An Unexpected Blog Post (By My Dad)

The following blog post entry (or more accurately described as a journal of the last week) was written by Will West, Jennifer’s Father.  Jennifer expressly disavows any authorship:

Warning: very long.  Sorry.  Jennifer hasn’t had the chance to edit it down yet.

Monday February 22nd will be a day I will always remember.  It started out normally enough.  After a morning of shadowing one of our company’s sales people in Chicago, I spent the latter part of the day meeting with venture capitalists who were interested in SilverVue.  All-in-all a pretty run-of-the-mill day.

Well, there was one small exception.  That morning Jennifer sent a very unusual note.  In a message that was extraordinarily uncharacteristic for her, she said:

Is there something going on that you’re not telling me? I have this feeling which, when I’ve had it before, has meant that something was going on that you were keeping from me. It’s possible I’m being paranoid, but hopefully you don’t think that just because I’m on a mission it is acceptable to keep things from me or that you think you’re ‘sparing’ me being upset or something. So – is there something?

It was clear that Jennifer had some awful sense of foreboding.  She felt like something was happening or was about to happen and she wanted to know what it was, enough to send an unusual email to her family about her feeling.  Jennifer isn’t the type to say “the Spirit is telling me something is wrong”, but that is what she was saying, and it was strong enough to reach out and ask about it in spite of her normal desire to not seem overly “spiritual”.  We replied back assuring her that we didn’t know what she was referring to and that things were good at home.

In another short message to me on Monday, Jennifer encouraged me to make time to meet with the Senior Couples from the Kirtland Visitor Center.  Some weeks ago Jennifer had encouraged me to consider hiring someone that lives in her area.  I never get to Cleveland, but said that if any business trip brought me close, I would make time to meet with the gentleman in question.  She thought very highly of him and his family, and felt certain that I would like him.  A couple of weeks ago I saw the opportunity to get to Cleveland.  I had to be in Chicago for a few days, and then in Boston.  The week of February 22nd was when I could make this trip work.  I could get to Cleveland in between the two other cities.

Jennifer’s note about the Senior Couples on Monday when I was in Chicago made me want to adjust my trip to get to Cleveland a little early.  That is, I was now going to try to get there on Tuesday the 23rd, instead of Wednesday the 24th.  To be clear about our intentions, Jennifer and I were both committed to not seeing each other because we didn’t want to violate mission rules, but if she felt like it was worthwhile for me to meet certain people, then I was confident it was worth making the time to meet them.  I have a lot of faith in her judgment about many things including business matters.

In addition to the short notes, Jennifer had posted her weekly blog describing her mission experiences of the past week.  I had not had a chance to read the blog during the day because 1) they are generally long and I knew I’d need more than a few seconds to read it, and 2) I try to wait until I have enough time to really savor her outstanding letters/blog posts.

At about 7:30pm I returned to my hotel room in downtown Chicago.  I was triaging email when the phone rang at about 8pm.  It was President Brown.  The President of the Ohio, Cleveland mission.  He asked if I was in town.  He had understood from one of the senior couples that I was there.  I told him that I was still in Chicago, but that it was my intent to leave for Cleveland the next morning.  I assured him that neither Jennifer nor I had any intention or desire to see each other and break mission rules.  He assured me that he knew we weren’t planning to see each other.

This is when he broke the news.  He told me that my daughter and her companion, Sister Morrison, were in a serious car accident and that they had been Life-Flighted to an area hospital.  Both Sisters were knocked unconscious at the scene of the accident, and had remained unconscious until they were flown to the hospital.   Unfortunately, that was all he knew.  President Brown didn’t know anything about their injuries or the accident.  While it seemed like they must be alive since he was at the hospital trying to see them when he called me, we didn’t know if they were on the verge of death, or if they were just about to be released with minor injuries … although the whole Life Flight thing wasn’t a good sign.

