Missionary Charles Hood shot to death in Colombia

BOGOTA, Colombia (BP)--Charles W. Hood Jr., a Southern Baptist missionary to Colombia, was shot and killed April 21 in front of his home in Bogota.

Hood, 44, left the house about 3 p.m., apparently to go to the bank. His wife, Becky, said she heard a shout and a gunshot. When she ran from the house, she saw her husband on the ground and two men speeding away on a motorcycle.

Neighbors immediately took the unconscious missionary to a nearby clinic. Workers there sent him to a hospital because his wounds were too severe for them to handle. Hood died on the way to the hospital.

The motive for the murder was unclear, said Dickie Nelson, associate director for Southern Baptist International Mission Board work in Colombia. The country has the highest murder rate in the world, with 81 deaths per 100,000 people -- nine times the United States murder rate.

"We were grieved and saddened at the news of Charley's death but we are deeply grateful for his life and ministry in Colombia," IMB President Jerry Rankin said. "Charley, however, did not die when he was gunned down in Bogota, Colombia, but years ago when he died to self and committed his life to follow Christ."

While missionaries and the board take seriously the dangers of serving overseas, obedience to the call of God compels them to take risks in places where there is danger, he said.

"There's no place in the world where the safety of a missionary can be guaranteed," he said. "But missionaries follow the call of God wherever it leads, even into dangerous places, because they value making Christ known and bringing the lost to salvation."

Former residents of Missouri, the Hoods were appointed by the IMB in 1987. He worked as a general evangelist in Bogota, a city of 4.2 million people, and was involved in Theological Education by Extension training. Prior to missionary service, he served as minister of education and youth at Spring Valley Baptist Church, Raytown, Mo., and minister of education and evangelism at First Baptist Church, Lee's Summit, Mo.

The Hoods have two children: Rebecca Dawn, an 11th-grader living at home; and Aaron Charles, a student at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark. Hood's parents, Charles Sr. and Ruth Hood, live in Ash Grove, Mo.

Memorial services in Bogota will be scheduled as soon as officials perform the required autopsy and release the body to the family, Nelson said. In addition, the family plans to schedule a funeral in Missouri, he added.

"We don't know the motive for the killing," Nelson said. "I don't know whether an investigation will ever be able to clarify what the motive was.

"But we want to encourage Southern Baptists to pray for Becky and the children. We'd also ask them to pray for the 42 other Southern Baptist missionaries in Colombia as they deal with the loss of a colleague and a good friend."

Hood was the 14th member of a Southern Baptist missionary family to die as a victim of murder or other hostile action since the International Mission Board was founded in 1845.

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