Simply put, life isn’t easy in Africa, but that was no deterrent to Randy and Kathy Arnett, the husband and wife missionaries who devoted their lives to serving Christ by serving others far from their home state of Missouri.
Their deaths in an automobile accident last week in the Democratic Republic of the Congo served as a reminder of the fragility of life and of the vital importance of getting the gospel to the nations. The Arnetts had devoted their lives to the cause of Christ, serving in Africa through the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board.
The Arnetts died on March 14 from injuries they sustained in a single-vehicle crash about two hours from Kinshasa.
“They gave their lives and family for over 30 years proclaiming the gospel, planting churches, and training pastors and missionaries across Sub-Saharan Africa,” said IMB President David Platt. “They did all of this with a zeal for God’s name, a confidence in God’s Word, and a dependence on God’s Spirit. They lived — and died — for what matters most in this world.”
The Arnetts will be deeply missed by their family and friends on this side of eternity. Oh, but on the other side, there is a happy reunion underway with the family and friends who arrived in Heaven ahead of them.
Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood, who traveled extensively across Africa with the Arnett’s and counted them as personal friends, recalled their devotion to the Great Commission to take the gospel to all the nations of the world.
“Randy and Kathy are my heroes,” Chitwood said. “They loved the Lord and loved the lost more than they loved their own lives. And their love for Africa was contagious.”
Former IMB missionary Roger Haun said what stood out to him about the Arnetts was their love for Africans and the rapport they shared with them.
“This rapport came from the fact that Randy and Kathy were joyful people — always smiling,” Haun said.
While the Arnetts will be sorely missed, we are heartened to think of the joyful smiles they’re wearing right this moment in “a land that is fairer than day.”
This lovely Christian couple braved hardships in Africa for 30 years, earning the love, respect and admiration of the people they ministered to and with. And now they’ve heard those most beautiful words that made it all worthwhile: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”