(ADDS MORE COMMENTS, NEW DETAILS ABOUT ATTACKS, REACTIONS FROM YOUTH WITH A MISSION, MORE BACKGROUND)
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
NAIROBI/GRONINGEN (BosNewsLife)– Christians in Kenya and the Netherlands began mourning Dutch missionary Ebel Kremer, 36, who was shot and killed when armed robbers stormed a mission center near Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.
His 34-year-old wife Lora was reportedly sexually assaulted in front of their two small children in Friday’s pre-dawn raid at the complex of international Christian organization Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in the town of Athi River, some 50 kilometers (32 miles) outside Nairobi.
A night watchman was also injured but is now recovering, YWAM explained. The children were not harmed and have been brought to a Dutch married couple, Christians said earlier.
Kenyan police on Saturday, February 26, continued investigating the attack on the Kremers, who were involved in caring for orphans in the region, YWAM said.
YWAM suggested however there was no evidence that the attack was sparked by Muslim extremism that has plagued the further away north eastern border area of Kenya with Somalia. “The incident is being investigated as a robbery, ” YWAM said in a statement.
It remained unclear whether the couple had been singled out for the attack on the 70 acre property, where YWAM said some “25 resident volunteers and 50 other people” were also present at the time. “The police are conducting extensive inquiries and have increased security in the area. YWAM has also engaged additional security,” the group said, without elaborating.
Since February 2008, the Kremers worked as volunteers at the YWAM center in Athi River, which includes Christian training schools, a preschool and facilities for orphaned children, known as ‘Homes for Hope and Healing’.
Ebel Kremer was involved in building YWMA’s ‘Maanzoni Children’s Village’ of eight such homes with foster families caring for up to a dozen orphans each.
YWMA representative Karin Kea Sued acknowledged that the village’s future was now uncertain. “Ebel was overseeing the building of the second of the eight homes…We were waiting for the homes to be completed before accepting more children.”
However the YWMA official said Lora Kremer and her team appreciated the prayers reportedly being said for them by Christians around the world.”Our hearts are hurting as we are all in shock and disbelief that Ebel has been taken from us so suddenly, and in such a cruel and heartless manner,” she added.
“We have lost a fellow missionary and friend who beamed with energy and determination serving the One we all know to give perfect peace, comfort and eternal life. Our prayers and sympathy remain with Lora and their families in Holland.”
Earlier several Christians, including those based in Kenya, told BosNewsLife they were shocked about the news.
“I am praying for Lora and her children. I have been praying for them since I heard this news,” wrote Christine Enoch in a comment on the BosNewsLife.com website. “I am also praying for the extended family, as they are devastated by this news. I can only imagine their shock and pain.”
‘HOPE IN JESUS’
She said she had lived in three countries in Africa for the past 23 years. “I thank God for His mercy and protection. I currently live in Nairobi, so this [news about the attack] comes close to home, and makes me realize that the only hope I have is to turn my eyes upon Jesus.”
Further away in Africa, fellow missionaries told BosNewsLife about their sorrow over the murder. “We are praying in Senegal, West Africa, for this family and this situation. We serve several missionaries from the Netherlands and have several teachers from the Netherlands also,” wrote Brett and Krissy Molter, directors of the Bourofaye Christian School in Senegal.
“This has been a difficult time for them, but we all are shocked to here this terrible news. We pray that God will use this senseless injustice for His Kingdom glory, in His refining power,” they told BosNewsLife.
They said everyone was “Weeping for the family and the Body of Christ”, a reference to Christians.
A funeral for the murdered missionary was expected in the Netherlands within the next few days.
The Kremers’ home church Vrije Baptistengemeente Groningen (Free Baptist Congregation Groningen) in the Dutch city of Groningen, who financially supported the couple, said it held special church services Sunday, February 27, to commemorate Ebel Kremer and his family.
“We can find comfort in the knowledge that our brother Ebel is now with the Lord,” the church leadership said, adding they had urged members to pray that God “will comfort Lora, the children and their family.”
Christians were also mourning the missionary’s death elsewhere in the Netherlands Sunday, February 27, including in the international evangelical Vineyard Assen church in the Dutch city of Assen, a church member told BosNewsLife. “Our pastor was a close friend of the deceased…He is heartbroken and we as a church are saddened by the cruel act,” wrote Isabella w.van Spijk, a Kenyan Christian who is married to a Dutchman, on the bosnewslife.com website.
‘CRYING TO GOD’
“It was very sad today in our [Vineyard Assen] church, I could not help crying out to God…The preacher could not hold back his tears now and then he kept stopping preaching.”
It was, she suggested, a Biblical message that the missionary died while serving God, just as Jesus, before His resurrection from death.
