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Wounded worker stable but critical; IMB staff honors sacrifice


RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–The Southern Baptist humanitarian aid worker who was badly wounded during a March 15 shooting that killed four others in Iraq is in stable condition.

Carrie McDonnall of Rowlett, Texas, is being treated in a hospital in Germany. International Mission Board personnel are at her side and family members are on their way.

McDonnall’s husband, David, died several hours after the attack while being transported to a hospital in Baghdad. Larry and Jean Elliott of Cary, N.C., and Karen Watson of Bakersfield, Calif., died at the scene.

All five were researching needs for a water purification project in northern Iraq.

Carrie McDonnall also has been visited by Paige and Dorothy Patterson, who are currently in Germany. Patterson is president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, where the McDonnalls were students before beginning their fulltime work in Iraq last fall.

CHANGING HEARTS

During IMB’s weekly chapel service on March 17 in Richmond, Va., the five workers were honored for their courage and commitment to God’s work. A special video with footage of the all of the workers was shown to the staff.

In the video, a smiling David McDonnall shared why he and his wife felt called to go to Iraq.

“The love of God and the power of Christ can change any heart,” David said while sitting next to his wife.

“[God] can turn people from violence into carrying the Sword of the Spirit … and piercing the heart of people, not with bullets, but with the word of God.”

The testimonies of the four fallen workers will live on despite this tragedy, said IMB President Jerry Rankin. He shared words of encouragement with the staff via satellite from the Middle East.

‘WILLING’

“How grateful we are for Larry, Jean, David and Karen, and how we continue to lift Carrie to the Lord,” Rankin said. “They were willing to invest their lives and die that there might be gain for the Kingdom of God.”

Rankin encouraged the staff to continue praying for “God’s strength, for His wisdom, for His leadership” during this difficult time.

“We’re praying that God would use these opportunities through the witness of the media … through families and churches and others to give a powerful word of witness.”

Quoting Paul’s words from Scripture — “to live is Christ and to die is gain” — Rankin encouraged the staff to continue using the time they have been given for God’s glory, even in places where the risks may be high.

“And that we could say when that time comes when we die — whether through tragic or violent circumstances or natural causes — that because of our faith in the assurance that Christ has given us, to die is gain.”
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(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: FOCUS OF PRAYER.

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  • Shawn Hendricks