Family of 19-year-old who died moments after reading his mission call says he was ‘always peaceful’

Aug 4, 2023, 7:10 PM | Updated: Aug 7, 2023, 6:36 am

PROVO, Utah — The family of 19-year-old Liam Mildenstein is still in disbelief that he died moments after opening his mission call.

The family from Miami, Florida, drove to Provo, Utah, last week to be with family. On the way, his Church stake president let the family know that his Latter-day Saint mission papers have been submitted. While in Utah, Liam’s family got the news that his mission call was in.

“He said, ‘Mom it’s here’ and so we put together a quick thing with people on Zoom, people at the house, and it just kind of went from there,” said Rebeccah Mildenstein, Liam’s mother.

His parents said he had always wanted to continue a family legacy and serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Japan.

“His whole life he has just loved that family connection and wanted so badly to go there,” said Jared Mildenstein, Liam’s father.

On Tuesday, surrounded by loved ones Liam opened his mission call to Tokyo, Japan, and collapsed.

“It went from such extreme joy and pride to, you can’t explain it,” Jared Mildenstein said. 

His parents told KSL he had no known medical conditions.

“He had a physical to submit his mission papers, he was healthy. We’ve been to waterparks, in gyms working out, just doing our vacation, and there was no sign of anything,” Rebeccah Mildenstein said.

Instead of focusing on how he died, the family is now celebrating how he lived, calling him a “gentle bear.”

“He was always peaceful in every circumstance. He loved Christ and he loved the Gospel,” Jared Mildenstein said. “The biggest thing about him is that he was a writer and a storyteller. He really liked being in the message of things and getting his point across.”

The family is finding comfort in knowing he is in a better place and believes he is serving that mission on the other side.

“He was called right there to go to work on the other side and we know he’s there,” Rebeccah Mildenstein said.

The Mildensteins are grateful for the support from the community and said that love is helping them get through this difficult time.

“There has been global outreach of people trying to show their love and support for him and us, and we are grateful. We can’t even comprehend everything that’s happened,” Jared Mildenstein said.

The family told KSL they are planning memorial services for their son in Provo and plan to bury him with his mission tags that are being sent to them by the Church.

A GoFundMe* account was set up to help the family with the unexpected funeral costs.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Family of 19-year-old who died moments after reading his mission call says he was ‘always peaceful’