(ADDS MORE COMMENTS, NEW DETAILS ABOUT ATTACKS, REACTIONS FROM YOUTH WITH A MISSION, MORE BACKGROUND)
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
NAIROBI/GRONINGEN (BosNewsLife)-- Christians in Kenya and the Netherlands began mourning Dutch missionary Ebel Kremer, 36, who was shot and killed when armed robbers stormed a mission center near Nairobi, Kenya's capital.
His 34-year-old wife Lora was reportedly sexually assaulted in front of their two small children in Friday's pre-dawn raid at the complex of international Christian organization Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in the town of Athi River, some 50 kilometers (32 miles) outside Nairobi.
A night watchman was also injured but is now recovering, YWAM explained. The children were not harmed and have been brought to a Dutch married couple, Christians said earlier.
Kenyan police on Saturday, February 26, continued investigating the attack on the Kremers, who were involved in caring for orphans in the region, YWAM said.
YWAM suggested however there was no evidence that the attack was sparked by Muslim extremism that has plagued the further away north eastern border area of Kenya with Somalia. "The incident is being investigated as a robbery, " YWAM said in a statement.
It remained unclear whether the couple had been singled out for the attack on the 70 acre property, where YWAM said some "25 resident volunteers and 50 other people" were also present at the time. "The police are conducting extensive inquiries and have increased security in the area. YWAM has also engaged additional security," the group said, without elaborating.
Since February 2008, the Kremers worked as volunteers at the YWAM center in Athi River, which includes Christian training schools, a preschool and facilities for orphaned children, known as 'Homes for Hope and Healing'.
Ebel Kremer was involved in building YWMA's 'Maanzoni Children’s Village' of eight such homes with foster families caring for up to a dozen orphans each.
YWMA representative Karin Kea Sued acknowledged that the village's future was now uncertain. "Ebel was overseeing the building of the second of the eight homes...We were waiting for the homes to be completed before accepting more children."
However the YWMA official said Lora Kremer and her team appreciated the prayers reportedly being said for them by Christians around the world."Our hearts are hurting as we are all in shock and disbelief that Ebel has been taken from us so suddenly, and in such a cruel and heartless manner," she added.
"We have lost a fellow missionary and friend who beamed with energy and determination serving the One we all know to give perfect peace, comfort and eternal life. Our prayers and sympathy remain with Lora and their families in Holland."
Earlier several Christians, including those based in Kenya, told BosNewsLife they were shocked about the news.
"I am praying for Lora and her children. I have been praying for them since I heard this news," wrote Christine Enoch in a comment on the BosNewsLife.com website. "I am also praying for the extended family, as they are devastated by this news. I can only imagine their shock and pain."
'HOPE IN JESUS'
She said she had lived in three countries in Africa for the past 23 years. "I thank God for His mercy and protection. I currently live in Nairobi, so this [news about the attack] comes close to home, and makes me realize that the only hope I have is to turn my eyes upon Jesus."
Further away in Africa, fellow missionaries told BosNewsLife about their sorrow over the murder. "We are praying in Senegal, West Africa, for this family and this situation. We serve several missionaries from the Netherlands and have several teachers from the Netherlands also," wrote Brett and Krissy Molter, directors of the Bourofaye Christian School in Senegal.
"This has been a difficult time for them, but we all are shocked to here this terrible news. We pray that God will use this senseless injustice for His Kingdom glory, in His refining power," they told BosNewsLife.
They said everyone was "Weeping for the family and the Body of Christ", a reference to Christians.
A funeral for the murdered missionary was expected in the Netherlands within the next few days.
The Kremers' home church Vrije Baptistengemeente Groningen (Free Baptist Congregation Groningen) in the Dutch city of Groningen, who financially supported the couple, said it held special church services Sunday, February 27, to commemorate Ebel Kremer and his family.
"We can find comfort in the knowledge that our brother Ebel is now with the Lord," the church leadership said, adding they had urged members to pray that God "will comfort Lora, the children and their family."
Christians were also mourning the missionary's death elsewhere in the Netherlands Sunday, February 27, including in the international evangelical Vineyard Assen church in the Dutch city of Assen, a church member told BosNewsLife. "Our pastor was a close friend of the deceased...He is heartbroken and we as a church are saddened by the cruel act," wrote Isabella w.van Spijk, a Kenyan Christian who is married to a Dutchman, on the bosnewslife.com website.
'CRYING TO GOD'
"It was very sad today in our [Vineyard Assen] church, I could not help crying out to God...The preacher could not hold back his tears now and then he kept stopping preaching."
It was, she suggested, a Biblical message that the missionary died while serving God, just as Jesus, before His resurrection from death.
"Our God and only Him understands why. I will personally keep praying for Lora and the Children that His will may prevail [and] comfort both families. God is on his throne and he will always remember them not matter what because we believe in a living God who is able to carry us through the storms."