Missionary Dies from Fall in Micronesia

Contributed By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer

  • 27 March 2014

 Elder Miller Toa poses with his father, Kaiser Toa, and his mother, Vei Toa, outside the Provo Utah Temple on the day in April 2013 when he arrived at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. Toa, 20, of Layton, Utah, was nearly halfway through a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he died Thursday of injuries suffered in a fall.  Photo courtesy of the Toa family.

WENO, MICRONESIA

Elder Miller Edward Toa, a missionary serving in the Micronesia Guam Mission, died after injuries sustained in a fall on March 13. The young man, from Layton, Utah, had been serving for 11 months at the time of his death and was 20 years old.

“Elder Toa, who began his missionary service in April 2013, had been serving on the island of Weno,” Church spokesman Cody Craynor said in an article in the Deseret News. “We are saddened at Elder Toa’s passing and extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Elder Miller Toa snaps a shot of himself during his mission in Micronesia. Toa, 20, of Layton, Utah, was nearly halfway through a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he died Thursday of injuries suffered in a fall. Photo courtesy of the Toa family.

Elder Toa was serving on the island Weno, which is one of the 607 islands included in the Micronesia Guam Mission.

“Elder Toa was a quiet guy,” said Bishop Kenneth J. Ott, bishop of the Fort Lane Ward in Layton, Utah. “His physique was chiseled and he was a natural leader, humble, and quiet. Once he decided to do something, everybody would follow behind him. He was such a great leader.”

Prior to his mission, Elder Toa went to Australia for a few months to earn money to pay for his entire mission.

“He wanted to make sure he footed the bill for his mission,” said Bishop Ott. Remembering when they were working together on Elder Toa’s mission papers, Bishop Ott said, “It was such an exciting thing. He could not wait to serve the Lord.”

The scripture on Elder Toa’s missionary plaque is found in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, where it refers to “things which are not seen are eternal.”

“It’s a scripture that is really a deep scripture,” Bishop Ott said. “To understand it before his mission, that would be something that would describe Miller.”

Elder Miller Toa walks with a missionary companion in Micronesia. Toa, 20, of Layton, Utah, was nearly halfway through a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he died Thursday of injuries suffered in a fall. Photo courtesy of the Toa family.

Bishop Ott said that in several of his emails home Elder Toa talked about service.

“He and the other elders there found it very helpful first to serve the people—serve before they would teach.”

“He was just a fun-loving guy who always had a smile on his face,” said Bishop Ott. “He was a wonderful example of quiet humility, with an outstanding testimony and spiritual strength.”

Elder Toa leaves behind his parents, two sisters, a brother, and a large extended family. A funeral was held on Saturday, March 22, at the Layton Utah Stake Center located at 60 West Gordon Avenue, Layton, Utah.