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. Muneef

    Dedicated to the Libyan President;

    Al-Qasas sura 28:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Now Korah was of Moses' folk, but he oppressed them; and We gave him so much treasure that the stores thereof would verily have been a burden for a troop of mighty men. When his own folk said unto him: Exult not; lo! Allah loveth not the exultant; (76) But seek the abode of the Hereafter in that which Allah hath given thee and neglect not thy portion of the world, and be thou kind even as Allah hath been kind to thee, and seek not corruption in the earth; lo! Allah loveth not corrupters, (77) He said: I have been given it only on account of knowledge I possess. Knew he not that Allah had destroyed already of the generations before him men who were mightier than him in strength and greater in respect of following? The guilty are not questioned of their sins. (78) Then went he forth before his people in his pomp. Those who were desirous of the life of the world said: Ah, would that unto us had been give like of what hath been given unto Korah! Lo! he is lord of rare good fortune. (79) But those who had been given knowledge said: Woe unto you! The reward of Allah for him who believeth and doeth right is better, and only the steadfast will obtain it. (80) So We caused the earth to swallow him and his dwelling-place. Then he had no host to help him against Allah, nor was he of those who can save themselves. (81) And morning found those who had coveted his place but yesterday crying: Ah, welladay! Allah enlargeth the provision for whom He will of His slaves and straiteneth it (for whom He will). If Allah had not been gracious unto us He would have caused it to swallow us (also). Ah, welladay! the disbelievers never prosper. (82) As for that Abode of the Hereafter We assign it unto those who seek not oppression in the earth, nor yet corruption. The sequel is for those who ward off (evil). (83) Whoso bringeth a good deed, he will have better than the same; while as for him who bringeth an ill-deed, those who do ill-deeds will be requited only what they did. (84).

    February 24, 2011 at 5:03 am |
  2. hilltop

    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose – Jim Elliot

    Thank you God for these generous souls whose love for others compelled them to great acts of courageous kindness.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
  3. lolo

    when people mistake their arrogance for humility, and die because of it, it's lols.

    February 23, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
  4. matt

    getting killed over delivering bibles?? what a freakin waste

    February 23, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
  5. llihacsumaes

    jeez – he is still just a kid growing into adulthood (no offense intended towards him). If he is uncomfortable about getting physical with someone (no matter what the context) let him decide. (I know I hated wrestling class back in the '70's – for no other reason then that I was embarassed about any close physical contact back then with anybody.) It was too confusing – on too many levels (partially because of stiff family raising, but also because of rushing hormones and god who knows how many other issues now lost to me). Hhe's got his own teenage issues of male/female relations, male/male relations, religious beliefs, family traditions etc etc. I think he did the right thing to speak his mind politely and opt out with respect.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  6. Ted

    Oh, God watches the Superbowl and his favorite team was the Green Bay Packers this year!!!!! Too bad this yacht wasn't painted green and gold. How did they get the yacht.... oooh by scamming all of you "believers". It is wrong for the pirates to kill them but God could have easily stopped them and they would have praised the Lord. But of course, this omnipotent being couldn't be there in time to save them? They were spreading his "word" so it only makes sense he would at least save them instead of helping the Green Bay Packers correct?

    February 23, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  7. kent

    Now these God fearing Christians can spend Eternity (800 Zillion, Trillion, Billion, Million + Years) because they believed in Jesus these 80 years of physical existence. Yea, that's right. Yikes!!!!!!!!

    February 23, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Rev. Keith R. Wright


      February 23, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  8. dina

    Why do people insist on spreading their religion across the world thereby diminshing what these others believe in. I hate religious zealots who think that their religion is the only way and the bible is the only voice of reason. Stop doing this.

    February 23, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  9. derp

    I guess god likes muslim pirates more than christian bible dispensors. I wonder if they prayed to god to save them. Kind of funny that god listens to Manny Pacqaio, but ignored the prayers of these bible tossers.

    Or maybe he just ain't listening at all.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • Bdub

      Thanks Derp for making us all dumber.

      February 23, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  10. Peace2All

    Religion or no religion... delivering bibles or not, these people were murdered-plain and simple.

