By Emily Griffin, KWCH12
A missionary couple with Kansas ties is recovering in a south African hospital after they were attacked by a group of armed bandits this week.
John and Gwenyth Haspels are second generation missionaries. Though both were raised primarily in Africa, the two met and attended school at Sterling College in Kansas and to this day, call Halstead Presbyterian Church in Halstead, Kansas their church home in the states.
For the past 40 years, the Haspels have been on a lifelong mission to start up new churches in a number of African nations – most recently, Ethiopia. But on Wednesday, Oct. 1, that work was cut short when they were attacked by a group of armed bandits while on the road to a new service location.
It’s believed the attackers were after the Haspels vehicle and it’s not believed this attack was targeted in any way, but instead a random act of violence. Shots were fired and a bullet struck Gwen in the jaw and several bullets hit John in the chest.
The pair was able to keep the vehicle moving and drove to a rural medication station for preliminary help. Presbyterian mission workers and World Mission staff were able to give them medical care until they could be flown to another hospital in south African for better treatment. Latest updates showed both were in stable condition but will still have a long road to recovery.
John and Gwen’s love for the Lord and for the Suri people has been a powerful witness to me and to many others. It is not at all surprising that they have expressed forgiveness for their attacker. I join many in praying for their healing and continued joyful witness to our Savior.