Australian pastor dies in hospital after attack in Malawi

Salvation Army Major Geoff Friend, 59, died in a Johannesburg hospital on Wednesday with his wife and four sons at his side.

By: AP | Canberra | Published:September 22, 2016 9:33 am

An Australian Christian pastor died in a South African hospital days after he was attacked in Malawi in east Africa during a preaching tour, a relative said Thursday. Salvation Army Major Geoff Friend, 59, died in a Johannesburg hospital on Wednesday with his wife and four sons at his side, his brother-in-law Peter Walker said.

The family had few details about the weekend attack as Friend walked from his hotel to nearby shops, Walker said. The purpose of Friend’s five-week African tour was to train other pastors, Walker said. Friend lived in the west coast city of Perth and was the author of spiritual books “Enjoy the Journey,” “Thank You for the Journey” and “A Great Journey.”

Perth-based Salvation Army divisional commander Major Neil Venables said Friend was two weeks into the tour and had visited Rwanda last week. “Geoff had a real heart and passion to support the Salvation Army’s mission and for those in need both in developing countries and here,” Venables told reporters in Perth. Friend had visited several countries in Southeast Asia as well as Africa during his 34 years as a Salvation Army officer, Venables said.