It never entered my mind that armed thieves would burst through my bedroom door about 8:30 in the evening, that they would physically harm me, or that they would take all my means of communication. But, they did. Worst of all, I feared they had kidnapped my co-missionary, Jennifer Bennett.
Thankfully, Jennifer was found locked in a room downstairs along with three other people. She immediately tended to my injuries and then wrote an emergency email to our regional directors, Jon and Vera Steury, who were at World Gospel Mission headquarters in Marion, Indiana, at the time.
Almost as soon as Jennifer hit the send button for that email, Jon and Vera responded, as did the entire WGM community. A request for prayer was sent out to missionaries around the world; our family members in the U.S. were contacted; and most strategically, Member Health staff began to minister to us.
Ned and Marlene McGrady, pastors to missionaries, connected with us frequently in those first days after the traumatic event. As a licensed counselor, Marlene knew exactly what to do for us since we found ourselves in the middle of acute post-traumatic stress. In the middle of trauma, it is hard to think about next steps or to know where to turn for help. I was heartened to hear Ned and Marlene say to us that they wanted to see us face-to-face. We were blessed that they traveled half a world away to minister to our needs.
Once our counselors were here on the ground with us, we were able to take our time and deconstruct what happened and how it affected us cognitively, emotionally, behaviorally, and spiritually. This paved the way for the healing process to begin. We even went back to our apartment with them and processed how we felt about spending our first night back in the house. Ned and Marlene were an answer to prayer for us. They met us where we were in terms of our stages of grief and loss, prayed with us, shared helpful scriptures, facilitated important meetings with national staff members (who were also hurting), and slowly helped us move along in the healing process.
Our faith was buoyed by the prayers of so many people around the world. I felt as if the spiritual part of my life was ministering to the emotional part of my life. As Ned shared scriptures, they were like balm on my emotional wounds.
I am reminded of the ten lepers in Luke 17 who were “healed as they went.” We are carrying on, with the love, support, and prayers of all the WGM family. We will continue to be healed as we go. Thank you for all your prayers in our time of crisis.
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