In January 2016 Dr Kenneth Elliott and his wife Jocelyn were kidnapped by al-Qa’ida type jihadists in Burkina Faso in Africa. Three weeks later, Jocelyn was released unharmed, but it was to be seven long years – May 2023 – before the now 88 year old Christian medical missionary was granted his freedom. Details are not likely to be made available, but it appears that no ransom has been paid. Over the years, the jihadists had been able to raise some $50,000,000 in US currency through kidnapping for ransom. Brutality can be a lucrative business.

            The Elliotts had laboured in West Africa, and since 1972 had run a 120-bed clinic in Burkina Faso, near the Mali and Niger borders. However, jihadists wanted revenge on the former colonial power, France, and so took it out on the Elliotts. Yet he seems to have been treated quite well, and returned home to Western Australia in good health.

            One might draw any number of lessons. Dr Elliott’s colleagues prayed for him, and never gave up hope. Kindness and compassion are not always rewarded with gratitude, but God looked after His servant. And not only was Dr Elliott sustained, but so too was his family. There is much to cause the Christian grief in this world, but one can only read of Dr Elliott’s life and witness, and be grateful that such people serve the Lord in our own day.

– Peter Barnes