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Reported in USATODAY.COM on Saturday April 27, 2001 at FRUITPORT, Mich. (AP) — At the funeral for his wife and infant daughter, an American missionary said he has forgiven the Peruvian pilot who shot down their small plane and said his wife would have done the same.

"I’m not bragging about my attitude. I have no idea why I feel this way," Jim Bowers said Friday night at the funeral for Veronica "Roni" Bowers, 35, and their daughter, 7-month-old Charity. "God’s given me peace."

Veronica and Charity Bowers died after a Peruvian military jet, believing the pontoon plane was smuggling drugs, shot it down over northeastern Peru on April 20.

Jim Bowers, 38, and son Cory, 6, were also on board but were unhurt. Pilot Kevin Donaldson, 41, who managed to land the plane on the Amazon River, suffered serious leg wounds.

About 1,300 people attended Friday’s service at a Baptist church in Fruitport, 40 miles northwest of Grand Rapids. The victims will be buried Sunday afternoon in Pensacola, Fla., near the home of the wife’s parents.

Bowers, in a 30-minute eulogy, spoke calmly as he recalled fond memories of his wife and daughter, and thanked people around the world for their prayers and words of comfort.

"One sign that God was responsible for what happened is the profound effect on people around the world," he said. "I’m hoping it will result in an increase in missionaries .... I’m sure it will; people are challenged now to go do what Roni did."


I.e. Jim Bowers is thinking of mission of God… His attitude toward Peruvian military jet pilot is so different from Jonah, which is - they have forfeited grace, their chance, die man die!


Aftermath: Manuel Boza, Peru’s consul general in Chicago, offered his nation’s condolences during the service, and called the deaths a tragedy for his country as well. It seems whole of Peru got to hear of God.

President Bush telephoned his condolences to Jim Bowers. The White House said Bush did not attend the funeral because he did not want to intrude on a private event. Great Nation of USA once again heard of God’s love that missionaries would go on dangerous journeys to tell of God’s grace and love.

In Inquitos, Peru, more than 500 people packed a university auditorium Friday night for a memorial service for Veronica and Charity Bowers.


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