Wednesday, April 20, 2016

In Memory of Elder David Smith Hampton

April 12, 2016

On Tuesday, April 12, President Blickenstaff received the phone call that every mission president fears. He was informed that one of his missionaries, Elder Hampton, had been hit by a car and seriously injured. Being a physician, from the description of Elder Hampton's condition, President Blickenstaff knew it did not sound favorable. About an hour later, we were notified that Elder Hampton was not going to survive.

I received a similar phone call 14 years ago informing me that my three-year-old daughter had been hit by a car and was gone. It was almost the same scenario. Instantaneous. Our dear baby Courtney returned to a loving Heavenly Father, worthy of the greatest gift of all, that of eternal life. You cannot want these precious ones back on the earth, because they are promised everything the Father has, even celestial glory. With Elder Hampton's passing, I was reminded of the scripture found in D&C 122:9, “Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not . . . for God shall be with you forever and ever.” I did not need to worry for Elder Hampton, neither could I want him back.

Although I have shed many tears since, I did not cry in the Changhua Christian Hospital emergency room that night, perhaps for the same reason I did not cry in the emergency room over a decade ago. Because I knew in my heart on both nights that God has a plan. It is beautiful. It is merciful. It is centered in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which makes everything right. It turns the most painful of all pains, the loss of a loved one, into a gift that is wonderful and amazing. Something, over time, you can be happy about and look upon as a blessing. Something, with the assurance of the Comforter, you can be at peace with. Something, with the veil so thin at times, you can know is true without a shadow of a doubt, because loved ones continue to watch over you from above.

Members, missionaries, and friends were at the hospital to comfort Elder Hampton's companion. Although I'm sure he was shocked, I could feel he was at peace. He was Elder Hampton's trainer. They had been safe. They had been obedient. They loved each other. They worked hard together. They loved being representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ and they loved laboring in His vineyard. 


We soon met the driver of the vehicle. He and his wife were heartbroken. They expressed their sorrows and shed uncontrollable tears. We reassured them that Elder Hampton was in a better place, and that families could be eternal. Elder Hampton's companion was able to share the message of the Restored Gospel with them. We hope that through learning about the Plan of Salvation and prayer, they too will be healed through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Two days after the accident, they came to the chapel where we were conducting interviews for Elder Hampton's zone. I had been conducting devotionals with all the missionaries to help them understand the circumstances behind the accident, and to show them the KSL news broadcast wherein Brother and Sister Hampton share their unwavering faith and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This Taiwanese couple, in their grief, were comforted in hearing that the Hamptons were concerned for them and their well being.

We have all felt the many prayers in our behalf, from people all around the world, sustain us during this sacred time. We have had the strength to comfort our missionaries and to minister to the Hamptons. We have witnessed many miracles and our faith in Christ's Plan of Salvation has been made even stronger through this experience. We are so grateful for the enduring faith of the Hampton family, that has brought us much comfort. Listen to their testimonies anchored in Christ: https://www.ksl.com/?sid=39299281

We are grateful to have served with Elder Hampton. We are grateful that he loved his mission and was happily engaged in the recent charge to all missionaries worldwide, to 'Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts." We are grateful that he strived every day to be a better missionary. We are grateful that at the end of each day, Elder Hampton wrote a brief, uplifting  journal entry and ended it with the words, "Be good OK! Love your mission!" 

On the following weekend, the investigator that Elder Hampton and his companion were teaching
entered the waters of baptism:
In reflection, Elder Hampton's companion wrote: 
My life changed on Tuesday when my companion passed away after being struck by a car on the way to the church. That night was a tough experience for me. However, I have been able to pray and receive priesthood blessings that have helped me to overcome and find peace through this trial.
At first I was very shaken up. However, as I began to reflect on my purpose as a missionary and on the Plan of Salvation, I came to see this experience not so much as a tragedy, but as a blessing that has strengthened my own testimony in the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I have felt the power of His Atonement and also the power of all your prayers over this last week. Because of these things, I have been able to press forward.
I spent a day in Taichung after the accident in order to help with some of the legal matters. I also spent the day resting and reflecting on what had happened. Then on Thursday I headed back out to Zhang Hua. I am currently serving with the other ward's elders, but we are also covering some investigators from my own ward. Although it seemed a little fast to get back to the work..I know Elder Hampton cared just as much for these investigators as I did, so I know he would have preferred me getting right back to work. I especially had to go back to prepare for a baptism for...our investigator, which...ended up going great. The spirit was so strong throughout the entire service. I had a special feeling throughout the entire baptism, and I knew missionaries from both sides of the veil were present. I reflected on how as one person I knew and loved ended their mortal discipleship of Jesus Christ, someone else I knew and loved had just began theirs. 

The week after, the two sisters they were teaching also were baptized:
We rest assured that Elder Hampton is still in the service of the Lord as a missionary, only in a different realm, anxiously engaged in this great work of salvation!

