Dozens of missionaries in the Mexico Torreon Mission return to work after being robbed, terrorized by two gunmen

Nov 16, 2021, 7:47 PM | Updated: Nov 17, 2021, 9:52 am

TORREON, Mexico — Dozens of missionaries in the Mexico Torreon Mission are back at work after being robbed and terrorized by two gunmen last Friday.

Seventy missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were inside a chapel for a mission meeting when the gunmen entered. Some of the attendees were assaulted, including the mission president and his wife.

John and Kim Stanley’s son is in that mission and was hit over the back of the head during the robbery and attack.

“They knocked him in the back of the head and told him to keep your head down,” Kim Stanley said. But they say the hardest part for their son was watching the men assault some of the sister missionaries.

“He said that he was able to watch one of the robbers take the blade of a knife and just kind of run it up and down the back of these sister missionaries,” she said. “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to get that call.”

But it’s what happened afterward that has brought great comfort to the Stanleys, who live in Colorado.

“Every one of those missionaries gathered together and said a prayer for the two men that held them up and if that’s not a testament to these young people who are a fantastic example to the rest of the world. I don’t know what is,” said John Stanley. “We’ve got 70 missionaries that have this strong bond from what they experienced and he’s part of that and you can’t break that you’re never going to lose that bond. I think it’d be really powerful for them for the remainder of his mission. The ability that they had to focus on forgiveness.”

The Church released a statement on Saturday saying missionaries had been removed from the area right where the incident happen, but those missionaries outside the area were back to work by Saturday.

“(Our son) was back to work immediately, Saturday morning, when he called us he said, we’ve got people to teach, we need to be out we got people to serve,” Stanley said.

Quickly getting back to work is exactly what Dr. Gary Taylor says needs to happen. Taylor is a psychologist with more than 40 years of experience who served two missions for the Church along with his wife helping missionaries with mental struggles as an area mental health advisor.

“They just need to stay doing what they are doing stay busy,” Taylor said. “(Every missionary’s) reaction is going to be very different obviously, what one missionary needs to do might be different than another, (but) they are in a good place to have the help both from a divine source and the Church to meet whatever help they may need.”

The Church says it has counselors on hand to meet with missionaries and talk things through — something Taylor says is very important to do and something the Stanleys encouraged their son to do.

“We’ve encouraged him to actively pursue that counseling to not try and, you know, pick himself up by the bootstraps, and, you know, try and tough it out,” said Kim Stanley.

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Dozens of missionaries in the Mexico Torreon Mission return to work after being robbed, terrorized by two gunmen