I read the news this morning that a mission group from the First Congregational Church of Hamilton, Massachusetts were 'robbed and assaulted' earlier this week in Guatemala. I found the wording of reports lacked certain details of the event, so I searched further. There are indications that in addition to one van being carjacked, the adults and teenagers on board were robbed and some of the assaults were of a sexual nature.
“On the way back to Guatemala City Tuesday night they were carjacked, one of the vans was carjacked. They were robbed and assaulted but we’re happy to say they’re safely home,” Dorington Little, pastor of the First Congregational Church of Hamilton, said.
Sources tell 7News some of the assaults were sexual.
“I can’t comment on that because everything that happened right now is private and being handled by our church. Everyone is safe and everyone is sound and everyone is healthy right now,” Krason said.
Krason said she wasn’t in the van that got attacked but the group had just spent eight days in a rural village building houses and leading bible study groups.
Her husband says the congregation is coming together to support each other.
“At first there’s going to be lots of grief and process. It’s a bad thing, when you see this it’s bad. But God is good and we’re going to come together as a church like we never have and we’re going to be there for each other,”David Krason said.
New procedures will be put in place if the trip occurs again next year.
“They were driving at nine at night, so we decided we will never drive at night again. When you do this kind of work, it doesn't guarantee safe passage so you do everything all of the time to make sure everything is safe,” Gail Hull, one of the trip organizers, said.
The group reported to the attack to the US Embassy in Guatemala and they said Guatemalan police would be handling the incident. (WHDH News)
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people involved. They went to Guatemala to build a house for a homeless family, to conduct Bible studies, to conduct Vacation Bible School for the children, to share the love of God, and to do whatever labor was needed in the village.
Please keep these adults and youth in your prayers.
There is evil in this world no matter where you go and no doubt Satan uses evil people to try and stop the spread of God's Word.
Additional thoughts and questions I would like to see answered:
I realize this was first reported as a local story until Drudge posted a link. This should be a world news story. I would like to see the following questions answered:
Who were the perpetrators of this attack?
How many attackers were there?
What weapons did they have?
What exactly are the local Guatemalan police doing to find the criminals?
What will the process be in the Guatemalan legal system to try and punish these evil people?
What can be done in the future to stop such vile attacks on missions groups, not just in Guatemala but in other mission fields around the world?