Slain Americans were delivering Bibles
February 22nd, 2011
11:15 AM ET

Slain Americans were delivering Bibles

Americans Jean and Scott Adam were on a mission to distribute Bibles around the world when their yacht was hijacked by Somali pirates, friends of the couple said.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Central Command said the Adams, along with Philis Macay and Bob Riggle, had been killed by their captors.

A U.S. Navy ship had been trailing the captured Americans after their yacht, Quest, was overtaken by pirates on Friday.

“As (U.S. forces) responded to the gunfire, reaching and boarding the Quest, the forces discovered all four hostages had been shot by their captors," the statement from U.S. Central Command said. "Despite immediate steps to provide life-saving care, all four hostages ultimately died of their wounds."

While their faith may not have played a role in their death, it was a motivating factor for their sailing adventure around the world.

“They were not proselytizing evangelicals," Scott Stolnitz, a friend of the couple, told CNN. "They were using their Bible mission as a way to break the ice in the Christian community, particularly in the Pacific.”

Stolnitz said the Adams were friendly and open to all. “These are your next-door neighbors in a lot of ways.”

Their pastor, Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson of Saint Monica's Catholic Church in Santa Monica, California, told CNN affiliate KABC the Adams were a retired couple with a heart for sharing their faith.

“They were very heartfelt in their response to this great gospel and they came to know Jesus in a very special way here,” Togerson said.

“Jean actually sang in our 11:30 choir Sunday mornings. Both of them had a great outreach, of course, through this ministry to take the scriptures, the Bibles, to places across the world. And they felt that call to do that, and that’s what they were doing I presume when this happened.”

The Adams' website chronicles their worldwide voyage, which included trips to New Zealand, China, Cambodia and Panama.

They also spoke openly about their faith on the site, saying the goal of the Bible distribution was, "friendship evangelism - that is, finding homes for thousands of Bibles, which have been donated through grants and gifts, as we travel from place to place."

The Adams passed out Catholic Bibles from the American Bible Society and New International Version Bibles from the International Bible Society, according to their website. They said they brought two different versions of the Bible because, “Catholics have a slightly different Bible than Protestants. We carry both Bibles, and at several different reading levels.”

On their website they said many of the teachers and pastors who received the Bibles also used them for teaching English.

The Adams, Macay and Riggle had been traveling with yachts participating in the Blue Water Rally since their departure from Phuket, Thailand, rally organizers said Sunday in a statement on the event's website.

The group, which organizes long-distance group cruises, said the Quest broke off on February 15 after leaving Mumbai, India, to take a different route.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Belief • California • Catholic Church • Christianity • United States • Violence

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soundoff (406 Responses)
  1. UH60L

    It's even more funny to listen to religous people say "don't blame all of christianity for a few bad priests" (aka "here litlle boy), yet they want to blame all athiests of rsomething that was caused by a few individuals in the past, that happened to be, or pretend to be, athiests.

    Pot, Kettle,....Kettle, Pot.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  2. coffeeandtea

    Why would these people go into waters where pirates were known to inhabit?

    February 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  3. Chris

    The comments on here are beyond disgusting. You can easily sell me on the fact that they had no business being in those waters, but that they somehow had it coming because of what they believed in?

    If you're trying to recruit others to join you in an absence of faith in a God, or higher power, or whatever - making such hate filled comments will ensure that you never reach your objective.

    February 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  4. Just Deserts

    What a bunch of morons – so typical. Wouldn't expect anything less from a group of fools who believe in the equivalent of the tooth fairy or Little Green Men from Mars...

    February 22, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  5. aali

    Or it could have been "Oh my God, they're killing us, please someone make it stop!"

    God is busy answering prayers for the alabama-auburn game.

    February 22, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  6. aali

    More people are concernced with 4 people dying than the hundreds of thousands killed by US bombs.

    February 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  7. aali

    How stupid are these people travelling in an area surrounded by pirates. Too bad jesus did not give them a brain to go along with the bibles.

    February 22, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  8. TPF

    I don't care what they were carrying or doing over there, they did not deserve to die in that hands of these thugs. No amount of justice will bring them back. My sympathy goes out to each of their families and loved ones.

