Glen D. Lapp

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MCC grieves worker killed in Afghanistan

Cheryl Zehr Walker
August 8, 2010

AKRON, Pa. – A Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) worker in Afghanistan, Glen D. Lapp of Lancaster, Pa., was killed this week in a shooting incident in Afghanistan’s northeastern Badakhshan province.

Lapp was traveling with a medical team of four Afghans, six Americans, one Briton and one German. All, including Lapp, worked with MCC partner organization International Assistance Mission, a charity providing eye care and medical help in Afghanistan. Local police found 10 bodies on Friday next to abandoned vehicles. One Afghan team member traveled home via another route and is safe. Another Afghan survived the attack and is being questioned by the police.

On Sunday morning, Lapp’s family received confirmation of his death from the U.S. Embassy. After delays due to poor weather in the area of the attack, the bodies had been taken to the capital city of Kabul for official identification.

In media reports, IAM said this “eye camp” medical team had been testing and treating people with eye diseases in Nuristan province for about two weeks at the invitation of communities there. IAM lost touch with the team Thursday evening when members did not call in as agreed. Three vehicles fitting the description of the team’s vehicles were discovered a day later in Kuran Wa Munjan district of Badakhshan province, which borders Nuristan province.

Local police said robbery might have been the motive. The Taliban has said it is behind the attack.

IAM, which has worked in the country since 1966, regularly dispatched “eye camp” medical teams in Afghanistan and Lapp, 40, had also been part of previous teams. While Lapp was trained as a nurse, his work in Afghanistan was not as a medic. In his two years there, Lapp was executive assistant at IAM and manager of IAM’s provincial ophthalmic care program.

Afghanistan has suffered war, turmoil, poverty and instability for decades. It is one of the least-developed countries in the world, and the lives of ordinary Afghans continue to be threatened by an array of issues.

Lapp was the son of Marvin and Mary Lapp, and a member of Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster, a Mennonite Church USA congregation. In previous service with MCC he helped with response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He also worked as a nurse in Lancaster, New York City and Supai, Ariz. He was a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Eastern Mennonite University and Lancaster Mennonite High School.

Lapp was to complete his MCC term in October, and recently wrote about it in a report, “Where I was [Afghanistan], the main thing that expats can do is to be a presence in the country. Treating people with respect and with love and trying to be a little bit of Christ in this part of the world.”

Submitted by Hannah Canaviri


Taken from MCC: [1]

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