Sunday, August 30, 2009

KXLY News 4 Story on Zerin . . .

Aug 29, 2009 7:04 PM PDT

SPIRIT LAKE, Idaho -- A terrible accident has cut short a church mission for a Spirit Lake man. 20-year-old Zerin Petersen was paralyzed in a slip-and-slide accident and now his family is reaching out for help to welcome him home.
At Petersen's home in Spirit Lake, all the drywall, nails, and door jams must go. It's exhausting work, but the family's garage needs to be transformed into a special bedroom for Zerin.
Zerin's father Chris Petersen has been tirelessly working on the house to ready it for his son's return.
"We're going to create a bathroom where he can take a shower in a wheelchair," said Chris.
Zerin broke his neck while playing on a slip-and-slide two months ago. He was four months into his two year mission.
"He went down and somehow tried to flip or something," Chris said. "He caught his head, snapped his neck, so basically right now he doesn't have use of his lower body."
Despite the devastating diagnosis, Chris says his son is still smiling.
"Between his faith and his ability to overcome challenges, I think that's made him very positive that he's going to overcome this challenge," Chris said.
It's these qualities that Chris says Zerin learned as a boy scout.
"When his boat broke down, when he taught sailing camp, he would skip his lunch break to work on the boat," recalled Chris. "He's always overcome the adversary and kept moving forward."
Zerin is expected to be home on October 1st and his bedroom is yet to be finished. The entire remodel, including new drywall to get his room ready, will cost thousands of dollars.
It's money the Petersen's don't have and neighbors say the family is too proud to ask for donations. So these same neighbors decided it was time to take action. Nancy Brown e-mailed KXLY to help spread the word.
"I just had to do something," said Brown. "This family needs help, they are the best people you'd ever want to meet and so many people love them."
You can also go to to see the news story video.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Today we were updated with the news that Zerin now has feeling in the bottom of his feet, and can move both thumbs! This is tremendous news. Zerin is such a positive person, full of life, and a hard worker.
We know he can and will make more progress. It may be slow, but he'll get there.
Not long after he had his accident, a gentleman took the time to drive up to the Boy Scout camp where Zerin's father, Chris, was working. He spoke with Chris, wanting to let him know that he had suffered the same type of injury as his son. The doctors told him he would be paralyzed, and never walk again.
He said it took over a year to start to get some movement back; now, not only can he walk, but he can run! The message that he gave us was to never give up, that Zerin can be healed.
We have the same faith and home, here in Zerin's home ward, and also within our home. My nine-year-old son, at each and every prayer he gives, mealtime or evening prayers, he always includes Zerin and says, "please bless that Zerin will recover soon and be able to get back on his mission".
Oh, the faith of a child is so pure. . . I pray that his prayers will be answered, that the faith of my child will fulfilled.

Monday, July 27, 2009

An Update from a Ward Member...

The following update is copied from a comment in a previous post. Hearing from people who have seen and visited with Zerin is much appreciated by his friends and family back home, and by all who care about the Petersen family.

My husband and I are in one of the wards Zerin was serving in when he had his accident. We visited him in the hospital this afternoon and were amazed at his progress. He was able to lift one hand from resting in his lap up to his armrest on his wheelchair all on his own. He also is able to feel his ankles and Achilles tendon and I think some toes. He said he's working on moving his fingers. He was so talkative and positive and just seemed full of life. We wheeled him outside for almost an hour and let him sit in the sun by a water fountain with his mother.

He was excited that he'll be able to go out on a "field trip" to a lake next week with the rehab group. He's also looking forward to having water therapy in a pool starting next week. We were so impressed by both his and his mother's spirits today. He said they like to have visits from local ward members, especially on weekends when he doesn't have therapy.

Keep praying, it's definitely working!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Craig Hospital

Earlier this week, our prayers were answered and Zerin was accepted into the Craig Hospital program. He is working hard, has a great attitude, and is a model patient.

He has regained some sensation in the Achilles tendon of one foot. Today he will be on the power bicycle, to move his muscles and keep them limber. He also has sensation in his hands and movement in an elbow and shoulder.

This week he was wanting to feed himself, and has enough movement in one arm to do so, but not enough feeling in his hands. His dad reminded him of that, and he said "just duct-tape a fork to my hand!"

He also really enjoyed talking on the phone to his younger brother, Javen.

If anyone would like to contact Zerin directly, his address is:

Craig Hospital
3425 S Clarkston St Room 305
Englewood Colorado 80113

Thank you so much for your concern and prayers.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

. . . Amazing Details

This young man is the son of one of the Boy Scouts of America executives in our area. As you would expect, he was raised to enjoy the Scouting program and all it has to offer. He is an Eagle Scout, which is earned by approximately 4% of all Boy Scouts. Not only that, he did what few Eagle Scouts do: he went above and beyond to earn what is called the Bronze, Gold, and Silver Palms, which are awards beyond the Eagle Scout Rank. So, he has taken many First Aid courses along the way.
Zerin was also trained in the capacity of a Lifeguard for his summer job at his hometown's local water park.

