Adventist Missionary Family
Survives Congo Jet Crash
Daughter was a lifesaver, helped clear path for escape

BY MARK A. KELLNER, Adventist Review News Editor

14-year-old Seventh-day Adventist lay missionary, April Mosier from Dodge Center, Minnesota, helped saved an untold number of lives April 15 in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, during the fiery crash of a DC-9.

The young woman, was traveling with her mother, father, and 3-year-old brother from Goma to Kisangani, Congo, where her older brother Keith, 24, has begun a mission project. The Mosiers are all serving with Outpost Centers International, a lay ministry that supports the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The flight did not clear the runway – media reports indicate a tire may have blown out – and the plane crashed into a nearby open-air market. At least 40 people were reported killed; more than 100 survived, reports indicate.

GIFTED HANDS: Dr. Ben Carson is one of the world's most respected neurosurgeons and a devout Seventh-day Adventist. Carson, 56, said he prays for guidance before every surgery. [Photo courtesy Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly/RNS]
FAMILY SURVIVES: In a family photo, from left to right: April, Barry, Keith, Marybeth, and Andrew with Dorothy Burghart, Marybeth's mother, in 2006. April Mosier, 14, was a hero of the April 15 DC9 crash in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, in which her father, mother, and Andrew were also involved, and which all survived. [Mosier family photos via ANN]
April “probably was one of the first ones to get to the opening,” Barry Mosier, her father, said in a telephone interview from Goma two days after the crash. “She was right there, knowing what to do; none of the exit doors were open. She told a man, in Swahili, that ‘We’ve got to get out of there or we’ll die,’” he added.

Young April pushed at a panel until a passage large enough for her to get through was found; she then made a run for it. Her father said that April had feared her family had died in the crash; they were later reunited at a local hospital.

Meanwhile, the elder Mosier, his wife, Marybeth, and 3-year-old Andrew, raced to get out of the aircraft, from which fuel had begun to leak. The Mosiers were able to get out; Marybeth, her husband said, was unable to help a fellow passenger who was pinned under some collapsed seats.

According to the Aviation Safety Network, a nonprofit group, the Democratic Republic of the Congo “has experienced more fatal [air] crashes since 1945 than any other African country,” an Associated Press report states. Hewa Bora, the Congolese airline the Mosiers were flying, has been banned from flying to countries in the European Union. And the DC-9 aircraft remains popular, the American magazine BusinessWeek reports, with more than 500 remaining in service, even if the last one was manufactured more than 25 years ago.

“We just praise the Lord for his goodness to us. As missionaries we have a lot of people praying for us day by day, and that’s why we’re alive,” Mosier told Adventist Review. “We’re so happy to be alive. The Lord must have more for us to do.”

News of the Mosiers’ survival flashed across the globe in news reports by the British Broadcasting Corp., CNN, CBS News, and other agencies. Many of the articles mentioned the Mosiers’ status as missionaries, and several noted they were Seventh-day Adventists. Mosier, a former accountant, said that the opportunity to give a testimony to God’s goodness was the reason he consented to the media interviews.

“If it’s a chance to praise God for His goodness, and answered prayer; that’s the main reason we decided to speak,” he said.

The family lost everything they had in the crash – their clothes, Mosier’s computer, and other items. But, he said, “by God’s grace our passports were in my pocket. Now, we’re trying to get oriented. In one hour we’re going to have glasses, and that’s a great thing.”

For the family, a great moment was the reunion with April at the hospital in Goma. The young woman thought her family had perished in the crash, and was waiting to contact ADRA for assistance, her father recalled.

GIFTED HANDS: Dr. Ben Carson is one of the world's most respected neurosurgeons and a devout Seventh-day Adventist. Carson, 56, said he prays for guidance before every surgery. [Photo courtesy Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly/RNS]
IN TANZANIA: From left, April, Marybeth and Andrew Mosier, with villagers from the Iringa province in Tanzania.
“She thought we were dead. Only thing she could say was, ‘Take me to ADRA.’ Then at hospital, when we saw each other, we ran to hug each other. All four of us from one family were in that plane and were alive, nothing else matters.”

According to the Outpost Centers website, the Kibidula Farm Institute, where the elder Mosier currently serves, is a 5,000-acre farm that is “a supporting ministry in Southwestern Tanzania. The program emphasizes health, agriculture, and literature evangelism, including a farm, a medical/dental clinic, a sawmill, and lay missionary programs.”

At deadline, Mosier said the family would remain in Congo for the time being: “In a few weeks, we’ll go back to Tanzania. We’re praying about whether the Lord wants us to move to Congo. It was a rough introduction to Congo a couple of days ago, but wherever He leads, we’ll go.”

Andrew, the young African the family adopted, may face additional medical treatment for his broken leg, his father said. But the lad is in good spirits, if a bit wary of flying: “’Daddy, I don’t want to go in any airplanes any more,’” Mosier quoted his son as saying.

And despite the tragedy, Mosier, the former CPA, has a different view of the date of the crash: “April 15 used to be the big day” in his accounting business, he recalled. “This was the most exciting April 15 we ever had and hope we don’t have another one like it.”




 
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