Martha Crystal Myers was born March 13, 1945,
to Ira Lee Myers and Dorothy Will Foust Myers who were both students at
Howard College (now Samford University). In 1955 the Myers family moved
to Montgomery, Alabama, where Dr. Myers became administrative officer
in the Alabama State Health Department. Martha graduated from Lee High
School in Montgomery in 1963, having received many honors, including
selection as a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist.
After graduating from Samford University with a
Bachelor of Arts degree, Martha attended the University of Alabama in
Birmingham. After her third year of medical school, she participated in
the Foreign Mission Board preceptorship program, which allowed her to
spend two months in Jibla Baptist Hospital in Yemen. This experience
cemented her call to medical missions and specifically her mission to
serve in Yemen.
Martha returned home after her preceptorship,
finished her senior year of medical school and completed her internship
and residency in obstetrics at the University of South Alabama Medical
Center in Mobile. Following her time in Mobile, she studied at the
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. After
seminary she spent a few months in the Polyglot School Ltd., in London,
England, which provided the foundation for her mastery of the Arabic
Because of her earlier work with the FMB at
Jibla hospital in Yemen, Dr. Martha Myers was sent back to the
Hospital, which was an 80 bed facility that treated 40,000 patients
yearly. She initially worked six days a week, spending two days in
surgery, two days in the outpatient clinic, and two days traveling to
villages in the surrounding area to administer inoculations and to
teach the people about health care. Her ministry to the surrounding
villages came to occupy a majority of her time. She spent most of her
days in her Land Cruiser, covering hundreds of miles of rough, almost
impassable roads over high mountains. Upon arrival at a village after a
long, tiring journey, she would work tirelessly, sometimes even
sleeping in the village if it was too late to return home. If called to
see a specific patient, she would treat them no matter what time she
arrived, often throwing stones to awaken a household at 3:00 a.m. if
necessary because she had given her word that she would come.
The FMB had decided to close the Jibla
hospital, making December 30, 2002, the last day that the hospital in
Yemen was to be open. When the gates to the hospital opened that day,
Abed Abdel Razzek Kamel, a member of an al-Qaida cell that had killed a
political leader in the capital city of Yemen just a few days before,
walked into the hospital compound with a concealed weapon, which he
cradled in his arms as if it were a baby. Kamel followed Myers into a
meeting and opened fire, killing her and two other missionaries.
Kamel's actions were prompted by an earlier visit his wife had made to
the hospital. Upon her return, she spoke highly of Myers, noting that
no Muslim doctor had ever treated her with such love and compassion.
Kamel knew he had to kill Dr. Myers to keep her from spreading
Christianity in Yemen.
Martha was killed doing what she loved, in the
place where God wanted her to be. It was her wish to be buried in Yemen
and her family honored that wish. In trying to stop the spread of
Christ's love in Yemen, Kamel served to reveal His love to the world
through the broadcasts of Martha Myers' death, which showed her
Christ-centered dedication to those in need.