A missionary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has returned to full-time missionary service after sustaining life-threatening injuries in Toronto, Ontario.
On 16 February 2012, Elder Tyler James Johnson was doing missionary work near a busy intersection when a vehicle that had been involved in an accident veered onto the sidewalk and struck him. Johnson sustained severe head trauma resulting in significant brain injury and multiple bone fractures on the left side of his head and body.
Johnson’s parents, Trevor and Cherie Johnson, left their home in Taber, Alberta, to be at his bedside. “Tyler was not in good condition,” his mother said. “[The doctor] suggested we come to Toronto as quickly as possible.”
After many hours of surgery, Tyler Johnson spent the next three weeks in a medically induced coma. His mother said those first few weeks were truly miraculous. “From the moment we arrived in Toronto, we felt comfort and peace as the Spirit helped us be prepared for whatever outcome we might face. … We were ministered to by many loving hands. … Each time we had a specific need or concern, someone or something came along and filled that need at the perfect time and in the perfect way.”
After three long months in a Toronto hospital, Johnson was stable enough to go home to Alberta to continue his recovery. Over the next 14 months, he worked closely with several doctors, occupational therapists, personal trainers and other specialists, enduring painful physiotherapy appointments and working tirelessly in rehabilitation. Johnson’s constant progress exceeded medical expectations. He was determined to be healthy enough to return to Toronto.
When Johnson told people that he wanted to return and complete his two-year mission, he was often met with surprise. But his mother explained, “That has always been the plan, and it has been Tyler’s singular focus and motivation. … He loved the people [in Toronto] and he loved missionary life! His greatest desire was to bring people to Christ.”
“He has never once expressed negative feelings about the changes in his life but always comments that he believes he will be able to draw on this experience to do good things.”
Elder Johnson re-entered the mission field on 23 September 2013 and is currently serving in Pickering, Ontario. “I’m excited to find the people who are here prepared to learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he says. “I was always planning on coming back; I can’t think of anything else that would be better than serving my mission.”
Mission President Brent Scott, along with his wife Anne, welcomed Elder Johnson back into the area. “We are very grateful to have Elder Tyler Johnson once again serving with us here in the Canada Toronto Mission. He has shown great determination and faith during his recovery. He knows that the gospel of Jesus Christ can help heal the spiritual wounds and fears in the lives of those he meets with each day just as he has been healed physically. His greatest desire now is to share that faith with others.”
“We are so thrilled and grateful to see this day!” says his mother. “We have immense gratitude for all who have helped Tyler in his recovery. He is ready and able once again to go forth and serve!”
The Church’s missionary program is one of its most recognized characteristics. Every week, hundreds of young men and women between the ages of 18 and 25 from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leave families, friends, school and careers and travel to one of 405 missions around the globe. There are currently over 80,000 missionaries serving throughout the world.