Monday, December 10, 2007

Lack of Hospitality Gets Christian Missionaries Killed

Cold, hard Colorado irony.

Danger and death in Arvada
Missionaries were training to serve in violent regions
By Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News
Monday, December 10, 2007
"He looked like a regular kid," YWAM's Denver director, Peter Warren, said he was told by his students. Witnesses told police that the gunman was a 20-year-old white male, wearing a dark jacket and beanie. He may have glasses or a beard.

The young man spent 30 minutes in the building before the shooting, Arvada police Chief Don Wick said.

At one point he asked to use the restroom. Finally, he asked if he could stay the night.

When the answer was no, he pulled a handgun and killed two young staffers and wounded two others.

Suspect turned away

Tiffany Johnson, 26, of Minneapolis, was in the line of fire because she was hospitality director, chosen for the role because of her welcoming personality. She was summoned from another part of the dorm to gently turn down the stranger's request to stay overnight - unauthorized persons weren't allowed, she explained.

"Then this is what I've got for you," the gunman reportedly answered and opened fire, according to Warren, who heard the accounts from the students. He and his wife, Linda, who is co-director, were at their home at the time the shootings occurred.

Philip Crouse, 24, of Alaska also was killed. A week ago, the soft-spoken Alaskan had helped string Christmas lights at the home of Pastor George Morrison, whose Faith Bible Chapel, just 300 yards away, has had a friendly relationship with YWAM for 20 years. Many missionaries attend Morrison's church while they are in the training program and occasionally help out around the church and at members' homes.

Crouse used the light-stringing opportunity to get some career advice from the older pastor.

"He was full of life, talking about his future and going on a mission trip," Morrison said.

Dan Griebenow, 24, of South Dakota, was shot and was in critical condition at Denver Health Medical Center. He and Johnson were dating, Warren said.

A few hours before the shooting the couple had posed together in costume for a jaunty photo at the banquet, which had a "masquerade" theme.

Charlie Blanch, 22, was also shot and was in stable condition at St. Anthony Central Hospital.

Thousands trained

Warren described YWAM, which worldwide trains thousands of young people every year, as "like a Christian Peace Corps." About 300 students a year train at the Arvada chapter.

The interdenominational Christian missionary outreach is the largest in the world, Warren said. In Arvada, the local chapter is located on three acres the group bought 20 years ago from Faith Bible Chapel on Ward Road. The two religious centers aren't affiliated but maintain a warm relationship.

After their training, which lasts several months, "they go places around the world no normal person would go," said Cheryl Morrison, wife of the Faith Bible Chapel pastor. Some of the missionaries are due to leave soon for Afghanistan and other countries racked by war and instability. Their ministries include help for AIDS victims and orphaned children.

To think, Morrison said, they found danger and death in Arvada.
Imagaine that. The war we put "out there" comes home.

"... places no normal person would go"? She means no white person, of course.

Yeah, Amerikans are really the light of the world, aye? Gosh-golly-gee, there's just so much peace here we have to export it via good little white girls and boys. Really. Onward Christian (white power) soldiers... A cult must have its followers, even if you have to drag them along in chains.

Can anyone say Columbus? He, too, came in the name of Christ.

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