Through service and sensitivity, four elders in the Japan Sendai Mission were able to soften a tragic blow for a family within their mission boundaries.
They felt impressed to walk into a gorge near their mission home, but the trail was closed because of construction on a bridge overhead. However, after talking to the construction workers, they were able to get permission to proceed.As Elders Brian Hatch of Heber City, Utah; Brian Call of Bountiful, Utah; Shinya Maki of Fukuoka, Japan; and Yoshifumi Fukui of Kobe, Japan, were walking, one of them looked over by a river that ran through the gorge and saw what appeared to be a body. The elders made their way to the spot and found an 82-year-old man who was still alive. He was barely breathing and was unconscious. It had been raining and he was covered with mud. He had fallen off a cliff and had been laying where he landed for two days.
Two of the elders went for help and the other two stayed with the injured man. They took off their shirts and wet them in the river and tried to clean the mud off the man. They also gave him a blessing.
It was very difficult to get the man out because the gorge was narrow with sheer walls. Authorities tried to fly a helicopter in, but that turned out to be impossible. He was finally carried out on a stretcher.
The man was taken to a hospital where he died three weeks later.
His family was so grateful to the missionaries for finding him. Family members and others had been looking for him for two days and had no idea what happened to him. He had been a renowned teacher in the city where he lived and was also a great storyteller.
After the man died, the missionaries visited his family. The man's wife cried and cried as she expressed gratitude to the elders for finding her husband. The entire family was impressed with the fine young men who represented the Church so well. Family members said the missionaries brought such a good warm feeling into a home where there was much sadness.
The elders were truly guided by the listened to the Spirit. Had they not taken that route, it may have been months before anyone would have found the man.