Twenty-six missionaries who are guests of the Jamaica Holiness Church were robbed early Thursday morning at their residence in Oxford in the central parish of Manchester.
Anthony Harris, the group’s Youth Pastor told RJR News that members of the group were awoken by masked men.
“We were all in bed sleeping, I was sleeping close to the door and when the door cracked open – I woke up and in came four masked men who were also armed, they were demanding money. Several different items were stolen in the process , cell phones, wallets and stuff like that.”
Pastor Harris says members of the group were not physically assaulted, however while they have been left terrified, he says they remain in good spirits.
“Oh (it was) very terrifying, to wake up with someone with a machete and one guy had an axe, it was quite terrifying, it is possible that we will be heading back home for the safety of the group and for their families who are in America” said Harris
The missionaries were working alongside members of the Jamaica Holiness Church in their vacation Bible School programme for children from Oxford and surrounding communities.The Missionaries were also involved in the church’s week long evening revival service activities.
Pastor Harris says in spite of the ordeal his group has forgiven the perpetrators and is ready and willing to return to Jamaica.
Meanwhile, the Balaclava and Mandeville Police have launched a major investigation into the early morning robbery .
“We have no suspects yet, but what we are glad for is that no members of the party were injured, the community safety and security area will be meeting with them. The patrols are still out , they have been out and we will continue to patrol the area,” said Inspector Andrea Caine.
And host Pastor for the group, Kerron Simmonds believes the thieves poisoned three dogs on the compound, before carrying out their act.
Simmonds said two of the dogs were seen lying motionless, while a third appeared to be ill.
According to the Pastor, in addition to stealing personal items, the robbers made off with J$100-thousand that was put aside for renting the premises.
He urged the robbers to return the personal items of the Missionaries.
“All I’m saying you have destroyed something that we were trying to build, if you keep the money that’s fine, just bring the wallets, phones and their computers back , if you would just do that, we would really appreciate it” he said.