Excerpts from

One Year Book of Christian History

by E. Micahael and Sharon Rustin

Tyndale House, Page 242.


  Thailand: Cruel death brings new life   

April 30

Background information: Two missionaries -- from Holland and Wales -- were faithfully serving Thailand's lepers during the 1970's. Meanwhile, the Vietnam war was raging, and many refugees fled into neighboring Laos, Cambodia, and northern Thailand. A more local conflict  threatened the people in southern Thailand, where Muslim liberation groups were fighting for independence for predominantly Muslim provinces.

"Minka Hanskamp... and Margaret Morgan.... were missionary nurses with Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF). They had worked tirelessly in southern Thailand for sixteen and nine years respectively. They both had a special burden for those with leprosy. Their ministry involved cutting away rotten flesh, treating ulcerated sores that emitted a horrible stench, and washing many leprous feet.

"Every two weeks the women held a leprosy clinic in the town of Pujud. On April 20, 1974, Minka’s sixteenth anniversary at OMF, she and Margaret were lured away from Pujudby strangers who insisted they come with them to the mountains to treat some sick patients needing help.

On April 30, 1974, lan Murray, the OMF representative for Thailand, received two devastating letters. One was a letter from Minka and Margaret stating that they had been kidnapped by jungle people but were well and still praising.The second letter was from their captors. It demanded a.half-million-dollar ransom. The kidnappers also demanded that an official letter be sent from OMF to the nation of Israel in support of Palestinian rights. OMF’s policies did not allow them to comply with either demand. If they paid a ransom, every missionary would become more susceptible to abduction. It was also against OMF policy to become involved in political issues.

Instead Ian Murray met with Thai officials and representatives of the kidnappers, attempting to secure the release of Minka and Margaret. The meeting was unsuccessful. Violence in the area escalated over the next few days between Muslim separatists and the military. The Muslim gang that held the women issued a statement saying that they were not against OMF but against American and British support of Israel. The women would not be released unless the “Christian world stop any support to Israel against the Palestinian people.”

This crisis received international attention and prayer, but the letters from the women soon stopped. Rumors of their executions spread but were not confirmed.

Finally in March 1975 a Malaysian man confessed that he had shot both missionaries in the head. The chief of the Muslim gang had decided that the women had to be killed in order to keep the respect of his underlings in the rebel movement. The man said that the nurses were calm when they were told they were going to die, saying only, “Give us a little time to read and pray.” Although the Christian world hoped the story wasn’t true, it was confirmed....

On May 15 hundreds attended their funeral, not only Christians but Buddhists and Muslims as well. Many were shocked and saddened by the violent murders of the women who had come to help them. One man testified at the funeral that he had been a former bandit killer but had become a Christian after Minka had tenderly placed his ulcerated foot on her lap as she treated it.

Following the funeral, native pastors and missionaries received more inquiries about the Christian faith than ever before.

"Jesus said unto her, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." John 11:25-26

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