Somali pirates kill missionaries

By Elizabeth Tenety Scott and Jean Adam, two of the four Americans killed by pirate captors off the coast of … Continued

By Elizabeth Tenety

Scott and Jean Adam, two of the four Americans killed by pirate captors off the coast of Somalia, were not just adventure-seekers sailing a nearly decade-long cruise around the world. According to their own writings, the couple was using their global excursions as an opportunity to spread the Gospel. Even the name of their 58-foot vessel, the Quest, was a nod to the Christian organization funding their mission.

On their Web site, they detailed their mission to share the Bible with people around the world “to allow the power of the Word to transform lives.”

We seek fertile ground for the Word and homes for our Bibles. Often, the ultimate homes are best found by people who are already living locally and seeking and cultivating that fertile ground. AND even more extraordinary are the times when people have been praying for Bibles for their group or their schools and when we arrive we are often greeted by the attitude of, “We were expecting you.” (that is, they were looking for their prayers to be answered. And…) “What took you so long?” Additionally, we are often an amazing encouragement to folks who are long past “the honeymoon” stage of their ministry!

And:

Anytime we have workers on the boat or come into the dock and have an opportunity to talk to people we find more homes for our Bibles.

Christianity Today’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey has many more details about the couple here, but clarified that the “Adams were members of Saint Monica’s Catholic Church in Santa Monica, California.”

Their Web site says that they shared Catholic and Protestant translations of the Bible with people from Mexico to the Cook Islands and linked to Catholic and evangelical Web sites. Jean wrote:

“Often people have an agenda behind their “gifts.” Scott & I feel that we can do more as “unassociated missionaries.” (Our only association is that of fiscal oversight by the Quest Mission Church in Bakersfield.) This allows us to follow the Spirit as we search for “homes” for our Bibles.

“Religion is an important and sustaining force in my life,” Jean wrote in one entry.

A church associate, Greg Statezni, has more insight on the couple in a story at Bakersfieldnow.com:

The two met when Adam came to Bakersfield in 2001 to do field study work as part of his seminary training at Quest church, then located in a warehouse in Oildale. During his stay, Statezni says Adam was impressed with the church’s effort to reach the homeless.

“[Scott] thought to have a yacht and be able to distribute bibles by just going into different harbors and handing them out,” said Statezni.

More details, this from an AP report titled, “Hijacked Ca. sailor sought to mix faith, adventure

Adam, now in his mid-60s, had been an associate producer in Hollywood when he turned in a spiritual direction and enrolled in the seminary a decade ago, Johnston said.

“He decided he could take his pension, and he wanted to serve God and humankind,” he said.

“He was sailing around the world and serving God, two of his passions,” Johnston said.

This post will be updated as more information about the Adams and their passengers becomes available.

About

Elizabeth Tenety Elizabeth Tenety is the former editor of On Faith, where she produced "Divine Impulses," On Faith’s video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.
  • kschur1

    So Yeal9, are you manning up to volunteer for the first wave to attack? Didn’t think so…

  • Brcassell

    Each one of those 19 pirates should of been knifed in the gut then tossed overboard like the trash they are.

  • Skowronek

    I doubt that any of the (Somali) pirates cared one way or another about their religious views, maybe not even their nationality. They saw rich people in an expensive ship and easy financial gain.I’m sorry for their families and their loss. Is a ban on any non-commercial boat even a reasonable proposition, given how dangerous these waters are known to be? I realize that people could and would ignore it, but maybe it would give more of them pause.Again, my condolences to their loved ones.