President Brown explained that he would not have tried calling me at this point with such little information if he had realized that I wasn’t yet in town.  He apologized, and promised that he would get back in touch with me as soon as he knew more.

The next couple of hours were horrible.  I couldn’t do email, I couldn’t watch TV.  Nothing seemed right except prayer and watching my phone for more news.  I had decided not to call Lisa because I didn’t want her to suffer the way I was suffering waiting for more information.  My hope was that any minute now I would know more, and then I could call and give Lisa real news rather than just frighten her to death.  This is when I received a text from Lisa saying she missed me and wanted to know if I was feeling better (I had been sick on Sunday).  That broke my will, and I called home.

I told Lisa everything I knew, which wasn’t much, and promised I would call her as soon as I heard more.  We also discussed plans for getting us both to Cleveland as fast as possible. This is about when I received a text from President Hunt saying “Praying for the Wests”.  What did that mean???  Had he learned about what was happening?  Was it horrible news?  I called him immediately to find out what he knew.  He explained that he also didn’t know much.  I told him that I was planning to get to Cleveland immediately, and that Lisa was looking into how to get there fast via flights.  President Hunt wholeheartedly agreed that this was the right next step.

By 9:30pm, there were no more flights to catch from Chicago to Cleveland and no more trains I could take.  With all the downtown rental car agencies closed for the evening, I headed out to the Chicago O’hare airport to get a car as I knew Hertz at the airport would be open late.  By about midnight I was on the road.  Jennifer and her companion had initially been taken to a hospital in Madison Ohio near the scene of the accident.  Madison is a suburb that is about 45 minutes East of Cleveland.  Unfortunately, the hospital there was not equipped to handle the injuries and trauma that either young woman had suffered, so both were Life-Flighted from Madison to the Metro Health Hospital on the West side of Cleveland.  Actually, Jennifer was sent in a helicopter about an hour ahead of Sister Morrison because Sister Morrison was not even stable enough for the flight yet.  Metro specializes in trauma and was apparently an even better place to go than the Cleveland Clinic for car accident victims.

As I drove from Chicago to Cleveland I contacted the hospital to find out what was happening with my daughter.  The first time I called no one would tell me anything because “the tests and reports” weren’t back yet.  They promised to call back as soon as they had more information.  Two hours later they still hadn’t called.  In the mean time I was able to speak with President Brown.  He informed me that he and President Haymond, the local Stake President, had given both girls blessings of healing.  I had also begun to feel the tangible effects of many many people praying for Jennifer and her companion all over the country.  It was incredible how fast word had spread and people were beginning to pray and fast for these girls.  I had a very definite feeling that Jennifer was going to be ok.

By roughly 5am I arrived at the hospital.  Jennifer had been moved from the Emergency Department to the Trauma Intensive Care Unit.  When I got to Jennifer’s room she was not conscious.  In fact, she had not been conscious since the accident.  Both girls were knocked out in the crash, and did not regain consciousness for days.

We have since learned that the Sisters had stopped at the intersection of Lockwood Road and McMackin Road in Madison Ohio.  It is an intersection with a 2-way stop, with the stops applying to the traffic on Lockwood.  McMackin is a rural highway with a 40mph speed limit.  After the Sisters stopped, Sister Morrison who was driving, pulled into the intersection.  She clearly did not see the minivan coming down McMackin at 45mph (the speed reported by the driver of the SUV to police).  The SUV did not see the Sister Missionaries’ car pull out, so he did not slow down.  He hit the Sisters car at full speed right in the center of the left or driver’s side of the car.  When you send 4,000 lbs of metal into the side of a small car at 45mph it has a tremendous impact.  The girls’ car was thrown sideways far down the road.  Every airbag was deployed, and when both cars came to rest and the dust settled, the 24 year old male driver of the SUV was able to get out and walk away from the scene.  The two Sister Missionaries weren’t so lucky.  Both were unconscious and slumped forward.  Jennifer had apparently thrown up in her unconscious state before the ambulance arrived which seems pretty scary, but she was alive.  Sister Morrison was the most badly injured.  She had a crushed pelvis, two collapsed lungs, many broken ribs, and a cracked skull among other terrible but less serious injuries.  Jennifer had a non-threatening break in her L2 vertebrae and a partially collapsed lung that eventually self-corrected.  Both girls had mild bleeding inside the brain (as opposed to around the brain), and generally banged up.

