Usually, we hear from former CRU members’ experiences of discrimination, emotional trauma, and forced evangelism. But today, we want to highlight the unfortunate tragedy of Travis Eiler, who was killed while evangelizing with CRU. Our hearts go out to Travis’ family, and to all other families that lost their loved ones due to the ministry’s negligence to protect its members.
In 2003, a distraught family sued CRU (formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ) for negligence that led to their son’s death. Their son, Travis, was sent on a CRU mission trip to Kazakhstan, a country that is extremely restrictive on religious minorities and evangelism work.
The family’s claim is that CRU neglected to register the evangelism / missionary work properly with the local government, and failed to inform their son of the dangers — leading to his death by suffocation.
An article on the court case: https://www.courthousenews.com/campus-crusade-for-christ-blamed-for-death/
Excerpts from the article:
“A young evangelist was murdered on a mission to Kazakhstan, in which his team had to “speak in code” and “pose” as having other jobs, and the Campus Crusade for Christ failed to warn him of the legal and actual dangers of the work, his parents claim in court.
Travis Eiler was killed in a hotel room in Kazakhstan in December 2011. He was suffocated with a plastic bag.”
Campus Crusade for Christ’s mission is to “win, build and send Christ-centered multiplying disciples who launch spiritual movements,” according to its website.
The group sent Travis Eiler, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., to Shymkent, in southern Kazakhstan, a region that is 70 percent Islamic.
Eric Eiler claims the Campus Crusade knew Christians were in the minority there and it would be dangerous for crusaders: “Due to the nature of the mission based, in part on the environment, the participants were to speak in code,” the complaint states. “For example, ‘ice cream socials’ were not events where ice cream was served; rather, they were organized events where Christianity was observed. Likewise, the participants posed as English teacher at various universities.'”
“Eiler claims the Crusade did not register or make its presence known before or after the laws were passed, nor did it take sufficient measures for the safety of its members already there.
Eiler claims his son was killed as a result of the Crusade’s negligence.
The Campus Crusade “intentionally, deliberately and with reckless disregard for his health and safety, sent Travis on the religious mission to Shymkent,” according to the complaint.
Travis’s parents seek damages for wrongful death, negligence, emotional distress and loss of consortium, and funeral expenses.”