As soon as Elder Petersen landed on his neck, he tried to get up. He immediately collapsed and realized that he had a spinal cord injury. Would he have known that without the training that he had received? Likely he would have not.

He called out to the other missionaries that were present and rushing to his aid and said "I have a spinal injury. Don't touch me!" Clear thinking by this amazing young man likely saved his life and himself from further injury.

My husband, upon receiving a call about the accident, rushed out to the Boy Scout camp where his parents, Chris and Mari-Beth Petersen, and his brother, Javan, work during the summer, to deliver the horrifying news. With a heavy heart he told the shocked parents the information he had been given. Elder Petersen's parents rushed home, packed, and flew out to Denver early the next morning.

A little information about this young man's parents: Chris Petersen works as the regional executive of the BSA in our area. There are young men throughout the Northwest and the state of Alaska that have, with the support of his wife, Mari-Beth, been affected by the work that he does. Chris has touched the lives of literally thousands of young men and helped them grow into knowledgeable, hardworking, and productive young men. He works long hours during nine months of the year, and in the summers he lives -in a small, dusty cabin- at Boy Scout camp, and directs the activities that occur there. As his children have grown, they and his wife have joined him to work there during the summers as well. He is also known as "Abe", and if you have ever met him, you would know exactly why.

Zerin worked summers there at Camp Easton with his father, and became, according to Tim McCandless, Scout Executive & CEO, one of their top staff members "whom we counted on to lead and positively influence other staff members. His specialty was sailing instruction, and hundreds of young people in the Eastern United States learned to sail with his training". High praises from a well respected Boy Scout official.

The members, missionaries, and the mission Presidency of the Colorado Springs mission and the Denver area have pulled together to coordinate housing, transportation, and everything else that the Petersen's might be in need of during their stay. This may seem a miracle in itself, but to members of the Church and the people that care about the Petersen's and the LDS missionaries, this is the way we look after and take care of each other. We are blessed to be a part of a loving ward (our local congregation), and to be members of a church that considers one another to be brothers and sisters; quite literally, a family.

Another amazing detail -

The Denver/Colorado Springs area is home of the Swedish Medical Center, a Level One trauma center and ranks among the top Neuroscience programs. It is also designated as a Neuroscience Center of Excellence (COE). One of the world's best neurosurgeons operated on Elder Petersen.

Adjacent to the hospital is the Craig Hospital, which is an internationally known leader of spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation.

***All of our prayers are needed for him to be accepted into the rehab program at Craig Hospital.*** There is no better place for him to be in the country, and quite possibly the world, for him to get the care that he now needs.

His recovery will take some time. There has been trauma to his spinal cord, and the swelling to the spinal cord from the injury and the surgery to repair the vertebrae (C4) is the most critical factor right now. Four to five months has been suggested for his stay in Colorado for physical therapy.

His progress so far - He has some sensation in his hands, and can lift one arm a bit, and twitch the other. He feels soreness and some pain in his back, and in this situation, feeling pain is good.

His mission President said when he visited Zerin, that Zerin told him to "bring my shoes and pants - I am going to walk out of here." He also stated: "Zerin's smile and positive approach have been an inspiration to those visiting him. They come to lift his spirits and he raises their spirits".

Zerin has never mentioned sadness or grief about his situation.

There has been an outpouring of people wanting to help. Their home needs some work that they have not had the time nor money to do, so suggestions of ways that you can help will be posted here. Modifications will likely be needed to make their home wheelchair accessible. We have faith and hope that this need will be temporary.

This blog will be a journal of his progress. We all have faith in the possibility of a full recovery, and leave in the Lord's hands the outcome of this young man's journey.

Our prayers are with him, every step of the way.

We hope yours will be, too

Thank you

The members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Lakeland 2nd Ward Rathdrum, Idaho

The Presidency of the Colorado Springs Mission,and the missionaries serving there

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pray for Miracles

There are times when we need to pray for miracles . . .

Monday, June 29, 2009, my husband, who is the bishop of our ward, received word that a one of the missionaries from our ward, Elder Zerin Petersen, had been injured in what anyone would describe as a freak accident.
A split second action, without time to think of the consequences, and a young man's path was changed from missionary service, to being the recipient of an outpouring of love and service.
This vibrant young man, neck broken, with a spinal cord injury, is now lying in a hospital bed.
Our faith and love and prayers hold the hope that he will recover from this injury.
I have received permission from his mother to set up this blog to keep everyone updated on his progress. Here there will be information to those who are interested in his progress, and possibilities of service that can be done for this amazing family.
Please keep Elder Zerin Petersen in your prayers.
Thank you
The members of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Days Saints
Lakeland 2nd Ward
Rathdrum, Idaho
and the Colorado Springs, Colorado Mission