Elder Loader never really planned on serving a mission. He said “I grew up in a good family however, I just didn’t see myself as a missionary”. 

As he got closer to 19, the pressure to serve increased. He knew if he didn’t go on a mission it was unlikely he’d have many girls to choose from when he eventually wanted to marry.  So he prepared for his mission and submitted his papers.

For whatever reason he’d decided to go, he was about to embark on one of the toughest missions in the world: Accra Ghana, Africa.


After fourteen months in the mission field, Elder Loader received a transfer call to go out to the furthest area away from the city: Nuamakrom. Here people were very poor and mostly lived in mud houses with dirt floors and corrugated iron roofs.

Not long after arriving Elder Loader started to feel sick. “It slowly got worse, I was awake for a few nights with a fever, sweating uncontrollably. I drank 7 litres of waters, we didn’t have any power, so there was no fan to cool us down”.

The next day he was able to get a taxi 30 mins to a neighbouring town with a small hospital. The wait there was a couple of hours before his headaches became so painful that he started to cry. A nurse saw him wiping his tears from under his sunglasses and took him and his companion to an examination room.

The room had concrete floors and the fans didn’t work. “It was so hot in that room, there was no air flow and the mattress I was sitting on had no sheets, it was old and stained”.


Elder Loader in the old hospital, now with a sheet on the mattress.

Elder loader hadn’t been taking the mission prescribed medication for malaria, “I’d been fine for so long, I only knew of one Elder who had malaria previously and it wasn’t that bad at all”.

Elder Loader was now given some some new medication and told to drink lots and lots of water. He wasn’t sure how much to take, but he was able to stay with a mission couple for a few nights where he started to feel better.

On returning to his area, he felt tired but was sure that the malaria had gone away. A few days later his legs started to swell up, at first he wasn’t too concerned. They had planned to go to a high profile funeral, where they’d be contacting many non-members attendees. Many of the missionaries were planning to be there, as was the Mission President.

On the drive to the funeral Elder loader’s condition got worse, “It started in the car and by the time I was putting chairs out at the funeral, it had become really bad again, I felt very dizzy and then everything went black”.

Elder Loader was now unconscious. His companion alerted the other missionaries who anointed  and blessed him. The Mission President took him to the city hospital in Accra, Ghana.

“Three days later I woke up in a hospital bed, I had no idea where I was. There were people in the room, telling me where I was”. Elder Loader was in and out of consciousness. “One moment I remember waking up and playing Uno with the assistants, then I was out”. Elder Loader was on medication, but the malaria had spread to his brain, so he had occasional seizures and black outs.


Elder loader with local kids in Ghana

When he was stable, his Mission President asked him “Elder Loader, if you would like, we can send you to a hospital in the US and can finish your mission with an honourable release”.

On hearing his mission president, Elder Loader knew immediately what he should do, “It was like a surge of emotion. I didn’t really start my mission with the right intentions, but now I was feeling a sudden rush of love for the people here in Ghana, in that moment I understood exactly who I was and why I was there”.

Elder Loader declined his mission president’s offer and recovered quickly in the field. Before he retuned home he was privileged to baptise a lady who had given up almost everything to keep commandments and join the church.


Elder loader and companion with last baptism.

Elder Loader said “It was all worth it, to understand who I was, and see this lady join the church and receive a calling in the primary presidency meant everything to me. Before I contracted malaria I took so many things for granted, including my family. It’s was not easy at the time, but it’s helped give me the testimony I have now and I wouldn’t change it for the world”.

Note: Thanks to Elder Loader, missionaries in Ghana now have a different policy which reduces the likelihood of contracting and mismanaging treatment of malaria.

If you liked this, you’ll love: How we baptized a whole village

5 Responses

  1. Vic

    I’m so glad he made it! My son served in the Accra, Ghana mission. He always slept under the mosquito net, always took his meds every day. He got malaria but was only sick for 1day because of the daily meds plus they started him on medication at the first sign of symptoms. He only missed one day of teaching his whole missionwhen he got a sinus infection. A senior couple noticed he’d been feeling sick and took him to a doctor. Antibiotics did the trick. I am thankful for mission presidents and their wives, senior missionaries, mission doctors, and the health rules in place to keep them safe. Sometimes you just get a bad mosquito out there. Glad the mission is always improving their health guidelines!

  2. Brook Lowther

    Great article! I know Elder Loader and thus was a growing experience for him as well as his family and friends. An example that many of us can relate to. 🙂

  3. Carie Edwards

    My son served 2 years in the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission. He also was sent to the furthestmost town for most of his mission. He took his meds every day faithfully but right before he came home he contracted Malaria. He suffered alone for 4 days sweating profusely with fevers so high he prayed he would not have brain damage. He also, did not have electricity so no fans or even ice or cold water to help cool him down. He went unconscious several times and his companion had to catch him and ease him to the floor. This was happening at the height of the Ebola outbreak and he feared for his life. After 4 days he began to feel better. He slowly regained his strength. He finished his mission strong and felt his Priesthood blessings saved his life. He has been home 17 months now and is married. He got really sick a couple weeks ago with fevers at 106. He said he felt just like he did in Africa. We took him to the hospital where they sent him home after they got his fever down saying it was just a virus. Several more visits every 48 hours finally got him admitted and we kept telling the doctors he contracted something in Africa (We never had an actual diagnosis because he never saw a doctor in Africa) They kept telling us it’s been too long since he’s been home. They finally ran two tests for Malaria and they both came back positive. He is home now and on medication to cure him once and for all. My son LOVED his mission and LOVES the people of Sierra Leone!! If you ask him it was all worth it!! I just hope that if his story can help some of these returned missionaries from these remote countries then it was worth writing. These things can come back later and they need to be checked. I just can’t believe he did the first time on his own because this go round he had IV’s and ice packs and meds to control the fever and he looked like he was dying. So thankful to a Heavenly Father that blesses and watches out for his servants!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.