News Articles

Baptists injured in Pakistan recovering from injuries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A Southern Baptist family seriously wounded in a March 17 grenade attack on an Islamabad church has been transferred from Pakistan to an undisclosed country in Europe.

Jeff and Cindy Womble, along with their 6 1/2-year-old son, Samuel, remain hospitalized for their injuries. Cindy had a five-hour operation to put plates in her hip. Jeff has two ruptured eardrums as well as shrapnel in his ribs and legs. Samuel came out of a coma and is talking and moving.

Cindy’s parents, Reece and Frankie Nickerson, members of Belle Shoals Baptist Church in Tampa, Fla., have flown to Europe to care for the Wombles’ other children. The children were uninjured in the blast.

Samuel was among those seriously wounded when an unidentified attacker hurled several hand grenades into the Protestant International Church during a March 17 worship service. Five worshipers, including two Americans, were killed and more than 40 were injured.

It was the second attack on a Christian church in Pakistan since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

The Wombles, of Brandon, Fla., were sitting three rows from the back of the church building when the attack occurred. Samuel was seated between them when Womble said a man in his early 20s rushed in with two grenades and hurled them toward the middle section.

Womble related his account to The Los Angeles Times during an interview in the emergency room of the Shifa International Hospital.

“I’m not sure he knew what he was doing,” said Womble, 40, who said his ears were still ringing from the blast. He suffered facial cuts and shrapnel wounds in his legs. The attack came in the middle of a sermon on forgiveness and restoration.

“I grabbed my wife and my 6 1/2-year-old son who was sitting between us, and we hit the floor, and I covered her with my body,” he told The Times. “The grenade landed seven rows up, and there was a big explosion. My first thought was that maybe I had died. But I was all right. Then I checked my wife, and she was hurt. But I couldn’t find my son. He had been sitting, crying in between us, and he had been blown two rows back. I got him and laid him next to his mother. He had shrapnel wounds to the head. I didn’t know whether he’d been shot, but he was conscious.”

The Wombles work with an international humanitarian aid agency. Cindy, 37, works as a nurse and Jeff teaches English.

    About the Author

  • Todd Starnes