    Arguably, it probably wasn't the smartest move to be sailing out around areas where the pirates are, but again...

    They were human beings that were murdered.


    February 23, 2011 at 8:13 am |
  11. Peace2All

    Religion or no religion... delivering bibles or not, these people were murdered-plain and simple.

    Arguably, it probably wasn't the smartest move to be sailing out around areas where the pirates are, but again...

    They were human beings that were murdered.


    February 23, 2011 at 12:16 am |
  12. Dortmunderstrasse

    My grievances for the family who lost their loved ones. However, what were they doing in those waters when EVERYBODY knows how dangerous they are? What made them think that nothing would or could happen to them? This has nothing to do with religion, but rather with 4 very irresponsible people who unfortunately had to pay the ultimate price for their stupidity.

    February 23, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • Rev. Keith R. Wright

      They believe in life everlasting, so how can they be dead. Y'all should be celebrating!

      February 23, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
  13. Ron

    It's a pity that they were killed. They should have heeded the warning to stay out of the area that the pirates patrolled.

    February 23, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • T. Lee


      February 23, 2011 at 7:34 am |
  14. Greg in Houston

    Yes, it is tragic to lose a life. But how many people have to be killed over there, or wrongly imprisoned, to get it through your heads to stay away from these troubled areas? They don't like white Americans over there, and we are targets. What part of this do you not get??

    February 22, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • T. Lee

      They were over a thousand nautical miles away from the pirates home base in Somalia !!!

      Obviously you didn't know much of anything about the details before you criticized them for being in "dangerous waters".

      The pirates have been extending their reach through the reach of "mother-ships" which are carrying their skiffs far out to see for their raids. If not stopped – sooner or later NO OCEAN will be "safe".

      February 23, 2011 at 7:33 am |
  15. Muneef

    Sorry for their lives they looked like pure hearted people and God has given them Martyr deaths which means they would be highly rewarded for their faith and belief, I take it it was a more honorable death than being hit by a storm and drawning.

    May God have mercy upon their souls...

    February 22, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • Muneef

      Al-E-Imran sura 03:
      Those who, while they sat at home, said of their brethren (who were fighting for the cause of Allah): If they had been guided by us they would not have been slain. Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Then avert death from yourselves if ye are truthful. (168) Think not of those, who are slain in the way of Allah, as dead. Nay, they are living. With their Lord they have provision. (169) Jubilant (are they) because of that which Allah hath bestowed upon them of His bounty, rejoicing for the sake of those who have not joined them but are left behind: That there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. (170).

      February 22, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  16. Robert Hagedorn

    Intelligent Bible thinking is not oxymoronic. Do a search: The First Scandal.

    February 22, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  17. tallulah13

    I find it very hard to sympathize with people who put themselves in harms way. Is it right that pirates are attacking pretty much anything that floats? No. Is it smart to ignore that reality. No. These people chose to ignore the danger and they paid the price.

    My pity goes to those who are struggling to make an honest, good life for themselves, but are held back by political, societal or religious reasons.

    February 22, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  18. EZE

    Evan: First of all, yes 9/11 did bring the country together, but this solidarity has certainly deteriorated in recent years as the nation has become increasingly polarized. It is absurd to say "Thousands of innocent people were killed, but at least it brought the country a little closer" My point is that these few years of heightened national pride don't even come close to making up for the thousands of people who lost their lives that day, and the suffering it caused their family and friends. Yes, the few terrorists that plotted the attack are alive and well in jail. The same cannot be said about the people they killed. Also, you are not justified in saying that the country is safer post-9/11 merely because there hasn't been a major terrorist attack (in America) since then. How often do you think events like 9/11 occur?

    It is even more insane to suggest that there were good things that resulted from the Holocaust. I think that most jews would be appalled by your assertion. Even in your attempt to find a positive result of the Holocaust fails, as there have been several world leaders since Hitler who have committed mass murder...the Bosnian genocide of the 1990's as well as the Rwandan genocide are a couple examples. Not to mention the 1-2 million people killed by Pol Pot in Cambodia during the late 70's. So much for checks and balances.

