Monday, May 13, 2013

LDS Missionary Jeffrey Rogil Guerra Alfaro Passes Away After Suffering Ruptured Cerebral Aneurysm In Provo; Elder Michael Garver Recovering From Texas Hit-And-Run

My partial list of LDS missionaries who have given their lives while on mission service has grown by one. On May 13th, 2013, KSL Channel 5 reports that Elder Jeffrey Rogil Guerra Alfaro, who was serving in the Utah Provo Mission, passed away after suffering a ruptured cerebral aneuryism. The 22-year-old Elder Alfaro, who hails from Lidingo, Sweden, was jogging with his companion on Thursday May 9th when he suddenly collapsed. Elder Alfaro was treated at the scene and transferred to a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with a ruptured cerebral aneurysm. Although placed on life support, Elder Alfaro's family subsequently decided to take him off life support, according to the Provo Daily Herald.

The question will undoubtedly arise as to whether this condition could have been detected before Elder Alfaro embarked upon his mission. Missionaries are required to get medical and dental exams before deployment. The bishop supplies the missionary candidate with medical and dental forms which must be signed by medical providers as part of their application process. The providers certify that the missionary is medically prepared for service. The application package is submitted around four months prior to the proposed departure date. However, a cerebral aneurysm can only be detected through special imaging tests that would not normally be part of a pre-mission physical unless the patient reveals symptoms consistent with the possibility of an aneurysm. It is quite possible that at the time of his physical, Elder Alfaro did not have an aneurysm.

I still wish the LDS Church would consider erecting a wall of honor to memorialize all missionaries known to have given their lives while on mission service. This wall of honor would be styled similar to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC, providing the names, dates, and places of service. For maximum effect, it should be located in Temple Square. These folks basically put their lives on hold for two years to bring the Gospel to people, and they deserve more than just a handshake when they return. If the Roman Catholic Church can canonize their people for sainthood, surely we can memorialize our fallen missionaries. It wouldn't be idolatry to do so.

On the same day, the Deseret News is reporting that 19-year-old Elder Michael Garver of Tooele, Utah was struck by a vehicle while he and his companion were walking their bikes on the side of a road in San Antonio, Texas during the evening of May 2nd, 2013, but he is currently in stable condition and is expected to fully recover. Elder Garver’s bicycle had a flat tire, so he was pushing his bike along the gravel shoulder when a four-door passenger car hit Garver from behind. The impact sent both Elder Garver and his bicycle into the air. Elder Garver, who is assigned to the Texas San Antonio Mission, hit his head on the asphalt when he landed, causing serious injuries to his head. Elder Garver's companion was unhurt. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene without slowing down or stopping to render aid or leave information.

More information is posted on this Facebook page. His companion, identified as Elder Sadler, gave Garver a priesthood blessing right after the accident. Elder Garver had emergency surgery that night and was in the ICU. His feeding tube was removed on May 5th, and it appears he could be well enough to travel home to Utah around May 19th.

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