Thoughts And Prayers For Missionaries
They're just getting started there, after having been flushed from their first ministry when the government of the Islamic country in which they were serving decided to throw out all foreign NGO workers. The Turkish language is still difficult for them, and I'm sure they often think, as I do, of the three Bible publishing house workers who were murdered last April in Malatya by Islamist thugs.
By placing themselves in God's hands in a high-risk situation, this lovely young couple is not unlike the brave and fine young servicemen who feel called to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. One difference: Tim and Carol have kids on their shoulders, not rifles.
So with thoughts of them, and of Peter and Rita in Haifa, and my daughter's teacher Ms. Shaeffer in Africa, I came downstairs and saw this:
KABUL, Afghanistan - Armed assailants abducted a German woman from a restaurant in on Saturday, officials said, as a spokesman said negotiations over 19 South Korean hostages held since July have failed.Ora International is as far removed from sectarian Islamism as you can get. According to the Web site, it is a Christian organization, but it's nondenominational, putting Christ's call for service to others ahead of any church dogma. From its Web site:
In Saturday's abduction in Kabul, the armed men pulled up next to a barbecue and fast food restaurant, and one of the men went inside and asked to order a pizza, said intelligence officials investigating the kidnapping. Two assailants waited outside, while another waited in a parked gray.
The man in the restaurant then pulled out a pistol, walked up to a table where the woman was sitting with her boyfriend, and took her away, the officials said on condition of anonymity because of policy. It was not immediately clear what happened to the boyfriend. ...
The German woman abducted Saturday worked for a small, nonaffiliated Christian organization called Ora International ....
And the question remains: why are we an interdenominational Christian aid and development organisation?It was that call that led the now kidnapped German woman to Afghanistan, as it was with the kidnapped Koreans (who, we hear, are in desperate straits as talks for their freedom have broken down). The Ora volunteer didn't stand on street corners and try to force people to change their faiths. Rather, she was part of a group that runs health programs, working earnestly to help improve the lives of people they don't know, people they owe nothing to in a secular sense.
Because we believe that man was created by God. God created us as individuals in his image. We are convinced that it is His will for us to live in communion with Him, sharing His love through serving those in need.
It's the same with Tim and Carol. Before they went overseas, Tim had to learn a medical profession, and his work in Central Asia and now in Turkey was first and foremost medical in nature. If, because of their example, someone asks them about Christianity, they will talk about it, and they hold small church services and bible studies in their apartment. It is evangelism by quiet service and example, not by coercion or pressure.
The abductors of the German woman are either criminals out for a ransom, or criminals out for a ransom under the guise of radical Islamism, which allows the murder of those who evangelize for other faiths, and encourages the fleecing of money from infidels.
Assuming they are Islamists, their method of spreading Islam is to kill (I pray not in this case) the messengers of other faiths and intimidate Muslims into never considering another faith. Service and love are not in their tool kit.
And here I am, an hour and a half later, praying more earnestly than ever for the missionaries.