Today, the news reported that John and Eloise Bergen of Vernon, BC and Scottsdale, AZ, were brutally attacked in their home last night while serving on a short missions trip to Kenya to help re-establish schools for orphaned children after the political fall-out from a difficult election recently. The attack came about 8:30 pm by robbers who overcame the guards.
The robbers attacked 70 year-old John with clubs and machetes and threw him in a bush to die. They then proceeded into the house, found Eloise, assaulted her, tied her hands, threw her to the floor and piled furnishings on her. After the thieves ransacked the house and left, she was able to free herself with scissors. She managed to find John, wrap him in blankets, and take his bleeding body in their abandoned car to find help at the offices of Hope for the Nations, the group with with they served. From there the pair was air-lifted to Nairobi where John received 3 hours of surgical treatment for his wounds. Eloise suffered many bruises, cuts and a broken leg in the attack.
What makes this story so moving for me is that these people served as pastor and wife in the church that I came to pastor with my wife some six years later. John and Eloise Bergen faithfully served the Prince George Lakewood Alliance Church from 1973 – 1978 and saw many people come to believe in Christ and become His disciples. I found out about this story today by one couple calling to say John had performed their marriage some thirty years ago just before John and Eloise left for ministry in New Zealand that year. It was our privilege to build upon the work they had established several years earlier.
What moves me futher about this story is that this couple is still actively serving the Lord at age 70 and 66 in the ministry of God’s kingdom. I understand they sold their possessions to go to Kenya for the purpose of ministry with this organization. I didn’t ever get to know John and Eloise well, but I sensed from what I knew of them that they were people who were zealous for God and the work of His kingdom — not counting their lives dear unto themselves (Acts 20:24). Even though they knew of the possible dangers of serving in Kenya, they were willing to go and serve Christ there.
It makes me ask what I/we might be willing to do for the sake of Christ’s kingdom! We never know when we may be called to lay down our lives for Christ. I pray for John and Eloise to experience complete recovery from this horrible accident and live to tell their story for God’s glory. I pray too that they, and their loved ones, will experience God’s peace and comfort in this difficult time. And I pray that I might similarily be willing to yield up comforts and life itself for Christ and His kingdom.