An American missionary family has returned home to the United States after a tragic shooting claimed the life of father and husband Charles Wesco. Wesco, an Indiana native who had been out on mission with his wife and eight kids in the volatile North Eastern region of Cameroon, was shot in the head last Tuesday while traveling in his car just outside the city of Bamenda.
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A recent update on the family’s GoFundMe page confirmed that the rest of the Wesco family has now safely returned to the United States.
“It was my high honor and privilege to assist in picking up the Charles-Stephanie Wesco family at the airport this evening,” wrote family friend Matthew Barnes. “The Wesco family are modern day heroes of the faith. I conveyed all of your love and prayers to the family. Thank you so much for your generosity and compassion to this dear family. They truly appreciate it.”
So far, just under $100,000 has been raised to help the family cope with this untimely and tragic loss. Wesco’s brother, Rep. Timothy Wesco, said of the fundraiser that the family was “grateful for the many who have given generously to meet their needs.”
The family had only been in the central African nation for a few weeks when the tragedy occurred. Details over those behind the killing remain murky, though the government has insisted that Wesco was caught up in a crossfire between security forces and separatist rebels.
It has been reported that the family knew of the risks they were taking by traveling to such a volatile region. In fact, contained within the family’s monthly newsletter update for September – October were some ominous words about the imminent threats they faced having just arrived in the tense North West region, including the imposition of a strict 6 p.m. curfew on those living in the English-speaking areas.
“Monday, was a strictly observed weekly ‘Ghost Town’ day, when English section civilians are not allowed to safely leave their homes or operate their businesses without risking loss or death,” the family noted in its newsletter. “It is a limiting situation in spreading the gospel to have this 6 PM daily curfew in our section of Cameroon (this is roughly the time of year-round dusk in Cameroon). Keep praying earnestly for a return of peace to the English and French sections of Cameroon!”
Prior to her husband’s death, Stephanie posted a heartbreaking message to her friends and family back home.
“I’m sharing what is worse than a nightmare. My precious husband was shot in the head on our way to town today. He is fighting for his life. Please pray,” she said.
Then, later, Stephanie issued a tragic update on her husband’s condition.
“My Precious husband, Charles, is now with the Savior he adored and faithfully served for many years. His life focus was seeking to cause others to love Jesus and serve him,” she wrote. “My prayer is that somehow someway Jesus will be glorified through my Precious Charles’ death and that God will not let his death have been in vain. He is receiving the Martyrs crown from his Lord. My heart is broken. I want to wake up from a horrific nightmare. Please pray for us.”
Many supporters have posted comments of condolence to the GoFundMe page as the family adjusts to life back in the United States, but wihout the much-loved husband and father.
“May Jesus come along side Stephanie and the children as he did for Mary and Martha,” one person wrote. “I know Christ was shedding tears as Charles entered into PARADISE! Also, may the Christian men of their church undertake to provide a Godly influence in the lives of these young boys as they grow without their father.”
“Thank you Jesus for bringing them home safely,” another added. “Praying Romans 8:28 for this situation.”