Tennessee Baptist summer missionary dies after car accident in Maine - Word&Way

Tennessee Baptist summer missionary dies after car accident in Maine

STANDISH, Maine (ABP) — A 20-year-old Tennessee Baptist summer missionary was killed June 16 — and three other summer missionaries and their local Baptist supervisor were injured — in a car accident in Maine.

Palmer Maphet of Mount Juliet, Tenn., died after the car in which the five were traveling was struck by another vehicle near Portland.

Maphet, a sophomore at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, was serving on a travel team sent out by Tennessee Baptist Collegiate Ministry. The team was traveling to minister at Laconia Motorcycle Week in Laconia, N.H., when the accident occurred.

Three other students also were injured: Leah Hardwick, a student at Jackson State Community College; Justin Owens, a student at the University of Tennessee at Martin; and Legon Craighead, a student at Union University in Jackson.

Also injured was the driver, Marilyn McClendon. She was supervising the students in their summer missionary work and is also on staff at SouthCoast Community Church in Scarborough, Maine.

Owens, Craighead and McClendon were treated at Maine Medical Center in Portland and released the same day. Hardwick was held overnight and expected to be released on June 17.

According to a report by the Portland News, a Toyota pickup truck driven by Paula Haddow, 63, of Standish, Maine, crossed into the McClendon’s lane and struck the car carrying her and the missionaries.

“Palmer Maphet was an exceptional Christian man,” said Bill Choate, director of Baptist Collegiate Ministries for the Tennessee Baptist Convention. “He will obviously be missed by so very many.”

Maphet was very involved in Tennessee Tech’s Baptist Collegiate Ministry, according to BCM Director John Aaron Matthew.

After the accident, Matthew posted on Facebook that Palmer had served as team leader of his freshman spiritual-growth team and this past spring began his new position on the upperclassmen-discipleship team. He also was “preparing to reach his dorm for Christ as a community-group leader,” Matthew wrote.

“Palmer lived a life that was not wasted because he lived his life running hard after Christ in an effort to know God and to make him known,” he also observed.

Matthew asked for prayer for the Maphet family and for the rest of the mission team in Maine. “Please pray that Palmer’s life still continues to bring glory to God even in death.”

Choate noted that each summer Tennessee BCM sends students to New England to serve with Southern Baptist churches in reaching out into their communities.

He said McClendon, who was leading this team, “is one of BCM’s very best partners and local missionary supervisors, working with us for many years to engage Tennessee students in ministry in a secular culture.”

Stacy Murphree, the Tennessee convention’s collegiate-missions specialist, was en route to Maine June 17 to be with the remaining BCM summer missionaries.


Lonnie Wilkey is editor of the Tennesee Baptist & Reflector.