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Missionary killed in Argentina

Elder Nathan Scott Godfrey wanted to get a doctorate degree in aeronautical engineering.

"He wanted to design and fly airplanes," his father said.

But on Sunday, Godfrey, 19, was killed fulfilling another one of his dreams. The Kaysville resident was electrocuted in the town of Gualeguaychu, Argentina, while serving in the Argentina Rosario Mission, a statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said.

A 13-year-old boy was in a deep puddle and Godfrey jumped in to save him. A power line made contact with the water. Both died at the scene, the statement said.

"He was where he should have been, doing what he should have been doing. We take comfort in that," Godfrey's father, Scott Godfrey, said.

"He was a fine young man. He was serving his Heavenly Father," said Bishop Michael Flood of Kaysville's Columbia Heights Ward.

Godfrey had been in Argentina since Jan. 1.

"We got lots of letters," his father said. "He just talked about how he loved the people, the struggles to learn the language. Typical missionary kinds of things."

Godfrey wanted to serve a mission since he was a small boy. He worked hard to save the money for his mission, his father said, since he was a child. During the summers of high school he worked at Cherry Hill water park and miniature golf course in Kaysville and put away the income for his mission.

Nathan Godfrey, the fourth of nine children, was born in Wyoming. He lived in Missouri and Virginia before the family moved to Kaysville five years ago, Scott Godfrey said.

"He loved to mountain bike and rock climb," Scott Godfrey said. "He used to tutor children, help them with their studies."

He graduated from Davis High School in 2002, his father said. He was a conscientious student, excelling in math and science, which nurtured his dream of pursuing aeronautical engineering.

"I just remember his smile," his father said.

Funeral arrangements are pending. Godfrey's death was the second missionary death reported this year. An elder collapsed and died on Jan. 22 while playing basketball at Provo's MTC.

It's also the second accident involving a missionary from Kaysville in the past three years. Daniel B. Roundy was one of four elders who perished in a January 2000 car crash in Iowa.

Elder L. Aldin Porter, a former member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and now an emeritus general authority, said a few years ago that young men and women serving as LDS missionaries throughout the world are relatively safe compared to their contemporaries who are not on missions.

"It's so rare. The safest place in the world for young men and women of that age is in the mission field," he said.


E-mail: lhancock@desnews.com