  • deltaxi

    While it’s tragic there are a few things to keep in mind here:1) They were in an area known for pirates…they could have taken another route but didn’t2) The US military is in the midst of 2 wars/major actions/etc…they should not be pulled off to help out 4 citizens who broke point #13) @jrw1: What’s going on here is that you have people who are traveling the world, insulting other cultures and beliefs to force their own on them. I don’t want to say they got what’s coming to them because nobody deserves to die that way but there is such a thing as Karma (John 3:45)

  • goodnight

    I am sorry that deltaxi feels the way that he/she does regarding the couples who lost their lives sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost. Mentioned in the third paragraph are some very sad and disturbing things said and a completely untrue verse that is found nowhere in the bible – in fact there is no John 3:45, it stops at verse 3:36 which says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whosoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

  • rcubedkc

    Religious fanatics usually get someone else killed, this time they got themselves killed.So what.Kill the pirates just the same, wherever they are.And goodnight, there’s a yacht leaving for Somalia in the morning, be on it.

  • YEAL9

    Did the simple, preacher man die for our sins? Stop and think about that statement.A different take:Here is what Professor JD Crossan has to say about atonement theology: (from his book, “Who is Jesus” co-authored with Richard Watts)”Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us.” “Traditionally, Christians have said, ‘See how Christ’s passion was foretold by the prophets.” Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus’ last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God.” “In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life.”

  • gershwin2009

    They belonged the the St. Monica’s Parish Community in Santa Monica CA, to the best of my knowledge. They were not commissioned or sponsored by this parish though. Anyway, the pirates did not target them because of that; given the fact that Somalia is predominantly muslim, I’m sure that their disagreement in theological matters did not help.

  • RCofield

    “Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us.”–Only with a generation that knows nothing of self-sacrifice could such thinking hold any credibility whatsoever.I don’t know where or how Professor Crossman “expresses” his “faith”, but it is certainly not directed toward the God of Scripture.

  • jrlanger

    Darwin’s Law, in a nutshell. Survival of the fittest. Take your rickshaw boat into Somali waters armed with a pine tree worth of Bibles and good spirit, and the odds are you’re not coming out of there in the same condition you went in.

  • ThishowIseeit

    These four missionaries were well aware of the danger but-IMO- were sure that their deity would protect them. The problem is that there is no fair deity. Million of innocent babies and children have died due to tsunamis and earthquakes. Moving tectonic plates prove that earth was made in an non-intelligent way. But there’s plenty of room for a different kind of spirituality we all should live by: The Ethic Of Reciprocity.

  • Casey1

    While hardly worthy of a death sentence, proselytising anywhere for any reason is small-minded, presumptuous and, at best, exceedingly rude.Ones private religion should be just that — private.The very idea that one god is better than another is nonsense. To suggest as much in a part of the world where religious beliefs can so easily lead to violence is stupid.The world will be a much better place when ALL religious types keep their beliefs to themselves.

  • YEAL9

    “Thumptations” from the Letter to the Hebrews is not a good idea if one is looking for insights from Paul. From Father Raymond Brown’s book, An Introduction to the New Testament, p. 684:”Author not identified; later church attribution to Paul now abandoned.”

  • ThomasBaum

    ThishowIseeit You wrote, “Moving tectonic plates prove that earth was made in an non-intelligent way.”Have you ever created an earth or a solar system or a galaxy?I haven’t, as a matter of fact I haven’t created anything, I am part of this creation but I have met the Creator.The Creator, which we refer to as God, a Trinity, or to God-Incarnate, Jesus or as the Jewish refer to as Yahweh or Lord, is a Being of Pure Love.I know that Love being a Being is beyond our human understanding but it is nevertheless TRUE.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    Casey1You wrote, “proselytising anywhere for any reason is small-minded, presumptuous and, at best, exceedingly rude.”If by “proselytising” you mean trying to shove your beliefs down someone else’s throat, than I concur.But if you mean that it is “small-minded, presumptuous and at best, exceedingly rude” to share one’s belief with another than I could not disagree more.One of the “ideals” of this country, USA, is that one can have their beliefs and state their beliefs but that they can not force their beliefs on others nor can others force their beliefs on them.You then wrote, “The very idea that one god is better than another is nonsense.”I agree, since how could one god be better than another god since the very definition of God, Supreme Being, rules out the possibility of there being more than One God.You then wrote, “To suggest as much in a part of the world where religious beliefs can so easily lead to violence is stupid.”When I state that God is a Trinity and is a Being of Pure Love, I state this because I have met God and since the god of islam, to put it mildly, gets perturbed when one says this, there is only one conclusion that I can come to and that is that the god of islam is satan.Is this “stupid” and if you think that it is, do you suggest that we all become mute?You then wrote, “The world will be a much better place when ALL religious types keep their beliefs to themselves.”Do you think that all should shut up rather than all should be able to believe and say what they will?Do you think that all musicians should not be allowed to use words or for that matter musical notes when expressing themselves because it might bother others?See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom, the new heavens and the new earth.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • apspa1