No matter how you look at, the fact that these two sister missionaries were not killed instantly is nothing short of a miracle.  What was more amazing is that as they laid there in their hospital beds when I arrived early Tuesday morning, you couldn’t even tell that they had been in an accident … aside from the fact that they were being kept alive by breathing machines.  Their faces look perfect.  Beautiful.  Angelic.  Like they had just finished getting ready for church.  They certainly didn’t look like they had come from a car where the jaws of life had been necessary to extract one of them (Sister Morrison had been pinned in pretty badly).  I guess there was one sign on their faces of having been in an accident.  Both girls had big fat lower lips that we believe must have been caused by the airbags.  I LOVE AIRBAGS!!!!  The girls would not be alive without them!

I’ll admit that it was difficult for me to see Jennifer laying there with tubes coming out everywhere, but I was just glad that she was alive and in good hands.  Speaking of being in good hands, there had been many people including the Mission President and his wife, the Stake President, the Wynders who run the Kirtland Visitor Center, and members of the Perry Ward who were there most of the night that first night … some were there the entire night and the next day so that Sister West and Sister Morrison would never be alone until their parents’ arrived.  Sister Morrison’s parents weren’t able to get there from Edmonton Canada until Wednesday, so the sacrifice of being at the hospital was no small one on the part of these loving people.

During the day on Tuesday both Sister Missionaries were still out cold.  The doctors and nurses would come in periodically to poke and prod them to test their condition.  It would usually take loud/harsh talking and kind of mean poking or pinching to get them to respond at all.  I was with Jennifer all day so it was Jennifer that I saw being subjected to this treatment.  Although I was grateful and knew the medical professionals were doing what was necessary, it still hurt to see.  After the right “stimulation”, Jennifer would usually respond somehow.  Her eyes would open just slightly, or she might even lift her right thumb or move her right toe.  The left side was not responding at all to commands, but we knew there was some function because the limbs did move involuntarily some times.  After any response, she would return to a deep comatose state.  It was as if lifting one thumb, even with her eyes still closed, took every ounce of energy she could muster, and that she was completely spent when it was done.

While I had been driving, Lisa had been on a red eye flight to Atlanta.  She arrived at the hospital by around 11am.  The Mission President, who had all of 2 hours of sleep, picked Lisa up from the airport and brought her straight to the hospital.  Any service we needed was being offered before we could even ask for it.

Even though there was a mountain of service being provided on our behalf, it was just the tip of the iceberg.  There was an absolute torrent of emails and text messages from people expressing their love for Jennifer and our family, and promising that they would be praying for us and putting Jennifer’s and Sister Morrrison’s name in the Temple.  By Tuesday night their names were in Temples from Madrid Spain, to California.  One woman who had been reactivated along with her husband by Jennifer and her companion visited us in the hospital and told us that she had called to put Jennifer’s name on the rolls of 15 temples … and this woman didn’t even have her Temple Recommend yet.  We also had multiple wards starting ward fasts within 24 hours of the accident including the Perry Ward where Jennifer and Sister Morrison were serving, the Lone Hollow Ward, and the home ward of the Morrisons in Edmonton Canada.  I had business associates, former business associates, and friends of all faiths expressing messages of love, faith, and prayers.  It was overwhelming.  I knew that no matter what Sister West’s and Sister Morrison’s ailments were (and we didn’t yet really know) that they would be no match for the powers of heaven that were being called upon by so many wonderful caring people.  I bear witness to the fact that the power of prayer is real and tangible, and that it has played a role in the recovery process for Jennifer and her dear companion.

