Aware of Risks of Work, Missionaries Persevere
“The real difference we’re seeing is that missionaries are being targeted more often because of who they are and what they’re doing. That is a change.”
By Tom Kisken
02/26/2011 Somalia (Chicago Sun-Times)-With eyes wide open. That’s how missionaries face lives where uncertainty and some risk may be unavoidable, said mission leaders reacting to the killing of four people by Somali pirates off East Africa.
Scott and Jean Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., used their yacht to distribute Bibles to remote places across the world.
The Adams were on such a voyage, in an area known for pirate attacks, with another couple, Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle of Seattle.
The boat was hijacked and all four were taken hostage by the pirates. They were fatally wounded before U.S. naval forces could board the vessel to try to save them.
There have been no reports religion played a role in the attack.
But risks are increasing for missionaries, said Bob Klamser, a retired police lieutenant who leads Crisis Consulting International.
The group trains mission organizations in security concerns and also responds to crises, including negotiating the release of an aid worker and his driver who were kidnapped last year in Afghanistan.
“The real difference we’re seeing is that missionaries are being targeted more often because of who they are and what they’re doing. That is a change,” he said, noting hostility is aimed both at Western culture and Christianity.
Klamser counsels people to take precautions, but he never advises them to stop mission work.
James Rolfe is a humanitarian, not a missionary. He’s a dentist who operates a clinic and a dental technician-training school in Afghanistan. He doesn’t talk about religion to his patients and has no motive other than helping people.