by Jon Olsen, BCI Communications Coordinator
Randy Hentzel, 48, of First Family Church in Ankeny, IA was one of two American missionaries tragically murdered in Jamaica over the weekend. Hentzel and his co-worker, Harold Nichols, 53, went out on a motorcycle around 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Around 2 p.m. that afternoon Hentzel’s body was found dead beside the motorcycle. The body of Harold Nichols was found in the bushes in a different area of St. Mary Parish, a region of Jamaica noted for violence. Randy Hentzel was part of the group that began First Family Church, and was sent from First Family Church to serve the Lord in Jamaica. First Family Church is a member of the Baptist Convention of Iowa.
An Associated Press article notes that Jamaica had at least 1,192 slayings in 2015, a roughly 20 percent increase from the previous year. A country of about 2.7 million people, Jamaica has long been ranked among the most violent countries in the world.
Fellow missionary Merlin Pratt noted in a Facebook Post that Hentzel and Nichols were on their way to check on the foundation of a house they were building for an impoverished family. The men and their families lived and worked in Jamaica as missionaries with Teams for Medical Missions (T4MM), doing evangelism, Bible studies and hosting short term mission teams. Teams for Medical Missions seeks to share the Gospel while trying to meet the physical and medical needs of Jamaica’s citizens. The T4MM website notes that home building and repair is a new outreach for the missionaries.
“We do not know who would do this or what their motivation was. These men greatly loved the people of Jamaica and were greatly loved in return,” said John Heater, executive director of Teams for Medical Missions.
Randy and Harold had both been serving as missionaries in Jamaica since 2002. Randy Hentzel is survived by his wife, Sara, and five children. Harold Nichols is survived by his wife Terri.
A memorial service for Randy Hentzel will be held on Monday, May 9, at 6:30pm at Grace Church in Des Moines. There will also be a Sharing Reception after the service at 8pm, for people who knew Randy to have a chance to share about him.
Please join us in praying for the Hentzel and Nichols families in their time of loss.
If you’d like to give a monetary gift to help support the Hentzel family, click here and select “Hentzel Fund.” If you would like to leave a verse or word of encouragement, you can do so at FirstFamily.Church.
Information about Nichols’ hometown, memorial service and memorial fund are not known at this time.
For more information:
- Fox News – Police: 2 US missionaries found slain in rural Jamaica
- BBC – Jamaica: Missionaries from Teams for Medical Missions killed
- CBS – 2 U.S. missionaries found dead in Jamaica, police say
- International Business Times – US Missionaries Randy Hentzel And Harold Nichols Killed In Jamaica, Motive Unknown
- New York Daily News – Two American missionaries found slain in Jamaica after years of service there
- WESH-TV (Orlando) – Two Americans Murdered in Jamaica
- KCCI-TV – Iowa missionary found dead in Jamaica, church says
- Des Moines Register – Iowa missionary found dead in Jamaica
- WHO-TV – Missionary from Ankeny Church Killed in Jamaica