Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours;
and their works do follow them.
Revelation 14:13 (King James Bible)
Iraq Attack Report on
The attack occurred near the village of Mahmodia which is about one half hour south of Baghdad. The four passengers were: Pastor John Kelley, Pastor Kirk Di Vietro, Pastor David Davis and Pastor Garland Carey. Their van was sprayed with automatic weapon fire. The attack came from at least one small passenger car [possibly two were involved] that was behind the van. The car passed the van on the right side and repeatedly sprayed the vehicle with bullets.
Three of the men in the van received minor wounds, but Pastor John Kelly of the Curtis Corner Baptist, Wakefield Rhode Island, was killed instantly in the attack.
The driver of the van saved the lives of the other three men by evasive driving tactics and delivering the men to an Iraqi hospital. He was not injured, although the van was damaged considerably. The US Army got involved at the hospital and supervised their examinations and medical attention.
and his wife Jane
of John taken in Baghdad.
John leaves a wife and four children. The names and ages of the children are: Jenny - 15, Jason - 17, James - 21, Julia - 23.
“In lieu of flowers, I would like for donations be sent to the Global Resource Group. I want to continue to have a part in the Baghdad Baptist Church and I want to help with the ongoing ministry of Global Resource Group.” - Jane Kelley
40 Pine Swamp Road
Cumberland, Rhode Island 02864-1002
Mrs. Jane Kelley
154 Winter Street
Wakefield, RI 02879
Curtis Corner Baptist Church
PO Box 1517
Charlestown, RI 02813
A commitment to spread God's word
By: AIMEE COUTURE & JESSICA HURST 02/18/2004
On February 6 he left for Iraq on a mission to bring Christianity to the war-torn country. He did not return.
Saturday Kelley, 49, was killed in a sniper attack just outside of Baghdad.
Saturday was also Valentine's Day. And on the same day that Jane Kelley got the call that her husband had been killed, roses and a card from him were delivered.
Even on the other side of the world, traveling with a group of pastors from across the Northeast on a two-week mission to bring Arabic Bibles to the people of Iraq, nothing could separate Kelley from what he cherished back home.
Kelley was the father of four. His oldest, Julia, is a lawyer who lives near Washington, D.C. James is a student in Pensacola, Fla.. Jason and Jennifer, teenagers, are students of the First Baptist Christian School in Warwick.
Kelley is remembered by friends as a devoted husband, father, and pastor, with an 18-year de! dedication to his close-knit congregation, which today numbers 80.
"We drop everything to help the other person if we can," said 12-year parishioner Owen Tefft in a telephone interview Monday.
It was a philosophy Kelley inspired within the church, and one that bolstered his conviction to head to Iraq.
"It takes someone with a great deal of faith and conviction to go there and do that," said Dan Souza, an evangelist from the Lighthouse Baptist Church in Waterbury, Connecticut whom Kelley had invited to preach in his absence. "I would like to say I would do the same, but I just don't know."
Souza preached at Sunday's service, just a day after the community had learned of Kelley's death.
In a telephone interview Monday, Souza recalled his friendship with Kelley.
He said Kelley was called to Christianity as a young ex-Marine, a calling that changed his life.
"He was a very hardworking man," said Souza. "He would roll up his sleeves to help out. He was not the office! type, he was hands on. And he loved helping people, that's why he went to Iraq."
He also went to Iraq at his own expense.
The missions group was scheduled to be in Iraq for two weeks and to arrive home on Friday, but the brutal attack brought them home today, several of them wounded, all of them altered.
"He took the first shot," said Souza. "It gave everyone else time to get down and take cover behind the car doors."
The attack was reportedly not at random - the missions group was targeted for their religious affiliation.
"He was there for two reasons," said Souza. "There are Iraqi Christians, and he was going to help them, to encourage them, to bring materials to them that would strengthen their faith."
And he was there to make Christian teachings available to anyone open to learning.
As not only a fundamental Biblical teacher, but also a good friend, he was an ideal messenger, according to those who knew him.
Dan O'Neil, a parishioner of Perryville Baptist! Church, has known Kelley for years through the local Christian community, as well as through over-the-counter-talks at Damon's Plumbing & Heating in South Kingstown, where O'Neil is manager.
Kelley recently shared his anticipation for the mission trip with O'Neil.
"I know he was very excited about the work in Baghdad," particularly as a support to the other pastors, said O'Neil in a telephone interview Monday.
"He wanted to be a witness for Christ in a part of the world where there aren't a lot of witnesses for Christ."
And at home, he was a people's pastor, effective as both a listener and a teacher.
"Once he got to preaching, he didn't hold back," said O'Neil, who heard Kelley preach on several occasions.
"He cared very deeply for people," he said. "I just liked the guy.... He was someone I could talk to very well... he's a man who I will miss a lot."
Owen Tefft has been a parishioner of Curtis Corner Baptist Church for twelve years, and said it w! as Kelley who initially convinced him he had found a home.
