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Baptist missionary captured, released unharmed hours latercomment (0)

January 3, 2002

Southern Baptist missionary Sam Upton was released unharmed hours after armed men hijacked his car and took him prisoner.

Upton, a missionary to Malawi, was driving to his home Nov. 28 with fellow missionary Tom Patterson when the car was surrounded by four armed men.

Patterson was pushed from the vehicle and Upton was forced into the back seat.

“I started face down on the floorboard,” Upton told Baptist Press. “I prayed as a guy sat down on me with his knees on my back.”

After hours of driving, the men then forced the missionary into the trunk of the car. After 45 minutes, they released Upton in a remote part of Lilongwe. The missionary then walked to a hotel and called home. After his ordeal, Upton wanted to thank the many people all around the world who were notified of his capture and began to pray for his safety. “Finding out how quickly (supporters) got the news out was humbling,” Upton said. “We serve a mighty God who is pleased by the prayers of His people.”

An International Missions Board (IMB) leader in southern Africa praised God for keeping Upton and Patterson safe but urged Southern Baptists to continue praying for the safety of their missionaries worldwide.

“We praise the Lord that Tom and Sam were not hurt,” said associate regional leader Mark Hatfield. “This case is very similar to what happened two months ago to an IMB missionary in Zambia,” he said.

(EP, BP)

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