“Members Churchwide Coping with Adversities,” Ensign, Oct. 1999, 78–79
Near Ceibas, Argentina, eight people were killed and two people were critically injured when a minibus traveling through rain and fog to the Buenos Aires Argentina Temple collided with a large truck. All the passengers except the driver were members of the Rivera Uruguay Stake. “It is a great consolation to know that these youth and adults had, in recent hours, testified to their bishops and stake president that they were keeping all the commandments and living lives of worthiness,” said Elder Carlos H. Amado of the Seventy, President of the South America South Area. Hundreds of Church members and others in the community attended the funerals. Elder Cecil O. Samuelson of the Seventy, assistant executive director of the Church’s Temple Department, said: “Every precaution is taken to contract with reliable commercial carriers when temple trips are organized. Sadly, even the safest drivers with reputable companies cannot prevent all accidents. We offer our sympathies and prayers to those who are mourning the loss of loved ones.” The First Presidency also expressed condolences.
In Riverdale, northern Utah, an irrigation canal collapsed on Sunday, 11 July, and damaged about 70 homes with mud and water as high as six feet in some areas. Also affected were farmers whose pastureland was damaged and irrigation was interrupted, resulting in crop losses. Local priesthood leaders coordinated relief efforts, and about 2,000 volunteers from 45 stakes started cleanup efforts the next day. “Probably 60 or 70 percent of the homes were member homes,” said Carl Cook, president of the Riverdale Utah Stake. “But the mud didn’t differentiate between member and nonmember, so neither did we. We helped everyone.”
In Las Vegas, a severe summer rainstorm caused flooding that damaged numerous homes and businesses, including the homes of four member families. More than 100 Latter-day Saints assisted with cleanup efforts, and about 150 people took shelter in the Las Vegas Nevada East Stake Center after being evacuated. “We don’t have a lot of tragedies,” said David Efros, bishop of the Greenbriar Ward, Las Vegas Nevada Paradise Stake. “So this is the first time many have had to deal with a major disaster. But we’re coming through with lots of helping and giving.”
In San Manuel, Arizona, a copper mine shut down on 24 June, affecting 3,600 people directly or indirectly. Days later, local Church leaders opened a temporary employment center in the town’s LDS meetinghouse. Full-time and stake missionaries handed out 5,700 fliers informing people about the employment center, and 28 members traveled to Mesa, Arizona, for an intensive training course about how to run the employment agency. The temporary center offered not only job postings from all over southern Arizona but training in résumé writing, job hunting, and interviewing. “We have rallied around this community by having a stake fast for all those affected,” said Robert Ludwig, president of the Tucson Arizona North Stake. “The employment center was well received and contributed to a feeling of goodwill for all involved. Although the serious impact of this mine closure will be felt for months to come, the Church helped to fill a need at a critical time.”