LDS missionary among survivors of Spain train crash

18-year-old from Bountiful has been released from the hospital

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  • J-TX Allen, TX
    July 29, 2013 11:47 a.m.

    My Mission President M. Alvin Romney had heart problems while I was AP with Elder Chavez in the Mexico Hermosillo Mission in 1982.

    The President went to Salt Lake where Elder Nelson took care of him and Vaughn J. Featherstone blessed him that he would be able to come back to the Mission. Meanwhile, Elder Chavez and I and the rest of the Mission Home staff managed to keep it a secret until a week before he returned, 2 months later.

    Making transfers twice was hairy. I'm glad he came back, or I would have had to spend the rest of my mission in the mission home, training the new Prez. :-)

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    July 29, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    I recall that Mitt Romney was on his mission in France when he was in a car accident with the mission president and president's wife. The wife died, and the president returned home to recover. Romney had a concussion and a broken arm, but he was asked to take over leadership of the mission, which he did successfully, despite the circumstances.

    If Elder Ward can return to proselyting, his experience will be a reminder to people to think about death and the meaning of life, and the great questions that the missionaries of the LDS Church offer to answer: Where did I come from? Why am I here on earth? And where am I going after death?

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    July 27, 2013 7:17 a.m.

    It wasn't a miracle.

  • josegomez Spain, 00
    July 26, 2013 2:09 p.m.

    Comment that there are also members who have suffered in the accident, I am informed are the Neighborhood 3 of Madrid, the woman is admitted to the hospital while her husband is high, members of Spain are praying for all those affected in this accident and relatives of the deceased, in my city where I live in San Fernando, Cádiz, of the seven who traveled and were known, only two people have survived, the five have died.

  • oldschooler USA, TX
    July 26, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    Another modern day miracle. Nothing less than a miracle in any possible way. Thanks Elder Ward for your service.

  • grandmagreat Lake Havasu City, AZ
    July 26, 2013 8:48 a.m.

    If he can run a computer, the Mission President will surely find something for him to do when he is strong enough. I have a grandson who served a mission in South Africa, and was so frustrated because of his knowledge of the computer, he spent most of his mission in the mission home. This was a number of years ago, before all Kids new how to run acomputer. Then the day he was sent to work in the field, much to his joy, he had an accident on his Bike and broke his arm. Back in the Mission home where he could always serve even with one hand. I know that he wanted to really be out in the field, but the Lord needed him in the mission home. He is now the father of 7, and hopefully some of his children will serve missions.

  • LittleStream Carson City, NV
    July 26, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    The Lord was with you young man! I am sure you are very aware of that! Sounds like you weren't finished with the Mission!

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    July 26, 2013 6:22 a.m.

    @rvalens2...his mission is over is he has extensive medical expenses. The Church won't pay for them. My son had a severe concussion in the mission field and as soon as medical expenses were going to be incurred they sent him home.
    If the elder can sit around the Mission Home and become well enough to proceed they'll send him back out.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    July 25, 2013 11:22 p.m.

    I don't imagine that this is an "easy" mission in which to teach the Gospel. I wonder if anyone has thought how many doors will be opened to him and his companion when investigators find out that he survived this horrible train wreck. Thank goodness he lived. It's truly a miracle. The Lord works in mysterious ways!

    God bless you, Elder!

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    July 25, 2013 9:35 p.m.

    My prayers go out to this young man. It is so unfortunate he was on this train. Just bad luck I suppose. I hope this doesn't set him back. He'll be back out in no time.

  • JP Chandler, AZ
    July 25, 2013 8:32 p.m.

    The name of the town is El Ferrol, not El Ferro.

    Good luck to the missionary and everyone else impacted by this accident, and God bless.

  • Arm of Orion Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 25, 2013 8:30 p.m.

    It all depends. I would guess since he is a greenie he will be allowed to go back out after he fully recovers, assuming he does. However, if the missionary is an old timer and gets severely injured they go home and stay home. I had three months left and had to go home for a knee surgery and they said congrats on your mission have a good life, more or less.

  • David Centerville, UT
    July 25, 2013 8:15 p.m.

