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IMB missionary killed, another injured as 21 die in Philippines airport blast

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–A Southern Baptist missionary was killed and another missionary and her two children were injured when a bomb exploded March 4 at the airport in Davao City, Philippines.

William P. “Bill” Hyde, 59, died in surgery from severe head and leg injuries. Barbara Wallis Stevens, 33, was slightly injured, daughter, Sarah, 4, was treated and released with minor injuries, and 10-month-old son, Nathan, also was wounded. Husband, Mark Stevens, was uninjured in the blast.

“Our hearts go out to these families and their coworkers,” said Larry Cox, a spokesman for the Southern Baptist International Mission Board in Richmond, Va. “We are moving quickly to assist the missionaries affected by this tragedy. We ask Christians everywhere to pray that God would show himself strong for these families, their coworkers and the other members of the Southern Baptist missionary family.”

At least 21 people were killed and 144 injured in the attack, which occurred outside the arrival terminal of the Davao airport in the Philippines’ second-largest city.

The blast ripped through a shelter outside the terminal in which scores of people were huddled to escape a downpour.

Hyde was from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Immanuel Baptist Church has been the home for the Hydes, and they also maintained ties with Northbrook Baptist Church, a sister church of Immanuel.

A former music teacher, Hyde served in church and leadership development. He and his wife, Lyn Gage Hyde, were appointed by the International Mission Board in October 1978. The Hydes have two grown sons, Timothy and Steven.

Bill Hyde had met the Stevens family at the airport as they returned from a family trip. Mark and Barbara Stevens were appointed as missionaries in September 2000. He is a church planter, while she serves as a church and home outreach worker.

Barbara Stevens was injured by shrapnel in her left side and foot and was released from the hospital. Tim Warren, pastor of the church where she grew up, First Baptist in Willard, Mo., said the prayer chain was activated around 5:30 a.m. March 4 with a special focus on her son, who has a bleeding disorder. “The bleeding just miraculously stopped,” Warren told The Pathway newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention. According to reports relayed from Barbara Stevens’ mother, Warren said, “They didn’t have to do surgery.

“I think there was so much prayer going up, and God just honored it,” Warren said.

Ed Gregory, missions team leader for the Baptist Convention of Iowa, described Hyde as “the epitome of the missionary spirit.” Amid periodic family needs and concerns, with some urging them to stay stateside by saying, “it’s safer, it’s better,” Gregory said Hyde and his wife “just kept on going back to the field where God had call them.” Gregory and Hyde first met during the early 1980s during Gregory’s 17 years as Immanuel’s pastor.

Over the years, Hyde “kept retraining … fulfilling different roles … teaching, church planting. He was constantly developing Filipino pastors, helping them get new work started and then mentoring them in their roles.”

His wife, meanwhile, likewise has been devoted to missions. “She was constantly preparing for and leading devotional life conferences for the women there,” Gregory said.

The Hydes returned to the States last year just before his mother’s death.

Warren, in Willard, Mo., said the Stevenses are “very close to our heart.” The couple has spoken several times at the church, and a Vacation Bible School offering was used to buy them cell phones so they can talk when he is ministering to indigenous people in remote regions.

The International Mission Board (www.imb.org) is an entity of the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention. The International Mission Board appoints Southern Baptist international missionaries and supports the 5,441 missions personnel now working among 1,497 people groups worldwide. In 2002, Southern Baptist international missionaries and their co-workers baptized 421,436 new believers and organized 8,369 churches.

The International Mission Board will post information as it develops at www.imb.org/urgent.
Art Toalston & Allen Palmeri contributed to this article. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://bpnews.net. Photo title: BILL HYDE and MARK AND BARBARA STEVENS.

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  • Mark Kelly