Sister Alesa Renee Smith, 22, died Friday, Feb. 1, after being hit by a truck while she was on her bicycle. Sister Smith and her companion were riding single file along the road at about 8:30 p.m. when Sister Smith was struck by a truck from behind. She died at the scene. Her companion was not injured. Sister Smith had been serving in the Oklahoma Oklahoma City Mission for 10 months.
"The entire Church grieves at her passing and we pray for her family and friends at this difficult time," reads a statement released by the Church.
Sister Smith's parents, Douglas and Tracy Smith, and three of her four siblings live in the Benton Ward, Little Rock Arkansas Stake. Before her mission, Sister Smith attended Arkansas Tech University for two years, where she took general education classes as she tried to decide what she wanted to do. She then decided she wanted to serve a mission.
"She just had a burning desire to share the gospel of Jesus Christ," said Michael Beheshti, her stake president. "I think she thought that was why it wasn't clear to her what else she was supposed to do, because she was supposed to serve a mission first."
Sister Smith's two older sisters told President Beheshti that when she was 3 years old, they used to tease her and call her Nephi because she was always so strictly obedient.
Sister Smith's father is bishop of the Benton Ward. President Beheshti said Bishop Smith not only attended fast and testimony meeting just 30 hours after hearing of his daughter's tragic death, but bore a very powerful testimony.
"He made an indelible mark on my heart and the heart of his entire ward," President Beheshti said. "I will always remember, and his ward will remember, the feeling that we had as he bore testimony about his daughter and the gospel."
Oklahoma Oklahoma City Mission President Nolan Taylor said, "She was loved by everyone who knew her. She had a tremendous impact on a great number of people here. She was just a very loving, compassionate, dedicated, faithful representative of Jesus Christ."
President Taylor said the mission has been fasting and praying for Sister Smith's family. At this time of loss, he said, they will all have to rely on the Atonement and move forward in the work Sister Smith loved so much.