Four months after their abduction, 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, 2009 nine foreign Christians 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. All of them worked a hospital in the city. Shortly afterwards, Rita Stumpp (26) and Anita Gruenwald (24), German nurses in training, and Eom Young-sun (33) of South Korea were killed and their bodies found by local shepherds. 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 and condition remain unknown. Tony is married but his wife did not accompany him on this trip.
As Middle East Concern (MEC) has noted, the work of the hospital has been severely reduced as a result, affecting the city and the wider area. The local population deeply regrets this. No one has claimed responsibility for the abductions and killings, which MEC notes, is “unusual within Yemeni culture, and heightens the concern and anxiety.” The search for the missing has been greatly hindered by the intense fighting between the government forces and the Houthi armed group in Saada province which have flared up again since June.
According to MEC, Christians in Yemen have backed calls for a day of prayer and fasting on Saturday, October 31. They request our continued prayers that:
a. The missing six (assuming they are still alive) will know the peace and presence of Jesus and will 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. All staff of the hospital will know the comfort of Jesus amidst uncertainty
e. Ways will be found to build up the staff and hence the work of the hospital for the benefit of the whole community.
f. The families and colleagues of Anita, Rita and Young-Sun (the three murdered ladies) will continue to know the comfort of Jesus
g. The deaths of the three women who served the local people selflessly may lead many to accept God's love and forgiveness
h. Efforts to end the violence in the Saada province will be successful, and the root causes addressed
i. 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
j. The perpetrators will be convicted by the Spirit and drawn to the forgiveness, love and true life offered by Jesus.
Please plan to get involved in this special day of prayer and fasting if you are able to. We would invite you to post a prayer on behalf of the missing six, their family, and colleagues on our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall.