MADISON (WKOW) -- A family member of Ben Larson, of La Crosse, released a statement this morning.
Larson was one of four Wartburg students in Haiti at the time of the earthquake. He was killed; his wife, cousin and another Wartburg student are all safe and accounted for.
Below is the entire statement released:
Our family lost a beacon of God's love and an instrument of Christ's good works.
Benjamin Judd Larson had always heard God's call. It led him to travel to Haiti with his wife Renee Splichal Larson and his first cousin, Jonathan Larson, to help with the new Haiti Lutheran Church. All three fourth year seminarians at Wartburg Seminary, now certified for ordination, Ben and Jonathan were invited to teach lay leaders and Renee was interviewing people in Haiti on the roots of the Lutheran faith as part of a senior thesis.
Ben led by example with his work for the underserved. This was Ben's second trip to Haiti. He served Hearts with Haiti (http://heartswithhaiti.org/) by working with the boys at St. Joseph's and the disabled children at Wings of Hope in 2009. Ben believed that he learned more from those he served than he taught them.
Ben is described by his mother and father, The Reverend April Ulring Larson (Senior Pastor at First Lutheran Church in Duluth) and the Reverend Judd Larson (Interim Pastor at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Duluth) as, "gentle, in love with Christ, in love with people, in love with life. His life belonged to God. If you want to know Ben, listen to his music." (mp3s of Ben's music are available at http://www.flcduluth.org/)
Ben was a 2002 graduate of LaCrosse Central High School in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. He was a proud participant in Robe Choir and the Swing Choir, ‘Grand Central Station'. He continued to thrive in music at Luther College where he graduated in 2006. He was President of the prestigious Nordic Choir his senior year. His calling and his love of music were harmoniously linked in his Global Music leadership with Global Mission Events across the United States.
We are awaiting the safe return of Benjamin's beloved Renee and precious cousin Jonathan.
Benjamin Judd Larson will always be a treasured son, husband, brother, uncle, nephew and cousin.
Erin R. Horswill
Please find the attached statement from Benjamin's mother.
A statement from Reverend April Ulring Larson
As an infant Benjamin Judd Ulring Splichal Larson was wrapped in the arms of God in the waters of baptism, and from those waters, his life was an outpouring of love and joy, laughter and play, in response to God first loving Ben.
Ben's love of God, walking in accompaniment, passionately loving others, listening and learning from those who are poor across the globe, drove his serving.
We give thanks to God for the incredible joy of knowing Ben. His laughter, playfulness, passionate heart for those who are hurting was manifest in his daily life. He delighted in the privilege of serving and knowing God, laying out his life in joy.
We are blessed by still being able to hear Ben‘s music. His father Judd says, "If you want to know Ben, go to his music." In his tender music remains some of the treasure that is Ben: what he believes, what he cares about, his deepest soul.
Most of the people who died in this deadly earthquake in Haiti are the poorest of the poor in this hemisphere. Ben went to Haiti to teach theology and scripture in the new Lutheran Church of Haiti; but more deeply to learn from these people loved by God. In his young death his life joins the bodies of the poor. In the Haitian rubble Ben's life joins these dear beloved people of God: all those parents crying for their children; young widows calling out for their husbands; new orphans searching for their parents.
God have mercy on us.