I am so saddened to learn of the death of my missionary companion, Elder Beers. I was just looking on Facebook to renew our friendship when I discovered this shocking news.
Elder Beers was one of the hardest working companions I ever had. He was transferred into Millville, NJ and the first thing he did was put up some pictures of Joseph Smith on the bedroom walls. He taught me to love the Prophet Joseph Smith. He treated him like a true hero. He always compared what he was doing to what the Prophet would do. He would tell me all kinds of Joseph Smith stories. He knew them all. He had other Book of Mormon pictures that he put up on the wall. Since then, I've started my own wall of spiritual heroes.
He loved his family and talked about them all time. Once I said, "Holy Cow" and he said it's a good thing his mother didn't hear me say that and that I shouldn't use the word "holy" lightly. I still use the word "holy" but I have a new respect for my mother because I could see the deep respect he had for his.
When we went tracting, he would always button up his outer suit coat and would swing his arms in a marching style to keep up with me (I was taller). Walking with him at my side I felt like a true servant of God. I knew he knew it too.
I was his companion when he got really sick. He kept asking me why God was giving him this illness. I was never happier with a sick companion in my life. We still made phone calls and did everything we could although homebound. His illness progressed to the point that he had to go home briefly. But he came back.
It hasn't always been easy since my mission. And time and time again I've been able to take emotional and spiritual strength from the rich memories I had with Elder Beers.
I had the impression many times since my mission to reconnect with Chris. Now, I'm left with that empty feeling of guilt that maybe I could have done more to support Chris.
My only hope is that Christ died for Chris and Chris is not really dead. He lives on, and so will I. One day I can face Chris and tell him that I'm sorry that I didn't do more to re-connect. That he gave me so much and I returned so little. That his life and death rekindled a fire in me to share more with those who have touched my life. Then after I receive his forgiveness (because Chris would do that for me), we'll go tracting together just like old times. Only this time, we'll be tracting with the Prophet Joseph Smith. Just the three of us.
I can do more to re-connect and support those who have built me up to where I am today. I promise to do that, Chris. I'm sorry. Gary Fales.