Christians around the world mourn as news broke that prominent evangelical pastor and motivational speaker Myles Munroe, 60, and his wife, Ruth, were killed in a fiery jet crash near the Grand Bahama International Airport on Sunday.
Munroe, who is the leader of the Bahama Faith Ministries, was traveling with 9 others to join an influential group of religious leaders, executives, politicians and business leaders at the Global Leadership Forum in Freeport, Grand Bahama Monday.
According to ABC News, the group's private Lear jet struck a crane at the Grand Bahama Ship Yard as it approached the Grand Bahama International Airport, killing all on board.
Bishop Carlton Pearson of New Dimensions Chicago who described Munroe as his "beloved brother and friend" of 40 years expressed deep sorrow over the tragedy on his Facebook page.
"I don't often feel as speechless as I do tonight, at the stunning news of the sudden transition of my beloved brother and friend Myles Munroe, his dear wife Ruth and seven other precious souls in a tragic plane crash only a few hours ago. We were close and dear friends for over 40 years," wrote Pearson.
"While in the holding pattern and with evening darkness that had already set in, the pilot evidently became disoriented and mistakenly hit a crane of one of the ships docked near. There was a spark that caused the fuel tanks to explode. Munroe and the people onboard never knew what hit them and went instantly into eternity," said Pearson.
"Like the Old Testament prophet Elijah, he was taken away from us in a Chariot of fire. He was indeed an Apostle and Prophet to many. Reportedly he had recently told a pastor friend from Africa that he felt his work as he'd known it was nearing completion. He'd been actually setting things in order within his ministry to make a creative shift and secure his powerful legacy. At times like these, I don't try to figure things out, I just know that all things ultimately figure into a larger and higher purpose that we may never fully understand in this present limited reality. All things ultimately work in concert for and toward an ultimate good! The clock and calendar can prove, disprove, approve and improve anything. Time is always on our side. Honor and respect it regardless," he added.
Munroe's death awas also felt deeply in his native Bahamas, as Prime Minister Perry G. Christie called the loss "utterly impossible to measure."
"He was indisputably one of the most globally recognizable religious figures our nation has ever produced. His fame as an ambassador for the Christian ministry preceded him wherever in the world he traveled, whether in the Caribbean, North America, Asia, Europe or Africa. He was a towering force who earned the respect and admiration not only of Christian adherents but of secular leaders both here at home and around the world," Christie said in a statement.
Munroe grew up in Bain Town, a suburb of Nassau, one of 11 children, and became a Christian during his teenage years. He later attended Oral Roberts University, graduating in 1978 with degrees in fine arts, education and theology. He obtained a Master's degree in administration from the University of Tulsa in 1980. He also served as an adjunct professor at Oral Roberts.
Following Munroe's death, Oral Roberts President William M. Wilson remembered his deep faith and passion for sharing the Gospel.
"His energy and enthusiasm for imparting Spirit Empowered Christianity to new generations was contagious," Wilson said in the statement. "Whether in a leadership gathering with those in highest authority or in Bahamas as a caring shepherd in a community of believers, Myles was always the same -- upbeat, positive, loving, full of faith and searching for any way possible to make Jesus known in our generation. His loss will be felt around the world as well as in our hearts here at ORU.
A message on Munroe's Facebook page informed his followers that the Leadership Forum will go on as scheduled.
"Dear Facebook Friends, on behalf of Myles Munroe International and ITWLA. We would like to inform you that the Global Leadership Forum will continue. The forum will be for two and a half days (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning). This is what Munroe would have wanted. Please keep his family and the ministry in prayers," said the message.