Missionary's Murder Will Open Doors in Lebanon, Agency Says

by Allie Martin

(AgapePress)...An official with the Christian and Missionary Alliance says a missionary killed in November in Lebanon died doing the work to which the Lord had called her.

Thirty-one-year-old Bonnie Witherall was shot to death last Thursday by an Islamic gunman as she opened a prenatal clinic in southern Lebanon. More than 500 people attended her memorial service on Sunday held in the same clinic where she was slain. Witherall's husband Gary, who worked alongside her in Sidon, will accompany her body as it is flown back to the U.S. on Wednesday. A funeral service is planned tentatively for Friday in Lyndon, Washington.

Bob Fetherlin is with the Colorado-based Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA). He says God has been glorified through the tragedy.

"We believe that Bonnie's death was not in vain," Fetherlin says. "[We believe] that God is going to use her situation and what she has gone through her death to, in fact, open new doors for the gospel and give us opportunities to talk about the person of Jesus Christ, the one to whom Bonnie was so committed that she was willing to be in a place where her life was at risk for Him and where she actually died for Him."

Fetherlin says Bonnie Witherall was not afraid to get out of her comfort zone. "I believe if we want to move forward in the remaining, final frontiers of Christian missions, that we have to be ready and willing to suffer," he says. "And in some situations, we will need to be ready and willing to die for the cause of Christ and as we do so, we'll sprinkle the message with our blood, and it will be that much more compelling to people whose hearts have traditionally been closed to the message of Christ."

The missionary group said it had temporarily relocated some staff, but would not shut down. The clinic where Bonnie Witherall worked has been open for three years and provides needed medical care twice a week to more than 50 pregnant women and new mothers.

According to C&MA, the clinic is well received by the community, but the religious majority in Sidon opposes the evangelical church's presence.

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