Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Update - June 2012

The Sturms were recently back in the USA, and Brad was given the opportunity to speak at a church outside of Chicago, where their family used to attend. Brad shares a little more about the after-effects of the incident, and the importance of unity in the body of Chirst as it related to their situation. We are very glad that the family is safe and encouraged that God has given them the strength to continue their work in spite of all that happened. For more updates, you can visit the family's website:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Purpose of this Website

My good friend Brad and his wife (and their now 4 children) have been missionaries in Mexico for 5 years. Brad was my best man, and I was his, we've known each other since we were infants, and it was a sad day to see him and his family move from Chicago to Mexico. Brad has always been to me a portrait of God's grace and mercy, Lindsay has been an outstanding woman of God. Both of them have displayed to my wife and I what it means to humbly walk with the Lord, and to follow his call no matter what the circumstances.

I've created this website in response to a tragedy that has recently fallen on this family. The details are below, but in short, they've lost most of what they had. Below is their story, as well as some very humbling thoughts that Brad has released in a letter to his supporters.

I'm asking for people to first of all pray for this family, as they have many difficult decisions in front of them, and will need much wisdom. Pray for the healing that will need to take place as they deal now with the emotional impact of such a life shattering event. Pray also for their safety, and for the Lord's continued mercy and protection.

As little as material things are worth compared to the safety of their family, the Sturms will need help rebuilding their life. Much of what they own was taken from them, including food and other necessities. If the Lord compels you to help this family, please visit Christian Missions in Many Lands to financially support this family in their time of need. Even very small donations will help, and I know they will be very grateful.

If you want to know more about this family, you can also visit their website.
In Christ,

Chris Wozniak

What happened?

The following is Brad's account of what happened.

At 9:45pm Monday night, just after our kids had fallen asleep, a man came through our kitchen window with a gun and ordered me to open the front door of our house, letting enter 4 or 5 other masked men. We were told to lay down, what little we had on our persons was taken, and my hands were tied behind my back. Most likely due to our total compliance and cooperation, we were not injured or even physically treated badly at all after the initial entrance.

About an hour or so went by with the men holding guns to us and taking the Lord’s belongings. They put the items in our van and left with our debit cards and PIN numbers leaving two armed men in the house to make sure we had not lied about the banking information. Another 2 hours or so went by with the two men waiting for the others and rummaging through the rest of the house. Lindsay, Titus, and I were held upstairs with the three other children asleep downstairs. We were not allowed to be with them or see them. At 2am the men returned in the van, hid the keys to it and to our 4 wheeler, and called Lindsay and me out of our room.

We were placed in the room with the rest of the children, and I was called out. The men explained that they had not harmed any of us and therefore required that we not contact the police. They threatened they would return if we did. I was told to keep my family in the bedroom until morning and that they would have a man outside making sure we complied. After about a half hour of waiting in the bedroom, I felt it necessary to leave the house. We took diapers and wire cutters, woke the kids, and escaped through the back of the house.

Cutting through our neighbors barbed-wire fences we made our way about a half a mile through some fields as to not be seen by anyone who could have been watching until
arriving at a neighbor’s house at around 3am. They took us in and gave us a car. Lindsay and the kids lied on the floor of the vehicle as we drove the rest of the way to a highway and then to the house of a couple in our church.

In the end, all of us escaped unharmed. We did not lose everything we own, we did however lose a lot. Nearly all electronics, computers, tools, jewelry and other valuables, money, cards, some furniture and kitchen appliances, even food and toiletries among countless other miscellaneous items were taken.

Sadly the men thought it necessary to kill our dogs. Suede, our Weimaraner was two weeks from having puppies and was poisoned. Huss, our male Weimaraner was also poisoned, but was found alive, not able to walk and possibly blind the following morning. He is in a vet hospital now.

Right now we are dealing the paper work of fixing our banking accounts and cards, and enjoying the support and fellowship of some missionary friends in another town, as well as needed time together as a family.

Thoughts from Brad after the incident

Brad wrote to all of his supporters after the robbery. Much of what he says is so humbling to me, and has blessed me personally. Please be encouraged by what he says, and glorify in the sovereign and good Lord we serve.


