WEC Mexico (1991-2014)
I was planning to visit our missionary language students in a language school, in the southern state of Mexico and to explore possibilities for stronger ties with them and their Bible school. I went on my way to pick up my colleague at our ministry camp centre. While I was focused on unlocking the padlock at the gate, a young man jumped out from behind me with a gun pointing at me, swaying up and down from my face to the chest, shouting the recurring words “Dame su dinero!” (give me your money). I had to calm him down by saying, “Tranquilo,” and that all I had was in the travel bag inside my car. There sat his accomplice, already searching my bag and dashboard and glovebox.
The man with the gun kept saying, “Don’t try to be funny,” and was about to drag me to the car. In my heart, silently praying, I realised that it might be an attempted kidnap too. Kidnappings are very common in Mexico, which has the world’s highest kidnapping rate, so it is very common for criminals to extort more money from victims’ family after robbing them. Surprisingly, I seemed cool and collected (national service paid off), telling him to take the money and car. He wanted to punch me, and pushed me toward the car, but his partner shouted at him, saying that he’d found the money and to leave me alone. This took place in broad daylight in the middle of nowhere, in a small town outside the camp ground. They were not masked so I could recognise them.
After the robbers left, I walked the two kilometres up to the camp centre and told my colleagues that I had been robbed, and my car taken. A police report was made, and roadblocks were set up in the surrounding areas, but with no results. After spending about six hours at the police station, making all the reports including the insurance report, I was “released”. Finally, I reached the centre late at night tired and exhausted. When I reached my room, l was shaking, feeling the “after-shock,” with my imagination running in my head. Thinking about what else the robbers could have done, and what might happen to my family if I was kidnapped, etc. After some time of reflection, l prayed and gave thanks to God for his mercy and protection, strengthening my faith that God is faithful and His presence is real and our lives are in His hand. Though material things were lost, my life was spared.
While I was at the police station, a colleague called my wife. She was asked to sit down while the conversation continued. Her heart raced and pounded knowing that something had happened! She told my wife that I was robbed and I was okay. She needed the vehicle and insurance policy numbers. Imagine, in the stress, I had forgotten my car number! Worse still, my mobile phone, all our personal details with names, house keys and phone numbers, etc. were in the car as well. Though we lived in a different area, who knew if the robbers would go to our house – after all, they had our address and house keys! A few missionary friends and a neighbour offered to accompany and stay over with Ivy and the kids. Ivy did not want to bear the responsibility of friends being hurt, should the robbers come, and declined the kind offers. However, to safe-guard the house, she put up barriers at our glass windows and doors so that if they were opened, she would at least be alerted. God is good; nothing happened, and we changed all the locks after two weeks.