    February 22, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  9. Jason H

    I can tell there are a lot of educated people on this blog but please stop listening with your brain and listen with your heart. These people where just trying to give a message of hope to people who have lost all hope in lifeand in doing so they were put to death. Please trust in god and accept his son Jesus Christ as your savior. I love each and every one of you as my brother and hope to see you in heaven. Think about your own death for just a sec. Now ask yourself one question. If there was a heaven wouldn't you want to be a part of that magnificent place? Why would you want to believe there is nothing after this life? God bless us all.

    February 22, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  10. Jan

    Entering a dangerous area, where you're not in the least bit welcome, isn't "doing God's work," it's just plain stupid.

    February 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  11. The Bobinator

    I have no sympathy for fools who tie a steak around their neck and go out to find a pack of lions. Or people who decide it's a good idea to run across a highway to save walking a mile for a cutoff. Similiarly, I don't have any sympathy for people who venture into dangerous, pirate infested waters and then end up dead.

    Life's a gamble. What this couple did was akin to playing blackjack and hitting on 20. They have no one to blame but themselves.

    February 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  12. Motrek

    Joker, it's pretty obvious you don't know what faith is. It's ironic because you exercise the same kind of faith a Christian has every time you flip on a light switch. Do you understand?

    February 22, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  13. The Bobinator

    > Bob. So you have to know someone to care for them? If so, you live in a very dark place.

    You don't have to. Do you care for the multi-tudes of starving children in Africa, among other areas in the world? Saying "well, that's a shame" and "that must be horrible" isn't caring. Sending cash is caring.

    How watered down your word "caring" must be if you actually apply it to people you have never met and will probably forget in the next 20 minutes. What's their names again?

    February 22, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  14. columnB

    The loss of life is always a sad thing, no matter who it is. However, I have a difficult time feeling sympathy for the rich who not only pleasure cruise the planet amongst impoverished nations but also proselytize while doing so. Rich people (and especially American rich people) don't seem to understand that they can't just waltz around where they please, even if there intentions are good hearted. Poor people will do what they have to in order to survive.

    February 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • W247

      "The loss of life is always a sad thing, no matter who it is. However, I have a difficult time feeling sympathy for the rich who not only pleasure cruise the planet amongst impoverished nations but also proselytize while doing so. Rich people (and especially American rich people) don't seem to understand that they can't just waltz around where they please, even if there intentions are good hearted. Poor people will do what they have to in order to survive."

      So someone that is using the resources they have to help out other people is a bad thing? So if I had an airplane that I choose to use to drop supplies to villages in the jungle, I am considered a rich spoiled American? Your logic is blinded by hate. See the situation for the motivation that was behind it.

      February 22, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • displeased

      W247, how exactly were these people helping others? By passing out bibles? So Muslims passing out Quarans are equally helpful, right?

      February 22, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  15. me


    February 22, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  16. robert frost

    Perhapsp it's God's way to telling these "christian" wingnuts that they need to stop ruining his message

    February 22, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • john

      something you obviously dont know anything about. Grow up and show a little respect. John 3:16

      February 22, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  17. David Johnson

    From the article:
    “Despite immediate steps to provide life-saving care, all four hostages ultimately died of their wounds."

    James 5:15 (King James Version)
    And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

    I guess nobody thought to pray...


    February 22, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Joker

      Shame Benny Hinn was not there to zap them back

      February 22, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • CRAIG

      Show some Class David, They died doing what they felt led to do.

      February 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • really?

      You just misapplied a tribulation passage to the church age...but I'm sure that makes absolutely no sense to you.

      February 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "You just misapplied a tribulation passage to the church age...but I'm sure that makes absolutely no sense to you."

      It's all b.s. I could care less.


      February 22, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
  18. Robin G.

    Most of you who comment are nuts! If you read the bible, God said there would be many trials and tribulations. He also said that those who sacrificed their life for his namesake would be rewarded greatly in Heaven. Why so many negative comments for two individuals that were doing good service with their life? Ignorance is not bliss; glad I won't see you in hell.

    February 22, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Joker

      "Ignorance is not bliss" how true.....self imposed ignorance is even better

      February 22, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Ignorance is not bliss; glad I won't see you in hell.

      Ignorance is indeed bliss. Because obviously you haven't spent a single moment considering the content of the bible, only what it says. If you decide to actually think about your faith, you'll find the following.