*As anyone who has been in a similar situation knows, when one finds himself in a situation that
puts the safety of their loved ones in immediate danger, all other “things” loose value instantly.
Maybe more accurately stated, all other “things” are seen for the value they truly have. From
a fork to a van, it was if the men were asking for used rags. Oh the foolishness in seeking and
treasuring these “things”.

*I had plenty of time to wish for different things while there with the robbers, but I found
myself wanting only one thing (aside from it all to end)… a phone. I wanted to call my family in
Christ and get them praying. I believe, though do not understand why completely, that there
is something different and powerful in the prayers of a multitude. I wanted that power. The
following day, a missionary couple in Oregon called to encourage us. The wife Arlene told Lindsay that
she was unable to sleep during the time we were being robbed. She said she felt led to pray
for God’s protection over the missionaries in Mexico. She prayed for our protection. Like
God said, “I like hearing many of my children pray to me. Arlene, wake up! Pray for Brad and
Lindsay.” I didn’t need a cell phone.

*Theology is not for the intellectuals, those in the ministry, and those with too much time on
their hands. Theology is for those with guns to their heads. Two hours past with Lindsay and me unable to see our sleeping children. We could hear the door that connects the bathroom to their rooms open and close on several occasions. At one point I even heard what sounded (though maybe only in my stressed mind) like choking. Legs totally numb, holding back the nausea, feeling faint, I could only disown my children. “God, they are not my children. They are yours. I cannot provide for them, only you can. I can’t protect them, only you can. They cannot be my responsibility right now. I know this doesn’t mean you are obligated to save them, but it does mean it is your decision, not mine.” God’s sovereignty and goodness was our hope and strength. There is a truth I have preached for a long time that became so intimately a part of my being. It is that God is in total control and He is always good. When they would point the gun at me, or walk towards me with an ominous look on their face, or whisper
among themselves, I knew that I was, in that moment, as safe as I am sitting around the dining
room table at my parent’s house in Chicago. I was, quite literally, invincible. They were totally
unable to do me any harm unless my always good and all controlling Father said they could.
However, sometimes He says they can. I could not write in clauses and pretexts for upholding
the theology of God’s goodness. He’s good no matter what. I have no right to demand the lives
of my family. We have no claim to health or wealth. My theology gave me peace. And that truth applies just as much to me as to my family and anyone reading this letter who can call God their Father and not their enemy.

*We as a body in San Miguel de Allende enjoy greatly the unity among us. The truth is, it is
easier to teach that we all need one another than demonstrate it when I am rich, I don’t have
problems (that they see), I am a super-Christian. I can talk of my struggles, my problems, the
encouragement they are to me, but sometimes it takes a little more for them to experience it.
The poor, the rich, the babies in the faith, the mature, the needy and those with it all figured
out, flooded to our rescue emotionally the next day. I needed them, they knew it, and they
responded in force. God knew they needed that; they needed an opportunity to help me
when I was helpless. It was so great. That feeling of being surrounded and loved extended
well beyond the San Miguel boarders to all of Mexico and then to all of you. God is so big. He
has given us family, a family that cries when I cry, rejoices when I rejoice, and comforts me.
It is a feeling only those who belong to this true and spiritual and eternal family understand.

*This truth made me smile even there with those men. I watched, shaking my head, as they
took “things” out of the house and thought, “you are not causing me any damage. You are not
creating in me any need that won’t be filled the moment you leave.” Not that I feel I deserve
any of that, or that God has an obligation to restore to us any of those “things”. But, I know
you all. I know your hearts. I know that Christ’s prayer in John 17 was answered. I simply knew
what was to be the response of my family. When we arrived at Bernardo’s house at 3:30am I
thought why call and wake everyone up? It’s over. But then I found myself craving their tears
and prayers. I needed your tears and prayers and calls and emails. And God supplied them.
Even Eric and Holly, our non-believing neighbors could have protected us. We were safe with
them and they begged us to stay with them. But we needed family. The evening wasn’t over
until we were in the arms of our family.