Luke Masakazu Carter, 18, of Springville has been serving his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since November in the Texas Fort Worth Mission.
On Tuesday, Carter and his companion, Elder Eli Jon Fowler, 20, of Pueblo West, Colorado, were killed in a head-on collision in Denton, Texas.
LDS Church Spokesman Sam Penrod released the following statement on the incident:
“We are saddened to share news of the passing of two young missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who were killed in a head-on traffic collision on Tuesday in Denton, Texas. The missionaries were both assigned to the Texas Fort Worth Mission and are:
“Elder Luke Masakazu Carter, 18, of Springville Utah. Elder Carter began his missionary service in November 2020.
“Elder Eli Jon Fowler, 20, of Pueblo West, Colorado. Elder Fowler began his missionary service in January 2020.
“The cause of the accident is being investigated by local law enforcement,” Penrod continued. “It occurred during a heavy rainstorm. The driver of the other vehicle is hospitalized. Both missionaries were wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident.”
As in all situations involving the death of missionaries, the church extends its sympathy to the families and friends of the deceased.
“We express our love and deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Elder Carter and Elder Fowler and to the missionaries in the Texas Fort Worth Mission. We pray that all will be uplifted by the Savior’s love and feel comfort during this difficult and trying time,” Penrod said.
No more information was released on the two missionaries.
Facebook friends are sharing the news stories and sympathies as well. As missionaries, the two elders used social media to teach people to come to Christ.
One post on Carter’s page noted: “My heart is absolutely broken and devastated. I was Facebook friends with both Elder Luke Carter and Elder Eli Fowler. I can’t say I knew them well but I saw their faces on my newsfeed often and always enjoyed following their missionary journeys. My heart goes out to both of their families and all of their close friends. Please lift up your prayers to those most affected.”
Others reported by the church who have died in 2021 include:
Elder Saintlouis Pointdujours Dortilus, 24, from Haiti and began his missionary service in September 2020. He died in January from health complications.
In March, Elder Fernando Antonio Ramos Garcia, age 21 from Juayúa, El Salvador, died after drowning in a river in the municipality of Nahulingo, Sonsonate.
There are approximately 54,000 full-time missionaries serving throughout the world at present.