Woman Killed in Israel Bus Attack Remembered

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YAD HASHMONAH, Israel -- Islamic militants recently bombed a bus station in Jerusalem in the first major terror attack in seven years. 
   
The March 23 explosion wounded dozens of Israelis and also took the life of Mary Gardner, a Scottish Christian who had arrived in the Holy Land just a few weeks before. 

Gardner, 59, had enrolled in a six-month program run by Hebrew University's Rothberg International School along with the Home for Bible Translators.     

Gardner's Legacy Remembered

Four days after the bombing, friends and family arrived in the Judean hills just outside of Jerusalem to remember Gardner's life and her legacy.

Halvor Ronning, the director of the Home for Bible Translators, led the memorial service.   

"My opening prayer was just exactly that her kind of dedication would come through in a way that would be inspirational to us to continue her work and that there would be others to step into her shoes and even multiply the work that she's done," Ronning told mourners. 
 
Gardner spent 20 years with Wycliffe Bible Translators in the east African nation of Togo translating the Bible into the language of Efe.     

"She definitely dedicated her life to that sense that God loves her and that it's too big to keep to herself, she wanted to share it," Ronning told CBN News.

"Her legacy is that gift to people who speak that language that they are able to read the scriptures that she believed in so deeply herself," said Rev. Mercia Malcolm, who has been Gardner's friend since 1973.  
 
"For those of us who knew her and loved her, there was a legacy of deep friendship and affection and joy when we think of her and laughter and delight in who she was," she added.

Gardner's Death Not in Vain

Still, many are questioning why Gardner had to die in such a senseless attack. Some believe part of the answer may lie in what happened at the scene of the bombing.   

Moments before the explosion, three children from Yad Hashmonah, the community where the Home for Bible Translators is located, rode up on a bus just a few feet away from the bomb.  According to eyewitnesses, Gardner absorbed most of the blast. 

"I'm convinced that since she absorbed most of the shrapnel and was so close to the bomb and the kids were at the bus that was stopping at the bus stop, their lives were saved," the Home for Bible Translators' Daniel Ronning said. 

 Yasmine Bar David was one of the children on the bus. 

"It's hard for me to imagine that that's exactly what she did for me," David said. "It's like nothing happened to me or to my friend or people that were there and I just want to thank her if I could for that."

Gardner's life ended suddenly, but her friends and family believe her life's work dedicated to translating the Bible will live on. 

"God has given me the privilege someone He has used to give 200,000 people a translation of the New Testament in their own language," Gardner said in a 2009 recording.  "The Bible is a key tool that God has given us to follow Him, to serve Him and to fulfill His Commission.  As the Efe would say, 'God bless you.'"

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