Brother Joseph Chapman, my home teacher, came into my life around 11 years ago. He has been a constant encouraging, lifting, sustaining force in my life during what could be called some difficult times in both our lives.
During the early years, he was here trying to help me draw my straying sons back to the gospel and comforting me when all was not as I'd hoped. He became a father image and mentor to my youngest son. His example of priesthood power encouraged Beau to find out for himself just how marvelous having Heavenly Father by your side can be.
When Beau was diagnosed with a brain tumor in late 1994, Brother Chapman was there. Once more lifting, blessing, praying, encouraging and loving us, while helping his own wife fight her battle against cancer. Beau won his battle, but Sister Chapman did not. He picked up the pieces of his life and didn't miss a beat as our home teacher.
This caring continued through two major brain surgeries, two minor surgeries to drain ventricles and place a shunt, eye surgery to try and correct the damage done by the first tumor and 27 radiation treatments that left Beau extremely weak. But Brother Chapman was always there to encourage, bless and cheer us on. He continued to mentor and bless Beau until 1998, when my son, fulfilling one of his dreams, left for the California Santa Rosa Spanish Speaking Mission.
Invitations out to eat, sacks of oranges, tomatoes, produce from his garden, bread and other food, visits, phone calls, always there to greet us at Church, always having stories of great faith to share, words of wisdom to teach, words of encouragement with his warming smile — these were all part of his constant ministrations. He has truly, beyond any doubt, been one of my angels on earth, for the past 11-plus years. Any tribute I might pay him could never be enough. How I wish everyone had a home teacher like Brother Joseph Chapman.
Sister Burgi is nursery leader in the Hillcrest 5th Ward, Orem Utah Hillcrest Stake.