Tuesday evening we even received a call from Dallin Oaks, one of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  He talked to Lisa and assured her that the Brethren were staying very close to the situation and that Sister West and Sister Morrison were on the prayer roll for the Quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency for their meeting that upcoming Thursday.  He also said that they were being remembered in the personal prayers of every member of the Twelve.  Wow.  Talk about firepower.  No wonder I had the feeling Jennifer was going to be ok.

When she was told about the Twelve and First Presidency praying for them, Jennifer later commented in true Jennifer fashion “Gee, that sounds like overkill for a little accident”.  She still didn’t understand how serious the crash had been, but we all found it to be pretty funny.

If all the prayers, Temple Rolls, and Church leadership attention wasn’t enough, we were already seeing some of the small miracles of missionary work taking place in this process.  The Community of Christ held a special meeting in the Kirtland Temple (which they own) on Tuesday to pray for Sister West and Sister Morrison.  Wow.  How often does that happen?  To have the Community of Christ gather in the Temple to pray for Mormon Missionaries???  That has got to be a first.  And if that wasn’t enough, there is a Muslim Mosque in Germany that is praying for the girls this week.  Truly incredible.

Even with all the prayers, this was a serious accident with serious challenges.  The worst part of the ordeal, at least for me, came on Tuesday morning when the doctors thought they might be able to remove Jennifer’s breathing tube.  Actually, it wasn’t just a breathing tube.  There was also a tube going into Jennifer’s stomach to suck out the fluids that collect there.  The whole thing was gruesome, and I was excited at the prospect of getting as many tubes disconnected from Jennifer as possible.  However, to make this possible, Jennifer had to be able to breath on her own, which meant she had to demonstrate the ability to breath, which meant she had to be conscious enough to demonstrate that she could breath.  To make this happen, they stopped giving her sedatives and pain killers.

While turning off the various medicines had the desired effect of creating pain that would wake her up, it also made her aware of the tubes going down her throat into her stomach and lungs, and she DID NOT like it.  Jennifer was constantly pulling at the restraints, choking, and tearing up.  She was pleading with her eyes to have the tubes removed, and trying to get at them herself.  The restraints were just part of what looked like nothing short of torture, but if she had pulled the tubes out herself she would likely have done damage to her throat and airway.  They couldn’t let that happen, so the restraints were necessary.

Finally on their second pass by the room on Tuesday morning the doctors came in and tested Jennifer to see if she had enough control of her body to breath on her own.  While she was thrashing and pleading, they told her very firmly that the tubes would come out if she would raise her right thumb, then if she would wiggle her right foot, then she had to move her left thumb and wiggle her left toes.  There really wasn’t much movement on the left side still, but they could tell she was trying and that was enough.  The tubes were pulled out.  It was truly a horrible process.  Hard to even think about again, but as horrible as it was, it was just that wonderful to see her laying back with only oxygen being delivered to her under her nose through a very small and simple tube that wrapped around her ears.  No more tubes going deep insider her.

Once again, Jennifer was out like a light.  She was breathing, but the extubation process took all the strength she had and she was out for the day.  By that evening she was starting to open her eyes and even started moving her left hand and foot on command … sometimes.  Progress was happening.  She was getting better, and it was just 24 hours after the accident.  The prayers were working.

At the same time, Sister Morrison was getting good and bad news that was confusing the process about when and which surgery she would have.  The worst part of all this indecision was that it was delaying when they could consider removing her breathing tubes, which everyone knew would only make recovery harder for each day they were left in.  The good news for Sister Morrison was that her family was finally able to make it to Cleveland Wednesday morning to be by their daughter’s side.  I should add that we spent part of a morning in Jennifer’s hospital room with the Morrisons reading some of Jennifer’s blog posts.  We shared laughs and tears as we read a small portion of the stories that entertained and inspired.  Jennifer is a gifted writer, and I suspect that she will be able to simply put her letters together in a binding (if she is able to complete her mission), and she’ll have one of the best missionary books ever written.  Through this and other experiences this week, we have come to love the Morrisons.  Judith, Jeff, and Isabella (Sister Morrisons 14 year old sister) are all special people.

