HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Three missionaries from West Michigan are dead after a car crash in Kenya Wednesday morning, according to the mission group.
Dave Mueller, Joy Mueller, and Julie Holman were killed in the crash Wednesday, said Kenya Hope, which is headquartered in the Hudsonville area.
Kenya Hope is a faith-based nonprofit that supports several centers aiding widows and children in Kenya. The Mueller’s were the executive directors of Kenya Hope and Holman the daughter of the organization’s U.S. director.
The Muellers had worked for more than a decade to help provide education and food access and build freshwater wells in communities in Kenya. Holman, a nurse practitioner, was in Kenya to review medical facilities and distribute vaccines.
What organizers said was supposed to be a faith-based trip with the simple mission of helping those in need who live in Africa turned into tragedy.
Eric Hoogstra, chairman of Kenya Hope, said the crash happened around 9:40 a.m., just outside of Narok, a town located in southwestern Kenya.
“It is a shock, and I am going to be perfectly honest, we are all struggling right now,” said Hoogstra.
Family members and those involved with Kenya Hope said they are grieving but continue to remember the wonderful accomplishments the three achieved. Dave Mueller was a hands-on person who worked hard within the community, Hoogstra said.
Dave and Joy Mueller were married, with three sons who have children of their own.
“Their one daughter-in-law had their baby five weeks early. Their son,” said Hoogstra. “And Dave and Joy were actually able to see this son before they left.”
Holman had 10 years of ICU nursing experience. In 2018, she had served as a nurse for five months in Bangladesh, caring for Rohingya refugees, according to her family.
The three of them had traveled to Africa to help oversee the programs the organization handles, such as growing crops for those in need, putting in water wells and making uniforms for the children.
“They have done, you know, if I look at what they’ve left as a legacy for us to follow, it’s incredible,” said Hoogstra.
CORRECTION: In a previous version of this report, Holman’s work experience was incorrectly reported. It has since been corrected.