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Caswells thank Baptists for prayers, announce intentions to return to Yemen

PHOENIX (BP)–The worker who survived a shooting at the hospital in Jibla, Yemen, thanked Southern Baptists for their prayers June 17, as his wife told messengers of their intent to love their “enemies” by returning to the country.

International Mission Board representative Don Caswell, shot twice during the Dec. 30 shooting that claimed three of his co-workers, told messengers during the Executive Committee report to the Southern Baptist Convention that his family wants “to be obedient to the call that God gave us” by going “to another land and [sharing] His love and His message of salvation with the lost of the world.”

Caswell’s wife, Teri, recounted how they have sought God’s will for their future ministry following the shooting. Her answer came in Luke 6, in which Jesus commands His followers to “love your enemies.” She said that as she read the passage she felt God telling her, “I’ve called you to go and to love people who aren’t always easy to love.”

Teri Caswell said, “… with the [IMB] board’s approval, we intend to return to Yemen Aug. 1 of this year.”

The couple, joined by their sons, Ben and Caleb, received a standing ovation when introduced by Executive Committee President Morris H. Chapman.

“I thank God for the Caswells,” Chapman said.

Both Caswells stressed the importance of praying for the people of Yemen as well as those in other parts of the world who have not heard the Gospel. Referring to a Yemeni man pictured in a video which was shown before they spoke, Don Caswell asked Southern Baptists to “continue to pray for the lost, like this man, that are all over the world” and who “are dying each day and going to hell because they not heard” the Gospel.

Caswell said he is often asked: Why do you go overseas? He said that if alive, his three coworkers, Kathleen Gariety, Martha Myers and William Koehn would respond by saying they go because “of all the lost [people] in the world.”

The Caswells also thanked Southern Baptists for their prayers and their giving through the Cooperative Program. Teri Caswell said, “It is only by His grace and through your many prayers that we’ve been able to get through this situation. And He has truly carried us through.”

The video shown during the Executive Committee report told the story of the day the Islamic gunman attacked the hospital in Yemen and how Teri Caswell wondered if her husband would live. Even that day, she said, she and several believers gathered to pray for the gunman — that “even as Saul of Tarsus” was saved, the gunman “would have that same experience” and be saved.

“All I know is that my God told me that He loves everybody and that He died for the whole world,” she said in the video. “He told me that I’m supposed to love them just as He loved me. … None of us are worthy of salvation. … There, but by the grace of God, go I.”

Don Caswell agreed, saying that Christ “would have us not to respond to evil with evil, but to respond with love just like He did.”

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  • Michael Foust