The final happy event for Tuesday was the arrival of my sister Kate and her husband Tony Strike.  They live in Cincinnati and knew that we could use some moral support, so they got in the car and drove up.  They were with us for two days, and their help and company was priceless.  Sweet President and Sister Brown made room for both the Wests and the Strikes at the mission home.  They did this not only without complaint, but with welcoming arms.  We had actually received offers to stay in many homes in the Perry Ward, and in the apartments at “The Sites” (referring to the Kirtland Visitor’s Center related sites), but staying with President and Sister Brown seemed like the right thing.  Their beautiful home was there to house missionaries as they came and left, but they wouldn’t need rooms for missionaries for another week or more.  Nevertheless, it was still a sacrifice for them to house us, and we were extremely grateful.

It was Wednesday morning when it was clear that Jennifer could move her extremities on command, and use her right thumb to respond to commands/questions.  For example, she could say what her pain level was by the nurse counting down from 10 and stopping when Jennifer put her thumb up.  The eyes were still shut, but she was communicating.  Actually, Jennifer’s eyes would sometimes open just a little, and just for a few seconds.  Usually when the medical staff was sort of yelling at her, and then sometimes when one of the senior couples from the Kirtland Visitor Center would come into the room to visit her and she would recognize the voices … Jennifer obviously has a wonderful connection with these fantastic senior couples.

In one of the many small miracles, Jennifer was out of the ICU by Wednesday night.  For someone who had survived a violent car crash and was mostly comatose for the better part of two days, it was remarkable that she was recovering as fast as she was.  By Wednesday night we were communicating regularly with Jennifer and she was using words to tell us what she wanted.  She even stunned us by being capable of taking a short walk outside her hospital room.  Ok, she was being heavily supported by two physical therapists, but anything other than laying on her back with her eyes shut was a marked improvement, so a short walk was outstanding.  She was still not fully coherent, and when they put her back in bed she was out cold, but the progress was still amazing.

Thursday morning the miraculous recovery continued.  Jennifer didn’t do well with her physical therapy evaluation (at that point we were being told she would have to be released to an acute rehab center).  The good news was that she was communicating with short sentences, and her eyes were opening for longer periods of time.  By Thursday afternoon, Jennifer actually had a long conversation with President and Sister Brown.   That again took all her energy and she was out afterwards for many hours, but later in the evening she was talking again.  In fact, she couldn’t stop talking about all the people she and Sister Morrison had to get in touch with.  People that were counting on them.  People that needed them to show up for appointments when they had promised, or that were going to be there for the Book of Mormon Club, or just needed a visit.  Jennifer was all business.  I had to start sending some messages to members to reassure her that the work would continue and that people would not get dropped or ignored.  Caring for the people that she and Sister Morrison had been working with was all Jennifer could think about.

The final thing I’ll mention about Thursday is that Sister Morrison was able to have the major reconstructive surgery done on her shattered hip.  The surgery went perfectly.  What that means is that Sister Morrison will likely be able to walk … after 6 months of rehab in Edmonton … after waiting three months before putting any weight on her hip … after waiting three weeks in the hospital in Cleveland before being medivac’d to Edmonton.  And this all means that Sister Morrison’s missionary journey is through.  She will be released very soon, but she is already done as a missionary.  She served for one year, and she served very very well.  She worked hard, and she was happy.  The Lord is happy with her service, and the people of Ohio that knew her are grateful for her and love her very much.

Thursday night Lisa decided to take a turn sleeping overnight at the hospital, and I went to sleep at the Mission Home.  It was great to sleep in a bed for the first time since Sunday.  Friday morning we were all in pretty good shape, including Lisa who had managed to sleep pretty well in the chair in the hospital room.  Jennifer was awake for a number of hours on Friday, with a small nap in the morning, and a big nap from about 1pm to 6pm.  Apparently one of the important aspects of healing from brain trauma is sleep, and Jennifer’s body knows it.

