MISHAWAKA, Ind. — An American man who had just moved his wife and eight children to Cameroon to serve as a missionary in the country was shot and killed on Tuesday while driving into town to go shopping.
According to reports, Charles Wesco and his wife Stephanie, moved to the African nation two weeks ago after selling their house and possessions in Indiana. They had been working for two years to raise support to conduct missions work in Cameroon, and had previously served in South Africa in 2003 and 2004.
However, while Wesco and his wife were out for a shopping trip on Tuesday, he was tragically shot in the head while sitting at the wheel.
“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,” Stephanie Wesco posted after the incident, according to a GoFundMe page set up for the family.
She later shared a second update, advising that her husband did not survive the senseless violence.
“My precious husband, Charles, is now with the Savior he adored and faithfully served for many years,” Wesco wrote. “His life focus was seeking to cause others to love Jesus and serve him. 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 martyr’s crown from his Lord,” she continued. “My heart is broken. I want to wake up from a horrific nightmare. Please pray for us.”
Local television station WNDU interviewed Charles Wesco’s parents, who said that their son was “really excited” about taking the gospel to Cameroon.
“He cared for the people of the world, and he was willing to risk his life to go to them,” his father, Virgil Wesco, stated.
Wesco had served as assistant pastor at Fellowship Baptist Church in South Bend, where his father was pastor emeritus. His brother is state Representative Timothy Wesco, R-Osceola, and also serves as a pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Elkhart.
“He loved the Lord. He loved people,” Rep. Wesco told WNDU. “The Lord giveth; the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
A GoFundMe page has been established to help with funeral expenses, and to assist Wesco’s wife and children in the days ahead as they plan to return to the United States.
“The family sold all of their possessions here in the states to go to Africa and they will have many needs when they return,” the page reads.
As of press time, over $32,000 had been raised of the $51,000 goal, and notes of condolence have been pouring in from across the country and around the world.
“I will remember Charles as a joyful man who was always excited about what God was doing both in ministry and in the way He provides for your family. I know God is faithful, and I pray that He will give you a peace in the midst of these dark days,” one commenter wrote.
“I am from Bamenda, Cameroon. Grew up not far from where this happened. I grew up being educated, trained and mentored by missionaries. I will be forever grateful for the work that people like Charles and others have done and continue to do for our communities, even at the risk of their lives,” another stated.
“Born to missionaries in Northern Cameroon, I love to support others who have a heart for this country and its people. My heart aches for Stephanie and the whole Wesco family,” a third wrote.
“Because, in Christ, we are all family!” another declared. “I grieve with them in love. I can’t imagine the loss they are feeling. God calls us to look out for them. James 1:27.”
Editor’s Note: Those who would like to contribute to Wesco’s family may click here.