Once he heard Kelley preach, said Tefft, "I said, 'oh, this is it.'"
And Kelley proved to be a living example for Tefft.
"I know for sure that he practiced what he preached - he lived it."
But he also taught forgiveness.
"He was one of those guys, if you made a mistake, he'd say, don't worry about it."
Tefft's granddaughter, Jessica, agreed.
"He was wonderful... very compassionate," she said, and passionate in his preaching.
"He wasn't afraid to tell people about the Bible," she said. "He knew the Lord was sending him into a hostile environment... but he wasn't afraid."
Pastor Scott Finkbeiner, of Shannock Baptist Church in Charlestown, has known Kelley for 18 years, and described him as a good man, and "a good, faithful, steady minister of the Gospel."
The last time they met, he said, they had a good discussion, and prayed together.
"I'm glad that the last time I saw him, we had such a good! meeting together."
Sam Stricklin, pastor of the First Baptist Church and the First Baptist Christian School, Warwick, has been a friend of the Kelley family for 18 years.
He described Kelley as a hard-working man who was dedicated to his family and to his church.
Stricklin said that besides his work as a pastor, Kelley was also a carpenter who worked hard to pay for his children's tuition and to send them to college.
About a month ago, Stricklin himself was in Baghdad on a different mission trip that included pastors from Jordan and Lebanon. And according to Stricklin, the group established the first Baptist church ever in Iraq.
The pastors familiar with the Middle Eastern lands also acted as guides in unfamiliar territory. "They watched out for us," he said.
The similarity of Stricklin's experiences made the news of Kelley's death that much more of a shock.
"It's mind-boggling, and it has really hit home for me," he said, surprised that Kelley's group went ! into the missions field alone.
But above all the questions, the pain and the loss, the overriding message is in the legacy of love Kelley left behind.
The flowers his wife received on Saturday are indicative of that love, said Stricklin.
"That shows his really sincere, genuine personality," he said.
Tom O'Connell attended college with Kelley at Hyles-Anderson College in Indiana. While attending classes they each worked hard to provide for their new families.
Like Stricklin, O'Connell also recalled the story of how Kelley had not forgotten to send a Valentine to his wife, despite the many miles between them.
"He cared about every person," he said in a phone interview on Monday. "He was real genuine. He will be missed, although he is not lost.
"He was a good man. A solid, faithful man."
On Sunday night the windows of Kelley's tiny church, established in 1842, filled with light, and with his parishioners.
Souza said people attended, "not out of duty or respect! but because they were family."
"They are a very close church family," said Souza. "They band together, rejoice together and weep together.
"There are two lights," he continued. "The loss of a pastor and friend and the joy of knowing that although he is not here physically his soul is with God. Through the presence of the Lord we will see him again."
On Sunday evening Kelley's wife Jane played the piano, as she always does, every Sunday.
She brought the roses and card her husband sent her, and placed them upon the piano.
Seeing Jane play the piano Sunday, Souza said, was a "wonderful testimony to God's grace in her life."
"In her time of sorrow she found peace in the Lord."
As for Kelley, he was at peace with his overseas mission, and its dangers, long before his death, said Souza. He was not afraid, but full of the joy of his message.
"He knew what he believed and he was willing to die for it."
At press time, no funeral arrangements had been made.
Dear Family, Friends and Pastors:
Attached you will find a photo showing the Baptism of Pastor Ronnie
George [his wife and another Iraqi husband & wife were also baptized
during this service the baptismal service was conducted under the
authority Blackstone Valley Baptist Valley Baptist Church, by Robert
Lewis, Pastor-Emeritus and Director of the Global Resource Group,
Monday afternoon, February 16th
Also you will also find photos of the van that was carrying the four
pastors near Babylon, when it was attacked by terrorists two days
(NOTE: As of yet no photos have been uploaded - as soon as I get them I will post them here)
family of Pastor John Kelley, who was savagely murdered by terrorists
when they attacked the van these pastors were riding in 30-40 miles
south of Baghdad.
BE ASSURED WE ARE SAFE and will be flying out of the Baghdad
International Airport tomorrow, Wednesday morning to Amman, Jordan.
By God's grace and his touching the heart of the US Consulate, we
were all able to secure seats on the only plane flying civilians out
of Baghdad normally; only those under contract with the US Government
have this privilege. From a human point of view the consulate was
touched by what we were doing here in Baghdad and made sure that we
were able to purchase these tickets, which normally would cost close
to $700 apiece one way; for only $250 per ticket. Needless to say at
this point we would have gladly paid whatever to assure our safe
passage to Amman, Jordan. These seats are at a premium most
government personnel have to be put on a waiting list for some time?
in other words there are more people waiting for a flight than there
are seats available.
Traveling, using ground transportation was out of the question the
military told us in no uncertain terms, it was too dangerous to
travel on the highway we had come over from Jordan just 11 days ago.
