Thursday, March 13, 2014

Elder Miller Edward Toa Dies Of Injuries Sustained In Fall While Serving Mission In The Micronesia Guam Mission

Another missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has given his life while on mission service. Elder Miller Edward Toa passed away on March 13th, 2014 as a result of injuries sustained in a fall. No additional details have yet been published. Elder Toa is the second missionary to have died while on mission service in 2014. An LDS spokesman issued the following statement:

"Elder Miller Edward Toa, age 20, from Layton, Utah, serving in the Micronesia Guam Mission, died on Thursday, March 13, from injuries resulting from a fall. Elder Toa, who began his missionary service in April 2013, had been serving on the island of Weno. We are saddened at Elder Toa's passing and extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends during this difficult time."

Elder Toa's parents published the following statement:

"It is with much sadness that we let all our family and friends know that our son, Miller Edward Toa, has been called home to Heavenly Father, who needed him more. Our stake president and bishop were here earlier this evening to let us know. We don't have much yet to go on, other than we are waiting for our son be returned home to Utah."

Before the Federated States of Micronesia became independent, the island of Weno used to be known as Moen, and the Chuuk island group was known as Truk. Until the end of World War II, the islands were possessed by Japan; a significant portion of the Japanese fleet was based at Chuuk. In February 1944, Operation Hailstone, one of the most important naval battles of the war, took place at Truk, in which many Japanese support vessels and aircraft were destroyed. As a result, Chuuk is a tourist attraction to divers who enjoy exploring many of the sunken shipwrecks that remain in place.

After the war, Chuuk became part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. All of Micronesia became fully independent on November 3rd, 1986 under a Compact of Free Association with the United States. The Compact of Free Association allows Micronesian citizens to join the U.S. military without having to obtain U.S. permanent residency or citizenship, allows for immigration and employment for Micronesians in the U.S., and establishes economic and technical aid programs. The United States remains completely responsible for Micronesia's external military defense. Mormons are listed as one of the seven most prominent religious groups in Micronesia; there are 4,565 LDS members in residence.

The Micronesia Guam mission not only includes the Federated States of Micronesia, but also the U.S. Territory of Guam, Palau, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Although English is the official and common language, native languages are widely spoken outside the four state capitols of the FSM. Some comments from people who either knew Elder Toa or who previously served in the Micronesia Mission:

Lisa Holbrook Nampa, ID 2:04 p.m. March 13, 2014 (Deseret News):
My heart goes out to the Toa Family. We knew Elder Toa when he was in primary with our kids many years ago. I am saddened by the news but thankful for the blessing of Heavenly Father's plan. Heavenly Father will have a valiant young missionary to serve on the other side.

Sending prayers at this difficult time.

Carriek4 posted 2 hours ago (KSL Channel 5):
My son has been serving with Elder Toa and love him dearly. They are a tight knit group of boys serving together in the Chuuk mission. My thoughts and prayers are with the Toa family.

mcenut posted 1 hour ago (KSL Channel 5):
To Elder Toa's family and friends. I was greatly saddened with this news. My the Lord comfort you in this time of grief. I served in the Micronesia Guam Mission from 1986 and 1988 and have spent several days on Weno (but I knew it as Moen) and know that they are a choice people that Elder Toa was called to serve. In a way he just got transferred to another area. Peace be unto you.


Anonymous said...

This article says that he fell from a tree.

It also has a photo of him with his parents, if anyone is interested.

Toni said...

The article says, ""We are waiting for the details to come," Kaiser Toa said, adding that he understood death was a result of blood loss. "We heard he was on a tree and fell off and hit his head."

(Same poster as above.)

Clark Graham said...

I am writing to the family of Elder Miller Toa to let them know that I was fortunate to have met their son in Weno, Chuuk. He was a friendly young man, always willing to give you a polite word, a smile or a helping had sound it be required.

I did not know Elder Miller well, but we would chat from time to time when we met. He had a wonderful smile and friendly demeanor. He always spoke politely and respectfully, and was a model for other young people. On several occasions he stopped at our school/center. He always had a smile and helping hand the he offered to you!

In December of 2012 I lost my oldest son. When I heard of the untimely passing of this fine young man I wanted to reach out to the family and let them know that their so will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Humbly and Respectfully written,
Clark Graham
SHIP-HOOPS & Akoyikoyi School
P.O. Box 1072
Chuuk, FM 96942

Jack Mormon said...

Thanks for the info, Toni. I think that same article also mentions that Elder Miller was working on a service project. So he was in the process of serving others when he was called him.

Jack Mormon said...

Clark -- Thanks for your eloquent tribute to Elder Miller Toa.

Anonymous said...

It is tragic when anyone loses their life in the service of others.

When I served my mission in the U.S. there were many Elders who were hit while riding their bikes. Only one was critically injured, and I never heard how well he was doing.
There was also a missionary who died of cancer while serving. It was a unique circumstance.