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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended April 30, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 09May00

Summarized by Jennifer Livingston

Companion of slain Morgan missionary now at WSU
Ogden UT Standard-Examiner 29Apr00 P2
By Joe Pyrah: Standard-Examiner staff

PLAIN CITY, UTAH -- One year ago, Elder Jonathan Barrett was killed while serving an LDS mission in the African country of the Ivory Coast. Elder Barrett was stabbed through the heart in an act motivated by racist sentiment. His native mission companion, Elder Pacome Georges Zokou, encountered difficulty in hailing a cab to take Elder Barrett for emergency treatment. Barrett passed away en route to the hospital.

Elder Zokou was distraught, and even considered ending his mission immediately. After many prayers and conversations with church leaders, Elder Zokou decided to stay and finish his mission.

One factor which helped Elder Zokou make his decision was a touching conversation he had through the help of a translator with Shelly Paige, Barrett's mother, just one day after the accident.

"I just felt really close to him. He was trying to explain what was going on. He was agonizing over things and I told him not to worry," Paige said.

Just two weeks ago, Zokou arrived in Utah with plans to attend Weber State University in the fall. He will be staying with the Paige family, which has been instrumental in making this opportunity available to Zokou. Paige explained that the family was inspired to assist Zokou in his education because of her son's deep love for the people of the Ivory Coast.

"I really felt that Jonathan loved the people so much that he would like us to help. We decided that if Pacome could come here and get an education then he could go home and make life better for him and the people around him," said Paige.

Zokou explained that the tragedy has strengthened his faith.

"When you pray, don't pray for an easy life, pray to be strong,"he said.

Zokou plans to study business administration in the fall and hopes to return to the Ivory Coast as a bank manager.

A fund established by the Paige family in Jonathan Barrett's name will help pay for Zokou's education and other charitable ventures. Contact the First National Bank of Morgan, P.O. Box 870, Morgan, UT 84050 for more information.


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