I was very saddened to receive a phone call from my mission president, Gene Chidester, yesterday informing me that Kyrna had passed away on Sunday of colon cancer. She was a very young 27 so it came as quite the shock. President Chidester asked me to think of a memory and write a few things down about her that he might be able to use in case he spoke a little bit at her funeral. Anyone who knew her or knew of her knows what kind of an awesome person she was. So this is what I wrote to him:
"It's hard to express the love you have for someone sometimes. I find myself in that situation right now. As I reflect on the time that I had as a companion with Kyrna, so many cherished memories come to mind. Of all my companions, she definitely struggled the most learning and speaking the Spanish language. Consequently, I struggled trying to help her with it while still teaching. During all that struggle over those 6 weeks we were together, Kyrna became a great example of faith. Regardless of her struggle, I have never seen anyone try so extremely hard to better herself in that aspect and many others. She always wanted to do better. She had an innocence about her that reminded me of a child. With that she had such a sweetness about her. She cared so much about everyone. She just had a hard time expressing her thoughts and feelings, in English or Spanish. I truly loved Hermana Papenfuss and admire her. I know that I am a better person for having known her. I honestly can say that I never heard a negative word come from her mouth. She pushed me forward constantly and gave me hope. Even after the mission she was very thoughtful in sending pictures, cards, wedding gifts and little notes. She was such a loving person.
One particular day, we had been working extremely hard and had been receiving a lot of negative opinions and comments from those we visited. We were both drained emotionally, physically and mentally. Before heading to our next appointment, "we stopped by the house to use the bathroom and, before leaving, we said another prayer. We both needed it, cause as Kyrna finished it, we were both bawling. It was what we needed. It brought us closer and gave us more patience." I know that she was inspired to ask the Lord for strength and guidance. I am so glad that she followed what she felt. We headed off to have a discussion with our investigator, Maria Jose, who accepted to be baptized. Kyrna and I both learned a lot that afternoon and in our time together. "