23rd June 1978, 9 missionaries and their 4 children went through hell on earth.
Today, Elim UK and Elim Zimbabwe remembers it’s missionaries who were terribly murdered in the Vumba, Southern Rhodesia.
Peter and Sandra McCann, Philip and Joy…Wendy Hamilton-White… Philip and Suzanne Evans and Rebecca…Catherine Picken…Roy and Joyce Lynne and Pamela Grace…Mary Fisher.
They are an inspiration who with the great cloud of witnesses cheer us on who are here today. They fell to the ground but their act propelled others into a life of service in missions. They fell to the ground not because of God or an evil spirit, it was man who did this. But their life or their impact didn’t end on the ground. They fell to the ground but it wasn’t because they gave up but it was because God gave them the endurance to not give up.
“May the God who gives endurance …” (Romans 15 v 5)
Here are some of the things our missionaries wrote in letters before that night:
Philip and Suzanne Evans: 1976: “The situation here is, of course, disturbing, but once all the public arrangements and safeguards have been made, all we can do is to redeem the time for the Lord. In some ways it’s more necessary than ever that there should be a Christian witness in this country.”
Mary Fisher; the night before the attack sang her favourite song, “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.”
Lynn, Roy and Joyce: 1978: “They are praying very hard for peace, meanwhile I think we must be faithful and one never knows when the fire will ignite and we too will be in revival.”
Peter and Sandra McCann: 13th January 1977: “These are not easy times and they are likely to get worse: we could leave anytime but not them. It seems so much remains to be done here, and so little time for us left – but only eternity will tell the tale of fruit born and nurtured in the hearts of our people… Don’t get the idea that we are losing hope, because that is far from true. Our hope is in God, and we have no reason to fear the devises of man.”
Catherine Picken: Jan 1976: “We want the whole area to hear the gospel message. It has been a joy to see God moving.”
Wendy White: April 1978: “In some places the real Christians are being strengthened in the face of persecution (as are very few real disciples of Christ Jesus have also been strengthened here in the school), but very few ‘stand’ when asked to denounce the Name of Jesus at the point of a gun. (Would we?)… ‘Though you slay me, I WILL TRUST you , Lord’ – I said it aloud (though there were no one there to hear me) and a few hours later, when I was determined to praise through and was offering the sacrifice of praise – suddenly Jesus was there with me, and my heart was warmed and lightened and full of praise.”
Amazing attitudes! Were they extraordinary people? No they were ordinary people with an extraordinary God who gave them endurance. He still does.