3 Mormon missionaries die in 2 separate incidents

Families of two Utahns say both were happy and pleased to be on missions

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  • K Mchenry, IL
    Aug. 26, 2014 11:38 p.m.

    Let's hope it works with the voltage. Are they not representatives of the church? They don't decide where they live. It should be standard, if they are standard in the country they are serving.

    Why are adults who are called upon to convert people and are in fact adult clergy driven around? Why are they not driving themselves? If they drove themselves they would both be in the front wearing belts. Why are there so many rules? The military doesn't have this many rules. Too many rules means there are too many to follow. Simplify. She could very well not have been wearing a seatbelt in the back seat of a van with a group of students in a college town. Or in her families car.

  • Aggie5 Kuna, ID
    Aug. 25, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    and completely tragic.
    have we not seen enough missionaries die already the last several years?

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 25, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    re:Schizachyrium scoparium

    you are smart to send the CO dectector however this really ought to be the Church doing this for ALL missionary apartments. I am guessing there will be lots of parents doing the same thing as you. Hopefully the church will quickly make a policy change and require every approved missionary apartment have a CO detector installed and working.

  • Schizachyrium scoparium Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 25, 2014 10:12 a.m.

    I am the parent of a missionary who will soon be serving in Taipei. I am sending him a carbon monoxide detector today. There are missionary deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning every few years. CO detectors are cheap, small, and readily available. It is time, and past time, for the church to add this essential item to the list of required missionary supplies. It would be easier than writing condolence letters to the grieving families. Let's hope these elders are the last to die from such a preventable cause. My heart goes out to their families.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 6:24 p.m.

    Today I was driving two missionaries and after we started driving, I mentioned to them about the Sister, and immediately they snapped their belts on. In the past, I had to mention to missionaries about fastening their seat belts before they used them. They must not have been trained by their parents to wear them as a passenger. Parents help through preparation for missions long before their children go on missions. Vests, seat belts, carbon monoxide detectors, and other devices for personal protection. I remember how hard it was to find good housing for our sisters on my mission in a safe location. At least missionaries have cell phones and can connect with their investigators, mission and church local leaders. Just one more step for q big city of 80,000 missionaries spread throughout the world. Deseret Industries have a very good program along with the other Presiding Bishopric areas of responsibilities.

    Section 134 in the first part has about government, of and outside the Church providing for safety and welfare and the Church moves forward to bless all people through basic principles of this life and beyond. Families can be together forever is a blessing.

  • Ticus Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 5:40 p.m.

    Is there a photo of Elder Xiong? We should also acknowledge his loss a bit more. This is such sad news.

  • MaryJ Neillsville, WI
    Aug. 24, 2014 5:25 p.m.

    I am hoping that the Elder Connor Thredgold Memorial Fund would in part help pay for the needs of Elder Yu Peng Xiong's family as they bid an earthly farewell to him.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 5:15 p.m.

    Younger missionaries are so busy and involved learning a language, adapting to living conditions, cultures and doing as much as they can during their 18-months to 2 years of serving The Lord, the people and their families. The missions approve and inspect apartments or homes where missionaries live periodically to ensure it is safe and in a safe area. Bicycles break down or need the Cub Scout or Merit badge checklist to ensure they are safe, periodically as the missionaries pray to be safe and know they don't want to get hurt. However, some people don't necessarily think safety is macho and if parents and others believe in safety they may learn it is good to be safe. No missionary wants to think of one of their companions getting hurt. Safety is also an attitude or a culture in life. I believe the Boy Scouts don't have a safety merit badge anymore, so that process is gone for young men, also. OSHA isn't a good word for some but basic safety pays in lives saved and time lost saved and few injuries or health issues. Workers and their families can enjoy life together, longer. Safety pays.

  • gittalopctbi Glendale, AZ
    Aug. 24, 2014 2:49 p.m.

    I pray for the driver of the van who now for the remainder of his life has to live with the poor decision he made to make a U-turn in an unsafe and unauthorized place. And also a shame that the sister was not wearing a seat belt.

    To those calling for training, we do not know that there was in fact, training. We also do not know, and will never know, if one of the missionaries just made a mistake and forgot to do what was necessary. It happens, we are human.

    @niner No one has to. You just did.

  • hilary nottingham, 00
    Aug. 24, 2014 12:44 p.m.

