10988_000_013Our focus as an eternal family will always be centered on God.
Illustration by Michael T. Malm
When the faces of two young men appeared in the upper portion of the door to our home in Colombia, we thought they were standing on something in order to see through the door. They were not; they were just very tall! Our three-year-old son, Pablo Ezequiel, looked up at them with astonishment. Within days they were his best friends.
Our family—Ludy, my wife; Erika; Yesica; and little Ezequiel—was looking for the Lord. We were living some gospel principles already: we prayed at mealtime, we prayed as a family, and we did family activities. Our lives were based on our family union. The appearance of those two “large angels,” as Ezequiel called the elders, confirmed our practices of strengthening the family and focusing on God.
Using the scriptures as their guide, Elders Fa and Fields taught us the path. We had been asking the Lord where we should worship. The Book of Mormon and the restored gospel gave the answers to each of the questions we had over the years in our family discussions. The answers fit perfectly, and we soon became members of the Church. One year later we made covenants and were sealed together as an eternal family in the Bogotá Colombia Temple.
We felt such joy knowing that we had started our children on the gospel path. The Spirit was present in our lives and home, and Ezequiel, then four, offered a prayer that we will never forget. He said, “Dear Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for this beautiful little boy that I am, amen.” We all said amen and hugged amid smiles. That little boy was our joy.
In the following years, we made it a habit to go to the temple regularly and were able to go two or three times each year. We live 420 km (260 miles) from the temple, but that has never seemed far to us. Preparing to go to the temple was always fun for us. Family history work is a priority for our kids, and they loved doing baptisms for the dead. There was always reverent preparation and then a celestial experience in the house of the Lord.
Ezequiel grew in spirit and in faith. His mother was his most prized treasure. He always had a special compliment for her. One day he told his mother, “Mama, I love you more than dinosaur bones!” We all laughed because looking for dinosaur bones was his favorite activity.
Our precious son Ezequiel shared 14 years of his life with us in the gospel that unites us. He was always quick to obey. His love radiated through our home. His sisters and the Saints in the scriptures were his role models. He was full of life and activity. He never missed his seminary classes. He filled our home with happiness. He was reverent when he passed the sacrament. But our life together changed when Ezequiel was called home to our Heavenly Father. We miss him more than we can describe.
A rare infection took him from us. Despite the intense pain of his departure, we are certain that we will be with him again. We have the promise made in our temple sealing. The emptiness that his passing has left is filled by the knowledge that he was called by the Lord to serve a mission elsewhere. Ezequiel’s funeral service was so special that many people felt prompted to investigate the Church. I always hoped he would serve a mission, and now he is. Because of the plan of salvation, we know where Ezequiel is and whom he is with.
Our focus is still on our family and on God. It is our testimony that God lives and has a plan for our lives. We must continue in faith. The absence of a loved one reminds us of the divine plan.
Some of the most comforting words we have found are from the Prophet Joseph Smith. In our hearts we recognize their truthfulness: “The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 176).
The hope of seeing Ezequiel again on the morning of the Resurrection gives courage to our souls and helps us endure the dark days.
To watch an inspiring video about the effect of the Savior’s Atonement and Resurrection on our lives, visit easter.mormon.org.