From the Worldwide Faith News archives

LCMS - Cote d'Ivoire, Venezuela missionaries evacuated

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Thu, 26 Dec 2002 15:03:07 -0800

The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
Board for Communication Services

LCMSNews -- No. 79
December 26, 2002

Cote d'Ivoire, Venezuela missionaries evacuated

By Paula Schlueter Ross

LCMS World Mission has evacuated almost all of its career missionaries from
Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), West Africa, and Venezuela, South America, amid
growing political unrest in those two countries.

Among seven "missionary units" serving Cote d'Ivoire, one who was on home
leave in the United States will not return and five were evacuated in
November and December.	The term "missionary units" refers to individuals or
families on the mission-board payroll who serve in overseas fields.

The seventh, medical missionary Dr. William Foster, is assisting the Red
Cross in Cote d'Ivoire by caring for the wounded and ill until he can safely
leave the country.

LCMS World Mission is asking LCMS members to keep Foster and Cote d'Ivoire
Lutherans in their prayers.  Rebels, intent on ousting the current
government, began fighting there in September.	Since then, many Ivorians
have fled across the border to Liberia.

In Venezuela, five long-term volunteers were evacuated by LCMS World Mission
Dec. 10 because of an ongoing labor strike and growing tensions, including
demonstrations and sporadic violence.

Eight LCMS career missionaries and their families were notified Dec. 21 that
they also were being evacuated, based on recommendations from U.S. embassy
officials. The missionaries are "not in any physical danger," according to
Ken Reiner, counselor for personnel services with LCMS World Mission, but,
because of the strike, necessities such as gasoline and food are becoming

The eight are expected to be out of Venezuela by Dec. 28.

The career missionaries, who serve in the cities of Caracas, Puerto Ordaz,
Barcelona, Maracay and Monagas, are Donald Ellcey, Mark Kempff and family,
Rev. Theodore Krey, Rev. Daniel Conrad and family, Rev. Arthur Boone and
family, Rev. Richard Schlak and family, Rev. Henry Witte and family, and
Dale Saville and his wife, Sandra.

A ninth missionary, Dr. Rudolph Blank, and his wife, Ramona, are currently
in the States.	They had planned to return to Venezuela Dec. 26, but have
postponed their plans.

Reiner said an LCMS World Mission crisis-management team, of which he is a
member, is "continuing to monitor the situation" and he asked LCMS members
to pray for a resolution to the strike in Venezuela.


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