Dear Eldredge Family,
I am slow to send our last dinner photo with Elder Eldredge. The end of summer and the beginning of school snuck up on us and before I knew it, one was over and the other was starting again.
I remember several months ago when a fresh new elder sat at our dinner table for the first time. He was soft spoken, well-mannered, and eager to serve the Lord. I am here to testify to you that the young man who sat quietly at my table has grown into a man on fire! He is no longer hesitant but burning with a desire to share and testify. I am honored that I was able to experience a few of these opportunities with him, and especially grateful that he has inspired me to be a better member missionary. I prayed for more missionary experiences to cross my path and due in part to Elder Eldredge those prayers have been answered. What joy it was to witness the baptism of Tahja. Your son was glowing as he performed this sacred ordinance on this sweet young lady.
By now I am sure you have heard of the tragedy that has befallen our mission. The accident occurred 1/2 mile from my sister-in-law's home and our community is grieving with all of the missionaries and the families involved. One of my first thoughts were of my sweet Elder Eldredge and how this would affect him. We are keeping him especially in our prayers and I went to the temple this morning and added his name to the prayer roll list. I feel his faith through prior trials and his burning testimony will bring him peace and comfort, but wanted to let you know there are many who are praying for him as well.
He is dearly missed in our area, but the people in the Lincoln Stake will also be blessed by his excitement and enthusiasm. I will cherish our time spent together and will fondly remember an evening when we spent time in Tahja's home listening to him play his ukelele and sing some favorite songs. It puts a smile on my face and warms my heart.
May your family continue to reap the blessings that come from having a faithful missionary serving the Lord.
P.S. Here's the famous coconut syrup recipe. We have a seminary teacher here who cooks breakfast for his students once a year and shares this delicious treat. It is our family favorite and we love to share it as well.
1 cube of butter (No substitues!)
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of real buttermilk
Mix contents together and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Let boil for 2 minutes then remove from stove and add:
1/2 tsp. of baking soda
1/2 tsp of coconut extract
CAUTION: When baking soda and cocnut flavor is added and stirred in, the syrup expands to almost double the size! It's very foamy at first and needs to be stirred before serving. ENJOY! If you do have any leftover, which you most definitely won't, you can refrigerate and reheat before serving again. It looks a bit unusual but is worth the bravery required to try it. Elder Eldredge didnt' leave a single drop behind :)
A News Report on The Tragic Accident
ROCKFORD, Idaho — An LDS missionary from California remained hospitalized on life support Wednesday with injuries he suffered in a car crash Tuesday.
He was not expected to survive, a church spokeswoman said.
Taylor Shane Ward, 19, of Vacaville, Calif., was a passenger in the car driven by his companion, John Floyd, 20, of Deep Run, N.C.
Ward was taken to Portneuf Medical Center, where police initially reported incorrectly Wednesday that he had died. Officers later corrected the information and confirmed that he was in critical condition.
As the two missionaries travelled along state Route 39 just before 6 p.m. Tuesday, Floyd failed to yield at a stop sign where the highway intersects with 100 South in Bingham County, Idaho police said.
Floyd's car collided with the passenger side of a pickup driven by Joshua Morris, 23, of Blackfoot, Idaho, that was heading south.
Floyd was taken to Bingham Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for his injuries and released Wednesday morning. Morris was treated at the scene.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement Wednesday expressing "great sorrow" concerning Ward's condition and noting the death of 10 young missionaries this year.
Elder David F. Evans, executive director of the LDS Church's Missionary Department, said church members feel a missionary's death in a "deep and personal way."
"For the church and particularly for the families of these missionaries who have lost their lives, we know that the loss of even one missionary is far too many," Elder Evans said. "To these remarkable families, we extend our love, our faith, our hope and our prayers. And we pray that peace and comfort will be yours during these times of sorrow."
Evans also expressed his gratitude that accidents or deaths among missionaries are rare, and missionary work is inherently safe. He shared data from the World Health Organization revealing the mortality rate for missionaries is lower than it is for others in the same age group.
WHO reports approximately 205 deaths per 100,000 population of young people. The mortality rate of missionaries is less than one-twentieth that amount.
"Nevertheless, no statistics can lessen the pain of a missionary's passing," the statement reads.
The deaths do not represent a trend, Elder Evans said, emphasizing that the church provides health and safety training to all missionaries, as well as repeated safety instructions for vehicle and bicycle use.
There are more than 77,000 missionaries, including 70,000 young missionaries, currently serving around the world. The number of missionaries serving represents a 38 percent increase since this time last year.
Family members were on their way to the hospital from California, said hospital spokeswoman Brenda Stanley. She confirmed that the missionary was on life support and in "very critical condition."
Ward had been serving in the Idaho Pocatello Mission since July.
"Every member of the church feels the loss of a missionary. We are deeply saddened, and share with his family, friends and fellow missionaries in their grief. We extend to them our love, our prayers and our deepest sympathy," said church spokeswoman Ruth Todd.
Update: Elder Taylor Shane Ward passed away Wednesday September 5, 2013