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Family’s pastor says Martha Myers ‘stayed on God’s course’ in Yemen

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP)–When Rick Evans sat down to his computer in the dawning moments of Dec. 30, he never anticipated how his world would change.

Evans, pastor of Dalraida Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., frequently checks the latest news on the Internet before going to bed each night.

On Dec. 30, however, he never made it to bed.

“It was about 1:30 a.m. … when I saw the story,” said Evans, a trustee of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Reports said American aid workers were murdered in Yemen. Anticipating these might be Southern Baptist personnel — even one of his church members — Evans immediately contacted the International Mission Board (IMB).

His fears were realized when he found IMB officials working frantically to make sense of what had just happened. Evans learned that three Southern Baptist personnel were killed when a lone gunman attacked the Baptist hospital in Jibla, Yemen. Among the three was the name he hoped desperately not to hear: Martha Myers, a member of Dalraida Baptist Church since she was 12 years old.

Also killed were hospital administrator William Koehn and purchasing manager Kathleen Gariety. A fourth worker, pharmacist Don Caswell, was wounded.

Evans quickly made his way to the home of Myers’ parents, Ira and Dorothy Myers, also members of Dalraida. “They had already been contacted,” Evans said. “Dorothy said to me, ‘Well, preacher, she just beat me home by a few days.'”

Myers, a 57-year-old obstetrician and gynecologist served in Yemen for 24 years.

Revered as a selfless servant, Myers left a lasting impression on her home church, a sentiment Evans and other church members strived to convey during the Jan. 4 memorial service held in her honor.

“Martha was a victorious Christian and was obedient until death,” Evans told the more than 1,200 people gathered at Dalraida Baptist Church for the service. Speaking to a capacity crowd, Evans said, “She had no life of her own: It was of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Likening Myers’ faith and service to that of the Bible’s descriptions of the apostle Paul and the deacon Stephen, Evans quoted Philippians 1:21, which states, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” and 2 Timothy 4:7, which says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

“All three stayed on God’s course,” Evans said. “That is not easy because it is a life of self-denial, but they never denied his will. What a misguided, deprived heart meant for evil, God has meant for good.”

Martha “was always obedient to the call of God,” Evans said, “even as a GA [Girls in Action] and as a medical student.”

During the service Evans read a poem written by a schoolmate of Myers. Playing off the words from the song “We’ve a Story to Tell the Nations,” the friend wrote, “We sang, she went. We sang, she told.” “Because of her ministry and her obedience, there was a difference made,” Evans said.

As Evans neared the conclusion of the service, he mentioned that Myers and Koehn were buried on the 22-acre compound where the Jibla Baptist Hospital sits. During the funeral service Dec. 31, 40,000 Yemeni nationals gathered at the hospital and lined the street for a half-mile outside the hospital gates to pay their respects, he said.

In a country where professing faith in Jesus Christ could result in death, mourners sang “He Is Lord” in Arabic and recited the Lord’s Prayer, Evans pointed out.

“They and others have given their lives to sharing the gospel,” he said. “Can you see 40,000 gathered … singing every knee shall bow, every tongue confess. … Let’s proclaim with them that indeed he is Lord.”

And with those words, family members and friends gathered to celebrate the life of Martha Myers stood and sang “He Is Lord.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: PASTOR’S EULOGY.

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  • Jennifer Davis Rash