The terrorists have stepped up their attacks this past week; ever
sense the UN contingent arrived in country three days ago. The
terrorists are doing all they can to cause unrest, fear and
intimidation; hoping our military will leave country; thus paving the
way to take over the country. The terrorists are believed to be from
Syria or Lebanon. THEY WILL NOT SUCCEED.
The Iraqi people we have spoken to are so afraid we will leave TOO
EARLY. They know it will take time to stabilize this country.
As I share with our church, Liberty Baptist Tabernacle, Rapid City,
SD before leaving for Iraq this is a "Door of Opportunity" that we
must go through now we may or may not have this opportunity in six
months we just don't know. Now, we are seeing the establishment of a
scripturally planted independent BAPTIST CHURCH established right
where Sadaam Hussein's government once ruled with wickedness and
murder and intimidation who would have ever thought this would be
possible a year ago.
OH HOW CRUCIAL IT IS that we get the $30,000-$40,000 raised so that
we can purchase the "Glue-Binder", and then be able to print/bind
complete Arabic Bibles to be given FREE to the Iraqi people. This is
really the greatest need this country needs where they too, can come
to a Saving Knowledge of THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE!
Pastor Ronnie George has expressed this NEED to me many, many times
over & over again; over these past 11 days. Everyone else has told
him, they will provide Bibles at a price but they have not the monies
available to purchase these Bibles and they are costly when you
consider the volume needed.
GOD'S WORD was never intended to be sold but given away free. and
that is the heart's desire of Lighthouse Baptist Press-A Bearing
Precious Seed Ministry of Liberty Baptist Tabernacle to provide this
need, as God provides us the funds to purchase the paper rolls and
supplies to print them for mission works such as Baghdad Baptist
More photos will be sent to you tomorrow of the Ordination Service
for Ronnie George, as well as the chapel service we hope to hold at
the US Army Base at the Baghdad International Airport Tuesday evening.
Sincerely in His service,
Tom Furse, Director
LIGHTHOUSE BAPTIST PRESS-Bearing Precious Seed Ministry
1515 Space Avenue - Rapid City, SD 57701 - 605/342-4668
Vernon Pastor Injured In Attack Mourns R.I. Colleague
"I was looking out the window on the other side of the taxi ,when a white sedan pulled up and opened fire," Davis said Sunday in an interview from his bed in Rockville General Hospital.
The shots killed the Rev. John Kelley of Curtis Corner Baptist Church in Wakefield, R.I., almost instantly, Davis said. "We never heard a word from him," Davis, said. Davis was wounded in the left shoulder during the hail of light-arms fire into the taxi. The two other Baptist ministers in the taxi - the Rev. Garland Carey of Newburgh, N.Y. and the Rev. Kirk DiVietro of Franklin, Mass. - suffered slight wounds from flying glass. Carey's injuries were so minor, he did not need medical attention. Davis is being treated with antibiotics for his wound and expects to be release today. He will travel today to Rhode Island to attend the wake and funeral for Kelley, who will be buried Tuesday. Davis plans to return next Sunday to the pulpit at his church.
The four ministers were being driven back to Baghdad from the ancient city of Babylon when the attack occurred. It was the first visit to the Middle East for Davis, pastor of Grace Bible Baptist Church in the Rockville section of Vernon for the past 20 years. The ministers were part of a group of seven evangelical Baptist pastors helping believers in Baghdad establish a church. They had been in Iraq two weeks, staying in a hotel in Baghdad.
"We worked with a small group of believers in Baghdad to give encouragement and leadership training and Bible instruction," Davis said. "There are 1 million Christians in Iraq."
The four Baptist ministers had gone to Babylon that day to seek permission to visit the ancient city, now under guard by Polish coalition forces. They filled out the necessary forms and were headed back to Baghdad in a minivan driven by the Iraqi driver and translator who had been with them all week. They had hoped to go to Babylon to visit museums and see historic religious sites.
Kelley was in the passenger seat next to the driver, Davis was sitting directly behind the driver, and DiVietro and Carey each had a seat to themselves behind Davis. When the bullets tore into the taxi, Davis felt a bullet pierce his shoulder. He dropped to the floor, where he stayed until they reached a local hospital in Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad. "It happened really fast," Davis said.
The driver sped away from the attackers while they still were shooting. He managed to lose the gunmen in the traffic and stopped once to get directions to the nearest hospital. "He really did a fantastic job," Davis said. "I credit God of course, but I credit our driver with getting us out of there."
Troops in the 82nd Airborne Division on patrol in Mahmudiyah arrived at the hospital within minutes of the ministers arrival. After making sure the hospital was secure, the ministers were taken to the 82nd Airborne base where medics checked them over. The ministers then were transferred to an army hospital in Baghdad.
The shooting appeared to be a random act, based on the men being recognized as Americans, Davis said. Asked if he'd ever go back to Iraq, Davis said "yes, absolutely. The Iraqi people were very kind and welcomed us," he said. "They've been so oppressed for such a long time. If we can bring them any hope and encouragement, we should."
All of the above gotten from http://www.dansouza.org/Iraq/iraq_attack_on_pastors.htm