Friday morning the physical therapist took Jennifer on a little walk, and helped her to the bathroom.  She passed the evaluation and the therapist said that for her part, she was ok releasing Jennifer to go “home” rather than to an in-patient facility.  Friday afternoon the “Cog Eval” doctor came by to do the Cognitive Analysis.  I’m embarrassed to say that Jennifer not only passed, but she did a better job than Lisa and I did as we took the exam in our minds while it was being administered to Jennifer.  Things like remembering the words “Tulip, Square, and Healthy” in that order while another word puzzle was being administered.  Be being able to repeat the words in the right order was one of the things we would have both failed, but Jennifer did not.  Jennifer was asked very difficult things like remembering what happened just prior to the accident, and her first memory after the accident.  If you asked me about my evening a week ago, I’d be hard pressed to give you details, but Jennifer did a great job.  The evaluation was thorough, and in the end the doctor declared that she was definitely ready to be released as long as the medical people were ok with her release.  Pending the appropriate functioning of her intestines, we received the medical ok that she could go.  Since that final checkbox didn’t get taken care of on Friday by the 7pm shift change, we knew we would be leaving on Saturday.  All clearances were given with the caveat that she still needed 24 hour care by me and/or Lisa.

Now all of a sudden, and certainly more quickly than any of us expected, we needed to figure out what we were going to be doing once Jennifer was released.  Were we going home?  Were we going to Jennifer’s Madison apartment?  Were we going to one of the apartments at the Kirtland Visitor’s Center.  I pinged President Brown (copying President Truman Hunt, our home Stake President) asking if we could meet to determine the next steps.  The final disposition of things has yet to be determined, but for the next two weeks it looks as though Jennifer will be staying on-site at one of the small homes on the Church’s property next to the Visitor’s Center.

Yesterday (Saturday) was a comedy of errors.  After something of a long drawn out process in getting released from the Hospital, we determined that we would meet Sister Morrison’s family at the Sisters’ apartment in Madison.  When we got out there, we discovered that the key chain which had been recovered from the crash site had no keys on it.  We had no way to get in to the apartment.  A long chain of phone calls led to us to going to the Towing Facility to see if we could look through the wreckage of the car to find keys.  No one was there, so as we looked around we found the car that had crashed into the Sisters’ car.  It was mess.  It was a new Chevy mid-sized SUV or “crossover” vehicle.  From the driver’s seat and back, it was in perfect condition.  In front of the windshield, everything was compressed to just a foot or two.   The Sisters’ car was in a locked area, and when someone arrived he told us the police wouldn’t allow anyone in.  He couldn’t even tell us if there were other keys attached to the ignition key.

So, we went back to the girls apartment and called a locksmith.  About the time the locksmith had given up (he was no Sherlock Holmes), we got a call from the sergeant at the police station that had been working this case.  He apologized profusely for our having been turned away at the tow yard, and assured us that if we returned, we would have full access to the vehicle.  So, back we went.  It was amazing to see the car up close and personal.  The driver’s seat was, well, not a seat.  It was shrunken and angled up so that you really couldn’t sit in it.  There was no room at all for the driver’s legs.  The cupholders between the two front seats was big enough to put a straw in, but certainly not a cup.  It is a miracle that Sister Morrison wasn’t torn to shreds, and I do not understand how either girl survived.  You can call it whatever you’d like, but to my way of thinking, the only logical explanation was that there were angels watching over these young women.

Well, we found the key to the apartment and again drove back to Madison to where the Sisters lived.  The Morrisons set to work packing Juliana’s things, and Lisa and I packed up Jennifer’s things while Jennifer slept in her apartment bed.  We didn’t get everything, but we got almost everything.  Certainly as much as our car would hold given that it already had Lisa’s luggage, my luggage, and a bunch of flowers.  Lisa will go back during the next couple of days to get the apartment cleaned up for the next pair of sisters who will live there starting this coming Wednesday.

