Johannes was terrified when he heard his neighbour screaming for help as he was being badly beaten by terrorists.
He ran to his village for help. As he ran, he could still hear the cries of his friend, calling for help.
The sound of his screams still echo in his mind today. Johannes knew from previous attacks on farmers in his area that this might be the last time he would see his friend. Sadly, he was right.
How does a simple chocolate farmer, who works daily on his plantation trying to support his wife and two children, end up being viciously murdered?
Village staggered by his death
The question remains unanswered for many of the village Christians who worshipped with Simeon and his family. Their community is staggered by the events of his death.
The attack took place in September 2015 and Simeon’s wife, Mita, shared with us details of the days leading up to his death.
“My husband was a good provider for our family,” Mita testified. “He was the type of man who would help other farmers and not look for any reward from them. He was a peacemaker and loved being involved in church ministry. Why would someone want to kill him?” she exclaimed.
A special memory
On 13 September, the night before the attack, Simeon and Mita were retiring for the night and prayed together.
“As we lay side-by-side, my husband reached out to hold my hand and then he prayed,” Mita said. “It was a very beautiful time. I will never forget this special time we had together as I know now it was something that God was preparing ahead of time for me.”
The next morning, Mita rose early as usual to prepare lunch for her husband. After leaving Simeon at their plantation, Mita continued to her work as a housemaid, planning to return to collect him at 4pm.
But this time, things did not go as usual. Simeon’s friend Johannes described what happened after he ran to the village for help.
“When I reached Mita’s place of work at about 11am, Mita immediately wanted to race to her husband,” Johannes said. “I had to stop her because of the danger. She was beside herself when I told her of Simeon’s possible death.”
Johannes and Simeon’s nephew returned to the plantation to find Simeon’s body. He had been brutally slashed with machetes and knives. He had been beheaded and his right arm was also severed from his body. Deep stab wounds were found in his head and on other parts of his body. The attack was savage and merciless.
Local police suspected a terrorist group who had been attacking other chocolate plantations was responsible for Simeon’s death. The police had been working to apprehend the violent group for months, with many battles and deaths in their efforts to capture them.
Mita shared, “Each day I continue to trust the Lord for my life and my children’s. Despite this terrible event that we have experienced, God is still with us.”
Mita has been unable to find any labourers willing to work her plantation because they are afraid to risk their lives. As a result, the chocolate crop is wasted, falling to the ground and rotting. No one will even buy the property until the government resolves the terrorist threat in their area.
In the meantime, Mita continues her work as a housemaid, as she has for the past 13 years, but this is insufficient to support her family. Mita is excited about the opportunity Voice of the Martyrs Australia has provided in helping her to start up a door-to-door sales business.
This new business will assist with funding her children’s education as well as provide for their daily needs.
You can help families like Mita’s by donating to our Families of Martyrs fund here
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