Mormon missionary dies in Oklahoma car-bicycle collision

Alesa Smith, 22, of Benton, Arkansas, died after her bicycle was hit by a pickup in Woodward, Oklahoma, Mormon church officials said.
BY BRYAN DEAN bdean@opubco.com Published: February 3, 2013

“They leave school and friends and their young lives behind,” Taylor said. “This experience means a great deal to these young people. They learn so many lessons. They deepen their faith. They develop the ability to love people and to serve them and to care about people.”

Missionaries travel through communities, often on bicycle, knocking on doors to share the church's message, making them the face of the Mormon faith for many people outside the church.

“It is very important to the church,” Taylor said. “I think a lot of people would probably say that their first encounter with the church is with our young missionaries.”

Taylor said Smith's family is still working out funeral arrangements.

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