    Catholicism threatens sinners with eternal suffering in the fires of hell.Warning to all missionaries who preach such:if you play with fire your going to get burned.Amen

  • Spring_Rain

    God is not to be found in the Indian Ocean with Somali pirates allowed to roam freely-God didn’t need to tell anyone that-God would expect you to read up on the situation and keep your a rses well away from there.

  • FoundingMother

    This would have been a very cool, relaxing and expensive way to deliver bibles but going by the Horn of Africa was something a vindictive god apparently did not approve of.

  • hitpoints

    “When I state that God is a Trinity and is a Being of Pure Love, I state this because I have met God and since the god of islam, to put it mildly, gets perturbed when one says this, there is only one conclusion that I can come to and that is that the god of islam is satan.”"Is this “stupid” …?”That, or psychotic.

  • BrettPaatsch1

    Hmm. So into waters where fish stocks are being depleted and once fishers of fish turn to being pirates to earn a living come four wealthy Americans on a yatch on a mission to bring their version of the Christian truth to a part of the world that is largely Islamic. Islam being a religion about 6oo years younger than Christianity and only about 1400 years old. And so in part a reaction to Christianity. Just maybe the Christian missionary message as delivered by wealthy Americans has already been heard in that part of the world. Maybe what that part of the world, like most of the rest of the world needs, is not more wealthy Americans bearing 2000 year old propaganda. Maybe Americans could, you know, keep their word on treaties against aggressive invasion, kidnapping, torture, that sort of stuff. All pretty secular down to earth stuff really but quite important if people of different faiths or none are ever going to be able to live with each other in this world without systemic political exploitation.

  • miknugget

    I feel bad that they lost their lives, but couldn’t they be doing ANYTHING on earth more meaningful than giving away worthless bibles? This is natural selection in action.

  • hastingst

    If the couple had managed to escape unharmed, Christians on this board and others would be posting comments like “God was looking out for them” and “Jesus saved them.” So what do you say now that they died? To be consistent, shouldn’t you be posting things like “God deserted them” or “Jesus slaughtered them”?I mourn the loss of human life, but this couple was obviously wandering into a place where they had no business going. Their reckless stupidity endangered the lives of literally hundreds of U.S. sailors and interrupted the mission of our navy. According to the Washington Post, four navy warships – including an aircraft carrier – were involved in the unsuccessful rescue. At one point the pirates fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. warship. The risks and costs were substantial. And it was all so this couple could sail their yacht and play a silly game of “my religion is better than yours.” How can anyone defend such behavior? Ship of fools, indeed.

  • mmurray2

    Why did not God protect them?

