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Utah artist creates portrait for family of LDS Missionary who passed away in hiking accident

Posted at 6:41 AM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 08:41:21-04

HUNTSVILLE, Utah — Utah artist, JR Johansen, is creating a gift he hopes will bring comfort to the family of Sister Annabelle Nielsen. The 20-year-old was serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Switzerland and died in a hiking accident.

Johansen’s latest portrait hits close to home.

“I spoke with her on the phone a couple months ago and she was with my granddaughter serving in the German Alpine mission and I could tell her energy,” said Johansen.

Johansen has a special place in his heart for LDS missionaries.

“These missionaries go out for year in a half, two years of their lives they basically give that up,” said Johansen. “Some of them like Sister Nelson she gave her life.”

A light gone too soon, but one Johansen hopes to keep alive through his art.

“This particular type of painting with pastels they would last for thousands of years without changing as long as they are kept framed and behind glass.”

A cherished gift he’ll personally deliver to the Nielsen family in November.

“I like to think I'm creating sort of a living metaphor one that's real and they can walk by it every day and say hello good morning or good night when they go to bed,” said Johansen.

A comfort for the Nielsen’s and healing for Johansen.

“I know where she's at that's the joy I get.”

Johansen has compiled all the portraits he’s created since 2014 and will produce a book. Sister Nielsen’s portrait is number 111.