    JWB Kaysville, how true that is. Training does not stop in the field. It continues even on the mission and the quality of life experienced sometimes in the west does not provide adequate awareness when young people travel to other countries.

  • One opinion west jordan, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 12:00 p.m.

    Death in apartments or homes can come from faulty gas lines - it happens here. My condolences go to the families of all three families, and I pray they may feel the peace of a loving Heavenly Father. I feel they left this earth in the Lord's care.

  • joy Logan, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 11:47 a.m.

    Maybe it would be helpful to include some safety instructions in the missionary papers the YM/YW receives for their mission. Even a website for them to go to with a video covers many things that a missionary needs to know concerning safety issues. It's hard to fit it all in at the MTC.

    My heart goes out to these families and find my testimony increasing with the faith of these families.

    With the amount of the number increase in missionaries since the age change I'm sure we may see more incidences of accidents and deaths but the percentage will remain the same I'm sure.

    May the Lord watch over all our missionaries and their families.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    RE: JWB "Missionaries need a good safety education..." Every mission needs a safety officer.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 10:40 a.m.

    nothing can prepare a parent for this type of news. Nothing. First of all let me say how deeply sorry I am for both sets of parents who lost their missionary son or daughter. These young men and women are at the prime of life on a mission both spiritually and physically and losing them is hard to wrap your mind around. I can't begin to understand the pain that must be felt by both families.

    When you send a missionary out into the field you keep tucked away in the far corner of your mind the potential for this type of thing happening and perhaps that is part of the reason why it is so hard to say goodbye at the MTC. There is some solice in the fact that these missionaries were happy and doing great things in their life at the time of their death.

    I wish the Church could make missions completely safe but the nature of this life and the world in general make that impossible.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 10:32 a.m.

    My heart goes out to the families of each of these young people.

    JWB: I agree with you. The need for detailed and intense safety training is particularly needed now that we have even younger missionaries being sent out. Many of these young people come from countries with strong consumer safety and building code standards, and are being assigned to areas where these protections do not exist. Without training and education on the risks and safety measures needed in their specific countries and regions, these young people are exposed to dangers, in many cases, that they cannot be adequately focused on.

    Without a change in the safety training culture in the missionary program, we will continue to see the kinds of "accidents" that we continue to see with some regularity. We love the church and the missionary program. It does a lot of good in the world for those who serve and those who are served. We have upped the bar for missionary prep in recent years. Let's now up the bar on safety training and do a better job helping our missionaries return home safely.

  • Tahoemormon70 Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 10:30 a.m.

    This incident is exactly reminiscent of what happened to two missionaries who were serving in the Romania Bucharest Mission 4-1/2 years ago. Those missionaries died due to CO poisoning when they went to sleep after accidentally leaving the gas-heater on. If these two left the gas running on their unit, then it is highly possible that this is the certain cause. I remember when I was in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine on my mission and we had one of those heaters. Fortunately, the one time that we forgot to turn off the unit was in the morning after our showers were done and we went out in the morning to do some shopping. We returned several hours later and the fumes hit us almost instantly. Thank goodness that we were on the top floor of our apartment building and had windows everywhere. The CO was worse than the noxious gas chamber that I had to go through when I went through Navy boot camp.

  • tgurd Gonzales, LA
    Aug. 24, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    I know the feelings these families must feel in the loss of a son or daughter serving on a mission. If I may add some words of comfort. The Lord has need of righteous missionaries on the other side as well as this side, I think the real test of most challenges is can we accept Heavenly Fathers will? We know not reasons why some are taken and others not, I had a granddaughter that died in a car accident, only one with a seat belt on, 2 died of 5, 3 were injured quite seriously. My wife and I wept and as we prayed for answers, in our minds we got the conformation that she was ok and not to worry about her. I testify we can get revelation and a relieve of mind in these cases, the Lord has said I shall not leave you comfortless, believe in that and you will feel the presence of those taken and know they are needed and are fine on the other side.

  • hockeymom Highland, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 8:51 a.m.

    I have two sons who have served, another one currently serving and all have said that if they died in the mission field, they felt fairly confident they would receive a ticket straight to the Celestial Kingdom. One even had the 4th verse of "Come, Come Ye Saints" as the "scripture" for his wall plaque. He was that willing to put himself in the hands of the Lord for those two years and had perfect faith that God knew what was best for him. He came home safe and sound, BTW.

