A retired Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) missionary and her daughter were killed in a carjacking incident in Kenya on Saturday.
Lois Anderson - who had served in Africa with her husband for 40 years – and her daughter, Zelda White, were shot in a village a few miles outside of the capital city Nairobi, according to Doug Welch, the PC (USA)’s area coordinator for Africa.
The two were traveling in an American embassy vehicle and were relatives of an embassy employee, according to Louisville, Ky.- based newspaper The Courier-Journal.
"The thugs ordered the two women out but they hesitated," said Isaiah Osugo, a criminal investigator, to The Associated Press. "Then they were shot."
The car thieves escaped with the car but soon abandoned it. Two of them were later killed by the police, according to AP. The event is believed to be “a random attack” and not one aimed at American citizens.
Louis and her husband Bill had traveled to Kenya from their South Carolina home for a family gathering with their daughter Zelda, who lived with her husband in Kenya, according to the Presbyterian News Service.
The Andersons were no stranger to the region, having served as PC (USA) missionaries for more than 40 years in Sudan and Kenya and were known for their commitment to spreading the Gospel in the area. According to PC (USA), the couple had spent their honeymoon in 1951 at a language school preparing for mission service.
Will Browne, co-leader of the PC (USA)’s World Mission program area, described the Andersons’ service as “an expression of God’s love and grace for our church partners in east Africa and all people,” according to the news agency.
“The Andersons are known across east Africa for their decades of service to the church, especially in the area of theological education,” testified Welch.
“They are known through much of the PC (USA) for their unending commitment to God's mission and their selfless presentation of the work that God called them to.”
Welch, who is also a former PC (USA) missionary in Africa, recalled Louis as a “selfless” and “humble servant” who was always smiling.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of Lois and Zelda,” concluded Welch. “We pray that the Holy Spirit will surround and care for the whole family.”
Kenya is known for its large Christian population, consisting of an estimated 45 percent Protestant and 33 percent Roman Catholic population, according to the CIA World Factbook.