We Were in Africa, Tied Up With Guns At Our Heads – Sharon’s Story
As Christians we’re regularly told things like ‘don’t be afraid, to die is to gain or, face your fear and do it anyway’. But what about when you and your daughter are tied up by intruders with a gun to your head and you’re in Africa?
This was my story in March 2015.
For just over two years we’ve been living as foreign missionaries in Kenya. Every day we face danger on the roads and personal security is not something you take for granted, but a home invasion is not something we had ever anticipated. Our apartment is part of a secure compound with 24/7 guards and two security gates. We’d never locked our doors during the day as we live on the fourth floor. What could possibly happen to us at home?
It was 3pm and my daughter Liz and I had just returned home. As we walked into our apartment three men followed us. They showed us their guns, separated Liz and I, locked all the doors and demanded gold and money. Within minutes a woman, who was clearly their boss barged in and demanded all of our valuables. She started pulling my wedding ring off my finger and marched me down to my bedroom for me to get the rest of my jewelry. One of the men then pulled me alone into another room and said I could have my wedding band back if I told him where the cash was. I thought to myself ‘you’re not getting the cash or having me either’. I told him I had no more cash and he pushed me back into the lounge room where Liz was and told us both to get on the ground. The men tied us up with whatever they could find and covered us with blankets. We had no idea what was going to happen next. It was terrifying. They told us to wait 20 minutes and then let ourselves go.
I waited about 20 seconds, quickly managed to untie the ropes and went to the door to alert the guards. It was locked and the thieves had taken the keys so I ran to our bedroom window and yelled, “Stop, robbers” at the same time their white car went through the gates.
What is amazing is that as they were driving out, our neighbor was coming in and recognized the car as belonging to his friend. He called his friend to tell him that his car had been used in a robbery. The car had actually been sold to a car hire company in Mombasa and had a tracker on it. Within the hour both the Australian High Commission and the local police had tracked down the car. Unfortunately, the thieves shot a policeman who approached them and managed to escape.
My husband and I love being in Kenya. We work with a wonderful team serving some of the most needy people in the world. We get to experience things most people only dream about and I’ve never felt really afraid until that day in March.
I was mostly concerned for my daughter Liz. When we were tied up and covered with blankets I kept saying to her ‘It’s going to be okay, Jesus is with us’ but inside my head all I could think was ‘I wonder how long it will take for us to die if they shoot us?’
What I did know in the midst of the chaos and fear was that if I were to die in that moment, I knew I would instantly be with Jesus. It wasn’t an overwhelming revelation of peace, I just knew beyond a doubt.
Was I afraid? You bet.
Has it taken some time to get over? Yes.
Have we changed our lifestyle? Most definitely.
What hasn’t changed is that I know God loves me and the whole time we went through this trauma, He was with us. We came out a bit broken and needing time to repair, but we came out alive.
I want to encourage all women, anywhere who feel like they’re walking through the shadow of death. Hang in there, because our God is with you. Don’t deny your feelings of fear, but also welcome the help of others that God sends across your path to help you through that tough time.
My personal thought is that Jesus said “Fear not” because He knows there are times we are so paralyzed by fear that that we don’t move into what He knows we should. But move we must.
To read more about Sharon’s work in Africa go to: