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Ian Squire
Missionary Ian Squire who diligently
served in Nigeria's Delta state.
Photo Credit: World Watch Monitor

On October 13th, a British optician who had been kidnapped was killed shortly after singing the hymn, Amazing Grace, to lift the spirits of his fellow hostages. Ian Squire, 57, was killed instantly by shots fired by one of the four gang members who abducted him and three other Christian aid workers from their clinic in the country's lawless Delta state. The gunmen refused to give any information as to why the shots were fired.

According to the surviving Christian aid workers, Ian was killed during their first morning of captivity, while being held by abductors in a bamboo hut located in a remote swamp. Three weeks after Ian's death, Dr. David Donovan and his wife Shirley -- along with a fourth hostage, Alanna Carson -- were released following the payment of a ransom, believed to have come from the Nigerian government.

According to Dr. Donovan, Ian had trained local staff to make prescription glasses using a custom-made lens-cutting machine that he had specifically designed for use in remote areas, a service unavailable elsewhere in the impoverished state. Dr. Donovan paid tribute to Ian's professional achievements which were described as being "outstanding" and "revolutionary." "Ian was a man of faith," his colleague explained. "...a man who was really hungry to know more of God, and lived his life with that main purpose at the forefront."

In early November, locals held a demonstration against the militant group responsible for the crimes, amid fears that the kidnappings and Ian's death would lead to the clinic's closure. However, thanks to the effective training provided by the missionaries, the local staff are well-equipped to run the clinic without additional supervision.

In the aftermath of this unfortunate tragedy, may God help the surviving missionaries to continue demonstrating His precious love to the people of Nigeria, despite the acts of hate they've been subjected to at the hands of the abductors. Ask Him to minister His reassuring peace as they now heal from the resulting trauma. May the Lord also comfort, heal and sustain Ian's family and friends, as well as those of the Delta state who appreciate the slain missionary's dedicated life of service. Also intercede for the kidnappers who, in their spiritual blindness and openness to evil influence, committed this atrocious act. May their vision be enlightened by the Holy Spirit so they will see Jesus and be receptive to His transformative love.