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Former mission worker shot in Afghanistan


Mennonite Church Canada/Mennonite Mission Network – Joint Release
July 30, 2012
-Mennonite Mission Network/Mennonite Church Canada staff, reports

Winnipeg, Man./Elkhart, Ind. — Al Geiser, a former jointly worker jointly supported by Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Mission Network worker (MMN), was shot and killed July 23 in Afghanistan.

Geiser, 65, of Kidron, Ohio, was returning from work on a hydroelectric project, according to a statement from the family. A close Afghan friend and business partner named Shukur and another Afghan co-worker were also killed.

Geiser and Gladys, his wife, were jointly supported mission workers in Afghanistan with Mennonite Church Canada from 2002-2008. They served with Mennonite Mission Network from 2000-2009. In their assignments, Al built small water turbines to bring electricity to rural villages and Gladys taught elementary students in an international school.

Geiser survived a 2008 kidnapping, in which he was held by militants for 56 days. After being safely reunited with his family, he and his wife returned to Afghanistan independently.

According to a report from Mennonite World Review, Nov. 10, 2008, the Geisers returned home to share the story of the kidnapping and rescue at their church. Geiser was quoted as saying, “I’ve faced death and that’s OK. It’s the unknown and the waiting that’s hard.”

Gordon Janzen, Mennonite Church Canada’s Director for Asia Ministry, offered his sympathies to the Geiser and Shukur families as well as Kidron Mennonite Church, the Geisers’ longtime home church and devoted financial sponsor.

“During their years in Afghanistan the Geisers demonstrated a tremendous passion for the people and for sharing God’s love in that country,” said Gordon Janzen, Mennonite Church Canada’s Director for Asia Ministry.  “Mennonite Church Canada supported their ministry for some time, and we grieve with Al’s family and with Shukur’s family that their lives were taken with such violence.  We pray that Al and Glady’s years of ministry in Afghanistan will continue to provide a foundation for peacebuilding there.” 

Following a Christian service, Geiser will be buried in a Christian cemetery in Afghanistan. A memorial service will be held later in Kidron.