    February 22, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Eze, people who premeditate murder due so because ...

      John 8:44 Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

      It is the mark of the beast. Meaning, the mindset of those that love and follow the evils of satan's lies.

      February 22, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • EZE

      First let me clarify my previous post. this was a reply to an exceedingly ignorant post by Evan on the previous page but i posted it as a new post by mistake.

      Now on to HeavenSent: when ye posteth gospel verses, people will not taketh ye seriously, for today is the year 2011

      February 22, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  19. MechaStewart

    Sad story. Even sadder religion is tied up in another tragedy. We're never going to move forward as a species unless we can get rid of our dependence on sky-unicorns and myths. I'm sure some are comforted that they are "with God now" – or "part of a greater plan" - if only...just the end of their time and contribution to this strange and evolving place we call home. For now.

    "We will see that the greatest problem confronting civilization is not merely religious extremism: rather, it is the larger set of cultural and intellectual accommodations we have made to faith itself. Religious moderates are, in large part, responsible for the religious conflict in our world, because their beliefs provide the context in which scriptural literalism and religious violence can never be adequately opposed." – Sam Harris – End of Faith

    February 22, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • bettejodux

      Mecha, i'm a humanist. A columnist. Live on Kauai. You might enjoy my columns at http://bettejo.wordpress.com/ I have a sharp tongue, a poisoned pen and a kind'a cute sense of humor. Love to take a swing at thumpers. Love Sam. Sagan. All the guys. Come visit. Scroll around. Peace and love Bettejo

      February 22, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • Jesus is real!

      I have news for you: Real Christianity is not a tenuous belief people blindly cling to. The people who mock and scoff Jesus act as if their belief was based upon something substantial, but it never is. You have adopted the world's view without question or inquiry. The real truth is finding Jesus isn't hard, but it requires humility and submission. God's arm is not too short to reveal Himself to you, or any lost soul. The real question is if you actually have the humility to submit to a Holy God. Do you? I pray the LORD will soften your heart. Finding Jesus and getting saved is as easy as 1, 2, 3: believe Jesus died for your sins, repent and submit to His guidance in your life, and pray to be baptized with His Holy Spirit. When these things happen to you, you too will be willing to risk your very life travelling to the most dangerous parts of our world to share the most powerful, life-changing thing that ever happened to you: Salvation by the hand of the Living God. Christianity is not a belief; it's a revelation of God. May the LORD save you and all those who scoff in this generation.

      February 22, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Sardonicus


      "Love to take a swing at thumpers"

      How about I thump you in a love swing...

      February 23, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • sealchan

      @ Jesus is real!

      "The people who mock and scoff Jesus act as if their belief was based upon something substantial, but it never is. You have adopted the world's view without question or inquiry."

      Now if instead of presupposing anyone is going to be interested in what you are selling when they think it is a hoax...instead of this you were to find common ground and then indicate how belief in Christ provides some truth or value in that context, then you would have the beginning of a real conversation instead of the end of one.

      Too many thumpers just spew the Word but do not ever actually communicate any knowledge to anyone because they continually launch into some sermon that fails to engage the audience to whom they are speaking. Consider what Paul did with his ministry to the Gentiles...

      February 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • Justin

      Taking a shot at religion in response to this needless murder seems selfish and cruel. I am an atheist myself, and my feelings about the unequal distribution of wealth in this country doesn't leave me with a lot of happy thoughts about people who own yachts, frankly. But this couple was trying to do what they thought was right and help people- for Christians that means giving people Bibles. They died trying to do the right thing, serving others. In that regard, their spirituality should be admired.

      February 23, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • myklds

      @MechaStewart...nice quote you've had. Try to connect it to the topic and find out who's the victim now of religious violence.

      February 24, 2011 at 3:33 am |
  20. Jon

    Can we all (religious and non religious) put our agendas aside and show respect to two lives that were pursuing their personal passions in a peaceful way. Think outside of yourselves.

    February 22, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • Joker

      That is your choice. Others may wish to look at the whole picture.

      February 23, 2011 at 12:38 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.