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Steven Sharp Nelson Writes Message to Jon Schmidt After His Daughter Goes Missing

Steven Sharp Nelson Writes Message to Jon Schmidt After His Daughter Goes Missing

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The following was written by Steven Sharp Nelson:

This has been a week I never want to remember, nor forget. My heart is broken in two.

I can’t adequately express the anguish I felt as I watched my friend, my brother, run up river, fighting against an ice cold current, shouting his daughter’s name at the stoic river banks on each side—straining his voice above the din of the white water.

White noise from rushing water typically calms and lulls the mind. But instead, for us, it stirred up intense anxiety. A panicked helplessness. No one should ever have to feel this way. Especially a father desperately searching for his daughter.

img_0446-jpgOur search started on trails but quickly transitioned off trail, where we soaked ourselves in rain-encumbered underbrush — often above our waists. Many scaled up and down cold, unforgiving slopes. There was an urgency — we had to shake off the sense that everything started to look the same. The sheer vastness of the area threatened to overwhelm our senses. With Annie’s precious life on the line we couldn’t leave one stone unturned. But there were so many stones to turn. Worn down by weather, strain, sleeplessness and unease, we plowed through rocks and trees one agonizing step at time.

This is the kind of thing you read about and refuse to believe is real. And there we were, right in the middle of it.

I wanted to wake us all up from this awful, surreal nightmare. It was as if we were sitting behind impenetrable glass, watching a disaster unfold, yet all we could do was bang on an unyielding transparent wall.

Thousands of prayers were being offered. Hundreds of people were there at the scene doing their best to comb every trail and beat every bush. The story was all over the news begging for any clue.


It just wasn’t right. It’s not fair. It doesn’t makes sense. I can’t process it. The visceral man in me cries angry tears and looks for something or someone to blame.

But those kinds of feelings haven’t taken root in Jon.

Photo by Aloysius Lim | LAMC Productions

Photo by Aloysius Lim | LAMC Productions

I’ve known Jon now for over 20 years. When you share the stage with someone you learn a great deal about his character. He is a model man, friend, husband and father. His faith is like an endlessly rushing river that carves out obstinate shores of despair and flows around imposing rocks of doubt. He has the gift of faith. Moreover, he is extremely gifted in one of the most transcendent human qualities: empathy.

The first time I went on tour with Jon — long before The Piano Guys — I had just experienced one of the most difficult times of my life. I had lost my mother to a brain tumor. I was young and felt as though I couldn’t…continue reading Steven’s tribute to the Schmidt family on The Piano Guys’ blog.

READ THE LATEST UPDATE  from Annie’s mother: