Updated Jan. 16, 2007.
RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–Laura Valentine Oliver*, a representative of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board in northern Africa, died May 31.
Oliver, 34, had been hospitalized the morning of May 30 after two days of flu-like illness. Medical tests failed to reveal the cause of her symptoms. She died the next evening while plans were being made for a medical evacuation.
Doctors were unable to revive her.
Oliver and her husband, David*, have four children: Peter*, 8, Patrick*, 6, Mindy*, 2, and Josey*, 1. They began their service with the International Mission Board in 1996.
“We’re all very grieved over Laura’s tragic death,” said Madelyn Edens, an associate director for IMB work in northern Africa. “Laura was a wonderful wife and mother whose passion was first for Christ. She had a deep love for the people to whom God had called her and faced any risks secure in that call.
“This sort of tragedy reminds us we must not neglect to pray for our representatives as they serve in places where health and safety can’t be taken for granted,” Edens said.
“We especially want to ask people to pray for her husband, David, and for their four young children. This is a tremendous blow, and they will need God’s grace to cope with their loss.”
Randy Sprinkle, IMB director of international prayer strategies, echoed the importance of prayer at a time like this.
“Please intercede for her husband, David, and their children, as well as the families,” Sprinkle said. “Pray for God’s great fatherly care and comfort for them, and also ask him to cause this heart-rending situation to result in the accelerated spread of Christ’s kingdom of love among the unreached people group whom Laura loved so much and for whom she gave her life.”
Born in Austin, Texas, Oliver considered Albuquerque, N.M., her hometown. She was a graduate of Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
Prior to service with the IMB, she taught French at Southaven (Miss.) High School and worked as a flight attendant with Continental Airlines. Her husband was singles minister at Brookside Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., and associate pastor of Kennewick (Wash.) Baptist Church.
She was the daughter of Stephen and Maureen Valentine* of Albuquerque.
The family plans to return to Albuquerque for the funeral.
*Names changed for security concerns.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: Laura Oliver.