Missionary from Southern University Killed in Micronesia Remembered
Kirsten Elizabeth Wolcott
UPDATE WEDNESDAY DEC 2ND
COLLEGEDALE (WRCB) -- Southern students, faculty and staff gathered Tuesday night to remember Kirsten Wolcott's life.
To the best of their knowledge, they can't remember ever losing a student missionary.
Kirsten loved music and was an education major. She was teaching while on her mission.
The theme of hope and healing mixed with a celebration of Kirsten's life and those she had already touched in her young life.
A memorial fund is set up in Kirsten's name at her home church in Virginia.
It will support student missionaries and christian education.
UPDATE TUESDSAY, 7:30 AM
A public memorial service is now set for Kirsten Wolcott.
An on-campus memorial service is set for Wednesday, December 2nd, at 7pm, at the Collegedale Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
UPDATE FRIDAY 5 PM
The student center at Southern Adventist University has become a memorial to 20 year-old Kirsten Wolcott, a student missionary who's life was cut short.
"It's like loosing a member of our family," said University Chaplain Brennon Kirstein, "we are bleeding together as a campus."
Wolcott's body was found Wednesday on the small pacific island of Yap, where she was serving as a student missionary.
The junior education major had reportedly gone jogging by herself.
When she didn't return, her body was found in the woods nearby. Authorities say she had been stabbed to death.
"This is very much a horribly isolated incident," said Kirstein, "that's what we are choosing to believe."
Kirstein says the investigation is on-going, but the school does not believe the other 15 Southern students serving in the Micronesian Islands are in danger.
"You have no where to hide, it's a very small place," said Kirstein, "so those who are investigating, they are going to find the guy, or whoever did this."
Kristina Dunn, a former student missionary, showed us the world map where the University keeps track of Wolcott, and the other 86 active student missionaries across the globe.
Dunn say's Wolcott's murder has hit close to home for a lot of students, reminding them to not take a day for granted.
"To appreciate daily things that we easily take for granted," said Dunn, "to appreciate our friends, to say I love you, to give people hugs."
Dunn says while Wolcott's death raises fear for some, it's her message that gives she and other student missionaries peace.
"I just pray her legacy will live on with her friends, with her students - her second graders she was teaching in Yap," said Dunn, "and the whole Yappie community."
According to the Adventist News Network, police have made an arrest in connection with Wolcott's death, but no details about the suspect have been released.
Wolcott's body has not yet been returned to the States.
The University is working with Wolcott's family, who lives in Virginia, to plan a memorial on campus in the coming weeks.
THURSDAY 2 PM
MICRONESIA (WRCB) -- A student missionary from Southern University was found dead near the school where she was teaching in Micronesia.
According to a release from the Adventist News Network, Kirsten Elizabeth Wolcott did not return from a morning jog Wednesday to teach at the Adventist school on the Pacific Island of Yap.
Church officials say she was the victim of an apparent homicide off the school's campus.
Leaders from the church's regional administrative headquarters, the Guam-Micronesia Mission, flew to Yap Wednesday to assess the situation and provide grief support. A police investigation is underway.
"This is devastating news, not only for the family but for the school and the Adventist Church," said Homer Trecartin, associate secretary for the Adventist world church and director of Adventist Volunteer Service.
"Throughout the history of the church many have made the sacrifice to go serve and some have paid with their lives," Trecartin said. "Our prayer is that God will raise other people to finish the work that Kirsten and others started."
Wolcott, 20, had taken a year off of school at Southern where she was a junior education major. A memorial service will be held at the university the week after Thanksgiving break.