      – The attributes of God do not allow for free will.
      – God is responsible for sin and evil.
      – God punishes people for fulfilling his directive.
      – God tortures people on a question that he already knows the outcome.
      – God will punish people for infinity for finite crimes.

      All this points to a man made God. Because a being with an IQ of 8,000,000 would not make such elementary and idiotic mistakes.

      February 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      PS: The bible has been proven wrong by science. Welcome to reality.

      February 22, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Yahweh

      God didn't say any of that. The guy who wrote the book did.

      February 22, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • really?

      Hell is infinite because sinners have sinned against an infinitely Holy God. Think of it this way. Lie to my 2 yr old-nothing happens, lie to my wife-I get kicked to the couch that night, lie to my employer-lose my job, lie to my govt-called treason, jail for a long time. What changed in each scenario? It was a lie each time, but the degree of punishment increase based on who my offense was against. When we sin we primarily sin against God, remember when Potiphar's wife tempted Joseph, Joseph said how can I do this evil and sin against God?

      February 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • CJ

      Because they were doing what you consider good, but what is not good for others, whether non-believers or believers of other viewpoints. They were doing bad, by any moral standard, pre and post Christian.

      February 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • CJ

      Having read the bible my whole life and now being one who teaches religious history, i assure you, the nuts are the ones who believe it is anything but an interesting piece of symbolic literature...one of many around the world....and very very tiresome bronze age thinking for the most part...

      February 22, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  19. trixen

    I'll admit that even though I can't begin to understand the absolute poverty that drives some of the poorest people in the world to piracy, I can't think of any reason why these 4 innocent civilians had to die. They posed no threat to these pirates and yet they were senselessly murdered. I feel certain justice will come to the killers in one form or another. I hope it's sooner rather than later.

    I'm atheist, but I can still appreciate the wholesome nature of what these Americans were doing when they were killed, which was traveling the world spreading what they believed to be the Word of God–something they felt was their calling in life. To me, that's respectable even if I don't agree with their religion. My heart goes out to their families.

    February 22, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Bluto

      Hey, aren't they the ones who kept knocking on my door and leaving pamphlets? No wonder they got in trovble.

      February 22, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • CJ

      It is not wholesome. It is aggressive, insulting, ignorant and offensive. If a wahhabi comes to your nearest beach with literature on their insane views, would you be offended? Putatively goodhearted believers are often masking their own selfish agenda, and travelling the world hawking bibles is a heinous thing to be doing. They should do some proper good, help the poor, feed the hungry, kind of stuff Jesus might have done, not swanning around on a yacht,.

      February 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  20. Kristine


    it is very obvious Joker that you have no knowledge of the Christian faith. The 4 that died are not foolish. Infact they are Martyrs and they have earned a great reward in heaven. Lucky them!

    February 22, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Joker

      Kristine, it was foolish for them to enter waters known to be infested with pirates. He even noted his concern prior.

      In respect to your other post regarding a book. First you cannot prove what does not exist. Humor me..... I have a fairy that rests on my shoulder...prove me wrong. Does the bible exist....of course..it is a physical object written by man. Did a guy named Jesus exist...good chance. Because the world flood, burning bushes, whales swallowing a man, garden of eden, rising from the dead etc cannot be proven....one must have faith. You see the only thing that keeps a myth "alive" is faith. And you also have to have faith that my fiary on my shoulder exists.

      p.s. I know of the faith more than you know

      February 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • W247

      Joker – It is also foolish for people to drive on the LA freeways, more people die of car accidents there. You can live your life being afraid or live your life standing up for what you believe in.

      February 22, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • CJ

      Yes, but if your foolish beliefs cost me money as a taxpayer and endanger others around the world due to your arrogant, fundamentalist aggression and belief in one particular fairytale, then its a problem. Keep your beliefs to yourself, and away both from me and deranged muslim pirates...

      February 22, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Joker

      W247, I hope you were kidding...you realize you are comparing "accidents" to hijacking and murder and the people being fully aware pirates were in the area.

      A fair comparison would be knowingly entering a roadway that you know has a history of people ramming their cars intentionally trying to kill or hurt you vs entering an area of ocean knowing that there are pirates who might hijack or kill you. Both are quite foolish and have nothing to do with living your life without fear.

      February 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.