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Slain U.S. missionaries to Haiti still inspire

Pastor Timothy Laurito witnessed their zeal for God.

Davy and Natalie Lloyd Image courtesy of Ozark Bible Institute

Slain U.S. missionaries to Haiti still inspire

In the mission field, they made a good team. Davy Lloyd was the communicator, while his wife, Natalie, taught herself to play piano for worship.

The couple from Missouri became full-time employees at the mission Davy’s father started in Haiti. The complex in the Bon Repos neighborhood on the north side of Port-au-Prince included a school, church, bakery, and shelters for children. They stayed there even as the country’s government faltered in the face of persistent, widespread gang violence. They worked with Haitian mission director Jude Montis and others to continue serving the area.

When Davy, Natalie, and Jude were killed last month, news shocked Christian circles throughout the United States. Gangs ambushed them as they were leaving a church event in Port-au-Prince, shooting the three of them to death. Montis was 47 years old. The Lloyds were in their 20s.

Timothy Laurito of Bible Holiness Assembly of God Church in Neosho, Mo., who pastored the young couple, spoke with WORLD about who the Lloyds were and why they served. This conversation has been edited for clarity and length

How did you come to know Davy and Natalie Lloyd? They were members of the church that I pastor. I’ve known them since they were little kids. I’ve been to Haiti, where Davy and Natalie were missionaries, and knew their families well. I have a close relationship with both the Lloyds and the Bakers [Natalie’s family].

What drew Davy’s parents to serve in a developing nation? They just really had a deep burden: Seeing a need and wanting to help. They had a heart for missions. They were graduates of Ozark Bible Institute, a birthplace of many missionaries. So they felt a call and God opened the door to Haiti. And they’ve served there faithfully through some really hard times. Earthquakes and natural disasters. And then, of course, political oppression. But they’ve remained faithful to the call.

Didn’t Davy also spend most of his life in Haiti? He considered himself Haitian. I mean, he grew up there. And then he came to the states to go to college. But he grew up in Haiti and so that was his home. His heart was there.

Once he graduated from Bible college and married Natalie, the plan was always for them to go back and work in the orphanage. And to work with the different programs that the Lloyds had set up there, to help his mother and father make an impact in Haiti.

Not all missionaries are preachers. But I noticed that during the funeral, they played videos of Davy’s sermons. Davy had a gift to be able to communicate the gospel in terms that were easily understandable. He preached with an anointing and with a conviction that made everybody—but especially young people—want to respond. It was just part of his passion for the lost, you know? I mean, he’s from Haiti. Seeing the desperate need of humanity and its condition—it just was in his bones, in his heart. And he just really had a passion for communicating that to this generation.

The funeral had video of Natalie singing worship songs and playing the keyboard. She did that. And I’ll just add: She taught herself how to play. She was very gifted and just wanted to be used by God. So she taught herself how to play piano so that she could be a help to Davy, and so she could minister in the church there.

But they have an orphanage there. So she was just loving on the kids, ministering to the kids, and helping them. They have a school, as well, and so she was teaching there. She had a heart to be 100 percent involved and she supported Davy in his mission work.

So they were a real team. And they really loved to help the people of Haiti.

How did they first meet? They met at Bible school. They both came to the school. And that's where they started to get to know each other and fell in love with each other and fell in love with Haiti.

What would a typical day in Haiti look like for Davy and Natalie? Within the orphanage context, helping the kids get going for the day, getting their school going and all that type of stuff, supplies for the orphanage, and building projects. They had a bakery and other projects in the community. So they were overseeing a lot of things, helping his dad with a lot of the day-to-day operations. They were ministering towards people that were hurting and showing the love of God to them. And then, of course, worship services and discipling.

Did they ever express fear or apprehension about the dangers? They weren’t ignorant. They knew it was dangerous. They knew it was bad. But they really just had a heart for wanting to help the kids and wanted to be there. They wanted to serve, and they wanted to help. The kids needed them and they wanted to be faithful to them.

What kind of response have you, as a pastor, seen to their deaths? It’s been an unbelievable outpouring of people, awakening. To see young people that were dedicated to the work of God inspires other people to say, “I can do more. Whatever my context is, whatever I’m doing for God. If this young missionary couple can dedicate their lives and be faithful to their mission, then I can be faithful to the mission that God has for me. I can do more. I can give everything that I've got to the work of God.” And it’s been incredible to see. Literally around the world, people are just being inspired by their dedication and their willingness to serve the Lord in a difficult context.

So for me, I’m praying their deaths would inspire a generation to say, “I want to do my best for God. I want to give my best to God and to the work of God. Even when times are hard and difficult.”

In an increasingly secular society, there are naysayers who argue that Davy and Natalie shouldn’t have been there. How do you respond? I mean, just from a Biblical perspective, we would say that our call is to go into all the world and preach the gospel. And so that’s what they did. That’s what they lived. And that’s our mandate from Christ, is to go. So they’ve done that and inspired us to continue to do that. And, yeah, not every context is easy. Not every context is open to the gospel. But that doesn't change the mandate.

We want to follow Christ and his mandate above opinions.

Christianity has a long history of men and women who have given their lives for the cause of Christ. How will Davy and Natalie’s story be used to continue to inspire others? One of the things we’re doing is setting up a Davy and Natalie Lloyd scholarship at Ozark Bible Institute, where they graduated from. [The goal is to] continue that legacy, to train more missionaries and to send out more people to spread the gospel. And to inspire a generation and enable them to go and to fulfill whatever it is that God has for them, whether that’s on a foreign field or within the United States.

Travis K. Kircher

Travis is the associate breaking news editor for WORLD.

These summarize the news that I could never assemble or discover by myself. —Keith

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