Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Two Missionaries Shot in Virginia

Two missionaries shot in Virginia is a tragic news story this week. One Elder was killed and the other seriously wounded. May the murderer be caught. And may the Lord comfort the families and friends who grieve.

Being a missionary is not only difficult work, it can be dangerous. It's a true sacrifice to serve in that manner. Let's all go the extra mile to watch out for the safety and well-being of our missionaries.

8 comments:

Granny said...

This is a huge shock and sorrow to me--my grandson is serving in Virginia and of course my first thought was "Oh no--what if it was David?" then my heart started aching for the families of the missionaries who were killed. Words can't begin to convey my sorrow for them. Thankfully, we did get a note from David this morning concerning the great experiences he and his companion have been enjoying in their labors.

Granny

Shawn said...

What a sad event. Brother Young's family is here in Virginia... I can scarcely imagine the anguish they must feel. One thing's for sure, Brother Young has returned with honor. My heart goes out to the families of both Elders. Some have said in the media that Brother Young was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is heartbreaking but the loss of his life meant another man's life was spared… that of the intended victim who apparently escaped unhurt. I hope the intended victim realizes the second chance he was given and the cost associated with that second chance. The cynic in me says he won’t, but that is my prayer.

The Church would be nowhere if it were not for the missionaries. It is truly inspiring to hear Elder Heidbrink would like to finish serving out his mission after he heals. As a convert, I am indebted. God bless the missionaries and their families! By the way, Jeff, thank you. My brother-in-law served his foreign-speaking (Hmong) mission in Wisconsin while you were Bishop. Thank you for looking out for him while he served in your ward.

To Elder Morgan Young: John 15:10-17.

anothernonymous said...

Serving an LDS mission is one of the safest thing a 19-21 year old male can do. The fatality rate is starkly lower than many alternate activities those in this age group may otherwise be engaged in.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Young family.

annegb said...

My heart goes out to the families, as well. I've noticed that I feel more foreboding as time goes by for these young men as they leave home.

KSL did a story this morning on the mortality rates of Mormon missionaries vs. other Christian missionaries. Apparently, 89% of
the latter were murdered in the last six years, as opposed to Mormon missionaries, who died chiefly as the result of car accidents.

I was surprised to read how many were killed, I think 17 in the last six years.

But I also felt the comparison was tacky and unfair because the other missionaries probably go to far more dangerous countries.

Although I guess America is as dangerous as anywhere these days.

I had a friend in college who was terribly assaulted on his mission. His companion was a BYU football player and fought off the attackers and was very badly hurt. He spent several months in the hospital, then was moved to a different state. My friend stayed in the area. This was in the US.

Granny, blessings on you and your grandson. I'm sure this is a shock for the boys serving there.

Bookslinger said...

annegb: I think you meant to say that among those other Christian missionaries _who died on their mission_, 89% of the deaths were by murder, not that 89% of missionaries were murdered.

I think you're right in that other churches often send their missionaries into more remote and dangerous places than we do. That chart on Deseret News also showed the greatest number of murders among Catholic missionaries. Catholic missionaries also tend to get involved in political causes in third world countries and thereby create enemies.

From what I've read online, the Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists usually go to areas of the world several years before we do. I know in Ecuador that was the case as the Witnesses were stronger down there than we were in the mid 80's. However, I don't know who has the most members there now, or who has the most active members.

According to news reports, the area where the elders were shot was not known for violent crime. Heidbrink's family has been reported as saying that the elders witnessed another shooting, and the gunmen shot them because they were witnesses. The intended victim, apparently unharmed, of the first shooting also ran off and has not been found. But the police have not confirmed that account.

Bookslinger said...

A man has been arrested and charged in connection with the shootings.

Story here.

annegb said...

Yeah, thanks, bookslinger, that's what I meant.

I think the really profound fact in all this, lately, is that it happened in America.

Bookslinger said...

annegb:
America has never been a 100% safe place. If it's any consolation, violent crime has been on the downswing for at least a decade now.

While still keeping in mind that the "Lord has his hand in all things" I think it safe to say that the missionaries were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. But, that's not to imply they shouldn't have been there. The missionaries were just doing their job in a place they had a right to be.

The news reports so far, indicate that the gunman was not targeting the missionaries, as it appears he would have shot anyone who witnessed him shooting (at) the other man.

As in any tragedy, the Lord has the power to draw some good out of it.

Having been a missionary, I think it's a safe bet that missionaries the world over are privately talking about whether that elder now has a "guaranteed exaltation." And asking each other the question "If you knew you were going to get killed on your mission, would you still go?"

I think most parents worry about things happening to their sons and daughters on missions. Parents of missionaries probably have in mind both the history of persecution against missionaries, and the fact that the Lord promises protection. The persecution of the saints early in this dispensation probably comes to mind for everyone who reads the story of these two elders.