clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Utah woman dies while hiking during her Latter-day Saint mission in Switzerland

Twenty-year-old died after slipping and falling down a steep incline, church spokesman Daniel Woodruff said

Sister Annabelle Nielsen, 20, of Highland, Utah, died after falling down a steep incline during a hike in Switzerland, where she was serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020.
Nielsen Family

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah woman died Tuesday after falling during a hike in Switzerland, where she was serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sister Annabelle Nielsen, 20, of Highland died after slipping and falling down a steep incline, church spokesman Daniel Woodruff said.

Nielsen, who graduated from Lone Peak High School in 2017 and studied at BYU before beginning her mission in July 2019, was serving in the Alpine German-Speaking Mission.

Sister Annabelle Nielsen, 20, of Highland, Utah, died after falling down a steep incline during a hike in Switzerland, where she was serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020.
Nielsen Family

“We express our sincere condolences to her family and loved ones,” Woodruff said. “We pray they will feel the peace and comfort of our loving Heavenly Father as they deal with this tragedy and honor her life. We also pray for the other missionaries who were with Sister Nielsen at the time of the accident and are working to provide them with the necessary support as they process what happened.”

Nielsen’s family learned about the tragedy Tuesday afternoon, said President Rodger Lyman, the first counselor in the Highland Utah Central Stake who served as a family spokesman.

“Annabelle was a sweet, sweet young girl, just a wonderful young woman,” Lyman said. “We’ve known her almost her whole life. Just fun, fun to be around, very kind and loving, very active.

“The family is struggling, as anyone would, but keeping the faith.”

On July 1, Nielsen expressed her belief in the Latter-day Saint doctrine of eternal families in a Facebook post.

“I’m always thankful for my family!” she wrote in German. “They are truly a blessing. I thank God nearly every day for them and for the support I get from them. I LOVE my family and know we can still be a family after death. This is possible thanks to Jesus Christ.”

“She had a great desire to serve a mission for the Lord,” Lyman said.

Nielsen, who played high school tennis at Lone Peak, did not have the same disruption many experienced by many other missionaries serving outside their home countries during the pandemic. The church temporarily sent home and later reassigned the majority of foreign-serving missionaries, but kept in place those serving in two dozen European missions.

“She spent all those months in an apartment learning a new way to do missionary work and was very resilient with that,” Lyman said.