A young newlywed couple who met while on a Christian mission and fell madly in love were killed this week in a car crash — less than 24 hours after their wedding ceremony.
The couple both died following a crash not far from where they had been married in Kansas, Yahoo News reported. Austin Wesson, 19, and Rebekah Bouma, 19, were driving just outside of Clearwater, Kansas, when their truck hit an embankment and then crashed into a tree.
Wesson died at the scene, the report noted, while Bouma was taken to a hospital in critical condition and died on Monday.
This week, family and members of the community came together to remember the newlyweds. Rebekah’s mother, Rachel Byker Bouma, wrote a Facebook post saying that the two were now together in heaven.
“(Rebekah Bouma) is with the Lord that she loved to deeply and so joyfully and she is with her husband of just one day, Austin Wesson, whom she loved with all her heart,” Rachel wrote (via Yahoo News). “We thank God that they are together while grieving their loss so very deeply.”
Rachel added that the couple was so deeply in love, and grateful to the family members who supported them.
“The last words from both of them to me (on Saturday) were ‘I love you,'” Rachel Bouma told the Wichita Eagle. “I said ‘I love you’ back. Those were our last words.”
Both Rebekah and Austin were working on Christian missions in Austin’s native South Africa when they met. Though they were just teenagers at the time, the couple convinced their families that their love was real and that they were ready for marriage.
The couple was killed just a few hundred feet from Rebekah’s home. In the days after the fatal car crash, some members of the family visited the site and made it into a makeshift memorial, the Wichita Eagle reported. One family member wrote a Bible verse on a tree and another placed flowers on the ground nearby.
The tragic death of the newlywed couple has also attracted national attention. The story was picked up by news outlets across the United States as well as some international ones, and a GoFundMe page has raised close to $9,000 for funeral expenses and to help Austin’s family travel from South Africa for the services.
There were storms across the Clearwater area on the day of the newlywed couple’s fatal crash, but Sedgwick County sheriff’s Lt. Lin Dehning told the Wichita Eagle that he did not believe the inclement weather played a role in the accident.
[Featured Image by Bouma family/GoFundMe]