Mission leaders die in plane crash

Pres. Jose M. Jimenez and his counselor Julio Afre boarded a small aircraft Nov. 22 to return to Guatemala City after a successful conference in the Flores District that is located near the Mayan ruins of Tikal.

They were "tired but happy" following the record attendance at the conference, according to their priesthood leader, Elder Carlos Amado of the Seventy, president of the Central America Area.About an hour later, the twin-engine airplane encountered stormy weather and struck the side of a mountain. All 12 passengers and the pilot were killed instantly.

Pres. Jimenez, 46, of Puerto Rico, had served as president of the Guatemala City North Mission since July. He had served as stake president, patriarch, and mission president's counselor. He was the regional manager for the Church's area office in Puerto Rico until his calling as mission president.

He is survived by his wife, Daisy, and four children, ages 15-22.

Pres. Afre, who had lived in the United States, returned to his homeland where he operated an import/export business. He had served as a counselor in a stake presidency and as bishop. He is survived by his wife, Maritza, and five children, ages 8-16.

Elder Amado said the mission leaders were doing well in their callings. "Pres. Jimenez and his family were very friendly. In only five months they gained the hearts of the members.

"Pres. Afre was a very active person," said Elder Amado. "His desire was to live in Guatemala as long as he was able to."

"All the people here are very sad," said Elder Amado. About 600 attended memorial services Nov. 23 for Pres. Jimenez during the morning, and more attended the afternoon funeral services for Pres. Afre.

Elder Amado said of the wives of the two mission leaders: "It was very impressive to see these two ladies at the services.

Both of them are so strong in the faith. They set a good example for all members."

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