By Karen Vance
For members of Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, the death of a Christian missionary in the Philippines on Tuesday wasn't just another killing in a faraway land.
The congregation lost a friend and family member.
The 100-member congregation adopted the Rev. William P. "Bill" Hyde and his family in 1999. Hyde, 59, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was one of 21 people killed when a bomb exploded at the Davao airport on the island of Mindanao. Five men from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have been arrested.
"They knew they were in a dangerous situation, and they went anyway to preach the Gospel," said Pastor Kurt Strassner of Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church on Ridge Road. "It used to be that missionaries might get sent home in hostile countries. Now, it's more and more likely that they might be killed."
Hyde was at the airport to pick up a family of Southern Baptist missionaries, three of whom were injured in the blast.
Betty Sams met the Hydes when they visited Cincinnati about six years ago.
"They are just wonderful, great people willing to do whatever he could for anyone, apparently to his death," Sams said. "We bonded with them the minute we met them, and loved the opportunity to work with them."
Just days before the explosion, Hyde's wife, Lyn, wrote to the church in her weekly e-mail asking for prayers for her husband.
"Continue to pray for our safety in the Philippines. The Muslim/military `war' on our island of Mindanao continues," she wrote.
The e-mail was like many Mary McGee, the church's mission liaison, received from the Hydes, whose son and daughter-in-law are missionaries in Cambodia.
The church contributes about 13 percent of its yearly budget to the Southern Baptist Convention.
The expenses of Hyde and other missionaries are paid from those funds.
In addition to those donations, the church supported special projects.
This week, McGee planned to propose the church buy materials for a library to assist Hyde, who was teaching Filipino men how to organize their own churches.
"His whole life, he was just the epitome of someone giving their life to God," McGee said.
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