This morning, as a wonderful conclusion to the week’s events, Lisa and I were able to attend a special YSA sacrament service held in the Kirtland Temple.  The Mission President, the Stake Patriarch, and the Stake President spoke.  The truly special part of the meeting was during the testimony session.  The Young Adults that spoke ranged from returned missionaries to a young man that bore the final testimony that wasn’t yet a member.  One young sister talked about giving her baby up for adoption.  She happened to be African American, so I was doubly impressed with her testimony because of the Church’s history.  The next sister talked about her mission, and how her mission president used to always say “What a blessing!” whenever anything bad would happen to one of his missionaries.  She said the he would seriously say that for all bad things.  Even when she had diarrhea.  What a blessing! He later made the point that hard things are the things that get us on our knees talking to God, and are therefore great gifts.

I’ll never forget this young man who talked about how all his friends are either dead or nearly in the gutter because of drugs and other issues.  As he looked across the group, he said “I didn’t think people like you still existed”.  He closed by saying that he believed the Church was true and that not only had he quit smoking, but that his mother has as well.

It was an incredible experience to be in that building where so much of the Gospel was revealed.  Where so much of Church history was created.  Where the Savior stood.  It was indeed one of the many tender mercies of this difficult and wonderful week that we could be in this great building and partake of the Sacrament.  Once again, we felt blessed.

Jennifer isn’t yet ready to be on her feet or do anything resembling a missionary schedule.  However, she is recovering at a speed that is amazing everyone.  Many minor concussion patients respond less well than Jennifer has, and Jennifer is not a minor concussion patient.  She was hit broadside by a car going 45 mph.  Nothing minor about that.  When I now see pictures of the accident scene, I truly can’t believe that either girl survived.  Their little car was thrown 30-40 feet sideways down the road.  Almost 4,000 lbs smashed into them at high speed, and yet they are going to be ok.  It seems very likely that in a couple of weeks when they do the follow up brain test, they will determine Jennifer is largely recovered.  But, brain injuries are tricky things and it may be some time before Jennifer will be able to resume a full work load.  Regardless of the timing and direction of her missionary work going forward, it is a nothing short of a miracle that Jennifer is alive and doing as well as she is right now.  We feel blessed beyond measure.

Right now we are in an apartment in a little house Kirtland right next to the Kirtland Visitor Center.  It has been wonderful to meet so many of the special people who are associated with the Ohio, Cleveland Mission, and the Kirtland Visitors Center in particular.  To live for just a couple of days in historic Kirtland right next to the Whitney Store where the School of the Prophets was held, and where the early Saints made their home is be a very special experience.

In our meeting in the Kirtland Temple this morning, the Stake President referenced a scripture in Section 88 of the Doctrine in Covenants.  In verse 3 we read “Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples …”.  Lisa and I have felt this Comforter this week.  We know that we have a Father in Heaven that loves us.  We know that it is indeed his work and his glory to attend to our eternal happiness.  For Jennifer’s well-being, and for the great love of our Eternal Father, we are more grateful than words can express.


21 thoughts on “An Unexpected Blog Post (By My Dad)

  1. My son Elder Hunter Ogle was the district leader for these two sisters until he was transferred at the end of January. They served in the same ward. Praying for these dear sisters. Sounds like miracles have already taken place! So glad they are going to be ok.


  2. My husband and I were members of the Perry Ward. We are now living in NV. Thanks for sharing this inspiring story. We love and miss all of the members and missionaries there. We know how special it is to have lived most of our lives in that blessed part of the country. We will remember these sisters in our prayers.


  3. Very much enjoyed your perspective. And, I have enjoyed reading Sister West’s blogs. Love her perspective of life and the Gospel. She goes back to being a missionary at Historic Kirtland Visitors’ Center tomorrow!


