Mama Shekinah Film Project

It was on 5th Nov 2005. They were supposed to travel on the 4th of Nov but I think there was a change of flights and so they traveled on the 5th from Arua in Northern Uganda into Yei in south Sudan and fell into a Lords Resistance Army (LRA) ambush.

These were the very people Hedwig and Colin had traveled half the world to minister the love of God. On the day Colin died I was present. I was in the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) compound around 7km from the IAS compound when I received a call from Uganda asking if Colin and Hedwig had arrived to which I answered in the negative.

I later got a call that there had been an ambush and Colin and Hedwig were at the Yei hospital. We were later to learn that there had been a warning issued that morning that the LRA had entered Sudan from northern Uganda. The borders at Kaya (Northern Uganda/South Sudan) had been requested to halt all incoming traffic from Kaya border into Sudan and apparently due to lack of communication equipment, this message was not relayed in good time to the team transporting Colin and Hedwig.

The driver transporting them was a former soldier and he heard gun nozzles from a distance and communicated to Hedig and Colin to lie down but things happened very abruptly. The driver jumped off the car and rolled into the ground and escaped with a bullet shot on the upper arm. He managed to escape and return to Northen Uganda (koboko) where he passed on the information of ambush to the Programs country director. We rushed to Yei hospital where Colin had been admitted in a ward at around 7:15pm.

Being a weekend, there were no doctors on call but only medical students.  I remember seeing him in the ward with a bandage on his back where a bullet had exited. Hedwig knelt by him and whispered words of encouragement to him slowly all the time. She was caked in blood and had no shoes on. While at the ward, Hedwig relayed to us their ordeal at a place called Morobo where they were sprayed with bullets that hit Colin on the neck and back.

The attackers took all their possessions burned the organization’s vehicle NS 929 A. At the time, the International Criminal Court (ICC) had issued a warrant of arrest against Joseph Kony, the LRA leader in October of 2006. In retaliation of this warrant of arrest, his soldiers had sought to attack humanitarian workers working within their vicinity.

Back at the hospital, Colin’s condition deteriorated and he was taken to theatre to try and stop the bleeding. They needed some blood transfusion and since I knew mine was O positive, I accompanied a student nurse to have my blood drawn. As they were running compatibility tests I went inside the theatre, I was not prepared for what I saw. Collins lay there, his tongue was so swollen, they had tubes through his mouth to his chest trying to remove clotted blood, but he had lost so much blood.

Hedwig stood by his side all the time, saying “I love you”, “I love you”, and praying in tongues. When he breathed his last, Hedwig covered his eyes and said to him “bye” and “I love you”. At that time, I ran out saying, “he is gone”, “he is gone”. We drove back to the IAS compound and brought a blanket which was used to wrap his body as we removed it from the hospital as it did not have any mortuary. I could feel his cold lifeless hand as we were sitted in an open pickup and transported him back to the IAS guest house which was 4km away.

The men had his body washed and tied both his arms and legs tight and placed him in a “tukul”- a hut and covered him with a bedsheet. I embraced Hedwig in my arms, not knowing what to say. Her hair had been caked in blood, so was her dress and she had no shoes. I provided a change of clothes for her. At the time she was 3 months pregnant. She spoke to the baby in the tummy and told her everything would be okay.

That night, Hedwig spent the night in the same tukul with Colin but on different beds. A number of female colleagues slept with them in the room as well. What amazed me about Hedwig was that she kept quoting scripture verses from the Bible and I marveled at the strength that could only have been from the Lord. She did not cry then and neither did I see a tear from her the next morning. I remember her reading from Isaiah 54:10 to all the people in the tukul “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed says the Lord who has compassion on you”.

The next morning, Colin’s body was put in the TV room “tukul” and embalmed by one of our medical staff, Mama Hellen, as we waited for Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) team to evacuate his body to Kampala, Uganda’s capital city.     -Faith Ndunge


Mama Shekinah Film Project

In Paraguay, as Hedi realized that God wanted her to work some time in San Paulo, she stood up from our prayer time and said that she was going to study Portuguese. I asked her:”Who is going to teach you? Well she is going to search if there a some Brazilian people who live in our town. The next day she was on her bike searching for Brazilians in our town. No surprise she found them. It was a couple Edi and Salmira. After some time with Mate´and Terere´(a tipikal drink for Paraguayen) they started to meet for Bible study, after a few weeks this couple accepted Jesus as their Savior. The Brasilien Bible study was growing. Hedy was now inviting me to meet her new friends and they were quite a lot. Today we have a Brazilian speaking church and for sure this people don´t remember the first missionary.
That was a part of Hedi she was not searching to be famous, she wanted to be obedient to her Lord Jesus.
In a year or so she was on the way to San Paulo. Speaking Portuguese and ready to serve the Lord. She saved some money for her trip, but the money never held her back. She could enter in a bus and ask the driver for permission to travel without paying the ticket. She simply said:”I have to travel in this bus and cannot pay, could I stay?  The bus driver would simply respond:”Yes.”
-Anna Rempel

Tears mixed with joy yesterday as hundreds flocked to the funeral of murdered Bermudian aid worker Colin Lee More than 600 friends and relatives packed the First Church of God, North Shore, to say a final farewell to a man whom the service heard “gave his life to God”.Bermuda was left stunned when Mr. Lee was brutally gunned down by a gang of suspected rebels while he was carrying out missionary work in Africa.Yesterday’s congregation included Mr. Lee’s pregnant widow, Hedwig, who was at her husband’s side as he was murdered in Sudan.

Before his death, Mr. Lee had been working as a trauma counsellor helping war victims in conflict-ridden Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda for the last two years.

