As a former missionary and mother living in Oklahoma, my heart is very heavy this week. The news of the tragic death of Sister Alesa Renee Smith while serving as a missionary in my home state has deeply affected me.
While I didn’t know Sister Smith personally, I felt great empathy for her parents and family. I wanted to do something to help them, something to help ease the pain that I knew they were suffering. I felt helpless until my daughter asked me to write something that might comfort Sister Smith’s family and others who were feeling the same as I was.
I cannot begin to imagine the pain and sorrow that Sister Smith’s parents and loved ones are experiencing. I know that there are no words that I can express right now that will take that pain away, but I hope that my words can give some measure of comfort to them.
I want them to know that we in Oklahoma are mourning with them. We add our prayers to those of many unseen parents, missionaries and church members around the world. We are grateful to them for sharing their daughter with us and for the service that she gave to us so freely.
I hope that they will take comfort in knowing that their daughter lost her life in the service of her Heavenly Father and her fellow man. She spent the last ten months of her life in full time service to others. I know that Heavenly Father will bless them for her sacrifice.
I am grateful for my knowledge of the message that their daughter taught. I am grateful for my knowledge of the plan of salvation and for my testimony of Jesus Christ and of His resurrection.
Alesa knew that we will live again with our Heavenly Father. She knew that we can live together forever as families. She knew this and she gave her life trying to bring this knowledge to others.
We are sad now, but if we believe the message that she taught, we know that her loss is a temporary one. We know that she is serving the rest of her mission beyond the veil where she is waiting for her family to join her one day.