December 12: The MTC District
 December 13: Provo Temple
 Christmas Eve
 New Christmas Pajamas:)
 Christmas Day
 December 27: Provo Temple


  January 2: MTC
 January 10: MTC

 January 24: Provo Temple
 January 28: MTC 

 February 3: MTC

 February 7: Provo Temple
  February 8, MTC Departure Day!


February 10: Arrival in Taiwan
February 11: New Missionary Orientation


Shouting Out His Testimony During the Dan Jones Experience:
video
Contacting in the Night Market:
February 12: Together with His Trainer
February 21: His First Area, Changhua First Ward

 February 22, P-Day

 March 10
 March 29: Changhua District Training Meeting
 April 3, On Exchanges
 April 5, Zhongxing Zone Training Meeting
 April 11, Last P-Day



18 comments:

  1. I have shed many tears since hearing of this tragic accident. Yet I have also felt the peace of knowing the Plan of Salvation and understanding God's plan for us is sometimes different than we might have planned. My heart has gone out to this Elder's family and to you and the missionaries in the mission. Thank you for sharing this post. I am so thankful that the couple in the car were able to be comforted. I know that Elder Hampton is now serving those who have not had the opportunity to hear the gospel while on this earth in their native tongue and that missionary work is moving on in the spirit world.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sister Blickenstaff, You and your husband and all the missionaries have been in our prayers. Thank you for your words and for your example of going forward in faith. I feel so blessed that our son is learning from you and your sweet husband. We love you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for sharing such a sweet tribute to Elder Hampton. While such an unfortunate event, we are so fortunate to have the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. And I'm sure your own personal experiences in loosing your sweet daughter have better enabled you to help Elder Hampton's family. You and Pres. Blickenstaff are incredible people and I'm so grateful I was able to serve with you both for even such a short time. Elder Hampton and your sweet Courtney were called to do bigger and better things, and what a blessing it is to know this life is not the end. I hope the couple in the car are able to come to know of the Gospel as well, and realize how Christ's atonement will better their lives. Love and prayers to all in the TaiZhong mission!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sister Blickenstaff, that really was beautiful. God bless you, Elder Hampton and his family, that poor couple driving the car, and the Taiwan Taichung mission. God called the right couple to serve as mission president and wife.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you, Sister Blickenstaff. As the mom of a missionary, your words were a needed comfort and strength to me also. Thank you for serving in Taiwan and caring for our missionaries. You and Pres. Blickenstaff, and your missionaries are in my constant prayer. Elder Hampton continues to bless the lives of others through his testimony, desire to serve, and sacrifice.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is a beautiful tribute. Thank you for your testimony and for loving our missionaries.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I read the sweet words of Elder Hampton's report, Sister Blickenstaff. Thank you for doing that.
    I think of my Son, almost home next Tuesday. My heart wrenched. I'm so very sorry, Brother and Sister Hampton!! I can't imagine the grief you have. But comfort too...I'm humbled you have such great faith. God bless you aND keep you until you will see David again, happy and whole ready to hug you forever. I love you very much. Tori Weiler

    ReplyDelete
  8. Am sure your personal experience with the death of a child helped you during this difficult time. It was a shock to hear of this fatal accident as a Missionary Mum, as it could have happened to anyone riding a bike in that Taiwan traffic...like my Elder. Thank you for serving our missionaries and writing such a warm and faith promoting blog entry. Vicki Collett

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for sharing your tender and sweet testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it pertains to this unfortunate accident. Heavenly Father has a time for us all and obviously this faithful elder was needed more on the other side of the vail. I have a testimony of the Plan of Salvation and am grateful for a loving Father in Heaven and older brother, Jesus Christ. Dale Talley

    ReplyDelete
  10. It certainly is a faith builder to listen to the sweet testimonies on this tribute. God be with you Elder Hampton and your family til you meet again. The Hampton family is in my prayers.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I was baptized in my hometown, Pingtung when I was 18. I live in Cincinnati with my husband and two boys. Because of faithful missionaries like Elder Hampton, I had an opportunity to learn about the restored gospel and be married in the temple. And my sons have the privilege to be raised in the gospel. Please pass along my gratitude to the Hampton family. I'm truly grateful for the love they have for the Lord and the people in Taiwan.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Are thoughts and prayers to Elder Hampton and his family. You are deeply loved. Taiwan Taichung missionaries, keep working hard and always know who we are serving. Always prayers to you all and your success in this great work.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Having a brother who died while serving on this side of the veil, I know he was needed in the other side to help with the families he had come to love on the other side. Your son was and is loved. He is still nearby, only waiting and working until you get there.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sister Blickenstaff:

    Very well done. Is it not interesting how your own tragedy years before has prepared for this moment on your mission. God bless. Kevin Staker

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love you ,you are good family ,so kindness for Taiwanese people in Taiwan Taichung missionaries.

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a beautiful tribute and testimony. My words are not adequate to express how I feel, just know that my thought and prayers are with the families.

    ReplyDelete
  17. As a mother of a currently serving missionary, I express my sincere condolences to the Hamptons Family. Our thoughts and prayers are with this great missionary family and his companion.

    ReplyDelete