Friday, October 11, 2013

Elder Andrew Edward Page Killed In Bicycle Mishap During LDS Mission Service In Southern California; 12th Mormon Missionary Fatality In 2013

Another LDS missionary fatality has been reported by the media. Eighteen-year-old Andrew Edward Page, a native of Charlotte, NC, died in hospital at 10:00 P.M. on October 10th, 2013 from injuries he sustained when he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle near Azusa in Southern California. Elder Page had been serving in the California Arcadia Mission since August 2013. This is the 12th missionary fatality recorded in 2013, and the third fatality from a bicycling accident. The LDS Church recently sought to reassure the public that missionary service is still inherently safe.

Updated media reports now indicate the mishap took place around 4:00 P.M. Elder Page was hit while riding on Newburgh Street in Azusa. According to his companion, the two were on bicycles and had missed the turn where they were headed. They were turning around when Elder Page stopped for a minute and adjusted his pants leg, then whipped his bike around without looking, after which he was struck by a car. Elder Page was wearing a helmet when the car hit him. The officer on the scene ruled Page's death an accident. Elder Page was taken by medical helicopter in critical condition to a nearby trauma center with major injuries, including head trauma, after which he passed away at 10 P.M. The Biking In LA blog notes that Elder Page's fatality is the 69th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 29th in Los Angeles County, compared to 22 in the county for all of last year.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Elder Page was a graduate of Independence High School, and was looking forward to attending BYU-Provo after his mission. Page’s mother, Maggie Page, described her son as a peaceful, faith-filled and humorous teen. He graduated in the top 20 of his class, was a Boy Scout and loved playing the tenor saxophone. a funeral is planned for 11 a.m. on Saturday October 19th at the Charlotte North Carolina Central Stake on Rocky River Road.

Some pertinent comments from the media sources:

DerrickPope posted 21 minutes ago (KSL Channel 5):
My son is currently serving in the California, Arcadia mission; the same one the Elder Andrew Page was serving in and this terrible accident is heavy on our minds today. His death not only effects this dear elder's family, but the missionaries that are currently serving there. My heart aches for the family that with faith sent their son out to serve a two-year LDS mission. Elder Page knew that what he believed was true and valuable and wanted to share it with the wonderful people of California. It is that kind of love and testimony for God that I admire. He was a convenant-keeping young man and will continue to be so. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pres. and Sister Jorge T. Becerra, Elder Page's family and the missionaries who continue to serve there.

LifeElevatored posted 36 minutes ago (KSL Channel 5):
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune (CA) reported the incident as "out-of-state-bicyclist" being struck by a car. The incident according to that paper, had an Azusa,CA police officer on-scene immediately after it had happened, and the "bicyclist" had critical head injuries. It was a auto vs. bicycle, and the driver remained on scene.
With the increase in missionaries, we can expect an increase in the number of fatalities among our missionaries. There are also times, when our missionaries may or may not be wearing the helmets, or riding their bikes appropriately, and sometimes accidents DO happen, even to missionaries.We do not know what happened in this case, yet.
Our condolences to his family, loved ones and friends.

Good Ole Fox posted 1 hour ago (KSL Channel 5):
Death is part of the plan for all of us. All of us must die, but through the great plan of our Eternal Heavenly Father, the sting of death is taken up in Christ. I am comforted in the knowledge that there is a glorious place prepared for us in heaven and that all of us will be resurrected through the atonement of Jesus Christ. This knowledge give me hope (in what is becoming more of a hopeless world) to be able to endure the trials of this world as I work each day to become a better person and do my best to make this world better for other while I am yet upon it.

If I am wrong, I die in peace and fade away having been a better person and hopefully the world is better because I was here. But if I am right, I hope to be gloriously reunited with friends and family on the other side and take part in the fullness of Joy promised through my Savior, Jesus Christ. Want to learn more about this hope in Christ, contact the Missionaries. May God bless and protect them and keep them in his hand, no matter the trials that come upon them while they serve in this mortal sphere.

BTW - I have one son currently serving a mission in Texas and another waiting for his mission call. My prayers are for the missionaries every morning and night.

Malihini Northern, UT October 11th 1:21 P.M. (Deseret News):
It is well past time for the church to step up it's missionary safety program. If they want to have 80,000 missionaries all across the world then they need to be able to afford it, i.e., more cars, less (or no bikes), less public transportation & provide more safety guidelines around their service assignments. They are working in undeveloped areas of the world where the US safety codes are irrelevant. The church needs to see this and provide in a better way for them.

To say that the mortality rate for missionaries is less than the national, or world average, is totally mis-leading. The mortality rate for missionaries should be compared to the mortality rate for 18-25 YM who don't drink, are average to above average students, and with a high percentage living in the western US. Compare the missionary demographics and lifestyle to what they would be doing if they were not in the mission field.

Furthermore, for the church to issue the same blanket statement, "...our hearts are with the family..." not only gets old, but seems a bit veneer. I love the church, but we can do better than this.

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