  • lamarhinson

    Why did God not protect them? (MMURRAY) How did God let this happen?(JRW1)They could have taking another route. (Deltaxi)When Paul and Barnabas went into what is today called Turkey to spread the gospel, they could have asked those same questions, instead they chose to rejoice because of the persecutions that that suffered, they were beat, imprisoned, shipwrecked left for dead Paul was stoned. Acts 14 -19. Yet they did not shriek in fear but continued in faith. The Christian isn’t ashamed of the gospel for it is the power unto salvation for those who believe, therefore we are willing to suffer and die for it. Are greatest joy is in the rejoicing of those who have received this gift not just of eternal life but to be sanctified and to be glorified with Christ. These things are foolish to those who don’t understand.The fact that the world will be talking about the acts of these people show that Gods sovereign plan is already at work.Since they believed in God they are already protected, for those who believe in Jesus their is no condemnation, so even though that they are dead to those who are living. They are alive right now with Christ in his glory.So the question is are you protected by God in the event trouble and death come after you? email me [email protected] I would like to hear answers.

  • jrw1

    Kind of strange how God let this happen. What’s going on here? Who’s side is God really on anyway?

  • YEAL9

    The time has come to eliminate these lowlife pirates and their rat holes in Somalia.

  • ThomasBaum

    Rongoklunk You wrote, “Those who think that God is love are just using the word ‘god’ in place of the word ‘love’, a metaphor if you will.”Some might be, however, I have stated that I “know” that God Is Love, a Being of Pure Love, I have not said that I think or that I believe but ever since I met Who is referred to as God the Father, I know that God Is Love.I have also met Who is referred to as the Holy Spirit and it was the Holy Spirit Who revealed to me that the Catholic Eucharist is Jesus and this is why I also say that God Is a Trinity.You then wrote, “Love exists. God doesn’t.”If Love “exists”, what is Love?You also wrote, “God is a figment of a believer’s imagination.”Is this a “fact” or your opinion?You then wrote, “The only thing you can’t do is make him a reality, because he’s just an idea, like Satan is.”I have never attempted to “make God a reality”, God revealed to me that God Is.I have also met satan, so I know that satan is real but satan is not God, he is a god-wannabe, satan was created by God.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • YEAL9

    It is called the Great Angelic Con Game:Joe Smith had his Moroni.Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;Mohammed had his Gabriel (this “tin-kerbell” got around).Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day Demon of the Demented. The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other “no-namers” to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

  • Farnaz2Mansouri21

    God is not the issue here; sanity is. Somali pirates are not ideologues or postcolonialists. They are simple murderers who hijack vessels and kill their occupants.If you dive into shark-infested seas, odds are sharks will kill you. God gave us reason. If we choose not to use it, that is our affair.

  • adrienne_najjar

    Scott and Jean Adam: Two complete idiots who got exactly what they deserved. I can’t stand these proselytizing bozos. I’m glad they are dead.

  • Rongoklunk

    I agree with those who wonder where God was, and if he even exists. If he’s real then why didn’t he get involved in this terrible scenario. It would have been a piece of cake for God – saving Christians and beating up the bad guys. Who wouldn’t believe in God if he was that involved? But that’s the whole problem. He NEVER gets involved no matter how terrible things are for earth people. Look at all the wars he never got involved in. It’s just as if he doesn’t exist. How can folks pray to this guy? He never responds. He’s either too old, or he’s just a figment of our collective imagination. Time to dump this incompetent made up God. Who needs him? Seriously.

  • Rongoklunk

    Those who think that God is love are just using the word ‘god’ in place of the word ‘love’, a metaphor if you will. Love exists. God doesn’t.Just as smart to say that God is the wind. Or the rain. Or God is a hot summer’s day. Or God is justice, or God is awe, or God is omnipotent, or God is as God does. Or “I have met Satan and he is pure hatred.” Which is an equally absurd non-statement.God is a figment of a believer’s imagination. He can be anything you want him to be. The only thing you can’t do is make him a reality, because he’s just an idea, like Satan is.

  • hastingst

    “The Christian isn’t ashamed of the gospel for it is the power unto salvation for those who believe, therefore we are willing to suffer and die for it.”Go for it. You can suffer and die for an Archie comic book if that’s where your heart lies. But missionaries have no business endangering our troops by blundering straight into a hostage situation.

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