In an instant, Jim Scudder was living a nightmare.
The missionary and his son, John, had traveled from their home in Nyeri, Kenya, to the capital, Nairobi, to obtain a visa for John to attend Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.
As they pulled up to a guesthouse on a recent Wednesday night, five armed men jumped into their car. The hijackers forced the Scudders into the back of the car and started driving.
They threatened the Christians and shoved guns into their chests. They took Jim Scudder’s cash and bank cards and forced him to withdraw money from automated teller machines.
The hijackers also robbed other people, forcing them into the car. All the while, said the missionary’s daughter, Anna Edgeston, “Dad talked of being a Christian and the joy that he and John experienced due to being Christians. His missionary work never stopped, even in the midst of danger.”
Jim Scudder has served in Kenya since the 1970s, said Roger Pritchett, missions minister for the Pleasant Valley Church of Christ in Little Rock, Ark.
The missionary’s first wife died in childbirth, and he remarried Grace, a native Kenyan. The couple and three of their children work among the Kikuyu people. Pleasant Valley has supported their work for 20 years, Pritchett said.
After driving around Nairobi for several hours, the kidnappers ambushed another motorist. They left the Scudders and their car outside an apartment complex.
“One of the kidnappers asked that Dad pray for them due to the work they do,” Edgeston said.
In addition to cash, the kidnappers took Jim Scudder’s wedding ring, which he had worn for more than 32 years, his daughter said.
She asked fellow Christians to pray for her father and brother as they cope with the psychological effects of the ordeal.