The Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA), a partner of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), experienced a tragedy last week when members of a women’s group were involved in a fatal bus accident.

Thirteen members of the Women’s Guild died in the Aug. 10 accident and 71 were injured. The women, from six different congregations in Thika Parish (Kenya), were traveling to a sister church in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. They were to spend a week doing a “gospel mission” there.

According to the Daily Nation, the women were traveling in two buses. One bus was involved in an accident after an apparent tire blowout and the other had stopped to help when it was hit by a trailer.

The group had originally planned to do its mission in Uganda, but a recent Ebola outbreak there led it to travel to Tanzania instead.

“This is such a big blow to the church. We find it hard to accept, but God is still in control and life must continue,” the Rev. Stephen Wainaina, moderator of Thika presbytery, told the Daily Nation.

Presbyterian World Mission has a strong partnership with the PCEA and calls on Presbyterians throughout the United States to keep the women’s families and congregations in their prayers.

“Please pray that God would provide comfort to the families and PCEA congregations that have experienced such a sudden loss,” said the Rev. Debbie Braaksma, World Mission’s area coordinator for Africa. “Pray for strength for the PCEA to carry on the mission of these dear sisters in Christ who perished even as they were carrying out the Gospel mandate of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

Click here to make a financial contribution that will assist the victims and their families with medical care, funeral expenses, and other needs.

Information furnished by Presbyterian World Mission.