By Brad Taylor, President, Korea Seoul Mission | May 21, 2019
This article touched my heart in so many ways! First of all, President Brad Taylor, Mission president of the Korea Seoul Mission, and his dear wife Sister Ann Taylor lived in our Stake boundaries for a few years. President Taylor served as a counselor in the Stake Presidency with President Homer, who has since been sustained as a General Authority Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
President and Sister Taylor were amazing examples to us, and their excitement for the gospel of Jesus Christ and love for the youth of the Church was self-evident and indisputable. They have a zest for life that is infectious and having them around was always pleasurable. They were a couple so in tune with each other and to the Spirit, and they found joy in all that they did, even if it was tedious. I find enjoyment in following them on Facebook and feel happiness at the joys they experience and share.
As a convert to the Church, I tried putting myself in the shoes of the missionary in this article. I can’t even begin to imagine the fear and confusion he felt as he had lost his memory of his previous conversion to the Church and have to relearn everything he was taught under the conditions he was in. I love this story and love the miracle we read about in the life of Elder Euiyoung Beck, but also about the prayers and the joy experienced by all those that loved this faithful Elder. ~Emilia Julian
Tragedy struck our mission in South Korea on April 8, 2019.
Elder Euiyoung Beck, a native South Korean missionary serving in the Korea Seoul Mission, suddenly passed out for 20 minutes following a routine military drill weekend (a normal military leave required for Korean young men). In the blink of an eye, this high-energy, much-beloved missionary lost all of his memory from 2015 to the present day.
In addition to every imaginable trial that comes with such an affliction, Elder Beck’s memory loss included one additional, very significant challenge: he had become miraculously converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ in 2016 through an Alma-like conversion story for another day. In fact, back in 2015, he was engaged (by his own telling) in “riotous living” and had been for the prior 16 years. “The last memory I have in my life is getting way too drunk with my army friends at a party back in early 2015,” Elder Beck recalls.
Fast forward to April 2019, the problem now was that everything he had ever known, learned, or experienced about his conversion, his mission, or his testimony was completely erased from his memory.
The doctors confirmed that his body and all other vital functions were 100 percent healthy. There seemed to be no explanation for why this missionary would lose so much of his memory.
Caught in such a bizarre situation, Elder Beck started to counsel with his parents about what he should do next with his life. His assumption was that he was still serving in the military. When his parents informed him that he was currently serving as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he was shocked. But his parents recall that despite his memory loss, there was a light of Christ in him that caused tears to well up in his eyes. Although he’d been inactive most of his life, it had always been a secret dream of his that someday he’d be close enough to God to be a missionary. This caused him to immediately respond by saying, “If you tell me I’m a missionary, I’d like to get back out to my missionary service!”
One day later, Elder Beck’s amazing parents brought him into the Seoul mission office with faith, hope, and a lot of trepidation as they prepared to send their son back on his mission. There happened to be a training event at the office that day, and about 30 of his fellow missionaries were present when Elder Beck arrived. It’s hard to overstate how much this elder is beloved by his fellow missionaries. He is a spiritual, gregarious, joyful person who is deeply loved by all. One of his companions said, “I think each of us secretly thought that ‘when he sees my face, it’ll surely spark a memory that will open the floodgates.’” That feeling explains why his return to the office that day was so hard. One by one, all of his dear missionary friends greeted him with hugs and high hopes that were quickly dashed as he was a solemn “deer in the headlights,” unable to recognize anyone. The Elder Beck we all knew and loved was just completely gone, and it was so painful.
All of his fellow missionaries desperately wanted to do something. As a mission, we made a giant banner with a picture and a personal note from each missionary in the hopes that their faces and memories would help to stimulate his.
The entire mission also immediately resolved to hold a special mission-wide fast and prayer for him that Sunday.
The fasting and prayers continued as the weeks rolled on, but excruciatingly little changed. There was continued deep concern in Seoul. We had removed him from his old ward area, but as word spread of the tragedy, the members of his previous area traveled in large numbers to visit their beloved Elder Beck in his new area, hoping that they might be the ones who could spur his memory. Even people he had been teaching were distraught and started sending him pictures, letters, and even scriptures to inspire some recall. Missionaries called every day in hopes of some sign of progress, but painfully, there was little to report.
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