RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–I’m Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board. We want to thank you for joining us this morning. The International Mission Board has been serving as the mission agency for the Southern Baptist Convention since 1845. We are one of the largest evangelical mission agencies in the world with 5,487 personnel serving in 184 countries.
For 35 years we have operated a hospital in Yemen in the town of Jibla. Serving 40,000 patients a year, the hospital has been an expression of love and concern to the people of Yemen.
We were grieved to hear that a lone gunmen walked into a meeting of staff at 8:15 this morning Yemen time and killed surgeon Martha Myers, who had served the hospital 25 years, administrator Bill Koehn, who had served 28 years, and Kathy Gariety, a supply manager, who had served 10 years. Don Caswell, a pharmacist, who was wounded, is recovering from surgery.
Our personnel, as Americans and Christians, are well aware of the risk of living and serving in a place like Yemen. Yet their love for the Yemeni people and obedience to the conviction of God’s leadership has been expressed in a willingness to take that risk and give of their lives.
We were moved to hear of crowds of local people lining the road to the hospital in respect for those who had served them so faithfully. Our hearts go out in sympathy to the families, colleagues and local friends who are grieving this tragic loss.