    I also know Elder Steven Ward. He is always happy, always positive with a good sense of humor. He comes from a wonderful family of faith. I was horrified to learn he was involved in this accident but very grateful to hear that it looks as if he will mend.

  • Beck to Harline Provo, UT
    July 25, 2013 7:44 p.m.

    Steven was in my ward Fall Semester at BYU. I remember the first day I moved into Felt Hall he came down to introduce himself. What a great individual. It's very comforting to know that he was not injured as bad as some other people were in this tragic incident. Hopefully he makes a quick recovery and can get back to serving soon. He's a very knowledgeable, spirited kid. I wish him the best of luck.

    Bueno suerte, Elder.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    July 25, 2013 6:16 p.m.

    Both of my brothers had serious medical injuries while serving, and each returned home to convalesce and were allowed to return and complete; one to the same mission (5 months later) another to a new US mission. Fortunate the young guy survived, and hopefully he'll be able to function well first of all and feel good about whatever outcome seems most wise - glad his MP is an ortho, that has to help in making a well-reasoned decision. Condolences to the families of those killed and injured.

  • California Steve Hanford, CA
    July 25, 2013 5:22 p.m.

    Gee Elder Ward, welcome to the mission. We're thinking about you.

  • MC NM Albuquerque, NM
    July 25, 2013 4:39 p.m.

    His mission president is an orthopedic surgeon? What a "coincidence!"

  • Big Red '93 The High Plains of, Texas
    July 25, 2013 4:39 p.m.

    I had the same type of neck injury following a bike accident during my mission in the 1970s. I could have been killed. After a week in the hospital and 2-3 weeks of convalescence, I was lucky to return to missionary service. I continued to have neck pain during my mission, and it continues even today. I'm not sure what the church policy is today, but my parent's insurance paid for it all. I think every missionary accident is different and it'll be up to the missionary and doctor's evaluations. I was happy not to have been sent home to heal though.

    I pray for him as I do for all the victims in this horrible accident. What a sad day for Spain and all those who lost loved ones.

  • RedUtes08 West Jordan, UT
    July 25, 2013 4:35 p.m.


    Most likely, he will be able to continue his mission in spain as soon as he is fully recovered. Usually with injuries, the missionary can decideif they want to continue their mission as long as they are able to fully recover.

    My father in law was in a serious accident on his mission and became paralyzed from the waist down. Fortunatley, he was determined to get back out on his mission and relearned how to walk again... a year later he returned and finished his mission.

  • Engineer22 Provo, UT
    July 25, 2013 4:27 p.m.


    It depends on the situation. My cousin tore his ACL on his mission and went home for surgery, but was not released and went back to his mission about 6 weeks later and finished the remainder of his mission and ended on time. Other missionaries I've known are released for longer recovery periods and come back to finish the remainder of their time, or they're reassigned to other missions depending on the circumstances. Any of the above might happen for this Elder. Given the nature of his injuries, I'd guess he'll be released for surgery back in the States and then sent back once he's recovered enough.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    July 25, 2013 4:19 p.m.

    They usually if they are repairable, send them home to mend, and then get shipped to a different mission. Or, if they aren't hurt to bad, they just stay at the mission home for a few weeks to repair.

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 25, 2013 4:17 p.m.


    These are case-by case decisions, depending on the extent of the injuries and the time and effort it will take for treatment and rehab. The missionary, family, MP and Missionary Dept. will all have input. If they decide to treat him there, he'll most likely stay on his mission for the duration.

    Even if he comes home for treatment and rehab, if recovery is a matter of weeks instead of months, it is not uncommon to send missionaries right back to the same mission to complete it.

    If he returns home for treatment and recovery/rehab time is lengthy, he could very well be given a medical release. Then when he is fit, he could re-apply and go out again.

  • rvalens2 Burley, ID
    July 25, 2013 3:49 p.m.

    Just curious ... what does the LDS church usually do in such situations?

    Is his mission over? Or will he get the chance to for a do over when he recovers from his injuries? Anybody out there know?

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    July 25, 2013 3:36 p.m.

    Our very best wishes go to this fine missionary. We are so sad for all who have lost loved ones in this sad accident, and for the many injured passengers. We are so glad they will all be remembered in many prayers.