ÚNASE A NOSOTROS EL 20 Y 21 DE MAYO PARA LA CONFERENCIA DE RESTORE

María
De Muth

escocés
McKnight

Screenshot 2023-01-13 at 1.50.18 PM

Naghmeh
panahi

Reportando la Verdad.
Restauración de la Iglesia.

Missionary and 5 Family Members Killed in Vacation House Fire in Wisconsin

By Liz Lykins
steve witte
On June 30, 2024, missionary Steve Witte (inset) and five family members perished in a house fire in Necedah, Wisconsin. (Photos: WELS Mission / social media) 

A missionary and five of his family members were killed in a house fire in Necedah, Wisconsin, on Sunday, according to a presione soltar from Juneau County Sheriff’s Office. The family was staying in the house while on vacation.

Missionary Steve Witte served in Thailand through the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), according to a declaración from WELS President Mark Schroeder. Witte had previously worked as a pastor at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Green Bay and at Emmanual Lutheran Church in New London.

The other fire victims were Witte’s daughter Lydia Witte, daughter Charis Kuehl, granddaughter Stella Kuehl, granddaughter Lena Henselin, and granddaughter Merci Henselin, according to WELS. The youngest family member was just 2 years old, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

“The pain of losing six members of one family cannot be described with words,” Schroeder said in the statement. “The only thing that can begin to bring comfort in such a time of grievous loss are the words that God himself speaks to us. Those words remind us that these members of our extended WELS family are now resting in perfect joy and peace at the side of their Savior.”

Local officials were alerted of the house fire through a 911 call around 2:35 AM on Sunday, the Sheriff’s Office said. When they arrived on the scene, officials said the house was “fully engulfed in flames.”

Su donación deducible de impuestos ayuda a nuestros periodistas a informar la verdad y responsabilizar a los líderes y organizaciones cristianos. Haga una donación de $30 o más a The Roys Report este mes y recibirá una copia de “¿Y si Jesús hablara en serio acerca de la Iglesia?” por Skye Jethani. Para donar, haga clic aquí.

necedah house fire witte
On June 30, 2024, a house fire in Necedah, Wisconsin claimed six lives. (Video screengrab / WLUK FOX 11)

While escorting people away from the fire, officials learned that there were still six individuals inside the home. Staff from the local fire department battled the fire for three hours and were on the scene for more than twelve hours, the Sheriff’s Office said.

As of Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office reported that the fire appears to be accidental. An investigation into its cause is still ongoing.

“By God’s grace, a number of other family members survived. As of now, there are many unanswered questions; authorities continue to investigate,” Schroeder said. “We mourn with these families. We grieve at their terrible loss. But we also know that God will bring healing.”

Witte ran back inside the house to save grandchildren

Witte and his wife were on furlough and having a get-together in Necedah when the fire broke out, according to a declaración from Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church. 

Witte was killed by the fire when he ran inside the house to try to save his grandchildren, Larry Schlomer, WELS World Missions Administrator told WMTV 15.

“He actually made it out of the house and found out that two of his granddaughters were still inside,” Schlomer said. “He went back in seeing if he could save them and unfortunately did not make it.”

Pastor Witte was the lead of the WELS Asia Missions Team, Schlomer said. He had recently come home after being overseas for months.

“His wife, Mary, his children, those were so important. That’s why they were gathered so they could enjoy some time while he was back from his mission field,” Schlomer said. “It was such a tremendous loss, that many deaths within the same family.”

steve mary witte
Steve and Mary Witte (Photo: Facebook)

Schlomer added that Witte was driven by a passion for the gospel.

Schlomer told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Witte had about one year left of missions work before he returned to the U.S. permanently.

“Steve was looking forward to his time with Jesus,” Schlomer said. “It just came sooner than any of us would have hoped.”

Witte had served overseas in Southeast Asia for the last 15 years, Mike Pfeifer, a staff minister at WELS said to the Sentinel.

Pfeifer said he has known Witte for about 30 years. Since hearing of the tragedy, he has been “in shock at the news and the sadness of it,” he said.

Witte mourned online by many

On social media, many are mourning Witte and his family.

Benjamin Tomczak, a friend of Witte, said he remembers sharing many moments of laughter and spiritual growth with the pastor.

“Everywhere he went he brought the gospel of Christ and a heart desirous to do no harm to the holy ministry and to serve God’s people,” Tomczak said in a Facebook correo.

Tomczak added that Witte had served for years as the president of the Asia Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong.

John Leach, a friend and mentee of Witte, said the pastor had a “beautiful mission heart” in a Facebook correo.

“His commonsense approach to ministry to ‘do whatever it takes’ and to ‘keep the main thing the main thing’ blessed those he served (and those he served with),” Leach wrote. “His vibrant prayer life and confidence in God’s leading reflected a beautiful child-like faith. I’m thankful he has received his crown of life.”

Two fundraisers have been set up to support Witte’s family — a GoFundMe has been created for the Kuehl family and a GiveSendGo fundraiser for the Henselin family. The two fundraisers have already raised more than $160,000.

Freelance journalist Liz Lykins escribe for WORLD Magazine, Christianity Today, Ministry Watch, and other publications. 

COMPARTIR ESTE:

¡OBTÉN ACTUALIZACIONES POR CORREO ELECTRÓNICO!

¡Manténgase en contacto con Julie y reciba actualizaciones en su bandeja de entrada!

No te preocupes, no te enviaremos spam.

Más para explorar
discusión

3 Respuestas

  1. I was privileged to be one of Steve’s professors during his Doctor of Ministry studies at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. Steve had the heart of a pastor who loved Christ and who loved those whom God called him to serve. His many friends and colleagues mourn his death and the death of his children and grandchildren. May Christ have mercy.

  2. “He went back in seeing if he could save them…” seems like it could describe the pastor’s life and heart. What a loss for this family are the 6 who are gone, and what a life to remember.

Deja una respuesta

El Informe Roys busca fomentar el diálogo reflexivo y respetuoso. Con ese fin, el sitio requiere que las personas se registren antes de comenzar a comentar. Esto significa que no se permitirán comentarios anónimos. Además, se eliminarán todos los comentarios con blasfemias, insultos y/o un tono desagradable.
 
Artículos MÁS RECIENTES
Artículos MÁS populares
es_MXSpanish

Donar

Hola. Vemos que este es el tercer artículo de este mes que ha encontrado que vale la pena leer. ¡Estupendo! ¿Consideraría hacer una donación deducible de impuestos para ayudar a nuestros periodistas a continuar informando la verdad y restaurar la iglesia?

Su donación deducible de impuestos ayuda a nuestros periodistas a informar la verdad y responsabilizar a los líderes y organizaciones cristianos. Haga una donación de $30 o más a The Roys Report este mes y recibirá una copia de “¿Y si Jesús hablara en serio acerca de la Iglesia?” por Skye Jethani.