Four Baptist Americans dead in Iraq drive-by shooting, fifth in critical condition
FiveSouthern Baptist aid workers from North Carolina, California, and Texas were in Mosul, Iraq, to provide clean water to the city. One of them, Larry Elliott, of Cary, North Carolina, had reportedly designed a water purification system that has been used elsewhere in the country.

While driving on the east side of the city yesterday afternoon, the Baptists' car came under attack by automatic weapons fire and rocket-propelled grenades. When an off-duty Iraqi policeman found the car moments later, three of the missionaries, including Elliott and his wife, Jean, were already dead. The two wounded— another husband-and-wife team, David and Carrie McDonnall of the Dallas suburb of Rowlett—were taken to a nearby hospital. There, David McDonnall died of his wounds. His wife remains in critical condition with four gunshot wounds.

The Elliotts were new to the mission field. David had just graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2002, Carrie was still officially a student there.

In contrast, the Elliotts were longtime missionary veterans, having worked most of the last 25 years in Honduras. They were scheduled to leave Iraq later this month to close their Honduran headquarters and permanently relocate to Iraq.

Larry Kingsley, a church deacon at the Elliotts' stateside church, told the Associated Press that the Iraq mission was more about ministering to physical needs than proclamation evangelism.

"They knew going into Iraq, they couldn't really share their Christian faith unless somebody asked them," he said. "They were there in a humanitarian situation. … They were people who just had a great heart for helping people out."

Also killed in the attack was Karen Watson of Bakersfield, California, a single woman who converted to Christianity in 1997 and had recently quit her job as a detention officer to work full-time in missions.

In February, an Iraq taxi carrying several Independent Baptist church planters (not Southern Baptists) was attacked as it returned from Babylon to Baghdad. John Kelley, pastor of Curtis Corner Baptist Church in Wakefield, Rhode Island, was killed in the shooting. Three others were injured.

For more on this most recent attack, keep monitoring the International Missions Board web site, which already has a tribute video, and Baptist Press.

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