South Africa (MNN) — Reports of 50 murders a day and one rape every 40 seconds are keeping tourists away from South Africa. The incredible crime problem is also causing problems for the country's economy and for missionaries working there.
Trans World Radio – Swaziland missionaries Doug and Madeleen Schumacher were viciously carjacked and kidnapped Tuesday at gunpoint in Johannesburg. 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 bandits then drove off and for the next 20 minutes told the victims that they intended to kill them.
A worldwide e-mail went out to TWR staff and friends around the globe asking for prayer. Meanwhile, other TWR missionaries got in their cars and scoured the area for any signs of their then-captive colleagues. TWR's Ray Alary says the rest of the story is miraculous. "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 then dumped the Schumachers 50 kilometers away from their home. The couple was uninjured and praised the Lord for His protection.
However, Alary says 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."
Does is affect their work in evangelism, discipleship and other areas of ministry? Alary says, "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."
Alary is asking Christians worldwide to pray for the TWR team in South Africa. "Pray for our safety. 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."