Chris Yokoyama [known by his friends as “Beans”] was with two of his friends when their car crashed and Chris died. Darren Haslam, 18, was driving the car and escaped mostly unharmed. The other passenger, Christopher Evanson, 18, received a severe head injury and was in a coma.
“When Chris Yokoyama died, it was really tough for me,” says Darren. “It was tough that I had nothing wrong with me, just a fractured elbow, and they—one was in critical condition just trying to survive and one had passed away.” ~from “He Wanted to be a Missionary“~
This story is one of tragedy, but also one of faith and of how an understanding of God’s plan of happiness is an anchor in our lives to help us through trials and pain. Read about how seminary (an LDS Church scriptural education program for youth) helped all the youth who were affected by this tragedy — both Mormon youth and also many of their friends not of our faith.
“A lot of these kids were lost,” says Darren. “A lot of them came to the seminary building, and they just broke down. I think they felt the love of Jesus Christ. They started to understand the Atonement.”
The testimonies of these young people is inspiring. Through this difficult experience, they share how their faith in Jesus Christ and in His gospel have grown.
Christopher Evanson feels that he has a stronger testimony as a result of his experiences. “I just love our Savior so very much. I felt His constant love, and I built a love for Him within me. I forgot a lot of things up in the hospital, but not once did I ever forget how true the gospel is, and how much I love my family. Every part of the gospel makes sense and is true.
And, in this video from youth.lds.org (also on Mormon Messages for Youth) hear more from Darren about how he faced the survivor’s guilt, the grief, the confusion, and the other emotions he felt after this horrible accident. Darren shares how he went to God with many questions and much pain — and how, over time, he received poignant and powerful answers.