All four members of an Alberta, Canada missionary family have been killed in a head-on collision in South Africa.
CBC News reports Brendan Perrott, 33, and Melissa Perrott, 32, along with their two children Evelyn, 5 and Colton, 3, were killed in the accident that happened on the R74 road Sunday between QwaQwa and Harrismith. In addition, five other people were killed in the crash, including Sabelo Sibeko, who was an orphan. The Perrotts had taken him along on a day trip so he could compete in a bike race.
Witnesses reported the vehicles were unrecognizable after having burst into flames. All of the passengers in the two vehicles died on impact, according to the CBC.
The Perrotts were living in Bulembu, a small town in the mountainous Highveld region of Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland. They had spent the last two years in Bulembu working as missionaries.
Nanette Perrott, Brendan’s mother told the Canadian television network that family members are taking solace in their faith.
“There are just no words and yet we know they’re in the Lord’s presence and that’s what gives us peace,” she said. “We know they’re all together and I know they wouldn’t change a thing. They would not. They were devoted to God’s work and God’s children.”
“They literally laid down their lives for these kids. And their very last mission was serving this orphan boy and encouraging him for his future,” Nancy Perrott said of her son and daughter-in-law.
The Perrotts were high school sweethearts and began working as full-time missionaries with Bulembu Ministries three years ago.
The non-profit ministry operates a community church, a Christian academy, and a health clinic, caring for 350 orphans and vulnerable children in Bulembu.
“They fell in love with the children there and the people, to the extent that they wanted to make a long-term commitment to go over there,” Dave Perrott, Brendan’s father told CBC News. “Their passion was fueled by a belief in Jesus Christ and a desire to serve Him and for people to come to know Him.”
“They had a desire to serve and a loving nature and a real passion for these children who became family to them,” he said.
In a Facebook post this week, Bulembu Ministries remembered the Perrott family.
“We as Challenge Ministries and Bulembu Ministries are devastated at the loss of the Perrott family and Sabelo,” the ministry wrote. “Brendan, Melissa, and their two children came to serve the people of eSwatini but especially the children of Bulembu. They followed the call of God and loved whole-heartedly and impacted so many people’s lives. We mourn with their families back home in Canada and with their Swazi friends who have become family.”
“Sabelo grew up and completed his schooling in Bulembu as one of our children,” the post continued. “He was incredibly talented in sport and Brendon and Melissa encouraged and helped him live out this passion through adventure racing.”
“We know their legacy will live on,” the post concluded.
The Perrott family in Canada wants to make sure that their son and daughter-in-law’s work for South African orphans continues.
“We don’t want to glorify them but to make sure that their legacy continues, that their work in Bulembu continues,” Nanette Perrott told CBC News. “We want to make sure this passion and this legacy continues far beyond them.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up by the couple’s friends in Canada to help cover the cost of the family’s travel arrangements. All remaining funds will be donated to the Bulembu Ministries in remembrance of Brendan, Melissa, and their two children. In just three days, the page has raised more than $56,000.