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Family on way to missionary training killed in crash

ST. PAUL -- A St. Paul family of five preparing for missionary work in Japan died on Interstate 80 in Nebraska on Sunday when a tractor-trailer rear-ended their vehicle in a construction zone, pushing their car into three other passenger vehicles.

ST. PAUL -- A St. Paul family of five preparing for missionary work in Japan died on Interstate 80 in Nebraska on Sunday when a tractor-trailer rear-ended their vehicle in a construction zone, pushing their car into three other passenger vehicles.

The crash claimed the lives of Jamison Pals and his wife Kathryne, both 29, and their three children, 3-year-old Ezra; Violet, who was almost 2; and 2-month-old Calvin.

Jamison Pals worked as a grant writer at Eagan-based Feed My Starving Children, a relief organization, for just over three years.

He left the nonprofit in April to prepare for the birth of his son and missionary work in Asia through the organization WorldVenture. The family had been on the way to a training in Littleton, Colo., when they were struck by the truck just before 11:30 a.m. about four miles west of Brule, Neb.

The truck driver, Tony A. Weekly, 53, from Baker, Fla., was arrested on suspicion of motor vehicle homicide following the collision, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

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Dennis Vogan, spokesperson for WorldVenture, said the family was on their way to Colorado for their final training in advance of leaving for the Christ Bible Institute in Nagoya, Japan. “They were going to be there three to four years,” Vogan said. “They had done short-term work in college. They also did work with their church locally (in Minneapolis).”

Vogan called the crash “devastating … we talked to both of their families and they are just crushed.”

Feed My Starving Children issued the following statement on Monday: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of the Pals family. We are in shock but comforted to know this amazing family is now with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whom our hope is found. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those whose lives were touched by Jamison, Kathryne and their sweet children.”

The Pals chronicled their preparations for Japan and Calvin’s birth and first few weeks on their blog, “For the Joy of Japan.”

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