    As far as these 3 missionaries goes, I'm not saying it was "their time", after all, accidents are sometimes just accidents. It's hard to tell parents who's children have such promising futures and Patriarchal blessings that it was "God's will". But there is the millennium for all things to be sorted out and "restored" to them and their parents. Somehow Heavenly Father will find a way to use their deaths to further His kingdom and bring souls of those left behind, unto Christ.

    Prayers for the families.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 24, 2014 6:16 a.m.

    Having lived in countries and traveling to others in Europe, Latin America and Asia that use various types of heating methods, water and home, safety for those that may not be accustomed to the methods locals use is a definite consideration. Younger missionaries may not understand all the aspects since they haven't gone to college or worked away from home. Missionaries need a good safety education for even the locals that may know the dangers but may not know the foreign missionaries don't know those dangers. Some don't use reflective vests that may be a common practice with many bikers, day or night on highly trafficked two-lane roads with no shoulder with chuck holes. Vehicles dodge these holes to avoid the holes but don't see missionaries on bikes with dark suits and no reflective protection. The problems with carbon monoxide, electricity, traffic problems and health issues can be taught and learned but takes time and energy. The safety and welfare of missionaries is an ongoing process with younger missionaries that haven't had a year at work or college on their own to learn about non-protective world environments away from their parent's guidance.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Aug. 23, 2014 7:34 p.m.

    Thank you Elders, and Sister Vea for your service.

  • niners SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Aug. 23, 2014 6:38 p.m.

    Just waiting for the public statements reassuring everyone "it is still safer to be a 20 year old missionary than a 20 year old not on a mission."

  • estudiante Lindon, UT
    Aug. 23, 2014 6:27 p.m.

    Please, people, do not make U-turns on expressways and freeways. Take the exit, even if it is several miles away.

  • KendalHunter Provo, UT
    Aug. 23, 2014 5:54 p.m.

    In 1989, Elder M. Russell Ballard addressed the subject of missionaries dying in the field. "To all parents, family members, and friends of missionaries who have lost their lives while in the service of the Master, we extend to you our love, gratitude, and prayers for comfort and peace."

  • mindgames Aurora, CO
    Aug. 23, 2014 5:32 p.m.

    This is such sad news. I know the Vea family for many years from their time in the Aurora Stake and the Denver Stake. Although there is great faith involved in these moments there is also a great plan that Heavenly Father has for each of His children. Nancy has lived a happy life and is gone for a period but there will be a reuniting that will be glorious. Heavenly Father has provided us with sealing powers that will seal families together forever.

    To the families of each of these families I know that these missionaries--your children--are gone but they will not be forgotten, and they will not be lost.

    May God bless you in your recovery and comfort you in your times of need.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 23, 2014 4:57 p.m.

    May God give their families peace.

  • BrentBot Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 23, 2014 4:12 p.m.

    If there was "no foul play" in the Taiwan incident, it was likely due to carbon monoxide. It is difficult to get missionaries to change the batteries in their CO or smoke detector when it "chirps". Perhaps missions should insist on extra batteries to be stored in case of an inoperable CO or smoke detector.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Aug. 23, 2014 3:48 p.m.

    I couldn't help wondering what "no sign of foul play" would have to do with the sudden deaths of two healthy young men. Checking the Taiwanese news sites, I found a mention of the incident. According to one website (ETtoday), police suspect they died of carbon monoxide poisoning, caused by an unvented gas-fired demand-type water heater.

    (Slightly awkward Google Translate version of page's original Chinese text: "due to the water heater in the room, the police preliminary judgment, when a man suspected of taking a bath which did not open the window, cause carbon monoxide filled the house, both died of poisoning, will be reported to clarify the cause of death autopsy.")

    I would hope that when missionaries are sent out, they would be given safety tips appropriate to the types of lodgings they could be expected to encounter in their mission areas. This seems like avoidable negligence on somebody's part.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 23, 2014 1:41 p.m.

    To anyone who has had a kid in the mission field news like this is a sock in the stomach. Commenting does no good of course, except that it allows us to share the pain.

  • Zgeo Tempe, AZ
    Aug. 23, 2014 1:30 p.m.

    Our hearts, thoughta and prayers go out to the families of these fallen missionaires. Surely they were called to the other side to continue their missions.

  • trekker Salt Lake, UT
    Aug. 23, 2014 1:02 p.m.

    This so sad to hear about. My thoughts and prayers go out to the missionaries' families and friends.