“Our God and only Him understands why. I will personally keep praying for Lora and the Children that His will may prevail [and] comfort both families. God is on his throne and he will always remember them not matter what because we believe in a living God who is able to carry us through the storms.”
We are praying in Senegal, West Africa for this family and this situation. We serve several missionaries from the Netherlands and have several teachers from the Netherlands also. This has been a difficult time for them, but we all are shocked to here this terrible news. We pray that God will use this sensless injustice for his kingdom glory, in His refining power.
Weeping for the family and the body of Christ,
Brett and Krissy Molter
I am kenyan married to a dutchman and we attend Vineyardchurch Assen formerly international church.
I know Athi river i was there in january.
Our pastor was a close friend of the deceased ,he is heartbroken and we as a church are saddened by the cruel act.It was very sad today in our church i could not help crying out to God and the preacher could not hold back his tears now and then he kept stopping preaching.it was a very strong message that He died when serving our God and only Him who understands why.
I will personally keep praying for Lora and the Children that His will may prevail,comfort both families and wipe away their tears.
God is on his throne and he will always remember them not matter what because we believe in a living God who is able to carry us through the storms.
MAY GOD SHINE HIS FACE ON YOU LORA AND YOUR LITTLE ANGELS!
IN CHRIST I REMAIN
I want to extend my deepest sympathies to you and your children. Ebel paid the ultimate cost to “know God and make Him known”. I am sorry for your loss and pray that you would find deep comfort, healing and peace in the arms of our Heavenly Father. I am a former YWAMer and have a brother and his family in Kenya.
Your sister in Christ,
Its so sad that all this is happening to people who are missionaries, working with the needy in Kenya.
Our prayers are with you as we understand the pain and suffering Lora and the children are going thrugh, we trust God will shine His light and shower them with His Love and comfort, through this challenging time.
In His Care
Ray,Eunice and Nicole
Missionaries in Namibia
I was shocked and saddened by this news. We live in an evil world. Our prayers and thoughts are with Lora and her family.
Max Rideout, Toronto, Canada
Our hearts go out to Ebel and his family during this time. Our team was deeply impacted by the example that Ebel and Lora were living before our eyes in pouring out their lives for Christ and the orphans in Kenya. On behalf of YWAM Oxford, New Zealand our thoughts are with you.
I am happy that Christians may find comfort in the thought that Ebel now is with his maker, but as an atheist I really wonder what ‘plan’ ‘god’ had in having Ebel killed and his wife brutally raped.
If there is a god who has ‘plans’ like this, I don’t want to know him.
Ofcourse this was not the plan of God. We live in a broken world where there is suffering and pain. But the Bible says the Lord gave us the opportunity to have eternal life by becoming citizens of His Kingdom. In John 3:16 we read: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (New International Version).
Yet, His Son, Jesus, also made clear before he was crucified instead of us for our sins in John 18:36 that: “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom belonged to this world, my servants would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But for now my kingdom is not from here.” Although He was handed over to the Jews to be crucified (and practically nailed at the cross by Roman soldiers, a horrible suffering), He also rose up from death so anyone who believes in Him has eternal life. For our citizenship is in heaven from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior.
When we come to faith in Christ we are already in heaven, although we are still in this human body. But after we die we are with Him forever. And soon He will return with us to establish His Kingdom on earth. Mark 13:7-8 says: “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.”
While Christians on earth suffer, including this beautiful missionary couple and their family, don’t think there will be no day of judgement. Yes God is a God of Love. But He is also a God of Justice. To be honest, I would not like to be a non-believer whose sins can not be forgiven, on that day of justice.
Christians can only hope that those responsible for this horrible crimes against the missionary couple will accept Christ and ask forgiveness for their sins in time…before the day of judgement. Because Matthew 13:40-43 says: “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
Clearly Ebel Kremer will be among the righteous shining forever.
His killers will be in a fiery furnace, unless they accept Christ’s grace. God will create a new heaven and earth as described by Apostle John in Revelation 21:1-4 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Ed, that’s our faith and much more joyful than the few years of perhaps some human fun, but often sorrow, in this current world. And one day, sooner than later, the Kremers will be re-united with Him and all the other saints that already went ahead of them. Where there is true joy, love, life, no sickness, peace beyond understanding to name a few.
Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife
I speak healing and peace to the family, I’m humbled and sad to hear this news.
It’s so sad to read that brother Ebel is not with us any more. Now he is with his master. I had the privilege of meeting Ebel & Lora in Feb. 2005 in Sri Lanka. He work very hard to lay the fundation for the first house we build for the tsunami victims. Praying for Lora and children.
With love and Prayers
Rev. Chris Gammeddehewa
Baptist Minister/Prison Chaplain in Sweden
Former Pastor of Calvary Church, Poddala, Galle, Sri Lanka