Despite her husband’s savage murder and her harrowing brush with death, Mrs. Lee has vowed to carry on living and working in Africa.And the Pastor also revealed how Mrs. Lee told that if it was not for her pregnancy and the fact she needed rest, she would be back out in Africa on missionary work now.Earlier, Bishop Vernon Lambe told the service how Mr. and Mrs. Lee both shared a passion to give their lives in Christian service.

A nine-strong choir then sang a song penned by Mr. Lee, who was a talented musician in Bermuda before he turned to God.

The tribute said the former Francis Patton and St. George’s Secondary School pupil worked as a mason and carpenter at various construction firms before meeting Mrs. Lee, a long-standing member of IAS, and heading out to Africa.It said it was typical of Mr. Lee to place his life on the line for others, and told how he once claimed responsibility for a crime to help a friend.The talented musician, former frontman of The Burning Ice, had also won a singing contest that saw him perform at the famous Apollo Theatre, New York.His youngest sister, Gayllhia, said: “I know that if Colin would have recovered he would have returned to witness to the same people who shot him without hesitation.”The island of Bermuda is in a state of shock, and at no time in recent history has there been such an outpouring of grief and pain as at our loss.”She added: “The lives Colin touched will go untold, but not unrecorded in heaven.”

Colin and Hedwig i

Mama Shekinah Film Project

I got to know Hedwig in 1992 as a zealous prayer warrior for the Lord. What made the greatest impression upon me was the many hours that she spent in a nearby forest in prayer and spiritual battle before the Lord.
I am very pleased to hear that her life will be portrayed through this film and ask for the Lord’s blessing and protection as you work on this project.
Thank you for letting me know about it. I pray that it might be a blessing for many nations.


Joy in the midst of trauma

Mama Shekinah Film Begins Shooting in Sudan

Murdered missionary’s life capturered on camera
Documentary tells how a pregnant woman saw her husband shot dead
Almost three years ago Bermudian Colin Lee was murdered in cold blood in Sudan as his pregnant wife watched on in horror.

The story became international news and was heard by thousands.

One of the people “touched” by the story was American Joey Parish and his wife Fawn. They have embarked on an ambitious project to capture Mr. Lee’s life and ­tragic death in a ­documentary.

They are hoping Bermudians will come forward to shed some light on the “colourful character” that he was.

Filming for The Mamma Shekinah Project begins next month on location in Sudan .

Mr. Parish and his wife had been working as reconciliation experts for victims of tribal warfare in developing countries for several years when they first met Mr. Lee’s widow Hedwig Lee.

“We were in Uganda for a conference in 2008 when we first met Hedwig,” Mr. Parish said.

“We were struck by her strong desire to return to the place where her husband was killed.

“We couldn’t get her ­story out of our heads.”

Mrs. Parish wrote the script herself and is the ­author of several books including Honour: What Love Looks Like, It’s All About You, Jesus, and Deeper Still.

They hope to pitch the 44-minute documentary to TBS when it is complete.

Mr. Parish said: “We want to portray Mr. Lee’s life growing up in Bermuda, the hard times he went through, his courtship of Hedwig, her growing up in Paraguay and their whirlwind romance around the world.

“We will go to the ­ambush site where he was killed, the hospital where he passed away and talk to the people who were there when it happened.

“We will then fast forward to the difficult birth of their daughter Shekinah (which means ‘glory of God’) and to Hedwig’s period of total rejection to what happened – the hurt was so hard on her.”

The film will end with Mrs. Lee’s “healing” and ­ultimate decision to live in the country where her husband was killed.

“For me, I would like for people to watch the film and walk away knowing there is a God of love that can heal and that forgiveness is very healing,” Mr. Parish said.

Share stories

Mr. Lee’s sister, Gaylhia LeMay, is hoping Bermudians who knew her brother well will come forward to share their stories and photographs of him for the film.

“I’m desperate to find people who have had meaningful interactions with my brother,” she said.

“I’m looking for anyone who has first-hand accounts of their encounters with Colin.”

A carpenter by trade, Mr. Lee worked for himself as well as for several local construction companies such as Sea-Land Construction and his last job was at the Berkeley Institute site.

He could often been found playing saxophone on the ocean-side rocks and had a passion for classic cycles.

Before he became a Christian in the late 1980’s he was a musician who played guitar and was the lead singer for band The Burning Ice.

“He was raised in the church, he just went astray for a while,” Mrs. LeMay says of her brother who had been linked to drugs and sexual perversion charges. “‘Reverend’ was his nickname because he could be in the middle of smoking a cigarette and drinking a black and coke and be quoting parts of the bible.”

Mr. Lee had been in ­Sudan on-and-off for two years when he was shot and killed.

He and his wife of one year had been working with charity International Aid Servcies (IAS) at the time and were on their way to offer “spiritual healing for Sudan ’s down-trodden” when their car was ­ambushed by members of The Lord’s Resistance Army on the afternoon of November 5 2005.

Mr. Lee, who was 57 at the time, was shot in the chest and throat taken to Yei hospital for treatment where he died later that night.

His sister said: “He saw the need in Sudan and felt it was his calling – that it was where he was meant to be.”

Anyone who knew Mr. Lee is urged to call Mrs. LeMay within the next week at 338-2455 or email her at rememberingcolin@yahoo.comMogadishu

Mama Shekinah Film Project

Fawn, Joshua and Joey are privileged to be filming a phenomenal story in Sudan about the life of Hedwig Lee. This is a blog to keep all our friends up to date on the progress of the documentary.  We are so blessed to have people around the world praying daily for this film.