Family and friends remember senior Latter-day Saint missionary killed crash in Vanuatu
Jul 24, 2023, 7:53 PM | Updated: 7:54 pm
RIVERTON, Utah — A Riverton community is mourning the loss of a dear neighbor, friend, and a senior missionary killed in a tragic accident.
Sister Marina Carver, 59, who everyone knew as Rina, died on her birthday while serving a mission on a small South Pacific Island for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
She and her husband were hit head-on by a car that veered into their lane, according to the Church.
“I’m just heartbroken there are no words that can express how hard this is and how hard it’s been to get that news,” said Connie Edwards, Carver’s sister-in-law to KSL TV.
Edwards and her husband, who are from Helper, Utah, are also serving a mission for the Church and are in West Virginia.
“She was just an amazing person. She loved everyone, and she judged no one. To lose such a great person is just really hard,” she said.
Sr Missionary from Riverton killed overseas in a tragic accident being remembered for her kindness, love for others and zest for life. Her story @KSL5TV at 6. @Ch_JesusChrist pic.twitter.com/pDe8O3vne4
— Dan Rascon (@TVDanRascon) July 24, 2023
Cindy Westover and Tammy Ball, who live in the Carvers neighborhood in Riverton, are two of Rina’s best friends. Both are still in a state of shock and disbelieve that their friend is not coming home.
“I still can’t believe it. It’s still unbelievable,” said Westover, who has known Rina for over 25 years. “I miss her very much.”
“It’s not even real it’s not real that she’s gone,” Ball added.
Rina died on Friday after getting into a head-on collision on the small south pacific Island of Vanuatu, where she was serving a mission with her husband, Richard. The two were coming home after celebrating her birthday. Richard is in a hospital in Australia with several broken bones but is expected to recover fully.
“She was my best friend. She was someone that I could talk to and just a wonderful person. Just a wonderful person,” Ball said.
“I loved her so much. We have done so many things together and had crazy times,” said Westover. “She just had a zest for life, and even in the worst situations, she could pull something positive out of a bad situation. That’s who she was.”
And they say she loved her mission.
“She was getting so much out of it. She was getting as much as she was giving,” Ball said.
But despite how hard it is, family and friends say Rina would want them to press on.
“One of those people that she will never be gone. Her body might not be here, but she will always be here,” Westover said.
“I think she would be up there saying, guys, just pick up where I left off and just serve,” Edwards said.