by Baptist Press
One day in May, missionary Travis Forsythe was driving home to Dabakala, Cote d'Ivoire, where he and his wife serve among the Djimini people group. His 2-year-old son, Nathanael, was with him.
When Forsythe stopped for food late in the day at the city of Bouake, two bandits took the car from him at gunpoint. Forsythe clung to the open door of the vehicle, trying to convince the gunmen to let him get Nathanael out. The driver shot and wounded Forsythe, who chased the car as it sped away with his son in the back seat.
Forsythe's wife, Kim, and their 5-year-old daughter, Gloria, were not with him at the time. Kim Forsythe was observing her 30th birthday at home, ordered to bed by her doctor because of complications in her pregnancy.
By no coincidence whatever, the carjacking occurred on her birthday-a day when thousands of brothers and sisters in Christ back home were praying for her. The number of intercessors multiplied as word of the kidnapping almost immediately flashed through electronic prayer networks.
Forty-five minutes after the carjacking, the gunmen put Nathanael out of the vehicle and left him alone on a dark road in the village of Katiola. Villagers put him in the care of a midwife, who fed and bathed the child and put him to bed while authorities located his parents. Nathanael was back with his father just hours after his abduction.
His father's injury was superficial, with the bullet miraculously passing through his right side between the ribs without hitting any vital organs. His mother, however, was hospitalized because the shock of the carjacking and kidnapping exacerbated the complications of her pregnancy.
"We never completely know what we are praying for when we pray for missionaries on the prayer calendar," said Wanda Lee, executive director of Woman's Missionary Union. "It is humbling and exhilarating when we learn about experiences like the Forsythes' and know, in faith, that our prayers played a role in resolving it.
"Praying for missionaries is the most important way to support them," said Joanne Parker, editor of Missions Mosaic, WMU's magazine for women. "Missionaries are in a spiritual battle," she emphasized. "They can have all the money and training in the world, but that is still not going to empower them to accomplish the spiritual work of winning people to Christ. Our prayers undergird them in their spiritual work."