Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Missionary dialogue of a recent accident and 
miraculous blessing of recovery among Idaho missionaries

On Tuesday mornings we always have District Meetings to attend.  We were at a district meeting in Declo, preparing to begin.  We were waiting on Elder King and Elder Silver.  A fantastic missionary companionship.  Elder King was training Elder Silver.  The transfer had begun one week earlier.  We keep trying to call them and see where they were.  No answer.  I then received a phone call from Elder King in which he told Elder Bennett and I to come to the hospital in Burley as soon as possible.  We hung up the phone and told the district what was going on.  We all left for the hospital.

When we arrived, we were greeted by a fireman in a pink breast cancer shirt who had ridden in the ambulance with Elder King and Elder Silver.  He briefed us on the situation. Bare in mind we still didn't know what was going on at this point, all we were told was that we needed to be at the hospital by Elder King.  Elder King had been having some medical problems and so we thought it was for him.  The fireman then told us that elder Silver and Elder King had been doing a service project and they had fallen off the back of a trailer.  He then told us that Elder Silver was in critical condition with possible brain damage and that they needed to life flight him out to Pocatello to a head trauma unit there.

We eventually found out that elder Silver and Elder King had been doing a service project for a non-member couple, moving two storage sheds.  They were accompanied by a member father and son, whose truck and trailer they were using.  They had decided to screw the floor of these sheds into the bed of the trailer to hold them on.  Also for further support, the elders were riding in the trailer in the sheds.  It was a windy, stormy day.  They were going about 25 MPH down the road when a gust of wind came up and blew the sheds off of the trailer with the two missionaries inside. Elder King got beat up pretty bad with a gnarly hamburger elbow. Elder Silver was knocked out.  He had hit his head really hard.  The two emails from President Curtis that I will send along with this email details Elder Silver's head injury a bit more than I am going to in this email.  They will also tell of his miraculous recovery.

This all happened on Tuesday, October 8, 2013.  District meeting was at 10:30.  We were at the hospital from 11:00 to around 3:00 in the afternoon.  I am happy to report that Elder Silver is doing much, much better.

The couple that they were moving the shed for lives in the area that Elder Bennett and I serve in.  We met with them the other day and hopefully we can begin teaching them in the future.

I'm not sure if I said anything about this, but the stake which Elder Bennett and I serve was recently split this transfer in terms of missionary work.  We used to have three sets of missionaries.  Now we have four.  It's so neat to see the work move forward like it is.  Swiftly and rapidly.  We are able to do so much more and get to know the wards much more intimately as we work with two or three wards.  Elder Bennett and I still cover four wards, but the other two sets only cover two each.  We also have another set of sister missionaries in our stake that cover the Spanish branch.

Good Morning Mighty Elders and Sisters, 

Thank you for your prayers and fasting on behalf of Elder Silver.  Let me share some background that you may or may not have already heard and an update on his status.

Elder Silver, a truly exemplary missionary who arrived from the Mexico City MTC just two weeks ago tonight, and his companion, the mighty Elder King, were injured in a service project last Tuesday morning.  Elder King's injuries proved to be painful but not serious.  Elder Silver received severe head trauma and was unconscious.  After a blessing by his companion and initial care at the Cassia Regional Medical Center, he was taken by Life-Flight to the Portneuf Trauma Center in Pocatello where he is in the intensive care unit.

The trauma of the accident caused swelling to the brain. The doctors removed a hand-sized portion of his cranium to allow the brain to expand and heal.  The cranium is in cryogenic storage - to be reattached in a few months.  The neurosurgeon found some bruising on his brain and continued the induced coma for two and a half days to allow time for the brain to rest prior to bringing him out of the coma for short periods starting on Friday.  In his first episode out of the coma on Friday, he reacted to pain in his extremities but was not responsive to verbal commands.  On Saturday, he was responsive to verbal commands including shaking his head, squeezing with his right hand, and lifting and moving arms and legs.

Yesterday the breathing tube was removed and when he awakened, he recognized and talked with family members and his memory was good up to just prior to the accident. The rate and level of progression over the first few days is somewhat extraordinary (I would say miraculous); he likely still has a considerable period of time to fully recover.  Thank you again for your prayers.

Some of the other events surrounding the incident are also interesting.  elder King went with us to the trauma center on Tuesday.  As we waited for updates on Elder Silver's condition and results from surgery, Elder King greeted each of the two-dozen-plus other people in the waiting ICU room and asked about their family members being treated in the unit.  His arm is in a sling and walking with a limp, Elder King went from group to group giving comfort and support to each person - young and old.  A few days later he assisted, at my request, Elder Silver's mother and grandmother to visit people involved in the accident.  In his visit to the non-member couple who were the intended beneficiaries of their service, they offered consolation and Elder King asked and received an invitation to return and teach them.

The Silver family in Ohio has received an outpouring of love and support from members and non-members alike.  Their stake called for a stake-wide fast for Elder Silver.  When students at his high school (almost all are non-LDS) learned about the fast, they committed to fast with the family and members.  The Silver family was receiving numerous offers of meals.  A family friend created a website for those interested; the site thanked them for their kindness and suggested that if they wanted to do something for Elder Silver, they could invite a set of local Latter-day Saint missionaries to come to dinner and have them explain a little about what Stewart Silver was doing as a missionary in Idaho.

We are very grateful for God's blessings for Elder Silver, Elder King, and their families, and each of you dedicated missionaries, 

President Curtis

Elders and Sister, 

First, an update on Elder Silver:  The speed and extent of Elder Silver's recover to date have been miraculous.  Every day has brought significant progress towards recovery.  By mid-week, Elder Silver was eating solid foods (including the tootsie rolls sent from his zone), walking with some assistance, and listening to and discussing the powerful book Jesus the Christ.

By Thursday, he had been moved from the ICU to a regular hospital room and then to the Rehab unit on the top floor. He continues to do well with the evaluations of his memory and other capabilities and has enjoyed visits from family members.  He is walking and climbing stairs with less support.  Eldr Silver still has a long way to go including about three months before reattaching the portion of his skull and likely some months of therapy after that, but his progress so far is exceptional.

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