  4. Dear Brother, thank you for sharing this traumatic, faith-requiring time in your, and your daughter’s, lives. I am so glad her recovery is going well. Bless you for recognizing heavenly help. I believe it is showered upon us in our trials; seeing it is, perhaps, part of the test. Again, thank you. Heather Burton
    PS This is our story. I, too, am fully convinced our missionaries are watched over and cherished by God. We each have so much to be thankful for.


  5. Thank you for sharing this very tender and deeply personal experience with so many of us. You do not know me; I am just another Missionary Mama but I cried through this post. i was so touched to read of so many people the world over that have been praying for these dear sisters. I will add my prayers for their continued recovery and also prayers of gratitude for the miracles they have already been recipients of. What great evidence of our Father’s love for them to share with their families one day.


  6. I pray for you dear sister, daily. Time will heal you completely, I am certain. May your sweet companion continue to heal as well.


  7. We are a past Kirtland senior missionary couple. The sisters have been in our prayers ever since the accident. May our Fathers most choice blessings be with both sisters and both families.


  8. May the Lord continue to bless and heal these wonderful sister missionaries. May their families also be healed and uplifted as they help their precious daughters strengthen and heal.


  9. To all who have read the post and have shown such love and support, we are deeply grateful! You love, concern, and prayers are an important part of the blessings and healing associated with this process.


  10. I hope she doesn’t edit a thing! What a beautiful testimony and courageous journey. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal journey through one of the most difficult situations a parent may face.


  11. I used to live in the Perry ward. They are wonderful people who I know love these sweet missionaries. Kirtland is a truly special place to be. We currently live in St. George, UT…..but a large part of our hearts are still in OH. We have praying for your daughter and her companion and have put their names on the temple roll. Thank you so much for the update. What a true miracle!


  12. I’m so thankful that Jennifer is recovering. What an agonizing and heart wrenching experience this has been for all of you. Your detailed description of each day is priceless. My heart aches also for Sis. Morrison and her family…….also the mission president. My prayers are with you all. Jennifer’s name and Sister Morrison’s name are also on the prayer rolls of the Denver Temple.


  13. I received access to this post through Alicia Whitaker, who served in the Chardon Branch (Kirkland Stake). I am currently a member of the Perry Ward where Sister West and Sister Morrison have been serving. It has been a sacred experience to fast and pray for these two lovely sisters and we are all so thrilled and grateful they are doing so well. We will continue to pray for a full recovery for both of them.


  14. Hello,
    to some relatives I don’t think I’ve met, yet.
    What an amazing story of, blessings. I feel for you all, I’ve not experienced the same missionary child experience. But I feel the sinking pain of your hearts as a parent of two ICU critical children just four years ago one month apart. I too received countless blessings from that and the testimony strength of the power of prayer and fasting and temple rolls from all over. Along with the power of the priesthood blessings.
    Will, thank you for sharing such a close and personal story. I’m grateful prayers were answered and the support from strangers.
    May your missionary continue her recovery.
    I’m Amos L. Herget’s daughter,
    Amos & Sue, first cousins.


  15. Will and Lisa,
    What a marvelous recounting of faith, prayers and miracles. Thank you.
    Our prayers, join with yours, for the complete recovery of Jennifer and Sister Morrison.


  16. Thanks so much for all the details Will. It’s so comforting to read about Jennifer’s progress. We will keep on praying for Jenn and Sister Morrison for the best possible outcome of this life-changing event. So glad that Jenn can continue with her mission and we know that angels will keep on watching over her.


  17. Thank you so much Will for sharing this with us. We are so grateful that Jennifer is ok and doing better than expected. We are continuing to pray, especially for Sister Morrison. We look forward to more updates.


  18. Bishop thank you so much for the update!! We have all been praying constantly for her. She is such an amazing young lady and so loved. So happy to hear how she is improving! 😉


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