy, and president of the India Bangalore Mission.