Christian Broadcaster's Missionaries Survive Kidnapping in South Africa

Monday, October 29, 2007

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (BosNewsLife) -- Two missionaries working in South Africa for global Christian broadcaster Trans World Radio were recovering Friday, October 26, after they survived a kidnapping in South Africa "because of prayers", the network said.

The troubles began Tuesday, October 23, when Swaziland couple Doug and Madeleen Schumacher were "viciously car-jacked and kidnapped" at gunpoint in Johannesburg, TWR said.

"The Schumachers had just arrived to visit another missionary family when a carload of thugs pulled in behind them and forced them into the backseat of their own car. The two thieves drove off and for the next 20 minutes told the Schumachers that they intended to kill them."

Witnesses apparently send e-mails to TWR staff and friends around the globe, "asking for prayer for the couple" while other TWR-Africa searched for their then-captive colleagues.


TWR's Human Resources Director for Africa, Ray Alary, suggested that the prayers apparently worked. "The man who was holding them at gunpoint said to them, 'I was going to kill you, but you obviously have people praying for you and I am not going to kill you.'"

The bandits dumped the Schumachers 50 kilometers (31 mikes} away from their home, however the couple was "uninjured and praised the Lord for His protection," TWR said in a statement monitored by BosNewsLife.

Alary told Christian broadcaster Mission Network News that the Schumachers weren't the only victims. "When these events happen, it traumatizes everybody who hears about it -- all the missionaries that are working there. For many months to follow, everybody questions whether or not that could happen to them."


He admitted that it will impact plans to evangelize in the region, one of the key mission activities of TWR. "Initially right now, it will. We will have to create stability again. Very often what happens is we do delay our plans to do certain things until we can have a sense that things are back to normal."

He said he had urged Christian supporters to "Pray for a sense that things will get back to normal, in time. And pray that this never happens again -- that God will give us protection from this."

Murders, carjackings and bank robberies rose in South Africa, which has already one of the world's highest murder rates, according to data from the South African Police Service, published by Reuters news agency.


The murder rate was up 2.4 percent in the 12 months ending March 31, 2007. There were 19,202 murders in that period, compared with 18,528 in the previous 12 months.

In one of South Africa's highest-profile murders, last week gunmen shot reggae star Lucky Dube in front of his children. Dube, 43, was killed in an apparent botched carjacking on Thursday evening, October 18, in a Johannesburg suburb, police said.

The latest murder was another blow to efforts to reduce crime rates before the country hosts the 2010 soccer World Cup.

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