There continues to be no reliable news on the condition of the remaining six expatriate Christians kidnapped in mid-June by unknown assailants in Yemen. On June 12, nine foreigners were abducted — four German adults, three small German children, a British man and a South Korean woman — after they ventured outside the city of Sa’ada. Shortly afterwards, the bodies of Rita Stumpp (26) and Anita Gruenwald (24), German nurses in training, and Eom Young-sun (33) of South Korea were found. Still missing are German doctor Johannes (36), his wife Sabine (36), their three children Lydia (4), Anna (3) and Simon (1) and British engineer Anthony S. Their whereabouts remain unknown. Tony is married but his wife did not accompany him on this trip.
Middle East Concern released a prayer update yesterday in which they note that since Muslims are observing Ramadan, a month of fasting during daylight hours, it is likely that the missing adults, assuming they are alive, will be obliged to observe the fast. They also note:
Violence has flared up again in region around the town of Saada where the missing team and their murdered colleagues were working. The intense fighting between government forces and the Houthi rebel group is a major hindrance to efforts to locate the missing foreigners. The government continues to suspect the Houthi rebels of involvement in the abductions and murders and has made information about the six one of their conditions for a ceasefire. However, the Houthi rebels deny any involvement. It remains the case that there has been no credible claim of responsibility.
In June we reported concerns that the South Korean government might restrict their nationals from travelling to Yemen, a move which would have an impact on several Christian ministries. Recent reports suggest that the South Korean government is currently considering restricting travel to Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries.
Expatriate Christians in Yemen give thanks that some in Saada are showing increased openness to the Gospel. They request our continued prayers that:
a. The missing six (assuming they are still alive) will know the peace and presence of Jesus and be released unharmed soon
b. The families and colleagues of those missing will know the peace of Jesus amidst the intense uncertainty
c. Efforts to discover the missing six will continue and will be successful
d. The families and colleagues of Anita, Rita and Young-Sun (the three murdered ladies) will continue to know the comfort of Jesus
e. The deaths of the three women who served the local people selflessly may cause many to come to accept God's love and forgiveness
f. Efforts to end the violence in the Saada province will be successful, and the root causes addressed
g. All expatriate Christians in Yemen will know the Lord's guiding and protecting at this time, and His wisdom concerning future involvement in Saada in particular
h. The South Korean government will not prevent its citizens from working in Yemen
i. The perpetrators will be convicted by the Spirit and drawn to the forgiveness, love and true life offered by Jesus.
Please make these prayer requests a matter of urgency. We certainly want to believe that the hostages are still alive. Please share these prayer requests with others at your church and prayer groups, and with your family. We invite you to post prayers on our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall to show your solidarity with the hostages and their families.
Let it not be said that we sinned against these brothers and sisters by ceasing to pray for them (1 Samuel 12:23)